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The Adjuster’s Advocate
Mike Duffy on Getting Ready for the Next Case
(Over) Prepared for Anything
Before joining Merlin Law Group, I had my own firm in Chicago. Then, I made a change in 2016 along with two other partners from the firm, and we opened Merlin Law Group’s Chicago office. I joined as Merlin’s lead trial attorney, the position Craig Kubiak had before he became Merlin Law Group’s managing attorney. With a career spanning nearly 38 years, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve worked as an attorney in many capacities, from the automobile-component industry to litigating mold damage and injury cases, and I’m grateful for each opportunity. Today, I spend a lot of time counseling younger lawyers, filling the mentor role that so many great people filled in my career over the years. When I’m not guiding those who are newer to the field, I serve as a litigator and trial attorney – a role that has taken me to 44 states. Working in so many different places gives you an interesting perspective. While performing your duties in other states and jurisdictions as a “guest,” you can certainly feel like an outsider (in some states more than others). Several times, I’ve found myself not only working hard on the case but working hard to earn the respect of my peers in that state. All you can do is walk in with integrity and competence and hope they recognize that. As the outsider, you’re held to a much higher standard than anyone else in the room, and it can really test you. But I stay focused on the case at hand. This year, I’ve tried three cases and am fully prepared for another eight. I love moving from trial to trial, though it means I get very few days off. Once one trial is over, I generally have a few days to catch up on the next trial before I tackle it head- on. I’ve been doing it this way for years, and I’m still not tired of it.
a lot of great mentors who taught me how to be disciplined and work smart, as well as the value of overpreparing — not to mention how to successfully work long days. I learned how crucial it was to be overprepared and vigilant when facing the opposition. That’s what puts you in a class above the other side, and these are all values I continue hold near and dear. While many cases don’t go to trial, you want the other side to know you’re willing to take it there. You must have the skill and mettle to be willing to pose that risk to the opposition. If it’s clear that a settlement isn’t in the cards, we’re always happy to take the case to trial. This level of competence is what increases the value of a case, pushing the opposition to their limits. Of course, trials are always risky in themselves. Between the judges and juries, going to trial offers many unknown factors. There is never a guarantee about how the jury will think, feel, or react. But when you have the skills and resources at your disposal, as Chip Merlin provides to his attorneys, you can mitigate much of that risk. I can’t say enough about the value of preparing and overpreparing. It’s one of the built-in features of the trial team I’m privileged to be a part of at Merlin Law Group. The work they do on here is just incredible, with an unmatched level of care. Considering the fact that my career has spanned almost four decades and I’ve been a part of so many different cases, I can’t help think about what my Mom once told me: “You’ve been blessed to have an interesting life.” I’m thankful for my career and that I can help others, all while knowing I can make a difference.
I can’t say enough about the value of preparing and overpreparing. It’s one of the built-in features of the trial team I’m privileged to be a part of at Merlin Law Group.
As I began practicing in the 1980s and my career developed into the ‘90s, I was fortunate to havemerlinlawgroup.com
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