Tag Archive for Lulaine Compere

2013 Beasley Allen Legal Conference and Expo

scales of justiceDavid Smethie and Lulaine Compere of RD Legal Funding will be attending the 7th annual Beasley Allen Legal Conference and Expo from November 21-22. The attendance of this conference has dramatically grown over the years, from about 400 lawyers in 2007 to more than 1,400 in 2012. All Alabama attorneys involved in private practice can attend the event for free.

This year, 12 hours of free CLE credit is available, which includes 1 hour of ethics. Practice areas that will be addressed at the conference include:

For more information about the event, visit http://www.expo.beasleyallen.com, or call 334-269-2343. If you plan on attending, please stop by the RD Legal Funding booth. We’d love to discuss how our post-settlement funding solutions can improve your law firm’s cash flow.

Contingency Fees for Commercial Litigation

blue-money-graphicContingency fees are usually associated with plaintiff’s attorneys who litigate cases pertaining to personal injury, employment discrimination, civil rights, and many other case types. The contingency fee was born from a variety of issues like better aligning the interests of plaintiff and attorney, helping the destitute obtain justice even in the face of financial hardship, and making justice more accessible overall.

Most plaintiffs involved with civil litigation go in with the expectation that their attorney will work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they don’t have to pay their attorney upfront. Instead, their attorney covers all expenses necessary to litigate the case. The plaintiff only pays the attorney from the proceeds of a favorable outcome, whether it be in the form of a settlement or verdict.

Commercial litigation is when a business sues another business over a grievance, which could be breach of contract, bankruptcy, or a host of other types of lawsuits. Most people assume that commercial litigation wouldn’t be a good fit for the contingency fee model, as the attorneys are usually paid on an hourly basis. Their fee has no correlation with the outcome of the trial, but rather is a fixed fee based on the total number of hours worked.

However, according to an article by Steven Susser published in the Michigan State Bar entitled Contingency and Referral Fees for Business Disputes, contingency fee arrangements are appropriate for all types of lawsuits, including commercial litigation. He points out that the key to any contingent arrangement is to find that common ground between the lawyer and client.

With the traditional billing model for commercial litigation, law firms would bill by the hour and their motivation might be to prolong the trial for as long as possible. After all, the more hours they work, the more they get paid. The contingency fee model promotes quality work and efficiency. If the law firm’s fee is contingent upon a favorable outcome, they are motivated to negotiate the best possible settlement as quickly as possible, or litigate the trial with speed and efficiency. The law firm has the potential to make more money assuming there is a substantial settlement or verdict, of which they receive a percentage, compared to a flat hourly fee.

In his article, Stusser explains why contingency fees for commercial litigation are beneficial. Some reasons include the current economy, common ground between the attorney and client, access, and money. Since the recession of 2008, companies have been looking to cut costs, demanding that their attorneys reduce their fees. In terms of money, Stusser writes that there is a ceiling for hourly fees, but a percentage of the settlement or verdict can equate to a higher hourly fee. Common ground would apply to the way the attorney and client see the case, which keeps both of their motives aligned.

Stusser also points out the drawbacks of the contingency fee model. For example, law firms must have a cache of money to bridge their cash flow issues while fighting a case. In addition, because this model is riskier compared to the traditional hourly fee structure, the firm may require that the client pay for all costs, including expert witnesses, which can really add up if the litigation is complex. Other firms request a large upfront retainer, which they rebate to the client assuming a favorable outcome. According to Stusser, such obstacles make the litigation appear less attractive to the potential client.

Commercial contingency fee litigation will likely become more popular with time. Furthermore, there are some law firms that have created modified contingency fee arrangements. For example, with the hybrid model, the client pays the attorney a discounted hourly fee and assuming a favorable outcome, the lawyer receives a percentage of the plaintiff’s award. The bonus model has the client pay the attorney a reduced hourly fee plus a bonus contingent upon a favorable outcome. There is even the reverse contingency fee model, which can apply to a defendant. With this arrangement, the attorney’s fee is inversely proportional to the amount the defendant is assigned to pay.


Written by Lulaine Compere.

Missouri State Bar 2013 Solo and Small Firm Conference

missouri-capitalJoseph Genovesi and Lulaine Compere of RD Legal Funding will be attending the Missouri State Bar’s 2013 Solo and Small Firm Conference from June 13th-15th. The event is taking place at the Branson Hilton Convention Center with a projected attendance of approximately 950 attorneys.

This award-winning conference is the largest annual gathering of solo and small firm practitioners in the country. Some highlights from the program agenda include:

  • Starting a Law Practice Boot Camp: Technology Issues in Starting a New Practice by Paul Henry of Denlow & Henry.
  • How to Use Social Networking Sites for Investigative Research: What, Why and How by Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch of Internet for Lawyers.
  • Ethics: Quicksand Ethical Hazards for Solos and Small Firms by Robert Kirkland of Kirkland, Woods & Martinsen, PC.
  • Lien on Me: Resolving Lien Issues in PI Cases by Christine A. Alsop.

If you will be attending the event, please stop by the RD Legal Funding booth to say hello and discuss how our post-settlement attorney fee financing solutions can smooth out your cash flow and boost your law firm’s bottom line. We look forward to seeing you there!

Minority-Owned Law Firms Should Consider Law Firm Funding

legal funding for minority law firmsStatistics show minority-owned businesses have a harder time accessing capital than white-owned businesses. That problem seems to spread across all business sectors like finance, manufacturing, technology, and law. Many people forget until they get the bill that law firms and lawyers are in business. They have all the worries and problems other business owners have, like making payroll, paying insurance, taxes, and finding new business.

Law firms are not immune from traditional business problems. One of the biggest issues they have to deal with is access to capital. There have been numerous studies and reports about why it’s harder for minority businesses to get money for their operations, yet the problem persists. According to the Minority Business Development Agency, many minority businesses depend on short-term debt or revolving lines of credit to keep their operations running.

The manner in which a retail shop or financial business will repay a bank loan is pretty straightforward. Therefore, it is easier for such businesses to obtain traditional financing. In general, law firms have a harder time acquiring capital because their assets (contingent fee portfolio of cases) are difficult to measure and price.

Law firms need lines of credit to keep their operations running smoothly. In addition, reaching a settlement doesn’t necessarily equate to getting paid. Oftentimes, there is a lengthy delay between time of settlement and payout of the legal fee. This is especially true with class action lawsuits, MDL’s, and personal injury cases where Medicare is involved. This is where post-settlement funding is a viable solution, as it converts legal fees associated with settled cases into immediate working capital.

The traditional financial avenues such as banks and credit unions are not going to change their standards for minority-owned law firms to get a bigger slice of capital. Minority-owned practices will have to find new sources of money in order to expand and maintain their operations. Legal funding, also known as law firm funding, is a new way for law firms to get the kind of capital they need. Legal funding companies are for the most part run by former lawyers or people knowledgeable about the legal industry. Therefore, they understand the true value of your contingent fee portfolio and can advance you significantly more than a traditional financial institution could.

In this economic climate, minority law firms should know that their access to capital is only going to get tougher. Many experts say it will be a long time before economies bounce back, which means lending standards are going to be even tougher. It is important to understand that there are alternative capital sources to consider. Justice waits for no man and having law firm funding can mean a win-win for the plaintiff’s attorney and their client.


Written by Lulaine Compere.

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kauffman/2012/07/30/minority-owned-businesses-come-up-short-in-access-to-capital-its-time-to-change-the-equation-for-mbes/

http://www.memphisdailynews.com/editorial/ArticleEmail.aspx?id=28797

http://www.legalfunding.com/solutions/fee_acceleration.cfm

http://www.legalfunding.com/solutions/lineofcredit.cfm

Poly Prep Settles Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

post-settlement funding solutionsAccording to news reports, famed Brooklyn Poly Prep Country Day School has settled with twelve plaintiffs over their allegations of sexual abuse by beloved Poly Prep football coach Philip Foglietta. The details of the deal are confidential, but according to news reports, both sides are happy a settlement was reached.

Poly Prep suffers a huge blow in terms of prestige and reputation as well as financially. Poly Prep Country Day School joins a list of organizations and entities like the Vatican and schools like Penn State accused of covering up or dismissing allegations regarding one of their own and the sexual abuse of children.

Poly Prep Country Day School is one of the most highly regarded schools in Brooklyn. It is a private boys-only school that is well regarded for its academic and athletic programs. When Philip Foglietta became the head coach of the football team in 1966 and stayed on until 1991, he led the team and became the most successful football coach in the school’s history. Even after he retired, his name was used for fundraising drives the school conducted.

Foglietta died in 1998. A couple of years later, allegations of his abuse started coming out. The school is accused of being party to the cover up since 1966 when the first allegation against Foglietta was made. As a result of the abuse, some of the plaintiffs say they struggled with alcoholism, substance abuse, and depression. There were also allegations from Greg Bucceroni, a child prostitute, who connected Foglietta with disgraced Penn State Football Coach Jerry Sandusky. In 2009, a federal lawsuit was filed regarding the sexual assault and it was recently settled. The details of the settlement have not been revealed although some news reports say the plaintiffs were looking for $20 million each.

For plaintiffs and plaintiff’s attorneys involved in long, complicated litigation such as the Poly Prep lawsuit, it can often take many months to receive your award or legal fee-even after the lawsuit has settled. In such instances, RD Legal can provide interim post-settlement funding to quickly monetize awards and legal fees associated with slow-paying settlements. For further details, contact RD Legal at 1-800-565-5177 or visit www.legalfunding.com/solutions.


Written by Lulaine Compere.

RD Legal Offers Lawsuit Financing to Plaintiff’s Attorneys with Washington Mutual Settlements

post-settlement lawsuit funding solutionsCresskill, NJ: United States District Court Judge Thomas O’Neil approved a class-action settlement for $4 million involving about 42,000 customers of Washington Mutual. Plaintiffs claimed the bank placed them in captive reinsurance arrangements which provided the bank with a variety of benefits, including kickbacks, referral payments, and fee splits.

Washington Mutual has been the center of many lawsuits and settlements. Ever since the bank collapsed in 2008, investors and customers have filed lawsuits seeking compensation and retribution. RD Legal Funding, LLC (“RD Legal”) is ready to help bridge the gap between settlement and case payout to help plaintiff’s attorneys improve their cash flow. RD Legal is one of the nation’s leading providers of post-settlement funding to lawyers and their clients.

According to news stories, the lead plaintiffs were entered into captive reinsurance arrangements when they obtained loans from the bank. The arrangements were in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in 2007 with claims of the kickbacks, referral payments, and unearned fee splits. A settlement was reached after years of litigation and Washington Mutual establishing a $4 million settlement fund. In June of 2012, the settlement received preliminary approval. Final approval came from Judge O’Neil on December 4, 2012.

RD Legal can provide plaintiff’s attorneys with Washington Mutual settlements post-settlement funding, which provides immediate capital on settlements. Lawsuit financing does not require any kind of payments until the fee is paid; there are no monthly interest or principal payments, no upfront points or fees. Once the necessary documentation is received, RD Legal can wire funds within several days. RD Legal provides personalized service and quick turnaround.

For more information, call RD Legal toll-free at 1-800-565-5177. To apply now, please click here.


Written by Lulaine Compere

Litigation Funding is a Business

litigation funding is a businessThe usual scenario of a person seeking legal funding would involve them calling a litigation funding company, either seeking money to help them fight a case or to obtain a post-settlement advance. The company would use its own evaluation tools to determine if it’s a good investment. There are a variety of ways companies do these evaluations, but a determination can be made where the person seeking the funding is denied.

There are numerous benefits of legal funding. It is a free-market solution to a problem that plagues most legal systems globally. The problem is the lack of access to justice by regular people, who need the system to deliver on its promise. Litigation funding is going to continue to grow in size and in practice for regular people who need it and attorneys who face similar financial problems.

However, even with all the social benefits the industry provides, litigation funding is still a business, and it is important for people to understand the criteria for getting funding prior to signing on the dotted line. The industry is still very new and it can be quite confusing for anybody who might be planning to use the services of a legal funding company. The Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in the University of Oxford and The University of Lincoln published a report about litigation funding. The report, titled Litigation Funding: Status and Issues, gives a comprehensive view of the litigation funding industry. One of the sections in the report explains why claims get denied.

  1. Liability evidence is irremediably too weak, too dependent on oral evidence, or requires a factually-rich and complex forensic inquiry.
  2. The claim is made up of too many small claims.
  3. The likely cost is too large.
  4. The defendant is unlikely to be able to meet any judgment.

Litigation funding can provide a helping hand to people, but it is also a business. For a business to work and continue to grow, they must adhere to certain rules and standards. The critics of litigation funding would like to see the industry become a pariah and vilified. Organizations like the Chamber of Commerce would like to see litigation funding become persona non grata in the finance and legal communities because it benefits their members, which are huge corporations.


Written by Lulaine Compere

Toyota Motor Corporation Agrees to Billion Dollar Settlement

Toyota Motor Corporation announced they are going to pay close to $1.4 billion to settle lawsuits that allege their vehicles accelerated unintentionally and without warning. News of Toyota’s vehicle acceleration problem made worldwide headlines and even caused the CEO of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, to apologize. He even testified in front of Congress to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for the lax safety measures that led to the vehicle problems and pledged to strengthen quality control.

According to news reports about the settlement, Toyota will establish a fund of $250 million for customers who bought vehicles from September 2009 to December 2010. The money will be used to provide cash payments, retrofit certain vehicles, and add additional warranty for certain vehicle components. In addition to the money, the settlement will establish additional driver education programs and fund research into advanced safety technologies.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the issues involving Toyota occurred in 2009 after an off-duty officer and three of his passengers were killed when the car sped out of control. When more news stories came out about vehicle acceleration problems, Japanese and American authorities launched their own investigations. There is a separate lawsuit against Toyota where people are seeking compensation for injury and wrongful death. They were not part of the settlement, and according to NBC News, the first trial is slated to start in February.

This settlement was recently granted preliminary approval by the court. If you believe you are due compensation, you can visit the official Toyota economic loss settlement website at http://www.toyotaelsettlement.com. If you are a plaintiff’s attorney litigating this case and are in need of a post-settlement advance on your legal fees, RD Legal’s Fee Acceleration program can help. Simply visit http://www.legalfunding.com/solutions/fee_acceleration.cfm for more details about post-settlement legal funding.


Written by Lulaine Compere.

Litigation Funding for Intellectual Property

Litigation funding is a growing sector. It seems like every day there are more ideas as to how to use legal funding in other legal sectors besides personal injury. The latest idea for the use of litigation funding has been for intellectual property. Technology is playing a larger role in society. Various artists, musicians, designers, and investors rely on the protection of their work.

The idea comes from a blog post in the United Kingdom. Many people who depend on intellectual property aren’t rich and they need the protection for their future. If they plan on suing a huge company for their intellectual rights, they likely will not have the money to go against a well-funded corporation and their big time lawyers.

They are going to need people with money, a great pro-bono attorney, or a litigation funding company to have a fighting chance. Already some litigation funding companies in the U.K. are providing intellectual property financing, like Harbour, Therium, Vannin and Woodsford.

Intellectual property can be a win for plaintiffs, attorneys, and litigation funding companies. The plaintiffs have access to capital to fight against huge companies coming for their IP. The attorneys can get funding for the case which allows them to put up a better fight and possibly receive a better settlement. The litigation funding companies have a new sector where they can see real growth, and it helps them move away from the personal injury or even commercial litigation funding market.


Written by Lulaine Compere.

Tort Reform Survey

Long-time critic of torts and civil litigation, the United States Chamber Institute for Legal Reform released their survey titled 2012 State Liability Systems Survey Lawsuit Climate Ranking the States. The survey is supposed to examine the tort systems in different states through the eyes of U.S. businesses. The companies surveyed each have a minimum of $100 million in annual revenues.

The U.S. Chamber has an axe to grind against the tort system and the idea of civil litigation. They view civil litigation as a punishment against a mistake by big business rather than being a tool for justice by the victims.

The people who may be hurt by big businesses oftentimes do not have the means to fight against them in a courtroom. Justice won’t be served in a situation like that. The legal system we have is meant to deliver justice and provide an equal playing field for both sides to plead their case.


Written by Lulaine Compere.