Over the last six months of speaking and meeting with lawyers and law firms that have successful Personal Injury practices, I have seen an interesting trend. Which is that many of them are diversifying into other areas of law, including Commercial Litigation, Consumer Fraud, and Real Estate Law among others. Mind you, I am talking about highly successful attorneys and law firms with strong reputations and successful track records.

What’s driving this trend? In some instances, the trend of diversification is due to lucrative opportunities outside of the Personal Injury Law area. In other instances, the trend is due to Tort Reform or the shortage of “good” medical malpractice cases due to limited insurance coverage carried by physicians. Finally, some of this diversification is due to the highly competitive environment for Personal Injury Attorneys. 

The Florida Daily Business Review, a daily newspaper that covers the legal profession, also highlighted this trend in a recent issue. So, if many prestigious plaintiff firms are seeking greener pastures outside of personal injury, whether by choice or by necessity, what does this trend mean for other personal injury firms that seemingly have to fight for every case? This trend should serve as a wakeup call that ‘business as usual’ is no longer going to suffice. We are operating in a climate where consumers are savvier and competition for them is more fierce; where referral sources that in the past have provided you with several lucrative cases every year are drying up; where several law firms in every market are aggressively marketing to consumers; and where nothing can be taken for granted. The mentality that “We’re a small firm and don’t need to market ourselves” or “We don’t believe in marketing- never have and never will” may have been acceptable in the past, but these are dangerous mantras now. 

If you don’t have a well-mapped plan and a strategy for continued success, it’s time to get one. Success, once a given for law firms focused on Personal Injury, is not guaranteed. Survival is now becoming a high-stakes game and as the old gambler’s adage goes “If you are playing poker and can’t identify the chump at the table, it’s probably you.” Take the necessary steps to make sure that you have a plan and strategy that enables your firm’s success in the future.