Update on Tennessee Workers Comp Bill


Though voices including The Tennessean’s Editorial Page and local attorneys are speaking out against the ridiculous bill from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam that will revamp (read “gut”) the current workers compensation system, it appears to be progressing through the Republican controlled General Assembly quite nicely.  On April 11, 2013, the House passed the bill with only token opposition.  Due to some minor changes, it will have to go back to the Senate for a rubber stamp, then on to the governor’s desk.


It will be a sad day in Tennessee’s history when the special interests of corporations and insurance companies win out over the protections that should be afforded to hard-working Tennesseans.  One more step in restricting access to the courts.


Paul Myers

Chief Credit Officer


Law Firm Marketing Magazine – Now Free!


Some of you may have heard about the new publication available for the iPad called Law Firm Marketing.  If you have not, I suggest you check it out. It was launched in October of 2012. It is the legal industry’s first interactive, digital magazine and it’s now available for free! It is designed to help you learn the best marketing practices from other successful lawyers as well as some of today’s top legal marketing experts. You can get the latest issue free by subscribing on iTunes or downloading the app by clicking here. Since the magazine is digital, it makes use of video interviews, hyperlinks and other interactive content. You can download the magazine in several different languages as well.


If you do not have an iPad, don’t worry! You can view the recent video interviews feature in the magazine on The Law Firm Marketing Magazine YouTube channel.


In the very first issue, the magazine featured Gerry Spence.  Spence is widely known as one of the best trial lawyers of all time, which is why he was an easy pick to be featured in the first edition of the magazine.  Spence founded the Trial Lawyers College in 1994 and has an amazing record of accomplishments with zero criminal cases lost. Also featured so far in the magazine is current American Association for Justice President, Mary Alice McLarty and well-known marketing guru, Jay Abraham.


Cindy Speaker is the CEO of Speaker Media and Marketing and the developer behind the Law Firm Marketing Magazine. She is known as “The secret weapon of personal injury lawyers and trial attorneys throughout the U.S.” It is no wonder attorneys across the country run to Cindy for marketing advice, she has an extensive list of successful clients as well as a published documentary, “Well of Dreams”. She believes this magazine will help law firms stay on top of an ever-changing marketing landscape.


If you are a trial lawyer (or are involved in law firm marketing) you should download your own copy of Law Firm Marketing right now!


Tina Burns
Vice President


Simona Farrise Honored with Loren D. Miller Lawyer of the Year Award


Advocate Capital, Inc. friend and client Simona Farrise will accept the Loren D. Miller Lawyer of the Year award this Saturday,  April 27, 2013.  Ms. Farrise has been a SuperLawyer™ since 2004.  While her law practice has included various add types, she has represented those suffering from mesothelioma, an asbestos cancer, for over 20 years.


Congratulations Simona! Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to support you and the important work that you do.




Media Contact:  Sonia Davis, 323.435.8205


36th Annual Conference of California Association of Black Lawyers to be Held in Los Angeles April 25-28



Los Angeles, Calif. – The California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) will hold their 36th annual conference in Los Angeles April 25 through April 28 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel (404 South Figueroa Street).

Themed “Igniting the Torch,” current CABL president Jamon Hicks (Cochran Firm) will pass the torch of leadership to president-elect Kimberlei Evans Dixon who will serve as the 2013-2014 president.


Special Guests & Speakers


Among the special guests and speakers for this year’s event are Mona Pasquil, Appointments Secretary for California Governor Jerry Brown, Joshua Groban, Senior Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, and U.S. Attorney General Andre Birotte.  CABL honoree Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass will deliver this year’s keynote address at the CABL Annual Installation Ceremony and Gala Awards Dinner on Saturday, April 27.  Trial Lawyer Simona Farrise will receive the Loren D. Miller Lawyer of the Year Award.  The Hon. Marguerite Downing will receive the Bernard S. Jefferson Judge of the Year Award.  Connie Rice’s Advancement Project will receive the David Cunningham Community Service Award.  Hon. Terry Hatter will receive the Benjamin Travis Lifetime Achievement Award.


Conference speakers will include members of California’s Legislative Caucus including president Assembly Members Holly Mitchell, Steven Bradford, Isadore Hall III, and State Senator Curren Price.  A full schedule of events can be found at CABL’s website: http://www.calblacklawyers.org.


The primary motivating factor for CABL’s formation was to change the face of the judiciary in California and to influence the course of events pertinent to black people.  From CABL’s inception, the organization has challenged inequities in the legal system and continues to be instrumental in increasing the number of African-American judges throughout California. Meeting regularly with members of the State Legislature and the Governor’s Judicial Appointments Secretary, CABL has been effective in its advocacy of issues facing African Americans and others of similar experience and situation. In addition, CABL works to ensure that African-American students interested in a career in law are afforded the opportunity and mentored. More online at: http://www.calblacklawyers.org.


Lisa Wagner
Senior Vice President


Gary Gwilliam – Part three – Over 180 Jury Verdicts


Click on the video to watch part three of Mr. Swanson’s recent interview with Gary Gwilliam of Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer in Oakland, California:



More Information on the SMART Act


In follow up to our recent blog on the SMART Act and its impact on personal injury cases, today we feature the white paper presented by our friends at Garretson Resolution Group.  The list of changes includes:

  1. Three-year statute of limitations on Medicare’s reimbursement rights;
  2. A $300 baseline for certain claim reporting obligations
  3. Calls for the Dept. of Health & Human Services to create an alternate method for identifying Medicare claimants without using Social Security numbers or health insurance claim number.

Review of this very detailed analysis is time well spent for all personal injury attorneys, to receive a copy contact us by clicking here.  In addition to assistance with the new Medicare law, Matt Garretson and his team provide a number of settlement solution tools.


To review the Act in its entirety for more information regarding the changes HR 1845 (112th) Title II – Strengthening Medicare Secondary Payer Rule, visit http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1845/text


As noted previously, final regulations to the SMART Act must be promulgated by October 10, 2013.


Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


2013 Advocate Capital, Inc. / AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award




Advocate Capital, Inc.

Tina Burns, Vice President

Tel: 615.577.5447

Fax: 615.377.9212

Email:  TBurns@AdvocateCapital.com


American Association for Justice

Leah Mackie

Caucus Group Specialist

Tel:  202.684.9518

Fax: 202.298.6849


(Washington, DC – April 23, 2013) – Advocate Capital, Inc. has partnered once again with the American Association for Justice to sponsor this year’s Paralegal of the Year award.


“On behalf of the Paralegal Division of AAJ, I would like to personally thank Advocate Capital, Inc. for sponsoring the 2013 AAJ Paralegal of the Year award.  This prestigious award is awarded to a paralegal that has consistently demonstrated knowledge of the law, perseverance in her cases and to her attorneys’ clients, superior paralegal skills and whose commitment and overall attitude is an inspiration to other paralegals.” commented Daphne Grier, Paralegal Affiliates Chair for the American Association for Justice. She continued, “Advocate Capital, Inc. has generously agreed to sponsor the winning paralegal with airfare, hotel and conference fees to attend the annual convention in San Francisco in July and to participate in the vast wealth of educational and networking opportunities that are always available at the annual convention.  We sincerely appreciate Advocate Capital, Inc. for their continuing support of the Paralegal Division of AAJ, and for recognizing paralegals as an integral part of the trial attorney team.”


“AAJ does important work and so do paralegals!  We are so pleased to be able to participate with AAJ on this important award.” commented Advocate’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael J. Swanson.  “Paralegals perform crucial work in helping their law firms get justice on their clients’ behalf.  We hope that this award will help to bring well deserved attention to the crucial role that paralegals play in our civil justice system.”


All award candidates are to be nominated by an AAJ Attorney Member or by another AAJ Paralegal Affiliate.  To be considered, candidates must have demonstrated their value as members of a legal services team, shown dedication to the legal profession, and shown dedication to AAJ’s mission:


“To promote a fair and effective justice system — and to support the work of attorneys in their efforts to ensure any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America’s courtrooms, even when taking on the most powerful interests.” 


The winner of the 2013 Advocate Capital, Inc. / AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award (to be announced later) will be treated to free airfare, hotel, and registration to AAJ’s 2013 Annual Convention in San Francisco, California.  An official award presentation will take place during the Paralegal Affiliates Meeting on Saturday, July 20th at 3pm during the AAJ Annual Convention at the Hilton San Francisco, Union Square Hotel.


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 almost 14 years from their headquarters in Nashville, TN and now enjoy a client base that extends nationwide. For more information, visit http://www.AdvocateCapital.com.


To make a nomination, click here.


Deadline for nominations is Monday – May 20th, 2013



The American Association for Justice
777 6th Street, NW, Ste 200

Washington, DC  20001

Toll Free: 800.424.2725

Direct: 202.965.3500

Website: http://www.justice.org

Paralegal Affiliates website: http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xchg/justice/hs.xsl/1090.htm



Advocate Capital, Inc.

1 Vantage Way, Ste. C-200

Nashville, TN 37228

Phone: 1.877.894.9724

Fax: 615.377.9212

Website: http://www.AdvocateCapital.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/advocatecapital


Congress Passes SMART (?) Act of 2012 – Medicare Attempts To Improve Program Efficiency


Personal Injury attorneys are all too familiar with the delays and complications in settling a case that involves Medicare liens. The Smart Act – Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act – was signed by President Obama on January 10, 2013 and changes Medicare’s secondary payer rules and processes.  In an attempt to improve efficiency Medicare will now work with claimants and/or responsible parties prior to settlement via the updated CMS website.  The website will be used to determine liability for conditional payment amounts. One of the changes to determining the final conditional payment is:


“…claimant may at any time beginning 120 days before the reasonably expected date of a settlement, judgment, award, or other payment, notify the Secretary that a payment is reasonably expected and the expected date of such payment.”


This notification establishes the “protected period” in which the final conditional payment will be finalized. The final conditional payment is determined by:


“…the last statement of reimbursement amount that is downloaded during such period and within 3 business days before the date of the settlement, judgment, award, or other payment shall constitute the final conditional amount subject to recovery…”


If the claimant or RRE fails to follow the timelines set out in the SMART Act the settlement and the final conditional amount will be considered to be invalid.


For more information regarding the changes HR 1845 (112th) Title II – Strengthening Medicare Secondary Payer Rule Click here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1845/text


Final regulations to the SMART Act must be promulgated by October 10, 2013.


Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


Credit Scoring Methods – It’s Not Always Apples to Apples


As a lender, we rely on credit scores to help us decide who we should lend money to.  As you might guess, it’s important to us as a lender that we do business with people and law firms that demonstrate an ability and willingness to properly manage and repay their debt in a timely manner.


While it’s important for consumers to track their credit history and know their credit scores, it’s also important to note that not all credit scores are the same.  Most lenders use the FICO/Beacon scoring methodology and all 3 reporting agencies (i.e. TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) provide these scores.  However, a newer scoring methodology (Vantage) is being seen in the marketplace on occasion that has a different scale.  It appears as if all 3 reporting agencies can also provide Vantage scores.


The Vantage score uses a 500-990 scoring range and the FICO/Beacon uses a 300-850 range, so a particular score on the Vantage system is not the same as the same score on the FICO/Beacon system.  While it is not easy to compare the two, based on my research, I would say that if you have a 650 score (or so) on a FICO/Beacon model, you would have a roughly 750 score using a Vantage model.


Here is a link to a good overview of the differences between the two – http://creditcardforum.com/blog/vantagescore-vs-fico-score/.


Paul Myers
Chief Credit Officer


Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Rob Cartwright Interview – Part Three – The Truth About Insurance Companies


Click on the video to watch part three of Mr. Swanson’s recent interview with Robert Cartwright, Jr. of The Cartwright Law Firm Inc. Located in San Francisco, California:



Stuart Carpey Interviews Advocate Capital Inc’s Michael Swanson


Last week we were honored to have our very own Michael J. Swanson interviewed by Stuart Carpey of Carpey Law via Google hangout. Thanks to Google’s technology Mr. Carpey was able to conduct this interview and discuss Mr. Swanson’s book How David Beats Goliath, Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms.



Mr. Carpey is a personal injury lawyer based in Pennsylvania and has been practicing law since 1987. Thank you, Mr. Carpey, for your time and help educating lawyers about this resourceful book; in which a reader learns about the different sources of capital available to contingent-fee lawyers.


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

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