Meet Daniel Blanks, a partner at the Nelson Mullins law firm.
Meet Daniel Blanks, a partner at the Nelson Mullins law firm, vice chair of its Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring Practice Group and the 2017-18 president of the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association. Blanks, 43, focuses his practice on bankruptcy, including Chapter 11 reorganizations, financial restructuring, commercial workouts, consumer financial and commercial litigation and other areas. As president of the 150-member JBBA, he wants to increase its ranks and show the benefits of belonging.
For every failure, there’s a success story. What you see with a lot of these struggling businesses is either a competitor or somebody who can make a better mousetrap coming along and either buying the assets, buying the intellectual property, acquiring the company, expanding it and changing the dynamic of that company and making it a better company and making more profit for everyone involved.
Chapter 11s peaked around 2008-2009. Consumer bankruptcies have also tapered off, but there are still a very large number of filings. A lot of energy companies have filed in the last couple of years. There are a large number of retailers and a large number of restaurants filing, although Jacksonville hasn’t been hit as hard. It affects us locally because, for good or bad, we don’t have that many retailers headquartered here or that have a substantial back-office presence. Here, a lot of local malls have anchor tenants that were having problems. Some of these tenants may be filing or may be closing or laying off employees.
I’m 43 and in my generation and the generation before me, if you were in high school, you hung out at the mall. That is not occurring today. The St. Johns Town Center is our exception to this. The Amazon effect is really the big driver. Unless somebody much smarter than I am can figure out what to do, there are going to continue to be problems with the traditional brick-and-mortar retailing establishments.
I have a wife and I have two young boys, so I spend a lot of time with them. I like to cook. I like politics. I like reading about business. I enjoy the sport of politics, the gamesmanship of it. Even though I don’t really necessarily like certain politicians, there are a lot of politicians I really respect solely for the way in which they, for the lack of a better term, play the game.
I cook on a pretty regular basis. In high school, I competed and won a cooking competition. My senior year, I had finished all my credits that I needed to get into college. Someone suggested I take this cooking class. I did and I won this cooking competition for the state of Virginia. Ever since then, I cook mostly traditional French food, everything from duck to beef Bourguignon, anything you would find at a traditional French café or brasserie. I like it. It’s fun. It’s a relaxing way to de-stress at the end of a day.