John S. Berry of Berry Law Firm: “Fighting for a Better Future for Clients”
This is an excerpt from a recent interview published by Lawyernomics, by Avvo on November 11, 2016 entitled “Lawyernomics Modern JD Spotlight: John S. Berry.” The Modern JD spotlight series highlights attorneys who come from different practice areas across the country but have one thing in common: they have evolved with the times to meet the needs of their clients and practice.
What is your area of practice and why did you decide to get into it?
Berry Law Firm has three practice areas, veterans’ disability benefits, criminal defense, and personal injury. My father is a Vietnam veteran and a well-known trial attorney. In the 1970s and ‘80s, he represented many veterans charged with violent crimes, DUIs, and other matters. At that time, he saw a link between veterans’ military service and some of the difficulties they were having adjusting back into society. While my father was assisting these veterans with other legal matters, he began to represent some of them pro bono when they were denied VA disability benefits. Since that time, the law pertaining to a veterans’ ability to hire an attorney to represent him on appeal has changed for the better. This allows us to represent veterans for pay after their applications for benefits have been denied. I was inspired by my father to get into this practice and as a veteran myself, I have enjoyed representing my heroes in their fight to obtain VA disability benefits. I’ve served in both the active Army and the National Guard and have been deployed to Iraq and Bosnia. I know what a lot of veterans are going through and I appreciate the opportunity to help them fight for the benefits they’ve earned.
How do you think your practice is unique compared to others? What is your firm’s secret to success?
Our veterans’ law practice is unique for several reasons. First, several of our attorneys and staff have been through the VA disability system, and we understand how the VA operates firsthand. Second, we are veterans ourselves and understand the struggles they have been through. Finally, most VA law attorneys are administrative lawyers. Our background is in trial law. My belief is that trial lawyers have a different attitude and a different approach to preparing arguments than those who solely practice administrative law.
How do you use your personality or brand in creative ways to connect with clients?
My father was great at using his personality to connect with clients. Since our veterans’ disability practice is national, we represent veterans in all states and territories and now connect through different means. A large number of our clients come from referrals from other satisfied veterans. However, because a large number of veterans are not aware they can retain attorneys to represent them on their VA appeals, we have used video for outreach and education. Crisp Video group put together a good brand video with several FAQ videos that have helped us to reach out to veterans on a national level with Facebook, Youtube, and our website PTSDlawyers.com.
Where do you find inspiration professionally and/or personally?
Veterans are the heroes of our nation. There’s also an interesting parallel between the representation of our veterans and our civil and trial practice. As an Army officer, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Our trial practice section lives by the same oath. Attorneys also take oaths to support and defend the Constitution. Having the responsibility of supporting the Constitution of the United States and fighting for a better future for my client is inspirational and motivating.
The complete version can be viewed online at: lawyernomics.avvo.com/modern-jd/lawyernomics-modern-jd-spotlight-john-berry.html.
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