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IAM779- Entrepreneur and Lawyer Helps in Personal Injury Litigation

Podcast Interview with Justin Hill

Justin was born and raised in a small town in North Texas. After Texas A&M and Baylor Law School, he relocated to San Antonio to practice law. He has focused exclusively on the areas of plaintiff's personal injury litigation. Outside of work, he runs a successful podcast about San Antonio and practices beekeeping.

  • CEO Hack: I am close with my staff
  • CEO Nugget: Keep your overhead low in your businesses
  • CEO Defined: Setting good examples

Website: https://www.jahlawfirm.com

Twitter: twitter.com/jahlawfirm
Facebook: Facebook.com/jahlawfirm
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/jahlawfirm


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[00:00:02.20] – Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you’re in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

[00:00:29.69] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Justin Hill of Hill Law Firm. Justin, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:38.79] – Justin Hill

Hey, man. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:40.79] – Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Justin so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Justin was born and raised in a small town in North Texas. After Texas A&M and Baylor Law School, he relocated to San Antonio to practice law. He focused exclusively on the areas of plaintiff's personal injury litigation. Outside of work, he runs a successful podcast about San Antonio and practices beekeeping. Justin, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:09.40] – Justin Hill

I am.

[00:01:10.40] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So to kick everything off, I just wanted to rewind the clock a little bit and take us through what I call your CEO story. We'll let you get started with your podcast, your business, and, of course, your beekeeping.

[00:01:22.70] – Justin Hill

Well, those are three very different areas.

[00:01:25.09] – Gresham Harkless

Distinct things. Yes.

[00:01:26.20] – Justin Hill

I mean, so as it relates to my business I started straight out of law school with one of the biggest personal injury law firms in the United States. I cold-called the guy. I wanted to work for him. He had never hired anybody straight out of law school, and I've always kind of lived with the idea that the worst he can say is no. He hired me as a first kid straight out of law school. I got just incredible experience that nobody my age was getting at that time. I left there after about six years. I wanted to kind of try my hand at doing it a little differently, scaling it out a little differently. And then five years ago, I started my own law firm and I've told everybody it's hard work and a little bit of luck and, you know, I thought I had that on my side, and so here we are.

[00:02:09.30] – Gresham Harkless

Nice. Absolutely love that. And I know that kinda being able to kinda build your business and kinda see that you kinda have to have that mentality of the worst that they can say is no because a lot of times you just have to go for it and see what happens.

[00:02:21.50] – Justin Hill

That's right.

[00:02:22.59] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So could you take us a little through a little bit more about your practice what exactly you do and how you serve the clients you work with?

[00:02:29.09] – Justin Hill

Sure. So we're a personal injury law firm. I mean, anywhere in America, there are personal injury law firms. It's a very uniquely American thing that we have decided that we're not gonna let people with powdered wigs or bureaucrats decide, what somebody's loss is worth. We let juries decide. So I work in the area of representing injured people almost exclusively and We have a little bit of a niche practice in a few ways in that we handle a lot of stuff that other firms won't. We have a big docket of sexual assault cases, some against churches and other big entities. Kind of some run, you know, the normal what you see about personal injury lawyers, car wrecks, and eighteen-wheelers, a lot of on-the-job work. And I've handled a few cases representing, municipalities or counties suing polluters. So it's a little bit different, but I really like what I do and I think we can provide a different quality of work. And we're pretty much San Antonio-based, but we do stuff all over the state of Texas.

[00:03:36.50] – Gresham Harkless

Nice. Absolutely love that. And was there anything that made you or kinda focus or drove you to kinda niche down on those specific aspects or is that just something that emerged throughout the business?

[00:03:48.40] – Justin Hill

Everybody's fighting for the same sort of piece of the pie, it seems. And I've realized that there are a lot of things that everybody misses. So, you know, I've been referred cases because a lawyer will call me and say, hey. You're the one who will take these weird cases, and we have done really well with some of those cases that nobody else would take. And so it really hasn't been that I've tried to focus on a niche. I've almost become a niche of we get referred cases and sent cases that nobody else will take. So there are cases that I find value in. I look at the client and tell them I'll go to fight for them because I think we have a really valuable, viable claim. And usually, when I take them, I'm right. And, you know, to some extent, this has to do with a lot of lawyers not wanting to have to learn something new and me really enjoying learning new things.

[00:04:32.89] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think, again, kinda going back to that entrepreneurial itch, I feel like that's at the heart of it, that curiosity, the desire to kinda try and to see. And, obviously, you can have a lot of, you know, great success with your clients. And do you find, like, your podcast, does that kind of go in and delve into you getting your footprint in that San Antonio area even though I know you you you, you serve the greater Texas area?

[00:04:55.39] – Justin Hill

Yeah. No. I think that's a great point because, you know, to some extent, I've been thinking how's everything gonna go when people just start talking to their Alexa on the counter and saying, Alexa, find me an injury lawyer or Alexa, find me a restaurant. People are either gonna be ahead of that or they're not. I have a weird passion for this city. I love San Antonio. I have met some fascinating people and I thought what better way to brand my law firm and myself when they start asking Alexa to get them a lawyer than to share my love of the city through a podcast?

So when the shutdown happened, I found myself with a little bit of idle time and I took advantage. And, our podcast is, you know, we've had the mayor of San Antonio on and health professionals and musicians and athletes and artists. So we're trying to have a big broad range of San Antonio to expose people to it because I think they really want that here. And I think I'm, I'm a pretty good person to tell that story.

[00:05:46.60] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely love that. You kinda get that, the opportunity to be the kind of podcast mayor of the location to know about all the things that are going on. In addition to having the mayor on there, it gives you that opportunity to kinda be that person, that go-to person. And I've always felt like, you know, having that opportunity through content is a great way to do that.

[00:06:04.69] – Justin Hill

And San Antonio's kind of been a slow adopter of technology. So if I was doing this in Austin like you and I were talking about the city of Austin right before this, you know, I would be the fiftieth person to do this probably, but San Antonio is kind of we are our own pace. We do things a little bit slower. And so, you know, we're kind of the first San Antonio-based podcast that is trying to tell stories about the people and the places and the back stories of San Antonio.

[00:06:29.80] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. So yeah. Absolutely love that. You get that definitely get that first movers, advantage. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for you personally or your business or a combination of both. But what do you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique?

[00:06:45.30] – Justin Hill

We have, like, an almost laser-intense focus on our cases. So we don't treat cases like a mill. I think a lot of lawyers have created processes that run their firms. We probably aren't the most efficient because of that, but at the end of the day, I've always thought and what put me into this was my own family story and sort of seeing a family go through tragedy. And I've just always thought that I do not wanna ever be a lawyer that treats my clients like a widget.

So maybe sometimes it's a little less efficient, but I think it leads to clients who feel like they got a real advocate in a scary situation, and I think it leads to better results. So we say we're a boutique personal injury law firm. And to me, that means that we're intensely laser-focused on our clients. We are very big on communication with our clients. We do not take a big docket of cases. So we have a small docket. Everybody's fully staffed. Our cases are fully worked, and our clients are always informed about what's going on.

[00:07:41.60] – Gresham Harkless

Nice. I absolutely love that and appreciate that. And I think so many times, I'll say that when we look at the business when we look at entrepreneurship, we sometimes can get into the numbers. We can get into the widgets of the things that were being created, but that people aspect is huge. And I think that as you kinda spoke to the service that you provide for your clients, when we lose sight of that, to me, you lose sight of the business. So to really understand the nuances of especially, you know, in the legal industry of, you know, the frustrations, the fear, probably the excitement, all those go kinda go up and down and around. But to be attuned to that and actually treat that and care for that and serve that is something that's huge.

[00:08:16.89] – Justin Hill

Yeah. And I think it's unfortunate in the legal industry that too many of the firms that are big players have created a situation where it feels like clients are widgets, and they are a number, and there is a way to move those cases efficiently, and everything kinda has a set value in those firms. And in our firms, I always tell the clients from the get-go, that a case is what a jury says it's worth or what you finally tell me to take. So we don't go into this telling them, hey. We've done this a million times. We've got an idea of what your case is worth. We tell them we're gonna get your case ready for trial, and that's gonna make the other side give us our best offer.

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[00:08:52.39] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And I absolutely love that because you kinda spoke on that in the beginning because I think you said, unquantifiable sometimes decisions that people, the jury, you know, has to make on these situations. And, again, you know, losing sight of that human aspect, understanding that, it's really sometimes honestly hard to quantify those things even if you have, you know, a hundred thousand cases because you have that human aspect. So I appreciate you and your firm kinda focusing on that.

[00:09:15.00] – Justin Hill

Yeah. There are so many certainties in our world that if anybody steps up and tells a client, I know what your case is worth, they don't know what they're doing.

[00:09:22.39] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:09:24.60] – Justin Hill

The truth. Yeah.

[00:09:25.70] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And, so I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an Apple book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:09:38.20] – Justin Hill

Oh, what makes me more effective and efficient? You know, I'm very, very close with my staff, close to the extent of, you know, we celebrate birthdays, we text on the weekends, you know, I get to know them personally, they get to know me personally because I think it's really important at the end of the day. And to be fair, I have a small staff and I have a small office, but I think at the end of the day, it's a very different experience working with people that share your passion because they are your friend and they know how important it is to you and working with people that think they're stamping a widget out every day. So I know some people in the HR world would say that's not good, but it served me well and I'm gonna keep doing it. And I think my staff appreciates it. My clients appreciate it. And I can tell you I appreciate it. It makes me better.

[00:10:24.60] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. It's so funny that you know, as we transition, we talked about, you know, having that human aspect with clients. But I think sometimes we forget that the people that work with us sometimes are extensions of us, and, you know, we have to kinda march the beat of that drum and to have that caring, and connection and that relationship with the people that you work with that are on your team extends into the quality and the connection that you have with your clients. So it's kinda we kinda forget it. It starts with us.

[00:10:50.70] – Justin Hill

Yeah. Our staff is the first stop for anybody who comes in the office, whether it's the FedEx guy or a lady who just lost a family member, and how they are treated is gonna be a a reflection on me, and my firm. So it's it's anybody who thinks that staff are replaceable and that you're the guy who runs the show and you're the only one that's irreplaceable. I think they just missed the boat on all this added value you can have by surrounding yourself with good people.

[00:11:18.00] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And I think, at the end of the day, sometimes we forget why we're doing what we're doing and, you know, having an impact on the people you work with, having an impact, obviously, on the clients we work with. When we get to have that widget mentality, as you kinda spoke to earlier, we kinda of lose sight of that. And one of the quotes that I always remember is people don't care how much you know till they know how much you care. And when they know that, then that starts to extend and everything.

[00:11:39.29] – Justin Hill

I think that's right. And I was joking whenever I mean, I still get pissed off and I still get angry when I don't think my clients are treated fair. And when that goes away, it's time for me to stop doing this. And that's my barometer.

[00:11:52.00] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. There you go. You hang up your your jersey, so to speak, and and then retire.

[00:11:55.89] – Justin Hill

That's right.

[00:11:56.79] – Gresham Harkless

So, now I would've asked you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

[00:12:09.79] – Justin Hill

I get calls from a lot of young lawyers who are trying to start a law firm, and who wanna do their own thing. My always go-to with them is to keep your overhead low. So we are in a very big cash flow heavy business. I mean, you live and die by cash flow in an industry like mine where we have to fund our cases and wait for the cases to resolve. So I'm real big on keeping your overhead low and, you know, flash doesn't get you very far, but having a sustainable business that becomes profitable, that'll get you a lot further for a lot longer.

[00:12:42.00] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And that's that's a huge thing. I feel like obviously in the legal industry as you spoke on, but I think in most industries that sometimes we can a lot of people will invest in the flash, invest in the things that are the bells and whistles, but not take care of that foundation. And that foundation that we kinda talked about, you know, is really caring for people who are showcasing that being in quality because that's the service that they're looking for. And when you lose sight of that and you invest in the bells and whistles, a lot of times, you know, the house of cards can come crashing down.

[00:13:10.39] – Justin Hill

That's right. You know, the bells and whistles to me really are never an investment either. They're flash and they're showing off. And when I was a young lawyer and I'd had a good year or two, I reached out to an older lawyer I respected and thought real highly of, and I asked him, I said, well, you know, what do you do? Just try to set up your retirement. Things like that. And he said, you know, invest in your business. Like, if you think you're a good asset, if you think you're gonna be profitable, put your money back into your business. And so that's kinda what I've done.

[00:13:36.20] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. It's a it's a great thing to do. And when you get confident in the service that you're providing, you can invest in that and provide so many, valuable, interactions and opportunities. And so I wanted to ask you now for my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quotes, unquote CEOs on this show. So, Justin, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:13:58.29] – Justin Hill

Honestly, to me, it means setting a good example. I don't really think I've got any great shakes. I legally can practice law and I think I'm pretty good at it because I think I care about it, but be a good example. And that is everything. I try to work hard and if my staff's working hard, I do the same. If they're staying late, I do the same. And that kind of permeates everything. They hear how you talk to clients. They hear how you talk to the co-counsel. And, you know, if you set a good example, then your whole business is gonna be what you've said.

[00:14:30.50] – Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. And I think, so many times we forget that the culture and how we even see the world and what we see in the world a lot of times starts with us. And if we want to see something in the world, we have to see it and act on it within ourselves. And so many times we forget and gloss over that important factor.

[00:14:47.20] – Justin Hill

That's right. Yep. Yep. That's right. And, you know, I've loved the fact that I've had staff members who and co-counsel and lawyers and people that have interned with me who feel comfortable enough to give me advice as well and say, you know, you did that or did you really need to tell that guy this thing? And, you know, it's touchy, I think when people are talking to their boss and giving them advice, but it's been really invaluable to me.

[00:15:10.89] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. But, again, going back to that culture, I think it all depends on, that culture that you create because so many times people can bite people's head off, you know when you hear that from somebody you're working with. But I think if you have the mentality that you always wanna try to improve and get better, then you welcome that and probably even encourage that so that you can kinda take things to the next level.

[00:15:29.10] – Justin Hill

Oh, that's right. That's right. And that's what we try to do here.

[00:15:32.00] – Gresham Harkless

Nice. Well, I absolutely appreciate that. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional. You can let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you, subscribe to the podcast, and hear about all the awesome things that you're working on.

[00:15:46.79] – Justin Hill

Well, I mean, if I get a chance, I want people to, inform themselves about what type of work we do. I think we have been, given a bad name by insurance companies who spend millions of dollars trying to downplay the work that we do. But when you put on your seat belt or you have an airbag in your car or your tires don't fall apart while you're driving down the road, I want I hope your listeners understand that we serve a really valuable purpose in our community and our society because Europe and some of those, they let the government, you know, regulate safe products. And in America, we've decided we're gonna let twelve jurors do it. So we help, uphold the Seventh Amendment, and I hope people will understand that or at least try to educate themselves. If you wanna know more about our law firm, website's j a h law firm dot com. And if you wanna reach out to me, it's justin@jahlawfirm.com.

[00:16:39.60] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. We will have the links and information in the show notes, and I definitely, you know, appreciate all the work you do. Obviously, the time that you spent with us today, but I think so many times when those unfortunate situations happen, you don't know where to turn. And I appreciate you for, you know, fighting for those clients, fighting for those people that feel like they don't have anywhere to turn or sometimes even feel hopeless. And I think it's so important because, you know, it just makes the world a better place and, hopefully, those products safer and just everything everybody more conscious about that human aspect.

[00:17:07.79] – Justin Hill

I hope I hope so, and I think so. I appreciate your time and let me talk with you.

[00:17:12.79] – Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. Have a great rest of the day.

[00:17:15.20] – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at IAMCEO.CO. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it’s a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear a www.CEOgear.co This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Title: Transcript - Wed, 08 May 2024 08:34:08 GMT

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Date: Wed, 08 May 2024 08:34:08 GMT, Duration: [00:17:50.96]

[00:00:02.20] - Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you’re in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

[00:00:29.69] - Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Justin Hill of Hill Law Firm. Justin, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:38.79] - Justin Hill

Hey, man. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:40.79] - Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Justin so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Justin was born and raised in a small town in North Texas. After Texas a and m and Baylor Law School, he relocated to San Antonio to practice law. He focused exclusively on the areas of plaintiff's personal injury litigation. And outside of work, he runs a successful podcast about San Antonio and practices beekeeping. Justin, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[00:01:09.40] - Justin Hill

I am.

[00:01:10.40] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So to kick everything off, I just wanted to rewind the clock a little bit and take us through what I call your CEO story. We'll let you get started with your podcast, your business, and, of course, your beekeeping.

[00:01:22.70] - Justin Hill

Well, those are three very different areas.

[00:01:25.09] - Gresham Harkless

Distinct things. Yes.

[00:01:26.20] - Justin Hill

I mean, so as it relates to my business I started straight out of law school with one of the biggest personal injury law firms in the United States. I cold-called the guy. I wanted to work for him. He had never hired anybody straight out of law school, and I've always kind of lived with that idea of the worst he can say is no. He hired me as a first kid straight out of law school. I got just incredible experience that nobody my age was getting at that time. I left there after about six years. I wanted to kind of try my my hand doing it a little different, scaling it out a little different. And then five years ago, I started my own law firm and I've told everybody it's it's hard work and a little bit of luck and, you know, I thought I had that on my side, and so here we are.

[00:02:09.30] - Gresham Harkless

Nice. Absolutely love that. And and and I know that, kinda being able to to kinda build your business and kinda see that you kinda have to have that mentality of the worst that they can say is no because a lot of times you just have to go for it and see what happens.

[00:02:21.50] - Justin Hill

That's right.

[00:02:22.59] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So could could you take us a little through through a little bit more about your practice and what exactly you do and how you serve the clients you work with?

[00:02:29.09] - Justin Hill

Sure. So we're a personal injury law firm. I mean, anywhere in America, there are personal injury law firms. It's a very uniquely American thing that we have decided that we're not gonna let people with powdered wigs or bureaucrats decide, what somebody's loss is worth. We let juries decide. So I work in the area of representing injured people against almost exclusively and We have a little bit of a a niche practice in a few ways in that we handle a lot of stuff that other firms won't. We have a big docket of sexual assault cases, some against churches and other big entities. Kind of some run, you know, the normal what you see about personal injury lawyers, car wrecks, and eighteen wheelers, a lot of on the job work. And I've actually handled a few cases representing, municipalities or counties suing polluters. So it's a little bit different, but I really like what I do and I think we can provide a different quality of work. And we're pretty much San Antonio based, but we do stuff all over the state of Texas.

[00:03:36.50] - Gresham Harkless

Nice. Absolutely love that. And and was there was there anything that made you or kinda focus or drove you to kinda niche down on those specific aspects or is that just something that emerged through throughout the business?

[00:03:48.40] - Justin Hill

Everybody's fighting for the same sort of piece of the pie, it seems like. And I've realized that there is a lot of things that everybody misses. So, you know, I've been referred cases because a lawyer will call me and say, hey. You're the one that will take these weird cases, and we have done really well with some of those cases that nobody else would take. And so it really hasn't been that I've tried to focus on a niche. I've almost become a niche of we get referred cases and sent cases that nobody else will take. So there are cases that I find value in. I look at the client and tell them I'll go to fight for them because I think we have a really valuable, viable claim. And usually, when I take them, I'm right. And, you know, to some extent, this has to do with a lot of lawyers not wanting to have to learn something new and me really enjoying learning new things.

[00:04:32.89] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think, again, kinda going back to that entrepreneurial itch, I feel like that's at the heart of it, that curiosity, the the desire to kinda try and to see. And, obviously, you you can have a lot of, you know, great success with your clients. And do you find, like, your podcast, does that kind of go in and delve into you getting your footprint in that San Antonio area even though I know you you you, you serve the greater Texas area?

[00:04:55.39] - Justin Hill

Yeah. No. I think that's a great point because, you know, to some extent, I've been thinking how's everything gonna go when people just start talking to their their Alexa on the counter and saying, Alexa, find me an injury lawyer or Alexa, find me a restaurant. People are either gonna be ahead of that or they're not. I have a weird passion for this city. I love San Antonio. I have met some fascinating people and I thought what a better way to brand my law firm and myself, when they start asking Alexa to get them a lawyer than to share my love of the city through a podcast. So when the shutdown happened, I found myself with a little bit of idle time and I took advantage. And our, our podcast is, you know, we've had the mayor of San Antonio on and health professionals and musicians and athletes and artists. So we're trying to have a big broad range of San Antonio to expose people to it because I think they really want that here. And I think I'm, I'm a pretty good person to tell that story.

[00:05:46.60] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely love that. You kinda get that, opportunity to be the the kind of podcast mayor of the the location to know about all the things that are going on. In addition to having the mayor on there, it gives you that opportunity to kinda be that person, that go to person. And I've always felt like, you know, having that opportunity through content is a great way to do that.

[00:06:04.69] - Justin Hill

And San Antonio's kind of been a slow adopter of technology. So if I was doing this in Austin, like you and I were talking about the city of Austin right before this, you know, I would be the fiftieth person to do this probably, but San Antonio is kind of a we are our own pace. We do things a little bit slower. And so, you know, we're kind of the first San Antonio based podcast that is trying to tell stories about the people and the places and the back stories of San Antonio.

[00:06:29.80] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. So yeah. Absolutely love that. You get that definitely get that first movers, advantage. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for you personally or or your business or a combination of both. But what do you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique?

[00:06:45.30] - Justin Hill

We have, like, an almost laser-intense focus on our cases. So we don't treat cases like a mill. I think a lot of lawyers have created processes that run their firms. We probably aren't the most efficient because of that, but at the end of the day, I've always thought and what put me into this was my own family story and sort of seeing a family go through tragedy. And I've just always thought that I do not wanna ever be a lawyer that treat my clients like a widget. So maybe sometimes it's a little less efficient, but I think it leads to clients who feel like they got a real advocate in a scary situation, and I think it leads to better results. So we say we're a boutique personal injury law firm. And to me, that means that we're intensely laser focused on our clients. We are very big on communication with our clients. We do not take a big docket of cases. So we have a small docket. Everybody's fully staffed. Our cases are fully worked, and our clients are always informed about what's going on.

[00:07:41.60] - Gresham Harkless

Nice. I absolutely love that and appreciate that. And I think so many times, I'll I'll say that when we look at business, when we look at entrepreneurship, we sometimes can get into the numbers. We can get into the widgets of the things that were being created, but that people aspect is is huge. And I think that as you kinda spoke to the service that you provide for your clients, when we lose sight of that, to me, you lose sight of the business. So to really understand the nuances of especially, you know, in the legal industry of, you know, the frustrations, the fear, probably the excitement, all those go kinda go up and down and around. But to be attuned to that and actually treat that and care for that and serve that is is something that's huge.

[00:08:16.89] - Justin Hill

Yeah. And I think it's unfortunate in the legal industry that too many of the firms that are big players have created a situation where it feels like clients are widgets, and they are a number, and there is a way to move those cases efficiently, and everything kinda has a set value in those firms. And in our firms, I always tell the clients from the get go, case is what a jury says it's worth or what you finally tell me to take. So we don't go into this telling them, hey. We've done this a million times. We've got an idea of what your case is worth. We tell them we're gonna get your case ready for trial, and that's gonna make the other side give us our best offer.

[00:08:52.39] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And I absolutely love that because you kinda spoke on that in the beginning because I think you said, unquantifiable sometimes decisions that people, the jury, you know, has to make on these situations. And, again, you know, losing sight of that human aspect, understanding that, it's really sometimes honestly hard to quantify those things even if you have, you know, a hundred thousand cases because you have that human aspect. So I appreciate you and your firm kinda focusing on that.

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[00:09:15.00] - Justin Hill

Yeah. There's so many certainties in our world that if anybody steps up and tells a client, I know what your case is worth, they don't know what they're doing.

[00:09:22.39] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:09:24.60] - Justin Hill

The truth. Yeah.

[00:09:25.70] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And, so I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an Apple book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:09:38.20] - Justin Hill

Oh, what makes me more effective and efficient? You know, I'm very, very close with my staff, close to the extent of, you know, we celebrate birthdays, we text on the weekends, you know, I get to know them personally, they get to know me personally because I think it's really important at the end of the day. And to be fair, I have a small staff and I have a small office, but I think at the end of the day, it's a very different experience working with people that share your passion because they are your friend and they know how important it is to you and working with people that think they're stamping a widget out every day. So I know some people in the HR world would say that's not good, but it served me well and I'm gonna keep doing it. And I think my staff appreciates it. My clients appreciate it. And I can tell you I appreciate it. It makes me better.

[00:10:24.60] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. It's so funny that, you know, as we transition, we talked about, you know, having that human aspect with clients. But I think sometimes we forget that the people that work with us sometimes are extensions of us, and, you know, we have to kinda march the beat of that drum and to have that caring, and connection and that relationship with the people that you work with that are on your team extends into the quality and the connection that you have with your clients. So it's kinda we kinda forget it. It starts with us.

[00:10:50.70] - Justin Hill

Yeah. And and our staff is the first stop for anybody come in the office, whether it's the FedEx guy or a lady who just lost a family member, and how they are treated is gonna be a a reflection on me, and my firm. So it's it's anybody who thinks that staff are replaceable and that you're the guy who runs the show and you're the only one that's irreplaceable. I think they just missed the boat on all this added value you can have by surrounding yourself with good people.

[00:11:18.00] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And I think, at the end of the day, sometimes we forget why we're doing what we're doing and, you know, having an impact on the people you work with, having an impact, obviously, on the clients we work with. When we get have that widget mentality, as you kinda spoke to earlier, we kinda lose sight of that. And one of the quotes that I always remember is people don't care how much you know till they know how much you care. And when they know that, then that starts to extend and everything.

[00:11:39.29] - Justin Hill

I think that's right. And I was I was joke whenever I mean, I still get pissed off and I still get angry when I don't think my clients are treated fair. And when that goes away, it's time for me to stop doing this. And that's my barometer.

[00:11:52.00] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. There you go. You hang up your your jersey, so to speak, and and then retire.

[00:11:55.89] - Justin Hill

That's right.

[00:11:56.79] - Gresham Harkless

So, now I would've asked you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

[00:12:09.79] - Justin Hill

I get calls from a lot of young lawyers who are trying to start a law firm, who wanna do their own thing. My always go-to with them is to keep your overhead low. So we are in a very big cash flow heavy business. I mean, you you live and die by cash flow in an industry like mine where we have to fund our cases and wait for the cases to resolve. So I'm real big on keeping your overhead low and, you know, flash doesn't get you very far, but having a sustainable business that becomes profitable, that'll get you a lot further for a lot longer.

[00:12:42.00] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. And that's that's a huge thing. I I feel like obviously in the legal industry as you spoke on, but I think in most industries that sometimes we can a lot of people will invest in the flash, invest in the things that are the bells and whistles, but not take care of that foundation. And that foundation that we kinda talked about, you know, is really caring for people who are showcasing that being in quality because that's the service that they're looking for. And when you lose sight of that and you invest in the bells and whistles, a lot of times, you know, the house of cards can come crashing down.

[00:13:10.39] - Justin Hill

That's right. You know, the bells and whistles to me really are never an investment either. They're flash and they're showing off. And when when I was a young lawyer and I'd had a good year or two, I reached out to an older lawyer I I respected and thought real highly of, and I asked him, I said, well, you know, what do you do? Just try to set up your retirement. Things like that. And he said, you know, invest in your business. Like, if you think you're a good asset, if you think you're gonna be profitable, put your money back into your business. And so that's kinda what I've done.

[00:13:36.20] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. It's a it's a great thing to do. And when you get confident in the service that you're providing, you can invest in that and provide, so many, valuable, interactions and opportunities. And so I I wanted to ask you now for my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote, unquote CEOs on this show. So, Justin, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:13:58.29] - Justin Hill

Honestly, to me, it means set a good example. I don't really think I've got any great shakes. I legally can practice law and I think I'm pretty good at it because I think I care about it, but be a good example. And that is everything. I I try to work hard and if my staff's working hard, I do the same. If they're staying late, I do the same. And that kind of permeates everything. They hear how you talk to clients. They hear how you talk to co-counsel. And, you know, if you set a good example, then your whole business is gonna be what you've said.

[00:14:30.50] - Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. And I think, so many times we forget that the culture and how we even see the world and what we see in the world a lot of times starts with us. And if we want to see something in the world, we have to see it and act on it within ourselves. And so many times we forget and gloss over that important factor.

[00:14:47.20] - Justin Hill

That's right. Yep. Yep. That's right. And, you know, I've loved the fact that I've had staff members who and co-counsel and lawyers and people that have interned with me who feel comfortable enough to give me advice as well and say, you know, you did that or did you really need to tell that guy this thing? And, you know, it's it's it's touchy, I think, when people are talking to their boss and giving them advice, but it's been really invaluable to me.

[00:15:10.89] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. But, again, going back to that culture, I think it all depends on, that culture that you create because so many times people can bite people's head off, you know, when you hear that from somebody you're working with. But I think if you have the mentality that you always wanna try to improve and get better, then you welcome that and probably even encourage that so that you can kinda take things to the next level.

[00:15:29.10] - Justin Hill

Oh, that's right. That's right. And that's what we try to do here.

[00:15:32.00] - Gresham Harkless

Nice. Well, I absolutely appreciate that. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional. You can let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you, subscribe to the podcast, and hear about all the awesome things that you're working on.

[00:15:46.79] - Justin Hill

Well, I mean, if I get a chance, I want people to, inform themselves about what type of work we do. I think we have been, given a bad name by insurance companies who spend millions of dollars trying to downplay the work that we do. But when you put on your seat belt or you have an airbag in your car or your tires don't fall apart while you're driving down the road, I want I hope your listeners understand that we serve a really valuable purpose in our community and our society because Europe and some of those, they let the government, you know, regulate safe products. And in America, we've decided we're gonna let twelve jurors do it. So we help, uphold the Seventh Amendment, and I hope people will understand that or at least try to educate themselves. If you wanna know more about our law firm, website's j a h law firm dot com. And if you wanna reach out to me, it's justin@jahlawfirm.com.

[00:16:39.60] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. We will definitely have the links and information in the show notes, and I definitely, you know, appreciate all the work you do. Obviously, the time that you spent with us today, but I think so many times when those unfortunate situations happen, you don't know where to turn. And I appreciate you for, you know, fighting for in those clients, fighting for those people that feel like they don't have anywhere to turn or sometimes even feel hopeless. And I think it's so important because, you know, it just makes the world a better place and, hopefully, those products safer and and just everything everybody more conscious about that human aspect.

[00:17:07.79] - Justin Hill

I hope I hope so, and I think so. So I appreciate your time and let me talk with you.

[00:17:12.79] - Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. Have a great rest of the day.

[00:17:15.20] - Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at IAMCEO.CO. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it’s a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear a www.CEOgear.co This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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