Advocate Capital, Inc. Law Firm Financing Blog

Law Practice Management Stories

Common Painkillers Linked To Rise In Heart Attack Risk

 

Authored By: Rachel Markin

 

Heart AttackA new study has revealed the dangers of using popular over-the-counter painkillers. The BMJ medical journal recently reported that all commonly used NSAIDs- ibuprofen and naproxen, sold under brand names like Motrin or Advil, might increase the risk of a heart attack.

 

The BMJ article states the drugs increase the risk of a heart attack by 20% to 50%, compared with not using them, regardless of the dosage or the amount of time the drugs have been taken.

 

CNN Health calls the findings “observational and based on association, with the drugs not proven to be a direct cause of heart attack.”

 

CNN says the NSAIDS are used to treat fever, relieve pain for an assortment of causes, like the flu, headaches and bodily pain. Due to the different uses, the drugs are usually taken as needed for short spurts of time.

 

The BMJ research found the level of heart attack increased as early as one week into the use of the drug and the risk was greatest during its first month of use.

 

New Jersey Attorney Andrew D’Arcy of D’Arcy Johnson Day writes in the Legal Examiner that a California heart specialist has agreed that patients shouldn’t take the drugs carelessly.

 

Attorney D’Arcy noted Dr. Greg Fonarow’s advice, “Randomized trials and observational data have shown that use of NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attacks and other types of cardiovascular events. The absolute risk is small, but all individuals considering the use of these medications should carefully weigh the benefits against this increased risk.”

 

Click here to view the complete BMJ article.

 

Photo Credit: Cathy Yeulet 
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Amy Johnson Named 2017 Paralegal of the Year

 

Authored By: Iris Garrett

 

As seen on MarketWatch and Yahoo! Finance.

 

Amy Johnson Named 2017 Paralegal of the YearParalegal Amy Johnson of the Yarborough Applegate Law Firm has been named the 2017 winner of the American Association for Justice Paralegal of the Year Award Sponsored by Advocate Capital, Inc. Johnson was nominated for this prestigious award by Attorneys David Yarborough and William Applegate, the co-founders of the Charleston, South Carolina firm. They say she is more than qualified to receive this recognition, “Amy Johnson exceeds the requirements to be AAJ’s Paralegal of the Year and is the ideal candidate for this honor.”

 

As a paralegal for Yarborough Applegate, Johnson provides essential support in case preparation, mediation, and trial. The team also relies on Johnson for her judgement and analytical skills, extensive knowledge in personal injury, wrongful death, and complex civil litigation, and her compassion for clients. Attorney Yarborough says Johnson truly enjoys the paralegal profession, “Amy has worked in the legal field for almost 20 years and has committed herself to her career and helping others in the field.”

 

In addition to serving on staff at Yarborough Applegate, Johnson is also active in both the legal education sector and her local community. She has presented more than 100 times to national audiences and mentors young associate attorneys and paralegals. Johnson also serves in various roles, including past President, for organizations like the Charleston and National Associations of Legal Assistants and volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House.

 

Only candidates who have made considerable contributions to the paralegal profession and community, shown their value as members of a legal services team, and committed themselves to AAJ’s mission are considered for Paralegal of the Year. Johnson was selected from numerous entrants, and as this year’s award winner, she will receive an engraved trophy and free airfare, hotel and registration to AAJ’s Annual Convention July 22-25 in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

“We are so pleased to be able to collaborate with AAJ on this important award. Paralegals are a key component to any successful law firm. We hope that this award will help draw attention to the important work that they do in our nation’s civil justice system,” commented Advocate Capital, Inc.’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael J. Swanson.

 

Advocate Capital, Inc. is the premier provider of strategic financial products and accounting services for successful trial law firms nationwide. It has served the plaintiff bar for 18 years from its headquarters in Nashville, TN and now enjoys a client base that extends nationwide. For more information, visit www.AdvocateCapital.com.

 

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Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys Convention This Week

 

Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys Convention This Week

Will you be heading to The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark for the 59th Annual Convention for the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys?

 

The conference is coming up this week on June 22nd through the 25th.

 

Donna Jones and Brenda Bunkers will be representing Advocate Capital, Inc. at the convention. We welcome you to stop by our booth to say hello and learn more about case expense funding.

 

Don’t forget to register to win a pair of Beats Studio Wireless Headphones!

  

The MATA convention includes a spectacular CLE program of judicial forums, the Annual Update on the Law and a segment featuring Past President Thomas G. Strong.

 

We hope to see you there.

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Keep Your Options Open in Court

 

Authored By: Rachel Markin

 

Don't Limit Your Options in CourtSetting goals for your time in court seems like a no brainer, but as one attorney says, many unknowingly limit themselves when preparing for the big day.

 

Trial attorney, John G. Balestriere says time before a judge or arbitrator is precious. He suggests attorneys make double sure they’re not limiting their case goals.

 

Belestriere writes in Above The Law attorneys should begin preparations by considering what they could possibly obtain for their clients. The cliché “open your mind” fits well in this stage of trial work; he advises to not automatically go to safe ground.

 

After deciding upon your goals, Balestriere says: prepare.

 

He advises lawyers to research and prepare for the specific law they will be addressing and understand the judge and how they’ve ruled in the past.

10 minutes in court could be more than 10 hours of prep work.

 

Balestriere suggests to think broadly of goals when heading to court, commit time to researching and watch for better than normal results.

 

Read the full article here.

 

Photo Credit: langstrup
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J. Edward Bell III – Prison System Problems

 

Watch Mr. Swanson’s interview with South Carolina based Attorney J. Edward Bell III of Bell Legal Group as he discusses the serious problems in our nations’ prison systems.

 

 

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Mylan Overcharges EpiPen Customers by $1.27 Billion

 

Authored By: Iris Garrett

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

Mylan Pharmaceuticals is making news again, this time for allegedly overcharging U.S. taxpayers by as much as $1.27 billion over the last decade. According to Bloomberg, a U.S. government report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Attorney General shows that the funds are linked to Mylan purposely classifying its EpiPen® shot as a generic drug to avoid giving discounts to men and women using the Medicaid program.

 

Bloomberg says under Medicaid, drug makers must offer deep discounts on products if they are classified as brand-name. Though Mylan has launched a generic version of the EpiPen® since it acquired the rights to sell it back in 2007, the original life-saving medication is a brand-name product. Because of Mylan’s misclassification, it was forced to pay $465 million in a settlement with the U.S. last October. Only now, some lawmakers are saying the settlement was not enough.

 

Bloomberg says Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who was behind the release of the health department’s report on Mylan, has been pushing for both the drug maker and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to find out more about how the EpiPen® was misclassified in the first place. He says documents show CMS informing the pharmaceutical company of the issue, but not of Mylan correcting it. He says it is now Congress’s job to intervene: “As part of bringing down drug costs, we have to make sure companies that take part in federal health care programs aren’t gaming the system… to ensure that taxpayers don’t overpay for EpiPens® or any other drugs in public health-care programs” (Bloomberg).

 

To read the full article, click here. You can also learn more information about Mylan and the EpiPen® in our blog.

 

Photo Credit: Amy Kerkemeyer 
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Using Facebook Actively is Good for Lawyers

 

Authored By: Krista Kemmerly

 

Use Facebook Actively

We live in a world where mobile devices and social media are giving television a run for its money. Its time for lawyers to realize this and start actively using Facebook. Facebook is nearing 2 billion users. Kevin O’Keefe with Above the Law shares how rapid the growth has been with Facebook by stating, “Revenue for the first quarter, ending March 31, rose 49% to $8.03 billion, from $5.38 billion in the same period a year earlier.”

 

 

There is a huge opportunity to get out there and market your firm. Facebook helps a wide variety of people connect in a personalized way. It’s arguably becoming as essential for business communication as cell phones and e-mails.

 

 

Lawyers should embrace Facebook as the new opportunity for broadcasting. The beauty of Facebook is that virtually every American is using it and its algorithms are able to connect you with people of interest that you wouldn’t be able to find via television.

 

Bottom line is that it is time to embrace the new technology and follow the crowd. Actively using Facebook today will help lawyers strengthen their customer relationships and build a solid clientele.

 

To read Kevin O’Keefe’s full article, click here.

 

 

Photo Credit: scyther5 

 

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Outsmarting the Scammers and Con Artists

 

utsmarting the Scammers and Con Artists

I recently came across some helpful information put out by the banking industry with helpful tips on keeping both your law firm and personal money safe and secure.

 

As you may know, “phishing” refers to the efforts of scammers and con artists who try to fool you into revealing personal information or sending money. Although the term is frequently associated with internet scams, there has been a tremendous upsurge in phishing by phone.

 

Tips on how your law firm can prevent being the victim of phishing.

1. How to spot a phone phishing scam.

 

The most effective scams tend to play upon strong emotions:

  • Empathy – “You have a relative in financial trouble.”
  • Fear – “Your assets are about to be seized by the IRS.”
  • Excitement – “You’ve won a drawing for a new house.”
Other popular scams making the rounds:

 

  • News of government grants you can collect – “We just need your social security and deposit account numbers.”
  • Calls from technology companies who claim they can fix a serious security breach on your computer – “Your access codes, please.”
And scammers almost always try to pressure you into making an immediate decision:

 

  • “You have to act immediately, or your credit card will be shut off.”
  • “Only the first five people we call who say ‘yes’ will get this free vacation.”
 

2. Follow these basic safety rules to guard against phone phishing.

 

Just remember, all of these common schemes are designed to get one of two things: your money or the passwords and other data that can be used to get your money. The instant you hear that request, it’s time to slow down, get suspicious, and verify the claim or offer.

 

  • Never conduct business with anyone online or over the phone unless you can confirm their identity, preferably by re-contacting them using a phone number or email address you locate independently.
  • The caller may claim to work for a company you trust. They could know personal information about you, to better impersonate a representative from that company. Even the Caller ID on your phone is not proof that the call is coming from a legitimate business.
  • If anyone asks you for money or personal data, do the safe thing: say no and hang up.
3. Become a scammer’s worst nightmare.

 

Start reporting scams you encounter to the Federal Trade Commission. You can file a report online at the FTC website or by calling (877) FTC-HELP.

 

Finally, spread the word about phone phishing. By keeping your employees, friends and loved ones informed, you can help limit the damage phone phishing tactics can inflict on all of us.

 

Photo Credit: Igor Stevanovic
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The Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention is Almost Here!

 

The Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention is Almost Here!Are you planning to attend the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention on June 14-16? This year, TTLA is hosting the event at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina.

 

Advocate Capital, Inc.’s Jeff Glueck will be available throughout the three-day conference to talk about products like The Advocate Flexline®. It’s our latest tool designed for contingent-fee law firms that provides them with the most powerful and effective law firm funding solution. Stop by our booth to check it out, you may even win a pair of Beats Studio Wireless Headphones!

 

The TTLA convention will not only include several different networking events and exhibits, but will feature up to 10.25 hours of CLE programs. The sessions will be taught by some of the best trial lawyers and legal consultants from across the country.

 

See you in Asheville!

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Using Soft Skills to Succeed in the Legal Field

 

Authored By: Iris Garrett

 

Soft SkillsIn general, attorneys are taught to be tough in the courtroom in order to win their cases, but that resolve is not always as persuasive when it is unleashed on a client. In an article in Above the Law, Michael McDonald writes that although confidence and other personal characteristics can help an attorney score career success, it is the lesser used soft skills that are just as critical when it comes to working with clients.

 

McDonald says soft skills, which can include the ability to negotiate deals to having a certain “presence” in a room are very important in both business and law. He says these skills relate to interpersonal interactions and help attorneys build relationships with colleagues, but more importantly with their clients. McDonald says for clients, an attorney’s fundamental role is to act as an adviser. He says an attorney cannot connect with clients, guide them through their cases, or help them understand and mitigate risks without using soft skills along the way.

 

McDonald says many law school students and new attorneys overlook the importance of honing soft skills even though research shows how much of an impact they can make. A recent study named integrity, communication, courtesy, social skills, responsibility, flexibility, professionalism, teamwork, work ethic, and a positive attitude as the 10 most important soft skills for employees.

 

McDonald says a shift to having more soft skills presented in the legal field must start with larger firms. He says they can help bridge the gap by training and emphasizing the value of offering insight and guidance in client relationships.

 

To read Michael McDonald’s full article, click here.

 

Photo Credit: Sergey Nivens
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Sean Claggett, Nevada Trial Lawyer of the Year

 

Sean Claggett, Nevada Trial Lawyer of the YearCongratulations to our great friend and client Sean K. Claggett on his recent selection as Nevada Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Nevada Association for Justice.

 

Mr. Claggett is the founding member of the Claggett & Sykes Law Firm in Las Vegas.  He started the firm in 2005 with a single client and one employee.  Today, the firm has 18 employees, including six attorneys that handle hundreds of cases.

 

In 2016 the firm was nationally recognized for the jury verdict in Hendrickson v. Lowe’s, in which his client—a mother of three who suffered permanent injuries—was awarded over $13MM from Lowe’s Companies.  Courtroom View Network identified this verdict as the 4th most influential U.S. verdict of the year.  We also featured the case on the Advocate Capital, Inc. blog.

 

While Sean Claggett is a fierce litigator and advocate for his clients, his contribution to the practice of law does not stop there.  Not only is Mr. Claggett UNLV alumni, but he teaches Law Practice Management at the Boyd School of Law as an adjunct professor.  He received the school’s most prestigious alumni award in 2010 as the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Alumni of the Year.

 

However, his dedication does not end teaching at the law school.  Mr. Claggett also serves on the faculty of the prestigious Keenan Ball Trial College where he instructs other trial attorneys across the country.  Sean has also been recognized by Legal Aid of Southern Nevada for his pro bono work.   Mr. Claggett is currently pursuing a class action lawsuit on behalf of veterans with the goal of forcing the Department of Justice to provide mental health benefits for military personnel.

 

Perhaps the contribution Sean Claggett is most proud of is the community service involvement in Las Vegas.  The Claggett family is often found donating time, energy and money to several local causes including Three Square Food Bank, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada, and the Shannon West Homeless Youth Shelter.  The Claggett & Sykes Law Firm was also named a finalist for Best Family Owned Business for Philanthropy by Nevada Business Magazine.

 

Our hats are off here at Advocate Capital, Inc., and thank you Sean Claggett for your unwavering dedication to justice and selfless service to your community.

 

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9 Hidden Costs of Self-Funding Your Cases

 

Join President and CEO Michael J. Swanson as he discusses 9 hidden costs of self-funding your case expenses.

 

Mike will host the hidden costs webinar on June 14th 2017 at 1 PM CST/11:00 PT.

 

When you sign up for Mike’s webinar, you’ll also receive the webinar recording after it’s complete.

 

Sign up today: http://www.advocatecapital.com/WebinarJune14/

 

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Does Your Bank Do This?

 

Does Your Bank Do This?Banks are great and we all need them.  They are essential to your practice, but do they really understand how your practice works, the challenges you face, and how your cash flow ebbs and flows?

 

Here at Advocate Capital our business has been built around the unique and specific needs of trial lawyers since 1999.  This just isn’t lip service.  We routinely ask our clients how we are doing and how we can better serve their needs to help them assist even more people achieve justice from a very unjust world.

 

An example of this are the numerous enhancements we have made to AdvoTrac®, our proprietary Case Expense Funding Service.  This technology is the cornerstone of our business and what drives our ability to provide successful plaintiff firms access to capital at a net cost of less than 1% per year.

 

Continuous improvement is a core value our associates practice every day.  Thanks to suggestions from firms just like yours we have invested over $500,000 in nearly 300 platform enhancements to AdvoTrac®.  The result is an ever evolving and improving case expense and accounting service tool that is tracking over 65,000 cases for our clients.  In fact, our Accounting Team processed more than 2 MILLION transactions last year through AdvoTrac® for our family of clients.

 

We are and remain proud to serve your unique needs exclusively.

 

If you currently use a bank line of credit to fund your advanced case expenses, this begs the question:  Does your bank do this?

 

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Texas Trial lawyers Association 2017 Midyear Conference and CLE Seminar

 

Texas Trial Lawyer AssociationAre you headed to Downtown Austin for the TTLA Midyear Conference and CLE Seminar next week?

 

Be sure to stop by the Advocate Capital, Inc. booth to register for the Beats Studio Wireless Headphones! While you’re there, see Elaine Aniton and Tina Burns to learn about The Advocate Flexline®, our product combination that gives contingent-fee law firms the most powerful funding solution ever available.

 

The 2017 Midyear Conference will be held at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown. This two-day seminar has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and legal assistants in the following specialty fields:


Civil Appellate Law – 10.00 approved hours
Civil Trial Law – 10.00 approved hours
Personal Injury Trial Law – 10.00 approved hours

 

We hope to see you there.

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J. Edward Bell III Discusses Charleston School of Law

 

Watch Mr. Swanson’s interview with South Carolina based Attorney J. Edward Bell III of Bell Legal Group as he discusses his role as the President of the Charleston School of Law.

 

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Why We Need Even More Women in the U.S. Workforce

 

Authored By: Iris Garrett

 

Why We Need Even More Women in the U.S. WorkforceThere are many ideas and opinions surrounding women in the workforce. From equal pay to better paid maternity leave, the issue continues to be prevalent in today’s society. However, in an article in The Legal Examiner, John Bair writes instead about the dwindling number of women in the American workforce, and how the country that once led the charge of female workforce participation now ranks 17th among 22 developed nations.

 

Bair says from the beginning of the 20th century to the early 1990s, the U.S. saw a tremendous increase in the number of women on the job, especially from the 1970s onward. He says the trend hit a plateau in the last two decades as 75% of women between the ages of 25 and 54 are now working or seeking work. Meanwhile, he says 88.6% of the country’s male population in that same age category are working.

 

According to a study by Strategy&, increasing female employment to match that of males may have powerful economic and global implications. Not only would it increase the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by 5%, but Strategy& also estimates that it could raise the GDP in Japan by 9%, the United Arab Emirates’ GDP by 12%, and a whopping 34% hike in GDP in Egypt.

 

Strategy& researchers also say boosting the number of working women would have an effect on children’s lives as well. They say women are more likely than men to invest their household income in a child’s education: “As those children grow up, their improved status becomes a positive social and economic factor in their society. Thus, even small increases in the opportunities available to women… can lead to dramatic economic and social benefits.”

 

Bair says the New York Times has also recently reported on the benefits of more female participation in the workforce. The newspaper says women have already contributed to widespread improvements in safety, productivity, and the health of American families.

 

So what can be done to help the country get back to its once high rate of employed women? Bair says researchers call for more laws and policies that enable more women to work, better rules regarding education requirements and employment after childbirth, and more flexible work schedules.

 

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

 

Photo Credit:  racorn 
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Make Your Solo Practice Even More Profitable

 

Authored By: Iris Garrett

 

 

Make Your Solo Practice Even More ProfitableWe here at Advocate Capital, Inc. know about some of the difficulties our clients face when managing their law firms. We also know that for a solo practice, things can be even more challenging, especially if you have just ventured out on your own.

 

Randall Ryder of Lawyerist.com offers several tips for attorneys trying to figure out how to balance their books, keep their overhead costs low, and make a profit. We’ve listed some of the tips below.

 

Be a Minimalist

Ryder says the biggest mistake solo attorneys can make is adding overhead they don’t need, like choosing an expensive office in a prime location or hiring an assistant before they can afford one. He says when you start your practice, you should instead focus on three things: taking care of your clients, keeping the lights on and paying yourself. Also, by tackling your own administrative duties, you know exactly how your finances are doing and can adjust your overhead and workflow as needed.

 

Go Paperless

Ryder says by choosing to run a paperless firm, you will not only save money on paper and postage, but you can rent a smaller office because you won’t need as much storage space for your files. He says paperless firms also allow you the freedom of working remotely. You don’t have to go into the office to pick up a file or print something, everything is stored on your hard drive.

 

Create Your Own Website Content

Ryder says writing the copy for your website is an excellent way to showcase your services before clients even walk through the door. He says outsourced material will cost you money and will probably read like a sales pitch. But by creating your own website content, your message will come across better to potential clients.

 

Like Ryder, our team at Advocate Capital, Inc. knows that running a solo practice can add a lot of responsibilities and challenges. Check out his full list of tips here to help you reduce costs and visit www.AdvocateCapital.com to learn about how we can help you and your law firm become even more successful.

 

Photo Credit: Dejan Bozic
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Advocate Capital, Inc. Memorial Day Hours

In observance of the Memorial Day holiday, our offices will be closed on Monday, May 29th.

 

All payments, loan advances and other transactions received on this day will be processed promptly on Tuesday, May 30th.

 

Should you have any questions regarding the processing of any transaction, please feel free to contact our Accounting Team at 1-615-577-5448 or by email to this address: Accounting@AdvocateCapital.com.

 

The entire Advocate Capital, Inc. Team wishes a safe holiday to all of our customers, staff and their families.


Photo Credit: Mike Flippo
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Pedestrian Deaths at an All Time High

 

Authored by: Krista Kemmerly

 

Pedestrian DeathsWalking is known to be a peaceful, safe way to travel, but distractions have increased the risk of death significantly for pedestrians. J. R. Whaley from The Legal Examiner writes that from 2015 to 2016 there has been an 11% nationwide increase in pedestrian deaths which is the highest increase for a single year. Reports say that it will continue to rise during 2017 if more programs aren’t put into play to bring awareness and improve the walking atmosphere.

 

The two major influences for this high percentage increase are said to be cell phone usage and alcohol. Cell phones are the main distraction in today’s world and with the increase in people using them no wonder the increase in pedestrian deaths.

 

In a GHSA study, nearly half of all pedestrian deaths involved alcohol for either the driver or pedestrian. When you have been drinking and decide to walk home your judgment and sense of direction is poor and significantly increases the likelihood of you getting hit by a car.

 

Fortunately, things are being done to help lower the percentage rate of pedestrian deaths. Louisiana is in the processes of putting “Complete Streets” into effect. “Complete Streets” will be an introduction of a Safe Routes to Public Places programs and will construct bike and pedestrian facilities close to many different public places.

 

To read the full article from The Legal Examiner, click here.

 

Photo Credit: Dieter Hawlan 
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The Legal Field’s Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

 

Authored By: Iris Garrett

 

Firms Handle StressIt is not hard to believe that lawyers lead stressful lives. Between getting no sleep, working long hours, and researching cases that would be hard for any regular person to stomach, no one would blame attorneys if their lives got a little too hard to handle. Yet, despite how easy it may be to sympathize with their demanding lifestyles, there is a huge stigma surrounding mental health issues when it comes to the legal field.

 

According to an article in Above the Law, lawyers are not only prone to addiction and depression, but they struggle with these issues at higher rates than the general population. Recent studies have shown 20.6% of lawyers classify themselves as heavy drinkers and 28% experience symptoms of depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also report that the legal field has the 11th highest suicide rate. These alarming numbers aside, the article says many attorneys choose not to seek out help because they are afraid to admit they have a problem (and their fears may be warranted).

 

The article says many law firms are hesitant to offer their employees psychological help for their mental-health issues because of privacy concerns. It says firms are worried it “would send the wrong message” or “competitors will say we have crazy lawyers,” statements that only further stigmatize those needing assistance or substance-abuse treatment. Additionally, if help is offered, the article says often times it is too late, and an employee’s performance has already fallen off.

 

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. According to Above the Law, there are a handful of law firms tackling these issues head-on, offering on-site psychologists, weaving mental-health initiatives alongside their wellness programs, and training staff to spot changes in employee behavior. The article says if the firms worried about having “crazy lawyers” added services like these, they would create a more healthy work environment and produce more “stable, well-adjusted lawyers”.

 

To read the full Above the Law article, click here. You can also read our previous blogs to learn creative ways to help your employees manage stress.

 

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Engle 
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$553 Million Settlement for Drivers over Takata Airbags

 

Authored By: Rachel Markin

 

 

Four Automakers Settle over TakataA group of automakers have agreed to pay more than $550 million to those affected by Takata’s faulty airbags.

 

The defective airbags have been linked to 11 deaths and 180 injuries in the United States alone and are the subject of the biggest recall in history.

 

In an agreement filed on May 18th the New York Times reports the automakers Toyota, BMW, Subaru and Mazda “agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit seeking compensation for drivers in the U.S. over losses and other troubles stemming from the recall of faulty Takata airbags.”

 

The New York Times says the money in the settlement is meant to reimburse current and former owners and lessees of nearly 16 million vehicles for car rentals, lost wages, towing charges and child care charges incurred while waiting for their vehicles to be repaired.

 

The settlement does not cover claims over personal injuries and deaths. It is still subject to approval.

 

Bloomberg reports the settlement has helped Takata, who is seeking a buyer, after the company’s stock rose as much as 18% in Tokyo. The increase is the biggest surge the company has seen in the last four months.

 

The settlement is expected to assist Takata’s potential buyer to assess liabilities and to also facilitate carmakers sued in class actions to reach similar agreements.

 

However, many challenges lay ahead for correcting the massive airbag problem for car owners, buyers and dealers alike. As reported in the New York Times, the process of fixing the millions of cars equipped with the dangerous airbags will take years. Replacement parts are still in short supply and many consumers have not responded to the recall.

 

Attorney Peter Prieto is a partner at the law firm Podhurst Orseck and has served as the lead counsel in the class-action cases. He recently told reporters, “Many consumers are unaware of the dangers their vehicles pose..It will take years to complete the recalls.”

 

Photo Credit: ricul 

 

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Congratulations to Bell Law Firm Trial Attorneys

 

Congratulations Bell Law FirmLloyd Bell and his colleagues Michael Watson, David Schlachter, and Bruce Berger represented 58-year-old Sharon Donnell, who was severely injured at a major restaurant chain. Ms. Donnell was attending her daughter’s basketball team celebration when the incident occurred.  An employee of the restaurant was moving furniture to make room for the party, when he pushed a table into a chair that fell over on to Ms. Donnell’s foot.

 

Lloyd Bell said of the case,“This is an iffy case because the mechanism was weird; you wouldn’t think just having a chair fall on your foot could do so much damage, but you’ve got to meet the chair. It was like dropping a 20-pound free weight on your foot.”

 

The next day, Ms. Donnell went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a bruised foot and given a soft cast. Ms. Donnell returned to the restaurant later that day and reported the incident to the manager. Ms. Donnell was later diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, which led to surgery to implant a spinal cord stimulator to help control the pain. Due to her injury, Ms. Donnell had to quit her job as a successful paralegal at a large Atlanta defense firm.

 

During the discovery process, the restaurant denied ever receiving the woman’s complaint, but did eventually turn the incident report over just a week before the trial started. During the trial, Bell invited the jurors to come down out of the jury box and feel the chair to gauge the weight and stability. Bell stated, “We did a demonstration having that chair falling over, I think you could hear it three courtrooms down.” The jury returned a verdict awarding the woman the full amount requested.

 

Advocate Capital is proud to collaborate with attorneys like Lloyd Bell as they help those who injured through no fault of their own.  Bell Law Firm is licensed to practice in Georgia, and represents clients in Medical Negligence, Wrongful Death, Traumatic Brain Injury, Car Collisions, Motorcycle and Truck wrecks, and Premises Liability.

 

Bell Law Firm Trial Attorneys are a top rated Super Lawyers, members of Georgia Trend’s Legal Elite, The State Bar of Georgia, AVVO “10” Rating; and the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. Hats off to Lloyd Bell, and his colleagues Michael Watson, David Schlachter and Bruce Berger on achieving justice for their client.

 

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Nursing Home’s Arbitration Clause Holds Up in Court

 

Authored By: Iris Garrett

 

Nursing Home’s Arbitration Clause Holds Up in CourtIt was a win for the nursing home industry earlier this week when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Kentucky arbitration clause. According to The Hill, the high court sided with the Kindred Nursing Home Centers L.P. after two women, Beverly Wellner and Janis Clark, sued the facility for allegedly providing substandard care.

 

The Hill says when Wellner and Clark’s relatives passed away and brought the lawsuits to the nursing home, it moved to dismiss, arguing that its arbitration agreements barred them from bringing their complaints to court. However, the Kentucky Supreme Court found fault with the Kindred Nursing Home Centers’ agreements, claiming that power of attorney did not clearly allow it to deprive the women of their right to access the courts. Wellner and Clark had signed with the power of attorney on their relatives’ behalf.

 

Despite the ruling from the Kentucky Supreme Court, The Hill says Justice Elena Kagan and others on the bench disagreed with the lower court’s “clear-statement rule”. The justices said it failed to put arbitration agreements on an equal plan as other contracts and violated the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).

 

The Hill says only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented the majority opinion, claiming the FAA did not apply to state court proceedings. He said it could “not displace a rule requiring express authorization from a principal” before an agent may waive his or her right to a jury trial.

 

In a blog back in October 2016, we reported that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had issued a new rule preventing federally-funded nursing homes from using arbitration. Many lawmakers had argued that companies used the system to keep embarrassing practices or patterns of wrongdoing hidden from families and prevent those families from getting justice. However, according to Modern Healthcare, that rule was blocked by U.S. District Court Judge Michael P. Mills in November. It says the judge found that the CMS did not have authority to enact such a mandate without statutory authority.

 

To read The Hill’s full article, click here.

 

Photo Credit: Levente Gyori 
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Attorney Robert Solomon Awarded in New Jersey’s Top 50 Verdicts

 

Authored By: Iris Garrett

 

Robert SolomonAdvocate Capital, Inc. would like to congratulate our friend and client, Attorney Robert Solomon. Not only did his New Jersey law firm, Robert A. Solomon, P.C. score a $450,000 verdict in the medical malpractice case, McGovern v. Lowrey, but it was recently named one of the state’s Top 50 Verdicts of 2016.

 

Attorney Solomon’s award-winning case dates back to an incident in September 2012. He says it was during that time that his client underwent a colostomy reversal. However, her relatively minor procedure resulted in a very serious problem when her surgeon failed to remove a portion of the pain ball catheter he had inserted during the operation. Three months after being discharged from the hospital, Solomon’s client was forced to remove the forgotten catheter when it suddenly exploded through her skin. This caused her to develop multiple infections along the incision line and endure countless hernia operations to correct the issue.

 

Before jury selection could begin, Solomon says the defendant offered to settle the case for $50,000 despite his and his client’s demand of $300,000. Solomon says they even conducted a focus group (which cost another $11,000) to determine if that figure was sufficient, and the group valued the case one step further at $400,000. That’s when Solomon says he knew it was time to take the case to court.

 

Attorney Solomon says by the end of the trial, he had spent an additional $15,000 on exhibits and expert surgical witnesses, on top of the cost of the focus group. However, that investment would earn him and his client a reward of nearly 10 times more. The jury returned a verdict of $450,000, and the judge added another $50,000 to cover medical expenses, making for a total of a half million dollars. Solomon says he could not have done it without the help of Advocate Capital, Inc.’s Case Expense Financing.

 

We are proud to partner and support plaintiff trial lawyers like Attorney Robert Solomon, and we acknowledge the work his firm is doing in the fight for justice. Solomon has extensive knowledge in personal injury and wrongful death cases and has represented injured people and their families in New York and New Jersey for nearly 40 years.

 

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Behind the Scenes at Advocate Capital, Inc.

 

Authored By: Rachel Markin

 

From watching movie spoofs on YouTube to seeing breaking news unfold before the world on Facebook Live, viewing video is the most popular online activity.

 

In turn, online video is one of the most effective ways to share who we are and why we do what we do.

 

That train of thought is the reason our Advocate Capital, Inc. team decided to produce a new company video describing who we are and why we’re passionately supporting trial lawyers and the Seventh Amendment.

 

We partnered with Atlanta’s Crisp Video, a premiere video production company whose worked with some of our clients, like Attorney Lance Cooper.

 

On May 9th our management team met bright and early in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee to begin a full day of shooting.

 

We’re very proud of our managers work in the video, as well as Crisp project manager Kristin Lukich and cinematographer/editor Steven Ceballos expertise in producing the piece. Also, our marketing team has been excitedly working behind the scenes.

 

Advocate Capital, Inc. looks forward to sharing the video with you in the coming weeks.

 

For now, please enjoy an exclusive look of the company video shoot: Facebook Album or Google+

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