A Mercer University alumnus who works as an employment law attorney began noticing an uptick in calls as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States.
“Most of the individuals impacted by COVID-19 I talk to are impacted through lost jobs, furloughs, pay reductions or other matters related to their work,” said Daniel Cole, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business in 2007 and graduated from the Walter F. George School of Law in 2012.
“Unemployment data started to be tracked in 1967, and the country has never seen this level of unemployment claims since that time,” Cole said. “Each person’s situation is different, so I spend a lot of time talking with individuals about their personal situations to see if there is any way I can help them.”
He recently posted about the situation on Facebook and offered general information for people going through a tough situation.
Cole is an employment law attorney at Parks, Chesin & Walbert, P.C. in Atlanta. His legal practice predominantley focuses on the representation in employment claims, such as overtime and discrimination cases. After spending six years exclusively representing companies on the defense side of practice, Cole moved to his current firm to focus on representing individuals.
Because legal services are considered essential in most jurisdictions, his day-to-day work has continued for the most part, though it’s a bit slower.
Cole spends his time talking to clients, opposing counsel on cases, drafting letters or legal briefs, and trying to identify solutions to cases that make sense for both parties.
“Each day is a little different, which I love about my work,” Cole said. “People often spend more time at work than they do at home, so jobs are not just ‘work.’ It is personal. Not only do individuals invest themselves and their time into their work, but they invest their emotions. It is an honor to be able to represent people in such a meaningful part of their life.”
Being a Mercerian has helped Cole prepare to become the attorney he is today.
“Mercer taught me to be a leader, a critical thinker and a strong writer. I was fortunate to learn from some of Mercer Law’s great professors who were still teaching when I was at the law school, like professors Chris Wells, Harold Lewis and Jack Sammons,” Cole said.
“Another aspect of Mercer that I am so appreciative of is the alumni network. Even if I encounter something that I cannot personally help with, I can usually find a quick resource through my Mercer connections for someone that can help,” he said. “Having friends that went to other schools, I can genuinely say that the Mercer network is stronger than any others I have seen.”
Like most people, COVID-19 has significantly impacted Cole’s personal life.
“It is certainly something I will never forget, and it has really made me appreciate so many things I maybe took for granted previously, including time spent with friends, the ability to sit on one of our favorite restaurant patios, and the ability to just be in the same room with someone,” Cole said. “It has actually been fun catching up with so many friends through FaceTime or Zoom just to maintain some sanity during isolation.”
Cole leaves Mercerians with some words of wisdom.
“My dad always shared the old adage ‘This too shall pass’ when I was going through a tough time. I imagine many students, especially those getting ready to enter the workforce, are nervous about what the future holds. Our country is resilient,” Cole said. “We will get through this together, and I am confident that brighter days are ahead when this is all said and done. So, as Dad would say, ‘This too shall pass.’ ”