When’s the last time you read a law office newsletter that you couldn’t put down? Attorney Richard Pignatiello shows lawyers how it’s done — with colorful, real-life stories flavored with his own voice and personality.
…to attorney Richard Pignatiello, who sends out the most entertaining, can’t-put-them-down newsletters to his clients and friends.
Not exactly what you’d expect from a law office. There’s not one mention of “years of experience” or “gaining recovery” or “litigation.” And there’s no hard sell to get you to call “if you or a loved one has been injured….”
There are just stories like this one, from Richard’s “From My Files” column:
Then She Told Me Something That Changed Everything
She had nothing to lose.
She told me her story. And she told me the names of the other attorneys she had met with. Most of them I knew. Some of them I even liked. And they had all given her good advice. She had nothing to lose.
The judge she had drawn had a well-documented history of handing down the maximum sentence. In this case, six months in jail for a second offense. No exceptions. Pleading guilty also would mean six months in jail. So I told her again, “You have nothing to lose by taking this to trial.”
But then she told me something that changed everything.
Her ex-husband was just waiting for an opportunity to strip her of custody of their 5-year-old son. He had been threatening to do so. He lived in California. If she pled guilty or was found guilty, she would most certainly lose custody of her son.
The threat of jail time? That didn’t scare her. The thought that she might lose her child? That was destroying her. She had, in fact, everything to lose.
So I said to her, “Let’s start over.”
She was employed part-time in the evening as a bartender at a local establishment. The grandmother cared for her son while she worked.
She had worked her shift one evening. And she’d had a few drinks. Her shift over, she headed for home, driving her car in the freezing rain. Her car hit a patch of black ice and skidded off the road. It became stuck in the hard snow packed on the side of the road. She tried to free the car. Forward. Reverse. Forward. Reverse.
With the weather turning worse and no help in sight, she left her car at the site of the accident and started to walk home. As she walked, a driver pulled up. He offered her a ride. She accepted.
Once home, shaken by the experience, she drank an entire bottle of wine and went to bed. In the middle of the night, there was a knock at the door.
She opened the door to find two police officers standing on her front porch. She was arrested for DUI in her own home.
Now, I know what you are thinking, and I’m not saying you are wrong. Don’t drink and drive. But my job was not to judge her. It was to help.
We decided I would take the case to trial. We knew the outcome if she were convicted. But because of her son, we would try.
In the months following, with my investigator, we continued to piece together the events of the night in question. The trial date moved closer. New facts came to light. It was the driver. The one who had offered her the ride home. He had thought he smelled alcohol on her breath. After he drove her home, he called the police.
The expert witnesses and police officers who were called to the stand were skilled at court room testimony. The prosecutor was experienced, and it showed. After watching the case put on by the prosecution, everyone would agree that this was indeed a very strong DUI case against my client.
Then it was our turn.
And I didn’t see it that way.
I believed the arresting officers had no right to arrest my client, at her home. They charged her with a crime that neither they nor anyone else witnessed. They had a witness who provided a ride home but did not actually witness anything.
Yes, my client had failed the field sobriety test the police administered in her driveway at the time of the arrest. Yes, she failed the breathalyzer they gave her at the police station hours after the accident.
But was she legally drunk at the time of the accident? Could they prove it?
While the jury was in deliberations, we reviewed the plans she had made in preparing for this moment. Her boss had agreed to hold her job for her until she was released. The grandma would take care of her son.
The jury returned. The foreman read the verdict. And then he said something that changed everything: “Not guilty.”
Hooray! Doesn’t that make you want to stand up and cheer? And I don’t mean for the thrilling conclusion to the underdog story. Richard’s brilliant self-promotion is worth celebrating. He understands the value of showing rather than telling. Instead of writing about how “results-oriented” and “client-focused” he is, he displays it in a real-life example (with identifying information changed, of course) that showcases his voice and personality.
Plus he doesn’t try to impress anybody with legalese. He writes with short words in short sentences and short paragraphs, and morphs a 700-word legal article into a gripping short story.
After reading an article like this, not only do I think Richard is competent, I like him. There’s no question who is first on my list next time I need legal counsel. Case closed.