June 24, 2021

Medical Doctor, Juris Doctor: Give Me the News

Dr. John Naranja has devoted his life to the service of others, something that is very apparent in the different roles he’s held along a career path that includes medicine, the military, and the law.

Raised by physician parents, he, too, became a doctor. After establishing a successful orthopedic surgery practice in a small Maine community, however, he made a surprising pivot to law school in Boston and a big-city personal injury firm. It’s not the law practice you would expect from a surgeon-turned-trial lawyer though.

“Dr. John” talks about serving in the U.S. Air Force (just like his dad), the transition from the operating room to the courtroom, and how medicine and lawyering, respectively, affected an important role – the father of ten children.

Tune in to hear one Sticky Lawyer share stories about being a lifelong learning and the courage to following not one, but multiple callings.


Guest Insights

  • Parents immigrated from Philippines due to US doctor shortage. [02:07]
  • Growing up around physicians steered him into medical career. [03:12]
  • Attending Georgetown Medical School on a military scholarship. [03:44]
  • Serving on a North Dakota Air Force base with his dad. [04:41]
  • Starting his civilian medical career in northern Maine. [07:35]
  • Challenges of being the only orthopedic doctor in town. [08:51]
  • Serving as medical expert in legal cases sparked an interest in law. [10:19]
  • Being the oldest guy in law school. [13:32]
  • The decision not to practice medical malpractice defense or prosecution. [16:48]
  • Using his medical knowledge to reach the jury. [19:32]
  • Teaching other attorneys in Trial School. [26:04]
  • Appointment to the Massachusetts Asian American Commission. [27:21]
  • The Swamp Buck Restaurant and Lounge in northern Maine.[29:16]
  • A father of ten children and the lessons he passes on to his kids. [30:15]

Links From the Episode 

Transcript

John Reed: [00:00:00] In your life, have you ever had a calling? Has some spirit, or force, or even your gut spoken to you telling you to pursue a particular path? And did you listen to it? 

[00:00:13] We've given this invisible motivator, various names. We call it passion, best life, personal mission, north star. 

[00:00:21] Sometimes going down that road is easy and natural. Like how can I do anything else? Sometimes. however, heeding the call can be the hardest thing we do, especially when people tell us what a mistake it would be. I've been on the receiving end of that conversation a few times and trust me, it sucked. And I'm glad I didn't listen, or I wouldn't be talking with you now.

[00:00:43] But let me throw you a curve ball. Imagine you travel down that chosen path and it's not all that it was cracked up to be – maybe a case of false advertising, bad advice, or unfortunate circumstances. What do you do then? If you're lucky, really lucky, there's another calling giving you a ring right at that very moment. And I ask you again, do you listen?

[00:01:09] Today's guest is intimately familiar with the power and pull of going all-in on one profession, and the good fortune to find another often less traveled road, beckoning you to buckle up and go for a ride.

[00:01:22]I'm John Reed. And this is Sticky Lawyers, a podcast featuring conversations with attorneys who differentiate themselves by what they do in and outside the practice of law and through the relationships they build. 

[00:01:34] John Naranja, MD – Dr. John – is many things. Dutiful son of immigrant parents, the child of two physicians, a bootstrapper, a patriot, an orthopedic surgeon, an unorthodox personal injury attorney. A Sticky Lawyer. He has a compelling story to tell, and I'm pleased to have him on the podcast. 

[00:01:55] Hello, Dr. John. 

Dr. John: [00:01:57] Hi John. Thanks for having me. 

John Reed: [00:01:59] I'm delighted. You're here.  So, often a sticky lawyer's origin story starts with their childhood. Tell us about your upbringing. 

Dr. John: [00:02:07] As you mentioned in your intro, my parents were both immigrated from the Philippines, and they were both doctors. There was a shortage of physicians in the United States. As a way of attracting some foreign doctors to come to the United States to help out, they allowed doctors to come and do residencies. And that was the way that my parents were able to come to the United States.

[00:02:28] I was born outside Boston and then moved to Kansas, to North Dakota, and Arizona. So, I have, I've got a lot of the different perspectives from different parts of the United States, which I appreciate. 

John Reed: [00:02:39] And what were the moves for?

Dr. John: [00:02:41] In part, they were due to the further education or post-graduate education for my dad. In completing the initial residency in psychiatry outside Boston, he subsequently went to do some further training in Kansas City and then started his own practice in North Dakota. Later on, he joined the military and then we moved around because of the military as well. 

John Reed: [00:03:02] And what was your mother's specialty? 

Dr. John: [00:03:04] My mother was in family practice in the military as well. 

John Reed: [00:03:08] When and how did you make the decision to become a doctor? 

Dr. John: [00:03:12] Growing up in the household with the two physicians, it was easy to identify with that career field. I was able to see the gratification that my parents had in terms of helping take care of patients. I saw the medical books that they saw, and for some curious reason, I wanted to look through them and learn what was in them.

[00:03:31] I was living in an environment that helped me develop that career path or that career mindset. 

John Reed: [00:03:36] Undergraduate at Creighton in Nebraska. Good school. Then Georgetown, that's quite a transition. Why Georgetown? 

Dr. John: [00:03:44] My childhood was full of moving to different cities and trying to experience those different kinds of cities. So, starting off in Omaha, that was, that was nice to see. That was in the Midwest. But I also wanted to head back east. Get that flavor back from where I was originally was born. And Georgetown, at the time it was a great medical school and a great opportunity to really expand my education in that sense. And I went after that opportunity and was able to get admitted. 

[00:04:12]The interesting thing about Georgetown was it was the most expensive school in the country. And probably half of my classmates were on military scholarship, meaning that the military would help pay for your schooling, and then give you a little bit of a stipend. And in return we could pay back in terms of time and service in doing military duties.

John Reed: [00:04:32] Georgetown. Impressive. Then University of Pennsylvania for residency. Also, impressive. And it's time to repay your obligation to the U.S. government. Then what? 

Dr. John: [00:04:41] The interesting story here is that my father was still active duty in the military and in the Air Force. He was stationed in the small little base in North Dakota called Minot Air Force Base. And so here I am in these big cities, Washington, DC, in medical school. And then I go into Philadelphia for my residency and, you'd expect maybe my preference would be to go to another big city.

[00:05:05] Lo and behold, I'm making my preference list for which bases to go to. And I choose Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. People were questioning, “why are you choosing Minot?” But it turns out my dad was also stationed there. So, it was an opportunity for me to connect back with my dad and actually have to salute him while we were on base because he was a higher ranking officer while we there. 

John Reed: [00:05:25] When did you have to decide on which branch in which to serve?

Dr. John: [00:05:29] Each branch for the military scholarships has a certain number of applicants that they have, and each branch also has a certain number of openings. So, the Air Force I chose because my dad was in the Air Force and certainly living on the military Air Force bases, I was familiar with that, and I felt comfortable with that.

[00:05:47] And I, I felt comfortable being of service to the United States Air Force and that, that really weighed heavily in my decision to go for that branch. 

John Reed: [00:05:56] That was something you had decided when you started Georgetown. 

Dr. John: [00:05:58] What happens is you first have to get into a medical school and then once you're accepted into medical school, then you can decide, “Okay, how am I going to pay for this?”

[00:06:06]There are different routes you can make. You can go through the typical financial aid, you can self-pay, or you can try and get scholarships. And one of the opportunities I was familiar with through my dad and through his network of connections that he had was the Air Force had the scholarship to pay for medical school.

[00:06:23] And that made a lot of sense for me, given my background, given my father's relationship, and that type of thing. So, it really was a good fit as far as making that application. 

John Reed: [00:06:32] Despite psychiatry and family practice, you went into what specialty? 

Dr. John: [00:06:39] So I ended up going into orthopedic surgery. And as much as my dad would really (have) wanted me to go into psychiatry --and I did my best to try and like it-- but I went into orthopedic surgery because of the immediate gratification that you can get when you treat patients. So, in other words, when somebody breaks their bone and you put it back together again, they're going to get better from that. The mental health side is, as gratifying as that can be, sometimes you're not going to see that kind of immediate results with treatment. I was the type of person that I, I liked those immediate results. I like to use my hands in terms of the surgery. And that was something that was attractive to me.

John Reed: [00:07:15] So you have this stellar academic pedigree. You've got your Air Force experience. You fulfill your obligation. The world is your oyster. If this were television, you could have been a big city doctor like Dr. McDreamy. Instead, it was more like Northern Exposure. So where did you go to begin your practice?

Dr. John: [00:07:35] I was married just after college. For academic reasons, as well as career reasons, that was taking her all over the place. We're going from DC to Philadelphia. Now I've been to Minot, North Dakota. I promised her after I was done with that obligation, I said as long as I can find a career opportunity in a particular location, you pick the area that you like, and we'll make the best of it. 

[00:07:57] We had actually done some camping in Maine before. We ended up looking for opportunities in Maine and I ended up starting my civilian career in Northern Maine. 

John Reed: [00:08:06] Tell me about your practice there. So, orthopedics, but were you the only game in town for that small town? 

Dr. John: [00:08:11] Yeah. You're right. I was the only orthopedic in town. The nearest one would probably be an hour away. That in itself probably created some challenges as far as I was on call 24/7. If things were happening with my children, as far as their participation in sports or some things, and an emergency came up and I got called to take care of it.

[00:08:32]I got called away. That was my duty. And I'm proud to have been able to do that, but certainly it does put some pressures on you as an individual when you're the only person around who has that particular skill set. 

John Reed: [00:08:43] So let's fast forward. At some point you decide to leave the practice of medicine. What led to that? 

Dr. John: [00:08:51] There were a number of factors that led to me leaving the practice of medicine. One of which was the delivery of healthcare started to in my mind, started to change. And there's expectations where you need to see a high volume of patients in order to be in a particular community by yourself. You're pulled in a lot of different ways when you're the only orthopedic surgeon. That got to be a little bit stressful. And to be frank, I also was the target of some medical malpractice suits, which, you'd think that's just a part of doing business, but for me, I took it personally.

[00:09:26]I really cared about my patients, and it was really hurtful in my mind to be involved in those kinds of things. 

John Reed: [00:09:34] I used to practice in medical malpractice defense, and I had two different experiences. I was involved with one case where there was a dentist being sued and it was a relatively minor claim. Certainly not life-threatening or anything like that. And he took it so personally, and it was very heartening, obviously a little different from your situation, but similar in the sense that he took it as a criticism of his professional skills. The other example was we worked with a cardiologist who, as you say, it was the cost of doing business. "Let me know when this litigation is over, you tell me where I have to be and when to give a deposition or appear in court. Other than that, don't call me, I'll call you." So, I totally understand where you're coming from. 

[00:10:17]Why not go back to the Air Force?

Dr. John: [00:10:19] Certainly that could have been option. One of the other things that I did during my orthopedic practice was I was also involved in doing some medical-legal matters. I served as an expert in different types of cases. I also did what I called independent medical examinations, which are also on the legal side of things. And I actually enjoyed doing those things. I was getting a flavor of the legal world in my medical practice. And I also developed a lot of relationships with other attorneys during this time. And when I started getting a little bit disillusioned with the practice of medicine, that's when the wheels start rolling and say, “If this isn't really what I want to do anymore, what would be the next step?” 

[00:11:00] With your story about the dentist and the cardiologist, I was definitely on the spectrum of being that of the dentist and I was trying to figure out, “Okay, I still want to help people. I still want to use the things that I learned from all the medical school training and the residency. But how could I do that in a way where I'm still getting some personal satisfaction and increasing my personal development?” And after weighing a number of different options, you're right, I could have gone back to the Air Force, but it wouldn't have felt the same, I think. And so, I decided to explore the idea of getting a law degree. 

John Reed: [00:11:34] How did people – friends, family, medical colleagues – react to this? React to number one, leaving medicine, and two, going into the law? That's quite a departure. 

Dr. John: [00:11:48] A lot of my closest medical colleagues, my closest friends, they understood how the practice of medicine can be difficult. From that standpoint, I did get some, a lot of support in terms of that transition. With regard to law school, it was certainly-- I had to study again to take the LSAT, which is the admissions test for law school.

[00:12:06] And I had to restudy for that. And to be honest, I wasn't sure if I was willing to go back to that academic setting. Bu, in the end I'm sure, John, you know that we're always still learning. We're always still wanting to understand new things, bring new challenges in our lives.

[00:12:21] So it ended up just being another challenge that you know -- and also, to be honest, law school was only three years, right? 

John Reed: [00:12:27] Oh yeah. Piece of cake. Yeah. Walk in the park, John. 

Dr. John: [00:12:31] To train to be a doctor, it took me –what-- nine years to get through medical school and residency? To me, that three years was something that I can digest and put it, put a new challenge, and bring some new energy in what I'm doing. I was willing to do that. It was something that, you know, once I decided I didn't look back. 

John Reed: [00:12:48] How old were you when you started law school? 

Dr. John: [00:12:51] Oh, my gosh. Okay. So that's -- let me think here. 

John Reed: [00:12:55] Sorry, I didn't mean to throw you a math question. 

Dr. John: [00:12:57] I, yeah, I'm gonna, I'm going to have to think about that, but let me put it this way. I was the oldest person in my class. 

John Reed: [00:13:03] Okay. All right. I was going to say that because I think when I was in law school, it seemed the composition of the law school class was changing. It wasn't just the people that were fresh out of college moving on. It was a range of people. And I actually started out in the day program then ended in the night program and that was even more diverse. 

[00:13:23] So you’ve got all these young whippersnappers who want to go out and change the world and they're in your law school class. How was that? How was it being the oldest guy in the class? 

Dr. John: [00:13:32] You know, it was actually really refreshing because you're exchanging all these ideas. I'm, here I am, I'm stuck in my ways as a previous surgeon. And I, I like to have things mechanically the same way every time, because then I can predict what's going to happen. But here I am in this class of young students and exchanging ideas with them. It was actually very exciting. And I learned so many things from this new generation of learners.

[00:13:57]When I was in medical school... the reason why doctors have such poor handwriting is because they're taking, trying to take notes as fast as they can, and they're writing. In my law school class, it was everybody had their laptop computers out, and I'm looking around, "How come nobody's taking notes?" But they're all taking notes. So now I had to reconfigure myself into this, a different kind of student and, to be honest, I really enjoyed that part of it. Enjoyed that technology and being able to be involved in school again. Like I said, it was just refreshing to do, and it was fun. 

[00:14:31]In medical school, everything was about making sure that you were going to get the best grades and you didn't want to do a lot of extracurricular types of things. But in law school, you know what?

[00:14:40] I want to, I'm going to try and expose myself to as many different things as possible, not just the books. So, I ended up entering all these competitions – mediation competitions and moot court type of competitions. I ended up winning a few. And we went to Ireland for one of them. And we won this competition, and I told my kids, I said, “so I'm a world champion with this.” 

John Reed: [00:15:02] I was only a national mooter. You were an international mooter. But I hear you. I hear you. 

[00:15:06]It's funny. I had more fun in law school than I was supposed to have. Law school was my college. And yes, I'm a lifelong learner, but I pretty much can guarantee I could not now get into the schools that I got into. 

Dr. John: [00:15:17] You'd be surprised at what you can do. To be honest with you, I do get some communications from people who say, “I'm thinking about being a doctor. I'm thinking about being a lawyer. What can you do?” And you'd be surprised at, that you can really accomplish a lot. I try to give that advice to some of the younger people that come and talk with me about my career choices. 

John Reed: [00:15:38] Let's take a short break. And when we return, we'll learn more about the personal injury practice Dr. John has fashioned for himself. It's not what you think. Stay tuned.

[00:16:42]We are back with orthopedic surgeon-turned lawyer John Naranja. 

[00:16:48] I can see where you, because of your exit from medicine, where you didn't necessarily consider medical malpractice defense. Why not medical malpractice prosecution? Why not taking on plaintiff's work in the medical negligence area? 

Dr. John: [00:17:03] I did consider that, John. That's not to say that I don't necessarily practice med mal. I'm trying to maintain also relationships with my former colleagues. I still have connections with physicians and doctors and have conversations with them about how they practice and sometimes we even talk about patients. I think that for me to jump in and start attacking colleagues who previously I was working with, that didn't particularly make sense. 

[00:17:33]But I'm still using my knowledge to help our clients. If there happens to be a medical malpractice case that I need to be involved with, I will analyze and I will provide my input as to any negligence that, that may have taken place. But certainly, I'm not right out at the forefront of doing those types of cases.

John Reed: [00:17:50] How would you define your practice and how has it evolved? Where did it start and where is it now? 

Dr. John: [00:17:55] When I first joined this personal injury firm, one of the things I wanted was to experience as much as I could. It's a litigation firm. You file lawsuits, and you're involved with being in the court. I wanted that experience of better understanding rules of evidence, being in front of the judge, helping out my clients when in those particular situations. I wanted actually to be the type of attorney who could help one's clients from start to finish, meaning if we're just trying to make demands for a particular motor vehicle accident, let's say, and we just want to try and get a settlement with the insurer, then I'm going to be involved in that.

[00:18:36] But I didn't want to stop there. I wanted to have the skillset to go from beginning to end and take it to trial. I was pretty aggressive – maybe aggressive is the wrong term. I jumped at every opportunity to get those kinds of skills. And now after those first few years, I think I've gained those skills. I've become more specialized in the areas where I get involved and really, it's about understanding the medicine and also speaking the language of law . Because I have those types of skillsets, I think I'm in a unique situation to go back and forth and have an impact in how we can help our clients.

John Reed: [00:19:13] You're a trial lawyer. You've tried cases before juries, before judges. But it sounds like you're not doing as much of that now. It's more of a consulting role? Tell me about that and tell me about how that works within your firm and maybe outside the firm, too. 

Dr. John: [00:19:28] At this point, we've identified this niche. Let me actually give you an example. So, when we go to trial, we have to understand what is the defense going to bring up as their arguments, who are their experts going to be, and how are they going to defend this? And oftentimes, at least in the injury portion or the damages portion of a trial, you're going expert against experts, right?

[00:19:52] And most experts don't necessarily have the time to really analyze all the nuances of how you can best present the arguments. But that's where I can come in. That's where I can say, "Hey, listen, this mechanism of injury for this shoulder problem that you have could only have happened in two particular ways. One of which is what happened in whatever the environment was. But the other way, it's impossible. That didn't happen.” And so, when I'm able to direct, because of my medical knowledge, a certain inquiry, or a certain path of legal argument, that can be a big advantage in the courtroom and actually outside the courtroom. We also use this in mediations. We use this in arbitrations, so it doesn't, it's not limited to the courtroom. 

John Reed: [00:20:38] So to be clear, you are not testifying as an expert. You are part of the counsel, the team handling the litigation for your clients, but you're acting as a jury consultant, how to best present the message to the trier of fact, whoever that's going to be, judge or jury. It's interesting that you are also taking that to ADR, to mediation, and other places, too. I don't know what it is in Massachusetts and in Michigan, fewer than, I think, two percent or one percent of cases go to trial. So, ADR is that much more important. 

[00:21:12] What I find so intriguing here is, this is to me, not too dissimilar from talking to the family about what the surgery is going to entail and how it went. There's a certain bedside manner that you're bringing to the courtroom. Is that on track or am I all wet here? 

Dr. John: [00:21:31] You're definitely on track. Because surgery can be at times very complex to understand – "What do you mean? What is this surgery going to do?" And it was really an extension of what I did professionally as a doctor to what I'm doing now. In other words, when I was a surgeon or a practicing surgeon, I needed to educate my patient as, "This is what we're going to do, and this is one way to think about it." So, at the same time, when we go in front of a jury or in front of a layperson, we're going to have to do that same type of education. Because I can speak the language of the expert doctor, I'm not going to tell them what to say. Obviously, I'm not going to do that. But there are certain ways that you can communicate that may be more clear in terms of understanding. 

John Reed: [00:22:11] It was my impression that, maybe second only to ER docs, surgeons have to make split-second decisions a lot of times. Things happen in the OR. And with that ability comes a tremendous amount of confidence. 

Dr. John: [00:22:27] Here's the other thing that was attractive to me about going into litigation, right? So just like you said, as a surgeon, you have to think on your feet because as you're doing it, there are certain principles you're going to follow. Just like in the courtroom, you're going to follow the laws and determine how things are going to happen.

[00:22:44] But you also, one of the exciting things about being in the courtroom is you have to think on your feet. Sometimes a witness is going to say something that you didn't expect. And now you're going to have to, you're going to have to figure out how you're going to deal with that.

[00:22:59] How these issues -- what are you going to do with these issues that come up? Sometimes just on the spur of the moment. So that analogy in terms of thinking on your feet, one in the discipline of surgery and the other in the discipline of being in the courtroom, it's very close. It was a seamless kind of transition in terms of the way I thought and the way that I was trained to think. 

John Reed: [00:23:18] Yeah. And forgive me. I can't remember the name of the book. I think the author is Atul Gawande, if that's his name. He's a doctor, but he wrote a book about checklists. We want pilots to use that same checklist every time. It's why in the operating theater, you go through the checklist at the beginning of the procedure. And at the end, you go through it again to make sure you didn't leave a sponge or something inside the patient. And it seems that for a litigation practice, that same sort of order, the checklist makes a whole lot of sense. So, you brought that kind of skill and approach too, right? 

Dr. John: [00:23:53] Exactly. The analysis is it's pretty similar. You're going through things and you're going through what possibly could happen as far as complications. You're going to try and predict how am I going to react to that. It is those checklists that are involved. But again, you also have to have that adaptability to understand that if something strays away from the checklist, you also have to be able to respond. 

John Reed: [00:24:14] You are a practicing attorney, you're a trial lawyer, you are handling cases, but at the same time, you've developed a brand called Dr. John. And part of that brand, probably less known to clients, but maybe more known within the firm and maybe to other attorneys around town, you are a medical-legal consultant. So again, you're still in the courtroom, in front of the bench. But you're also in the courtroom advising and whispering in the ear and making sure things are happening. Is that a fair representation of where your practice is today? 

Dr. John: [00:24:51] Yeah. I think that the practice has evolved into one in which we're going to use the skills that I have, or that I've learned both from the medical and legal education and training and experience. And we're going to use that to, to advocate for our clients in the best we can. And if that means that the niche is helping other attorneys or even other experts to best present the case, then that's the role I've accepted. I think that if you look at the results that we're getting with me in that role, we're very happy with how that's working. And I'm very happy because I can still maintain my relationships with my colleagues, both on the legal and medical side and still feel like I'm making a difference. 

John Reed: [00:25:39] I talked earlier in the podcast about callings, heeding the call. You've had the calling to go into medicine. You've had the calling to go into military service – and thank you for your service. You've had the calling to go into the law. But you've also had another purpose and that's to teach. You taught students, medical students, but you also teach now as a lawyer. Tell us a little bit about Trial School. 

Dr. John: [00:26:06] Basically what that is, it's a national kind of organization where one of the things that we do in trial school is we allow other attorneys to bring cases to a panel of experts. I'm not the only person on the faculty, but there are a number of individuals on the faculty. But what happens is other attorneys can bring their either complex cases or even simple cases and ask us for advice. And so, it's something where I feel like there's that learning aspect that I love. I think that other attorneys also want to learn the best way that they can present their case and it's actually been pretty exciting. For me to be able to actually expand my role to influence cases and actually hear about multiple different cases has been eye opening for me as well. So, it's a two way street.

[00:26:57] I, I enjoy, giving my opinions on particular cases, but I also get to see some cases that other lawyers are trying to pursue as well. 

John Reed: [00:27:06] You've found so many ways to give back in your life, not just your career. In 2016, you were appointed to the Massachusetts Asian American Commission, and you are the only Filipino American to serve. Can you talk to us about the work that the commission is doing? What you're doing? 

Dr. John: [00:27:24] By way of background, the Asian American Commission is actually a statutory agency made up by the governor and the purpose of it was to try and bring in Asian-Americans in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and make sure that their voices were heard for various aspects of life. And one of the things that, one of the reasons I wanted to join the Commission was to bring that voice from the Filipino community. And understanding that the Filipinos in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are probably the maybe second or third most in numbers.

[00:27:56]It was important from the standpoint of being in the Filipino American community, for me to bring our concerns and our desires to this platform. 

John Reed: [00:28:06] Given the pandemic, what is the climate in Massachusetts for Asian-Americans and what is the Commission, what are you doing? 

Dr. John: [00:28:15] So one of the things is to bring awareness to how the Asian American community has been treated. Obviously, the virus has been at times been called the China virus.

John Reed: [00:28:26] Unfortunately. Yes. 

Dr. John: [00:28:28] And I've had calls, I've had colleagues who have been a target for negative comments and negative actions only because of their ancestry. That's where we need to stand up and have a voice and just make people aware. That's not right.

[00:28:45] That is something that has been important to me is as far as dating back to my childhood and my parents coming from the Philippines, that this is the land of opportunity. We've been given, we've been blessed with some amazing - the ability to do amazing things [in the United States. And to be a negative target for various people, it's sad and it's something that I wanted to be involved with. 

John Reed: [00:29:08] It's important and I'm glad you're doing it. 

[00:29:11] John, we've talked medicine, we've talked law. We've talked about the political climate. Tell us about the Swamp Buck Restaurant and Lounge.

Dr. John: [00:29:22] During my practice in Northern Maine, I was one of the original investors in this restaurant. It's been wonderful because, I don't know if you've forgotten the message, but I like to try different challenges, different things, learn new things. So, I didn't know anything about the restaurant business, but I got involved with some other investors --not all doctors-- but also, people from our community. And this really wasn't anything about making money. This is about doing something for our community. It's now been established since 2005. It's more of something where we can have this restaurant in the community in a small town and people can enjoy it. So that's good. It's funny that you brought that up. I wasn't expecting that, John. 

John Reed: [00:30:02] I like to throw you a curve ball. I'm glad you didn't say that you were a bus boy, because that probably would have freaked some people out, if they've had a knee replacement then a week later, you're clearing the table for them. 

[00:30:11] I want to close by asking you about your family. You have – gulp – 10 children. What's the age range? 

Dr. John: [00:30:19] My youngest is 12 and my oldest is 32. And essentially, if you want to, it may not come out to these exact numbers, but if you go every two years, it works out to be, from 32 to 12. So that's approximately everybody's age. 

John Reed: [00:30:35] Is that according to a checklist? It sounds very orderly. 

Dr. John: [00:30:38] Yeah. I guess you could think that way, but it didn't. It ended up that way, but that wasn't the plan. 

John Reed: [00:30:45] Of the 10, where are they headed, and which set of footsteps that you've been in are they following? 

Dr. John: [00:30:52] Yeah. So, my oldest is in the Air Force. So obviously, he's now third generation serving our country. I have another older one who was a mechanical engineer, and I have another one who’s wanting to go to dental school. So, he's probably my -- he's one of my older ones who potentially could go on the health career path. And then my two youngest also want to go into medicine as well. [00:31:15] 

[00:31:15]Nobody, as of yet, wants to go into law. Who knows what will happen? 

John Reed: [00:31:18] They can always go to medical school first and then go to law school. It's all the rage in your family. 

Dr. John: [00:31:23] Yeah. Just take the easy way.

John Reed: [00:31:27] One thing you told me that was very special is that, at one point, there were three generations of Naranjas on the same Air Force base? 

Dr. John: [00:31:35] Yes. Yeah. It touched my heart strings to see those three generations together in that way. And it's a moment that I'm proud of when I think about it. 

John Reed: [00:31:43] That's fantastic. What takeaways from your career path, your series of career paths, are you imparting to your kids? What are the learning lessons that you're bestowing upon them? 

Dr. John: [00:31:56] First of all, I do want to acknowledge that I'm a man of faith and I think there's, I think there's a calling that's bigger than us and I try to follow that. So, that's the first thing. 

[00:32:09]Secondly, I think that sometimes when life is throwing you different storms or different challenges, you can you accept those challenges and try and move on. You have the ability, and you have the resources. You just have to look for them in order to overcome those challenges.

[00:32:26] I'm hoping that's the kind of model I want my kids to see in me in terms of, everything doesn't go positively all the time. So, you have to be able to understand that first you have your faith. Secondly, you have gifts that you've been given that you can try and use to overcome any challenges that you have. And those are the, those are the biggest things that I want to try and impart to my children and whoever I meet. I want to have those kinds of conversations where maybe people can be inspired to do more than, to have a calling more than just themselves. That's important to me. 

John Reed: [00:33:00] Dr. John, I want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. There is so much about you that I respect, but above all, I appreciate your ability to make major career, major life changes, being thoughtful and strategic about them, of course, but always being true to yourself and your values.

[00:33:22] If our community of listeners wants to learn more about you, where should they go? 

Dr. John: [00:33:26] You can go to our Diller Law website. I'm happy to get emails from people if you like. And that's on our website. It's drjohn@dillerlaw.com. If you have questions for me, I've been known to answer those, respond to those emails in the past. So, I'm happy to get those. 

[00:33:41]Platforms like this I do really appreciate. I thank you, John, for these kinds of opportunities, because I think there are a lot of good messages that people have. And again, I'm thankful to be a part of that. 

John Reed: [00:33:52] Thank you for sharing your stories with us. It has been a pleasure for me. 

Dr. John: [00:33:57] Thanks, John.

John Reed: [00:33:57] And thank you for listening. To hear this episode again, or to download other Sticky Lawyers episodes, visit stickylawyers.com. There, you'll be able to view episode transcripts, get behind-the-scenes notes, and recommend a standout lawyer who might be a future guest.

[00:34:15] Please don't forget to subscribe to this podcast. And if you're really feeling the love, rate Sticky Lawyers and give us a review. Everyone at Rain BDM who works so hard to produce this podcast would greatly appreciate it.

[00:34:28] Until next time, I'm John Reed, and you've been listening to Sticky Lawyers.

John Naranja, MD

Trial Attorney and Medical-Legal Consultant

Dr. John occupies a special niche that few practicing attorneys possess—being both a doctor and a lawyer. The ability to quickly and competently navigate both the medical and legal sides of a case provides an advantage that few firms can offer.