LMME 043 : California Trial Lawyer of the Year Mitch Jackson is an expert communicator and networker

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Mitch JacksonToday I had the pleasure of interviewing Mitch Jackson, a California trial lawyer.  Mitch has owned his own firm for the past 28 years and is a tremendous networker and communicator.  Working with his wife (as his law partner), Mitch has created a practice that allows him the flexibility to work with the clients he wants to, reject the clients he doesn’t, and spend a great deal of time with his wife and children.

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Items Mentioned in the Podcast

Mitch’s Background

Mitch has been a trial lawyer for 28 years. He grew up in Tucson, Arizona – and always wanted to be a lawyer. He developed clients and referral sources while playing basketball at Laguna Beach. Mitch opened up his own law practice straight out of law school with his wife, who has been his law partner to this day. Opening up his own firm has allowed Mitch to take the cases he wants and believes in and reject the cases he doesn’t want. It has also allowed him a freedom lifestyle to work when and how he wants.

Mitch freely acknowledges that some of his best referral sources are people he met way back in law school.

Inspirational Quote

“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Always make today your masterpiece.” – John Wooden

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

How to Get Clients on the Basketball Court…

Back in the early 80’s, developing networks was vital to getting new business. This remains true to this day. For Mitch, basketball is nothing but a metaphor to just regular old networking. Mitch likes to network while enjoying his passion (whether eating, playing basketball, or even going to a ballgame).

When did Mitch decide he wanted to start a law practice?

The seed was planted while Mitch was growing up. His parents owned their own business, so he grew up being exposed to an entrepreneurial mindset.

Mitch’s plan was to not spend more money then he made. When he started off, he minimized his expenses and shared space to enjoy economies of scale.

Mitch said, and I agree, that as a result of technology, it has never been easier to start a law firm.

Mitch’s lightbulb moment…

Mitch never really worried about failing. He was always confident that he would succeed. When he started, he was young, single, did not have kids, and he had everything to gain and nothing to lose. In his mind, “You just have to go for it.”

If you are prepared and do your best, then you will succeed.

Mitch’s biggest failure…

Mitch had a jury verdict that did not go his way, which cost him a lot of time and money. However, the client was so appreciative of the work that Mitch did for him that he came in and paid back all of the expenses that had been incurred in the case.

So long as you, as a lawyer, have done everything you can for the client – then you have to move on, even if the case doesn’t go the way you would like it to.

What’s really exciting Mitch right now.

Mitch loves trying cases, and after practicing for 28 years, Mitch is at a time where he can take on cases that may change the law for the better.

He also finds it rewarding to give back to and mentor younger trial lawyers. He has started mitchjackson.com and triallawyertips.com (a Google+ Group) to teach communication skills to other trial lawyers and the public in general.

One of Mitch’s big passions is communicating and social media. There are times that he will use social media as an outlet to get away from some of the grind that comes with practicing law.

What does Mitch like most about having his own law firm?

Mitch can call his own shots and personally pick his cases. They reject 19 out of 20 cases that call his firm.

Owning his own firm also allows him a flexible lifestyle to spend more time with his wife and kids, on his terms.

Final Five Questions

  1. What was holding you back from starting your own law firm?
    Self-limiting thoughts and lack of self-confidence.
  2. What is the best business advice he ever received?
    Build relationships and try your first case.
  3. What is a personal habit that contributes to your success?
    Make sure you outwork the other side and don’t let mistakes hold you back.
  4. What one or two internet tools and resources do you recommend?
    Social Media accounts and blogs – Every lawyer must have a presence online.
  5. What book would you recommend to someone starting a law firm?
    Adversaries into Allies, by Bob Burg
    Endless Referrals, by Bob Burg

If you were dropped into a parallel universe with nothing but a laptop, your law license and $500, what would you do in the first week.

Buy a $500 Starbucks card to get his caffeine boost, start a blog, and get engaged with others on social media.

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