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Letter from the President March 2005

3/17/05

We have quickly moved into the spring of 2005. With it are more changes from the SSA in regards to withholding fees. One thing it will allow is more practioners to begin handling SSI cases. I know from past experience, the firm I previously worked for made a decision to stop handling SSI cases. When you do not receive payment on a few it cuts the overall average per case considerably and thereby made these economically unfeasible. Now that attorney fees on SSI cases can be withheld it will offer the opportunity to expand your practice on the order of at least 20% - 25 %.

For those firms focusing solely on Social Security Disability, the need to become more assertive in the area of advertising is paramount. Here in NC, as well as in other states, PI attorneys are being pressured financially due to more aggressive tactics by insurance companies, causing many of them to add SSD to their areas of practice. This is especially true of the "major" players in the PI field. These law firms generally spend at least 10 times the amount on advertising as a marketing savvy SSD firm would spend. This means that if your firm is not firmly established in its market, these PI firms will spend huge amounts of money advertising on TV to draw SSD clients to their firms. These PI firms have excellent name recognition due to the advertising dollars they have spent on their PI practice and it will be easy for them to capture a large share of the SSD market very quickly. If your firm is not currently advertising on TV, I strongly suggest you add TV advertising to your budget.

The legal field is becoming more competitive each day. Many attorneys do not enjoy the idea of being in competition with their colleagues. However, it does not alter the reality of the market, and a well-advised firm will take steps to make sure they stay competitive. It is important to establish efficient office procedure to handle the flow of paperwork. Firms need to take a close look at themselves and determine through follow up how their client's perceive they were treated. Send a closing letter to each client expressing your thanks for being allowed to help them along with whatever other points you want to add. Newsletters are also a good way to stay in touch with clients.

Utilizing software to manage your practice is another key issue in staying competitive. Well designed software will allow you to print out SSA forms, letters to clients, doctors and other medical providers. With it you will be aware of everything there is to know about your client's cases, what's next, and knowing more about your practice & serving your clients better, more efficiently and at lower costs. It will also give you a fast response to those client calls "What's happening with my case". As SSA automates and goes paperless, firms practicing SSD will have to do the same and this cannot be done without software to automate the process. It gives you a central depository of information about your clients, under your control.

Well, until next time, enjoy the newsletter, and most of all enjoy your practice.

Sincerely,
Leonard Caldwell

© 2005 Leonard R. Caldwell, II