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HONORING THEIR VOW

Since 1978 Bisnar|Chase has upheld their commitment to provide “superior client representation” to referring attorneys and their clients.

"Trial attorneys are the best check and balance against corporate greed,” says Brian Chase, Senior Partner at Bisnar|Chase, and President Elect of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC). “It is an honor and privilege to represent regular people in fighting corporate giants, insurance companies and governmental agencies,” he adds.
For Chase and his team at Newport Beach based Bisnar|Chase, those regular people include not only victims of catastrophic injuries and wronged employees, but also fellow attorneys. “Most of our clients are referred to us by former clients and other attorneys. We try all kinds of personal injury cases ranging from smaller auto accidents to catastrophic injury (including death cases) caused by accidents, negligence or defective products. We also try employment rights cases on the side of employees,” he explains.
This steadfast commitment to representing victims only began with a vow made by the firm’s Managing Partner John Bisnar in the mid 1970’s. After serving in the military as a draftee in Southeast Asia in the late 1960’s, and attending college on the G.I. Bill, Bisnar was accepted at Pepperdine University School of Law. Just one month into law school, he was seriously injured in a traffic collision.
Not knowing any better, Bisnar hired his torts law professor to represent him in his case. It was a terrible experience. After graduating law school, Bisnar launched Bisnar & Associates in 1978, and vowed to always “be the type of attorney he wished he’d had.” That vow has stood the test of time, and now 36 years later, continues to serve as the M.O. for Bisnar|Chase.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT
Meanwhile, Brian Chase was growing up as a financially poor teen in a rough Southern California neighborhood. “We didn’t have much, but we also didn’t want for anything. I honestly didn’t know I was poor because I had such a loving, supportive family,” he recalls. However, what he had was an inherent sense of justice. Seeing people being taken advantage of bothered him immensely.
22“When I was a teenager the Ford Pinto verdict came down and it opened my eyes to corporate greed. The fact that Ford’s in-house bean counters determined that it would be cheaper to pay an estimated $200K per person they killed, than spend a few dollars to fix the Pinto’s gas tank disturbed me,” he says.
As such, Chase went to law school knowing that he wanted to be a personal injury trial attorney. “I didn’t stumble into being a personal injury trial attorney. I am very passionate about helping people whose lives have been damaged by the greed I see in many corporations that consistently place profits over people and safety. The attitude of profits over people makes me angry,” he says. With that passion, Chase knew that work in personal injury would fulfil the two main objectives he hoped his life’s work would provide. “I wanted my life to have a positive substantive impact on other peoples’ lives, and I wanted my career to be intellectually stimulating and challenging,” he says.

Chase was so convinced personal injury was his destiny he took a job with Bisnar & Associates while still in college. “Bisnar reluctantly hired me as a favor to a friend, on a temporary part-time basis as an office assistant. I did whatever odd jobs needed to be done, just to get some experience,” Chase recalls.
By the time Chase got to law school (also at Pepperdine), and had the opportunity to clerk for an insurance defense firm, he was more convinced than ever that plaintiffs’ work was his calling. “I got a job offer from the defense firm, but I saw that one of the associates had just made partner after seven years, and was finally doing his first trial. I knew that wasn’t for me. I chose the plaintiffs’ firm of Bisnar & Associates and was in a five day jury trial within a week of being sworn in,” he says. For Chase, diving headfirst into trial work as a new attorney proved to be the best professional decision of his life.

PERFECT UNION OF TRUST & PASSION
After five years and multiple trials, Chase approached his boss about a partnership. “Bisnar had built his law firm from scratch. He was a great businessman, an accomplished negotiator and knew how to manage people. We shared a passion for doing the right thing by the clients. He was and is a man of integrity and got great results for his clients,” Chase says.
Continuing he adds, “He was content with operating a relatively small firm. The firm did no marketing. I knew that with my trial skills, my fire to grow the law firm, to do bigger cases and to serve more people that together we could build something great. I proposed he run the business and marketing programs to non-attorneys, while I attended to running litigation and marketing to attorneys. From there we formed Bisnar|Chase, Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP.”

The division of labor proved to be a winning strategy. As partners, Bisnar and Chase built on the firm’s original vow, by defining their mission: “’Provide superior client representation in a compassionate and professional manner, while experiencing high job satisfaction and making our world a safer place.’ Experiencing high job satisfaction includes enjoying the process in a supportive team environment,” says Chase.
Chase focused on doing what he does best, running the litigation department and trying cases. “We do all types of personal injury cases ranging from smaller auto accident cases up to major catastrophic injury and death cases. My word is my bond. If I give my word, it’s a done deal. That wouldn’t have been unique in the old days but with today’s contentiousness between attorneys, it is a lost art.”
Chase carved out a few personal injury sub-specialties in areas he is passionate about. “I’m heavily involved in defective product cases. I love the challenge and we have been very successful with many different types such as machinery, heavy equipment, consumer items and vehicles. The defect cases I have completed the most and really enjoy are auto defects, including defective seats, seat belt failures, airbag failures, rollovers, roof crush, fires, tires and tread separations,” says Chase. “In our auto defect cases we literally become a mini auto manufacturer. We perform our own testing on vehicles to prove their defects and discover alternative safer designs. We have spent millions of dollars in testing vehicles for defects and testing fixes that the auto industry could have used to make their vehicles safer.”

“Years ago, I represented a young girl who was rendered a paraplegic by an automobile seatbelt failure. Even though she was confined to a wheel chair, she was more upbeat and cheerful than I. When I would be overwhelmed fighting her case, she would lift my spirits. Sadly, she died of complications from her injuries before I got her case to trial. Just before trial, the automaker settled her parents’ wrongful death case. She taught me to keep my spirits up and to keep fighting for what is right in the face of all odds and obstacles. I often think of her. She was my first auto defect case and my first multiple seven figure victory. I’d like to think that the financial loss to the automaker had some impact in safer seatbelts in cars today,” Chase recalls.
Chase’s clear passion for personal injury work led him to serve as lead attorney on four important, precedent-setting appellate opinions: Schreiber v. Estate of Kiser (a California Supreme Court case dealing with expert witness designations); Hernandez v. State of California (dealing with governmental design immunity); Martinez v. Ford Motor Company (an auto products case dealing with Forum Non Conveniens); Romine v Johnson Controls (an auto products case dealing with consumer expectation test for defect).

RESULTS FOR REFERRING ATTORNEYS
Chase also specializes in taking on last minute trials for other attorneys. “We are a trial firm, not a settlement firm. Many PI firms will do whatever they can to avoid a trial due to the dramatic increase in work, expense and the chance of losing. We don’t avoid trial. We conduct a considerable amount of trials each year; nearly every month we’re in trial. A lot of our trials are for other law firms.”
“Sometimes our colleagues will get into a case that demands more resources than their firm can commit. Some cases require hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs or thousands of hours of work. Many PI firms can’t accommodate those demands, so they bring us in to pick up the ball and run with it for them,” he explains.
“Referring attorneys are an integral part of our practice. We do what we can to take care of them. Our primary job for the referring attorney is to make them look good. We assure them their referral will experience first class client care. From the person who answers the telephone, to the paralegals, to the trial attorneys, we are focused on delivering the best client experience in our  industry. We call it micro-managing the client experience. Getting the client results is a major part of that equation. ” Chase says.

21Referring attorneys receive whatever degree of communication and involvement they prefer. “Some attorneys want regular updates. Some want to be involved. Some just want to know when the case is completed. We work with each referring law firm to determine what level of communication and involvement they want and we provide it.”
“Some of our biggest cases have been referred from other attorneys. These are seven and eight figure cases,” he says. Chase guarantees prompt delivery of referral fees. “Their referral fee check is cut before we get our fee. It feels good to make someone’s day. Just this month we paid a referral fee to an attorney on a very difficult case, where the amount was more than he makes in years. It felt great to succeed for the attorney,” Chase says.
Chase isn’t just blowing smoke. Referring attorneys are happy to attest to their experience with Chase and his team. B. Robert Farzad, Orange County Family Law Attorney says, “Trust is the foundation of any referral relationship and I will only send referrals to attorneys I trust. Bisnar|Chase is my first and go-to law firm for any serious or catastrophic injury case. They do not disappoint. They get results. They promptly and joyously pay referral fees consistent with the law. The satisfaction I receive knowing Bisnar|Chase will take great care of my referrals and that care will result in a happy client matters most.”

THE FUTURE OF THE GROWING BISNAR|CHASE FAMILY
“As a firm and as individuals, we care deeply about our clients and team members. We have a cooperative team environment staffed by super stars in every position. We are the Bisnar|Chase family and our clients and referring attorneys are part of that extended family,” Chase says. “We reward our team for a job well done, and encourage balanced lives. Our employees are a priority. We assist them in reaching their personal goals in the same way they play an integral part in assisting the firm to reach its goals. As a result, we have three “Best Places to Work” awards and very low turnover. No one is any better than anyone else at our firm. We’re all equal, and we’re all equally committed to providing superior client representation in a compassionate and professional manner.”
“We have always felt that if you do right by the clients, the business will take care of itself, and it has. I think, to truly be successful you have to do something you enjoy, with a purpose, for a cause that is bigger than you. And do it with passion,” Chase adds.


20» EDUCATION

  • 1992 JD, Pepperdine School of Law, Associate Editor of Pepperdine Law Review. 2 publications in the Law Review

» AWARDS

  • 2004 Product Liability Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, Orange County Trial Lawyers Association
  • 2007 – 2014 Listed as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the American Trial Lawyers Association
  • 2009 Named Top Lawyer in Orange County by OC Metro magazine
  • 2010 Named Top 50 Orange County Super Lawyer by Orange Coast magazine for the fourth consecutive year
  • 2012 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, Consumer Attorneys Association of California
  • 2012 Trial Lawyer of the Year Nominee, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles

» AFFILIATIONS

  • Past President of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association
  • 2014 President Elect of the Consumer Attorneys of California (President in 2015)
  • Author Still Unsafe at Any Speed, book dealing with auto defects
  • Frequent national lecturer on personal injury litigation related topics
  • Frequent guest on radio and television, including appearances on Fox News, CBS Special Reports, CBS News, Larry On The Law, and America’s Best Lawyers
  • AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell
  • ABOTA Member

» NOTEABLE CASES

  • Lead attorney on four important, precedent-setting appellate opinions: Schreiber v. Estate of Kiser (a California Supreme Court case dealing with expert witness designations); Hernandez v. State of California (dealing with governmental design immunity); Martinez v. Ford Motor Company (an auto products case dealing with Forum Non Conveniens); Romine v Johnson Controls (an auto products case dealing with consumer expectation test for defect).

Contact:
Brian Chase
Bisnar|Chase, Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP
www.BestAttorney.com
AttorneyReferral@BisnarChase.com
ChasePersonal@BisnarChase.com
(949) 752-2999
1301 Dove St. Suite 120
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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