Settlement planning isn’t what it used to be. Over the past few decades, experts have moved far away from a one-size-fits-all approach to more customized solutions for each plaintiff. Various trusts, ABLE accounts, Medicare set-asides, and other options are combined with long-term plans to ensure a settlement recovery is as valuable as possible for as long as possible.
Since starting my career in the settlement planning industry in 1999 and then later co-founding Milestone Consulting, LLC, I have seen this evolution and have been a part of it. But the responsibility of comprehensive settlement management firms goes deeper than customizing plans using the tools available. Firms must also build a strong professional team that supports clients’ needs, builds relationships, and strengthens the business.
What does a great settlement planning team entail? Over the years, these qualifications are what I have found to be particularly beneficial.
Diverse academic and work history. Members of the team should not all come from financial or legal backgrounds. Including employees with marketing, customer service, non-profit, and other work experience can provide well-rounded talent and a variety of perspectives.
Gender diversity. I have found that companies with 50 percent or more women have an advantage over others that are primarily made up of men. The benefit isn’t having diversity for diversity’s sake — it’s in the empathy and compassion women tend to share more naturally.
Trustworthiness. Settlement planning is less about sales in the legal space, and more about planning and connecting with clients to achieve their trust. A professional settlement planning team should have trustworthy and genuine employees who value integrity.
People trust their entire futures with their planning team. They need to know the people they rely on daily are highly qualified for the task. Clients also require the peace of mind that the team will collectively understand their needs and goals and will work hard to reach them. It’s a much deeper relationship than most people have with their investment advisors and CPAs.
Building a strong settlement planning team takes time. But once you have great members, the benefits are astounding for your business, and more importantly, your clients’ futures.
About John Bair
John Bair has guided thousands of plaintiffs through the settlement process as co-founder of Milestone Consulting, LLC, a broad-based settlement planning and management firm. Milestone’s approach is comprehensive and future-focused. John’s team has guided thousands of clients by taking the time to understand the complexities of each case. They assess the best outcome and find the path that enables each client to manage their many needs. Read more about Milestone Consulting at http://milestoneseventh.com/.
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).