“The love of great music has been a constant theme in my life – still is,” says Tacker LeCarpentier, president and founder of Settlement Planning Services LLC. “I first saw Doc and Merle Watson at age 12 with my mother. And, I know exactly where I was when I first heard Muddy Waters – with my dad on my 18th birthday.
“My parents instilled in me a love of music early on,” he continued. “Thank goodness because it’s pulled me through good and bad times. There’s been enough of both, but the music remains constant.”
LeCarpentier’s clients are, like him, generally North Carolina litigators. It’s clear how important they are to him. “Staying connected with my clients is critical to any success I’ve had over the years and is simply a joy. Most I’ve known for years and are great friends. I’m damn lucky that way.”
But, LeCarpentier’s clients also include his clients’ clients – namely, injury victims. Working with injury victims during what can be the worst time of their lives is really where his passion lies.
“Our goal is to secure their financial futures and prevent premature loss of their settlement funds. For 80 percent of the people who receive settlements in catastrophic personal injury cases, the money is gone in five years. That should not happen,” said LeCarpentier.
“The biggest risk to permanently injured claimants is the possibility of outliving their settlement funds,” he said. “A good settlement plan should set up the claimant for the rest of their life, enabling these families to resume their lives with some degree of financial security and thus dignity.”
LeCarpentier launched his company in August 2017 after 12 years as director of Settlement Planning and Structured Settlements with Lawyers Insurance. Previously, he was a law clerk to Chief Justice Jim Exum of the North Carolina Supreme Court and spent 12 years as a litigator at Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog in Raleigh.
A Raleigh native, LeCarpentier is a graduate of the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, UNC-CH and the Wake Forest University School of Law. His mother was a social worker at the neo-natal unit at Pitt Memorial Hospital; his father an Episcopal minister. Generations of his forebears were also Episcopalian priests.
“My desire to help others springs from the many fine examples in my family. Giving back is important to me,” he said.
Getting Involved Early
“My attorney clients generally get me involved in their cases as early as possible and well before mediation begins. We are in a far better position to assess and evaluate their minimum settlement needs if we do. It also allows the claimant to have a more realistic expectation about where settlement funds need to go after settlement,” says LeCarpentier.
“The key is getting in early and analyzing what the claimant’s future medical and lifecare needs are before mediation. We help price life care plans. Importantly, we also analyze the role of any governmental benefits the claimant is receiving, such as Medicare, Medicaid, SSI payments. Then, we can determine how critical is it to maintain those benefits after settlement.
“Ensuring the claimant has realistic expectations before, during and after a mediation of what needs to be done to secure their future medical and life care needs is critical to the settlement process,” he continued.
After settlement, if the claimant is not properly prepared, the worst that can happen is the claimant does not understand how the settlement funds need to be distributed. The ‘lottery syndrome’ can take hold where the claimant believes, ‘I hit the jackpot! I can buy whatever I want’. And in five years, the money is gone,” said LeCarpentier.
The “Collaborative Process”
“Early on in my legal career, I realized how much I enjoyed the collaborative process involved in resolving these often-complicated and emotionally charged personal injury cases,” he said. “The vast majority of these cases don’t go to trial, so while litigation inevitably includes some degree of contentiousness, I never was much of a scorched earth litigator. Settlement planning just suits me and my personality, I believe. It allows me to help others.”
LeCarpentier is low key and chooses his words carefully, bespeaking his breadth of litigation and settlement planning experience. That level of expertise provides comfort and assurances for his many attorney clients and their injured clients. There are very few companies that do structured settlements because of its complexity, so his 27-plus years of experience is invaluable.
LeCarpentier continued, “Settlement planning is much like my love of music, especially live music. Both enable me to stay connected to family, friends and colleagues.”
And the Music Never Stops
LeCarpentier is a regular at local concert venues. “I love live music. It just makes me happy. I was 14 when I saw my first major concert – and it was a great one. Fleetwood Mac opening for the Eagles in Greensboro Coliseum,” recalled LeCarpentier.
In fact, one of the photo shoots for this story was done at a Todd Rundgren concert at the Carolina Theatre in Durham in April. “I go to a lot of shows. Bringing clients along is an extra treat.”
“My album and CD collection dates back to the ’40s and ’50s. Bluegrass, blues, rockabilly, folk, Beatles and just classic rock and roll. I also love traditional country music. In the past 15 years, I’ve listened to a lot of alt-country, like Uncle Tupelo, Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson. And, yes, I’m still something of a Deadhead.”
LeCarpentier is particularly excited about a “bucket list item” this summer – back-to-back Tedeschi-Trucks Band shows at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre west of Denver. “I can’t wait! To date, my favorite venue is the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. That may change in July,” he said.
His love of music – and of travel – is shared by wife, Tricia, a corporate travel agent, and their 18-year old, fraternal twin daughters, Katherine and Grace. The family makes regular trips to Atlantic Beach and to Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks of upstate New York.
Katherine and Grace will be freshmen at N.C. State’s School of Textiles in the fall after graduation from Raleigh’s Broughton High School. Despite being a rabid Tarheel fan, LeCarpentier is happy for his daughters. “There are a lot of exciting things happening at the School of Textiles,” said LeCarpentier.
“Helping the injured secure their future financial needs gives me a lot of personal and professional satisfaction,” said LeCarpentier. “It’s just a pleasure – and a real privilege – working with these individuals and their families. I plan to be doing this for a very long time.”