Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Does anyone ENJOY insurance defense work?

I am trying to decide if I would enjoy this job: Regional ID blackholelaw12/16/16
I have friends in ID, and they say the work is pretty mundan bucwild12/16/16
What would the compensation be? I have heard of a few insur junkwired12/16/16
It sort of depends on what type of ID you are doing. Genera karlfarbman12/16/16
I went from doc review to clerking (state trial court) becau blackholelaw12/16/16
Did you end up taking the job? I have been doing ID for arou jj1001/05/17
Nope. I actually ended up being the "runner-up candidate." blackholelaw01/05/17
I like it a lot. Maybe even love it. It helps that the firm nobodyyouknow12/16/16
It's awful and a scam. The insurers underwrite all the poli mtobeinf12/16/16
Glad to see there are people out there practicing law that s mtbislife12/16/16
Much appreciated. Actually retired from law to retain mine. mtobeinf12/16/16
Nice, I have been practicing for less than a year and I can' mtbislife12/16/16
I was in a similar boat. Jump ship as soon as able and keep mtobeinf12/16/16
Thanks, good to hear you made it out. mtbislife12/16/16
Much obliged. mtobeinf12/16/16
Upvoted. fabio312/17/16
DO NOT DO IT! PLEASE, DO NOT DO IT! 2200 hours in ID is m tcpaul12/16/16
Don't do it my kid was in that for a few years and he absolu roadkingrider12/16/16
I think we may work for the sameish firm. Billables are 2100 attorneyinct12/16/16
That's very true. Believe that's the reason so many bemoan t mtobeinf12/16/16
It appears that I had a completely different experience than lolwutjobs12/16/16
Do you have another option?? Lawyers today don't have ma patenttrollnj12/17/16
It's a good "first" job, but the legal community is filled w orgdonor12/17/16
Attractive to the opposite sex ?? Buddy, any JD that isn' patenttrollnj12/17/16
That's why you have to bring something else to the table. In mtobeinf12/17/16
I doubt any practice area is "sexy" to the opposite sex, exc attorneyinct12/17/16
Not to change the subject...but if one was working in auto d goorange88812/17/16
I work at a plaintiff's firm that hires from the ranks of ca tcpaul12/17/16
I don't think I have ever met anyone that "enjoys" ID. Its a shikes12/17/16
Stepping stone to what? prestiiigiousone01/05/17
You're joking right? OP is doing doc review, which is a step shikes01/08/17
I wasn't trying to be flip - I was seriously asking what ID prestiiigiousone01/09/17
See related post dated today. mtobeinf01/09/17
@goorange888 - I'm a second year attorney year attorney and attorneyinct12/17/16
First question is what else would you do? ID is very broa therover12/17/16
Some have commented that Insurance Defense is good experienc patenttrollnj12/17/16
I concur with start with goal of getting out ASAP. Dissent i mtobeinf12/17/16
I would probably have to disagree although it really boils d attorneyinct12/17/16
Well, I'm just attesting to my own personal experiences doin patenttrollnj12/19/16
I think it depends on the type of ID. Despite the fact that therover12/19/16
Probably true, but my experiences are not uncommon. To be h patenttrollnj12/20/16
I would say it depends on the partner you're working for. So attorneyinct12/20/16
Honestly, how many bosses are ever mentors? I'm sure ther patenttrollnj12/20/16
Thinking about it now.. you're correct. Most bosses don't ha attorneyinct12/20/16
Only boss I ever had that was interested in mentoring me was bsj2301/05/17

blackholelaw (Dec 16, 2016 - 10:01 am)

I am trying to decide if I would enjoy this job: Regional ID firm (~70 attorneys, east coast city), primarily work with the same 3 people who are a good match personality-wise. 2200 hour billable requirement. I enjoy litigation, but don't have much experience actually doing it beyond clerking and doc review.

Thoughts?

Reply Like (1)
bucwild (Dec 16, 2016 - 10:28 am)

I have friends in ID, and they say the work is pretty mundane, but that their bosses and overall work environment determine how happy they are. One works for a real jerk, and he dreads going to work every day. I feel bad for him.

With that being said, ID overall probably isn't that bad. Nothing sexy, but it has to be better than chasing ambulances. However, 2200 minimum is very tough. You better enjoy your coworkers because you'll be in the office constantly.

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junkwired (Dec 16, 2016 - 10:14 am)

What would the compensation be? I have heard of a few insurance defense firms requiring big law hours but paying small law salaries, which would not be worth it imo.

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karlfarbman (Dec 16, 2016 - 10:19 am)

It sort of depends on what type of ID you are doing. General liability defense gets boring after a couple years and maybe 1/10 cases is actually interesting. But you do learn procedure pretty well. The higher end stuff like construction and med mal generally pays a little better and is more complex. But from what I have seen it still becomes sort of routine and pay tops out unless you steal business or inherit business. In most ID models they'll make people partners after enough time but you won't get a much bigger cut unless you are bringing in a carrier of your own or the older attorneys retire. And it's relatively hard to get a new carrier as every insurance co. has a firm so you have to steal a client from your own firm and move to a new firm, hope a co.'s current firm screws up and gives your firm the files, or get conflict work from a co. and gradually steal another firm's client. In general, at any level it's not a great area to be stuck in. If you can switch to a quality plaintiff's firm after a few years you can end up making big money, but plaintiff's firms tend to vary in success much more widely than their ID counterparts.

There is a lot of easy billable time in ID but 2200 is still a lot, even if you are padding some. Sounds like Wilson Elser. How did you go from clerking to doc review? Is the market still that bad? I assume you mean a year-long clerkship with a judge.

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blackholelaw (Dec 16, 2016 - 12:37 pm)

I went from doc review to clerking (state trial court) because I moved out of NYC. Way easier to find jobs outside of the city...who knew!

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jj10 (Jan 5, 2017 - 7:50 am)

Did you end up taking the job? I have been doing ID for around 5 years. I am plotting my departure into something else. My firm isn't too bad - 2000 hours, but you need to go well beyond that to ever hope to advance. The hours can be grueling and you have to constantly be thinking what you can and cannot be billing for. It is best to get into higher end insurance defense where you are dealing with more unique liability and coverage issues. Long term prospects in ID are not great unless you develop a book of business, which is not easy to do. Where I am at it is an over-saturated market. Recruiters have told me that prospective clients do not contact them for ID jobs because the positions are so easy to fill. If I were you, I would look at it as an opportunity to gain some experience. If you like your firm, great! However, most people move on to something different for a reason.

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blackholelaw (Jan 5, 2017 - 11:38 am)

Nope. I actually ended up being the "runner-up candidate." Totally ok with that though, I think I dodged a bullet.

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nobodyyouknow (Dec 16, 2016 - 10:22 am)

I like it a lot. Maybe even love it. It helps that the firm where I ended up has great people and interesting work. Universally smart, humane, considerate partners (the best I've met at any firm - no screamers, no whiners, no one who looks for scapegoats).

One advantage to ID that I think is under-discussed is that insurance companies hate double-staffing. So, as soon as you're ready to do something alone, you'll get an opportunity to do it alone. If you're a person that appeals to, you may thrive.

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mtobeinf (Dec 16, 2016 - 11:08 am)

It's awful and a scam. The insurers underwrite all the policies and the end game is to not pay out for the risk that they underwrite (and further cede via reinsurance). Keep the cases going for years (most cases I worked on were MM cases that dragged on for over a decade), argue every exclusion under the sun (or deny the defense outright), and bankrupt the opponent. Granted, I also worked under the Managing partner who is a mofo. It's a dirty, dirty game. You won't get paid shyte in comparison to the amount you're fighting over. Do all the grunt work and wake up thinking every morning that I am killing myself so some rich corp. doesn't want to pay their lawful obligations and will likely be successful by following the tried and true game plan. If this appeals to you then more power to you. If not, stay away. Stay far, far, far away. Work may be interesting but when you become the Grim Reaper telling those filing wrongful death suits to go f themselves or bankrupting a small business that didn't realize a different state's law applies to bar the claim, you'll begin to despise it. Not to mention all the wonderful employment law cases that come from the businesses those corps insure. Screwing over the disabled, elderly, and minorities because McDonnell-Douglas is a ridiculously easily manipulated standard will be a ton of fun I tell you. Especially when you realize more likely than not discrimination occurred looking over all the records. F that noise man. If you're going to sell out make money. This ain't the area for that if you're young and/or have a conscience. It is the family law of the corporate world. Churn/burn the chumps.

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mtbislife (Dec 16, 2016 - 11:49 am)

Glad to see there are people out there practicing law that still have a conscience.

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mtobeinf (Dec 16, 2016 - 11:57 am)

Much appreciated. Actually retired from law to retain mine. Maintain the license though mostly to help people with basic questions or steer them in the right path. Just got a half sleeve tat as well of a Ghost-like, crying Lady Justice carrying an unequal scales of justice. Pretty much summarizes my feelings of practicing law. Only thing that sucks is I have to wear long sleeves again at work (got used to my Adam Sandler golf polo and khakis).

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mtbislife (Dec 16, 2016 - 12:04 pm)

Nice, I have been practicing for less than a year and I can't shake the feeling that the whole process is pretty scammy. Representing corps must suck but also on the flipside litigating some bs slip and fall case with minor injuries for three years is not exactly what most believed the practice of law to entail. Hopefully I have a shot at a gov gig before the hiring freeze.

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mtobeinf (Dec 16, 2016 - 12:09 pm)

I was in a similar boat. Jump ship as soon as able and keep pressin.

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mtbislife (Dec 16, 2016 - 12:22 pm)

Thanks, good to hear you made it out.

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mtobeinf (Dec 16, 2016 - 12:24 pm)

Much obliged.

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fabio3 (Dec 17, 2016 - 6:48 pm)

Upvoted.

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tcpaul (Dec 16, 2016 - 11:59 am)

DO NOT DO IT! PLEASE, DO NOT DO IT!

2200 hours in ID is miserable. I know because I did it for several years before becoming an "ambulance chaser." I pinch myself everyday for getting out of ID and into personal injury. Pay and work life balance is way better. And I get giddy when I think about no longer billing hours or appealing bulls&!t write offs.

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roadkingrider (Dec 16, 2016 - 6:05 pm)

Don't do it my kid was in that for a few years and he absolutely hated it. Useless billing, mind numbing cut and paste, taking work home with you. Never actually going to litigation and mainly, even though they had around 100 employees no upward mobility. The biggest thing they have going on now is Windshield law suits, he heard from his ex associates. Florida has no fault windshield replacement so now the vendors are suing the insurance companies for higher rates. It's even started a new industry, people going around nicking windshields with a spark plug and chasing after the business. It's sounds really exciting! Just like you see on TV in Suits.

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attorneyinct (Dec 16, 2016 - 6:12 pm)

I think we may work for the sameish firm. Billables are 2100 and it sucks. It doesn't help that the carriers slash your hours. But, it's a great way to get experience. You start taking your own depos, conferences, status hearings etc. At the end of the day, you will gain a ton of experience, and lateral to a better firm. The worst thing to be is an attorney with no real skills.

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mtobeinf (Dec 16, 2016 - 6:41 pm)

That's very true. Believe that's the reason so many bemoan their lot as well. If you never develop the skills you will never succeed the way you imagined in any industry.

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lolwutjobs (Dec 16, 2016 - 10:01 pm)

It appears that I had a completely different experience than everyone else. We actually litigated our matters. I actually argued motions, second chaired trials, and did every phase of deps/discovery. I learned a great deal that has really helped me once I moved over to actual business litigation. Perhaps it is because we represented self-insureds, and in turn had lower billables and got paid higher rates.

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patenttrollnj (Dec 17, 2016 - 9:44 am)

Do you have another option??

Lawyers today don't have many options. If it's between this or doc review, TAKE IT !!!

As for whether or not you'll like it, you have to make yourself like it. These days, we need to follow opportunity and stop all this "will I like it" nonsense.

Is it a "good" job? Well, it's about as good a job as you can get in law without Harvard on your resume. Sounds pretty standard actually, but the above post by roadkingrider does bring-up a few problems that you'll have to deal with at this job.

Good luck!

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orgdonor (Dec 17, 2016 - 10:00 am)

It's a good "first" job, but the legal community is filled with "senior associates" who have been doing ID for 20 years.

It's not attractive to the opposite sex, for reasons described by mtobeinf. That's not to say your lawyer card ain't worth a damn with an ID job, but no sexy doctor's daughter or other tanned upper middle class scion is thinking about how "amazing" you are.

It is good experience - but you need to promise yourself, no more than two years. Plaintiff work is way better - EXCEPT that the clients are harder to acquire, and can be very challenging.

One piece of advice: talk to your insureds - build a Rolodex of them, and send them all a card and a note when you jump to the plaintiff's side. Should lead to somthe referrals down the road.

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patenttrollnj (Dec 17, 2016 - 10:50 am)

Attractive to the opposite sex ??

Buddy, any JD that isn't Harvard is unattractive to "quality" members of the opposite sex, especially when you factor-in the student loan debt AND dim job prospects. Also, I think society is catching-on to the fact that many non-elite lawyers "age out" of law by their 40s, or must become total scum in order to continue in the profession.

I can't say I feel bad for most of them, but there are a handful of unlucky guys that had their lives destroyed by going to law school (who could realistically have done very well had they chosen a different profession).

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mtobeinf (Dec 17, 2016 - 3:04 pm)

That's why you have to bring something else to the table. In the words of the wise and most venerable Pootie Tang, sada tay my brotha sada tay. Not to mention dirty dees dirty bc he's dirty dee damnit. What don't u understand about that?!?

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attorneyinct (Dec 17, 2016 - 10:44 am)

I doubt any practice area is "sexy" to the opposite sex, except maybe if you're the guy in Suits.

OP should take the job 100% as he has no skills beyond doc review.

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goorange888 (Dec 17, 2016 - 11:26 am)

Not to change the subject...but if one was working in auto defense for a large carrier, what would exit options be for a 3rd year attorney? Assuming said individual had countless hours of deposition, arbitration, and "low-end" trial experience?

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tcpaul (Dec 17, 2016 - 12:25 pm)

I work at a plaintiff's firm that hires from the ranks of captive attorneys at big auto insurers. So I definitely think it is an option if you have trial experience.

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shikes (Dec 17, 2016 - 1:51 pm)

I don't think I have ever met anyone that "enjoys" ID. Its a combination of dealing with scummy plaintiff's attorneys trying to swipe $8k for some red car/ blue car nonsense, adjusters who need a report every other day on pointless stuff and freak out if you don't send on time, not being able to settle cases cause companies don't want to give authority for pennies and then freak out when they get hit for way more than that at a jury and its somehow your fault, and overall crazy deadlines for stupid things that were created because the company waited to send you the file until like a month before trial and someone just expects you to fix it. 5 days after receiving the file they freak out because x/y/z wasn't done, even though you've explained it wasn't done due to them not sending you the file earlier.

Its sort of a mess, and 2200 is a LOT of hours. If you're currently doing doc review, I'd take it as a stepping stone, but seriously, make SURE its a stepping stone. Great way to learn civil litigation, but super stressful for really no good reason.

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prestiiigiousone (Jan 5, 2017 - 11:29 am)

Stepping stone to what?

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shikes (Jan 8, 2017 - 12:17 pm)

You're joking right? OP is doing doc review, which is a stepping stone to unemployment. ID is a stepping stone to one of many positions you can lateral to, including various firms that do more complex litigation, or hell, a government office that goes to court. It looks substantially better on a resume than doc review.

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prestiiigiousone (Jan 9, 2017 - 1:02 pm)

I wasn't trying to be flip - I was seriously asking what ID is a stepping stone to...because I do ID. And of course it's better than doc review. Nobody disputes that.

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mtobeinf (Jan 9, 2017 - 1:38 pm)

See related post dated today.

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attorneyinct (Dec 17, 2016 - 1:57 pm)

@goorange888 - I'm a second year attorney year attorney and I was offered a position in a general practice firm with an emphasis on on personal injury and commercial litigation. I think you'll have a broad range of options for you after insurance defense. Most people are impressed with depositions and familiarity with the court system.

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therover (Dec 17, 2016 - 2:15 pm)

First question is what else would you do?

ID is very broad. I started doing more sophisticated ID (big injuries and prop damages, product defect, coverage, bad faith) for a mid size firm. The billables and hours were easy but no partnership chance.

I had offers at good plaintiff firms, other better ID shops and ultimately went to a captive firm. Cases range from boring car accidents to more sophisticated cases. Billing is super easy. I get a lot of trial experience. I pretty much work from home. Given what I make, I'm happy with it.

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patenttrollnj (Dec 17, 2016 - 8:07 pm)

Some have commented that Insurance Defense is good experience.

Well, that is NOT my experience (pardon the pun).

Before doing patents, I did Insurance Defense for several years, and what I did any high school student could do. There was nothing about it that required critical thinking or legal reasoning, or even being able to write well. The depositions were the best part, but even they were rather simplistic.

My advice to anyone doing Insurance Defense is to start with the goal of getting OUT of it ASAP. Do it because you need a salary, but don't expect any good experience to come of it.

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mtobeinf (Dec 17, 2016 - 8:23 pm)

I concur with start with goal of getting out ASAP. Dissent in re experience per the above statements.

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attorneyinct (Dec 17, 2016 - 9:21 pm)

I would probably have to disagree although it really boils down to what kind of insurance defense will OP be practicing.
I currently draft a ton of MSJs and MTDs for lack of personal jurisdiction etc from anywhere to Canadian and Mexican product liability and transportation cases to the simple slip and fall/auto case. I'm pro hac'ed into several states at any given time. (It's not intended to be seen as a brag, because it sucks.) I do agree that OP needs to get out as soon as possible, but insurance defense is still a great way to learn some litigation skills and to figure out what area of law he's interested in.

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patenttrollnj (Dec 19, 2016 - 4:06 pm)

Well, I'm just attesting to my own personal experiences doing ID for few years.

For example, I too used to prepare MSJs. They were all boilerplate, with just a few tweaks to change the names of the parties (and maybe alter the fact pattern a bit).

The complaints sent to us by the plaintiffs were all exactly the same. We replied with a boilerplate Answer. The Roggs and Request for Admissions were also standards.

I wrote plenty of memos regarding the cases, but nobody ever read them. They were really just a billable event (designed on extracting money from the insurance carrier). Ultimately, the cases got settled, and all the work we did on the cases was pointless -- except to generate revenue for the firm.

While still in law school, I did a summer clerkship with a local judge. I saw the same type of boilerplate forms being delivered to the courthouse.

So, where exactly do you get "real" legal experience? Overall, given what I experienced, I was left very disappointed with ID.

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therover (Dec 19, 2016 - 8:58 pm)

I think it depends on the type of ID. Despite the fact that most cases settle, the work and lawyering done on cases can matter. It can achieve a far better settlement for one.

Somethings are form of course, but not everything. Learning how to take a good useful deposition is not. Trial skills are not.

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patenttrollnj (Dec 20, 2016 - 3:13 pm)

Probably true, but my experiences are not uncommon. To be honest, I think they're the norm, and those who do meaningful lawyering work in ID are the exception.

Also, regarding your statement that "... the work and lawyering done on cases can matter. It can achieve a far better settlement for one." No! Well, at least not in what I did. When we settled cases, we used spreadsheets and settled 10-20 at a time. All the faux-lawyering work that was done was just to create a billable event for the firm.

Regardless, I'm glad you had a better experience than I did.

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attorneyinct (Dec 20, 2016 - 1:34 pm)

I would say it depends on the partner you're working for. Some partners love billables so they'll take every deposition and court event so it looks good on paper. Associates under these partners will never learn any depo or other trial skills under this scenario.

Other partners are teachers, and they'll let the associates take depositions and attend conferences in low value cases. Associates under this scenario can gain skills and most importantly, confidence.

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patenttrollnj (Dec 20, 2016 - 3:05 pm)

Honestly, how many bosses are ever mentors?

I'm sure there are a few, but in the real world you won't find too many.

I'm presuming you had one. You're very lucky that you did.

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attorneyinct (Dec 20, 2016 - 3:14 pm)

Thinking about it now.. you're correct. Most bosses don't have time to mentor an associate. I never really thought about it, but I am pretty lucky in the mentorship department.

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bsj23 (Jan 5, 2017 - 1:25 pm)

Only boss I ever had that was interested in mentoring me was one where I worked as a volunteer, but had no power to hire me due to budget cuts.

Everyone else has just handed me stuff in areas where I have zero previous experience and training, and asked me to figure it out for myself.

I mean, you do learn that way. But it's nerve-wracking. Even experienced attorneys don't dive into complex areas of the law they never practice in and expect to get a flawless victory.

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