Just a few months after she returned from parental leave, Erica Slater endured a test of litigation skills and personal strength. With the help and support of her colleagues, she represented the plaintiff in the wrongful death of a child, caused by the negligence of the child’s own family member. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
“That was the first case I had tried since COVID had hit us and since the birth of our second child,” Slater says. “I felt out of practice, and I worried about getting back up to speed. I had to dig deep. It was a big personal push for me. But I knew it was the right thing to do for the client and the case.”
In her current practice, Slater is a trial attorney who represents individuals and their families during a desperate time in their lives: when they are the victims of someone else’s careless conduct. She specializes in plaintiff personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability and vehicle accidents. Previously, she was with a defense law firm.
One of her most memorable cases during the past eight years with The Simon Law Firm is a medical malpractice case involving brain surgery. “The facts about what happened to this family were so egregious that I almost didn’t believe what I heard,” Slater says. “When we investigated and reviewed medical records, we saw that the mistake by the surgeon was as bad as they had described. This fired me up to dig as hard as I could and make it as right as I could for them.”
Slater’s enthusiasm for the law began when she was 15 years old and working at a small law firm in her South St. Louis neighborhood. “At first, I was typing and filing,” she says. “By my senior year of high school, I was meeting with clients to answer discovery and drafting short motions. I learned that speaking for someone is an honor and a privilege, and that I had to work to earn that right.”
Today, Slater appreciates the quality attorneys with whom she practices and the camaraderie in their firm. Six of the 14 are female, and they host a podcast together called “Heels in the Courtroom.” They share experiences and stories, approaches for dealing with different situations, what they’ve learned from successes and failures, soft skills and hard trial skills, the mystique of work-life balance, and more. Hosted by Legal Talk Network and in its fifth season, it has 100,000 downloads.
Practicing law fits every part of Slater’s personality and what drives her. “I have an outlet for my competitive spirit,” she says. “I have a voice in a room. My everyday work is on behalf of other people, and I’m doing what inspires and encourages me. I have opportunities to find a solution or a resolution. I make sure justice is part of what I’m doing for my clients. That’s how I practice law.”