“What have you heard about trial lawyers?” attorney Rhonda Hill Wilson asked students as she spoke to them on the evening of Wednesday, January 19th on the Delaware campus.
When students answered her question about trial lawyers with positive traits, she replied, “I’m really pleased to see that the rhetoric around trial lawyers has changed,” noting that in the past, she would often hear terms like “shark” and “greedy.” She acknowledged that those perceptions had bothered her because she “saw herself as a warrior for the downtrodden.”
She encouraged the students in attendance to think about becoming trial lawyers, saying, “I am happy to be able to stand up in the courts of the United States to fight for people who can’t stand up for themselves.” Urging students to “Be excellent at what you do,” she told them that it takes strength, integrity, and hard work to be a trial lawyer.
Following her remarks, she took questions from the students and faculty in attendance. Asked what aspect of being a trial lawyer bothered her, she answered that the imbalance of power inherent in the system was often frustrating to deal with. She also fielded questions about the difficulties of being an African American woman working as a trial lawyer, where her passion for plaintiff rights came from, and what made her decide to leave the relative security of a firm to open her own practice.
A 1976 graduate of the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University, Rhonda Hill Wilson earned her J.D. from The Washington College of Law at American University in 1979. In 1994, she launched her own firm, the Law Offices of Rhonda Hill Wilson, after leaving an insurance defense practice. Ms. Hill Wilson is on the Board of Governors for the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association, has served on the Board of Governors of American Association for Justice, and sits on the Governing Board of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. A recipient of the 2008 and 2009 Distinguished Service Awards from the American Association for Justice, she practices primarily in the areas of nursing home negligence, medical malpractice, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, motor vehicle accident, and premises liability matters.