Merlin Law - October 2019

813.229.1000 • M erlin L aw G



The Adjuster’s Advocate

Communication Is Key Why Daniel Ballard Is Always on the Phone

I met Chip Merlin during a Hurricane Flash forward to early 2019, and I found myself on the Merlin Law Group team with my office based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. While my firm is a part of the larger Merlin Law Group family, we still handle our own cases and represent insureds; the Group is there to provide help and all the resources we could possibly want. It’s the best of both worlds. I’m the type of attorney who dedicates myself fully to the cases I take on. There are a lot of attorneys out there who jump in as needed. I’m there to see cases through to the end. After all, in any given case, there can be a lot on the line. In dedicating myself to my cases, I go in as efficiently as possible. We all know casework can be very involved and time-consuming. I want to expedite the process as best I can for the insured. When you’re going up against an insurance company, it’s rarely a quick process, but there is so much I can do as the attorney to keep things moving. It means a lot of jumping on the phone. My philosophy boils down to “be there for the client.” If I need to make a phone call to get things moving for the client, I’m on it. Otherwise, I’m on the phone updating my clients on the state of the case. You could call me obsessive when it comes to communication. In my mind, if a client is calling me for an update, I’m slacking. I want my clients to know what is going on — I want to have their questions answered before they ask. Sandy case several years back. I learned a lot about Merlin Law Group and what they do as the largest boutique property insurance claim firm in the country. I was very intrigued.

Does this mean my schedule is always full? Absolutely! But I love that my schedule is full. I love keeping my hands full. If my schedule is full, it means things are happening. And when things slow down or come to a halt — let’s say the insurance company doesn’t want to pay — it might be time to get in front of a judge to get the case moving again. I want to arrive at a decision. If the insurance company is going to drag its feet, I’m going to be right there making sure we get to the finish line. While I’m a big believer in communication (if not over -communication), it’s really only part of the equation. Being organized is another major part of the litigator’s toolbox. Mike Duffy talks a lot about the value of organization. You might recall this from the August edition of the newsletter: Being organized and overprepared is what can set you apart from the opposition. I completely agree. Being the most prepared attorney in the room can make a huge difference in the outcome of the case. And on top of that, you don’t want to know “just” the facts of the case and the law as it relates to the case; you want to be able to express this to a jury. If you can do this, there’s a much greater chance you come out on top. This is one of the reasons why I love participating in trials — it’s the strategy on top of the preparation on top of organization. It’s anticipating what the other side is going to do, determining how the jury is going to respond, and navigating both the stronger points and the weaker points of your argument. When it all comes together, it’s nothing short of incredible.

I’m the type of attorney who dedicates myself fully to the cases I take on ... I’m there to see cases through to the end.

–Daniel Ballard

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