I began my legal career in 1978 as a second-year law clerk. Initially, most of my work was for insurance companies who had the responsibility to provide defense and settlement benefits to commercial policyholders. Before my first summer was up, I was asked to read an insurance policy and brief a senior partner as to what it said (in plain English).Before long, I was helping contractors whose insurance companies had deserted them when they had a casualty. Sometimes, I had to tell my client that there was no coverage. Most of the time, I found that the insurer had conducted a one-sided investigation, placing its own financial interests in denying claims payments over the interests of their own policyholders.
During my first twenty years, I litigated coverage disputes. Eventually I grew dis-satisfied with the litigation process. By the turn of the Century, I completely revamped my practice, and in doing so, became one of the very few national coverage lawyers to concentrate their practice on the negotiation of settlements involving coverage and bad faith disputes. It is now my full time job.
Much as general contractors need a “design” to build to, clients and litigators need an insurance recovery plan to execute. And because over 90% of all coverage and bad faith disputes are resolved by settlement rather than by a judicial coverage decision, I design settlement and mediation plans for clients and litigators on both national coasts, most often working hand in hand with local coverage litigators. While many attorneys count professional time by the number of cases they’ve tried, I measure my time by the number of settlements I have negotiated. The majority of my time is spent preparing coverage evaluations and recovery strategies, and preparing for and attending mediations and settlement negotiations around the country.
Over the years, I have learned much from the construction industry. One of the most basic things I have learned is that the construction industry is founded on two crafts: project scheduling and project management. My own individual passion is to bring these traditional methodologies to both the formal and negotiated resolution of policyholder disputes. I have found that no matter what the nature of the dispute is, my clients have more peace of mind once they know there is a plan, know what it is, know there is a schedule, and know that the execution of the plan is being managed.