Spotlight on Brandon Cotter
Hach & Rose, LLP attorney Brandon Cotter gives insight into why he became a lawyer and who he is.
What inspired you to become an attorney?
Honestly, I have no idea! I think a lot of people have a story that drives them from the time they are kids. When I was little, I wanted to be a baseball player because I loved the Chicago Cubs, but it turns out my fastball wasn’t exactly major league level.
I ended becoming a lawyer not so much from one stoke of inspiration so much as a culmination of years of observation. I come from a blue-collar family in a small town. My father ran the local bakery and my mother put herself through school and became a nurse, caring for elderly nursing home patients. I saw them work hard, day in and day out, and they made sure I did too. I think when you spend most of your life living paycheck to paycheck you see these small injustices. Many times, it isn’t that big of a deal. A landlord treats you poorly, or a phone company overcharges you a bit. It seems like the people in power know just how much to take advantage of you before someone will step in and do something.
At some point I realized that I had the ability to be a person who can help. I think it comes from a combination of knowing what it is like to need help, and also wanting to right a few wrongs along the way.
What practice areas do you focus on?
I focus mainly on construction accidents, motor vehicle crashes, and premises cases. I am a trial lawyer, so part of me would love to get in there and try every case put in front of me. However, specializing in these areas means you get to know everything about your client. When we go to court for a client, we know their livelihood is on the line. Knowing I put my full energy into this specific area of law lets me rest easy at night knowing we are prepared to win.
Tell us about one of your most interesting cases.
I think this is probably the hardest question to answer. The easy thing to do here is to list off my biggest verdicts and settlements. If you are reading this trying to decide if you want me to represent you, I am sure that might be comforting, but you can find that stuff online. While it is a nice feeling every time I help someone walk away with millions of dollars, my favorite case didn’t end that way. My favorite case was for an elderly woman I represented early in my career who fell walking out of a restaurant. When I first spoke to her, she somewhat meekly told me what happened, embarrassed to describe her fall. She was ashamed that she needed a lawyer, but her medical bills were piling up and she truly needed help. She walked me through her accident, and I was able to help her. The medical bills were covered, she received a decent settlement, and most importantly she was happy. When she came to get her settlement check she brought her daughter and we talked about her mother and her case. A few years down the road after the client passed, her daughter hired me for a case because I gained her trust while working with her mother. Trust is invaluable, and it felt good to be that family’s lawyer.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of who I represent, and who I fight against. Every client I have is taking on one of the biggest companies in America, and sometimes the world. Building owners, insurance companies, product makers – they have the power. Each of my clients ask me to fight these companies on their behalf. They know from the get-go that our contract works like this: If they lose, I lose. We are in this together. Every time we settle a case or get a verdict, my client’s life will get better and I get the satisfaction of knowing we took down one of the big guys.
Do you have any hidden talents, hobbies, or a fun fact?
I have the opposite of a hidden talent – I have a hidden weakness! I sing so poorly that my father once sang “Father and Son” at a talent show with my sisters. When asked on stage why he didn’t bring his son up to sing, he replied that he had no intention of punishing the audience.
What is your favorite quote?
“Fiat justitia, ruat caelum,” which translates to “Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall.”