California DUI criminal defense attorneys learned Pacific Law Center, which usually runs non-stop television ads, is “winding down” its business per Kerry Steigerwalt, a well-known San Diego defense attorney.
Economic downturn and the company’s business model of “little or no money down” contributed to the firm’s money woes.
The firm, which has offices in San Diego, Chula Vista and Escondido, isn’t going out of business. “At this point in time, I want to take no further cases,” he said. “I want to begin winding down this business.”
The 17 attorneys listed on the firm’s website represent hundreds of clients in criminal cases, bankruptcies, loan modifications and personal injury lawsuits. The firm has 107 employees after staff cuts in February,
The lawyers, including Steigerwalt, are featured in the law center’s frequently running television commercials in which they promote aggressive representation for “little or no money down” and affordable payment plans. Local television stations have been told to stop running the ads.
Before he bought a stake in Pacific Law Center, the firm had been dogged by complaints from clients and allegations of unethical activity by former lawyers. The problems continued to some degree after Steigerwalt came on board. Clients had filed lawsuits against the firm.
Steigerwalt said he believes he successfully turned the San Diego law firm around and that its old reputation was not a factor in the decision to stop taking new clients.
“I think Kerry really wanted to change it when he went in. He just didn’t put the right people in place to do it for him,” says Kerry Armstrong, a San Diego criminal defense lawyer who worked for Steigerwalt for 11 years but did not work at Pacific Law Center. He says the announcement was inevitable. He says the firm was hamstrung by its business model and a poor reputation that changed little despite Steigerwalt’s efforts.