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Structured Settlements Exclusively for Plaintiffs and Plaintiff’s Attorneys

Millennium Settlements Raises the Bar in San Diego

Millennium Settlement Consulting is a structured settlement company that designs structured settlement annuities for plaintiffs only. “Our loyalty to the Plaintiff’s Bar is unique and has implications that are crucial for plaintiffs and their attorneys,” says Marjorie Smith, Structured Settlement Consultant for Millennium Settlements in San Diego. Millennium is a full-service structured settlement company and works with partner companies in lien resolution, Medicare Set Asides, trusts, litigation finance and client financial relief. “We specialize in designing attorney fee structures, which allow attorneys to defer an unlimited amount of compensation on their contingency fees and elect to have those funds directed—on a pre-tax basis—toward an array of fixed income and/or market based products, designed in conjunction with a licensed financial professional,” Margie adds.

Millennium opened its doors in 1984 and established its West Coast corporate office in 2009. Margie attributes the company’s 30 years of success to its exclusive loyalty to the Plaintiff’s Bar, the company’s insistence on working with the most talented professionals in the industry and the company’s ability to anticipate the Plaintiff Bar’s needs and innovate to meet them.

Unwavering Loyalty to the Plaintiff’s Bar
Margie is proud to work exclusively with plaintiffs and plaintiff’s attorneys. “We are devoted to maximizing recoveries in the most responsible and appropriate way,” she says.
Most of Millennium’s work is for victims of physical injury or wrongful death, but claimants to any kind of case taken on contingency can structure all or a portion of their recoveries. “Claimants on cases such as employment, business litigation, legal malpractice, etc., can defer tax liability and have the benefit of tax deferred growth by structuring at least a portion of their recoveries,” Margie explains. She encourages attorneys to let their clients hear about their options: “Even if clients choose to take their settlement completely in cash, at least they’ve been advised of their right to structure, given that they have only one opportunity to do so.”
Millennium extends its loyalty to the Plaintiff’s Bar through its efforts to give back monetarily to the plaintiff’s community. Millennium’s Angel Foundation provides financial relief to those who have been injured, Margie explains. For example, Millennium Case Manager, Rosa Florentino, applied to the Angel Foundation to procure a bed for an impoverished and injured claimant living in Mexico. “One weekend, Rosa and her husband transported the bed across the border and into the claimant’s home. I didn’t even know she’d done it until afterward. She saw a need, saw how she could help, and acted,” Margie recalls.

Margie’s personal business practice is to donate to her attorney client’s preferred nonprofit organization, in the attorney’s name. “While I enjoy sponsoring local Bar Associations and their events—especially the educational events—donating to my attorney client’s preferred nonprofit is how I like to give back,” Margie says.
It’s the critical thinking and eye for detail that sets Millennium apart from other similar companies, Margie says. “Every claimant has special and difficult circumstances, and many cases have several components: Special Needs Trusts to protect government benefits, Medicare Set Asides to efficiently account for Medicare’s interests, multiple defendants with their own lists of approved annuity providers, etc.,” Margie explains. “We must ensure that documents are consistent and correct, that a plaintiff is getting the best value for his/her money, that the life insurance company’s credit rating is appropriate for the plaintiff, that Medicare will be satisfied going forward and that the person will still have access to Medi-Cal or Social Security Income if it’s needed.” Margie says that Millennium’s professionals don’t just run annuity numbers and collect documents but that they all serve as an integral part of the settlement team to attorneys/claimants and ensure that everything is done correctly to prevent problems from arising down the line.
Margie says she will travel to meet any claimant: “It’s that important to establish trust with claimants and to show that we take their questions and concerns seriously… every legal recovery deserves our full focus. In working with claimants, I know that my time is not my own; my time belongs to the injured person who is trusting me and counting on me for guidance.”

Innovative Products for Attorneys
Millennium’s philosophy of providing responsible and innovative structured settlements extends to attorneys as well. “Many attorneys don’t know that they have access to a unique tax benefit: the ability to defer compensation on their contingency income so as to defer tax liability and put their pre-tax dollars to work for them,” Margie says. “We are constantly following tax trends and the state of the economy so that we can help attorneys spread out tax liability appropriately.”
Margie clarifies that neither she nor her company is licensed to sell securities or provide legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. “Attorneys must consult their legal, financial and tax advisors for specific recommendations as individual circumstances may vary,” she says, “but I encourage attorneys to ask about Millennium’s unique and proprietary attorney fee structure products.” Millennium is the only company in San Diego to offer Fee Structure Plus™, in addition to the standard fee structure annuity. Margie explains that with Fee Structure Plus™, attorneys can direct their fees on a pre-tax basis towards most any investment vehicle while having the funds managed by their own financial planner or a trust company. “It really offers the best of all worlds,” she says.

Wide Reaching Experience, Localized Service
Margie is proud that every single San Diego team member brings unique skills and experience.
Rosa Florentino, Case Manager, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from San Diego State University, and is a Bar-Certified Paralegal. A former federal corrections officer and police dispatcher, Rosa is a notary and is fluent in Spanish. Margie says that many clients have appreciated Rosa’s ability to translate legal documents and to explain technical terms to claimants in Spanish. As Rosa adds, “We do not let a language barrier make the settlement process more confusing.”
Case Manager Jill Laird brings 28 years of life insurance and annuity experience from her previous role at Pacific Life where she played a vital part of the product development and management team of the Structured Settlements program. Jill carries a license in life, health, disability insurances and annuities and is a Certified Structured Settlement Consultant.
Margie holds a Masters Degree in English Literature from the University of Virginia. She was a high school and university English teacher and also taught ESL in London and Budapest. “Our unique backgrounds and communication skills shape the way we communicate and empathize with claimants,” Margie says. “We listen closely and break down complicated material into smaller, more manageable pieces.”

Unwavering Focus on the Client
Margie focuses on growing Millennium’s presence in San Diego: “We understand that our clients’ business is high stakes and that our attorneys bear inordinate pressures and a multitude of responsibilities as they’re investing personally in their cases while having clients who depend on them for financial relief.”
She promises to help with anything she can: “Whether it’s meeting with claimants in their homes, helping claimants find health insurance post-injury, running hard copies of documents for signatures or putting claimants in touch with others who can help them when a structure isn’t appropriate; we want to help.” Margie understands that the way to ensure a long career in her industry is to “view everything through the lens of what’s best for the client.” At Millennium, “we eschew tunnel vision and will follow through with supporting our attorneys on any front that we can until the case is properly closed.”

Margie Smith, Settlement Consultant
402 West Broadway, Suite 1240
San Diego, CA 92101

Karen Gorden

Karen Gorden is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal.

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About the Author: Karen Gorden is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal.

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