WAJ Young Trial Lawyer Acceptance Speech – Brian F. Laule, Bye, Goff & Rohde, Ltd. River Falls, WI.

Thank you to Kristin for her introduction, and thanks to our out-going president Benjy and our in-coming president Heath. It is a great honor to accept this award and be able to do so in front of this great group of people—lawyers for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect, and a tremendous amount of admiration.

If I have had some success in the last several years it is because I have had great people to show me the way. I would like to acknowledge a few such people and then I’ll sit down.

I’m honored to have my family here tonight—my big brother, Alec, my big sister, Ann Marie, and my mother.  Mom: we’ve come at least a little ways from the days of watching LA Law episodes Thursday night, back circa 1989. We loved that show.

I was very lucky to grow up in the situation I did and surrounded by the people I was.

My father passed away shortly after I completed law school. But I would be remiss if I did not note how lucky I was to have his influence. He was a social worker by training, and for most of my life he was the Executive Director of Catholic Charities for the seven-county area south of metropolitan Chicago. He worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor and less fortunate, and he was a man of expansive intellect with wide-ranging interests. In addition to teaching college level social work courses, he also taught philosophy, sociology, and anthropology. I am proud of the life he lived, and he is very much missed by our family.

I have been extremely lucky to spend essentially my entire career with Bye, Goff & Rohde, the firm that gave me my real education in being a trial lawyer. Everyone at the firm has been instrumental in teaching me about the practice of law, but no people more so than our Managing Partner Steve Goff and our Senior Partner Chuck Bye. Chuck Bye has certainly been my mentor throughout my career when it comes to trial practice. He impressed upon me the importance of developing my own style and methods, and that impersonation is never the route to success.  And with Kristin’s remarks about 50 jury trials in recent years, let’s be clear—Chuck Bye basically told me to go try 50 cases.

Perhaps I am luckiest of all because of the influence of my wife, Sarah, with whom I have three boys. She is a brilliant person and highly successful in her own right. What remains as perhaps my best description of her is the one I remember using when we got married some 8 years ago—that she is the bravest person I’ve ever met and she inspires me to try to be brave as well. 

Finally, thank you to the folks at the Association and all of the members who devote significant time to this organization. I am extremely proud to call myself a trial lawyer, proud to be a member of this organization, and even more motivated now to continue the fight on behalf of the people who need our help.  Thank you.


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