Smaller Plaintiffs Firms Benefiting From Others' Selectivity

, The Legal Intelligencer

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Several attorneys at small and midsized plaintiffs firms say they are seeing more medical malpractice and serious personal-injury cases referred to them by their large firm counterparts because of those firms' selectivity in taking cases.

That selectivity—which some say is driven by the certificate of merit requirement, along with higher financial thresholds for access to court—does not mean that all small to midsized firms are seeing referrals.

Other lawyers, particularly those based in Pittsburgh, note that their business is not affected by cases passed down by large firms and take referrals only from previous clients.

Anthony J. Giosa of Philadelphia-based Giosa & Hetznecker said that his firm has seen more referrals recently because of large-firm selectivity.

"We get more calls lately from larger firms," Giosa said. "Larger firms are being choosier."

Giosa added that referrals make up a quarter of his firm's business.

Giosa opined that in addition to having certain financial thresholds, bigger firms are increasing referrals because of the volume of cases they receive due to their prominent advertising presence.

In deciding which referred cases to accept, Giosa said he will not touch a medical malpractice case unless it presents an issue of unequivocal liability, as those cases are among the most expensive to litigate. Giosa said he also looks for a case that has as few defendants as possible.

Eric G. Zajac of Philadelphia-based Zajac, Arias & Trichon also said that when some large plaintiffs firms receive cases that do not meet their minimum financial thresholds, they are sent to his firm.

"From time to time they get asked to get involved in a perfectly meritorious case, but may not have the economic value that they prefer," Zajac said.

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