Becoming an Attorney and Choosing the Right Lawyer for You – by OBXLAWYER Danny Glover
I recently had the chance to sit down and talk with Scott Neal, my friend, and host of The Imperfect Leader Podcast.
Thanks first to Steve for the opportunity and for his gracious, kind spirit. I really enjoy talking to people about the law and what I’ve learned after more than two decades of courtroom experience.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like being a lawyer, I think you’ll enjoy listening to this episode on Steve’s podcast.
We discuss a wide range of topics, including becoming a lawyer, the business of law, representing clients, and managing a law practice in North Carolina.
Feel free to contact me at: Danny Glover Law Firm
For additional information, check out my other blogs posts:
Announcer: You are listening to The Imperfect Leader Podcast with Scott Neal, a podcast to help you lead and grow, even with imperfections and challenges. Now here’s your host, Scott Neal.
Scott Neal: All right, welcome to The Imperfect Leader Podcast. I’m Scott Neal, your host. And today, I’ve got Danny Glover with us. Danny is a well-known attorney here in our city, Elizabeth City North Carolina, and really honored to have Danny with us today.
Scott Neal: We’re gonna jump right into our interview with Danny. And I want you to get to know him, and excited about a few of the questions I’m gonna ask him, and where we go on this journey of this podcast today.
Scott Neal: Hey Danny. Welcome to the podcast. Glad you’re here.
Danny Glover: Well thank you. I was very honored to be asked until just now, I heard it was called The Imperfect Leader, so I’m a little conflicted at this point.
Scott Neal: Sorry. Well, I’m the only imperfect leader here. So it’s my show, so I figured I better be honest about it.
Scott Neal: Hey Danny, tell us a little bit about yourself, ’cause I’m sure there are many people listening who have no idea who you are, and they’d like to get to know you, just the personal side. And then we’re gonna jump into some professional questions as well. So tell us a little bit about your family, maybe how long you’ve been practicing law, and maybe what area of law do you specialize?
Danny Glover: All right. Well, I am the husband of Meredith Glover, and the father of three kids, Linc, who is at East Carolina now, Rebecca, who is a junior at the School of Science and Math, and actually is part of the worship team here. And then Dillon is an 8th grader at Victory-
Scott Neal: Awesome.
Danny Glover: … south of town.
Scott Neal: Right.
Danny Glover: I have been in Elizabeth City part of 1994, and then full-time since 1995, when Meredith and I got married and moved here. And we’ve been here ever since.
Scott Neal: Yeah. Now what kind of law do you specialize in? I know it’s a variety of different things, but what’s one area especially?
Danny Glover: I do serious personal injury cases, where people are hurt badly enough to need surgery, permanent injuries, life care plans, future care, that kind of thing.
Scott Neal: You mentioned how long you’ve been here. How long, you may have already answered this, but let me ask again. How long have you been practicing law?
Danny Glover: I’ve been practicing law since 1995, when I graduated from the UNC Chapel Hill School of Law.
Scott Neal: Okay. Did you always want to become an attorney? Was that something you had when you were a kid, just this dream to become an attorney? Or how did that work out? Talk us through a little bit of that.
Danny Glover: Well, it’s not really all that inspiring or insightful, because I frankly don’t remember when I decided to become an attorney. I seem to recall having some thoughts in high school about wanting to become an accountant. But as I got into college and started, I was a business major and a speech minor. And just decided that crunching numbers all day was not going to fulfill me. And I consider myself a problem solver, and a helper, and at some point realized that law was a good way to put both of those into practice.
Scott Neal: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, I’m ignorant when it comes to all the different facets of being a lawyer. I assume when you go to school you get a pretty wide spectrum of law, and then you eventually make a decision on kinda the direction you’re gonna go, and kind of specialize in an area. Is that how that works?
Danny Glover: Well, you are taught for three years in law school in a wide variety, mainly using the Socratic method, which is where the professor simply asks questions, and then critiques your answer, criticizes you, has other students do the same, but gives you basically a fact pattern, and then you have to figure out how the law would apply to those facts. And so it’s not sitting down reading, memorization, things like that.
Danny Glover: A lot of my classmates figured out during law school what kind of law they wanted to practice. But frankly, the majority of us, it was controlled by the hiring environment and the economy, and so unless you were an elite student, which I certainly was not, you took what job you could get basically.
Scott Neal: Okay.
Danny Glover: And it just so happened that mine ended up being with a lawyer here in Elizabeth City who practiced primarily criminal defense and personal injury. So that’s what I’ve been doing for over 26 years now, is criminal defense, serious personal injury, and in the last few years, sort of evolved into a residential construction dispute litigator.
Scott Neal: Okay. What would you say if maybe we had a few young college kids here, and they’re considering going into law, and you could look at them, kinda like you were when you first started out. What are maybe a few things you would say to them, maybe in wisdom, guidance, direction, about here are a few things I want you to know. I wish I knew this when I was in school.
Danny Glover: Right.
Scott Neal: What would be a couple of those things?
Danny Glover: Well, the first thing I would say is don’t do it.
Scott Neal: Okay. Well that’s odd.
Danny Glover: The job market in North Carolina, especially, has become oversaturated with lawyers. Recently, the Charlotte School of Law was shut down for accrediting, and perhaps some tuition fraud issues. But they were pumping out 700 plus law students a year.
Scott Neal: Wow.
Danny Glover: The ELAN recently opened a law school a few years ago. They’re pumping out lawyers. Then you’ve got Central, in Durham, Duke, Wake, UNC, and so there are just more law graduates coming out than the job market can possibly handle.
Scott Neal: Now, is that unique to North Carolina, or is that our nation pretty much?
Danny Glover: I can’t answer that. All in know is North Carolina. But I know that it is a huge problem here, where law students are now coming out of law schools, state law schools, or private law schools here in North Carolina with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, and they’re being forced to take jobs that might pay them 20 or 30 thousand dollars a year. It’s tough for them to cashflow their school debt, much less their ordinary living expenses, or trying to raise a family, or things like that. So it is reaching a crisis level, frankly, in North Carolina.
Danny Glover: Now, when I graduated, it wasn’t that bad, because law school might’ve been five to six thousand dollars a semester. And so you could come out, if you had to borrow everything, you’d come out with less than $50,000 of debt. But that’s not the case now, even with the state schools.
Scott Neal: Right. Well, today you own your own business. And that, I’m sure, is somewhat exciting, and also challenging. So what would you say to a few, ’cause I know there are people listening to this who are thinking about opening up a business. I meet people here in our church. I meet people throughout our city wanting to either start a restaurant or wanting to open up any private business. What are a few suggestions you’ve learned over the last few years about opening up your own practice, that you could share with a few young people or older people who are just starting to think about owning their own?
Danny Glover: Well I think having a real solid plan, a detailed plan, is essential. I was fortunate when I opened my business last year, that I had been here for 26 years, had a lot of contacts, had a lot of existing clients that transitioned with me to my new firm. So my supply side, or my demand side rather, was already in place, basically. But I see a lot of business owners get into trouble when they have a good idea, they may be very good at executing it. But they’ve not thought through all of the expenses, all the cash flow issues, all of the contingencies that are gonna happen, even with the best planning.
Danny Glover: So they don’t have a plan to account for those kinda things. And so they start up, and they’re doing what they always wanted to do, and three or four months later, they realize they don’t have the money to continue.
Scott Neal: Right.
Danny Glover: So that’s the biggest thing I would say is you’ve got to sit down, and if you’ve not been in the business before … In my old firm, I did most of the administrative stuff, so I knew what all of the different aspects of a law firm cost, from online legal research, to the insurance, to payroll, to health insurance. I already knew all of that, so it was easy for me to sit down and budget for those things.
Scott Neal: Yeah. You were walking with your eyes open. You knew what was happening.
Danny Glover: Yes. I did.
Scott Neal: You knew what to expect.
Danny Glover: I did. Still scary.
Scott Neal: Sure.
Danny Glover: Still very, very different. I came and joined a, my former partner had already been in Elizabeth City for 20 something years before I was here. He already had a very successful practice. So I was very fortunate that I was able to step into a successful practice and sort of grow up in that. But if you’re starting in a brand new business that you’ve never done before, I think it’s essential that you talk to others who have, and plan out everything you can think of, worst cast scenarios.
Scott Neal: And if you’re not financially or business minded, find someone who is.
Danny Glover: You have to, because when you go into business, it’s the business that matters.
Scott Neal: That’s right. Yeah.
Danny Glover: It’s the business that will put you out if you-
Scott Neal: Right. I think a lot of people walk in thinking, “Well, I’ve got a great product, and I’m a hard worker. So all I gotta do is put a for sale sign on whatever it is I’m selling, and everybody will just come to me, and it’ll be successful.” But that’s not true. You’ve gotta find some people who’ve got a good business sense who can help you put a plan together, because often people spend all their profits, and they don’t have anything to take them to the next month, or on to the rest of the year. So that’s good.
Danny Glover: Especially self starters who have some cash, and don’t need the bank’s involvement. I’ve seen, over the years, that even though borrowing, I’m totally against borrowing. But when you deal with the bank, they will require that kind of planning, and the business plan, the business model, the budgeting. But a lot of the failures that I see are people who didn’t have to deal with the bank, and they didn’t have that guidance and that structure in place, like a business loan would’ve done.
Scott Neal: Right. Well Danny, a lot of people, no doubt, see attorneys on TV. They watch attorneys in movies. They have a perception of what it means to be an attorney, out there battling the bad guys, or winning it for the good guys, or whatever. What are a few maybe common myths about being an attorney that the average person may not know. I’m sure your day is not filled with excitement all the time. So tell us a little about kinda the reality. What’s behind the scenes there of being an attorney every day?
Danny Glover: Sure. I hear young people come to me and say, “You know, I think I wanna be a lawyer, because I’m really good at arguing. I’m really good at arguing.” And frankly, doing the kind of law that I do, it’s agreement making, and it’s consensus building. I’m trying to reach reasonable fair settlements with insurance companies. Now, sometimes we have to fight to get to that point of agreement. But that’s my goal is to reach an agreement, and if they won’t agree, then to take it to a jury and allow the jury to agree with my client.
Danny Glover: Same in criminal defense. When 95% of all cases settle, and only 5% actually go to trial, and I think that’s a pretty fair estimate. That’s a lot of agreements.
Scott Neal: Sure is.
Danny Glover: And you have to have the relationships with the prosecutors, with the law enforcement officers, with the judges, so that there’s trust, so that there’s respect. Oftentimes, criminal defense attorneys have to point out to an officer or to a prosecutor the mistakes the officer made during the process, because it’s those mistakes that are the loophole of the technicalities that people talk about all the time.
Danny Glover: And so you have to be able to do that in such a way that the officer’s not gonna get mad, hold it against you later, hold it against your client now. So it really is, there really is a skill to getting people to agree when the agreement is based upon someone’s failure, either my client’s failure for getting in, that led him or her to get into trouble, the officer’s failure in doing exactly what he or she was trained to do during the arrest process, the prosecutor’s failure in not securing a witness or some evidence that they should have. Any number of things.
Scott Neal: Yeah.
Danny Glover: But that’s the basis of these agreements. And it takes some, there’s some delicacy involved in doing that without bruising egos and blowing the deal up.
Scott Neal: Right. So a lot of negotiating, a lot of relationship building. I think that is definitely a surprise that a lot of people might not know about, being an attorney. It’s building relationships with the people in the city, everybody involved, and just, like you said at the beginning, trust, building this trust, level of trust with people. Interesting.
Danny Glover: Yeah. It is. And I’m fortunate on the criminal side of my practice, our elected District Attorney, Andy Wamble, Andy and I went to law school together, and played intramurals against each other in law school, back when we were babies. So just through sheer luck, I happen to a law school classmate with our elected District Attorney, which is nice.
Scott Neal: Sure.
Danny Glover: It’s nice.
Scott Neal: That’s great. What do you love most about what you do? What is it that kinda gets you up and keeps you going, and this would be an awesome day if this occurs, when this occurs, just some of the things you love most.
Danny Glover: I am a competitor-
Scott Neal: Okay.
Danny Glover: … to the worst possible degree.
Scott Neal: Yeah.
Danny Glover: It’s actually a problem. And every case I have is a competition with somebody, either the other attorney or the insurance company, or the government in the criminal prosecutions. And so even when we have to settle, even when we have to reach a plea bargain, the whole build up to that is a competition. Can I outwork them? Can I outthink them? Can I outmaneuver them? Any number of things that I’m trying to do, all of which benefit my client.
Scott Neal: Sure. So that would be true of any attorney really. Again, if someone’s out there thinking about going into law, you’ve got to have this competitive edge to yourself. Wouldn’t you agree? You gotta love that.
Danny Glover: Well you do, because getting into law school itself if highly competitive. And then surviving in law school, especially the first year is highly competitive. Once you graduate, there are some areas of the law where you don’t have to be hyper-competitive. There are transactional lawyers who simply draft deeds or wills all day. And they’re not trying to beat any other side. They’re not trying to win. They’re just trying to get down on paper what their client wants, and what’s best for their client.
Danny Glover: Judges, they’re not competing with anyone. They’re the master.
Scott Neal: Right.
Danny Glover: And so what they say goes. And it’s a difficult job, no doubt, but it’s not the competitive job that being on one side of the litigation is.
Scott Neal: So if you do not enjoy competition, then getting in there and fighting it is not the area you wanna go into for your career.
Danny Glover: It’s very tough to be a successful attorney and to be a passive, non-competitive person.
Scott Neal: Sure. Well, the flip side of that question. What are a few of the things you find most challenging about what you do, some of the things you just don’t really enjoy. You gotta do it, but it’s just not something that gives you a lot of energy.
Danny Glover: Well, we don’t win every case.
Scott Neal: Right. Sure.
Danny Glover: So losing is not high up on the enjoyment factor. I think dealing with egos is one of the more challenging part. And I’ll put my ego right up there at the top of the list. I take every case thinking I’m gonna win it, and at some point, there’s a realization that I’m not gonna win this case, or I’m not gonna get my client exactly what they want. So you have to, you have to put that aside to continue to do what’s best for your client.
Danny Glover: Managing your client’s expectations is very, very difficult, especially when the more successful attorneys charge more, and when you charge more, and the client is paying more, the client expects more. And so, that becomes difficult. Why did I hire you? I could’ve achieved that myself. And so that’s a challenge.
Danny Glover: Dealing with different judges’ rules and quirks is a challenge. The personality of the judge, the belief system of the judge, the rules of the judge may vary from day to day, from judge to judge. And so, one client with a case, and another client with an identical case but a different judge, may see two entirely different processes, two entirely different outcomes. And so that becomes difficult.
Scott Neal: So this my go, not need to be said, but I’m curious. I assume, based on what you just said, that depending on the judge, you prepare differently.
Danny Glover: Absolutely.
Scott Neal: Okay, because you know going into this case, with this particular judge, these are certain things important to him or her. These are certain things he or she will maybe lean one way or the other. Is that accurate?
Danny Glover: Absolutely. And that’s one of the things that a lot of clients don’t understand. And with the economy the way it’s been lately, and the competitive environment in the legal field, attorneys are doing more than they used to. They’re traveling further than they used to. And so I have attorneys from Charlotte and Richmond advertising as Elizabeth City personal injury lawyers. I have attorneys from Raleigh trying to get Elizabeth City DWIs. Well those out of town attorneys don’t know the first thing about our judges. They don’t know our prosecutors. They don’t know our law enforcement officers.
Danny Glover: And I don’t think the clients understand exactly how important it is that you know-
Scott Neal: Well I had no idea. It’s new to me.
Danny Glover: Yeah.
Scott Neal: I would have no clue about that. So that’s good to know.
Danny Glover: So the biggest advice I would give is find a competent, well-respected, local lawyer.
Scott Neal: Right.
Danny Glover: You know, boots on the ground.
Scott Neal: So if a person’s listening to this and they, you know, obviously live in a different city, or they’re going, maybe traveling through that particular county, or whatever, get pulled over for a speeding ticket, gonna have to appear in court in that particular county, you would recommend they find someone there to represent them, if they need to do that.
Danny Glover: Absolutely. Or they call me, and I’ll find them.
Scott Neal: Okay.
Danny Glover: I’m huge into networking across the state. I have spent my entire legal career working in an organization called the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, which is basically the statewide trial lawyers organization of about 3,000 members statewide, doing all sorts of legal work, on the litigation side, representing injured people, representing the accused, worker’s comp, things like that.
Danny Glover: Went up through the ranks and was president of that organization in 2014. So I know how important it is to know attorneys all across the state. ‘Cause you don’t want me representing you in Rocky Mount.
Scott Neal: Sure.
Danny Glover: I don’t know the first thing about Rocky Mount. I know-
Scott Neal: It’s very interesting, ’cause I know anytime we’ve got a, unfortunately, would get pulled over, or get a speeding ticket, we get a flood of attorney letters at our house.
Danny Glover: I hate it.
Scott Neal: We have three kids, and we’ve got all these cars everywhere, and my kids live in different places. So if they get a ticket, wow, we get 15 different letters probably at our house. And I had no idea. I figure well, just pick one of them and if you need an attorney, they’re all the same. But that’s not true.
Danny Glover: Well, it’s not. And I hate those letters. I don’t send them, and if I have anything to do with it, I never will. But that’s part of the economics of our profession is people feel the need to do that.
Scott Neal: Sure.
Danny Glover: I’ll tell on her. My wife was one of my first clients at my new law firm-
Scott Neal: Oh yeah?
Danny Glover: … when she was late to work one day, and we got a flood of those letters, from my friends and colleagues.
Danny Glover: The tickets and the charges are public record, and you can actually subscribe to services that every morning they will send you a mail ready list of the people who got recent charges, and you just put a stamp on an envelope and send it out, and you don’t even look at it, or look at what it’s about. You just send them.
Scott Neal: Yeah. Well, it happened to us a little while back, and I got a bunch of them. So I was curious how all that worked.
Scott Neal: Well, here we are in Elizabeth City, which is a relatively small town. How do you stay current in a town like Elizabeth City? I’ve noticed recently, you have … Now, this may only because I’m more aware of it, but it seems like you have more blogs. You have some more things you’re writing, posting in social media. I’ve seen some things in Facebook and different places.
Scott Neal: I assume that’s intentional, in order to kinda keep your face in front of the people here in our town, and because of all those competition. Just give us a little rundown on that.
Danny Glover: Well, that’s obviously marketing.
Scott Neal: Right.
Danny Glover: It’s also very informative.
Scott Neal: It is. I’ve read several of the blogs. Very helpful actually.
Danny Glover: Yeah. And so, over the years, advertising in the legal profession has been problematic within the legal profession. The state bar has a ton of ethics rules about how you can and cannot advertise, and the kind of superlatives you can use when describing yourself or your practice.
Danny Glover: But TV advertising used to be the thing. For the attorneys who were gonna advertise, it was either gonna be billboards or TV. Well, TV’s really expensive, and TV is limited to this local area. And so, we’re in a tourist area, so we have people from Canada come to the Outer Banks. We have people from Nebraska come to the Outer Banks. If I advertise on TV, they’re not gonna see that.
Danny Glover: The internet is worldwide. So I get a lot of business off of the internet, and Facebook, and other social media, where those blogs are also syndicated and posted. But instead of just throwing my name out there, throwing my face out there, I think people are interested in reading short little legal tidbits. I get asked more about those than anything else I’ve ever done in terms of marketing or advertising. And it’s fun.
Danny Glover: I’ve got a buddy in Charlotte who does all my video work. So we go to his studio, and he interviews me for hours and hours and hours, and then he chops those up into little bitty 20, 30 second interviews. Then he does the animated stuff as well.
Scott Neal: Yeah. Well they’re helpful. And I find it interesting, ’cause obviously, you live in that world, so you know the lingo. You know, obviously, the laws, and what the rights of the person. But the average guy, like myself, I don’t know what I can do, can’t do, what’s right if a police officer pulls me over, what I can expect, what maybe is requested of me that I don’t necessarily have to do. So I find those little tidbits of information very helpful. In fact, I’d like to, for you to give us maybe a little taste of that.
Danny Glover: Sure.
Scott Neal: If the average person’s pulled over, whether it’s a, whether it’s a check … I don’t know what that’s called, when they’re doing a random check, just to see, I guess, if they’re trying to find someone who may be drinking and driving, or DUI testing and things. What are some of the rights that a person has that they may not know they have.
Scott Neal: I think it’s very intimidating. If you’re not in the legal field, you see the lights behind you. You get pulled over. Whatever the officer asks you to do, you do it, because you don’t wanna make it worse. And the average person just doesn’t know his or her rights.
Danny Glover: Right.
Scott Neal: So give us a little rundown, just a few of those things that might be helpful.
Danny Glover: Sure. Sure. And before I start, the preface to all of this is this is not about being dishonest or trying to trick the system, or trick the law enforcement officers.
Scott Neal: Sure.
Danny Glover: I have some very, very good friends who are law enforcement officers, and across the board, our law enforcement officers here do a great job. For years, I was the local Fraternal Order of Police attorney, and the Highway Patrol attorney here, and so …
Danny Glover: That does not eliminate the fact, though, that we have very important individual rights in America, and we should not be afraid of exercising them, and certainly should not be ignorant of them. But I think the most important right, on the criminal side, is the right to remain silent, and the right to say no.
Danny Glover: If an officer asks, “Can I search your car? Can I pat you down? Can I search your house?” You have every right to say no. That doesn’t mean you’re gonna stop the officer from doing it if that’s what he or she wants to do, but when you say no, and they do it anyway, and then you end up getting charged, and you go to court, then the burden’s on the officer to prove that they had probably cause to do that. Whereas if you say, “Yeah. Sure. I just wanna cooperate,” they don’t need probably cause. Your consent eliminates a lot of the defenses that you or your lawyer might have to helping your case.
Danny Glover: You don’t ever have to answer questions under any circumstances. And what a lot of people don’t realize is law enforcement officers have the ability, and oftentimes the right to misstate what’s going on to you, or to lead you to believe one thing, when that may or may not be true, and to put pressure on you to incriminate yourself, to confess, to tell on someone else, perhaps, to identify the location, perhaps, of something you shouldn’t have. And so that’s why it’s important that a person understand they don’t ever have to answer those questions, and it’s completely legal, and it is completely permissible, and it will not make the situation worse, if you simply say, “Thank you officer, but I’d rather not answer your questions.”
Scott Neal: That’s very interesting. So is that one of the reasons a police officer will ask, when you’re pulled over, “Do you have any idea why I pulled you over?”
Scott Neal: The reason I ask that is because I’ve talked with some people who, they had a registration that was expired, or they had something else with their car, and they just kinda admitted that in, “Do you have any idea why I pulled you over?” “Well, because my registration’s out,” which clued the officer into “I better check their tag,” when it was really, they didn’t give a turn signal, or they were speeding.
Scott Neal: I’m just wondering if that’s not kind of a baiting to get you to tell them more than what even they may know.
Danny Glover: Well, it’s that, and it’s to get you to confess to what they do know-
Scott Neal: Okay.
Danny Glover: … so that they don’t have to prove it.
Scott Neal: Got it.
Danny Glover: Certain things you are required to have been notified about, such as the revocation of a driver’s license. You know, now a common law enforcement technique is to follow you down the road with their laptop open, and they’re keying in your license plate. They’re seeing the status of your insurance, the status of your tags, who the owner is, whether that person has a valid license, and using any of that information to pull you over, maybe for those reasons, maybe to go on a fishing expedition for something else. Especially in certain parts of the state, if you meet certain racial profiles or other stereotypes.
Danny Glover: When you admit to knowing that your license was revoked, well now in court it’s real easy for them to prove that, instead of having to contact DMV, get a copy of the certified letter, whatever it is they got to do. I think it’s two-fold, the reason they ask that specific question.
Scott Neal: Yeah. That’s very interesting. I know I don’t know what I can do and can’t do. I think most of the time you’re just trying to comply and make the situation worse. There’s a level of nervousness there when someone obviously pulls you over and they’re the one in authority. I think that’s good, that’s why I enjoy those little tidbits of truth you put on Facebook.
Danny Glover: Well and on the injury side, I think there’s even more abuse of people and their … Not necessarily their rights because your constitutional rights and protections typically help you avoid prosecution, but insurance companies are in it to make a profit, and every dollar they can save on your claim is a dollar extra profit to them. They have highly specialized, highly trained adjusters to get you on the phone immediately after you’ve been hurt to try to use against you later to save a dollar. A lot of injuries don’t appear within a day of the wreck or at the scene of the wreck. So you might say, “Well I only …” They may say, “Tell me everything that you hurt.” You say, “Well I only hurt my knee.” Well lo and behold, you’ve got a blown disk in your back that you didn’t realize is from this wreck and you end up with two surgeries later.
Danny Glover: Then you try to make a claim for the back, and they play this recorded statement that, “Well you told us you only hurt your knee.” So I think it’s important that people understand that they should not be talking to an insurance company before or without a lawyer, because people who don’t work in that field day in and day out don’t see the big picture of where this thing is headed, and so they oftentimes shortchange themselves.
Scott Neal: So someone falls at work, they get an injury, I would assume if it’s filed a certain way they’re going to kind of get some of the letters sent, like you do if you get a speeding ticket, people are going, “Hey, let me help you. Let me help you.” The insurance company’s going to want to, you said highly trained people are going to call this person. The average person has no idea what’s going on, they’re just trying to be honest and answer questions. Your suggestion, immediately get an attorney, secure an attorney-
Danny Glover: Absolutely.
Scott Neal: … to protect you?
Danny Glover: Absolutely, because-
Scott Neal: Only do what he or she tells you to do.
Danny Glover: Because your ordinary Joe Blow who’s hurt has some immediate fears, you know?
Scott Neal: Right.
Danny Glover: How am I going to provide for myself and my family? Am I going to lose my job? Is my arm ever going to get better? So when the insurance company is saying, “Hey, we’re going to take care of all your bills and we’re going to pay for your time out of work.” That soothes those immediate fears. What people don’t know is unless you’re in the workers’ comp scenario, but in a car wreck, in a industrial accident, you’re entitled … The law says you’re entitled to a lot more than just your medical bills paid and your lost wages. So the insurance company preys on those fears that people have and then they get you to sign things, they get you to give away rights that you may not even have known about, and in the end, they keep that money and it goes into the profit margin.
Scott Neal: Danny, just in working obviously here at Forest Park with a lot of just common everyday people who are working who do not have an awareness of the law and their rights, what I find is there’s a sense of obviously an attorney’s expensive. “If I get an attorney involved I’m not going to have the money.” I assume they can do some level of just asking you some questions or someone who might tell them, “Yeah, you need to go further.” There’s some kind of consultation there to let the average person know if this is something they need an attorney to help them with, or is that correct for someone?
Danny Glover: It is. It is. Most consultations on the criminal side or the personal injury side are free. On the injury side, the lawyer typically only gets paid out of whatever recovery they get for you, so you’re not having to fund the attorney’s fees as you go through the case. The attorney works two or three years and then takes his fee on the backend. At least in my firm, I fund all of the litigation expenses as well. I just had a settlement a few weeks ago and I’ve got $20,000 of my own money in expenses. Now I’ll get that back out of the settlement, but if I’d put that burden on my client like some attorneys will, most clients can’t afford to pay that.
Scott Neal: No way.
Danny Glover: You have to make sure that you can afford to proceed or that your attorney can afford to proceed. You mentioned these mailers, now it’s gotten so high tech that a lot of your huge advertising firms in Charlotte, Raleigh, Richmond, they will send really high class looking DVDs and all sorts of stuff, bells and whistles, and super. They impressed me, I’m super impressed by them, but they’re not from here and they don’t know what a jury’s likely to do with a case here.
Scott Neal: The consultation as well, is not only helping the potential client to know whether or not they need to secure you, but it’s also you assessing whether or not that this is a case that you will take. In other words there’s probably some compensation at the end. If someone calls your office and gets a free consultation with you and you’re pretty confident that they need to secure you, that’s because with your experience and your years of working with hundreds of people, you know that they need help and there’s probably going to be some compensation at the end of this or you wouldn’t take it. Is that correct?
Danny Glover: That’s correct. I’m pretty selective about the cases that I take, and that’s why in the very beginning when I described my practice I said serious injuries, because quite frankly, the 4 and 5,000 dollar injury claims are just as much work as the $400,000 injury claim, and I can’t keep my doors open spending all my time for that little return. Frankly, when you’re talking about those really small cases, I can’t add much value to what my client can get for themselves. So in those scenarios, I like to educate people on how to handle those little claims themselves, how to deal with the insurance company, what tricks to expect, and-
Scott Neal: So you will assist someone even if it’s just a smaller injury, just to help them as a person?
Danny Glover: Yeah. You know, I leave the door open, “Call me if anything comes up that we’ve not discussed.” And people very rarely do. They seem to be appreciative of that. A lot of attorneys will take any case, and unfortunately unless you’re in one of the major injury firms with 50 to 100 lawyers in it, when you have attorneys taking all these small cases they get so bogged down that the little cases get pushed to the back and get neglected. I just am not comfortable working that way.
Scott Neal: That’s very helpful, Danny. Thank you for that. I’m hopeful people listening will take your advice to heart and follow the rights that they have, and make some phone calls if they need your assistance because I think that’s hugely helpful. I want to change direction just a little bit and ask you some little bit more personal questions about leadership, about growth, because obviously you’re very successful. You’ve had to go to school, get a great education, own your own business today. Looking across our landscape, some of the young people in colleges, high school, what are some of the barriers to personal growth you see? If you could stand in front of a classroom and say, “Guys, if you want to be successful, here’s some things you need to know. Here’s what I see as some of the things that slow you down.” Just some personal things that you would say to becoming the best they possibly can be.
Danny Glover: Fear.
Scott Neal: Okay.
Danny Glover: I think that’s the number one limiter to success. Being afraid to take a chance. Being afraid to succeed frankly. Especially in the legal field where every day you’re getting told you’re wrong, either by the prosecutor, and in our church here, Kim Planey’s a member. She is the chief prosecutor in Pasquotank County and an excellent felony prosecutor, but it’s her job to convict my clients. To do that she has to tell me why I’m wrong about things, or why my client was wrong. Insurance companies all day long telling me how I’m wrong about the value of this case. My clients telling me how I’m wrong because they don’t like what I’m hearing. That becomes, unless you keep it in the right perspective, that can lead to fear that maybe I am wrong, maybe I shouldn’t take that chance.
Danny Glover: When you back it up and talk about personal growth, I see a lot of people who talk about, “I have this idea,” or talk about, “I want to do this.” And they just never do because they’re scared to come out of their comfort zone. They’re scared to take a chance because they don’t want to fail. To me that’s the number one biggest limiter.
Scott Neal: Yeah. Now I would imagine, obviously correct me if I’m wrong, that it wasn’t up and to the right from the moment you went into college and to where you are today, you’ve obviously had some challenges along the way and you’ve had to face those fears and keep moving forward, correct?
Danny Glover: Well, yeah. I haven’t always done a really good job of that. Luckily my wife is one of the smartest, most intuitive people I know. She has had to kick me in the tail more than once to take steps that I was uncomfortable doing. I appreciate her for doing that. I saw both of my parents have to take hard steps. My mom had me when she was 18, my dad was 22, he was a drill instructor in the army, she was still at home in high school. They ended up getting married. I know that I interrupted my mom’s education plans and work plans, and when I was very young, three or four, my dad went into the ministry and we moved to Florida for him to go to bible school for several years. Then we moved to Texas for him to go to seminary for several years. Then we moved back to Kentucky where he had been ordained at the base town of Fort Knox.
Danny Glover: During that whole time my mom now had two kids and dad’s not working basically because he’s in school full-time, pastoring in small churches on the weekends. So she had to work and support us. Then once dad became a full-time pastor she was able to go back to school and become a nurse. By that time I’m graduating high school. So the whole time I was there I saw them making sacrifices and working hard, and they both become very, very successful. Mom ended up on the faculty at UNC Chapel Hill, at the medical facility there. Dad pastored for 25 years and then went into his own business doing business leadership training, working with the John Maxwell team, doing some personality insight stuff. It was not the typical way to get there, like I did, which is graduate, four years of college, three years of law school, take a job, work non-stop. They had it much more difficult than I did.
Scott Neal: You had amazing mentors in your life. I mean just the list on that story, that’s incredible what your mom and dad overcame. That’s great.
Danny Glover: Yeah, I’m proud of them.
Scott Neal: Yeah, absolutely. Well Danny, a little bit more personal than that, do you have any hobbies?
Danny Glover: I do, some I’m even willing to share with you.
Scott Neal: Sure.
Danny Glover: I love golf. I caught the bug probably six years ago.
Scott Neal: How often do you get a chance to play?
Danny Glover: Way too often.
Scott Neal: Oh yeah. Any chance you get, right?
Danny Glover: Any chance I get. My oldest son luckily got into golf too and playing high school golf, and so he and I were able to play a little bit. My youngest son, I just can’t get him motivated yet but I’m working on it. That just sort of came out of nowhere and I can’t explain how that happened but it did. Before that I raced bicycles with a couple of guys here, and we would train a couple of hundred miles a week. Then every weekend be South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, mountains, wherever, racing all weekend. That was 30 or 40 pounds ago.
Scott Neal: That’s great.
Danny Glover: Again, just competition.
Scott Neal: Let me ask you about golf. Do you have a particular favorite place you play golf, or maybe the best place you’ve ever played before? You’d love to go back and do it again?
Danny Glover: I love the Mid Pines and Pine Needles courses in Southern Pines. I have not traveled the world to play golf like a lot of golfers do. I’m a member here at what used to be the Pines, now it’s the YMCA facility. Just because it’s convenient and there’s a great group of guys there that we play with regularly. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I played college baseball, so to go from hitting 95 mile an hour fastballs and 90 mile an hour sliders to trying to hit a ball that’s just sitting there on a tee, it’s hard to imagine why it’s so hard.
Scott Neal: Daring you to hit it, right.
Danny Glover: Yeah.
Scott Neal: From what I, just speaking with other golfers, it’s just a constant competition with yourself, right?
Danny Glover: It is.
Scott Neal: You’re always trying to beat yourself from the last game and get the numbers down.
Danny Glover: If you keep it in perspective, yes. Unfortunately when you’re playing matches you … Poor golfers will get caught up in what their opponent’s doing and that’s about the worst thing you want to do.
Scott Neal: Right. It’s really not about the other person as much as it is you.
Danny Glover: Absolutely. You and the course.
Scott Neal: Yeah. A lot of people obviously listening … I shouldn’t say a lot, but a few people do not know you. I mean they’ve gotten to know you here in this interview, which is great, but what might be something they’d be surprised to know about you? Maybe something that you have that you enjoy? Maybe it’s reading or it’s particularly another hobby that they may just not know about. Just something interesting that they might be surprised, “Oh, I didn’t know that about Danny.”
Danny Glover: I think most people are surprised that Meredith married me. They can’t figure that out. I think people who really know me and who hang out with me a lot would be surprised at how much I do care about helping people, because I don’t come across as the soft, huggable, caring person. I’m very task oriented, I’m very into efficiency and productivity. A lot of people don’t realize that that’s, Gary Smalley would call it my love language, that’s how I serve, that’s how I help people, is by getting the things done that perhaps they can’t do themselves or don’t even know need to be done.
Scott Neal: Yeah, that’s interesting. Couple more questions on this. If you could have a meal with anybody, past or present, and just sit down with them and enjoy a meal, whether they’re living or whether they’ve passed on, who would that person be and why?
Danny Glover: You know, I would love to have eaten with Kennedy. He, despite all of the personal failures that have become the stuff of movies, he was very important to a lot of different aspects of our country when he was living. Not just the Cuba stuff, but the racial tensions that existed, and Dr. King, and there was a lot going on there that a lot of people don’t realize. I think that would’ve been very, very interesting to … Because he came from the kind of money up north, and the history of their money you wouldn’t tend to equate that with someone who was going to be so sensitive to the racial tensions in the south, but he was. You know, I hadn’t given that a whole lot of thought, but that’s the first thing that comes to mind.
Scott Neal: That’s a great answer. I would love to do the exact same thing. I find him a fascinating man, and what he did at his age and being able to confront the issues of our day at that time, a pivotal time in our nation’s history, and he handled it beautifully.
Danny Glover: Well especially with the overbearing father that he had. Joe was-
Scott Neal: To get out from underneath his shadow and be able to do his own thing, that’s amazing.
Danny Glover: Not only his shadow, but his … What drove him was not to be the helpful mender of society that President Kennedy turned out to try to be.
Scott Neal: That’s great. I didn’t ask you, you know, you may not have an answer to this, I just thought of it. Do you have a book or anything as far as Kennedy that you’ve read, or anything that you would … A documentary maybe you’ve watched that you’d encourage some other people to check out? How did you get to know about him and why is that interesting to you?
Danny Glover: I think most of my learning of him didn’t come from reading books, but came through things I have learned as part of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. That organization has been very instrumental in helping attorneys who help the very needy, racial injustice, economic injustice, the people who can’t afford attorneys, the pro-bono work, and the public defender work. NCAJ has a bunch of attorneys who through the years have just been on the forefront of racial inequality, racial injustice, and listening to those people, reading what those people have written, I was surprised to keep seeing references to Kennedy because I had no idea.
Scott Neal: Yeah. That’s great. Well, on a much lighter note as we wrap this up, you’re a UNC fan.
Danny Glover: I am.
Scott Neal: Yeah. That was a hard game the other night.
Danny Glover: It felt like the national championship game from a couple of years ago. Of course Duke did and they just destroyed us, but the loss the game before that where we hit the last second, or was six seconds left to tie, tie in three from deep and then they went down and made almost a half court shot. That was brutal.
Scott Neal: Any thoughts on March Madness? What do you think’s going to happen?
Danny Glover: I love it. I think this year if Marvin Bagley plays the way he did against us last game, Duke’s going to be hard to handle because he is impossible to handle. If that light switch stays on for him, they’ll be a tough out. It’s hard to believe he should be in high school, you know? He reclassified and he should be a senior this year and he’s the best player in the country in my mind. Villanova is going to be a tough out. I don’t think Carolina gets past the second weekend. I don’t think we’ve-
Scott Neal: It’s hard to admit, huh?
Danny Glover: I don’t think we’ve got the big men this year necessary to do that.
Scott Neal: Kind of a rebuilding year and hopefully they’ll be back strong soon.
Danny Glover: I hope so.
Scott Neal: Yeah, good. Well Danny, how do people contact you? What do you encourage? Website, just give us a couple addresses or one. How does someone say, “Hey, I need to get some consultation here with Danny”?
Danny Glover: Sure. My website is www.dannygloverlawfirm.com. My email is more the same, email@example.com. Then you can message me on Facebook, or you can call me, our office is (252) 299-5300. Because of the way our voiceover IP stuff works you have to dial that area code even if you’re in town with me. Yeah, happy to talk to anyone.
Scott Neal: Even Duke fans?
Danny Glover: Even Duke fans. I’ll charge them a little bit extra.
Scott Neal: Got it. All right Danny, great to have you today. Thank you so much for being a part of this and answering all the different questions that I threw at you. It’s an honor to have you here and I’m hopeful that more people be exposed to you and you’ll be able to help some people who are facing maybe some personal injuries or whatever it is that they’re going through, so thanks again for being with us.
Danny Glover: I appreciate you having me.
Scott Neal: All right man, take care.
Speaker 3: Thank you for listening to the Imperfect Leader Podcast with Scott Neal. Remember, nothing succeeds like imperfection. Thank you for listening.