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Reader Raises Concerns About Peak Legal Advocates and Veritas Legal Plan Gets Tossed Under Bus

By on March 23, 2017

Update March 24, 2017 – Veritas Legal Plan responds to allegations. Click here.

I recently received some concerns from a reader regarding Peak Legal Advocates. The reader said:

“Thought you might find the attached agreement interesting. Peak Legal Advocates – (PLA) is charging consumers 12% of their debt for a prepaid legal plan that is not licensed or registered in any of the states they operate in. This fee is above what the settlement companies are charging for their services.”

So I went to Peak Legal Advocates for an answer to the allegation. Let’s hear what a Rob Katz, the attorney behind Peak Legal Plan said in response to the allegation.

I have forwarded Rob the attorney-client retainer agreement I received and have asked him to authenticate it or forward a current agreement.

“Dear Mr. Rhode,

I understand you have been in contact with Alex Turner in regard to Peak Legal. As the managing attorney for Peak Legal (“Peak”), he has asked me to respond to your inquiry.

First, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to respond. We are aware that Mr. Angelo Anzalone from Veritas, who is ostensibly a competitor of ours, has been attempting to slander us on-line (Libel) in an effort to eliminate, or at least reduce, any competition that Peak offers for his company. We have explained the true nature of our services to Mr. Anzalone, specifically that neither Peak nor any of the attorneys in our network provide any type of pre-paid legal services. Despite this, Mr. Anzalone has persisted in his efforts, and now appears to be attempting to use your publication in his misguided efforts against Peak.

Despite this, we are happy to be given the opportunity to explain the true nature of our services so that you have full and complete information. First of all, by way of background, Peak Legal Advocates is a dba of The Law Offices of Robert B. Katz & Associates, a California licensed law firm. Please note that I am licensed, and have offices in, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington. However, Peak only contracts directly with clients that are located in California. Peak also has a network of related attorneys in several other states, and in the event that a potential client is located in one of those other states, then the client contracts directly with that local state attorney. As such, every contract is executed between the client and a local state attorney who is licensed in that client’s home state, and who provides direct legal services. These facts alone debunk any assertion that Peak is somehow offering a “prepaid legal plan that is not licensed or registered in any of the states they operate in.”

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Instead, Peak ONLY contracts with California clients for the provision of direct legal services. Moreover, in other available states (outside of California) local state attorneys that are licensed in those states contract with those clients, also for the provision of direct legal services. In either case, those legal services are limited to defense against creditor harassment and unfair creditor collection practices and the preparation of Pro Se Answers. Neither Peak nor any of its network of attorneys provide any type of additional litigation services without entering in to a separate litigation retainer agreement directly with the client. As such, there are no pre-paid litigation services (or otherwise) being offered by Peak or its network attorneys.

When we explained this fact to Mr. Anzalone he then expressed concerns about the “additional services” that are provided by Legal Club (as specified in Exhibit B of our contract). In response, we further explained we had thoroughly vetted these services with two of our compliance attorneys (we engage two of the best compliance attorneys in the industry to ensure that we are always fully compliant). We also relayed Mr. Anzalone’s concerns to the representative from Legal Club itself. There is universal agreement from each of these experts that the Legal Club services are not a pre-paid legal insurance plan. For your additional reference, I have included the response from Legal Club to the insurance inquiry:

Legal Club is not a legal insurance plan. Legal Club is a legal referral plan that provides members with access to its nationwide network of attorneys who have agreed to provide them with free and discounted services. Legal Club does not pay any fees to its attorneys. Network attorneys do not pay Legal Club for any fees they collect for legal services rendered. Legal Club contracts with attorneys to provide them with potential clients at no expense and in return, the attorneys agree to provide the free and discounted rates that the plan provides. The reason that Legal Club is able to offer members with access to attorneys covering all areas of law without waiting periods or any pre-excluding conditions is because we are not an insurance plan. We do not have any actuarial restrictions to follow. Legal Club is strictly a membership organization, deriving its revenue solely from membership fees.

Prepaid Legal Plans are in fact legal insurance plans. When someone joins a legal insurance plan, the plan provider collects premium from their members and pays their attorneys for legal services performed. Legal Insurance plans follow actuarial models and have waiting periods and pre-excluding condition requirements.

Since Legal Club is not an insured legal plan, we are not regulated by any of the states DOI.

It appears that the primary distinction here is that Legal Club does not pay the plan attorneys for their services. As such, it is simply not insurance.

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As a side note, we have also been investigating the practices of Veritas and we have uncovered some elements of their services that you may find interesting. Veritas is not a law firm and is not owned by licensed attorneys. As such, Veritas positions itself as a pre-paid legal insurance provider, and nothing more. However, as we have looked at the services of Veritas we have seen that, in fact, Veritas is acting in a much more involved capacity with its clients. Pre-paid legal plans collect premiums, then paid out legal fees to attorneys when a claim is filed – nothing more. But Veritas goes quite a bit further by actually stepping in to the provision of the legal service itself by taking actions such as, among many others: collecting the Summons and Complaints from clients, assigning the case attorney from their own roster (without giving any choice to the client), collecting other needed documents from the client for the attorney, preparation of documents for the attorneys, providing case scheduling services, providing customer service infrastructure for the attorneys, acting as a liaison between the clients and the attorneys, providing document transmission services, and acting as a liaison between the client and the debt settlement company. In effect, Veritas is acting like a nationwide law firm by providing a full array of case administration services to the client; however, Veritas does not have the licensing to act a law firm in any state. Perhaps this is worthy of further investigation by your publication given that Veritas is clearly acting well outside the bounds a simple pre-paid legal plan.

We hope the above helps clarify that neither Peak nor its network of attorneys are providing any type of pre-paid insurance services. Please let me know if this e-mail has alleviated your concerns.

Thank you.

Rob


If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask just use the online form. I’m happy to help you totally for free.

About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

9 Comments

  1. Billy Lee

    June 1, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Never ever fall for this peak legal scam. I have been taken to the cleaners by them. My fault for trusting in what was said and now I know how well they treat their clients. Poorest rating I can give anyone. I was wanting to get out of debt not be more in debt. Horrible that anyone would treat someone as bad as the employees of peak have treated me. And for sure someone wants to file a class action lawsuit count me in.
    Billy

  2. Steve Rhode

    March 27, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Just to attempt to clear up some confusion, Mr. Katz said, “Mr. Anzalone is mistaken that I have ever personally been an affiliate of Veritas, nor have I ever personally entered into any non-compete agreement with his company.” But I have received proof of an affiliate agreement between Veritas Legal Plan and Peak Legal Advocates which does have a non-compete clause in it. I will have to leave it up to the two of them to battle through semantics.

  3. Steve Rhode

    March 27, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    I just published my review of the Peak Legal Advocates agreement over at http://getoutofdebt.org/101173/peak-legal-advocates-client-agreement-review

  4. MSTARS

    March 24, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Subscribed to comments on post

  5. Angelo Anzalone

    March 24, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Hi Steve,

    Long time….hope all is well!

    Steve, these guys remind me of the old LHDR days, nothing but lies and misdirection. For the record, I have never slandered PLA on-line….I don’t need to, Veritas has been around for over 6 years and our reputation and A+ BBB rating speaks for itself.

    I can understand why Rob would think I’m slandering his small company since he started out as an affiliate of Veritas and while under a signed non-compete, created his own legal plan and began soliciting our other affiliates so he thinks I have some kind of vendetta against him but he didn’t take even one. The truth is, most debt settlement companies see right through his plan and know its just another attorney loophole charging crazy fees, so he is no threat to me at all and I haven’t given him a second thought since.

    Here’s another theory….do you think it’s possible that I am not the only one who thinks the PLA plan is harmful to consumers and not compliant with regulations?

    Steve, the problem regulators will find with the Peak Legal Plan is that there is no attorney exemption for Legal Plans and when you charge a consumer monthly and provide litigation defense, that is called indemnification and categorizes you as an insurance product – requiring licensing in each state.

    Rob can twist words and redirect all he wants but everyone knows he is offering legal insurance under an attorney exemption model that will eventually get him and his affiliates into trouble. The ethical debt settlement companies wont touch this plan with a 10 ft pole, those looking for the quick buck will be all over it.

    See for yourself, take a look at their marketing email and you tell me if these fees are not harmful to the consumer?

    If it walks like a duck….

    Thanks,
    Angelo
    ______

    Here is the information in regards to the Peak Legal Advocates Legal Program.

    Dealing with creditors and collection companies is unpredictable. Clients enrolled in a Debt Relief Program may still find themselves being harassed by collectors or facing litigation.
    PLA gives clients the confidence of knowing whatever comes their way, they have the legal protection of a dedicated network that they can trust.
    With over 20 years of experience , PLA can effectively and efficiently assist client’s needs, no matter how big or small.

    · FDCPA Violation Discovery & Protection
    · Letter Preparation
    · Power Of Attorney
    · Cease & Desist Notifications
    · Creditor Document Production
    · Creditor Harassment Litigation
    · Legal Protection
    · Answers to Summons/ Legal Responses
    · Dedicated Network Of Law Firms

    WHY PEAK LEGAL ADVOCATES
    · Over 20 years of experience
    · A+ Rated with the BBB
    · Simple Enrollment Process
    · Full Reporting
    · Efficient Payment Processing

    ADD VALUE TO YOUR CLIENTS
    · Offer more than just a Debt Relief Program
    · Provide clients with peace of mind
    · Legal Protection.. there when they need it

    ADDITIONAL REVENUE STREAM
    · Receive 12 Months of Additional Revenue

    STAND OUT FROM YOUR COMPETITION
    · Give yourself an edge over with a unique program

    PROGRAM FEE:
    12% (Maximum) of total debt load + $49.00 monthly administrative fee
    12% PLA Program fee paid out over 12 months.
    $49.00 monthly administrative fee paid out over the entire term of the clients program

    AFFILIATE COMPENSATION: 40% of the 12% (or total fee charged)

    Example: 30k debt load
    12% fee = $3600
    Affiliate Compensation: $1440 (paid out over 12 months)

    • Steve Rhode

      March 24, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      So good to hear from you Angelo. Thank you for responding to the post. I do happen to have a copy of the client-retainer agreement that was sent to me and I’ve asked Rob if is his current agreement and if not to forward the current one to me. Ultimately I believe consumers should hear from both parties so I’ll post a link to your comment at the top of the article.

    • Steve Rhode

      March 27, 2017 at 10:28 am

      I subsequently heard from Rob katz who said, “Mr. Anzalone is mistaken that I have ever personally been an affiliate of Veritas, nor have I ever personally entered into any non-compete agreement with his company. To the remainder of his accusations, we will simply have to agree to disagree. I am confident that consumers will be able to discern for themselves the veracity of our services and suggest that we stay focused on our respective businesses.”

      He also confirmed that the client agreement I have is the current agreement. I’m working on a review of that agreement right now.

      • Angelo Anzalone

        March 27, 2017 at 12:14 pm

        Oh what a tangled we be weave …. Steve, I wasnt able to upload the signed affiliate agreement but I emailed it to you. Feel free to post it so everyone can see the play on words ” I personally never have been an affiliate of Veritas” – that’s because affiliates are companies…duh

        He is right about one thing (I hope), that consumers will be able to discern for themselves the veracity of their services. I modeled Veritas Legal Plan under the same guidelines as the UDMSA and cap our fees so the cost to the consumer will be less than if the consumer had to hire an attorney to defend one lawsuit.

        Let’s agree to disagree on the legality of the Peak Legal Plan (even though I’ve spent tens of thousands on legal opinions telling me otherwise) In fact, let’s assume that all the attorneys I’ve retained are wrong and his structure is compliant…. riddle me this…. how is not harmful to the consumer when a person with $30k in debt is asked to pay $3600.00 …. for a Pro Se answer template and discounted legal services when anyone can find a Pro Se answer template on-line for free?

        It’s shameful, is what it is and exactly what gives this industry a bad name so I’m glad Rob decided to throw Veritas under the bus – now anyone reading your site can decide for themselves.

  6. Anon

    March 23, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Subscribed to comments on post.

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