I am a proud native of New Albany, having graduated in 1959 from New Albany High School. Following this, I attended the University of Kentucky on a football scholarship. Forty years ago I returned to New Albany to begin my practice of law.
At that time, I was fresh out of the Army, having served in Vietnam as a Medical Service Corp officer. My commitment to be in the Army started while in college at the University of Kentucky. I participated in ROTC which required a two year commitment to the active forces. Law School followed at the University of Louisville.
The practice of law was different 40 years ago. Lawyers could not advertise other than to list their name in the yellow pages. Lawyers had to depend on satisfied clients as a referral source.
I was the 37th lawyer admitted to practice in 1967. Today we have over a hundred lawyers in Floyd County. No Louisville firms had branch offices in New Albany. Computers were not in existence. Cell phones were not even thought of. We had only Circuit court, one City Court and one Justice of the Peace.
After a year of private practice, I decided to run for political office and was elected City Court Judge; a position I enjoyed. I started the first Alcoholics Anonymous in the Courtroom in the County. It was successful, and led to many counties across the country adopting this method of offering help. I was re-elected for four more years.
I began concentrating in Plaintiff's injury law in 1972. It was a hard practice in those days. We had to contend with issues such as contributory negligence and guest passenger statutes which limited recoveries. In later years, those laws were changed and litigation grew more popular. More defense firms from Louisville, which we referred to as "puddle jumpers," and other cities in Indiana became involved with this practice in our own community.
I enjoy the practice of law. I enjoy helping people with problems. Sometimes the results are better than others, but it is the resolution of the problem that brings the most satisfaction. Since those early days, my practice has grown substantially and now includes both of my sons in the practice. Matthew is a lawyer in the fashion of his grandfather, Chester A. Wentzell; quick and sharp, with a keen sense of humor. My son Sam, while not a lawyer, graduated from Indiana University in 1995 and returned to assist with my growing Social Security practice. I feel I have taught them well; that respect and compassion are paramount; and that the rule of law stands above all else. Together with our wonderful staff we plan on representing injured people for years to come.
I welcome your inquiries.