Dan Baldwin 2013-05-03 00:12:50
The Main Thing is to Get Things Done for Your Client Attorney Don Fendon, founder of the Fendon Law Firm, says, “You want to treat everyone with respect. What goes around comes around. Basically you get a lot more done being courteous, conscientious and helpful. That seems to be true with the insurance companies and we deal with a lot of them. If you’re civil to the people who you work with, they’re going to be civil in return in most cases. The main thing is you want to get things done for your client and the best way to do that is to treat the insurance adjusters with respect.” This philosophy of doing business was developed through Fendon’s more than 40 years in the legal profession - experience that has given him a keen insight into his area of specialization in workers’ compensation law. He has also handled Social Security disability cases since 1979 and is one of the longest-practicing attorneys involved in handling workers’ compensation cases in Arizona (since October, 1972). The Fendon Law Firm, P.C. provides comprehensive workers’ compensation, Social Security disability (SSD) and employment law representation throughout Arizona. The firm, based in Phoenix, has an office in Flagstaff and is available for regular appointments in Prescott Valley. It also handles cases from Casa Grande, Payson, Kingman and Yuma. “I’ve been certified seven times by the State Bar and those are five-year certifications as a specialist in workers’ compensation,” he says. He has been an AV-rated attorney by the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating system since 1990. This is the highest possible peer review rating that an attorney can have. Fendon also has a 10.0 (superb) rating with AVVO, which is recognized by the legal community for excellent, professional conduct and experience. He also is a member of the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, the workers’ compensation section of the State Bar and, of course, is a certified specialist by the State Bar of Arizona in workers’ compensation law. In 1979, Fendon was a member of the first group of attorneys certified by the State Bar as lawyers specializing in workers’ compensation law. Fendon says, “I still love practicing workers’ compensation law. I think it’s a great field in which to practice. It’s been very good to my family and me. I’ve enjoyed it. Looking back on my life, I wouldn’t have gone into any other specialty in the practice of the law.” Fendon is a native of Chicago, Ill., who moved to Arizona in 1969 and has been a resident of Phoenix since that time. He graduated from the University of California, Berkley in 1965 and from the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. in 1968. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1969 and to the State Bar of Arizona in 1970. He has been licensed to practice law in Arizona since 1970 and in addition to working in the workers’ compensation field since 1972, he also has prosecuted for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in 1971 and 1972. He worked for the Arizona State Compensation Fund from October, 1972 until June, 1978. He was trained at the state fund by the late Robert K. Park, one of the icons in the field. He went into private practice in July, 1979. He has been a partner in three law firms, but founded his own firm in 1992. His practice areas are workers’ compensation law and Social Security disability law, with 100 percent of his practice devoted to litigation. He is admitted to the bars in Arizona, in Florida, where he still maintains an active license, the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, the U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. The Fendon Law Firm employs two additional lawyers: son Matthew Craig Fendon, who is Fendon’s law and business partner, and Ms. Janell Dianne Youtsey. Ms. Jami Goldman is of counsel. Fendon’s oldest daughter, Nancy Astemborski, works as one of the firm’s paralegals and is the office manager. Fendon’s wife, Paula Anne Fendon, works part time in the office. Their youngest daughter, Donna Fendon-Allen, is currently attending Phoenix School of Law and has plans to join the firm when she passes the bar. Fendon’s administrative assistant, Dana Marllette, has been with him more than 30 years. Fendon’s family is very important to him. He will have been married to Paula for forty-three years on June 5th. They have four children–two sons and two daughters–four grandsons and two granddaughters The Fendon Law Firm motto is “Providing a beacon of light to individuals injured on the job and in need of disability benefits.” The attorneys and full staff are experienced in the complex workers’ compensation field and in Social Security disability matters, including filing claims, handling denied claims and appeals, and reopening closed claims. His son, Matt, also has started performing some work in the employment law field. Matt is a great business rainmaker and has developed many contacts with many attorneys and firms. The firm’s attorneys, paralegals and assistants are trained to anticipate issues and challenges that may occur and are prepared to address the intricacies of cases involving different types of injuries, permanent impairment issues, disability ratings, lost wages and independent examinations. Working in a More Litigious Field Today The industry has changed significantly within the 40 years Fendon has been practicing law and the insurance companies seemingly have become more difficult to deal with, he says. “I’ve been involved in defense and/or plaintiff ’s workers’ compensation law for more than 40 years. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the field. Carriers used to be a lot easier to deal with in the 1970s and 1980s and now some of them currently are much more difficult to interact with and as a result, there probably is more litigation than there should be. That’s frustrating.” He regrets the trend toward increasing litigation and notes that “back in the seventies, eighties and even the nineties, attorneys could get things done faster. Carriers were easier to deal with. Carriers were more courteous and flexible. “I guess it comes down to dollars and cents. Since they’ve become so conscious about dollars and cents, it’s gotten more and more litigious in the field. That’s been frustrating to an extent, but I still enjoy doing what I do,” he says. Fendon’s extensive experience in this specialized area of the law provides him with an insight into the “major players” in the field, which is a significant advantage in the courtroom or at the negotiating table. “I know all the lawyers who practice in this field - both defense and plaintiff. I’ve had interaction with most of them. It’s a very good bar. The people who practice in this area are for the most part easy to deal with and are good, competent and gracious people. My knowledge of the law from the time I’ve spent in this field - because it is an intricate specialty, the interaction with all the lawyers who practice in this area and also the many claims adjusters who I still know has helped me a lot in representing plaintiffs,” he says. He stresses the importance of maintaining good working relationships with attorneys, adjusters and others working in the field and it is essential to treat everyone with respect. Leading a Balanced Life Fendon balances his dedication to his profession with a life equally dedicated to family and interests. He enjoys traveling, especially in the mountainous Western United States. In addition, he and Paula and son, Matt, and daughter-in-law, Colleen, also own a place in Flagstaff where he loves to spend time, especially in the summer and fall. He also has a collection of vintage Lionel model railroad trains from the fifties and sixties from his days as a model railroading hobbyist. Fendon enjoys fishing, playing bridge and hearts, watching spectator sports and old movies from the 1950s through the 1990s. He is an avid fan of the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants and Phoenix Coyotes. He and Paula rescued an eight-year-old labrador retriever (Hunter) last year and the dog has become a great friend. Fendon is also very involved with First Christian Church in Phoenix. He is an Elder and a long-time member and participates in various activities. His motivation at church and at work is the same , he says. “I like people and enjoy them.” With regard to injured workers, I know most of them have needed our help and I was fortunate enough to be able to help them. I have felt great concern and empathy for a lot of them who I don’t believe always have been treated fairly. I’ve appreciated being able to help them and I’ve been very blessed in that regard. My family also has been blessed by what I do. “As I look back on my life, there’s not a better field that I could have gotten into, and I know that I am in the right place doing the right thing.”
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