My Life is Defined By Disaster
It’s 2005, I’m 21, and Hurricane Katrina has just devastated New Orleans. I’m living in Boston, unsure about what I really want to do with my life, so I decide to take a few months off and volunteer in Nola.
It’s a weird, dangerous place to be in the months after the storm. But I’m helping to gut houses and hand out supplies. I see firsthand the physical devastation of a hurricane – destroyed neighborhoods, long gas lines, and displaced people with nowhere to go.
Many insurance companies refuse to pay, and even more people aren’t insured. I feel the community’s shock and anger, and I feel like I need to do something.
I helped start the Student Hurricane Network, and suddenly I’m bonding with lawyers and law students and getting involved in the legal process so people can rebuild their homes and reclaim their lives.
It’s wild, it’s scary, but I love it. I came to New Orleans as a music student, but I realize that law is what I love most, so I enroll in Tulane Law School.
After graduating, my grades earned me offers at my pick of law firms. I chose a great firm in New York based on the people who I thought were amazing.
And then, my first assignment is helping a huge insurance company figure out how to save millions by NOT paying a claim – the exact opposite of who I thought I’d be.
The firm paid me to defer for a year. The only catch was I needed to do volunteer work. I loved it.
Returning to New Orleans, I surrounded myself again with lawyers and mentors I admired and respected. They passed on amazing skills of being an excellent lawyer and taking a case to trial. They also taught me how to negotiate in a way where the client always comes first.
Getting thrown all in was a great baptism by fire, and I didn’t want to leave. As the economy recovered, I quit the NYC firm.
Needing to make a living, I joined a local boutique defense firm.
And what do they assign me to do? Help a company figure out how to NOT pay for fire damage! I hated the work, but I did learn how insurance companies think.
One day, I’m with a discrimination case client. He starts weeping in the middle of our meeting, and he can’t focus - his house had just burned down.
So I work with another attorney and a public adjuster to rehouse him - I was in love!
This was when I discovered what I really wanted to do with my life.
So I learned a new area of law which I eventually mastered, property casualty.
Then Hurricane Laura hits Louisiana.
I feel the same magnetic force as Katrina.
I throw my stuff in an RV, and my fiance doesn’t see me for months. The firm I’ve just started has to figure out how to run without me.
I immediately start helping people with their insurance inspections and I barbeque for hundreds of people every night. It inadvertently results in a lot of new clients.
I add rocket fuel to this growth by hiring some of America’s best property casualty lawyers.
I don’t wake up in the morning and care about what’s in my bank account. I only go to sleep thinking about who we helped today and what we can do tomorrow.
We fight like hell; it’s in our marrow. Our clients return home fast, and we’ve won millions in insurance claims from Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Ida.
And as I write this, six families have been rehoused in the last 30 minutes. No matter how big we get, it’s the one statistic I require to be reported to me daily.
I’m so lucky and can’t imagine doing anything else.
A Multi-Talented Team With a Singular Focus
Galen M. Hair
Lauren E. Checki
David C. Spinner
Trent J. Moss
Madison C. Pitre
J. Ross Massey
Kyle C. Usner
Mary K. Taliancich
Samuel J. Ford
John S.H. Miner
Shane P. Welch
Meghann L. Chonowski
W. Parker Logan
Shay Fabacher Jaumé
Lori A. Waters
Gretchen L. Casey
Jared M. Shearman
Steven M Bush
William (Trey) Flournoy
Forrest (Todd) Frederick
Sheldon (Donnie) Worrell
Picking Up The Pieces
Why you need to file a property claim
Who adjusters are and how they really work
How to avoid being taken advantage of
How to get temporary accommodations