MyPhillyLawyer attorney profile: experienced attorney Bill Hobson is here to help you
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on May 27th, 2011
As he grew up in the 1960s in the Philadelphia suburbs, William Devine “Bill” Hobson saw many of the injustices of the Civil Rights Movement on television and in newspapers and felt compassion toward the people who were marching for their rights.
He felt their pain and he began to think that he wanted to do something with his life that could help people who were in need.
“I saw some of what was going on in the Civil Rights Movement and I saw lawyers as the real shakers and movers in trying to help correct the system,” Hobson said. “I always saw lawyers as advocates trying to right these wrongs.”
Those beliefs have been with Hobson for four decades during his work as an attorney.
In May of 2009, Bill joined MyPhillyLawyer and has been working with our team ever since to represent our clients with compassion, energy, drive and a wide range of legal expertise.
“I try to do the simple things for clients,” he said. “I find the simple things go a long way – like calling them back when they call and leave a message. I try to explain the legal process in non-legal terms and represent and advise my clients throughout the litigation system that is biased against the plaintiffs.”
“In court, in front of the judge and jury, I try to break it down and show how a serious injury affects the life of the patient, my client,” Hobson said. “I present the case in the words of my client and carefully detail how the injury that they suffered has had an effect on his or her active lifestyle.”
Becoming a lawyer became an obvious path early in his life, he said. “I think I honestly became a lawyer because I enjoy advocacy, debate, arguing and presenting a case. Actually, there’s also a little bit of a theatrical aspect. I often thought I wanted to be an actor but had no serious chance to make it in Hollywood. So I thought I would try my persuasion skills in the courtroom.”
His legal career has been varied and fascinating so far.
His first work as an attorney after law school was when he began a tour of active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard, where he served as a Lieutenant in the JAG Corps (Judge Advocate General). As a JAG officer, he represented or prosecuted members of the Coast Guard in Court Martials and other legal actions. Most of his work there was defense work for clients.
“What was amazing about the whole JAG experience is that within a week of graduating from law school, I was in a courtroom handling cases,” Hobson said. “It was very unusual, a very rapid introduction to the law in a courtroom.”
Five years later, he left his work with the JAG Corps and went to work in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., as a criminal prosecutor with the State Attorney for Broward County. There he was involved in more than 50 criminal cases in front of juries through the juvenile, major felony, drug trafficking, and sex crime divisions.
He also served in Miami, Fla., on the President’s Task Force for Drug Interdiction and as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney during the 1980s, working with federal attorneys to prosecute drug cases with the help of the Coast Guard.
In late 1988, Bill returned home to Philadelphia and worked for legendary attorney, James E. Beasley, taking on cases involving medical malpractice, product liability, premise liability and general plaintiff’s litigation. He has successfully brought cases which garnered verdicts of more than $1 million in medical and products liability cases.
By 1991, Bill went out on his own, developing a solo legal practice in Chester County while also providing risk management consultant services to health care systems with the aim of improving patient care and avoiding malpractice claims.
In 2009, he joined MyPhillyLawyer, bringing his legal skills and expertise to our growing team.
Two past legal cases remain seared in his memory.
The first involved a verdict against a Spanish gun manufacturer, which made copies of a gun made by an American maker. “My client was leaving the shooting range with one of the Spanish guns,” he said. “He had it holstered. It was a semi-automatic model that had a safety and when the gun was dropped accidentally, three rounds went off. It took off two fingers and the thumb on my client’s right hand. He was a graphics artist and the injury was career-changing.”
“Not only did we get a significant jury verdict, but I kept asking the defense if they were aware of other similar injury incidents involving this same gun and they kept denying it.”
This was all before the Internet, when Hobson had to cold call other attorneys around the country to find out if this was happening to other victims.
“We were able to find other cases with the same model of gun and were able to win the case” on behalf of his client.
In another case, his client was a man who fell in a ditch while working and went to a hospital for treatment. But because the man’s injury was labeled as a worker’s compensation case, the hospital made him wait in the emergency room for a long time. He went home, not knowing he was bleeding internally into his lungs. He was taken to another hospital where they had to do emergency surgery to save his life. Hobson sued the first hospital for medical malpractice on behalf of his client and won a $1 million verdict.
“That award was given because the jury was inflamed that the hospital treated him the way they did,” Hobson said.
A graduate of Malvern Preparatory School, Hobson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American history from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his law degree from the Widener University School of Law in 1980.
As a teen-ager, he worked in the former Hobson & Owens furniture store, which was owned by his grandfather in Bryn Mawr. His father, Abraham Hobson, was a dentist in Bryn Mawr.
Bill grew up in a large Irish Catholic family in the Philadelphia suburb of Wayne along with seven brothers and a sister. He’s a member of St. Patrick’s Parish in Malvern.
Outside of his legal practice, he remains active as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
He and his wife, Lisa Masterson- Hobson, an RN, have been married for 26 years. They have six children and live in Malvern.
“My passions are my family – my children and my wife — and my work,” he said.
He stays busy raising his children and enjoying the study of American history, especially during the Civil War.