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LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 79, No. 7, July 2006


    Letters to the editor: The Wisconsin Lawyer publishes as many letters in each issue as space permits. Please limit letters to 500 words; letters may be edited for length and clarity. Letters should address the issues, and not be a personal attack on others. Letters endorsing political candidates cannot be accepted. Please mail letters to "Letters to the Editor," Wisconsin Lawyer, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158, fax them to (608) 257-4343, or email them.

    Presettlement Funding for Clients

    I was pleased to see a substantial article in the May Wisconsin Lawyer addressing the issues involved with the rapidly growing business of presettlement funding. I applaud Dean Dietrich for his usual thorough and insightful evaluation of the issues. However, I believe there is an elephant in the living room that needs to be addressed. It is well known and obvious to all of us that attorneys cannot make cash advances to clients on pending personal injury claims. Presumably the chief rationale behind this is to prohibit a situation where all clients, or potential clients, would become free agents open to the highest cash bidder. It is my opinion, and so far part of my experience, that unregulated presettlement finance companies can just as effectively turn clients into free agents for the highest cash bidder. I have already lost clients because another lawyer did a better job of "facilitating" a cash advance through one of these companies.

    While there are obvious differences between attorney cash advances, which are prohibited, and the increasingly thriving industry of presettlement financing, which is not, the latter is an ethical minefield on the landscape.

    This business has gone beyond the cottage industry phase to Wall Street investment status. It's here and it's here to stay. Most of the companies are working with each other and attorneys to develop appropriate rules and regulations. Wisconsin lawyers need to work with each other and these enterprises to assure that the enormous help they can provide our clients is not undermined by abuses.

    Robert A. Figg

    Unleashed: Wisconsin's Dog Statute

    I very much enjoyed the June article on Wisconsin's dog statute. It was well-written, informative, and timely. I have a demand out on a case wherein an unleashed dog ran out into the highway and caused my client to lay down his motorcycle and severely injure himself. This article gave me a tremendous overview on the state of the law should I have to put the case into suit. Great job and thanks!

    Anthony J. Skemp

    Wisconsin Lawyer