Providing rigorous, aggressive representation of plaintiffs in personal injury cases
Brian Kent is a personal injury lawyer and co-founder of the law firm Laffey, Bucci & Kent. Based in Pennsylvania, Laffey, Bucci & Kent represents a wide variety of clients who may have experienced injuries as a result of factors such as an unsafe workplace, defective product, auto accident, crime, or medical malpractice. Brian has helped numerous clients reach million-dollar settlements in personal injury cases. In 2008, he who was named a Legal Intelligencer “Lawyer on the Fast Track,” and he has appeared in the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list for eight years running.
EDWIN WARFIELD: How has the firm grown since you started it? What does your current caseload look like?
BRIAN KENT: We have handled cases all over the country for the past couple of years, especially in the construction front and the crime victim, sexual abuse front. We get calls from people, a lot of times, asking us to get involved because we have experience in handling these types of cases and have been very successful in doing so. I think right now we’re probably handling cases in 20 different states across the country—that will certainly increase, hopefully, throughout the year—but it has definitely changed the way that especially myself and the partners practice, because where we were solely handling cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania before, now we’re being asked to travel and do a lot of that stuff in other states. It’s now become regular business for us for attorneys to call us to get involved in very complex and difficult cases, and then if we do right by them, they keep calling us and we keep coming into those states and doing that type of work. It’s been great—I can’t say it has been great for people like my wife and my kids because it causes me to travel a lot more—but it’s also nice to be recognized as a firm that is called upon when there is a very complex or serious matter and they want us to get involved to help them in making it the most successful case that they can have.
Q. What challenges have you come up against in terms of running a business?
A. I think the hardest part for us when we started the firm was understanding the business side of this. It’s very difficult to gauge and have a budget for a firm where you’re expecting… One of the construction cases that we have right now—it legitimately is probably in the $20 to $25 million settlement range. That can change with one witness’ testimony—for the good or for the bad. But also, you can expect that “okay, we’re going to get this case done in May 2017,” and then something happens where there’s a delay and then you’re waiting an additional six months, or a judge says, “listen, I have a trial that’s going to last for three months; you can’t get in front of me until December of 2017 or early 2018.” It’s very difficult to gauge from a budget standpoint when we’re going to bring that money in, but one of the things that the auto department does is those cases sort of turn over on a regular basis, and I always say that that department allows us to pay the bills and keep our lights on and things like that, and allows us to be okay with the other cases in our firm that are pending and can change in terms of when we expect that money to come in. But it is very difficult from a bank standpoint to evaluate a firm like ours in terms of whether they’re going to lend us money.
Some of these cases that we handle are anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000. This Massage Envy case, where we’re representing eight different women, is probably going to cost $500,000 to litigate at the end of the day. So, we need banks to help us in that regard and we have good relationships in terms of that, but it’s very daunting for a bank to say, “okay, maybe we will get this money back and maybe we won’t, because it is on a contingency fee basis.” But we’re in our ninth year now. They have seen our track record and our success. It’s very difficult to manage a firm like this but I think with each year we’re getting better at it. We were only lawyers when we started the firm—I think now we can legitimately say that we are also businessmen in some aspects. Some people may disagree with that, but we wouldn’t.
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