Pro Bono Representation: A Bond Forged Between a Naval Officer and Trial Lawyer

BY SECOND CLASS PETTY OFFICERS JOMANDI MOTES AND KEVIN PATRICK

Officer Jomandi Motes’ Reflections

I have always been given the short end of the stick, as they say, and being a veteran doesn’t make it any better. Veterans are always praised for our years of service when in fact, we’re treated just the same, and in some cases, very differently from the common civilian, which shouldn’t be the case for those individuals who make the ultimate sacrifice by serving for their country. When I was rear-ended in a traffic accident in July 2016, I was extremely skeptical about pursuing any action against the young man who caused the accident. I was in pain, and I thought to myself, “I’m going to get the run-around by the big-time lawyers from his insurance company, so what’s the point of even trying.”

I was so happy that I decided to pull the trigger and move forward with my case. I honestly recommend any person, especially veterans, to consult with a lawyer before making any decision. Lawyers know what they are doing, and without an attorney having my back and going the extra mile each day, I am sure my outcome would have been much different (and not in a good way). My case was settled much faster, and everything went smoothly. At the end of the day, I was able to sleep easily because I knew I had a lawyer in my corner guiding me through this difficult time. Most people never think about getting a lawyer until something happens to them. I can truly say that I am a veteran who has been shown the right way to be treated by a lawyer.

Kevin Patrick’s Reflections

Over the years, I have become accustomed to standing for the national anthem, thanking a soldier quietly at the airport and making donations to wounded soldier projects. I never quite felt like I knew a veteran on a personal level or understood the unique challenges facing veterans in our community. The words of Atticus Finch in , “You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes,” began to resonate more and more with me with each and every passing day. As a trial lawyer, I longed for an opportunity to make an active and meaningful difference in the life of a veteran.

Officer Motes and I initially met under challenging circumstances in early July 2016. He was hurt in an automobile collision. Despite this difficult situation, Officer Motes’ inherent qualities, like courage and loyalty, were very evident. Most importantly, Officer Motes embodied the naval motto: , meaning, “Not for self, but country.” He always had, and still would, put his country above himself. Officer Motes teaches all of us by extension an important lesson about  service: As trial lawyers, we have the ability to use our talents to give back to those individuals who are willing to sacrifice their own lives to protect our Constitution. Veterans are not mere statistics, but rather they are very real people with real needs like you and me. On behalf of all lawyers, we salute you, Officer Motes and all of your courageous colleagues.

 

Kevin Patrickis the founding partner of Kevin Patrick Law in Atlanta, where he focuses his practice on wrongful death and other serious injuries, as well as trucking and automobile accidents. He can be reached at kevin@patricktriallaw.com.

“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.”

– Abraham Lincoln

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