Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler’s mantra, “The Team, The Team, The Team” has been adopted by the Raleigh office of Midkiff, Muncie & Ross (MMR) and its North Carolina Director of Operation Brian Groesser, a former Michigander. It is consistent with the vision Charles F. “Chuck” Midkiff had for the firm when he founded it in Richmond in 1987.
MMR has 39 attorneys working from six offices in North Carolina and Virginia. The firm represents insurance companies, employers, government and private entities and licensed professionals. Roughly half of its cases are workers’ compensation; the rest are largely comprised of liability, property and coverage.
“Many of our attorneys are recognized among our clients and legal peers as leaders in the insurance defense arena,” said Midkiff. “A number of authoritative legal publications recognize many lawyers at MMR as preeminently qualified in their respective specialties. Our senior partners have enormous bench strength when it comes to complex insurance defense cases. We mentor our associate attorneys so that they can draw from that experience and knowledge base for the ultimate benefit of our clients. We also provide close support and oversight to our branch offices, such as Raleigh.”
A Big Step
MMR opened its Raleigh office in 2013. It was the firm’s first physical location outside of Virginia. “Our first venture into a new state was a big step, but one we were fully capable of supporting given the wealth of experience back in our offices in Virginia,” said Midkiff.
The Raleigh office has six attorneys and five staff members. “They all play important roles in the success of this expanding pract ice,” said Groesser. It handles liability, property, coverage, and workers’ compensation claims throughout North Carolina.
“We may have different degrees on the wall, but we’re all on the same team. We have different responsibilities, but we have the same goal: to provide efficient and effective representation to our clients,” Groesser explained.
“Strategic ‘off -the-clock’ collaboration either with senior partners in the Richmond office or among those in our Raleigh office enhances the firm’s teamwork methodology, and provides our clients with more bang for their buck,” said Groesser.
“We embrace brainstorming across legal teams. I think the best attorneys are the ones who can see both sides. They should be able to effectively argue their side, then turn around and argue the other side. Attorneys can get so focused on a case that it helps to have someone not entrenched in it to say, ‘Have you thought of this issue? What about this argument?’” said Groesser.
“When we get a file, we look at every angle. We consider our leverage and how best to utilize it; we also look at the weaknesses of the case, which gives us a realistic viewpoint of all the issues involved. If a case has so many weaknesses that it is more effective to settle rather than litigate – for ultimately the same or better result – then it is important to communicate that to the client. Likewise, if the scenario points to litigation, we are fully prepared with a strong defense,” said Groesser.
Healthy Work-Life Balance
MMR has always been committed to exible working arrangements to accommodate family and business needs, according to Groesser. He acknowledges the demands of insurance defense law and the competitiveness of the legal industry, but he is a firm believer in work-life balance. “Family is important. We don’t want our team to work all night and every weekend. I have three kids; my wife is a nurse and works odd hours. I want to be there when my kids have a game or a performance, and I want everyone else here to have the same opportunity,” said Groesser.
“If you like what you are doing, like the people with whom you are working, and have a healthy work-life balance, you are going to be more efficient and effective in representing our clients,” said Groesser. “Our goal is to have an office filled with people who want to be here not just have to be here to pay the bills. When someone wants to be at a place, he or she is going to do everything possible to make that place successful. This mindset benefits not only the MMR family, but also our clients.
“The MMR family is proud to embrace into its family the 17 children of the attorneys and staff of the Raleigh office,” Groesser continued. “The firm looks forward to hosting an annual holiday party, as well as family picnics and baseball outings, and genuinely enjoys time spent with the extended MMR family.”
“Our firm welcomes expansion of its footprint for the right reasons, that is, to accommodate client and insurance industry needs,” said Groesser.
“When we hired Brian to manage our Raleigh office, I imparted on him the mentality that has made the firm successful,” said Midkiff. “I emphasized strong client relations, effective representation, and efficient claim handling – those priorities haven’t changed in 30 years, and will continue into the future.”