PaceSetter
Spotlight on an MAJ Member

Paul Shibley

November 2020


West Michigan Injury Lawyers PLC, Muskegon

In the first of what he describes as many lucky breaks, Paul Shibley stated why he became a trial lawyer. “In high school, my best friend’s father was a doctor and my friend always knew he was going to be a doctor. I was bad at math, bad at science but great at literature comprehension and history. One day it was decided that if I couldn’t follow my friend to med school, I’d be a lawyer. In law school I clerked for a divorce attorney who also did personal injury work. The divorce law was awful. Helping people fight their insurance companies was much more fulfilling. Nearly 30 years later from that clerkship and it’s still a joy to wrest from the insurance companies that which they would deny but for our work as trial lawyers,” stated Shibley.

Being active in MAJ has been essential to the success of Shibley’s firm. “One of my first jobs included membership to MAJ. I attended an MAJ seminar approximately 25 years ago, and I had no trial experience but the success stories at that seminar gave me insight into what it takes to succeed as a trial lawyer. I’ve been an Executive Board member since 2008, presented at a few seminars, and have been active with JPAC fundraising including being a member of the JPAC Board. The spirit of ‘all for one and one for all’ and incredible generosity from so many members of MAJ, the opportunity to network with the most exceptional trial lawyers anywhere and the tools provided through the seminars and publications are incredible gifts provided by our wonderful organization and its members.”

Shibley is a monthly contributor to MAJ’s Justice PAC. “The legislators who draft the law, the judges interpreting and expanding the law and the politicians who appoint the judges who interpret and expand the law mean everything to the rights of our clients. Having a viable PAC dedicated to our clients’ need for justice is cornerstone to our ability to help those clients. We’ve withstood some politicians who were determined to elevate the interests of the insurance companies. Our JPAC is our most effective means of trying to provide access to fair, meaningful jury trials where those with all the money and all the power can be held accountable by a jury from one’s own community.”

Shibley handles cases throughout West and Southwest Michigan. “I have developed a rich understanding of the area. Also, I try to have my initial meeting at my client’s home so I can see what their life was like before it was turned upside down by their injuries. Every client gets my cell phone number which is essential to keeping us connected through the process. Recently I concluded a case and the couple living on a farm invited me to bring my 6-year-old son back in the spring to look for frogs and snakes in their pond. We will take them up on such a kind offer born from friendship.”

Fly fishing in remote places is a favorite hobby of Shibley’s. “I’ve been to Alaska 9 times including brown bear filled Katmai, Greenland, southern Patagonia not far from Antarctica, tiny islands in the outer Bahamas and have a trip planned to Mongolia. We also love taking care of our 100-year-old home blocks from town and the beach in downtown Grand Haven. I don’t know if I’d have had the fly fishing travel or have obtained the home we used to dream of owning without my MAJ friendships and opportunities. I owe such a deep debt of thanks to all of you who have so generously helped me these past 25 years. Anyone reading this is welcome to come sit on our porch in Grand Haven have a drink while listening to the nearby Musical Fountain and toast to our role in helping the clients we’re so fortunate to represent.”