Episode #1: Let’s Break Down the LawBy Stewart J. Guss on September 10th, 2020
For our inaugural episode of the Breaking Down The Law Podcast we’re joined by Stewart J. Guss, a personal injury lawyer in Houston who specializes in car accidents resulting in injury. He’s joined by Breaking Down The Law Podcast host, Ashley Rodriguez.
During today’s episode we will be discussing who the real Stewart J Guss is and introducing the reason for the podcast and what it will be about.
- So, most of my clients, it’s a car crash or a truck accident, but for some folks, maybe it’s a marital issue. They need a family lawyer or maybe they have one too many drunk driving. You know, who knows? There are legal problems that people run into every day all the time. And the one thing that you can predict about a potential legal problem is that it is pretty unpredictable when they happen.
- So the more that we can do with this podcast in terms of giving people a little bit of knowledge ahead of time, giving them something to think about and maybe having them start to plan a little bit for the unexpected.
- I have curly hair, I looked like Weird Al Yankovic. And I realized in order to be successful in the MBA program, and in the business world, I would have to cut my hair and get a real haircut. (listen to learn more)
Stay tuned for the next installment of the Breaking Down The Law Podcast with Stewart J Guss and Ashley Rodriguez!
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Transcript [This transcript was created using an automated transcription service and may contain errors]
breaking down the law a podcast hosted by attorneys and legal specialists discussing everyday law and how it affects regular people, regular people. Let’s break down the law with our host, Stewart Guss and Ashley Rodriguez. They have the inside scoop on everything legal and newsworthy.
Ashley Rodriguez 0:37
Hey, Ashley, good afternoon. How are you doing today? I’m doing good. How are you doing Stewart?
Stewart J Guss 0:41
I am absolutely fantastic. Very excited for our introductory inaugural. First premium. I can’t think of any more adjectives are very first podcast. I’m excited. I know you’ve worked very hard on this project. Really appreciate that. And the ability to give us a voice and reach out to all of the citizens who run into legal problems, need help, give them a little bit of info demystify. Super excited. Super excited. So where do we begin?
Ashley Rodriguez 1:15
Well, I mean, Stewart, just tell us a little bit about yourself and why you wanted to start this podcast. Yeah. So you know, to a lot of people the law is a is a black box, right? Some issue happens, you know, I do personal injury. So, most of my clients, it’s a car crash or a truck accident, but for some folks, maybe it’s a marital issue. They need a family lawyer or maybe they have one too many drunk driving.You know, who knows? There are legal problems that people run into every day all the time. And the one thing that you can predict about a potential legal problem is that it is pretty unpredictable when they happen.
Yeah, you’re definitely not expecting it.
Stewart J Guss 2:02
So the more that we can do with this podcast in terms of giving people a little bit of knowledge ahead of time, giving them something to think about and maybe having them start to plan a little bit for the unexpected. If we can make people’s lives a little bit easier that way, that is absolutely fantastic. Also, I will occasionally tell some of my famous lawyer jokes. And by the way, I will tell you this little daily Whopper here where I can have sound effects is really the number one reason that I’m excited about doing the podcast just in the interest of full disclosure
Ashley Rodriguez 2:45
it does make it fun.
Stewart J Guss 2:46
It does. So with that. I will tell my first lawyer joke. All right.What do you call 100 lawyers Buried up to their necks in cement.
Ashley Rodriguez 3:04
I have no idea
A shortage of cement. Okay, that one was pretty bad but anyway we’ll have we’ll have more and better ones as we move along. But yeah, the purpose of the podcast, give you information give you something to think about maybe make you think and maybe make you laugh although if all of my jokes are as bad as that one, I’m not gonna happen. So what do we want to address in this our first inaugural podcast you You are my director and my pa and my everything when it comes to this podcast. So what are you thinking?
Well, I mean, so why did you get into law school? Why Why did we start this journey?
Stewart J Guss 3:51
So there’s so there’s a real answer, and then there’s a funny answer, and I’ll give you the funny answer first. I actually started at the MBA program at the University of Texas. And I realized that in order to get my MBA I would this was in the 80s. And I had hair down to the middle of my back. I have curly hair, I looked like Weird Al Yankovic. And I realized in order to be successful in the MBA program, and in the business world, I would have to cut my hair and get a real haircut. And then I thought, Okay, what is one profession where I can actually be unique, being an individual, and walk around with my full streaming? There’s no pictures, by the way, if you’re listening, yeah, so just don’t even bother. I had to pay a lot of money to get rid of that compromise. And then I realized I could go to law school, I could be an individual, I could make a difference. That’s sort of the funny answer. The real answer is, you know, I knew that I always enjoyed making a difference in people’s lives. And one of the ways that I explain it is, you know, I’m doing I was raised by a Jewish mother. Mom, if you’re listening, I love you, and I’m wearing a sweater. Wait, wait, wait. You know, and how many other professions Do you have where you can, you know, reach into someone in a time of need, hold their hand, help them through a process, maybe one of their darkest chapters of their lives. Another option, of course, is a good Jewish boy was to go to medical school, but I get sick and faint at the sight of blood.
Ashley Rodriguez 5:36
So so that one didn’t work out for you know,
Stewart J Guss 5:39
no good Jewish boy, Doctor lawyer. And here I am.
Ashley Rodriguez 5:44
Why does personal injury law make your heart sing? What is it about that, that you chose that instead of family law or criminal law?
Stewart J Guss 5:53
Well, it’s it’s it’s funny. When I was when I was in law school, I clerked for a Personal Injury Lawyer here in Houston. And he was a really amazing guy good lawyer started off actually as a defense lawyer with Fulbright and Jaworski, which they’ve changed names a dozen times since then. But they were a powerhouse defense firm. And he worked for the Darth Vader and the Seth for a couple years at Fulbright and Jaworski. And by the way, for my defense lawyers are listening. I’m just giving you a hard time. And then he went out on his own started practicing personal injury law, much nicer work with Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi. He he developed a passion for it, he was good at it and he was able to what he taught me and I think what I take away from that is you meet your clients, you know, possibly on one of the worst days of their lives. You insert yourself into their life you have to by by definition as their attorney Their advocate, and then you walk with them hand in hand through a process that, you know, usually takes at least several months, sometimes can take several years. And then at the end of that process, you have the opportunity to see what a difference you personally were able to make for the better in their lives, that there’s something pretty rewarding about that.
Ashley Rodriguez 7:22
Yeah, it’s that gratification that you helped them during a hard time when they weren’t expecting it.
Stewart J Guss 7:29
Yeah, that that’s exactly right. And that’s one of the things that’s you know, going back to the purpose of our podcast, that’s one of the things that I’m really trying to get us to think about is so everyone gets up in the morning and they and they put on their pants, or Okay, that was totally sexist,
Ashley Rodriguez 7:46
or their skirt
Stewart J Guss 7:46
or their skirt or their dress or whatever. Everyone gets up in the morning, you brush your teeth, you get dressed, you get in the car, you go to work, you go you know, take your take your kids to school. No one wakes up in the morning planning to be in a car or truck accident that day, no one, it never happens.
Ashley Rodriguez 8:05
Stewart J Guss 8:06
So what we’re trying to do is prepare people at least in terms of my area of the law, and we are planning to have additional guests come in who practice in other areas. When I’m speaking about personal injury law, My idea is to give my listeners a little bit of insight, a little bit of information so that when that unexpected day comes, and unfortunately, if you live in a city like Houston, or LA or any of the big major metropolitan areas, it’s going to happen it’s gonna happen so you know, that’s a great joy and it’s and it’s part of what I’m trying to do here. Part of why I’m I’m a lawyer is to is to help people and get them ahead of the curve beforehand. What else do we want to cover today on this our premier initial, first of its kind wonderful podcast today.
Ashley Rodriguez 9:02
So instead of just car accidents, or are there other areas of personal injury that would be able to help someone like if I found hurt myself, like, what are the other areas that can help someone prepare for a bad day?
Stewart J Guss 9:17
Probably, I would say 80% of the cases that we see in our office generally tend to be car accidents, and truck accidents. But we’re also going to address as your we refer to them as slip and fall or trip and fall cases. You know, if you’re going to open up if you’re going to run a business, and you’re going to open yourself up to the public, and say, Come on in and shop here or come on in and have your dinner here. You have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect the public from an unreasonable danger. I’ve got all sorts of good examples that we can go into maybe we’ll do a podcast specifically about trip and falls. You know, just off the top of my head. I’ll go and the more detail I had, we went after a major national restaurant chain, because their sidewalk was offset. So it wasn’t even there was an offset between two slabs. One slab had risen about an inch and a half creating a hard, wicked horrible tripping hazard. And that’s the sort of thing where, you know, it’s not like someone spilled a coke on the floor, and maybe the owners didn’t see it. That sort of danger is going to be there for months or years. And when a business doesn’t protect the public from Yeah, it’s, you know, that’s, again, it’s one of the great things that that I really appreciate, you know, what I can do not just for my individual clients, but in terms of helping to keep the community safe as well.
Ashley Rodriguez 10:47
Yeah. So if you are hiring a personal injury lawyer, like what would be a question you needed to make sure that you ask them to make sure it was the right personal injury lawyer for you?
Stewart J Guss 10:57
Yes. The first question I would have ask them is is your name Stuart? Gus? Yes, you’re hired. Okay, and I’ll say I love that button. When you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer, it’s you really do want to make, you know, you want to make sure, first of all, that they’ve got a reputation for taking care of their clients well, because it’s one thing to be a good and effective lawyer and be able to get the job done. But part of what you want when you are working with a lawyer, you’re going to form a relationship with that lawyer, and most likely his case managers, his paralegals, other members of his legal staff, and you want to make sure that in addition to being able to get good results for you as a client, how well Will you be able to get along with his team and how well will his team treat you? I keep saying his because I’m a lawyer, but you know, just just You know, it sounds like a cliche. Some of my best friends are amazing. Personal Injury Lawyers and they are female. Katie James, for example, comes to mind was just working on a on a case. A friend of mine, she didn’t know, fantastic lawyer, so his or her staff, you want to make sure that there’s going to be a connection there. Beyond that, you know, I think it’s just a question of doing your research, getting a feel if someone feels like they’re cheesy or too aggressive or not paying attention to you. You I guess a great way to summarize this is at that very first interaction with the law firm. They are going to be showing you the best of what they are capable of doing.
Ashley Rodriguez 12:52
Very true. Everyone shows that first impression
Stewart J Guss 12:54
that’s that first impression, so if that smacks of problems or issues. Honestly, it’s probably only gonna go downhill from there. I think we were trying to keep these podcasts to about 15 minutes and we are coming up on that. Before we wrap though, on the first podcast, I absolutely positively have to play the one sound effect. I just love this guy. So when you’re listening to our podcasts going forward, folks, you’re going to hear this is the parliamentarian. This is we’re recording this in October of 2019. A couple of months ago, everything fell into chaos in the British Parliament with Boris Johnson. He was trying to suspend parliament and everything. Well, there was so much rancor in the British Parliament. The sergeant of arms actually became world famous by his repeating this one phrase over and over and although we’re not in the business of being a parliament, It’s very legal. You’re ready.
Ashley Rodriguez 14:02
Stewart J Guss 14:10
So when you guys hear that sound, you will know its origins, and you will know that we need Order. Order in the court. All right. Thanks, everybody for listening. Feel free to listen, subscribe, and stay in touch. Thanks very much.
Ashley Rodriguez 14:31