Since his youth, Joseph Delguyd has fought for his rightful place amongst the best of the best. Whether it was in the ring, training others or in the courtroom, Delguyd was always prepared for the fight. His interest in trial law stems from his junior high days when he began reading the Metro section of the Plain Dealer newspaper, which covered all of the high-profile criminal cases and civil lawsuits. He says he had an aptitude for making arguments as a youngster, which essentially served him well in trial work.
Additionally, Delguyd states that his dad’s position as a union official for the Consolidated Rail Corporation for over 40 years overseeing labor issues and conflicts sparked his passion for helping others. Watching his father’s work as a union official aided Delguyd in his railroad law and FELA – railroad personal injury law practices.
“I love the challenge,” Delguyd stated. “This isn’t the simplest profession. But I’m also a lifetime athlete so I enjoy the challenge of preparing a strategy. Preparing a case and going to trial is very similar to training for a boxing match. For law, you’re going in to fight for somebody else. In boxing, you’re preparing to fight for yourself.”
With the love of challenges, Delguyd explained that it was the preparation and actual trials that was the challenging part of the job. Most cases are settled before they reach the actual trial, which in turn made going to trial a rarity.
Most elite lawyers will say that they received excellent mentoring from some of the best lawyers in their fields when they were just starting out. That’s exactly what Delguyd says. He listed his first mentor in his career as the Cuyahoga county prosecutor, John T. Corrigan. He also listed federal judge, Donald Nugent, Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court Judge Patricia Cleary and his former Collins & DiNardo firm supervisors, New York trial lawyers, Joseph and Emil DiNardo as mentors. But what set these mentors apart from others was their genuine passion in helping Delguyd become a great lawyer through learning the ins and outs of what makes a great lawyer truly great.
Practicing railroad law, criminal law and now serving as a fierce and incredibly successful trial lawyer in personal injury law, Delguyd offers some simple advice to those interested in pursuing a legal career – to love the job. “And,” he continued, “if you decide to become a trial lawyer – representing individuals – it is crucial to communicate with the client. Communication and a genuine passion to build a relationship with each client is one of the most challenging but essential parts of being a successful trial lawyer.”
“It’s a service business,” he explained. “We’re not here trying to sell a product; we’re selling our knowledge and advice. You have to be prepared to hold their hand if you need to, and explain the process every step of the way to them – that’s extremely important. You have to understand that you are serving your client.”
Fight Trainer by Night
Though he runs his own law practice by day, he is a former boxer and trains professional boxers after work. His routine has turned to changing from suit and tie to gym clothes, where he spends his time outside of the courtroom and office training boxers and mixed martial arts. Delguyd was inducted into the Ohio Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009, a kickboxing champion and Ohio Boxing Trainer of the Year in 2014.
Delguyd has three decades of training at The Old School Boxing Club, which he founded to help at-risk kids in the community. It has now turned into a professional boxing gym as the kids he has helped train have gone on to become professional boxers.
“I consider myself a 24 hour/day lawyer and 24 hour/day trainer because when I’m not practicing law, I’m training in the gym. Since I’m not married and I don’t have children, finding a balance between work and my personal life has never really been an issue. Practicing law and being an athlete have always been a part of my life.”
At age 10, his father began teaching him to box. Delguyd was a football player in high school and college; when he wasn’t at football practice, he spent most days in the boxing gym. He also continued boxing in college and law school where he competed as a boxer and kickboxer. Incorporating that devotion to hard work and continuing to fight until the end into his legal career has helped Delguyd remain amongst the top lawyers in his field.
Striving to Succeed
Between the legal life and the boxing life, Delguyd’s most proud accomplishment is his roots as a lawyer in the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office. The work ethics taught there have resonated well with Delguyd. He was honored to represent the people of the state of Ohio and victims in need of representation.
“We were taught how to try a case and were called upon to try many cases in a short period of time,” he explained. “Today, I am equally honored to represent people who were injured at work or are the victims of medical malpractice greatly in need of representation in order to be fairly compensated for their injuries. I have always been an advocate for the underdog and I enjoy the challenge and battle that comes with representing individual private citizens against major corpora- tions such as railroads, insurance companies and hospitals.” Delguyd also credits his parents for their sound advice, which has carried into both his boxing and legal careers and can be applied to “any walk of life.” Delguyd’s parents advised him to, “Always do your absolute best and work with 100 percent effort. Always be 100 percent prepared. Make sure that you live up to your greatest potential. Don’t settle for anything less than your absolute best.”
This served Delguyd well, especially while serving as a member of the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office major trial division; he was promoted to that division faster than anyone in the history of Cuyahoga County. While serving in the major trial division, he tried many high-profile cases, homicides, public corruption and white-collar criminal cases. He has also been recognized as a Cuyahoga Prosecutor’s Office Rising Star and served as a Fox 8 expert analyst for the OJ Simpson case.
Looking to the Future
Whether it is fighting in the courtroom for a victim who desperately needs representation for compensation of their injuries or fighting in the ring, Delguyd always has his gloves on and stands ready for the challenge. He plans to continue his work as a trial attorney. Over the last 20 years, Delguyd has concentrated his practice on representing railroaders injured on the job throughout the East and Midwest. Since the practice has changed significantly due to reduction in the workforce, he has been able to do more general personal injury and medical malpractice work. He plans to continue expanding his practice in personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death. Delguyd also represents professional boxers, management and promotional companies throughout the country, which he plans to expand as well.
“I am one of those lucky people who is able to earn a living at my passion, which is the law and boxing business. There are very few boxing attorneys in the country who specialize in this type of practice. I will continue to expand my representation of professional boxers, management companies and promotional companies throughout America.”