Adriel Villarreal left it all on the field for a recent client.
The Coon Rapids lawyer represented a young man who sustained head injuries in an accident, sidelining him from his high school senior year in varsity football and basketball. As a result, he missed out on college athletic scholarships.
“The insurance company just wasn’t valuing the case the way we were from a pure damages standpoint,” Villarreal recalled. “One of the themes we stressed during the trial was the idea that sometimes we like to look back on the good old days of high school football. For a lot us, it’s all we have. Then we move on. But he didn’t get to have that.”
Initially the carrier offered $4,000. Three years of litigation culminated with a four-day trial, where an Anoka County jury returned a verdict in the neighborhood of $250,000. “It was neat to see a jury of his peers saw what we saw. He missed a lot.”
Villarreal decided to become a lawyer in high school, after shadowing a family friend/criminal defense lawyer for a few days. The experience affected him profoundly. In addition to personal injury, Villarreal concentrates in criminal defense.
“What drives me in my criminal practice is access for individuals to be well represented,” he said. “I just want defendants to get a fair shake. I know that sounds flowery, but it doesn’t always happen. The state’s got a lot of resources. So I like to level the playing field whenever I can, resulting in a fair outcome.”
He continued, “It’s not so much about guilt or innocence all the time, as some members of the public would have you believe. We don’t want everybody to get off; we want guilty people to pay a price. Mostly, we want the result to be fair, and that’s what I get pretty passionate about.”