Advocate Capital, Inc. Law Firm Financing Blog

Law Practice Management Stories

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


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. McClathy (4/17, 74K) 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 (4/17, 3.82M) and Mashable (4/17, 1.59M) 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 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 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!


Click here to view our Facebook and Google+ Albums.


Michelle Rigsby Celebrates Five Years at Advocate Capital, Inc.

Michelle Rigsby and Donna Jones

Congratulations to Michelle Rigsby who recently celebrated her five-year anniversary with Advocate Capital, Inc.

Michelle Rigsby joined Advocate Capital, Inc., in 2012 as a Quality Assurance Analyst. In February, 2016, she was promoted Executive Client Manager.  Before joining the Advocate team, Michelle was a manager in the small business department of a large regional bank. She has over eleven years of banking experience working in the Small Business, Trust, Consumer and Operational Departments.

In addition to her banking background, Michelle spent several years as a paralegal for a large law firm.

Please join all of us here at Advocate Capital, Inc. in congratulating Michelle on her anniversary!


Albert G. Stoll Jr. Achieves Justice



Albert G. StollAdvocate Capital friend and client, Albert G. Stoll, Jr.  represented a single mom and her three children in a gross negligence case against an owner of a 40-unit apartment complex. The owner of the complex had a long history of code violations and had previously been sued both civilly and criminally for substandard housing conditions. Despite previous lawsuits, warnings from city inspectors, multiple tenant complaints, and a previous felony conviction, the owner continued to ignore long established health and safety codes resulting in severe and permanent injuries to a mother and her two young children.


One early summer morning, the mother left two of the three children sleeping in the apartment while she took the oldest child to school. Shortly after the mother and oldest child left, one of the younger children awoke feeling dizzy. Feeling confused he made his way to the family room and sat on the couch. As he sat down, he experienced a burning pain on his backside. He then noticed then the kitchen was on fire and the apartment filled with smoke. He began yelling for his family that he was burning. By this time, his sister had awoken to the smell of burning plastic and smoke. Hearing her brother’s screams, she yelled out to her brother. The young boy was able to feel his way through the smoke-filled apartment, back to his bedroom where he met his sister. Covered in soot and realizing they were trapped in the apartment, the sister convinced her brother they needed to jump from the two-story bedroom window to escape the fire.   At the same time, the children were jumping to safety; the mom arrived back home finding her apartment on fire. She frantically raced into the burning apartment to search for her children. She made it to the young daughter’s bedroom only to realize her children had jumped to safety. She was able to escape the apartment but suffered smoke inhalation.


As a result of the fire, the two young children suffered severe internal and external burns and were placed in medically induced comas. The young boy suffered second, and third degree burns to his head, neck, face, arms, hands, torso, legs, buttocks, feet and internal respiratory burns. The young daughter suffered burns to her arms, scalp, and injury to her eyes.  The firefighters and medical personnel who treated the children stated they did not expect the young boy to survive due to the extent of his injuries.  The young boy has undergone twenty plus surgeries and will need future surgeries as he continues to grow.


The emotional, mental and physical pain and suffering of the young family could have been prevented if the owner had installed adequate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. During the city’s investigation into the fire, multiple tenants complained of hazards in and around the property. The investigation would reveal an open gas leak in the common yard, no carbon monoxide detectors in any of the units, and 37 of the 40 units lacked smoke detectors in the bedrooms. The building did not have a system-wide alarm, and the majority of the units had malfunctioning stoves.


Despite the gross negligence on behalf of the apartment complex owner, the insurance company pushed for a trial, attempting to place blame on the tenants. Albert G. Stoll and his team took over 50 depositions; and hired eight different experts including the former State Fire Marshall. On the eve of trial, the insurance company settled for a seven-figure settlement.


A tragedy that did not have to happen if the owner would have taken the proper preventative measures. Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to support trial lawyers like Albert G. Stoll Jr. as he pursues justice on behalf of his clients. Albert G. Stoll, Jr’s firm handles a variety of personal injury and employment law cases in the San Francisco Bay area. To learn more about Albert G. Stoll, Jr.’s firm and the outstanding results they have achieved, click here.



Meet Advocate Capital, Inc. Client Michael Cowen


Watch President and CEO Michael J. Swanson interview Attorney Michael Cowen of Cowen Mask Blanchard. Attorney Cowen says Advocate Capital, Inc.‘s case expense financing has helped his Texas firm get even better results for their clients.



Help Us Celebrate “Be Kind to Lawyers Day”


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Help Us Celebrate “Be Kind to Lawyers Day”Today is “International Be Kind to Lawyers Day,” a time to celebrate and thank all of the men and women who work to protect our seventh amendment rights. The day also serves as a reminder to those legal professionals of the lengths they took to get where they are, and the rewarding feeling the job brings whenever their clients get the justice they deserve.


Every year, “Be Kind to Lawyers Day” falls on the second Tuesday of April, strategically placed in between April Fool’s Day (April 1st) and Tax Day (April 15th). The idea for the holiday was actually sparked by a non-lawyer. For years, Steve Hughes helped attorneys with their presentation skills, but he grew tired of being met with unkind remarks, jokes and sarcasm whenever he mentioned the lawyers he worked with. So, he established the holiday to lift up the legal profession and allow others to recognize the lawyers in their lives and show them that they care.


We at Advocate Capital, Inc. hope that all of the plaintiff attorneys we serve take notice of this day. Our team values the good work you are doing, and we respect your role in the fight for justice.


Please join us in celebrating lawyers not just today, but every day of the year.



Photo Credit: We Do Web Content

Webinar This Week


“9 Hidden Costs” January 25th WebinarJoin President and CEO Michael J. Swanson in a free webinar event this week.


On Wednesday, April 12th, Mike will talk about “How To Grow Your Personal Injury Law Firm the RIGHT Way.”


The webinar will give you tools to take full control of your financial statements, business metrics and HR management.


Mike is looking forward to helping you unlock the door to your firm’s success through proper capitalization and long term planning.


You will receive a bonus Growth Case Study when you register for the webinar.


Click here to reserve your seat for this week’s webinar.


Wednesday: April 12, 2017

  • 1:00PM – 2:00PM Central (Chicago)
  • 11:00 – 12:00PM Pacific (Los Angeles)
  • 2:00PM – 3:00PM Eastern (New York)
  • 12:00 PM-1:00PM Mountain (Arizona)

Johnson & Johnson Has Record Year in Court

Authored By: Iris Garrett


Johnson & Johnson Has Record Year in CourtThings aren’t looking good for Johnson & Johnson. According to Bloomberg, the company is facing at least 17 trials over product defect claims in U.S. state and federal courts this year. The trials range in topics including hip implants, pelvic mesh, talcum powder, as well as a blood thinner and an anti-psychotic drug. Bloomberg reports that on top of these scheduled trials, there are tens of thousands more that may be brought to court over these five products.


As if 2017’s standings weren’t bad enough, Johnson & Johnson has just come off a year of record judicial losses. According to Bloomberg, J&J lost six of 2016’s largest product-defect verdicts in the U.S. It says the company was hit with two hip implant verdicts, one costing $1 billion and the other $500 million; three talc cases with verdicts amounting to $72 million, $70 million and $55 million; and J&J was also hit with a $70 million Risperdal verdict, the largest ever for its claims.


In all of these cases, Johnson & Johnson has denied liability for consumer injuries. Bloomberg says in talc lawsuits, women blame the company’s baby powder and Shower talc products for their ovarian cancer. For Risperdal suits, young men and boys say the anti-psychotic drug caused them to develop female breasts. J&J’s blood thinner, Xarelto has been blamed for uncontrolled bleeding and pelvic mesh inserts. Yet, despite these claims, Bloomberg says Johnson & Johnson stands firm that there is no evidence pointing to a link between its products and ovarian cancer, and that there are adequate warnings about side effects for drugs like Risperdal and Xarelto.


Although 2017 may not be a record-breaking year for Johnson & Johnson verdicts, it does appear like it will cost the company in a big way. Bloomberg says as long as J&J refuses to settle, it may be earmarking billions of dollars to fight these lawsuits, especially with so many products on the table, and the number of claims continually rising.


To read the full Bloomberg article, click here.


Photo Credit: Emilia Mariana Ungur 

Michelle Rigsby Newest Quickbooks Certified ProAdvisor


Michelle Rigsby QuickbooksCongratulations to Michelle Rigsby on obtaining the QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor status.  With this additional milestone, Michelle will be even more effective assisting our law firm clients with routine account management expertise as well as practical accounting.


Michelle now joins Senior Vice President Donna Jones on the QuickBooks support team.  If you are an Advocate Capital, Inc. client, not only do you receive discounts on user licenses and software upgrades but free Quickbooks training and support as well.



If you have questions regarding your existing Advocate Capital account related to Quickbooks, please contact your Account Manager, call our office toll-free at 1-877-894-9724, or send us a message by clicking here.


If you are not an Advocate Capital, Inc. customer, we hope you join our family of clients very soon!



Mylan Pharmaceuticals – Maker of EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr. ® Issues Recall


Mylan Pharmaceuticals – Maker of EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr. ® Issues RecallMylan Pharmaceuticals has voluntarily recalled the EpiPen and EpiPen Jr auto-injectors due to a potential defect.  The recall effects 80,000+ pens and comes after reports surfaced the pens could malfunction when activated in an emergency.


According to the Clinical Advisor, the company news release read:

The incidence of the defect is extremely rare. Testing and analysis across the potentially impacted lots has not identified any units with a defect.  However, the recall is being expanded to include additional lots as a precautionary measure out of an abundance of caution. The recall impacts the 0.3 mg and 0.15 mg strengths of EpiPen Auto-Injector. None of the recalled lots include the authorized generic for EpiPen Auto-Injector.


The maker of the pen, Meridian Medical Technologies, a Pfizer company, issued the recall of pens in late March for eight countries, but the recall did not include the US. However, Mylan Pharmaceuticals recently extended the recall to include the US. For More information on the recalled lots, visit The affected pens are being replaced free of charge. However, Mylan warns those with affected pens need to keep the pen until they receive a replacement.


Advocate Capital, Inc. has previously blogged about the Mylan Pharmaceuticals EpiPen. The estimated cost of the voluntary recall is 3% of Mylan’s annual sales, approximately $21 million. We are encouraged by Mylan’s voluntary recall, and we support the work done by trial attorneys across the U.S. as they fight to hold corporations, including big pharma companies accountable.



Photo Credit: Amy Kerkemeyer 

Should Attorneys Purchase Tablets?


Authored By: Rachel Markin



Should Attorney’s Purchase Tablets?Are tablets glorified smart phones? Attorney Jeff Bennion recently inked an article in Above The Law that discusses whether tablets are necessary and useful. Bennion, a solo practitioner from San Diego, handles his own cases and consults lawyers on “how to use technology to not be boring in trial.”


The iPad craze began when Steve Jobs released the first generation in 2010 and the tablet immediately began taking the technology market by storm. At that time, the tablet allowed people to access more programs on a larger screen than they could with a phone.


However, the technology market took note of the iPad’s success and critics lamented the lack of USB ports for file transfer and printing capabilities. While Apple offers iCloud for wireless file storage and wireless external hard drives for purchase, Microsoft and other manufacturers began working to design a tablet that would be a “true” laptop replacement and offer USB ports and higher processing speeds.


Attorney Bennion says the size of iPads’ screens make it easier to read PDF documents, but the low processing speed means large files cannot be read or stored quickly. Bennion stated that when he opens a “3,000 page PDF of the 2017 civil jury instructions, or review(s) an Excel spreadsheet with hundreds or thousands of rows…tablets just cannot keep up. I know tablets have mobile versions of programs, but using a neutered version of a program is not an adequate response to the fact that the fully functioning versions of programs are demanding more power.”


The California technology adviser’s verdict is to invest in a higher-end laptop/tablet. Bennion utilizes the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, runs a full version of TrialDirector, Adobe Acrobat DC to review documents and Microsoft OneNote with a stylus to take notes. Bennion is able to run the full speed operating system on his Surface Pro 4, meaning he has the full versions of the programs with a quicker speed.



For more about Jeff Bennion’s technology advice, follow him on Twitter or Facebook.


Photo Credit: bowie15

Tort Reform Pushed In Washington

Authored By: Rachel Markin



Tort Reform Pushed In WashingtonThe House passed three tort reform bills in the nation’s capital earlier this month. As reported by Kerry Picket of the Daily Caller, Republicans have attempted to pass tort reform since the 1994 Contract with America. Those efforts had been stalled until recently.


The Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act passed 220 to 201, with fourteen Republicans voting against the legislation. Business Insider reports the bill would make it harder for individuals or groups to bring legal claims against companies in consumer disputes, employment discrimination and other areas. The changes in the bill could make it more difficult to bring class-action lawsuits to the federal court.


Supporter and Chairman on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. (who is also the bill’s primary author) said, “The class-action litigation system has morphed into an expensive enterprise where lawyers are often the only winners..”


However, consumer advocates and civil rights advocates say the bill will penalize those who have been abused by corporations and do not have the same means to support what is often a drawn-out trial process.


Veteran consumer advocate Ralph Nader says, “This devastating Republican attack on our federal and civil court will severely restrict the hallowed right of the American people to have their day in court when they are wrongfully injured or defrauded.”


In addition, The Innocent Party Protection Act passed 224 to 194 with 10 Republicans voting against the bill. The Daily Caller reports the legislation would protect individuals from being caught in a “dragnet lawsuit.”


Finally, the House passed the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017, which was passed 230 to 188. The Daily Caller reports the tort reform bill means that if a judge determines someone is a victim of a frivolous lawsuit, the victim must at least be compensated damages related to the cost of the defending a meritless suit. The bill would mandate federal judges to penalize attorneys whose claims are found to be frivolous.


The American Bar Association’s director of the Governmental Affairs Office, Thomas M. Susman wrote a letter to Rep. Bob Goodlatte to express his opposition to the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017, stating three main reasons for concern. Susman quotes the Rule 11 in question was improved in 1993, after a mandatory sanction adopted in 1983 revealed it’s unintended, adverse consequences. He says, “There is simply no proof that the problems with groundless litigation have gotten worse since the 1993 amendments went into effect.”


Susman also states the bill would circumvent the procedures Congress itself has established for amending the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Also, the ABA director believes there is no demonstrated evidence the existing Rule 11 is inadequate and needs to be amended.


The next step for the tort bills is the Senate, where many Democrats hope to see the bills stalled.


Photo Credit: Andriy Popov 

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!


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