"You have to emotionally connect with your clients, but at the same time, you can never allow that to disrupt your clarity," say Burg. "And we have an obligation and a responsibility to do great work on behalf of the clients that have entrusted their lives to us."
That philosophy runs deep through the heart of Burg Simpson, a Colorado-based firm anchored by Peter Burg and his brother Michael Burg. The company's slogan, "Good Lawyers Giving Back," is more like an oath. "When we settle substantial matters, we attempt to also take a portion of the fee and do something meaningful," says Peter Burg. "It has been a long-standing policy."
A lawyer for three decades, Burg is very aware of the jaundiced view of the role of lawyers in America. "The vast majority of lawyers on the plaintiff's side are very dedicated to helping victims who have been wronged and help them obtain fair and appropriate justice through compensation," says Burg.
Much of the negative view of lawyers, he believes, is the work of corporate America—the same corporate America that plaintiff attorneys often cross swords with in the fight for justice for ordinary Americans. "The plaintiff lawyer is portrayed as someone who only cares about the money, or as an ambulance chaser, or just out there for predominated primarily greedy purposes," says Burg whose professional achievements and community commitments demonstrate the just the opposite.
Over the years, he has represented clients in mass tort actions against pharmaceutical companies, served as Co-chair of the Plaintiff's Steering Committee in the Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents MDL litigation, stood up for dozens of families in wrongful death cases and made many multi-million dollar recoveries for people with brain and spinal cord injuries.
"I do a lot of traumatic brain injury litigation," says Burg who has seen many clients struggle along the road to recovery from devastating accidents. "People may look fine, but they have trouble forming words, or with judgment or decision making."
When Burg took on the role as Chairman of the Board at Craig Hospital, a renowned rehabilitation and research hospital in Denver, some questioned a trial lawyer in the role. "They wondered if I would be passing out business cards, but that is not what this is about," says Burg, who has poured his time, his passion and a significant amount of money into Craig Hospital over the last few years.
"I come away from Craig Hospital enriched, as my wife says," says Burg. "Not only do I feel a responsibility to give money to the cause, but I see the special medical people, the rehabilitation people and how my personal efforts can make a difference in these people’s lives."
Peter Burg is a senior shareholder in the firm of Burg, Simpson, Eldredge, Hersh & Jardine P.C. Burg is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association's Top 100 Trial Lawyers and serves as an adjunct professor at Denver University's Sturm School of Law.