I established The Watkin Law Office in 2001 in order to provide clients a direct one-on-one conduit to legal counsel, rather than the "production line" approach of most other law firms. Clients now have direct access to a lawyer, rather than being "filtered" through the typical receptionist-to-secretary-to-paralegal-to-lawyer process that so many of my clients at my previous firm had complained of. Indeed, I had been instrumental at my previous firm in promoting the use of technological advances to speed lawyer output, reduce excess staff and promote more direct attorney-client contact; but I found that old habits were hard to change, even those that ended up costing the clients more. So when I launched my new practice, I made sure I practiced what I had preached by implementing and perfecting those ideas.
If you needed heart surgery, you wouldn't hire a general surgeon. So if you, a friend or a loved one have a death or serious injury case, you need an attorney who specializes in personal injury trial law.
Arizona has thousands of attorneys; but only a fraction of them focus their practice on helping people with serious personal injuries -- or even wrongful death claims. That's where The Watkin Law Office comes in. I practice personal injury and wrongful death law all day, every day. I know the ins and outs of the legal system as it applies to these types of cases; and more importantly, I care about clients and their families and know how to take the pressure off them while they are going through grief and difficult times dealing with the aftermath of sometimes horrific injury and death.
With over 32 years of experience as a top trial attorney licensed to practice in all Arizona Courts, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court, you owe it to yourself and to your family to make an appointment with The Watkin Law Office.
Example Case #1: As referenced on my website: www.watkinlaw.com, I recently represented a young woman whose eye was scratched by a dog owned by her boyfriend, who had been playing with the dog when its paw struck my client's eye. The Jury was initially quite prejudiced against this claim; but after all of the evidence was presented, they realized that it was the boyfriend's negligence (intentionally hiding the dog's toy behind my client's head as she rested on the couch) that caused permanent loss of vision in my client's eye. Despite "only" $9,000 in medical expenses, the Jury returned a verdict for $275,000 in my client's favor.
Example Case #2: Also as referenced on my website: www.watkinlaw.com, I recently represented, as co-counsel, a young man and his girlfriend who were exposed to lethal levels of carbon monoxide gas while staying at a Kingman, Arizona hotel. The girlfriend died as a result of the poisoning, and the young man suffered permanent brain injuries and partial paralysis. Over the course of the next two years, and with the assistance of numerous experts, my colleagues and I engaged in extensive discovery and settlement conferences and ultimately obtained substantial monetary damages on behalf of our clients (amounts confidential).
Typical Case: Most cases do not proceed all the way through trial; most settle out of court, either directly with the liability insurance adjuster for the party at fault, and/or with an attorney hired by the liability insurance carrier for the party at fault. Some cases settle rather quickly, in a matter of only a few months after commencement of the claim; while others may take longer than a year, particularly when a lawsuit must be filed to pursue the claim. No two cases are identical; and despite what your neighbor tells you about his/her experience, your own situation will be different, even with the same attorney.
14362 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd.
Scottsdale AZ 85260
I offer free initial consultations on all of the cases I consider handling. This is an essential first step not only for me, but for the potential client. During that initial consultation, I try to get a feeling not only for the legal case and its strengths and weaknesses, but also for the individual potential client.
In personal injury or wrongful death cases, since I do not charge a fee unless there is a recovery, every initial consultation is provided at no extra charge. These consultations can vary from a few minutes to several hours; I never check the clock.
In contrast, when considering commercial litigation matters, I will offer a half-hour consultation at no charge.
Practicing primarily in the area of personal injury and wrongful death, I take all such cases on a contingency fee basis, as opposed to charging the client an hourly rate for my services. However, I also handle commercial litigation matters, which I have done since I began private practice in 1980. Most of the commercial litigation cases are charged at an hourly rate.
My hourly rate for commercial litigation matters, effective January 1, 2009, is $300 per hour. This rate, while not the lowest hourly rate in the Metropolitan Phoenix area, is also not the highest. I feel it both reflects the skill and reputation I have attained during my many years in practice, as well as my desire to pass on to my clients some of the overhead reduction and cost savings I have implemented into my practice.
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
I will be very blunt: the best thing about the personal injury and wrongful death practice is that I know I am representing a genuinely "innocent" person; a real "victim;" and usually a quality person who was minding his or her own business when suddenly, out of nowhere, another person or company changed their entire life.
While this may seem obvious, you must keep in mind that in so many other areas of civil litigation, particularly commercial litigation, the designations of "plaintiff" and "defendant" mean little more than the fact that one party got his lawsuit filed before the other party could! Usually, neither side is "innocent;" neither is the "victim;" and neither may be a "quality person" - which all tends to make the process needlessly stressful, and often very acrimonious.
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death practice permits me to sink my teeth and my passion into my job - with a clear conscience.
When discussing "self-help," it is critical to keep in mind - at all times - the critical distinction between "clients" and "non-clients." As a general principle, I am all in favor of all people, whether they are clients or not, "educating" themselves about legal issues. If these individuals are also "clients" (i.e., MY CLIENTS), then such a self-education can provide a valuable supplement to the legal information and legal opinions that I will be providing to and discussing with my client.
I welcome the healthy exchange of viewpoints and challenges that many of my own clients provide; and frankly, there are times when it can be quite therapeutic and fulfilling for my clients to participate in the learning and information-gathering process. It can make the client feel a bit more "invested" in the whole process, and even a little more understanding of some of the vagaries and complexities of the law and the legal system.
If one of my "clients" generates a document for possible use in a matter for which I have been specifically retained, then I will review it. But again, it is critical to keep in mind the distinction between a client and a non-client or a "prospective client." I invite my clients to prepare certain types of documents routinely, such as "diaries" describing their pain or their particular life challenges brought about by injuries they have sustained. Documents that chronicle their medications, medical expenses, travel and such are more examples of the types of documents I encourage my clients to prepare.
However, unless they are skilled in the preparation of legal instruments and/or pleadings, I will not encourage them to draft such documents; and I will never agree to utilize their document rather than my own "to save costs." To do so would be to violate my professional ethics, not to mention put my professional insurance at risk.
As referenced in my website: www.watkinlaw.com, I provide individuals with a great deal of information that I believe is useful for them to consider if/when they find themselves in a situation that might require the prosecution of a claim for the recovery of personal injury damages. However, once again, this "free" information, while certainly intended to be of some help, must not be confused with "legal advice" or the rendering of "legal opinions." It is my personal and professional opinion that an attorney must make a choice - to either represent an individual as a "client," or not. If an attorney chooses and voluntarily elects and agrees to "represent" an individual as his/her "client," he may then, of course, choose whether or not to charge that individual a fee, or represent the client on a pro-bono basis, free of charge.
Either way, the choice to represent the individual as a client must be voluntarily, consciously and expressly made, for it carries significant burdens and places the attorney (and his professional negligence insurance carrier) in a much different position than if there is no intended representation and no attorney-client relationship.
While this may strike some as purely selfish and/or mercenary, it is simply the harsh and practical reality of the world we live in. Recent ethics opinions in the State of Arizona and elsewhere now subject attorneys to significant risks of damage claims by individuals claiming to have "relied upon" representations made by attorneys, even where such utterances were little more than comments and off-hand "opinions" well outside the confines of a formal attorney-client relationship.
I grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. When I moved to Arizona in 1970, I brought with me a strong Midwestern ethic, common sense and the willingness to work hard. I earned my undergraduate and law school degrees in seven straight years at the University of Arizona in Tucson. I tried my first three jury trials while still a law student, working as an intern with the Pima County Attorney's Office. After graduation in 1977, I moved to Phoenix where I worked as a felony prosecutor for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. I entered private practice in 1980 and stayed with the same firm for 20 years before opening my own law office: www.watkinlaw.com.
Personal Injury, Wrongful Death and Commercial Litigation:
* Nolo has confirmed that every member attorney has a valid license and is in good standing with the state agency that licenses lawyers. Any past disbarments and suspensions (with possible exceptions for minor violations or nonpayment of dues, in our discretion) will be indicated accordingly in the badge. Member attorneys are required to notify Nolo immediately if they become the subject of any disciplinary action by any state licensing agency.