Top 5 reasons I love my job
By Leslie Brueckner, Senior Attorney
Sitting in my office today, it just hit me: I’ve been working at Public Justice for almost 20 years. Madness.
On the brink of entering my third decade here, it’s safe to say that I actually love my job (well not always, but mostly). Here are my top five reasons why:
1. I get to fight the bad guys. Some lawyers have to throw their morals out the window. Not us. Over the years, I’ve gotten to fight a host of evils, including blatant sex discrimination under Title IX; the use of “federal preemption” to block injury victims’ right to a day in court; the use of sealing orders to hide dangers from the public; and, most recently, efforts by employer health plans to swoop in and seize money from injured employees. In every case, I get to be David and I get to go after Goliath. What’s not to like about that?
2. I get to keep my eye on justice, not on the bottom line. Most private lawyers are forced constantly to keep an eye on the bottom line. After all, they need to eat, just like regular people. But here at Public Justice, thanks to the incredible support we get from our members, that’s never the driving force behind our decision to take a case. Instead, our primary criteria for deciding to take on a case is whether it involves a “g*d***” outrage. What’s not to like about that?
3. I get do important cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. Right now, I’m co-counsel with my colleague Matt Wessler in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen, which could be decided any day now. (Matt argued the case last November.) We represent James McCutchen, a former U.S. Airways mechanic who was rendered permanently disabled in a car accident with a teenage driver. After he recovered a very small amount of money from the driver (due to her limited insurance), his employer-funded health plan sued him, saying it was entitled to get back all the money that it paid to cover his medical expenses, without even contributing a penny to costs or fees. We’ve asked the Court to limit the company’s health plan to recovering only its fair share of the proceeds. If we win, we could help over 170 million people in America who are covered by these types of insurance plans. What’s not to like about that?
4. Not to suck up or anything, but I get to work alongside some of the best trial lawyers in the country. Public Justice’s membership includes thousands of superb trial attorneys, all of whom share our goal of “Righting Wrongs” (not to be confused with Lightning Thongs or Striking Gongs). I don’t know if you know trial lawyers, but they are an entertaining group. Not only are they smart and committed, but to succeed in their field you have to have a ton of guts and be willing to take risks. What’s not to like about that?
5. No more dress code! For the first decade-or-so of my work here, we had to wear what my boss called “school clothes.” Not a suit, mind you, but something decent, like what you would wear to church (or synagogue). I hated that. For years, we fought against this cruel indignity — to no avail. But then, one fine day, the ruling finally came down from above: no more dress code! We dress up nice and fancy when necessary, of course. But for those long days spent toiling in obscurity, typing away like a monkey at a typewriter (like I’m doing right now), so long as we are “clean and neat,” anything goes. And there’s NOTHING not to like about that.