To say that attorney Michael L. Cannon is multilingual somewhat borders on understatement. Cannon, who represents clients in a wide variety of personal injury matters for Bubalo, Goode, Sales & Bliss, speaks, reads and writes some six languages – Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese – including English. Cannon’s proficiency in both language and the law runs in the family; his father, before becoming an attorney himself, taught Spanish and German.
“Learning other languages is something I’ve always had an interest in,” says Cannon, who majored in Spanish and minored in French as a college undergrad and considered becoming a teacher himself before he chose law school. “But it’s something that’s proved useful in my legal career as well.” Indeed, Cannon’s fluency in Spanish means seamless communication with Hispanic clients for whom English might not be their first language. “We have also had French-speaking clients from Africa,” says Cannon, an associate in the firm’s Lexington and Louisville offices. “It definitely comes in handy.”
But the decision to pursue the law didn’t happen for Cannon until he watched his wife, an immigrant, go through the process of obtaining a visa—one that he describes as difficult and frustrating, even with the help of an attorney. “It’s what sparked my interest,” says Cannon. “I just felt like there must be a lot of people in similar situations who hit a brick wall with the legal process. I felt like becoming a lawyer would allow me to help people through difficult situations.”
For Cannon, the plaintiffs’ practice was a bit of a no-brainer. For one, his dad handled personal injury cases, workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits cases. “I always had some exposure to that side of the law and a point of view from the plaintiffs’ side,” he says. Cannon also clerked at a Louisville plaintiffs’ firm for three years during law school – something that really solidified his interest in the practice. “I learned a lot and realized I’d be a good advocate for people,” he says. “It made me want to stay in this line of work.”
Today, Cannon litigates cases on behalf of everyday people who have been injured through no fault of their own, either in motor vehicle accidents, in slips and falls, or by defective and dangerous products. “The injuries my clients sustain compromise their lives,” he says. “They might not be able to work and the injury might be debilitating. It’s very satisfying to be able to help someone who might not have been otherwise able to deal with the situation that they’ve been thrown into.” For Cannon’s clients, that means battling large corporations and insurance companies that oftentimes have unlimited resources. “We try to bring about something positive for our clients,” he says. “We are their guides through what is oftentimes a difficult process.”
Before joining BGSB, Cannon, who earned both his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Louisville, worked at Becker Law handling cases as they came through the door, either favorably settling them or preparing them for litigation. For Cannon, his new role—he moved over in March of 2013—offers the opportunity to build off the skills he honed doing pre-litigation work. “Working on both sides of the case makes me a better lawyer,” he says. “It’s about being efficient and making sure everything is taken care of from day one.”