“I really want to see that movie!”
A successful middle-aged man’s favorite pastime is going out for movies with his wife. After the movie, the ritual is to get ice cream in one of Chicago’s dessert shops. Three years ago, a severe headache brought him to the emergency department of a Chicago area hospital. Assuming he was dehydrated, his physicians sent him home without testing to ensure he was not experiencing a life-threatening warning hemorrhage in his brain. Two days later, to the dread of all who knew and loved him, the truth came crashing down as he lost consciousness and passed out on his office floor. The warning bleed that could have been detected and treated two-nights earlier had re-ruptured causing in a massive brain hemorrhage and resulting in devastating and catastrophic permanent disabilities. As a result, this once brilliant mind lives in a thirty-minute world, forgetting after his double-scoop chocolate ice-cream that the movie he really wants to see is one he already saw – just two hours earlier.
Medical malpractice is a fascinating world – I would described it as worthy of a Shakespearian tragedy, filled with skyrocketing monetary compensations, battles of the best minds of legal and medical profession, fought in excruciating details in American courtrooms. Medical malpractice is ultimately about unimaginable personal tragedies, but also about honor, trust, and respect – for all parties involved, both on the legal and medical side of the table.
Medical malpractice is a fascinating world – I would described it as worthy of a Shakespearian tragedy, filled with skyrocketing monetary compensations, battles of the best minds of legal and medical profession, fought in excruciating details in American courtrooms.
Today, I want to share the career path of a brilliant young lawyer David Rashid, who started law as a way to as a way to serve – only after law school did he turn from public service to the service of those with catastrophic injuries such as the prominent lawyer described above. He works in the medical malpractice field in a medium-sized Chicago firm called Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny LLC. David didn’t always think he would be a lawyer - his original ambition was to go into politics, either being directly involved in elected politics, or working behind the scenes. His path from public service into law has been fascinating.
In college (he went to Miami University), David continued his political engagement, and thought of law school as a way to use it to jump into serious politics. “Public service is the greatest calling anyone could have,” says David. However, throughout college and into law school, David’s work on multiple campaigns revealed the hidden price of public service through electoral politics. By the time he began looking for jobs in the legal field, David sought other, equally rewarding avenues of service to others. He saw the value of a law degree to make meaningful change, so began pursuing other career options. While he was in law school at George Mason, he started the arduous process of cold-calling for opportunities, sending out dozens of applications. Initially, David applied to big firms and also sent letters to federal district court judges, looking for clerkships, and always followed up with a call. He had job offers on Capitol Hill but throughout it all he knew that his calling was for a more personal interaction – a desire for connection – a mission to serve - to be a source of strength to people in their most trying of times. Around Thanksgiving his phone rang and David received that call to his calling. On the other end was the man who would become one of his bosses at Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny with a job offer. David immediately knew the opportunity was right; he accepted on the spot and cancelled other interviews.
He worked on two campaigns, and while the candidates were wonderful, the atmosphere of being in an elected office was not right. Turned out that Washington, DC, was not quite as active as he hoped, and being swirled into the election politics exposed its hidden price, and was not ultimately right. He started looking for the alternatives to using his law degree.
Once David started his work at Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny, he became active in the plaintiff’s medical negligence bar. 70% of his work is on medical negligence cases including wrongful death cases, birth injury cases, stroke and hemorrhage cases and a whole host of other medical issues. He has learned how fascinating medicine and science is and the role of the law in protecting the rights of injured victims. Practicing medical malpractice is one of the most personal areas of law, since the patients develop unique trust with their lawyers. “The people we work for come to us and depend on us during very trying times,” says David. “They just lost a loved one and depend on you for help. Over the years, you develop close relationships.”
While David knows that no amount of money replaces the pain of losing a family member or grave suffering, he hopes that receiving monetary compensation provides relief to the victims and their families. The process normally takes years to complete, and 90% of cases end up in settlement. During this time, David couples the highest degree of legal service with the human touch of compassion and trust.
By working through the cases, David learned to develop the alternative viewpoints for every scenario. “I have so much respect for the field of medicine,” he says. “By attempting to understand the medicine I can show respect for the people I work against and maximize the recovery of my clients by bringing out what we believe went wrong in their care. I must shift away from thinking as a lawyer and try thinking as the healthcare provider does. It is this position of respect that drives me to learn the medicine and in-turn will allow me to show a jury why our position is the right one.”
I must shift away from thinking as a lawyer and try thinking as the healthcare provider does. It is this position of respect that drives me to learn the medicine and in-turn will allow me to show a jury why our position is the right one
David is a rising star of his profession. This year, he was just recognized as a “Rising Star” by two different professional law groups in Chicago, named Leading Lawyers and Superlawyers, awarded by peer recognition Fewer than 2% of all state-wide lawyers under 40 made either list. David is continuing his journey as a lawyer and an advocate, and is looking forward to further applying his skills to serve his primary objective – helping people through public service, in one of its most intellectually interesting applications.
As the concluding advice for young and aspiring lawyers, David recommends having an open mind and working hard. “There is a place in every industry for people that work hard. It might not make you the best; there are people in every industry that have a natural brilliance – they will always have that natural brilliance to fall back on, but if you can develop a work ethic that prizes work above everything else – I feel confident saying that things will work out for you. Put the time in, actually do the hard work rather than talking about the hard work and learn your trade. Any employer will be with you on that one.”
There is a place in every industry for people that work hard. Put the time in, actually do the hard work rather than talking about the hard work and learn your trade.
David looks forward to continuing his service to those impacted by medical negligence. He hopes that his dedication to his job and commitment to excellence will continue to allow the victims of malpractice justice from the legal system, healing outside the courthouse doors and the comfort that comes with the confidence of knowing they have a tireless advocate in David.