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Tag Archives: economy

It’s not easy being an expert these days 

Support firms have to readjust as tight times and tort reform alter the dynamics of litigation Tort reform and the stagnating economy have taken a toll on the expert business, though not necessarily to the extent some might expect. “With tort reform hitting hard in a lot of states, we’re seeing a big push towards mass tort work by the plaintiff’s bar,” said Eric Eckhardt, head of development and sales for Pennsylvania-based Robson Forensics. “So for example, if plaintiff’s lawyers can’t try a case effectively in Texas, they’re moving towards trying cases nationally. They’re networking with other plaintiff’s lawyers to get the payout.”

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Large firm leaders say 2010 wasn’t so awful after all

North Carolina suffered some hard economic punches in 2010, but the state's top law firms weren't knocked out of the ring. In fact, they say they were well-prepared for the fight. Lawyers Weekly surveyed managing partners or other top leaders at 10 of the Tar Heel State's biggest firms to find out how they fared in 2010 and their predictions for 2011.

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Firms find creative ways to celebrate the season

Law firms across the state tightened their belts in 2009 after a year of recession-forced layoffs and cutbacks. This year, although the slow economy is still staring the profession in the face, some firms decided to loosen up the purse strings a little, while others continued to scale back. At Smith Moore Leatherwood's Raleigh office, Brad Risinger said the firm wanted to be frugal. "The emphasis is to protect a nice bonus for the staff," said Risinger, the managing partner of the Raleigh office. At the firm's Greensboro office, employees are traditionally treated to a catered lunch. But one of the real hits of the holiday season was attorney Kent Auberry's (pictured) portrayal of Santa Claus.

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Title insurers feel continued pinch of Great Recession

After a decade of rising revenue, title insurance companies operating in North Carolina saw their numbers fall for the second straight year in 2009. Direct title insurance premiums earned fell to below $115 million for the first time since 2003 after a record high in 2007 of $168 million. Direct premiums earned in 2008 totaled $145 million. Chapel Hill-based Investors Title Insurance Company had the largest market share of N.C. title insurers, with 24.1 percent. It earned $26.8 million in premiums.

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Turf War: Client scarcity fuels battle between rural, urban lawyers

Smithfield attorneys watch as lawyers from Raleigh walk into the Johnston County Courthouse with dozens of traffic-ticket shucks in their hands. In Union County, attorneys are feeling the squeeze as law firms in Charlotte take on more personal-injury cases. And in Pender County, the local bar is trying to change the rules for the indigent-defender list to keep Wilmington-based lawyers from signing up. Turf battles among attorneys are nothing new. But with today's financial pressures, some lawyers in urban areas may be quicker to look for business in outlying counties, according to interviews with attorneys across the state.

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Lousy real estate market makes it harder for couples to split

The collapse of the real estate market and the effects of the recession have thrown the once relatively predictable practice of family law into turmoil, with attorneys having to learn new skills, work harder to calm down anxious clients, and even wait longer for payment. "It's presenting a whole new set of challenges, and we weren't especially well equipped to do that," said Lee Rosen, who practices family law with The Rosen Law Firm in Raleigh. "This is requiring us to relearn what we do. We have to be very creative."

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