Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Escaping Insurance Defense

I am currently doing general liability insurance defense and KarlFarbman11/02/10
What are you looking for? Business litigation? What is you LawyerATL11/02/10
That would be nice. Really I'm looking for more variety- bu KarlFarbman11/02/10
I have two comments for you: First, you need to look at a PIluvr11/02/10
Thanks for the advice. I have some experience doing depos a KarlFarbman11/02/10
Karl, I was in your shoes and got out of ID briefly only to AssociateX11/02/10
Looks like more good advice. I have never heard of the verd KarlFarbman11/02/10
I'm in NYC, the trial verdict sheet was a concept I saw most AssociateX11/02/10
It can be done, I am living proof of that, along with all th jeremiahwright11/02/10
Good to hear it's possible. Hear you on the reputation thin KarlFarbman11/02/10
Had a friend who was in the business for several years. That gainesvillelitig8tor12/06/17
KarlFarbman (Nov 2, 2010 - 11:05 am)

I am currently doing general liability insurance defense and would like to practice additional areas of litigation. How do I get out of this job into a better one where I could practice in other areas rather than just the same bullshit slip and falls and auto accidents? The office environment here is not good, pay sucks, and the cases just get boring. I'm also worried I could be learning bad habits.

I understand the concepts of finding a job (word of mouth, how to apply, etc.), but I'm wondering how I should sell myself. Is my best bet to find a place that practices insurance defense but also many other areas of law, so I can say I have experience in at least one of their practice areas? Seems like many larger firms in my area that practice a broader range of litigation also do high-dollar insurance defense. I just don't know if I can stomach dealing with these same shitty cases over and over- the fact patterns and issues rarely change and most of the people involved are morons. What are my chances of transitioning from this?

Real advice as well as insults are welcomed.

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LawyerATL (Nov 2, 2010 - 12:14 pm)

What are you looking for? Business litigation? What is your undergrad degree?

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KarlFarbman (Nov 2, 2010 - 12:47 pm)

That would be nice. Really I'm looking for more variety- business, employment, pretty much anything other than just what I'm doing. I don't mind the personal injury except that at the level I'm practicing it seems like neither side really gives a shit about each individual case- it's all volume. While I don't expect lawyering to be the most exciting, what I'm doing now is very uninspiring. I'd rather not be dealing with minimum limits cases where our person is a long-vanished illegal immigrant who blatantly violated some rule of the road or the slip and fall of a 300 lb., psychologically disturbed fat woman for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately I have a useless liberal arts degree of a nature typically bemoaned on this website.

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PIluvr (Nov 2, 2010 - 12:42 pm)

I have two comments for you:

First, you need to look at all of the big pluses that go along with ID. Most significantly, you should be very experienced at this point at handling your own cases, at least up to trial. I'm sure that you have appeared on many motions and taken many depositions. Those are all good skills. If you get to try your own cases, then you have some really good experience that you can use in other areas of litigation. You could use this to transition to other areas of defense or to a plaintiff's PI firm.

Second, you might just want to stay with ID and move to a different firm or in house office. I know that here in Jersey most ID lawyers do not share your sentiments about your job (though some do). I know a lot of ID lawyers who work in great offices with nice people and short hours - pay may not be excellent, but they like the job. The only problem with that is that your pay will top out kinda early and you will need to start your own office if you want any significant increases. The people who are doing the big-money ID cases (those with big injuries) have taken that route and gotten there later in life.

Good luck.

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KarlFarbman (Nov 2, 2010 - 12:55 pm)

Thanks for the advice. I have some experience doing depos and motions at this point, but will firms who practice other areas see ID depos and motions as legitimate experience for their practice? I get the impression this may frequently be looked down upon, but then that may be exaggeration from only the most snobby of practitioners.

The hours are a good part of ID. However, I'm still young and would probably prefer to work a little more for a little more money. However, I'm not sure that's possible here. Also, you're right that part of my distaste is likely my specific firm. There's a number of bad things about it completely unrelated to the type of law we do. The topping out part is dead on, but how would you later start your own office? Seems like it's hard to steal insurance carriers...

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AssociateX (Nov 2, 2010 - 1:11 pm)

Karl, I was in your shoes and got out of ID briefly only to go back running after experiencing misery at another higher end ID firm. I'm not going to bore everyone with details, those experiences merit a separate thread.
Just do the best you can and look for challenging work elsewhere. Good attorneys are not easily replaceable.

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KarlFarbman (Nov 2, 2010 - 1:33 pm)

Looks like more good advice. I have never heard of the verdict sheet idea. Maybe people who practice in my area don't do that (not near NY)? Anyways, I don't really have enough experience yet to fill one up. Could be you try a lot more cases in your region and/or exact practice area. Such a large percentage of our cases settle (and whether this happens ultimately ends up being based on how my boss wants to play the case, so I can't ensure more trials) that I think it could be some time longer before I'd have that large a body of actual trial experience.

Intellectual reasons are the main reason I'd like to move on; financial benefits are just a likely side bonus. $125 sounds really low for legal malpractice- that's what we get for our general liability stuff.

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AssociateX (Nov 2, 2010 - 1:51 pm)

I'm in NYC, the trial verdict sheet was a concept I saw mostly on Craigslist job ads. When I interviewed at some midsized PI/ID firms, I was told it was just a general list of cases you won at trial/prevailed on SJM, etc. It really is designed for more experienced associates/jr partners.

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jeremiahwright (Nov 2, 2010 - 2:52 pm)

It can be done, I am living proof of that, along with all the other things Associate X told you, you must have a positive attitude and treat everyone, I mean everyone, from opposing counsel to court clerks to court reporters to the people who drop off Federal Express packages with decency and respect, because if you get a reputation its all over. I started at low end ID after six months in what was not biglaw but had the same pedigree and I knew I would be paid well but I would be out on the street after five years so I left to go to where you are now and then went a little further than that and would up in a firm that does fairly sophisticated business and employment litigation and we are not afraid to take plaintiff's cases either. And I wound up here because I had a case against the firm and they remembered me when they were hiring. And they remembered how I handled the case with them and I didn't fuck them around and didn't play games. So, you have to keep your eyes open and look at the big 7-10 year picture and not mope around because you missed the 160k train and had to settle for ID.

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KarlFarbman (Nov 2, 2010 - 3:17 pm)

Good to hear it's possible. Hear you on the reputation thing as well; where I am is a smaller legal community than NY or Boston or wherever else people on here tend to live. That is another concern of mine, because my boss will be an ass to people when he doesn't need to be at all and I don't want to stay here and end up being associated with him down the road.

I certainly didn't expect 160 out of the gate and didn't even realize that was possible when I started law school. I'm just hoping for an environment a little more professional and stimulating than here.

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gainesvillelitig8tor (Dec 6, 2017 - 2:18 pm)

Had a friend who was in the business for several years. That was in Australia but still only really a seasonal business. He bulked this up a bit buy have a few architectural fountains that needed cleaning year round. But during the summer, 15 hour days were not uncommon.
The chemicals rusted out the floor of his van in only a few years.
And there isn't really room for growth except by working more hours. And there is only so much daylight.
Personally, I wouldn't

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