Strong Advocate: The Life of a Trial Lawyer
Named 1 of the 50 Best Books of the Year by St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Thomas Strong - arguably one of the most successful trial lawyers in Missouri history
- authored "Strong Advocate: The Life of a Trial Lawyer" to
chronicle his experience as a personal injury attorney in the contemporary
world. The book includes excerpts from his professional experiences, dating
back to when he first joined the legal field in the 1950s.
About Attorney Thomas Strong
Some would say that a profession in personal injury law is held in low
esteem by the general public. After reading through Attorney Thomas Strong's
book, however, this notion is quickly dismantled. Strong entered the field
with the right motives: to help victims who have been injured by defective
products or by the negligent acts of another.
As a 12-year old growing up in rural Southwest Missouri during the Great
Depression, Strong bought a cow, then purchased others as he could afford
them; eventually, he financed his education with the milk he sold. After
graduating law school and serving in the Army's Counter Intelligence
Corps, he rejected offers to practice in New York and San Francisco and
returned to his hometown of Springfield.
Strong exhibited his lifelong passion to represent the underdog early in
his practice during the "trial by ambush" days when neither
side was required to disclose witnesses or exhibits. He quickly became
known for his audacious approach to trying cases.
Tactics used by Strong included asking a friend to ride on top of a moving
car and hiring a local character called "Crazy Max" to recreate
an automobile accident. One fraud case ended with Strong owning a bank
and his opponent going to prison. When he sued a labor union for the wrongful
death of his client's spouse, he found his own life threatened.
With changes in the law that allowed discovery of information from an opponent's
files, as well as the exhibits and witnesses to be used at trial, Strong
and fellow personal injury attorneys forced a wide array of manufacturers
to produce safer products.
Traffic Light Case Example
When witnesses of a terrible collision claimed that both roadways had
green lights simultaneously, Strong purchased the traffic light controller.
After three months of continuous testing at a university, the controller
failed, showing four green lights, and Strong learned that fail-safe devices
were available but had not been implemented. These fail-safe devices are
now standard on traffic lights throughout the country.
In his last venture as a practicing attorney, Strong represented the state
of Missouri in its case against the tobacco industry, culminating in a
settlement totaling billions of dollars. Strong concluded his book by
reflecting on the changes - not always for the better - in his oft-maligned
Strong's story of tenacity, quick wits, and humor demonstrate what
made him such a creative and effective trial lawyer. Attorneys and law
students can learn much from this giant of the bar, and all readers will
be entertained and heartened by his victories for the everyman.
Thomas Strong is now retired. The Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys
distributes an award in his name each year to honor individuals who epitomize
what a trial lawyer should be.
Contact Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C.
Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. is comprised of some of the greatest legal minds
in the field, as evidenced by our winning record and landmark case results.
Well-respected by peers and clients alike, we are proud to say that no
other firm in Southwest Missouri has a track record quite like ours.
To work with Attorney Thomas Strong and the rest of our team,
contact us today at (417) 855-2022.