Bill Goggins does not nominate himself for awards. No, the nominations come spontaneously, he said, when a satisfied patron may happen to call this or that organization on his own behalf.
And now, after years of such recommendations, Mr. Goggins has another line to add to his resumé: he is one of the state’s Top 10 DWI/DUI Attorneys.
Mr. Goggins admitted he “doesn’t know” if that award is entirely a good thing— after all, he does not want to be associated with the stigma of drunk driving through his success as an attorney.
“People say, ‘Oh, he’s a DWI lawyer, he must promote people drinking and driving,’ which is totally the opposite of how I am,” he said in his office Thursday. “I’m totally against drinking and driving.”
But he is proud of what he claims is a 90-plus percent success rate when he takes a DWI case to trial.
“I’m against drinking and driving, but at the same time, people who get charged with this crime need to get represented,” he said, “And if, in fact, the circumstances indicate that they’re not drunk, then they should be protected.”
Mr. Goggins was officially named a “10 Best in New York for Client Satisfaction” by the American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys, an independent organization that lists the top lawyers in each state, according to a Jan. 5 press release.
The AIDUIA begins its selection process based on client and peer nominations, and then it performs its own research and evaluation to determine its list of winners. The main criterion is client satisfaction, according to the press release.
Don’t just call him the DWI guy, though. Mr. Goggins may win many of them at trial, but he estimates less than 10 percent of the cases he takes on to be for alleged drunk driving. The bulk of his work focuses on personal injury lawsuits.
This is not the first time Mr. Goggins has been nominated for a somewhat unusual accolade: once, he said, a patron submitted his name to be chosen as one of the top 100 Irish lawyers in the country.
Although Mr. Goggins said the latest award is “nice,” he was not exactly bubbling with excitement.
“I just got contacted that I was nominated,” he said. “I said, ‘Great.’ Then they said, ‘You’re entitled to a plaque. Would you like a plaque?’ I said, ‘Fine, whatever.’”
Mr. Goggins, 55, is a lifelong North Forker himself. As he says, “We live in New Suffolk and hopefully we will die in New Suffolk.” He graduated from Mattituck High School and, after a formative stint in the Air Force, he began working at a law firm in Riverhead 26 years ago.
He ran unsuccessfully for town justice in 2013 and again in November, most recently losing by a narrow 201-vote margin. After a few months to process that loss, Mr. Goggins described it as a “blessing in disguise” so he could focus on his practice.
“You get to help people,” he said. “To be in a small town and be able to handle these big cases — it’s humbling.”
Photo caption: Bill Goggins was named one of the “10 Best in New York for Client Satisfaction” as a DWI attorney — though that’s not the most unusual award for which he’s ever been nominated. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)