Contingent Funding for Law Firms


Want to know more about Contingent Funding for Law Firms?  Watch this short video blog by our CEO, Michael J. Swanson.




Medical Errors Cost Lives!


Our President and CEO, Michael J. Swanson, has a very informative blog on his book website today.  In that post, he recaps some important statistics about medical errors and how they results in the deaths of tens of thousands of people every year.  It may even be hundreds of thousands!


Many people like to talk about the need for tort reform regarding medical malpractice cases, but most are probably not aware that medical errors kill more people every year than automobile accidents!


He is a link to Mike’s blog so you can get the details:


Tina R. Burns

Marketing Manager



New Book: How David Beats Goliath


I am pleased to announce that our President and CEO, Michael J. Swanson, has just published a book entitled How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms.  In the book, Mike explains the unique challenges that plaintiff law firms face when accessing capital in the marketplace.  He also details the ten most commonly used sources of capital used by contingent-fee law firms, and goes on to give some good, solid advice for partners at plaintiff firms to consider.


How David Beats Goliath is now available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To learn more about the book you can visit the official website where you will find a video message from Mike and be able to read a sample chapter.


Mike has generously decided to donate all profits from sales of the book to the American Association for Justice – Seventh Amendment Fund*.  Contributions to this AAJ fund help provide the resources needed to protect the civil justice system and every American’s right to a trial by jury.


Operating a contingent-fee law firm is a very complex business. Not only do you have to take on insurance companies and large corporations on behalf of your clients you also have to subsidize the costs associated with litigation. Your clients do not just depend on you for legal help, they also expect your firm’s finances to be stable and solid.


How David Beats Goliath will help you maximize the efficiency of financing your law firm. I hope you will consider purchasing the book and acquire the knowledge that hundreds of successful attorneys already know.


Tina Burns

Marketing Manager


*The views expressed in this book are not necessarily representative of the views held by AAJ.  Furthermore, the donation of profits from the sales of the books to the Seventh Amendment Fund does not imply that AAJ has endorsed Advocate Capital, Inc. or the book and the views and information contained therein.



More on the Impact (or lack, thereof) of TX Tort Reform


In a recent blog, I wrote about how several sources have confirmed that the 2003 tort reform law signed by Governor Rick Perry in Texas has not resulted in any real decrease in the cost of health care.  Another new look at the impacts of this legislation by the Washington Post further confirms that the much-celebrated results are more than a little “iffy”.


Gov. Perry’s first presidential campaign ad states, “He’s fought for lawsuit reform that’s brought thousands of doctors to Texas.”  The article cites an American Association for Justice study that shows that the number of doctors in Texas was already on the rise prior to the passing of the 2003 law.  “The number of physicians practicing in Texas did increase following the enactment of the cap, but the rate of increase is the same as the rate of increase prior to the cap,” says AAJ’s Michelle Widmann.  “In fact, the number of practicing physicians in Texas has been steadily increasing for years.”  See the AAJ’s chart of data from the American Medical Association below:

The article goes on to point out that the overall population in Texas has been increasing steadily, as well, so that the ratio of doctors to patients actually looks pretty similar to what it was before the med mal law passed in 2003.  There’s one myth debunked.


The governor has also claimed that the Texas law would reign in run-away health care costs.  The article also debunks this idea.  Texas’s health care costs have continued to grow at a rate faster than the national average, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.  The foundation’s study estimates that the state’s health care costs have grown at a rate of 7.4% through 2004, the last year for which data is available, while the average rate of growth for the entire country is 6.7%.


About the only thing the legislation has accomplished is to drive down payouts in medical malpractice lawsuits.  Bravo, Governor Perry – taking care of donors…er, constituents, again!


The full article can be read here.


Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer



Hip Replacement Litigation Update


Many Advocate Capital clients have been involved in hip replacement litigation for quite some time.  A recent article in the New York Times reports that the federal government has received a surge in complaints in recent months about failed hip replacements.  According to the Times, the Food and Drug Administration has received more than 5,000 reports since January about several widely used devices known as metal-on-metal hips.  This is more than the agency had received about the devices in the previous four years combined.


The article states that, “The mounting complaints confirm what many experts have feared — that all-metal replacement hips are on a trajectory to become the biggest and most costly medical implant problem since Medtronic recalled a widely used heart device component in 2007. About 7,700 complaints have been filed in connection with that recall.”


The article is a very interesting look at what was largely an unregulated and untested arena.  Under F.D.A. rules, many all-metal devices were sold without prior testing in patients or without a requirement that producers track their performance.  The F.D.A. has now ordered producers to study how frequently the devices were failing and to determine the threat to patients, a process that faces challenges due to the lack of prior patient registries making it difficult to recruit the hundreds of patients needed to conduct the required studies.


Several manufacturers of these devices, including Johnson & Johnson, have issued recalls, and most surgeons are abandoning the all-metal hips, saying they are, “…unwilling to expose new patients to potential dangers when safer alternatives – mainly replacements that combine metal and plastic components – are available.”  Other manufacturers of the devices (or component parts) include DePuy, Zimmer Holdings, Wright Medical & Biomet.


The full article can be read here.


Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer



The Leadership Weapon


I recently ran across a short article in the Nashville Business Journal by motivational speaker, Rory Vaden with Southwestern Consulting that reinforced an idea that is too often neglected in today’s jet-paced business environment:


The most underutilized resource in all businesses is praise and recognition.  Verbal appreciation is a form of currency. . . so if you can’t pay people what they’re worth in dollars, or even if you can, make sure you are OVERPAYING them in appreciation.

As always, it pays to reflect on the simple basic principles of management as we all face the continued challenges of the current unusual employment market.


Check out the YouTube video for Mr. Vaden’s “Take the Stairs” keynote address.  How true is the idea “Success Means Doing Things Others Don’t Want To Do.”   Lots of great suggestions and ideas here!


Donna A. Jones

Vice President, Operations




Only 1 in 5 Medical Malpractice Claims Results in Settlement or Payout


Doctors win most suits, but not without cost.


A report released on-line Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine tells the trial lawyers something they already know all too well.  Because a lawyer takes a case on a contingency basis, the very high upfront costs for retaining expert witnesses, preparing a case for trial and other difficulties in winning, it is rare that a case would be filed on a whim.  One of the authors of the NEJM report stated, “A lawyer would have to be an idiot to take a frivolous case to court.”  But we all know the general public only hears the PR that the well-financed insurance companies, US Chamber of Commerce and other big businesses propaganda put out in front of them about the greedy trial attorneys, the need for tort reform and how the medical malpractice insurance rates keep going up because of frivolous malpractice lawsuits.


One of the most telling results of the survey in my opinion was that out of 233,738 physician years of coverage between 1991 and 2005 (The period covered by the survey.)  Only 66 medical malpractice claims paid exceeded $1 million dollars, but more importantly this accounts for less than 1% of all payments.  Unfortunately, this is a well-kept secret by the insurance industry.  What they prefer to do is sound the sirens about the rare cases that do exceed $1 million dollars to make trial attorneys and plaintiffs look greedy.


Read the full report published by the New England Journal of Medicine, click here.


It is a good article that needs to be shared.


Dan A. Taussig



Check Out Pop Tort!


Love the cartoon and love the Pop Tort site/blog even more!  The August 9 blog and discussion regarding medical malpractice and debt is directly on point.  How is it that our government got so off track that it lost focus on deaths, injuries and proven safety solutions and is now concentrating on reducing accountability and the legal rights of our citizens after they have been injured?




While this article focuses specifically on measures for the OB/GYN community, the medical industry as a whole should take notice!  Here’s a novel idea – – – how about providing better quality care with better quality control and perhaps the finger-pointing for accountability would decrease proportionately!



Donna A. Jones

Vice President, Operations


Medicare Makes Strange Bedfellows


It’s not often that the American Association for Justice and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce find themselves on the same side of an issue.  However, if you throw in the federal government’s red tape regarding Medicare, you get some strange bedfellows.


In a recent article in The National Law Journal, David Ingram analyzes how the mountains of paperwork involved in getting Medicare liens released are unnecessarily slowing the process of finalizing already settled lawsuits.  The problem has become so dramatic that the AAJ, the U.S. Chamber, major corporations such as Walt Disney Co. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., as well as defense-side law firms and their trade group, the Defense Research Institute, among others, are banding together in an extremely diverse coalition to push for legislation that would rein in Medicare.  “We’re not typically on the same side of issues.  The fact that we are shows how broken the system is,” said Sarah Rooney, regulatory counsel for the AAJ.


We at Advocate Capital Inc. have certainly heard from our client base that this issue has become a major obstacle to final payments on already settled suits.  We are hopeful that the system can be repaired.


The entire article can be seen here.  (Note that viewing the full article may require a subscription.  A 90 day subscription can be obtained free by providing an email address).


Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer


Five Myths About Medical Negligence


In case you have not seen it yet, the American Association for Justice put together a great report that counters some of the common myths about medical negligence vis-à-vis the current reform trends.

Here are the myths:


Myth #1: There are Too Many “Frivolous” Malpractice Lawsuits


Myth #2: Malpractice Claims Drive Up Health Care Costs


Myth #3: Doctors are Fleeing


Myth #4: Malpractice Claims Drive Up Doctors’ Premiums


Myth #5: Tort Reform will Lower Insurance Rates


The report is well written and its sources are thoroughly footnoted.  The facts simply do not support the common misconceptions about medical negligence and tort reform.   Rather, the evidence shows that the above myths run completely counter to reality.


Click here to download a PDF version of the AAJ report.


Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer


Case Expense Financing at a Net Cost of Less Than 1%*

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