The Size of Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Law Firms

The Legal Intelligencer has an interesting article about the size of personal injury law firms. I have always found it interesting that personal injury law firms in Maryland and in most states tend to come in two sizes: small and very small. Peter Angelos’ office in Baltimore is the sole exception in Maryland, largely because they have their hands around the asbestos juggernaut. Otherwise, I do not think there is a single plaintiffs’ firm in the top 20 largest Maryland law firms. In contrast, Texas and Florida seem to have much larger, successful personal injury firms. I have never fully understood why the same business model would not apply, regardless of location. But even the largest of plaintiffs’ law firms in the country are smaller than Venable’s Baltimore office.

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  • Tom Sova

    Ron,
    I think I know why. I could be wrong but I think the reason Plaintiff’s firms are smaller than defense firms is because Plaintiff’s work is result driven.

    Put another way, Defense firms get paid regardless of whether those firms win or lose their case – Defense firms bill by the hour. This scheme allows Defense firms to pay for an enormous amount of legal firepower. Plaintiff’s firms, on the other hand, MUST win or settle cases in order to have cash on hand for expenses, over head and new attorney’s Additionally, Plaintiff’s firms have to evaluate cases VERY carefully. One bad case could put a firm in the red.

    What’s more, is that Insurance Defense firms are even more likely to be able to expand because insurance companies almost EXPECT to lose their cases. After all, no insurance company can honestly expect to get a favorable verdict from a jury. Simply put, Defense firms have the luxury of simply defending the case and getting paid – win lose or draw – no risk attached.

    Bottom line, I think it is much riskier for a Plaintiff’s firm to expand than a Defense firm. A real shame for sure …

    Sorry for the long post! I hope all is well Ron.

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