Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Insurance Defense, Huge Career Mistake

Started my career in insurance defense and realize what a mi t3success09/27/17
Not my experience at all lolwutjobs09/27/17
Why a road to nowhere? You can also fight traffic tickets wi nighthawk09/28/17
To be fair t3success, I think you have to be more realistic john0910/01/17
With that attitude - you're right. notiers09/28/17
You sound like that other loser who posts on /law. isthisit09/28/17
Harsh responses right out of the gate. I'm in ID now, 6 yea jd4hire09/28/17
At least you aren't doing doc review notreallyalawyer09/28/17
I don't get this thread. It seems that you are saying that c nighthawk09/28/17
I have a very low opinion of ID. I know exactly what you're patenttrollnj09/28/17
In terms of gaining litigation experience, ID is really seco lolwutjobs09/28/17
What did you do after getting out of ID and what are you doi goorange88809/28/17
I do health care now and everything related thereto, i.e. l lolwutjobs09/29/17
Believe me it could be much worse. There are worse things ca ambulancechaser201309/28/17
I think it all depends on what you're looking for out of a j thirdtierlaw09/28/17
I see. I'd rather work my 55-60 hours a week doing PI defens ambulancechaser201309/28/17
"Administrative law" is a big field. Rule challenges are adm downwardslope10/01/17
ID experiences vary greatly. A classmate/friend and I bo tdkerabatsos09/28/17
I work on a mix of high end ID work, regular run of the mill notiers10/01/17
I did high level ID for years and was miserable. The excessi tcpaul10/01/17
How many years did were you in ID before you made the switch jd4hire10/01/17
Perhaps I should have said "higher level." I defended accoun tcpaul10/01/17
Similar spot as to where you previously were. I look at job jd4hire10/01/17
Yeah, the funny thing is that professional liability, E&O, a tcpaul10/01/17
What's so bad about ID? It's not all no-fault and tiny littl onehell10/02/17
Awesome! Why complain, you could be doing family law or LT? nighthawk10/02/17
Totally agree. You could be doing workers’ Comp. Which is ambulancechaser201310/02/17
I'm on the Plaintiff's side. My colleagues who switched to t parlance10/03/17
I'm currently writing a memorandum of decision on an insuran junkwired10/03/17

t3success (Sep 27, 2017 - 9:27 pm)

Started my career in insurance defense and realize what a mistake I made. There is no chance for me to get into a real law firm at this point. Personal Injury is the ultimate road to nowhere and more personal injury.

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lolwutjobs (Sep 27, 2017 - 10:02 pm)

Not my experience at all

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nighthawk (Sep 28, 2017 - 10:52 am)

Why a road to nowhere? You can also fight traffic tickets with that type of experience.

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john09 (Oct 1, 2017 - 12:27 pm)

To be fair t3success, I think you have to be more realistic given your pedigree and t3 intellect.

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notiers (Sep 28, 2017 - 12:43 am)

With that attitude - you're right.

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isthisit (Sep 28, 2017 - 8:37 am)

You sound like that other loser who posts on /law.

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jd4hire (Sep 28, 2017 - 9:23 am)

Harsh responses right out of the gate. I'm in ID now, 6 years in. My firm is pretty diverse, though with a few other practice groups. Size of ID firm and practice area can dictate your experience as well. Not all are terrible. If you get in with the right ID firm, I think the experience can be quite nice.

Just curious, what practice area or type of firm do you wish you'd joined? Sometimes I wish I were elsewhere, but relative to other attorneys ID isn't that rough. I would like to get out for an inside position or government gig at some point. Until I obtain that though, work like I'm trying to navigate the path to partnership.

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notreallyalawyer (Sep 28, 2017 - 10:12 am)

At least you aren't doing doc review

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nighthawk (Sep 28, 2017 - 12:03 pm)

I don't get this thread. It seems that you are saying that choosing this path was a road to nowhere. This implies that you had other choices that were better. What other choices did you have? Remember, this is JDU, where only HYS grads or editor and chief of the law review go the corporate route. Top 20% at a T1 is the equivalent at bottom 20% of a T4, so you were destined to do ID anyway. If you're saying that law school was a mistake then that would be a different discussion. So what are you saying?

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patenttrollnj (Sep 28, 2017 - 12:44 pm)

I have a very low opinion of ID. I know exactly what you're talking about, because I was in your place 15 years ago.

My humble advice is to do whatever you can to get out of law. This is especially true if you're in your 20s, because there is still time to fix your life path. When you're in your 30s, 40s or 50s, it's much more difficult.

Law is glutted, and attorneys are a dime a dozen. After a few years, it will get harder for you to be hired because employers will prefer a less-expensive younger attorney. You'll need to bring business to the firm, and that's very difficult. So don't waste your time!

Good luck!

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lolwutjobs (Sep 28, 2017 - 12:50 pm)

In terms of gaining litigation experience, ID is really second to none. I think you need to think of it as gaining practical knowledge--not substantive legal knowledge. I got out of ID when I was 29, but the experience was tremendously helpful. Take deps, don't just do pro forma motions, argue, go to settlement conferences, second chair trials. That is the value of ID, not learning tort law.

Edit: I agree, though. Unless you can line up a carrier, get the experience and check out no later than early 30s

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goorange888 (Sep 28, 2017 - 9:19 pm)

What did you do after getting out of ID and what are you doing now?

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lolwutjobs (Sep 29, 2017 - 4:38 pm)

I do health care now and everything related thereto, i.e. litigation, transactional, licensing, and regulatory work.

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ambulancechaser2013 (Sep 28, 2017 - 1:19 pm)

Believe me it could be much worse. There are worse things can civil insurance defense. Like workers' compensation, social security

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thirdtierlaw (Sep 28, 2017 - 4:50 pm)

I think it all depends on what you're looking for out of a job. There is an office near us that broke away from an ID, PI, (always thought it's strange that they did both), and Workers' comp. The two attorneys were the worker's comp section of the firm. They brought 3 paralegals with them. They are the two happiest attorneys I know. They say the work is rote, the paralegals do almost all the work, and they are home every night with their families.

I have no idea how much they are making, but one of the attorneys asked me if I knew anyone looking for a job in workers comp. As for compensation, he said, "We can't afford to pay an associate much, so we are just looking for someone willing to work and learn for 75k-80k plus a yearly bonus to start.

In my unpopulated area, that is a good salary for an attorney. So clearly the partners are doing well if they think a 75k-80k for an inexperienced attorney is poor pay.

So I can see that being appealing to a certain segment of the population.

I'd hate my life doing solely appellate work. Other people would kill for the option. It's all just a matter of perspective. Except for family law. Family law is terrible. (I had a rough week...)

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ambulancechaser2013 (Sep 28, 2017 - 7:45 pm)

I see. I'd rather work my 55-60 hours a week doing PI defense with the possibility of doing 1-2 civil trials a year and arguing in real court than doing administrative law. I've done both and I think the latter totally kills your ego. I could see how a business litigator could say the same of PI/ID.

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downwardslope (Oct 1, 2017 - 11:24 am)

"Administrative law" is a big field. Rule challenges are administrative law and have big impact, so if your complaint is that they are not "real" then you have had limited experience. I think administrative law is harder since the normal rules don't apply. Most hearings are NOT like SSA hearings. All the ones I did were cases where the burden had to be established, people put in hearsay objections, and proposed orders were submitted if both parties were represented.

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tdkerabatsos (Sep 28, 2017 - 3:12 pm)

ID experiences vary greatly.

A classmate/friend and I both started at ID firms. His was a ~100 lawyer shop with offices in several states. He's been there 10 years, made partner, good compensation, etc. High billables but that is what it is. He's generally happy.

In contrast, I ended up at a 3-man firm, with a boomer screamer asshole partner and another rookie associate. Late nights, pay well below market, taking on activities that I wasn't ready to handle and being screamed at when I asked questions, verbal abuse every day, etc. It was a frightfully bad experience that took a serious toll on my health. I got out as soon as I could, which was about 2 years. I definitely got litigation experience that had some value moving forward, but I wouldn't wish a crappy ID firm on anybody.

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notiers (Oct 1, 2017 - 7:12 am)

I work on a mix of high end ID work, regular run of the mill ID and also extremely complex commercial cases. The stress that comes with the big time commercial work is insane. Give me a nice specialty area ID case any day of the week. There was a time in my life that I thought I wanted big private clients. I have both - private clients and also a carrier or two that sends me work. Believe me, I am constantly looking to expand the carrier work.

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tcpaul (Oct 1, 2017 - 8:53 am)

I did high level ID for years and was miserable. The excessive reporting, billing hours, and appealing write offs was killing me. I swtiched to low level PI work and love it. I make more money, work less, and don't have to account for my time. This is not a move I could have made earlier in my career when I cared about reputation or the stigma of PI work. But living through years of ID will really make you reevaluate what matters to you.

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jd4hire (Oct 1, 2017 - 9:00 am)

How many years did were you in ID before you made the switch? If you don't mind sharing, what were you making at your ID firm versus now in PI? Were you a partner in the ID firm? How did the transition happen - did you seek out the PI firm, know someone there, etc?

And last question, what's "high level ID?

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tcpaul (Oct 1, 2017 - 9:42 am)

Perhaps I should have said "higher level." I defended accountants, financial advisors, other lawyers, and trucking companies. The exposure often ran in the millions and prjected budgets often exceeded $100k to defend. Nearly every case required experts.

I was not a partner but was getting close and believe I would have become one within a few years. My salary plus bonus was in the low $100s. However, I was expected to bill well over 2000 hours per year. I now make mid $100s and expect to reach $200s within 3-5 years. I also arrive home with a long commute before I would even leave my ID job.

I would check job openings everyday. I was looking for anything other than ID. I even thought about quitting law. Finally, I saw an ad for an opening at a PI firm. I had heard that the firm paid very well so I called some past and former attorneys at the firm to see if I might like it. I liked what I heard so I submitted a resume with cover letter. I have since learned that hundreds of people applied for the job I got. I can't explain why I got it other than I was aggressive in my cover letter and I later learned that the firm likes to hire former ID attorneys.

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jd4hire (Oct 1, 2017 - 9:56 am)

Similar spot as to where you previously were. I look at jobs daily. And I'm on this site on a glorious Sunday morning as it's the end of the year billable push, i.e., I want a bonus and don't want to lose my job.

I do professional liability as well.

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tcpaul (Oct 1, 2017 - 10:17 am)

Yeah, the funny thing is that professional liability, E&O, and D&O work is supposed to be "higher level" and more stimulating/prestigious -and maybe it is- but the billables and reporting ruin it. Good luck in your job search. You'll find something that fits you better eventually.

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onehell (Oct 2, 2017 - 4:26 pm)

What's so bad about ID? It's not all no-fault and tiny little captured firms. You could go in-house at a carrier, move on to coverage work, etc. And there seem to be a lot of midsize and even large-ish firms that do defense.

At least there's insurance work everywhere in the country, it's easy to explain to people what you did, and there are large corporate clients. It may not be great, but at least it's litigation. Lots of depos and so forth I imagine. Lotta cut-and-paste I'm sure, but it's probably easier to spin it than low-end divorces or doc review. Most people in ID seem to be able to work their way to six figs and some semblance of a normal middle class life.

Point being: It may not be what you imagined but it probably could be a lot worse.

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nighthawk (Oct 2, 2017 - 5:09 pm)

Awesome! Why complain, you could be doing family law or LT? You can even be doing traffic tickets. No reason to be upset.

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ambulancechaser2013 (Oct 2, 2017 - 5:03 pm)

Totally agree. You could be doing workers’ Comp. Which is a total joke.

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parlance (Oct 3, 2017 - 12:55 am)

I'm on the Plaintiff's side. My colleagues who switched to the defense side seem quite content.

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junkwired (Oct 3, 2017 - 9:13 am)

I'm currently writing a memorandum of decision on an insurance issue and find the subject pretty interesting. This is my second memorandum and I've been enjoying the process. However, I can't say that I have any idea as to what it's like to actually practice in this area on a day to day basis.

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