Spada Law - January 2019

S pada L aw G roup INJURY LAW LLC


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Hitting the Curveball JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT ALL WAS WELL ...

was my staff, who are truly like my family. I have worked with these people for years. They depend on me for their livelihoods, and I couldn’t let them down. The idea of leaving all these people to scatter for a new job was more terrifying than my own mortality. “I was unsure of my future or if I even had one.” Fortunately, the cancer was caught in time. I recovered, and today, I’m proud to say I’m cancer-free. The firm continues to grow, and out of that fog of despair and worry came a newfound enthusiasm for life. I don’t have unlimited time to put my stamp of excellence on my legacy or to put off telling those I love exactly how I feel about them. Every day must be spent striving for excellence while enjoying what’s right in front of me. My situation impressed upon me a higher level of empathy. I’ll admit, there was a time when I’d become jaded. When you work in personal injury law, all of your clients are injured and in pain. After so many years, you become numb to it. Being forced to take a long, hard look at my own mortality was a wake-up call I sorely needed. You’re a better lawyer when you understand what your clients are going through. The fear, the pain, the uncertainty, it can be suffocating. Knowing

They say you don’t know how strong you are until you don’t have any other options. I always thought I was a pretty strong guy. Then life threw me a serious curveball, and I really had to test what I was made of. A little over two years ago, life was chugging along just fine for me. I was healthy, had a great family, and ran a successful law practice with my law partner, Vincent Zullo, who was like a brother to me. Then on the morning of Monday, June 13, 2016, I received a hysterical phone call from a former client who also happened to be Vin’s next-door neighbor. She was sobbing and between her gasps of breath, she only managed to exclaim, “He’s gone!” My partner and dear friend had suffered a massive heart attack. He died at 53 years old, leaving behind a loving wife and two beautiful teenage children. In the weeks after Vin’s death, I was overwhelmed with sadness and worry. After 18 years together, I would have to run a law firm by myself. Each day I passed by Vin’s empty office, the dueling emotions of grief and anxiety left me paralyzed. But this curveball was just beginning to spin. Two weeks after Vin died, I was diagnosed with cancer. In the next 30 days, my life was a flurry of ultrasounds, MRIs, and surgery. I was unsure of my future or if I even had one. I was terrified, a total mess, but I knew I had to keep it together. There were a lot of people who needed me to get through it and come out on the other side. I could see the worry in my children’s eyes. I knew my wife was worried as she watched what my partner’s wife was going through after his death. And then there

someone is there to fight for you can give you strength to carry on. Today my kids have a more present father, my wife a more appreciative husband, and my staff a more enthusiastic and upbeat leader. And I truly believe my clients have a more engaged and empathetic advocate on their behalf. Thanks to the love and support of family, friends, and staff, I get another chance to put my bat on that curveball. And I do not intend to miss! -Len Spada

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Why January? T he O rigin of N ew Y ear ’ s D ay The month of January kicks off by welcoming the new year — there are countdowns, fireworks, and of course, the ball drop in a freezing-cold Times Square. But why? Why do we start our calendars when much of the U.S. is in the dead of winter? Why January? The short answer is Julius Caesar and Roman politics. The calendar had long been a political tool in Rome. Depending on who was in power, Roman pontifices would add or subtract entire weeks from the year, manually adjusting the term limits of elected officials. As you could imagine, this caused a lot of chaos, because months frequently slipped out of time with the changing seasons. After becoming emperor, Julius Caesar brought about some much-needed reforms. Inspired by the Egyptian solar calendar, Caesar fixed the Roman year at 365 days and instituted the leap year to keep months aligned with the solstices. He moved the new year from the spring to the day that elected officials traditionally began their year-long terms, Jan. 1. This choice carried spiritual significance, since January was named for Janus, god of doors and gates. What better month to celebrate new beginnings? Under Caesar and subsequent rulers, the Roman Empire expanded its reach, carrying its calendar with it. While much of Europe adopted Caesar’s calendar, New Year’s Day remained a hot-button issue for centuries. In the dead of winter, most people want to be wrapped up in a blanket at home, but there are those who’d rather march right into the wilderness to battle the ice and snow. These are winter hikers, and for their efforts, they are rewarded with a stunning view of Mother Nature at work. The extreme conditions are dangerous, but, for many winter hikers, the danger is part of the fun. Our own Len Spada has been braving the elements to hike New Hampshire’s White Mountains for the last several years. There are still a few months left in winter. If you’re thinking about giving winter hiking a try, here are three things to remember. Pack the Right Gear Packing the right gear is necessary for any outdoor activity. If you get stuck on the mountain in the summer, you can often relax until help arrives. When hiking in the winter, if you find yourself in an emergency, you better have all the essentials to survive a night in the wilderness when it’s 30 below. The Appalachian Mountain Club provides an in-depth guide on all the essential gear for winter hiking at resources/gear-advice/winter-gear-guide. Know Your Limits When winter hiking, you have to be honest about your physical fitness. Winter hiking isn’t a time to push yourself, especially if you’re not in the best shape. Hiking above the tree line at 4,000 feet is fun to do, but that should only be attempted by experienced hikers with the proper level of fitness. There’s plenty of beauty and challenge in winter hiking that you

Thanks in part to the spread of Christianity and to the colder conditions in Northern Europe, there was a lot of resistance to the January start date. Religious leaders saw it as a pagan holiday, and much of Europe chose to restart the calendar on March 25, during the Feast of Annunciation. Much of Catholic Europe officially recognized Jan. 1 as the start of the new year after Pope Gregory reformed the solar calendar again, correcting certain mathematical errors made in Caesar’s day. There were still holdouts, however. In fact, England and its American colonies continued to celebrate New Year’s Day in March until 1752.

So there you have it — we were very close to having our fireworks celebrations in lovely spring weather. Ultimately, the ubiquity of the Gregorian calendar won out, as the demands of our increasingly interconnected world made a shared calendar a necessity. So if you struggle to start your New Year’s resolutions this winter, blame Julius Caesar.

On Top of the White Mountains Len’s Advice for Winter Hiking

can fit to your fitness and skill level. In fact, some hikes at lower elevations in New Hampshire are equally beautiful and can be enjoyed without the associated risks that come with high altitude exposure. Don’t Go Alone This is a rule for first-time hikers and those who have been winter hiking for years. When you’re heading up a mountain, you should always go with someone who had prior winter hiking experience. Want to get into winter hiking, but don’t know anyone who can join you? Join a group where you can meet experienced hikers. The Appalachian Mountain Club is one such organization dedicated to both outdoor recreation and conservation of our natural resources. You can find a local chapter at chapters. Winter hiking might not be for everyone, but for those who plan properly and use caution, it can be an incredible experience. There’s nothing like standing on the peak of a 4,000-plus foot mountain in the quiet of winter.


Don’t Be That Driver

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Tips to Conquer New England Winters Every year, winter comes with fierce snowstorms that turn our roads into icy nightmares. While snow isn’t uncommon in New England, every year there are drivers who behave as if it’s their first time driving in the snow. Granted, some of these drivers may have recently moved from a warmer climate, while others may just feel uncomfortable driving in the snow no matter how many years go by. Whatever the reason, we have some tips to keep you safe while on the road this winter. Don’t Use Cruise Control Black ice is a big problem, and using cruise control could cause you to lose traction if you hit a slippery patch. This applies to summer rainstorms, too. Never use cruise control when the roads are slick. Keep Your Gas Tank Full Gas prices aren’t cheap, but, if possible, you should make room in your budget to keep your gas tank full in the wintertime. Not only will this reduce your odds of getting stranded due to an empty tank, but keeping your tank more than half full can prevent your fuel lines from freezing and stop condensation from watering down the gas. Stick to the Main Roads Your shortcut through that old neighborhood may shave five minutes off your commute in the summer, but in the winter, it’s wiser to stick to the main roads. Busier streets are more likely to be plowed and salted, especially early in the morning or right after snowfall. Keep an Emergency Car Kit Even the most experienced drivers can suffer from bad luck on the road, so it pays to be prepared. Be sure to keep an emergency kit with a flashlight, extra batteries, blankets, a first-aid kit, and road flares in your car just in case you find yourself in trouble. Check out the full list of items you want in your emergency kit at content/emergency-car-kit. Accidents happen no matter how careful you are. If you or a loved one are injured in a car accident, I’m sure you’ll have questions. Give us a call at 617.889.5000 and let us help guide you through this difficult time.





Delicious Black Bean Soup Local Chef’s Corner From Shelly Demmon, Executive Chef, The Chelsea Station

INGREDIENTS • 2 30-ounce cans black beans • 1 tablespoon canola oil • 1/2 onion, chopped • 1/2 red pepper, chopped • 1 carrot, chopped • 1 stalk celery, chopped • 3 cloves garlic, whole • 1/2 tablespoons dry oregano

• 1/2 tablespoon cumin • 1/2 tablespoon paprika • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes • 1/2 can diced tomatoes • 1 can water (use an empty black bean can) • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Drain black beans and rinse. 2. Heat oil and sauté onion, red pepper, carrot, celery, and garlic in a large pot. 3. Mix in oregano, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes; sauté for 30 seconds. 4. Add beans, tomatoes, and water; simmer for 30 minutes. 5. Remove from heat, then purée and add salt and pepper to taste. 6. Label and date for storage.

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S pada L aw G roup INJURY LAW LLC

111 Everett Ave #1F Chelsea, MA 02150 617.889.5000

Inside This Issue

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When Life Throws You a Curve

Why Start the New Year in Winter? Let’s Go for a (Winter) Hike Recipe: Delicious Black Bean Soup Tips For Safe Winter Driving



What Happens to Military Service Dogs?

Sgt. Fieldy Comes Home


There are approximately 2,500 military working dogs currently in service, and their efforts help save the lives of countless soldiers and civilians every day. One of these brave military dogs is Sgt. Fieldy, an 11-year-old black lab who was trained to locate the No. 1 threat in Afghanistan: IEDs. Sgt. Fieldy was deployed to Afghanistan with his handler, Cpl. Nicolas Caceres, in 2011. Early in their deployment, their vehicle struck a pressure plate while they were on patrol. Fieldy and Caceres were all right, but one of the other Marines in their company was badly injured in the explosion. The injured Marine could not be evacuated by helicopter until the landing zone was secured. Fieldy found another IED in the area and alerted Caceres. The bomb was quickly disarmed, and the injured soldier was taken to safety. This wasn’t the only IED Fieldy found. His sharp nose and dedication helped save thousands of lives. After his deployment, Caceres returned home, but Sgt. Fieldy served several more tours without him. While Fieldy continued to protect soldiers and civilians by tracking down IEDs, Caceres worked tirelessly to make sure he could bring Fieldy home when his service was over. Military working dogs can be adopted by former handlers, law enforcement, or qualified civilians when they retire. After three years apart and a total

of four tours served, Sgt. Fieldy was reunited with Caceres. In 2016, Fieldy received the K9 Medal of Courage Award, and in 2018, he won the American Humane Hero Dog Award for his service. “These dogs are out there with us,” said Caceres when he and Fieldy accepted the Hero Dog Award. “The dangers we face, they face them too. They deserve to be recognized. We ask so much of them, and all they want is to get petted or play with a toy. They’re amazing animals, and Fieldy is just an amazing dog. I can’t begin to express the gratitude I have for him.” If you are interested in supporting our nation’s working dogs or would like to adopt a retired working dog yourself, you can learn more at


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