The Brief No. 15: Why Opioid Litigation Will Be Bigger than Tobacco
November 21, 2018
Bigger than Big Tobacco: Opioid Litigation in 2018
It’s no secret that opioid addiction and abuse have reached the level of a public health crisis. And as the epidemic has grown, so too has litigation by plaintiffs, cities, and states, who are suing manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in record numbers—with damages expected to exceed those recovered from the cases brought against the Big Tobacco companies throughout the 1990s.
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Carve Out a Niche: Focusing your firm’s efforts on one industry, rather than one practice area, is the way to stand out, especially for midsize firms. Midsize firm Greenspoon Marder did just that with the timeshare and resort industry, and more recently, the cannabis industry. As the industry grew, so did the firm, because they were able to offer a wide range of services to industry clients beyond the firm’s bread-and-butter corporate work. When midsize firms have enough resources to be a “one-stop shop,” they have a unique ability to make their niche practices flourish.
Hack Your Way Into a New Career: George Simons has some suggestions for lawyers who want to jump the traditional practice ship into the unchartered waters of legal tech. One idea is starting a dual-entity law firm integrated with technology—i.e., delegating the delivery of legal services and development of software to the business entity and the practice of law to the law entity. “Most of the opportunities in the legal tech space for lawyers come by way of entrepreneurship,” he says, “which requires lawyers to carve their own path. These aren’t for the faint of heart.”
Put the Ball in their Court: David Allen Green offers two suggestions for how businesses can cut their legal bills: 1) give clear instructions to lawyers, and 2) use technology to achieve their goals. The best way, he says, for a business to manage their costs is to be clear what it wants from its lawyers, force them to be clear about what they are offering, and only retain those who use tech that will ultimately lead to savings for the company. It’s a timely op-ed, as Altman Weil just released a survey of 250 legal departments that found corporate clients want cheaper legal services, but often leave it up to law firms to determine just how to accomplish that—which can lead to law firms pursuing innovation that is not aligned with what clients want.
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