What drives Michael S. Burg is something he never thought he’d see in his lifetime—everyday people losing faith in the legal system. But the founder and shareholder of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. isn’t surprised it’s happening.
“Legislatures are taking away individual rights and the ability to get fair compensation,” Burg explains. “People don’t realize that their rights are at risk.”
Using the September gas explosions in Lawrence and Andover, Mass. as an example, Burg explains that many public utilities commissions are entering into agreements with state governments to limit their liability. Politicians, not juries, decide the compensation victims receive.
“Many other firms aren’t willing to take on the risk of going to trial,” he says. “The only way you’re going to be able to get an excellent settlement for your clients is if they know you’re ready to go to trial.”
The erosion of these personal protections is why he and his team of more than 60 lawyers take consumer advocacy cases.
“We are the last line of defense to help consumers,” says Burg. “The corporations are running this country now, and it’s up to us to continue to fight on behalf of individuals. If we don’t, they’re not going to have any access to the system.”
With six offices in Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, Wyoming, Florida, and New Mexico, Burg Simpson is able to offer representation anywhere in the country. And they have the experience to get the best possible results for their clients.
The firm’s lawyers have been named as national lead counsel and earned federal court appointments in many significant consumer advocacy cases such as YAZ/Yasmin®, Heparin, Bextra/Celebrex, and Zyprexa®. They’ve also received numerous awards including 25 listings in The Best Lawyers in America©, No. 1 Product Liability, Mass Tort, and Class Action Plaintiffs in the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation, and No. 1 National Products Liability Firm from Martindale Hubbell.
Those award-winning lawyers meet directly with clients and work on every case, says Burg. That’s because it’s essential for the lawyers “to understand how important every case is to the individuals who are harmed and for those same people to know who is serving as their advocate.”
“When you’re dealing with insurance companies and you’re dealing with large corporations, they know who we are and they know we’re ready, willing, and able to take a case to trial,” he says.
With diverse trial experience in everything from business/commercial litigation and mass torts to medical malpractice and personal injury, Burg Simpson lawyers have the expertise it takes to garner significant awards.
People don’t realize that their rights are at risk.
The Reality of Trials
They’re sharing their knowledge about trying cases with the next generation of lawyers to make sure everyday people continue to have access to the courts. Serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law since 1995, Burg says real life cases show students how important strategy is.
“I teach trial tactics,” he explains. “Many times the case will change in the middle of the trial. You have to be listening to what’s going on, to be aware.”
Knowing that strategy inside and out makes it possible to make changes on the fly. That’s what Burg Simpson does well. The lawyers work in teams in order to leverage the skills of multiple legal professionals. Burg uses the example of selecting witnesses to illustrate another aspect of the firm’s approach.
“For example, in an insurance case we’re looking for an expert who has testified for both sides,” he says. “An expert for the plaintiff who has testified for an insurance company and worked with them is going to come across as unbiased.”
All a good plaintiff’s lawyer needs is a fair trial, but the playing field isn’t always level, Burg continues. That’s why Burg Simpson also pays attention to what’s happening in other court cases so that they’re prepared with current information. How judges handle their cases is a big part of that, which is why the firm includes researching judges as part of their trial strategy.
“I’ve been doing this for over 40 years and today the political appointments that are made in the Federal and state courts may be more important than your case,” says Burg. “We do this work because we’re dedicated to our clients. You have to have that kind of passion to help people.”
Their approach works. The firm has collected over $1 billion in verdicts, judgments, and settlements on behalf of its clients.