Across the nation the decline in work comp claims have caused scale back in law firms for both injured workers and carrier defense … except in California.
Applicant firms (as they are called in California) have not seen much if any attrition since 2004,when the Terminator reforms were instigated, and several have actually expanded taking up the slack of the less dedicated firms.
Defense firms have exploded with more and more defense attorneys being hired and more and more defense billable hours being charged since the prosperous 1980s.
The reason appears to be unsettled law just now coming to a point of stabilization and ancillary issues that have been generated as a consequence of regulatory changes - e.g. California's "lien laws" have created increased litigation as, in my opinion, short-sighted regulators implement strategies to treat the symptoms rather than the underlying disease.
The Dewey & LeBoeuf bankruptcy was a long time coming as the firm simply failed to curtail its spending and partner dividends when clients were pulling back in the face of the recession.
So I don't see Dewey & LeBoeuf as really representative of lower work comp filing rates.
David DePaolo is CEO, President, Editor-in-Chief of WorkCompCentral. He holds a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law (1984), a Masters in Business Administration from California Lutheran University (1997) and a Bachelor of Arts, English, from San Diego State University (1981). Mr. DePaolo is a frequent lecturer and author his own blog, DePaolo's Work Comp World.