During my years of legal practice, especially handling third-party injury claims, I have seen so many times, and in numerous ways, how personal counsel (or private counsel or corporate counsel) has proven to be a valuable, positive factor for case resolutions, evaluations, damage control and even trials.
Let me explain...
I have been practicing law since 1990 and a significant amount of my law practice involves representing individuals, families and companies in third-party injury or commercial claims.
For example, ABC Insurance Company will retain me to represent its customers/insureds in a pre-suit or litigated tort or commercial damages case.
To defend the case I,
- investigate and gather facts,
- assess the law and standards involved,
- and evaluate clients’ risks, responsibilities and potential exposure.
Helping to See Through New Eyes
Sometimes though, it is that additional "outside" set of eyes, i.e. personal counsel, looking at a case and examining risks that provides a valuable second opinion.
In fact, often it is the personal counsel that helps get the case resolved and closed successfully.
That’s because invariably when personal counsel reviews a case, he or she identifies additional witnesses, or documents, or even an approach to the case.
As defense counsel, I have received (or, as personal counsel I have sometimes sent) letters and emails with questions like,
- "Have you considered deposing (fill in the name here) . . ?"
- Or, "What about a Request to Produce seeking X document?"
Breaking the Log Jam
As personal counsel for an insured in a case, I recently suggested a mock trial/focus group. That step broke up a "log jam" with regard to case valuation and exposure.
In another case I added my requested opinion on case settlement value and, after being invited to assist, facilitated negotiations.
That case settled, my client was relieved, and my client's insurance company was able to close a file.
Helping to Close the Case
So, bottom line, when personal counsel is hired, he or she can first act to further protect the client (i.e. the insured).
Then second, personal counsel can assist by helping to move the case toward a more refined or accurate evaluation and ultimate resolution.
 The personal counsel is a private attorney/firm, whose services are retained and paid for “personally” by the insured.