Jun 4, 2016

This Corpse Isn't Worth Fighting Over

     The Binder and Binder bankruptcy drags on. At the moment the hedge fund that has already sunk a lot of money in Binder and Binder wants to take it over but is being rebuffed.
     Take a clue from someone who knows a thing or two about these things, Binder and Binder's business model never made sense in anything other than a very favorable environment and we've got an extremely harsh environment at the moment. Even in the unlikely event of the return of a favorable environment, Binder and Binder's "good will" is so far into the red that recovery is out of the question. The idea that the hedge fund that took Binder and Binder into bankruptcy is going to turn this thing around is preposterous. 

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Binder's big problem was that it invested in physical office locations in multiple markets rather than having one centralized office with attorneys that work remotely around the country.

Anonymous said...

The fact that their cases were poorly developed didn't help

Anonymous said...

11:34-- I worked for them. Do you seriously believe that their financial problems were from rents for office space? They certainly did not splurge on the facilities. They did have many of their attorneys working out of their home in several cities. If you are going to train attorneys to work in the area--you need an office for that as well as supervision. I also think dividing the offices in various regions of the country made the company more local to the clients perspective than having only one central office.

Nonetheless, by going the non-attorney rep route and other things--they turned into a very sloppy organization in many different aspects--not sure if that had anything to do with the financial problems.

Howard Olinsky said...

Binders financial problems are a direct result of SSA reducing the amount of payments they made each month to a trickle. SSA put Binder out of business.

Anonymous said...

Howard:

From what you report, it sounds like the real issue was Binder's overextending themselves to the point they were unable to withstand the variability of payments that is inherent in this process.

The fact that ALJs had/have little regard for Binder reps who would show up unprepared for hearings (not all reps) probably didn't help much either.

Anonymous said...

As a prior Binder, their failures come down to a few reasons.

1. They got too big for a downturn in the SSD/SSI market.
2. As stated above, they had too many offices. At my firm now, we have 1 office w/ attorneys remotely across the nation.

Not sure their lack of development also hurt. Their customer service was lacking but they got a lot of clients. They looked at clients just as a number. So bad word of mouth maybe hurt.

Anonymous said...

There seem to be literally a dozen factors that caused this fall from grace. As we all remember, during the clinton era, the government shut down. So it not as if this was some huge surprise. Lack of management after they were bought out by a private equity fund, decrease in development, taking any case that called in and massive employee turnover, are some of the top reasons for this downward turn.

As to the "past Binder" employee, he/she is spot on with poor customer service, but thats just training and paying the employees.

As an attorney, I am against the non-attorney rep idea as it stands. The IRS allows non attorneys to practice, but you need to a CPA, former IRS employee, or CA. SSA using an open book test! I thought that was joke when I first heard it. Don't get me wrong, I know there are many very good non attorney reps, but I think clients feel better with a lawyer, especially at hearings.

Anonymous said...

As a Binder non-attorney rep myself, I'll just chime in that the problems I see are:

1. An extremely harsh environment forcing the business model from bulk, well-prepared cases by a nationwide staff to a bulk factory system prepared by a skeleton crew. You can't win cases when denials are higher than ever and development of the files is worse than ever.
2. Ridiculous overhead spent on office spaces in Orange, CA, and New York boroughs areas; repeated advertising despite reaching saturation; and expensive company conferences in Manhattan. For example.
3. Over-expansion into low-granting areas, such as Alaska, Texas, etc.

That said, I've seen good non-attorney reps and bad ones. I've also seen terrible disability attorneys and great ones. The issue isn't attorney vs. non-attorney but rather reps who actually care about this type of practice versus those who just want to win a bunch of easy grids cases and dump any that don't work out right before the hearing. I know of one such attorney in San Rafael, CA for instance that does this.

In fact, my clients prefer me to the attorneys they've worked with before, such as Sockolove, Summit, Feingold & Assoc, etc. A lot of attorneys have a hard time translating the intense jargon of SSA's admin law into plain language for claimants and rely far too much on rules of court that don't apply very well to these types of hearings while failing to educate themselves on a significant medical knowledge base. They also tend to be unable to act like a human and really empathize with the difficulty of their clients. Not all attorneys by any stretch, but far too many that I've seen in my years practicing.

Nonetheless, I love the work with Binder. I get a depth and breadth of practice that very few reps in this field can enjoy, as well as a never-ending stream of cases. Certainly we never want for more work to do and it seems we'll be around for quite some time.

Rama Herbal said...

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Anonymous said...

Binder & Binder went out of business because of terrible management. The staff was way too big. The oversight was nonexistant. People who were not competent or capable were rewarded. People that outperformed them were punished. There were many patronage employees who werent capable of being janitors that did half the work of the employees hired to actually work. The top managers were decent at handling cases, but were simply not management material. They ran the company into the garbage, the only reason it took as long as it did was because it was so big.