This blog is a little different from my ordinary blog. Typically, I focus on the handling of my cases, which are exclusively personal injury matters. I discuss laws pertaining to them and what I see as common issues that arise. Today, this is more of a discussion about law firm management. I thought of this topic because I was asked by my legal alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania Law School, to come to Philadelphia to speak to a class on law firm management. The course is entitled “Law Firm Management in the New Normal.” I am not sure what “the new normal means”, but my focus will be on a personal injury law practice.
I am trying to reflect on 35 years of this practice. What are the themes? What are the common threads? I will be speaking to J.D. candidates and LLM degree candidates. The latter are candidates for a graduate degree in law and usually come from other countries. The J.D. candidates will, of course, practice in the US. The talk is scheduled for February 10.
One of the considerations is finances. Does a law firm need to have sufficient capital to represent a client effectively? You bet. A plaintiff’s lawyer has a need for financing cases. A paramount consideration of whether the case is prepared properly is whether experts, and the right experts, have been retained. On my video on the homepage of this website, there is a lot of talk about experts and I have surely blogged about experts and their expense. You do not want a law firm representing you on a serious injury case that is concerned with its bottom line. (More talk about experts is coming in a subsequent blog.)The law firm simply cannot be concerned with the money that they will extend in pursuing your case. Surely you want your case prepared as best as possible without a focus on the expenses. A reluctance by the law firm to take on expenses could -and I want to emphasize could- jeopardize the case. Not necessarily but it is worthy of concern.
In illustrating your interests as a consumer, I would like to draw upon the health care system. You, as patient, don’t want to see expenses spared. It is your health and this blog is about your case. As a doctor once told me, “I treat patients, not numbers.” He was telling me, I believe, he chooses to do what’s best for his patients and is not concerned with the cost on the system. Yes, the cost on the system is the job of beancounters, actuaries and so forth. Well, by the same token, a law firm manger shouldn’t tell the lawyer how to spend the money in pursuing the injury case. You want the health care system to be focused on providing you with a rigorous screening process for any disease. You want your lawyer to be prepared, not underprepared because of expenses or otherwise.
You also want a law firm- and I intend to emphasize this as well to the law students- that will provide you with sufficient client-attorney contact. Your injuries and the way that you sustained them and are living with them need to be conveyed sufficiently to the lawyer. How else can the lawyer then convey them to the other side? There are numerous times in which they will need to be conveyed: to the insurance company claims adjuster whether it is in a phone call or in a letter, to the adverse lawyer once suit is filed, and/or at a mediation and ultimately in a trial if one occurs.
Finally, you want a law firm that will avail itself of the latest resources and technology. My blogs have focused on demonstrative evidence. The lawyer can use demonstrative evidence to illustrate how an injury was sustained, illustrate how an injury has impacted a person’s life and indeed for any number of relevant issues in a case. A law firm should make itself familiar with all resources from A to Z. Some of these do not involve money. You want a law firm that will dedicate its resources, financial and otherwise, to representing you as well as you can be represented.
The attorneys serve the entire state of Massachusetts in addition to affiliating with lawyers in other states to handle cases outside of Massachusetts.
Boston Attorneys Win Highest Injury Verdict in Massachusetts in 2011 & 2012.