How to Build a Mass Tort Practice

Many attorneys experienced in personal injury wonder about expanding their practice from personal injury to mass tort litigation. When you’re new to mass torts, such a shift might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Building a mass tort practice is a natural and rewarding path for many personal injury attorneys. Growing a successful mass tort practice is a matter of devising and implementing a clear strategy.

Case Works can help create and execute the strategies necessary to grow your practice to include both a personal injury and mass tort practice with services tailored to meet your firm’s specific needs. We handle the administrative and functional details, leaving you free to spend your time and energy focusing on your clients’ cases and advocate for a winning settlement or verdict in court.

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    What are mass torts?

    A mass tort is similar to a class-action lawsuit, with one major difference in the varying nature of the plaintiff’s injuries. It’s a civil claim involving multiple parties taking legal action against one entity, usually over a product liability issue or damaging action. However, there are some key differences between mass torts and class action lawsuits.

    In a class action lawsuit, all members of the class file as a single entity. Once the class has been certified, anyone who can be considered part of the class can come forward. Class actions can be filed over a wide variety of issues, and a single verdict is rendered for all plaintiffs.

    Once a class action lawsuit is successful, the compensation is distributed among the members of the class. In most class action lawsuits, the attorney receives compensation first, and the rest of the money is distributed among the class members according to their level of damages in the lawsuit.

    Greater financial compensation may go to lead plaintiffs or those who suffered greater damages. There might be some negotiation over how much compensation different class members receive.

    This is not the case in mass tort litigation.

    Instead, each plaintiff must prove damages related to the issue at the center of the lawsuit. Instead of a blanket win or loss, some plaintiffs might win, while others may not. Mass tort cases tend to be concentrated on more limited areas of litigation and are often geographically centered.

    Most mass tort cases focus on product liability and environmental hazards, to name the most common. Some other areas of mass tort litigation include:

    • Dangerous drugs
    • Defective products
    • Faulty medical products
    • Hazardous chemical or materials
    • Environmental hazards or toxic exposures like oil spills

    When a case is successful, damages must then be distributed to each plaintiff according to the damage amount that was successfully argued. This means that handling the particulars of a mass tort settlement can potentially be more straightforward than with a class action because payout amounts are negotiated and agreed upon beforehand.

    Stages of a Mass Tort Case

    Mass tort litigation is appealing to many attorneys because there’s less need for a competitive edge. In a personal injury case, it’s important to brand yourself and your firm so that a potential client feels confident in choosing you to represent them from a large pool of your competitors. In personal injury you are pulling clients from a specific geographic location, however, in a mass tort, you can represent clients nationwide.

    In contrast, mass torts focus on the message of the lawsuit and the power of collective settlement pressure rather than the characteristics and accomplishments of the attorney or firm. Clients are receptive to a strong message communicating that compensation is a possible outcome and using contingency-based fees can make attracting clients easier.

    Your firm can handle client acquisition independently or utilize lead acquisition companies, but it’s the review and intake that follows the acquisition that’s often more tedious and established the real value of the case. When you’re new to practicing mass torts and even if you’re a well-established and therefore busy firm, a smart choice is to use a mass tort case development and management service to greatly reduce your administrative workload.

    By outsourcing the burdensome but necessary administrative and organizational tasks that accompany mass tort preparation, you can significantly increase your availability to take on a greater number of clients. This will enable you to potentially force defendants to settle through collective negotiating power or more outstanding liabilities Case Works can handle client communication, medical records review, curing deficiencies, and preparing filings, allowing you to focus on trial or settlement.

    Why should you get involved in mass tort litigation?

    There are many reasons why a personal injury attorney might choose to begin to build out a mass tort practice. The most compelling reasons are increased revenue, less work, and the potential availability of more clients.

    In many ways, mass torts are the same as personal injury lawsuits. In a personal injury lawsuit, you work with a single client to establish a case proving their injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. When you win, you both benefit financially.

    A mass tort case generally follows the same process, but when you represent more clients in a single case, you can end up with a much bigger payout. It’s similar to taking on multiple injury cases but filing them all at the same time with a shared legal issue, typically having to do with an entity’s negligence, wrongdoing or liability

    When you’re new to mass torts, the initial steps of gathering leads and identifying and acquiring eligible clients can seem intimidating. However, this quickly becomes less daunting with experience, and it’s made much easier at the beginning when you work with a case management firm to help you retrieve and review medical records, communicate with clients to retrieve pertinent information, correct inconsistencies, and organize documents for filing.

    Most of the unfamiliar parts of the process can be handled by a third party. This leaves you free to identify the damages and build a strong case, just like you already do when working with a single personal injury client.

    As a personal injury lawyer, you have to convince clients that you’re the best attorney for their case. That takes a lot of time, effort, and money, and the success of your practice depends on clients choosing you over your many competitors. .

    All these factors combine to make transitioning to a mass tort practice a natural and financially lucrative next step after you’ve developed experience in the realm of personal injury law.

    Getting Started with Your Mass Tort Practice

    The decision to transition from personal injury lawsuits to mass torts is an excellent way to safeguard the long-term growth and stability of your legal practice. Whether you have a large and established firm or you’re a solo practitioner, success rests upon having clear end goals and a well-planned transition strategy.

    Transitioning from a personal injury practice to a mass tort practice means you’ll need to take a step back and consider the big picture for your legal business. Important factors to consider include the size and number of available resources of your current practice.

    Entry into mass torts usually requires upfront legal funding. You’ll need these funds for advertising, client acquisition, case management services, and the general cost of litigation. You’ll also need to consider that mass tort cases usually take a long time to settle. What you lose in a lengthy litigation timeline, you gain back in significantly higher compensation for each case that resolves successfully.

    The first element for entry into mass tort litigation is a sound financial strategy. A large and established firm might be free to jump full force into mass torts with the ability to self-fund associated costs. For smaller firms and solo practitioners, finances are a major consideration, but they’re certainly not prohibitive. One strategy is to move for a slow transition. You can begin by deciding to take on one mass tort case as you continue practicing personal injury law.

    Research carefully and narrow your options to a single, low-risk mass tort case. When choosing this option, using a case management service will allow you the freedom to continue your regular workload. This prevents you from dealing with a revenue decrease as you begin expanding your portfolio.

    A more aggressive strategy is to secure funding from a third party and jump into a complete, full-scale transition. This option comes with more risk, but it also means a faster and often more lucrative transition if you can wait it out. Growth, experience, and revenue increases manifest more readily with this route Utilizing a case management partner.

    Things to Consider when Starting a Mass Tort Practice

    Once you’ve developed a transitional strategy based on your firm’s size and financial position, there are many more areas that will need consideration and planning.

    Before you start your practice, make a detailed plan, including the following:

    Funding

    Resources

    Hiring or outsourcing

    Case management services

    Long-term practice goals

    Your overall transition strategy will impact your needs and the respective scale of those needs. A larger firm might be able to increase employee numbers and create new in-house positions. Regardless of size, it can be more convenient for any firm to work with a case management service partner.

    You’ll need to devise an effective advertising strategy to fuel client acquisition. Depending on the scale of your transition, you should also consider rebranding your practice. Your online presence, website, and the appearance of your firm will need to inspire confidence in potential clients that you run a successful and knowledgeable mass tort practice.

    It’s a mistake to simply attempt to begin practicing mass tort litigation without any consideration for how you market your firm. You invest time, money, and effort into researching leads, advertising, and communicating with clients about the potential for compensation. Without marketing that inspires confidence in your mass tort abilities, you risk potential clients walking away to another firm with a stronger marketing strategy that makes them appear more credible.

    Finding Success in Mass Tort Litigation

    Finding success in mass tort litigation is a matter of creating a smart strategy and executing against the strategy. As discussed, a successful mass tort practice masters efficiency in these four key areas:

    You can take additional steps to mitigate risks and better hone your success strategy.

    Take the time to research and learn about mass torts. Questions to consider and ask yourself include:

    • What are common problems in mass tort cases?
    • What are the reasons past cases have failed?
    • How can my firm avoid similar risks?
    • Is there an area of expertise I should focus on?
    • Do I have potential mass tort cases in my current case files?

    You can also benefit from online and in-person networking to increase your circle of colleagues involved in mass torts. Connecting with others who have experience litigating and successfully settling mass tort cases can lead to learning and other business opportunities like the chance to work as a co-counsel if you want to gain some experience before making a full-fledged transition.

    Significant Mass Tort Wins

    Many billions of dollars have been paid out in mass tort settlements. Some of the biggest mass tort cases in U.S. history targeted the following:

    • Asbestos
    • Tobacco
    • Silicone breast implants
    • Agent Orange – Toxic Tort exposure

    These cases all resulted in billions of dollars being set aside for the victims.

    Significant mass tort cases and the payout amounts in recent years include:

    $10 billion

    $4.7 billion

    $380 million

    $300 million

    $380 million

    $110 million

    It’s worth noting that mass tort cases for Bayer’s Roundup and Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder have arrived at settlements, but they continue to be the center of ongoing litigation as new plaintiffs continue to come forward.

    Successful mass tort lawsuits often reach settlement numbers in the millions and even billions. These cases frequently involve medications, medical products, and chemicals that result in devastating illnesses and injuries and chronic and often life-threatening diseases like cancer.

    Current Mass Tort Cases

    Transitioning into a mass tort practice means keeping an eye on ongoing mass tort lawsuits still being filed or undergoing litigation. Mass tort cases to watch in 2022 include:

    Elmiron (bladder medication)

    Paragard IUD

    AFFF firefighting foam

    These are some of the largest mass torts to watch as the coming year unfolds.

    How can Case Works help you establish a successful mass tort practice?

    Case Works is a case management firm that focuses on mass tort case management and development. Case management firms offer a wide variety of services that help reduce the time and costs incurred by law firms.

    We stand apart as a case management firm because we specifically tailor our services to meet the unique needs of mass tort practices. Whether your firm is large, small, solo practitioner, already a mass tort player, or just beginning the transition, Case Works provides custom services to meet your current needs helping you grow your practice..

    Case Works offers experience and robust service delivery in all areas of the administrative side of litigation. For some clients, Case Works handles all aspects of administration, from case development to filing. Other clients might opt for assistance with specific administrative needs.

    The services provided by Case Works address case management issues, time management issues, and cost and metrics issues. Following are some specific services offered by Case Works:

    We differ from other case management firms because of the success of our proven mass tort Case Ready® system, which is executed by our experienced team of mass tort administration experts.

    Firms that work with a mass tort case management service typically see increased client engagement and a reduction of attorney time and costs as resources are more efficiently utilized. You can also expect to save additional time and expenses on training or hiring new staff who are capable of handling the complexities of mass tort litigation as your firm grows this new area of practice.

    Contact Case Works today to learn more about our services and solutions and how we can best help you grow a mass tort practice.