Brian Kent is a personal injury lawyer and co-founder of the law firm Laffey, Bucci & Kent. Based in Pennsylvania, Laffey, Bucci & Kent represents a wide variety of clients who may have experienced injuries as a result of factors such as an unsafe workplace, defective product, auto accident, crime, or medical malpractice. Brian has helped numerous clients reach million-dollar settlements in personal injury cases. In 2008, he who was named a Legal Intelligencer “Lawyer on the Fast Track,” and he has appeared in the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list for eight years running.
EDWIN WARFIELD: Tell us about the firm and your co-founders.
BRIAN KENT: Jeff Laffey is the son of a union carpenter, Frannie Laffey, who was the number two in the carpenters’ union in Philadelphia for a long time. Through Jeff’s contacts and growing up with a lot of union heads and people like that, he—after he went to law school—decided to go into doing workplace injury work, where he is representing a lot of construction workers who are injured on the job—everybody from iron workers, carpenters, steamfitters, plumbers, glazers. To this day, he has been continuously doing that for over a decade, and doing it very well.
My other partner, Paul Bucci, was born and raised in West Virginia, married a Philadelphia girl, which brought him up here, and Paul is one of the finest lawyers in Philadelphia when it comes to catastrophic and workplace injury cases. He had a big hand in the Tropicana Garage collapse case as well as numerous other eight-figure cases, whether they were single incidents involving one person or multiple people. He’s able to take a complex situation and make it very simple for people to understand why other people are responsible for an accident happening.
We all came up from fairly modest backgrounds, but with parents that always instilled in us never to forget where we came from. We describe ourselves as a blue-collar law firm with a blue-collar work ethic. That goes from the way that we deal with people and our relationships with other people, as well as how we do our work. We work very hard, but we’re very personable with the people that trust us with handling their types of cases.
Q. What kinds of attorneys make up the firm?
A. We’ve had a practice at our firm of bringing a lot of Drexel folks on and younger attorneys that have really shown a lot of promise, and it’s been really successful for our firm. We’ve transitioned, though, in the past couple of years—really out of necessity—to start bringing on a lot of more experienced lawyers as well. Originally, we were just bringing in young attorneys, but our caseload has grown so much to the point where we need attorneys to be able to jump in for myself, for my partners—experienced lawyers who can handle everything from A to Z, who aren’t going to have to be taught the tools of the trade. In the past two or three years, we’ve brought on a seasoned defense lawyer who’s handled cases on the opposite side of us for the past 10 years. More recently, we just hired Guy D’Andrea, who was one of the top homicide DAs in Philadelphia, and Guy has sort of come on with me in handling all the abuse and crime victims’ cases. He’s been fantastic.
In addition to handling the catastrophic cases and workplace, and abuse and crime victims’ cases, our firm also have an auto department as well. Our auto department handles everything from slip and fall cases to auto cases, more high-volume cases and whatnot. Brian Lafferty of our firm runs that and he’s been great in handling that. They sort of do their own thing in that regard, but it allows us to really diversify our practice so that we’re not just stuck to one thing, and certainly in these changing times and politics, that can always have an impact on how you are dealing with a certain area of law—whether you are able to do certain things and represent people in certain areas—having that diversity has really been a big impact for us.
We have a very short and sweet philosophy: if somebody is out there that we think is going to be very beneficial to the firm, we’re going to make a spot for them and figure out how to deal with it. Every time we have done that, one, we’ve benefited as a firm; but, two, we’ve been able to do it. Maybe that’s because the person that comes on makes us that better a firm and brings in more revenue for us and does better work on the cases and things like that, but we have a great team, and without that team, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are.
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