154 – Lara Brock – Whether in Trial or Arbitration, Compete to Win

“In order to be a good trial lawyer, you have to have that innate sense of ‘let’s go, I’m ready to go.’”

In this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, host Michael Cowen talks to seasoned trial lawyer Lara Brock of Espinoza & Brock, PLLC about her sports-oriented, competitive mindset that has influenced both how she practices law and serves as a leader within her law firm. 

Tune in as Michael and Lara talk about why it’s important to shift from the “family” mindset to the “team” mindset within your law firm, how to find your own voice as a trial lawyer, and why Lara’s firm handles worker’s comp cases in Texas while few other law firms do. They also discuss the strategy behind her firm’s repeated success in arbitration, and what Lara looks for in third-party cases. 

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name: Lara Brock

About: Lara is a senior partner at Espinoza & Brock, PLLC in San Antonio, Texas. Lara has worked with the Espinoza Law Firm since March 2011 and has focused her practice on non-subscriber injury cases, third party injury cases, and employment discrimination and retaliation cases. In doing so, she has presented cases at trial, has presented cases to arbitrators with the American Arbitration Association and Judicial Workforce Arbitrations, and has presented written appeals and oral argument before the Fourth Court of Appeals. She serves as Treasurer of the San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association and President-Elect of the Bexar County Women’s Bar Association. In 2016, Lara founded the Women’s Caucus for the San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association and is a steering committee member of the Women’s Caucus of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. From 2021 through 2023, Lara served as the Vice President of Continuing Legal Education for the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

A native of Roanoke, Virginia, she graduated sixth in her class from St. Mary’s University School of Law in May 2014. She received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Spanish from Carson-Newman University in Tennessee, graduating summa cum laude with honors.

Company: Espinoza & Brock, PLLC

Connect: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights 

[03:37] Getting to Know Lara Brock: Lara knew from a young age that she wanted to compete every day so becoming a trial lawyer seemed like a natural fit. Lara is thrilled that she’s found a career where she can make a difference in real people’s lives, all while having a lot of fun. 

[06:47] A Law Firm is Like a Sports Team: You have to perform if you want to be a part of the team. It’s hard to make the shift from thinking of your law firm as a “family” to a “team” but it really does pay off when you do it. 

[11:09] “I’m Not Going to Let You Win”: It was a roofing fall case. Lara’s client was working for a “sub of a sub” on a roof and walked right off the edge. It was a flat roof, no fall protection. “I don’t care that my client’s undocumented, he shouldn’t have fallen off that roof. You chose not to have these protections and we’re going to go tell a story,” says Lara about a case where she got a $4.5M verdict where defense pulled the offer. The case is currently up on appeal.  

[16:14] Ask “Why?”: Lara shares how she’s found her own voice as a trial lawyer. She learned early on that just imitating another’s lawyer’s way of doing things wasn’t the route to success. 

[22:53] There’s No Such Thing as “Work-Life Balance”: From building a great practice, to taking on leadership roles in the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, the San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association, and the Bexar County Women’s Bar Foundation, Lara shares that getting buy-in from everyone around her has been key to her success. 

[26:18] Few Firms Do Workers’ Comp Cases in Texas, But Lara’s Does: When asked how her firm is able to do worker’s comp cases in Texas despite the limited fees, Lara responds, “Because that’s our purpose, that’s our base. We also found that a lot of times people just think that it’s a workers’ comp case and it’s not, and we started learning that we could help people in more than one way.”

[31:26] Plaintiff Lawyers Have Success in Arbitration Too: Lara shares “Just as big box retailers or companies that are frequently in arbitration find success, so do plaintiff’s lawyers…We have such a large practice of these arbitration cases that we also have some power with arbitrators because they know that we can keep them from getting business too, if they want to screw our clients over.”

[35:46] Third-Party Cases: A third-party case is where you’re suing someone other than the employer for a workplace injury.  Lara explains the things she looks for when taking on these cases.   

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In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.

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