Drug Companies Pay Doctors? – Say It Ain’t So (Part II)


On October 22nd, I blogged about the disturbing trend of pharmaceutical companies paying doctors and other healthcare providers to lecture about their products, including encouraging them to prescribe their medications for conditions for which they are not approved.


Based on recent reports from The Hill and the Miami Herald, it appears the payments are accruing not only to health care providers for whom the ethical implications are not clear, they are also accruing to university professors and physicians at medical schools whose policies specifically prohibit the practice.  For example, the continuing study/investigation by ProPublica found that at least two Stanford University professors had accepted honorariums from pharmaceutical companies of over $100,000 to speak about (endorse?) their products.


Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer


Access to Justice in the Lone Star State?


Tort reform in Texas began in 2003, placing a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims at $250,000 per provider with a maximum award of $750,000.00. Tort reform has been effective for insurance companies, but it has significantly restricted consumers’ access to justice.   The New York Times reports, “States Tort Reform Makes Lawyers Wary of Taking on Patients”.  


More recently, an opinion in The Wall Street Journal, “Loser Pays, Everyone Wins” discusses Texas Governor Rick Perry’s  proposal to extend tort reform even further to include loser pays rule.  If the loser pays rule is successful, there will be even further disincentive for lawyers to pursue claims for plaintiffs.   Again, legislation that will be very effective for insurance companies, but what will it mean for consumers and victims of negligence in the great state of Texas?


Lisa Wagner

Vice President, Client Services


Tax Relief – Job Creation Act of 2010


As the owner of a law firm, you are challenged each day with not only the rigors of practicing law, but also being required to maintain the pulse of business issues that impact your small business.  I have always found that surrounding our Company with solid legal and accounting advice always pays off in the end.  That’s why I wanted to pass on a recent article from Advocate Capital Inc’s long-time accounting firm, SS&G Financial Services, a recap of The Tax Relief – Job Creation Act of 2010 recently passed in Congress to make sure you have had a chance to see some of the most important points that could impact both your law firm and you personally as yearend approaches.


Staying on top of what payroll tax rates will mean to you and your employees.  How the ordinary income tax rates are going to shake out over the next two years and what it will look like in 2013, if Congress fails to take any action.


I believe you will find the tips offered in the linked article great help in planning your future tax decisions.  Please be sure to seek out your own tax and legal advice from your trusted advisors when making critical business and tax assessments.



Best wishes on a successful 2011.

Dan A. Taussig



ACI Schedule notes for week of New Year


For scheduling and planning purposes, please be advised that offices of Advocate Capital, Inc. will be closed on Friday and Monday, December 31st & January 3rd for the New Year holidays.   Any payments and/or funding requests received in our offices on those days will be processed first thing on Tuesday, January 4th


Everyone at Advocate Capital, Inc. wishes a safe and happy holiday to our all of our wonderful law firm clients, their staffs, and families. 


Donna A. Jones

Vice President, Operations


Sam McGee Wins Favorable Opinion from Court of Appeals


Sam McGee of Jackson & McGee, L.L.P., a North Carolina client of Advocate Capital, Inc., recently received a favorable opinion from the Court of Appeals that could set precedent for all plaintiff lawyers litigating nursing home abuse cases. 


In the case, Rodrigues v. Southern Assisted Living, Inc., the trial judge ruled that by participating in discovery the defendants had waived their right to compel arbitration pursuant to a mandatory arbitration clause included in the admissions document completed by the plaintiff’s family.  The defense sought to stay the court action and compel arbitration.


Congratulations, Sam!


Donna A. Jones

Vice President, Operations


Efficient Accounting Processes Are Critical

Ensuring smooth and efficient accounting operations within your firm is critical to your firm’s ability to produce accurate financial information.  Reliable financial data is important to your firm for many reasons, including the ability to access capitalTom Sonde, CPA recently published an article in the Journal of Accountancy relating to efficient accounting procedures.  He provides the following seven suggestions for increasing efficiency:

  1. Conduct process walk-throughs to determine areas needing improvement
  2. Use best practices
  3. Take advantage of unused system functionality – Technology is our friend!
  4. Conduct process training to improve employees’ productivity
  5.  Develop system “super users” and rely on these individuals to share their knowledge with others
  6. Establish process metrics to measure productivity
  7. Reward success!  Employees’ efforts and initiatives need to be recognized and rewarded.

Working towards efficient and productive accounting procedures is an important process within your firm.  To read the article, click here.

Kelly A. O’Leary

CPA, MBA, Controller


Joseph L. Anderson Triumphs in Camp Lejeune Case

Advocate Capital, Inc. friend and client Joseph L. Anderson of Anderson Pangia & Associates recently triumphed over the U.S Government in a negligent-entrustment wrongful death auto case.  The Government has agreed to a $6.675 million settlement. 


The Camp Lejeune marine that caused the accident was high on ether that he acquired from the base.  During discovery, documents revealed that the marine was a habitual substance abuser and the military had previously questioned his ability to serve. 


Click here to read the article in North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.



Donna A. Jones

Vice President, Operations


Advocate Capital, Inc. In The News – PILMMA

Advocate Capital, Inc.’s relationship with PILMMA made the news today:





PILMMA Adds Michael J. Swanson To Advisory Board


(Myrtle Beach, SC – December 17th, 2010) – The Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association (PILMMA) recently announced that Michael J. Swanson has joined their Advisory Board.  Mr. Swanson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Advocate Capital, Inc., a commercial finance company based in Nashville, TN.  He has over ten years of experience at Advocate as CEO, shareholder and member of the Credit Committee.

“We are so pleased that Mike agreed to join our board.” commented PILMMA’s CEO and founder, Kenneth L. Hardison.  “The expertise on law firm finance and management that Mike and his team have developed over the years will certainly be a valuable asset for our members.  In fact, we are looking forward to our first ‘Ask the Expert’ call with Mike next week.”

Access to monthly “Ask the Expert” conference calls are one of the many benefits that PILMMA members receive.  During each call, a different industry expert is available to PILMMA members via teleconference for a Q&A session on that expert’s particular area of knowledge.  Mr. Swanson’s first call will be on Wednesday, December 22nd.  This will be a private call only available to paying PILMMA members.

“Education has been one of our passions of late.  Giving back to the trial bar by sharing some of the experience we have accumulated over the years is something to which the Advocate Capital, Inc. team is committed.”  Mr. Swanson said.  “We’ve been sharing a lot of information via our weblog, which accessible for free on our website.  I am also in the process of authoring a book on law firm finance that is scheduled to be published in early 2011.”

PILMMA is a marketing and management resource dedicated to personal injury lawyers and disability attorneys.  Their goal is to provide members with the necessary tools, information, and education to help grow and manage a successful contingency based injury and/or disability law practice.  “We are committed to fulfilling the marketing and management needs of our members, by granting access to our extensive sources of credible information and educational events.”  explained PILMMA’s Marketing Director, Valerie Beasley.

Advocate Capital, Inc. is the premier provider of strategic financial products and accounting services for successful trial law firms nationwide.  They have been serving the plaintiff bar for over 11 years from their headquarters in Nashville, TN and now enjoy a client base that extends  nationwide.   For more information, visit http://www.advocatecapital.com/.


607 Briarwood Dr., Suite 4

Myrtle Beach, SC 29572

Phone: 1-800-497-1890

Fax: 866-859-8126

Website: http://www.pilmma.org

Advocate Capital, Inc.

1 Vantage Way, Suite C-200

Nashville, TN 37228

Phone: 1-877-894-9724

Fax: 615-377-9212

Website: http://www.advocatecapital.com

Blog: http://lawfirmfinancingblog.advocatecapital.com

Tina R. Burns

Marketing Manger


Unintended Consequence of Health Care Reform


As small business owners and trial attorneys, Advocate Capital, Inc.’s clients are interested in the health insurance/medical care arena both as an employer and as a group seeking justice on behalf of those wronged by the system.


A recent article in the New York Times looks at a possible unintended consequence of the recently passed health care legislation, rationing of care.  The argument is that the differing reimbursement rates from private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, will naturally cause medical care providers to  offer service more quickly to those with insurance coverage that will provide the highest reimbursement to the provider.


The article continues on to offer suggested solutions – all of which are at least interesting – HSAs, more use of nurse practitioners, etc.  I think we can all agree that the costs of health care will be challenging as we go forward.


Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer


Michael J. Swanson Joins PILMMA Advisory Board


I am very pleased to announce that Advocate Capital, Inc. President and CEO Michael J. Swanson has been invited to join the PILMMA Advisory Board.  Mr. Swanson joins other professionals on the board who have a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience in the marketing and management of personal injury law firms.  As a board member, Mr. Swanson will lend his financial and management experience to the success of PILMMA and its members.


The Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association (PILMMA) is a marketing and management resource dedicated to personal injury lawyers and disability attorneys.  Their goal is to provide their members with the best tools, information, and education to help grow and manage a successful contingency-fee personal injury and/or disability law practice.  PILMMA was founded by ACI client and friend Ken Hardison of the Raleigh, NC law firm Hardison & Cochran.


Tina Burns, Marketing Manager


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