Proposed Legislation Aims to Roll Back Mandatory Arbitration


Copyright : Mesut DoganWe have blogged in this space many times about mandatory arbitration clauses and their negative impacts on consumers. The Supreme Court has upheld these types of clauses in consumer contracts on several occasions in the recent past. Now, according to a recent article by Mandy Walker in Consumer Reports, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Al Franken (D-Minnesota) have proposed legislation that would “prevent companies from imposing forced arbitration in cases covered by consumer protection laws, as well as in employment discrimination and other civil rights matters.”


“This bill restores the Federal Arbitration Act to what Congress intended, arbitration as a way for businesses to decide to handle their business disputes, but not as a way to insulate their misconduct from accountability to consumers,” said George Slover, senior policy counsel at Consumers Union.


I am hopeful that the legislation garners support, but am skeptical given the current make-up of our Congress.


Best of luck to Senators Leahy and Franken.


The full article can be read here.


The full text of the proposed legislation can be read here.


Photo Credit: Mesut Dogan

Advocate Capital, Inc. Celebrates Employees with Ping Pong


Advocate Capital Inc. Ping Pong TournamentOn Friday, February 19, the Advocate Capital, Inc. office celebrated our monthly employee appreciation event by hosting a ping pong tournament! The decorations were USA-themed and employees even wore sweatbands to get into the ping pong spirit.


We enjoyed delicious sandwiches, chips and cookies from our local Potbelly Sandwich Shop, but then it was time for the competition to start.


The top finishers of the tournament received prizes including their own ping pong trophy!


1st Place – Donald Scott

2nd Place – Mike Swanson

3rd Place – Lynne Cushing

4th Place – Michelle Rigsby


Thanks to all who participated in the tournament!


You can view photos from our event in our Facebook and Google+ albums.


Tina Burns

Vice President


What is Personal Injury Protection Insurance Coverage?


Be sure to watch Mr. Swanson’s latest interview with Maryland Attorney Kevin Goldberg of law offices of Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, as he discusses what existing coverage you should know about in your existing auto insurance policy.



Tina Burns

Vice President


2016 Trial Lawyer of the Year Nominations Now Open


Public Justice Foundating 2016 Trial Lawyer of the YearNominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.


Exceptional, socially significant cases that were won or settled within the calendar year 2015 are eligible for this year’s award. The cases won or settled by finalists cover a broad range of public interest work, including but not limited to civil rights, consumer protection, workers’ rights, human rights, environmental preservation, and corporate and governmental accountability.


The Public Justice Foundation has set a deadline for submission for 5 p.m. ET on Monday, March 28. The 2016 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award winner will be announced at the Public Justice Foundation’s Annual Gala.


Please send your Trial Lawyer of the Year nomination form to Aidan O’Shea at with the subject line “2016 TLOY Nomination.”


(Download the Nominee Information Form)


(Trial Lawyer of the Year Nomination Guidelines)


Public Justice will contact the nominees, from whom they will seek specific information regarding their cases and, where applicable, their legal teams.


Michael J. Swanson

President and CEO


The Rainmaker Retreat – Wow!


Rainmaker Retreat 2016I just returned from Miami Beach, FL where I attended my first Rainmaker RetreatStephen Fairley and his team at The Rainmaker Institute put on an incredible two-day program that is absolutely chocked full of dozens of ideas and principles for growing your law firm.


Some of the topics that were very expertly covered were Social Media Marketing, Newsletter Marketing, Online Reputation Management, Upgrading your Staff and Systems, Maximizing Referrals, Optimizing Intake, Email Marketing, SEO and more.


One of the nice things about Stephen’s group is that they also offer a menu of out-sourced services. If you feel too overwhelmed or understaffed to implement better marketing at your firm, you can hire Stephen and his team for prices that I think are very doable!


If growing your practice is on your “to-do” list for 2016, you would do well to check out the next Rainmaker Retreat.


Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer


American Association for Justice Winter Convention


AAJ Winter 2016


Will you be attending the AAJ Winter Convention in Boca Raton on February 27 – March 2?


Michael J. SwansonJeff Glueck and I will be representing Advocate Capital, Inc. at booth #413 throughout the convention. Stop by and discover The Advocate Flexline™, our brand new product combination that gives contingent-fee law firms the most powerful funding solution ever available.


The 2016 AAJ Winter Convention will take place at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. Accomplished trial lawyers and experts will discuss the latest developments in trial advocacy and specialized topics at nearly 10 cutting-edge Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs designed to help you better represent your clients. Earn up to a year’s worth of CLE credits at these programs designed by plaintiff lawyers for plaintiff lawyers.


Don’t forget to visit our booth and enter our raffle for a chance to win a Bose® SoundLink® Mini!


We hope to see you there.


Tina Burns

Vice President


7 Ways to Become More Efficient Using Social Media


Copyright : niroworldBy now you should understand the importance and necessity of an online social media presence as a business owner or brand. Posting, sharing, connecting, tweeting, etc. can potentially take up a lot of time, especially if you do all of these things multiple times throughout the day. That is until you take these 7 tips and apply them.


In a Mashable article written by John Rampton titled, “7 worthwhile ways to automate social media,” there are a variety of tips to make your social media strategy more efficient. From scheduling and automating your content ahead of time to sharing content that others have posted, there’s a tip in here for everyone to use. Every owner is looking for more efficient ways to run their business, and applying these tips does this without cutting corners or losing the connections with customers, influencers and investors.


To read all 7 tips and the full article, click here!


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: niroworld

Time Management Tips for Lawyers


Copyright : gajusIn a recent article, Nicole Black of shared some great time saving tips that lawyers can utilize.


Here are a few from her list:


•   Legal Research – Ms. Black recommends using the new Google Scholar browser extension to cut down on time and money. Available on Chrome and Firefox, this “browser add-on that makes it even easier to seamlessly conduct Google Scholar legal research without having to open a new browser window.”

  • Use Scrivener for Legal Writing – Ms. Black recommends Scrivener as “great tool for lawyers–especially for appellate lawyers and others who often draft lengthy legal documents.” What is Scrivener? It is a “word processor and project management tool that makes all of the documentation and information that you will be using to create a document available in one application.”
  • Use Mobile Apps to Keep Your Contact List Updated – As a professional, you are always networking with people and contact lists can become very large and out of date quickly. One of Ms. Black’s solutions to this problem is CircleBack. This free app “collects all of your contacts and then searches through all of the app’s collective, anonymized data–gleaned from all users–to provide you with the most current information for your contacts.”


(View the complete article, “Start the New Year with 4 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Lawyers”)


Take some time to research these great tools and see which ones will help streamline your workflow and organize your time.


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: gajus

Do you check your phone before bed?


Copyright : Luca BertolliI do. In fact, I have been known to binge watch NetFlix episodes on my tablet before turning off the light. I never gave much thought to how my phone or tablet impact my ability for a good night sleep.


Apparently, staring at screens at night before bed is bad, and worse than experts initially thought. Your phone and tablet emit photons and the way your brain translates these photons is at the root of the problem.


Photons = stay awake.


Business Insider released an “eye opening” (pardon the pun) video titled “This is what happens to your brain and body when you check your phone before bed” that explains it all in a two minute video. Sleep is so important…from daily focus, fitness recovery and mood to how we age and how effectively we think in terms of cognitive ability.


You can watch the video here.


From now on, I am shutting down two hours before bed.


Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development


Photo Credit: Luca Bertolli

Sit or Stand? You won’t believe the benefits!


Advocate Capital Inc. Jeff Glueck Standing DeskLast month I wrote a blog highlighting the benefits and advantages an employee wellness program can have on your firm’s employees and your bottom line.


Recently, I purchased a keyboard stand for my office that allows me to stand at my desk and work instead of sit. My “stand” set up is pictured here. It is painfully simple and cost under $80 total.


I did this on the simple assumption that standing was overall better than sitting for 8 – 10 hours a day. Turns out, I completely underestimated the benefits. My revelations came from a BBC News magazine article referencing the subject. Here are some facts that might raise an eyebrow or two:


  • Standing rather than sitting can burn around 50 calories per hour.
  • If you stand for three hours a day for five days, that is around 750 calories burnt.
  • Over the course of one year, that would equal 30,000 calories or around 8 pounds of fat.
  • This is the equivalent of running approximately 10 marathons per year…just by standing up to three or four hours a day at work.


New trend? Not by a long shot. Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Hammerstein II, Donald Rumsfeld, Winston Churchill and even Benjamin Franklin all stood while they worked.


Skeptical? Check out this calorie-burn calculator and see how many you can burn by standing rather than sitting. Imagine the overall health benefits for your employees? To your overall healthcare costs? All for an overall investment of under $80 per employee.


Yes, I wrote this while standing proud, and burned through about 25 calories to boot. You can read the full article here.


Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development


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

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