Daniel Kramer is a trial lawyer who specializes in representing families and individuals involved in catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death matters, as well as employment discrimination and retaliation lawsuits. Daniel has obtained numerous jury verdicts as lead counsel, all victories on behalf of his clients. Multiple verdicts have been featured in both The Daily Journal, Verdict Search, The Huffington Post, and Fox 11 News. Five verdicts were ranked as the top 50 verdicts in the state of California for 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 by TopVerdict.
Early in his career, Daniel tried one of the first cases in Los Angeles County history to embrace a controversial new law regarding the recoverability of health insurance payments in personal injury actions. In his first year with the firm, Daniel obtained a $3 million settlement on behalf of the family of a WWII veteran who was tragically killed when a truck owned by a large grocery store chain ran a red light and crushed their husband and father to death. In 2015, Daniel obtained a $1,237,500 settlement on the eve of trial on behalf of CalTrans worker who was severely injured in a freeway collision. In 2016, Daniel obtained a $1,420,000 settlement just before trial against a shopping center for failing to protect its customers when a vehicle jumped a curb severely injuring a mother and her two daughters.
Also in 2016, Daniel obtained a $1,000,000 policy limits settlement on behalf of a family who lost their 87-year-old father and grandfather who fell down a poorly lit stairwell. In late 2016, Daniel obtained a $2,160,000 jury verdict against the City of Los Angeles in a slip and fall case. That verdict was selected as one of California’s Top 100 verdicts in 2016. In 2017, he obtained a $1,830,000 wrongful termination verdict and judgment on behalf of a minimum wage worker who was terminated because of his disability, where the jury awarded punitive damages. In 2018, Daniel received a $2,847,500 verdict against two large construction companies after his client fell in an open trench resulting in 3 broken ribs and permanent nerve damage. Last year, Daniel obtained an $850,000 verdict in a very difficult slip and fall trial where the client suffered a fractured knee cap.
Daniel co-founded the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s Personal Injury Section which he currently chairs and in 2016 he was recently elected as the youngest member of the Southwestern Law School Board of Directors. Daniel currently serves as President-Elect of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities where he will serve as president in 2021.
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Table of Contents
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Daniel Kramer: I was a huge sports fan growing up, loved playing sports. Football, baseball. basketball. As I grew up, I realized I was never going to be a professional. I used to love listening to my grandfather’s stories. He was a trial lawyer in North Carolina, and he was a World War II trooper. He used to tell these great stories about the war, and him being behind enemy lines. He would tell these stories, and then tell me other stories about wars in the courtroom. I fell in love with these stories about being in trials with clients, and they made me realize I wanted to be a trial lawyer. I was probably about 11 years old when I realized that this is what I wanted to do.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Daniel Kramer: I guess this kind of ties into my first answer, where it was my grandfather from North Carolina who inspired me to become a trial lawyer. Some of my first mentors when I worked for a firm in Downtown Los Angeles were the owner of the law firm, Jeff Crafts, and two of the partners, Rodney Terrazone and Al Dirocco. My plans had been to be a transactional attorney, and I took all the classes in my last year of law school to prepare for that. I thought I wanted to be a corporate lawyer so started businesses and did big deals. However, Jeff Crafts told me that he could see me getting up in front of a jury and telling a client’s story. He said that it would fit me better and that it would be something I love. Sure enough, after I passed the bar he put me in that department and gave me my first client. I became hooked.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Daniel Kramer: I think the worst advice I received was when I was going to start my first law firm. It was 2012, the economy was bad and people thought it was a bad time to start a business. I think all these outside factors are definitely important to take into consideration. However, I was still motivated. I think you have the drive and you are willing to do the hard work, you should do it and not wait. Waiting is the worst thing you can do. If you are motivated, you can fight through these macro-level external factors.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Daniel Kramer: Well, in my business I would say it is losing a case and getting up the next morning, picking up a file, and fighting for the next client. I don’t think you can dwell on your losses. They are going to happen, they are going to make you a better lawyer. It’s all about what you do that next morning. What we do is every day after a case, we sit down and have a meeting about each trial. We talk about what we could do better because there is always something you can do better whether you win or lose.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Daniel Kramer: I think there are two things. One is that we are not scared of anyone. We go up against Fortune 500 companies, huge municipalities, big law firms- we are just absolutely not scared of anyone. There is not going to be anyone on the other side who is going to make us do any less or work any differently. We are always going to work the hardest. We are going to take the punches and punch right back twice as hard.
We are a very empathetic law firm for our clients. We believe in communication. We realize that the people who we represent are often going through the toughest times in their lives. It may be that they have lost a loved one, been injured at work, or been fired from a company for a discriminatory reason. We want them to understand that they are not just a dollar figure to us. We care about them, and we form a relationship with them where we love them like family. That’s how I want to be treated, that’s how I would like my mum to be treated. So we are very empathetic, but on the other side we are their protector and we are ready to knock out the competition for them and do it civilly. We want to handle it with respect and shake hands at the end of the day, but we are going to fight as hard as anyone on a case.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Daniel Kramer: I think treating everyone like a human being. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a janitor, a busboy, or a CEO. We are all human beings and we should all be treated with respect. Life happens and you can’t expect people to miss doctor’s appointments or kids’ birthdays. It’s all about respecting people’s lives and truly caring about them. As we do with our clients, we also look at our colleagues as humans we care about and it will pay back a hundredfold if you treat people that way.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Daniel Kramer: Absolutely, even more so as it is Kramer Trial Lawyers. There is a sense of responsibility there for me. It all comes back to being a good role model for my team. I’m also aware of how my personal actions are a reflection on Kramer Trial Lawyers as a whole. The things that I have always believed in, which are treating everyone with empathy and fairness no matter who they are, are also what Kramer Trial Lawyers is about.
How would you define “leadership”?
Daniel Kramer: Leadership to me is having the courage to take risks, and stand up for what you believe in. It is setting an example for everyone that you work with. Inspiring them to be their best selves and to be brave. In my business especially, you have to have belief in yourself and what you believe, not just for yourself, but also for your clients. As a leader, it’s my job to make sure that I set a good example for my associates and ensure that they are confident in themselves when they step into that courtroom. It also means being willing to do the hardest tasks and never asking someone to do something you would not do. Nothing is “below” a good leader.
What would you say is the main difference between starting a business at the time you started yours and starting the business in today’s age?
Daniel Kramer: Well, I started my first law firm as a founding partner in 2012, and then opened the doors of Kramer Trial lawyers in 2020. As I mentioned before, 2012 was seen as a bad time to be opening a business. 2020 was even more so because of the pandemic. In 2021 we are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, and are not out of the woods yet. It’s been an uncertain time, but we have had the drive and have not used the uncertainty as an excuse not to work hard.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Daniel Kramer: I would have to say Theodore Roosevelt’s “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at something worth doing.” This sums up perfectly the reason I do what I do. Being an attorney is hard work, but it is work worth doing. I am grateful every day that I get to help people achieve justice in the courtroom.
Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Daniel Kramer for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Daniel Kramer or his company, you can do it through his – Facebook
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