Vicki Hogue-Davies 2014-07-26 00:25:40
A PASSION FOR PRACTICING INSURANCE LAW Insurance law attorney Douglas Dieker’s favorite quote is “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” “It means, if you put in the effort, you will get the results,” Dieker explains, adding that he frequently repeats the quote to his children. His hard work has paid off in his successful solo practice, which he opened approximately seven years ago. The practice focuses primarily in insurance bad faith and personal injury claims throughout Arizona. Dieker came to practice in insurance bad faith after clerking for an attorney who specialized in the area. He had never heard of the practice area before that time. After passing the bar in 1997, he spent two years working for the attorney as an associate and realized that he had found his calling. “We handled mainly homeowner and commercial claims,” he says. “For the most part clients came to us when they had a fire, storm damage or other loss, and the insurance company either treated them unfairly or denied their claim without a reasonable basis. For most of us, our biggest asset is our home. When it is jeopardized by some event that you bought insurance to protect against and expected the insurance to cover and it doesn’t come through or is delayed, that can be pretty devastating for people. I loved feeling like I was helping them.” PURSUING HIS AMBITION Since he was a young boy, Dieker knew he wanted to be an attorney. However, he took a circuitous route to get there, working as a police officer for two years in his home state of Kansas before finally realizing his childhood ambition. “Ever since I can remember I wanted to be an attorney,” he says. “I don’t know if it was because I thought it was a prestigious profession or what. It was just something I always wanted to be.” He attended Kansas State University with the intention of attending law school immediately. Instead, just before graduating from college, he joined the police force. He was able to return to school, though, and ultimately graduated with his Juris Doctor from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. Today, Dieker enjoys the independence that being an attorney and a solo practitioner provides. “Having a law degree has allowed me to own my own business and work for myself,” he says. “And when you work for yourself you can make your own hours, you can take time off and you can spend time with your family and really not feel guilty about it. That for me is a main benefit of being a lawyer. “I also like the competition of it,” he continues. “I like going against insurance companies and their lawyers and making arguments and coming up with strategies. And when you win it feels really good and when you lose it doesn’t feel so great, but that is part of the competition.” WORK-LIFE BALANCE His family includes his wife, Monica, who is also the firm’s paralegal and the only other employee. “She runs the show, I just ride along,” he says. Dieker has four children, three girls and a boy, ranging from 2 months old to 19 years old. “It is a very wide age range. I have a newborn and one in college. Not too many people can say that or would even want to say that,” he laughs. Away from work he enjoys spending time with his family, but he does note that as a solo practitioner, it is rare when he is not accessible to clients. “I may not be in the office at my desk, but nowadays with mobile devices I am accessible pretty much every day all day,” he says. “I might be responding to emails or drafting emails or thinking of things in my head that I want to do on a case. When you are solo, there is very little time not spent on considering your profession, considering your cases and just dealing with things.” In addition to practicing law, Dieker must also contend with all of the administrative aspects of running a business himself. “There are a lot of aspects like paying the bills, doing the marketing to keep cases coming in and more,” he explains. “So there is a lot more to practicing law then just the practice of law.” To de-stress from his busy professional life, Dieker ensures that he has time for just himself. “I try to get some physical activity in every day,” he says. “The first part of my day is spent in the gym. It not only helps me physically by getting my heart rate up, but it helps me mentally, which I think is the biggest benefit. Working out gives me the release I need to keep taking on insurance companies for my clients.” And what does he think the lawyers at those companies would say about him? “I would hope that they would say I am a good lawyer and that I am fair and reasonable,” he says. “I think they would say I am diligent in the fact that I try to learn the cases and facts as best I can and work hard for my clients. That is what I hope they would say.”
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