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January
2021
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Greg S. Spinetti
1129 E Tuskawilla Pt
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Winter Springs, FL 32708
Phone: (407) 242-9697
Fax: (407) 696-8899

Snow Cannon

Structure Strategies

Serious Skiing Accident Could Have Been Prevented


Mike is a healthy 61 and still a pretty good downhill skier. While on a spring ski trip, he took a bad spill when he hit a snow-making machine and was injured seriously enough to suffer a permanent disability. Later it was determined that a maintenance worker at the ski resort had moved the snow-making machine and had failed to properly mark the new location. “Even if I had been 25, I still wouldn’t have been able to avoid hitting that snow cannon,” he said. The case settled for a sizable sum.

As a successful IT executive and father of three children, Mike had some investment experience. After talking with his family, his lawyer and the Ringler consultant involved in the case, he decided to add a structured settlement to his investment strategy. Payouts from the structure would fund his ongoing investment account as a means to dollar-cost average into the retail marketplace, take advantage of tax-free growth and ensure a safety net in the event the market did not perform as well as hoped.

Mike may have to hang up his skis, but at least he and his family can count on a financially secure future.

(Note: While Structure Strategies is based on actual Ringler case histories, the names and images of the people involved have been changed to protect their privacy.)

5 Science-Based Ways to Find Happiness


Dr. Laurie Santos
Dr. Laurie Santos, Yale professor of psychology, hosts the Happiness Lab.

Dr. Laurie Santos, the enchanting host of the popular Happiness Lab podcast and Yale professor of psychology, is an expert on human cognition and the cognitive biases that impede better choices. Santos’ Psychology and the Good Life has been ranked as the most popular course at Yale in 300 years and was recently made available online for free to help people through these challenging times. More than 2 million learners have already signed up!

Here are five science-backed ways to find happiness, according to Santos, and examples of how some in the legal community are using these techniques to weather tough times ahead:       

1) Stay Connected with Others

Attorney Calling
Calling business associates, friends or family just to say hello can lift one's spirits.

Before COVID-19 and all the shutdowns, closures and social distancing, many of us took for granted how important casual contact with others is to our well-being. “There’s evidence that happy people are more social,” says Santos, and “you don’t have to be physically together to be connected” thanks to technology.

One Minnesota attorney interviewed for this article agrees and points out that it isn’t just about connecting with family or close friends. “I looked up someone on Facebook I haven’t seen since law school 40 years ago and sent a ‘What’s up’ via a private message. It was fun and uplifting,” he said. “I’m also calling clients more often now just to say hello and ask how they are doing,” he continued, “which is good for my spirits as well as my practice.”

2) Count Your Blessing Instead of Venting

Two federal judges ask lawyers "Why so sad?" in this music video.

There’s plenty of venting going on right now given everything Americans have to complain about, but contrary to popular belief, venting won’t make you feel better. Rather, research shows that “happy people count their blessings,” Santos writes.

Two federal judges took this advice to heart and created a music video, telling lawyers in Houston and Galveston not to worry about the impact of the pandemic on trials and appeals. “Why so sad? We’ll be back soon, you’ll see,” sings Judge Jennifer Elrod, U.S. Court of Appeals, to music from the Broadway musical Hamilton. “No need to be mad,” belts out U.S. District Judge Charles Eskridge, “when push comes to shove, it’s your bench bar colleagues you’ll remember that you love.”

3) Keep Moving ... Literally

Dr. Laurie Santos

Exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in some cases.

Regular exercise, a healthy diet and plenty of rest will not only make you look and feel better, it can make you happier as well. “A half-hour of physical exercise every day can be as effective as antidepressants in some cases,” Santos said.

“There’s something to be said about releasing the endorphins,” added an IT specialist for a large defense firm in Washington state. “I started working out every day, not so much with a weight loss goal in mind, but just to take a break from sharing home work space with my husband and two grade schoolers,” she said. “They’ve all noticed my more relaxed, positive attitude.”

4) Seize the Moment

Instead of worrying about what you can’t do because of the pandemic, focusing on the moment and truly savoring what you can do will lift your spirits. Fully experience the here and now, says Santos, and not only will life look better to you, your calming presence will uplift all those around you as well.

One New Jersey attorney put this principle to work in his practice by embracing new technologies like DocuSign® and Zoom for case management while ramping up his social media presence to stay in touch with clients and referral sources. He’s also working with colleagues to advance Zoom trials as a short-term solution to keeping cases on track for settlement.

5) Recognize and Accept

Post-traumatic stress syndrome is often the result of surviving extreme hardship and loss, but Santos points out that people can also experience traumatic growth and emerge from the storm a better person. She suggests a mindfulness practice that “starts with calling the emotion what it is, recognizing and having a moment in that state, paying attention to how it makes you feel and then nurturing it with self-compassion.”

Not since World War II have Americans collectively lived through more challenging times than we’ve witnessed this past year. Knowing the science behind happiness means not only can we all survive the next six months, we could become better colleagues, employers and employees, spouses and parents, family members and friends because of it.

So, let’s stay connected (Happiness Tip #1) and together we will make 2021 a year to remember for all the right reasons!