Staff Profile – Joe Baker Paralegal
Joe Baker brings a wealth of experience and a passion for client service to his role as a paralegal, case manager and client relations manager for the legal team at The Millar Law Firm.
A native of Hillsborough, N.J., Joe developed his skills and knowledge by attending Raritan Valley Community College, earning several claims handling certifications and working extensively in the insurance industry.
First, he served as a claims adjuster with a large insurance defense law firm, defending against asbestos claims. He then spent more than 13 years as a medical malpractice claims adjuster for the largest medical malpractice insurer in the state of New Jersey.
Now in his tenth year with the firm, Joe contributes a unique ‘insider’ perspective on how insurance companies view and evaluate personal injury claims, which helps him maximize the results we are able to achieve throughout the firm.
When he isn’t serving clients, Joe spends his time with his wife and three sons, ages 7, 8 and 10. He also is an avid golfer with a five handicap who has competed three times in the New Jersey Amateur Championship. He also enjoys water sports and sports cars.
1. How does your experience help you serve your firm’s personal injury clients?
I understand how personal injuries can have a huge impact on the lives of clients and their families, and how frustrating or, unfortunately, tragic it can be to have their lives altered by an accident.
I also understand first-hand that insurance companies are in it for the money. They have no sympathy or compassion for the victims of the accidents they insure. They essentially do not care about the impact an accident has on its victims. They routinely overlook the inconvenience an accident causes to their daily lives and, in some instances, even attempt to gloss over or minimize the tragic implications that an accident involving a death or a permanent injury may have on a victim and their family.
2. What services do you provide to clients in your role as a paralegal, case manager and client relations manager?
As a client relations manager, my primary responsibility is to be there for our clients and to help them cope with the disruptions that an accident causes for them and their families. Sometimes they need somewhere to just vent out their frustrations, and sometimes their experiences can teach us ways to deal more effectively with other clients with similar issues. The bottom line is that my goal is to help our clients cope with the implications of an accident and to find ways to effectively help our clients communicate with us so that we can better understand and address their needs. In some instances, it is just to listen to the clients and provide them with an outlet to release their frustrations and to provide suggestions to help them cope.
As a paralegal and case manager, my goal is to bring my vast experience to the table to make sure our cases are thoroughly investigated and developed in order to maximize the recovery our clients need and deserve.
3. How do the firm’s attorneys and paralegals work together as a team to develop cases?
We communicate extensively between attorneys and paralegals, and we treat each case as important, regardless of the size or the potential.All tasks that our paralegals handle are under the direction of an attorney. We utilize an interactive case management system that allows each of us to track and monitor every aspect of a case. We routinely have roundtable discussions to make sure we are addressing all issues in a case and to look at each case from multiple perspectives.
I think our attorneys and our clients truly appreciate the fact that they are working with paralegals who have decades of combined front-line experience.
4. When a client has a question about a case, can they contact you?
Our paralegals are the front line. We want our clients to know that they can discuss their case with our paralegals or our attorneys at any time, at their convenience. We are all people-oriented and we are effective communicators, and we’re all truly glad to see our clients satisfied with the service we provide.
5. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Obviously, it is the relief and reward that a client receives when a case is effectively resolved. It is rewarding to know that we have helped clients through a complicated and frustrating ordeal and that we have done everything we could to ensure that the recovery they received fairly represented the physical, financial and emotional hardships they had to endure.