125 – Jessica Mogill – Building a World Class Law Firm Culture

Helping attorneys create great company culture is what motivates Jessica Mogill to give her best every day. As Head of Coaching Strategy at Crisp, the nation’s leading law firm growth company, Jessica helps attorneys define and improve their culture. 

“Culture is really what drives the experience. And it drives the emotions that you feel,” Jessica says. “And I think that when you have team members who are part of a culture and part of a mission and a vision, your clients do feel that, your referral partners feel that, and they know that there’s something special about this place.” 

Jessica offers advice on how to start defining your core values, creating KPIs that are measurable, and onboarding new team members to make them part of your team culture. 

She also reflects on some lackluster onboarding experiences that she experienced early on in her career and how those initial interactions soured her perception of those companies from the very beginning. 

For professionals working on trucking or company vehicle cases, host Michael Cowen closes the episode with a reminder that he is hosting the upcoming Big Rig Boot Camp on June 16th in San Antonio, Texas.

Featured Guest

Name: Jessica Mogill

About: Jessica Mogill is Head of Coaching Strategy at Crisp, the nation’s premiere law firm growth company. On paper, Jessica is an industrial engineer and got started in her career as an engineer in steel-toed boots and a hard hat. 

When the time came for a career shift, she entered Crisp on the ground floor back in 2014. While she originally only planned to advise Crisp for 30 days, almost 10 years later, she’s helped Crisp grow to unimaginable heights. Through her experience growing Crisp, Jessica has developed a unique set of leadership and strategic skills, which she now translates into guidance not only for the internal team but also for Crisp Coach clients. 

As the mastermind behind the content and experience of the industry-leading Crisp Coach program, Jessica keeps a pulse on the challenges, opportunities, and knowledge gaps facing the leaders of the nation’s top law firms — and delivers solutions that transform.

Company: Crisp

Connect: LinkedIn 

Key Points 

Top takeaways from this episode

  • Culture starts with core values. Defining your core values is the basis to defining your company culture. It’s also normal for core values to change over time as a company grows or needs different things. Ideally, review your core values annually to confirm they still work for the business.
  • Invest in your team. Take a 360 degree view of investing in your team. This can include lunch and learns, training, and social events. At Crisp, there is a culture committee who is responsible for regularly planning events for the team in support of core values. 
  • Assessments can improve the hiring process. Hiring assessments can be used to enhance your hiring process and align candidates with the work that is best suited for their strengths. Examples of assessments used at Crisp are Kolbe, PRINT, and Wonderlic assessments.
  • Setting KPIs helps build high performing firms. KPIs let attorneys objectively review performance. A good KPI measures the root issue that needs to be addressed. Using software for tracking and reporting can keep you accountable but you can start with a simple spreadsheet if you don’t currently have software in place.

Episode Highlights 

[05:53] Culture is how stuff gets done: Jessica distills down the definition of culture to be how work gets done — what the standards are, what you’ll tolerate, and what is and is not acceptable at your firm. 

[08:19] Deciding on your culture: Jessica believes that every company will have a different culture based on its unique values.

[11:05] Start with core values: Jessica recommends starting with core values when defining your culture. She explains that core values are what you endorse versus what you tolerate.

[14:27] Go back and revisit core values regularly: At Crisp, Jessica reviews the company’s core values on a quarterly basis to ensure they’re still true. At a minimum, she recommends reviewing core values on an annual basis.

[19:33] Finding the right people is the hardest thing: Jessica speaks to how the recruitment process works at Crisp.

[29:42] Data creates high-performing firms: Jessica explains that key performance indicators (KPIs) will make you more objective in evaluating performance — you either hit the target or you don’t.

[36:57] Onboarding is overlooked and undervalued: Jessica walks us through how she approaches approving new positions and onboarding new team members at Crisp to give them the best possible experience.

[40:53] Volunteers, not hostages: Jessica shares the different questions she asks to determine if a person is the right player to have on her team. If your company has outgrown a team member, you need to start with a candid conversation.

[46:00] Communicate with context: Jessica describes how a new team member is essentially jumping on a moving train and lacks the institutional knowledge that other team members have built over time. It’s important to slow down and add context to get the best results.

[57:26] Big Rig Boot Camp: Michael reminds listeners that the Big Rig Boot Camp is coming up on June 16th in San Antonio, Texas.

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In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.

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