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Thought Leadership in Personal Injury


We believe sharing knowledge helps improve our profession. If you have questions about anything we’ve written, reach out. Discussing concepts helps us all hone our skills.

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When wage loss doesn’t seem to add up

Past and future wage loss. What was and would have been versus what is and will be. Significant wage loss can drive case value. In a best-case scenario, your seriously injured client is a high-wage earner with indisputable wage loss. But how often is wage loss more nuanced? When wage loss is not crystal clear, it’s time to scrutinize the details.

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I feel your pain: the Gerry Spence method taken over the top

On Thursday, May 3, I met with Ms. B___ and her daughter. Ms. B___’s arm, specifically her radius, was shattered when she took a bad fall. Surgery, a plate, ten screws. I took notes as she told me how she could not work at the hospital for now and how difficult it was to care of herself. On Friday, May 4, I had a court appearance in Redwood City.

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The Stoic

The lawyers sat there, stunned. The doctor sat across from them, giving the couple time to absorb the information. Their three-year-old daughter’s cough and fever? Not pneumonia. Cancer. A tumor. A big one, crushing the little girl’s right lung. Rare – a few hundred reported cases. And tough odds. Chemo, a surgery, more chemo. A year-long process and the hope that it doesn’t recur… because recurrence with the particular cancer does not end well.

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11.9 Interrogation room

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Using and responding to interrogatories It was the beginning of the case, and the lawyer wanted to know more about the defendant. In particular, the lawyer wanted insurance information. The lawyer had a sneaking suspicion there was a lurking excess policy. Time to send out some interrogatories. A good formula The Judicial Counsel created discovery’s simplest tool, form interrogatories. Whether...
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1.3.3 Walking, fast and slow

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Applying Nobel Prize-winning decision-making theories to trial practice The two lawyers walked across the darkened city, a full moon rising over the downtown skyscrapers. “You should write about Kahneman in your next column,” said one. That would be Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel-Prize winning psychologist and economist, who with Amos Tversky developed concepts on judgment and decision-making psychology. As the two...
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14.1 Motion to pass

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Winning law and motion practice through focused communication The lawyer read the draft motion. Good, with the potential to be better. The lawyer spent some time, paring here and emphasizing there. The lawyer, a fan of winning on the first page, used a couple bullet points to draw the reader’s eye in the introduction. With this, even a quick scan...
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1.1.12 Growth plan

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Reaching maximum potential with managed personal growth The lawyer sat with the team member discussing the team member’s growth plan. “This is the year you were planning to expand anatomy knowledge and lien resolution,” said the lawyer. The two discussed ways to strengthen these areas, including looking into community college anatomy classes. They finished their discussion and the team member...
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5.8 Let the sunshine in

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Understanding and enforcing California Public Records Act requests The lawyer was mystified. The lawyer represented a family whose son was shot by a security guard. The local sheriffs had investigated the incident and turned it over to the district attorney. The DA declined to prosecute the security guard. The sheriffs’ department now refused to release the incident report after the...
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1.1.11 Value proposition

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Developing and using firm values to succeed The lawyer sat with the business coach, interested in the day’s lesson. What were the lawyer’s values? The firm’s? Answering this question seemed challenging, like throwing darts. Fortunately, the coach had a method and a reason to go through the exercise. Those with core values tend to be better focused, and more successful,...
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11.7 Production line

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Strategic uses for requests for production The lawyer opened the file sent over by the defense. The lawyer had sent a request with 50 categories. The defendant’s responsive documents? Nine pages, none responsive. Time to take a different approach. The basics Requests for production are one of the three written discovery tools. Unlike interrogatories and requests for admission, production requests...
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2.6 When is a door not a door?

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When it’s ajar! Strategies for prosecuting bicyclist dooring cases The client explained what happened. “I was riding as close to the right as I safely could. There was a fair amount of traffic, and I did not want to be in the way. I’m pretty good at looking out for car doors, but suddenly a door popped open. The corner...
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8.1 Discovery Process

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Developing and drafting discovery before filing suit The lawyer typed while the expert rattled off a laundry list of “like-to-haves” in the case. The lawyer had reached out to the expert shortly after undertaking representation. The goal was to develop a discovery plan well before filing suit. The lawyer would then be able to get the information the expert needed,...
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