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David Drexler: Clients for Life–Big City Lawyer with a Small Town Approach

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Los Angeles, CADavid Drexler has won tens of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients over the last 30 years or so, but that is not the most fascinating part of his law practice.

It's the way he runs his law firm that sets Drexler apart from everyone else. He refers to it as his 'client for life' philosophy.

David Drexler"I have clients, Rosa Sierra and her husband, their case was resolved 25 years ago, and they still drop in and hand me tamales, we can't eat them all, so we freeze some for the staff later." says Drexler.

"What I can tell you is that virtually every single client that we have represented over the last 31 years, still call us," he says. "They drop in unannounced; they call with problems that occur, they know we are not going to charge them, or do anything to take advantage of them. If we can't help them with whatever problem arises, I know enough trusted professionals and advisors I can send them to," Drexler says.

Drexler is the son of holocaust survivors, his mother endured Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. After coming to America, his parents opened the first Kosher Deli in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, where he now has his hugely successful law firm. "So I think a lot of my upbringing and values come from a place of where the disadvantaged, and oppressed and have no rights," Drexler reflects for a moment, "and trying to get recovery for them is a big part of my background and mentality."

Over the last three decades, Drexler says he has represented clients in a huge array of cases. "Everything from as simple as falling into a hole to victims of car accidents," he says "to medical malpractice, legal malpractice, sex harassment cases, really the whole gambit of ways that people can be assaulted, victimized, and taken advantage of, that's where I have carved out my niche."

He lives to litigate for the little guy. He has a kind of David and Goliath approach to law, and many of his clients are immigrants. "They are the ones that tend to have to work at the jobs in our society that are hazardous, like construction sites" he says "like the cranes or scaffold falling, or machines that are going out of whack." He goes on, "they tend to be people who are the salt of the earth, hard working, out in the dangerous elements of our society, where they really need more protection."

"Especially personal injury lawyers, get a bad rap, of being fast buck artists, getting in and out fast, just milking the cases, settling them fast and good-bye, really processing them rather than treating them like people," but that's not the way Drexler says he likes to run his practice.

When victims of personal injury are involved in complex and traumatic situations it can also put a lot of stress on marital relationships that can result in divorce. When Drexler sees that happening, he has many times in the past offered to facilitate a divorce settlement for his clients, free of charge. "We'll get the wife and husband in, we get them to sign conflict waivers, and we say 'look if you go to a divorce lawyer you are going to end up losing so much of your assets', and we have done that a number of times for clients. And they have an amicable separation, and they never need to go to a divorce lawyer, and we don't charge them," he says.

Until last year, Drexler's firm never even bothered to have a website. All his clients came through the door, because another client or people who had heard about the Drexler reputation referred them. "That's why you don't need to promote yourself, because clients are out there promoting you," he says.

In the 80ies, Drexel had six lawyers in the firm, and he says "probably a thousand cases." However, he decided, he wanted to do it differently. He pared down the firm to himself, a paralegal and an associate, along with three legal secretaries, and a kind of chief of staff that serves as a confident and right hand man, plus some other part-time staff.

Instead of a high-rise office, he works from a three-story building. "We can open the windows, and have a patio outside, and we have showers and everything we need," he says.

David Drexler graduated from UCLA in California, went on to earn a Masters in International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, and earned his law degree from Loyola College in Chicago.

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