Today we are introducing Mark Shanberg, a partner in Tyson & Mendes’ Chicago office. He is a seasoned litigation attorney with over 27 years of practical experience in which he has successfully defended his clients in a variety of concentrations including medical liability, construction liability, product liability, trucking and transportation liability and premises liability. Most of his cases involve wrongful death or catastrophic injuries that rely heavily on liability and medical experts. He is known by his peers as a zealous and ethical advocate for his clients. Learn more about Mark’s extensive resume and his love for Chicago!
T&M: What drew you to Tyson & Mendes?
MS: During my interview process I was told that Tyson & Mendes wants to be the best insurance defense firm in America. I was asked if I was willing to learn and incorporate proven methods to avoid Nuclear Verdicts® into the way I prepare and try cases. Of course, I said yes, anxious to learn the Tyson & Mendes methods. I quickly learned that Tyson & Mendes invests in its attorneys and provides the tools and education to help us learn and grow – both personally and professionally. For example, the firm sponsors the Tyson & Mendes Trial Academy where, over the course of many weeks, attorneys participate in hands-on training that covers Voir Dire through closing arguments. The course culminates with a condensed mock jury trial. I had the opportunity to participate in last year’s trial academy as a litigator and this year’s academy as a trial judge.
In addition to the Trial Academy, the firm hosts monthly “book clubs” where Bob Tyson and others would discussions on the various chapters in Bob’s book, “Nuclear Verdicts®: Defending Justice for All.” The book covers many aspects of trial work, and through anecdotal stories weaved into the chapters, Bob offers real-world examples of the effectiveness of the Tyson & Mendes methods.
What drew me to the firm is the same thing that keeps me here – the firm’s commitment to its attorneys and clients.
T&M: What have you enjoyed most about working at the firm thus far?
MS: In addition to the support and congeniality between the members of the firm, I’m fortunate enough to be working alongside a good friend of mine whom I’ve known and respected for 36 years. With almost 60 years of combined practical experience, we can draw upon each other’s knowledge and routinely “round-table” case theories and strategies to properly position the case for early resolution or trial.
T&M: Your litigation experience spans many different industries – is there one you find more interesting or rewarding over the others?
MS: At the start and the end of the day, it’s about serving the best interest of our client. Even our corporate clients are made up of individuals. These individuals have interests and rights that need to be protected. The individuals we represent don’t go out into the community looking to injure someone. Our corporate clients are not running their businesses with the intent or purpose of causing someone harm. Accidents happen. Not every injury is caused by negligent conduct. Whether it’s defending a doctor accused of medical negligence, a construction contractor accused of construction negligence, a truck driver accused of transportation negligence, a manufacturer accused of product liability, or a business owner accused of premises liability, I take my responsibility seriously that someone has placed their trust and confidence in me to do what’s right and to seek justice on their behalf. I ask myself, “Is this the way I would want someone defending my own case or the case of a family member?” If I can say yes, then I know I’m on the right track.
T&M: When going to trial, what do you look for when selecting expert witnesses?
MS: Besides selecting an expert with the proper credentials (relevant education, training and experience), I want an expert who is credible, relatable and a good communicator. They must be able to explain their opinions and the bases of their opinions and why their opinions make sense. For instance, in a leg amputation case, I was fortunate enough to be able to retain a prosthetist who is a single leg amputee himself. He could speak from personal experience and with empathy that was well-received by the jury. This is an extreme example, but I need someone who can educate me on the relevant liability or medical damage issues, and more importantly educate the jury.
T&M: Tell us about the most memorable case you have worked on since joining Tyson & Mendes?
MS: The case I am currently defending involving a bi-lateral above-the-knee amputation is one of the more challenging, and so far, memorable cases I’ve had the pleasure of working on at Tyson & Mendes. We are preparing the case for trial based upon the Tyson & Mendes methods of incorporating Responsibility, Reasonableness and Common Sense. The plaintiff has the sympathy factor in his favor, but with the implementation of the Tyson & Mendes methods, we are hopeful and confident that we will avoid a nuclear verdict.
T&M: What has been the best piece of advice you ever received?
MS: There is no such thing as a dumb question. Knowledge is power. If you don’t know something, ask the question of the right person to gain that new knowledge you didn’t have when you woke up that morning.
The other piece of advice I received and have taken to heart is, that the louder you yell, the less people will listen.
T&M: When did you know you wanted to become a lawyer?
MS: My dad was a lawyer. As a young child, it was the allure of seeing him leave the house in his suit and shiny wingtip shoes. When I accompanied him to his office and to court on a take your kid to work day, that sealed the deal for me. I have always enjoyed taking a position and articulating the reasons why I believe my position is correct. Backing the argument up with facts was always a bonus. Now, case law/statutes serve as the bases of many of my arguments. However, I’ve learned responsibility, reasonableness and common sense wins out often.
T&M: If you could live in any other city, where would it be and why?
MS: I really love Chicagoland. My family and roots are here. I could never live full-time in another city. However, winters in the Midwest are rough. Ask me this question in December or January and I may respond that San Diego or Miami sound real nice.
T&M: When not at work or home, where are we most likely to find you?
MS: My form of relaxation comes from engaging in some sort of physical activity. I spend many hours in a seated position in front of the computer and on the phone. When not working, you will likely find me walking my dog, on my road bike, at the gym or in my yard cutting the grass and tending to the landscaping. A good weekend day for me involves getting my hands dirty and working up a sweat.