• Podcast

EPISODE 35 — Legal Legends LIVE 2.0

In this special LIVE episode, we gathered together five market-dominating industry powerhouses to share first-hand accounts of how they rose to the top of highly competitive markets (and what keeps them there):

  • Andrew Finkelstein: Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners
  • Glen Lerner: Founder of Lerner & Rowe Injury Attorneys
  • John Gomez: Founder & CEO of Gomez Trial Attorneys
  • John Berry: Army Veteran, Trial Attorney, and CEO of Berry Law Firm
  • Mike Morse: Founder of Mike Morse Law Firm

Hear blow-by-blow reports of legal marketing prowess, success tips from the masters that you can emulate for your firm, and the personal habits and mindsets that have helped them succeed as leaders.

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Spotify.

Show Notes:

2:41 – Market leaders vs. everybody else. “I think market leaders are defined by intention and conscious effort. Everybody on this panel has paid close attention to who they are and what they’re trying to provide, and has constantly worked to get better and better and better. There’s a complete lack of complacency. If you are a market leader in this industry, you can be a market leader one week and lose that leadership spot a week later if you’re not constantly working on things. So, I think just consistency of effort, always looking inward, always trying to get better, always trying to learn from others. I’ve learned from each of my co-panelists, picked up things from them, and applied them.” [John Gomez]

8:55 – Common mistakes of those who have failed. “Law firm owners suck at running businesses. They don’t understand what a visionary is, don’t understand what an integrator is — they try to do everything. They are risk averse. They don’t know their numbers. Every time a lawyer calls me, the first thing I ask is, ‘Tell me what your average fee is. How many cases did you sign up this week? How much do you have in the pipeline?’ 99 percent of the time, they don’t know their numbers, so the law firms are stuck. They can’t grow because they don’t have the processes. They don’t know their data. They don’t pay their people enough, so it’s a revolving door. They don’t hire superstars. They don’t know when to fire fast, hire slow. They just don’t get the fundamentals.” [Mike Morse]

13:28 – You are the brand. “You cannot be the brand and be the guy practicing law in court all the time — you can’t do it. If you want to grow, you need to be able to delegate the practice of law to other people. You are the brand. You run a business. I think that’s the most important thing, if anybody really listens — you can’t do both things, since that’s the number one killer: the inability to delegate.” [Glen Lerner]

17:33 – The greatest decision you’ve made for your firm. “For me, it goes back to 2016 when I just decided, ‘Okay, I’ve hit all these goals. What’s next?’ I’m going to grow my firm to X size, and I need the right people in place to do it. Maybe that’s not going to be an integrator right now — although now, that’s what we have. It’s just reaching out to that first person and committing to reaching out to as many people as you can until you start finding the answers you’re looking for.” [John Berry]

19:56 – Investing in your mental nutrition. “I think it’s critically important to constantly read and have a voracious appetite for new information because you never know what you’re going to learn. I’m always reading like four books at the same time. I’m moving between one and another. If you’re not investing in yourself, it doesn’t fall into your lap. You have to work for it and work hard at it. There’s a reason why this is called the ‘practice’ of law — not just in court, but also as a business and as an organization.” [Andrew Finkelstein]

28:27 – What would it take for someone to put you out of business? “If they want to beat me, they have to do better commercials, hire better people, and give back to the community more — they’ve got to do better than I’m doing. People always ask me why I’d give away my secrets in the book. It’s because people don’t execute. People are visionaries. You can’t fake it. You can’t fake this business. I don’t care if somebody had 10 times as much money and came into my market and spent it all. People have tried, and I don’t know why. I don’t have that secret sauce. I just do what I do. And it’s not that secret. It’s just who we all are. Right?” [Mike Morse]

35:26 – Staying true to what you do. “The main thing that we’ve done is stay true to ourselves in terms of what differentiates us from the market. We started out as a trial firm. We try cases. We brand ourselves as a trial firm. We talk about ourselves as a trial firm. Our TV ads are focused on trial. Everything we do is focused on trial. That is what distinguishes us, and that’s what we enjoy doing. That’s what we’ll always do — just staying consistent about who we are and having all of our marketing stem from that identity.” [John Gomez]

40:16 – Culture and branding go hand-in-hand. “It starts with culture — that’s the most important thing. The brand is part of your culture, so you have to do that internal branding, and then that becomes external. So, when we say we’re America’s veterans law firm, our clients are proud of that. Our employees are proud of that. Then, we can be a hero to a veteran. He’s going to send us 10 more veterans. When you can be a hero to your client, your client knows what that brand stands for, and they win, it’s like saying, ‘Hey, I want to wear that jersey. I want to be a part of that team. I love what these guys stand for.’ That’s why branding is so important. People need to know what you stand for, so that they can stand with you.” [John Berry]

41:06 – Authenticity is key. “It is about you, your organization, and your communications — and being consistent with that. If it’s not authentic, people see through it right away. People have a bullshit meter, and they’re looking for it. So if you’re not authentic, in your brand and who you are, then you’re not going to be successful. It takes an evolution to understand who you are and understand what you actually stand for.” [Andrew Finkelstein]

47:33 – Cracking the social media code. “If you truly want to dominate social media, you have to figure out how to make your law firm relevant. I still haven’t figured it out. Ask yourself, ‘How do you make what we do relevant?’ So it’s finding little things, having fun Instagram programs you can do with you and your partner, talk shows, whatever — you have to make people talk about you because what we do is not relevant until they need you. That’s the hardest thing about what we do. And I think the person really figures out how to crack the code and make attorneys relevant will do extremely well.” [Glen Lerner]

56:33 – Attracting the best hires. There’s a difference between having the mindset that people work for you and having the mindset that you work for your team. I feel honest in my heart that I work for them. I feel like I have a responsibility to my team, and it’s part of what motivates me to get up and work hard every day. I think about all those families and those kids. I’ve seen them get married. I see some of them start as receptionists, then they go to law school, and now they’re a junior associate, a partner. I think, if you have that genuine mindset, that’s going to shine through and you’re going to get good people.” [John Gomez]

1:01:12 – No room for weak links. “I’m not going to let the rest of the team struggle and suffer because we’ve got a weak link who refuses to improve. We need constant improvement. We need a dedication to the team and dedication to the client. If you can’t show that, you can’t be here — that’s just the sad reality. If you want to be in an institution of excellence, you have to make it a non-negotiable that everybody has to get better. Everybody has to raise the bar because if you start letting people slide, your rock stars are going to see it, and once that happens, they’re going to leave. They’re going to lose faith in you as the leader, and they’re going to lose faith in the team.” [John Berry]

EPISODE RESOURCES & REFERENCES

Nick Saban
Bill Belichick
Terrell Owens
Fireproof by Mike Morse
Gino Wickman
Traction by Gino Wickman
What the Heck is EOS by Gino Wickman
Cherry Garcia
TikTok
Lone Ranger
Kool-Aid

CONNECT WITH MICHAEL
Text directly at 404-531-7691
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LinkedIn
Twitter

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