In this wrap up interview and discussion on the month long topic of structured legal fees, Mark Wahlstrom and Randy Dyer sit down to look at the issues facing the structured settlement industry in it's attempts to increase the number of structured attorney fees written.
As this series has discussed in various ways, structured legal fees are with out a doubt one of the single most unique and valuable tax and financial planning benefits available to trial lawyers. These financial plans in which a lawyer is able to legally, safely and securely design a guaranteed cash flow program that defers taxes into future years are still widely unknown and misunderstood by trial lawyers and tax professionals.
In today's discussion, Mark and Randy look at the reasons why the structured settlement profession has done such a poor job of educating lawyers and their tax professionals on how these work, as well as the impact of the economy and tax rates on lawyers decisions to structure their fees. Some of the items covered are:
- The impact of current tax rates and the fear of higher rates in the future.
- The collapse of the legal finance and lending market and the largely unreported story of how this has dried up sources of capital and fee planning for trial lawyers.
- The horrible job the industry and brokers do promoting the concept to tax professionals.
As I will be doing a series for the rest of the summer on new sales ideas for settlement professionals, you can rest assured a big part of it will reside on the ideas and methods to increase structured legal fees. We as professionals have to stop looking to NSSTA, SSP and our general agents for advice and instead share our experience on what is working so that solid and sound concepts can be promoted nationally. A rising tide lifts all boats and if more brokers are offering and selling legal fees as part of their practice, then it naturally follows that more Lawyers will hear about it and start to follow suit. There is no grand plan, just hard work, effective communication and consistent explanations on how they work and why they need to be considered.
( Mark Wahlstrom is the host of The Settlement Channel and is generally considered to be the nations leading expert in Structured Settlements, Settlement Planning and Structured Legal Fees.)