Archive for the ‘Resources for Attorneys’ Category

For Attorneys: Where to Meet Your Next Client

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

For our Attorney colleagues and friends, we are always looking to promote new opportunities to help you build your business or improve your service offering. If you are experiencing a lull in new client lead generation, it may be time to make some changes to your marketing or networking efforts.

Networking (it’s not the ‘same-old, same-old’)

In this world of mobile communications, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, networking organizations, and personal referrals, are you unsure of where your time would best be spent to meet new clients?  The answer, unfortunately, is ‘nearly everywhere’. While it’s hard to predict where or when your next client will appear, the likelihood is that they are utilizing a number of communications tools every day where you could have the opportunity to connect with them.
Here are a few of the most obvious, and tips on how to use them effectively:

  • Networking Organizations
    • If you’re not already involved in your local Chamber of Commerce, business networking group(s), and at least one non-profit organization in your community, you may be missing out on valuable opportunities to connect (directly or indirectly) with clients in need of your services. Hiring an Attorney is a very well-thought-out process, and most people are likely to turn first to those they know for a referral vs. pull a name from a directory or website. By multiplying the personal connections you maintain, you will multiply your opportunities for these referrals to be sent your way.
    • Personal networking will use up the largest amount of your time, but the direct costs are negligible, and these qualified leads will often yield the best results.
  • Maintaining Contact
    • Once you’ve made hundreds of personal connections, you may find that it’s nearly impossible for that many people to remember you when asked for a referral to an Attorney. For that reason, it is crucial to keep your name in front of these new contacts at regular intervals. We recommend creating an email newsletter campaign and asking them to be included on your list. From there, it’s easy to put together a single monthly newsletter with resources and information, and to keep your name at the top of their minds.
    • Another great tool is an automatic greeting card service, where you can upload your contacts to a list and have printed cards delivered by mail for events such as birthdays, holidays, or quarterly check-ins.
  • Social Media
    • The role of Social Media in this case should be to serve as a secondary way of maintaining contact (in addition to the above), and staying in front of your connections. By maintaining professional profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and (to a lesser extent) Facebook’s Business Page sites, you will multiply the opportunities to be positioned well for potential referrals and direct leads.
    • The next time someone in your expanded network sees a request from one of their friends for “a referral to a great lawyer”, they will be able to easily connect you without leaving that site.
  • Reviews
    • Regardless of how a prospect first heard about you, it is very likely they will do a little digging online before contacting you to discuss their case. If they find very little information, or a negative review of your practice, they may likely not contact you at all. So it is imperative to “Google” yourself and review the information that appears. Clean up and complete profiles wherever possible ( and Google Places listings are a great start), and be sure your information is updated on the local Law directory sites. If any negative reviews appear, you’ll want to focus on requesting new reviews from your other clients and colleagues, to push these down in the rankings.

3 Common Myths About Lawsuit Funding

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Whether you have experienced a situation in the past where a client has considered litigation funding for their ongoing lawsuit, or are currently researching options for a client in need, the process can be somewhat confusing.

To help you navigate this process, we have identified and responded to several common myths about lawsuit financing in this post. If your questions are more complex, or you would like to speak with a representative to gather additional information, please contact us today.

Myth 1: Legal Finance is Only Available in Large, Lump-Sum Payments

Fact: While many lawsuit finance companies only offer lump-sum payments, they may end up giving more money than a client actually needs to cover emergency expenses and this can end up costing your client higher fees at the end of the case. Others including Pre-Settlement Finance offer multiple options to meet your clients’ needs.

Clients can choose from up-front lump-sum payments or smaller monthly installments which are dispersed over time. Depending on the situation, one or the other may be more cost-effective and better suited meet the clients’ needs.

Myth 2: The Money Must Be Repaid, Even if the Client Loses

Fact: While we can’t speak for others in our industry, lawsuit loans only have to be repaid if the client is successful in their settlement. This is a non-course funding contingent on the outcome of the case. It is that simple.

Myth 3: Lawsuit Funding is the Same as a Bank Loan

Fact: Although these financing plans are sometimes referred to by clients as “lawsuit cash advances” or “lawsuit loans”, these types of financing plans are not loans or cash advances. There is no absolute obligation for your client to pay us back, accept if their lawsuit resolves successfully. As noted above, if the client does not win their case, no money will have to be repaid to our company.

Helping Your Clients Find the Best Financing Option

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Helping client with lawsuit fundingAs an attorney, you may have had clients reach out to you looking for help with paying bills while their case moves through the settlement process. If you have found yourself in this situation, having a clear understanding of the pre-settlement process will help your clients choose a funding that is right for them.

Here is a description of the most common sources of funding:

Lump Sum Pre-Settlement Financing

This is the most common form of funding for cases in the pre-settlement phase.
Initially, the case file is reviewed and a funding range is determined.  Then an assessment of the clients needs is considered  and a flat lump-sum payment is made to the client.
This money can be used for any needs the client experiences, including the payment of medical bills, household expenses, food, and debt repayment.
As clients may have postponed paying bills during their case because of their inability to work, this is often the best source of money to prevent eviction, foreclosure.
This type of funding is only is paid back if your clients’ case is successful as it is a non-recourse funding contingent on the outcome of the case.  Since payment is due at the resolution of the case, there are no additional monthly bills for the client to worry about.

Pre-Settlement Installment Funding

As with Lump Sum advances, this option is also based on an initial assessment of the case and the client’s needs.  The funding can be used to alleviate financial pressures the client may be experiencing.
Installment financing is often a lower-cost alternative to lump sum payments, as the funds are disbursed in smaller increments over a specified period of time.
This is a good alternative for clients who are experiencing trouble covering monthly household expenses, such as mortgage or rent payments, groceries, car payments, fuel, and similar items; but who are not overwhelmed by a large debt or long overdue bills.

Traditional Borrowing Sources

Traditional sources, such as borrowing from family and friends, banks, credit cards, and home equity loans are often the first options many people look to when in need of cash during a pending lawsuit.
While in some situations these may be the most beneficial sources, the drawback to all of these is that the cash becomes tied to another personal debt, and must be paid back regardless of whether the client wins or loses their case.  Also, borrowers will often need assets to be used as collateral to obtain a traditional loan.
If you have questions regarding a specific case or situation, please contact us for additional information or to begin an application for your client.

Client needs lawsuit financing? 3 Factors to Consider.

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

As a Personal Injury Attorney, you may have clients that come to you for guidance on how to handle the mounting medical and household bills that pile up while they are out of work due to injury.

While you certainly aren’t expected to offer specific financial advice, you may be inclined to offer guidance that can help them through this tough time.

We have put together a quick list of factors to consider when helping a client find support during this difficult time, and invite you to leave a comment with additional feedback and suggestions of your own.

Factor 1:

How urgent is the financial situation vs. how long until a Settlement Agreement is reached?

If you expect that a settlement won’t be reached for a few months or longer, and creditors are knocking down your client’s door, it may be time for them to explore alternate sources of temporary funding. Of course, this depends on the next two factors, which will help them determine the actual need for financing, if any.

However, if the debt can easily be paid off once a settlement is reached, and you expect that to happen soon, then it may be worth their patience in waiting for the final agreement.

Factor 2: What types of debt are involved?

Let’s face it: some debt can be pushed off for awhile (some loans, credit cards, medical bills, etc.), while mortgage & car payments, insurance, and other non-negotiable needs must be taken care of. If your client is not in a credit-threatening situation and is not at risk of losing the most important necessities (shelter, transportation, etc.), it may make sense for them to explain the situation to creditors and wait for a settlement to be reached.

If the client’s home, transportation, daily needs, or health care are in jeopardy, you may want to advise them to seek alternative funding for immediate expenses.

Factor 3: Are the creditors flexible?

When faced with calls from creditors and threatening letters, many people may get to a point where they can’t handle the pressure and they resort to avoidance. In order to help your clients through this difficult time, you can advise them to contact their creditors and request deferment of debt until their Settlement is reached. If creditors are flexible in terms, this would resolve the crisis.

However, if some or all of the creditors are not willing to offer flexibility or delays in repayment, your client may wish to seek out alternative sources of funding to avoid further collection actions.

The Bottom Line:

If the above factors lead you to advise your client to seek an outside funding source, there are many options available. Installment Plans, which allow a total funding amount to be distributed to the client in regularly scheduled installments, can result in substantial savings on the total cost of funding. Lump Sum  Payments, which would be provided up-front to the client, can be used to immediately pay off larger debts and help the client dig out of a hole of accruing interest & late fees from overdue debts.