Darryl Isaacs

Tough, Confident and Compassionate

By Susan Cushing

Celebrating a quarter of a century in business, doing what he’s most passionate about and in the process becoming one of the most renowned and respected personal injury attorney in multiple states, Darryl Isaacs – “The Hammer” – doesn’t require much more by way of introduction. Indeed, our Attorney of the Month’s name, face and reputation are so familiar, so celebrated that virtually everyone in Kentucky and Indiana feel they know him personally. While there is certainly no question of his talent, experience and success, perhaps what is most appealing about Isaacs, formally known as the “Heavy Hitter,” is that despite his numerous achievements and undeniable fame he remains a sincere, down-to-earth, homespun Kentucky boy.

When my dad raised his right hand to be sworn in, I jumped up on a chair and did the same thing, repeating every word. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be a lawyer.”

The Surprisingly Upbeat Perspective of a Car Accident Lawyer

It would be so easy to let his runaway success go to his head, but Isaacs keeps both feet planted firmly on the rich Kentucky soil. With a sincerity that is so obviously from the heart, he magnanimously shares credit for his success with God, family, friends and of course, his many loyal clients.

“My grandma certainly wasn’t a lawyer or even highly educated,” he says, “but she was very wise. She imparted many words of wisdom to me, but a couple of things that really stand out were, ‘It doesn’t cost anything to give everyone 110 percent’ and ‘God doesn’t discriminate, we all bleed the color red’. Very simple observations, but really genius in their simplicity.”

Isaacs’ father, Sheldon Isaacs, whom he not only had tremendous respect and admiration for but also began his law career with, is someone who probably had the most influence in Issacs’ life. One of his earliest childhood memories was the day his father was sworn in after passing the bar.

“I was probably eight or nine at the time,” says Isaacs, “and my dad took me with him to the state capitol to be sworn in. I just remember being so impressed with everything, kind of in awe. When my dad raised his right hand to be sworn in, I jumped up on a chair and did the same thing, repeating every word. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be a lawyer.

“It also left an important impression on me that my father didn’t even begin law school until he was almost 40 years old,” he adds. “In fact, the older I’ve become the more I appreciate how brave that was. He had been a very successful pharmacist owning his own drug stores, but he was always a man who strongly believed in education and that we should never stop learning. I guess he had this desire to study law and so he worked all day to support his family and then attended classes at night. That alone is very inspiring.”

How One Injury Attorney Approaches Success and Heartbreak

Another example of Isaacs’ “down to earth” approach to life, is the fact that he’s so transparent, with an unabashed honesty that’s almost nonexistent in today’s world. Guileless with a frank, open demeanor, Isaacs’ candid, almost self-effacing demeanor is rare, particularly among professionals of his caliber.

“I flunked the bar twice,” he says. “I’m not ashamed of that, nor would I ever try to hide it. Of course, I wasn’t happy at the time, but in retrospect, as with many things in life, it turned out to be a positive thing. I redoubled my efforts to learn as much as I could. Since I was no longer in school, it freed my time so that I was able to spend hours in various courtrooms observing and learning from some of the best attorneys in the state. I asked questions, read everything I could and took particular interest in not only local attorneys, but those on the national scene who stood out or had traits that I aspired to emulate.

“One incredible personal injury attorney who I really admired, he was a wonderful mentor and later became a Supreme Court Justice, was Nick King. In fact, I coincidentally ended up buying his law office building.”

Although Isaacs now owns multiple office buildings, he says the one that formerly belonged to this much-admired mentor definitely means the most, vowing to own it until the day he dies.

A Personal Injury Law Firm Making It Very Personal

Ranking closely behind experience and ability, trust and compassion are probably the two most important traits people look for when choosing an attorney. Certainly, we want to know that the professional representing us has the skill, backed by an impressive track record, to get the job done. However, there also needs to be an element of trust. Not unlike a surgeon, you are essentially turning over your life, so there has to be a certain degree of faith that they will indeed live up to expectations. Even if his or her reputation is one highlighted by numerous successful outcomes, we need to believe that same level of effort and attention will be given to us and our case.

Compassion, or a sense that our lawyer “gets us” or can relate to what we’re going through, is not equally important in all situations. Just as you really don’t care if your surgeon knows exactly how it feels to have a broken leg in order to feel confident the treatment will be excellent, not all legal matters require that warm fuzzy emotional connection. In fact, in many areas of the law, such an emotion might feel superfluous when all that is important is that we are represented to the best of their ability and, ideally, the decision goes in our favor.

Personal injury attorneys are somewhat unique in this respect. Compassion and a genuine belief that our attorney truly understands the ordeal we’re suffering through is at least of equal significance to other attributes we are looking for. When someone is the innocent victim, suffering physical pain, is emotionally drained, financially damaged and even psychologically impaired, what they need so desperately is for someone to truly listen and understand them.

The guilty party, whether an individual or mega corporation is only concerned about protecting themselves. Insurance companies might pretend to care, but in reality, their primary concern is paying out the least amount possible. Family and friends, while caring and sympathetic, are not equipped to obtain justice nor effect any monetary restitution. So, that leaves the one person who hopefully has the knowledge, experience and sincere interest – your attorney.

Here again, Isaacs is uniquely qualified, even more than he was when he first began practicing law. Following the examples of some of the best personal injury attorneys of our time, including the stellar examples set by his father who was always a champion of the underdog, an unexpected event increased this empathy a thousand fold.

Life Lessons: What Happens When a Truck Accident Lawyer Gets Hit by a Car?

January of 2015 brought not only a new year but one of the most frightening and life-altering events of Isaacs’ life. While riding his bicycle, the attorney was mowed down by a young motorist. Hardly a fair fight, a Detroit metal monster versus a simple two-wheel bike. It left the counselor a broken neck, two broken shoulders, a scalped head as well as a host of other injuries.

“I’m lucky to be here talking to you today,” he says with a smile. “I’m very fortunate and feel blessed, not only for surviving but for the great doctors and nurses who took care of me and all the support, love and prayers I received from so many people. It was really amazing.”

But, now with the advantage of time, which has brought not only healing but also perspective, Isaacs is a bit philosophical about the harrowing accident.

“Once you come out the other side of something like that, I think you just tend to appreciate everything a bit more,” he says. “Life in general, the people in your life and for me, it’s had a profound effect on my law practice. I like to believe I’ve always been sympathetic to my clients. Certainly, that has always been my intent. I followed my father’s example and know that the most important part of my job sometimes is just really listening.

“That being said, after experiencing all of this first-hand, I have to admit I have a whole-new level of appreciation and empathy for my clients,” he adds. “I realize that try as you might to understand what someone else might be going through, usually the best you can do is imagine how they feel and be sympathetic. Once you’ve experienced it yourself, there’s no imagining and empathy replaces sympathy. It might not seem like it, but I can feel the difference. I know my clients can too. Actually, I sincerely believe it’s helped me improve in every aspect of my life. I’m a better husband, father and friend too.

“So, horrible as that was to have to go through, perhaps it was all part of the ‘big plan’ and was meant to be. At any rate, I choose to look at it that way rather than focus on the negative.”

Fighting to Make Clients Whole Again – Physically, Emotionally, Financially

Isaacs & Isaacs have achieved an incredible reputation for many reasons, not the least being a history of collecting more than a billion dollars in damages and compensation for their clients. One of the most highly-respected barristers of his generation, Isaacs is a polished professional who refuses to take short cuts. He’s conscientious and strives to continually elevate the profession he’s proud to be a part of. And yet…there are times, too many according the gentle-hearted attorney, when clients strike a nerve so deep that it’s difficult to detach.

Empathy can be a two-edged sword; wonderful when it helps two people connect, painful when you identify so closely that the pain is real and lasting.

One example that Isaacs recalls, was a case involving a woman who was the victim of a defective product. Monetarily, no one can deny that they were incredibly successful in achieving a most generous award settlement on her behalf. However, the whole experience that this woman had to endure left a lasting scar on this attorney’s tender heart.

“I got very close to her, and even though it’s been many years ago,” he says slowly, the pain seemingly as fresh as yesterday, “it touched me deeply. It made me appreciate all my blessings as I witnessed first-hand not only the struggles caused by this incident, but her life. Even before, this was difficult and a challenge day to day.

“We were able to get her a very generous settlement without ultimately going to court,” he continues. “Of course, we were fully prepared to take it all the way, but I know it would have been tremendously hard on her. So, when we were able to settle, I was delighted on her behalf. Truly, I cannot fully explain, not even to myself, precisely what it was about this young woman or her case that affected me so profoundly, but she seemed to feel the connection as well. To this day we remain in touch. I think the longest span of time we’ve ever gone between contacting one another is maybe six months.”

How “The Hammer” Manages a Large Team of Superstar Attorneys

If it were up to “The Hammer,” this article would only use his name as an aside or for clarification. Yes, he’s a modest man, but his reasons go beyond that. More than anyone else, Isaacs appreciates the individuals who make up the Isaacs & Isaacs Law Firm team. He’s proud of them as professionals and believes each to be a genuinely good person with high morals and strong family and community ties.

When first approached, informing him that he had been selected based on nominations from his colleagues to be featured on our cover, Isaacs seemed reluctant. In fact, what made him decide to acquiesce and be interviewed, was the promise that we would feature the firm overall, and specifically acknowledge the incredible attorneys, paralegals and other administrative staff that comprise this award-winning group.

And, while space does not allow to highlight each member individually, we agreed to share some highlights and Isaacs’ own personal observations of his team.

Many Minds-One Vision

Even before the first paperclip was purchased, Isaacs knew precisely what his vision was for his law firm. First, and most important, it would be a law firm dedicated to promoting the best interests of each and every client. They would come first, regardless of how large or small their case. He has always maintained that when someone suffers an injury impacting their ability to work, care for family or negatively affects any other aspect of their life, the entire community is impacted.

“I compare it to tossing a stone into the middle of a pond,” he says, “then watching the ripples expand outwards.”

This is why every member of his stellar team, active in three states, have been carefully and thoughtfully hand-selected to ensure that the vision so intricately formed is promoted and honored every day. He and the entire team are passionately dedicated to protecting victims of car accidents, big truck and commercial vehicle wrecks, wrongful death, workplace injury, bad drugs and nursing home abuse.

Isaacs is heartily and wholly supported in his efforts by his loving wife of 25 years. Terri and he met his first year of law school and have been happy ever since sharing dreams, a home and three wonderful children – Lee, Amanda and Nathaniel.

Having just celebrated their Silver Anniversary, the couple is trying to find more time to travel and just take life a little slower when they can. When asked about the incredible success he’s enjoyed over the years, Isaacs seem sincerely surprised.

“I never dreamed the firm would become this big or successful,” he says candidly. “I am happy that we’ve been able to help so many deserving people though. I think some people get the wrong impression of me because of my commercials. I enjoy making those. People tell me how much they enjoy them and how they make them laugh.

“I guess I might have a crazy sense of humor, but I love hearing people laugh and I just want them to know my name so when and if the day comes when they are facing a horrible accident, they can call me and I can help them,” he adds. “I’ve even heard comments occasionally about making money. I’m sorry, I won’t apologize for making a living. I work hard, I give my all to each and every client. I’m proud that I can do something that I love, that really helps others and allows me to provide for my family. What more can a man ask for?”

Isaacs & Isaacs Law Firm

1601 Business Center Ct. Louisville, KY 40299 | (502) 458-1000 | www.isaacsandisaacs.com

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