Dr. Paul Caputo and I started our practices practically together. Except he’s a dentist and I’m a lawyer and principal attorney at Blenner Law Group. But we both opened our offices in the same building almost at the same time – the summer of 1989 in the Key West Center in Palm Harbor – then an up-and-coming community with mostly orange groves and all of 2 restaurants (Swampwater Al’s and an awful Steak and Ale).
I decided to meet the new young dentist and see if we had anything in common. It was a pretty fateful meeting that ended up forging a 28 year friendship (and counting). We immediately hit it off – we were both from New York, had similar senses of humor, we both loved working with people, we were starting our professional lives in a completely new area and we both hoped this new community would support our new ventures.
Dr. Paul became my dentist and I became his chief legal counsel for whatever small issues Paul had in his practice. I’ve always felt I got the better of the deal since my dental needs were way more than Paul’s need for me to review a legal contract here and there.
Over the years, life has pulled us in different directions – neither of our practices remain at the Key West Center – but we’ve always remained close. Whether I’m in his dental chair with a mouth full of dental instruments or talking to Paul on the phone, Dr. Paul remains a valued friend, and just as important is a fantastic dentist.
Our other similarity, which I state with pride, is we both really love what we do. As a personal injury attorney, I love helping clients who have a need. They’ve encountered some unfortunate event in life, they’re now injured because of it and I enter the picture to try and alleviate some of the stress and strain of navigating between doctors and insurance companies. After doing this for 30 years, I still passionately love to help people.
Dr. Paul is a terrific guy who adores his two children and his family, but I suspect his first love was for dentistry. I recall years ago while taking a break from a 2 man game of basketball Paul launched into a long monologue about some aspect of molecular science including drawing in the sand with his fingers how this atom fit into that molecule. Of course, I was bored to death, but it was kind of fun watching how passionate Paul was with this area of science.
As Palm Harbor has grown, so too has the competition, both in law and in dentistry. Where Palm Harbor used to have 8 lawyers, there are now well over 100 law firms. I assume dentistry has experienced similar growth. However, when you are good at what you do and when you care about your patients and clients, you will always succeed.
I’m happy to report that after so many years, both of our practices continue to thrive. Dr. Paul has become almost a scholar of dentistry and has expanded the base of his practice in so many ways. I’ve referred him numerous patients over the years who all really respect his professionalism and his dentistry. I’ve also been extremely grateful that when a dental patient, family or friend has legal work, he has referred them to me. It’s a true working friendship with mutual trust and respect.
If someone had told me all those years ago that Paul and I would remain friends and professional colleagues for almost 30 years, I probably would have said, “Good. It’s all I could have hoped for.”
Paul L. Caputo, DDS3490 E Lake Rd S Suite A