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Diversifying Your Practice with Mass Torts: Timing, Risk, and Cash Flow

If you ask ten firms which litigations they like, you’ll get ten different answers. Firms decide based on their objectives. Everyone has an opinion of which litigations they like and what interests them the most. Timing or the stage of the mass tort, appetite for risk, and a firm’s cash flow situation are also important considerations when a firm is deciding to enter mass tort litigation and deciding which one to pursue.

Let’s begin with a look at the three stages of mass tort litigation.

Early/Emerging

The first phase of mass tort litigation is before a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) has been formed or is newly formed. Lawsuits are filed before one federal judge overseeing the litigation who appoints the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) to pursue discovery on behalf of the injured plaintiffs.

Mid-Stage

This stage of litigation takes place when the MDL has already been formed and is active, which could last 2 to 3 years or longer. A tort sits in mid-stage for most of its life.

Late-Stage

The case is close to settlement or in settlement talks.

Timing Is Everything – Or Is It?

Law firms often want to know about timing, if it’s too late to get into a certain litigation. Is it too late to get into Hernia Mesh? IVC? Roundup? “It’s only too late when you can no longer file a settlement or the acquisition costs become higher than you think makes sense to acquire more cases,” says Steve Nober, founder and CEO of Consumer Attorney Marketing Group.

How Comfortable Are You with Risk?

The level of risk varies, depending on the stage of litigation. Risk is higher during the early or emerging phase because it’s still early in the process. With IVC, Roundup, and other mid-stage to late-stage litigation, there’s not much left to know. As you get closer to a possible settlement, the risk can be less.

However, the cost to acquire cases also varies. Early or emerging torts typically cost less to acquire but many firms balance that consideration with risk. As the litigation matures, the cost is greater. For example, Roundup and other mid-stage to late-stage litigation might end up costing 3 to 4 times as much to acquire as an emerging tort.

Cash Flow

A firm’s cash flow is also a consideration in deciding to enter a mass tort litigation. As with any litigation, there are costs involved in the litigation process. The stage of a mass tort likely has a direct impact on cash flow decisions. Early/emerging mass torts theoretically take much longer before you see results in cash flow back. Late-stage torts have much shorter periods before cash flow is returned. Some mass tort litigations take years for a return on investment to be achieved, while others take far less time to see the financial returns.

Top Mass Tort Comparison Ranks Q3 2019 to Q2 2019

Watching media spending trends provides you with valuable information you can use to decide which litigation to enter and when. At CAMG, we track both media monitoring data and our own campaign performance metrics to rank mass torts monthly in our Legal Marketing Index®.

We compare rankings from quarter to quarter to gauge media spending and interest by firms. These rankings are not static. Litigations drop off the list; new ones are added. The list is not dependent on legal issues or quality of litigations but on advertising and marketing dollars spent by law firms.

We’ve compared the standings in Q1 to Q2. Below, you’ll see if practice areas moved up or down the list, moved off the list, or remained at the same position. Some torts are new additions to the list.

  1. RoundUp
  2. Talc
  3. Hernia Mesh
  4. Hip - up from #6
  5. Truvada - up from #7
  6. Meso / Lung Cancer - up from #8
  7. IVC - down from #4
  8. Valsartan - up from #10
  9. JUUL
  10. Defective Military Earplugs - down from #5

Deciding on a mass tort is complicated. Every firm has different objectives, whether it’s about timing, risk, cash flow or another variable. Evaluate what’s important to you or your firm as you look at the landscape of mass torts to select what you think makes sense for your firm. CAMG shares additional background information on mass torts, including our monthly Legal Marketing Index® and Marketing Data and Analysis Reference Guides for various torts, as well as a library of webinars on numerous mass tort litigations.

Stay Up to Date with CAMG

CAMG helps you stay updated with the latest information about mass tort marketing and emerging litigations. Our monthly Legal Marketing Index® for both Mass Torts and Single Events includes pertinent data about media spending and marketing trends, including an analysis of data from media industry monitoring companies. The LMI also includes our own proprietary data, including response metrics to help law firms maximize results while lowering case acquisition costs.

Sign up to receive our monthly LMI® here.

Expert-Hosted Webinars

CAMG hosts webinars introducing emerging mass torts, as well as status updates on popular mass torts. Learn from leadership about the science and liability behind cases, case criteria, potential plaintiffs and injuries, background, litigation updates, and more.

The most recent CAMG webinars include a Truvada TDF webinar presented by Jim Onder, The Onder Law Firm, and a JUUL webinar presented by Andy Birchfield and Joseph VanZandt, Beasley Allen, and Bradley D. Honnold, Goza & Honnold.

Access our webinar library here and stay tuned for upcoming webinars.

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