Q & A with Heather A. Begley

Heather A. Begley has been an associate with the Law Offices of Jeffrey J. Kroll since the firm’s inception six years ago. She works on high-profile personal injury and wrongful death cases, including aviation and train disasters, automobile and truck crashes, medical malpractice and construction negligence. In 2005, she was selected by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association to receive a William J. Harte Amicus Volunteer Award. Before joining the Law Offices of Jeffrey J. Kroll, Ms. Begley worked at Clifford Law Offices.

— What do you find the most interesting about your practice?

Personal injury law is interesting because you are always learning new things.  Every case is different.  Whether my client was injured by a bus, a crane or a punch press machine, I need to gain a thorough understanding of how they were injured.

I also find negotiating settlements and mediation interesting.  The factors at play in resolving a case include a fascinating mixture of economics, psychology, sociology, communications and sales.  I think it is very interesting to see the different styles and skills that judges, mediators and attorneys bring to the table to come to an agreement and settle cases.

— What makes a good lawyer?

In my opinion, integrity is a quality that makes a good lawyer.  No matter which area of law that a lawyer practices, if the lawyer possesses integrity, he or she will value that his or her professional responsibility is to represent the client and will strive toward meeting the client’s goals.  A strong commitment to the client is necessary to be effective counsel.  Other qualities that I equate with good lawyers include intelligence, good listening skills and ethical behavior.

— What is the biggest legal news right now and what is its impact?

The biggest legal news right now is that the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that caps for non-economic damage awards in medical malpractice cases are unconstitutional.  This is a major victory for the preservation of patient’s rights.  It is also big news that it is illegal in Illinois to write, send or read text messages while driving. This is important legislation for the safety of Illinois residents. Although it is tempting to text and drive, it is extremely dangerous and could have devastating results.

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