My name is Paul Harding, and I’m the managing partner of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
Went to SUNY Oswego, and I selected SUNY Oswego because they were the one college out of three that accepted me. So they made it really, really simple. And I went there and I became a student. I said at that point I kind of had a love for education. I found myself saying, “Wow. Okay. So, this is something that I can do, that I enjoy doing, and that I wanna pursue.” So it was catch-up time at Oswego, and school went well. I had some success there and then the idea of law school was always there.
So we have a theme at the firm, and most people could fill in these words, if I said, “Given a choice…” choose kindness. Right? That is sort of where people understand that that’s the genesis of who we are as a business. And it sounds absurd. Again, you know, that is sort of our tagline internally. And so when someone calls our office, and they’re at their worst time, they tend…we tend to catch them at their worst, or maybe just coming off their worst. They’ve been injured, they’re…don’t have any money, they scared, they’re not sure how life’s gonna proceed moving forward. So we treat it exactly as if a family or friend was calling us and said, “Hey Paul. I got in an accident.” I’d be like, “Really, what happened?” Because that would be the emotion. And so we’ve transformed our relationship sort of immediately to get the sense that these people are calling, they need help. We’ve got to go out there and we’ve got to recognize that what we do in the next 24 hours, 48 hours, is gonna be the difference in the case. And so we find ourselves in that position.
Ultimately, we decided that we could be a law firm, and we could represent people who otherwise don’t know they have the ability to get represented. Now, in 2019 that sounds crazy. But in 1992 and 1993 there was still the sense that, “Well, if I want a lawyer, I better have some money. I can’t afford a lawyer. What does it cost?” And so we recognized that most people were the way we were growing up. We grew up blue collar, we didn’t know lawyers, we didn’t know we could get lawyers So, the idea that we could make ourselves accessible to the public. So, how did we do that? We did that through advertising. They could call. We seemed approachable. We didn’t seem like we were someone that was gonna give them a hard time when they called. And really, that’s been the genesis of our advertising.
So when I’m not working, you know, I find myself just really enjoying the time of my life with my children. I had children a little bit later in life, so I’ve got myself a eighth-grader and soon to be tenth-grader. Girls. And so that’s sort of becomes a full-time job, spending time with them, that I love, a job that I cherish
I guess that’s the fascinating part. So we do some things that are very public with the community. You know, we do the cab rides, we do tons of bicycle helmet giveaways, we do a five-hour class for kids before they get their license, and the list sort of goes on and on and on. That’s on a fairly weekly basis, that something happens that we just are opportunistically able to do and to help. And that’s just fun. That’s just fun.