The day after John Uustal started law school, Hurricane Andrew tore through
the University of Miami, destroyed parts of the city, and shut down the
school. Once the campus and surrounding areas reopened, he was forced
to complete a full year of law school in much less time. For months he
studied law at a ridiculous pace under tremendous pressure while living
without electricity or phone service and at the same time struggling to
help those still in need.
All of the students in the incoming class faced the same difficulties,
but some excelledbecause of the impossible demands and incredible responsibility. At the end of
the year, Mr. Uustal not only ranked first in the entire student body,
he also earned the Book Award for the highest grade in the class in every
single class that year. He turned his attention to trial skills and was
prosecuting criminals in Miami courtrooms even before he graduated.
After graduation he earned what was reportedly the highest score in the
entire state on the Florida Bar Examination. In his first few years of
practice he obtained a $51 million verdict trying a car crash case himself,
helped make national news when he discovered a massive corporate scheme
to cover-up the real reason that people were burning alive in General
Motors vehicles, and tried cases across the country. Ten years after graduation
he and partner Bob Kelley founded the powerhouse trial firm of Kelley/Uustal.
Mr. Uustal now handles incredibly complex and difficult cases against the
best defense attorneys in the world. His successes have resulted in
safer fuel tanks,
safer seatbelts,safer medical care, and
safer equipment for firefighters and paramedics.
That success has also earned him some powerful enemies. A car company
promised to bankrupt him, he was attacked and maligned by Big Tobacco,
and he was threatened in Argentina after antagonizing government officials
who had been complicit in Argentina’s dirty war. When facing such
intimidation, he likes to quote Clarence Darrow: “I have lived my
life, and I have fought my battles, against power. I have asked no odds
from them, and I never will.”
Mr. Uustal realizes that he is at his best in the most difficult cases,
especially when working for a family who is desperate for help. He limits
his practice to representing families who have suffered catastrophic injuries
or wrongful death, even when other attorneys say the case can’t
be won. With truly devastating injuries, he can profoundly change lives
for the better – the difference between a good recovery and a great
recovery may be all the difference in the world to a truly desperate family.
He excels in these cases
because of the impossible demands and the incredible responsibility, just as he
did when struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew.
Clients have called him “the real deal”; “an old-school
fighter” who “cared about us as people first.” After
he won a case for a little girl who suffered brain damage when she was
hit by a car, her mother wrote: “John Uustal is a true genius, and
he has a heart of gold. I truly believe he’s doing what he’s
supposed to be doing. This is something I try to tell people.”
COACH AND TEACHER
John Uustal grew up in Fort Lauderdale. His mother was a teacher, his father
was a coach, and he saw the real impact they each had on so many young
lives. He loves kids, and he dedicates himself to coaching competitive
soccer for Fort Lauderdale Select. He played soccer locally at St. Thomas
Aquinas High School, and later he was one of the few Americans chosen
to play for the Italian Embassy Soccer Team in Washington, D.C.
He finds opportunities to coach in the law as well. Because he only accepts
a small handful of cases, he believes that it is important to freely give
his time advising, assisting and teaching other attorneys who ask for
help. He gives lectures across the country and teaches trial skills.
To speak with an attorney at his firm, contact Kelley/Uustal today.