Attorney at Law Magazine sat down with Terrell Hogan’s Alan Pickert, the Asbestos Warrior, to discuss his involvement in the community and profession.
AALM: You have won numerous lawsuits and awards for your work with asbestos victims the past 30 years and have been dubbed “The Asbestos Warrior.” What’s the latest with your asbestos cases?
AP: It’s been a tough 2023 so far as I have had five clients die of either asbestos lung cancer or mesothelioma due to breathing asbestos fibers while serving in the United States Navy, the Jacksonville Shipyards, various papermills in the Southeast and from home exposure to asbestos.
It is always tough to attend the funeral of a client who suffered from asbestos cancer due to no fault of their own other than doing their jobs well or through home exposure.
Sadly, there are still numerous victims who were exposed to asbestos from their jobs or from their parents’ clothes from work between the 1960s through the 1980s who will develop an incurable asbestos cancer in the next five years who will need my help. Because asbestos cancer is a latent disease, it means that typically those who are exposed to asbestos won’t develop their cancer until 30-55 years later.
AALM: You are involved in several different nonprofits. How has 2023 gone so far for them?
AP: There is a lot of great work that takes place in North Florida for people that need a hand. I have been on the board of the HEAL Foundation (Helping Enrich Autistic Lives) since 2006. HEAL is a local nonprofit that has been serving those with autism and related disabilities. HEAL has supported educational and therapeutic programs for local schools, including 500 iPads for nonverbal kids and 250 trikes. HEAL also has several free camps going on this summer for those on the autism spectrum – golf, surf, music, horse and sports.
Likewise, I have been on the board of the Cathedral Arts Program (CAP) since 2019. CAP, a nonprofit based in Jacksonville, provides a rigorous arts education (art, music, dance, etc.) to underprivileged children during afterschool hours and summer programs. Countless studies show that children who participate in the arts consistently show improvement in class participation and academic achievement. Yet, the arts have either been cut or severely restricted at numerous schools, so CAP fills that void. CAP has instructed over 30,000 students and counting.
AALM: You are one of only three attorneys ever chosen from North Florida to be a delegate to the American Bar Association in 150 years. What does that mean to you?
AP: I am obviously honored and humbled to have been chosen to be a delegate to the ABA since 2018. Twice a year we meet in various cities in the United States to propose, discuss, debate and agree to formulating laws to govern lawyers and the law schools. It can be pretty intense, and the meetings typically last a few days and easily go for 12+ hours each day. I was in New Orleans in February and will be in Denver in August for the second of the two ABA House of Delegates Meetings.
AALM: I heard you love holidays and celebrate in style—what does that mean?
AP: Ha! Well, I do love holidays and I have never met a holiday decoration that I didn’t like! I have a suit or outfit for every major holiday. Seriously—I do. We recently did a big Easter Egg Hunt at our house in St. Nicholas with close to 200 folks and almost 700 candy/toy filled eggs to find. Do you know how long it takes to stuff 700 eggs and then hide them? It’s a great time though for all the kids and adults in the neighborhood with plenty of food and beverages to go along with the easter eggs.