Everything Can Matter in Your Cases


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Advocate Capital Inc Lawyer Thoughtful

“An isolated litigation event is almost never isolated in its impact.” Sound advice for trial lawyers coming from John Balestriere in an article in Above the Law. He says keeping in mind the longer-term and broader consequences of even your seemingly simple litigation choices is an absolute must for those in the legal field, and that you may be required to think this way not only at key times– like deciding whether to file suit versus settle or whether to answer or move to dismiss– but always.


Here are some situations where Balestriere says lawyers need to think long-term about consequences:


  • Depositions: Determining whom to depose, where to depose that person, who will depose them, and what questions you should and should not ask.
  • Briefs: Deciding which argument to include in the brief, which authorities to cite and in what order to cite them.
  • Clients: Figuring out how you discuss issues with your client, when to raise an issue, whom to raise it with, and how to raise it.


Balestriere says considering every consequence of every action may seem overly tactical or exhausting, but it is a good habit to develop. Not only will you appreciate this way of thinking, but so will your clients, and it will make winning their cases even easier. So, if you haven’t already started thinking long-term, Balestriere says to remember that it is part of what makes being a trial lawyer difficult, but also fun. Anyone who has the opportunity to hold such a tough job should be extremely thankful.


To read John Balestriere’s full article, click here.


Photo Credit:  langstrup

570K Ford Vehicles Recalled For Three Different Safety Concerns


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Advocate Capital Inc Ford car

Rough roads ahead for Ford Motor Company. According to The Legal Examiner, the automaker is recalling 570,000 vehicles due to a variety of safety concerns including engine fires, driveline vibration issues, and doors that can swing open on their own.


The Legal Examiner says Ford’s first recall encompasses more than 240,000 vehicles ranging from the 2013-2015 Escape, Fiesta, and Fusion models, as well as Transit Connect vans manufactured during that time. It says that because of a lack of coolant circulation, the engine in these cars can overheat and cause the cylinder head to crack. This then sends pressurized oil into contact with the engine’s hot surface and increases the risk of fire in the engine’s compartment. The Legal Examiner says already Ford has reported 29 instances in the U.S. and Canada where fires have sparked due to this safety issue.


Ford’s second recall deals with a previously announced issue regarding door latches. The Legal Examiner says on top of the vehicles the company has already pulled for the safety issue, Ford is expanding that recall to include 211,000 more. Models now included: the 2014 Ford Fiesta, the 2013-2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles. The Legal Examiner says a pawl spring tab inside the cars’ door latch can break and prevent it from closing.


The last of Ford’s recall issues affect more than 500 of the automaker’s pickup trucks including the 2017 F-450 and F-550 models. The Legal Examiner says these trucks can undergo driveline vibration due to a powertrain system error whenever drivers go above 75 mph. It says if drivers continue to go at these speeds, it could impact the resonance frequency and fracture transmission and driveline components.


Ford is not the only auto company facing massive recalls. Find out whether your vehicle falls under a safety recall by visiting the NHTSA’s website and checking its list of affected manufacturers, makes and model years. You can also check out our previous blogs on recalls for GM, Dodge, and Takata airbags right here on www.AdvocateCapital.com.


To read the full Legal Examiner article, click here.


Photo Credit: Goran Bogicevic

Are Smartphone Manufacturers to Blame for Distracted Driving Accidents?


Authored By: Krista Kemmerly


Advocate Capital inc texting driving

Are smartphones to blame for distracted driving accidents? Wendy Lee with the San Francisco (CA) Chronical reports that families of some victims of distracting driving seem to think so. These families are proposing “technology that could prevent crashes caused by distracted drivers.” Experts are saying “there is no technological reason” that would prevent companies from creating such a thing. Apple argues against this by saying crashes are “caused by the distracted drivers misusing the technology, not a defect in the iPhone.” They proceed their argument by stating all the other potential driving distractions where the manufacturers or service providers are not liable, such as; doing your hair and makeup in the car, or eating a meal in the car.


Many studies have been done to conclude this concern. A Zendrive study found that drivers use phones in 88 percent of trips between December 2016 and February 2017, a Zendrive study of “570 million trips among 3.1 million drivers” found. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, “nearly 3,500 people died in distraction-related crashes in 2015”.


Over all, the National Highway Traffic Administration “supports having users manually turn on features that prevent distracted driving until technology is developed to make it easier to distinguish between whether a smartphone user is in the driver’s or passenger seat”.


For more on this study, read the full article here or visit The New York Post and Mashable where they also provide coverage.


Photo Credit: dolgachov

Happy Anniversary Kelly Bubis


Advocate Capital Inc Kelly Bubis 5th Anniversary Small

If you are a successful plaintiff’s firm in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Oklahoma, or Colorado you might have heard from our Director of Strategic Solutions, Kelly Bubis.  I am so pleased to announce that on May 1st 2017, Kelly will celebrate her 5 year anniversary with us here at Advocate Capital.


Thanks to Kelly’s diligent efforts and commitment to law firms throughout her 5 state territory, she has helped dozens of firms get even BETTER results for their clients.


Congratulations Kelly and thank you for all of your hard work and your contributions to the success of our ever-growing company.


We are so glad you are here!


Nominations Now Open for the 2017 AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award Sponsored by Advocate Capital, Inc.


As seen on MarketWatch and Yahoo! Finance.


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

Nominations for the 2017 AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award are now open. Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to sponsor this prestigious award for the sixth consecutive year, and we hope that it continues to shed light upon the crucial role paralegals play in our civil justice system.


The AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award Sponsored by Advocate Capital, Inc. is granted to one exceptional individual who consistently makes contributions to the paralegal profession and acts an inspiration to other paralegals through their knowledge of the law, perseverance in cases, and superior skill set. The ideal candidate must also demonstrate a commitment to both continuing legal education and their community through volunteering.


Any AAJ Paralegal Affiliate who has been a member for a minimum one year is eligible to receive the 2017 Paralegal of the Year Award, but they must be nominated by another AAJ Paralegal Affiliate or an AAJ Attorney member in good standing. If you know someone would like to nominate, please submit a completed entry form to Jennifer Rafter at jennifer.rafter@justice.org. Entries will be accepted through Friday, May 26th.


(Download the 2017 Paralegal of the Year Award nomination form here)


The winner of the 2017 Paralegal of the Year Award will be selected by June 16th and will receive the award at AAJ’s 2017 Annual Convention on July 22-25th in Boston, Massachusetts. Complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations, and registration will be provided.


Advocate Capital, Inc. is the premier provider of strategic financial products and accounting services for successful trial law firms. It has served the plaintiff bar for more than 17 years from its headquarters in Nashville, TN and now enjoys a client base that extends nationwide. For more information, visit www.AdvocateCapital.com or call 1.877.894.9724.


GOP Bill Would Make MedMal Suits Harder to Win


Medical MalRobert Pear recently reported in the New York Times that House Republicans have put forward a new bill that would “impose new limits on lawsuits involving care covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private health insurance subsidized by the Affordable Care Act.”  The bill is part of the GOP’s effort to replace the Affordable Care Act and would make it harder for low-income and older Americans to win lawsuits for injuries resulting from med mal, defective drugs, or defective medical devices.  Per the article, “The limits would apply to some product liability claims, as well as to medical malpractice lawsuits involving doctors, hospitals and nursing homes.


Of course, the GOP is claiming that this is an effort to limit frivolous lawsuits that “drive up health care costs,” according to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.  In reality, it will add another barrier to the court system and will remove the rights of consumers served by federal health program, “including those harmed by horrific medical mistakes”, according to the article.


The bill proposes a $250,000 limit on non-economic damages, which includes pain and suffering.


The full article can be read here.


Photo Credit: Maitree Laipitaksin

New Jersey Association for Justice Boardwalk Seminar® 2017


NJAJ Pre ShowAre you headed to Atlantic City for the NJAJ Boardwalk Seminar® next week?


Be sure to stop by the Advocate Capital, Inc. booth (#957) to register for the Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth speaker! While you’re there, see Tina Burns and Jeff Glueck to learn about The Advocate Flexline™, our product combination that gives contingent-fee law firms the most powerful funding solution ever available.


The 2017 Boardwalk Seminar® will be held at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City. This three-day seminar showcases in-depth educational lectures on trial strategies and litigation techniques. Attorneys can obtain nearly 2 years’ worth of MCLE credit, that’s more than 23 MCLE credits and 9.4 Ethics MCLE credits.


We hope to see you there.


NYC Passes Equal Pay Legislation Banning Salary History Questions

Authored By: Iris Garrett


Two Louisiana Medical Malpractice Bills Get BenchedNew York City is now the latest city to pass a ban prohibiting employers from asking about salary history. According to Slate, the movement toward this type of equal-pay legislation comes after Massachusetts became the country’s first state to pass the same law back in summer 2016, urging it as a way to halt the pay discrimination that can follow a woman or person of color throughout their career. Such discrimination stems from the fact that if at every job move these applicants are judged on pay that is already lower than that of their white male peers, they will never be able to catch up. Slate says because of Massachusetts’s move, lawmakers like those in New York City are pushing similar measures, and within the next few months, a ban in Philadelphia and possibly Washington, D.C. will take effect. Some delegates in D.C. are even proposing a federal prohibition on salary-history sharing.


Slate says several business alliances opposed the premier law in Massachusetts, claiming it was “counterproductive,” and that even Bloomberg called the legislation “policymaking by anecdote” and a “gag rule that won’t help women advance” in an editorial earlier this month. Though there has yet to be any specific research on whether basing job applicants’ salaries on their old ones keeps them being infinitely underpaid, Slate says research has shown that women get paid 6.6% less than men at their very first jobs (study, American Association of University Women). Because that research factors in things like occupation, college major, and hours worked, analysts then figure that only gender could be behind this wage gap. Other experts say that if women and people of color start out with a lower salary, it is only logical that each salary bump moving forward will be increasingly less. They say by pegging an offer based on what a new worker was making in their previous employment, it will only continue the cycle of pay discrimination they faced in prior positions.


Although there has been no direct research for the bans or any enacted laws to base their efficacy, Slate says the American workforce can benefit greatly if more are put in place. It says the bans allow for more opportunities for companies to judge employees on qualifications instead of previous pay, as well as a more-level playing field for those faced with barriers to equal earnings (women and people of color). The bad news, according to Slate, is that even with the fair-pay legislation, some businesses will still find ways around paying women the same as men.


To read the full Slate article, click here.


Photo Credit: Andriy Popov

Two Louisiana Medical Malpractice Bills Get Benched


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Medical MalpracticeTwo medical malpractice bills are being put on hold for the Louisiana Legislature’s 2017 session. The pair of bills (HB 526 and HB 51) would have increased the cap on economic damages in the Pelican State for all medical malpractice suits, but according to The Times-Picayne, legislators want to take an “all-encompassing look” at Louisiana’s state laws and consult with doctors and personal injury lawyers before they make any decisions about the two bills.


The Times-Picayne says House Bill 526, proposed by Representative Gene Reynolds (D-Minden), would have allowed plaintiffs more time to file a medical malpractice suit, extending it from 12 months after discovering an incident, to 18 months. His proposal would have also extended the time period between such incident and when a plaintiff filed suit (currently a three year max) to five years, as well as changed the structure of the medical review panel so that members would not come from the same class or specialty as the defendant practitioner.


The Times-Picayne says both Reynold’s measure and the second one held in committee, House Bill 51 (proposed by Republican Steve Pugh of Ponchatoula), addressed the cap on recoverable damages. They are currently set at $500,000 with a $350,000 max on non-economic damages in the state of Louisiana, but Pugh’s bill would have raised that amount to $1 million plus interest and costs. He says the higher cap would save more lives and encourage physicians to take more caution interacting with patients.


Though neither of the bills will come before the House or Senate this session, The Times-Picayne says both lawmakers are hopeful that they captured attention with the committee.


To read the newspaper’s full article, click here.


Photo Credit: 18percentgrey

Annual Cornhole Tournament


Last Thursday we held our annual Cornhole Tournament, and it delivered a promised good time had by all!  The venue for our tournament was the back of our parking lot here in Nashville.  Lunch was a corn inspired menu featuring corn dogs, chicken corn tacos, corn chips and salsa, and Mexican street corn.  Drifters BBQ and Little Donkey provided all of the amazing eats for our staff to enjoy.


Prizes were awarded for the winning and runner up teams.  Executive Client Manager Buffy Escue and Marketing Coordinator Rachel Markin were our overall tournament Champions and were awarded a very special trophy and runner ups Chief Credit Officer Paul Myers and Quality Assurance Supervisor Sarah Hazlewood were awarded packages of corn on the cob.


We just love this event each year…it gets us all out of the office and into the beauty and splendor of spring.
Congratulations to our winning teams!


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