George T. Holler, Esquire - Principal
Growing up my mom was a teacher and dad delivered bread for a living. I started working at 14 as a dishwasher at the Bar-B-Q Restaurant in Milford. While the owners were very gruff people their son Howard managed the kitchen. He taught me that a manager leads by example; that if you worked hard and respected your team, they would give you their very best. I soon learned to cook and moved on to Scribner’s Restaurant where the owner taught me an incredible lesson: “Sure we can do it!” That was Scribner’s motto. At 9:00 pm on a Tuesday night in January when we hadn’t served a dinner in an hour and a couple called to say they’d be there in 15 minutes to eat, he said: “Sure we can do it, come on down.” He’d keep three people on staff just to serve dinner to two customers. He loved to make customers happy.
My mother went to law school later in life, and when I was admitted to the Connecticut Bar I joined her firm. Her words to me: “Real estate is boring but it pays the bills; it’s yours.” Fortunately for me I never found it boring. Closings are like puzzles that need to be put together. Lots of moving pieces: buyers, sellers, realtors, lenders, the other attorney, a title company, the water company, the tax collector and the list goes on. Somehow, someone needs to get them all to cooperate to make the closing go smoothly. I loved the challenge then and almost 20 years later, I still do.
Today I rely on the hard-working team Howard taught me to build and I live by the can-do attitude that Scribner taught me. Our office is a great place to be—I love the people, I love what we do for our clients and I love the challenge of getting it right, day-in and day-out.
Joshua Dorsey - Chief Operating Officer
Kerry Patton Esquire - Managing Attorney, Title Operations
“All my life’s a circle…” (Harry Chapin)
I am the son of childhood sweethearts born in the depths of the depression, raised to work hard, and to keep searching for the right path. My father served in the Coast Guard, went back to school for an engineering degree and then – in his mid-thirties with a wife and five children to support – realized his calling was elsewhere. He began selling real estate, found a mentor, took to it so well he bought the agency when his mentor retired, and built it into one of the Milford’s most thriving firms. He had a sense of service, and enjoyed helping people through the anxiety of acquiring their own little piece of the American dream. And I’ll never forget my father telling me once that he was one of the lucky ones—one of those who actually looked forward to going to work every morning.
My story also has a mid-stream change of horses. I lived out of state for some years before returning to Milford to work in a small travel agency my folks had acquired. But after 9/11 I felt the tug of a new direction. I closed the agency, took a job working nights and weekends in a bookstore, and went back to school for a paralegal certificate. That certificate led to my first job with Jane and George Holler.
But that wasn’t enough. A couple of years later I felt a new tug, and enrolled in the evening program at Quinnipiac Law School. I moved to a different job in Subway’s legal department with predictable hours that left nights free for classes and four years later I had myself a law degree.
Not long after being sworn into the Connecticut Bar, George Holler invited me to come back to work for him, this time as an attorney, and I’ve never looked back. Here, every day brings a new challenge, but we’ve got the best team I have ever been a part of, all dedicated to the same goal: getting the job done.
Life is a circle, indeed. This son of a realtor who loved going to work in the morning is now a real estate attorney who loves going to work in the morning. The road may be full of curves, but here at the Holler Law Firm we look forward to what’s coming around the bend.
Ryan Sullivan, Esquire - Compliance Attorney
Ever since I can remember I always wanted to be an attorney. Kind of a strange goal for a middle-schooler I’ll admit, but I guess it came from two things—my dad was a detective and I was a movie buff. Dad was always trying to figure out what happened and who did it, and I can remember watching Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson go at it in A Few Good Men and thinking—that’s what I want to do. Lawyers get to the bottom of things no matter how difficult and no matter how much resistance they encounter. From early on I pursued that dream, joining Model Congress and Mock Trial in high school, majoring in Political Science at UConn and finally entering law school at Quinnipiac Law.
I was fortunate to find an incredible mentor at Quinnipiac, Professor Meiklejohn; then two serendipitous events occurred—first I enrolled in his Real Estate Transactions course, where Attorney George Holler was a guest speaker in class. It was at the height of the Great Financial Crisis, and at that time he was defending homeowners in foreclosure cases. He spoke to us about how cases are actually resolved. After countless hours of legal theory, I was fascinated by the things he was saying. He told us the mortgage companies were so overwhelmed that they didn’t have anyone who could listen to reasonable proposals and that the only way to overcome the institutional inertia was to make strong enough arguments that they had to escalate the cases out of the foreclosure mills—to hire specialized litigation attorneys. He explained that it didn’t matter so much if you could win the case, but if your theories were strong enough you could bring the other side to negotiate fairly. This is exactly what I had always wanted to do—to be persuasive in a way that helped clients solve their problems.
The second event occurred after I graduated from Quinnipiac (magna cum laude I’m proud to say). George was looking to hire a new lawyer and called Professor Meiklejohn asking for a recommendation. I have been with the firm ever since, and it is truly a great place to work. Everyone welcomed me as a family member, and they’ve shown me what a team can accomplish with hard work. Day-to-day I’m solving problems, both in ensuring compliance with all the new regulations, and in helping buyers and sellers get to closing on time. While I never knew how being a lawyer would turn out, this is exactly what I always wanted to do.
Adrianna Champagne - Title Team Leader
Growing up in Madison, Guilford was our arch rival. I played sports fanatically all the way through college, but one moment that really sticks out for me was when our softball team beat Guilford in the Class L Championship. Guilford had a knock out pitcher we’d faced many times and just couldn’t hit. It seemed like as soon as she released the ball it was by you. They came into that game as if they’d already won. I was really mad about that—if you tell me I can’t win, I’m going to dig down even deeper and find the extra effort—it’s just my nature.
I’ve brought the same approach to work all these years later. After starting my career in customer service, George Holler hired me at his title agency, Superior Closing Services. Back in 2004 that business seemed to move a thousand miles an hour. Knowing nothing, I jumped in and promised myself I’d be the best paralegal on staff. We had one lender client that was particularly difficult to deal with—they seemed like they were always unhappy no matter what we did. It was a large account, and I asked to be assigned to work with them. I guess I needed to prove that I could make them a satisfied customer. My mom always said “Be careful what you wish for”—they gave me a real run for the money.
I knew they wanted me to answer the phone every time they called. They hated to wait on hold and did not believe in leaving messages. I’d eat lunch at my desk and time my bathroom breaks around their lunch hour—seriously I was that obsessed. What frustrated me was that most of the time they complained I’d missed their call it was because I was on the phone with another person in their office, so I started to ask the loan officers to announce that they had me on the phone as soon as we finished talking. That way the loan officer could just pass me along to the next person. Pretty soon we were doing one phone call at a time where I’d speak to almost everyone in their office. They really loved that and stopped complaining that they couldn’t get us. I’ll admit I got some pleasure out of the fact that when they did complain it was about each other—that they were hogging my time.
That little trick was a big hit and I was promoted to Team Lead in the Title Department. When Superior started to expand into other states, I asked to be assigned to the Multi-State Team and was again selected as Team Lead. I always want to learn new things, and dealing with transactions all over the country was a great challenge. Soon I moved on to purchase transactions and most recently I’ve learned REO. Currently I lead the Holler Law Firm Title Team. Every day presents something new, and I enjoy constantly pushing myself and my teammates to be better at what we do.
Carrie Beningo - Closing Team Leader
My brother and I grew up in Seymour, CT. Dad worked for Bacon Printing for 45 years. He taught us to be loyal to a team and to work hard. “The key is doing something you love, and being the best you can be at it,” he’d say. He knew that we might not know what we wanted so he encouraged us to try different things. I intended to go into human services, working three jobs to put myself through Mattatuck Community College. It’s kind of funny how life can turn unexpectedly though. A few years after earning my degree in Social Work, my husband introduced me to a friend, a branch manager at Great Country Bank. She hired me as a teller and soon I moved into mortgage servicing. I really enjoyed working with the customers so when an opportunity came along at Prudential Relocation, I jumped ship—unlike my dad, I would not spend my entire career at one company.
At Pru Relo, I coordinated closings for relocating employees. It was my job to keep all the parties on track—the real estate agents, the attorneys, the lenders, even the home inspectors. If the “transferee” had an issue, I owned it. I loved the job because it gave me a chance to work with people to produce a result. Prudential shipped our department to Arizona and my husband and I almost went, but instead I came across an opportunity with George Holler’s company, Superior Closing Services. Superior was an up-and-coming title agency, buzzing with excitement. While there was lots of chaos as we grew, I got to experience the full range of title and closing services, working in the title, closing, and funding departments, eventually becoming Team Lead in the closing department. We grew the company from 8 people when I started to almost 50 by 2005. We expanded from Connecticut to 17 states—Maine to Florida and out to Illinois.
When the market crashed, George left Superior and started his own firm. I’m proud to say I was the first employee of that firm. Today I enjoy spending time with my husband and my dog, taking him (the dog) for walks & car rides, having family game nights, taking family vacations, water sports, painting and baking. At work I love closings—it’s never boring, no two transactions are the same and you are always learning new things. What we do here really matters and at the end of the process I know I’ve helped the clients get through what can be one of the most stressful experiences of their lives—buying or selling a home. What my dad taught me has served me well—I do something I love, I’m loyal to the team we have here, and I try day-in and day-out to be the best paralegal I can be.
Rosa Holler - Chief Administrative Officer
In second grade I entered a new school in a new country not speaking a word of English. My parents had moved my brothers and me from Portugal that summer. Those first few weeks were, I can definitively say, life altering. I’ve heard that some people teach their children to swim by throwing them into the pool when they’re infants. I know that feeling. Growing up in Naugatuck as the only girl in a very traditional family had its ups and downs. I learned how hard it can be to make ends meat. I learned how important it is to get a good education, but most importantly I decided I would never be dependent on a man to support me. I put myself through Southern Connecticut State University despite my father’s belief that a woman didn’t need a college degree. I became an accountant and worked my way up to directly report to the CFO of a Fortune 100 company.
Then I met my future husband and even though I said I would never do it, I stayed home to raise my family. Three boys later, I have absolutely no regrets. As they’ve grown, I’ve been able to take on more and more responsibilities at the firm. This year, as we’ve expanded, I’ve taken over the role of CAO. It suits me—never a dull moment, always new challenges and lots of ways to put my corporate experience to work. I manage everything from the supplies, to the balance sheet, from HR to A/R. I even answer the phone a few hours each day. That’s the way it is here. We’re a team, and I’m proud to be associated with such a dedicated and talented group of people.
A closing experience like never before.
For almost two decades, the team at Holler Law Firm has strived to simplify the real estate transaction process for homeowners, lenders, and other settlement service providers. Always there for our clients. Always compliant.