10.       A big solo case looks big

At least $10 million in hard damages

9.         A little case may count as a big case if it involves conduct that affects a lot of people

Competitors and business customers:  Monopolization, price-fixing, territory or customer allocation, limit of supply, boycott, tying products

Buyers, sellers, and owners of securities:  Securities fraud, officer and director breach of fiduciary duty, minority oppression

Consumers:  Deceptive trade practices, fair credit reporting,

Current and ex-employees:  Overtime, pension, and health benefits

8.         Any client may bring you the big case

Businesses, including (especially) ones in bankruptcy

Local governments

Employees of large companies

Trade groups, business associations, and employee organizations

7.         You can improve your chances of getting the big case by watching legal developments

Legal publications

            Law360, American Lawyer

National press

            — The Wall Street Journal

            — Bloomberg and Reuters

Firm newsletters and websites


            — Blawgletter.com


6.         Act promptly

Limitations may be running

Avoid overanalysis paralysis

Most cases organize fast

Having relationships expedites the process

5.         Identify a handful of lawyers, not law firms

Law firms don’t try cases, lawyers do

4.         Consider the lawyers’ available resources and track record


Ability to fund litigation expenses

Ability to project lawyers where necessary

Local and national reputation

3.         Make contact with at least two but get confidentiality from all

Competition works

Make contact personally

Working relationships matter

Confidentiality agreement protects the client and you

2.         Negotiate and sign a fee agreement

ABA rules require (a) proportionate division or joint responsibility for representation, (b) client approval in writing, and (c) reasonableness.  Mod. R. Prof. Cond. 1.5(e).

Agreement should define relationships (e.g., lead counsel, responsibility for costs, decision-making process)

1.         Don’t be shy!

Nobody resents getting your first call

If you don’t ask, you won’t get

Barry Barnett

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