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I am involved in a dispute with a life insurance company. I have a specific question in regards to choosing an attorney.

Orange, CA |

My question is: Obviously when going up against a Billion dollar insurance company you want the best attorney that you can have. What are the pros and cons of going with a large firm vs small firm. The large firm has the name recognition/experience,super lawyer distinction etc. The smaller firm has the experience but doesn't have the prestige, awards, super lawyer, avvo recognition, etc. I know the common sense answer like I will get more hands on attention from the smaller firm. I am asking more in regards to litigation, trial, etc. Does it matter to the insurance company who they are up against? Are they going to be more likely to settle because they are going up against a big name or not and don't want to go to trial? Please give me any thoughts that would be helpful.

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Best Answer

Most big law firms represent insurance companies. They do insurance defense rather than represent consumers like you. So before you go to a big law firm make sure you check them out to see if they do insurance defense. If so, I suggest you stay away from them.

Some big law firms despite doing insurance defense also take plaintiff cases if they do not conflict with they current list of clients. Even in those cases I've seen them compromise and take smaller settlement. The reason for advising taking those cases to trial is their lack of desire to upset the insurance industry and their insurance clientele. So, I would not hire a form that handles ANY insurance defense or represents ANY insurance company.

As for Super Lawyer title, it is simply meaningless and is mostly dependent on the amount of money they spent on purchasing ads in their magazine. I know lawyers whom I wouldn't trust to wash my car that have been featured as a Super Lawyer.

If you want to know about the lawyer's strength as a trial lawyer check their trial record by doing a verdict search.

If you're looking for a "big hammer" you may find it in a small tool shed, not necessarily in a giant warehouse.

Like someone said, it is the facts of your case that well determine the outcome.



Thank you for your such an insightful answer !


The strength of your case depends on the facts. Large insurance companies often hire local firms to defend them in bad faith lawsuits. You are better off with an attorney who has handled similar cases and who understands the life insurance law involved in your case. Good luck!


You do not mention any facts and, because of that, your question is impossible to answer. The facts and your ability to pay for legal services will determine whether *any* lawyer is willing to handle your case.

Most disputes involving life insurance proceeds are among competing claimants and the insurance company merely files an interpleader and lets the claimants fight it out. Coverage disputes are few and far between and will turn on the exact facts and terms of the policy. If you are looking for a quick settlement with respect to a legitimate coverage dispute, you will probably be disappointed no matter which firm you choose.

If you have a coverage dispute you want an experienced lawyer who has successfully prosecuted such claims. The issues, facts, and your personal preferences will determine which is better in any particular situation.

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Bigger does not always mean better. It all comes down to the experience the attorney has in handling bad faith cases and who you feel comfortable with because it could be a long road ahead of you. Look at former client testimonials.

Good luck.

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


I know many big firms who give personal service and many small firms who are terrible, and vice versa. The size of the firm alone does not determine the kind of service you will get and how effective they will be in handling your case. If you truly have a case that many attorneys would be willing to handle, meet with some and see who you get the best feeling from and who you connect with. That will be your best indicator.



Thank you for your advice !


I do not believe that the size of a firm makes that much difference. I think that you should find an attorney that specializes in this type of work and most importantly an attorney that has time to handle your case and an attorney that you trust and can relate to.

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