In the NBTA spotlight this week is member Joshua Weisberg of Rapoport Law Offices in Chicago. NBTA certified in civil trial law, Josh has chosen to dedicate his career solely to representing those harmed by the negligence of others in order to help obtain justice for those who have been wronged, and to help make the community safer by enforcing public safety standards. His most recent trial verdicts include a record setting medical malpractice wrongful verdict in DeKalb County, Illinois, and a record setting verdict as lead trial attorney in Dupage County, Illinois. Welcome to the spotlight, Josh.

Where did you go to law school?
University of Illinois College of Law 

How long have you been in practice?
10 years

Where are you licensed to practice?
I am licensed to practice in Illinois. I have been admitted to handle cases pro hac vice in numerous other states.

Why is NBTA membership important to you?
Board Certification by the NBTA provides the public with a reliable source to understand which attorneys have demonstrated substantial qualifications, experience, and skills in trial advocacy.

What would you say to another attorney about why they should become board certified?
I would highly recommend becoming board certified to other attorneys because it is an accomplishment that few attorneys have achieved, and it is an honor that is well respected by our peers in the legal profession, our current clients, and our potential clients.

In what areas of law do you have expertise beyond your NBTA certification?
My practice is devoted to representing plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death litigation. In particular, I represent plaintiffs in cases involving medical malpractice, auto/trucking accidents, construction accidents, aviation accidents, and product liability. 

Were you a member of your law school's trial advocacy or moot court team?
Yes, I was a member of my law school's moot court team. I won "Best Overall" in my law school's Frederick Green Moot Court Competition, and I was a national finalist in the National Moot Court Competition.

Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
I became a lawyer because it allows me to make a meaningful difference in improving people's lives.

What made you choose the area of law in which you practice?
I chose to represent people who have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one due to the negligence of others for two reasons. First, my clients have suffered tremendous harm through no fault of their own, and representing them gives me the ability to help right the wrong and obtain justice and accountability for them which is extremely rewarding. Second, being a personal injury lawyer is all about enforcing public safety standards, which helps make the community safer and reduces future incidents of negligence.

In your opinion, what makes a successful lawyer?
A successful lawyer always puts the interests of his/her client ahead of his/her own personal interests. A successful lawyer must not only have a firm understanding of the facts and the law, but must also devote considerable time to case strategy in order to build the strongest case for his/her client.

What's been most rewarding about your career?
The most rewarding aspect of my career has been that I have been able to make a positive difference in the lives of so many people.

What advice would you give to a young professional considering law school?
I would advise a young professional considering law school to pursue it if they are passionate about being a lawyer. You are going to spend several years of your life studying and training to be a lawyer, and then many more years practicing law, so make sure it is something you think you will enjoy and find rewarding.

Share an example(s) of a case that made a difference.
In the case of Bausch v. Stryker Corp., 630 F.3d 546 (7th Cir. 2010), I argued in front of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and won a major victory for victims of defective medical devices. The appellate court reversed the district court's decision dismissing my client's product liability claims and holding they were preempted by federal law. The appellate court held that plaintiffs may bring negligence and strict liability claims against manufacturers of Class III medical devices so long as they allege the device does not comply with federal regulations.

What is your mission as a lawyer?
My mission as a lawyer is to serve the interests of my clients and help make the community safer.

Have you published? If so, where?
Yes. My list of publications is as follows:

  • "Small Talk in the Cockpit is a Big Problem Requiring More Than Just Lip Service", CCH INCORPORATED, 2007
  • "Wrongful Death and Survival Actions in Illinois: Trial and Evidentiary Considerations in Wrongful Death Actions. (chapter 6)", IICLE - Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 2007
  • Bausch v. Stryker Corp.: A Major Victory for Plaintiffs in Medical Device Cases, Trial Journal of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Summer, 2011
  • Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Compensatory Damages in Illinois, Benchmark Plaintiff, The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Plaintiff Firms & Attorneys, 2011

What causes are important to you and why?
The American Association for Justice (AAJ) and Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) are important to me as they are devoted to protecting the rights of people harmed due to negligence. I have also taken leadership roles in philanthropic organizations such as the Jewish United Fund.