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Scott Ritsema - 2012 Attorney of The Year Finalist

Scott Ritsema - 2012 Consumer Attorney of the Year Winner

Scott Ritsema - personal injury attorney

After his stunning $24.7 million verdict in a California product defect case, Scott Ritsema is one of the nominees for the Consumer Attorneys of California “Attorney of The Year” award.  The eventual award winner will be announced at CAOC’s annual convention in San Francisco this November.

Scott joined the Bisnar | Chase Personal Injury Attorneys team in 2008 to use his talents to aid people who have been victims to unforeseen personal injuries and tragedies. Scott enjoys working as a plaintiff's attorney because of the personal satisfaction he receives from representing the really seriously injured against corporate wrongdoers, insurance companies and negligent governmental entities. It is a labor of love for Scott.

In the beginning of Scott’s career he worked as a defense attorney and found that winning cases for corporations and insurance companies gave him professional satisfaction, but very little personal satisfaction. Yes, he had done his job and won for his clients, but he knew he was not representing the side he was passionate about. Since then, he has made it his mission to stand up for people who have suffered serious personal injuries, fight for their rights and to hold the wrongdoers accountable.

A "John Wayne" With True Grit

Scott is a big, quiet type of guy who is very focused on his client's causes. Whenever we see a big Cheshire cat smile on Scott's face when he returns from the court room or from a settlement conference, we know that another client has gotten their fair share of justice at the hands of Mr. Ritsema, kind of like in the movie "True Grit". Imagine John Wayne or Jeff Bridges getting the job done for Mattie Ross and you'll have a picture of the kind of attorney Scott Ritsema is.

What His Bosses Say About Scott Ritsema

"Scott is one of the best attorneys I have ever worked with; he has an uncanny eye for assessing a court room battle. He is the guy you want on your side with you when you go to trial." - Brian Chase, Partner

"Scott’s  litigation instincts, personal tenacity and trial skills are a huge asset in any battle I am glad he is on our side." - John Bisnar, Partner

Professional Outstanding Achievements

Mr. Ritsema has brought 16 trials to verdict and conducted over 50 arbitrations to conclusion. His successful career can be shown in the following verdicts and settlements:

  • Romaine v Johnson Controls:  $24,700,000 jury verdict in an auto accident case where a young women was paralyzed due to a defective seat that collapsed in a rear end accident.,
  • Villamor v Bragonnier: $1,000,000 settlement on automobile v pedestrian collision in 2010
  • Farris v Azusa Pacific University: $1,500,000 judgment against the City of Azusa for dangerous roadway condition and a confidential settlement from Azusa Pacific University for negligence
  • Numerous confidential settlements in excess of $1,000,000, including three in 2010 alone.

Scott's Motivation and Determination

Born in Michigan, Scott moved to California with his family when he was very young and grew up locally in Southern California, primarily right here in Newport Beach. Scott moved back to Michigan with his family for his high school years, graduating from Grandville High School in 1979 near the top of his class, and as a two-year member of the National Honor Society.

Scott’s drive to succeed and become an attorney brought him back to California where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from UCLA in 1984. Shortly after, he took on the challenge of attaining his Juris Doctor by graduating from University of California, Davis Law School in 1988.

Mr. Ritsema was admitted to the California Bar in 1988 and has been practicing law with a passion ever since. He is dedicated to representing the people who need representation the most, the most seriously injured, as is evidenced by the lawyer organizations that he is a part of, the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, American Association for Justice,. Consumer Attorneys of California,. AIEG and by winning the Order of the Coif Award in 1988.

Commitment to Community

Scott places importance on finding time to give back to his community. He actively supports Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and participates in the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure to help raise awareness and generate funds for Breast Cancer research.

Scott Ritsema - kappa sigma personal injury attorney

Husband, Dad, Soccer Coach and Ski Racer

In his rare free time, Scott promotes family time with his wife and his two beautiful daughters. Scott met his wife Kristin in law school at U.C. Davis, and they have been together ever since, now happily married for over 16 years. Kristin has worked for the State Bar of California for over 16 years, currently working as an Assistant Chief Trial Counsel, where she helps protect the public by seeking to discipline or disbar attorneys who violate our profession's ethical rules.

Scott prides himself in being the typical "family guy" when he's not representing clients. He makes coaching his daughter's sports teams a priority in his life, something that he totally enjoys. A former ski racer, Scott enjoys spending time outdoors playing sports and golfing with his family and friends. He values his friendships and makes a point to keep in touch with his college fraternity brothers. Scott organized the first annual UCLA Kappa Sigma reunion six years ago and every year after a group of fifty to sixty fraternity brothers get together in Palms Springs to reconnect,  share stories, relax and golf.

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The BISNAR | CHASE Difference

  • “I was in a serious auto accident when I was in law school. I had to hire a personal injury attorney and had a really bad experience.”

    John Bisnar

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “I went to law school knowing I wanted to be a personal injury attorney. I wanted my life’s work to have a positive impact on other people’s lives.”

    Brian Chase

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “Whatever the philosphy of the management is, is going to be carried through by the employees and it’s going to reflect on the experience the clients have.”

    John Bisnar

    on his philosophy on running a law firm

  • “Everybody either drives in a car or rides in a car, so when I do the auto defect cases I really feel like I’m making the world safer by making vehicles safer.”

    Brian Chase

    on why he focuses on auto defect cases

  • “The first thing we want to do with our clients is to relieve the stress. Make them feel comfortable. Treat them as an honored guest.”

    John Bisnar

    on how he would define superior client representation

  • “Corporate greed is a reality in our world and I see it time and time again. Especially, with the auto defect cases we focus on.”

    Brian Chase

    on corporate greed and how it affects the consumer

  • “You are dealing with people who are seriously injured or have lost a family member...Compassion is understanding someone else’s situation.”

    John Bisnar

    on the role compassion plays in his profession

  • “There are many, many defects in vehicles that can lead to life or death that could be fixed with a mere $40-$50 [on the assembly line].”

    Brian Chase

    on the shocking facts about the vehicles we drive

  • “...if [manufacturers] build a dangerous product and someone is seriously injured from that, some personal inury lawyer is going to call them on the carpet about it.”

    John Bisnar

    on how Bisnar | Chase has helped make the world a better place

  • “I’m convinced, because of all the lawsuits...the auto industry finally found out it was cheaper to fix the problem than to keep paying in the litigation.”

    Brian Chase

    on making the world a safer place

  • “I bring in the best employees that I can and I want them to have a workplace that is condusive to them doing their best work.”

    John Bisnar

    on the work environment created at Bisnar | Chase

  • “When you have a client come in that’s in a wheelchair...or you meet a wife who has lost their husband or they’ve lost their child, it’s diffucult not to get emotionally involved.”

    Brian Chase

    on the biggest challenges he faces as a personal injury lawyer

  • “...it is part of our civic responsibility and it is our great fortune to be in a position to be able to help support our community...”

    John Bisnar

    on the importance of giving back to the community

  • “My motivation of going to law school to have my life’s work help other people...when I see that come to fruition, I’m very pleased and very happy with that.”

    Brian Chase

    on the accomplishments he is most proud of

  • “Seeing the growth of my employees, seeing them mature professionally, personally, and grow into the great professionals they have become is tremendous.”

    John Bisnar

    on the greatest satisfaction derived from his work

  • “I was always jealous of doctors. They get to save lives and they get to heal. I don’t get to do that but I get to have a very big impact on another person’s life...”

    Brian Chase

    on the greatest satisfaction derived from his work

  • “There’s going to people that you meet, that you can mentor...You can make a difference in their lives, you can make a difference in their client’s lives.”

    John Bisnar

    on mentoring young attorneys

  • “I’m the president-elect this year and I’ll be the president next year of the Consumer Advocate Attorneys of California and I find that to be a rewarding thing...”

    Brian Chase

    on being an advocate for the people of California

  • “The Lakers have always been a winning organization, a class organization. I’ve used the Lakers as kind of a model for how to run my practice as well.”

    John Bisnar

    on his passions in life

  • “We try to figure out how we can help [our clients] get through what they’re going through emotionally. Because just getting them compensated is only part of the job.”

    Brian Chase

    on the role compassion plays in his profession

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