Why do trial lawyers use defense structured settlement brokers?


In this weeks video commentary Mark takes a deeper look at the issues being revealed in last weeks decision in USDC of Oregon. A decision in which defense brokers argued, and the court agreed, that no fiduciary relationship exists between a defense structured settlement broker and the injured plaintiff who relies upon their advice regarding the selection of the life company that funds their injury settlement. Knowing this is the position of the brokers and courts, why then would any trial lawyer settle a case using a structured settlement where they did not engage a plaintiff broker who would have a clear fiduciary responsibility to the injured party? Have trial lawyers been so seduced by years of financial contributions to trial lawyer associations from defense structured settlement firms, or has it just become routine to deal with one broker and for them to not bother with engaging their own expert? 

I also discuss the increasing outside scrutiny of the process by which political figures in New York decided to liquidate ELNY and why that process is still shrouded in secrecy two years after it occurred. I believe it is time for trial lawyers to stop passively taking at face value the defense industry narrative on how structured settlements are used, sold and funded when it comes to assisting your injured clients. Trial lawyer have for years now the right to engage their own structured settlement experts, to create Qualified Settlement Funds and control the process by which the financial settlement decisions are made for you and your clients. The question we will look into early in 2015 is why aren't they doing it?

This commentary originally was posted on The Settlement Channel and is authored by Mark Wahlstrom

Wahlstrom & Associates announces partnership with Settlement Professionals Inc.


December 10, 2012:

Mark Wahlstrom, President of Wahlstrom & Associates, Scottsdale, AZ announced today that he and his firm will be partnering with Settlement Professionals Inc, of Portland, OR.

Wahlstrom & Associates, founded in 1982, is one of the nation’s oldest and most experienced plaintiff oriented structured settlement firms and has, during its decades of professional experience, been involved in some of the most innovative areas of settlements, particularly the development of mass tort, multi-claimant cases and the utilization of Qualified Settlement Funds in the claims and settlement process of these challenging cases.

The new partnership will provide SPI partners and member planners with unique access to the Wahlstrom & Associates brand, reputation and expertise in mass torts, administration and non-qualified settlements. Mark Wahlstrom will head up the new Mass Torts division for SPI and both he and his firm will be actively involved in the development and implementation of a state of the art process by which affiliated planners can confidently assist law firms to expediently process these complex cases, but also to individually assist the often thousands of claimants with their own financial and settlement planning decisions.

Wahlstrom & Associates is located in Scottsdale, Arizona and also has a national reputation in the areas of non-qualified structured settlements, such as structured sales, structured legal fees and structured oil & Gas lease bonus programs. Few firms have more years of diverse and demonstrated expertise in the structured settlement and settlement planning arena and the management and leadership of the firm looks forward to working with the SPI leadership to develop a firm with services tailored to the needs of progressive planners and designed for the next 25 years of the structured settlement and settlement planning professions.