Drake Buckman, Personal Injury & Estate Planning Attorney
When I'm asked why I became a lawyer, I always think about my father. He was an attorney in Jacksonville in the 1960s and 1970s, involved in some of the most important issues of the time: The desegregation of the Duval County Schools, the consolidation of the City of Jacksonville, and the Establishment of the Legal Aid Society. But he died very young, when I was only 3 years old. As a teenager, I did what I could to get to know my father better. I read about the landmark cases he worked on, learned about the battles he fought for his clients, and the social issues that he grappled with. I found myself inspired and committed to the ideas that defined his professional life: Justice, ethics, and standing up for the rights of others.
Every day I'm awed at the strength of our clients in the face of adversity. Not long ago, we represented a man with Lou Gehrig's disease who was hurt in an accident. His disease made it impossible for him to walk, speak, swallow or move any muscle in his body. He used his left eye to control a computer-generated voice machine. During the case, the opposing attorney grilled him during the deposition while he laid in his hospital bed. Our client answered all of the questions by blinking into his computer letter by letter. His answers were incredibly detailed and extremely eloquent. He was exhausted after every question, but determined to give his testimony and have his "voice" heard. It was the bravest thing we've ever seen in our practice.
Sometimes words are not enough. It's my job to help people tell their story about how an accident shattered their life. In one case, we did something a bit unorthodox. We had a video crew follow our client around day after day while she drove to doctor's appointments and waited; while she juggled the demands of work, life, and raising children. It gave the jury an emotional snapshot of the frustration, pain, and challenges this woman had to face because of someone else's mistake. The video was immediately effective and is now a tool we use often to help our clients have a stronger voice in court.
There is an old saying that cross-examination is the greatest truth-finding machine ever devised by man, and I agree. That is why I truly enjoy jury trials. It is one of my greatest strengths as an attorney. I relish those moments in a trial when cross-examining a witnesses reveals the truth, at last. When my client's case is completely and utterly understood by the jury, and their story is finally told in full. I think I get that from my dad and I hope that it would make him proud. My father inspired me to became a lawyer. Now, as a father of three, I'm passing the same values on to my own children that my dad taught me through his legacy.
- Stetson College of Law, J.D.
- Florida State University, B.A.
MEMBERSHIPS and ASSOCIATIONS
- Florida Bar Association
- Sarasota County Bar Association
- Florida Bar Client Security Trust Fun Committee
- Florida State Court
- United States District Court (Middle District of Florida)
- 11th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals