When you think about personal injury lawyers, is the first thing that comes to mind “what great advertising they have”? No? What about “the guys that work with these people must have an amazing company culture”? Also no? Well, today’s guest on the Innovation in Compliance Podcast has some insights that might just change your mind about that. Arnie Malham is a serial entrepreneur with a knack for solving problems – he and Tom discuss what mindset has to do with company culture, and what any of that has to do with personal injury lawyers.
A Happy Firing. When Arnie was the new guy working at an advertising agency, he kept getting all of the legal accounts dumped on his desk – no one else wanted them! He talks about how his interest in working with these kinds of professionals ended up getting him fired from the agency. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise because he formed his own advertising agency, focusing solely on working with personal injury lawyers. Working closely with these individuals gave him insight into the specific needs and expectations they have for their support vendors, and when Arnie saw a gap in the market, he decided to fill it and formed an entirely new company to provide after-business-hours intake support for personal injury law firms.
Personal Injury Lawyers, Really?Tom and Arnie discuss the less-than-sterling reputation that personal injury lawyers have both in and outside of the legal world, and how that impacted Arnie’s ability to find and recruit talent to his firm. He needed to create a company culture so strong, so clear and so supportive, that it would overcome the negative perception most people had about the clients. He talks about some of the surprising and interesting ways he was able to do that. Sometimes, people DO cheer for the lawyers – and that’s what he wanted his team to be able to do.
Mindset and Company Culture. Tom mentions how difficult many new entrepreneurs find it to scale up their organizations – as teams and organizations grow, culture can be watered down. Arnie talks about how over many years of growing his business, making plenty of mistakes along the way, he learned what was required to create strong company cultures not just in his own organization, but for other companies as well. “You can smell culture when you walk in the door” is the foundation of this strategy. Culture permeates a company, and it stems from the leadership of that company. If a leader delegates or abdicates culture, Arnie believes there won’t be one. Leaders must adopt the mindset of the culture they want, model it, and integrate it with the values of the company. He explains how this works, and shares an example of how he was able to keep his own company’s culture strong over several years, and a great deal of leadership turnover.
Resources: Worth Doing Wrong– learn more about Arnie’s company, and get a copy of his book!

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