In this podcast, Rob Mazow and Kevin McCullough from the personal injury law firm Mazow McCullough talk about how they built a great team at their law firm. They focus on cultural fit and team cohesion during the interview process, and they regularly meet with the team to set and follow up on goals.
John Maher: Hi, I am John Maher. I’m here today with Rob Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the Law Office of Mazow McCullough. And today we’re talking about how to build a great law firm team. Robert and Kevin, welcome.
Rob Mazow: Thanks, John.
Kevin McCullough: Thanks, John.
Building a Great Team at Mazow McCullough
John: Robert, what are the steps that you’ve taken to build a great team here at the law firm of Mazow McCullough?
Rob: Kevin and I have prided ourselves on putting together the right people in the right positions, and we’ve been very careful and very particular about doing that. When we first started over 20 years ago, it was just me and Kevin, my mother, one employee, and we pieced together a law firm based just on that. I mean, it was very bootstrapped and glued together, and we did it that way for the first, I don’t know, seven or eight years, as we were building our practice.
And then about 10 years ago, Kevin and I really started to put a concerted effort into finding the right people for the right positions, for the right jobs. And it has changed everything for us. The team of people we have here today, I would match up against any law firm team in any law firm, in any state across the country. We have what I think, and I think what Kevin thinks, is the best group of people to help our clients get through really difficult times.
John: So when we’re talking about the team, Kevin, who do you include in that, and how many people do you have working for the firm now?
Kevin: Well, we include everyone that works at the law firm as part of the team. That’s a big part of everyone working together and working successfully together. We presently have four attorneys here at the law firm and five paralegals and assistants that help with performing all the work that’s necessary on our client’s cases.
How the Team Shapes the Client’s Experience
John: And why is it important to have a good team at a law firm like yours?
Rob: We feel that our clients deserve to have people who get back to them promptly, who are here to listen to their issues, who are here to work hard to advance their case forward. There’s no way that Kevin and I alone could do that. I mean, we have everybody from Olivia who sits at the front desk, who’s the first person that a client will hear, who gives a nice, warm, welcoming attitude. That’s very important to us, to let the client know that we know you’ve been hurt, we’re here to listen, we’re here to take care of you.
It then goes through the system to our intake person who spends a lot of time working with the new client, explaining the process to them. Then we have paralegals who work on the files and make sure that they’re in good shape for Kevin or I or the other attorneys here to take over the file and proceed to a successful conclusion. Without that team putting that foundation together, there’s no way we’d be able to do the kind of product, the quality product that we’re able to do for our clients.
The Team Works Together to Support the Firm’s Mission
John: Do you get together as a team and really talk about, hey, this is the way in which we approach our clients, this is the way that we approach each other in the office? Do you guys kind of talk about that on a regular basis or is it something that just kind of comes up in the interview process and then you never really mention it again?
Kevin: Absolutely not, John. Communication is such an important part of a successful team and certainly a successful law firm, and that starts immediately after the interview process when employees come on board. We have a mission statement. We have a common goal that we’re trying to achieve as part of this law firm and representing clients and doing the best that we can in doing that.
We share that information with all of the new employees to start that process on joining the team and becoming a team member. We have an employee manual, which goes over procedures and how to handle certain situations that may arise, how to perform your particular task, and also what the tasks are and responsibilities of your teammates, so that you can step in and help when help is needed. And as far as the ongoing communication, we have weekly staff meetings. We communicate daily through email and face-to-face interaction. We have quarterly meetings where we analyze goals, we set new goals.
And every single person at this law firm is involved in that process. It’s extremely important that everyone on the team has a chance to talk about what a certain goal may be and why it will work and what they can do to help contribute to make sure that we achieve that goal. And when everyone understands that and everyone knows what the goal is, it’s much easier to achieve it and work together to get there.
Supporting Personal and Business Goals
Rob: And we don’t just set goals for the law firm internally, which we do. We set certain goals, we want to reach certain numbers of cases, et cetera, cases that go to trial. But we also allow people to set personal goals that we all support. So let’s say somebody has a personal goal that they want to work out more, they want to get to the gym more, well we set goals and we set them on 90 day calendars. And every 90 days we revisit the goals that we said we would set and encourage our team members to see whether they’ve done it and why haven’t they done it? Is there something we can do to help them achieve those goals as well? So it goes beyond what you would see in a standard law firm. I mean, this is a team of people. This is a family group of people that are very close with each other to help each other succeed.
Internal Advancements at Mazow-McCullough
John: And I know that you have people here at the office who are paralegals now that didn’t start as paralegals when they joined your team. Talk a little bit about that.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s correct, John. In fact, Courtney and both Liz started off for the law firm working at that front desk. As Rob mentioned a few moments ago, that frontline person is so critical in that client interaction and to let the client know exactly how we’re going to handle a situation and that they’re going to feel comfortable coming to our law firm. It’s more than just a website. It’s more than just a phone number. It’s the person that answers the phone when you call.
You have that instant connection, that instant feeling. And to have Courtney and Liz both start at different times in that position and then learn and grow within that position and then help their team members, that’s what helped them easily jump to the role of paralegal, because they started off slow and got to learn what was required. And as I mentioned, what is required of all of the teammates that are involved to get to that goal. And once you know the big picture and you’re trained properly on the actual position, it’s so much easier to do that and to move and to advance.
Tips for Law Firms That Want to Build Quality Teams
John: Yeah. Rob, do you have any final thoughts or maybe tips or recommendations for other law firms that want to emulate what you’ve done and build a really good quality team?
Rob: Yeah, it took us a while. It took us a long time to understand that a team involves different personalities, different opinions. If we had a position to fill years ago, we would hire, interview a couple people, find what we thought was the best, and put them in there, not realizing that there has to be a cohesion between different people who work together. Because quite frankly, our team is sitting out there working together with each other all day, and it has to work as a group. So it’s painstaking.
I mean, if somebody’s going to get an interview here, they will meet with almost everybody, if not everybody on the team, at one point or another. We’ll have them take a personality test, something that will tell us what kind of a work environment they like. We revisit that personality test if something’s out of balance. We’ll say, oh, this person likes to work in a certain way. They’re not working that way. Let’s revisit that. So the real advice I would say is, take your time. When you find somebody special, make sure that they are the right fit and hire them, and you won’t be sorry.
Visiting HelpingInjured.com to Learn More
John: Right. All right. Well, that’s really great advice, and congratulations on building such a great team here at the firm. Thanks for talking with me today.
Rob: Thanks, John.
Kevin: Thank you John.
John: And for more information, you can visit the website at helpinginjured.com or call (978) 744 8000.