How to Shorten the Time From Settlement to Disbursement

 

We are all too familiar with the length of time that it can take to get settlement proceeds once settlement has been reached.  Insurance companies and other corporate defendants employ almost every measure possible to delay payment.  The process includes mailing releases, obtaining signatures from clients, sending the executed releases back and then waiting on the defendant’s staff to process payment and send the checks.

 

It may be possible to narrow the gap by simply utilizing eSignature software. DocuSign is cloud-based electronic signature software that was launched in 2003.  I had an opportunity to use the software recently and was so impressed with the ease of use, excellent tracking and convenience, I immediately thought of the positive impact the software could potentially have on closing the gap from settlement to funding for law firms.

 

Using DocuSign, Firms could send releases to clients for signature electronically, obtain those signatures and send them back to insurance companies all in one day.  Think of the time savings for your clients and staff.   The software could also be used for quickly and easily obtaining signatures on retainer agreements as well as many other important documents.

 

Specifically designed to meet the needs of various industries and professionals including attorneys. It offers a wide range of features, including software integration. DocuSign is relatively inexpensive offering a variety of pricing options starting as low as $14.99/month.

 

Hopefully, this will be one more tool in the fight for clients’ rights!

 

Lisa Wagner

Vice President, Client Services

 

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New Rules of Professional Conduct for California Attorneys?

 

CaliforniaAttorneys in California are currently the only state group of attorneys in the U.S. that have not adopted the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association (or a version of them).  However, according to an article in the American Bar Association’s Litigation News, that may be changing.

 

The State Bar of California and the California Supreme Court are considering a major restructuring of the state’s ethics rules.  The State Bar is requesting approval of six of the proposed rules according to its petition to the Supreme Court.  They are starting with just 6 rules so that the Supreme Court can consider the proposal’s logic and organization without being inundated with detailed materials on all 67 proposed rules.  The remaining rules will be filed by the State Bar after a decision is reached by the Supreme Court on the first set of 6.

 

According the article, the rules changes will be “organizational and substantial”, but probably won’t “change the scope of attorneys’ duties.  Attorneys’ ethical duties in California derive from case law and statutes, as well as the Rules of Professional Conduct.  The drafters attempted to incorporate some of these other sources into the new rules.”

 

The full article can be read here.

 

Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer

 

Photo Credit: WikiCommons
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Should You Self Fund Case Expenses?

 

Are you still funding your case expenses with your own capital?  Click below to watch Michael J. Swanson’s most recent video blog in which Mr. Swanson explains why that may not be the best use of your after tax profits.

 

 

Tina Burns

Marketing Manager

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GAAP for Private Companies?

 

Currently, there is one set of standards for financial reporting purposes.  Public companies are required to follow the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) while private entities are not.  However, many private companies choose to abide by these principles so that they can obtain an “unqualified” audit opinion in order to comply with various lending and investment requirements.  Due to the costs and efforts associated with GAAP compliance, many private companies find it difficult to comply.

 

Discussions are in progress regarding the creation of a separate set of standards for private companies.  To learn more, click here to read an article written by Tracy Thomas of Kraft CPAs, PLLC.

 

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, MBA, CITP

Director of Finance and Administration

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Monitoring Bandwidth Usage with Tomato

 

What is Tomato?

 

It’s a delicious fruit you eat that can help prevent cancer due to its high levels of Lycopene. Some people enjoy tomatoes on hamburgers and in salads. Seriously, Tomato is the powerful, user friendly, full-of-features, alternative router firmware!

 

Enforcement of broadband caps is on the rise. Whether you’ve received a warning letter from your ISP (internet service provider) or are just curious and want to keep an eye on things, this application will allow you to monitor, log, and save your bandwidth usage.

 

The firmware that comes installed on your router does the basics, but Tomato offers a wider range of features including today’s favorite, bandwidth monitoring. You don’t have to take advantage of all of Tomato’s features to enjoy it.  It is even recommended for novice users because it’s so easy to use.  You’ll love Tomato for its clean user interface and robust features.  Download available at polarcloud.com.

 

This product allows you to trouble shoot a Wi-FI device or if you suspect somebody is using your Wi-Fi, see both the internet traffic (the data you’re uploading and downloading) as well as the data being moved around the internal network at the same time, (handy for seeing large volumes of data coming in and where it’s going), and archive the logs to a network share for backup and further analysis.  In addition to real-time monitoring you can also look at the prior day, week, and month.

 

 

Donna A. Jones

Vice President, Operations

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Limits on Liability Affecting the Average Person

 

A recent article in the Naples News, gives yet another example of how needless caps on liability in lawsuits hamper the individual’s right to justice.  Mitzi Roden won a med mal lawsuit against Lee Memorial Health System in 2007 and was awarded a $300 million verdict for permanent injuries suffered by her son in 1997 during his birth.  The 2nd District Court of Appeals upheld the verdict in 2009.  However, Florida law provides for sovereign immunity protection to government and public agencies, meaning that liability is capped at $200,000 for each case (increasing to $300,000 per case this year).  Despite the cap, injured parties that are given awards larger than the caps by juries can petition the Florida Legislature to authorize a larger payment, which also must be approved by the Governor.

 

Despite winning the jury trial in 2007 and having the verdict upheld by the appellate court in 2009, the family still cannot get the necessary funds to care for their son, who has sever cerebral palsy as a result of the negligence of Lee Memorial.  The family is suffering undue hardships and is barely able to care for the injured son.  The challenge is that Lee Memorial does not even carry professional liability insurance because it is protected by the sovereign immunity law.

 

This situation merely creates a Catch 22 meant to protect health care providers at the expense of those they injure.  How much sense does it make to pass a law limiting liability due to sovereign immunity, but providing a method for the injured party to appeal to the Legislature, only to find that the provider does not carry adequate insurance to cover potential liability, then makes the argument to the Legislature that they shouldn’t have to pay because it would harm the public’s access to healthcare?  The whole situation would be ridiculous and comical if it weren’t real.

 

Our customers and their clients are all-to-aware of the real life impacts of these caps.  While paling in comparison to the hardships of the Roden family, their attorney in this case, Chris Searcy of West Palm Beach, has been pursuing justice for the family for over 10 years and has invested $300,000 in case expenses in the case.  Given the delays that the Florida laws have built into the system, Mr. Searcy has yet to receive any fee income or reimbursement for his costs.

 

The full article can be read here.

 

Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer

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Congratulations to 2011 Texas Super Lawyers, Heygood, Orr & Pearson

 

As reported on September 19th by PR Newswire, each of the named Partners of the Dallas, TX based litigation law firm Heygood, Orr & Pearson are listed among the 2011 Texas Super Lawyers.  Less than 5% of the 70,000 Texas Lawyers are selected for recognition.

 

The Firm brings expertise to the market place in a wide range of areas including Pharmaceutical & Product Liability, Class Action, Commercial Litigation, Bad Faith Insurance Litigation, Intellectual Property, Commercial Litigation, Qui Tam Litigation and Personal Injury.

 

Congratulations to the esteemed team, Michael Heygood, Jim Orr and Eric Pearson!

 

Lisa Wagner

Vice President, Client Services

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The Ups and Downs of Credit Cards for Law Firm Financing

If you would like to know more about financing your cases using credit cards, please watch this short video by our CEO, Michael J. Swanson:

 

Tina Burns

Marketing Manager

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QuickBooks Integration Tips

 

If you’re like many small businesses, you might be using QuickBooks as the accounting software for your law firm. An article, written by Thomas G. Stephens Jr., CPA, CITP, demonstrates ways users can extend the functionality of this application. The article, published by the Tennessee CPA Journal, describes the value of integrating QuickBooks with other technology including Microsoft Office and Income Tax Applications.

 

Click here to read the article and see how your firm can benefit!

 

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, MBA, CITP

Director of Finance and Administration

 

 

 

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For-Profit Healthcare Companies Are Here to Help….No, Really!

 

File this one under the category of “not very shocking”.

 

According to a recent report in The Hill, healthcare companies are ultra-concerned about ensuring that health care costs are driven down, that all individuals have access to health care (regardless of their ability to pay), and that everyone have access to the courts – sarcasm intended here.

 

The Healthcare Leadership Council, a broad coalition of healthcare companies, has proposed to Congress that Medicare should be converted into a marketplace in which seniors could either remain in traditional Medicare or receive a subsidy for private insurance.  The HLC also proposed a “more generous” formula for increasing seniors’ subsidies – all the more money to drive profits for the industry, I suppose.

 

Of special note is that HLC’s proposal also asks seniors to pay more of their Medicare costs and enact new limits on medical malpractice suits, including a cap on non-economic damages.  President Obama has said that while he’s open to other versions of tort reform, he will not support caps on jury awards.  Bravo, Mr. President.

 

Although disguised as a plan to rein in costs, the HLC proposal is actually a thinly-veiled attempt to increase profits for the health care companies and to further-restrict the ability of the consumer to pursue justice in the courts if they are harmed by these companies.

 

The full blog can be read here.

 

Paul B. Myers

Chief Credit Officer

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