Great News for West Virginia




West VirginiaWe have great news for contingent-fee firms in West Virginia.  In response to a request made of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel surrounding the ethical practice of passing through borrowing costs to clients, the Disciplinary Counsel published Opinion L.E.O. 2016-01.


The Opinion states:


“Based upon a review of these opinions and applicable West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct, this Board finds that a lawyer or law firm may obtain a loan from a third party lender to advance the costs and expenses of litigation in a contingent fee matter and that the attorney’s costs and interest associated with the loan may be deducted from the client’s portion of the settlement or judgement provided that certain conditions, prescribed under the Rules of Professional Conduct, are met.”


You can read the entire opinion here.


Opinions like this from West Virginia are not new to our business.  In fact, there are many other states who have issued similar opinions that allow for the pass through of borrowing costs to individual cases.


What does this potentially mean to your law firm?  You no longer have to fund your litigation costs out of your firm’s after-tax profits.  Imagine if you were able to recover what you have invested in your litigation costs.


If that money was sitting in your operating account, do you think you could find something productive to do with it?


Powered by our proprietary AdvoTrac® software, case-by-case borrowing cost pass through is the cornerstone of our business.  It allows us to deliver capital to our clients at an average cost of less than 1% per year. Click here to learn more.


Click here to contact us if you would like a copy of the West Virginia opinion or to see if a similar opinion has been issued for your state.  We are happy to pass it on to you.

Photo Credit: Robert Biedermann

Going to Miami Beach


NTL 2017 Jeff Glueck, Michael J. Swanson and myself are heading to Miami Beach for the National Trial Lawyer Summit on on February 5th-8th.


We will be exhibiting with NTL for this first time this year. We have heard great things about this conference and we are looking forward to it.


Please stop by and see us at booth #9. Discover how The Advocate Flexline can help you obtain even better results for your plaintiffs.


The National Trial Lawyer summit has planned a great line up of over 60 of the nation’s top speakers. Attendees can earn a year’s worth of CLE credits in 3 days!


Attendees and exhibitors will have the chance to mix and mingle with America’s most influential and respected trial lawyers. We are looking forward to seeing clients, getting new referrals and meeting new people.



It looks to be promising show! We hope to see you there!


LSAT Tests Administered Increases Nearly 8%


Authored By: Rachel Markin


LSAT Tests Administered Increases Nearly 8%New statistics could mean more students will apply to law school this year. According to an article on ABAjournal’s website, data released by the Law School Administration Council showed a 7.6% increase in the number of LSAT tests administered in December 2016 from December of last year. The increase is welcome news to many law schools that have seen applications decline over the past years due to a shrinking private legal employment market.


The Kaplan Test Prep says the nearly 8% increase is the largest year-over-year growth in administration of LSAT tests since 2009. Jeff Thomas, the executive director of pre-law programs for the prepping company, says to be cautious when drawing conclusions about the increase in tests administered. Thomas says a change in the LSAT’s test date could have contributed to the difference. The fall LSAT test was pushed more than a week earlier than its normal date, a change which Thomas says could have enticed students to take the test in December. However, the test prep company notes another positive statistic: there were 87,954 tests administered between June and December 2016, which is an increase of 2.7 percent over the same period in 2015.


December’s peak in LSAT tests administered comes after law schools across the country saw a decline in students. In a story that’s made national news, Indiana Tech School of Law will close its doors in June 2017 due to low enrollment and $20 million in losses. Above The Law reports only one member of the school’s inaugural class passed the bar exam.


The dip in enrollment has been so low, that Distinguished Professor of the University of California Hastings College of Law, Frank. H Wu says some law schools are accepting persons with lower LSAT scores (and undergraduate grade point averages) than prior to the “crash.” Wu goes on to say schools like Yale University, which are on the opposite side of the spectrum of Indiana Tech, are not troubled by the downward slope of applicants and still have more qualified applicants than they can accept. Rather, the professor argues that schools who are becoming less selective should consult with students lacking in qualifications to consider whether their investment will be worthwhile.


Still the recent 7.6% increase in LSATs administered ignites hope for a possible light at the end of the tunnel for law schools. Jeff Thomas of Kaplan Test Prep says, “..The worst may be over in terms of the rest taking trends and job numbers, there’s still a ways to go before saying that the law school landscape is on solid ground.”


Photo Credit: dolgachov

Texan Attorney Stands Up to State Farm Insurance

Authored By: Rachel Markin


Texan Attorney Stands Up to State Farm Insurance

While away on a mission trip, a Texan woman received a frightening phone call. She was told a storm had blown a massive tree into the middle of her house. According to an article on The Flowers Law Firm, P.C. website, the woman’s friends and family rescued as many personal possessions as possible. Unfortunately, the tree was 5 feet in diameter and destroyed both the foundation of her home and many family heirlooms.


After the woman returned from her mission trip and saw the damage, she immediately called State Farm Insurance to report her claim. An engineer and adjuster both visited her property, but said they could not finish their evaluations due to tree debris. Four months later, the pair still had not returned to the woman’s home. The insurance company’s hired engineer and adjuster had written a report that called for the foundation of the home to be piecemealed back together. The Flowers Law Firm, P.C. says very few contractors would agree to rebuild a house on that type of fabricated foundation, and if they did, the contractors would not provide warranties for their work.


The Texan woman contacted The Flowers Law Firm, P.C and asked Donivan W. Flowers for his help to fight State Farm Insurance.  The firm filed a lawsuit against State Farm for their bad faith insurance practices, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and delays in payment. State Farm Insurance hired a lawyer and only then did State Farm make an attempt to resolve the claim.


The Flowers Law Firm, P.C ensured its client received the money she was owed to rebuild her home, pay for damage to her personal property and for additional living expenses. On top of that, the client was able to recover statutory damages for State Farm’s late payments and attorney’s fees.


Advocate Capital, Inc. congratulates our client and friend, Donivan W. Flowers of The Flowers Law Firm, P.C. for their success. We are proud to partner and support personal injury attorneys like him. Flowers says he truly enjoys what he does and finds it rewarding to help people during their time of need. He is the recipient of the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, has been selected to Texas Super Lawyers since 2013 and was recognized as the Top 40 Under 40  by the National Trial Lawyers Association.  Visit Donivan W. Flowers firm, The Flowers Law Firm, P.C for more information.


City Sues Maker of OxyContin


OxycontinHarriett Ryan, in the Los Angeles Times reports that the city of Everett, Washington has filed a “first-of-its-kind lawsuit” against Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin, “alleging the company turned a blind eye to criminal trafficking of its pills to ‘reap large and obscene profits’ and demanding it foot the bill for widespread Opioid addiction in the community.”


A Times investigation last year found that Purdue Pharma “had extensive evidence pointing to illegal trafficking across the nation, but in many cases, did not share it with law enforcement or cut off the flow of pills,” prompting the lawsuit. Lawyers for the city of Everett accused the drug maker of “gross negligence, creating a public nuisance and other misconduct and said the company should pay costs of handling the Opioid crisis – a figure that the mayor said could run tens of millions of dollars – as well as punitive damages.”


The full article can be read here.


Photo Credit: mtsaride 

How is Your Credit Score?


Advocate Capital Inc Credit Report

Here at Advocate Capital, we’ve been reviewing credit reports of plaintiff lawyers every day since 1999.  In that time, we have seen many lawyers’ credit scores that were surprisingly low, and often to the surprise of the lawyer!  You should know your credit score and should spend some time making sure you keep it as high as possible.


Your credit score can affect your financial well-being in many ways.  Whether it is obtaining a mortgage, getting the best credit card rate or leasing a car, you will get much better pricing if you have a high score.  Also, many background checks for employment and positions of responsibility include a credit check.


So how do you increase your score?  Click here to read an excellent recent article posted by Bankrate called “7 ways to improve your credit score”.



Photo Credit: Daniel Fela

Consumer Advocacy Group Takes on Coca-Cola


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Coca-ColaA new lawsuit filed against Coca-Cola is leaving company executives with a bad taste in their mouths. According to Business Insider, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is suing Coke and another industry group, the American Beverage Association for allegedly misleading customers regarding the health risks of soda and other sugary drinks.


Business Insider’s Kate Taylor says that the suit specifically targets Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association’s emphasis on exercise and a “calories in, calories out” method to manage health. The CSPI says that stance goes against scientific evidence about sugar-sweetened drinks and their link to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.


Taylor says the lawsuit also claims Coke went as far as funding research that downplays the health dangers of sugary drinks to mislead Americans about the risks of drinking soda.


In response to the CSPI’s lawsuit, Coca-Cola released this statement: “We take our consumers and their health very seriously and have been on a journey to become a more credible and helpful partner in helping consumers manage their sugar consumption.” The company says it has also improved product nutrition by adding things like front-of-pack calorie labeling and low and no-calorie options.


Taylor says the American Beverage Association argues that CSPI’s accusations are “unfounded,” and points out that obesity and diabetes rates have been increasing while soda consumption has dropped.


Despite their counterclaims, the CSPI is demanding that both Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association release files on sugar-sweetened drinks and their potential health implications, stop advertising to children, and fund a public health education campaign.


Taylor says this isn’t the first time the consumer advocacy group has gone after Coca-Cola or other big beverage giants. She says in October, the CSPI sued PepsiCo over allegedly marketing its “Naked Juice” drinks as more healthy than they actually are.


If you would like to read Kate Taylor’s full article, click here


Photo Credit: Marcos Calvo Mesa

DuPont Forced to Pay $10.5M in Malicious Dumping Case


Authored By: Iris Garrett


 Malicious Dumping CaseIf there is one company in some deep water right now, it’s DuPont. The corporate giant is being forced to pay $10.5 million in punitive damages for a case involving malicious poisoning.


According to an article on The Ring of Fire Network, an Ohio U.S. District Court has ordered the money to be paid out to a man whose testicular cancer was allegedly caused by DuPont’s toxic dumping of chemical C8 into the Ohio River. The article’s author, Sydney Robinson says the court had originally ruled a payout of $2 million to the man, but the additional damages will come as a substantial push for DuPont to take action. She says the company has consistently refused to settle complaints or merge them into a mass tort suit, making claimants wait to gather damages while they are sick or dying.


Robinson says this case is the third one against DuPont involving the chemical C8, and so far in all three cases, juries have found the company did so knowing it caused cancer and tried to hide the truth from the public. However, this is the first time a jury described DuPont’s actions as “actual malice”.


Nine more cases against DuPont are scheduled to go before the Ohio U.S. District Court this year. Robinson says with the combined payouts from the first two and now these additional punitive damages, the corporation has payed $19.2 million. With more than 1,000 cases against them, she says DuPont is bound to be paying out a whole lot more.


To read Sydney Robinson’s full article, click here.


Photo Credit: Chris Dorney

Join Our Amazing Team at Advocate Capital, Inc.


Copyright : Yong Hian LimAs we continue the growth of our entire team in 2017, we are looking to add a Training Specialist to our Metro Center (Nashville, TN) corporate headquarters.


The successful candidate will provide training and support for our proprietary AdvoTrac® software, QuickBooks® and various case management software programs used by law firms. The Training Specialist also participates in the creation of training content including written materials and screen-capture videos.


If you are interested in the position or would like to recommend a candidate, please submit a resume for consideration.


The job posting is accessible here.


To learn more about our amazing company and culture, visit for more details.


Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


Protecting Your Firm Against a Cyberattack


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Advocate Capital Inc. Cyber Hacker


You may want to consider adding more security to your law firm’s case files and computers. U.S. leaders are now warning that attorneys and their practices could be prime targets for cyberattacks.


According to Reuters, three Chinese citizens are facing charges for trading confidential information taken from the networks of two U.S. law firms. The men allegedly hacked the firms’ servers while they were in the midst of mergers and acquisitions.


The Reuters article says the men used employee credentials to install malware on servers, access information from law firm partners’ emails, and get away with more than $4 million dollars. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says the hackers listed themselves as IT professionals in brokerage records.


“This case of cyber meets securities fraud should serve as a wake-up call for law firms around the world: you are and will be targets of cyber hacking, because you have information valuable to would-be criminals,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (Reuters).


The American Bar Association offers more than 25 tips for increasing security at your law firm and ensuring it doesn’t experience a similar data breach.


  • Change your passwords and do so on a regular basis.
  • Encrypt backup media, a huge source of data leaks, as well as company thump drives. If using an online backup service or a cloud, be sure information is encrypted in transit and while it is being stored.
  • Small firms and solo practices should use a single integrated product to deal with viruses, spam and malware.
  • Take caution when it comes to social media applications, especially when they ask for access to your credentials.
  • Consider purchasing cyber insurance to help protect against the consequences of a breach.


To read the full list of the American Bar Association’s cybersecurity tips, click here.


Photo Credit:  Frank Peters

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