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Legal Careers | Stories that Change Us

Challenges Trust Estate Litigation Attorney.jpgThe year is 1992. I am in my 16th year of law practice. My career is fulfilling, and it brings great financial rewards. My partners and I own one of Sacramento's preeminent land use law firms. European travel is at least an annual event, and I own a pressurized twin-engine airplane for more local travel. We entertain and often hold political and charitable fundraisers at our home. Our children are doing well. We love our home and neighborhood.

I'm having headaches - nothing that I give too much thought too - daily doses of aspirin or Tylenol seem to do the trick. But strange things are happening - skin irritations that won't go away and some waking episodes that are simply baffling. I don't really think about going to the doctor because I don't know how to describe these episodes. One day I have episode at work - this is different. There are people around me and the episode includes partial amnesia - it is clear at least to those around me that something is wrong. I go home and ask my wife to go to the movies. She doesn't quite agree - she says, "We're not going to the movies; we're going to the doctor." I don't argue - there's nothing to argue about - I have no idea why I feel the way I do. So we go to the doctor - a good friend of ours, a cardiologist. He suggests, just to be safe, that I get a CAT scan.

Sure, why not? The hospital can do it right now. Great - let's do it. I go through the procedure and return to the room where my wife awaits me. We wait together while our friend reads the CAT scan. He returns ashen faced and almost stuttering. The CAT scan shows a brain tumor. Of course more follows - surgery, disability, sale of our beloved home, sale of prized assets including the airplane, and downsizing to an available rental. The road back is not easy. It includes a near fatal episode with an anti-seizure drug - a drug later forced from the market by the FDA. I leave my law firm and start another one - much smaller and with a limited client base. Time goes on. Our family makes a memorable trip to Lourdes and I pray for greater courage and caring in my life. I take a lead position in the litigation against the drug company that put the dangerous drug on the market. We win. I start to represent people damaged by pharmaceutical drugs. It is an uphill climb, but one that ultimately results in great benefits for my clients and a fascinating and fruitful career for me.

The brain tumor coupled with the post-operative dangerous pharmaceutical gives me the insight and motivation to help others who face difficult and sometimes mortal challenges. I don't pretend to understand - I know what my clients are going through and I want to help them. I travel the country and have clients in 31 states. I learn that careers are not always founded on success but instead on hard challenges met. Unexpected events that we never in our right minds would choose become building blocks of growth. It's now 25 years since my surgery and the lessons gained from the years include a real appreciation for the plight of my clients and their families as well as a sense of thanksgiving for the gifts of faith and perseverance.

At Hackard Law we assist people who have hard challenges and are dealing with unexpected events in trust, estate, and elder financial abuse matters. Call us at 916-313-3030 if you want to see how we may help you.

Legal Careers | Stories that Change Us from Hackard Law on Vimeo.

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