Back in 2014, I started The Champion Firm with just myself, a passion for personal injury law and helping people, and a determination to obtain justice for my clients.
Now in June 2023, I’m excited to not only be celebrating nine years of The Champion Firm’s existence, but also the addition of five other attorneys, over a dozen staff members, two additional office locations, and over $100 million won for our clients.
But it wasn’t an easy ride. In honor of the firm’s nine-year anniversary, I’m taking a look back at some of the challenges my team and I have overcome along the way.
The Early Years
When I was in law school, I knew at some point I wanted to have my own practice. After law school, I spent two years clerking for a federal judge. Following my clerkship, I worked at a mid-sized defense firm in Atlanta. I can honestly say I wanted to quit after the second day. I lasted six months there before making the switch to the plaintiff’s side.
Four years into my time at the plaintiff’s firm, I was ready to make the leap and go out on my own. I didn’t have a ton of business, but I had generated some cases that I knew I’d be able to take with me. At the time, my wife and I had a one-year-old at home who was soon to turn two, and we didn’t have a lot of money in the bank (maybe $15,000 or so). But I knew starting my own personal injury firm was what I really wanted to do, and I was lucky enough to have a family who supported my decision to do that. So, in June of 2014, The Champion Firm was born.
Of course, running a business of any kind isn’t always smooth sailing, and there are many lessons I’ve learned in running this firm over the years. I’ll discuss a few of those lessons below, and you can also hear more about the firm’s origin story in an exciting new project I’ve been working on: the Championing Justice podcast!
That’s right, I’m joining the ranks of the podcasting elite (well, maybe we’ll get there eventually) and starting my own podcast. You can learn more about that here.
Now back to what nine years of running a law firm has taught me…
4 Law Firm Business Lessons
1. You Get What You Pay For
As I said, when I first started the firm it was just me. I was a one-man team for about three weeks, and then I made my first hire…and also my first mistake. And, in this mistake, I learned a big lesson: You get what you pay for.
My first official employee was a paralegal that I hired off of Craigslist for $12 an hour. It went about as well as you would expect, and I went back to being a solo legal team after just 3 weeks. Lesson learned.
2. Be Intentional
Early on in the firm, most of my business was coming in from attorney referrals, and from one specific firm in particular. I chose to get clients this way because it seemed like a great opportunity to build my business, and I liked the stability. At that point, I was just trying to survive as a business owner, and that lead to me learning my second lesson: It’s very important to be intentional in how you run your practice.
Starting out, I was taking cases basically any way I could get them because I was still in survival mode. But that lack of intention can lead to its own problems because, if you don’t have a clear direction for your business, you find yourself heading in a direction you don’t want to be going. In this case, I found myself becoming reliant on someone else’s business to run my business, which is exactly what I sought to get away from in starting my own practice.
3. Quality Over Quantity
This next lesson ties into the importance of being intentional, and that is the value of focusing on quality rather than quantity. For me as lawyer, this means a lot of things. It means quality cases and clients over volume. It means focusing on the quality of the people I hire instead of hiring many people quickly. It means the quality of the thank you gifts we send to clients versus how many gifts we send. (My lawyer friends wonder why I send a Champion Firm Yeti mug to past clients instead of a cheaper alternative. I do it because quality is important to me.)
For my clients, this focus on the quality of work. Sure, I could take every case that came in the door, but if I did that my team and I wouldn’t be able to provide the individualized, high-quality legal advice we’ve become so well-known for.
4. Hire For Fit
Another big revelation for me over the years has been the realization that hiring for fit is more important than hiring based on credentials and experience. Hiring for fit means two things: It means hiring somebody who fits the firm’s culture, and it means hiring somebody who fits a particular role.
Yes, credentials and experience are important, but so are my employees’ personalities, dedication, and passion for the work they do.
Taking this to heart over the years has allowed me to cultivate a team of attorneys and staff who genuinely care about the work they do here every day, and our clients can really feel that. I attribute this distinction to much of the success The Champion Firm has had today. And we’ve been fortunate to have had many successes…
The Champion Firm Today
Sure, there have been ups and downs for my team and I over the past nine years, but one thing we’ve never strayed from is our determination to provide the best personal injury services we possibly can to each and every client we work with. To date, we’ve won more than $100 million for our clients. You can read more about the specific cases we’ve worked on and the settlements our clients received on our Case Results page.
There are always going to be things I want to improve about the firm, but I’m so excited to be looking back on these wins and lessons nine years later. If you want to hear about more lessons I learned and get the full origin story of the firm, listen to Episode 1 of Championing Justice here.
While I can’t say for sure what the next nine years will bring, I’m looking forward to serving our clients in their times of need and getting them the justice they deserve.
If you or someone you know has experienced a personal injury in the Marietta, Woodstock, Metro Atlanta, or surrounding areas, contact us today for a free case consultation. You can also learn more about the many types of cases we litigate on our Practice Areas page.