Merlin Law Group - May 2020

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MAY 2020


The Adjuster’s Advocate From Lyrics to Litigation How Jeff Carter Went From Entertainment to Law

Jeff went to law school later in life. While he had an interest in law from a young age, life took him in a very different direction. After high school, instead of going straight to college, he went into what you might call the family business — country music and entertainment. It helped that Jeff was born and raised in Nashville. His father, Fred Carter Jr., had an established career as a studio guitarist, songwriter, producer, and record label executive. His sister, Deana Carter, followed

to play guitar and make a living. He ultimately had surgery and it went very well, but he decided it was time to make a different plan for the future. He was still interested in law and saw a future there. Jeff enrolled in college for the first time at age 29 and completed his undergraduate studies in psychology on a compressed two-and-a-half-year schedule, receiving the highest honors. He then took a year off to tour with country music superstar Jake Owen before entering law school at the University of Tennessee. There he took an overload course load, served as the editor of the Tennessee Law Review, and graduated a semester early with honors and an intention to return to the Nashville music industry. However, the Nashville music industry had changed quickly while Jeff was in law school. Industry jobs changed significantly and opportunities that had existed previously became fewer and farther between. Jeff’s colleagues with long histories in the industry found themselves doing other work. Having done well in law school and life, Jeff decided to pursue other opportunities, which lead him to Panama City, Florida, near his wife’s hometown and family. There, Jeff worked at a respected, established law firm doing commercial litigation and transactions along with insurance work, making partner at the firm before departing to start his own firm. During that time, Jeff had begun to handle first-party property insurance claims. Then, on Oct. 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle and changed the course of Jeff’s personal and professional life. Jeff’s family’s home was devastated along with so many others. Soon after the storm, through connections with colleagues, Jeff’s name found its

in their father’s footsteps and established a career of her own with hit songs such as “Strawberry Wine,” which sold over 6 million albums. Jeff was the musical director, guitar player, and background vocalist in his sister’s band, and together, they enjoyed tours and other great experiences around the world, including appearances on everything from David Letterman and Jay Leno to national radio and sold-out arenas. Jeff established a career in his own right in the industry with songwriting and record deals in his 20s. In the midst of all of that, Jeff was negotiating his own contracts and deals and was no stranger to the “business” of music. He negotiated deals on his behalf and that of his friends. Having grown up in the business, he had seen a lot of those negotiations firsthand and understood the complexities and personalities involved.

When Jeff was 27, he suffered an elbow injury and was told by his doctors that it might impact his ability

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