Matthew Nakajima

Rittgers & Rittgers Attorneys at Law

When I was a child, my mother would spin our world globe and move my fingers across it to show me where her ancestry and my dad’s originated. I was born in Lexington, Kentucky, to a Caucasian mother with mixed Western European ancestry. Mom was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky, population 2,000. Her parents were among the few pro de-segregation adults in town during her youth. My father was born in Monterey Park, California two years after the end of WWII to a first-generation Japanese American mother and father. Dad’s parents met and married in a WWII Japanese internment camp in Utah. Like most Japanese American families, they lost their property and personal liberties under Executive Order 9066. I knew as a child that I looked different from most of my peers. Still, I did not fully appreciate the cultural differences until I was older. My dad spoke to me about his struggles growing up in the highly charged anti-Japanese post war era. Dad told me I had to work harder and be better than non-minorities to succeed in life. My Mom had developed a progressive hearing loss at age 20 and has been legally deaf my entire life. Mom encouraged my creativity and inspired me to be an entrepreneur. At age 5, I sold freshly sharpened pencils door to door. At age 8, I lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, and recycled cans so I could save up enough money to buy a Gameboy. In high school, I worked as a pool janitor, a dishwasher and busboy, grocery bagger and hamburger flipper, saving money to buy my first car. From an early age, I wanted to be lawyer. However, I was unsure how I could afford to go to college let alone law school. Fortunately, I was awarded a Federal Pell Grant in addition to an academic scholarship from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. After graduating from college, I sold cell phones for a year, saved all my money, and studied for the LSAT. Unfortunately, I was either turned down or wait listed by every law school. Discouraged, I thought maybe law school wasn’t for me. Mom refused to let me give up. She completed an application to Northern Kentucky Chase College of Law, encouraged me on my entrance essay, and told me to sign the application so she could mail it that day. To my surprise not only was I accepted to Chase but given a full academic scholarship. Although I did well in law school, following graduation I could not find a job. I asked a friend if he could get me a meeting with Bob Sanders, who was the best attorney I knew. When I met Bob, he was not hiring but agreed to allow me to help around the office. For the first year, I did any odd job the firm needed, including getting laundry, picking up lunch, cleaning the office, driving Bob to court, and serving as a valet. In exchange, Bob let me attend depositions and help him with trials. After a year, Bob hired me as an associate. The opportunity to work with Bob sparked a fire in me to become a trial lawyer. With Bob's mentoring and encouragement, I set out on a path to become the best trial lawyer I could be. I went to fellow lawyers in my office and called lawyers around town to see if they had any cases I could try. I started out trying soft tissue cases with no visible property damage. I lost the first few. With hard work and dedication to my craft, I started winning. Local folks in Kentucky and Ohio were hearing about my successful verdicts and attorneys began reaching out to me to assist in trying their difficult cases. I am humbled to say that I am now privileged to work on multi-million dollars cases around the country that are often referred to me by other lawyers. I believe in the underdog with justified rights and needs to receive fair compensation. I believe in passionate, empathetic tenacity and devotion to my clients. When cases must go to trial against large corporations and billion-dollar insurance companies, I’m confident I’m the one who is needed. So, in my journey and continuing journey, I’m grateful for so much and to so many in my life, that have made me the man that I am.

Matt Nakajima
Matt Nakajima

Perfecting the Ask

Does asking for money in closing give you anxiety? Do you worry how jurors will react to you asking for significant compensation for your clients? Well, we have the answers.

In this interactive workshop you will learn how to deliver some of the most successful damages closings utilized by the best lawyers in the country. This will be a hands-on program where you will be on your feet presenting. You will be using pre-prepared scripts for damages that we have development to give thought provoking closings.

In this workshop you will become more comfortable on your feet, a better presenter, and more persuasive.

TLU Live HB Agenda