A WASHINGTON FIRM THAT KNOWS INJURY LAW
Jerry Pearson, co-owner of the Washington state-based firm, the Pearson Law Firm, has specialized in personal injury practice since 1981. After returning home from Vietnam, this former Marine ended up pursuing law school on a former professor’s recommendation and quickly turned to personal injury litigation as his full-time practice. “I liked the fight. I liked the adrenaline. I liked the adversarial dynamic. But most of all, I liked representing people who needed help.”
Mr. Pearson has worked with hundreds of experts over the last nearly 40 years as a legal advocate. But the way he’s connected and consulted with these professionals hasn’t always been the smoothest.
EMOTIONAL INVESTMENTS AND FINANCIAL REPERCUSSIONS
Mr. Pearson recalls relying primarily on treating providers as his experts. “Once I got to know certain doctors, I would frequently consult them just because I knew them well.” When it came to sharing case records with his experts, Mr. Pearson would send along everything but the kitchen sink.
“We used to put together thick binders of materials for experts. Then I had an expert pull me aside and say, “Jerry, you know what experts do when you send us binders with 12,000 documents? We reach in, look for the one thing we need, hold the binder to our heads, and think, ‘Hmm…. $10,000.’” He was joking with me, but it was true. What I’ve learned over time is that you really have to focus on asking the right questions.”
But what prompted Jerry to consider working with Expert Institute was more of an emotional issue. “At any given time, I would have a pretty long list of cases I was investigating. I had a very difficult time saying ‘No’ to cases because I wanted to help people. I would visit my clients at home, meet their dogs, walk their fence lines, and get to know their families. That exercise left me very emotionally connected to my cases.”
Mr. Pearson recalls that this approach led him to work up, and even litigate, many cases he shouldn’t have taken on. “I spent years carrying around boxes of investigations I hadn’t completed. I invested in projects I probably shouldn’t have based on emotional decisions.” Mr. Pearson needed a more streamlined way to work up cases that would help his team say ‘Yes’ to the right matters and manage their practice more efficiently. So he turned to Expert Institute.
AN EFFICIENT CASE MANAGEMENT PROCESS
Through Partnership with Expert Institute, the team at Pearson Law has been able to reclaim their time for more critical case preparations. “Instead of having dozens of open investigations, we’ve pruned our caseload down to a handful of strong matters.”
Mr. Pearson says that Case Clinics in particular—early medical record reviews with Expert Institute’s team of physicians—have been critical in helping him weed out weak matters. “The thing that interested me most about Expert Institute was that all of a sudden, I could quickly brainstorm with experts and figure out the right questions. All of a sudden, there was this momentum that occurred and I got clarity. Not only was I able to say ‘No,’ but I was able to say it for a reason.”
Expert Institute’s full-service record reviews, case evaluations, and expert sourcing solutions have helped the Pearson Law Firm put together a more systematic case evaluation process. “It’s a much healthier and much more productive model for us because we are not ignoring the ‘opportunity cost’ of procrastination. We’re not carrying the risk of blowing statutes limitation, causing delays, or the emotional connection of not wanting to say ‘No’ to a potential client.”
AN EXISTENTIAL SHIFT
Thanks to Expert Institute, day-to-day case investigations at the Pearson Law Firm have never run more smoothly. “We no longer have the problem where we don’t know what to do with a particular issue. If we don’t know what to do, we reach out to Expert Institute. That dynamic has increased the bandwidth of our time tenfold.”
Having expert perspective and insights at their fingertips has also set the firm up for success on several of their upcoming projects. “Doing our consulting work with the Expert Institute team allows us to know which questions to ask and what the defense arguments are going to be. That kind of clarity has put us on track for at least four cases that are presently moving forward.”
According to Mr. Pearson, Partnership with Expert Institute has become so foundational to his practice that he has even shifted the type of work the firm handles. “Recently, my wife and I started transitioning the firm and doing more projects by association. Now that I work with the Expert Institute, it makes sense for me to do the investigation steps and the early expert consulting work. They identify pros and cons, look at the merit of each matter, determine what’s economically feasible, and then get qualified experts lined up for me. So if I decide to partner with a colleague, I’ve got the first base, second base, and third base all sorted out. Establishing the foundation for cases is a major feature of our practice now.”
But when you ask Mr. Pearson about the most valuable part of Expert Institute’s services, he points to the intangibles. “If you start to calculate the economic cost of working up cases the traditional way—the dysfunctional way—it probably costs you not only tens of thousands of hours, but all sorts of things along the way that you may not be able to quantify because you’re not making the judgment effectively. So to me, working with Expert Institute has been transformational. It’s been an existential shift.”
There are significant economic aspects to the ‘opportunity cost’ of not working up cases in an efficient way. Having access to expertise in multiple subject matters and multiple disciplines through Expert Institute is really an existential shift. They are making a big difference in our legal world.