As you grow your legal practice, it can be tempting to focus in on one specific area. And while diving deep into a specialty can be good, it’s important to remember not to limit yourself. Referrals can be one of your best friends, both in getting new cases and in expanding the scope of your practice.
Jeremy Tissot of The Tissot Law Firm is a pro at both referring cases to attorneys who specialize in other areas of law and handling cases that get referred to his firm. He has become one of the leading experts on litigating traumatic brain injury cases, and in fact, is a faculty member and featured speaker at TBI MedLegal conferences. Jeremy has taken more than 2,000 depositions over the course of his career and has been first chair on over thirty jury trials.
Today, we talk about when you should refer a case to another lawyer and how to make sure your intake team is set up to accept cases that get referred to you. Jeremy shares his insight into working with TBI victims, including the challenges working with mentally ill clients can pose.
- Learn what you don’t know. No matter how long you’ve been working in a field, there’s always more to learn. You can’t get complacent and start to think you have everything figured out. Always be looking for what you don’t know, and don’t be afraid to call other lawyers for help.
- Focus on improving your intake. If you’re missing more than 10 percent or so of your calls, you’re missing not only cold leads from potential clients, but also warm leads from other attorneys. Your intake team needs to be consistently answering and returning calls and engaging with clients who call you looking for help.
- Mental illness complicates everything. Not only can it make your interactions with your clients more challenging, but it can also make your discovery process harder. It’s important to find ways to accurately assess the mental symptoms your clients are experiencing, as well as the physical ones.
Jeremy Tissot (00:00):
I got to a point maybe five to eight years ago where I thought I knew everything ’cause I had practiced for enough years. Now I realize that I know what I know, and I don’t know what I don’t know.
Maria Monroy (00:13):
Welcome to the Tip the Scales podcast, where we discuss growing and running your law firm. I’m your host, Maria Monroy, president and co-founder of LawRank. This week I am joined by Jeremy Tissot. God, I hope I’m saying that right. And we talked a lot about intake. We talked about not being afraid to refer a case if it’s a more specific type of case and it’s not something that you specialize in. And oddly enough, we talked a lot about anxiety. I hope you guys enjoy this episode. All right. So tell us a little bit about you. Not too much, ’cause I know it all, so.
Jeremy Tissot (00:52):
Maria Monroy (00:53):
I just learned that you’ve had thirty trials. I didn’t know that, but go ahead.
Jeremy Tissot (00:57):
Yeah, so I know that we know each other from having — I moderated you a few times on I guess the TBI Med Legal platform, and of course we know each other from conferences and and various events. But I did come, uh, into this business as a defense lawyer, which some people often think is the dark side. I have my own thoughts about that. I think you learn a tremendous amount from pulling back the curtain and being able to talk to those people still and having those relationships. And also just being able to accept that, very often, those people are not bad people just ’cause they’re doing kind of awful things to victims in cases, in the sense that they’re not paying us so that we can compensate our clients and often forcing cases to trial that I don’t think are necessary. And that can be really frustrating even after years of doing this.
Maria Monroy (01:46):
How long did you do that for?
Jeremy Tissot (01:48):
I did that for close to ten years.
Maria Monroy (01:49):
Jeremy Tissot (01:50):
I had a very unusual background, though, that they didn’t want to continue to do insurance defense, because at that time they were moving the in — the operations of insurance companies in-house in order to save money. And so they were really good lawyers. Couple of the guys that I came up with that were, like, I won’t say my mentors, but my bosses, they were just killer trial lawyers. They were win-at-all-costs guys, I would say, within the boundaries of ethics. But, um, they wanted to win at all times. And the — and they felt like as they got further along, their bills were being audited automatically by insurance companies. It was like “We’re saving these people, like, from potential $40 million verdicts on single cases, and we’re getting paid a fraction of what, like, big law firms get paid by corporations.” So we started to move out of that, and, in short, I learned how to do a lot of other things, but I never really wanted to niche down, ’cause I always felt like I want to have, like, five areas.
Maria Monroy (02:49):
Jeremy Tissot (02:50):
In case something goes wrong.
Maria Monroy (02:51):
So what do you specialize in?
Jeremy Tissot (02:52):
So I specialize in the litigation of, primarily now, traumatic brain injury cases. And it’s tough sometimes to be that niched down, but after years of being — Yes, I’m a litigator, and I had litigated everything from entertainment cases to business cases. At one point, I even had, like, a niche in defamation cases, which was great, ’cause hardly anybody knew it. But my passion has really kind of always been with this, ’cause since the beginning of my career — I was doing brain injury cases twenty years ago. And that’s not to brag about, like, “I’ve been doing this so long,” but I kind of came back to it in some ways. And I’ve just found I kind of know this stuff better than I know other things. You can know a lot about litigations. I just like the idea that there is complexity to it. And I also really like after years of doing this, the only thing that really gives me some degree of joy is I do like to be compensated for what I do, but I really want to help.
Maria Monroy (03:51):
So do I
Jeremy Tissot (03:52):
Yeah. And I want to help people in this sense that I feel like there’s a lot of lawyers out there who are all over the board, too — and I was there once — or that use cookie-cutter approaches. And I feel like because I sort of put myself into this position of “I want to know it really well,” I want to help others, like, not kind of do damage to the practice, in the sense that they’re sending out demand letters and doing things that give the insurance company an advantage. Do you know what I’m saying?
Maria Monroy (04:23):
No, I don’t. What do you mean?
Jeremy Tissot (04:24):
Okay, so if you go back five years ago, maybe let’s say before TBI Med Legal even, uh, a lot of people hadn’t even really heard — I mean we all knew there were brain injury cases, but you weren’t going to conferences for them, and you really would call a specialist in for that. And so I just think that what I was getting to about is there are lawyers out there who are being told do brain injury cases because there’s all these conferences, which is great. Learning is great. But I’m concerned — I do get concerned that too many people are trying to do it, and they just use, for example, like, letters from other people, and it’s like — Please ask for help is all I’m saying. I had no idea what I was doing at certain things. And when I looked back at it, I would ask questions, but I got to a point maybe five to eight years ago where I thought I knew everything, ’cause I had practiced for enough years. Now I realize that I know what I know, and I don’t know what I don’t know.
Maria Monroy (05:18):
How do you know what you don’t know?
Jeremy Tissot (05:19):
Because you, you take — You see what other people don’t know, and you realize how bad it is, right? So, uh, and and when you get so specialized into an area, uh, then you start to see that — only by getting that deep into it — that there’s no way that you could really know that much about so many things. And I’m talking about, like, be a really good business litigator to understand all the underlying law and also be able to litigate it and try it. You can’t do everything. You know from your business that you have to have — You have a deep understanding of things that I couldn’t even begin to understand.
Maria Monroy (05:54):
No, and we only work with law firms. Primarily PI.
Jeremy Tissot (05:56):
Maria Monroy (05:57):
For that reason.
Jeremy Tissot (05:58):
Yeah, right. And and why is that? Why wouldn’t you try to just take some of your expertise and use it?
Maria Monroy (06:03):
It gets diluted.
Jeremy Tissot (06:05):
Maria Monroy (06:05):
But we — I mean if we’re — If we learn a bunch of industries, it’s going to be diluted. Every industry is specific to what we do.
Jeremy Tissot (06:13):
Maria Monroy (06:14):
So we’d rather put all of our energy into one.
Jeremy Tissot (06:15):
And I even see people, though, that even go out there, and people ask you questions and you, you want to kind of help but you, it’s not really your thing, right? And so the problem I always had was when you’re a newer lawyer, like, your family will call you. Like an uncle, right?
Maria Monroy (06:30):
Jeremy Tissot (06:31):
Or, like, a friend or something. And the beauty of it, in a sick way, is to be able to say, “I don’t know that.” And they’re shocked when you say that, right?
Maria Monroy (06:40):
I get questions all the time. Like, people I haven’t heard from, from years, from high school, like, “Hey, you work with lawyers. What do you know about this?” I’m like, “Absolutely nothing. Like, why would I know anything about that?”
Jeremy Tissot (06:52):
It’s funny. But yeah. But as a kind of, as a — When you don’t have the confidence, maybe, or when you’re not into the niche that you are, haven’t had the success you’ve had, then you very often feel like “ I just kind of want to be —“ like, that law license makes you a boss, right? So you can, you walk into the family dinner or whatever it is, at Thanksgiving and you know, I had no other lawyers in my family. So, you know, you might feel like “I’m the lawyer.” I don’t feel like that anymore. I feel like it’s nice to be able to tell people that, “I’m sorry. I know somebody who does that.”
Maria Monroy (07:24):
Jeremy Tissot (07:25):
“You know, but I don’t — I can’t solve your parking ticket tonight at dinner. You know, or your —“
Maria Monroy (07:27):
Your family — your divorce case, really.
Jeremy Tissot (07:29):
Maria Monroy (07:29):
That’s probably the most common one.
Jeremy Tissot (07:32):
I — you know, what’s interesting about that is I just often find it’s hard to find, like, family law practitioners that are highly competent, easy to work with. First of all, do they pay referral fees? This is a business, right? Um, do they return their phone calls? Like, they are actually — And I’m not talking about lawyers, like, that call the clients back. But I’m talking, do they even — Like, you’re sending them a case. If someone’s sending us a case — A lot of my referrals for a long time came from other lawyers. Mostly, like, I —
Maria Monroy (07:57):
And now how do you get most of your cases?
Jeremy Tissot (07:59):
So a lot of it is that. We do have some marketing programs, outside marketing programs we use. We do get a lot of referrals, uh, from doctors, other professionals, a few different referral circles. We also have, like, 20,000-client base from twenty years of doing this that we also market to. But I think that what’s interesting about — and it’s a good question we could talk about — is that when you get a call from another lawyer who — And it could be the case of your life, right? You don’t return that phone call. But the, it’s just — I think when you look at, like, maybe some of the firms you work with, they have intake set up and things like that. But it’s amazing to see how lawyers survive when they just don’t even return a phone call from another lawyer.
Maria Monroy (08:39):
I mean, we’ve had situations where firms have 33 percent missed call rate.
Jeremy Tissot (08:45):
That’s just incredible to me. And oh, and those are ones who are actually trying, right?
Maria Monroy (08:50):
No, absolutely. I, I’ve — We’ve had all sorts of, like, issues with missed calls, and it’s a metric that we look at every month, and it gets flagged if it goes past 10 percent. But yeah, it’s, it’s an issue for sure.
Jeremy Tissot (09:04):
Maria Monroy (09:05):
Not with every firm, but it’s more common than you think.
Jeremy Tissot (09:07):
Jeez. Usually, like, a referral from a lawyer would be a better thing. Theoretically. So when you say a th— like, a, you say a third?
Maria Monroy (09:15):
Literally a third.
Jeremy Tissot (09:16):
You could be literally missing your retirement case, right?
Maria Monroy (09:18):
Oh, it’s crazy. And even for us, we use 10 percent as a metric. But if you are getting, like, an absurd amount of calls per month, even 10 percent could be a red flag.
Jeremy Tissot (09:30):
Maria Monroy (09:31):
So 10 percent tends to be, like, the average, just because of people that call and hang up and bots and whatever. But it also has to do with how much your volume is. So sometimes it’s really more 5 percent max, and it just really depends.
Jeremy Tissot (09:45):
Why is that happening? Like if it’s a — if you know that this is coming from a source.
Maria Monroy (09:49):
So I don’t think they know. I think that they have so many calls coming in that either the intake specialists are on the phone so that call gets missed.
Jeremy Tissot (09:57):
Maria Monroy (09:58):
Uh, and even if they’re calling back, if you’re — If we talk about cold leads, right? Like, you’re talking about a warm lead. So an attorney referral is a very warm lead. If we talk about a cold lead, that means that they’re just going through Google and going down one by one.
Jeremy Tissot (10:11):
Yeah, I got it.
Maria Monroy (10:12):
So if you don’t pick up the phone and they call the next person, and the next person has a great intake and they close them on one call, you lost that lead. So it’s either they don’t — Their team isn’t trained correctly, they don’t have a big enough intake, um, and nobody’s watching. So if no one’s paying attention — I mean I’ve heard calls where, literally, the person will tell them what happened, and you can tell that the intake specialist is disengaged, and they’re like “Uh-huh. Mm-hmm. .” Like, they’re obviously working on something else, and then the intake specialist will ask them a question. But they’ve already answered that question.
Jeremy Tissot (10:47):
Yeah. Well this is the type of stuff that, like, I literally, I think about laying in bed. It keeps me awake at night sometimes.
Maria Monroy (10:52):
It should keep you awake at night.
Jeremy Tissot (10:52):
Because I’m like, “What?” Yeah, I thought — And again to the idea of are these mixed together or are they coming from different — So, like —
Maria Monroy (11:01):
They’re mixed together.
Jeremy Tissot (11:02):
Maria Monroy (11:03):
I think what I —
Jeremy Tissot (11:03):
You don’t know which one it is.
Maria Monroy (11:04):
I think what you’re asking is, like, where did the call originate? Right?
Jeremy Tissot (11:07):
Right. And I realize that you’re saying that there’s a bunch of cold calls that could be — They’re not the least bit screened, versus, like, a warm referral. But you don’t know. Some of these operations are sophisticated, supposedly, right? But they don’t — you don’t know which is which.
Maria Monroy (11:22):
I mean you can, you can track to some extent. You can track what number they dialed. So you know that if they dialed your main number, it wasn’t coming — It’s probably not as cold, right? But it could be cold, because it could be branded. So somebody saw a billboard, they Googled the brand, and then they called whatever first phone number. But even that would probably be tracked. So it, it gets really complicated, especially with firms that do different things.
Jeremy Tissot (11:49):
Maria Monroy (11:50):
Right? Like, they have one phone number on the billboard, but then they have tracking numbers on the website, and they have a tracking number on the GMB. It gets complicated.
Jeremy Tissot (11:57):
But even at a baseline level, like what I was saying, to not — if people — I guess they don’t want their firms to grow, and I guess maybe there was a time where — I just feel like I’ve never really sat around and felt like I’m not going to be busy. And it’s not like I don’t sit up at night sometimes thinking, like, “I need to have this amount of growth, ’cause I’m at that point.” Like, I’m still excited about what I do, right?
Maria Monroy (12:20):
I don’t think that that’s the issue, though. I think it’s just they don’t know they’re busy. They haven’t put eyes on it.
Jeremy Tissot (12:25):
Maria Monroy (12:26):
I mean it just really depends. There are firms that they’ve monitor that shit daily.
Jeremy Tissot (12:28):
Maria Monroy (12:29):
That’s how it should be.
Jeremy Tissot (12:30):
Right. And I just think if they’re getting cases and they’re profitable, they might not look at that for a while, right? Or —
Maria Monroy (12:38):
Definitely. I think there’s a spot that gets hit where they feel like everything’s working, and they’re not thinking, “Oh where could I have a miss?” I mean that could definitely be part of it. I just think it’s a ha— it has to be a habit. I mean, it’s like any other business. It’s sales, and that sales component needs to have attention and quotas and all of that stuff.
Jeremy Tissot (13:01):
Right. Okay. Here’s an example. I had a — I really don’t do this. I had a pretty bad sex assault case, right? It was, like, a ch— school sex assault case. Uh, it was, like, may have been one of the — I had a few of these, like, civil rape cases, okay? And I’d handled some of the — somewhat in my back— I’d done enough of, like, serious PI and other types of things, especially at my old firm, to be able to handle a case like that. But I’m not the specialist in that now. And I know enough to know that, that even with X amount of jury trials and 5,000 depositions behind me and knowing how to litigate the hell out of things, I’m not so — I’m humble enough to know that, like, I should talk to somebody about that case. Like, while I could litigate that better than a lot of people — And I was amazed that I made phone calls to, like, four or five people or — and then someone else did from my office, and there were, like, three of the biggest, I would say, school sex assault lawyers — There’s few of them in LA.
Jeremy Tissot (13:59):
And so I literally was amazed that I think, like, two or three of four didn’t even call me back on this case. And it was a media case. So I got some media attention off it. I ended up working with a pretty well-known, uh, basically, like, civil sex assault lawyer and just a really good lawyer. It was, it was a semi-employment case, too, ’cause it happened, like, at a very high-profile defendant’s, entertainment company’s, place of employment, and it was a good case to work on, right? A sad case, but a good case to work on for business and money. And they didn’t return my call.
Maria Monroy (14:35):
And you called them personally or —
Jeremy Tissot (14:36):
I, I call— Well, I mean I didn’t know them personally at the time. My name wasn’t as — I mean I was — I’ve always had pretty good degree of financial success, but I wasn’t as well known. And so maybe that didn’t — That helped. That’s what’s silly about it, right? But you — I don’t want to want to get too close to identifying who it was, but it was a pretty well-known in that field firm that is very financially successful, okay? Like, I mean has — You know, some of these firms say, “I’ve made a billion dollars.” Like you can tell that they’ve made half a billion dollars in settlements. ‘Cause I know some of their cases, and they did not return the phone call, whether it’s from me, who, at that time, wasn’t, like, a big name attorney or from my — an outgoing person — like, from my associate. You’ve got to return that call in some way.
Maria Monroy (15:19):
Oh, okay. Okay.
Jeremy Tissot (15:20):
I then went down to the fifth, or the fourth one, who wasn’t a bad lawyer at all, and they all lost out in that case. So I’m not alerting them to this, but I, I think what we’re trying to get to is don’t be that person, right?
Maria Monroy (15:30):
Yeah. Like, have better intake. But let’s go back. You mentioned that you think PI is going to change drastically in the next five years. And I hear this a lot from a lot of people. Why do you think it’s going to change?
Jeremy Tissot (15:42):
Yeah, I’d hate to be — I thought this is a topic that it’s important to talk about, and I know you’ve had a lot of amazing guests on here and talked about so many other things. So Maria, I think this is a sensitive topic, because I don’t again want to hold myself as an expert on this, and I also feel like people think that you’re going to be, like, a naysayer or, like, you know, Donny downer.
Maria Monroy (16:05):
So tell me what, what’s happening.
Jeremy Tissot (16:07):
I, I, I don’t think it’s negativity.
Maria Monroy (16:08):
Jeremy Tissot (16:09):
I, I think it’s just awareness of the fact that there — We’ve been doing this for a long time in a lot of the same ways, and I think this industry has changed more in three years than it has in the twenty years that I’ve been doing it. And so —
Maria Monroy (16:24):
Jeremy Tissot (16:25):
I think that the saturation of the market, the com— the complexity of the advertising and marketing that we see. I think that when you see some of the, some of what’s out there, uh, some of the media, it’s easy for the insurance companies. The insurance companies are eventually going to bring in a campaign, okay?
Maria Monroy (16:46):
Jeremy Tissot (16:46):
Right? Yeah. And, and so, again, dating myself, but there were these terrible 200s that went on, that’s the last time that they ever attempted to do this. And the only one they got through — a lot of them said things like, “Basically we— we’re seeing this.” And again, not an expert in this, but I try to keep up on this, ’cause it’s really important, right? Otherwise, I may be, like, selling real estate with other people.
Maria Monroy (17:08):
I’m sure you’d be great at it.
Jeremy Tissot (17:10):
Thank you. Do you know anybody?
Maria Monroy (17:12):
We’ll talk after.
Jeremy Tissot (17:14):
Okay. So it’s the Florida, you know the Florida thing. I don’t know enough about the details to know how drastic that is in terms of the tort reform. I think it’s really ironic that’s happening in a state that’s, like, kind of a reddish state now, right?
Maria Monroy (17:28):
Yeah, no, no it is. Um, uh, I, I’ve heard such mixed things. Like, some people are like, “It’s the end of PI in Florida,” and we have a ton of clients in Florida.
Jeremy Tissot (17:37):
Maria Monroy (17:38):
Out of every state, we have the most clients in Florida.
Jeremy Tissot (17:41):
Maria Monroy (17:42):
And I have other lawyers that say it’s really not that big of a deal.
Jeremy Tissot (17:46):
Maria Monroy (17:47):
Like it really wasn’t anything catastrophic.
Jeremy Tissot (17:49):
Maria Monroy (17:50):
Obviously, definitely not my area of expertise. I’d argue it’s much more yours. But I hear conflicting —
Jeremy Tissot (17:55):
Yeah. I just think it’s a, it’s a broader thing that, to not be aware of it, there are — So I had several of the larger firm owners, plaintiff firm owners come to me because I had a — At this point I have a circle of what I think are pretty influential people in the business. And so maybe ten, five years ago I just wouldn’t have been aware of it. But I was aware of how much fear they had, and they’re not, like, dying or anything, but, but this idea of what could happen here. And I do think that yes, really good lawyering and, really, innovation will always exist, and I want it to exist. So I think some of these lawyers that I know, you know, that run some of the bigger firms, at least in LA or California, they’re going to get ahead of it and, but some people won’t get ahead of it. And there — and there will be consolidation, okay?
Maria Monroy (18:39):
So what can people do?
Jeremy Tissot (18:41):
I think what people can do is ask questions and want to be able — I, I’m amazed at how many people — and again I’m probably reprimanding here — But, like, for instance, CAOC, okay? Really important organization. There are some others that do this, but they’re kind of the ones — the reason why, that we still are able to help people with no money and no resources to access justice, because we can represent them on a contingency fee. I just think that being, being involved — I’m amazed when I hire new attorneys, and they seem to know more about personal injury than I knew about when I was in law school. ‘Cause I had no idea what I wanted to do. I, like, quite honestly was like, “I just really want a job and be able to, like, like ,maybe buy like a car.” I didn’t, I just — But then now, people come out, and they’re sort of, like, a little trained in in PI because they have, like, some influences that are good from law school.
Jeremy Tissot (19:35):
So they come out with this idea that, like, maybe this is the easiest way to make money. Uh, I don’t know what the reason is. Um, but for me, I really — I just think it’s important to maybe not be in just one area. So I just wish that people would think about maybe learning other things other than that amount of people that just seem so set on one thing. I can’t imagine that coming out of law school. And yes, it is good to specialize, right?
Maria Monroy (20:02):
Jeremy Tissot (20:03):
I have a really hard time finding, like I was telling you, finding, like, family lawyers to refer to. Why it’s that is a lot of — I mean if, if you’re about money or helping people, it, I — Isn’t that helping people? I mean, yes, it’s a, could be a really ugly area to be in, and, and I understand that. So can, like, walking into hospitals and seeing, like, what, what I have to see, and it’s not — And some of the things you have to present and some of the — The fact that most of my clients, since I do brain injury cases, have mental illness and can be very difficult to deal with.
Jeremy Tissot (20:33):
So I don’t know if that many people realize that, that are coming out of law school. I have a, a connection with, with mental illness to begin with. Um, I’ve experienced some of it in my family and among friends, and that’s why some of the charity efforts I do are based in that area, because it’s just — It, it, it connects to two different things. It connects to, like — I think it’s one of the biggest problems that we have in society. I know everybody says that.
Maria Monroy (20:54):
Jeremy Tissot (20:54):
I mean I just think it’s incredibly important. It has a huge stigma on it. It’s still stigmatized. I’m sure it is among, among women. But I just know when I have male clients, this is a really sad thing. Men clients, it’s very hard to bring out the mental health part of it. So I think that the hardest thing to deal with that people may not recognize is that I always thought the whole thing about doing, like, TBI cases — and many people that are listening to this I’m sure have either dabbled in it or have been really successful at it. But one of the things you don’t really realize is that you are dealing with a different type of client. So for instance, there’s a lot of advice about, “Why don’t you go out and meet your client and go to their house and have dinner and be their best friend?”
Jeremy Tissot (21:38):
Okay. I think that that is — It works for some, because if you are a lawyer who has had tremendous success and can pick their cases and maybe has a team that can help line that up, and then you go over under ideal circumstances — But I can’t very often just call up my client and, like, be their best friend and go over their house and get to know them that well. ‘Cause they don’t even want me in their house, okay? And sometimes they don’t want to talk to me, because they are facing mental illness struggles that are really from the TBI and may have been underlying. I didn’t realize how severe that was until I started working in this field and really going in depth in it. I’m not a — I’m not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or mental healthcare provider. The most important thing is I work with a team of people, physicians, uh, and therapists and other professionals.
Jeremy Tissot (22:29):
I get the best that I can for my clients. So if I have to go out of state, I will go out of state to bring an expert in. I will send them anywhere — it doesn’t need to be in California — to get results because it is — I think the, the mo— the thing that hurt me the most was when I went to some of my male clients — and I’m not saying it’s not females, but I feel like women sometimes will be a little more forward about this type of thing, ’cause they can talk among them themselves. And I think men, it’s more of maybe a macho stigma thing that they just won’t tell you about their, their depression, their anxiety, um, those type of things.
Maria Monroy (23:05):
I live with anxiety. I’ve said it a million times.
Jeremy Tissot (23:08):
‘Cause of this podcast with me?
Maria Monroy (23:09):
No, in general I’m super high anxiety, but I’m, I’m a high functioning. I, I’m high functioning, so people would never — People are like, “What? You have anxiety?” I’m like, “All the time.” If I let my anxiety — So I’m agreeing with you. I’m, like, super, what, everybody knows.
Jeremy Tissot (23:26):
Yeah, but I just thought about that like, yeah. So for you, for someone who wants to keep having that energy, I’m sure that can work and can be, can motivate you. There’s, like, a symptom list that we use, or it’s an intake — a, a separate intake questionnaire that’s supposed —
Maria Monroy (23:41):
Okay, let’s do it with me. Go. Just kidding.
Jeremy Tissot (23:43):
. Okay. That would take a really long getting time. You check all these boxes and put a big star. Maybe I could do that beforehand. Say, so you don’t want to — It’s never, like, a leading question, right? And the interesting thing about it is, which I think the — One of the most interesting things about TBI cases or mental health injury is that you’re not aware of it yourself. Just like I’m not aware, like, that I’m doing this little motion with my hand here.
Maria Monroy (24:09):
So maybe that’s why your male clients aren’t telling you about it. What if they’re not aware?
Jeremy Tissot (24:15):
I think that that is sometimes a factor, but in this instance it wasn’t. And here’s here’s why. People can tell you, you know, “I have back pain,” right? And, and then the, and then the insurance company goes, “Bullshit. That’s not back pain. You know, everybody has that,” and you have to do that fight with the objective and the subjective. But it is, it’s harder to quantify it on a, on a brain injury case that we, that is, doesn’t have these certain symptoms that I won’t get into or what we call “objective.” The list is so long that you do wonder if it’s going to be like, “Is this going to, is this going to be something where it’s going to cause people to start thinking, you know, hypochondria type thing?”
Maria Monroy (24:50):
I know that’s what I — I feel like I’m irritable.
Jeremy Tissot (24:52):
Here’s how, here’s —
Maria Monroy (24:53):
I’m irritable irritable right now.
Jeremy Tissot (24:55):
Yeah. Yeah. So I get, so I have, I have a list. I think I once said this at a summit I was speaking at, there was a, a neurosurgeon in the back. I think neurosurgeons are actually the most high— correct me, I could be correct wrong — but actually in terms of education, training, and residency the highest. Anyway, so when you’re talking to those people, like, as a lawyer who supposedly knows brain injury, I like to know my stuff really well or I don’t go out of my box. So this person’s listening, and I’m telling her that I have like a thirty-five-page symptom checklist, right? And so she raised her hand, she goes, “I want to see that checklist.”
Maria Monroy (25:26):
I want to see it! Will you send it to me?
Jeremy Tissot (25:28):
So now I give them, like — This is what we do, and this is not a funny, but it is funny, because what you really do — and most good brain injury lawyers know this — is you don’t put your plaintiff on the stand to talk about how bad life is or complain.
Maria Monroy (25:41):
Jeremy Tissot (25:42):
Because, well it just has shown up in, from jury, from from jury investigation and from results of talking with jurors and all that background that goes on, it tends to be that the jury — And, and certain people can be hard, like, like, a woman on a woman for — A lot of this research will show that.
Maria Monroy (26:01):
Yeah, I’ve heard this before.
Jeremy Tissot (26:01):
Yeah. Right. So, uh, so let’s just — From the investigation, it shows that the plaintiff going up there even crying and all that doesn’t have the impact you think. And so this is a more sophisticated —
Maria Monroy (26:10):
So we have, like, no empathy. It’s kind of sad. No?
Jeremy Tissot (26:13):
You do. If someone else, other than the person who’s getting the money tells that story. And so if —
Maria Monroy (26:17):
Jeremy Tissot (26:18):
If your husband was to tell that story — Maybe I don’t think he would do that for you though, right?
Maria Monroy (26:26):
Jeremy Tissot (26:27):
I don’t think he would. I know him.
Maria Monroy (26:29):
He totally would.
Jeremy Tissot (26:30):
He’d like, “I’m not going to help you get that money.”
Maria Monroy (26:33):
No, it’s half his money! He’d be stupid not to.
Jeremy Tissot (26:35):
Yeah. So you kind of need like a, you can use a — So what we would normally do is you’d put up, you’d try to use, like, a spouse, but you, you would also use, like, maybe a best friend, maybe, like, someone that you work with, a coworker. But, but the, the bottom line was that that symptom checklist is way, is way — It, it, it gives you more insight when it’s not from the plaintiff. So I had people who just, like, don’t check off any of the boxes and they — I know that you’re that person who ha— You don’t have any, like, no anxiety, depression, irritability, agitation, all these things? That’s huge list, aside from the headaches and the dizziness and all that, right? You have none of this? And, of course, give that to your husband, okay? So we have the checklist to the husband, right? And the checklist for the coworker —
Maria Monroy (27:17):
Oh god, I’d be screwed.
Jeremy Tissot (27:18):
Of course that comes, that comes back with tons of stuff. And in some ways, I’m like, “This sounds really bad.” I’m not “Hooray, ’cause it’s, like, ’cause it’s, like, going to be a better case for me.” I’m like, “Hooray that I finally found this out,” right? Because I know, I kind of know what’s going on. Like, it’s not — ‘Cause I know that they got hit by something that probably caused them damage, but when it’s, like — It’s much easier for someone to say, “My back hurts,” or to see the x-ray or the MRI, right? But, and yes, I will have clients that will be really up front and say, like, you know — They write a journal, and then I talk to the husband, and they’re like, “Jeremy, my wife is, like, you know, she’s, like, really hard to be with now.” And I’m like, “I don’t know what it was like before.” So then I asked, “Do you have, like, a third person that you can — Your, like, the best friend?” And the best friend’s like “She’s, like, a total bitch now,” you know? So that’s it. I have to go, like, the third person to find out because, you know, the husband doesn’t want to say sometimes, right? Doesn’t want to say, like, “My wife’s really difficult,” but it’s, it’s crazy ‘cause —
Maria Monroy (28:17):
Get Mariano on, he’s going to be like, “Maria had a TBI. I didn’t know about it.”
Jeremy Tissot (28:21):
That’s why we always have to find, like, the person who is going to be willing to be honest on the, on the form. And maybe I don’t need — You don’t need to see the form either.
Maria Monroy (28:29):
Wow. I feel attacked for some odd reason.
Jeremy Tissot (28:32):
Yeah. So I, I just think that the, and, and — So, so what, what it was for, like, it could be, it’s just for different people. It could be a man, men or women. Some just don’t want to talk about that type of stuff. It’s still stigmatized, and I think —
Maria Monroy (28:45):
It is very much so it, even though I think it’s getting so much better.
Jeremy Tissot (28:48):
I just, I, it’s harder stuff that I thought it would be to do, because I don’t really like to pry into — It’s so much — It was so much easier. I had a boss once that said to me — really good trial lawyer, tried cases against all the big guys, would ace them out. Just said “Jeremy, it’s just blood and guts.” We don’t want to do, like, family law and all family law, you know — I’m not saying it — There’s a lot of good aspects. It’s an area that needs to be done. I’ve handled very little of it, so I’m not going to tell you about it, but the little I’ve touched into it, it can be really ugly, right?
Maria Monroy (29:17):
Oh my god, are you kidding me?
Jeremy Tissot (29:19):
You’re accusing your spouse of, like, child abuse, all these things.
Maria Monroy (29:20):
Absolutely. It’s awful.
Jeremy Tissot (29:21):
Yeah. And I’m not saying we don’t see — We see horrible things, too. I’ve had clients that have, you know, been mentally ill and come in the office and threatening my staff because, because they’re, because they’re, they have, like, terrible depression or suicidal thoughts or things like that. So it’s, you know, it’s in all fields of law. There’s going to be things like that and, and I, you — We accept the challenge. But there’s areas I just don’t want to go into. Right? I don’t, I don’t want to do those things. But I, I think that, I mean, I don’t know how you feel about — Do you feel — We talked about things like market saturation. I just feel like I’d like to have better lawyers in other areas to refer to. What do you do with all your calls that you get that are outside your area of practice?
Maria Monroy (30:04):
I mean, they should be referred out. I mean, I don’t know. We work with — I think our clients are amazing.
Jeremy Tissot (30:10):
Maria Monroy (30:11):
And they’re primarily trial lawyers. So. And if you need a family lawyer in LA, I can find you one.
Jeremy Tissot (30:16):
I think I, we can maintain a pretty good referral network. Like I said, like, if I think someone can help me, now more than ever, even where I’m at, I want to ask for help if I don’t, if I don’t think I’m doing the best service for my client. Like, I will bring somebody in who maybe has, like, a little more expertise than me about this newer area — In the, in brain injury cases, more than anything, that technology is changing.
Maria Monroy (30:42):
Tell me if I’m getting this correctly. You’re just saying there’s a lot of lawyers now, and some specialize in different things. So when you get a case that you, that is not your specialty, ask for help.
Jeremy Tissot (30:53):
Yeah. And more than that, when — If you’re a personal injury lawyer and you have worked really hard, and I don’t doubt that you do, and you’re not — I’m not saying that people are out there trying to do things that they don’t know how to do. But I think really what this came, comes down to — I know we’ve had some fun here, but I think it’s just the idea that, like I said, five years ago, after fifteen years, I thought I knew almost everything I needed to know. Let’s say about say spine cases or most of personal injury. And then I had a few other areas and I thought, “Okay, I’m okay on that. You know, I could, I know more than most people,” okay? But I think for brain injury, for example, like, please reach out for help, because first of all, people are using technology sometimes that are not admissible in court that they’re being told to use, or certain testings we— were being — It’s, there’s a lot of money potentially in objective and subjective testing and brain injury.
Maria Monroy (31:50):
Well, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
Jeremy Tissot (31:54):
I just want to say that I’m in this suite, beautiful Las Vegas, and I appreciate — I know you’ve had a lot of great guests on here, and I’ve listened to — I think you’ve done a deeper dive than some other people have on a lot of different areas and specific things. So I really appreciate you having me on, and I look forward to the next time.
Maria Monroy (32:11):
Me too. Thank you. Thank you so much to Jeremy Tissot for everything he shared with us today. If you found this story valuable, please share it with someone you want to see succeed, and subscribe so you never miss an episode. Also, I don’t know if you guys know this, but on Spotify, there is a video component now, and we also have a YouTube channel.