Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Thoughts on Job Offer (Switching from ID to Plaintiff's PI)

So I've come to the conclusion that I am a better fit for pl goorange88810/05/18
I made the jump, it was the best decision of my life, and I tcpaul10/05/18
Do you have a throwaway email I could contact you at? Would goorange88810/07/18
No problem. I love talking about the jump. Let me find my th tcpaul10/08/18
I also made the jump after 7 years defense, including a shor jd4hire10/09/18
It's like trading egg salad for liverwurst. wallypancake10/09/18
PI is a racket from top to bottom. It is best to think of be trickydick10/09/18
Can't find my throwaway email at the moment. I won't rehash tcpaul10/10/18
Thanks for posting this. Base salary is below six figures, b goorange88810/10/18
Getting trial experience will give you a lot of confidence a tcpaul10/10/18
Thanks for this. Any general tips on transitioning from the goorange88810/11/18
The biggest thing would be learning how liens work, i.e., th tcpaul10/11/18
@ tcpaul, you mentioned above some familiarity with Traveler nofaultkillself10/10/18
Sure. Having spoken to staff counsel for Travelers, I know t tcpaul10/11/18
Thanks tcpaul! Jeeeez. Then what's the point? Do you know nofaultkillself10/12/18
People at Progressive and State Farm seem pretty happy. Alls tcpaul10/12/18
I assume you’re talking about your regional experience. Iâ trickydick10/12/18
Yep. In my area. Progessive and State Farm attys seem happy. tcpaul10/13/18
Were those Travelers attorneys actually in house or were the 2breedbares10/14/18
Billables are NOT 1950. Its 1925 and it is very rare for a c associatex10/30/18
It definitely varies by jurisdiction but SC in general has i associatex10/31/18
I like PI. been doing it for 10 years with the same firm. It legalbeagle10/31/18

goorange888 (Oct 5, 2018 - 4:28 pm)

So I've come to the conclusion that I am a better fit for plaintiff's PI as opposed to the insurance defense (staff counsel for a large carrier) gig I'm employed at right now. Obviously I know the hours will be longer and more demanding, but I like the idea of bringing in my own business (have prior sales experience) and learning how to potentially go out on my own one day, among other things. I have only a year of experience under my belt, and really wanted a higher base salary, but the offer ended up being the same as I make now. On top of that, I get a 1/3 of a 1/3 of whatever business I bring in, and I also get 2% from whatever cases I settle (with a 100 case caseload). Moreover, that comes with a discretionary bonus at the end of the year. What are your thoughts on this? Are they lowballing me, or is this a good offer? The office is in a suburb of NYC, although I'll be in NYC for appearances, etc. Small office (less than 10 attorneys). Really have no intel on plaintiff's side with regard to compensation, so any advice would help.

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tcpaul (Oct 5, 2018 - 9:10 pm)

I made the jump, it was the best decision of my life, and I would be glad to talk to you about it.

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goorange888 (Oct 7, 2018 - 5:12 pm)

Do you have a throwaway email I could contact you at? Would be greatly appreciated.

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tcpaul (Oct 8, 2018 - 7:44 pm)

No problem. I love talking about the jump. Let me find my throw away email.

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jd4hire (Oct 9, 2018 - 12:23 pm)

I also made the jump after 7 years defense, including a short stint as "Field Counsel". Verdict is still out on whether it was the best move.

I do know that I have far higher earning potential now than I ever would have had on defense side. I don't know the amount of time, but ID firm made clear to me when leaving that they fully planned on making me a partner. Founding partner urged me to jump at the opportunity and noted that "making partner" means decent salary, but never the same earning potential.

My plaintiff PI firm also sounds different - our firm is very low volume, extremely high damages. So I'm back to working with a Sr. Partner on everything I do.

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wallypancake (Oct 9, 2018 - 4:01 pm)

It's like trading egg salad for liverwurst.

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trickydick (Oct 9, 2018 - 4:19 pm)

PI is a racket from top to bottom. It is best to think of being a plaintiff’s attorney like being in the mafia and being in ID like being in the FBI. The money is better on plaintiff’s side but defense attorneys don’t typically have to worry about jail time.

Insurance companies lobby legislators to require consumers to purchase insurance or otherwise incentevize them to do so. Plaintiff’s attorneys are compelled to convince people to file frivolous claims to pursue these policies. Defense attorneys are hired to defend against these frivolous claims and their financial interests are advanced by needless litigation. Insurance companies are incentivized to keep payouts low, but the filing of lawsuits also serves as a motivation for consumers to purchase policies with higher limits at higher premiums. One hand washes the other in this circle jerk, which is only a legislative rubber stamp away from being a criminal enterprise on par with securities fraud or monopolization.

You can make a lot of easy money as a plaintiff’s attorney, to be sure. But there are enough ambulance chasers and treating doctors out there who have had licenses suspended or criminal charges filed against them to make it clear that it can be a high risk enterprise.

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tcpaul (Oct 10, 2018 - 10:13 am)

Can't find my throwaway email at the moment. I won't rehash my previous back and forth with trickydick on this issue other than to say, I don't know where trickydick practices but where I practice things are completely different.

The package you're being offered actually looks pretty good to me. I get a straight salary of about $150k without any of those incentives. I wish I had them. I'm working a case right now that I brought in that should settle for around $300k. I'll see none of it. I'd love to get $33k, which sounds like what you'd get on a similar case.

My hours are great. I pretty much work 9-5. For the most part I get a long really well with defense counsel. I don't have any annoying reporting requirements. Pretty much complete autonomy. And I've become a much better attorney now that I get to try cases.

I'll answer any question. Ask away.

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goorange888 (Oct 10, 2018 - 1:15 pm)

Thanks for posting this. Base salary is below six figures, but for an attorney with only one year of experience, I felt that it was expected. They expect me to work 8-6 but there's some wiggle room with that. Apparently I am in court or at a deposition most mornings and then the afternoon is usually the time to get other things done. They are not a "mill" (which has been confirmed by my colleagues at my current job) and are very well regarded in the NYC metro area. I know that I do not want to work for staff counsel my entire life, and I do not think I could fathom billing hours, so I knew this was the direction I wanted to take my career. They also assured me I will be able to try some low value, soft tissue type of cases to get some experience. Along with this, they basically encourage me to operate my own small business under their umbrella. Obviously it makes sense for them to encourage this, but at the same time it's nice to know I can take the day and go and network somewhere if it's going to benefit all of us from a business standpoint. I figure, worst case, if I am not really gelling with the firm, I can just take this experience and move on to another plaintiff's practice.

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tcpaul (Oct 10, 2018 - 2:09 pm)

Getting trial experience will give you a lot of confidence and will open doors on the plaintiff's side of things. Opposing counsel I know that are in house seem pretty happy (except for those that have to bill hours, i.e. Travelers). That said, their salaries are generally capped below mine. I am considering a move to a firm that offers incentives like the firm you are looking at. At a firm like that, if you hustle you can really do well.

That's one thing I should mention, plaintiff's side is for hustlers. You always have to be negotiating, with defense counsel, with your own client. By "hustling" I don't mean "scamming." I mean working the phones and email with urgency trying to get sh!t done.

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goorange888 (Oct 11, 2018 - 2:24 pm)

Thanks for this. Any general tips on transitioning from the defense side (albeit, staff counsel) to the plaintiff's side?

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tcpaul (Oct 11, 2018 - 2:29 pm)

The biggest thing would be learning how liens work, i.e., the different types, which ones can be reduced, which ones can't, whether your jurisdiction has lien reduction statutes, how to tell if an ERISA lien has to be paid in full etc.

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nofaultkillself (Oct 10, 2018 - 9:06 pm)

@ tcpaul, you mentioned above some familiarity with Travelers in-house lawyers. Can you please relate what else you've heard about that office? I know it's off topic, my apologies to OP, but I didn't want to pass chance up to ask.

Thanks.

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tcpaul (Oct 11, 2018 - 2:18 pm)

Sure. Having spoken to staff counsel for Travelers, I know that they have to bill hours just like outside fee counsel. They have to create specific entries for each task and cannot "block bill." Crazy as it sounds, the adjustors that they work with can even write off their time if the adjustor doesn't think the entry reflects the actual time the legal task should have taken. I'm told this is rare but does happen. It's also my understanding that Travelers has a 1950 billing requirement. That's 100 hours more than the average billing requirement in my jurisdiction. Now here's my caveat: this info comes directly from Travelers staff counsel in my jurisdiction. I do not know if the same goes for all staff counsel nationwide.

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nofaultkillself (Oct 12, 2018 - 2:25 pm)

Thanks tcpaul!

Jeeeez. Then what's the point? Do you know of any in-house offices that are of good reputation (at least from your perspective) and that don't behave like a private firm?

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tcpaul (Oct 12, 2018 - 6:47 pm)

People at Progressive and State Farm seem pretty happy. Allstate sounds miserable from what I hear.

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trickydick (Oct 12, 2018 - 8:31 pm)

I assume you’re talking about your regional experience. I’ve heard just the opposite. The only companies I’ve heard universally bad things about are GEICO and Mercury.

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tcpaul (Oct 13, 2018 - 10:54 am)

Yep. In my area. Progessive and State Farm attys seem happy. Allstate, unhappy. The Allstate attorneys seem to have the highest caseloads.

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2breedbares (Oct 14, 2018 - 1:51 pm)

Were those Travelers attorneys actually in house or were they working for one of those captive counsel "firms"?

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associatex (Oct 30, 2018 - 11:58 pm)

Billables are NOT 1950. Its 1925 and it is very rare for a claim rep to adjust billable hours after the fact.
Also, it is not that hard to meet billables. I was at an EBT last week and billed 8 hours even though we wrapped up at 2:30pm. Had a nice lunch and billed another 4 hours later at home just responding to claim rep emails and proofreading paralegal assignments.

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associatex (Oct 31, 2018 - 12:01 am)

It definitely varies by jurisdiction but SC in general has it pretty easy compared to outside panel defense firms like Wilson Elser, Clausen Miller etc.

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legalbeagle (Oct 31, 2018 - 11:26 am)

I like PI. been doing it for 10 years with the same firm. It can be lucrative and your skills will definitely be put to the test. Hopefully you'll work for a good firm who actually wants to mentor you to help you and not JUST to suck you dry and then dump you. Sorry, speaking from experience lol.

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