Strong Advocate: The Life of a Trial Lawyer

Named 1 of the 50 Best Books of the Year by St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Strong Advocate: The Life of a Trial Lawyer by Thomas Strong

Attorney 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.


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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.

Early Career

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 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.

Late Career

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 profession.

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.

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We Continually Hold Our Firm to Nothing Less Than Exceptional Representation
  • A History of Excellence
    Our firm was established in 1976 and has a history of obtaining exceptional results. Since opening our firm we have obtained over $7 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.
  • A History of Quality Counsel
    Our team of attorneys is passionate about helping people and has been ranked by their peers and colleagues among the top trial lawyers for the past three generations.
  • A History of Innovative Strategies
    When you work with us you get our state-of-the-art technology. Using our modern technology, we can create tests, reconstructions, animations, illustrations, and exhibits in order to explain even the most complicated cases to juries and judges.
  • A History of Dedication
    At Stong-Garner-Bauer we pride ourselves on delivering quality representation that targets the unique needs of your case. Every case has a team of dedicated and experienced individuals working towards the best possible outcome.

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