Saturday, September 20, 2008

Harward & Associates Dissolve and Drop SSH Matter

Rumors began circulating last week that James Harward and Spencer Robinson of Harward & Associates were no longer doing any work on behalf SSH students. I spoke to Andrew August of Pinnacle Law Group and Dan Reed formerly of Harward and Associates and confirmed the truth of these rumors.

Dan Reed told me that Harward & Associates has dissolved, that Mr. Harward and Mr. Robinson will not be doing any more work on behalf of SSH students, and that he is attempting to take over representation of the approximately 300 former SSH students that paid Harward and Associates to represent them. Dan Reed's new engagement letter requires that his clients pay him a contingent fee that ranges between 30% and 50%.

Dan Reed posted this information on his website: "The relationship between Dan Reed Law and Harward & Associates has been discontinued effective September 2008. Mr. Dan Reed has been designated the primary point of contact with former Silver State Helicopter students. Mr. Reed has been an attorney since the fall of 2007."

In February, March and April of 2008, I competed with Dan Reed and James Harward for clients, and suggested that I was better qualified to help former SSH students. Now James Harward is gone, and I have reached out to Dan Reed to try to help him and his clients. Dan told me that this SSH matter was his first case right out of law school, and that he joined with Harward & Associates in an effort to help his clients. Unfortunately, Mr. Harward did not deliver what Dan and his clients expected from him. I will be meeting in person with Dan Reed in Utah after the St. George Marathon to discuss how we can cooperate with each other to help our SSH clients.

SSH Confidential Settlement Discussions

Settlement discussions with the lenders have not resulted in any offer that I can recommend to my clients. Still, all parties are talking and all parties say that they are interested in a fair settlement. Settlement discussions will soon be entering a critical phase during which I will not post further information about these discussions unless and until they are resolved one way or the other.

It is interesting to note that not one of my SSH clients has been sued by KeyBank, Student Loan Xpress or Citibank for his or her unpaid loan balance. To me, this indicates that these lenders are not eager to file thousands of individual collection lawsuits and that they may in fact be interested in trying to resolve these claims in a more economical manner.

Pending Motions to Dismiss against the pending class actions have also been postponed to give more time for settlement discussions.

Many of you know that my Senior Associate Georgeann Nicol and I enjoy running Marathons. My next Marathon will be on October 4, 2008 in St. George, Utah. Keep in mind that this SSH matter is much more like a Marathon than a sprint. We will continue to work on all aspects of this matter and to do everything that we can to help each and every one of our SSH clients. This matter is sure to go on to 2009 and may continue for years after that. As in a marathon, and as in life, the important thing is not how you start, it's how you finish.