ClickCease Walkup Team-Up Trial Partnership Published in Attorney At Law Magazine

Walkup Team-Up Trial Partnership Published in Attorney At Law Magazine

Joining Forces for Legal Success: Turning Settlements into Trials

Walkup Team Up

You’ve heard the common refrain – the civil jury trial is vanishing. So has Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, and they were tired of it.

“Out of 100 cases filed these days, one or two will result in a jury trial,” said Spencer Pahlke, a shareholder in San Francisco. “That means less community involvement in deciding disputes, less process for clients whose cases should be tried, and less training for the young lawyers who are our next generation of trial lawyers.”

Just as there are many causes for the decline in jury trials, there are also many solutions that can help save the jury trial. One addresses the great asymmetry on the opposing sides of the “v.”

“Insurance carriers manage thousands of cases,” said Jeffrey A. Clause, an associate attorney in San Francisco. “They have the resources to take any case to trial, regardless of the value. Plaintiffs’ lawyers don’t always have that luxury, and are often forced to accept settlements far below the case value because the costs of going to trial, as well as the risk of an unfavorable verdict, make it impractical to try the case.”

“Trial lawyers, especially those in small shops, have far fewer cases and a tiny fraction of the resources,” Pahlke said. “Pushing one case to trial can feel like putting down all the chips on one hand of blackjack. A bad outcome, and not only the case can bust, but so too could an entire small law firm.”

But what if that small firm could join forces with a larger firm to try the case? It would be like a blackjack player getting an infusion of chips from the player next to them right when they needed it most. This is the concept for an initiative their firm created – Walkup Team Up. It’s a way for their firm to join with other lawyers to try cases that otherwise wouldn’t get tried.

“Our goal in the program is to create a trial experience for our younger attorneys out of whole cloth,” Pahlke said. “In other words, we target those cases that historically are settled instead of tried. There are many examples. It’s the case where the cost of flying in an expert for trial just isn’t possible, but it’s also necessary to win. Or the case where liability is complicated, and damages don’t justify the risk for you to try the case. Or you have limited trial experience, and the insurance carrier is taking advantage of their perceived advantage. Through Walkup Team Up, we want to turn those settlements into trials.”

The process for lawyers is simple. Visit and complete a basic form describing your case. The firm’s main criteria is that the case will go to trial – the sooner, the better.

“If we select your case, we will send one of our attorneys to try the case with you,” Clause said. “We will finance the next $25,000 of the case, only to be paid back if we get a verdict that covers those costs. Our fee will be only 33%. Our most seasoned trial lawyers will also consult with you on trial strategy. All we ask in return is that our attorney gets to pick the jury, open or close, and handle a witness during the trial.”

By teaming up, Walkup Firm will do its part to create more jury trials and make insurance companies think twice before playing hardball on cases they believe are unlikely to try.

“If we work together, the house will no longer always win,” Pahlke said.