Passion and Purpose: Interviews with Legal and Health Professionals (Part Two)

It is always interesting to hear stories of professionals in the fields of law and medicine, particularly why they chose their careers. It is even more interesting to hear them discuss what motivates them to go to work every day and what they love the most about their jobs. Doctors and lawyers also tend to have very interesting stories about clients and patients they have served during the course of their career.

For example, one of the doctors we interviewed recalls a time he was working at a hospital and had a patient who came in unresponsive with a bleed in his brain. He successfully treated the man back to recovery. Several months later, that same man returned to the hospital to visit someone else. The man recognized the doctor, ran up to him and said, “You saved my life, I remember you, thank you so much!” The man explained to the doctor that he couldn’t have survived without the hospital’s treatment.

Stories like this are the stories you never hear. These are the types of experiences that keep our legal and medical professionals motivated to serve us in times of need.

Here is Part Two of the interviews we did with doctors and lawyers across the United States. Here is Part One.

6) Joleena Louis, Attorney at Joleena Louis Law

What made you decide to become an attorney?

I was very shy in high school, so in my 9th-grade social studies class, I was horrified when my teacher assigned me the role of the prosecutor in our JFK assassination mock trial. But once I got into it, I saw a different side of myself - I felt strong and was confident. I won the mock trial and immediately learned everything I could about getting into law school.

How long have you been practicing?

I've been practicing since 2011.

What do you love the most about being an attorney?

I am a family law attorney so I love being able to help my clients protect what matters to them. I get to know my clients very well and I have the opportunity to help them through the most difficult time in their life.

Describe a memorable story of a client? What was so memorable about this client?

I try to take one or two pro bono cases every year, usually victims of domestic violence. My most memorable client was a woman who was able to leave a horribly abusive and controlling relationship and went on to start her own business and really take control of her life. It was amazing watching her transformation from meek and afraid to confidently confronting her abuser in court. She is the reason I do what I do.

7) Tor Hoerman, Attorney at TorHoerman Law

What made you decide to become an attorney?

“I would have loved to have been a doctor, but I did not do well in Freshman biology. After obtaining my undergraduate degree, off I went to law school.

How long have you been practicing?

3 years of law school and 22 years of practicing law, here I am 25 years later with a thriving practice that bears my name.

What do you love the most about being an attorney?

What I love absolutely most of all about being an attorney is making my clients feel comforted in a very difficult situation, and when we are able to get them a good result, there is simply no greater feeling in the world.

Describe a memorable story of a client? What was so memorable about this client?

The most memorable case that comes to mind is a single mother and child who suffered a severe, lifelong, disable injury at the end of a daily caregiver. The impact was devastating on the family, but Mom was amazing and patient in hold the family together. The money awarded in trial was put into accounts that would pay for the real needs of the boy; schooling, tutoring, therapy. Not just what was necessary, but what would give this great little kid a chance in life. The emotions are hard to describe, but they were real, and the impact on this mom and boy have been profound.”

8) Adam T. Funk, Attorney at Potts Law Firm

What made you decide to become an attorney?

I strongly believe in the American justice system. There are only a handful of countries that allow the common man to seek justice against a large corporation for a wrong that was committed. Being a part of that justice system and representing those who were injured became my calling at a very early age. I felt it was my duty to help our society.

How long have you been practicing?

I have been practicing since 2008 – coming up on 10 years!

What do you love the most about being an attorney?

The “thank yous” from my clients. I work for my clients, so they don’t have to thank me, but when they do, it means I truly made a difference in their life.

Describe a memorable story of a client? What was so memorable about this client?

I once represented a woman who was taking a pharmaceutical drug for migraine headaches. The drug caused birth defects in her baby and the pharmaceutical corporation didn’t warn about those risks even though it knew about it. We were able to secure a significant amount of money for the mother and her baby that set that child up for the rest of his life. The mother still sends me a thank you card each year for the holidays and I still call her boy for his birthday each year. That case solidified my calling of being an attorney.

9) Dr. Ehsan Ali, MD at the Beverly Hills Concierge Doctor

What made you decide to become a physician?

When I was 7 years old, my grandfather had a heart attack right in front of me. I remember watching him be rushed to the hospital, then surviving and recovering. I remember thinking to myself: I want to have a career where I have the opportunity to help others heal and change lives-- to give people a second chance at life, like my grandfather did. I knew from that very day that I wanted to be a physician.

How long have you been practicing?

10 Years

What do you love the most about being a physician?

I love meeting all sorts of people and helping them to get, and then stay, healthy.

Describe a memorable story of a patient? What was so memorable about them?

At the beginning of my career, I was working at a hospital and had a patient who came in unresponsive with a bleed in his brain. With the help of other doctors and specialists, we were able to successfully treat the many who did well and made a recovery. Several months later, he came to the hospital to visit someone else. At first, I didn’t recognize who he was, but he recognized me and ran up to me with a big smile and his whole family. He said to me, “You saved my life, I remember you, thank you so much!” He went on to say that he’s doing very well, and knows that he couldn’t have survived without the hospital’s treatment.

10) Michael Hernandez, Attorney at Law Offices of Michael Anthony Hernandez

What made you decide to become an attorney?

I have always been interested in the practice of law, but I got my start in criminal defense work quite by accident. Just after my second year in law school, a friend of mine asked if I was interested in clerking for a criminal defense attorney. It was the beginning of summer, and I told her that I wasn’t interested, but allowed her to convince me to take an appointment with the attorney. I thought I would meet with the attorney for 10 or 15 minutes, laugh at his jokes, then tell him I wasn’t interested in working. As it turned out, I left that initial meeting with the keys to his office and an armful of discovery on a case involving securities fraud, bank fraud, and wire fraud (think the movie Boiler Room). That first case got me excited about criminal defense.

How long have you been practicing?

I have been practicing for 13 years. At the beginning of my career I practiced immigration law, but quickly shifted to criminal defense.

What do you love the most about being an attorney?

The greatest joy of practicing criminal defense is that every case and every client is unique. This allows us to exercise our creativity when crafting solutions for our clients. And unlike the common misperception of criminal defense work - that we are only looking for technicalities - so much of our practice is devoted to mitigation and to working with clients to make sure they receive any counseling or therapy to help address the underlying cause of the offense. For the vast majority of my clients, I will see them for a very short period in their lives, and with any luck we will never see them again in the criminal justice system.

Describe a memorable story of a client? What was so memorable about this client?

A few years ago I made great law on a case involving a juvenile client. He was both a dependent of the court and a ward of the court, but California law requires a determination as to how best to treat such a child. Unfortunately the child never received the necessary evaluation and determination - the judge simply said that the child should be a ward, and should remain in juvenile hall. The Court of Appeal saw things our way - eventually, probation determined the child was better treated as a dependent, he was released from juvenile hall and enrolled in junior college, he was given life skills and career coaching, and was given an apartment and a small living expenses stipend. With the help of the entire juvenile system, my client was given an opportunity at a successful life.

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