And a Firm-Sponsored Vacation to Costa Rica…
Our heartfelt gratitude and big congratulations go out to Brandy Hudson, who is celebrating her tenth year with Warner Law Offices this month.
To show our appreciation for her 10 years of hard work, Warner Law Offices sent Brandy and her family on a reward trip of her choice. Brandy, with son Tyler and daughter Kagan, decided on the beautiful and all-inclusive Hotel Riu Guanacaste in Costa Rica.
During her tenure at Warner Law Offices, she has significantly contributed to our success, and though her talents are many, Brandy particularly excels in the area of client development, where she has always been a leader that others could follow.
They spent the week enjoying the sand and the waves of Playa Matapalo, horseback riding, zip lining, snorkeling and island hopping. Tyler even found time to enjoy some deep-sea fishing.
Why I Sent Brandy and Her Family on Vacation
When I started Warner Law Offices in the spring of 2000, I wanted to create a law firm that was different. I wanted an atmosphere where employees treated one another like family. I wanted every employee to feel like they were important and that their work product mattered. I wanted each employee, from the top lawyer to the newest entry level staff member, to feel appreciated. Most importantly, I wanted each employee to have an ownership mentality, to exercise control over their own success.
When the firm did well, they would do well.
Over the years, I believe we have achieved these goals and created a unique firm atmosphere. We have all become an extended “firm family,” and like most families, we work hard to accomplish the task at hand: We celebrate together, nag each other, tease each other mercilessly, fuss a little, and lean on each other in tough times. At the end of the day, it is clear that the bond we share extends well beyond the firm’s business activities – we truly care about each other and look out for one another.
Of course, ties this deep require bonding time. With some of the best cooks in the legal industry on staff, we regularly enjoy shared luncheons and holiday “dinners.” No excuse to congregate over a conference room table of home cooked dishes goes overlooked: We make it a point of celebrating birthdays, weddings, births, individual accomplishments, and firm accomplishments, together in our conference room.
We have also been very fortunate to have the opportunity to gather our families and vacation together on firm sponsored rewards trips. In recent years, we have found ourselves in Las Vegas, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.
These trips are more than just a reward for hard work; they are an opportunity to spend time with “the other half” of our firm family away from the daily grind of litigation. I love getting to know the spouses and companions of my employees. These are the people that provide invaluable insight into the hopes, the goals, the priorities and motivations of my staff. The value of getting to know not just the professional “work version” of your staff, but also meeting and conversing with the people they love, and the people who provide the foundation and inspiration for your staff to come to work every day should never be underestimated. I have always believed that a happy employee is a productive employee. Identifying and providing each employee with the tools and inspiration to give 110% to each and every work day is the secret to any successful business.
The Lawyers Shouldn’t Get All the Credit
I’m baffled by the fact that lawyers get all the credit for the big verdict or settlement. News sources always ask the lawyer for a quote about the case, never the paralegal. But every (truthful) lawyer will tell you that behind every great lawyer is an even more amazing staff. The public has no idea the amount of work involved in their case and certainly no idea the large volume of that work that’s performed by the support staff.
It’s very much like football.
Even the best quarterback in the country cannot move the ball down the field if the offense line, the running backs and the receivers are weak. This is why, when I meet a new or potential client for the first time, I always try to introduce them to their entire legal “team,” not just the lawyers, but the staff that will be working on their case. At Warner Law Offices, the team is typically made up of 4 to 5 different people.
Each team member plays a critical part of the future success of the case.
Pick the Right Legal Team, Not Just the Right Lawyer
I have no expectation that this blog post will change the media’s perception of the legal industry, lawyer advertising, or even word-of-mouth recommendations. Nevertheless, even though you see the big cheese lawyer on your television or hear about him or her from your friend in the community, when you are picking a lawyer for your case, just remember how important it is to pick the right legal team and not just the right lawyer.
So, does the happiness of a law firm’s staff really affect your case? I can say with 100% certainty: Yes, absolutely.
Did we miss Brandy and all her skills and talent during the week we she was out celebrating her 10 year anniversary? Yes, we did! But what’s more important is that she came back refreshed, relaxed, smiling, and ready to get back to work.
Speaking of work, I had better get back to mine. I have two other employees, Jennifer Lacy and Tara Chandler, soon to reach their 10-year anniversaries here at Warner Law Offices as well. Neither one of them has decided the destination of their reward trip, but I am confident that the hard work of everyone here at Warner Law Offices will produce the type of financial success necessary to send them to the exotic location of their choice.