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HISTORY

MILLION DOLLAR ADVOCATES FORUM
MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ADVOCATES FORUM

Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Its members have won million, multi-million and billion dollar cases. 

The organization was created by a California trial lawyer to serve two essential purposes. First, to recognize the skills, experience and accomplishments of trial lawyers who had won large and complex cases. Second, to provide a national network of experienced colleagues who handle such cases, to facilitate information exchange, local assistance and case referrals. The organization was created and membership invitations were sent to a number of trial lawyers throughout the country who had won million and multi-million dollar cases.  Membership invitations are now sent only to attorneys who objectively appear to be qualified, including those whose names have been proposed from case reports and nominations of current members.  Other attorneys who are qualified may apply for membership. Membership requires completion, review and approval of a detailed membership application.

At the request of members, the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum was organized in 2007. 

Membership Application   Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Membership Application   Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP

  • CERTIFICATION  Certification and membership provide a dignified and professional means by which trial lawyers may communicate (to referring attorneys, clients and others) the fact of their successful experience in handling large and complex cases. Members are authorized to hold themselves out as members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and/or Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum in any manner consistent with rules of professional conduct applicable in their jurisdictions.

  • PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING & REFERRAL   Membership provides an informal national network of highly experienced trial counsel for professional referrals, local assistance and information exchange.

  • MEMBER LIST   All members are listed in the online MEMBER DIRECTORY.  The list is not intended as a "find a lawyer" list for the general public.  It is primarily intended to be a resource for other attorneys (members and non-members) for professional referrals and information exchange. Members have the option of an Expanded Member Directory Listing which includes their firm name, firm website link, and Areas of Practice (see EXPANDED DIRECTORY LISTINGS).

  • MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATE   Members receive a high quality membership certificate certifying that they are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum or Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.  Members of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum receive both. 

                                

  • PRESS RELEASE   A press release is issued announcing certification as a member. The press release is sent directly to the member for distribution to appropriate publications, clients and referring attorneys.  For further information see PRESS RELEASE.

USE OF LOGOS AND OTHER TRADEMARKS   Members may use the Logos and other identifying marks of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and/or Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum to indicate their membership subject to certain terms of use.  See the LOGO USE page.  Members may use such logos on websites, letterhead, business cards, advertising, etc. in any manner consistent with Rules of Professional Conduct applicable in members' jurisdictions.      
                                                     
  • MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ADVOCATES FORUM (available to qualified members)

COST OF MEMBERSHIP

Fees refunded if Application for Membership not approved. There are no annual due or fees to maintain membership status (Member must remain a member in good standing of the bar, licensed to practice in his or her jurisdiction).  

Million Dollar Advocates Forum: $1200 one-time fee for application, certification and Life Membership. There are no further or annual dues. 

Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum: $1000 one-time fee for application, certification and Life Membership.  There are no further or annual dues.  Applicants must be a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (or apply concurrently for such membership) to become members of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.  The total fee for joining both concurrently is $1700 (applies only if joining concurrently using one application).  Summary:

  • Join Million Dollar Advocates Forum: $1200
  • Join Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum if already a member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum: $1000
  • Join both concurrently (one application): $1700
All members are listed by Name, City and State in the Member Directory.  Members have the option of including their Firm Name, a link to their Firm Website and a statement of their Areas of Practice in the Member Directory. Please see EXPANDED DIRECTORY LISTING / FIRM WEBSITE LINK OPTION.

NUMBER AND LOCATION OF MEMBERS

There are over 5000 members located in all states, and several members in Canada and England.  Please see MEMBER DIRECTORY.

TYPES OF TRIAL LAWYERS WHO ARE MEMBERS

The quality of our membership is very impressive. Many of our members have achieved numerous million and multi-million dollar results. Their practices include all types of litigation, including: major personal injury, products liability, malpractice, construction, environmental, employment, insurance, class action and business litigation. The common fact is that they have each demonstrated, in an objective and tangible way, their ability to accomplish superior results in complex cases.

MEMBERSHIP QUALIFICATIONS

Essentially, members must have acted as principal counsel in at least one case in which a verdict and final entered judgment, award or settlement in the (present value) amount of one million dollars or more was obtained (two million dollars or more for the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum).  Please see the following for complete  membership requirements:

Million Dollar Advocates Forum - Application for Membership

Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum - Application For Membership

ISSUES REGARDING CASE QUALIFICATION

The Million Dollar Advocates Forum was founded in 1993 upon the basic qualification of a "trial verdict, award or settlement in the amount of One Million dollars or more". In the process of considering applications of prospective members, issues have arisen which have required continuing refinement of qualification standards and definitions. Current definitions and standards include the following (One Million Dollar references to be read as Two Million Dollars with regard to Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum).

Confidential Settlements
Qualifying settlements are often subject to confidentiality provisions.  In such cases, the applicant may provide a general description of the case, certifying as a member of the Bar that such description is true.  Such description should include sufficient information (to the extent allowed by the terms of the settlement) as to case identity, jurisdiction, case type and terms to identify a specific case, even if not by name.  For example: "Los Angeles Superior Court, 1999; medical malpractice, failure to diagnose breast cancer; Doe vs Roe Hospital, et al.; settled for $2 Million (present cash value)", or, if terms prevent stating the amount, "settled for payment of One Million Dollars or more (present cash value)".  We prefer to have as much specificity as possible.  If the information provided is stated to be confidential, we will not divulge it absent legal obligation to do so.

Therefore, the actual case name need not be disclosed.  If possible, we would like to see the nature of the case, the jurisdiction and year of settlement.  As to the amount, if you are not comfortable stating the actual amount, you may include a statement such as “settled for a confidential amount which was at least one million dollars [two million for the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum] in cash or present cash value at time of settlement”.  At a minimum regarding amount, you might state "settled for a confidential amount which qualifies under the membership requirements of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum [or, Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum]."  If we do not feel such information is sufficient, we will contact you in that regard.  If you believe it will be helpful, you may attach a redacted copy of the settlement agreement or other relevant documents. Whatever information you provide will be kept confidential by us.  We do not disclose information about members’ qualifying cases, whether confidential or not. 

Entry Of Final Judgment Or Final Settlement
There must be an entered final judgment or a final (present cash value) settlement in the amount of One Million Dollars or more.  A verdict which does not result in a final entered judgment (or a settlement) of One Million Dollars or more does not qualify.

Definition Of "Principal Counsel"
The term "principal counsel" is intended to include the one or more attorneys who were primarily in charge of and responsible for the preparation, management, settlement and trial of a qualifying case. It is not necessarily limited to one attorney, nor is it limited to lead (i.e. "first chair") trial counsel. It is recognized that the responsibility for, and management of, a complex case often involves a team of attorneys who serve as co-principal counsel with different responsibilities. However, it is not intended to include an attorney simply because he or she worked on the case, referred the case or brought the case into the office.  Where a case has concluded in trial (as opposed to settlement), and one of the principal counsel in the case did not actively participate in the trial, all counsel in the case should agree as to their co-principal counsel status. Therefore, it is presumed that an applicant who states that he or she was "principal counsel" in a qualifying case has clarified that status (as defined herein) with co-counsel and that there is agreement among all co-counsel that the applicant acted in the capacity of principal counsel.

Definition Of "Final Judgment"
If the qualifying case was a jury trial verdict or court trial decision, there must have been entry of a final judgment. The judgment must be: 1) entered; and, 2) no longer subject to change. The judgment is not "final" for purposes of qualification if it is subject to post-trial motions or appeal.  A judgment reversed on appeal does not qualify.

Settlement After Trial (without entry of judgment)
In some cases, a trial may result in an award of One Million Dollars or more and then the case is settled post-trial and dismissed without a final judgment being entered.  In such cases, regardless of the amount of the trial verdict, the amount of the ultimate settlement (One Million Dollars or more, present value) is the determining factor for qualification.   Example: verdict of One Million Dollars, post-trial settlement of $750,000 with dismissal of case (and, therefore, no entry of One Million Dollar judgment) - does not qualify.

Settlement After Trial (with entry of final judgment)
If a verdict and the entered final judgment are in the amount of One Million Dollars or more, a case will qualify even if an ultimate settlement is reached which is less than One Million Dollars.  The determining factor in such a case is the final entry of judgment in the qualifying amount.  Example: verdict of One Million Dollars, with final judgment entered in such amount, and then settled for $750,000 - qualifies.

Settlement After Trial Verdict Of Less Than One Million Dollars
Regardless of the amount of a trial verdict, if the ultimate settlement is One Million Dollars or more the case qualifies based upon such settlement.

Effect Of Damage Cap Laws
Some states have statutory limits on the amount of damages which may be awarded in certain types of cases (e.g., medical malpractice claims in California, government tort claims in New Mexico) which may result in a verdict being reduced prior to entry of judgment.  The final entered judgment (after any such reduction) or settlement must be in the amount of One Million Dollars or more.

Costs, Interest & Fees As Part Of Judgment
A judgment will qualify if the amount entered as the final judgment, or the amount actually paid, is One Million dollars or more including costs, interest and fees.  Example: verdict $900,000, final entry of judgment $1,050,000 (with interest and costs) qualifies.

Summary Adjudication And Default Judgments
Judgments entered upon summary adjudications and default judgments do not qualify. Qualification as a verdict or award requires presentation of evidence at a contested trial or binding arbitration proceeding.

Divorce and Family Law Cases
Although we recognize that many divorce and family law cases involve large amounts in controversy and result in complex legal proceedings, settlements and contested trials, such cases do not qualify applicants for membership.  We recognize that there are members of the Bar who specialize in these cases and who are highly skilled and experienced litigators who have obtained large settlements or trial judgments for their clients.  However, at this time, we do not accept such cases for membership qualification.

Award To Multiple Clients / Class Actions
Qualifications require that the applicant's client(s) received a verdict, award or settlement in the amount of One Million Dollars or more. If the applicant represented more than one client in a single case and the total verdict, award or settlement to such clients was One Million dollars or more the case qualifies. However, amounts awarded to others (not the applicant's own clients) in the same case do not apply to qualification. A single class action case in which the applicant represented multiple clients who, as a group, received a verdict, award or settlement of at least one million dollars would qualify.  For example,

  • The following would qualify:  representation by the applicant of multiple clients in a single class action case in which the total received by all such clients was one million dollars or more (although no individual client received such amount).
  • The following would not qualify:  representation by the applicant of multiple clients in separate cases against the same defendant(s) concerning the same issues (for example similar product liability cases concerning the same product and defendant) unless the client(s) in a single case received a qualifying amount.

HOW TO APPLY FOR MEMBERSHIP

Membership Application forms must be submitted online.  Click on one of the following for an application form

MILLION DOLLAR ADVOCATES FORUM- APPLICATION FOR  MEMBERSHIP

MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ADVOCATES FORUM - APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP


QUESTIONS? Send us an email to Members@MillionDollarAdvocates.com


You may contact Don Costello, President, directly:
Law Offices of Donald F. Costello
PO Box 2684
Del Mar, California 92014 
e-mail: Members@MillionDollarAdvocates.com

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