Scott Ritsema - Partner
Scott Ritsema became a California personal injury lawyer because he wanted to represent people, not corporations.
Scott is a Partner of Bisnar Chase and has been with the firm since 2008.
He gleans maximum satisfaction from the fact that he is fighting every single day to protect the rights of catastrophically injured individuals and is helping them obtain the only form of justice that is available to them.
For the first decade of his career, Ritsema worked as a defense lawyer representing the interests of large corporations and insurance companies. Over time, he found that while winning cases for those types of clients gave him some professional satisfaction, he got very little personal satisfaction.
Although he did his job well, he was not passionate about his victories. Thus, in 2001, he decided it was time to switch sides and to start representing injured individuals. His experience doing over 10 years of defense work gave him a unique understanding of how to win cases against corporations and insurance companies.
Personal Injury Law - A Calling
For Ritsema, personal injury law practice is not just a job. It's a calling. He realized the tough situations many clients are placed in when they come to a personal injury lawyer.
"These are people who, without us and without the civil justice system, have no recourse, no remedies," he says. "It's no exaggeration when I say they put their lives and their financial future in our hands."
Some may view that as a lot of pressure, but for Ritsema it's a welcome challenge. Recently, Ritsema led a Bisnar Chase legal team that obtained a $30 million judgment for 25-year-old Lucas Vogt, who suffered a catastrophic brain injury in a motorcycle accident.
For Ritsema, the satisfaction in these cases comes from providing a family the means to deal with a catastrophic injury. Ritsema's hope in this case was that Lucas Vogt would be able to have the best recovery, the best quality of life under the circumstances and that he would be able to maximize his time with his young daughter.
He also sees how many of the law firm's catastrophically injured clients face significant physical emotional and financial challenges. It's not just the victims, but also their families that suffer life-changing consequences after a traumatic event such as a catastrophic crash.
Early Life and Education
Ritsema was born in Michigan, but grew up primarily in Newport Beach. He moved back to Michigan in his teens and graduated from Grandville High School in 1979 near the top of his class and as a two-year member of the National Honor Society. Ritsema got his bachelor's degree in psychology from UCLA in 1984 and his law degree from UC Davis in 1988 graduating in the top 10% of his class and receiving the prestigious Order of the Coif Award. He was admitted to the State Bar of California that same year.
Ritsema has brought over 20 trials to verdict and conducted more than 50 arbitrations to conclusion. He has handled more than 25 cases with over $100,000,000 in total recoveries and judgments for our clients.. Here are some of Ritsema's recent case results: This can include settlements, judgments and verdicts.
|Award Amount||Type of Case|
|$38,650,000.00||Motorcycle v. car|
|$24,700,000.00||Jury verdict - auto accident - defective seatback|
|$7,000,000.00||Caustic ingestion case|
|2,000,000.00||Drunk driving accident|
|$1,000,000.00||Auto v. pedestrian|
|$1,500,000.00||Dangerous roadway - negligence|
|$10,030.000.00||Negligence (company confidential)|
Career and Accomplishments
Ritsema belongs to a number of professional organizations including the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, American Association for Justice and Consumer Attorneys of California. Mr. Ritsema was named a Best Lawyer in 2015 by the national publication, BestLawyer. Mr. Ritsema has been named a SuperLawyer every year since 2011, and named a Best Attorney each year since 2015 by publications which rank skill levels within the legal profession.
He was recently named Lawyer of the Year for the State of California by a prestigious legal publication. In 2012, Scott Ritsema and Brian Chase were named Consumer Attorneys of the Year in all of California by the Consumer Attorney of California (CAOC), a professional association for attorneys who represent plaintiffs who seek to hold wrongdoers accountable.
Despite his extremely busy schedule, Ritsema is committed to giving back to his community. He actively supports Mothers Against Drunk Driving and participates in the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure to help raise awareness and generate funds for breast cancer research.
An Important Member of the Bisnar Chase Family
Ritsema says he values the opportunity Bisnar Chase has given him to join the "major leagues" of personal injury litigation. "Bisnar Chase has the best environment of any place I've worked," he says. "This firm is truly unique in that respect."
Ritsema feels as if he has truly found his calling as a personal injury lawyer at Bisnar Chase. "I'm in the company of like-minded people here who have the passion to fight and win for those who have suffered tremendous losses in their lives. I consider it an honor and privilege to be able to give injured clients a voice and to fight for their rights."