Today we had the opportunity to virtually catch up with our senior associate attorney, Megan Irish from our San Francisco office. Megan Irish is a determined and experienced advocate for those injured in catastrophic incidents and the loved ones of those who died. In 2018 and 2020, Super Lawyers recognized Megan as a Rising Star among Northern California attorneys.
“Our clients come to us often having suffered terrible, life-threatening injuries,” Megan states. “They need superior and compassionate legal representation. I take great pride in helping our clients navigate the complexities of the legal system, ensuring their story is told and obtaining for them full and timely compensation.”
From case investigation, pre-litigation settlement negotiations, drafting the complaint, fact discovery, preparation of experts, and motions practice to mediation, settlement or trial, Megan excels in all phases of civil litigation. With nearly ten years of litigation experience, Megan has assisted her clients recover over $24.5 million in verdicts and settlements.
At the Dolan Law Firm, Megan has successfully represented clients in a wide range of individual cases, including:
- Bicyclists, motorcycle riders, and car drivers & passengers seriously injured due to the fault of another vehicle owner;
- individuals who suffered fractures, concussions, or spinal injuries from slipping and falling at poorly maintained properties;
- consumers injured by defective and dangerous products; and
- victims of dog bites.
Megan is an active member of attorney organizations dedicated to the preserving access to justice for all members of society and fostering ethics, civility, and expertise in the legal profession, including the Consumer Attorneys of California(“CAOC“), and the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association(“SFTLA”)
Interview with Megan
Hello Megan, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. How does it feel to be nominated as a Super Lawyer Rising star in 2020?
It is an honor to be recognized by my peers as an attorney worthy of this recognition.
Tell us about your last trial in the Vanderheyden case. You received a Plaintiff’s verdict. Is there a point in time when you just know you are going to win the case? Or does it always feel like its up in the air?
The Vanderheyden case was the first time I sat second chair at a trial. I remember sitting with Mr. Vanderheyden at our very first meeting, working over the years, strategizing on his case, and seeing him through to the end was an amazing experience. As plaintiff attorneys, we do not have crystal balls and cannot promise anything; putting the case in the hands of the jury was nerve-wracking! I never took for granted that Mr. Dolan was doing an amazing job presenting evidence and eliciting testimony that was clear and strong for our Plaintiff. I am proud of the Plaintiff’s verdict that was obtained, as it was just and right. I was also very energized by watching the jury at work.
What has surprised you the most about trials?
The scheduling aspect of witnesses is amazingly difficult, and even though I’d been told about it, it was like a putting together a jigsaw puzzle without all the pieces, nothing really fits together, but you look at the picture and you figure it out as best you can. You always want to have a witness ready to put on the stand, and sometimes that means having someone wait all day in the hallway, just in case you need them. It’s very important to be respectful of the jury’s time and keep a case moving forward.
As a working parent, do you have any advice to other parents? How do you maintain a work and personal life balance?
Right now, at seven months into sheltering-in-place under the pandemic, my work/life balance is very different. Traditionally, I did my best to be home for dinner, bath and bedtime, and then I would get back to work after my kids were in bed, as needed. Having that routine with my kids was really important to me, and knowing I’d carve out daily time for them makes working really hard, or on weekends okay, because you are still developing a strong relationship with them. Now, I’m sharing my kitchen table “office” with a kindergartner and a third grader. This is a very new norm… I make it work by logging in early or logging back in after bedtime as I need to meet deadlines and move cases forward. I’m taking it one day at a time. We also recently got a puppy, and I’m finding that taking him on walks has been really good for me, and its energizing to get your body moving and helps me get things done overall.
Who inspired you to become a trial lawyer?
I decided in third grade I wanted to be a lawyer. I had no real idea what that meant then, but I’d made my mind up. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley, I was encouraged by my boss at the dental office I was working at to go on to law. Her father had been a lawyer, and even though we had a great working relationship at the office, she pushed me to go after my dream. I left her office after eight years and went to work at a law firm.
What is something you can share with law students that you wish someone would have told you?
I think law students should work for a law firm before going to law school. So really, my advice is for pre-law students. I would recommend taking some time between your undergraduate degree and going on to law school to work in an area of the law you are interested in. Everyone should see first-hand what a law career can look like before committing the time, energy and money to the education.
What tips would you share with new attorneys who are about to explore your field of work?
Take an anatomy class. Learning about the body is crucial for any personal injury attorney.