Plaintiffs attorney James Collins left the law eight years ago to teach algebra and coach high school sports. This spring, he came back to help an old friend.

In 2001, the plaintiffs lawyer left what was then known as O’Reilly, Collins & Danko in San Mateo, Calif., and didn’t expect to return to the practice of law. But by March this year, it became clear that his former colleague, Terry O’Reilly, was going to need help. His personal injury firm was losing two of its five lawyers, including its managing partner. And, Collins says, it had a caseload of 30 to 35 matters, six of which had trial dates set.

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