Does Insurance Defense Suck?

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augusta1985
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Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby augusta1985 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:48 pm

Interviewing with a mid-sized insurance defense shop next week. For those of you that have, or are practicing in this area, any insight? Will doing insurance defense for a few years limit my lateral opportunities? Is there a stigma w/this type of work? Thanks!

Anonymous User
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Re: Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:55 pm

augusta1985 wrote:Interviewing with a mid-sized insurance defense shop next week. For those of you that have, or are practicing in this area, any insight? Will doing insurance defense for a few years limit my lateral opportunities? Is there a stigma w/this type of work? Thanks!


What I have been told by more junior attorneys, as well as professors teaching insurance and insurance-related topics is that it's not going to be good work. Being an associate in ID means low pay, high volume, low interest. I don't think it carries much weight but I wouldn't imagine it is really stigmatized, although I get the idea that people know it's kind of a "well at least it's a legal job" kind of situation.

Anonymous User
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Re: Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:55 pm

augusta1985 wrote:Interviewing with a mid-sized insurance defense shop next week. For those of you that have, or are practicing in this area, any insight? Will doing insurance defense for a few years limit my lateral opportunities? Is there a stigma w/this type of work? Thanks!


20 years ago insurance work carried a stigma - not any more. There are some really high end insurance shops (e.g. Mound Cotton) and high end large law firms (O'Melveny, Edwards Wildman, etc.) with reputable insurance departments, not to mention going in house at an insurance company.

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vamedic03
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Re: Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
augusta1985 wrote:Interviewing with a mid-sized insurance defense shop next week. For those of you that have, or are practicing in this area, any insight? Will doing insurance defense for a few years limit my lateral opportunities? Is there a stigma w/this type of work? Thanks!


20 years ago insurance work carried a stigma - not any more. There are some really high end insurance shops (e.g. Mound Cotton) and high end large law firms (O'Melveny, Edwards Wildman, etc.) with reputable insurance departments, not to mention going in house at an insurance company.


"High-end" law firms typically do insurance coverage. Insurance coverage ≠ insurance defense.

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Bronte
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Re: Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby Bronte » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:53 pm

vamedic03 wrote:"High-end" law firms typically do insurance coverage. Insurance coverage ≠ insurance defense.


Yeah I'm not so sure the stigma is gone. You still hear them pejoratively called "ID mills." I would say that if true insurance defense is your only option, by all means take it. But I wouldn't do it without being aware of the risk that it won't look great on your resume and might limit your options down the road.

Also, like vamedic03 said, it's hard to imagine that what O'Melveny's doing is "insurance defense" as that term is typically used. I know of one partner at V10 that does almost exclusively insurance litigation, but it sure as hell isn't defending slip and falls. It's multimillion dollar reinsurance litigation. I imagine big firms that do insurance litigation are doing business-to-business litigation and class actions.

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Mick Haller
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Re: Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby Mick Haller » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:57 pm

Depends on what kind of insurance defense. I am doing construction defect defense on behalf of insurance companies and it's a great job. Pay 75-80k, hours not too terrible.

It's worse than big law, but significantly better than small firm/solo type work. I am very happy with my job.

swimmer11
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Re: Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby swimmer11 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:59 pm

So where does Med Mal fall? Is that above typical insurance defense or is it in the same realm? I am referring to primarily wrongful death claims.

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Wholigan
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Re: Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby Wholigan » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:18 am

Agree that it depends what kind. Although it may have a stigma in general on TLS, I don't think stigma is the right description out in the real world. It's certainly not going to be considered as "prestigious" as litigating for W&C, but just like almost any practice area your later options are going to be somewhat limited to what you have experience in. Even if you litigate for W&C, you probably aren't going to get hired 5 years later to do in-house acquisition work for a private equity fund - you just wouldn't have the right experience.

Before law school I worked with some attorneys that did ID work in-house for an insurance company. Nothing too exciting, mostly car accidents and premises liability. My impression was that it could sometimes be kind of boring and repetitive, but they worked probably around 45-50 hours/week with no weekend work, good benefits, lots of holidays and vacation time off, and did a lot of depositions, court appearances and the occasional appellate brief. There were a few strivers who would work longer hours but I don't think it was required. Many of them worked for ID firms prior to going in-house. I imagine working for an ID shop can be significantly worse since you have billable hour pressure and more senior attorneys get all of the more interesting work, but the in-house jobs seemed decent. I do think it would be likely to restrict lateral options to other ID work and insurance companies though.

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guano
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Re: Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby guano » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:36 am

It can be fun for a certain type of person, but I think the average bro might want to shoot himself after a few years.

anonymous2012
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Re: Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby anonymous2012 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:39 pm

It depends on the level of work.

Volume practices with small dollar cases carry a heavy stigma. You're a fungible good developing little to no skills and never getting to think all the way through cases because there's insufficient cost benefit in doing so.

Defending 50 million dollar D&O policies is a completely different world. You're still doing "insurance defense" but your prestige is high. It's like the difference between a routine individual bankruptcy and a large company's chapter 11.

hiima3L
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Re: Does Insurance Defense Suck?

Postby hiima3L » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:52 pm

swimmer11 wrote:So where does Med Mal fall? Is that above typical insurance defense or is it in the same realm? I am referring to primarily wrongful death claims.


My understanding is it's all over the place--from the billboard "Accident?" type PI lawyer to defending hospitals for all sorts of claims.




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