Senior Editor The debate over how much, if at all, lawyers should be involved in advance funding schemes for their personal injury clients has reached the Bar Board of Governors. And after a vigorous discussion, the board postponed taking action so members can review past drafts of ethics opinions on the subject. The matter was brought to the board at its October 19 meeting by the Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics, which reviewed the appeal of Proposed Advisory Opinion 00-3 from the Professional Ethics Committee. (The BRCPE also presented advertising appeals and other issues to the board.) PAO 00-3 says an attorney may tell a client about the existence of companies that offer advance funding and, with the consent of the client after consultation, may provide confidential information about the case to those companies. While an initial draft of the opinion said the attorney at the client’s request could issue a letter of protection to the funding company, the final opinion passed by the PEC said the attorney could not issue a letter of protection but could honor such a letter executed by the client on his or her own. BRCPE Chair Richard Tanner reported that his committee was recommending restoring the letter of protection section to the advisory opinion. Advance funding companies, which are apparently expanding rapidly both in Florida and nationwide, offer loans to clients secured only by expected recovery in an ongoing personal injury case. Board member David Bianchi said he looked into an advance funding company for a client and was shocked that the annual interest rate was more than 80 percent, and that with other companies it could be 100, 200, and 300 percent. “They get away with it because they tell everyone it’s not a loan, and therefore it’s not an interest rate,” he said. “They say they are buying a piece of the case and only get paid if there’s a recovery. That’s their justification. “We need to think very carefully about what we think lawyers should be able to do. We should then think about appointing a committee to look at how many funding companies are in Florida, what they have done in Florida, how many cases have they been involved in, and what’s been the experiences of the borrowers.” If there have been abuses, Bianchi said, the board might want to approach the legislature about regulating the industry. “We are not here to legislate morality,” board member Louis Kwall countered. “If these are legitimate, lawful companies, what right do we have to interfere in the relationship between one of these companies and a client?” Board member Jesse Diner added, “I personally don’t like people lending money at usurious rates. . . but I don’t think that’s for us to decide here.” Board member Chobee Ebbets said lawyers should not issue the letters of protection, arguing, “If I give a letter of protection to that company, I am buying into that.. . . I would never issue a letter of protection because I feel it is in direct conflict with a client’s best interest.” “This activity borders on the outer edge of appropriate conduct,” board member John Cardillo said. The board approved a motion by board member Kelly Overstreet Johnson to table the issue until it reviews prior drafts of PAO 00-3. On other matters, the BRCPE presented recommendations on three advertising appeals, and all were approved by the board: • The board and BRCPE said it was okay for a law firm to include in its ads the statement, “If you have been involved in an accident, you need an attorney fighting for your rights.” Bar staff and the Standing Committee on Advertising had found the “you need an attorney” phrase potentially misleading. • The board and BRCPE upheld the standing committee which said a Yellow Pages ad featuring a photograph of the advertising attorney must be submitted to the Bar for review and the $250 late review fee paid. The attorney had argued the review and fee were not needed. • The board and BRCPE upheld the standing committee that the use of a non-law firm member’s voice in an electronic ad violated Bar rules because the ad was not, as contended by the law firm, a public service ad. Tanner also reported to the board that at its November 29 meeting, the BRCPE will revise existing procedures clarifying that the board can request ethics opinions from the Professional Ethics Committee. The Bar Procedures for Ruling on Questions of Ethics were vague on that point. He noted that the proposed procedure will maintain Bar members’ ability to request opinions about their own prospective actions. The BRCPE considered further expanding who could ask questions of the PEC, but decided that “members with their fact patterns and the board raising specific questions is the best approach without throwing it wide open.” The issue arose after the board several years ago requested the PEC to look at issues surrounding insurance companies’ use of staff and outside counsel. After the PEC issued three opinions which were appealed to the board, the board declined to act because of the vagueness of the procedures. Board considers ethics of advance funding Board considers ethics of advance funding November 15, 2001 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has not given up hope of Daniel Sturridge playing some part in the Merseyside derby. Press Association The England striker has been sorely missed by the Reds since sustaining a thigh injury on international duty earlier this month but is inching ever closer to a comeback. In his absence Rodgers’ side have lost to Aston Villa and West Ham, snuck a last-gasp win over Ludogorets in the Champions League and required penalties to see off Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup. The 19-year-old forward, whose contract at Anfield runs until 2017, is one of the brightest young talents in the Premier League and has had an impressive start to the season but his manager is not losing sleep over the reported interest. “It shows that he’s playing exceptionally well,” said Rodgers. “I think you could probably link Raheem with every club in the world at the moment. He’s a fantastic young talent. “I’ve nothing really to add to it. There’s obviously lots of speculation every day about players coming and going here at Liverpool. “He’s a wonderful boy who’s developing very, very well here. I think him and his representatives and the people close to him know how comfortable he is here and I’m sure at some point in the future, whatever contract we’re looking to work with will be sorted, but he’s still got three years left and there’s no rush from my perspective.” They would dearly love to unleash the 25-year-old against their neighbours at Anfield but although Rodgers was upbeat about his recovery, an appearance this weekend appears to be based on hope as much as expectation. “We’ll be very happy to have him back and we hope that can be this weekend,” said the Northern Irishman. “We’ve got a number of injuries that we’re going to give every chance to. “He (Sturridge) is a player who’s out on the field working. Him and a number of others we’ll just assess nearer the time. But if he doesn’t make it he won’t be far off after that. “He’s someone that responds well to treatment. Obviously it’s gone well but there are still a couple of days to go before the game. The most important thing is he’s near to fitness. “He certainly won’t be match-fit, he hasn’t played for a few weeks, but it’ll be great to have him back because he’s a wonderful player for us. “He’s a great reference for our team at the top of the field, his pace and movement and quality, which we saw the last time he played against Tottenham.” Another of Rodgers’ talented young England stars, Raheem Sterling, has been linked this week with Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditCal Poly (7-16, 4-5) vs. Cal State Northridge (10-15, 5-4)Matadome, Northridge, California; Thursday, 10 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: Cal State Northridge seeks revenge on Cal Poly after dropping the first matchup in San Luis Obispo. The teams last played each other on Jan. 11, when the Mustangs shot 52.7 percent from the field while limiting Cal State Northridge’s shooters to just 35.8 percent en route to a 74-56 victory. Cal Poly looks to sweep CSUN BIG MEN ON CAMPUS: Cal State Northridge’s Lamine Diane has averaged 22.3 points and 8.9 rebounds while Terrell Gomez has put up 20.2 points. For the Mustangs, Junior Ballard has averaged 13 points while Tuukka Jaakkola has put up 7.9 points.CLAMPING DOWN: The Matadors have given up only 72 points per game across nine conference games, an improvement from the 84.1 per game they gave up in non-conference play.JUMPING FOR JUNIOR: Ballard has connected on 37.1 percent of the 89 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 11 of 25 over the last five games. He’s also made 73.6 percent of his free throws this season.WINLESS WHEN: Cal Poly is 0-14 when scoring fewer than 69 points and 7-2 when scoring at least 69.UNBEATEN WHEN: Cal Poly is a perfect 6-0 when it scores at least 74 points. The Mustangs are 1-16 when scoring any fewer than 74.DID YOU KNOW: Cal State Northridge is rated first among Big West teams with an average of 74.5 points per game. Associated Press February 12, 2020 ___For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25___This was generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com