15:10, July 28 354 0 law.com

2017-07-28 15:10:05
Prominent Civil Rights Lawyer Tied to 'Black Lives Matter' Starts New Firm

Benjamin L. Crump. Photo: J. Albert Diaz.


Benjamin Crump, a civil rights and personal injury lawyer known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown after their shooting deaths, has started his own nationwide law firm with offices in Washington, Los Angeles and Tallahassee, Florida.

Following a longtime partnership at Parks and Crump alongside fellow lawyer, Daryl Parks, Crump issued a statement this week announcing the launch of Ben Crump Law, a new firm aiming to build a national network of lawyers. In light of Crump’s announcement, his former partner Parks told the Tallahassee Democratthat he plans to keep practicing law and also establish his own independent firm, likely focusing on injury cases.

Crump’s new firm, meanwhile, has established an affiliation with Morgan & Morgan, a well-known personal injury law firm. That partnership is meant to “create linkages with some of the top lawyers in the country, allowing the firm to handle cases anywhere in the country as part of the Ben Crump Law network,” the statement said. In an interview with The American Lawyer on Friday, Crump said that he’ll also have an alliance with Brian Panish, a Los Angeles-based personal injury lawyer at Panish Shea & Boyle.

With his new outfit, Crump will focus on a range of cases touching on employment issues, medical malpractice, personal injury and mass torts. Crump said working on injury and wrongful death cases offers a level of financial flexibility to pursue the type of civil rights work that’s raised his public profile.

“Right now in America, it’s getting more and more challenging for all Americans, but I think especially for minority Americans,” Crump said. “I’ve always used the personal injury cases and the wrongful death cases to help fund and sustain our law firm to sustain those more altruistic causes. … One supplements the other; one is necessary to allow me to do the other work that no one is doing.”

Crump’s work in the civil rights sphere has been closely tied to the rise of Black Lives Matter, in part because he’s represented the families of black men and teenagers whose shooting deaths helped spur that movement.

Among other high-profile work, Crump has represented the family of Martin, a black teenager shot to death in 2012 in a Florida gated community, and Brown, who died at age 18 after being shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Crump has also represented the family of Tamir Rice, killed in 2014 at the age of 12 in Cleveland.

In his new endeavor, Crump said, he plans to tap into the resources of Morgan & Morgan to pursue more class action and mass tort cases, which he views as an important aspect of advocating for people of color. As an example, Crump said that environmental cases, such as those dealing with pollution from Superfund sites, can have an outsize impact on communities of color and those are well-suited to class or mass tort actions.

The goal, he said, is to use the class action and mass tort system “to try to bring about real progress.”

Morgan & Morgan founder John Morgan struck a similar chord while touting Crump’s civil rights work in a statement about his firm’s partnership with Crump. Morgan & Morgan is “thrilled” to ally with Crump going forward, the statement said, adding that the firm’s resources—350 lawyers and roughly 1,500 support staffers across the country—”will add a tremendous amount of muscle and flexibility” to Crump’s “pursuit of justice for all Americans.”

“Crump speaks truth to power and gives hope to the hopeless,” Morgan said. “He is today’s seminal civil rights lawyer. The go-to guy. A modern-day Johnny Cochran.”