Mason Waring is a partner at CCK, and practices in the area of ERISA and non-ERISA long-term disability benefits.
Read the BLOG here to learn more about Mason!
Robert: Hi, this Robert Chisholm from Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. We’re here today with Mason Waring and this is part of our Meet the Team series. So, Mason can you tell us where you grew up?
Mason: Rhode Island.
Robert: Okay. And did you go to college in Rhode Island?
Mason: I did. I attended Rhode Island College.
Robert: And what did you major in in college?
Mason: Public administration and political science.
Robert: And after graduating from Rhode Island College, what did you do next?
Mason: I accepted a job with the Governor’s office auditing state government for a year.
Robert: I imagine that it was interesting auditing state government.
Mason: Yes. Yes. Particularly in Rhode Island. It was a really good- really good experience.
Robert: And eventually you decided to go to law school.
Mason: I did.
Robert: And where did you go to law school?
Mason: Roger Williams.
Robert: Okay. Was there any course that stands out that sort of influenced your career trajectory?
Mason: Yeah, trial advocacy really had an impact on me. My professor was a plaintiffs lawyers and he represented individuals in their claims against large insurance companies for personal injuries. And hearing his stories about his work each day standing up for the little guy and in getting justice for them really resonated with me.
Robert: You came to Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick just about a decade ago.
Mason: That’s right. 2008.
Robert: And what is your current position with us?
Mason: I am a partner. I was honored to be named partner in 2017.
Robert: And can you tell us about what area of law you practice in?
Mason: Sure. I practice insurance litigation. And my emphasis is in representing individuals in their claims for long-term disability benefits under ERISA and non- ERISA long-term disability policies, some life insurance policies and some health insurance claims as well.
Robert: Can you give us an example when an ERISA policy would be, like in an example of a typical case that you would see that we get involve in?
Mason: Sure. If your employer provided long-term disability benefits for you as an employment benefit, more often than not, that benefit would be governed by ERISA which is a federal law. People could also buy long-term disability coverage themselves directly from the insurance company. That would probably not be ERISA governed. And people come to us if they have a disability that prevents them from working and they need to make a claim or they’ve made a claim and been denied by the insurance company, they come to us for assistance getting those benefits.
Robert: And these claims can be challenging because ultimately if they’re denied, they end up in federal court.
Mason: Most of them. The ERISA governed ones often and sometimes the non-ERISA ones as well.
Robert: And for the ERISA ones, you don’t get a trial by jury, correct?
Mason: That’s right. It’s tricky because you have an administrative appeal process you need to go through if your claim is denied. And if during that administrative appeal process, it’s important that you get all of the substantive evidence that you would need to win your case in court in the record at that point. Because when you go to court, you’re probably dealing with a close– with few exceptions, a closed record. And then you’re going to have a judge making a decision on that closed record.
Robert: So it’s important to get as much, for example medical evidence and whatever legal arguments made at the administrative process so you can bring it all to the court if you ultimately need.
Mason: That’s right. And there’s other types of evidence too. Some cases require vocational evidence and experts and there could be many other items and it’s really case specific.
Robert: And what’s the ideal time to contact our law firm in one of those cases?
Mason: You know, for some people it make sense to have representation with the initial claim but I’d say that the pivotal time is for the appeal because that is probably the last chance you have particularly in a non-ERISA– I’m sorry- in an ERISA case to make that evidentiary record.
Robert: What do you enjoy or find interesting about working in this area of ERISA law?
Mason: I get to help people every day. And no one comes to us because they’re having a good day frankly. But we’re able to put our experience and hard work to work for them to get them their benefits and hopefully improve their situation and give them some financial stability.
Robert: Can you talk about your philosophy a way– the way your team would typically handle one of these claims?
Mason: Sure. It all starts with handling cases the way that we would want our own personal cases handled. And so we use the same skill and bring the same enthusiasm and dedication to each claim to provide tough representation for our clients against big insurance companies but show our clients the compassion that they need because they’re dealing with a tough time in their life.
Robert: Is there a specific geographic area that we represent people in these ERISA claims?
Mason: On the administrative appeals, we can handle them around the country. We’re usually dealing with national and regional claims offices with- from large insurance companies. So that’s not an issue. And in terms of litigation, we can either put them in court locally or use local council around the country if the administrative appeal was denied.
Robert: Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life? What you like to do in your free time?
Mason: I have two young boys that are into sports and so I’m always busy either coaching or attending a game and running, biking, golfing, all of that.
Robert: You also make videos from time to time, don’t you?
Mason: We occasionally make a Lego stop motion video or two but–
Robert: So that must be- you must be pretty savvy with the technology then to be able to do that.
Mason: We’re comfortable with the technology and it’s a good tech lesson for the boys too.
Robert: Anything else you like to share with our audience?
Mason: This is the- if I had to pick the firm that I would be with, I mean this is ideal. We are passionate about taking care of our clients, we’re dedicated to our work and it’s just a good enjoyable group to be with.
Robert: Well Mason thank you for joining us here this afternoon. This is Robert Chisholm and Mason Waring from Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick.