10 Things To Consider When Choosing A Law Firm To Represent Your Interests As A Clergy Abuse Survivor

Its Brian Kent here. Thank you for allowing me to present at the webinar. It was my pleasure.

One of the questions I received after the webinar was from an attendee who has contacted two law firms about representation and wanted to know how to choose between them.

Since the Grand Jury report release, I have noticed several law firms from outside of Pennsylvania specifically target clergy abuse survivors here in Pennsylvania with ads on TV and social media. Like my law firm, they are accepting new clients who are survivors of clergy abuse, even where the statute of limitations has expired. However, I do not know if they are also willing to help survivors with a fund claim.

Here are 10 things I would consider if I were in your shoes:

  1. Has the law firm actually handled a civil case against the church in the past? If so, what was the outcome?
  2. Who would be the attorneys you are working with if you do retain them? What percentage of their work involves representing survivors of sexual abuse? What experience do they have?
  3. Has the firm ever been involved in assisting clergy abuse survivors through a fund process? This is important, as the fund option may be the only recourse depending on how the window legislation moves ahead in 2019.
  4. Where is the law firm located? Are they familiar with the PA catholic church structure? Are they local so you can meet them if necessary?
  5. How do they treat their clients? Check their reviews online. Search the name of the firm and reviews. Or ask the firm for references.
  6. In the event there is no window passed by the legislature, will the firm just drop you, or will they represent you through a church fund process, or other process?
  7. How many similar cases are they currently working on? Are you just a number in a large pool of people?
  8. Will the law firm treat the case as a class action or individual civil claim?
  9. What fees will you need to pay the firm? Is it purely contingency fee? Are you responsible for any fees and expenses should the case not work out?
  10. If you dismiss the firm from representing you or seek to change counsel, is there a clause that would result in a lien being placed on future recoveries for work performed to date? If so, what are the rates they charge?

Knowing all this information will help you choose a firm that aligns closer to what is important to you. I believe it is important to be transparent so expectations are set. If you do consider my firm as one of the firms you are looking at, we will be sure to outline all of the above so you can make an informed decision as to whether we are a good fit for your needs.

If you have any questions about any of the 10 points above, don’t hesitate to contact me via email: BKent@laffeybuccikent.com or call my office: (215) 544-3580.