(*Note:  This Guest Blog is by Frank Chimento, Director of Business Development and Client Services at Merlin Law Group.)

Recently my Pastor was teaching about how knowledge is often misunderstood, misguided and sometimes misused. He was articulating how the acquisition of knowledge or the possession of knowledge is designed to lead that person to a place of humility — not superiority. Once we obtain knowledge, we have a responsibility to humbly serve others — not hold it over them or use it for self-serving purposes.

As I considered the application of this wise counsel for my own life, I couldn’t help but recount some conversations I’ve had regarding why some people hire attorneys quickly after suffering property losses and others tend to wait. I think it really comes down to knowledge and how people use it.

Not long ago, Chip Merlin asked me why I thought some people were ready to hire an attorney and some people were more hesitant. My answer was simple, as it was based solely on my own negative experiences with attorneys in the past. I told Chip that I believed many people will need to overcome their own past disappointments with attorneys and find a way to recognize that their situation is unique and rare and that they require special help. And then, when they come to that “knowledge,” they will have to be humble enough to ask for that help.

Since leading the business development and client services efforts for Merlin Law Group, I have an authentic respect and appreciation for the knowledge our lawyers possess and the services they provide. I am privileged to witness first-hand how they use their knowledge to serve people selflessly in times of great need. Therefore, with the knowledge I’ve acquired, it’s easy for me to say that what home and business owners really need after suffering a catastrophic property loss is a humble servant that possesses extensive knowledge about insurance policies.

In fact, I believe that the hiring of a lawyer after experiencing a property loss is as commonplace as hiring a Realtor to help you buy or sell a home, or an accountant to help you file your taxes. Sure, you can buy a home and file taxes without the help of a professional but I think most reasonable people will agree that can be extremely risky and typically it isn’t worth the stress and hassle. And, I would suggest that buying homes and filing taxes requires far less “knowledge” than understanding how to prepare, process, and possibly dispute an insurance claim. Have you ever read an insurance policy? WOW! What was the purpose of the attorneys that drafted that language for the insurance companies?

At any rate, when when thinking about contributing to Chip’s blog, I wanted to write something brilliant that would dazzle all the legal minds… and after nothing notable came to me, I decided to just write from my heart. So, as you consider your own personal situation regarding your property loss, I’m curious how you would answer these questions:

• Am I achieving my expected outcome with my insurance claim?
• Should I consult an attorney and ask for help?

I don’t believe there is a “right” answer, only an honest one.

When you choose to overcome your past disappointments and consult an attorney to help you and your family through this difficult time, I encourage you to seek a lawyer that possesses great knowledge and a spirit of selflessness.

Frank Chimento