A significant factor in the growth of the Law Office of Barry E. Lewin is the amount of referral business we get from other attorneys and firms who find themselves in areas outside their practice areas,” says Barry E. Lewin, founder.
“Some of these counsel relationships are consultations and sometimes they evolve into co-counsel situations. I have participated in focus groups, helped another attorney’s client benefit from an evaluation of their case from another perspective, appeared at mediations with other attorneys, and helped them prepare for specific events in their cases. I’ve taken depositions of medical experts and IME doctors for other lawyers and I’ve helped lawyers prepare for various parts of their case which they appeared at on their own,” Lewin says.
Lewin is certified by the State Bar as a specialist in personal injury and wrongful death litigation. The Law Office of Barry E. Lewin works primarily on medical malpractice cases and types of negligence resulting in serious injuries or death. He has been a trial lawyer for more more than 35 years and has appeared before the Arizona Court of Appeals, the Arizona Supreme Court, and the trial courts throughout Arizona. He has an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell. The firm serves clients throughout Arizona.
Personal injury has been the focus of Lewin’s entire career. “It’s what I’ve always done. It made sense to me right from the start. The people I worked with initially were excellent well-respected trial lawyers. Several of my relatives are lawyers, and most of them were trial lawyers. It seemed like a good fit.”
Even after more than three decades in the field, Lewin enjoys being an attorney and running a business. “I really like the medical part of it even now. The endless variety of things I learn in my practice is something I’ve always liked and it continues to keep me interested and curious. I get to do a little psychology, a little medicine, a little social work, some business management, and even a little theater. On the surface it may look like all the cases are similar, but the variety of subjects that come up is endless and it keeps things from being boring,” Lewin says.
After graduating from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1979, Lewin worked as a clerk at the Arizona Court of Appeals for a year. He then joined Jennings, Strouss & Salmon where he remained for 18 years. Both the court and the law firm taught him the importance of preparation and being seen as an ethical, honest person who was taken at his word. “It was great. I got experiences I wouldn’t have gotten anyplace else. The firm had the types of clients that only work with the largest and most well thought of law firms. Young lawyers were to do it right and take the time to do it right. That’s really what I take away from that. I was fortunate to learn how to do things the right way. I’ve always tried to do things that way since,” he says.
The transition was welcome, but not without its problems. “The big challenge was to figure out how to do all the stuff they did for us. I didn’t realize how hard it was until I had to do it on my own. It’s like hearing someone describe the beauty of the Grand Canyon. That’s fine, but you can’t fathom how awesome it really is until you’re in the Colorado River in a boat.”
Lewin says, “I’ve had cases throughout the state and I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent working in smaller towns. I still like to work in smaller cases and lawyers in small towns are still uncomfortable filing lawsuits against local doctors or hospitals.” Some of his cases come from attorneys in those smaller communities. The referring lawyers provide him with information about how things work in their respective small towns. Before going to trial outside Maricopa County, he tries to read a local newspaper and use the Internet to get a sense of what is important to the people living there.
“Most of the people we represent have had their lives changed abruptly and in the worst of ways. Having empathy for their losses without getting consumed by their suffering is a difficult balancing act. You cannot listen to what has happened without being moved by the magnitude of harm clients live through. But as much as you need to see it from their point of view, you have to be able to provide them with a balanced view of what might happen with their case drained you are,” Lewin says.
One of his firm’s advantages is the ability to select cases and clients who are, as Lewin says, “a good fit.” He notes that he has turned away cases other attorneys have taken on and obtained excellent outcomes for the client. He also takes cases which others have turned down for similar reasons, believing that people need to be a good fit for the lawyer and vice versa. “It is important to believe in your client and your case. Sometimes clients have expectations that aren’t realistic or what matters most to them isn’t the part of the case which is most likely to allow them to recover for their loss,” he says.
Sometimes clients have expectations that aren’t consistent with how the attorney will handle the client’s case. Sometimes clients are unwilling to provide the input needed by the attorney to properly represent the case. “You have to work together with these folks for a long time and you have to be comfortable with them and they have to be comfortable with you,” Lewin says.
Throughout his career, he has committed significant time to helping teach young lawyers to try cases. The State Bar has a College of Trial Advocacy every August, and he spends a couple of days each year helping younger lawyers learn what it’s like to go to trial.
When asked about what is most gratifying about his practice, Lewin says, “It is seeing clients who come to visit after their case is done. It is great when they look healthier and happier than when they first came to see us. It is nice to see that what we do makes a difference.”