When it comes to recovering from an accident or any kind of personal injury, it can take a lot to restore a person back to wholeness. Big firms advertise their big resources, but personal injury attorney Charlie Spinner says not to be deceived by their slick advertising.
He and his team of experienced attorneys at the Spinner Law Firm will fight just as hard, but you get the benefit of working with a small firm that feels like family, right here in Wesley Chapel.
And while the firm has a comfortable, familiar feel, it has three experienced attorneys who work together to ensure that clients get top-notch representation that can go up against any insurance company, person or organization that has caused your injury.
Charles Spinner, Esq., originally established his firm in New Tampa in 2003. Its main office is now located in the Cypress Glen Professional Park off S.R. 56, just east of I-75.
Spinner graduated from the University of Dayton in Ohio, and then received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the University of Toledo College of Law, in Toledo, OH, in 1996. He worked for several years as a civil trial and insurance defense attorney before opening his own private practice.
Attorney Anissa Morris joined the firm in 2011, and fellow attorney Patrick Barnes joined in 2020. Both bring years of experience and complementary skill sets to Spinner Law.
Morris is a certified Circuit-Civil Mediator, as well as a Family Law Mediator. Mediators are neutral parties who facilitate conversations to mediate between the parties in a lawsuit instead of going to a jury trial. While she doesn’t currently work as a mediator, Morris gained an incredible amount of experience through her training and required observations, where she went behind closed doors to see both sides of mediations as they were happening.
“It gives you a much better understanding of the process, so we are better able to prepare our clients to go into mediation,” she explains.
Her undergraduate degree is in public relations and communication arts from Xavier University in Cincinnati and she earned her J.D. degree at Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights.
More than a decade ago, Morris opened a private practice after being a stay-at-home mom and raising her children in New Tampa. She started out renting space from Charlie and helping with his family law cases, which was her area of specialty at the time.
The two had a great synergy and Morris found that she wasn’t enjoying the family law cases, so she joined Charlie’s team working on personal injury cases instead.
“When you hire Spinner, you’re hiring a small family firm, so you talk to an attorney the very first day,” Morris explains. “You have access to us any time you want to. At a bigger firm, you might only talk to a case manager.”
Barnes grew up in Florida and came home to be near his family when his kids were born. Like Morris, he started out working for himself, but met Spinner and found that the two worked well together, so he, too, joined the firm.
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Barnes went to Florida State University in Tallahassee and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2009. He then received his J.D. degree from Florida Coastal University in Jacksonville in 2012. He practiced in Denver before moving back to Florida.
Many years ago, Barnes realized that he and others in his field were deeply affected by all the trauma their clients have dealt with, and started researching how trauma affects both clients and the professionals in the field of law who help them.
“We deal with traumatic material constantly and represent those who have been traumatized,” Barnes says, “so I’m doing my best to shed light on it and bring it to the forefront.”
He says he never talked about being “trauma-informed” during his undergrad or graduate schooling, but that conversations with his dad, who is a licensed mental health counselor, led him to understand the idea and want to bring it to his profession.
Now, he has written articles on the topic and spoken about it at bar associations and other organizations. He’ll be speaking at a national conference in St. Louis later this year.
While trauma-informed practice is fairly new to the law world, it’s well established in the medical field and other areas.
“It is all about changing the way you practice to be more supportive of your traumatized client, to be sure not to re-traumatize them, and to become aware of how you as a lawyer and your staff as a support team can becoming secondarily traumatized by dealing with (these) issues all the time.”
He says being trauma-informed can help a legal team see a “difficult client” very differently. If you have a client who has memory issues, or is easily agitated or is hyper-vigilant, those can be protective defense mechanisms. Instead of viewing the client as “just” a difficult person, when you realize that they’ve been traumatized, it makes you more patient and more empathetic, and not take the behavior personally.
Barnes says he likes working for Spinner Law because it’s a “good mix” of high-level legal expertise and an approachable feel.
“You don’t lose any of the firepower because we’re smaller, but you’re gaining more communication and knowing who you’re going to work with,” he says. “If you’re experiencing trauma, to feel safe, you need to know who’s going to answer the phone and who’s going to help you. That’s huge.”
Candy Sandford has experienced that kind of trauma, being involved in two different life-changing car accidents in the last decade. The first time, she was rear ended on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. At the time, she went to a chiropractor who recommended Spinner Law.
“Charlie and his staff were more than just a lawyer,” Sandford says. “They became like family and friends. They worked so well with us to make things easier during a very difficult time.”
She says she balked when Charlie suggested going to trial, but she eventually agreed, and is glad she did.
“When Charlie is in the courtroom, he’s incredibly focused and professional,” she says. “But, he also has a really fun, friendly, comforting side to him.”
Sandford says Spinner called her personally one morning to say his wife was giving birth to their fifth child and Morris would be in the courtroom with her instead of him. “Anissa came and handled everything that day,” Sandford says. “It was so smooth. She’s amazing, too. I can’t even find enough words to explain how happy I am with them.”
Then, two years ago, Sandford was hit by a Frito-Lay truck, and immediately went back to Spinner. Again, she says, the entire staff was helpful during a difficult time. And this time, he was able to negotiate a favorable outcome for her without having to go to trial.
“It took him a lot of work to accomplish what he did,” Sandford says. “Charlie was willing to take a lot of the burden off of me. He loves representing his clients and doing his best for them.”
She says she’s also impressed with the generosity of how they support the community, from the ways they see Spinner Law donating both time and money to local charities, to the firm’s generous response when they asked for support for the Knights of Columbus, of which her husband is a member.
“It’s more than marketing,” Sandford says. “It’s genuine.”
Spinner Law Firm offers a comprehensive consultation for all legal matters at no charge. The firm is located at 2418 Cypress Glen Dr. For more information, call (813) 991-5099 or visit SpinnerLawFirm.com.