Brett Harrison is the Founder and CEO of The Harrison Law Group, P.C., a well-known and respected personal injury law firm. As an experienced personal injury attorney, he focuses on tort litigation involving insurance, automobiles, mediation, and more. Brett has been serving clients in the greater New York region for over two decades and is licensed to practice law in federal courts in the Southern and Eastern Districts.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Brett Harrison describes his business model and how he manages operations
- How Brett acquires talent in Bosnia
- Strategies for maintaining an optimal labor productivity ratio
- Brett’s catalyst for success: accepting criticism
In this episode…
Many law firm owners struggle to acquire experienced paralegals and attorneys and end up hiring just to fill the roles. So how can you optimize your talent acquisition strategies?
Brett Harrison says that when you settle for less in your hiring practices, you set and accept mediocre standards for your business. Instead, it’s critical to establish a standard of excellence, believe in that criterion, and execute it throughout your firm’s practices. Brett hires college graduates from Bosnia and trains them as paralegals to support his attorneys in providing high-quality services to clients.
Join Luis Scott in this episode of The Guts and Glory Show as he welcomes Brett Harrison, Founder and CEO of The Harrison Law Group, P.C., to talk about his innovative approach to talent acquisition. Brett also explains his business model, how he manages operations, and how accepting criticism facilitates success.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Luis Scott on LinkedIn
- 8 Figure Firm
- Bader Scott Injury Lawyers
- Bader Scott Foundation
- Brett Harrison on LinkedIn
- The Harrison Law Group, P.C.
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by 8 Figure Firm.
After their own law firm scaled from $3.5 million in revenues to $30 million per year in revenues in just two years, Luis and Seth started the 8 Figure Firm to share their strategies and help other law firms achieve exponential growth.
Visit www.8figurefirm.com to receive a consult call and start scaling your business today.
Luis Scott 0:00
If you are if your purpose and your reason is greater than your goal you will achieve it everyone wants to work with and for someone they enjoy being around. When I think about leading a life of significance, I don’t think about money, I think about all the people that can be changed by the impact that I’ve made in their lives. Hey, guys, welcome to The Guts and Glory Show. I’m Luis. I’m the host of the show. And we’re really excited today because we have a guest. And the guest is Brett Harrison. And he is a personal injury lawyer from New York and has a very unique business in personal injury, and a very unique philosophy for managing people. So really excited to have you on the show. Brett, thank you for being here.
Brett Harrison 0:41
Oh, thank you for having me. Looking forward to it.
Luis Scott 0:44
Absolutely. Now I see that you are in Miami, Florida. Very, very sunny over there, huh?
Brett Harrison 0:51
Yeah, I have a place in North Miami Beach. And I come here about four or five or six times a year. It helps. It’s where I get my creativity, relaxation, and really look at my business from like a 30,000 square foot view. Right, and not focusing on numbers focusing on creativity.
Luis Scott 1:12
What’s interesting is because part of your business is what allows you to do this, and I mentioned at the intro that you have a very unique business, because you run it somewhat virtually. So I’d love for you to tell everyone kind of what is your business makeup? How is your business run? Because it’s very different than a lot of personal injury firms.
Brett Harrison 1:30
Yeah, well, you know, so many times attorneys like to complain. And they all complain that we can’t find good employees be paralegals be an attorneys. And they just hired to fill the seat, right. And I found that when you hire to fill the seat, you’re actually going below your standards. You’re just saying this is good enough. And for me that concept, it’s good enough reminds me of the government? Well, we thought we’d be only we thought we’d lose 10 million, but we only lost 14. It’s good enough. Yeah, the job done. And that that, to me is about being happy. And it’s very easy to be average, just do what everybody else does complain about everything, don’t look for solutions. And and I found that if that’s your standard, you’ve lowered your standards with yourself with your clients with that promise you’ve made yourself. Because to me, if it’s good enough for average means you’re as what they say. Average is the top of bed and the bottom of good. Is that what you’re about? Is that is that the standard you set and accept for yourself? And for others? No, to me, you got to give 120 You got to give 100 You got to win. And what does that mean? You can’t I can’t run a law firm, be successful by myself. I could win a race, but I can’t win a championship without a team. And for me, I realized, well, if my one of my standards in my firm is that greatness or excellence is an extract is an expectation not a goal. You set that standard high enough, well, then now you have to define what that means to win. Win each day, when each moment. So how do we do that? You have to do it in personal injury. You need staff but you need your staff to be believing in you. And it all starts with you. Do you believe in what your standards are? Do you exercise doing those standards? So for me, I found look, for my staff, I like to do I call it a 131. And this is what I did to myself. If there’s an issue I want who’s ever coming to me to say, here’s the issue or the problem? What are three solutions? That’s the three and what’s the best? What’s the best solution? And when you make a decision, man, go for it. There’s no second guessing you’ve made that decision now go with. So I did the same thing to myself, what’s the issue? Staff? And then I said, Okay, what’s the three options, I can suffer? I can do what everybody else does and just just fill the seat or I can be creative. I have that ability. So through some connections and through some hard work, and going back and forth. I was able to work out something with in Bosnia, where I hired college graduates and we train them right as paralegals. You know, I even sent staff there for 30 straight days, man, that’s a commitment I make man and let’s do it. Let’s do it. You’re gonna do it, do it right. It’s just as easy to do something wrong and have regret or do it right and and get it done correctly and see results. So you have to pay If regret or the pain of reward, either way, choose your pain. So from that I was able to hire the best people here in the US keep the best people, I have people for nine, seven years, five years. And, and when you have the best people that am I mean by best is that they believe in your system, they believe in what you’re trying to accomplish, and you see them. And this is where I think I’m different. I look at people for not as they are, because that’s what they’ll be, I look at people for what they can become. And that’s what they will be taught. So and that’s my responsibility to help them grow. And I think too many people in the legal field, when they have staff that like, they focus on the wrong thing, I call it for lack of a better word, the Copernicus effect, Copernicus means he focused the world revolves around his knee, when you start with that assumption, you will never have a good staff, you will never have complete buy in, then it’s luck. The world doesn’t revolve around you, the attorney, the owner, the world revolves around your staff. Without your staff, you constantly keep updating and training them. And as you always talk about releases, you have to always update and make better your systems, your processes and so forth, can’t just be stale and stagnant. So I guess that’s a very, very long answer. I’m sorry for that.
Luis Scott 6:29
So how did you find these people in Bosnia? Because that’s, I think that’s what makes her very unique. You know, when I hear about virtual assistants, or virtual workers, we think, really two categories. And that’s letting our US based staff work virtually, or hiring people generally, from the Philippines or Mexico, I had never actually met anybody who had hired people from from Bosnia. So how did you find those people? And then what was in your mind? What was the difference?
Brett Harrison 6:54
Okay, big differences, big differences, a lot of virtual assistants, or assistants, and you’re hiring another company where these people work for all these different people, and you’re not in charge of training them. So I got in touch with some college professors that are bilingual. And I wanted all college graduates, so we interviewed them. But their ability to think their ability to reason their ability to communicate back and forth their ability on a computer, I put them in in the office, we spent plenty of time training them. And they’re actually on my computer system, where they have assignments. So what happens is that, because I have now I have seven or eight of seven, seven people from Bosnia, and they’ve been with me some three years also, they now started training other people. But so I said, Let’s make this system. Great. Let’s let them let’s teach them everything that my paralegals here, know, so that I can, they can set up all the, they can take away a lot of that busy work that our staff here has, because they’re dealing with phone calls. So things that you and I think should take an hour can take a whole day, because they’re dealing with different phone calls here. The other side is undisturbed advising. So they’ll do the beginnings of cases, they’ll email clients, they’ll text clients, they’ll get all the medical records, they’ll summarize every medical record to do all the beginnings of cases to insurance companies. They’ll set up different medical packages that we review here, I want my staff to focus on what I call higher thought and VA and and moving the needle process. So I said, How can I keep from a business standpoint, my labor ratio low with the highest quality of work, highest standard because we can get to every client. And that’s what I’ve done. I’ve created a system where when they’re overwhelmed, here, they have assistants in Bosnia. So they can actually focus my staff here can now focus on the client. And when you could focus on the client and show the client that you care to constant communication through not just a consultation, and then when you settle the case, it’s over. Those are the only two I focus on not consultation, strategic planning, as a case, you Bob’s, and my staff is on top of them at every step. Our goal is to relieve that stress from the client. Right? Their fears their frustrations because it’s client centered, that me sector without clients, we don’t have a firm and they all have to understand that. And clients to me, in this age of social media are one of two things an ambassador to an ambassador to your brand. Or let’s be honest, they can be a terrorist to your brand. Right? Right. All because why? Because you didn’t pay them attention. You didn’t listen. And as you talk about As many times in our conversation, it’s about value when they perceive they have gotten value from you. They don’t question your lead. They don’t question your legal acumen. And they don’t question your legal acumen. Because you’re showing them throughout this time that you care. You’re listening to their fears, their frustration, their wants, their needs. That’s your job as an attorney. That’s why I see it.
Luis Scott 10:23
And the thing is that the client really benefits when you hire the best people, you know, going back to the issue of the people that you are, you wanted to set a standard that was high, and you weren’t willing to compromise on the type of people. But you mentioned something that was really interesting. And that was this labor ratio, one of the things that I teach at eight-figure firm is that we need to have a labor ratio of 37% is optimal. Maybe 40%. And a lot of people go, that’s impossible. There’s no way to do that, you know, my labor is 55 60%. And what you’re illustrating is that it’s absolutely possible if you become creative, and you try to stick to that. So what has this done for your labor ratio? Because you’re like, fully staffed so you, you mentioned seven or eight people in Basel.
Brett Harrison 11:03
To most people I would be overstaffed. Okay for me. Yeah. But because to me, it’s what labor ratio does for me and having the right staff? Well, first off, when you start with that, it’s impossible. Your mindset is that it can’t be done. 100%. When you when you focus on on mindset, I think you’re focusing on doubt, there’s four levels of mindset, doubt, hope, believe and no. I used to say, like everybody else, I doubt I can find somebody, I hope I can find somebody when your plan is hope, your hope addicts, right? And that really, look, I’m not drinking, I’m not a freaking leprechaun, so that is going to work for me. So why don’t you realize you’re not a leprechaun, and you’re not on hope? Let’s plan to win. How do you do that you have to be creative, go outside of the box. And that’s what you need to do and understand what your labor ratio will do for you. And labor ratio to me is about defining, winning, defining winning for each of your staff members, is about defining your key KPIs. You know, and say, Okay, this is what we have to do. But certain KPIs to me, don’t show up. What doesn’t show up is you can’t put a KPI for Karen. Okay, so me. And this is where I think I started to realize something took a little while for me, you know, to understand it 57. So obviously, a long enough time, is that most people have a different version of ROI. They say ROI, I look at Roi. Roi leads to ROI. Most people’s ROI is return on investment. That’s an end game. Right? I look at return on intention leads to return on investment. And what I mean by that is, when you’re when you’re when you’re when your reason for doing something is bigger than your goal, ROI return on investment, it’s about money, if that’s your endgame. And that’s your goal. It’s not as strong as one year, when your purpose your reason for doing something is there for me, My reason is a lot larger. I use money as a vehicle to to achieve my goals to achieve my contribution to other other groups. Just like you have the Baader Scott Foundation, which I’ve donated, you are looking at money to create money, not just for your family, that’s great, because you have goals for that, how they should save how how you’re setting up future generation, just like in your family, you’re the one I’m the one in my family to change my heritage, the way my my, my family has been for the last 300 years. So I want to take the money, help not only my family, help all my staffs family, I want to know each member of my staff, I want to know about their goals professionally, personally and financially, maybe I can help them. But I also want to take that money and contribute it and give it back to society and other ways where I can show what being a leader is what being a leader is not. And it’s not just about me, me me money is meant not to be in a reservoir where it just grows stagnant. It’s mostly to be free flowing, put it out there, put it out for good causes help. You know, we’re not here just to pay a mortgage, pay a car, no pay school, if that’s all your thumb, and you’re missing life.
Luis Scott 14:49
I agree 100%.
Brett Harrison 14:51
Now what that money does and those systems do, and what you teach us as well, is about creating freedom and Freedom of time, because time is something you can’t get back. Whether you’re Warren Buffett, you can’t say, I’ll give you a gift, I’ll give you 20 million give me an extra 10 years, you know, and I have yet to find a hearse when somebody passes away, I attached attached to a U haul truck of money doesn’t work that way. So if you if your purpose and your reason is greater than your goal, you will achieve it. And that’s how I look at it. I wake up every morning knowing that look, I don’t need an alarm. I have my wife, I have my two kids, I want to be the best husband, I want to be the best me I want to be the best boss, I want to be it all. And to do that, man, I have to have a purpose and intentionality every day. And when you have an intentionality based on action and discipline, that creates habit. That’s what wins. And that’s what you have to teach your staff they have to buy in. So you’re always internally marketing to your staff as well. You can’t forget your staff.
Luis Scott 16:08
Yeah, they I mean, they need to know that you’re you’re fully committed to the to the business, you know, you’re mentioned, you’re hitting on so many good things that we we don’t even have time to really hit it deep, deep, because there’s so much so much depth to what you’re saying. If you had to narrow down for the listeners, the one thing that you believe made you successful, or maybe the one thing that created a barrier for you that now you realize, but you’ve overcome it to make you successful. What would that one thing be that will vary? Like this is one thing, if I just did this one thing, my entire life has changed because of it. What would that one thing be?
Brett Harrison 16:50
Well, I guess it’s a combination. It’s learning to listen, learning to listen to feedback. And so many times people get in their own way because of I don’t know what psychologists call it, I guess ego, because people always want to be right. And always want to fight. So a lot of times, especially nowadays, criticism can be tenfold 20 fold because of social media. So we tend to dismiss, we often tend to dismiss what we don’t like, and we just say, oh, that’s because they hate me. They’re haters. That’s because who’s the messenger? Right? But really what you’re doing is you’re continually imprison imprisoning yourself. You’re not, it’s not. You have to look past the messenger, your ego, you have to look past the way it said, you have to look at Is there truth? Is there any shred of truth in that criticism? And when you could say, looking past that, you say, Okay, I don’t care how it said, I don’t care whether they have their reason for telling me this, if there’s some shred of truth to it, and I can learn from it. And I can improve. That’s the key. Can you constantly be improving? Yes. Because once you stop taking the advice, it’s just like, if my end, you know, if you take it from a broke friend or broke cousin, they give you financial advice, you’d like that, look, look who it’s coming from. But yet, if Warren Buffett gave you the advice, well, wait a second. But wait a second, is there a shred of truth that don’t just so dismiss it. So once you learn how to accept criticism, Now, understand criticism isn’t there to validate? It’s there to improve you. Validation you don’t need other people for if you need people for validation, then we’d have done we have a belief problem in yourself. But moving past that, because to me, validations for parking tickets, not for I don’t need people to validate me. So that’s the one kind of way I would say I can learn any Bob is understanding. Is there a shred of truth that I can improve, not to validate?
Luis Scott 19:09
Awesome. I love it. Well, this has been good stuff. I appreciate you, Brett. I know you’re always dropping gems and we’re having our conversations. This, this this time has really flown blocked by I appreciate everything that you’ve shared with us. I think it’s gonna be a lot of value to our listeners. If people needed to find you in New York, they have a personal injury claim. Where could they find you?
Brett Harrison 19:31
They can find me at hlgny.com
Luis Scott 19:39
hlgny.com We’ll make sure we put that in the show notes. Brett, thank you again. I appreciate it. And thank you for listening to The Guts and Glory Show. Thank you