Traits to Look for When Hiring An Attorney: Hard Work and Dedication


lawyersTraits to Look for When Hiring An Attorney: Hard Work and Dedication

The unthinkable happened and you find yourself in need of a personal injury attorney in Tampa, FL. With nearly half a century of experience, you can rest assured that Wagner McLaughlin has what it takes to maximize your chances at settlement, mediation, or trial.

Why Focus on Hard Work and Dedication When Choosing an Attorney?

Since 1967, Wagner McLaughlin has measured our success one client at a time. Our countless satisfied clients emphasize our strong work ethic and dedication to speaking up for the injured.

Dedicated to only working with injured plaintiffs, we provide clients with proper representation every time. Our passion for hard work and dedication to justice shows in our customer testimonials.

Nothing Beats a Client Testimonial on Hard Work and Dedication

According to L.,

Kevin McLaughlin is one of the most honest and hard-working people that my husband and I have had the pleasure to deal with. We would both highly recommend him and his whole firm to anyone seeking legal assistance.”

How Wagner McLaughlin Can Help

The legal system can feel overwhelming. When you’ve been injured by the actions or inactions of another, there are many difficult days ahead. The personal injury attorneys in Tampa, FL at the law firm of Wagner McLaughlin want to ease some of that burden. Through our hard work and dedication extended to each case, you can rest assured you are in good hands.

“Alan Wagner is a solid advocate of honest, hardworking individuals injured by others’ negligence…. If suddenly injured by another’s disregard or negligence, you need the most ethical, skilled, sympathetic, transparent, and insightful legal advocate to not only stop your losses but to also ensure you are justly compensated for them.” T.B.

If another law firm failed to provide the service you deserve, and their negligence led you to lose your case, we suggest you consult with us to determine if aa legal malpractice lawsuit is in order. If you are in need of a Tampa, FL law firm, reach out to Wagner McLaughlin today and we’ll help correct your course.

Where Do We Go from Here?

When you need a personal injury attorney in Tampa FL, contact Wagner McLaughlin for a free consultation and allow our years of experience to help you today. Our team is eager to offer the hope you need as you move forward in your journey toward healing.

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good communication

good communicationTraits to Look for in Hiring an Attorney: Good Communication and Responsiveness

In the age of the internet, humanity is accustomed to instant answers, on-demand services, excellent communication pathways, and engaged responsiveness. Especially when personal injuries are involved, clients need to know they have a law firm dedicated to ongoing communication through attorney responsiveness. Since 1967, Wagner McLaughlin has served Tampa with communication and responsiveness in speaking up for the injured

What’s Important When Choosing a Law Firm?

Potential clients can discover whether a law firm is dedicated to good communication and responsiveness by doing a bit of digging online. “A Very Appreciative Client” had this to say about Attorney Alan Wagner.

“After being devastatingly injured from others’ negligence and faced with an extremely disadvantaged legal dilemma as a result, I came across Mr. Wagner’s website and made an office appointment with him…. Over the months that followed and as my attorney, he was outstanding in every way but of considerable noteworthiness was his near immediate responses in clearly addressing convoluted or unexpected changes in my case as it progressed through the legal process, or just to ease my personal anxiety in general, even while he was on vacation in another country.”

Potential clients want to know that they chose a law firm who listens and responds to the unique needs of every case. Focused on speaking up for the injured, Wagner McLaughlin offers a unique breed of personal injury attorneys in Tampa, FL who respond quickly and passionately to clients.

How Can Wagner McLaughlin Help You?

Another satisfied client, S., spoke to the communication and responsiveness of Attorney Michael McLaughlin:

“Michael McLaughlin has been my attorney on my case for the last 3 years…. He was available at all hours of the day and evening, had great follow up and kept me looped in on the status of my situation. Michael provided counsel as I had questions. He guided me and helped me understand all steps of the process.”

When you’ve experienced a personal injury, your previous attorney may have failed in these areas. Maybe you experienced negligence or malpractice. Or perhaps you are starting from square one. If you are looking for a Tampa, FL law firm, reach out to Wagner McLaughlin today and discover how our decades of experience, good communication, and responsiveness can help you.


understandingTraits to Look for When Hiring an Attorney: Understanding and Compassion

When beginning your search for personal injury attorneys in Tampa, FL, there are few traits more important than understanding and compassion. Serving the Tampa, FL area for over 50 years, Wagner McLaughlin understands the importance of connecting through compassion while serving personal injury clients.

Why Understanding and Compassion?

After the trauma of a personal injury, it is vital for your lawyer to have the ability to perceive your challenges, emotions, and needs. With understanding and compassion, the team at Wagner McLaughlin is known for connecting through compassion while speaking up for the injured and advocating for their best interests.

Former client J. shared her interaction with attorney Michael McLaughlin:

“He understood everything I laid out and expressed genuine compassion for my complex situation. He provided me with options that might help me and provided me with a much better understanding of the risks associated with each option. Mike probably doesn’t even realize how helpful he was and how valuable his consultation was to me. I highly recommend speaking to them if you feel you have a legal malpractice case.”

Another client, D., shared his thoughts about the level of understanding and compassion offered by the team at Wagner McLaughlin and expressed her appreciation for attorney Michael McLaughlin:

“Michael was very easy to talk with and did not use legal verbiage but explained it very clearly and supported his concerns with clear documentation for my review.”

In this sense, it’s important to find a compassionate lawyer who can focus on the “soft skills,” or the human side of your case, while balancing the “hard skills” found in the intricacies of practicing personal injury law. Many clients find their personal injury cases to be overflowing with emotions. Without compassion and understanding, lawyers may miss opportunities to serve clients well.

Wagner McLaughlin Is Here for You

Whether you are making your first move in the search for personal injury attorneys in Tampa, FL, or you’ve had a traumatic experience with a previous attorney who failed to offer understanding and compassion, Wagner McLaughlin is here for you. Speaking up for the injured is our specialty.

Call us today for a free consultation and let us lead with compassion and understanding as we fight for you.






professionalTraits to Look for When Hiring an Attorney: Professionalism and Ethics

When seeking a Tampa, FL law firm, clients consider some characteristics more important than others. As you may imagine, professionalism and ethics are always at the top of the list.

It’s important to know you have a lawyer who follows the professional and ethical rules and standards that govern the legal profession. Focused on speaking up for the injured, Wagner McLaughlin exemplifies the professionalism and ethics you need when looking for personal injury attorneys in Tampa, FL.

Professionalism and Ethics: Cornerstones in Winning Cases

Anyone can search online to find a local law firm or personal injury attorneys in Tampa, FL. But there are certain pathways that lead to discovery of the critical traits that will help win your case.

Outside of your personal interview, researching qualifications and testimonials is important in helping you determine whether your potential attorney has the qualities you are seeking in your legal representation. .

Clients Words Speak Volumes on Winning Traits

At the end of the day, nothing speaks more highly to an attorney’s professionalism and ethics than the client testimonial. After working with Wagner McLaughlin, F. had this to say about Attorney Alan Wagner:

I would highly recommend him (Mr. Alan Wagner) to anyone who needed an excellent lawyer. He has a wonderful, professional work ethic and a great sense of humor. I am very honored to have had to opportunity to have him as my lawyer.”

Serving the greater Tampa, FL area since 1967, Wagner McLaughlin is a dedicated team of personal injury attorneys in Tampa, FL.

L., one of our clients, had this to say about the ethics and professionalism of Attorney Jason Whittemore:

After receiving some horrific dental work, I turned to Jason Whittemore for assistance. He listened to my case, made suggestions and then took action! He was professional, attentive and knowledgeable.”

Next Steps

When you need a law firm with years of specialized experience in speaking up for the injured, Wagner McLaughlin can help. Give us a call for your free consultation today and discover whether you may have grounds for a legal malpractice case.



knowledge Traits to Look for When Hiring an Attorney: Legal Knowledge and Skills

Though the process of becoming an attorney is pretty standard, no two attorneys are the same. When being represented, it is important to choose someone with the appropriate legal knowledge and skills in order to get the best results. Wagner McLaughlin, personal injury attorneys in Tampa FL, can explain why these are so important in your case.

Subject Matter Experience

It should go without saying that a tax collection attorney and an injury attorney have vastly differing backgrounds. The skills of speaking with an IRS auditor do not necessarily translate into speaking with a jury. While it may be tempting to consult a “general practitioner” of law, the best results often come from someone who specializes in the relevant area of law.

“Jason Whittemore represented me for a wrongful bankruptcy dispute that required IRS tax knowledge and a substantial amount of money I owed to the IRS among several other complications. After consulting with 1/2 dozen attorneys or so, I realized this was a very specialized case that most attorneys were not willing to take or just not knowledgeable enough. I then met with Mr. Whittemore. He took my case. Mr. Whittemore is a sharp, very responsive, attentive, professional. He always politely spoke the facts. He kept me informed at all times. The end result was that we won.” A.

Recent Experience

New cases are tried and new laws are passed as a regular part of the legal industry. It is important for an attorney to stay relevant to these changes, which can be difficult to do if someone only “dabbles” in that legal area or has been out of practice for a while. At the same time, not every attorney or law firm is equipped with trial lawyers who have the skill and knowledge to actually take a case to the courtroom. Trial-practice rules can be complex and are constantly changing. Electronic filing procedures, alone, have undergone several changes over the past couple of years.

Communication Skills 

Too often, an attorney may be trained and comfortable in talking to judges, juries, and other attorneys, but not in communicating well with their own clients. If you are experiencing legal turmoil, it is important that your attorney can understand how you are being impacted in order to best represent your interests. Also, your attorney needs to be able to translate the legal events into plain language so that you can make the most informed decisions.

I needed legal advice: I called this firm and Alan Wagner took my call immediately….[He] was outstanding, particularly due to the fact that I had never spoken to him prior to today. He even took the time to help me understand some current legal documents that were unclear… knowing that there was no financial gain for him. This type of character speaks volumes! ” Client on Avvo


A long list of happy clients says a lot about a law firm. Wagner McLaughlin clients have shared their testimonials on several websites, not just our own.

If your attorney failed to provide these types of services, Wagner McLaughlin can evaluate if your attorney was negligent in duty and whether or not you have a malpractice case.

Wagner McLaughlin is a Tampa FL law firm with experience in “speaking up for the injured” and can put that to work for you.


experienceTraits to Look for When Hiring an Attorney: Experience and Reputation

It’s not every day you need to hire an attorney. When searching for personal injury attorneys in Tampa, FL, it’s crucial to find a law firm with experience handling the type of case you face. Your attorney’s experience and reputation are two of the top factors to consider when choosing among various law firms. Since 1967, Wagner McLaughlin has built decades of experience as a trusted Tampa, FL law firm with a well-honed reputation for speaking up for the injured.

Why are experience and reputation important when choosing a personal injury attorney?

When you’re on a quest to find a law firm capable of handling the complexities of your case, where do you go for advice on which attorney to hire? There’s no better source of advice than previous clients of that attorney! Wagner McLaughlin is honored that so many of its previous or current clients have written, directly or online, to recommend the law firm to others. According to S., a local business owner, Wagner McLaughlin has the critical traits needed as you seek a personal injury attorney in Tampa, FL.

“They have justly earned the well-founded reputation as the best of the best.”

What are some examples of experience and reputation when choosing an attorney?

Wagner McLaughlin has produced many legal landmarks over the years. Chances are, the firm has handled cases very similar to yours. Earning numerous, substantial verdicts and awards for our clients affords an additional layer of confidence that you’re making the right choice when you work with our team of experts.

What does experience and reputation look like in a client testimonial?

This may be your first time needing legal assistance for a personal injury. That’s not the case with Wagner McLaughlin. For decades, nothing’s been more valuable than hearing clients share personal testimonials about our team’s experience and reputation. Take the words of another satisfied client, T.

“We couldn’t recommend Michael McLaughlin more highly. He is extremely competent and able in his field.”

How can Wagner McLaughlin provide assurance that you’ve made the right choice in a personal injury attorney?

Whether beginning your search for a personal injury attorney or after your attorney failed to provide the help you deserved, you can trust the commanding volume, experience, and authority of one of the most respected personal injury law firms in the nation.

As a top-rated Tampa FL law firm, Wagner McLaughlin can evaluate whether your attorney was negligent in his or her representation of you and if you have a legal malpractice case. Speaking up for the injured, we’re ready to discuss your options.

Call us for your free consultation today.


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Bill and Alan

Alan & Bill Wagner

Open Letter to Leaders and Members of The Florida Bar

Re: Protecting the Public and Profession, Not Profits

The Florida Bar should stop telling lawyers how to compete for more money from more clients. If the Bar won’t stop on its own, the Florida Supreme Court should instruct it to.

Under the Florida Constitution, the Florida Supreme Court has the authority to regulate the admission of attorneys to the practice of law, as well as the responsibility to discipline those lawyers who do not properly respect and apply their professional responsibility. The Florida Supreme Court created The Florida Bar to “inculcate in its members the principles of duty and service to the public, to improve the administration of justice, and to advance the science of jurisprudence.” Florida lawyers are required to be members of The Florida Bar. It is not a voluntary club we are asked to join or one that we can quit if we do not like what the Bar is doing. If you want to be a lawyer in Florida, you must join The Florida Bar and you must pay its dues.

The Florida Supreme Court did not give The Florida Bar authority to tell lawyers how to make more money from clients; however, The Florida Bar is increasingly dedicating more and more of its resources – and our dues – to the business of lawyering, instead of to the profession of lawyering. Unfortunately, the business of making money for lawyers, influencing from whom lawyers make money, how they capture markets of people who may or may not need a lawyer, and how lawyers convince people to pay for their services, are matters that are frequently at odds with advancing the public interest and the administration of justice. There is a conflict of interest between The Florida Bar’s apparent business goals and the rightful goals of the Florida Supreme Court. This conflict of interest is harmful to the public’s perception of lawyers, the law, the justice system, and the administration of justice. The Florida Bar should leave the business of lawyering to others and rededicate itself to the mission for which it was created by the Florida Supreme Court: the profession of lawyering.

In his outgoing message to members of The Florida Bar published in the June issue of The Florida Bar Journal, Bar President Abadin essentially calls on The Florida Bar to do whatever is possible to help lawyers make more money from citizens who want to live a lawful life but instead are being led to believe, by lawyers and businesses, that they either need legal help or will be in potential danger if they don’t seek (and pay for) legal help.

In The President’s Page, Mr. Abadin dwells on the “competitive challenges” faced by lawyers and on the resistance of “institutional clients to traditionally priced services.” Instead of considering options to make it easier for people to live without needing legal services, the article stresses that “the value of the market” for people who need but can’t afford legal services is estimated at $45 billion dollars. The Florida Bar President then proceeds to suggest how lawyers can capture that market. The article encourages changes to the professionalism rules to make it more profitable and easier for lawyers, and new forms of “legal innovators” run by non-lawyers, to capture “consumers” in “the marketplace.” Lawyers are asked to help The Florida Bar recommend to the Florida Supreme Court that it make “changes necessary to ensure our place in the new marketplace.” The public, though, will see and understand this as an effort by The Florida Bar to get the Court to change the rules of professional conduct so that more lawyers can make more money from more people.

There is nothing wrong with recognizing that “the business of delivery of legal services is in the grip of a transformation.” As President Abadin points out, there are more than 1000 non-lawyer owned companies providing some form of “legal service” to consumers in need of assistance. He specifically mentions Avvo, Legal Hero, and Rocket Lawyer as examples. What is absent is any suggestion that there are ways to regulate the services provided by these companies to protect the public when they provide services that do not require an actual lawyer. There is likewise no suggestion that The Florida Bar should consider ways for lawyers to develop business practices that make their services, if really needed, both professional and profitable. The article instead argues that we should join up with these new and innovative companies — and change our professional rules to allow lawyers to capture the “market” with them.

If The Florida Bar becomes just one more business that focuses on finding ways for its members to make more money from more consumers by new and confusing schemes to “capture” a market, the public perception of the law and of lawyers will suffer. The Florida Bar Journal itself proudly proclaims on the cover of each issue that it is “advancing the competence and public responsibility” of lawyers. The Florida Bar should not add “and maximizing the profits and market share of its members” to its moniker or its mission. That goal – and it is a worthy goal – should be left to voluntary organizations that already exist and to the marketplace itself, not to the Florida Supreme Court or to its representative agent, The Florida Bar.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with lawyers making money, and nothing wrong with businesses trying to develop ways for lawyers to provide needed legal services and be paid for their work. That is capitalism at its finest. The question here is whether the Florida Supreme Court should require all lawyers – as a price of being a lawyer – to join a group with a stated goal of developing ways for its members to make money. Even more troubling is a situation in which some of those potential money-making means, while of benefit to some lawyers, would likely bring harm to other member-lawyers.

The “conflict of interest” threat is not limited to conflicts between lawyers and the interests of the public. Recently, the leadership of The Florida Bar proposed recommendations for rule changes that they claimed are needed because “the business of the delivery of legal services is in the grip of a transformation that cannot be stopped.” A closer look at the proposals by lawyer-members of The Florida Bar, and the complaints that followed, caused The Florida Bar to withdraw the proposal. The Florida Bar’s “money issue” proposals apparently remain a goal of leadership. Some of those proposals, while benefitting large, multistate firms with hugely wealthy clients, would be of no value to smaller local firms or lawyers in rural communities and could well threaten the practices of those lawyers and others. Pending proposals for economic fee-sharing with non-lawyer businesses advanced by leadership of The Florida Bar again appear to benefit one category of Florida lawyer to the detriment of other lawyers. The Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court should not be in a position of choosing which set of lawyers is worthy of being promoted and which is not.

The Florida Supreme Court should make it clear that the authority of The Florida Bar, as the arm of the Supreme Court, is to regulate the professionalism of lawyers, both by creation of rules limited to that issue, and enforcement of those rules where needed. Clearly, the certification of competency specialties, pro-bono legal services, public education programs, legal education programs and the like meet that goal. The “business getting,” “market capturing,” “profit maximizing” endeavors of The Florida Bar do not, and those endeavors should cease. If the Florida Supreme Court wishes to permit these activities, then The Florida Bar should conduct them only through a separate entity that lawyers can choose whether to join and support with their dollars, or ignore altogether. The business of lawyering should be left to private enterprise – not to the Florida Supreme Court and, by extension, to The Florida Bar.

One thing is certain: if The Florida Bar is going to become a business venture to maximize the profits of its members, then it may soon find itself under the scrutiny of, and regulation by, the Florida Legislature. The Florida Bar has stated that “periodically, a few legislators, public officials or special interest groups call for the regulation of the legal profession by an entity other than the Supreme Court of Florida.” This state has a fascinating and extensive history of legislative efforts to limit or modify the activities of The Florida Bar. Some efforts have been successful, with major changes resulting often by “compromise,” but sometimes through mandated legislation. It is in the best interest of lawyers, their clients, and the public to confront this issue without getting our divided legislature involved in the process. Continued efforts by The Florida Bar to adopt the President’s proposals, however, increase the risk that The Florida Bar, and perhaps the Florida Supreme Court, will be placed in the position of witnessing arguments about their future made and debated in the legislative arena.

The June issue of The Florida Bar Journal contained a stimulating article by Chief Justice LaBarga describing the efforts being made to educate Floridians about the justice system and to thereby improve their respect for the system and for the law itself. Justice Labarga’s theme was basically that no matter how well we function, it is what the public sees and understands about our system of justice that counts. In this changing world of communication, we must establish “goals designed to help us become better messengers to the people we serve and protect.” We must “let people know the good things we do” and even “acknowledge our own problems and demonstrate what we are doing to correct them.” That is an appropriate and worthy goal and mission statement for The Florida Bar.

Respectfully, The Florida Bar should abandon its current efforts to advance the “business,” “marketing,” and “profiting” of lawyering and instead focus on the professionalism of the law. That will best serve the public and the public perception of lawyers and the law, thereby serving the best interests of us all.

Bill Wagner

Alan Wagner

Wagner McLaughlin, P.A.

Tampa, Florida

Attorney Lien Attorney Liens Part 2: What are the Requirements and Limitations of an Attorney Lien? posted on Friday, November 6th, 2015 and is filed under Legal Malpractice, Working with your attorney In Part 1, we discussed what attorney liens are and when they might be used. This post will talk about the requirements and limitations of attorney liens. Prerequisites There are several things that must exist before your old attorney can file... Continue Reading Attorney Liens Attorney Liens Part 1: What are Attorney Liens? posted on Thursday, November 5th, 2015 and is filed under Legal Malpractice, Working with your attorney Work with skilled Tampa attorney lien defense attorneys! When you hire an attorney, you will normally sign a contract laying out the work you expect the attorney to accomplish and the method by which the attorney expects to be paid... Continue Reading Access to Civil Justice posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2015 and is filed under Court System, Legislation Work with qualified Tampa civil justice lawyers! When someone is accused of a crime but cannot afford an attorney, the State is required to provide them with an attorney. This attorney then represents that person though all stages of their... Continue Reading Who is George Edgecomb? posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 and is filed under Working with your attorney Honoring the first African-American county judge in Hillsborough County, Florida! The Hillsborough County Courthouse bears the name of George Edgecomb, the first African-American county judge in Hillsborough County, Florida. Though he died too young – at the early age of... Continue Reading When Should I Consider a Florida Claim Bill? posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 and is filed under Court System, Legislation, Litigation Tactics, Personal Injury The Florida Legislature has provided a system whereby injured parties – from drivers struck by reckless police cars to wrongfully convicted prisoners – can sue the government in a circumstance where a private person would be liable , piercing the... Continue Reading How Do I Pick a Lawyer

How to Pick a LawyerWork with the Tampa law firm with over 40 years of experience!

For any given area of law, there are scores of lawyers vying for your business, and it can be extremely difficult to choose the best one. If you’re looking for a personal injury attorney in Tampa, Florida, for example, you might need several days of dedicated time to wade through the list of 100 attorneys offered by a single lawyer referral site.

So, how do you pick the lawyer who’s right for your case? Consider the following criteria:

Are they board-certified?

Attorneys in Florida are not required to be board-certified in order to practice in their chosen area of law – and, in fact, board certification is only granted to approximately seven percent of all Florida attorneys. To become board certified, an attorney must demonstrate expertise in the certification area, pass a peer review and an examination, and take a battery of continuing legal education classes specific to that certification area. Then they must recertify every five years to maintain certification.

Board certification in the area of law most vital to your case is a strong indicator that you can rely on the strength of your attorney’s advice.

Do they have years of experience in that area of practice?

An attorney who started practicing in personal injury last week is unlikely to know as much as an attorney who has been practicing personal injury law for decades. Though all attorneys are trained to interpret the law, there is a world of difference between a seasoned PI attorney and a recent law school graduate. If you want someone to bake a magnificent wedding cake, you’re likely to hire an experienced pastry chef – not your cousin who likes to read dessert cookbooks but who has never actually entered a kitchen.

The more experience an attorney has, the less likely it is that he or she will make rookie mistakes on your case.

Are they leaders in the profession?

The most experienced attorneys are generally sought after by prestigious legal organizations such as the American College of Trial Lawyers, which consistently strives to improve the practice of civil and criminal trial law. ACTL is a by-invitation-only organization whose members are among the top 1% of the local attorney population in any given area. In making your choice among different lawyers, keep in mind that a member of ACTL is likely to be ethical, experienced, and respected by the courts.

Are they respected by their peers?

Within the legal profession, attorneys are regularly paid to argue with one another. We fight against our peers over and over again on factual questions, legal issues, and sometimes even moral grounds. It is especially telling, then, when an attorney has been nominated for an award by the members of his or her local bar association and has been recognized for excellence within the legal profession by those who are often opposed to his or her legal positions. Such a lawyer is often able to more effectively advocate for his or her clients because even other attorneys will be inclined to respect his or her arguments and case-related requests..

If an attorney has been given a peer-based award such as Best Lawyers or Super Lawyers, chances are they will be more able to leverage their legal expertise and reputation to help get you the settlement you deserve.

At Wagner McLaughlin, we have been practicing personal injury law since 1967, and our firm’s partners are found on the rolls of board-certified attorneys, ACTL, Best Lawyers, and Super Lawyers, among many other legal honor organizations. If you have been injured in an accident or through the negligence of a doctor or lawyer, we would be pleased if your search for a lawyer led you to us. We would fight hard and tirelessly on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation.

helping hands of the Hillsborough County Bar Association

Bar AssociationThere are dozens of statewide and local bar associations in Florida — meaning organizations of lawyers grouped by geography, demography, or court practice – but what they do is often a mystery to clients and others who happen not to be lawyers. Based in Tampa, Florida, the Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA) serves the members of the association and public by providing training, referrals, and opportunities to serve the less advantaged. Its mission statement emphasizes its dedication to community service: “…to inspire and promote respect for the law and the justice system through service to the legal profession and to the community.” Below are just some of the functions the HCBA serves:

Standards of Professionalism

Though The Florida Bar is responsible for establishing and enforcing Florida’s Rules of Professional Conduct, the HCBA took the commitment to professionalism one step further by proposing its own list of Standards of Professionalism. These standards promote cooperation and civility among attorneys as well as fairness and efficiency within the court system.

Lawyer Referral Service

The HCBA provides a lawyer referral service to any member of the public who is seeking a quality attorney. Clients using this service enjoy a reduced or even waived consultation fee, along with a free referral to an alternate lawyer if needed.

Hillsborough County Bar Foundation

This charitable arm of the HCBA gives member attorneys the opportunity to serve the poor, disabled, and disadvantaged who need legal assistance. Selected in 2009 to manage the statewide Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program, the foundation continued to run the program locally even after the statewide program ended. Each year, the foundation hosts a Law and Liberty Dinner to help fund local legal-related charities. WM has been pleased to be a sponsor of the Law and Liberty Dinner for many years.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

HCBA attorneys have access to CLE classes on a wide variety of topics, and even open these classes up to interested members of the public.

At Wagner McLaughlin, we’re proud that our attorneys have long been leaders in the community and in the Hillsborough County Bar Association. Currently, WM Partner Kevin McLaughlin is serving as President-Elect, and WM Partner Jason Whittemore serves on its Young Lawyers Division Board of Directors. Involvement in our local bar association is one more way we become educated on important legal issues, network with other attorneys and experts, and to give back to our great Tampa Bay community. If you are in need of a Tampa, Florida personal injury attorney, contact us today for a free consultation.

dramatic movie lawyer

Why Wagner McLaughlin Attorneys are Like Paul Newman & Tom Cruise

The ABA Journal recently published an issue covering “100 Years of Law at the Movies,” exploring Why Hollywood Loves Lawyers. It concluded that “[t]he literature of law values tMovie Lawyershe object lesson over the cheap thrill. Audiences crave universal truths, and by the time the closing credits roll, movies about the law have left behind wisdom to live by.” We agree with that sentiment. Whether it’s Henry Fonda corralling his fellow jurors in 12 Angry Men, or Tom Cruise cornering “you want me on that wall” Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, lawyer movies can and usually do pack a mighty moral wallop. It’s no surprise that Atticus Finch found himself at the top of an American Film Institute list of famous heroes of the last 100 years. As the Institute rightly notes, “Heroism that acquits the falsely accused will hold its own against any nonstop action flick.”

We don’t practice criminal law at Wagner McLaughlin, but we feel that our quest for justice is no less rigorous and duty bound than that of Mr. Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird or of Matthew McConaughey in the gripping tale A Time to Kill. We, too, strive daily to see that wrongs are righted. Fortunately, Hollywood agrees that civil practice can be just as compelling – and just as filled with white-hat lawyers making society better and more just, one client at a time.

Below is a short list of some of the great lawyer movies dealing with civil lawyers and our fight to improve the lives of our clients.  We not only love these movies; we are proud of these civil justice-fighters, real and fictional.

Erin Brokovitch: “Not personal? That is my work! My sweat! My time away from my kids! If that’s not personal, I don’t know what is.”

Who doesn’t know of Erin’s true-life story fighting against a massive power company to get justice for hundreds of residents injured by contaminated water? What began as a personal quest for employment culminated in a life-changing verdict for the townspeople poisoned by Pacific Gas & Electric’s dangerous disposal practices. Though she wasn’t a lawyer herself, she and attorney Ed Masry certainly earned their badges as civil law heroes.

A Civil Action: “Now the single greatest liability a lawyer can have is pride. Pride… Pride has lost more cases than lousy evidence, idiot witnesses and a hanging judge all put together. There is absolutely no place in a courtroom for pride.”

Like Erin Brokovitch, A Civil Action is based on a true story of a lawyer who took on a large company responsible for damaging the health of the nearby townsfolk, this time causing terminal leukemia in several children. The story is a wonderful portrayal of a team of attorneys who quite literally risk everything to win justice against all odds.

The Insider: “You are important to a lot of people, Jeffrey. You think about that, and you think about them. I’m all out of heroes, man. Guys like you are in short supply.”

Big Tobacco went to war when a single courageous whistleblower, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand (played by Russell Crowe), agreed to a 60 Minutes interview to expose the dangers of smoking. The Insider tells the tale of the legal battle that followed as Big Tobacco pulled out all the stops to suppress the interview.

Rainmaker: “Every lawyer, at least once in every case, feels himself crossing a line that he doesn’t really mean to cross… it just happens… And if you cross it enough times it disappears forever. And then you’re nothin’ but another lawyer joke. Just another shark in the dirty water.”

A fictional story steeped in legal ethics, Rainmaker tells the tale of a medical malpractice case against an unscrupulous insurance giant. Not every medical malpractice case we take rises to the level of a Hollywood blockbuster – but we never forget that every single case we accept is of enormous importance to the health and life of that individual client.

The Verdict: “I came here to take your money. I brought snapshots to show you so I could get your money. I can’t do it; I can’t take it. ‘Cause if I take the money I’m lost. I’ll just be a… rich ambulance chaser. I can’t do it. I can’t take it.”

Another medical malpractice story starring the fabulous Paul Newman, The Verdict features a once-ostracized lawyer who resists enormous personal and industry pressure to accept a large settlement for his client – because he believes, when no one else does, that his client deserves even more than that. This great movie dramatically illustrates why real-life potential clients should not be unduly “wowed” when lawyers advertise their “big-dollar” settlements – because you never know if that settlement, though large, was really as fair for the client as it was for the lawyer.

At Wagner McLaughlin, we work hard every day to emulate the commitment and heroism of the lawyers – real life and fictional – who stand up for the rights of their clients despite the strength of the opposition and against the pressure to settle too early, when doing so is not in our clients’ best interests. If you live near Tampa, Florida, and need a personal injury, medical malpractice, whistleblower, or wrongful termination attorney, contact us today for a free consultation. We may not have Paul Newman’s blue eyes or Tom Cruise’s boyish good looks – but we guarantee that our attorneys will work on your case with the same passion for justice that you see in their movies.


(Movie quotes from IMDb)