Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

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Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:44 am

Most of the richest attorneys I know do personal injury and you have a much better chance of being a partner at personal injury firm than at BigLaw

RaceJudicata

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:12 am

First, most personal injury lawyers are not even remotely rich. Sure, the biggest players make WAY more than big law partners, but it’s the exception, not the rule.

Additionally, have you ever worked in personal injury? I have (granted, 1L summer). It is objectively awful unless you are in a trial. You need to take on an extreme volume of cases to hit a big one. This requires an incredible amount of unsophisticated and repetitive work.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby sparty99 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:Most of the richest attorneys I know do personal injury and you have a much better chance of being a partner at personal injury firm than at BigLaw


Those cases are fairly boring and repetitive. Lot's of reviewing medical records. If you do personal injury you might as well do it for 7 years then start your own firm once you learn how it is done.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:51 am

The richest attorney I have ever personally met does/did personal injury-type cases. So do a lot of the poorest and shittiest attorneys I have met. It's a hard field to succeed in, is rarely interesting, and requires skills that a lot of people who go to law school are not really interested in developing. It's also easy to fuck your clients over when you are inexperienced and open yourself up to malpractice claims.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:Most of the richest attorneys I know do personal injury and you have a much better chance of being a partner at personal injury firm than at BigLaw


It's a less lucrative field in general, and the type of work is not necessarily great for going in-house or transitioning into other work. It's like asking why business students work at big banks and consulting firms rather than small firms...prestige, safety, risk, and perception.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby BasilHallward » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:33 am

Great uses of anon in this thread

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:53 am

Also there are lawyers from t14 schools who end up doing PI -- its not a categorical rule that they don't do PI.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby Lacepiece23 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:06 am

I agree to some extent. I do defense side product work and find it very interesting. I like the issues that come up (we usually get some quirky jurisdiction issue or civil procedure issue), I like the science behind it, and I like the fact that Plaintiff's lawyers are usually not great. Also, you have a lot of depositions, so at the higher levels, there is a lot of time spent there. I prefer it to some breach of contract commercial matter where you are litigating over the interpretation of some clause or whatever. To me, that's boring.

But yeah, if you're only getting shitty cases that are low value and high volume, the work is repetitive and can suck. But Idk, I don't even mind some of the shitty cases. You settle them quickly, or your just have a young associate do your complaint/discovery requests, and then you get to settle the case out.

I'm actually looking to do this work once I leave biglaw.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby minnbills » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:41 am

Let's not kid ourselves: personal injury is not prestigious, and that's what really matters to most of the people going to elite law schools.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:23 am

RaceJudicata wrote:First, most personal injury lawyers are not even remotely rich. Sure, the biggest players make WAY more than big law partners, but it’s the exception, not the rule.

Additionally, have you ever worked in personal injury? I have (granted, 1L summer). It is objectively awful unless you are in a trial. You need to take on an extreme volume of cases to hit a big one. This requires an incredible amount of unsophisticated and repetitive work.


I'd say the most successful personal injury lawyers are the ones who are very good trial lawyers. Most personal injury lawyers are pretenders who take cases so they can get a good settlement, but when push comes to shove they hire a trial attorney to take over the case come trial time.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby AVBucks4239 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:42 am

RaceJudicata wrote:First, most personal injury lawyers are not even remotely rich. Sure, the biggest players make WAY more than big law partners, but it’s the exception, not the rule.

Additionally, have you ever worked in personal injury? I have (granted, 1L summer). It is objectively awful unless you are in a trial. You need to take on an extreme volume of cases to hit a big one. This requires an incredible amount of unsophisticated and repetitive work.


I do some PI work in my practice (working with another solo), and I while I agree that doing only PI work would get boring, having it as part of a civil practice is easy money. I'd say three out of four cases involve the same process: have your assistant do all the bullshit necessary to gather the medical records, have your assistant draft and then you revise a demand to the insurance company for 3x the medicals (perhaps more if there's lost wages or something extra), negotiate with the insurance adjuster, and then negotiate all the subrogation. The per diem is excellent and the work is incredibly easy.

Most recent anecdotal example: I (personally) spent 8.6 hours total on a PI case and just settled it for $16,500 yesterday. Most of my time was calling the client, negotiating subrogration, and negotiating with the adjuster. And boom, for basically 9 hours of work, I have $5,500 credited towards my receipts.

Would I do PI full time? Probably not. But it's very easy money compared to other complicated civil litigation.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby shock259 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:49 am

minnbills wrote:Let's not kid ourselves: personal injury is not prestigious, and that's what really matters to most of the people going to elite law schools.


Pretty sure this is 90% of the real reason why. Also, I would think that it requires more of a "hustle" attitude o be in PI, and there's a good chance you don't make very much money at all. Biglaw is a safer bet in that you have a guaranteed salary, you're not really required to show initiative at the start, and it takes most firms year to fire people.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby umichman » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:15 pm

also, when you start at a PI firm, you MIGHT make 70k. When you start at big law you know you will make 180k at market paying firm. In other words, big law is a well trod path to upper middle class, PI is more like lower middle class unless you get lucky and are one of the few extremely gifted trial attorneys.

As a general observation, people going to top law schools are a risk averse bunch. Big law, at least from the outside, appears much less risky so far as financial success goes.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby anon sequitur » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:28 pm

minnbills wrote:Let's not kid ourselves: personal injury is not prestigious, and that's what really matters to most of the people going to elite law schools.


This is pretty weak. It's only unprestigious because it doesn't pay well on average. If your average first year plaintiff's lawyer could make $180,000 doing slip and falls, lots of people would be trying to get into it.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby minnbills » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:39 pm

Sure, entry-level pay is a huge factor in where people go to start their careers. Especially when you factor in student loans. I don't blame anyone for picking biglaw. But yeah, a lot of young lawyers are really looking for validation.

If you're a good lawyer and you know how to drum up business, practicing in "shitlaw" areas like personal injury and divorce can be pretty lucrative. Not to mention you can be your own boss. Whereas it seems to me that the vast majority of biglaw lawyers are completely dependent on someone else to bring in business.

As far as the responses in here about the work not being stimulating, a LOT of biglaw practice areas are boring as fuck too. I mean, come on. Tax?

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby AVBucks4239 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:50 pm

minnbills wrote:If you're a good lawyer and you know how to drum up business, practicing in "shitlaw" areas like personal injury and divorce can be pretty lucrative. Not to mention you can be your own boss. Whereas it seems to me that the vast majority of biglaw lawyers are completely dependent on someone else to bring in business.

As far as the responses in here about the work not being stimulating, a LOT of biglaw practice areas are boring as fuck too. I mean, come on. Tax?

Ding ding ding. I'm consistently in awe of the disconnect between reality and the judgment passed on this forum (see this thread for a pretty darn good example).

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby anon sequitur » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:11 pm

You don’t have to be a good lawyer or know how to drum up business to make $180k in biglaw. Do you really think it’s some prestige brainwashing that makes people who are looking to make money choose biglaw over personal injury?

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby minnbills » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:25 pm

anon sequitur wrote:You don’t have to be a good lawyer or know how to drum up business to make $180k in biglaw. Do you really think it’s some prestige brainwashing that makes people who are looking to make money choose biglaw over personal injury?


This is a strawman. I've conceded there are good reasons to go biglaw, especially early in your career. At the same time, I think a lot of young lawyers go down the biglaw route and end up regretting it. Drumming up business in a biglaw context is really hard because so many bright lawyers are all gunning for the same practice areas. Outside of NYC (where it seems like you can earn a good living in perpetuity if you're willing to bill) I've seen a number of lawyers get stuck.

I began my career in a smaller market, and I've seen a number of partners at the bigger firms in that town get de-equitized because they couldn't bring in business. These same guys are making less than first year associates in market-paying firms.

All I'm trying to say here is that there are other, viable paths for people who are willing to take a risk, and that biglaw itself carries some risks that people on these boards tend to under appreciate.

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Re: Why don't any of the lawyers from T14 schools do personal injury?

Postby AVBucks4239 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:22 pm

anon sequitur wrote:Do you really think it’s some prestige brainwashing that makes people who are looking to make money choose biglaw over personal injury?

I think you're missing my broader point (that "shitlaw" gets a bad rap from people who have no idea what they're talking about), but I still certainly believe that prestige, reputation, graduate's perception, etc. play at least somewhat of a role in some people's decisions.



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