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James Bostwick is one of the most respected medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers in the nation. As Founder of Bostwick & Peterson, he’s cultivated a reputation as a top-tier specialist in catastrophic malpractice cases and has secured numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements.
Nationally recognized Bostwick specializes in complex medical malpractice, birth injury, and catastrophic or wrongful death claims and achieved the largest ever personal injury malpractice verdict in the United States.
As a voracious reader of legal fiction, he always loved stories about criminal trials, but was struck by how seldom anyone wrote about the other cases that fill the courtrooms of America.
Civil cases can have potentially devastating economic consequences for everyone involved. His vast experience provides a glimpse into this world of hard working and risk-taking lawyers that are far more driven by the needs of their clients than the potential rewards.
James Career & book was inspired by a real San Francisco trial. In 1984, Bostwick was pushed to the brink of economic disaster when he sued the most famous trial lawyer in America for legal malpractice. He ultimately obtained a record verdict of $21 million on which his book ‘Acts of Omission’ is based.
SUCCESS STORY PODCAST
Stories worth telling.
On the Success Story podcast, Scott has candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.
Machine Generated Transcript
case, people, book, lawyers, verdict, write, courts, read, working, medical malpractice, life, trial, podcast, trial lawyer, business, sit, jury, career, legal, jury trials
Scott D Clary, Jim Bostwick
Scott D Clary 00:06
Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. Alright, thanks again for joining me today I am sitting down with James Bostwick who is one of the most respected medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers in the USA. He’s the founder of Bostwick and Preston, press Peterson, excuse me, he’s cultivated reputation as a top tier specialist in catastrophic malpractice cases, and secured numerous record setting verdicts and settlements. Nationally recognized a Bostwick specializes in complex medical malpractice, malpractice, birth injury, wrongful death claims, all these, you know, these very difficult portions of law and legal that, that, you know, unfortunately, we have to deal with day over day. He is a huge proponent of, I guess, championing for these individuals that don’t have the proper representation. Today to note, one of the most impressive things he’s done over his career, and that’s what we’re going to sort of get into over the course of this podcast, he was ultimately able to obtain a record setting verdict for $21 million for a client. The story I’m going to let, I’m gonna let James tell it, but basically, this is one of the largest verdicts to date for a malpractice suit. And that’s what sort of led to his book, which is now a best seller, acts of omission. And that’s what I like to sort of dive into a little bit and speak about the the case, the book, the current, you know, the state of the the current legal system in the States, all these things are all great topics. And you know, we have an expert, so I’m glad to, I’m glad to chat, but no, thank you for thanks for sitting down.
Jim Bostwick 02:21
I appreciate it. Thank you, Shawn. So you want me to basically talk about my background and how I got to this point in my career?
Scott D Clary 02:33
I would love to Yeah, because I think that when you look at when you look at the resume that you have now. So you know, you’re accomplished attorney, you’ve, you’ve had some landmark cases, you now you’re currently, you know, we’re working on this book that’s been highly successful based on something that’s the tap and you know, years ago that you’ve put out into the public. How do you get to this point in your career? What’s your like? What’s your origin story? Where did you come from? Where did you find the passion for, for law, this particular type of law? And what sort of drove you to where you are today?
Jim Bostwick 03:14
Well, you know, many people that go into this have been interested in that their whole life. With me, it’s very, very different. I, I was my father was a doctor, my mother, a nurse, I love medicine, I always wanted to be a doctor. And it wasn’t until my senior year and at the University of Washington that I realized that that actually probably wasn’t a good path for me, because I hated chemistry for one thing. And, and I, I didn’t know what to do with myself. So my friends, were taking the LSAT, the LSAT, and, you know, I didn’t even know what it was. So I went and took the exam happened to get a good score. Got into a school that was famous for having what they call revolving door Hastings, and here in San Francisco, they would let anybody in, which is why I got in, I guess, and, and very few managed to make it all the way through. It was about about a third 650 of us started in just over 200 of us graduated. And that’s what I when I became, you know, a part of the law, and I fascinated I loved it, but I never I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the law. In fact, my my thought was, well, I’ll go and I’ll get a master’s degree in business and I’ll put the two together and I’ll do something, you know, anything that keep from having to go out and work, you know, but I was putting myself to school and I had lots of different kinds of jobs. So I sent out 150 letters to 150 law firms. firms and, and I got a few back. And it just happened that a couple of them were from trial law firms actually very famous, very well known trial law firms. I didn’t even know what a trial lawyer was, it had never occurred to me to do that. For that to be part of my life, but I went to work for one of them. Luckily, for me, probably one of the best firms in the country that do this kind of work. And I just found I loved it. It was in I was, I was a law clerk. I wasn’t out of law school yet, but I went, you know, I got a job with them. And I went right on to it. And immediately, because of my background, and because of my love for medicine, I gravitated to those kinds of cases. Because the natural for me. So I mean, I could speak the language, I knew enough about medicine, I understood it. So I started doing not only all different kinds of medical malpractice cases and other kinds of personal injury cases. But that that became my my niche, you know, we had the whole cross section, but that became my niche. 10 years later, I was a partner there, but I do have a started to go in and decided to go off on our own and off, we went to start a law firm. Or I was really lucky. Was this just kind of a kind of an interesting story. Our senior partners name was Bruce Walker was probably one of the if not the best trial lawyer, certainly one of the top four or five trial lawyers in the home country. The first $1 million verdict of the first multi million dollar verdict, very brilliant man, very good judgment. And a great mentor. And when we left the firm, Bruce, unlike fighting with us, and having a big problem, like many law firms did, when they broke up, he was very had a lot of common sense. He said, You guys take all your cases, and just send me back 50% of the fee, you know, you you spent all the money on them, you take all the risk. If you win, send me 50%. Well, that gave us a whole body of cases to work on. And it gave him a bunch of money coming to him, but the guys that are out there trying to make it in the world. That was very sensible. And he said, there’s only one case, I want you to leave here. Jim, he said, I want you to leave that case that came in because of that huge verdict I got. And I want you to leave that at that little girl, Laurie. She was a she had been 13 When she became a quadriplegic from we thought, possibly medical malpractice. She was now 16 or 17. She was living at a nursing home or father had abandoned the family. Her brother was a narrative. Well, her mother had Ms. Couldn’t help her. So she was living in a nursing home at 16. And he said, I want that case. And I said that couldn’t be anything better for that little girl. Then you take that case bruise. year later he called me and he said, Jim, would you take that Laurie that Kisha case on the same basis of our prior deal? I said, Well, of course I would. But But why? And he said, because she calls me two or three times a week. And all she can talk about is you because you’re like her big brother. Well, you take it, I think it’d be good for. So I got to work on this wonderful huge case, which had a lot of problems. Because it was radio therapy. It was in radiation therapy. It was their very new specialty in medicine. It was something that nobody had ever done before. Really no cases. Like it. There were only maybe a little over 100 doctors in the whole world that did that kind of work. So I think I talked to almost every damn one of them, trying to find an expert. I thought it was a case. I really knew it was the case, but I couldn’t find it. They all knew each other. Finally, I found that guy in London, who was called the grandfather of radiation therapy, who had retired and it was in well in his late 80s. He said it is absolutely a case. I’ll come and testify. I tried that case, back in the 70s for nine weeks. No offer, well, they had a little offer and they withdraw it withdrew it during the trial. And the verdict was the largest medical malpractice verdict in the history of the country. Without Walter Cronkite, it was a, you know, it was the newspapers all over the world. And that’s what really, that interesting sequence of events is what really got my career going. And in this field. So then, you know, after that, Chris, we do lots of different kinds of cases, and I’ve had different permutations with my firm. But a later case that that was quite interesting, which is the basis of the book you’re talking about. And I’ll tell you a little later why I wrote the book. But that was fascinating, because I was still a young lawyer in the 80s. And I was barely hanging in there and practice and in this case, came to me again with a person and when I say quadriplegic, I made a persons paralyzed from the neck down. That’s what this little girl was, and the sex with this young man was paralyzed from the neck down from what we thought, like the medical malpractice. But the problem was, is that it Yes, it was maybe a medical malpractice, but the lawyer that had handled the case had allowed the statute to run on that. So there was no way to bring that lawsuit against the doctors in the hospital, the lawsuit had to be against the lawyer. So, you would have to prove not only the medical malpractice case, what they call a case within a case, that actually it was a good case and, and would have been successful, and he had he done it, right. But you also had to prove medical malpractice or illegal that the that the lawyer did something wrong. And the big problem, the case was that this was probably the most famous lawyer in the entire country. He was certainly be loved in San Francisco, he was in the papers virtually every day, the media loved him. The local bar loved him, the public loved him. Because, you know, he was very famous. And it always worked great quote, and quite a character. So I had to decide what I want. And everybody said, I shouldn’t take the case. And I had to decide whether I wanted to take that case on against this famous guy and risk really my reputation referred and my future in the in the legal trial practice, world. I did it and the cage worked out well. But it was quite an interesting journey. That made a great obviously, because of those tensions that made a great underlying skeleton of a of a fun novel. The novel, of course, is highly fictionalized version of that. But that, that that became the guts of the novel. I love the story.
Scott D Clary 13:31
No, go ahead. Go ahead. I a question out of that, but I was gonna know keep going. Yeah, stories, then I’ll um, I guess. I guess my question is, you know, you had a very early success. And obviously, the success continued. Probably. I don’t think that every success of over the course of career was like a record breaking success, but there’s a lot of successes. Yeah, exactly. i My question was, you know, at what point do you want to branch out? And and I guess you’re probably gonna segue into that with like, why did you want to write a book? Why was this something that you know, you felt the need to tell over the stories? I’m sure there’s a lot of cases that are just as emotional that aren’t told over which I think would make great stories but we don’t know about them. So I think that it’s a it’s great that you’ve done it. Why What was like your your motivator? Was this. My jumping into the story too sooner? Apologize. Oh,
Jim Bostwick 14:32
actually, that is exactly where I was gonna go. Next was it was well, why write a novel you know, you’re doing cases you have people that represent. I mean, Lord, I’m busy. I mean, I, I I’m still working, you know, 150% of that right at the moment because I’m working from home. Like we all are, but, but I know I fly 180,000 miles a year. I’m very busy trial or why did I want to write a novel? And an answer is, well, I love reading. I mean, I am nuts about reading, I love to read books. And because I read so much in my, you know, in my business life, as a trial lawyer, I wanted to read, you know, I read stuff that’s my wife calls junk. I don’t I don’t agree with her. She once in a while, turns me on this and actually good literature. But I like legal thrillers and stuff like that. I mean, I love that stuff. And, but, but I had it very frustrating over the years to read it. And because number one, it’s it’s all about criminal law, mostly, which is fascinating. And I love that stuff and everything. But there are way more lawyers out there that are doing civil work that you know, that the public may need civil lawyers to they need civil lawyers for their business disputes, they need civil lawyers to take care of their custody issues and divorces and estate issues and, and when they get injured. And there are lots of civil lawyers out there working their tails off. And there really aren’t any books written about them as maybe, it’s actually can be as exciting, it can be just as nerve wracking. And there can be is huge risk involved for the both the parties and the lawyer. But nobody writes about it. Well, with the exception occasionally of some very famous authors who like to make jokes about it, and talk about the stereotypes, you know, the ambulance chasing, which of course gets it, you know, it’s a typical stereotypical reaction. That’s what God is civil lawyers are like, in reality, of course, there are lawyers like that, but very few, very few, the, the, you know, the huge majority of him out there, taking big risks for clients that they gotten, you know, prompt a be too emotionally involved with, and, and are trying to try to do what they can for them. I wanted to tell that story I wanted. And the other thing that really bothered me about legal books, and TV and, and, you know, and movies, is it’s not realistic. Any lawyer that looks at reads, what’s going on in the courtroom or reads what’s happening and sees it on a movie or something, they shake their heads, because it’s, it’s just not what happens in real life. And realize can be just as interesting, but it’s not authentic. And I thought like, maybe can somebody write a book that is not only fun, and has romance and has danger and as the trail and has risked has all those fun things. But also what’s very authentic is actually what, what the laws are the like, what lawyers really have to go through and what they think and what they worry about. And, and when, when there isn’t a lawyer that has done what I do that hasn’t set the farm at one point or another. On some case, where, where they’re not sure what the results gonna be, but they just feel I owe it to the client. Now, I want to write about that.
Scott D Clary 18:34
I think that’s valid. I think that there’s a there’s, I think the reason why you’re writing it out and building out, like, you know,
Jim Bostwick 18:41
Scott D Clary 18:44
every time you put stuff out into the world, like you build up your own brand, I appreciate the I guess the honest reason as to why you’re putting this out. And I think it’s important. As somebody who is a successful lawyer, are you looking to do more? Are you looking to to create more content? Is this something that you’d want to take on? Or is this just something that was like a really strong passion project that ended up and like I we didn’t even speak about? Tell me like, Tell me some of the things you mentioned before, because I don’t want to misquote but the accolades like this book is like it won an award. It’s it’s sold out of its first iteration. So now it’s going to I think paperback but walk through some of the things that it’s won. And I guess what do you want to do next with you know, now you’re now you’re an author, which is a fun thing. What do you want to do next with it?
Jim Bostwick 19:30
Well, it didn’t win anything. It has been nominated. I’m very, very honored that it has been nominated for the 2020 Harper Lee legal fiction award. It’s it’s the heartland league foundation is governed by the University of Alabama law school and I was, you know, honored to have been nominated by the last Well, actually the folks that administered the I don’t have any idea how they even saw the book or how they knew about it, but they nominated for this award. In May, typically they pick three finalists, so pretty soon. And then usually in the summer, I don’t know how that’s gonna work this year. But usually in the summer they there’s the finalist is announced. And so my, you know, obviously, I’m not planning on winning it, but it’s a huge honor to have been nominated for, because that’s one of the most prestigious awards and it is the award for this genre, this legal fiction. So that’s great. Yes. So the hardbound book is completely sold out in the first edition. There are still some around in the bookstores, they were all unfortunately shut down right now. But I think the publishers completely out of them, they’re they’re gone. The hard bounce is supposed to come out in July, I think the night. So it can be pre ordered at this point. And there’s an audible actually, the audible is, is great. I’d never, I read books. And I never listened to an audible before. And so the first audible I ever listened to was mine, which was an interesting experience. They were on your way and was an Air Ride your way in is the the narrator and he’s great. As an actor, and he, he really got the characters and he does different voices. And that’s kind of fun. If you’re the kind of person who has to drive long distances. Audible is a lot. There’s a lot going on. It’s hard to have my time. Is it? Yeah. Yeah. So that and that’s, you know, and yeah, there’s three or 400. You know, reviews, and most all of them are five star four star. And that’s that odds,
Scott D Clary 22:08
it’s doing really well. Like, I don’t know, if this is the norm for somebody who’s written the first book, I’m assuming not. I’m assuming that most people that write a book for the first time, and this is what I’m glad I clarified, because I actually wasn’t sure if it was just a historical account of the trial that you won, or it was a fiction that was based on a lot of the facts that were presented. But it wasn’t a true historical. So now I understand it makes a lot more sense to me. But I don’t think a lot of people have this much success. I’m looking at some of the reviews as we chat. And it’s done really well. For you know, in all seriousness, your first your first book, that’s that’s really impressive. Very, very good.
Jim Bostwick 22:44
Yeah, I’m amazed. Cuz I mean, I didn’t think I mean, I write for legal stuff. I write briefs and stuff like that. And, and, and why, what made me think I could write a novel. Well, I didn’t, actually, when I would complain about, you know, books and not being authentic. And my wife said, heck, stop complaining. Write your own stamp. Yeah, exactly. And she said, why sign up for nominal? Plus? I see what Yeah, yeah. For your birthday, how to write your first novel over the age of 40. I signed this up. And so we did, we went and it just kept on. And it actually, you know, I wrote, oh, maybe two thirds of it. Well, my daughter was a baby. Because we put her to bed early, we didn’t go out. And so I was writing at night, and became a habit, which it has to be for me. And then my second daughter was born. And she did not finish late. That was the end of the writing. So years later, I went back and said, Well, that was stupid, finished the banned book. And so I did. And I finished the book. And then of course, that’s what when you’re a quote, writer, unquote, and there’s a lot of people out there that will understand that. Thing is, Dan, what do you do? Then what I may have no idea what to do with this. I had about 500 pages in a computer. And along the way, I’d actually washed most of it, I thought and luckily a friend who had sent it to send it back to me in a floppy, if you remember what they used to have. And I I was able to get going with it again. So I just sat there and but a former client who, whose son was born with a birth injury, he was a it was a medical malpractice case and we became friends when I was handled his his child’s case, he came to the depositions, he got very involved in the process. And when it happens that he’s a well known movie producer in LA, and he’s here heard that I’d written the books. He said, Mommy read it. I said, Okay. And I sent it to him, you know, kind of thinking, Oh, my God. Well, I didn’t hear from him for four years. And I had oh my god, he hated. Clearly he hated it. So he’s just afraid to call me and tell me how bad it was. Then when they call me a year or so ago, and he said, Jim, I finally read the damn book. I love it. He said, it’s what it’s it’s my favorite book and movie of all time. He said in the legal genre. Here’s the verdict. Yeah. And Paul Newman play in the verdict. And he said, this is this is like that. This is better. I think I want to make a movie out of Oh, wow. Okay, that’s cool. He says now that that we can’t make a movie out until it’s been published, he helped me get a couple agents. And then that turned into process, you know, and it wasn’t really until very difficult. And, and control editing, which I had to do, taking the book down from lot 550 to about 450 pages that it really, I think became something that was readable. Something that had the fat could have something that kept people going. Yeah, and are there people that you know, that give me negative reviews? Yeah, that’s yeah, that’s wonderful out there. It’s like, you know, it’s like a painting, which some people like to paint and some people think it’s horrible. Writing a book is like that. It’s, it’s a creative thing you put out there for the world. Some people love it. Other people, that’s just not their, their thing?
Scott D Clary 27:00
I’ll tell you something. No, you can’t you can’t ever make content. You can’t ever make anything that’s that’s suited for everyone. And if you are
Jim Bostwick 27:08
content, yeah, that’s right. That’s right. I, I think it’s just fascinating. Sometimes when I see the negative reviews is, is all these great. Magnets, it makes it real, you know, it makes it shows a cross section of people are actually out there reading. Yeah, that’s,
Scott D Clary 27:27
which is, you know, that’s, that’s what you want. So, but still, I don’t know what you didn’t answer my question. Like, what’s next? I’m curious, because this book, you have to figure out what you want to do another one? Or is this like a one and done?
Jim Bostwick 27:42
It’s managed to trilogy. Okay. It’s meant as a trilogy. And, and so and I have, I definitely have the the plotline in my head, and I am working on the sequel. And the way I operate is that I have to kind of, I don’t work from an outline, some writers need an outline. And that works really well for them. When I’m writing, it starts just coming out of my head, it’s wonderful, really act when you get when the flow gets going. Yeah, I would find myself yeah. If you’ve done any, any creative writing, you know, I think when I’m sitting in the shower, I’m suddenly thinking about what to say, I know what’s going to happen this guy, what’s going to happen next. And then I have to stop myself and say, Wait a minute. He’s not real. Yeah. What is going to happen next is you’re going to have how to your hair. They come they become a lot, they start doing things you never expected they do. That’s when it becomes a fascinating project. And that’s when they have a life of their own. And I think that’s what gives them some real dimension to the reader, I think agree. There, it’s happening, and I’m working on it. Um,
Scott D Clary 29:09
I love that, that, you know, it’s nice to see that you’ve you’ve done this successfully after after a great career. I think that that’s a lesson for a lot of people listening, that it literally you know, don’t be so you can be laser focused on being successful, whatever you want to be successful in, but it doesn’t mean that other things can’t. Things that you may have not even realized, you know, come into your life and you can take them on and it may be something like like this, it seems like it was a very long project that finally came to fruition and like now look at where it is right so that’s that’s a very good lesson for people that are listening to be focused on what what matters and be focused on your primary objective and whatnot, but also don’t don’t discount anything else because I don’t think that life ever ends up exactly. It looks What we’re dealing with now, life never ends up exactly what what we think it’s going to end up like. So the more open we are to different ways of, you know, growing ourselves professionally. You know, of course you write a book, there’s some money, that’s great, obviously, you know, as a lifelong trial attorney, it’s probably not to the same extent as like what you actually do for a living. But you know, maybe one day could be, these are all these different ways to sort of diversify. And I think that I mentioned this very briefly before we chatted, but what I wanted to pull out of this was, you’ve had your entire career, you started a book who was successful, everyone, a lot, not everyone, a lot of people right now are dealing with a lot of disruption in their lives, their their norm is just completely revoked, like they have, they’ve been fired, they’ve been let go, they’ve been furloughed. They can’t complete their job, they can’t make their money, they’re stressed about, you know, feeding their family and whatnot. And all these things that are very important, are now being sort of flipped on their head, and people have to figure out how to deal with it. Just know that you can go into something new and be successful. And this may be this may, you know, a lot of people are stressed out. But this would be a very good time, in my opinion, at least, to start to try and do things. And I think you’re just like you’re living, breathing proof that there’s literally no time in your life when you can’t start something. So that’s really what I don’t know what your opinion is, if you agree, disagree. That’s, but that’s what I got out
Jim Bostwick 31:19
of it. Oh, I absolutely agree with you be this and this is one of those extraordinary moments in history. I mean, we are going through something that in our in our lifetimes, we’ve not I mean, I, you know, I was born during the Second World War, but I don’t remember it. And then that, of course, was an extraordinary event. You know, we’ve been through 911, we, you know, folks, my vintage went through Vietnam and the incredible things that changed the country and change thinking. This is this is at that level, and and perhaps way more, and I think, I think that we we have to refresh our thinking, I think we have to take what it’s it’s the bad things and look at how we change them, how we fix them. And where we go from here. I think there’s a country, at the our institutions, how we take care of the vulnerable in our society. What we do about folks that, you know, are homeless, we’re having to address all that. And we’re, and we’re having to do it from home, we’re having to do it. And that the same thing is in people’s personal lives. I mean, I, I’m very lucky, and quit my business completely collapse, because of this crisis. Absolutely. I mean, where, like all businesses, unless they happen to be Amazon, and they’re delivering things to people, or they’re in the essential category where they ask, they’re working twice as hard, and putting themselves in a risk. Most of our businesses are there, they have the spicket cut off, when you know, I’m trying I’m working more hours, and longer days and seven days a week. And I’m not really able to move my cases, because for the first time, I think in the history of the of the American judicial system, it is shut down. Yeah. That and when I say shut down, I don’t I don’t mean that there aren’t some judges in there, working with clerks from home, and the judges may be in the office and may be working from home, trying to do certain things that have to be done. But basic things that we need are not happening in the justice system, and the ultimate thing you need for criminal situations and for to where a defendant can find out how they’re guilty. Are they going to be acquitted? For in a civil case? You know, is the defendant going to be held responsible? Is the family going to be able to get some money to take care of a loved one, and have a life for a change that is all round to a halt? That has never happened. And so those institutions need to look at that and all of us that are sitting there thinking about how do I get in this place? Have an opportunity to if we can look at it that that’s what I think you were saying Here’s an opportunity to think out of the box. Keep an open mind, think, think of other things you can do. Think of the other possibilities. I mean, obviously, not everybody is not going to go out and write a novel. That, but there are so many other things that you need to be open to. And I think it’s a, I won’t I’m not gonna call it a wonderful opportunity, because there’s nothing wonderful about what’s going on. But I think it is. It is an opportunity in nutrition grab hold.
Scott D Clary 35:30
I agree. I want to you know, I’m just curious, your your insight, because you’re still you’re living through it. What does you know, what does justice look like today? What does the system look like today? How are we? How are we because people don’t stop committing crimes. People don’t stop. People don’t stop having to be put through, you know, our justice system. But how do we do that remotely? That seems like an incredibly difficult task? And I don’t know how we’re doing it. I’m curious just to get your input.
Jim Bostwick 36:03
Well, the fact is that we don’t, we don’t know how to deal with it where the courts are flailing right from the Supreme Court of the United States down, actually, Supreme Court has, has decided they’re going to have some hearings, and they’re going to have them orally, and they’re going to, and they’re going to have them be public for the first time ever. And that’s, that’s new. See, they’re thinking, okay, they’re thinking there’s a fresh spot there. All right, we have this problem, let’s approach it from a little bit different standpoint. That’s transparency, that is a good thing. I mean, it’s a bad thing, that we have to have only oral arguments on the phone. It’s a good thing that they’re thinking about transparency. So right from the top, there’s an opportunity for change in, in courts all over the country. And every state, everybody’s doing a different way. That’s another problem. Because we have we, I have, you know, I’m in a in a state with all these different counties. One County has stopped all jury trials for 90 days, another county has stopped all jury trials for 60 days. And then your county has said we’re going to take everything on calendar and shove it down 90 days or 60 days, and we’re going to move everybody. as far out as the calendar goes here, everybody remains in line. That’s a sensible thing to do. But ones that just stopped, the ones that were coming up. They’re going to have a wave hit them, whenever we can start getting back to some semblance of normal, and I use that word normal, very advisedly, that is not going to be normal. I think that’s what we all know, we don’t want to admit to ourselves, not going to be the same not for maybe a long time, possibly, if ever. And the courts have to adjust to that. And they’re starting to work on that the lawyers are working to try to help the courts and the courts are working to try to help the lawyers. And that’s all good. That is that is a good synergy that is going to be against something good is going to come out of a very bad situation. But in the meantime, it’s awful. There are actually less crimes I hear because people are home. They’re not out. And and so there’s there are less crime is occurring and people are sheltering, so they’re not out doing bad things. And so in a weird way, that’s a good thing. But there are still crimes. There are criminals that, you know, that had been there. There may or may not be criminals. They’re people that have been accused. Under the law. They have a right to a speedy trial. They have a right to be arraigned simply, they had this happen and all that. Well, what did all defendants usually do? They waive that because they want what is good delay someday down the line, get the mail, you know, you know, I’ll face this, you know, I’ll face just tomorrow face this next year. What do they all do now? I refuse to waive time. I have a constitutional right to a speedy trial. You can’t give it to me I want to give up. It’s a huge problem the courts have tried to deal with when we do get back working. And we do get the courts actually grinding back into operation. When again all of the courts the judges gonna have to deal with first criminal cases, the civil cases will be what have they don’t have the priority with the criminal cases do so this mother who has a brain damage child who has been working 24/7 night and day, you know, working herself and her family to the bone to try to help this birth child who’s been waiting three, four years for their trial, they now have to maybe have to wait another year or two. They may not be able to, they may not be able to manage demand, they’ll be able to physically handle that. And that’s just an example where somebody that’s dying of cancer, their case needs to be heard before they’re gone. That may not happen. There may be no way in hell they are case can be heard before they die.
Scott D Clary 40:46
And repercussions a ton of repercussions that are
Jim Bostwick 40:49
well, and I haven’t even come to the biggest one. Is it the in the end in our justice system? What is the minimum wall? What is the thing that that decides everything? What is the final exam where you get your grade? What is the trial? That’s where the jury says yea or nay that the defendant is guilty or not? The the plaintiff who is injured has a case or they don’t? That’s what juries do. How do we have a jury trial? If people have to be at least six feet apart from each other? And we’ll match some how do I pick a jury? If they have a master? I can’t tell whether they’re smiling at me or sneering? How do I pick a jury if we have to do it on TV? How to a jury make a jury decision as to all the witnesses that have been seen on TV like some movie or some TV show? There’s no there’s nothing there’s nothing. The What is great about our system is it’s up close and personal in a court. Yeah, it’s people seeing each other sweat it seeing each other move and fidget. It’s watching body language. It’s it’s that instinct, that smell that you get in a courtroom.
Scott D Clary 42:20
Yeah, wherever someone’s lying, or someone’s Yeah, you get those feelings. You can read people.
Jim Bostwick 42:24
Yes. And and the best thing is when a jury, you know, a lot of people want to stay out of jury service and all that. But if they actually go through it, usually they love it, because it’s a wonderful process. Because it’s 12 Totally different people coming together using all their different views of life to make a sensible decision, and that combination if it’s done right, and if they have the right attitude is fabulous. What it’s what made our system 1000s of years and civilization, this is the best. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best. How do they do that? If they’re interacting with each other on TV? I don’t know. I don’t know. And maybe we can get back to normal? Or maybe the new normal is something different than what we had that really
Scott D Clary 43:22
well, I’ll tell you, regardless of what of what the new normal looks like, or if the normals are more semblance of what it used to be, there’s going to be lasting impact, even if minor to a point where the justice system was not just justice system speaking about justice system, because you’re a lawyer. But every conversation I have is, you know, what the industry pick your industry, it’s changed forever, basically. And there’s no no way around it
Jim Bostwick 43:48
everything. Yeah, everything. Okay, how has this? How did the restaurants come back and be the same? As so many wonderful restaurants? Most restaurants are kind of on the edge anyway. How are they going to survive this? When they come back? If they have to have people sitting six feet apart? If the waiters are all got masks on and gloves? Are people going to go out? Are they used to now ordering out now? Or they used to cook it at home now, which is a bad thing? What happened to that industry? Are we going to have hotels doing as well? Are we going to be traveling as much there are going to be other viruses is this virus going to mutate even if we can find a cure, and even if we can find a vaccine, how we’ve had vaccine for flu for years, but they’re rarely a vaccine that is you know makes us bulletproof from the hood. It may change we may face this
Scott D Clary 44:57
psychological impact You know, it even I referenced this a lot. But in Wuhan, where it was obviously, you know, ground zero. And now they’re allowed to go back to restaurants and allow it to go. But nobody’s going to restaurants, nobody’s going out. No, everyone’s too afraid. And you don’t know how long that’s gonna last for either.
Jim Bostwick 45:18
That’s right. I mean, when I walk up on the mountain behind our house, we’re a mountain. I mean, people are people had masks on in the outdoors on a mountain. And people are walking off the path and standing out in the brush where the ticks are, rather than be near somebody who’s walking by them, not everybody. But this is changing the world. We can’t even we not now, but we can’t smile, because we can’t see the smile. It’s just it’s the far reaching impact of this is. It’s just beginning to dawn on all of us, I think. Yeah.
Scott D Clary 46:05
No, that’s interesting.
Jim Bostwick 46:07
You know, I’m,
Scott D Clary 46:08
I mentioned this before, but I think that as as this drags on, I would love to get your obviously it’s nice to speak about the book. And hopefully it does very well. But I would love to still get your you know, your ongoing insight as to how this justice system is coping, because that’s something that I find very interesting as well. Personally, I find it very interesting. Just, it’s incredible, the amount of disruption. But anyways, I digress.
Jim Bostwick 46:33
I can show you I can tell you a little bit a little bit about that. Because I mean, we have folks that have been heads of major organizations in the in the bar, particularly those organizations that are from both sides, plaintiff and defense. Those organizations have been we’ve been having an ad hoc meetings, and we’ve been coming up with guidelines that we can help recommend to the court and help each other and recommend to the governors of the states and things like that. And what they add they and they’re aligned with what we were talking about before. It, we look for a way to have this improve how we do things and get the courts more involved in streamlining the process. Get the courts more involved in making sure the cases move and and and how can the courts really help with that in a positive way? How can the lawyers help with that? How can they volunteer their time to just sit in and act the special masters to help case with move, help make decisions on behalf of the court to the judges will be busy and and sit protests because your lawyers can be appointed by the court take an oath and sit down and have the same power as any judge was appointed or elected? Because under the authority of the most courts, they can sit pretend to do that. Experience lawyers should all volunteer to do that to help the courts. And then really, the big biggest problem they’re gonna have that is are we gonna have enough rooms to do the trials and bench trials? That shouldn’t be a problem jury trials? I don’t know. You know, I’ve actually visualized yet. How do you see the jury, you know, put in a little plastic cocoons that would be stifling and suffocating, it’d be horrible. So maybe we put it in the back of the room where the gallery usually sits and spread them all out. And we as lawyers would be trying to case to the back of the room. As opposed the judge would be behind us. You know, and when the witness maybe sit up, and we got to think fresh. Yeah, we got to think about how we can do this. And have it still be safe. That to be a good system? I agree. Agree. Very good.
Scott D Clary 49:05
A couple I just have a couple like sort of life lesson questions that us probably has some insight over your career that I like to ask but before Um, is there anything else about the book that you know your career or or our current legal landscape sort of the topics that we’ve covered that you wanted to you wanted to speak about, did we cover everything or?
Jim Bostwick 49:27
Oh, no, I think we’ve we’ve hit a hot lot of it could be talking about it yet but I think we I know I
Scott D Clary 49:33
points. Okay, good. Very good. I appreciate that. And thank you thank you. Um, the the one question I like to ask everyone is a lesson that you would tell your younger self across your career that would help you get to where you are a little bit quicker
Jim Bostwick 49:54
Scott D Clary 49:55
I would I get to where I am quicker. Yeah. Or doesn’t have to be quicker. That’s probably the wrong word, but just just think of it as a lesson that you would tell yourself after, after your entire career that somebody who’s listening could take in and sort of implement right now, like, some wise words, I guess, is the best way to put it.
Jim Bostwick 50:16
Yeah, I think the thing that that I would say to young lawyers and to young people that are starting out in any business context is that there is a and I, I have mentored many young lawyers along the way, and my son is a lawyer with us, and I am mentoring him, which is a wonderful, Lucky experience for me. And so what I, what I think about, I think the most important salient thing I can say is, you know, you don’t have to approach your, your attack in the world in a competitive adversarial way, you can accomplish as much or more, usually a lot more by approaching things in a way that tries to bring people together. And whenever is going on, try not to become at odds with the person that you’re dealing with who’s your competitor for one thing, and in our field, it’s the guy on the other side, your adversary in business, it’s the people you’re competing with to sale something or you know, there’s there’s lots of ways to go about things that don’t involve knocking heads, there’s a and and it takes young people a while to get that. And I think the sooner you get it, and the sooner you learn how to work around that and come back to how can we do this in a way that benefits both of us? How can we do this in a way that is not negative? The show many aspects of this my wife is in all different walks of business life, where that is an important concept that gets you so much farther down the road. And it also makes you feel better and makes them feel
Scott D Clary 52:27
pretty good. Good. That’s a good one. I haven’t heard that one before but it’s very good. Oh, and I have one more thing for you one more thing. Where would you or where do you go to learn and grow? Like give a book a podcast and audible What’s your go to right now that you would suggest somebody go to to read or learn I am I nonfictional can be a can be a creative, a fictional work you mentioned you like legal fiction, there’s something that has inspired you, and there’s lessons that you could pull out of
Jim Bostwick 53:09
- Well, I do so much massive reading in the work I do. That it is that I I don’t have time. And that’s a terrible shame because I lose by not not going to those places to do that. But I, where I go, is I go to my colleagues, I go to other people I know and respect and I talk with them. And I, I I I raised subjects and I played the devil’s advocate and I listened to what they say because in the end, many of the best ideas of the world are just a synthesis of previous ideas, other people’s ideas. And if you put two or three good ideas together, then you get a wonderful new idea. And so that’s my main source always has been in, in working on my trial law and like cases and how to do things and working on business aspects. And in my personal life, and how to deal with my children when they were adolescents and you know, all that kind of stuff. That’s that’s how I’ve done it. In terms of reading the term to reading for fiction reading I have really I found a funnel by the name of Peter Mae, who’s an English author who wrote a great series, a trilogy about the Hebrides, I think is a marvelous. It’s a mystery. We doubt it. But it’s a marvelous use of the language And interestingly Rob, I haven’t read it yet, but he just, he just republished a book about a pandemic in London. And I’m kind of looking forward to reading that because he’s a very good author.
Scott D Clary 55:14
Very good. And if people want to, you know, go find acts of omission. I’m sure they can go to Amazon but other any other places they can connect with you reach out to you. Social media, websites, that kind of thing.
Jim Bostwick 55:30
Oh, yeah, we have Facebook and Instagram. We have all of that. And LinkedIn, it’s, it’s in all those medias. Okay, I am, I have to tell you, I am a technological genius, of course, being in my 70s I don’t know anything. I have wonderful young people that are teaching me about this. But those are those are great places to go. And, and of course, Amazon and the my and my son actually works for Amazon. He’s in the HR department. And he’s in Seattle, and it’s been been, you know, sheltering in place for longer than all of us.
Scott D Clary 56:18
Yeah.Yeah. And just looking now like, you know, if you go to, if you go to Amazon, you type in you if you type in James James Bostwick, I know you go by Jim, but if you if you type in James Bostwick, I just Googled it. You have Amazon, you have good reason. Kamiah Simon and Schuster, post sale press audible.com. It’s all there. So just, you know, that’s probably the easiest way for people to find it.
Jim Bostwick 56:40
Very good. Very good. Well, thank you.
Scott D Clary 56:43
I appreciate the chat.
Jim Bostwick 56:44
Thank you. It’s been fine. Yeah. Got it very much.
Scott D Clary 56:48
That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcast and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast, signing off