Indiana workers' compensation attorney Roger Finderson is a modern-day Renaissance man — at least that was our takeaway when we interviewed him recently. His passions range from computer programming to wine, but his enthusiasm for helping others with their legal problems is second to none.
Roger graduated from Brandeis University in 1990 and found a job as a computer programmer with General Electric. Though he enjoyed writing programs that allowed sales representatives to design electric motors more efficiently, he grew tired of spending 10 hours a day in a dark room with little human interaction and decided to apply to law school.
Roger enrolled at Indiana University Maurer School of Law and was quickly introduced to the Socratic method when his torts professor called on him on the first day of class and demanded that he explain the intricacies of a complicated premises liability case. While he was being assailed with rapid-fire questions over the course of an hour, one classmate left the classroom never to return and another went into the bathroom to be sick.
Fortunately, Roger had spent 3 hours reading the case the night before and he was prepared for the moment—earning the respect of his peers.
Successful personal injury firm
Following law school, Roger opened Finderson Law LLC, which focuses on personal injury, workers' compensation, Social Security disability, and adoption cases. Roger has relished the opportunity to hire caring people who work diligently. Under his leadership, the law firm has thrived.
"Bring the case to me and I will find a way to resolve it. Period."
Roger is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, the Workers' Injury Law and Advocacy Group, and the Fort Wayne Children's Association.
Most days at Finderson Law are spent writing, researching, negotiating, and meeting with clients. And, of course, there are the trials.
Keckler v. Meridian Insurance Company
Roger represented a young man, Shawn Keckler, who was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Nathan Creighton that was involved in a head-on collision with a pickup truck in Kosciusko County. Both Shawn and Nathan suffered traumatic brain injuries, and 2 other passengers were killed.
The police found marijuana in Nathan's vehicle. As a consequence, Meridian, the insurance company providing umbrella insurance, denied coverage based on a clause in the policy that excluded coverage for accidents caused by marijuana and other drugs.
Roger fought Meridian over the applicability of the exclusion and won. Meridian thereafter tendered the policy limits.
Still, there wasn't enough insurance to cover the expenses associated with the 2 deaths and the 2 traumatic brain injury claims. As a result, Roger had to do one of the most difficult things he has ever had to do. He had to fight the driver for the available money by, in essence, arguing that his client was more deserving of the available insurance money. Though plaintiffs' attorneys don't like to prevent other plaintiffs from receiving the compensation they need, doing so was in his client's best interest.
"It was my job," Roger explained. "I did it. I did it well. But I did not like it."
Outside of work
When Roger has some rare free time, he spends it exercising, traveling, and eating good food with his wife and 3 children. Additionally, Roger maintains an interest in computer programming from his college days and has, more recently, developed an interest in wine.
In fact, if he wasn't an attorney, Roger thinks he might be a sommelier.
"Wine has nuances that excite the senses if you understand it well enough. Wine can be a chameleon, showing dull earthy flavors until paired with the proper food when its vibrant fruit shines. Exploring the world of wine is endless, with adventures beyond every cork."
But Roger may have to wait until retirement to develop his wine hobby further, as he admits that "owning Finderson Law LLC is mostly a 24/7 gig."
Advice for prospective clients
Roger believes that one of the most important skills a lawyer can have is the ability to communicate effectively. The law can be confusing and overwhelming for those unfamiliar with it. In fact, even those familiar with the law can struggle to grasp the intricacies of a complex case. That's why Roger believes the ability to communicate simply and effectively, whether it's with a client, jury, or judge, is so important.
Additionally, Roger cautions prospective clients against hiring an attorney who lacks integrity.
"How can you trust a lawyer who cheats and lies? Maybe it will help you get to the end of the case, but then what? Did the attorney lie and cheat you too?"
After getting to know him, we have no doubt that Roger has both integrity and the ability to communicate effectively, whether he's describing the law or the flavors of Chilean merlot.