I was nineteen and I was in Uruguay for my Mormon Mission. This was supposed to be the prime of my life, proving to my church, to my family, and most importantly, to myself that I was an upstanding Mormon… a valuable member of the community… and a valuable young man ready to be matched with a bride soon.
Instead… only 6 weeks into a two-year mission, I had to tell my mission leader: “I can’t do this anymore. I’m having panic attacks. I need to go home.”
It’s virtually unheard of for a young man to end his mission. My mission leader tried to talk me out of it. “This will impact every area of your life for the rest of your life,” he said.
I believed what he said. But I had to leave anyway. As I saw the landscape of Uruguay retreating through the plane window… I thought God was going to make the plane crash because He was so mad at me.
It wasn’t always this way. In my early teens, I had been a happy kid, doing happy kid things… like playing in a baseball league.
When I was 13, in eighth grade, my baseball coach, who was also my seminary teacher, used to invite some of us on the team over for what he deemed was special athletic training at his home gym. Except he had no intention of training us there–just abusing us.
I didn’t really understand what was happening. It felt super wrong and weird. But this was way before the time when there was widespread awareness about sexual abuse from coaches, teachers, and religious leaders… so I didn’t have the language or concepts to understand or describe it.
I wanted to stay as far away from this creep as possible. I quit baseball, which was inexplicable to my parents, because it was the center of my life. I lost most of my friends, because most of them were playing baseball.
The perpetrator was also my seminary teacher the next year when I was a freshman in high school. Which meant I also avoided seminary and didn’t want to do my homework.
The dream of every Mormon kid is to go to Brigham Young University. Since sports and seminary are such a big part of getting into BYU, my dreams were stolen from me by this monster. My parents were shocked and thought I was a failure.
My sophomore year of high school, I came home one day from school, and the police were there waiting to question me about the perpetrator. Before I knew it, the perpetrator was arrested, there were criminal charges against him, and I was getting therapy through the court system.
During the trial, I felt protected by my lawyer. He was the first person who was truly advocating for me during this whole process, and the first person who was fighting back. It was the first time I saw the power of a good lawyer. (The perpetrator took a plea deal and… [did he go to jail]?)
After I graduated high school, it was time to go on my mission. Four hundred members of my community, including all my family, gathered to send us young missionaries off to Uruguay.
I thought my life was coming together… and I was finally over all the hurt and trauma of the abuse.
Weeks into the mission, I had a mental breakdown. I couldn’t sleep. All I could think about was whether my younger brothers and sisters were being hurt like I was… while worrying that my parents would not be able to protect them. I fantasized nonstop about running away from the mission and going home to protect my siblings.
I finally told my mission leader. He tried to get me to pray away the problems. But no amount of prayer was going to solve these problems. I finally flew home.
I felt powerless all the time and subject to the world around me.
Then I remembered the lawyer who had helped me during the trial. It was the only time I’d felt safe, protected, and empowered since the abuse. I realized it would give me a sense of purpose and mission to be able to provide that same safety, protection, and power to other people. So I got my law degree.
Becoming a lawyer was the first time since the abuse that I felt like I could impose myself on the world, in a way that affected somebody else positively. Instead of just reacting while the world imposed itself on me.
The first sexual abuse case I handled as a personal injury lawyer was a sixteen-year-old high school student whose teacher was inappropriate with him. We got him justice… and a good settlement. He’s since grown up, healed, and is now a sheriff, protecting other survivors. We’ve become good friends.
It was a special needs student being abused by a bus driver… and the school district didn’t believe the girl and denied it. (Until the GPS data proved otherwise.) We stuck that case out through 5 years of litigation… and came through big time for this courageous girl.
Sexual abuse is only one of the types of cases we handle. We handle everything from accidents to me slips and falls to product liability.
All of these cases come down to the same thing. If you’ve been the victim of a major personal injury… your dreams in life were stolen from you.
Supporting people like you… and helping you reclaim and restore your dreams after they’ve been stolen from you… is one of the most meaningful and satisfying things I can do in life.
I care, because I’ve been there.
From humble beginnings, Robert May has risen to achieve the American Dream. Robert was the oldest of five siblings in a blue-collar family on the Central Coast of California
At a young age, Robert made a promise to himself to become the first member of his family to receive a college degree. Robert fulfilled his dream when he attended and graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California.
Robert fiercely believes in justice. He attended California Western School of Law with a passion to represent the injured and downtrodden. Since graduating from law school, Robert has successfully represented thousands of personal injury cases against the nation’s largest insurance corporations. Robert works aggressively to see that every client is fully compensated. In the course of his career, Robert has obtained verdicts and settlements in excess of $100,000,000.
Robert founded the May Firm to help injured individuals and their loved ones. He is admitted to practice in the State of California as well as numerous federal district courts and is a member of the State Bar of California. Robert has separated himself from other attorneys by focusing on the specific needs of each client as his motto has always been to “treat clients like family.”
Robert is active in supporting Court Appointed Special Advocates program (CASA) in California This program provides advocacy, representation and support for children in the foster care system–many of whom have suffered child abuse.