Merlin Law Group - April 2020

813.229.1000 • M erlin L aw G roup.com

APRIL 2020

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The Adjuster’s Advocate An Island Away Julitza Perez Gives Puerto Rico a Voice

W hile many attorneys at Merlin Law Group are licensed in numerous states across the country, I joined the team with a slightly different background: I’m an attorney licensed in Puerto Rico. I joined MLG in November 2017, only a couple of months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, devastating the island and many other areas in the Caribbean. The law group wanted to work with an attorney who knew Puerto Rico and who had lived there. That was me. MLG wanted to open up an office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, because so many people there needed legal help in the aftermath of Maria. The insurance companies were putting up a fight. At the time, Puerto Rico had a few laws t hat favored the insurers over the people, but overall lacked laws necessary from proper insurer regulation. Many people were literally left in the dark. Early on, a big part of my role was understanding what we would need to do in order to open up an office on the island. Once we overcame that challenge, the next challenge was getting to work. I traveled extensively between Florida and Puerto Rico as we got everything set up and attorneys up to speed on the legal side of things. My role with MLG is unique. It’s a sort of hybrid attorney/paralegal. This is because I work in both Florida and Puerto Rico, but I’m only currently a licensed attorney in Puerto Rico. With most of my casework coming from Puerto Rico, that’s generally where my focus is.

The people of Puerto Rico also want to be heard ... we’re always ready to lend an ear to listen to their frustrations.

influential in my growth as a professional and as an individual and has given me perspective in working on Puerto Rico-based cases. Despite being a U.S. territory, the laws between the U.S., Florida, and Puerto Rico are very different, and just navigating that difference is a challenge all by itself. For our clients in Puerto Rico, it’s a major source of stress, and that’s an understatement at this point. Between living in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the recent earthquake, they want nothing more than to get their lives back on track. Since opening the Puerto Rico office, we’ve been working hard to do just that. As stressed as they are, we’ve been able to take some of that stress away. A lot of people needed hope and to know their struggles weren’t going to last forever. My family lives in Puerto Rico, and I know how important it is to be someone who can offer hope.

Traveling between two offices in two whole different states has been an incredible experience. It’s been

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