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Benjamin Braly

bbraly@dobllp.com

Background & motivation

I come from a family of teachers and lawyers. My mother's side of my family is full of educators and public servants. My grandfather, Dale, was the mayor of the little town of Carmen, Oklahoma and both my mother and her mother were public school teachers. My father's side of the family found their path in the law. My grandfather Mack was the city attorney in Ada, Oklahoma before starting his successful private practice after returning from the war. Both of my uncles are attorneys in Oklahoma, and my father was on the same path before taking a detour through Vietnam as a Naval aviator. His service in the Navy led him to a successful career as a commercial airline pilot, which is how it came to be that Dallas became home for me.

 

My path to the law was slightly different than others. I graduated from Texas A&M University in 1999 with a degree from the Engineering College with no immediate desires to follow the family way into the law or education. I took a job with an electrical products manufacturer as a sales engineer, which moved me to North Carolina. I worked selling electrical products to contractors who were building some pretty cool things. Some of the things I had a chance to work with included Water treatment facilities, engineering facilities for Duke University, the electrical distribution equipment for a lock and dam system built by the Army Corps of Engineers and the expansion of the RDU International Airport. The work was good, but I did not feel like I was doing what I was meant to do. I began developing a strong itch to put my career aside and go back to school. In 2002, I began the process of applying to law schools, and in 2003 I made the decision to return back home to Dallas to start my legal career at Southern Methodist University.

 

In law school, I gained an opportunity to work with a law firm that specialized in helping people who were stricken by asbestos-caused diseases, including the devastating fatal disease mesothelioma. I discovered that practicing law for people who truly need help was a whole lot more satisfying than the prospect of serving a faceless billion dollar corporation or insurance company. Client after client, I saw people who worked hard their whole lives to provide for their families, only to have the work they did come back in their golden years to strike them down prematurely. Some of these clients were only exposed to asbestos for a brief period of time and ended up paying the price for their exposures to a toxin that they had no idea could hurt them. I came to learn that the industry that manufactured and profited from the use of asbestos, including some of the largest corporations in the world, knew about the hazards associated with inhaling asbestos fibers going back into the 1930s and then deliberately concealed or downplayed those hazards. Sadly, some of those same companies continue to conceal and downplay the known hazards of asbestos inhalation even today.

 

I believe it's fair to say that I found my place in the law through this initial internship I received in law school. Since graduation, I've dedicated my practice of law to helping families and victims who were affected by the consequences associated with asbestos exposures. I'm honored to have the opportunity to meet so many men and women around the country who worked hard their whole lives to provide for their families. That honor is tempered, however, by the tragic loss that corporate greed and negligence cost those families through lives cut short by asbestos disease. My motivation as a lawyer comes from my desire to help these families even the playing field against some of the largest corporations in the world who caused their loss.