Petra Pasternak, 11/16/11
Rains Lucia Stern has opened a San Francisco office to handle workers’ compensation and personal injury matters for its police clients.
The Pleasant Hill law firm brought Seth Merrick on board from Jones, Clifford, Johnson, Dehner, Wong, Morrison, Sheppard & Bell to launch the workers’ compensation practice. Merrick, who was an associate at Jones, Clifford, joined in October as an associate attorney.
Separately, Rains Lucia has this month affiliated with The Veen Firm in San Francisco, and Veen attorney Eustace de Saint Phalle is set to handle Rains Lucia’s personal injury trials. De Saint Phalle continues to be employed by the Veen firm and lead a trial team there, even as he takes on an of counsel post with Rains Lucia.
Rockne Lucia Jr. said his firm has for years farmed out workers’ comp cases to lawyers experienced in dealing with law enforcement public employees. The San Francisco office will now be a hub for that work, Lucia said, with Merrick leading the team.
The firm has handled some contingency personal injury matters. Bringing in the Veen firm’s de Saint Phalle is an expansion on those efforts. “Eustace has had a business relationship with a few members of the firm — Harry Stern included,” Lucia said. “We’ve known each other for years.”
De Saint Phalle said the Rains firm has a large volume of personal injury cases coming in the door lately. The two firms started teaming up on some matters involving officers or family members some months ago. Depending on the matter, the two firms co-counsel or The Veen Firm handles the work alone. The firms will split costs and proceeds, he said.
The Veen Firm’s Anthony Label said the arrangement with Rains Lucia is in line with the strategic relationships his firm has developed with about 20 California firms of various specialties. “A lot of our preferred providers are workers’ comp [firms] because that leads to many cross referrals,” Label said. “The workers’ comp lawyers typically have a large-volume, smaller-margin business model. They send us personal injury cases, we send them workers’ comp work.” Label said The Veen Firm is on track to pay about $5 million in referral fees on this year’s cases.