To recognize the Anniversary of Iacobelli Law Firm, our Founder, Andrew Iacobelli answered nine questions that we are pleased to share with you.
What or who inspired you to go to law school and what year did you graduate?
My dad inspired me to attend law school. Although he was not a lawyer himself, he had a lot of respect for the role of lawyers in our society. My dad enjoyed watching some of the top trial lawyers in the United States perform trials on Court TV. I vividly recall seeing Gerry Spence on television and other great trial lawyers of our era master the courtroom. When I was a child, my father would often remark that I would make a good litigator. I am not sure why he thought that my personality was suited for law, but he certainly let me know that I should consider a career in law. Those early experiences with my dad sparked my interest in the legal profession. By the time I was in high school, I was certain that I would attend law school and become a lawyer. I chose to attend law school at Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing. The law school was very good to me; I was awarded a full tuition merit scholarship for all three years of law school. I earned memberships on both the International Law Review and the school’s competitive and highly ranked Moot Court and Advocacy Board. Attending Michigan State University College of Law was a great experience both academically and personally, and I would not have done it any other way. I graduated from law school in 2003.
What made you decide to establish your own law firm in 2012 and why did you choose personal injury law?
Following graduation from law school, I had the privilege of serving in a one-year clerkship position with the Honorable Judge Gerald D. Lostracco of the 35th Circuit in Michigan. Judge Lostracco was a great mentor, and probably the best team leader that I have ever met. It was this experience that really introduced me to real-life litigators, battling in the courtrooms for justice. What I also learned, however, is that most of the battles are won or lost before anyone enters the courthouse. I saw the work that the lawyers put into their written and oral submissions to the court, and realized that it takes tireless effort to build and prepare a case for success. I was hooked - my dad was right, litigation was for me. From Michigan, I moved to Florida and began my career as a litigator, initially representing hospitals and doctors in medical malpractice claims. I then moved to the largest insurance defense firm in the state of Florida, where I had an opportunity to work with one of the top trial lawyers in the State of Florida, a lawyer who it so happens was also featured on Court TV; namely, Mr. John Lurvey. John is an exceptional trial lawyer, and he reinforced for me the need for passion and hard work in preparing every case for trial. Although I enjoyed the people that I worked with, deep inside I knew that my efforts should be used to help the injured rather than help the insurance companies deny claims to deserving victims. In 2012, I established Iacobelli Law Firm and dedicated my practice to representing the injured.
Over the last nine years, what are three things that you have accomplished that you are most proud of?
There have been so many memorable moments over the past 9 years where I have learned lessons. My proudest professional achievements are as follows:
- Establishing a great team - I think that our law clerks and lawyers are second to none in the province of Ontario. What makes our team so special is that everyone actually cares about the people we serve. This is an incredibly compassionate group of people, and I am amazed at how routinely they go above and beyond to help a client in need.
- Achieving membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. It is not easy to successfully build and present a personal injury case that resolves for a sum in excess of one million dollars. In Ontario especially, there are caps on damages, and other laws, that are designed to bring down the value of injury claims. Although many lawyers practice in personal injury litigation, few lawyers can claim to have achieved this milestone in a lifetime career. Within five years of establishing Iacobelli Law Firm, I achieved this and have been fortunate to have since resolved multiple million dollar plus cases, so this is an achievement that I am proud of.
- Authoring a book for injury victims. My experience in Ontario and the United States has led to the opportunity to represent Canadians injured in Florida. In 2020, I authored a book for Canadians Injured in the United States. I have wanted to author a book ever since I can remember, so finally achieving this was a big accomplishment for me.
What is the most important lesson you have learned by establishing your own law firm?
I have learned so much from our clients. I have learned about character, strength, resilience and adaptation. I have been inspired by clients. We meet our clients after a life-changing event, and I am so often amazed at how our client’s change and grow as people to overcome - they find strength that they did not know that they possessed.
If you could tell someone that was thinking of attending law school one thing, what would that be?
If you are really interested in attending law school for the right reasons, then go for it. I highly recommend attending law school. A law degree is versatile, and it is almost limitless in terms of the possibilities for a career. Lawyers interact with people, government, and business in so many ways.
How has your firm been affected by the pandemic? Were there any interruptions to service and what lessons has your firm learnt when dealing with a crisis?
Like everyone, the pandemic has had an impact on the way we interact with clients, colleagues and the courts. Fortunately, we were able to respond quickly to the changes, because we already had in place the technology to work remotely. The courts have also adapted and introduced more technology to allow the administration of justice to carry on. Overall, there have been advances in our profession that were spurred ahead by the pandemic, which will remain with us. In my view, these advances have actually made the administration of justice more efficient and were long overdue.
What is the most difficult part of being a personal injury lawyer and how do you handle it?
The most difficult part for me is observing how our laws seem to be ever evolving toward favoring insurance companies over victims. Over the past 9 years, I have observed many significant legislative changes that have impacted the rights of injury victims for the seemingly financial benefit of insurance companies. This is sometimes referred to as tort reform, and it is happening in Ontario and in many places in the United States. Through organizations, personal injury lawyers try to inform the people and our government, so that hopefully balance can be restored between the interests of victims and the large insurance companies.
Recently, you authored a book entitled, "Are you a Canadian Injured in the United States?" What do you hope injured victims will learn from your book?
I authored the book because every year there are so many Canadians that are injured while travelling in the United States. Those victims often have no clear direction or answers to their questions. They are faced with complex issues because they may have claims in both Ontario and the United States. Even if they do find a lawyer, it is likely that their lawyer will not know about the unique cross-border issues that may arise. The book seeks to provide a road map and
answer some common questions that Canadians might have if they find themselves involved in a car accident while in the United States.
If you can tell an injured victim three things what would they be?
- It will get better.
- You are stronger than you know.
- Trust in the process - we will be here to help you through this journey towards recovery.
Our Team understands how difficult it is to recover from an unexpected accident and how hard it is both on our clients as well as their families. As our clients recover, they continue to show us how resilient and courageous they truly are. We are so thankful to our clients for putting their trust in Iacobelli Law Firm over the last nine years and we look forward to continuing to fight for injured clients every step of the way.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada as well as offices in Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death.