I was born in October of 1950, when my father, a highly decorated Air Force officer, was flying over North Korea. Mom, like so many of spouses of service people at the front was the only parent, until Dad would return home from the front.
No one in our family had ever gone to college before me, including my dad. Dad progressed to the rank of Captain, with his high school degree. Out of his desire to secure a future for his family, born out of his childhood experiences during the Great Depression, he was destined to succeed.
Dad brought us up with the discipline of a military family. We respected hard work, and we were expected to work hard. Like so many children of my age at the time, as soon as I was old enough to mow lawns and deliver newspapers, as I recall, in my late pre-teens, I was working outside of home. And in addition to any outside jobs I had, every day, as the eldest child, Dad left me a written list of work around the house for that day. As both parents worked out of the home, it was my job to also work within the home.
The above story is not a sad commentary of my early life, but perhaps describes why I have worked so hard to represent my clients. I simply do not know any other way to work other than to work hard. When I have a case going to trial, that simply means working at home at night and at the office on the weekends. Even when I chose to step down as the president and overall manager of Calbom and Schwab, PSC, now the Calbom & Schwab Law Group, I have, for the last three years, worked 6 days a week, often 10 plus hours. I continue as group manager and trial attorney of the personal injury section of the law firm.
I really started my legal career in 1977 as a personal injury defense trial attorney for Safeco Insurance Company at its national headquarters in Seattle. I left Safeco to join John Calbom in January of 1979 in Moses Lake. It was a bit of change in careers as we did little personal injury work at the John Calbom Law Firm. Our focus was on workers compensation and social security disability claims. I tried many workers compensation cases before juries when I was not trying cases before the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.
I took the law firm over in the mid 1980s. In the late 1980s, I started the office down a pioneering trail of paperless operations. As the technology improved so that we were more mobile, I used the electronic access to documents, via the early internet, to open several successive offices in eastern Washington. Today, we are fully paperless. We do much of our work via Zoom, a bonus to our clients all over the state of Washington. Our primary offices are Moses Lake, Wenatchee, and the Tri-Cities area. We also have an office arrangement in Seattle. We in fact serve all of Washington state. As of the last few years, I litigate as many cases in western Washington as in eastern Washington.
As time marched on, I wanted to do more of the jury trial work I had started with Safeco. I had worked the defense side of litigation, so why not move to the plaintiff’s side, representing the people against insurers and large companies who caused them injuries. Today, while I supervise one paralegal that does L&I work, I spend 98% of my time working on cases representing those wrongfully injured or killed by dangerous truckers and bad products that burn, kill, or otherwise maim people. I also do injury litigation involving auto accidents and premises injuries and other areas. You might say the pendulum has returned to my beginnings as a trial attorney in the late 1970s.
People ask me, when are you going to retire. Well, my wife, who fortunately loves me dearly, still does not want me around the home that much, and you can only play golf so much at 70 years of age before the body aches too much. As I say to those that ask me when are you going to retire, I, in response ask them, what hobby do you have that you enjoy for hours on end? Then I ask them, how does that hobby help people? Like so many doctors that I know, even when they retire, they do not retire, they just replace the old job with a new job helping people. Perhaps the new job by the senior professionals has a little more freedom in regard to their having to be at the office every minute, but like doctors, the new job allows me to learn, remain vibrant and to continue to help people.
The success of our team lifts people up from economic and physical difficulties. As a recent example, this year I continue to represent a badly brain damage young person even after his case has settled. Brain damage cases are an unfortunate injury to many of my clients. But with his financial recovery brought about by so many depositions, days and days of developing the case with experts, and long and tough mediations, we were able to recover sufficient funds to supplement his other income resources that had been inadequate before we represented him. We believe that that client should never want again for the simple things in life that had been so out of his reach. Now he will have a place to live where the caregivers will truly care for him. He will never again get hand-me-down powered mobility devices that constantly fail. He will be able to get additional therapy that was not being provided to him to strengthen his body. We have raised the quality of his life immensely. This is my wonderful role I get to play today for my clients, helping people.
You cannot have a better lifestyle than mine. Every day I work on cases that will lift people up financially to meet many of their care needs. Seriously disabled people are so often denied needed services because of medical insurance coverage limitations. We are that service that fills the gaping hole of needs that would remain unfulfilled if we were not successful in representing our clients.
- Puente v. Resources Conservation Company, Division One, Court of Appeals, Filed October 22, 2018
- Hadley v. Maxwell, 144wn 2d 306 (27 P.3d 600)
- Hadley v. Maxwell, 84 P.3d 286 (120 Wash .App. 137)
- Romo v. DLI, 962 P.2d 844
- DLI (Department of Labor & Industries) v. Freeman, 940 P.2d 304 Garcia DCI 939 P.2nd 704.
- Stucky v. DLI, 916 P.2d 399
- Stucky v. DLI, 867 P.2nd 1289
- Garcia v. Department of Labor & Industries of State of Wash., 86 Wash.App. 748, 939 P.2d 704 (Wash.App. Div. 3 1997)
- In Re: JOE DELGADO, 1990 WL 263650 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1990)
- In Re: OREON A. JONES, 1990 WL 255027 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1990)
- In Re: LINDA A. CULP, 1988 WL 169336 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1988)
- In Re: RALPH W. GREEN, 1987 WL 61393 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1987)
- In Re: VERNON M. HURLEY, DEC’D., 1988 WL 236587 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1988)
- In Re: LOWERN F. HUSSEY, 1988 WL 169306 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1988)
- In Re: LOUISE D. HOWERTON, 1987 WL 61363 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1987)
- In Re: DEAN L. HOCKETT, 1987 WL 61344 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1987)
- In Re: MARSHALL L. STUCKEY, 1989 WL 159780 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1989)
- In Re: BARBARA VEDEN, 1988 WL 169342 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1988)
- RONALD E. COWELL, DEC’D., 1984 WL 547156 (Wash.Bd.Ind.Ins.App. 1984)
- Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals