By Hon. (Ret.) Ken E. Adair
You’re the Injury Defense Lawyer, Plaintiffs Counsel Is Not
Video Transcribed: One thing I’ve encountered in the past representing people that have been injured and dealing with an insurance lawyer, and we all know their insurance defense lawyers, but we can’t call them insurance defense lawyers. And, by the way, I call them injury defense bar or injury defense lawyers and I say that in front of a jury. I’ve had objections waged and I’ve got an evil eye from a judge.
Well, they call us the plaintiff’s bar, the injury bar. They can use words like that and we are. But then they get to embrace the fiction and I’ve seen this happen. They embrace the fiction that they’re like family to the insured tortfeasor defendant, the person that injured your client, and they will try and allow a jury to think, “Well, we’re like family. Must be an old family friend. Must not be an insurance company.” They try to pile on and embrace this fiction that they’re not part of the injury defense bar.
And I would practice that in front of the mirror. I would stand in front of a mirror and I would practice doing a closing argument or making an opening statement and I would talk about the injury defense bar. You’re going to get an objection.
You’re going to go upfront and you’re going to say, “I said injury defense.” And though it may trigger a visceral reaction from the judge and from opposing counsel, the truth is they get to call us plaintiff’s bar and they get to call us the injury lawyers, ambulance chasers, and God knows what.
But they are the injury defense bar. But you’ve got to overcome this myth that they’re somehow personal friends with the defense. I had one lawyer from Atkinson & Haskins in Tulsa that was telling the jury that we have dinner together, I’m very close to her family.
We’ve known each other for years. Yeah, about three and a half years. That’s how long the case had been going on. And he tried to create the impression that they were close friends and that he was not an insurance defense lawyer.
And now I don’t say insurance defense lawyer, I’m saying it for the purpose of this video, and it’s very uncomfortable for me. But I use the phrase “injury defense lawyer, injury defense bar.” Be very careful, practice it, make it second nature to you, and get the word insurance defense bar, insurance defense lawyer out of your vocabulary.
Start using the word injury defense. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. And it will help negate the piling on. We embrace the fiction that there’s no insurance. We must embrace that fiction. But there is no piling on. Don’t let them do it. And I hope this video has been helpful to you. I look forward to seeing you again and thank you for listening and watching.
One thing I learned while serving as a District Judge for nine years is that every attorney who came into my courtroom was there for the same reason: they had a client who deserved justice. If You are looking for First and Second Chair Co-Counsel, Focus Groups & Mock Jury Sociometrics, Jury Trial Preparation Services, visit trial-win.com