When it comes to raising funds for civil justice, San Diego attorney Frederick Schenk is a little like Robin Hood.
“I take money from trial lawyers and give it to those who need it,” he joked.
The partner with Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield organized several successful fundraising events at the firm’s Bankers’ Hill office in 2010, with the proceeds going to consumer protection groups and their advocates.
For his efforts, Schenk was honored by the American Association for Justice with the Wiedemann Wysocki National Finance Council Award in August. The AAJ is the nation’s largest trial bar.
“What makes Fred such an outstanding attorney is not only the high volume of cases he successfully wins, but his compassion and acute sense of responsibility toward serving justice for those individuals who have been injured physically and emotionally by unfortunate circumstances,” said Jawid Habib, a case assistant to Schenk.
With Schenk’s help, John Perez, speaker of the California Assembly, made a pair of trips to the Casey Gerry offices this past year while Darrell Steinberg, president pro tem of the state Senate, also visited.
“We’re raising money to bring these (consumer) issues to the forefront so we can do further lobbying for civil justice causes,” Schenk said. “For the speaker of the state Assembly to make two trips to one law office says something about what it is for us to promote causes in which we believe.”
Schenk recently was elected to the board of governors for the AAJ, and he serves as a governor emeritus for the Consumer Attorneys of California.
The Consumer Attorneys of California, along with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, got a bipartisan state bill passed that will reinstate parental responsibility for serving minors in their home, effective Jan. 1.
“People read about these tragedies and the rest of society says, ‘What a tragedy. I’ll try to make sure this doesn’t happen to my kids.’ But time and again, it happens,” Schenk said. “As trial lawyers, we try to fix it systematically, so there’s a real deterrent to letting that activity happen again.”
In his day job, Schenk is a hero to America’s heroes, representing members of the Navy who have been exposed to asbestos on ships. He’s been working in that area for 28 years, and for the past two decades he’s been the only attorney in San Diego representing asbestos victims and their families.
“This disease knows no rank, no status,” he said. “It permeates the vessels, and men of all rank and background have gone on to develop this disease. The companies that we pursue either manufactured, sold or installed these asbestos-containing products, knowingly.”
Schenk, a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates, has been successful in helping dozens of asbestos victims this year alone.
“Where he really shines is in the courtroom,” said Wendy Behan, a colleague and partner at Casey Gerry. “He is excellent at conveying to the jury what his clients have gone through, and his clients are always happy to have him on their side.”
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