RAYMOND D. McELFISH
I grew up in a small Western Maryland town, Cumberland, in the panhandle near West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. I was raised by my grandparents, Aileen and Allen, who both worked in the textile mills until they closed the plant down and left them without work. When I was a child, it was clear to me that we were poor and powerless to help ourselves, much less others. At the age of 14 and in high school, I interned at the law office of Gary Leisure, a prominent local lawyer, just filing papers and running errands, so I could begin to develop a sense of my purpose. After high school, I attended the University of Maryland in College Park majoring in Economics and Philosophy while working nights as a law clerk at several international law firms in Washington D.C. Thereafter, I was accepted and attended the top ten law school of Boston University, where I also worked evenings and weekends as a paralegal at several prominent Boston law firms. During my time in school, I loved the study of law, and I collected as much hands-on experience as I could while working for these larger law firms.
In 1991, after graduating law school, I moved to New York City where I opened my own law practice McElfish Law Firm in the Empire State Building. For the next 12 years, I began to try cases to juries and began to hone my skills as a trial lawyer where my love for the law and trial work really began to take shape. In 2003, I moved to Los Angeles were I currently practice, where I continue trying jury trials and representing injured people and those who are economically disadvantaged. After many years, many court rooms, hundreds of jury trials, many wins including some large verdicts and some losses, I stand proud of my commitment to the law, to the profession and most of all to those who I am privileged to represent. I have spent my entire life literally from childhood dedicated to the love of the law, the development of my trial skills and my desire to help those in need, because I too remember very well growing up how it felt to be disadvantaged.
After one of my first large verdicts I returned to Cumberland only to learn that Mr. Leisure had been elected as a judge. I went to visit him at the local courthouse and he invited me into his chambers and we sat quietly for a moment or two. He had read about my success, the jury verdicts I had obtained in large cities like New York and Los Angeles. And he said to me quietly, it has been almost 30 years since you made copies and deliveries for me as lawyer, but I knew then that you possessed something very special and now I have seen it to its conclusion.
Just a few months ago, I appeared before a United States Federal District Judge in San Antonio Texas, Judge David Ezra, on a hotly contested products liability case. As I ended my argument and was prepared to sit down, Judge Ezra said to me, son, where did you go to law school? Boston University, sir, I replied. Well, let them know they did a good job, he said. I have never seen in all my years as a judge a lawyer who refuses to throw in the towel like you, and I enjoy that, because that is what they hire you for, he said. Too many lawyers throw in the towel and just take an appeal, not you. I thanked him for the compliment, and he said only three words: “you deserve it”. And then he ruled against me. At that moment, it all came full circle for me.
To my clients, staff, colleagues, opposing counsel and members of the judiciary: You may or may not appreciate my style, you may or may not understand my passion, and you may or may not agree with my view of the case. But understand this: everything I do, everything I say and everything I want comes from a place of pure honesty, love for the law, dedication to my clients and respect and honor to counsel and the judiciary that is deeply rooted in me from all those years ago.
And in closing I will say this: As hard as I work, I have never worked a day in my life. I am a happily married man, I have a lovely daughter that is the apple of my eye, and many wonderful friends and family, as well as a law practice that mirrors my desire to represent the disadvantaged from so many years ago. I look forward to serving you.