Academy of Chiropractic’s
Lawyers PI Program
Lawyers Meetings-Communications #6
From the Desk of:
Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
"Educating the Courts"
When "speaking the language of the lawyers" when one refers to the courts, they are referring to the judges within the courts. The judges ARE the courts and have supreme power over the outcome of every court case nationally by what they will allow vs. disallowing. Never underestimate the influence judges have and you can see that in action in any social setting where every lawyer will "pay homage" to the judges in their presence. I have seen 70 year old "seasoned lawyers" kowtow to 45 year old judges bordering on embarrassing themselves in an attempt to gain their favor in the courtroom.
All judges have previously been practicing lawyers prior to either being appointed or winning an election and most bench positions are decided by the public in general elections. Judgeships are also the most overlooked position on the election ballot and yet they have more power over our lives than many "high profile" legislators. Therefore vote wisely and urge your patients to do so as well. Too many judges have insurance company roots and have campaigns financially backed by the insurance industry and can sway outcomes on inherent biases or preconceived notions.
Realize how many of the lawyers you speak to on medical-legal issues are clueless about the physiology of the injuries of their clients and rely predominantly on the rhetoric presented in the courts through transcripts and other potentially biased materials. Judges are no different and need the same education that the lawyers do so that they may rule based on the facts of the physiology vs. the rhetoric of a very good lawyer only considering the pertinent facts in order to spin the issue to prevail.
Through the years, I have educated numerous judges (not enough) and in the end, they all thanked me for clarifying a vast amount of issues by presenting an accurate accounting of the physiology so they may get beyond the rhetoric of opposing counsels and render a correct decision. In every case, the judges "held on tight" to the educational binders they took from the seminar. Your role in your community is to put educational binders in the hands of the courts (judges) to use as a reference.
Herein lies the challenge and an extreme benefit.
The Challenge: Many courts nationwide will see this as one side trying to unduly influence the courts (plaintiff or defense) and either not accept the binder or return it if mailed. Most courts have an administrative law judge that runs the courts and require that anything sent to the courts should go through their office. These "managers of the courts" are very wary to accept any information that can be biased.
You have to get past the appearance of any impropriety or bias, because there is none.
The Benefit: Once the courts have accepted the binders you get to share with lawyers in your community that the courts have accepted educational materials and that you can educate the lawyers on the same materials. This positions you as the extreme expert.
In the end, we want the truth to rule the day.
I also go very FAR out of my way to give the same information to defense lawyers nationally. I have lectured in the offices of Allstate, Nationwide, travelers, Risko, etc... and countless 1000's of defense lawyers have sat through my courses. I want every side to have the same information, where the only variable is the medical findings and rhetoric is not the variable, results are.
Therefore, the message I send to the courts is this information has been presented to both plaintiff and defense alike removing any inference of prejudice towards either defense or plaintiff. If you are teaching physiology, it doesn't matter who has the information...the truth is the truth and why when I lecture nationally, I encourage both plaintiff and defense in the room. Most doctors don't understand that it best serves their patients and the entire system for everyone to be on the same page.
Where we have been lacking is the courts and I am recruiting you to educate the courts nationally. In turn this will position you as THE expert for the courts as well as for your patient. A WIN-WIN.
1. Create an educational binder by placing an index in front and EVERY educational flyer on the site in the binder.
2. Front Cover: Personal Injury Reference
3. Inside the front cover of the binder place your CV
4. Add a cover letter inside the package. That cover letter can be found at the "Forms-Communication" tab on the left toolbar under "Educating the Courts"
5. Go to the Webs site of your courts and mail a copy to every judge in your county.