South Carolina Association for Justice Annual Convention


SCAJ Annual Convention

Will you be attending the SCAJ 2016 Annual Convention in Hilton Head, SC on August 4-6?


Lisa Wagner and Donna Jones will be representing Advocate Capital, Inc. during the convention. Stop by Booth #9 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 SCAJ Annual Convention is a three day event at the Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa combining Continuing Legal Education, Business Networking, and Family Fun. Featuring more than a dozen seminars delivered by leading legal experts, the convention provides members a chance to qualify for 12 CLE credits which includes three ethics credit.


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


We hope to see you there.


Tina Burns

Vice President


Are Your “New Tires” Really New?


President and CEO Michael J. Swanson recently interviewed Attorney Debi Chalik of the Law Offices of Chalik & Chalik about some important safety information for consumers in the market for new tires.



Tina Burns

Vice President


Making Access to Justice More Affordable


Copyright : Kamil MacniakWe’ve all seen them, television shows like “The People’s Court,” “Judge Judy,” and “Judge Mathis”. They portray cases where plaintiffs have some type of legal problem, but instead of choosing a lawyer to represent them, they opt for the pro se route (acting on one’s own behalf). Yet, these court t.v. shows do not only stem from people shying away from legal representation, they reveal a much larger theme when it comes to access to justice.


Access to justice is an issue lawyers and their potential clients have faced for decades. It can be hindered by everything from a lack of qualified legal protection to a lack of awareness, but the biggest barrier is affordability. Lawyers cost money, and not everyone can pay to get the legal services they offer even when it’s needed the most. So the result is a large gap between the people who can afford a lawyer and the ones who are eligible for free legal help. However, Sam Glover, editor-in-chief of Lawyerist says closing the access to justice gap will mean more than lowering the high cost of legal representation.


According to the American Bar Association and an analysis by TyMetrix Legal Analytics and CEB, the average hourly rate for a lawyer back in 2012 was $370 for associates and $536 for law firm partners. Yet, this is not the sole method of paying an attorney for his or her services. There are also contingent fee arrangements where a client is required to pay if and only if a lawyer is successful in a case (most often one involving personal injury or workers’ compensation). Contingent fees can be a financial relief for clients as there are no upfront costs associated with them. The money comes out the final amount awarded to you, and that means less debt and less headaches during the course of your case.


Many people are not aware of the benefits of choosing a lawyer who offers contingent fees. A recent study by the Federal Reserve found that half of the U.S. is not able to come up with the money it takes to use legal services at the comparable billable rate. Free legal representation may be offered to a person who is below 125% of the poverty line, but the Legal Services Corporation says even they can be turned away when they apply for help.


Could the access of justice gap stretch farther than just affordability? There are many that believe the value of legal services also plays a big role. Glover says there are online legal document services available that give people free tools for their cases, but they are not utilized. He says the majority of people would rather save the money and pay for a lawyer to get the job done, but there are plaintiffs that believe they can do the job just fine themselves. Yet, Glover says the people you see on court t.v. could just as easily not be able to afford a lawyer, as they may not appreciate their value.


Access to justice is not an issue that can be chiseled down to one solution. Lawyers may always be expensive, and there will be times people will need actual representation to solve their legal problems (and making fees cheaper may not make them more accessible). Yet, plaintiff law firms that work on a contingency basis are helping bridge the gap. They are the ones Advocate Capital, Inc. helps get even better results for their clients through strategic financing and our Case Expense Funding product. If plaintiff law firms continue to fight injustice without it being a financial burden on their clients, more people should be able to get the legal protection they need and deserve.


You can check out Sam Glover’s full article on Access to Justice by clicking here.


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: Kamil Macniak

Pharmaceutical Company Held Liable for Side Effects of Generic Prescription Drugs?


Copyright : dreamerbUnder current Food and Drug Administration laws, generic drug manufacturers are required to use the same label as the brand-name equivalent.


What happens when the brand-name manufacturer fails to warn the consumer of dangerous side effects? Is the brand-name manufacturer liable for side effects of the generic equivalent?


This is a complex question and state rulings on this topic vary. In California, the answer is yes. However, that may change potentially affecting millions of consumers.


Leslie Brueckner with The Legal Examiner discusses this issue, which is currently before the California Supreme Court. In her article, Defending the Rights of Generic Drug Victims in the California Supreme Court, Leslie states:


The risk of tort liability creates an incentive for drug companies to change their labels when new risks emerge. But when drug companies know they can’t be sued for failure to warn, all bets are off. Unless there’s a risk of liability in the courts, there’s little incentive for drug companies like Novartis to change their labels to warn of newly discovered risks.


The case in question is T.H., a Minor v Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. The case involves two minors who suffered brain injuries in utero because their mother took a generic version of “Brethine.” Novartis manufactured and labeled Brethine before it sold the rights to another drug company. The Plaintiffs argued Novartis knew the drug and the generic forms could cause fetal brain damage but chose not to include this on the warning label to continue profiting from the drug. The lower court agreed. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is challenging the ruling, arguing they are not liable for side effects of the generic version of their patented product.


At Advocate Capital, Inc., we strongly believe in the rights of the consumer and support Plaintiff attorneys across the US in the work they do in protecting these rights. Will big pharma prevail again? We will continue to follow this case for the potential impact it may have on consumers.


Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


Photo Credit: dreamerb

Asbestos Litigation Expert Simona Farrise Speaking at American Association for Justice Convention


FarriseSimona Farrise, founder of The Farrise Law Firm, known as one of the top 50 Female Lawyers in California, a nationally sought after public speaker in the areas of law, and likely most well-known for her success in Asbestos litigation, will be speaking at the American Association for Justice Annual Convention in Los Angeles.


Attorney Farrise’s topic will feature Cross-Examination of the Purveyors of Doubt Science as part of the Asbestos Litigation Group CLE Program held during the 2 – 5:10 p.m. session today.


Attorney Farrise has been representing victims of asbestos-related disease for more than two decades and the CLE program provides an opportunity for her to share her experience and expertise in this important area of the law.


In addition to her success in asbestos litigation, Attorney Farrise is also well-known for holding corporate giants accountable, as in a recent $8M verdict she was able to achieve in a wrongful death case against Janssen Pharmaceutical involving the use of Risperidone, an injectable form of Risperdal.


We look forward to visiting with many friends and clients as AAJ kicks off. AAJ members can click here to see the full event schedule.


Lisa Wagner

Senior Vice President, Client Services


Legal Videos: Tips to Increase Effectiveness


Copyright : venimoIn 2016, video marketing allows law firms to speak directly to their prospective clients and referral sources. Whether you are just getting started or looking to create fresh content, how do you know if the finished product will be effective?


In a recent article, Crisp Video Group President Michael Mogill shares ways to help your law firm “create legal videos that help you capture new clients and cases.”


Below are a few of his tips:


  • Storytelling: “Effective legal videos build trust and engagement by telling the story of your practice, encouraging viewers to trust you in their time of need. But highly effective videos do this by emphasizing the why of your firm — not just the what.”
  • Production Value: In today’s world of HD and 4K videos, high-quality production is worth the investment. “Your video is a direct reflection of your brand, and it will be the first impression many prospective clients have of your law firm. According to Brightcove, 62 percent of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a brand that published a low-quality video, and 23 percent would hesitate to buy from the brand.”
  • Part of a Bigger Strategy: Where to Share It: “One of the biggest mistakes law firms make is forgetting to consider how video content will tie into their overall marketing strategy.” Sharing on your website, YouTube, social media and email marketing will allow you more opportunities to connect with prospective clients.


(View the full article, “Five Characteristics of Highly Effective Legal Videos”)


If you want to start increasing your video marketing effectiveness, follow Mr. Mogill’s advice, “Contemplate how video ties into your overall strategy, focus on your audience, consider your unique value proposition, communicate this message with stories, and convey it all with well-produced video content.”


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: venimo

TN Legislator Calls for Repeal of Loser Pays


Copyright : niroworldIn March of this year, I blogged about the passage of legislation in the Tennessee General Assembly requiring a loser-pays rule if a plaintiff sues a state employee as an individual and loses.


The bill eventually passed both houses and was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam.


In the wake of recent allegations of sexual misconduct by Representative Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin) (and the possibility of coming lawsuits surrounding the allegations), Representative Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) is introducing legislation that would repeal the “loser-pays” bill. According to an article by Cari Wade Gervin in the, “Mitchell said the Durham report shows that interns were harassed, but the ‘loser-pays’ bill practically ensures none will ever file a lawsuit, as few college students could afford to pay two legal bills if the suit failed.” The article goes on to reveal other concerns Mitchell has with the report – “On page 30, the report details the experience of ‘Jane Doe #24’, a legislative aide who was fired by ‘Rep. Jane Doe #33’ after she reported Durham’s harassment of her, and Mitchell said he’s incredibly concerned by this.”


Mitchell is asking that both the Attorney General, Herbert Slatery, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigate the matter further to determine if there was any criminal activity and if any further legal action needs to be taken.


Our hope is that justice is done and that the “loser-pays” bill is repealed.


Photo Credit: niroworld

Advocate Capital, Inc. Summer 2016 Newsletter is Here!


Advocate Capital Inc. Summer 2016 NewsletterThe Summer 2016 Edition of Advocate Capital, Inc.‘s Quarterly Newsletter is available.


This quarter’s newsletter features a video of our Client of the Quarter Brianne Thomas of Boyd Kenter Thomas & Parrish LLC, 2016 Paralegal of the Year Award Winner Patti Birdsall, Advotrac® updates and more.


Please share our valuable newsletter with your fellow trial attorneys. As noted in the newsletter, we pay referral fees for every law firm that you refer to us that joins our family of clients.


(View the full Summer 2016 Newsletter)


Tina Burns

Vice President


Appellate Court Rules GM Cannot Hide Behind Bankruptcy


Copyright : zimmytwsGM faulty ignition switch victims are a step closer to having their day in court thanks to a ruling by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court reversed a 2015 bankruptcy court ruling, which barred victims from filing claims if the crash occurred before “old GM’s” 2009 bankruptcy sale to “new GM.” The “new GM” stated it was not responsible for the actions of the “old GM” including the faulty switch claims. The bankruptcy court agreed.


The Appellate Court ruled GM’s failure to notify consumers of the ignition switch defect violated consumer rights of due process. Essentially the “new GM” was attempting to shield itself from hundreds of potential lawsuits against “old GM” by not disclosing the defect in their 2009 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.


Plaintiffs with injury and death claims, as well as those with lost vehicle value claims, will now be able to proceed with actions that stalled due to the bankruptcy ruling. Plaintiff lawyers are estimating the claims could be worth between $7-10 Billion.


In typical fashion, GM spokesperson Jim Cain commented on the appellate ruling to USA Today, “We are reviewing the ruling and its impact. Even if some claims are ultimately allowed to proceed, the plaintiffs must still prove their cases.”


Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to work with trial lawyers across the US, many of whom represent clients with claims against GM. We have blogged about our good friend Lance Cooper and his efforts to hold GM accountable. His expert uncovered the ignition switch defect that led to the discovery GM’s cover up, ultimately forcing GM to recall 2.9 million cars. Mr. Cooper’s letter to NHTSA requesting a “Timeliness Query Investigation” into the recall, prompted the Justice Department to investigate potential criminal charges against GM. There were no criminal charges filed against GM employees. Instead, the automaker paid a $900 million fine for the cover up and agreed to a $2 billion settlement package.


We should all be thankful every day for trial attorneys who work to hold corporations like GM accountable for their actions. We have shared stories of lives lost and lives seriously altered by corporate greed. Sometimes, David really does beat Goliath!


Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


Photo Credit: zimmytws

American Association for Justice Annual Convention


AAJ Annual 2016 Annual ConventionWill you be attending the AAJ 2016 Annual Convention in Los Angeles on July 22-25?


Donna Jones, Lisa Wagner, Jeff Glueck and I will be representing Advocate Capital, Inc. at booth #309 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 Annual Convention will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Accomplished trial lawyers and experts will discuss the latest developments in trial advocacy and specialized topics at nearly 40 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 in The HUB at the J.W. Marriott and enter our raffle for a chance to win a Bose® SoundLink® Mini!


We hope to see you there.


Tina Burns

Vice President


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

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