This article is reprinted with permission of Women’s Edition.
Written by William J. Dagendesh
Sporting a beard, a plaid shirt, and a gray sweater, Daniel Usiak seems more like a kindly uncle than a lawyer. However, appearances take a back seat for this veteran attorney, whose top priority is to provide clients with the best legal services possible.
The Law Office of Daniel K. Usiak, PC, handles cases that range from bankruptcy, debt, and social security. Whether defending clients or offering them a cup of coffee, this one-man show does it all. “I am the chef, cook, and bottle washer,” Daniel says, laughing.
Lowering himself into a chair in front of a long conference room table, Daniel explains that many people regard law as a complex network of never-ending rules and regulations. This can be intimidating. The law can indeed be confusing, he acknowledges, so he works to simplify terms and options, showing clients how they can achieve results and resolutions. “The law can be complicated,” he says, “and it’s my job to simplify it for you.”
When he takes on a new client, Daniel reviews and evaluates the client’s case portfolio, combing through every detail to find the best possible solution, so he can offer his client an effective strategy. “I strive to make my clients feel they have my full attention and expertise when working on their case,” Daniel says.
Daniel’s background is as unique as his approach to practicing law. As a junior high school student, Daniel dreamed about pursuing a career in the field of law, but he decided to major in history at the University of Illinois. Daniel went on to become an ordained United Methodist minister, serving at churches in Texas and New Mexico. He attended law school at the University of Houston and worked, for a time, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. He took the bar exam in 1980. In 2000, he took it again in order to practice law in Colorado.
Daniel believes that his pastoral background and sensitivity have enabled him to better serve clients. “I love helping people who are in a bad place, and I believe my background helps me when dealing with their issues,” Daniel shares. “For example, divorce is a painful, heartbreaking process, and it saddens me to see couples end their marriage. It’s like experiencing a death in the family.” It’s difficult to remain personally detached from such emotional experiences, but Daniel knows that he must, if he wants to bring about the best possible results for his clients. His training and experience as a pastor help him meet this challenge.
Bankruptcy cases can also be very emotional, Daniel notes, but it’s important to realize that this misfortune can befall anyone. “Sometimes, people end up with more debt than they can pay, especially if they haven’t worked for months. When the tech bubble burst, I worked with people earning six-figure incomes who now found it hard to find work for half that salary. So, I understand what they’re going through.”
Clients like area resident Louise McDermott find Daniel’s approach refreshing. When other lawyers declined her case, Louise asked Daniel to represent her. “Dan did a great job and even cut my bill in half because I had little money. I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome and would recommend him to everyone,” Louise shares. Ann-Marie Bryant agrees. When her family faced foreclosure on their home, Ann-Marie sought Daniel’s services. “Dan helped us file bankruptcy under Chapter 13, which allowed me to pay back into the black,” Anne-Marie says. “He is a great community lawyer, and his decision helped give us the tools to rehabilitate our finances.”
Daniel says he is amazed at how long he has been practicing law. “I entered the law profession to help give clients a fresh start. I am honored that a large number of my client referrals come from former clients and other attorneys,” he says. “Different attorneys bring their own perspective when practicing law, and I try to do the same,” Daniel concludes. “Clients deserve my best effort, and it would break my heart if I couldn’t do that for them. I listen to people’s concerns, offer realistic expectations, and do whatever I can to give them the best result possible. Without clients, I have no business, which means I don’t practice law. It’s as simple as that.”