Nick A. Ortiz | Owner
Summary of Background:
- Straight As in high school at Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
- Always planned on going to University to Florida essentially for free on scholarship.
- Took the PSATs and did pretty well.
- Started receiving applications from colleges all over the country, including Ivy League schools.
- Asked friends at school if they received unsolicited applications from the likes of Harvard and Yale.
- They didn’t.
- Thought, “What the Heck? Let’s see what happens.”
- Applied to Yale, Harvard, Princeton and the University of Florida.
- Admitted to University of Florida and Yale.
- Yeah – that’s a no-brainer. Went to Yale.
- Moved to Washington DC to work on a Presidential campaign.
- Ran out of money so had to get a job.
- Worked as a paralegal at Covington & Burling in DC where met beautiful wife.
- Planned on going to University of Virginia for law school, but showed up late for interview. Didn’t get in. Big shocker.
- Moved to California to go to UCLA School of Law.
- Married Jessica.
- Worked for one year representing insurance companies on the defense side.
- Hated it.
- Wanted to represent people, not corporations.
- Worked for small plaintiff’s firm in Los Angeles.
- Cost of living was too high in California.
- Moved back to Florida with wife to start a family.
- Joined a small firm representing disability claimants and injury victims.
- Had beautiful twin girls.
- Had a beautiful boy.
- Worked tail off, but in 2012 was given a “take it or leave it” employment contract with unfavorable terms. Tell people, “I was given an offer I could refuse.”
- Refused to sign the contract.
- Opened The Ortiz Law Firm in 2012.
- Couldn’t be happier.
The Longer Version
Mr. Ortiz has two primary practice areas:
- Long Term Disability. He assists clients in filing administrative appeals in their disability claims in an attempt to restore the disability benefits without the need to go to court and engage in litigation. However, if the insurance company does not grant the appeal and pay the benefits owed, then Mr. Ortiz will represent his clients in litigation against the insurance company.
- Social Security Disability. Mr. Ortiz represents Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants at all levels of review and appeal, from the initial application to reconsideration to hearings before Administrative Law Judges to the Appeals Council.
Mr. Ortiz grew up in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He first became interested in the legal profession after participating in his high school’s debate program. He also played a lawyer in a high school mock trial. These experiences led him to become a student in the art persuasion and argument.
With this foundation, Mr. Ortiz went on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Yale University. He took two years off after college to work in Washington D.C. at the prestigious law firm Covington & Burling as a paralegal. He then went on to attend UCLA Law School in Los Angeles, California. While in law school, Mr. Ortiz participated in moot court and trial advocacy program. He also participated in legal aide, assisting the poor and indigent in legal matters. He clerked for plaintiffs’ law firms during the summers between academic school years.
Following law school graduation in 2001, Mr. Ortiz stayed in Los Angeles. He passed the State Bar of California and worked as an insurance defense attorney. After only one year representing insurance companies, Mr. Ortiz confirmed he did not want to represent corporate entities. He wanted to represent individuals. He therefore joined a small law firm representing injury claimants.
By 2004-2005, the cost of living in Los Angeles was becoming outrageous. So, in 2004 Mr. Ortiz sat for the Florida Bar and passed. In 2005, Mr. Ortiz returned to Florida with his wife and practiced law with The Soloway Law Firm. While at The Soloway Law Firm, Mr. Ortiz broadened his practice from representing injury victims to representing injury victims and disabled workers. He learned how to handle a Social Security disability claim from beginning to end, and he learned how to handle short-term and long-term ERISA disability claims.
After seven years with The Soloway Law Firm, Mr. Ortiz decided it was time to branch out on his own as a solo attorney. On June 1, 2012, he opened The Ortiz Law Firm.
- The Florida Supreme Court;
- All Florida State Circuit Courts; and
- The United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
In May 2013, Mr. Ortiz was Board Certified as a Board Certified Social Security Disability Advocate by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited organization providing Board Certification. As of June 2013, there are only 58 Board Certified Social Security Disability Attorneys in the United States and 7 in the State of Florida (including Mr. Ortiz).
Board certified social security disability lawyers engage in the comprehensive legal practice of counseling and representing persons with disabilities and their representatives about their rights to receive benefits from the social security administration. Board certified social security disability lawyers must be capable of representing their clients at the state agency level, at the hearing level, at the appeals council and in federal court.
The Ortiz Law Firm’s areas of practice include the following:
- Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits;
- Supplemental Security Income Disability (also known as SSI claims);
- Personal Injury claims, including slip and fall accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents and wrongful death;
- Long Term Disability, or LTD, claims when insurance companies wrongfully deny claims;
- Short Term Disability, or STD, claims when insurance companies deny claims; and
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut – B.A. (1996) Political Science
Activities: Pierson College Council, Class Representative
Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Member
UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, California – J.D. (2001)
Awards: Public Interest Service Award
Activities: Moot Court Executive, Member (2000-2001)
Moot Court Honors Program, Member (1999-2000)
El Centro Legal Clinic, Covenant House Volunteer (1999-2000)
Ortiz Law Firm, Pensacola, FL (Owner) June 1, 2012 to Present
Soloway Law Firm, Pensacola, FL (Associate) 2005 – 2012
Marcin & Barrera, Los Angeles, CA (Associate) 2003-2005
Hawkins, Schnabel, Lindahl & Beck, Los Angeles, CA (Associate) 2001 -2002
Florida Courts (2005)(active)
California Courts (2001)(inactive)
USDC, Northern District of Florida (2006)
U. S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit (2007)
USDC Central District of California (2001)
U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit (2001)
Board Certified Social Security Disability Advocate by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy.
National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives
National Association of Disability Representatives
American Bar Association
Escambia-Santa Rosa County Bar Association
Florida Bar Association
TEACHING AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Participation in Justice Teaching at Navarre High School, an initiative of Florida Supreme Court Justice R. Fred Lewis to benefit students in the following ways: Promote an understanding of Florida’s justice system and our laws, develop critical thinking abilities and problem solving skills, and demonstrate the effective interaction of our Courts within the constitutional structure.
Speaking engagements with local disability support groups to familiarize them with disability benefits through the Social Security Administration and with disability benefits through private insurance.
Nick A. Ortiz, Ortiz Law Firm, 528 W Garden St, Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 308-7833 (p)
(850) 208-3613 (f)