Attorney at Law Magazine Palm Beach publisher Rhenne Leon sat down with Daniel Rodriguez of Ramon, Rodriguez & Blanco-Herrera, LLP to discuss his career.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
DR: I grew up watching my father fighting for the liberty of individuals as a criminal defense attorney, and saw the respect he received from being their attorney. As I got older, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer for the people to ensure that their hard-earned investments in property was preserved.
AALM: Do you have any mentors or professors that encouraged you along the way?
DR: The one mentor that was always there for me during my long road to becoming an attorney was my father, Oscar S. Rodriguez. Also, long-time friend, Alejandro R. Alvarez, who was my supervising attorney at my first gig out of law school, really taught me about always being extra prepared for everything in civil litigation practice. Lastly, Daniel Zumpano, was one of the people that guided me (including my father) when I needed it most in obtaining my Florida bar license.
AALM: What was the greatest lesson you learned in law school?
DR: During law school, I surrounded myself around a small group of friends that helped each other. We all dealt with the punches that life can throw at you and it taught me that you have to surround yourself with the right people in order to give yourself a chance to prosper in our profession that has proven to be very cutthroat.
AALM: What experiences have taught you the most?
DR: The experience of having to wait six years to obtain my bar license aided me in being very patient with cases that tend to be more complex. Sometimes you need to take a step back and review everything again to make sure the next step is the right one because that could make or break your case.
AALM: What do you find most rewarding about your practice?
DR: My practice allows me and my firm to help people in our community facing the stresses of going through an insurance claim. Being able to see their appreciation when their claim reaches a conclusion or settlement is priceless.
AALM: What do you find challenging about your practice?
DR: Our profession is very cutthroat and time is a killer. The longer a claim takes to bring to conclusion or settlement, the harder it is for a client to understand. Since there are so many plaintiffs attorneys (with more jumping in every year), maintaining your clients is just as important as working the claims. I have had clients come to me because they’re unhappy with their representation. Taking that business from someone else is the hardest decision to make. What goes around, comes around.
AALM: What traits do you think make an attorney exceptional?
DR: Communication and honesty. You have to communicate with your clients honestly, even if it means telling them something they don’t want to hear.
AALM: What compelled you to start your own firm?
DR: When I was at my old firm, Marin Eljaiek, Lopez & Martinez, P.L (then Marin, Eljaiek & Lopez, P.L.), I made the hard choice of jumping out on my own. When I finally made that decision, I was the partner in my firm that brought the three partners together to create RRBH Law.
AALM: Tell us about your fellow attorneys at your firm? How do you work together?
DR: The attorneys at our firm are all hard-working attorneys who work together to achieve success. Knowing that when you need someone to lend a helping hand, they will be there for you no matter what, is so important.
We are very laid back and make it easy for our team to feel at home when they are in the office. We always have an open-door policy so that our employees do not feel embarrassed to ask us for help on any assignment they have.
AALM: How did Covid-19 impacted your practice?
DR: I believe the use of Zoom has aided our profession in ways that may very well change it for the better. I have implemented the use of video conferencing to communicate with my clients more efficiently. I can explain their case better by showing them the insurance company’s position versus our position in a way that will allow them to understand their case more.
Also, I now have weekly video conferences with my team to go over our calendar and show them how to prepare specific documents, allowing me to delegate more work.
I truly hope that the courts implement Zoom for good as it pertains to motion practice and depositions. It will allow me to better serve my clients more efficiently and effectively as I will be able to use my time that would be normally spent on travel time to now be spent working on other matters. Not to mention how this can help change the current state of our global environment for the better.
AALM: Thus far in your career, what are you most proud of accomplishing.
DR: My success since I have gone on my own is by far my proudest. Taking that risk and being able to remain successful is the best achievement to accomplish.
AALM: Can you tell us a funny story from your career?
DR: One funny story that comes up every year is that during my first ever mediation I handled at my old firm, when Bob Dulberg asked us to present our case I immediately stood up as if I was in court. My old boss, Anthony Lopez, was quick to remind me that we were not in court and could stay seated while presenting our case. We all had a quick laugh. Bob and I bring that up to this day during other mediations we have together.
AALM: What case most redefined your practice?
DR: I had the Guzman case, and it taught me a lot about the procedures involved in the appraisal process of a property insurance claim. See Guzman v. American Security Ins. Co., 377 F.Supp.3d 1362, 1365 (S.D. Fla. 2019). This case continues to resurface when similar issues arise and teaches me something new every time it comes up in another case.
AALM: What is the one piece of advice you would give to a student or young attorney?
DR: Always plan for failure.
AALM: What do you most hope to accomplish in the future?
DR: By far peace of mind. I want to be able to reflect on all the cases I worked on and say to myself that I did the best I could.
AALM: What events are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
DR: The birth of my third child (second daughter), and the hopeful end to this coronavirus pandemic.
AALM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
DR: A big thank you to all who helped in the last eight years of my career, and most importantly those that have been a big influence in my growth over the past five years.