Barry J. Goodman has devoted his professional life to keeping courthouse doors open for victims seeking justice. Always a tireless advocate for his own clients, Goodman sees his responsibility as a Detroit personal injury attorney in a broader sense as well. He has been very active politically, supporting candidates who share his belief in equal access to justice and taking leadership roles in professional organizations.
A native New Yorker, he knew that he wanted to become a plaintiff’s lawyer from the time he was a child. His father, a postal employee, was injured in a traffic accident while on the job and left him dependent on federal workers compensation for the rest of his life. “I didn’t think justice was provided to him,” he says. “I didn’t want that to happen to others, and that was probably the impetus for me to go into law.”
He received a scholarship to attend Bradley University, receiving his undergraduate degree there in 1974. He then attended Stetson University College of Law where he earned his J.D. with honors in 1977. Barry launched his legal career in Florida with a small general-practice firm where he stayed for two years before moving to Michigan. He worked in two firms, focusing his practice solely on personal-injury cases. On Sunday mornings, he frequently played basketball at the Jewish Community Center, where he befriended another basketball-loving attorney, Gerald H. Acker. The two men began talking about forming their own practice and finally did so in 1993.
The firm’s practice has continued to concentrate on plaintiff’s personal injury cases and over the years, Goodman has recorded some impressive achievements. His biggest outcome occurred in 2001, when his client received a $14.5-million arbitration award to pay for pain, suffering, and medical and related costs stemming from injuries she received when a faulty sub-surface wiring caused a manhole cover to fly up and strike a car in which she was a passenger. He’s also achieved a number of seven-figure verdicts for injured clients.
In addition to his busy practice, Goodman has worked for a number of political candidates who support the civil-justice system. They include working on the finance committees of Governor Granholm, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Gary Peters in his successful quest for the seat of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, who retired at the end of 2014. He has served as a delegate to three Democratic National Conventions and on the finance committees of President Barack Obama and democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. In 2012, he was named to the Democratic National Committee.