Any business advice you would give to someone just starting in the profession?
A sad truth is most lawyers are not good business people! If you are opening your own law firm, there is not enough room to address this topic here—we can discuss over lunch. To those working for someone else’s law firm, the best business advice I can give is relationships, relationships, relationships! Create and maintain relationships with the lawyers in your firm; the lawyers you are litigating against (yes, you can be friends); and other lawyers in the community.
What do you wish you would have learned at the beginning of your career?
First, if you’re working for a larger law firm, become an expert on any assignment you are given. Quality over quantity. If you are working for more of a “high-volume” firm (and you’re not billing hours), this may be horrible advice (so ignore it!). Second, find any way you can to generate business. Those that can generate business will have far more opportunities than those that are good lawyers (I know, you aren’t taught that in law school, and some of you hate hearing this, but it’s the reality)!
Where do you see you/your firm in ten years from now?
Hopefully still in business . . . . I have big plans for my firm, but I don’t like telling people what I’m going to do, I like showing them. Too many people talk about their grandiose plans, but few deliver. However, I’m answering this question, so I better say something meaningful. My firm has grown very quickly by providing exceptional customer service, outstanding results, and by creating and maintaining critical relationships with individuals with resources to help my firm grow. So, in ten years, I see Valiente Mott Injury Attorneys (www.valientemott.com) employing 8 Boyd School of Law attorneys, 40 more staff, and being a Top 3 Personal Injury Law Firm in the State of Nevada. (I give you permission to make fun of me if I fall short!)