Use of Structured Settlement Experts by Plaintiff's Counsel was my post dated February 15, 2006 in response to two letters by Steven A. Salzburg, Wallace and Beverly Woodbury University Professor of Law at George Washington University and Erwin Chermerinsky, Alston & Bird Professor of Law at Duke University that were presented by Richard Halpern, President of Halpern Group to the Academy of Catastrophic Injury Attorneys and also I understand was used in a debate panel at the winter meetings of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America ("ATLA") in February. I will not regurgitate my response which stands on its own and i encourage those interested to follow the above link and read it again, My February 15, 2006 post also includes links to copies of the Salzburg and Chemerinsky opinion letters.
Today The Settlement Channel has posted a podcast interview with Jack Meligan, past President of the Society of Settlement Planners who, together with interviewer Mark Wahlstrom, shares his thoughts on the subject. Further comments are made by Patrick Hindert on his blog "Beyond Structured Settlements".
As a structured settlement broker and settlement planner who uses a Structured Settlement Affidavit, my clients know what's up. I have rarely found any push back from a co-broker or settlement planner from whom I have requested participation in our Structured Settlement Affidavit. I know of other brokers who either use a form of Structured Settlement Affidavit or a Certificate of Reliability and Assurances.
Aside from some isolated situations, business practices are just not as bad as have been written about or covered in the podcast. Things have improved and in my experience it's a very positive business environment. Maybe things are different out in the "Wild West" where Meligan and Wahlstrom have set up shop, but frankly I haven't had bad experience out West either.
If you are a good plaintiff broker or settlement planner then you must be knowledgeable about casualty company practice from your own experience or that of others and develop solutions to deal with them. Learn to work with people. Perhaps your communication style works against you. I think if people keep spending energy pushing the envelope on this compensation issue under the apparent and, in my opinion, faulty premise that people or companies are basically unethical, then I believe it will affect all sorts of areas; perhaps some unintended by its proponents. For example, despite assurances I still see no disclosure about the past or current intake of tens of thousands of dollars of factoring company** money by the Society of Settlement Planners, an organization that both Meligan and Wahlstrom are members of, or a public position taken on the subject by that association. Wouldn't you want to know trial lawyers if your plaintiff broker or settlement planner is soliciting your clients for factoring business for compensation without your knowledge?
** factoring companies are deep discounting "cash now" companies that pay for a plaintiff's structured settlement payment rights and whose membership in and patronage of the Society of Settlement Planners is highly controversial.