Plaintiff's Firms v. Defense Firms

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Ungrateful 0L
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:32 pm

Plaintiff's Firms v. Defense Firms

Postby Ungrateful 0L » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:19 am

What do you guys think are the primary differences between Plaintiff's and Defense firms?

What are your reasons for choosing one side of the aisle over the other?

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RickyRoe
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:53 pm

Re: Plaintiff's Firms v. Defense Firms

Postby RickyRoe » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:24 am

One bills by the hour and the other is paid on contingency.

270910
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Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:51 pm

Re: Plaintiff's Firms v. Defense Firms

Postby 270910 » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:49 am

The big difference is that plaintiffs firms tend to represent individuals who have been harmed, while 'defense firms' (if you can call them that) tend to represent businesses and corporations. That's a bit of a false dichotomy, however, because 'defense' are much more difficult to pin down. Some do white collar defense which starts to look an awful lot like what a 'plaintiff's firm' does, while others are corporate counsel that only dabble in any litigation the business does.

Which suggests the larger and more important point that only a tiny fraction of civil law involves law suits, and a lot of the legal work in this country is instead advising, lobbying, etc. Litigation is just one of many practice areas.

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ggocat
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Re: Plaintiff's Firms v. Defense Firms

Postby ggocat » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:04 pm

For purposes of this post, I'm assuming you are asking about personal injury plaintiff/defense firms.

Plaintiff:
- usually paid on contingency = higher risk and you are responsible for funding your cases until settlement/judgment (I hear about $300K to try a basic medmal case)
- your clients are real people with real injuries
- less periodic billing (some clients pay court fees and some out-of-pocket expenses)
- you don't have to keep track of your work in six-minute increments (but you are highly encouraged to track your time if disputes with the client arise)
- most plaintiff's firms are small firms
- you have to do more rainmaking (but eventually you can sit back and wait for clients to come to you)
- often it is a good idea to have another practice area (workers' comp, family, etc.) to pay the bills when the PI work is slumping
- you are on the offensive; you decide when to attack; preparation is key

Defense:
- usually paid by the hour
- your clients are typically businesses and insurance companies
- your clients usually did something wrong
- you are (obviously) on the defensive throughout most of the litigation; your goal is to employ (reasonable) delay tactics
- usually larger firms

Posner
Posts: 139
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Re: Plaintiff's Firms v. Defense Firms

Postby Posner » Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:21 pm

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