Book Review: Running with the Bulls

Reviewed by Taylor King

Originally published in the Fall 2022 issue of the ATLA Docket, a quarterly publication from the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association

Running with the Bulls by Nick Rowley and Courtney Rowley is an instructional guide showing lawyers how to obtain top settlements for their injured clients. But maybe more importantly, the book pushes trial lawyers to do some self-analysis or gut-checking regarding our motivations when it comes to representing clients.  The authors lead the reader through a series of deep, probing questions and challenges in an attempt to help the reader determine if they are in the game for the right reasons.  Questions like:  

“Who are you to the Humans who have trusted you with their case?”

“Would some of your clients be better served if someone else represented them?”

“Are you…settling cases for less than their full value because you truly don’t try cases?”

This exercise is uncomfortable and at times embarrassing, and continues through three chapters of the book.  However, the Rowleys insist that we have to get comfortable talking about money and learn to value noneconomic human losses before we stand a chance of recovering full value for our clients.

Before the Rowleys begin sharing their tactical settlement strategy, they make sure the reader understands the importance of learning your client’s “Human Story.”  They challenge the trial lawyer to be brutally honest with themselves when considering how they truly view their client.  Asking do we merely see our client as income, another claim, dollar figures, or net profit or loss.  They remind us that our enemies (the insurance giants) who they analogize as “The Bulls” that we are running alongside, “don’t see humans as things of immeasurable value and worth.  Humans are worthless to them.  They can’t be to us.”

In Chapters 5 thru 16, the authors spend time teaching very specific techniques and lessons on how to obtain top dollar settlements.  Chapter 6 and 7 are my favorite because the Rowleys pull back the curtain and reveal the secrets to settlement demand letters that open policies, and how to effectively take a case from Demand to Settlement.  Their magic requires dedication, hard work, and nerves of steel (or the guts to “Run with Bulls”).  They emphasize the importance of obtaining top value at settlement because settling for too little is injustice.

Through Chapters 9 thru 11 the Rowleys remind us about the natural conflict insurance companies have with their own insureds.  They do this first by discussing the Triangle of Promise between the insurance company, the Defendant, and the Plaintiff.  Next they teach techniques of how to exploit that conflict to benefit your client and force settlement.  Finally, they provide the reader with practical methods and steps to formulate settlement demands and how, when and to whom to communicate them.

The Rowleys challenge all trial lawyers who “Run with the Bulls” to stick together, help each other, and be supportive of our common effort to bring justice to our clients.  Part of getting justice for civil wrongs, they teach, is learning the value of noneconomic human losses, learning to value what is priceless, and getting comfortable talking about money as it relates to the value of life.

Running with the Bulls provides the reader with the challenge to exercise self-reflection in how you truly treat and visualize your clients and the value of their human damages.  It provides the reader with a step-by-step guide to obtaining top settlements for your clients.  It spends considerable time analyzing the conflicts of interest insurance companies face and as a result how to force top settlements when insurance companies ignore those conflicts.

I would rate this book among the best of its kind.  The Rowleys taught me that we need to spend more time developing damages and formulating settlement strategy while we are pushing our case closer to a trial date.

Running with the Bulls by Nicholas Rowley & Courtney Rowley