Scott Ritsema became a California personal injury lawyer to represent people, not corporations.
Scott is a partner at 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 helping them obtain the only form of justice available to them.
Throughout his career, Mr. Ritsema has brought hundreds of cases to settlement or verdict. He is a strong force in the courtroom and a compassionate listener to his clients.
2024 Top Lawyer: American Institute of Legal Advocates
Mr. Ritsema has been named a Top Lawyer for 2024 by the American Institute of Legal Advocates for the seventh year. A prestigious honor given to the best in the legal field.
2024 Litigator of the Year - AIOTL
Mr. Ritsema has been named 2024 Litigator of the Year by the American Institute of Trial Lawyers, a prestigious honor for the best of the best in the legal community.
2023 Top 25 Product Liability Lawyers
The National Trial Lawyers‘ specialty associations are invitation-only groups of top trial attorneys from each state or region who satisfy rigorous requirements to practice civil plaintiff and criminal defense law.
Peer nominations, along with independent research are two of the criteria that go into the selection process, which is comprehensive, objective, and consistently applied. Only a few best lawyers from each state or region are granted membership. These notable people exhibit exceptional qualifications for leadership, notoriety, influence, prominence, and public profile as determined by impartial standards that are consistently applied and in accordance with state bar and model rule.
2024 Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney
Scott Ritsema has been named for a fifth consecutive year as a Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney by the prestigious Attorney and Practice magazine for his commitment to excellence and results in and out of California courtrooms.
The Top 10 Attorney Award from Attorney and Practice Magazine is a distinction given solely to lawyers who have shown the greatest level of proficiency in their practice. Due to our strict standards, less than 1% of attorneys nationwide will accept this offer to become a member.
Nations’ top 1% National Association of Distinguished Counsel
2023 Top One Percent
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.
Unique Understanding to Win Big Cases
His experience doing over 10 years of defense work gave him a unique understanding of how to win cases against corporations and insurance companies. Scott has won millions of dollars in compensation for his clients and has been recognized with several prestigious awards. He is ranked as a National Trial Lawyer in the Top 100 and is among America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys for 2023.
Personal Injury Law - A Calling for Justice
For Ritsema, personal injury law practice is not just a job. It's a calling. He realized the tough situations that 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, Scott 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 Scott, satisfaction in these cases comes from providing a family with the means to deal with a catastrophic injury. Scott knows that successfully dealing with a personal injury case, especially one involving catastrophic injuries, can have an incredible and lasting impact on his clients. His 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. The victims and their families suffer life-changing consequences after a traumatic event such as a catastrophic crash.
Mr. Ritsema has taken on some of the most complex defective and dangerous cases, including seat-back injuries and defective seat belts causing death.
Early Life and Education
Scott 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.
He 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. Some of Scott’s top case results are listed below, including settlements, judgments, and verdicts.
Some of Scott Ritsema's Case Results
|Award Amount||Type of Case|
|$38,650,000.00||Motorcycle vs. Car|
|$24,700,000.00||Auto Defect – Seatback Failure|
|$10,200,000.00||Auto Defect/Auto Negligence|
|$10,130,000.00||Premise Liability – Toxic Cleaning Solution|
|$10,000,000.00||Auto Defect – Seatback Failure|
|$7,000,000.00||Auto Defect – Caustic Ingestion|
|$6,850,000.00||Auto Defect – Airbag Failure|
|$6,777,258.00||Auto Defect – Seatback Failure|
|$5,000,000.00||Auto Defect – Defective Airbag|
|$4,500,000.00||Auto Defect – Roof Crush/Rollover|
|$4,250,000.00||Product Defect – Defective Bailor|
|$3,000,000.00||Auto Defect – Roof Crush/Rollover|
|$2,000,000.00||Auto Defect – Product Liability|
|$1,500,000.00||Auto Defect – Product Liability|
Career and Accomplishments
Scott Ritsema belongs to a number of professional organizations including:
- Orange County Trial Lawyers Association American
- Association for Justice and Consumer Attorneys of California
Mr. Ritsema has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America. The national publication award is based on peer recognition and Scott has been selected for it every year from 2015-2022, demonstrating his outstanding reputation and track record in the legal field.
Mr. Ritsema has also been named a Super Lawyer every year since 2011 and named the Best Attorney each year since 2015 by publications that rank skill levels within the legal profession. He is also a 2019, 2020, and 2021 Top 100 Injury Lawyer in the country.
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.”