From To Kill a Mockingbird to A Few Good Men, the most thrilling moments of a legal drama happen in a tense courtroom, as the major characters passionately argue their side of the case.
While riveting cross-examinations or harrowing closing arguments make for good entertainment, John Gagliardi knows the real magic happens in the weeks, months, or even years spent preparing for trial and strategizing on how to best argue a case.
And although his father – an accomplished lawyer in his own right – tried to dissuade John and his siblings from pursuing a career in the industry, he developed a passion for the intellectual challenges that attorneys face throughout the trial and preparation process.
This passion dates to his time at the University of Washington School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctorate and served as the notes and comments editor for the nationally respected Washington Law Review.
After more than 15 years as a defense attorney representing individuals and organizations within the healthcare sector – and earning several professional accolades along the way – John found that he was more interested in advocating for plaintiffs and gained an opportunity to join our team in 2010.
Working alongside other trial veterans, he now uses his unique experience and perspective as a former defense lawyer to advocate for clients in medical malpractice and other significant personal injury cases.
Learn more about John and his career accomplishments below.
When did you decide you wanted to be an attorney?
JG: My dad was an attorney, but he actually discouraged his children from becoming lawyers because he thought the industry had become too cutthroat. So with that in mind, I majored in business administration in college and worked in banking and doing construction jobs as I tried to determine what kind of career I wanted to pursue.
I quickly realized that for a career, I was much more suited to using my brain rather than my body, and one of the things that I liked about the legal profession was that it would be intellectually challenging and rewarding. I knew I’d be doing something different every day, and I’d stay engaged because each case requires a different set of strategies and skills to achieve a positive outcome.
You joined Luvera Law Firm in 2010 and are a key member of the team – what interested you about joining the firm?
JG: I had gone against Luvera Law Firm as a defense attorney, so I knew from experience that they had an outstanding team of lawyers. I was also aware of Paul Luvera’s reputation as one of the top personal injury and trial attorneys in the country. One day they called and said they were looking to add to the firm, and I jumped at the chance to not only work with such a fantastic team of attorneys, but to also do good things for people in need. The chance to help real people, as opposed to corporations and insurance companies, was particularly appealing.
Earlier in your career, you represented healthcare providers in medical malpractice litigation. Now you’re advocating for plaintiffs in similar cases. What’s it like being on the other side of the courtroom, and how do your earlier experiences inform your work today?
JG: Moving over to the plaintiff’s side presented an entirely new challenge because you have the burden of proof – you must prove to a jury that the defendant is more probably than not responsible for the harm caused to your clients. As a defense lawyer, you can just poke holes in the plaintiff’s case and sit back and tell a jury that the plaintiff did not meet their burden of proof. But plaintiff’s attorneys must create a compelling story to support their clients’ claims and try to outline a clear and simple case to convince a jury or judge to rule in their favor.
I think my experience of having worked on the other side for more than 15 years gives me an advantage now as a plaintiff’s lawyer. I understand how defense lawyers and their insurance company clients think, and I can use my experience to address and nullify their arguments and tactics both pre-trial and in trial.
Thinking about your career so far – what are you the most proud of?
JG: I get the most satisfaction when we’re able to achieve a good outcome in cases that involve injured children or infants. These are truly innocent plaintiffs, and as a parent myself, I understand that nothing is worse than when your child is suffering. I’ve found that parents often don’t know what to expect when they come to us, and being able to help families navigate through this process to earn a successful outcome gives me the most professional and personal gratification.
Luvera Law Firm has always had a strong focus on supporting and advocating for families with injured children, and I’m proud that I’ve helped continue leading this charge during my time here.
What’s one piece of advice you want to share with new attorneys?
JG: It’s essential that young lawyers be willing to work hard – always be dedicated to your clients and to becoming a better lawyer. There is no substitute for digging in and learning the ins and outs of every case you are responsible for or for taking the time to improve your craft. But it’s also very important to make time for yourself and your family. With modern technology, you’re basically available 24/7 for work, but you also need to disconnect and spend time with loved ones or pursue personal interests.
Speaking of personal interests, what do you like to do outside of work?
JG: I have three children that are all teenagers now, so they keep me very busy running around to their school or sporting events or other activities. We are a family of readers, so I like to fit in a good book when I can – I particularly enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy to relax.
My whole family loves going to watch movies at the theater; it’s hard to beat watching a movie on the big screen with the great sound! I am mostly a fan of thriller and action movies for their pure entertainment value, but my wife likes romantic comedies and dramas, so we see a lot of those, as well (don’t tell my wife, but I enjoy those too). My kids and I love Marvel and other superhero movies, and we are really looking forward to seeing the final Avengers movie coming up.
If you would like to learn more about John or our other attorneys, please visit the attorney profile page on our website.