I often give speeches and challenge those in the audience to better themselves through education and joining with others in endeavors so that, by mutual experience, the best practices can be copied for current and future policyholder clients. I feel like I have done this with the addition of nine new attorneys into our firm on Monday.

I already knew that we hit a home run with Mike Poli and his team in Phoenix. Mike Poli, Kesha Hodge, Lawrence Moon, and Jeff Zane worked as a team to help Merlin Law Group attorneys win at trial against Travelers, as I posted in, Merlin Law Group Wins Hailstorm Tial Against Travelers—Hard Work Pays Off.

There is not a Childress Duffy without Mike Duffy. Mike Duffy was a partner in a property insurance defense firm in Chicago before joining the partners at Childress. Duffy is engaging and the most passionate person anybody could meet. Mike loves to resolve cases through trial and we will allow him to do just that. I made a point of emphasis with our firm last year to take more cases to trial because some insurers figure that most policyholder firms make more money by settling cases for less without preparing them for trial. We are putting an end to any thought of that with a dedicated trial division with mature and experienced advocates.

Ed Eshoo was a partner with Mike Duffy in Chicago. He knows Chicago and has an active book of business with first party claims. He has around 30 years of experience in the business and if Ed says something about property insurance law, people should listen. I feel I am going to enjoy practicing law with Ed because he always gives down to earth practical suggestions to resolve problems. Many attorneys look for the hard way to do things, and Ed is more concerned about getting full recovery for the client right away.

Christina Phillips was giving a speech at a conference I was attending, and I was sitting next to Craig Speck. I leaned over to Craig and asked, "Who is this woman and where is she from? She knows what she is talking about." I am fortunate that all nine attorneys joining us are smarter than me. There is some suggestion that leaders hire people better than themselves if they want to improve the lot.

Chris Mammel is another former Childress Duffy partner. Through work we have been doing in Colorado, Corey Harris mentioned to a colleague how thorough Chris’ briefs were and how hard he litigated cases. We could tell these things just by the on-line pleadings, but Corey had also called Chris Mammel to discuss some esoteric and cutting issues of law. I barely knew Chris except by reputation and the next thing we know, Chris is calling. He is with us and everybody—and I mean greater than the Merlin Law Group everybody—is the better for it. He is dedicated and wants to make a point for consumers of insurance before he calls it a day.

Chris has a right hand associate with Tamara Chen-See. Of the nine attorneys, she is the newest attorney; but, with a bunch of ten figure case experience that Chris Mammel brings with him, she is very experienced at highs stakes insurance litigation. Most associate attorneys in many firms do little significant matters on cases and she is far ahead of that curve.

Over thirty years ago, I went to my first Annual Conference of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA). It was held in Carmel, California. I gave a speech about proofs of loss and notice of loss. I was barely 26 years old, a sole practitioner, and had just recently left an associate position at very growth-oriented insurance defense firm. This year, I am humbled to have over forty policyholder attorneys practicing law with me, and many new colleagues just as superior in skill and ability joining us as others already practicing with me.

I owe a lot to Dick Tutwiler for introducing me to others in Florida. I owe a lot to the late past NAPIA President Ira Sarasohn for getting that first speaking opportunity I had in Carmel in 1985. I owe a lot to a young Harvey Goodman who thought he could ask me trick questions I easily answered at that NAPIA conference because I could show off that young mind I used to have. And, I owe a lot to all the attorneys, public adjusters, and others that have given me tips and pointers about how to do my job better, helping policyholders over the years—and those people are not just on the policyholder side of the business.

The cup of good fortune runs over for me, and I thank my friends that are trying to help make this a better and more just place for consumers of insurance. My wish is that our new firm makes historic strides helping policyholders obtain the justice they deserve.

This will be fun.

Chip’s Positive Thought of The Day

"I love to play the game, love to be around the rink, and love to joke around with my teammates and have some fun."
              —Patrick Kane

More Traditional Positive Thought of The Day

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
              —Andrew Carnegie