Firm-Wide blog

Strong Co-Counsel Can Crack Complex Cases

By Burg Simpson
April 12, 2017
3 min read

Edmund Burke once wrote, “Laws, like houses, lean on one another.”

It is a lesson more lawyers should take to heart. For newer, or even simply independent attorneys, it can make all the difference to find a more experienced lawyer to lean on and partner as co-counsel. Collaboration and referrals with other law firms can benefit both small and large firms – especially when there are areas of expertise that can be leveraged in the fight for a client’s rights.

What Can a Co-Counsel Do For You?

In the strictest sense, co-counsel is defined simply as two or more unaffiliated lawyers representing the same party in the same matter. Obviously, the lawyers split the work, and consequently, the fees that go along with that work. But why would anyone do that?

It could simply be a matter of resources. Smaller firms, or even solo practitioners, might not have the in-house resources that large or complicated cases can require, especially if we are talking about insurance bad faith cases.

It also could be a matter of experience. A co-counsel arrangement can help guide a less experienced attorney through some of the trickier aspects of the law and help them avoid the malpractice minefield.

Insurance Bad Faith Can Be Complicated

Insurance bad faith cases, for example, can pit a smaller firm – or even an individual attorney – against a battalion of experienced insurance company lawyers backed by a much larger budget. It can be an obstacle course for a less-experienced attorney who, “may not know what he doesn’t know.”

Or, as one of Burg Simpson’s colleagues pointed out, “They have clients who decided a long time ago they were not going to pay this claim, so do you think they are going to roll over just because you file a lawsuit?”

How to Ensure Co-Counsel Success

Most lawyers with developed specialties – especially in the area of insurance bad faith – co-counsel cases regularly and are typically more than willing to accommodate reasonable fee splits. It is the classic definition of a win-win situation. The more established firms like Burg Simpson get a case and a portion of the fee. Then the smaller or less-experienced firm or attorney is able to lean on the resources and experience of the larger firm. In turn, the client benefits with more robust representation.

As Burg Simpson’s colleague and attorney said, “The prospect of getting 40 percent of a $500,000 policy and the other damages you can recover is enticing, but you have to get it first.” Additionally, it is best to recruit and involve knowledgeable co-counsel before you even file a lawsuit – if not as early as possible in the claim process.

Statistics show that plaintiffs lose more of these types of cases than they should or do not win as much compensation for their clients as they otherwise could have. A strong co-counsel partnership can help even the odds for plaintiffs. If you are looking for more information or want to discuss a co-counsel relationship with Colorado bad faith insurance attorneys, contact our Burg Simpson Colorado bad faith insurance lawyers today at 1-303-792-5595 or visit us online.

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