2007 Torch Award

For more than 50 years, Waldman & Smallwood has provided legal services to Southeast Texans with a commitment to outstanding customer service framed by ethical standards that have been developed and cultivated by our firm owner, Carl Waldman. Mr. Waldman’s values permeate every facet of Waldman & Smallwood. The firm welcomes the opportunity to illustrate our values in action.

The firm was established by Carl Waldman in 1957 and has been based in Beaumont, Texas for 50 years. The firm has grown to 7 attorneys with 2 offices in Beaumont. The firm has also established offices in Nederland and Houston. The attorneys of Waldman & Smallwood focus upon the representation of individuals and the enforcement of their constitutional right to reimbursement when they have been intentionally or negligently injured by another person or corporation. This representation takes place on the ethical foundation defined below.

I. High ethical standards of behavior towards customers, suppliers, users, shareholders, employees, and communities in which we do business.

Core Values

Firm actions and decisions are based upon three core values.

The Best Interest of the Client
First, the best interest of the client always comes first. This fundamental principle serves as the foundation upon which all of our firm decisions are made. Whether deciding upon what associated vendors to use or making strategic case management decision, the best interest of the client serves as a guide for every employee in the firm.
Our second firm value is communication. The attorneys in the firm recognize that our clients expect to be informed about facts and opinions on a regular and continuous basis. However, we also understand that by listening to the client’s needs, we can interpret what they want and thus identify how to best serve their interest. Mr. Waldman has instilled in the attorneys and staff the importance of continuously communicating with clients, adjusters and attorneys both in person and thru various forms of media. This commitment to communication has allowed the firm to develop a very loyal client base while achieving excellent results for our clients.
Best Possible Representation
The firm’s final core value is our commitment to providing the best possible representation. This commitment manifest itself in two primary ways. First, the attorneys that comprise Waldman & Smallwood have been developed and trained to provide the highest level of service to our client. However, the firm prides itself in recognizing its limits. If a case or issue arises that may be beyond our level of expertise, our firm values dictate that we will associate an attorney or firm who has demonstrated expertise in the area of law in question.

These three core values are put into action by the practices described below.

II. Demonstrated ethical practices surrounding buyer/seller relationships.


Legal Check-ups
As stated above, communication is a cornerstone of the firm’s customer service plan. To this end, the firm has the following practices in place to facilitate communication with our clients. Mr. Waldman long ago established the firm’s legal check-up policy. This series of meetings between the client and the handling attorney are built into the life of every file that is handled by the firm. Depending upon the type of the claim, each client is scheduled to meet with their attorney every 3 – 6 months during the life of the case; this process has successfully established a continuity of communication that has enabled the firm to insure the best interest of the client is pursued in each case. A key to this program is the ability of the client to meet directly with their attorney on a regular and continuous basis. The firm believes this face to face opportunity sets the firm apart from other firms that handle a large volume of cases.
After Hours Care Line
In the late 90’s, the firm implemented an after hours care phone line that allows both current and prospective clients to call and talk directly to a Waldman & Smallwood attorney after the offices close. This service is consistent with our value of providing the customer with the ability to communicate directly with a Waldman & Smallwood attorney.
Quick Return Calls 
Finally, the firm prides itself upon its quick response to all callers. In those instances when an attorney is unavailable to take a call, the staff and the attorneys are trained to return the call at the earliest possible opportunity.

Best Interest of the Client

The firm’s drive to place the best interest of the client before the interest of the firm is reflected in terms of timing decisions and financial issues.

Timing Issues

The 6 Month Rule
In regard to timing, a critical issue in all cases is when the case should be resolved. While the firm would generally benefit financially by resolving a case as quickly as possible, firm policy dictates that cases, as a general rule, will not be resolved within 6 months of when the injury occurred. The basis for this policy is that experience has shown that most injuries will be identifiable after 5 months have passed. The legal concern being that once a case is resolved, it cannot be re-opened, even if a more serious injury is identified after the case has settled.

Financial Issues

Reduction of Liens 
The firm regularly contacts lien holders to reduce liens and medical bills that will impact the amount of the client’s recovery. These request often require a lot of work by the staff, but do not benefit the firm financially. The flip side of this issue is the firm’s commitment to making sure that our client’s understand their obligation to pay back anyone, including health care providers and insurers, who may have a valid interest in the client’s recovery.

Best Representation Possible

Associate Counsel 
As we look out for the best interest of the client, and in an attempt to offer the best possible representation to our clients, the firm will associate attorney specialists in cases that warrant additional counsel to assist in maximizing the client’s reimbursement. Firm values dictate that if someone else can better represent our client’s interest, additional counsel must be brought in to assist with the client’s case.
Finally, in an effort to look out for the best interest of all callers, the entire firm is trained to make appropriate referrals to callers whom we cannot help. Waldman & Smallwood maintains a list of attorneys in various field of law throughout the nation. When a customer calls with a matter which is beyond our field of expertise, a referral is made to an appropriate attorney. Likewise, the entire firm is quick to refer someone to the Jefferson County Dispute Resolution Center if a caller is in need of a low cost alternative dispute resolution solution.

III. Long-standing history/reputation of ethical practices in the marketplace

Waldman & Smallwood has been protecting the rights of Southeast Texans for 50 years. Our attorneys have over 140 years of combined experience and have represented literally thousands and thousands of clients. Our history of serving the public with the highest degree of respect and honesty is confirmed by our clean record with the Better Business Bureau and our good standing with the Beaumont and Nederland Chambers of Commerce.

IV. Marketing, advertising, communications and sales practices which reflect a true representation of what is being offered in the marketplace

Public Media

Tasteful Ads
Mr. Waldman and the entire firm takes great pride in our pervasive marketing campaign. Great strides are continuously taken to insure that our advertisements are effective, educational and tasteful. Despite heavy competition from out of town attorneys, the firm has not succumbed to the lowest common denominator by marketing our services with dis-tasteful advertisements. Also, as required by law, our ads are continuously reviewed by the State Bar of Texas Advertising Review Committee. Any concerns that may arise are always immediately addressed to insure compliance with all State Bar advertising rules.
Educational Ads
The firm believes that we also have an obligation to educate the public with informative and concise information regarding their legal rights. It is for this reason that the firm has hosted a radio talk show on the local Fox affiliate, the show was called “Fox and the Law” and was hosted by Tom Oxford. Tom brought guest in each Saturday morning to discuss a wide range of legal issues. In an effort to educate Southeast Texans about the benefits of the Jefferson County Dispute Resolution Center, the firm sponsored and hosted a series of public service announcements regarding the benefits of the Center. These segments aired on KBMT Channel 12 during the winter and spring of 2006. Finally, the firm’s web-page at WaldmanSmallwood.com offers a plethora of information regarding the personal injury rights of our local citizens.
Written Advertisements
In addition to the legal check-up policy that the firm follows, the firm also communicates with current and prospective clients with a series of hand-outs and pamphlets. As indicated by the attached, our literature is designed to educate the client regarding their rights, but it also serves to educate them regarding other options that are available as they deal with difficult times in their lives.

V. Acknowledgment of the ethical marketplace practices by industry peers and in communities where they do business

State Wide Acknowledgment
The attorneys of Waldman & Smallwood feel an obligation to go the extra mile to insure that we are prepared to properly and efficiently represent our clients. This effort is confirmed by the fact that 5 of our 7 attorneys are members of The College of the State Bar of Texas. This membership is reserved for members of the State Bar who acquire 30 hours of continuing legal education on an annual basis (only 15 hours are required by the State Bar). The firm is also proud to boast that 3 of our attorneys are Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Among other requirements, this certification is granted when peer approval is acquired by the Board. Tom Oxford, the firm’s managing attorney, has been named a “Champion of Justice” in 2005 by the consumer watch group, Texas Watch.
Local Acknowledgment
Two of our attorneys have been singled out by their peers for special recognition, Carl Waldman has received the prestigious Blackstone Award from the Jefferson County Bar Association. This award is given to a Jefferson County attorney who has demonstrated an entire career of professionalism. This recognition is given to attorneys under the age of 40 who are determined to be the best up and coming attorneys in the State.
No attorney's fee for personal injury cases until we recover compensation.
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