Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Time to leave insurance defense

It dawned on me today how much I do not care for the insuran t3success01/10/17
Interesting perspective. I think it will take longer than 10 mrtor01/10/17
Anytime is a good time to leave insurance defense. It's a g mtobeinf01/10/17
I agree, but it pays the bills in the interim. t3success01/10/17
Very true. mtobeinf01/10/17
Automation is definitely coming, no matter how many boomers mtbislife01/10/17
I think we have a very long time before this becomes common goorange88801/10/17
I've been doing ID for about 5 years. I feel like it can be jj1001/10/17
I agree with your analysis of the saturation. For example, I t3success01/10/17
Good question. I have some great contacts in the real estate jj1001/10/17
I worked in ID for a little more than five years. Between th defectoantesto01/10/17
How did you land a job involving primarily contractual dispu shikes01/10/17
I got the interview through a combination of networking and defectoantesto01/10/17
Similar. That experience allowed me to get into what I do no mtobeinf01/11/17
Nobody wants to do insurance defense. People get stuck doin patenttrollnj01/10/17
Insurance defense in my opinion is no way near the worst are ambulancechaser201301/27/17
If you are outside fee counsel, ID may make you a "civil lit tcpaul01/28/17
t3success (Jan 10, 2017 - 9:33 am)

It dawned on me today how much I do not care for the insurance defense practice. In addition, it would appear that self driving cars/trucks are going to become a reality within the next 10 years, effectively eliminating low end auto accident work. Google and Uber are already bringing this to reality in Pittsburgh as a testing ground. Also, if you listen to the folks at the Detroit auto show this week, the overall feeling is that self driving will become a reality.

So, because ID is just not a pleasant experience and because my job may cease to exist in 10 years as I know it, I think it is time to really start trying to move on.

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mrtor (Jan 10, 2017 - 9:45 am)

Interesting perspective. I think it will take longer than 10 years, but the work will gradually dry up over time. I would not be surprised if low end auto ID is eliminated before our careers are over.

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mtobeinf (Jan 10, 2017 - 9:51 am)

Anytime is a good time to leave insurance defense. It's a god awful area of law. Unless you like enriching insurers that take on risk, further cede it to reinsurers, then don't want to pay out legitimate claims. Really furthering the public good there.

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t3success (Jan 10, 2017 - 10:49 am)

I agree, but it pays the bills in the interim.

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mtobeinf (Jan 10, 2017 - 11:05 am)

Very true.

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mtbislife (Jan 10, 2017 - 1:20 pm)

Automation is definitely coming, no matter how many boomers scoff at the mention of it. A self driving truck delivered beer over 100 miles in Colorado recently. I'd venture a guess that self-driving cars will be pretty common within the next 20 years.

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goorange888 (Jan 10, 2017 - 11:20 pm)

I think we have a very long time before this becomes common place. There have been so many set backs recently with regard to self-driving cars (not going to link sources, but a google search should suffice) that cities are very reluctant to allow them to operate. Moreover, when they first become available, they will be extremely expensive. How many cars on the road are less than 5 years old? Not many. I think it will be first looked upon as an unnecessary luxury for the first 10 years of its existence.

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jj10 (Jan 10, 2017 - 11:16 am)

I've been doing ID for about 5 years. I feel like it can be okay if (1) you have a decent book of business or (2) work in a niche field that you enjoy. Every practice field has its challenges and I feel ID is about as sucky as it can get due to low rates, demanding clients, demanding partners (high billable requirements), and stress of litigation. I'm looking to transition into something different because I see the market for ID attorneys becoming more saturated with the increasing number of attorneys and decreasing demand for insurance defense work (good points about technological changes). Maybe if someone could build a time machine we could go back and decide not to go to law school :)

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t3success (Jan 10, 2017 - 11:23 am)

I agree with your analysis of the saturation. For example, I recently went to a networking type event with attorneys and insurance professionals. The attorneys were following the people around like puppy dogs. I'm generally social and good at networking but the shear amount of attorneys clamoring for this low paying work is kind of off-putting.

What do you intend to try to lateral to from ID?

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jj10 (Jan 10, 2017 - 1:57 pm)

Good question. I have some great contacts in the real estate industry but now that rates are going back up it might not be the best time to set up a transactional practice. Plus I'd have to move back home, which neither me nor my wife want to do. I'd take almost any position that would let me get exposure in something other than defending PI and comp claims. My fear is I couldn't lateral to a firm specializing in something else. I'd open my own practice but I don't think I could go without any income for a few years.

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defectoantesto (Jan 10, 2017 - 12:59 pm)

I worked in ID for a little more than five years. Between the billables, the incessant fighting with plaintiffs' counsel, the mind-numbing repetition of discovery and discovery motions, the "business development" (sure I will put in an uncompensated 200 hours per year to market your business!), and the relatively low pay given the all the time and stress, I would not have lasted another five years. However, a few months ago I was very fortunate to land an in-house job for a small company. Now I handle mostly contracting issues, contractor disputes, and some basic employment issues. My stress level went from 90 to 10 overnight. I still work long hours but not anything like a law firm. I also make slightly more than I used to. It is so much better out of ID than in it. Get out if you can.

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shikes (Jan 10, 2017 - 9:19 pm)

How did you land a job involving primarily contractual disputes from an ID firm? Seems like there are few transferrable skills. ID attorneys have repetitive and mindless motions and briefs to draft. They don't know how to analyze or draft complex transactional contracts, and in theory don't know ANYTHING about the type of work you lateralled to. How did you spin this and did it come up in the interview?

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defectoantesto (Jan 10, 2017 - 11:46 pm)

I got the interview through a combination of networking and luck. A friend of mine knew the recruiter for the job and made the introduction. This was key because I had been sending applications out to places for probably two years with a couple of interviews but no offers. As for the gap between the two types of practices, it is not so much of a gap as maybe it appears. Part of my ID practice involved coverage opinions, so I was very familiar with insurance contracts. I also did a lot of subrogation work which often involved commercial leases. So I made the case that, by reviewing and litigating a variety of contracts, I was familiar with general contracting principles and could be effective in a role involving substantial contract work. The issue did come up at the interview and that is how I addressed it. Also, I had a lot of general litigation experience which is something they were looking for because of some potential litigation on the horizon. I had three interviews and was offered the job. There is a learning curve, but it is manageable. It is actually very refreshing to have to learn some new things.

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mtobeinf (Jan 11, 2017 - 6:27 am)

Similar. That experience allowed me to get into what I do now.

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patenttrollnj (Jan 10, 2017 - 9:03 pm)

Nobody wants to do insurance defense. People get stuck doing insurance defense work.

Thus, you had better get out of it ASAP, or you'll never get out.

Good luck!

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ambulancechaser2013 (Jan 27, 2017 - 6:04 pm)

Insurance defense in my opinion is no way near the worst area of law. Consider administrative law the worst. Workers' Compensation, social security, or immigration law.

You have no transferable skills if you do workers' comp or the other two and are stuck in that. On top of the fact that for many lawyers (not saying all, but many) your ego takes a huge hit. I understand if you are running a mill and making $500,000.00 a year pounding through comp claims, but no money and no ego. Tough sledding.

Insurance defense makes you a civil litigation pro. Less so on the plaintiffs' PI side as most of those cases settle at the claim level/pre-litigation.

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tcpaul (Jan 28, 2017 - 10:09 am)

If you are outside fee counsel, ID may make you a "civil litigation pro" but you likely won't know $hit about trying cases. It's just churn, churn, churn, settle.

I did higher end ID for several years and never got close to a court room. Switched to PI doing a bunch of low level rear-enders and S/Fs, am in court all the time, will try 3-5 cases this year, make a $hit-ton more money, work less, and love my job. Would never go back to ID. It blows.

As for technology hurting my practice? I hope it does. I'd gladly trade safer roads. Besides, that day won't come for at least another 20 years (the people that cause these accidents can't afford autonomous cars) and by then I'll have retired long ago. 55 and I'm done. You'll find me on the course.

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