The legal profession has become extremely attractive for those who have an analytical bent of mind and strong communication skills. It holds great appeal for those who would like to help society, yet not be disadvantaged financially. The legal profession attracts a large number of aspirants who are academically brilliant, yet not interested in typical careers as engineers or scientists. While many would go on to practice as personal injury attorneys representing clients fighting a diverse array of suits, it is also possible to obtain the requisite qualifications, and go on to join a lawsuit financing firm for an extremely rewarding career.
What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?
Personal injury attorneys represent clients who opt to institute legal cases for accidentalpersonal injuries or death, medical malpractice, assault and battery, slander, defamation or libel, product malfunction, wrongful termination of employment, and workplace discrimination, among others. According to law, a personal injury can be defined as those that hurt the body, emotion, or mind of a party rather than his property. In the US, personal injury litigation is classified under the civil and the tort laws. The law of torts governs those incidents that have caused harm but were not necessarily unlawful.
Among the more important tasks handled by a personal injury attorney, apart from representing clients in court, are filing complaints, offering legal advice, and preparing legal documents. Since the primary purpose of a personal injury attorney is to see that his client is properly compensated in relation to the harm done, he may also engage in negotiation for out-of-court settlements, if he thinks it is justified and he is authorized by his client to do so. Some personal injury lawyers may choose to specialize in only one type of cases to enable him offer superior expertise to his clients. For example, there are lawyers who specialize in workplace discrimination, medical malpractice, automotive accidents, etc.
Litigation Financing – On a Rapid Growth Path
Many personal injury lawyers are carving out successful careers in another sector that is growing rapidly – lawsuit loan firms. These firms make cash advance to those plaintiffs who have instituted personal injury cases that have a very promising outlook for a large settlement but the plaintiffs are unable to hold out for the expected duration due to their distressed financial state.
The lawsuit finance companies evaluate the merits of the case, and the expected time taken for the settlement as well as the profile of the defendants, and the status of the litigation till date before making a cash advance to the plaintiff. The extent of cash advanced is usually between 10%-20% of the expected settlement amount. The nature of the advance is non-recourse, which means that the financier is entitled to get the money back along with the interest and fees only if the settlement is favorable, otherwise the plaintiff has no obligation.
Why Do Litigation Financiers Hire Personal Injury Lawyers?
Since the business of lending cash without any recourse and without any security whatsoever, it is quite risky. Hence, the case needs to be comprehensively evaluated from the legal point of view to estimate the extent of its merits and whether it would get a favorable outcome. Minds would also need to be applied in studying the precedents of this sort of a case so that the expected amount of settlement, and the duration taken for reaching the settlement can be estimated. It is for this reason that that these finance companies employ lawyers who have specialized in personal injury.
To become a lawyer, it is obligatory to obtain a bachelor’s degree in law as well as Juris Doctor Law degree. Most states require candidates to not only pass the relevant bar examination but also qualify in the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). There are some that require additionally the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). In order to be a personal injury certified specialist, candidates need to pass an American Bar Association accredited program for that specialty certification. Candidates are also required to stay abreast of the latest trends in personal injury litigation by engaging in continuing legal education.
Personal injury lawsuit financing firms charge interest as well as various fees and charges from the client when the case has a successful outcome. Typically, lawyers engaged by these companies earn salaries that are comparable to lawyers who represent their clients in court. While the average salary in $73,000, those employed by larger firms may earn much more. With more and more people becoming aware of their rights, personal injury litigation continues to rise, and thus the career outlook is quite promising as of now. However, proposed changes to restrict compensation in tort law could result in a decline in the number of cases instituted.
Author bio: James Quinn is a professor of law at a prominent law college on the East Coast. He regularly consults for some of the biggest lawsuit loan firms regarding trends in risk evaluation.