Matt Trollinger is a fellow personal injury attorney who most recently tried a contested liability case in Carroll County (known to be a tough venue for plaintiffs) and got a $575,000 verdict. Watching him grow as a solo practitioner has been really encouraging to me, especially since I knew him back when he was a brand-new associate at a small Prince George’s County firm. Along with his family and one year-old firm, he also juggles leadership roles in the MSBA and Maryland Association for Justice. Matt is a great role model for young litigators.
I recently celebrated a year of starting my own practice in Waldorf. Trollinger Law helps people that are hurt on the job or in a car accident. From police officers and firefighters to nurses and teachers, I’m happy to guide my clients from injury through their recovery.
The idea of starting my own practice was something I thought was a far-off dream, something a million miles (or even years) away. Thankfully, relationships jump-started my dream to have a greater impact on my community than I had been able to as an associate.
One of the biggest reasons I was able to venture out on my own is because I reconnected with a friend from high school on Facebook. She was involved in a collision in Frederick County and needed advice after her and her children were hurt. So I represented her and her family. The insurance company was not fair with them during the negotiation stage but we didn’t back down and filed suit. Just before trial, I worked out a fair settlement for her and her family. My friend then began to refer people she knew needed help with their car-crash cases.
These new clients began to refer their friends and family, too. Over the year-and-a-half, I had just enough cases to start building for the future and I started my own practice.
The amount of professional courtesy extended to me in this past year was incredible. From referrals of workers’ compensation and personal injury cases, to advice on circuit court trials, to an office to begin the growth of my firm, I found out how generous attorneys who have already gone down this path can be. But the majority of those people willing to share their wisdom and resources were attorneys and firms that I have had the privilege of getting to know for many years. Volunteering with and actively participating in the MSBA, my local Charles County bar and the Maryland Association of Justice was probably the biggest difference between success and failure in year one of my practice.
One of the pleasant surprises in the past year was the ability to impact others like never before. To be able, as a business owner, to support causes in the community that make a difference is invigorating. To think of the lives my practice may help in the next five, 10 or 20 years through excellent representation and philanthropy motivates me when times are tough.
I’ve learned over the past year that there is no way I could have started this next phase of my career without the support of others in the legal community. My advice to anyone thinking of starting their own practice in the future is to be kind to others along the way, work hard at being the best attorney your clients will ever have and always keep your eyes on the future.