Leaving a steady, high-paying job at a successful law firm to strike out on your own may seem like a risky decision. But that’s exactly what Mark Bratt did. One year later, The Bratt Law Firm is making over a million dollars, and his work-life balance is better than ever before.
Mark has had an impressive career, winning over $150 million for his clients, being named a National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyer, and being nominated for the Los Angeles Trial Lawyer of the Year award. The Bratt Law Firm has recovered settlements of over $27 million in its first year, and this is just the beginning.
This week, Mark sits down with us to talk about why he left his job at a large law firm and how he’s found such success in his first year of sole proprietorship. We dig into the importance of work-life balance, the power of honesty and integrity, and how to push past fear and create a life you love.
- Listen to your inner voice. Making change is scary, but you have to listen to your inner voice, not just the voice of fear.
- Be honest and vulnerable. If you aren’t being honest and transparent with your family, your friends, your clients, and yourself, you’re going to lose.
- Build a balanced life. Success in your career is wonderful, but it can’t come at the cost of happiness in your personal life. You have to build a life that allows you to meet both of those needs.
Mark Bratt (00:00):
You know, after you do twenty-hour, uh, work days during trial for a three-month trial, win, lose, or draw, you’re kind of empty at the end. And I’m trying to find a way to keep my tank full and do the best work I can and be a great dad and be a good member of my family.
Maria Monroy (00:16):
Welcome to the Tip the Scales podcast, where we discuss running and growing your law firm. I’m your host, Maria Monroy, president and co-founder of LawRank. Today, I am live with Mark Bratt from the Bratt Law Firm. Mark has recovered over $27 million in settlements on his first year, and this is just the beginning. Today, Mark sits down with us to talk about why he left his job at a large firm and how he’s found such success in his first year of practice. We dig into the importance of work-life balance, the power of honesty and integrity, and how to push past fear to create a life you love. Mark Bratt. Are you a brat?
Mark Bratt (00:59):
Yes. Guilty as charged.
Maria Monroy (01:01):
You’ve never heard that joke before, right? No one’s ever asked.
Mark Bratt (01:03):
No, no. Not even back in elementary school.
Maria Monroy (01:05):
Yeah. You must have gotten bullied just, just from that.
Mark Bratt (01:08):
You know, I was the tallest kid, but back then I was the skinniest kid. So, you know, uh.
Maria Monroy (01:14):
Mark Bratt (01:15):
Skinny brat. Yeah. Skinny brat.
Maria Monroy (01:17):
So, I heard this rumor that you went — you started your own law firm, and the first year, you hit seven figures. Is that true?
Mark Bratt (01:25):
Maria Monroy (01:26):
Mark Bratt (01:27):
Thank you so much. Um, I started my firm back in, uh, April last year, so I’m not quite at a year. Um, I joined Justice HQ.
Maria Monroy (01:37):
Mark Bratt (01:41):
I mean math, right?
Maria Monroy (01:43):
Yes. No, it’s interesting because I have a lot of friends that — and I’m sorry to interrupt — that want to start a law firm, but I think that they’re afraid to. So I think anytime they can be exposed to success stories, I think that can be very expanding and motivating. So I’m really intrigued. So tell me a little bit about your background.
Mark Bratt (02:01):
Okay. So, um, I became a lawyer in ‘06. I went to Pepperdine for, uh, law school. That’s how I first, uh, got to know Bob Simon. Um, and I, my first job was at a firm called Waters and Kraus, which, uh, they did asbestos mesothelioma cases, and I clerked there. Loved the, you know, the work environment. Um, had great mentorship and worked there for about five years. Uh, at which point I took a job at, uh, with Mark Lanier.
Maria Monroy (02:29):
Oh, wow. You worked for Mark Lanier?
Mark Bratt (02:32):
Maria Monroy (02:34):
How cool. What was that like?
Mark Bratt (02:35):
It was amazing. Uh, you know, Mark is, you know, if not the greatest, one of the greatest trial lawyers, uh, of all time. Certainly of this generation. Um, and having the opportunity to legitimately learn from him directly, uh, I was able to try a case along with him, or at least be on his trial team, uh, in Texas. That was a, you know, phenomenal experience just to be able to, uh, you know, take some of the things that he does, not just in the courtroom, but also in working up cases and working with clients and, uh, preparation. And then putting it into my own, um, you know, my own career. Uh, so I was, uh, lucky enough to start trying cases, uh, when I was working for his firm, and he believed in me and gave me a chance.
Maria Monroy (03:17):
Mark Bratt (03:18):
And it was really cool. Um —
Maria Monroy (03:19):
So I never sit in at conferences —
Mark Bratt (03:21):
Maria Monroy (03:22):
But I’ve sat in on Mark Lanier’s. Not the whole thing, but he does this thing on persuasion, and I was like, “Wow.” Even his slides are amazing.
Mark Bratt (03:30):
Yeah. Uh, that he, he can actually, uh, build slides in the middle of a courtroom in front of a jury, uh, like, you know — I, I can’t do that. And watching him do that and, uh, use it to help persuade and tell a story, um, was, is, was really inspiring. And, and while I’ve learned a few techniques, I’m still, I don’t — I still don’t have the guts to, to do it in front of a jury. Uh, but anyway, yeah, Mark, uh, taught me a ton. Um, and, uh, then I was lucky enough to take a job at a firm called Weitz and Luxenberg. They’re based in New York, but they have a national presence.
Maria Monroy (04:02):
Mark Bratt (04:03):
Maria Monroy (04:04):
That’s crazy. They’re one of the biggest mass tort firms in the country, no?
Mark Bratt (04:07):
Yeah. So, I mean, they do a lot of stuff. Uh, uh, I would say that from a mass tort angle, yes, they handle medical device cases and I mean, everything really. Um, but they have a huge mesothelioma, asbestos practice.
Maria Monroy (04:20):
They do. You know what’s crazy? I was on a plane the other day and I saw their commercial.
Mark Bratt (04:24):
Oh, yeah. I mean, they advertise all over, I think. I mean, I don’t see them much out here, uh, in California, but they certainly do, you know, on the East Coast and nationally. So, um, but they have a satellite office in, uh, LA. And, uh, a good friend of mine from law school, his name’s Benno Ashrafi. He and I, uh, worked together at Waters and Kraus. Then he went to Weitz and Luxenberg when I went to, uh, the Lanier Law Firm. And then we came back and started working together at, um, Weitz and Luxenberg. And that was about seven years ago, like 2015 timeframe. So, um, I started trying cases full-time as kind of the lead trial lawyer out of the LA office. And, uh, you know, was lucky enough to have some great cases and some, uh, you know, great clients and build amazing relationships with them.
Mark Bratt (05:14):
Um, and then, you know, they entrusted me, along with the firm, to try their cases. And, uh, with that experience, you know, I lucky enough to hit several verdicts. And, uh, just really love, you know, being in the courtroom, spending time, working up the case from start to finish and, and getting to know my clients. I mean, at the end of the day, for me, um, building relationships with people, um, be it my coworkers or, uh, the clients I’m representing is far and away the, the top priority for me. Um, I, I, I don’t think you can do a good job representing people in a courtroom if you don’t truly get to know them. And that requires you spend a lot of time with them.
Maria Monroy (05:52):
So what made you start your own firm?
Mark Bratt (05:56):
Well, um, after working with, uh, some great law firms and learning from them, um, I just started thinking about a life-work balance aspect of things. I have a six and a half year old daughter named Luna, and she’s literally the light of my life. And I, um, wanted to be able to still continue to represent people and try cases, but also drop her off at school every day. And so here I am. I’m a member of the PTA, but I’m also running a law firm that, uh, in its first year, we’ve had some good success.
Maria Monroy (06:27):
That’s amazing. So what was, what did that look like, taking that first step forward?
Mark Bratt (06:33):
So, I was scared. Uh, I, I think anyone that’s going out on their own, um, if they say they weren’t scared, I don’t — I’m not sure how honest they’re being. Um, I was really scared. I was nervous. I had mortgage. I had a, you know, a child to support, a family to support, and, um, and I was making good — Uh, you know, I was being paid very well. Um, and so this comfortable, you know, making a salary and, uh, having, you know, your ability to pay your mortgage, like, it’s tough to break away from that. Um, but I, you know, I talked to Bob a lot and he’s like, “Man, you’ve had some really great success in the courtroom. You’d be great on your own. You should, uh, you should do it.” And I’ve got this great opportunity with Justice HQ. Uh, and so I was, I was like, “All right, I’ll do it.” So I just, I gave notice, uh, with, uh, the folks at Whites and Luxembourg at the beginning of last year and started my firm, and we officially launched April 1st.
Maria Monroy (07:29):
Were you able to bring cases with you?
Mark Bratt (07:32):
No. I didn’t want to. I mean, the reality is, you know, I, I respect them as a, a, you know, law firm. And, and while I had great relationships with clients, I wanted to maintain a good business relationship with them. And so I went with no cases, uh, and I, uh, just figured if I continue working hard, good things will happen. And, and they have, so.
Maria Monroy (07:53):
That’s amazing. And I’ve never heard of someone leaving a firm that didn’t take cases with them.
Mark Bratt (07:58):
I was nervous. Uh, but within the first month, I got a call from, uh, a son of someone who had mesothelioma, which is an asbestos-related cancer, and we spoke on the phone for, you know, an hour. Uh, ended up speaking to his mom and his dad, um, who, who, who was the one that was sick. And I signed the case. And then I partnered with another firm, uh, up in the Bay Area, um, that does great work, Kazan McClain. And, um, you know, that that first case that I got, it was before I had a website, before I had malpractice insurance. But, um, you know, I knew that —
Maria Monroy (08:33):
How did you get it?
Mark Bratt (08:34):
It was going to go well. Huh?
Maria Monroy (08:36):
How did they — How did you get the case?
Mark Bratt (08:38):
Uh, just people hearing that I’ve done good work. I mean, it, literally word of mouth. I, I, you know, I’m not much for marketing and, and I’m probably silly for that. I, I don’t really have a social media presence. Um, yes, I’ve built a website, but, um, but at the end of the day, it’s all about relationships. People I’ve, uh, tried to help in the past that, you know, return the favor. And I feel like if you put good stuff out there, if you’re, um, if you try to help people legitimately from a place of trying to improve their lives, be it a, you know, a client that you’re working with or a fellow lawyer, then good things will come back to you.
Maria Monroy (09:12):
That’s amazing. And we didn’t, um — We’re going so quickly, but I wanted to kind of go back to Bob’s — Bob as a mentor.
Mark Bratt (09:19):
Maria Monroy (09:20):
He’s, like — He’s so amazing.
Mark Bratt (09:22):
Uh, listen, Bob is a great trial lawyer, number one; a good person, number two—
Maria Monroy (09:25):
Mark Bratt (09:26):
And he’s built, you know, not just a successful law firm, but this Justice HQ is just an amazing, um, new way of practicing law.
Maria Monroy (09:36):
Aren’t you the member of the month?
Mark Bratt (09:38):
Uh, yes. They surprised me with that, uh, esteemed honor. Uh, yesterday, actually, I just learned — Um, I, I think the bar’s pretty low, but, uh, yeah, no, I’m the member of the month for March, so that — It was pretty cool.
Maria Monroy (09:51):
That’s awesome. So what has this year been like for you? And, like, what have been your biggest challenges?
Mark Bratt (09:59):
Um, you know, when you go out on your own, uh, on one hand you’re like, “All right, I’m a trial lawyer. I know what I’m doing in the courtroom.” But then you have to figure out all the other aspects of running a business.
Maria Monroy (10:09):
Mark Bratt (10:10):
And that, I think, was the most, uh, nerve-wracking thing. Um, you know, from building, uh, a website to “Who do I call to get malpractice insurance?” IT issues, uh, to “Do I need business cards, uh, in this modern age?” um, to, uh, marketing. And, and, you know, I’m still figuring it out, uh, candidly. Um, but the one thing that I keep coming back to is, um, trying to just help out people. Um, so helping out fellow lawyers within Justice HQ. I got a call from someone I’ve never done work with and spent an hour on the phone explaining what asbestos was, just the other day, to try to help her help her client. And, you know, there’s, there was no financial interest in, in that for me. That was just me trying to, you know, uh, make our little legal world a better place. Uh, because, you know, I, I think if you’re out there trying to make a difference, uh, in general, and I can help you do that, then that by extension, you know, I’m helping everyone.
Maria Monroy (11:11):
I love that. But going back to the business side of things — Because I mean, you went to two great schools, and I would be willing to bet that you didn’t learn much about running a business.
Mark Bratt (11:21):
N— Zero. I mean, they, they don’t — Pepperdine was a great law school experience for me. Um, however, I didn’t learn anything about running a business there. Um, and that’s not to say that’s Pepperdine’s fault. I just think law schools, at least back when, in the early 2000s when I was, uh, you know, there, that, that’s not a, a focus. They don’t give, give you that class. Um, and so I certainly, um, have had to learn on the fly and learn from my mistakes and learn from others. Finding mentors like Bob and, and other people that have started their firm successfully to figure out what to do, uh, because I didn’t naturally know it.
Maria Monroy (11:58):
So what are you doing?
Mark Bratt (11:59):
Well, at the end of the day, um, I take a, um, uh, a justice-led, heart-driven approach to everything I do. I mean, that’s kind of my tagline on my website. But every single person that I talk to, I figure out if I can help them directly. I take a very small case load so I can have my hands in every single case that, uh, comes in the door. And I, and I, frankly, have taught myself to say no. Uh, which is a weird thing if you’re trying to build a business and trying to, um, you know, make money and, uh, feed your family.
Maria Monroy (12:29):
I say no all the time.
Mark Bratt (12:31):
Well, naturally, uh, I think prior to me going on my own, I said yes far too much, and I spread myself way too thin. Um —
Maria Monroy (12:39):
Mark Bratt (12:40):
So setting boundaries, uh, appropriately that allow you to do other things in your life that you need to do, uh, you know, like work out a couple times a week if you can. Spend time with your family. Um, you know, I think, uh, the early part of my career was so focused on winning trials, and, uh, and that was great. But, you know, after you do twenty-hour, uh, work days during trial for a three-month trial, win, lose, or draw, you’re kind of empty at the end. And I’m trying to find a way to keep my tank full and do the best work I can and be a great dad and be a good member of my family.
Maria Monroy (13:15):
But I think taking care of your health, like you mentioned working out, spending time, your, with your family — will actually make you a better business owner and a better lawyer.
Mark Bratt (13:23):
I agree. A hundred, a hundred percent.
Maria Monroy (13:26):
Because it’s really a holistic approach, and different areas of our lives, I think, they spill over. They, they impact us, right? Like, if you’re not healthy, how could you be the best lawyer that you can be, or the best business owner? Now, is it just you right now, or have you started hiring people?
Mark Bratt (13:42):
I am still the only employee. I joke with my wife that she, she’s — Uh, she speaks Spanish, so she’s my interpreter. Um, and when, and when she gets hired, she’ll be highly paid. At this point, it’s just me. And, uh, for now, that’s the right decision. Uh, I’ve talked to pe— people, including Bob and, and, and, and others about scaling and hiring people. So I can free up myself to do, um, you know, the most important things. But right now, the most important thing for me is to have a hand in all the cases that I’m, I’m working on.
Maria Monroy (14:10):
How many cases do you have right now?
Mark Bratt (14:12):
Right now, um, I just got another asbestos mesothelioma case, which I’m, you know, excited to represent the family on. Um, and then I have a, a big employment case, uh, with about fifteen plaintiffs that we’re suing, uh, the largest, uh, shipping company in the world. Um, and I also have a, a trip and fall case. And then I have a few smaller ones that I’m figuring out what to do. Whether I refer them out to another lawyer or keep them. But I mean, less than, less than ten.
Maria Monroy (14:40):
Wow. But these are all more serious, bigger cases, I’d argue.
Mark Bratt (14:44):
Yeah. I mean, it’s not to say I, I, I don’t want to help out people that have, uh, you know, less serious injuries. But most of the cases I handle, uh, are toxic exposure cases where they have terminal cancer or have, you know, significantly been discriminated in the workplace, uh, or have, uh, you know, life-altering injuries after a trip and fall or an accident. Uh, I generally, uh, will focus on that. Um, but, but again, if anyone calls me, I’m going to try to help them. And if it’s not me taking the case, I will find the best attorney that can help them. I mean, that’s my goal every single time I, uh, answer the phone.
Maria Monroy (15:23):
Now, when and if you do hire someone, what would be your first hire?
Mark Bratt (15:30):
Uh, probably the most amazing, experienced paralegal that is just a good person. Um, someone that is both trustworthy and honest and a hard worker, but also has other things going on in their life that, um, make them a happy person. Fun to be around.
Maria Monroy (15:54):
Interesting. So there’s like this whole theme with you about, like, a holistic approach to life and business.
Mark Bratt (16:02):
Yeah. I, I mean, you could make all the money in the world and fly around in a private jet, but does that make you happy? For me, waking up every day and dropping my daughter off — uh, she’s a first grader at school — and giving her a kiss and then going off and trying to help people deal with, you know, bad things have happened to them. That’s a good day. And, but at the end of the day, come home and, and, you know, sometimes cook dinner or, or, you know, just have dinner with the family at home. I, I don’t know if you can beat that day. Um, but sometimes if you’re in trial for four, four or five times a year for three months at a time, you can’t get that full holistic experience. So you’ve got to, you’ve got to set boundaries.
Maria Monroy (16:42):
I used to work at AT&T here in LA, and I texted an old employee of mine, and we were texting back and forth yesterday. And he’s 32 years old. And I was like, “How’s life?” He’s like, “Well, I only work. I want to retire by 40. I have no friends, no girlfriend, no social life.” And I was like, “All right, we need to have breakfast on Saturday, because that is just — what’s the point of being wealthy if you don’t have someone to share that with, if you don’t have a life?” Like, I’m just like legitimately worried. I’m like, I don’t — haven’t seen him in ten years. And I’m like, “Hey, dude. Like that is — Yeah, no, like, you have it backwards.”
Mark Bratt (17:19):
Mm-hmm. I agree. Yeah. You know, if, if your whole life is work and that’s how you’re defined and you don’t have other outlets, whether it’s a musical instrument or, um, you know, cooking or, um, traveling, you’re, you’re really going to lose yourself to your, your job. And, you know, listen, the pandemic has taught us all a lot. Um —
Maria Monroy (17:43):
Mark Bratt (17:44):
And I, I certainly took away from it, um, the importance of slowing things down, setting boundaries, and spending quality time with the people in your life that love you, and you want to give that love in return. I mean, that’s — I, I think if you don’t have those things, then it can be a pretty empty existence. And that’s certainly not one I wanted, uh, or that I want to live or wanted to continue, uh, you know, feeding.
Maria Monroy (18:07):
Do you know Joe Fried?
Mark Bratt (18:09):
Maria Monroy (18:10):
So he’s a trucking — He’s the trucking lawyer in the country, and I just had him on, on the podcast and he talked about that. Like how he is working on — I’m going to — not going to do this justice. I’m sorry, Joe. But basically, like, he’s defined himself through being this, you know, big trial lawyer and, like, that worries him, right? And like, how we shouldn’t be defining ourselves by what we do. How detrimental that can be. But he’s very — He has so much awareness, right?
Mark Bratt (18:42):
Maria Monroy (18:43):
He’s, like, trying to, um, work on that. And it’s interesting talking to you because I de— I’m totally a workaholic, and I know that I’m avoiding something. Like, that’s like what keeps me kind of going — The busyness is because I’m trying to avoid whatever it is. I, I’m not really sure.
Mark Bratt (18:59):
Maria Monroy (19:00):
But it’s like this idea of balance and, like, kind of calmness that I think COVID did bring. And I know COVID brought a lot of bad, and I get that. And I’m not trying to be insensitive, um, to all the bad that COVID brought, but COVID did that for me, too. Like, it forced me to slow down. To cook dinner, to spend time with my kids, to be more present. Especially when, like, especially, like, in San Diego and here in LA, everything was shut down. Like, I couldn’t take my kids to the park.
Mark Bratt (19:30):
Maria Monroy (19:31):
Right? And I think of it fondly, and I remember there was a, a point in time, like three months in, where I swore it was going to be over soon. I was like, “I can’t have COVID end and I didn’t do something productive, like, a big life change.” For me, he big life change was working out.
Mark Bratt (19:46):
Maria Monroy (19:47):
Like I’d never worked out my whole life. And then I created that habit during the initial, I guess they were still initial months, although I swore it was, like, over.
Mark Bratt (19:55):
Maria Monroy (19:56):
Which still isn’t.
Mark Bratt (19:57):
It’s a blur still, right?
Maria Monroy (19:58):
It is. It’s all kind of, like, bleeds in and, like, it just blends in.
Mark Bratt (20:01):
Maria Monroy (20:02):
So yeah, it’s definitely — It’s interesting you’re saying all this to me, ’cause it resonates for me, but I’m not — I wish I could apply it more, right?
Mark Bratt (20:12):
Yeah. I mean, listen, for the first ten years of my career, I defined myself with this goal of becoming a trial lawyer. And that’s how I identify. That’s how I, you know, if I was talking with someone, uh, it was always this, “I’m so busy. I got these trials,” and it was true. But you start realizing that if you’re only defined in one way, it’s pretty limiting. Um, and, and it’s, I don’t think it’s the healthiest approach.
Maria Monroy (20:41):
It’s not healthy. It’s absolutely not healthy. I’ll be the first to admit that this is not healthy. Um, how did you break it though? Like, what was it? Was it having your daughter that did this or COVID? Like, what was that moment where you’re like, “Oh shit, I gotta change this,”?
Mark Bratt (20:55):
Yeah, I mean, I, I, I, it was a combination. I, you know. Yes, the, the kind of this forced isolation we were in, uh, the, the, the added time you were spending with your family. I mean, pre-COVID, I was spending probably more time with my, my work friends, the people I worked with at the office and in trial, than I was, you know, my family. Um, and so when all of a sudden we’re — it’s, it’s totally flipped on its head, uh, I realized like, “Man, this is, this is great. All this extra time.” And, uh, I was doing art projects and, um, you know, teaching science and math and, and, and I, I just wanted to structure my life, uh, start my own firm, and find a way to have both. And, and yes, I’ve been lucky in this first year. Um, and, and thankfully, you know, those that encouraged me to do it, um, I, I’ve been able to find that balance, set those boundaries, and have some success.
Maria Monroy (21:55):
That, that’s amazing. It’s funny, because I know a lot of couples got divorced due to COVID, but for me, that time when everything was shut down, we — I don’t think my husband and I fought once. It was, like, the most calm time in our household. And it’s funny, ‘cause I’m just, like, re-realizing that I know at some point I had realized like, “Wait a minute, why aren’t we fighting?” Because there were no outside stressors.
Mark Bratt (22:17):
Maria Monroy (22:17):
Right? And it’s, like, trying — now it’s like, again, it’s like we’re, we’re so busy, you know? And I’m, again, in that I feel like I’m in a hamster wheel.
Mark Bratt (22:25):
Maria Monroy (22:26):
And I’m traveling every other week, basically. And it’s, like, so much. And my goal this year is, like, it’s health. And part of that is, can I find more balance and calmness and, like, being, like, in the, in the flow of life, like not fighting whatever happens, right? Like, I, I got stuck in traffic yesterday. There was, like, an accident or something, and it literally wasn’t moving. And I was driving from Vegas here, and I was like, “Okay, I’m not even going to get mad. I have nowhere to be right now. I’m not going to get frustrated. Like, I’m not going to fight it.” You know?
Maria Monroy (22:59):
Mark Bratt (23:00):
So I’m definitely working on that, and I’d like to find that within the whole, you know, the business.
Mark Bratt (23:06):
Yeah. I — li— you know, the funny thing is as lawyers, you want to control what you can. I mean, well, human nature is —
Maria Monroy (23:14):
I want to control everything.
Mark Bratt (23:14):
Right. Exactly. And, and I’ve realized there’s so much that it’s not in my control. Um, the things that I can control, which are the things I say yes to and commit to and follow through on, those are things I’m going all in on. But I’m also doing that with the goal of being able to say yes to, you know, planning the movie night for my daughter’s PTA.
Maria Monroy (23:40):
But I think a lot of lawyers think, “If I go off on my own, it’s going to be more work.”
Mark Bratt (23:44):
It can be, uh, you — but you’ve also got to prioritize how you’re working. Uh, I’ve, I certainly have learned in this first year to work a lot smarter. And sometimes that is saying no to cases. Sometimes that’s realizing — and I, I’ve used this analogy with young lawyers as I kind of, uh, talked to them about, you know, going out on their own or, or, you know, starting their own practice — is, you know, I’m good at certain things and I’m really, you know, focused on certain cases. But there are other cases that come in and I’m like, “I don’t know anything about this.” The best thing for those clients are for me to, uh, acknowledge that and then find the best lawyer that’s going to help them. And even if that means I’m not taking a referral fee on it, but it’s best for the client, I’m going to do that, you know, ten times out of ten because, uh, number one, that same lawyer may send me a case in the future, uh, and may not even expect a referral fee. But, um, it’s all about doing exactly what I would hope is done for my own family. Uh, you know, if my mom or dad or my grandparents were in an accident, I want them to find a really compassionate lawyer that’s going to help them. And I hope to do that, uh, even if it means not taking the case and giving it to a lawyer that’s better suited to do so.
Maria Monroy (24:58):
I think a lot of lawyers say this, but I actually believe you.
Mark Bratt (25:01):
The only reason people believe you is if you are an honest person. And, and —
Maria Monroy (25:06):
I don’t think so. Some people have a really bad, like, what’s the right word? Like, a bullshit meter.
Mark Bratt (25:14):
You’re right. But I think in the long game of life, um, I can’t go and talk to a jury and ask them for tens of millions of dollars for my client if I’m lying through my teeth. And honesty and transparency in business, honesty and transparency in the courtroom, honesty and transparency with my clients themselves, telling them the, the tough truths about why their case may not have the best result. Sometimes that’s going to be way better than just trying to fake it. And, uh, again, I, I, I want to look, uh, a jury in the eye and say, “Yes, my, you know, the case has these problems, but it’s still worth an incredible amount of money. Uh, we gotta get justice. And that’s the only way to do it, despite the fact my client’s made some mistakes.” You, you can’t lie about those things. You’ve got to own them.
Maria Monroy (26:05):
You’ve got to listen to Joe Fried. He’s going to resonate with you so much. I’m going to send you the episode.
Mark Bratt (26:10):
I will. I’ll listen to it.
Maria Monroy (26:12):
No, he’s, like, not — He’s, like, all about being vulnerable with a jury.
Mark Bratt (26:14):
Maria Monroy (26:15):
And he explains how he does it and, like, utilizing energy. It’s really, like, some — I’ve never heard of anything like that, the way he describes it.
Mark Bratt (26:24):
Yeah. I mean, listen, if you walk through life thinking that you’ve got it all figured out and you’re not showing vulnerability with your clients, with your, your friends, with your family, with juries, um, you’re going to lose. Uh, because we are inherently vulnerable, humans. No one’s infallible. Uh, you can’t walk around and just be the tough guy and the person that’s always right all the time. You’ve got to know when you’re, when you’ve got to learn. And I’m constantly learning, and I’d love to learn from, from Joe and, and, uh, meet, meet him probably. And, but also, l, you know, listen to the podcast.
Maria Monroy (26:55):
No, he’s, he has, like, a cult following. It’s, it’s — he’s, like, famous. I’m so, like, “What?” I’ll send it to you, and you’ll, you’ll see.
Mark Bratt (27:03):
That’s great. Yeah. It’s probably ’cause I’m in a hole and —
Maria Monroy (27:05):
You’re in a different space.
Mark Bratt (27:06):
I’m well, he’s —
Maria Monroy (27:07):
Mark Bratt (27:08):
Yeah. Well I, and, and that’s the thing, part of also why I went out on my own, is to expand. I, I’ve been doing asbestos mesothelioma and talc trials for fifteen-plus years and it’s, it’s been great. I’ve learned really complex litigation, high stress, you know — My trials, again, sometimes for two, three months, you know?
Maria Monroy (27:26):
Yeah. That’s crazy.
Mark Bratt (27:27):
And so I, I, I was longing to try a case that might be just five days and, and you know, a legitimate case with legitimate injuries. But I’m like, “Well maybe a five day trial might, you know, might be a little healthier from a balance standpoint than always constantly doing these three-month trials.”
Maria Monroy (27:44):
And you listen to that longing, that inner voice.
Mark Bratt (27:47):
Maria Monroy (27:48):
Do you think it’s important to — and it’s obviously a rhetorical question — but do you think it’s important to listen to that inner voice that we have?
Mark Bratt (27:55):
Yes. I’d talked about going out on my own for years, and I ignored that voice, because I also listened to the voice of fear. You have to balance it all. You have to fight through that fear. And one of the big reasons I chose to start my own firm was so I could look my daughter in the eye when she’s a little older and say, “Bet on yourself. If you work hard, you treat people right, good things will happen.” And, um, how could I legitimately do that, you know, as she’s, uh, heading into adulthood in, you know, uh, ten, twelve years from now if I didn’t do it myself?
Maria Monroy (28:29):
That’s beautiful. And I, I get it. I have kids. Um, well, thank you so much for coming on today. I appreciate it.
Mark Bratt (28:37):
I re — Thanks for having me. This is cool, fun. I’ve have, I’ve done this literally for the first time with Bob just the other day, so it’s my second podcast.
Maria Monroy (28:45):
That’s awesome. Well, thank you. Thank you so much to Mark Bratt for everything he shared today. If you found this story valuable, please share it with someone you want to see succeed, and subscribe so you never miss an episode.