“You’re Going to Have to Take Me Out of the Courtroom in a Stretcher”
Brian Chase, senior partner at Bisnar Chase, was recently featured on “Critical Mass,” a program on OC Talk Radio where he talked about a variety of issues from his personal principles and business philosophy to how and why he became a personal injury lawyer. Chase said his main motivation for becoming a personal injury lawyer was to make sure his life’s work mattered. He talked about how very intellectually stimulating and fulfilling his job has been over the years and continues to be.
“I’m never retiring,” Chase told host Ric Franzi, who was asking the questions. “You’re going to have to take me out of a courtroom on a stretcher.”
To Franzi’s question about why personal injury attorneys get a bad rap, Chase said it’s primarily because the media chooses to report only the sensational personal injury cases such as the one where a woman sued after spilling hot McDonald’s coffee on herself at a driver-thru, and suffered serious burn injuries. What the media reported on was the multi-million-dollar verdict. What they did not report on was how the jury arrived at the verdict, Chase said.
“At the surface, a lawsuit about spilled coffee sounds frivolous,” he said. “But when you really dig in and look at all the evidence in that case, you wouldn’t think it’s silly. You would clearly see how McDonald put profit over safety and racked up multiple safety violations ”
The difference between Bisnar Chase and many other personal injury law firms is that it is truly a law firm with trial attorneys who go to court and try cases. Chase said going with a law firm that is not afraid to take cases to trial (despite the fact that a majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court), helps maximize the value of a case.
“Insurance companies know who goes to court and who doesn’t,” he said. “When they know you will go to court, it does maximize the value of the case.”
Chase also spoke about the positive work environment at Bisnar Chase, which has given the law firm the distinction of being one of the Best Places to Work in Orange County for the fifth straight year.
“We have a meeting at the beginning of the year to go through our goals and objectives,” he said. “We go over the firm’s finances because we like to be transparent. We give employees incentives such as trips to Hawaii. We walk our talk. We help people with professional and personal goals. We want to make sure people are succeeding inside and outside the office.”
The greatest satisfaction he derives from being a personal injury lawyer is fighting and winning for the little guy, Chase said.
“The big companies can hire lawyers for $1,000 an hour,” he said. “But Mrs. Smith down the street doesn’t have that kind of money. We work on a contingency fee basis so our clients don’t pay us until we recover compensation for them. If that weren’t the case, a lion’s share of people can’t get justice because they can’t afford to hire an attorney.”
Chase’s secrets to success? Integrity and humility, he says.
“If you take care of your clients, the business will take care of itself,” Chase said. “You also need to take care of your employees. We have 40 employees and I view them as equals, as partners.”
Chase said he also likes to lead by example.
“There’s no job I won’t do,” he said. “If people have to work late, they know I’m in the foxhole with them, not sipping mai tais on the beach. I also like to surround myself with people smarter than me so I get different perspectives. I value everybody’s input.”