Q & A with Eliot Yaffe, a local business success
Sitting down with local attorney, Eliot Yaffe we had a ton of questions. Yaffe, an attorney at Foshee and Yaffe law firm, has been with the firm since 2001. A graduate of Westmoore High School, Yaffee, his brother and father have gained abundant success from their practice. For over 30 years, Foshee & Yaffe have worked with thousands of clients who’ve experienced multiple legal issues, including negligence, business disputes, social security disability, criminal defense, family law, workers’ compensation, immigration, and more. Their motto is “Big enough to Fight, Small enough to Care,” a motto that can be seen in their most recent venture with documentaries. The documentary entitled Heartland Heartbreak raises awareness about workers compensation failures in Oklahoma. It paints a grim picture of both the workers compensation system and the impact this broken system has on many locals. In this interview, Yaffe, discussed the documentary, the family business and why he loves the west Moore area.
Linked West Moore: What is it like to work at a law firm with family?
Eliot Yaffe: Have you ever ridden on a roller coaster that has multiple loops and no safety rails? Working with family is definitely a blessing and I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work with both my dad and my brother. One of the most significant advantages to working with family is that trust is never an issue. I have no doubt that my family has my back at all times. Unfortunately, you cannot say that about all business relationships.
LMW: What is unique about the firm at which you work?
EY: Our firm is unique for several reasons, but the most important reason is the outstanding quality of people that work here, which includes both attorneys and staff. We have approximately 35 staff members, several of which have been with our firm for over 25+ years. The partners have been together for almost 40 years. We have 17 attorneys with combined experience of over 200+ years of legal knowledge. The aforementioned facts led us to our motto is “Big enough to fight, Small enough to care”.
Often times attorneys are labeled as uncaring and disengaged, but that is not what I have witnessed in the years that I have been at our firm. In my humble opinion, we have the finest group of attorneys and staff in Oklahoma. Another aspect of our firm that makes us unique is the vast amount of legal knowledge that is readily available to potential clients. When a client hires an attorney at our firm, they actually get the backing of our entire firm. Our office offers clients a “one stop shop” for most legal needs, including; General Litigation, Personal Injury, Military Law, Workers’ Compensation, Small Business formation/litigation, Family Law, Estate Planning, Wills/Probate, Criminal Defense, Employment Law, Social Security Disability, and more. There are very few law firms in Oklahoma that service such a wide variety of clients needs.
LMW: Why have you decided to stay in the west Moore area?
EY: SouthWest OKC is growing at a dizzying pace. There is tremendous opportunity in this part of OKC, in terms of growth. Many clients and lawyers have come to our office and said, “I didn’t know there was anything this far South.” The most compelling reason to stay in SW OKC is the people. After the F5 tornado in 2013 the community came together in a very special way. Obviously, the tornado was a devastating event, but the silver lining around the dark cloud was the way that the community came together. I witnessed countless examples of selflessness that made me proud of our community.
LMW: Tell us about the intent behind the documentary, Heartland Heartache.
EY: It is a short documentary that is intended to show the community the demoralizing effect of the new Workers’ Compensation laws that were passed in 2014. I spend a great deal of time helping injured workers navigate through the Oklahoma workers’ compensation system. The new law that became effective February 1, 2014 was “billed” as a more efficient, equitable and effective system to replace the existing workers’ compensation system. In reality the new workers’ compensation system has caused injured workers to suffer irreparable harm.
The documentary briefly outlines the struggles that the new law has created for injured workers, including: delays in receiving medical treatment, delays in receiving replacement wages and unconscionably low awards at the end of the case. Many injured workers’ have had their automobiles repossessed, have lost their houses to foreclosure and have been forced to turn to State aid (food stamps, Soonercare, etc). One of the most troubling aspects of the new workers’ compensation system is the heavy burden it is placing on our State, in terms of social services. I often hear proponents of the new law, as well as some non-lawyers, say that, “The new law helps take care of the fraud issue that we had in the old workers’ comp system”. My response is usually, if you took a poll of the workers’ compensation clients that I represent 99% of them would rather be working full-time, not having to go to the doctor, and not having to deal with me and certainly not dealing with insurance companies. Fortunately, with the help of local lawyer Bob Burke, Esq., several provisions of the new law have been declared unconstitutional, thereby, validating many of the contentions set forth in the documentary.
For more information about Foshee & Yaffe visit www.fylaw.com, or for information about Heartland Heartache visit www.heartlandheartache.com.