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TRIAL LAWYERS for the People, in Pursuit of Justice

Layfield & Barrett Trial Attorneys Refuse to Back Down, Insist on Remaining at the Forefront of Technology, Training, and Education, and Refuse to Settle for Anything Less Than Their Injured Clients Deserve


"We are trial lawyers for the people—a full-service law firm, vibrant and hard-working, filled with a passion to bring justice to people on a contingency fee arising from accidents, defective products, business disputes, wrongly handled insurance claims, employment and workers' rights cases, police misconduct and more," says Founder and Managing Partner of Layfield & Barrett Trial Attorneys, APC (Layfield & Barrett).
As a firm with more than 95 staff members and 24 attorneys, Layfield & Barrett serves victims of catastrophic injuries from across the nation, with offices in Los Angeles; Park City, UT; San Diego; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Scottsdale, AZ. However, their largest office is the firm's Irvine office, where Layfield has been based for the last 3 years. Under his direction and vision, the firm has grown a whopping 500% over the last 3 years, in terms of attorneys, staff, cases and revenue. Most recently, in January 2016 the firm officially became Layfield Barrett Trial Attorneys, APC, when Joe Barrett, one of California's most respected trial attorneys, who was formerly with The Cochran Firm, joined forces with Layfield and his team of aggressive, creative, and highly skilled trial lawyers.
"Our typical client is a person who was catastrophically injured in a violent event that lasted maybe one second but changed their life forever, or someone who has been wronged by a corporation, government or insurance company for a unique reason. Our niche is trying to bring economic justice and positive change to such people, who trust and rely upon our firm," says Layfield.


"Only by being a Trial Lawyer for the People can I truly obtain the blessing of both doing good and doing well, as the late Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. said. I can care for those I serve, provide great career opportunities for the people I work with, and bring justice to the folks we serve. Nothing is more rewarding," says L&B partner Joe Barrett. He isn't just blowing smoke, either. His firm routinely takes cases that even some of the largest plaintiff's firms reject, and turns them into economic justice for victims. Such was the case last year when one of the firm's partners settled a case for a teenager who fell out of her thirdfloor bedroom window one night, resulting in a tragic and lifechanging accident. "Through tenacious legal work, we changed her life for the better. Now she has a house, medical resources, and she's doing everything she can to learn to cope with her disabilities. She's in college. Many others looked at the facts of that case and said there was nothing to be done. There was no solution. We find solutions where others give up. The breadth of our collective experience and the network of experts and consultants we work with give us this unique advantage."
Likewise, in the past year, one of L&B's partners took on a case that was referred to him wherein a man was horribly injured in a rock crushing operation in Irvine. Layfield recalls, "The case was days away from the Statute of Limitation ending all hope. Major firms in LA and Orange County had turned it down. Joe saw a potential path to victory. There was a giant worker's compensation lien. Unfortunately, no one saw what happened, so the only hope was a product defect case. Working with a great team of experts, Joe found many things others never knew. The company who made the product was from right here in Orange County. Joe researched the history of the product and potential safety devices which may have prevented the injury, through nationwide investigation, patent research and site visits in the Southwestern states of similar apparatus. Joe had a model of the machine to demonstrate what happened and how it could be fixed. Joe took a case with no hope, hardly a pulse and settled it for millions, weeks before it was set to start trial. Now the man will have lifetime medical care, and his family is set for life."
Clearly the way that Layfield & Barrett goes after cases that others won't accept is testament to their dedication to serving as Trial Lawyers for the People. "No company is too powerful, no governmental organization is too influential and no insurance company too big for us to go head to head against." But where does the drive to fight so hard for regular people come from? According to Layfield, it comes from the fact that both he and Barrett are regular people too, who share the same passion to go to any lengths to secure justice for those who have been wronged, or injured at the hands of someone else.


Growing up in an Irish immigrant household, Barrett recalls being acutely aware of the fact that the working class needed protection. "People needed advocates to speak for them, I realized that I could help change the world one case at a time, through the law, and I wanted to be a force for change." As such, after earning his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Barrett decided to pursue his law degree as well, inspired in large part by his father.
"My dad was a saint. He worked hard all of his life. He was a great father, husband and leader in his community. He was the first in the family to go to college on the GI Bill after serving in the U.S. Army in the Korean War Era. My dad fulfilled a dream to become a lawyer later in life, with five kids, a mortgage and all the obligations he had. He went to night school for many years, and passed the Massachusetts Bar Exam. Though he only practiced as a lawyer for a few months, he used his legal knowledge through his career as a human resources leader and college professor. He taught me what perseverance was about— humility, courage, and family first."
Not surprisingly, Barrett inherited this same passion for helping regular people and his own courage prompted him to leave behind his beloved New England for sunny Southern California. Working as a security guard upon arriving in Los Angeles, Barrett started law school at night, when his only transportation was a "bicycle with one pedal and no brakes. I had no resources," he says. By 1989, he'd earned his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law. "I made it happen with loans, hard work, and commitment," he says.
Layfield also learned the lessons of hard work at an early age. "I got my first job as a dishwasher at age 14, and quickly realized how difficult it was to earn a dollar. My grandfather, who basically raised me during the summers, was a lawyer. He was an amazing man. He always believed in me and taught me that doing the right thing is the only way to live. He died of cancer when I was 17, and I have basically supported myself since then. I felt it was my calling to keep his legacy going in honor of him and my grandmother who was still alive when I entered law school," he says. His drive to pursue a career in law was further reinforced in college at the University of Arizona. "I was in college during the O.J. Simpson trial and was captivated by the power of true advocacy," Layfield says. After earning his B.S. in Finance, he went on to graduate from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1999.
To this day Layfield says, "I often think about my grandfather and analyze situations based on what I think he would do."
And of course, the irony of the fact that the O.J. Simpson trial had such an impact on him, and he's now partners with one of Johnnie Cochran's former partners is certainly not lost on Layfield, either.
However, Layfield has never forgotten just how expensive law school was, and as such has made it a priority to help young lawyers he brings on, to get real lawyering experience. "I can remember many occasions where I didn't have money for books or rent. I graduated with about $150,000 in student loans. Starting salaries for attorneys are still not much different than when I graduated. That's a huge problem. They are allowing people to graduate with basically no life skills and no marketable skills other than reciting case law. Luckily for me, once I got out of law school, I quickly realized that my life skills [namely, that I had held a job for so many years] gave me a huge advantage over the lawyers who got their first jobs ever after law school."

Layfield opened his own firm out of what he refers to as necessity. "The job I wanted did not exist," he says simply. "I had a vision for what a premier trial firm needed to look like, and I decided to invest all of the firm's profits on building a very strong team and infrastructure years ago." The decision has paid off in spades, to say the least. That team is today nationally renowned for their absolute refusal to back down when it comes to fighting for their clients' rights.
"There are a lot of personal injury firms who are great at settling cases. We are entirely designed for trial. Every single action we take from the start is based on the approach that we are going to trial, and we embrace that. Of course, we make demands early on, but we hold true to our demands. If we have valued a case at $1 Million, we hold true to it. If the insurance company comes back and offers $850,000, we are going to trial. This is not posturing. We are not being unreasonable. This is what we do. We mean what we say and we back it up. The only other alternative is to acquiesce and we don't do that," Layfield says calmly.
Continuing he says, "I have a no-nonsense approach to everything I do. I don't have time for games. If I think defense counsel or a defendant is lying, I will expose them to the judge and jury. This offends people sometimes because most people will look the other way. Because of the sheer number of trials I've done, I have come to learn that many people will lie in open court. That is unacceptable to me. Unfortunately, many of our opponents have learned that they can benefit from being dishonest. I am willing to take on the most difficult issues head on both inside and outside the firm," he says.
Of course, opponents of Layfield & Barrett know that the relentless plaintiff's firm means what they say when they make a demand, so cases are obviously settled frequently, but not for less than what Layfield knows his clients deserve. That's due in part to the fact that the firm operates on a model of Client Concierge Services.
"I want attorneys and staff that are the best of the best. While building the firm from just myself to almost 100 of the best professionals I've ever worked with, unfortunately we've had to go through a lot of people to get the best. I am ok with that reality. I am here to win for my clients, not just to be friends with people," he says candidly.
But when it comes to injured or harmed clients, there is almost nothing Layfield & Barrett won't do to take care of them. "We organize our firm into trial teams and will dedicate as many resources as necessary to win a case and maximize value. Every case is staffed with a lead counsel, typically with 10-30 years of experience, a Senior Associate with more than 5 years of experience and a paralegal. Anytime a client calls they will reach someone who will be able to help them with their case," Layfield says. In addition, the firm assigns treatment managers to injured victims to ensure that they have transportation to any and all medical appointments, free of charge.

It's no secret that lawyers graduating today have very little access to actual trial work, unless they decide to work as a prosecutor. Or, unless they are fortunate to join Layfield & Barrett. In addition to having invested more than $1 Million in technology over the past year to ensure that no plaintiff's firm is more organized, efficient, and that documents are protected, indexed, and accessible to attorneys at any time, Layfield & Barrett also invests a significant amount of money into training new lawyers who join the firm.
"Because we work on contingency we are not worried about billable hours with our younger lawyers; they will come and sit 2nd or 3rd chair on trials, and our clients are not paying for that, like the defendants are paying their attorneys. We are giving young attorneys courtroom and trial experience, along with added effort, at no cost to our clients," he says. However, the firm does invest its own money in additional advocacy training and trial skills by paying for its own attorneys to attend such prestigious educational institutions and organizations including the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College and the Keenan Ball Trial College.
This investment on Layfield's part is due to his commitment to providing only the best trial advocacy for his clients, regardless of the cost to him personally. "The way we present cases is uniquely the best mix of trial lawyer skills and technology. Our case management and inter-firm communication is streamlined, paperless and indexed. We utilize a project management approach to case work up and often involve teams of 10 to 15 professionals, simultaneously, including doctors, nurses, data specialists and accountants. We bring the skills to the team so the team can win. The three qualities of a top-shelf firm are talent, case acquisition and capital to invest in the business and cases. We choose our cases wisely, and we make ourselves better trial lawyers with each case. In our spare time, we stay hungry, dream big and set achievable goals." "We have a long track record of success achieving perhaps $400 million in results over the years. Our work has made vehicles safer. Police Departments have been made more responsible. Public and private places are safer for our families, our elderly and our children," he says. As for the future, Layfield says that the firm will continue to grow, amass awards, and give back to the community. "We've recently established the Layfield & Barrett Foundation which will be focused on direct giving to the communities we serve through a variety of programs, including a scholarship program," Layfield says. In addition, he fully expects to continue to help injured and wronged clients, and even referring attorneys. "We look for great challenges and remember to treat referral lawyers the way I would like to be treated, giving them information, tactical approaches, and great financial benefits."



  • University of Arizona (B.S. Finance) 1996
  • University of San Diego School of Law 1999


  • National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 in California
  • SuperLawyer, 2012 to present
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel (Top 1%)
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Club
  • The Recorder's Top Verdicts in California 2013 and 2014
  • The Litigator Awards Top Litigators 2015


  • The American Association of Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America)
  • Western Trial Lawyers Association
  • Consumer Attorneys of California Board Member
  • Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Santa Monica County Bar Association

  • Southwestern University School of Law, J.D., 1989
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • B.A. Journalism/Political Science, 1981
  • New England School of Law, 1987
  • Magdalen College, Oxford University, 1988


  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Los Angeles Trial Lawyers' Charities (LATLC) 2015
  • ABOTA - Associate Rank, 2003 - present
  • National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 in California
  • SuperLawyer, 2006 - present
  • President's Award, CAOC, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • CAOC Trial Lawyer of the Year Candidate, 2008
  • CAOC Streetfighter of the Year, Candidate, 2008
  • CAALA Trial Lawyer of the Year, Candidate, 2008


  • CAALA Board of Governors 1999-present (Emeritus status)
  • CAALA President 2015
  • CAOC Board of Governors

Philip Layfield
Layfield & Barrett
9170 Irvine Center Drive Suite 100
Irvine, CA 92618


Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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About the Author: Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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