Robert F. Ferrara brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and a formidable track record of outstanding results and experience to bear on each new case handled by Ferrara Law Offices, P.C. With the experience of formerly working with larger law firms, Robert F. Ferrara, by design, crafted the practice environment of Ferrara Law Offices, P.C., including the number and types of cases accepted, to give more personalized and individualized attention to each client in an effort to eliminate the bureaucracy of associate attorneys, paralegals and secretaries standing between the client and the lawyer.This individualized approach not only enhances the attorney-client communication, but serves to strengthen the integrity of the outcome of your case by avoiding the pitfalls of disjointed incrementalism; a phenomenon which can occur with the delegation of responsibility. Robert F. Ferrara opines that it is beneficial to the client if a given case is vertically, and seamlessly, investigated, researched, plead and presented by one attorney who is laser-focused on all the facts, issues, discovery, motions, experts, proofs and law associated with the ultimate courtroom presentation-the trial. When selecting a personal injury lawyer, consider asking prospective lawyers what some might opine to be the hard questions, and measure the responses carefully. Consider asking your prospective lawyer each FAQ set forth below.
FAQ 01. What was the largest settlement offer you ever rejected?
While most lawyers might tout their successes when marketing their services or discussing their practice, a more insightful question might focus on what settlement offers a lawyer has recommended that a client reject. This is a powerful question in the context of personal injury lawsuits, where lawyers generally advance costs and earn their fees on a contingent fee basis. When the stakes get high, how do you want your lawyer to respond when a significant but undervalued offer to settle is on the table? When interviewing prospective lawyers, consider asking the largest settlement they counseled their client to reject, and how many multi-million dollar offers they counseled their client to reject. Taken one step further, ask the follow-up questions as to how those same cases ultimately resolved. A lawyer’s willingness to recommend that a client walk away from a significant, but undervalued offer, is the sign of a lawyer who is willing to push a case to reach its true value, is confident in the preparation of the case, facts, experts, arguments, law and the lawyer’s ability to advocate a better resolution. Asking these questions may give you insight into making an informed decision when selecting a lawyer.
FAQ 02. Are you willing to take my case to trial based upon the facts you see here at the initial consultation?
People might be shocked to know that many lawyers engage clients, with certain types of cases, with no, or limited, intention to take to case to trial. Many of these same lawyers take the last, or first, offer prior to trial. This is not necessarily a criticism of a these lawyers, but, in part, a reflection of certain realities which include an analysis of the costs of prosecuting a case relative to the value of the case. Indeed, it is known industrywide, particularly by the insurance industry, that the costs associated with prosecuting certain types of cases can sometimes eclipse the value of a given case, or reduce the net recovery to the victim. If the costs to prosecute a case are high, or high relative to the value of the case, the insurance company may attempt to exploit this perception and attempt to leverage a victim to settle for an amount less than what the case is actually worth. Otherwise, going to trial may expose the victim to the risk of a zero-sum game; a risk that the insurance companies regularly exploit. When interviewing lawyers for your legal matter, ask the candid question as to whether that lawyer will, if necessary, proceed to trial on your case based upon what they have been presented at the initial consultation. The answer to this question may not only expose how the lawyer assesses the facts, damages and theories of liability in your case, but may also reveal how the lawyer has assessed the value and the lawyer’s level of commitment to prosecuting your case.
FAQ 03. Who will be working-up my case? Will it be worked-up by lead counsel, a junior lawyer, a paralegal or a secretary?
Apart from the underlying facts of a case and the applicable law, cases can be won or lost by the slightest misstep in interviewing a client, understanding the facts, answering discovery, dealing with experts, communication with experts or witnesses and/or by communicating an inconsistent trial theme in any of the pleadings, discovery, depositions and/or pretrial motions. If multiple persons (i.e., lawyers, paralegals and secretaries) are working on a given case, one mistake can echo reverberations that can change the entire trajectory and outcome of the case. Indeed, Robert F. Ferrara’s theory is that bigger is not always better and, consequently, Ferrara Law Offices, P.C. takes an individualized approach in serving clients. This theory shaped the firm profile and, by design, Ferrara Law Offices, P.C. limits its practice areas and volume of cases in an effort to reduce the risks associated with the delegation of responsibility. When interviewing your prospective lawyer, consider asking questions designed to reveal who will be playing what role in the prosecution of your case, and the systemic operations within the law firm. These questions may give you insight into making an informed decision.
FAQ 04. What types of experts do you intend to employ to prosecute my case?
This question will quickly expose the framework and trial strategy of a lawyer assessing your case. At the initial meeting with a client, every good trial lawyer should be able to identify the legal theories implicated by the fact pattern discussed. As a corollary, every good trial lawyer should be quickly able to identify and articulate the types of experts the case will need to support the theories of liability. When interviewing your prospective lawyer, consider asking questions designed to what experts will be needed in the prosecution of your case. These questions may give you insight into making an informed decision.
FAQ 05. What types of cases have you handled in the past?
This question will give insight into the types of cases a particular lawyer typically handles. If a lawyer purports to be an injury lawyer, it may be insightful to inquire as to whether they merely handle certain types of cases (for example, vehicle accidents and slip and fall injuries), or have they, for example, handled more sophisticated types of cases such as products liability, medical malpractice, engineering and architectural failures, industrial workplace injuries, highway design cases, liquor liability claims, trucking accidents or insurance Bad Faith lawsuits. You may also want to ask the lawyer the types of injuries that the lawyer has litigated. For example, you may want to inquire as to whether that lawyer ever handled cases involving death, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, brain injuries, burn injuries, electrocution injuries, toxic tort injuries or birth injuries. When interviewing your prospective lawyer, consider asking questions designed to discover the types of claims and injuries the lawyer has prosecuted. These questions may give you insight into making an informed decision.
FAQ 06. What types of witnesses and experts have you deposed?
Depositions are important legal proceedings where a party engages in discovery to question persons, parties and corporate designees under oath. These can range from a simple fact witness, as to what they observed, know and/or saw, or may involve the questioning of experts in various fields, including medicine, engineering, architecture, safety, accident reconstruction, vocational rehabilitation, economics and/or other like-kind subject-matters with experts who have dedicated their entire career to develop a specialized core competency. In cases involving complex litigation, it is particularly essential that a lawyer be equipped to effectively challenge such experts to search and advocate for the truth. Depositions shape litigation and trial. Effective advocacy during such proceedings requires that a lawyer engage multiple talents, some of which generally come with experience in hard-hitting litigation. Asking your prospective lawyer pointed questions about the types of witnesses they have deposed may serve to enlighten you as to whether they are equipped and capable to advocate your position and rights at trial.
FAQ 07. How often do you go to court?
People might be shocked to learn that many lawyers simply do not go to court. A courtroom is a dynamic atmosphere where lawyers are charged with tremendous obligations to contemporaneously perform a variety of functions. Some lawyers do not go to court for a variety of reasons. For example, some lawyers simply avoid court, some lawyers do not maintain practices which require court appearances and some lawyers do not get the opportunity to go to court. Indeed, many lawyers, particularly in a big firm environment, serve a subordinate role to a lead trial attorney and rarely see the inside of a courtroom, often leading to years of practicing law without actually engaging in the heat and battle of trial advocacy. Many of these same lawyers have never engaged in complex, contentious and sophisticated depositions, argued dispositive motions or proceeded to trial. Asking your prospective lawyer pointed questions about their courtroom experience may serve to enlighten you as to whether they are equipped and capable, to your satisfaction, to advocate your position and rights at trial as counsel. These questions may give you insight into making an informed decision.