Paul T. Martin – Author Interview

Paul T. Martin has actively practiced law in Tennesse, Florida, and Texas as an insurance defense attorney in private practice and as in-house counsel for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.

How have your own professional and personal experiences with disasters influenced the content of Bracing for Impact?

My very first day of law school at the University of Miami remains one of the most memorable in the school’s history.  That’s because we didn’t make it to class that day; Hurricane Andrew came ashore hours before we were supposed to start class.  Classmates and professors were left homeless as a result.  Right after graduation, I moved to Memphis, which sits very near the New Madrid fault line, an active source for earthquakes in the region.  Later, I took a job in Fort Lauderdale, where I had an office with a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean.  It dawned on me my very first day on the job that a hurricane would do serious damage to our office.  Add to that the recent wildfires we’ve experienced in Texas, and one thing is clear to me: regardless of where we are, there are all sorts of perils around us which can affect our law practices.  Ignoring them won’t make them less of a problem.  For our sake and for our clients’ well being, we should all take some precautions to be better prepared for emergencies.

Why do you think lawyers are a particularly important audience for a guide book on preparing for disasters?

Our rules of professional responsibility arguably require attorneys to have a disaster preparedness plan.  Unlike other businesses, we have an obligation to safeguard client property.  Some might argue that not only includes evidence a client has entrusted to us, but also the attorney’s files for that client.

In what ways do you think the book will benefit attorneys and their staff members?

My hope is that those attorneys who want to become better prepared but have no idea where to start will be able to pick up this book, read it, and quickly be able to formulate a good incident response and business continuity plan for their office. 

As a volunteer firefighter, I learned that  we have to take care of ourselves first if we expect to be of any help to others.

Learn more about Bracing for Impact: A Practical Guide to Preparing for Disasters.

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