Practicing Law on a Human Level

      SHINGLER LAW, by design, is a small practice.  We are a team of seven: two lawyers, three paralegals, an investigator and an office manager.  We typically handle only seven to twelve cases at a time.  Again, this is by design.  

     Why, in America, where everyone strives to be bigger, better, and faster, do we strive to keep our practice small?  It is because we find it more satisfying to do high-quality work on a few good cases, rather than overextending ourselves by working on too many marginal cases; it is because we want to take the time to get to know the people we represent.  

     There is a metaphor that I use from time to time to explain our philosophy.  I call it the Pinto v. Maserati metaphor.  I imagine myself as an elderly retired auto worker walking through a large parking lot filled with thousands of old Ford Pintos.  I imagine that I worked on the assembly line for Ford, and that these Pintos represented my life’s work.  I imagine telling my grandson, “See all these cars?  When I was working the line, I put the steering wheels in some of these cars.”  To be sure, those Pintos served a function and the manufacture of those vehicles represented jobs for thousands of workers.  And yes, the work paid the bills, but I imagine myself feeling empty on some level.

     Then, I imagine that instead of building Pintos, I spent my life building Maseratis, one car at a time.  I imagine telling my grandson that we built ten or twelve Maserati’s per year, as opposed to thousands of Pintos.  I tell him that we worked as a small team, just seven of us, who truly knew how to build Maseratis. Together, the seven of us built those Maseratis from the ground up.  We knew each car inside and out.  We did not work in a large factory.  We worked in a shop that had pristine hardwood floors.  And on that day when we completed a car, and fired up the engine for the first time, and took it out on the road, we were filled with great satisfaction.  We had done our work well, and we had produced a good result.  

     At SHINGLER LAW, the quality of our work means more to us than the quantity.  

     And just so we are clear, our clients are NOT cars, neither Pintos nor Maseratis.  Our clients are men and woman who have recently learned that they have mesothelioma or some other asbestos-related disease; our clients are men and woman who have learned that someone they love has been so diagnosed.  When our clients come to us, they are afraid and uncertain and worried and hurt.  We have chosen to stay small so that we can give each man and woman the time and attention that their case deserves.  We will take care of them, and we will care for them.  That is what we do.


By: Ronald J. Shingler