Smaller Plaintiffs Firms Benefiting From Others' Selectivity

, The Legal Intelligencer

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"I have good relationships with very good lawyers at some of the bigger firms in Philadelphia. They have a business model that you have to respect, they target a certain case with a certain value."

Additionally, Zajac said that where a small firm cannot trump the advertising power of a larger one, it can benefit in terms of referrals by developing a good working relationship with a large firm.

Zajac recalled an example of a larger firm referring him a medical malpractice case that did not meet its profit requirements, which was later resolved for $500,000.

"That may not be meaningful to a large firm, but it is for a firm of my size," Zajac said.

He added that his firm is referred catastrophic injury cases as well, including birth injury cases and those that involve permanent disabilities or death, starting at the $250,000 range.

"Firms that have a business model like mine are seeing some of those cases," Zajac said.

Bruce Ginsburg of Ginsburg & Associates in Philadelphia handles medical malpractice cases, but said that the bulk of his referrals from larger firms include serious auto accident and nursing home negligence cases.

Ginsburg added that his firm's referral base is growing and is accepting cases from out-of-state firms in New York and New Jersey as well.

When a medical malpractice case does enter the firm's fold, Ginsburg said, "We look at damages first." Assessing whether to take on a case based on liability alone can sometimes be difficult, he indicated.

"Liability theories evolve often as testimony comes in. At the end of the day, as liability evolves, what was unclear sometimes becomes clear and what was clear sometimes becomes muddied."

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