The ABA Journal reports about Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter:

Personal injury associate J. Craig Smith couldn’t turn down his father’s request to take on the case of his cousin Norman, who was fired from his job as a supervisor in a carpet manufacturer after alleging the company was hiring undocumented aliens.

"When my father called me from Georgia [in 2006] about Norman being fired, I didn’t know if I could do anything for him," Smith told the Connecticut Law Tribune. "But my Dad said, ‘Remember who you are, and where you’re from–we stick by our own.’ I knew I had to do right by Norman.”

Smith stuck with cousin Norman Carpenter, all the way to a U.S. Supreme Court victory on a privilege issue.

At the time of the call, Smith was a fourth-year associate at personal injury law firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder in Connecticut. He worked on the case along with a two-person employment law firm in Atlanta—until cert was granted. Smith began getting calls from Supreme Court specialists, who warned he wouldn’t stand a chance unless they got involved, the story says. Smith turned them down and hired Yale law professor Judith Resnik; they sat together at the counsel table when the case went to the Supreme Court.

Lawyers like to believe we’re really smart. We like to believe that we can predict which case will make a lot of money. We like to believe we can tell which cases are really important. We like to believe we can tell when a landmark unanimous Supreme Court opinion has walked in the door.

James E. Beasley, Sr., the late founder of our firm, believed that, if lawyers did the right thing, everything else would take care of itself. He took a lot of cases that offered little more upon presentation than years of bruising litigation, despite the risk and the cost, because he believed that taking up that person’s cause was the right thing to do.