Advocate Capital, Inc. Law Firm Financing Blog

Law Practice Management Stories

American Association for Justice Wrap Up

 

Advocate Capital Inc.'s Jeff Glueck and Tina Burns with client Gary Gwilliam at AAJ Winter 2015Jeff Glueck and I escaped the winter blues to Palm Springs, California to attend the American Association for Justice Winter convention this week.

 

It was our inaugural display for our new tradeshow booth and our new raffle item, a Bose® Soundlink® Mini! The exhibit hall was buzzing with activity each day with plenty of attendees and exhibitors. We always enjoy seeing our clients and meeting new friends.

 

Thank you to those who took time to visit our booth and hear about our services.  We are looking forward to the next AAJ annual convention in Montreal, Canada!

 

To see our photos from the convention, please visit our Facebook and Google+ albums.

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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Chalik & Chalik Award Scholarship to Cancer Survivor

 

Advocate Capital, Inc. friend and client Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers awards the First Annual Survivor’s Scholarship to Marissa IernaAdvocate Capital, Inc. friend and client Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers are proud to announce the recipient of the First Annual Survivor’s Scholarship. Marissa Ierna was chosen as the $1,000 scholarship recipient because of her efforts to raise more than $12,000 for the oncology unit at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

 

Marissa was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after in her right calf. Marissa is an athlete, and chose not to undergo surgery which would have prevented her from running again. She underwent chemotherapy and was cancer free after one year!

 

Marissa has been recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals with the 2014 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award for her efforts to help the Children’s Hospital. She is also on the Dean’s List at the University of North Florida.

 

The first annual Survivors Scholarship was inspired by the firm’s interaction with Debbie’s Dream Foundation. The foundation is one of the most active cancer research advocates in the U.S. and lobbies to increase federal and state funding for research. The idea for the scholarship was also inspired by Debi Chalik’s mother, Eva Weissberger, who is a breast cancer survivor and relative Royce Sagenkahn, who lost his battle with appendix cancer.

 

Congratulations to Marissa and thank you to the Chalik Firm for giving back to the community in such a meaningful way. We at Advocate Capital, Inc. are proud to count you among our friends and clients who do so much to give back to the communities they serve.

 

Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President

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Meet Attorney Karl Truman

 

President and CEO Michael J. Swanson recently interviewed Attorney Karl Truman of the Karl Truman Law Office about his experience with Advocate Capital, Inc. and the quality of the customer service we provide. 

 

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How to Modernize Your Practice [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

MyCase Modernize Law Firm Infograhic, Advocate Capital Inc. reportsIn a recent blog, MyCase Legal Technology Evangelist Nicole Black shares this helpful infographic illustrating some important steps and statistics you should consider when modernizing your practice in 2015.

 

Where did these statistics come from? In December 2014, MyCase asked solo and small firm attorneys about their technology plans for 2015 and received nearly 800 responses.

 

MyCase Modernize Law Firm Infograhic, Advocate Capital Inc. reportsHere are a few highlights from their survey results:

 

  • Revamp your firm’s website: Smartphones and tables account for 60% of all online traffic so make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
  • Go Paperless: An average of 4 weeks are lost each due waiting on misfiled, mislabeled, untracked or lost documents.
  • Upgrade your firm’s phone system: Consider using a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) instead of a phone company. It is expected that mobile VoIP users will reach 1 billion by 2017.

 

Read the full blog post “The Happy Lawyer: Find Balance By Modernizing Your Firm” for additional information.

 

Be sure to check out the full 15-part blog series from MyCase “meant to help lawyers take steps to reduce stress and increase their job satisfaction.”

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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Free Webinar: How to Gain Positive Review Visibility

 

Free Internet Marketing Webinar from Page 1 Solutions, Advocate Capital Inc. reportsPage 1 Solutions is offering a free internet marketing webinar, “How to Gain Positive Review Visibility”, on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. (MST).

 

During this webinar, Page 1 Solutions’ Director of Sales & Marketing Bill Fukui and Accelerate Marketing’s CEO Ryan Steinolfson will show you how to generate more positive reviews for your practice that will help you stand out from competitors.

 

Attendees will learn about:

 

  • Monitoring your top directories and managing reviews
  • Best practices in responding to online reviews
  • Getting more customers by posting reviews on social media
  • Increasing PPC conversions by up to 20% using reviews
  • Leveraging video reviews to get upwards of a 60% conversion rate
  • A case study on how a business got 150 Google reviews in 2 months

 

Don’t miss out! Register online today!

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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How David Beats Goliath® Reviewed on Huffington Post Blog

 

How David Beats Goliath Book ReviewAdvocate Capital, Inc. President and CEO Michael J. Swanson’s book How David Beats Goliath® – Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms was recently reviewed by Author Christopher Zoukis in the Huffington Post Blog.  Zoukis’ titled his review “How David Beats Goliath: A Trial Lawyer’s Guide to Financial Management” and provides readers with a detailed overview.

 

Here are a few brief excerpts:

 

“Swanson’s background in the law firm financing industry, and his belief in the work that trial lawyers do, spurred him to write the book and publish it in 2011. Trial lawyers around the country owe him a debt of gratitude for doing so.”

 

“At only 139 pages, it only takes a day or two to finish and it’s packed with countless nuggets of financial information that can help contingent-fee law firms stay afloat and thrive.”

 

“Michael Swanson writes from experience, passing on his wealth of knowledge to those who can best utilize it. If you operate a contingent-fee law firm, then you’ll benefit from this quick read.”

 

To read the complete review, click here.

 

Maybe it’s time to pick up your own copy! To purchase a digital or paperback copy of How David Beats Goliath®, click here.

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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2015 Trial Lawyer of the Year Nominations Now Open

 

Public Justice Foundation Trial Lawyer of the Year, Advocate Capital, Inc. reportsNominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.

 

Exceptional, socially significant cases that were won or settled within the calendar year 2014 are eligible for this year’s award. The cases won or settled by finalists cover a broad range of public interest work, including but not limited to civil rights, consumer protection, workers’ rights, human rights, environmental preservation, and corporate and governmental accountability. Finalists and recipients exemplify how trial lawyers use their skills and determination to create a more just society.

 

(Trial Lawyer of the Year Nomination Guidelines)

 

The Public Justice Foundation will announce the finalists for the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award in May 2015. The winner(s) will be announced at Public Justice’s 33rd Annual Awards Dinner & Gala in Montreal in July 2015.

 

Please send your Trial Lawyer of the Year Award nominations via e-mail to Aidan O’Shea at aoshea@publicjustice.net (with the subject line “2015 TLOY Nomination”). Please include the nominee’s name and firm, the name of the case, how you think the case impacts the public interest and why you believe this attorney or litigation team deserves the award.

 

(Download the Nominee Information Form)

 

Public Justice will contact the nominees, from whom they will seek specific information regarding their cases and, where applicable, their legal teams.

 

Don’t delay! The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, March 25!

 

Michael J. Swanson

President and CEO

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Congress Not Moving on Auto Safety Reforms

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_saddako'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>We have blogged several times in this space about auto recalls and the tactics of General Motors, in particular.  Despite the auto industry’s past attempts to skirt responsibility, and the public outcry for better protections from our government and regulators, it appears as if the U.S. Congress is not prepared to move quickly to enact tougher laws.

 

Politico recently reported that reforming “auto safety laws is toward the bottom of this year’s congressional to-do list,” in spite of record car recalls, “critical mistakes” by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “and what some senators alleged was a criminal cover-up by the nation’s largest automaker.” Anger at General Motors concealing an ignition switch defect hasn’t translated into action, “in sharp contrast to” Congressional reform of the NHTSA following the 2000 Ford-Firestone tire scandal.

 

While safety advocates say the $35 million cap NHTSA can levy on auto makers for hiding individual defects means the fines are just the cost of business for automakers, new NHTSA head Mark Rosekind, “said he plans on cracking down on automakers and forcing even more recalls in 2015.”

 

The full article can be read here.

 

Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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American Association of Justice Winter Convention in Palm Springs

AAJ Palm Springs

 

Will you be attending the AAJ 2015 Winter Convention in Palm Springs on Feb. 21-24?

 

Michael J. Swanson, Jeff Glueck and I will be representing Advocate Capital, Inc. at booth #502. Stop by and discover how our case expense funding product can help you get even better results for your clients.

 

The 2015 AAJ Winter Convention will take place at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Pal Desert, CA. This convention features accomplished trial lawyers and experts discussing the latest developments in trial advocacy and specialized topics at 11 cutting-edge Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs designed to help you better represent your clients.

 

Don’t forget to visit our booth and enter our raffle for a chance to win a Bose® SoundLink® Mini Bluetooth® Speaker!

 

We hope to see you there.

 

Tina Burns Vice President

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How to Create Consumable Content for Your Audience

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_venimo'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>When it comes to reaching audiences using an online platform, it is easy to spew large amounts of content and knowledge all at one time. This seems like the most logical way to attract viewers, enticing them with a large wealth of information. However, a recent LinkedIn article titled, “3 Ways to Treat Your Content Like It’s Confetti” proposes an alternate way to sharing content.

 

Blog author Gerry Moran suggests tips on how to share large amounts of content in small portions using a variety of mediums such as videos, interviews, podcasts and others. This allows your listeners to fully absorb the information you are putting out there.

 

To read the full article and Gerry’s tips, click here for more!

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

 

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Personal Net Worth in the Palm of Your Hand

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_cienpies'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Earlier this week, my colleague, Donna Jones shared a valuable resource with our readers in her Blog, “Understanding Your Net Worth”.   If you hadn’t already, hopefully her Blog inspired you to begin focusing more on one of the most critical pieces of financial information, personal Net Worth.

 

Intuit’s Mint.com is a great free tool providing users with up-to-the-minute access to their complete Net Worth, at a glance.   Mint’s smartphone app puts this critical information literally, in the palm of your hand.

 

With bank level security,  users create an online account and with easy navigation in a matter of minutes you can be up and running with access to 100% of your financial information (Home, Property & Automobile Values, Bank & Credit Card Balances, Consumer Loan Balances, Mortgage Loan Balances, Investment Account Balances, 401K Balances, etc.).  When you need to prepare a Personal Financial Statement for a lender, the data is at your fingertips.

 

In addition to having your personal Net Worth at your fingertips the app enhances security for all of your accounts because the data is live making transactions visible almost as they happen with the touch of a button on your smart phone.  The app is “read only” and access can be password protected.  If your phone is lost or stolen, there’s nothing anyone can do with the data – it doesn’t display account numbers and so there is no way to access the various accounts via the app.

 

I blogged about Mint a number of years ago and I’ve been using Mint for some time.  It’s proven to be a “must have” tool in my tool chest.  The only “down” side if I had to point one out is that you can see on a daily basis the volatility of investment accounts, which can sometimes be alarming.

 

Let us know if you’ve used Mint and what you think.  We’d also like to hear from you if you’ve tried other solutions/applications that you’ve found useful.

 

Lisa Wagner

Senior Vice President, Client Services

 

Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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Advocate Capital, Inc. Client Brewster Rawls – Part 2

 

In Part 2, President and CEO Michael J. Swanson interviews Attorney Brewster Rawls of Rawls, McNelis & Mitchell, P.C. in Richmond, Virginia, about some the most common questions asked by attorneys who are considering doing business with Advocate Capital, Inc.

 

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Understanding the Importance of Your Net Worth

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_dvarg'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Have you calculated your net worth recently? Where does your net worth stand in relation to your peers?

 

A recent article in The Tennessean emphasizes that knowing your net worth is vital when planning for your financial future. Calculating your net worth (assets minus liabilities) is an important, necessary exercise. Awareness of net worth will help you negotiate the terms on your next car loan, mortgage loan, and/or small business loan.

 

 

For more information on the importance of understanding your net worth read Brian Stoffel’s article: Typical net worth by age: Where do you stand? The article references a 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report of the median household net worth by age and in quintiles. What is your net worth using 2014 home values? As noted, the article features data from the 2011 Census.

 

If you are a small business owner, your personal net worth determines the loan amount you for which you qualify and the amount of interest you will pay. The greater your net worth = greater financing opportunities available to you. Knowing and using your net worth to your advantage gives you the freedom to choose how you will grow your small business.

 

Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to collaborate with the best of the small business owners, Plaintiff attorneys.

 

Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President

 

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Opponents spent $58.6 million to defeat California malpractice Proposition 46

 

Copyright: http://www.123rf.com/profile_feverpitched via 123RF Stock PhotoIn a recent “PolitiCal” blog, The Los Angeles Times reports that campaign finance reports filed yesterday reveal that California “healthcare providers and insurers spent $58.6 million to sink a ballot measure,” Proposition 46, “that would have increased limits on certain medical malpractice damages.” That proposition “would have also required hospitals to test their physicians for drug and alcohol use, and would have mandated that doctors check a state-run database before prescribing certain narcotic medications.” In contrast, the proponents of Proposition 46, “spent nearly $11 million in favor of the measure.”

 

Still think the playing field is even?  Or that large, for-profit healthcare and the insurance industry are motivated by anything other than profit?

 

The full report can be read here.

 

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We Moved!

 

Advocate Capital Inc. has moved

 

Last weekend we moved into our new, larger office space here in Nashville, TN.  This will enable us to accommodate our continued double-digit growth in clients and in our team.  Thanks to excellent planning by our Operations Team, the move went smoothly and we were up and running at 7:00am on Monday morning!  Fortunately, we were able to relocate to a larger space in our same office building, so the only change in our address is our suite number, which is now C-200.  Here is our complete address:

 

Advocate Capital, Inc.

1 Vantage Way Suite C-200

Nashville, TN 37228

 

I would like to give special recognition to the three Advocate team members who planned and executed our move.  Their many weeks of preparation and many long hours last weekend made it all happen!  Pictured with me below, they are (L-R) Kelly O’Leary, Lisa Larkin and Claire Wood.  Thank you so much!  Job well done!

 

Special thanks to Advocate Capital Inc. employees Kelly, Lisa and Claire

 

Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer

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10 Ways to Gain More Control over Your Firm’s E-Discovery Strategies

 

Today we welcome guest blogger Keith Whitaker. Keith is the Vice President of Business Development at LogicForce™ Consulting. I hope this is useful to you!

 

Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer


 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_koya79'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>The e-discovery process can seem arduous and disorganized if your firm and its clients aren’t sure of what to expect in regards to the time constraints, cost factors, and resources involved. Every case and each piece of evidence within a case can vary significantly from the next.

 

The e-discovery process itself can also change substantially depending on the case’s data sources and the individual document requirements. Any possible changes can make it difficult to keep your clients properly informed as the case progresses.

 

There are quite a few methods for gaining better control during the e-discovery process, however. Most take place during the early stages of data collection. Here are 10 ways in which you can access more control, become better organized, and help your clients gain a better understanding of what goes on during the e-discovery process:

 

1.  Gather Information before Issuing a Legal Hold

 

After your firm issues a legal hold which locks in and protects any electronic stored information that’s pertinent to the case, it can be difficult to go back and add additional data, conduct further interviews, or change crucial case information. Making any changes after this point can set back the e-discovery process considerably.

 

Gather any information you need before issuing a legal hold. This includes knowing who the key sources are as well as anyone else who may have come into contact with the data, knowing who you may need to interview, and creating a basic identification plan that focuses on the case’s key players and key data sources. Having access to this information lets you set up a basic cost/time estimate.

 

2.  Manage Expectations

 

After you have a basic cost/time estimate, you’ll need to inform your client(s) of this estimate and ensure that their expectations for the case, its associated costs, and its expected time of completion are realistic. Clients are often extremely unaware of how cases typically progress when digital data is part of the information-gathering process. Help them become aware.

 

3.  Preserve as Early as Possible

 

The data preservation step is one of the least expensive steps in the e-discovery process, but it’s extremely crucial in order to ensure that all potential evidence remains intact. Perform this step as early as possible to prevent any chance of spoliation. Cast a wide net to cover all data points that might come into play later on during the case. When it comes to reviewing said data, you can narrow the scope and become more specific.

 

4.  Know Your Data Sources

 

Identify all of your data sources as early in the e-discovery process as possible. Make sure no sources are overlooked. This includes any unconventional electronic sources like digital cameras, copiers/scanners/fax machines, and camera watches.

 

5.  Remember the Difference between E-Discovery and Digital Forensics

 

Once you know the exact data sources you’re working with, it becomes much easier to identify whether you’ll need to employ e-discovery methodology or digital forensics in order to process the electronic data. The difference is rather simple. With e-discovery, you’ll be primarily dealing with active digital files/records. With digital forensics, you’ll be focusing on recovering data that is no longer available.

 

6.  Prioritize Custodians and Data Sources

 

Before the data collection process begins, it helps to draw out charts that place all of the different custodians and/or data sources on different priority tiers. Next, create a priority list using these tiers. This list will aid in identifying which data will be the most pertinent to the case and can save your firm both time and expenses.

Identify the sources/custodians that have the most to potentially offer and collect data from those sources first. Leave the sources with the least to offer for last. If a particular source seems unlikely to yield useful data, you may not need to consult that source at all.

 

7.  Utilize Document Filtering

 

Document/data filtering takes the collected data and filters it before the processing phase, getting rid of duplicate data and files and programs that are deemed completely unnecessary to the e-discovery process. This process is one of the best ways to directly control how much your firm spends on data processing.

 

8.  Challenge Unfair/Unsound Opponent Tactics

 

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what methodology and tactics your opposing side is utilizing. Challenge any tactics that seem unfair or unsound. This includes any data preservation methods that seem improper/insufficient. Test claims that seem unsound such as claims of data not being reasonably accessible.

If you need to negotiate any e-discovery methods, it’s best to agree to refine overly broad search terms and consider alternatives for excessively large collections of responsive data. The narrower the field your opponent has to work with, the fewer chances they have of finding any possible loopholes.

 

9.  Use Early Case Assessment

 

Early Case Assessment (ECA) software can be a large aid to help you narrow down which documents will be the most pertinent as well as which pieces of data will matter the most as the litigation process continues. The most vital benefit might be an early peek at the collected data itself. This lets you refine the search criteria and exact terms used. Such refinement can cut down considerably on any inherent risk factors.

 

10. Plan Review Strategies during the Onset of a Case

 

Before you begin the first stages of the e-discovery process, plan out what review strategies you and your firm will apply. It’s a good idea to build a review team early on and assign duties as well as determine who will gain access to the responsive documents needed for review. Decide whether you’ll review responsive data via an in-house review platform or a hosted web-based platform.

Finally, it’s a good idea to plan out how the production phases will be handled. How much time will need to be allotted for each of the review/production steps? Planning for the review stages early on during a case can save you the hassle of having to toss a review team together at the last second.

 

In order to make any given case’s e-discovery phase as cost-effective and time-effective as possible, each stage, process, and data source must be thoroughly planned out and precisely controlled. LogicForce Consulting’s 6-phase e-discovery program, for example, consists of fully-developed plans for each phase that focus on helping your firm and its clients experience an e-discovery process that leaves zero room for error.

 

Your clients depend on you to help gain a better understanding of what goes on inside the courtroom and out. Deliver that understanding with as much control and precision as possible and you’ll easily win the trust of your clients—as well as your cases.

 

 

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NY Appellate Courts Implement New Rules Governing Attorney Fee Calculation

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_janniswerner'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>In case you missed it, last March all four Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court of NY have adopted new rules governing the calculation of attorney fees in contingent fee personal injury and wrongful death cases.

 

The new rules allow the contingent fee client to choose one of two options within the contingent fee retainer agreement as to how attorney fees will be calculated in contingent fee personal injury and wrongful death cases:

 

(These new rules do NOT apply to Medical Malpractice cases):

 

Option 1 – Client remains liable for repayment of all costs and expenses, regardless of the outcome of their matter.  The Fee Percentage is calculated on the net sum recovered after deducting costs and expenses from the total amount recovered.

 

Option 2 – The Firm agrees to pay and remain liable for all costs and expenses, regardless of the outcome of the matter. The Fee Percentage is calculated on the gross sum recovered before deducting costs and expenses.  The Firm agrees to pay all costs and expenses of the action and the client will not remain responsible for all expenses and disbursements in the event the claim or action is dismissed or otherwise rejected by any court of competent jurisdiction.

 

The New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers’ suggested language for inserting into fee agreements including an example of how the two options will impact the amount due to the client at disbursement can be found here.

 

Historically, contingent fee law firms in NY sustained 100% of the financial risks in obtaining the best possible result for their clients and were then penalized financially with reduced fees based upon the calculation method of fees on the net amount recovered after costs.

 

Thanks to Advocate Capital, Inc. friend, and renowned NY Personal Injury Attorney, Dan Buttafuoco for sharing this important update.

 

Lisa Wagner

Senior Vice President, Client Services

 

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How Lawsuits Make Our Communities Safer

 

Advocate Capital Inc. CEO Michael J. Swanson presenting at UNLVA recent article written by Michael J. Swanson entitled “How Lawsuits Make Our Communities Safer” is now featured on The Legal Examiner website. This blog highlights recent video interviews with Attorney Claude Wyle of Choulos, Choulos & Wyle discussing how lawsuits play a vital role in the safety of our citizens by holding government entities and large companies accountable for their actions.

 

(View the full Legal Examiner article)

 

 

 

Advocate Capital Inc. Michael J. Swanson featured on Legal Examiner blogThe Legal Examiner is a legal news and safety information forum provided by a network of “500 attorneys at nearly 100 different law firms.” The Legal Examiner receives around 150,000 unique visitors per month and “offers both bloggers and readers the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on all things law.”

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

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Needles® 5.0 Workshop Lived Up To The Hype!

 

Lisa WagnerAdvocate Capital, Inc. attends Needles 5.0 Workshop and I along with all the attendees were definitely impressed with all the enhancements, additional features and reports that the new Needles 5.0 application will provide.  Also, we got our first peek at the some of the proposed APIs (application program interfaces) that will add even more functionality to the Needles package.

 

The Needles trainers and presenters put together an awesome program with live demonstrations of the new application.  We look forward to a successful alpha test phase and rollout of the final 5.0 product.

 

Advocate Capital, Inc. is pleased to partner with an outstanding vendor like Needles.

 

To request a free trial package, click here.  If you are a successful law firm considering case management software, take a moment to review the list of reference firms on the Needles® site.

 

Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President

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We’re Moving This Weekend!

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_tashatuvango'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Thanks to all of our great Advocate Capital clients, 2014 was an amazing growth year for us. As a result of our growth, we are moving into a larger office here in our current office building. The only address change will be the Suite Number changing from C-165 to C-200. There are a few scheduling items we wanted you to be aware of for our move day of Friday, January 30th:

 

  • We will complete transaction processing for the day at 12:00 Noon CT.   This means all funding and payment processing will stop at Noon. Any transaction requests received after the noon cut-off time will be processed on Monday, February 2nd.
  • From 12:00 Noon CT until 3:00 p.m. CT, our Accounting Team will process January finance charge invoices. You should receive an email with your January statement on Friday
  • The Advocate Capital, Inc. offices will close for the day at 3:00 p.m. CT on Friday, January 30th and re-open for business as usual on Monday, February 2nd, 2015.
  • The ACI Client Web Portal may be offline intermittently from 3:00 p.m. CT on Friday, January 30th until 8:00 a.m. CT on Monday, February 2.

 

We want the impact of our move to be as minimal as possible and would ask that you note these schedule changes on your calendar for January 30th. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

 

We look forward to delivering our platinum level of customer service to you from our new office suite beginning February 2nd.

 

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP, CIA, CFE

Vice President, Finance and Administration

 

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How to Write a Better Website Bio

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_ozaiachin'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Did you know that bio pages are one of the most visited areas on your firm’s website? These bios are the first touch with potential clients and may be the deciding factor if they want contact your office or move on to another site.

 

 

In a recent blog, Rainmaker Institute CEO Stephen Fairley discusses ways to improve your website bios to create more business. Here are a few suggestions from his list:

 

 

  • Make the Introduction: This seems like a no brainer but many attorney bios forego this opening paragraph. “The first part of your bio should tell prospects who you are and what you do.”

 

  • Post Multiple Photos and Videos: Don’t stop with just a professional headshot. “Every attorney in your office should record a 3-5 minute video introducing themselves and talking about how they help people and why they love what they do.”

 

  • Talk About Your Clients: Let potential clients know how you will treat them and their family if they do business with your law firm. “Make a point to emphasize what kinds of clients and cases you love to work with in your bio.”

 

  • Write Like You Talk: A website bio is no place for legal jargon. “Use a conversational tone in your bio so that prospects feel as if they are having a conversation with you.”

 

(View the full article, “8 Tips to Writing a Better Attorney Bio to Attract More Leads”)

 

Remember: Website bios are more than a place to list professional accolades. They are an opportunity to show prospective clients that you are human and have their best interests at heart.

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

 

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Industry News: Fulton County Georgia Jury Awards $73M to Man Burned in Explosion

 

Law Moran LogoCongratulations Pete Law on this significant jury verdict!

 

On May 29, 2010 Stephen Wells opened the door of his apartment and was greeted by the sound of loud hissing and an explosion of fire that engulfed him, severely burning him. The explosion was caused by an uncapped gas line in the apartment with the corresponding shut off value in another room which violated Georgia building codes.

 

The verdict came the week of January 12th, 2015. Mr. Wells was awarded $17.9 million dollars to compensate him for his injuries, lost earnings and expenses, which included $226,000 in medical bills. The jury also indicated that the facts of the case justified punitive damages as they continued to deliberate.

 

Once deliberations were complete, the jury returned with an award of $7M in attorney fees and $47.9 million in punitive damages against the apartment complex owner and the complex’s management company.

 

Peter A. Law is the senior principal of Law & Moran, a six lawyer trial firm dedicated to the representation of individuals who have suffered injuries and death due to the negligence of others. Pete Law has been recognized by various independent surveys as one of Georgia’s top trial lawyers and is annually selected as one of Georgia’s Top 100 Lawyers. Pete was also selected as a “Georgia Legal Elite”. In the past few years, Pete’s firm has had over $100,000,000 worth of jury verdicts and significantly more in out of court settlements.

 

Congratulations Pete Law on this landmark victory!

 

Jeff Glueck
Vice President – Business Development

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Streamline Your Legal Marketing in 2015

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_dskdesign'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Marketing trends are always changing and the world of social media is growing daily. It’s important to stay on top of “what’s new” but some strategies may be wasting your firm time and money in the long run.

 

In a recent blog, Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, states that “when it comes to marketing, sometimes less is more.” Below are a few of his suggestions of legal marketing tactics that you may consider dropping in 2015:

 

  • Spending time on social networks that don’t work for you. It’s ok to try different social media platforms but “if you are trying to engage on a social network that is just not delivering any opportunities for engagement, quit it and forget it.”
  • Using lame stock photography. “Visual content has become increasingly important to getting your content noticed, so using staid, irrelevant stock photos just won’t do the job for you anymore.”
  • Not following through on mobile optimization. Don’t just stop with a mobile friendly website. “You need to be sure your entire lead conversion path is optimized for mobile.” This includes download buttons, forms and e-newsletters.

 

(View the full article “5 Legal Marketing Tactics You Can Let Go Of in 2015”)

 

In 2015, take some time to review your current marketing efforts and see if there are some opportunities to streamline processes.

 

Tina Burns

Vice President

 

Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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Supreme Court Mulls Florida’s Restrictions on Judicial Campaign Fundraising

 

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_zimmytws'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>USA Today reports that two “ideals held in high esteem by the Supreme Court – free speech and judicial integrity – collide Tuesday in a case that presents justices with a difficult choice.” The dispute pits “the code of conduct for judicial candidates in Florida, which prohibits them from directly soliciting campaign cash,” against “Lanell Williams-Yulee, a losing county court candidate who ran afoul of that canon in 2009 and was reprimanded for signing a fundraising letter.” The court must seek “the sweet spot between the two – what the Florida Bar calls ‘the proper balance between two compelling interests at the heart of a free and just society.’” The court’s “conservative majority has robustly defended free speech and its financial twin, campaign fundraising, in a string of cases, from 2010’s Citizens United decision allowing unlimited independent political expenditures to last year’s McCutcheon ruling removing aggregate limits on wealthy donors. Its liberal minority dissented vehemently in those cases.”

 

The AP reports that voters in the Tampa, FL area “didn’t think much of Lanell Williams-Yulee’s campaign for county judge in 2010, and the group that regulates Florida’s lawyers didn’t much like her campaign tactics.” After “being drubbed in the election, she was hauled before the Florida Bar for violating its ban on personally soliciting campaign contributions by sending a ‘Dear Friend’ letter asking for money.” Five years after the Supreme Court “freed corporations and labor unions to spend freely in federal elections, the justices will hear arguments Tuesday in Williams-Yulee’s challenge to the Florida rules, which she says violate her right to speak freely. “

 

The Christian Science Monitor reports that if Williams-Yulee “had been running for a county commission seat, her mass-mailed solicitation would have sounded no alarm bells,” but “as a candidate for a judicial office, her request for contributions attracted the attention of lawyers with The Florida Bar,” which “charged her with violating an ethics rule that prohibits judicial candidates in Florida from personally soliciting for campaign funds and support.” Williams-Yulee’s attorneys “challenged the constitutionality of the rule,” arguing that “Florida’s canon of judicial conduct violates a judicial candidate’s free-speech right to communicate with prospective voters.”

 

Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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Traumatic Brain Injury 2014 Litigator Awards™ Winner – Biren|Katzman

 

Advocate Capital Inc. clients Biren KatzmanCongratulations to long-time friend, Matt Biren and his team at Biren|Katzman Trial Lawyers on being named a winner by the 2014 Litigator Awards™ in the category of Traumatic Brain & Spinal Cord Injury. The 2014 Litigator Awards™ honors the top 1% of all lawyers.

 

The firm’s focus centers in large part on achieving justice for those who have suffered catastrophic injuries and traumatic brain & spinal cord injuries. Matt Biren has more than 40 years of experience seeking justice on behalf of injury victims and has spoken among his peers on the subject of obtaining justice in traumatic brain injury cases. Click here to read more about a few of the Firm’s notable cases.

 

Join us in congratulating Biren|Katzman Trial Lawyers on this well-deserved recognition. Thanks to the 2014 Litigator Awards™ Committee for recognizing the important work of Trial Lawyers.

 

A number of Advocate Capital, Inc. friends and clients were among the nominees in various categories. Stay tuned as we share more winners with our readers.

 

Lisa Wagner

Senior Vice President, Client Services

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