An article titled “Run-of-the-Mill Justice” by Nora Freeman Engstrom of Stanford Law School was published in the December issue of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. In the article, Engstrom discusses “settlement mill” law firms.
Here’s the abstract of the article:
This Article examines a particular form of heretofore unexamined personal injury law practice that has proliferated across the United States. These law firms, which I call settlement mills, are characterized by their high claim volume, aggressive advertising, significant delegation to non-attorneys, entrepreneurial focus, and quick resolution of claims, typically without initiation of suit. Drawing on voluminous documents extracted from federal court and state bar disciplinary files, as well as fifty interviews with current and past law firm employees, the Article demonstrates that settlement mills represent a relatively new, largely distinct, and surprisingly prevalent form of law firm organization. After setting forth the characteristics that distinguish settlement mills from conventional personal injury practices, the Article considers the forces that have contributed to their rise, analyzes how they resolve claims in practice and to what effect, and asks why insurers (not facing a realistic threat of trial) bargain with settlement mills at all. The analysis reveals that settlement mills are not only organized differently than their conventional counterparts; they actually settle claims differently, in a manner that challenges prevailing theories of settlement as well as our basic notions of compensation through tort.
You can probably recognize the flashy ads from settlement mill law firms. If you never actually meet with an attorney, it’s probably a settlement mill. Settlement mills make their money through sheer case volume. They do not offer clients the best possible legal representation. Settlement mills generally accept the first offer put on the table by an insurance company. The settlement mills have no leverage because insurance companies know they’re not willing to go to court.
At MLN Law, our experienced attorneys prepare for each case as if we’re going to court. We will settle some cases when it makes sense to settle, but we’re always prepared to go to trial with all relevant evidence. That gives us the leverage we need to get the best possible settlement for our clients. At MLN Law, we think of our clients as people, not cases. We offer caring yet aggressive representation. Our advertising might not be aggressive compared to the settlement mills, but our representation certainly is. I became an attorney to represent people who have been injured through no fault of their own, and I take pride in helping people get through difficult situations and get back on their feet.
Beware of settlement mills. They have the biggest, boldest billboards, the full-page yellow page ads, and the in-your-face television commercials. But they cannot offer the same level of representation as an experienced attorney. If you need a personal injury attorney, make sure you can trust your attorney to represent you in court. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.