Attorney and firm owner Robert Finkenthal didn’t plan to become a personal injury attorney, primarily representing people who have been injured in car accidents.
While at his first job after law school at Sherwin-Williams, he began a side practice in personal injury law and decided to strike out on his own in 1989.
Born in Cleveland, he grew up in Cleveland Heights and Beachwood, graduating from Beachwood High School in Beachwood at age 16. He became bar mitzvah at Temple on the Heights in Cleveland Heights.
Finkenthal received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Cleveland State University and received his law degree from Case Western Reserve University, both in Cleveland.
When he’s not in the office, Finkenthal can be found on the pickleball court or singing and listening to music.
CJN: How has COVID-19 changed your workload?
Finkenthal: During the lockdown very few people were driving and therefore it was a slower time for new business. Now I was worried about that, but my practice is feast or famine anyway. We’re between 50 and 75 cases at one time. So during that lockdown the total number of cases was decreasing and I wondered, how is this in the long run going to affect my practice? I don’t know the answer to that for sure, but in the period after the lockdown it seems like people just forgot how to drive. I must have gotten 15 cases in a matter of a two-week period right after the lockdown stopped.
CJN: How do clients find you?
Finkenthal: I’m not somebody that you see on a bus. I’m not an ambulance chaser. I don’t buy police reports for people I don’t know, like a lot of other attorneys do. The great majority of my cases come from prior clients that I’ve developed over the years who refer their friends and relatives. A few come from doctors and a few come from other attorneys who refer me cases because that’s not their bailiwick.
CJN: What is the most common mistake your clients make?
Finkenthal: I would say the most common mistake is not carrying uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage, which is something you should always carry because you could get seriously injured and the person who hit you could have either no insurance or minimal coverage.
CJN: If you could change a law, what would it be and why?
Finkenthal: I would make it truly illegal for people to drive without insurance. I would make it mandatory to submit proof of insurance prior to receiving your license.
CJN: In what ways does Judaism dovetail with your career?
Finkenthal: Judaism overlaps with the principles of doing the right thing and giving everybody the benefit of the doubt. And I always try to do those things.