“Corporate America is all about profits over people and we will not stop until we get those people justice.” So says Glen Ged, the founding partner of Ged Lawyers, the family-owned law firm that he launched more than 25 years ago. “We’re innovative and entrepreneurial, but above all we’re in the business of changing the perception of lawyers.”
Since its launch in 1995, Ged has successfully claimed $570 million on behalf of clients, specialising particularly in helping medical practitioners ripped off by insurance companies. Insurers routinely underpay practitioners’ claims when they seek reimbursement for the treatments they have given their policyholders, Ged explains; they assume no-one will bring a claim against them for what is typically a small sum for the individual practitioner, even though this widespread practice delivers a chunky total windfall for them. “Lots of practitioners just let this ride because they don’t how to challenge it,” he says.
In that sense, Ged Lawyers has become the bane of these insurers’ lives. In its early years, it built its caseload up slowly but surely, with Ged working out that even though he was claiming only relatively trivial amounts on each claim, the courts would still order insurers to pay his own costs in full. That made it profitable to pursue even the smallest claims against insurers, a gap in the market that other law firms had not spotted.
More recently, Ged has developed its own technology to develop this business at industrial scale. Using software developed specifically for the purpose, it can work its way through a practitioner’s files automatically in order to identify all shortfalls for which reimbursement might be due. The fact that the courts now accept online filings – and that Ged Lawyers moved to a paperless office in 2008 – also streamlines the process. Today, the firm is capable of bringing thousands of claims against insurers each month.
“There is a huge opportunity in the legal profession to focus on innovation and new technology,” says Ged. “We’ve been much less advanced in that regard than most other industries, but my own firm’s experience just proves what is possible.”
Indeed. The exploitation of technology has enabled Ged Lawyers to supercharge its growth. The business’s revenues are up by 99% over the past three years and headcount has nearly doubled. Staff work out of 10 offices across Florida, but Ged is pursuing new offices in several other states – and its embrace of technology made the shift to remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic comparatively painless.
“I always set out to build a law firm that operates much more like a business, running day-to-day in the same way as a corporation,” Ged says, arguing that the traditional partnership model, which dominates the legal profession in many countries, feels increasingly out of date.
That said, Ged is insistent that his mission is to take on big business. His pursuit of insurance companies, enabled by the firm’s business model is a case in point. “It gives clients access to legal representation they would not otherwise be able to afford, levelling the playing field,” he says. “It’s an approach that suits my own personality and I realised early on that I could make a real difference.”
Part of the challenge, Ged adds, is to be more open and transparent in an industry sometimes perceived as not always operating in the best interests of clients.
Here too, technological innovation has played a key role. Ged Lawyers has built an online portal for clients that enables them to check in whenever they like on how their case is being handled – its current status, funds recovered and so on. “The biggest complaint about many lawyers is that they are really bad at communicating, so we thought this could make a huge difference,” he says.
The future for technology-enabled law firms is bright, Ged argues. His own firm continues to bring claims against insurers on behalf of medical practitioners, but also operates in fields including accidents, wrongful death, class action lawsuits and natural disaster recovery compensation cases. One notable example is the firm’s recent role in helping victims of Hurricane Sandy secure compensation.
It’s a career that has brought Ged himself full circle. He started his firm following stints in private practice, including a well-paid job at a leading corporate law partnership. “It just wasn’t for me,” he says. “I didn’t feel close enough to the clients.”