In 2012, I introduced the idea of comparing the function of a comprehensive settlement planning firm to that of a family office. Much like a dedicated wealth management office, which provides families with a range of specialists to manage and preserve their finances, a settlement planning firm offers a concierge-type approach to plaintiffs nearing settlement. It gives plaintiffs the support and education needed to develop a successful and longevous plan.
Settlement planners can employ a team approach to assist each plaintiff, from the initial consultation through the implementation and management of the plan. With all hands on deck, multiple perspectives allow firms to better do the following:
- Provide the plaintiff and his or her attorney with the right knowledge prior to settlement to facilitate informed decisions.
- Be the plaintiff’s advocate when managing any challenges presented by the settlement.
- Provide due diligence with regard to investment management, and steward the assets recovered in settlement for long periods of time.
- Develop and implement an overall financial plan for the settlement proceeds and ensure important points of distinction have been disclosed to the plaintiff.
- If applicable, interview trust officers and trust companies and develop well-supported recommendations. Explore fiduciary controls available within the trust solutions to enable care in the best interest of the minor, disabled child, or disabled adult.
This level of hands-on advocacy is a major reason settlement planning companies need a diverse team of staff and leadership. Using points-of-view from a variety of backgrounds, firms can better explore all possible avenues to plan a plaintiff’s financial future. Every day, I see the advantages of the talented, diverse professionals who make up my settlement planning team at Milestone Consulting: they are male and female of a range of ages, races, religions, and lifestyles. We put our unique perspectives to work and use them to evaluate our client’s needs and best interests. Our clients see our commitment and rest assured that we develop settlement solutions that work.
From a general business perspective, diversity in the workplace benefits both a company and its clients. In addition to bringing to the table a variety of perspectives, a diverse business can drive innovation and increase a team’s creativity. Many job seekers find diversity important when evaluating companies and job offers, so having a diverse team can also mean recruiting and retaining top talent. Furthermore, a team with different backgrounds can more effectively market to many consumer and client groups.
Clearly, a diverse settlement planning team provides exceptional benefits for its clients as well as to the function of the business as a whole. Knowing that “the proof is in the pudding,” plaintiffs and their attorneys should seek firms who offer a diverse team with various specializations and expertise. Companies who employ this approach are those that go the distance in assisting clients and provide the most comprehensive customer service.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).