Top Legal Websites 2017

Authored By: Rachel Markin


The top ten best law firm websites for 2017 have been released and you might know someone on the list. The says they’ve been rating legal websites through criteria based on design, basic search engine optimization and website security for “best of” contest for the last 8 years.


We’ve narrowed down the list to highlight the personal injury firms that received The Lawyerist accolade this year.


With no further ado, here are the websites:


The Lawyerist believes the best websites are designed to be responsive, meaning websites should adjust their layouts to work efficiently on computers, tablets and phones. If using a website on a mobile device becomes taxing, people are likely to quickly move on.


The awards also honored those sites that follow search engine optimization guidelines (SEO). The Lawyerist says one of the most basic elements of SEO is the homepage<title>tag. In addition, the article recommends securing your website with SSL.


For the complete list of the winners, click here. If you would like to submit your law firm’s website for consideration in the 2018 awards, look for The Lawyerist’s call for nominations the first week of January.


Photo Credit: Wavebreak Media Ltd  

Innovative Ways to Prosecute Trucking Cases Part 2


Join Attorney Michael Cowen of Cowen | Mask | Blanchard  and President and CEO Michael J. Swanson as they discuss how to use data to help prosecute trucking cases.



Are You Transparent With Your Clients?


Authored by: Iris Garrett


Are You Transparent With Your Clients?We’ve all heard the saying, “Relationships are built on trust,” and from experience, many of us have found it to be true. Whether it’s a business or personal relationship, there has to be some level of mutual trust for things to work properly between all involved. For attorney-client relationships, this is even more critical. Contingent-fee attorneys take on cases without asking anything of their current and potential clients upfront, but those same clients must also trust in the attorney’s abilities to guide them through their case, fight for it and win.


Even if you have built up the pivotal trust that is needed between you and your clients, keeping it intact may not be all that easy. In an article in Above the Law, Jane Oxley writes that a lack of transparency can be the single, most powerful way to ruin the relationships you’ve built, but by increasing it, you can also increase the level of trust you have with the people who come through your office. Oxley has several tips that can help you increase law firm transparency, and we’ve listed a few of them below.


Clear Policies – Oxley says to make sure your clients understand policies regarding everything from face-to-face meetings to final payments and billing. She says having clear policies that are communicated on the front end and in a language anyone can understand is key to building trust and transparency.


Admit Mistakes – Oxyley says clients will respect you more if you’re willing to admit when you’ve made a mistake. She says your willingness to address the error and correct it goes a long way in creating trust and being transparent.


Announce Changes – Oxley says letting your clients know beforehand when you’re planning to make any changes in how you do business will assure them that you’re looking out for their best interests.


Be Generous – Oxley says a willing to share your knowledge, like writing informative blogs or contributing to popular discussions in the legal field, will increase the trust your clients have in your skill and competency. She also says sharing knowledge won’t make them want your expertise any less.


Take Feedback – Oxley says asking your clients for feedback builds trust and transparency because it gives them a chance to point out weak spots in your service. She says it also gives them a chance to witness you make changes based on their feedback.


So, if you’re hoping to maintain the solid relationships you’ve built with your clients and form more solid relationships with potential new clients, you would do well to keep your practice as transparent as possible. Oxley says the more people know about you and your business, the more they will trust you can deliver the legal services they need.


To read Oxley’s full article, click here.


Photo Credit: gstockstudio

How To Grow Your Personal Injury Law Firm The RIGHT Way


Learn how to improve your business, so you can achieve better results for your clients. Join CEO and President Michael J. Swanson as he presents “How To Grow Your Personal Injury Law Firm The RIGHT Way” in a free webinar on April 12th. Plus, Mike will personally answer your questions.


Sign up for the April 12th webinar by clicking here. Once you register, you will receive a bonus download of a Growth Case Study. We look forward to seeing you there.


For your convenience, listed below are the April 12th Webinar times for each time zone.

  • 1:00 PM Central
  • 11:00 AM Pacific
  • 2:00 PM Eastern
  • 12:00 PM Mountain



Extend the Reach of Your Facebook Videos


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Facebook VideoIf you use Facebook to market your law firm, you’ve probably posted a video at some point or another. But did you know that the specific format you used to upload that video may have affected how many people it reached? A new study by the makers of quintly, an online social media analytics tool, shows that uploading videos straight to Facebook results in a higher interaction rate compared to other video formats. We’ve outlined their study below.


Between July and December 2016, quintly researchers analyzed 167,000 Facebook profiles and more than six million Facebook posts. During that period, they found 46.9% of the analyzed profiles used a video in some form on Facebook. However, when they looked a little closer, they found that 90% of the 167,000 profiles featured a Facebook “native” video (one directly uploaded to the social networking site) on their timelines. YouTube videos were only seen on 30% of the analyzed pages, those uploaded through Vimeo were only included on 2%, and the share of profiles with other types of video formats was an overall 7%.


Perhaps the biggest discovery from quintly’s study was that videos posted directly onto Facebook enjoy a 186% higher interaction rate. Researchers calculated this by taking into account the sum of all interactions (shares, comments, and reactions), the average amount of followers, and the total number of posts. During the majority of the study, they found that Facebook native video averaged a 109.6% higher interaction rate than for YouTube, but in the month of December 2016 alone, that number skyrocketed to 186%. Researchers also found that the average share rate for Facebook native videos beat out YouTube by 407.7%.


When quintly researchers looked at the video posts themselves, they found that 84.4% of Facebook’s overall videos, or roughly 5.1 million, were those uploaded directly to the site. YouTube videos took up about 10% of the overall videos posted on Facebook, which is equivalent to about one in every 10 posts or 613,222 videos. Other formats had a share of 5% of all Facebook video posts, while Vimeo took up less than 1%.


From the quintly study, we see that Facebook native videos are the preferred format for uploading content to the networking site. Not only do researchers say it is the favorite among all profile groups, but when you choose to upload videos directly to Facebook, it can boost visibility of the video, increase its shares, and ensure more overall interactions than linking a video from YouTube or Vimeo.


Take a look at your Facebook timeline the next time you log in, and you’ll probably see that the majority of videos featured are Facebook Live and native ones. Your law firm’s Facebook campaign can get this type of exposure as well. See how many users it reaches by testing out quintly’s findings and uploading a video directly to the site.


To see quintly’s full article and study, click here.


Photo Credit: stylephotographs




Laszlo Kovacs Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary with Advocate Capital



LaszloCongratulations to our Director of Special Assets, Laszlo Kovacs!  Laszlo recently celebrated his 5 year anniversary with Advocate Capital.  He joined our team on March 7, 2012 as a Credit Compliance Manager after several years with Chase Paymentech Solutions.  In March, 2014, he was promoted to Credit Compliance Manager II, and in January, 2016, he was promoted to Director of Special Assets.


Laszlo is a valuable member of our Credit Team.  Please join us in congratulating him on his excellent service!


Public Justice Phonathon 2017

Authored By: Rachel Markin


It’s a battle between the Tweeters and Bloggers in this year’s Public Justice Foundation Phonathon. Advocate Capital, Inc. President and CEO, Michael J. Swanson, is honored to be part of the “Tweeters” team and has a special offer for those who sign up now until April 20th.


Advocate Capital will pay the first month dues for those who sign up for the monthly Public Justice Foundation membership with the “Tweeters” team before April 20th. The free month will also apply to existing members who renew before April 20th.


For more details about this promotion, contact Advocate Capital at 1.877.894.9724 or send an email to


You can contact the Public Justice Foundation by calling 202.797.8600 or by visiting #Tweeters4Justice




Could Your Office Be Costing Your Business?


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Ugly OfficeNow that spring is here, many of us are gearing up for an annual spring cleaning. Whether it’s your closet that needs sorting or a bigger project like sprucing up a community, spring is always a great time to update your space and start anew.


But what if you finish all the work at home and need another project? Well, then you may want to turn your attention to your law office. A new survey suggests having a cluttered work space can have a huge impact on potential new business. Stephen Fairley of The Rainmaker Institute writes about the findings in an article in The National Law Review. He says nearly 34% of people surveyed say clutter would most likely give them a negative first impression when visiting an office. Fairley says clutter ranked high for men and women and for all age groups. There were noticeable differences in surveyors, however, when questioned about the second biggest turnoff. Overall, nearly 25% of responders considered poorly dressed staff to be the second most off-putting attribute, but when broken down between demographics, it was women and those between the ages of 56-64 who were more clearly bothered by poor dress. Fairley says men thought lack of natural light was the second attribute most likely to create a bad impression. Also, dated décor ranked third overall in office turnoffs, but it actually ranked second for people 25-34.


So, how should these statistics impact your office spring cleaning? Fairley suggests installing in-desk power modules (they will allow you to plug in your devices through your desk), using wireless chargers for your cellphones, and storing extra cables together inside a cable spine or basket out of sight. He says making these simple aesthetic changes will make your office as desirable as the clients you want to attract. Fairley also suggests tidying up other areas within your practice like phone etiquette, the process of signing up a client, and exit interviews. He says all are ways a new prospect comes into contact with your firm, and all have the potential of making a good or bad first impression.


Don’t let the look or feel of your office cost your business, read Stephen Fairley’s full article and get started on your office cleanup today!


Photo Credit:gemenacom

Meet Advocate Capital, Inc. Client Craig Carlson



Watch President and CEO Michael J. Swanson talk with Attorney Craig Carlson of The Carlson Law Firm about how Advocate Capital, Inc.‘s case expense financing has helped his firm get even better results for their clients.






Takata Comes Clean in Airbag Recall Scandal


Authored by: Iris Garrett


Takata Pleases GuiltyAccording to USA Today, Japanese auto supplier, Takata, has agreed to a $1 billion plea deal to settle its defective airbag case. The plea agreement was granted late last month by U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh after the company admitted to deceiving automakers and concealing airbag defects over a 15-year period. The article says the airbags in question can potentially explode and send deadly shrapnel into the cabin of a car. So far, it has been blamed for at least 11 deaths.


The article says Judge Steeh initially thought the $1 billion plea deal (which includes an $850 million payment to automakers, a $125 million compensation fund, and a criminal fine of $25 million) was not enough to satisfy the charges, and he could have imposed as much as $1.5 billion in criminal penalties alone. However, the article goes on to say that Steeh decided to move forward with the deal in light of Takata’s expected bankruptcy, reasoning that steeper fines would only further punish victims and bar the company from paying.


Now, new accusations are surfacing against some of the automakers involved in the scandal. According to Consumer Reports, new documents filed in a separate lawsuit claim that at least five auto brands (BMW, Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota) all knowingly installed Takata’s defective airbags into their vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the latest number of affected vehicles at 42 million worldwide, but the number of defective airbags installed in those cars is far greater, estimated between 65 to 70 million. And with only 13 million airbags replaced so far, the NHTSA says repairs won’t be completed until at least 2020.


The article also says of the automakers involved in this new legal battle, only Honda has reported a recall completion rate exceeding 50 percent. Others, like BMW, have repaired just 14-30 percent of their affected models (NHTSA).


If you are unsure whether your car falls under the Takata recall, Consumer Reports says you should check NHTSA’s website for a list of affected manufacturers, makes and model years. It also says drivers who have already had an airbag replaced may need another replacement, noting that initial replacement bags may have been safer than the original defective ones, but they’re still considered flawed and will likely be recalled as well.


You can read the full USA Today article here and the full Consumer Reports article by clicking here.


Photo Credit: nikkytok

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