2017 CAALA-Vegas “ROCKED IT” Again



Reps at CAALAOnce again, the CAALA team (Consumers Attorneys Association of Los Angeles) hosted an amazing annual convention.  The theme this year was “Rock of Ages.” Team ACI totally embraced the theme by giving away a Jimmy Page life-size cardboard replica and a Led Zeppelin autographed gold record.


As always, we visited with several clients, met new prospective clients and found the convention to be a wonderful networking opportunity on many fronts.  Pictured above are our very own Lynne Cushing and Buffy Escue working Booth #139 at the convention.


Please take a moment to view additional photos from our 2017 CAALA-Vegas experience on our Facebook and Google+ albums tag someone you know!


Everyone here at Advocate Capital, Inc. considers it a privilege to support the important work done by trial lawyers like the CAALA group across this country to protect the 7th Amendment rights for all.



Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


Excel Tips & Tricks – Format Painter



Man and woman on computer.Do you use the format painter? I do! I use this feature all the time in Excel and I find it saves so much time.


The format painter is on the home tab and it looks like a little paintbrush. The purpose of the format painter is to copy the exact formatting of one field, column, row, or sheet to another field, column, row, or sheet.


For example, let’s say you have a column in your spreadsheet and you have borders, fonts, font sizes, and column sizing formatted exactly the way you want it. Now you have another column of data that you want to look identical. Simply select the first column, click the format painter icon, and then select the second column. This will copy formatting, but not values.


This is especially helpful when you are trying to keep your branding across reports.


If you are an Advocate Capital customer and need help preparing or manipulating data in the Excel application, feel free to contact me at BHardison@AdvocateCapital.com.


Here at Advocate Capital, Inc., we are constantly looking for ways to improve. We love feedback from our customers and implement suggestions often.  If you have a question or idea for an Excel tip that you would like to see, please let us know!


Billie Hardison
Training Specialist



Photo Credit:Cathy Yeulet

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

9 Hidden Costs of Self-Funding Your Cases


Mike Swanson 2017If you are an owner of a contingent-fee law firm and are self-funding your case expenses, you may not be aware of the many hidden costs that you are paying!


Join President and CEO Michael J. Swanson as he discusses the 9 Hidden Costs of Self-Funding Your Case Expenses.



Mike will host the webinar on September 26th 2017 at 1 PM CST/11:00 PT.


Even if you miss the webinar, you’ll still receive the webinar recording after it’s complete!


Sign up for the webinar today: http://www.advocatecapital.com/WebinarSeptember26/


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

Excel Tips & Tricks – The “Delete Rows” button


Man smiling on computerDid you know there are hundreds of shortcut buttons in Excel that you can place on the ribbon? These shortcut buttons can save you countless clicks in Excel! Today, I would like to tell you about the “Delete Rows” button. I find myself using this button nearly every day and it saves me so much time.


To use the button, you must first add it to your ribbon in Excel (This is the bar at the very top of the page – it typically has the “Save” icon, the “Undo” icon, or the “Print” icon.)   On the far right, you will see a down arrow that offers more options. Click this arrow and select “More Commands….”.


Under the “choose commands from” box, select “All Commands”. Find the command called, “Delete Sheet Rows” and select it.  Click the Add >>> button.  Click OK.  When you click OK, you will notice a new icon in your ribbon. It looks like some brackets with an “X” beside them.


Now comes the fun part – the official test!  Key in some rows of data into your spreadsheet. Assume you have two rows you don’t want. Simply select any field within the row and hit the new “Delete Sheet Rows” icon. I like using this button because it saves time by not highlighting the entire row, right clicking, and then deleting. It’s as easy as the click of a button!


Watch Out: If you have hidden rows and they are selected, they will be deleted, too.


If you are an Advocate Capital customer and need help preparing or manipulating data in the Excel application, feel free to contact me at BHardison@AdvocateCapital.com.


Advocate Capital, Inc. offers more than case expense tracking.  We pride ourselves on being the state-of-the-art resource for our clients in many technology fields.  Contact us for help with Excel, QuickBooks, AdvoTrac® and many other applications!


Billie Hardison
Training Specialist



Photo Credit: Hongqi Zhang

The Impact of Technology on Personal Interactions


Authored By: Iris Garrett


Lady networking on computer.Can you imagine doing your job without email? Probably not. It’s hard to believe the essential communication tool only hit the scene about 25 years ago, and didn’t become widely used in the legal profession until several years later. Yet, as essential as it might be, some argue that email and other technology have made the “Art of Interaction” obsolete, claiming they have left lawyers with rare opportunities to have face-to-face conversations and build personal relationships. In an article in Above the Law, Carolyn Elefant, challenges this viewpoint, saying that rather than kill the personal touch in law practice, technology has transformed it.


Elefant says before the internet age in the late 90’s, interacting with other attorneys was difficult. She says most of the so-called “personal connections” others argue have been lost because of technology, were actually never made. Elefant says these relationships only worked if a lawyer had something to gain (i.e. a referral or new connection), and if you were a young lawyer just starting out, you probably had nothing to give.


Elefant says before technology took over, legal tasks were also tough to do. From researching a case’s legislative history to filing a brief, things that now only take a click took hours to accomplish. She also says bar activities and CLE programs were more difficult to attend 20 years ago. Elefant says many meetings were scheduled during your lunch hour or miles out of town, and for a lawyer whose every minute counted, they weren’t an option. But once technology came about, it meant no more trips to the law library for research or ever physically carrying a brief somewhere. She says it enabled attorneys to do more in their work day rather than spend longer hours making up lost time.


Elefant says not only has technology enabled hundreds of attorneys to create meaningful relationships, but it has impacted the legal profession in ways that reach far beyond the social realm. She says it has given attorneys opportunities to expand their practice to other metropolitan areas, room to reinvent themselves, and access to building better careers. And because it has brought all these benefits, she says technology cannot truly be a bad thing.


To read the full article in Above the Law, click here.



Photo Credit: Sergey Nivens

The PILMMA Super Summit 2017 is Coming up!


Authored By: Krista Kemmerly


PILMMA LogoWill you be heading to the Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee for the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association Super Summit 2017?


The conference is coming up next week on September 13th through the 16th.


Our CEO and President, Mike Swanson and our Vice President of Strategic Solutions, Jeff Glueck will be representing Advocate Capital, Inc. at the convention. We welcome you to stop by our booth (#27) to say hello and learn more about case expense funding. We also encourage you to stop by during the lunch break on Thursday, September 14th where Mike will be speaking.


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


Many of our clients benefit greatly from being PILMMA members and from attending the excellent meetings.


We hope to see you there.


Advocate Capital – Fantasy Football League Kickoff



Lynne at football partyIt’s football time in Tennessee (and everywhere else, for that matter)! To get everyone ready for the season, Advocate Capital employees recently gathered for our annual football lunch and kickoff to our company’s 3rd Annual Fantasy Football League. We had a great lunch of fried chicken, fried catfish and all the fixings provided by Big Al’s Deli (food so good you’ll slap yo mamma, according to their website).


Our esteemed Commish, Laszlo Kovacs, got the team up to speed on the rules of the league and the draft, so we’re all set to enjoy a great football season. Here’s hoping you and your team have a great season, as well!


 Check out photos of it on our Facebook and Google+ pages.


The Importance of Wellness in the Legal Profession



Authored By: Candace Whitman


Man enjoying the ocean viewThe National Task Force on Lawyer Well-being recently composed a report about how there needs to be an increased focus on wellness in the legal profession.  Employee well-being does not just include physical and emotional state, but it also includes occupational, social, spiritual or purpose-driven, and intellectual or creative wellness.  Ensuring that lawyers are satisfied in these areas of well-being could prevent burnout, depression, anxiety, and other health problems caused by chronic stress.


Jeena Cho, a Legal Mindfulness Expert and co-author of The Anxious Lawyer, outlines a few of the actions that the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-being states can help legal employers improve the well-being of their firm.


One way to address well-being at your firm is to create a wellness committee or appoint a wellness advocate for your firm. The committee or advocate can plan wellness events, such as morning meditation events or fun runs/walks, and monitor the overall well-being of the firm.


The well-being committee should begin by gathering data on well-being at the firm. This could include an anonymous survey of employees about their views on well-being in their personal and work life.


Another way to encourage all aspects of wellness at your firm is by creating a supportive social environment for employees who are struggling with one or more areas of well-being.


To read the full report by The National Task Force on Lawyer Well-being, click here. To read Jeena Cho’s article on the report, click here.



Photo Credit: Edite Artmann

Case Expense Financing at a Net Cost of Less Than 1%*

clove panel