Law Firm Excellence Podcast
Law firm leaders share their stories and experts share tips that will empower you to grow your firm.
After starting as a sole practitioner and handling whatever came in, Jim joined a large firm. But three months later, he had a “Jerry McGuire moment,” took the goldfish off his desk, and went back on his own. This time, he narrowed his focus to the mortgage industry. He started with the bank branch that held his client-trust account and won some residential closing work. From there, he built relentlessly, growing A|LAW to over 400 employees, launching two other companies, and weathering many industry-wide storms along the way.
Paul Purdue is the founder of Attorney Computer Systems, a technology infrastructure company that helps law firms optimize operations. They do this by installing and configuring software for practice management, document management, and back-office operations. They also work with firms to help them design optimal workflows and improve efficiency, enabling them to scale rapidly. Paul shares his top tips for law firms, hard-won through 35+ years working with the best firms in the country.
In 2009 Chad Dudley and James Peltier worked together at a firm. They (along with a third partner, Steven DeBosier) bought the firm from its former owners and set out to deliberately transform it to achieve two key goals: truly satisfying clients and doubling the average value of each case. Achieving those goals allowed them to increase new-case intakes by 300% and dramatically decrease thier reliance on advertising as a primary means of attracting new cases.
Gerry enjoyed his solo practice and did a great job for clients. But one Friday afternoon his secretary/ paralegal gave him a wake-up call he’ll never forget: she pointed out he wasn’t replenishing resolved cases with new ones. For the next five years, he scrambled and experimented until one-day in 2007, he posted a poorly-produced video on YouTube and within days, the phone began to ring. In the years since, he’s generated over 2,100 education videos that have attracted a steady stream of clients. And he’s having a blast.
In March 2014, John Tyrrell had been Managing Shareholder of Hollstein Keating for ten years. He and his partners dissolved that firm and joined a seven-attorney practice group from the Lavin firm to found a new law firm: Ricci Tyrrell Johnson & Grey. From day one, they sought to draw on the strengths of both firms but also, to build an entirely new unique culture. Now, 20 months into the venture, the firm has grown into a balance of equal thirds: the original two groups plus subsequent new hires. John reflects on their progress and lessons learned.
Charles Kuck started his career as an associate doing insurance defense. He did pro bono immigration work on the side to gain trial experience early in his career. He loved the immigration work and it gradually grew into his primary practice. After joining the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) he progressed through the ranks of the organization, ultimately serving as president. AILA also enabled him to accelerate his learning and build a strong network of experts, giving him the tools to grow a powerhouse firm.
Seth Perlman joined his father in 1985 in a practice that had a mix of general and non-profit work. He enjoyed working in the philanthropic sector so he began focusing his efforts in that direction and the firm began to grow. However, after the two-volume treatise he wrote on fundraising regulation was released by Wiley in 1988, things really took off. His firm experienced an influx of business and a steady growth trajectory that continues today. Perlman+Perlman is now the largest provider of state charitable solicitation registrations in the country.
Michael Sullivan hung his shingle as a California solo-practitioner in 1996. In 2001, Law Firm Excellence’s Michael Bell joined him as a paralegal. By 2006, the firm had five attorneys and Bell was the firm’s business manager. Ten years later, the firm has 50+ attorneys, seven offices and is the top workers’ compensation defense practice in the state. They reflect together on lessons learned along the way.
After working as an associate for two large regional firms, Alex Gertsburg left private practice to take a General Counsel position. In that role, he experienced frustration with outside counsel and learned firsthand what clients really want from their law firms. He used that insight to launch a business-law practice that delivers on the promise to put clients first. Now, just three years later, the firm has grown to 11 attorneys.
Albert Stark joined Stark & Stark in 1968 when the firm’s only attorneys were his father and uncle. They weren’t interested in growing the firm—but he was. They give him free reign though, so Albert (and the partners who joined along the way) grew the firm into a regional powerhouse, with 130 attorneys today.