Legal Podcast

152 – Odalys Lopez – How to Develop Attorney Skills and Mindset in Your Law Firm

Once you start getting big results, then people give you more opportunities to do bigger cases. But as a new lawyer, how do you begin getting big results?

In this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, host Michael Cowen welcomes Odalys Lopez, an up-and-coming lawyer at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, who shares insights on being a new lawyer. 

Tune in as Michael and Odalys discuss the firm’s strategies to develop lawyers, including doing “workdays” on cases, attorney development meetings, and 3pm trainings on Fridays. The conversation also covers how to alleviate clients’ nerves before defending depositions, why you should treat the truck driver on the other side of the case with respect (rather than hostility) to serve your case better, and why Michael started the tradition of having a celebratory dinner at trial the night before closing.  

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name: Odalys Lopez

About: Odalys is an associate attorney at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock. She joined the firm in December of 2021.

Odalys was born and raised in Mission, Texas. She first moved to San Antonio to obtain her undergraduate degree in Philosophy from St. Mary’s University in December of 2017. Odalys chose to stay at St. Mary’s to attend St. Mary’s School of Law, graduating Cum Laude in May of 2021.

While in law school, Odalys interned at an insurance defense firm, giving her a unique and valuable perspective on Cowen Rodriguez Peacock cases. She also served as a student attorney for the Criminal Justice Clinic at the Center for Legal and Social Justice, where she provided pro bono representation to community members.

Company: Cowen Rodriguez Peacock

Connect: LinkedIn  

Episode Highlights 

[01:45] Getting to know Odalys: Odalys graduated from law school in 2021 and shares what it was like to work on her first trial as a “baby lawyer” a few months after starting at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock.

[05:13] Celebratory dinner at trial the night before closing: So many lawyers get burned out with trial work. The hard part is that while we can control what we put in–preparation, skillset–we don’t control the outcome. That’s why Michael likes to celebrate “the fact that we are blessed with being able to do this, that we’re going to have fun, we’re going to enjoy it, and then we’re going to let the jury take care of the rest.” 

[09:48] Takeaways from defending depositions: Odalys shares that clients tend to be very nervous in these depositions, so confidence is key. Prepare clients to take pauses, focus on understanding the questions, and take breaks.

[18:58] Previewing the Big Rig Bootcamp: From telematics to working with a real expert and putting on a direct exam, the Big Rig Bootcamp is not just talking about theory. Michael and the team will show you what visuals to use, how to prep the expert, how to get the expert to testify, and more. 

[26:05] First lawyer in the family: Odalys credits her parents, discipline, and hard work for allowing her to graduate college, law school, and become a lawyer. 

[29:00] Respect the truck driver on the other side of the case: Most truck drivers are good people just trying to make a living in difficult circumstances. Empathy, rather than hostility, towards the truck driver will serve your case better. If you want to get behind the wheel of a truck, there’s a program through the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys.

[32:03] Dive deep into the case: The firm does a “workday” on some cases. It’s a time to turn off your ringer, turn off your email, and get into a room with a group of people and brainstorm each other’s cases to help one another. 

[35:00] Have attorney development meetings to stay on track: These professional development meetings are a chance to go through goals with attorneys, give feedback, and are also a chance for the attorneys to give feedback as well.

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.

151 – Alex Begum – $2.1 Million Verdict in a Tough Case

Build “top mind awareness” for your law firm to get the PI cases you actually want. Then focus on what’s-in-it-for-the-jury to win them. 

In this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, host Michael Cowen welcomes Alex Begum, the founding shareholder of Begum Law Group Injury Lawyers. Alex shares his journey towards mastering the business side of law, emphasizing the importance of financial acumen and creating a strong brand presence for law firm success. 

He also recounts the challenges behind a personal injury case he tried and the strategies he used to win a $2.17M judgment, highlighting the use of “judo law” to turn weaknesses into strengths, and the critical role of visual aids in demonstrating injuries to the jury in a low property damage case.  Additionally, Alex shares how he motivates the jury to do justice, tapping into what really matters to them. 

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name:  Alex Begum

About:  Alex Begum is the founding shareholder of Begum Law Group Injury Lawyers, which has offices in San Antonio, Brownsville, Dallas, McAllen, Laredo, and Albuquerque. A licensed attorney in Texas and New Mexico, his career in law began in 2003 – born from a desire to help others. This desire has not abated. The art of giving is something that Alex practices so routinely that it has become an integral part of his professional and personal life. His special interest in pro bono cases has been put to good use. His willingness to serve others, along with his knowledge and experience, saved an entire Texas community when they faced the probable loss of their homes.

Company: Begum Law Group Injury Lawyers | LinkedIn

Connect: LinkedIn | Email

Episode Highlights 

[04:41] Balancing both the business of law and trying cases: Alex runs multiple PI law firms and also tries cases himself. There aren’t many people that can do both. Alex shares that it’s taken a lot of time and effort to get the balance right, and the journey still continues. 

[07:43] How to develop as a trial lawyer: “You learn more from your losses than you do from your wins.” Go try as many cases as you can, realize that the learning never stops, and while you can get “beautiful nuggets” from what other trial lawyers do, in the end you have to use strategies in a way that is authentic to you. 

[11:35] From running a traditional law firm to creating a sustainable business: The key is understanding financials: a business plan, projections, budgeting, establishing financial patterns, how to use debt effectively. Many lawyers don’t have those financial skills, but you need to develop basic financial acumen to succeed.

[13:42] Your law firm needs “top mind awareness” to get the cases you want: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a law firm or soda, when marketing to consumers, familiarity is always going to win out when you look at the studies. 

[18:09] Background of the Michelle Gibbons case: Alex shares background information about his personal injury case that resulted in a $2.17M judgment. It was a three vehicle crash. But it was a more difficult case because you couldn’t see any damage to his client’s vehicle and his client didn’t go to the hospital or report any pain the day of the crash. 

[21:59] Frame weaknesses into strengths: You have to find a way to frame your worst points into your strengths, or find another person to try the case, or settle. Alex credits Gary Johnson’s Winning the Unwinnable Case for teaching him the technique of “judo law” which he and his team use on every trial. He shares how he applied this technique to the Michelle Gibbons case. 

[24:29] Overcoming minimal vehicle damage: Using visual aids and expert testimony can help jurors visualize how injuries occur, even in a low property damage case. 

[34:00] Future damages: Alex talks about the potential risks associated with using life care planners, sharing that “our new policy is unless there is an actual fusion surgery or larger, we will not use a life care planner anymore.” 

[39:50] Motivating the jury to do justice: Juries are powerful. Alex shares how he was inspired by Carl Bettinger’s Twelve Heroes, One Voice.  Make the jurors the heroes, and encourage them to see their verdict as a heroic act for the community’s safety and well-being. 

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.

150 – Malorie Peacock – How to Move the Ball Forward and Not Just Do Busy Work

Just focus on your biggest PI cases. Afterall, that’s where you make the most money and the biggest difference, so it should be easy. Right? Wrong. Before you know it, you’ve spent the majority of your time working on cases where you’re just trying to get your expenses back, and not working enough on your big cases. So how do you make sure you actually focus your attention on where it is needed the most?

In this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, Michael Cowen and Malorie Peacock discuss strategies they’ve used to keep their focus on their biggest cases. They share why you need to intentionally identify your top cases to avoid “the whirlwind”, how to create a culture where you can have “accountability meetings” with fellow lawyers in your firm that are useful (and don’t run people off), and how to figure out the places where you can and should delegate. 

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

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 

[04:43] Get to the big things: Michael credits the book The 4 Disciplines of Execution with teaching him about the concept of “the whirlwind”–where you have big things that you want to get done, but you keep getting sucked into all the little things and never get to the big things. Reading this book was one of the first steps to Michael realizing that he needed to find time to focus on the big things. 

[08:09] Identify your biggest cases: All of your cases can’t be your “biggest” cases. Michael and Malorie decided that each attorney in their firm needed to identify their top 3 cases. It could be a different number for you, but you don’t want to have so many things that you have to get done in a week that it becomes impossible. 

[11:31] Big goal of the month, weekly commitments: You have to focus on pushing your case forward, not just allowing the defense to push their case forward. Weekly goals don’t have to be something huge, but it has to be something that is moving towards your big monthly goal. 

[17:49] Holding each other accountable: Malorie shares that when they first started doing “accountability” meetings with fellow lawyers within the firm, it was uncomfortable. But they have a lot of trust and community within the firm that makes it helpful and useful.  Everyone knows the focus is to make each other better and not to embarrass anyone. 

[21:02] Radical candor: Accountability involves creating a culture where people can take the coaching that you provide and accept it, which is hard to do. Michael shares, “sometimes that means we have to tell each other the truth and not just make excuses for each other.” 

[25:36] Get out of your comfort zone: “We tend to fall into what we’re comfortable doing, even though it’s not as valuable,” says Michael. But stretching and doing something that is uncomfortable is what is going to add value to the case and help you grow as a better lawyer. 

[28:25] “Momentum Builder” form: For anyone interested in Michael’s “momentum builder” form to help you set goals to focus on your 3 biggest cases, email michael@cowenlaw.com

[30:08] Work time is for work, rest time is for rest: Whether it is for work or personal, having a strategy for how you are going to manage your work gives you the time you need for both work and all the other things you want to do. If you can’t control your work schedule, then it is hard to control anything else, and you start to live in chaos.

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.

149 – Robert Ingalls – The Power of a Podcast: Build Trust with Prospects Before They Pick Up the Phone

Can lawyers really get cases from their podcasts? Robert Ingalls built a business banking on just that. In this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, host Michael Cowen welcomes LawPods CEO and Founder (and recovering lawyer) Robert Ingalls to discuss how lawyers are using podcasts to fuel their businesses and personal brands.

Podcasts have the ability to create an immediate connection between the hosts and their audiences. Informal conversations on a podcast give lawyers a unique opportunity to convey emotion and build rapport with their listeners, an area where corporate videos and other promotional materials often fall short.

Tune in to learn how to use your podcast to establish yourself as an authority, nurture leads, boost the size of your network, and turn your podcast into a content marketing machine.

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name: Robert Ingalls | LinkedIn

About: Robert is a recovering attorney, speaker, and the Founder and CEO of LawPods, one of the first podcast production agencies for law firms. At LawPods, Robert and his team help busy lawyers produce and promote branded podcast content that builds relationships and drives revenue. He’s also a dedicated husband, #GirlDad, and avid longboard skateboarder.

Company: LawPods

Connect: LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter/X 

Episode Highlights 

[02:16] Life before podcasts: Robert began his career as a criminal defense attorney, but it wasn’t long before he was having second thoughts.

[06:45] Go big or go home: Changes in his personal life and career-related mental health challenges sent Robert on a path that led to him listening to his first podcast. Within a month, he owned all the gear and began to launch his first podcast at his law firm.

[10:21] How LawPods helps: Robert discusses the primary ways lawyers leverage podcasting in their firms.

[13:19] Unexpected connections: The unexpected ways podcasts have been beneficial to lawyers personally and professionally.

[18:20] Thought leadership: How firms position themselves as thought leaders by being the first mover–and the first voice people turn to–when relevant legal updates are released.

[23:46] Promoting your podcast: Real examples are successful podcast promotion strategies.

[27:49] To be, or not to be: Monologue format versus conversational.

[33:17] Don’t look for instant ROI: Ultimately, podcasting is content marketing, and it’s unlikely to change your fortune overnight. If you need your marketing dollars to duplicate immediately, Robert recommends you consider other avenues.

[37:40] Always start with the listener in mind: Pick the most effective topics to discuss and clips to promote your podcast by starting with the listener in mind. What pain point is someone listening to your podcast experiencing? That’s what your talk about.

[44:43] Is the market oversaturated?: tl;dr? Not even close. And not when the content is valuable. Podcast consumption is up across every metric, and new podcasts that put the listener first–and do it professionally–are thriving.

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.

148 – Gyi Tsakalakis – How to Promote Your Law Firm With Digital Legal Marketing Expert Gyi Tsakalakis

Marketing a law practice is different from other types of businesses, due to things such as unique ethical considerations and the referral aspect.

On this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, Michael Cowen is joined by Gyi Tsakalakis, President and Co-Founder of AttorneySync, a digital legal marketing agency. A former trial lawyer from Southeast Michigan, Gyi is also the co-host of the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast.   

Tune in to hear Gyi’s practical tips on how you can more effectively market and promote your law firm, both online and through more traditional channels, including if you’re working with a limited budget. Gyi also covers the importance of building relationships in the local community, how to ask for reviews, and how to gain a competitive edge. 

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name: Gyi Tsakalakis 

About: Gyi Tsakalakis is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of AttorneySync, as well as the co-host, along with Conrad Saam, of the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast.

Company: AttorneySync

Connect: LinkedIn 

Episode Highlights 

[2:26] Marketing for legal services vs. other businesses. There are unique considerations to marketing a law practice, such as ethical considerations, among others. 

[5:33] Promoting your law firm on a budget. Lawyers should look for ways to cross promote in their community, including building relationships with local business leaders and organizations, sponsoring events, and getting involved in educational programs.

[12:09] The importance of demonstrating subject matter expertise. Testimonials, business profiles, and endorsements from other lawyers can validate your expertise.

[29:49] Online reviews for a referral-based practice. When other firms refer clients to you, they will check your reviews. Gyi suggests what lawyers can do if they receive a negative review. 

[39:01] Building relationships. When you’re just starting out, you have more time than money. So use that time to build relationships, talk to people, and focus on providing great service.  

[49:47] Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast. Gyi and co-host Conrad Saam have a podcast that is available on the Legal Talk Network, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and Google Podcasts

[51:39] Annual trucking seminar. Registration is open for Michael Cowen’s Big Rig Boot Camp taking place on July 12, 2024.

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.