SUGARMAN sets precedent as leading personal injury firm

Issue November/December 2016

What types of law does your firm handle?

Plaintiff's personal injury litigation.

Any particular areas of specialization, niche (type of law, geography) where the firm has made a name for itself?

SUGARMAN is one of the oldest firms in New England that devotes its practice almost exclusively to plaintiff's personal injury litigation, handling cases from the claim stage through trial and, when necessary, through appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court and the federal appellate courts.

What firm attribute do clients find most attractive?

The firm provides a very personal and attentive approach, where clients are in direct contact with the partners handling their case. SUGARMAN attorneys consistently achieve outstanding results for their clients, while providing compassionate and ethical representation.

Briefly describe a recent "win" or client success story that the firm is proud of.

SUGARMAN partners have obtained several multi-million dollar awards and settlements in the past year, and are proud of every successful settlement, judgment or award, regardless of its size. Examples from this past year include a $5 million settlement to the family of a woman killed by a runaway tire, a $5.5 million settlement obtained by partner Ben Zimmermann for a 60-year-old career teacher and school administrator who suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a driverless bus, and a $2.2 million arbitration award obtained by partner David McCormack for the family of a 68-year-old man who died as a result of complications of narcotic pain medications following routine hip surgery.

Describe a recent pro bono project the firm has undertaken.

As a small firm, SUGARMAN encourages its attorneys to volunteer their individual time to pro bono efforts important to them. Managing partner Benjamin R. Zimmermann recently joined the Board of Directors for Greater Boston Legal Services, an organization which provides free legal assistance and representation on civil matters to hundreds of needy residents in the area. Newest partner, Stacey L. Pietrowicz, is currently involved with the Women's Bar Foundation Family Law Project, representing victims of domestic violence in family law matters on a pro bono basis. These are some recent examples, however, pro bono work and civic engagement are important to all SUGARMAN attorneys.

Is your firm regularly active with any charitable or civic organization outside of the MBA?

The firm has been active with The Home for Little Wanderers, an organization providing services to children, for many years and in many ways. Each year the firm supports and attends The Home's Annual Voices and Visions Event, fulfills a "wish list" for children at the Harrington House, and provides backpacks and school supplies to the children. As the opportunity arises, SUGARMAN will close its doors and attorneys and staff will spend the day at the Harrington House, working on projects to improve the home and the lives of its residents, and getting to know the children who live there. Past projects include creating a playroom, stocking it with books, games and furniture and an art room, complete with donated easels and art supplies.

Anything to announce in the coming year?

SUGARMAN, as of 2016, has engaged in a collaboration with Shapiro & Associates, to provide expanded legal representation for federal workers seeking benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act. Daniel Shapiro, founder and principal of Shapiro & Associates, has grown the firm into one of the country's largest single providers of legal services for injured federal employees. The two firms will now collaborate to provide additional resources to this robust practice, while holding true to SUGARMAN's primary mission, which is to provide top-of-the line representation to personal injury victims. In addition, SUGARMAN is pleased to announce that Suffolk University Law School graduate, Rosa M. Guambana, will become the firm's newest associate, following the February 2017 bar exam.

Name at least one fact about the firm that people might be surprised to learn?

SUGARMAN founder Paul Sugarman, who was honored to serve as Dean of Suffolk University Law School from 1990-1994, tried and appealed cases that to this day form the basis of product liability and wrongful death law in Massachusetts. His SUGARMAN partners have followed in this tradition and continue to make precedent-setting law in the field of personal injury as recently as 2016.

Why is it important to have all the lawyers in your firm members of the MBA?

The MBA vigorously promotes access to justice, is committed to preserving the integrity of the jury system guaranteed by the constitution, and encourages attorneys to be involved in the legal and non-legal communities. All of the attorneys at SUGARMAN are proud to be a part of the MBA.

In what way(s) do you find the MBA beneficial to the lawyers in your firm?

On an individual basis, SUGARMAN attorneys enjoy involvement as committee members, in leadership roles, as educators and as volunteers. Firm founder Paul Sugarman is a past president of the MBA, while other partners have served appointments and leadership roles within the Civil Litigation Section Council. SUGARMAN attorneys frequently lecture on personal injury topics at MBA continuing legal education programs. For newer associates, MBA membership provides networking and relationship-building opportunities with new and seasoned lawyers, and consistent access to high-quality continuing legal education.

Are there any specific MBA programs you find particularly helpful to your firm?

Having on-demand access to continuing legal education forums and new and important developments in personal injury law and other areas of law are valuable benefits to SUGARMAN attorneys.

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