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David Harak

The Harak Firm, LLC
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David Harak
The Harak Firm, LLC
Baltimore,
 MD

I grew up in Easton Pennsylvania. I was fortunate to be raised by the best mother and father that any child could hope for. During my four years of college, I honed my ability to think on my feet as a parliamentary debater. These acquired skills have been vital to my successes in the courtroom as a trial lawyer. As my skills increased in college, I won the University of Virginia debate tournament and was judged to be the first speaker at debate tournaments at Cornell and Georgetown. I was fortunate enough to achieve a seventh place finish at the North American Debate Championships. I also represented my alma mater at the National Debate Championship and World Debate Championship. I graduated from the Honors Program at Randolph-Macon College Cum Laude with a Major in Political Science and a minor in Asian Studies in 1994. Upon my graduation I decided to go to law school.

I chose to attend the University of Maryland because of its nationally ranked clinical program, which allows law students under the supervision of faculty to represent clients while still in law school. I knew that I wanted to become a trial lawyer who dedicated himself to representing victims of negligence. During my first year of law school, my family and I went through the same experience that many of my clients are in the midst of dealing with when they come to me for help today. My family was victimized by a doctor, whose carelessness and negligence caused my father to suffer a serious and life threatening illness. Not knowing any better, our family completely trusted and believed this doctor. When this doctor told our family that nothing else could be done to treat my father, we believed him. We watched in horror as each of us witnessed my dad wither away for the next two years of his life. When this physician retired, necessity finally caused our family to seek out a second opinion. Fortunately, the doctor that we found to treat my dad filled us with hope by telling us that he believed that my father had a chance of recovering from his illness. This doctor’s only regret was that we had not brought my father to him two years earlier. After meeting my father's new physician, we came to the realization that the previous two years that we had watched my father waste away into a shell of the man he was once was could have been avoided. It simply never occurred to us that our father had been the victim of malpractice. We had complete faith and trust in what his previous doctor had been telling us. Going through this experience myself has given me a unique ability to empathize with what my clients and their families are going through. One of the most difficult things a client must endure when trying to achieve justice is having to listen to the lawyers for the negligent provider try to blame the client and their family for what has happened to them. When defense lawyers make this argument, they are simply blaming my client and their family for trusting and following the advise of their physician. When I encounter this defense argument during my medical negligence trials, it chafes me to my core. Shouldn't each of my clients be entitled to trust the advice of their doctor? After all, that is the basis upon which the entire medical system is founded.  

Fortunately, my dad’s will had not been broken by his illness, and he fought the long and arduous two year battle to try to regain his health. During the next three years, my dad required a great deal of treatment and multiple surgeries to regain his strength and find his way back to health. Sadly two years later, despite never drinking or smoking, my father was diagnosed with brain cancer. He lasted eighteen more months before losing his battle with it at the age of Sixty-Nine. As I look back on it now, I lament the fact that the first five years of my father’s retirement, which should have been spent enjoying his family and his life, became a struggle to simply survive. Given the fact that so many years were stolen from my dad’s life prior to his premature death, I came to understand how precious every day is. I am also keenly aware of what it feels like to watch a loved one be robbed of the most precious years of their life. I understand the frustration that families struggle with as they feel powerless and totally dependent on subsequent treating physicians to try to save the person they love from the damage the malpractice caused upon them.  

Knowing that I wanted to become a trial lawyer, while in law school, I became active in what was then known as the Association of Trial Lawyers or America. This enabled me to be trained by some of the best trial lawyers in America even though I was still only a law student. Through my trial skills education, I became a fellow in the National College of Advocacy while I was still a law student. While still in law school, I was also privileged to be able to serve as a law clerk to one of the best trial judge’s in the State of Maryland, the Honorable David Ross. While doing so, I got to watch some of Maryland’s best trial lawyers try cases. I tried out for and made my law school’s national trial team, and was fortunate to be a part of a team that took second place in the American Bar Association's National Trial Team Competition. I was honored to be named runner-up best advocate for this National Trial Competition. For the last year of my law school education, I worked in the Maryland branch office of a fairly large Washington D.C. personal injury law firm. I learned an incredible amount working with the talented lawyers in this firm. The one thing I did not enjoy was the fact that the environment I worked in felt more like a business than a family.

When I graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1997, I decided to start my own law firm. My goal was to form a team that was capable of not only helping me practice law, but would be made up of people who would become my extended family. Fairly early on, I was lucky enough to meet and hire my paralegal, Jamie Edwards. Not only is she an extremely talented paralegal, but she is an even better person. She passionately takes on our client's causes. Often times, she develops a lasting relationship with many of our clients that continue long after our representation of them has concluded. In a very real sense, Jamie has become the sister I never had. We have worked together for fifteen years, and I could not imagine ever practicing law without her. When Jamie gave birth to her daughter, Alyssa, she and her husband honored me by asking me to be her god father. It is not rare for Alyssa to come into our office when she is off from school to help us help our clients.

Since becoming a lawyer, I have strived to continue to hone my skills as a trial lawyer. I have remained active in what is now known as the American Association for Justice and served as Maryland’s Delegate to this organization for ten years. I also became active in the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association, now known as the Maryland Association for Justice. I have also been privileged to sit on this organization’s Board of Governors for the past ten years. I have served on its membership, membership services, legislative, awards, mentor/mentee, and education and programs committee. On multiple occasions, I have been asked to write articles for its Trial Reporter. I have also been privileged to have moderated a seminar put on by the Maryland Association for Justice. One of the things I enjoyed is when MAJ has asked me to be a speaker for the educational seminars it puts on.  

In July of 2012, I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College in Dubois, Wyoming. It is a three week immersion program during which you live in a room smaller than a college dormitory, help clean the bathrooms and the kitchens and have no access to cellular phones or the internet. During my time there, I learned an entire new way of trying cases and presenting my client’s stories. Along the way, I gained a few dozen more arrows for the quiver I use in each battle at trial. Since my return from the trial lawyer’s college, I have employed these techniques to achieve even better results for my clients. The trial lawyer’s college technique is based upon the principle of complete openness and honesty with the jury about your client’s case. It is also grounded in taking the time to actually listen to our clients. By finding the beauty in people, who have often lost the ability to see the beauty in themselves, we have learned that many of our clients who have been damned and forgotten by the system, still have a chance of regaining their dignity if someone just listens and believes in them.

In my career, I have had the opportunity to try cases in many of Maryland’s twenty-four counties. I have also been fortunate to have handled cases in Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia and am regularly consulted by other lawyers in different parts of the country to help them try their clients’ cases. Over the course of my career, I have done cases grounded in medical negligence, products liability, motor vehicle negligence, boating negligence, cruise ship negligence, electrical shock, inadequate security negligence, premises liability, and sexual abuse. My team and I love what we do. I cannot fathom a job that provides so much satisfaction. There is nothing more fulfilling then standing with a client as a verdict is read and hearing the jury validate through the amount of its verdict, what my client has struggled through in trying to recover from the injuries caused by the negligent defendant. I truly believe that by holding negligent individuals, doctors, hospitals, and corporations accountable, my team and I help to make Maryland a safer place for its citizens. One of the most gratifying things that we have been able to accomplish is having one of our medical negligence cases change a hospital’s policy so that future patients are treated more safely.

My team and I look forward to meeting you and helping you hold the people accountable, whose negligence has wreaked havoc on you and your family’s way of life. If you need a lawyer for an area of law that we do not regularly practice in, we can help get you to the right lawyer you need.


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