Episode

128 – Malorie Peacock – Mastering the Art of Case Valuation: Strategies and Insights for Successful Negotiations

In this week’s episode, Michael Cowen and Malorie Peacock discuss the importance of accurately valuing personal injury or wrongful death cases.

They recommend lawyers form groups to discuss and share insights on case valuation, using a carefully curated form to identify critical factors influencing a case’s value.

The round table can also provide a more confident and persuasive stance when negotiating with insurance companies or at mediation. Michael and Malorie emphasize the importance of determining when a case is ripe for settlement and the need for sufficient information to be gathered before engaging in negotiations. They challenge the notion that sending a demand letter makes a lawyer look weak and highlight the importance of considering all relevant factors, such as medical bills, potential for future treatment, insurance coverage, and the likelihood of winning at trial.

Case valuation is an art that requires careful analysis and consideration of all available information. The attorneys also encourage lawyers to form mastermind groups to share ideas and perspectives on cases, improving their knowledge and skills.

Featured Guest

Name: Malorie J. Peacock

About: Malorie J. Peacock is a Partner at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock. She was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and received her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. During her time with Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, Malorie has worked on numerous commercial vehicle, trucking, and wrongful death cases. Malorie brings close attention to detail, commitment to finding safety issues and areas of neglect, continued utilization of technology and cutting-edge visuals in cases, along with a sincere passion to help those who have been hurt, to each and every case.

Company: Cowen Rodriguez Peacock 

Connect: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights 

[01.11] Accurately valuing personal injury cases: The hosts emphasize the importance of accurately valuing personal injury cases to ensure that clients receive fair compensation for their injuries.

[06.12] Considering all relevant factors in case valuation: Correctly valuing a case requires considering all relevant factors, including liability, damages, insurance coverage, and potential jury verdicts

[08.11] The importance of gathering sufficient information: Engaging in settlement negotiations without adequate information can result in missed opportunities, undervaluing or overvaluing a case, and a less favorable settlement outcome

[11.07] Challenging the notion that sending a demand letter is weak: Sending a demand letter can be a powerful negotiation tool that can demonstrate a lawyer’s confidence in their case and their willingness to fight for their client’s rights

[20.23] The round table approach to case valuation: The round table allows for a more comprehensive analysis of a case and helps lawyers prepare a stronger negotiation strategy.

[30.41] Improving knowledge and skills through mastermind groups: The hosts encourage lawyers to form mastermind groups for improved knowledge and skills. They discuss the benefits of collaborating with other lawyers and provide tips for finding or creating a group. 

[32.39] Using a carefully curated form to identify critical factors: Using a carefully curated form to identify key factors can help lawyers systematically and objectively evaluate a case’s strengths and weaknesses, which can lead to a more accurate valuation.

[36.43] The benefits of sharing knowledge within the plaintiff’s bar: Plaintiff attorneys shouldn’t see each other as competitors but rather as colleagues who can collaborate and share knowledge to improve their skills and the quality of legal representation for their clients.

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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.

Produced and Sponsored by LawPods.

127 – Lee Hunt – The $66.6 Million Verdict: How Trust and Empathy Shaped the Outcome

When asked how he won a $66.6 million dollar verdict, Lee Hunt attributes much of the victory to the intelligence of the jury — and his ability to forge real, human relationships with his clients.

On this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, host Michael Cowen talks about trial law with the founder of Hunt Law in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The two discuss Lee’s latest big victory, covering everything from his client’s injuries, liability, and the trust he placed in his jury. They also discuss Lee’s background and his passion for trial work. 

“I try very hard never to go, at the very least, more than a year without significant trials,” said Lee. “It is absolutely terrifying, trying a case where you know your client’s future life is at stake. It’s terrifying. But as long as you’re in the mode of it and haven’t been that far removed from it, it’s a fear you know how to deal with.”  

For Lee, the trial process is personal. Not only does he dedicate time and energy into every case, he also puts the same effort into knowing his clients on a personal level. He believes clients and lawyers should trust one another, and he credits that trust for much of his success over the course of his lengthy career.  

Featured Guest

Name: Lee Hunt

About: Lee Hunt is the founder and lead attorney at Hunt Law. He graduated from the University of Kentucky School of Law, where he received the Order of Coif award. For the past 20 years, Lee has proven himself time and again with a winning track of successful jury awards for injury victims. 

Almost above anything else, Lee stresses the value of the relationship between attorney and client. He believes that by the end of a case, the client and lawyer should trust each other, know each other, and genuinely care about each other. Lee wants to know his clients on a personal level and not just as another case number.

His reputation precedes him as a compassionate, caring lawyer, who offers his clients more than just top-notch legal council. He vows to stand with his clients every step of the way and won’t give up until he sees their trial through to the end.

Company: Hunt Law

Connect: LinkedIn  

Episode Highlights 

[02:06] An intro: Lee tells Michael and listeners some background on the big case he won in New Mexico, which involved a movie set, a production company, a moving crane, and a man pressured into making a life-altering decision.

[07:57] Negligence costs money: Lee discusses how the production team ignored warnings from local New Mexicans about the safest way for his client to move a crane up a mountain. 

[12:26] Relatability: One of his strategies with the jury was to make the case relatable for any blue collar worker who has been put in tough situations rather than focusing on the case’s specific location on a movie set.

[14:57] The jury: Lee describes the process of selecting the jury pool and the focus groups that were involved. 

[17:36] Comparative fault: From the jump, Lee wanted to really own his client’s culpability in the case, which ultimately played out in their favor. His client was found only 19% at fault.

[22:15] Damages: Lee breaks down how he came up with the different damage costs. 

[28:16] Trust the process: Whether to give the jury an exact number in payouts or leave it up to them ultimately comes down to each individual case.

[33:26] Personalization: Lee really puts the time and effort into getting to know his clients, as well as their families. He spent time with his client’s family in California leading up to the case and discussed their worries and concerns. 

[37:50] Zoom vs IRL: Lee discusses how New Mexico’s COVID protocols impact trials and how witnesses are perceived by the jury via Zoom versus in person. 

[46:53] In his nature: Having grown up an athlete and continuing to be an avid runner, Lee attributes some of his trial success to his natural competitiveness and ability to go the distance.

Connect with Trial Lawyer Nation

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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.

Produced and Sponsored by LawPods.

126 – Malorie Peacock – Unlocking the Power of Telematics: How Distracted Driving Evidence Can Win Big Verdicts

Although technology has improved our quality of life, there are negative consequences, such as the increase in automobile and truck accidents stemming from distracted driving.

Despite the benefits of GPS tracking, specialized brake systems, and virtual logging of hours, there have been issues with falsified data, unassigned drive time, and “phantom drivers” in the trucking industry.

Fortunately, telematics has helped mitigate some of these problems by providing real-time notifications and useful data. However, the proliferation of apps and systems has also increased distractions for drivers, leading to safety risks.

In this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, Malorie J. Peacock, Partner at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, and host Michael Cowen discuss the intersection of technology and driving. They examine the pros and cons of technology on the road, how it affects truck drivers, and how telematics data can assist lawyers in automobile and trucking cases.

Featured Guest

Name: Malorie J. Peacock

About: Malorie J. Peacock is a Partner at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock. She was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and received her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. During her time with Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, Malorie has worked on numerous commercial vehicle, trucking, and wrongful death cases. Malorie brings close attention to detail, commitment to finding safety issues and areas of neglect, continued utilization of technology and cutting-edge visuals in cases, along with a sincere passion to help those who have been hurt, to each and every case.

Company: Cowen Rodriguez Peacock 

Connect: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights 

[2:40] Electronic systems for the road: Malorie provides an overview of the technology available in modern vehicles.

[4:40] Electronic logging devices: In the past, truck drivers would record their hours of service on paper. However, this approach became fully digitized a few years ago and now involves GPS data. Despite its benefits, there are also drawbacks associated with this system.

[7:54] Cheating the system: Despite their apparent reliability, electronic logging devices can be manipulated by truck drivers to falsify their driving hours.

[12:30] A problem of perverse incentives: The trucking industry faces a significant issue with the fabrication of logs, as it benefits both truck drivers and trucking companies.

[14:58] The benefits of telematics: Electronic systems equipped with GPS tracking, known as telematics, can collect and transmit a wide range of data to a central location, providing transparency and enhancing safety measures.

[18:52] Investing in telematics: Telematics offer numerous benefits, including increased safety, reduced insurance claims, video evidence, and economic advantages.

[21:38] Getting the data: Obtaining data from telematics can be a complex process, dependent on the system, procedures, and company. Malorie and Michael delve into the various capabilities and recommend seeking expert assistance.

[26:42] The downside of technology and truck driving: While technological advancements offer benefits, they also pose an increased risk of distraction. Malorie and Michael discuss the potential use of phone data in distracted driving cases and the complexities surrounding data ownership.

[33:26] Distractions from driving apps: Certain applications, such as electronic logging devices, can distract truck drivers, while other job-specific apps may elevate the risk of distraction for delivery drivers and rideshare drivers.

[35:16] Examining driving apps: For those seeking to learn more about designing an app for their needs, Malorie suggests conducting a Google search to access videos exploring specific apps and their creation. She cautions against investing too heavily in apps or data that will not significantly impact their case.

Connect with Trial Lawyer Nation

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☑️ Subscribe to Trial Lawyer Nation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.

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.

Produced and Sponsored by LawPods.

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.

Connect with Trial Lawyer Nation

☑️ Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

☑️ Subscribe to Trial Lawyer Nation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.

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.

Produced and Sponsored by LawPods.

124 – Malorie Peacock – Why Focus Groups Matter and How To Make the Most of Them

Focus groups can be a pertinent tool for complicated cases to get a sense of how ordinary people think about a case.

Malorie J. Peacock, Partner at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, uses focus groups to gain an outside perspective on her cases.

“Sometimes you get so wrapped up in the minutiae of your case or some technical details, or you’ve learned the case so well that you think it’s obvious to everybody else,” she explains. “Having that outside perspective is a way to get feedback to make sure you’re not just buying your own bullshit.”

Host Michael Cowen joins in on the discussion with Malorie who recently returned from hosting a focus group for one of her upcoming cases. They share what they’ve learned about focus groups, why you should consider using them in your own cases, how to facilitate them, what you gain from them, and most importantly, how to learn from them to inform your cases.

The episode provides examples of how to use both concept and adversarial focus groups to achieve your objectives, sharing real-life case studies that both Michael and Malorie have seen play out first-hand.

Featured Guest

Name: Malorie J. Peacock

About: Malorie J. Peacock is Partner at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock. She was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, and received her JD from the University of Houston Law Center. During her time with Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, Malorie has worked on numerous commercial vehicle, trucking, and wrongful death cases. Malorie brings close attention to detail, commitment to finding safety issues and areas of neglect, continued utilization of technology and cutting-edge visuals in cases, along with a sincere passion to help those who have been hurt, to each and every case.

Firm: Cowen Rodriguez Peacock 

Connect: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights 

[02:18] Focus groups, defined: Malorie explains that a focus group is simply a group of people who are not associated with your case that allow you to test your strategy and get feedback. 

[05:29] Different ways to test: There are many different ways to employ focus groups to add value to your case. Malorie advises the most important thing is knowing the purpose of the focus group.

[09:38] Bringing out your competitive nature: Michael talks about how adversarial focus groups can help lawyers rehearse for their cases ahead of time while channeling their competitive sides.

[13:41] Focus groups are not predictive of the numbers: Malorie reviews all the different variables that can change between a focus group and a court case that affect the numbers in the final outcome.

[15:21] Expect the unexpected: Michael speaks to how certain rulings from judges or specific facts being presented can have a big impact on how a case proceeds. 

[21:18] Emotional attachments can get in the way: Michael points out that if you’re feeling emotional about a case and can’t run the focus group from a neutral perspective it might be better to hire a third party facilitator. 

[24:35] How to find people to participate: Several different channels can be used to recruit people for focus groups. 

[25:32] The right way to use Facebook ads: Michael provides an overview on how to properly use Facebook ads to recruit participants while maintaining neutrality in the process. 

[35:10] To record or not to record?: Michael and Malorie debate how they prefer to record and document focus groups along with the benefits of each method. 

[45:48] Choosing the right people to present: Malorie advises on how to balance the skills and likeability of two people if you’re holding an adversarial focus group to get good information. 

[53:41] Big Rig Boot Camp: Michael reminds listeners that registration is open for the Big Rig Boot Camp on June 16th in San Antonio, TX.

Connect with Trial Lawyer Nation

☑️ Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

☑️ Subscribe to Trial Lawyer Nation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.

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.

Produced and Sponsored by LawPods.