Noah Samuels is the Executive Director for The Northwest Consumer Law Center, and we just finished speaking about what we are doing to provide low-bono legal services to people of moderate means.
This was originally published as part of my monthly newsletter. Want to sign up for more?
I recently launched my own law practice and not long after discovered that starting a firm is a double-handed task: you’re an attorney and you’re business owner. Two not so small jobs in one. And it’s hard, man.
So if nothing else, from the outset I knew I needed to set myself up with solid principals that guarantee effectiveness in my everyday work flow. I wondered, how do the best minds do it? So over the last few months, I’ve been reaching out to the brightest professionals I know, to ask them: what makes you most effective in what you do?
Today, I’m sharing with you the two gems that were shared with me: (1) effectiveness in preparation and (2) effectiveness in thinking outside the box.
"Preparation can be an amazing surprise for an adversary in a legal setting.
They may never know how prepared you are until it's too late.”
- Steve Anglés
Steve Anglés is partner at Adler Giersch, a top personal injury law firm in the PNW, and he has a reputation for being a whip-smart, effective attorney in an area of law where the stakes are particularly high. When people come to Steve, they are often severely injured and the insurance companies that were supposed to provide protection are nowhere in sight. Steve balances a heavy client load rife with cases in litigation and trial to fight for his clients' right to recovery and well-being.
When I talked to him, Steve summed up the source of his efficacy in a single word: preparedness. Steve’s rule of thumb is to out-prepare. He aims to always be the most prepared person in the room, no matter what room.
And apparently it works. Steve battles insurance companies daily without a shred of exhaustion visible, routinely winning and getting top results for his clients, over and over.
Steve says that without focus on preparedness, there is chance for misstep, and when it comes to his clients, who are trusting him with everything, that isn’t something he is willing to risk.
Want to hear more? Click here to listen to Steve's Interview.
Staying outside the box
"Our Lawyer-Human brand is just us and our personalities.
It allows people to get to know who we are as human beings."
- Shreya Ley
For Shreya Ley, founding partner of Lay Roots Law Firm, effectiveness comes from thinking outside the box. In the legal world, outside-the-box thinking is rare, and The Box is a well-defined structure. There is a generally understood way that attorneys do things: think dark suits, dusty books and a lot of “hence”s and “wherefore”s.
Shreya, along with her husband and law firm co-founder Colin, intentionally veer left from that way. They have designed their firm to boil the law down to a human level. In how they market, how they communicate to clients, and in how they handle cases, they drop the frills. They use clear words and talk price directly. They strive to operate not as the typical dark suits, but as approachable, young business owners who provide a high-quality service.
Through different communication mediums, Shreya reaches out to her potential clients in a language that resonates with most people in the modern day: webinars, a podcast, a video series, and a blog. She does all she can to demystify the legal world and provide useful, free information for real people.
Thinking outside the box allowed Shreya to innovate her law firm in a different way that brings in more clients and spreads the word about her business father and wider than usually possible for a small law firm. Shreya is a great example of a professional who stays effective by simply thinking creatively about her work and her craft.
Want to hear more? Click here to listen to Shreya's Interview.
Big thanks to both Shreya and Steve for sharing. Now you’re up: what makes you most effective in your work? I would love to hear your thoughts.
That’s this month’s Five Minutes.
- Andre Dayani
I am a criminal defense lawyer in Seattle, Washington. Interested in chatting? Email me, connect with me on Twitter, or sign up for my monthly newsletter. In the Five Minutes newsletter, I share five minutes of thoughts from young business owners, professionals and people passionate in their work.
Before starting my law practice, I served as a public defender in King and Snohomish Counties. Looking back, I can now say that public defense was the hardest yet most rewarding of jobs in my career.
Why was it rewarding? Honestly, I enjoyed learning through the trial by fire. I had my first jury trial the second week on the job, days after meeting my client. Two months later, I was managing hundreds of active criminal defense cases.
But while I was grinding it out, I wasn’t alone. Surrounding me were some of the smartest and most generous people I’ve encountered. I learned a lot from my fellow public defenders and now I want to share some of those teachings with you.
These are 5 Things I Learned To Do as a Public Defender and that You Can Do Too.
I have now received some feedback from my first newsletter that thought I would share. The best news is that my readers resonated tremendously with the idea of increasing professional efficiency. Who doesn’t want to be more efficient?
I write this to officially deliver you the message: I started a law firm.
I've always knew I'd do my own thing, and recently decided: why wait? After years as a public defender, it was go time. I'm launching a law practice in my own style, with a deeper intention to help people who need help, defend people who need defending, and explore issues of criminal law, business, and technology. My thought is that I can be a real-life, real-person's guide to the legal system.