5 Reasons Why You Need an Emergency Fund



Emergency money in a jar“Gee, I wish I hadn’t saved up so much money,” said no one ever.


However, you may have heard a financial planner say “So, what are you counting as your emergency fund?” The question leaves many of us dumbfounded. Anything extra each month goes toward credit cards or unexpected expenses, right? The rest is often tied up in retirement accounts or funds that we either cannot or are not supposed to touch for “emergencies”.


But while we can cross our fingers hoping that a major household system like the heat won’t fail, or that everyone in our family will stay healthy, the truth is we’re only biding our time. At some point every person will experience an emergency—something “unexpected” that requires serious cash on hand.


Having some sort of liquid savings plan is critical. Here are some reasons you’ll appreciate having an emergency fund ready to go should you need it:


Peace of mind Sometimes you really can “buy” peace of mind. Even some of the most successful people weren’t taught to set up an emergency fund during the early stages of their careers. But as their assets and knowledge have grown, most would now attest to the sheer peace of mind that liquidity can bring.


Career flexibility With an emergency fund set aside you can get more creative about career choices and decisions. Knowing you have some money in the bank, you can be more flexible about leaving an unsatisfactory job or starting a new venture—even if the timing doesn’t line up perfectly with severance or other temporary financial coverage.


Preventive maintenance While it’s not something that is fun to spend money on, doing regular maintenance on a home, car or other piece of property can save you serious funds in the long run. With an emergency fund you can arrange prompt and proper maintenance so that small problems don’t become big, expensive ones.


To find out the other benefits of having an emergency fund and to start taking steps to build one, check out my latest article in Living Safer magazine. You can also find the article in digital form by clicking here.


Michael J. Swanson
President and Chief Executive Officer



Photo Credit: szefei

Nursing Home Arbitration Clauses: Will They Ever Go Away?


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Woman sitting in wheel chairThe nursing home industry is notorious for denying patients and their families their day in court, mostly through forced arbitration agreements. These agreements only allow for confidential, alternative dispute resolution where no judge or jury is present. Instead, the legal proceeding is placed in front of an arbiter or third party (often paid for by the nursing home) with little opportunity to seek or offer evidence in cases of negligent behavior, elder abuse, sexual harassment, and even wrongful death. Now, why would anyone choose a nursing home that participates in this process? It is usually unknown to them when they sign the dotted line, but things become pretty clear when they file a lawsuit.


This trend of burying arbitration clauses in admission contracts is something Public Justice’s Paul Bland calls “categorically heinous”. In an article in The Legal Examiner, he says it is “a grave injustice” that these potential nursing home residents and their families never see or understand these agreements, but yet their constitutional rights are completely governed by them. What’s more, Bland says arbitration is almost never stacked in the resident’s favor. He says groups like the American Health Care Association (AHCA) defend arbitration as a “fair and effective legal process,” but under its conditions, acts of wrongdoing by nursing homes never find their way into the public eye. Bland says if the same claims were decided by the court, more current and potential nursing home residents would be aware of the injustice, voice their concerns, and help deter these facilities from providing unsafe conditions.


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) nearly put a stop to nursing home arbitration last year. In September 2016, the agency issued a rule preventing federally-funded facilities from using forced arbitration or requiring residents to sign the agreements as a condition of admission. Before it could take effect, the rule was blocked by a U.S. District Judge in Mississippi (read more about this injunction here) and could not move forward unless CMS successfully appealed.


Unfortunately, Bland says the final day to challenge that Mississippi judge’s decision arrived earlier this summer with no appeal from CMS. Accompanying the missed appeal was the proposed H.R. 1215 bill which Bland says could roll back the prohibition on pre-dispute forced arbitration agreements further (read more about the proposed legislation here). If that happens and the legislation becomes law, Bland fears the doors of justice will be closed to even more suffering seniors and their families.


If you would like to Paul Bland’s full article, click here.



Photo Credit: Rafael Ben-Ari

How to Market to Millennial Legal Consumers



Authored By: Iris Garrett


Millennials on smartphoneIf you think you can reach millennial legal consumers using the same methods as those applied to Baby Boomers and Generation X, you may be in for some bad news. According to an article on FindLaw, the distinctions between today’s millennial generation and most other age groups couldn’t be more stark, especially when it comes to how they search for an attorney. Where Gen X reached for the phone book and land line when they needed legal help, young people now reach for their lifeline: a smartphone. If you can’t tailor your digital marketing efforts accordingly, you may want to forget reaching anyone under the age of 36.


FindLaw says today’s generation makes their legal decisions differently because they were raised on the internet. They adopted quickly to social media, started reading blogs at a young age, and prefer texts over phone calls no matter the time of day. Because of this, traditional marketing approaches do not appeal or attract this age group, but fortunately a few tech-savvy approaches may do the trick.


FindLaw says today’s generation trusts blogs to do their legal research at twice the rate as the average legal consumer. By maintaining a law firm blog, not only will you be reaching millennials, but it will give you a platform to demonstrate your expertise and give introductory advice. FindLaw also suggests using your social media presence to target millennials. It says more than 40 percent of young people find tweets and Facebooks posts from attorneys to be important. It also says they like when attorneys post candid photos of volunteering events or office outings because it allows them to see your firm in a more personal way (rather than just as a faceless logo).


FindLaw says the things that many law firms undervalue or ignore are what millennials are looking for. The good news is that you can easily change this by connecting with these potential clients in the same way they want to connect with you.


To read the full article, click here.



Photo Credit: marctran

Attorney Fee Deferrals



Wallet with money.I often coach plaintiff lawyers on financial topics during my webinars and in-person presentations.  One of my favorite bits of advice is for the partners at contingent-fee law firms to pay themselves sufficiently in order to build net worth outside of their law firm.  There are far too many dedicated, hard-working and brilliant trial lawyers who, frankly, are broke.


One of the tactics I have seen many lawyers use to help build net worth, smooth-out income and manage tax liabilities is to structure legal fees over time.  My friend, John Bair, is very knowledgeable on this topic.  Click here to learn more from John.


Michael J. Swanson

President and Chief Executive Officer



Photo Credit: novintito

Employment Litigation Leaving Plaintiffs at Odds


Authored By: Iris Garrett


courtroomIt’s not looking good for plaintiffs involved in employment lawsuits. According to new data by Lex Machina, a research company that provides legal analytics to law firms, this type of litigation is mostly only working out well for employers.


In an article in the ABA Journal, Lex Machina is said to have reviewed nearly 72,000 cases over the last few months, covering lawsuits on employer retaliation, hostile work environments, race bias, and discrimination, and almost three-fourths of those cases ended in settlements. Lex Machina also found that employers prevailed 13 percent of the time when it came to summary judgement in these cases.


Lex Machina says the high settlement rate in employment litigation cases stems from the median time to termination, which is less than a year. It also says the median time to summary judgement is 19 months and two years to trial.


In the ABA Journal article, Lex Machina general counsel, Owen Byrd, says that though the findings should help plaintiff lawyers address employment discrimination and retaliation claims, the information also may add some reassurance to employers facing them, as well as their big law defense. However, Lex Machina says with more software advances, solos and small firms representing claimants can have a more level playing field, tailor their arguments to include these cases, and go head-to-head with larger firms.


To read the full article in the ABA Journal, click here.



Photo Credit: Wavebreak Media Ltd.



Attorney John Fisher Hosts “The Mastermind Experience”


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Advocate Capital, Inc. client and friend, Attorney John Fisher, is hosting a special event on Thursday, September 7th called “The Mastermind Experience”.


This one-day meeting in Washington, D.C. will bring together some of the top lawyers in the country to discuss strategic action and ideas for taking your injury practice to the next level. If you’re hoping to improve your firm’s management and marketing techniques, this Mastermind can help you do it!


Attendance for “The Mastermind Experience” is limited to 15 lawyers, but these members are also given a lifetime of advice from alumni, including weekly and monthly newsletters, tips, video conference calls and forums to keep them immersed in the Mastermind even after the one-day meeting comes to an end.


Attorney John Fisher says there are only a few spots left to sign up for this valuable event, so if you would like to join in “The Mastermind Experience,” register today!


You can also find more information about the event by clicking here.


Workplace Injuries Can Be Avoided


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Injured worker filling out Injury formAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 5,000 workers were killed from injuries sustained in the workplace in 2015, the highest death toll in this category in eight years.


Our team at Advocate Capital, Inc. works with many law firms across the U.S. who specialize in workplace injury cases. Along with our clients, we know how often these incidents can occur, and though there may be no way to protect your employees from all types of workplace injuries, Bryan Pope of The Legal Examiner says there are steps you can take to make them less frequent. We’ve shared his steps below.


Get Basic Training

Pope says by offering basic training on proper lifting techniques, safety practices, and help when job duties change, you can reduce many common workplace injuries (like back and shoulder pain). He also says employers should emphasize the importance of taking regular breaks.

Recognize Hazards

Pope says physical, ergonomic, chemical, and biological hazards are the four main types of workplace hazards workers can fall victim to, but each can be prevented if you recognize the risks beforehand:

  • Physical hazards are those involving spills, heights, and loud noises.
  • Ergonomic hazards occur when working conditions cause discomfort to an employee’s body.
  • Chemical hazards include fumes, toxic vapers, and flammable materials.
  • Biological hazards are those involving people, plants, and animals.

Take Advantage of Safety Equipment

Pope says wearing personal protective equipment (goggles, gloves, safety shoes, earplugs, etc.) is essential to preventing workplace injuries. He says employers should ensure their workers are not only provided with these tools but are also properly trained on how to use them.


To read Bryan Pope’s full article, click here.



Photo Credit: freerlaw

Amy Johnson Presented with Paralegal of the Year Award Trophy


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Mike & Amy with POTY AwardFor the past six years, Advocate Capital, Inc. has sponsored the American Association for Justice Paralegal of the Year Award in the hopes that it will shed light on the crucial role paralegals play in our civil justice system.


As the sponsor, our team not only gets the opportunity to see one exceptional individual be nominated and selected for this prestigious award, but Advocate Capital also gets to present them with the award trophy at the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Annual Convention.


This year’s convention was held in Boston, and several members of Advocate Capital’s management team, including CEO and President, Michael J. Swanson, attended the show and met the Paralegal of the Year winner, Amy Johnson.


Johnson serves on staff at Yarborough Applegate Law Firm in Charleston, SC, and was nominated for the award by the firm’s co-founders, David Yarborough and William Applegate. They say she is more than qualified to receive the award because of her tremendous support for their staff, her dedication to the paralegal profession, and her active service to the community.


Our Advocate Capital team also recognized Johnson’s award-winning qualities upon meeting her at the AAJ Convention and were delighted to see CEO Michael Swanson present her with the award trophy during a special ceremony at the show. Johnson, who was escorted by her husband, Jeff, said she was both humbled and honored to receive the award.


If you would like to see pictures of the award presentation, visit our Facebook page! You can also learn more about the Paralegal of the Year Award and past winners by clicking here.


Ed Bell Inducted Into Inner Circle of Advocates



Ed BellAdvocate Capital extends congratulations to our great friend and client, J. Edward Bell, III, on his induction into The Inner Circle of Advocates.  This prestigious organization consists of the top 100 Plaintiff lawyers in the United States.


The Inner Circle of Advocates was founded 45 years ago to share information, promote the profession, learn new innovations within the industry and teach other legal professionals.


The lawyers invited to participate are limited to the absolute best in their craft.  This nationally known organization has strict qualifications for membership including:


  • Three or more $1 million verdicts or one verdict in excess of $10 million within the last five years;
  • Extensive litigation experience of a least 30 trials (presiding judge and opposing counsel are interviewed to rate the candidate);
  • A stellar reputation among peers.


Mr. Bell’s use of technology in the courtroom and his cutting-edge facility, including a one-of-a-kind science and research laboratory for accident and crime scene reconstruction, make him a perfect fit for The Inner Circle of Advocates.  Mr. Bell is tenacious in his quest for justice on behalf of victims who have suffered horrific injuries due to the negligence of others.  The important work done by Mr. Bell and the members of The Inner Circle leads to recalls, regulations and safety improvements that benefit each and every one of us.


Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to support the work of trial lawyers like Ed Bell as he furthers his commitment to help the injured and shares his wealth of knowledge with other Plaintiff attorneys.


Now Hiring: Marketing Coordinator



Desk chair that reads "Now Hiring"Excellent opportunity in a profitable, growing company!


Advocate Capital, Inc. is currently recruiting for a new Marketing Coordinator to add to our MetroCenter (Nashville, TN) office.


We are a successful, rapidly growing commercial lender. The successful Marketing Coordinator candidate will offer administrative support to our Marketing Department including database maintenance, email and direct mail campaigns, website editing, content writing, social media monitoring, market research, tradeshow coordination, video shoot coordination, etc.


The hourly rate for this position is in the $13.17 – $16.16 depending upon education and experience.


Health, dental, and vision insurance coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (company pays 80%, employee pays 20%); $50,000 of employee life insurance (company paid); Short-Term and Long-Term Disability insurance (company paid); Flexible Spending Account for Unreimbursed Medical Expenses and Dependent Care Expenses, 401(k) with company match (max 4%); Paid time off (PTO) starting at 17 days per year.


We offer industry-leading financial products and services providing law firms nationwide with low-cost access to capital and flexible business solutions.


To apply, please send your resume to HRM@AdvocateCapital.com.



·         Microsoft Excel, Word and Outlook proficiency required.

·         Excellent written and verbal communication.

·         Possession of strong organizational skills.

·         A high level of attention to detail (accuracy, proofreading, spelling, grammar, consistency)

·         Effective use of time management and meeting deadlines.

·         Ability to handle multiple projects/tasks concurrently.

·         Ability to work independently on assigned tasks as well as within a team.

·         Flexibility

·         Must be able to work in a professional work environment

·         Salesforce.com experience helpful.


·         Corporate marketing.

·         Salesforce.com administration helpful.

·         Adobe Preimiere Pro and Photoshop experience helpful.

·         Google and social media analytics helpful.


·         Minimum: High school diploma.

·         Desired: Bachelor’s Degree in a related field.

Seniority Level

Entry level


Financial Services

 Legal Services

Employment Type


If you are interested, please submit your resume for consideration to HRM@AdvocateCapital.com. Click here to view the job posting on LinkedIn.com. 


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