Starting a legal career is hard. Even after you survive the slog of law school, you might have trouble getting a job, signing cases, or making the kind of money you want. Mauro Fiore of Fiore Legal knows first-hand the persistence it takes to make it through those early years.
Mauro started his career working on the cases that no one wanted and struggling to make ends meet. Today, his firm has won more than $250 million for their clients and includes the top 1 percent of lawyers. Mauro was named a Super Lawyer every year from 2016 to 2020 and has tried dozens of jury trials in his career.
This week, Mauro tells us the story of the unusual path he took to becoming a lawyer and how he grew a successful firm out of humble beginnings. We chat about the importance of having a strong network of friends, the power of hard work, and what it takes to forge a successful career in the legal world.
- Put in the work. Take the cases no one wants, make network connections, and put in the time working cases. Nothing can make up for a strong work ethic and a willingness to push through difficult situations when you’re establishing a legal career.
- Make friends with other lawyers. Don’t view your competitors as your enemies — they can be some of your greatest resources. Make friends with the other lawyers in your field, and lean on them when you need advice.
- Trust the process. Finding success takes time, and it can be a challenging road. Trust the process, believe in yourself, and know that with enough time and work, you’ll end up where you want to be.
Mauro Fiore (00:00):
I haven’t had a paycheck, a guaranteed paycheck in twenty-some years. Right. But yet I’ve paid all my bills for a long time and —
Maria Monroy (00:10):
No, and you’re doing well.
Mauro Fiore (00:11):
And, and, and you know. Yeah. Doing great. You know, I have six lawyers working for me, a bunch of staff. We own our building, and sometimes I can’t believe I pulled it off.
Maria Monroy (00:27):
Welcome to Tip The Scales, where we discuss running and growing your law firm. I’m your host, Maria Monroy, president and co-founder of LawRank. As you guys can probably tell, I am testing out a shorter intro, and any feedback would be really appreciated, ’cause I’m really struggling with it. I don’t like how scripted the initial intro was sounding, so I’m trying to play with it a little bit. Let’s get to it. This week I had Mauro Fiore on from the Law Offices of, you guessed it, Mauro Fiore. And it was honestly such a fun conversation. I wish the whole — You know, we probably spoke for, like, an hour and a half. I wish the whole thing would’ve made it, but we had to cut some things out. We definitely laughed so much. Mauro is one of those people that has, like, the craziest stories and is just, like, so easy to talk to.
Maria Monroy (01:25):
And he is very funny. We talked about his unusual path to becoming a lawyer and how he grew a successful firm out of humble beginnings. We talked about the importance of having a strong network of friends within the legal community. We talked about the power of hard work and what it takes to forge a successful career in the legal world. I honestly had — I know I probably always say this, but this particular conversation, I had so much fun. I hope you guys enjoy it. Alright, so tell me, I don’t, I actually don’t know anything about your background. I know you’re, like, BFFs with all the big time lawyers in LA but besides that, that’s, that’s all I know.
Mauro Fiore (02:07):
Well, I’m born and raised in LA and um, you know, my — people always think, ’cause my name’s Junior —Mauro Fiore Jr. Is my real name — that, oh, my dad must have been a lawyer or something. I don’t know why they always think that since I’m a junior. But my dad was not a lawyer. He was — my dad was a, uh, business guy. More of a, like, a street hustler type.
Maria Monroy (02:27):
Mauro Fiore (02:28):
Yeah. He owned, like, limo services and car washes and, and uh, restaurants. And my dad was a very — my dad knew how to make money. He wasn’t super educated, but he knew how to make money.
Maria Monroy (02:39):
So you learned that whole business side from him?
Mauro Fiore (02:42):
Yes, I got it from my dad for sure. And my mom was a — they had five kids, and my mom was just a tired mom.
Maria Monroy (02:49):
Mauro Fiore (02:50):
Maria Monroy (02:51):
That’s harder than what you do
Mauro Fiore (02:52):
. Definitely. Yeah, definitely. So, yeah, no, I’m the first lawyer, first college graduate and stuff like that in my family. Even though I really, didn’t really — I mean, I, I graduated from law school, but I didn’t go to undergraduate school.
Maria Monroy (03:07):
What do you mean? Wait, you can do that? Can I do that? How do you do that?
Mauro Fiore (03:10):
In California, you can do that. California, there’s, there’s like twenty different ways to be a lawyer in California that no other state will allow. Like —
Maria Monroy (03:17):
You’re kidding. You’re messing with me right now.
Mauro Fiore (03:18):
Maria Monroy (03:19):
Because I never finished college.
Mauro Fiore (03:21):
Yeah. That makes two of us. So in California —
Maria Monroy (03:23):
Yeah, but you’re a lawyer.
Mauro Fiore (03:24):
Yeah. In California, you can go to law school, you can study under a lawyer. Like Kim— Kim Kardashian is doing that now, where she studies with some lawyer in his office. She has to — so the state bar says, “Well if you study in a lawyer’s office or with a judge for four years, you can take the bar exam. If you pass, you pass.” You know, whereas — So I went to a, what they call is an unaccredited law school in California.
Maria Monroy (03:49):
Mauro Fiore (03:50):
Which basically will take anybody. If you’re, like, alive and kicking and can pay the fee, you can start law school.
Maria Monroy (03:56):
This is — this makes so much sense now how you became a lawyer.
Mauro Fiore (03:59):
Yes. So, um, I went to an unaccredited law school that would take anybody, but, like, I’ll give you an example. My class started with like 200 or 300 people, and by the time, like, my grad— my class graduated, there was, like, forty people. Out of the forty that graduated, like eight of us passed the bar. So basically, the very few people actually make it.
Maria Monroy (04:19):
Do they have an online course?
Mauro Fiore (04:21):
There’s actually an online law school in LA called Abraham Lincoln University.
Maria Monroy (04:25):
But do I need a college degree?
Mauro Fiore (04:27):
Nope. You can start tomorrow.
Maria Monroy (04:29):
This is crazy. This is — I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer.
Mauro Fiore (04:32):
And I hired a girl who went to Abraham Lincoln, and when she interviewed with me, she said, “I’m having trouble finding a job ‘cause I went to internet law school.” And I was like, “Are you kidding me? That’s the only reason I wanted to hire you. If you went to law school on the internet, fuck, I think I can trust you, right? You know, you’re not lazy at least, right?”
Maria Monroy (04:49):
Mauro Fiore (04:50):
“If you went to internet law school.”
Maria Monroy (04:51):
I mean, it just depends —
Mauro Fiore (04:52):
I, I hired her, and she was a great lawyer.
Maria Monroy (04:53):
Mauro Fiore (04:54):
Yeah. She, she only worked for me for a little while, but she was a good lawyer. But obviously, she was self-starter, self-motivated. Went to law school on the internet. But the drawback is most — almost all states will not let me even take their bar exam, let, let alone practice in those states. But —
Maria Monroy (05:11):
Which is crazy because you’re — you’ve been practicing here for how, how long now?
Mauro Fiore (05:14):
Maria Monroy (05:15):
Yeah. That’s crazy.
Mauro Fiore (05:16):
But, um, after a certain number of years, a lot of states will let you in, like Washington state. I have an office in Seattle.
Maria Monroy (05:23):
Yeah, I knew that. Yeah.
Mauro Fiore (05:25):
And uh, so Washington state let— lets you in after you’ve been practicing, I think it’s five years. A bunch of them on the East Coast, North Carolina, Tennessee, will let you in. Iowa will let you in. So now if I wanted to go to Iowa, move to Iowa, I guess I could get a license there now ’cause I’ve been practicing so long. But I don’t see myself leaving LA. I mean this is where I’m from.
Maria Monroy (05:44):
But what made you decide to go to law school?
Mauro Fiore (05:48):
Um, I don’t know. Uh, I was, uh, I was going to a ju— junior college.
Maria Monroy (05:50):
Mauro Fiore (05:51):
And, um, I was just basically wasting time, not doing anything with my life, but I knew I was, I was smarter than the average person, you know. I figured I could do something with my life. And I always was fascinated — Like, when I was a kid, I grew up watching Matlock, and it was awesome. Matlock was like this country lawyer, but he — the end of every show, he would outsmart everybody. So —
Maria Monroy (06:15):
I need to go watch this. I’m going to watch this.
Mauro Fiore (06:17):
Matlock was great. Okay. So I watched this show, like, every week when I was a kid, and I loved this show so much. So I always thought, “Man, I, I think I could be a lawyer. This Matlock is so, so smart.”
Mauro Fiore (06:26):
So then I started researching it the old-fashioned way. I went to Barnes and Noble and looked into, like, the books that said, you know, how, how you could be a lawyer. And I found this book on California non-traditional law schools. And I read it. I was like, “Well, man, I think I could start law school right away.” And I was 20 years old. That’s why I graduated when I was 23. That’s why I’ve been a lawyer for so long. So I started law school when I was 20 ’cause I didn’t finish finish college. I went to, like, a JC for, like, a year. And then I started law school. I was 20, I graduated, I was 23, then I passed the bar the first time I took it. So I’ve been practicing for 25 years.
Maria Monroy (07:04):
Mauro Fiore (07:05):
Because I got out so young, ’cause I skipped all the college part. Like, I worked by myself for many years. I was a sole practitioner for a long time. And then I had, like, one or two employees.
Maria Monroy (07:12):
And what about now? Where are you at now?
Mauro Fiore (07:13):
And now I have — I don’t even like to think about it anymore, but I think I have five or six. I think I have six lawyers working for me.
Maria Monroy (07:21):
Mauro Fiore (07:22):
And thirty staff or so, and big office. I have an office in Seattle. I have three in California. You know, it’s a different animal now. But for a long time I was solo, where I had a very small office, one or two people. And the way I got business was to hit up other lawyers, uh, that did PI. I ended up in PI because the only job I could find —You know, it’s not easy to get a job, going to an unaccredited law school, as you can imagine. I wasn’t going to get hired at, you know, Quinn Emanuel or anything .
Maria Monroy (07:50)
Mauro Fiore (07:51):
So I couldn’t find a job. The only job I could find was working for this PI workers’ comp firm. Uh, and so I worked at this PI work comp firm, and it was funny. It’s, it’s almost like, um — It’s almost exactly like the movie The Rainmaker. Did you see The Rainmaker? Matt Damon and Danny DeVito play, like, ambulance chasers. It’s a great movie actually.
Maria Monroy (08:12):
Mauro Fiore (08:13):
It was almost like that. Like there was, like, this old PI lawyer that ran the firm, and he was a real cuckoo, crazy guy. And the young associates were like, “Man, we better get the fuck out of here before we get disbarred along with this guy.” It was kind of one of those deals. So I left with this other attorney that was there, and we kinda like took off before.
Mauro Fiore (08:31):
And this guy ended up getting disbarred and he ended up — they ended up finding him dead on the beach in Mazatlan of, like, a drug overdose. I mean, he was a disaster. Me and this other attorney were there, kind of got out of there before we went down with him, because he was stealing everybody’s money. It was a mess. So we took off, and we started our own office. So that’s how I started in the PI business, because I worked for that guy for a year and a half. And then when he went down in flames, me and this other lawyer took off, and we took, like, ten cases that were still hanging around the firm, and we took off and started our own office. Ironically, that guy that I left with, um, end— ended up having a heart attack and died in the office one day when I was taking a deposition.
Maria Monroy (09:14):
Oh my God.
Mauro Fiore (09:15):
Like five years later, he just, like, slumped over and died. Like the police, the fire department came.
Maria Monroy (09:17):
Who found him?
Mauro Fiore (09:17):
Uh, our receptionist.
Maria Monroy (09:18):
Oh my God.
Mauro Fiore (09:19):
And I was taking a deposition. The receptionist said, “Bernard is sick.” I was like, “What? I’m in the middle of a depo.” She goes, “No, I think he’s real sick.” So I ran over there, and —
Maria Monroy (09:28):
This is not funny, funny.
Mauro Fiore (09:29):
And he was just, like, slumped over his desk. I was like, “Oh shit, did you call 911?” And the fire department came.
Maria Monroy (09:35):
Oh my God.
Mauro Fiore (09:36):
And they couldn’t do anything. Like, he was like, like, one of those heart attacks.
Maria Monroy (09:38):
This must have been so traumatizing.
Mauro Fiore (09:39):
Instant. Yeah, it was just cra— like, instant death, you know. One of those heart attacks. Because the fire department, they, they wouldn’t even take him. I said, “You can’t leave him here.” They’re like, “No, we don’t transport dead people.” I was like, “You guys didn’t even try to revive him.” They’re like, “The guy’s dead.”
Maria Monroy (09:52):
So who took him?
Mauro Fiore (09:53):
So they said, “We’ll send the coroner over here.” So then we just closed the door to his office. The coroner came, like, nine hours later. You know, it was, it’s still the one of the weirdest shit ever that happened to me. But I’ve had a lot of weird shit happen. But that’s one of the weirdest. Like, they wouldn’t take him, you know? It’s like, “How could you just leave him here?”
Maria Monroy (10:08):
We have people here live, and they’re trying so hard not to laugh loudly.
Mauro Fiore (10:14):
But so me and — It’s not funny. I love —
Maria Monroy (10:16):
It’s — No, it’s like, it’s funny —
Mauro Fiore (10:17):
Bernard was —
Maria Monroy (10:17):
Like nervous funny.
Mauro Fiore (10:18):
Yeah. I mean, I loved the guy, you know, he was great. He was a —
Maria Monroy (10:20):
No, it must have been a super traumatizing experience.
Mauro Fiore (10:22):
Vietnam — He was a Vietnam veteran. He was an older guy. Like, I was a young kid, and he was an older guy, and we both took off together.
Maria Monroy (10:29):
What other weird shit has happened to you?
Mauro Fiore (10:31):
You know, you can ask me, like, two truths and a lie, but some of the strangest shit I’ve done in my life. I can’t even believe some of the weird things I’ve gotten myself into.
Maria Monroy (10:39):
Okay, let’s play that. Go.
Mauro Fiore (10:40):
Okay. I, have you ever heard of Mount Whitney?
Maria Monroy (10:42):
Mauro Fiore (10:43):
It’s the highest mountain in the United States.
Maria Monroy (10:44):
Mauro Fiore (10:45):
And it happens to be in California. Um, it’s 15,000 feet or something. So I climbed Mount Whitney one time and almost died. Or, um, I ran with the bulls in Spain, or I used to drive a limo for OJ Simpson.
Maria Monroy (11:08):
Okay. So you said your dad was in the limo business, so I’m going to have to assume that’s truth.
Mauro Fiore (11:13):
Well, that one’s true. Actually, all three of them are true. I screwed up.
Maria Monroy (11:16):
You’re supposed to give me a frickin’ lie!
Mauro Fiore (11:17):
I screwed up. I didn’t give you the lie. OJ Simpson was one of my dad’s clients, and I used to drive him around, and he was the nicest guy ever. I can tell you that. OJ was, like — he was, like, the first celebrity I ever dealt with. I was a young kid. I used to drive a limo for him, and he loved his fans. I — right now, I, I feel for OJ, because everybody hates him now. Because when I used to drive for him, he was, like, at the height of his fame, and he loved people. Like, we would go someplace and he would sign autographs for — he would take pictures with people for, like, two hours.
Maria Monroy (11:51):
Oh, that is so cool.
Mauro Fiore (11:52)
When he had — when he had, like, an appointment to get to, I’d be like, “OJ, we’ve got to go.” And he would take a picture with anybody. Sign — I mean, he loved people, OJ. So the fact now that everybody hates him — He must be just devastated because how much he enjoyed people. Because I used to drive for him, and we could never do anything because he would always get caught up with people. He’s not like the celebrities that say “Fuck off,” you know, and get away from them. But —
Maria Monroy (12:14):
There’s a lot of those.
Mauro Fiore (12:15):
Yes. He was the total opposite. He was a complete, uh, love — lover of people, or he liked the attention, I guess. I don’t know.
Maria Monroy (12:22):
So since you grew up in LA, when you see a celebrity, does it faze you?
Mauro Fiore (12:26):
No. Unless it’s like somebody that I really like or something. But most of the time not because, you know, you just have to realize most of — you know, they’re regular people.
Maria Monroy (12:36):
They’re people. Yeah.
Mauro Fiore (12:37):
They don’t like people to, you know — They don’t like people to fuck with them.
Maria Monroy (12:40):
Right. But I think people that don’t, that have never lived here — There’s such a sexiness to LA, right? To Hollywood. But if you’ve grown — I mean, I’ve only, I only lived here for maybe, like, six years total, but if you grew up here and you were driving OJ Simpson, like, it must be, like, whatever, right? Plus you’re part of this super exclusive cigar club. Tell me about that.
Mauro Fiore (13:03):
Well, I’m a member of a cigar club in Beverly Hills called the Grand Havana Lounge, which it’s hard to be a member.
Maria Monroy (13:08):
And who do you see there?
Mauro Fiore (13:10):
Yeah, I mean there’s lots of celebrities that are members there. Like Jay-Z’s a member there. I’ve seen him a bunch of times. The guys from the Jonas Brothers are members there. Andy Garcia, Arnold Schwartzenegger, um, like real A-list celebrities are members there. As a matter of fact, when the city of Beverly Hills outlawed tobacco totally — You can’t buy cigarettes in the city of Beverly Hills.
Maria Monroy (13:32):
I didn’t know that.
Mauro Fiore (13:33):
You can’t smoke anywhere in the city of Beverly Hills. You can’t go to 7-Eleven and buy cigarettes or any tobacco products in, in Beverly Hills. They outlawed tobacco completely.
Maria Monroy (13:43):
Mauro Fiore (13:44):
Except for the Grand Havana Lounge.
Maria Monroy (13:45):
Interesting. How did they pull that off?
Mauro Fiore (13:46):
I guess Arnold Schwarzenegger is a member there too, right?
Maria Monroy (13:46):
Mauro Fiore (13:47):
And apparently he — and him and a few other celebrities, like, lobbied to the mayor and they’re like, “Come on, this is our cigar lounge.”
Maria Monroy (13:52):
Mauro Fiore (13:53):
So they grandfathered in, or they cut the Grand Havana lounge out of the —
Maria Monroy (13:56):
Mauro Fiore (13:57):
Tobacco law, which is weird because it — because of celebrity bullshit.
Maria Monroy (14:07):
Mauro Fiore (14:08):
So yeah. So I became a member in true, in true, you know, my style. Just, like, backdoored my way into being a member. Like, um, so I won’t bore you with the details, but it was a, uh, I pulled a scam, and I became a member there.
Maria Monroy (14:23):
Wait, you did what?
Mauro Fiore (14:23):
I kind of pulled, like, a semi-scam to be a member. So I —
Maria Monroy (14:25):
What did you do?
Mauro Fiore (14:26):
Well, I mean, just like — You know, you realize that there’s different types of memberships, and people can add you to their memberships if you become friends with them. And I became very friendly with a guy and — there, and he kind of, like, made me, like, his co-member, whereas I didn’t have to wait on the waiting, the waiting list.
Maria Monroy (14:43):
And then did, did he also die randomly with you?
Mauro Fiore (14:45):
Um, no, but he is — He happens to be in federal prison right now. But that’s not, not my —
Maria Monroy (14:51):
Oh my God.
Mauro Fiore (14:52):
That’s another story.
Maria Monroy (14:53):
Hey, Bob’s Simon needs to rethink your friendship. . So does Gary Dordick. I mean, you guys come on, like —
Mauro Fiore (14:58):
This guy’s in, you know, I mean he’s —
Maria Monroy (15:01):
We need to end the interview.
Mauro Fiore (15:02):
Yes. He’s, he’s in federal prison. And, um, but I’m keeping — Uh, we have a humidor there with our cigars in it, and I’m keeping the cigars, uh, stocked in the humidor for when he comes back.
Maria Monroy (15:13):
When is he coming back?
Mauro Fiore (15:14):
Uh, well, he’s on a five-year vacation.
Maria Monroy (15:16):
What did he do?
Mauro Fiore (15:18):
Uh, well what was he accused of?
Maria Monroy (15:20):
Uh, so another scam, right?
Mauro Fiore (15:20):
What was he accused of? He was accused of — And then again, I don’t do business — He’s not, he wasn’t a lawyer. I didn’t do any business —
Maria Monroy (15:27):
Do you want to talk about this or no?
Mauro Fiore (15:27):
Yeah, I mean, he wasn’t a lawyer. Nothing to do with anything I do. Just a friend of mine that I knew for a long time, and I don’t really get into people’s business. You know, people make a living how they make a living, you know. Like in — If you’ve ever seen The Godfather, you know, like —
Maria Monroy (15:42):
Mauro Fiore (15:43):
Don Corleone said, “How people make a living is none of my business. As long as it doesn’t affect me or my family, what do I give a shit how you make a living?”
Maria Monroy (15:52):
I agree with you.
Mauro Fiore (15:53):
So that’s what Don Corleone used to say. That’s what I say. I really don’t care. So I never really got into what he did. I just know he was in finance and shit like that. And he, uh, and —
Maria Monroy (16:03):
Did you help him find a lawyer?
Mauro Fiore (16:04):
Uh, no. He got his own. But anyways, so just one day, he got arrested, and the charges that were published on the internet from, like, the Department of Justice said that he was accused of $250 million of fraud.
Maria Monroy (16:20):
Did you give him any money?
Mauro Fiore (16:22):
He, he stole 250 million bucks. He should give me money.
Maria Monroy (16:26):
No, I want to know if it was, like — You know, people run scams, and a bunch of people give them money.
Mauro Fiore (16:30):
No, no. I think he was stealing, like, from, uh, banks and shit like that or something.
Maria Monroy (16:35):
Wow. That’s serious shit.
Mauro Fiore (16:36):
But anyways, yeah. So he fought it tooth and nail, because he said he didn’t do anything wrong, and he ended up going to trial and went to jail. But that’s another story. But, you know, so that’s how I became a member, because he — I was a member with him, so I’m still a member even though he’s on vacation.
Maria Monroy (16:52):
Okay. Back to the law. So I asked you, “What are you really good at?” the other day. And what did you tell me?
Mauro Fiore (16:59):
I told you that, um, ever since I started, I would get cases from other lawyers that they didn’t want. So the cases they didn’t want just because they didn’t think they could make any money on them, or they were too complicated, or you had to, or you had to do a lot of work in exchange for what maybe they thought you could make on the case. There’s one thing I can tell you about 95 percent of lawyers is most of them don’t want to do any work. You know, most lawyers are very lazy, especially the younger ones. You know, these, this — These millennials are mind— they’re mind blowing.
Maria Monroy (17:31):
Hey, I’m a millennial.
Mauro Fiore (17:32):
Yeah, these millennials are mind-blowing. They’re so lazy.
Maria Monroy (17:35):
I’m not lazy.
Mauro Fiore (17:36):
They want everything tomorrow. Okay, well you’re —
Maria Monroy (17:37):
I’m an immigrant, though. I’m an immigrant. That’s probably why.
Mauro Fiore (17:41):
The younger crowd, they want everything tomorrow. They want to graduate from law school and be rich tomorrow. They want to be — They want everything now. It’s like TikTok or Instagram generation.
Maria Monroy (17:50):
Mauro Fiore (17:51):
They don’t — You know, I came from like, from nothing, from, you know, working hard and, you know, scraping by on shit cases that I had to work on and spend time on. And so I’ve always been good at taking cases that other people didn’t want or didn’t think were any good and able to make a fine living on that stuff.
Maria Monroy (18:16):
What’s the biggest settlement or verdict that you’ve gotten from a case that someone else rejected?
Mauro Fiore (18:22):
I remember a case where this girl was injured in a bicycle accident, and her lawyer that she had was trying to get her to settle her case for $20,000. She even had the release for the 20 grand and she came to see me and I was like, “This guy wants you to take 20,000 bucks on this case?” She’s like, “Yeah, he told me that’s all I’ll ever get. It’s all it’s worth.” I was like — I was like, I said, “Man, where did you find this lawyer? You know, I mean, this guy’s crazy.” She wouldn’t take the 20 grand, so he dropped her case. But she told me, “He told me if I don’t sign this, he’s going to drop my case.” And he did. I said, “If he drops your case, come back and see me.” So she came back to see me. And I ended up settling her case for $5 million.
Maria Monroy (19:02):
Mauro Fiore (19:03):
Yeah. And it was probably worth more than that.
Maria Monroy (19:06):
Mauro Fiore (19:08):
Yeah. But this guy wanted her to take 20 grand.
Maria Monroy (19:10):
But see, I think this is really motivating for some — especially some of the younger lawyers that are like, you know, starting out.
Mauro Fiore (19:17):
Sure. Yeah. I mean, especially now — I mean, I don’t think it’s just unique to LA or California. I think it’s everywhere. There’s so many people that have a case or think they have a case that want to hire a lawyer. There’s so much business out there that if you, um, align yourself with other lawyers that have lots of business, there’s tons of cases that they would give you. If you went out and beat the street and did some marketing and did some networking, any young lawyer just out of school could probably get a bunch of cases. I would give a bunch of cases I don’t want to a lawyer if they ever called me, but no one’s ever hit me up for them. So if anyone’s listening, hit me up for a bunch of shitty cases I don’t want. I’m happy to give them away.
Maria Monroy (20:02):
There you go.
Mauro Fiore (20:03):
You know, and maybe you make some money on them.
Maria Monroy (20:04):
You heard it here.
Mauro Fiore (20:05):
Yeah. But, um, there’s so much business out there that — There’s plenty of business that’s not perfect. You know, I wish I had all perfect cases, you know.
Maria Monroy (20:14):
I’m sure everybody wishes they had perfect —
Mauro Fiore (20:16):
There’s only a few, select few people out there that have the — or always have the goods, you know? The perfect —
Maria Monroy (20:24):
Mauro Fiore (20:25):
Like, and uh, those guys, I take my hat off to those guys. They’ve, they’ve paid their dues, they’ve gotten the results, and they get the good stuff, the perfect stuff. You know, I get my occasional perfect case, but most of my stuff has tons, tons of warts that we have to get around.
Maria Monroy (20:43):
So I’m curious, how did you become such good friends with Gary Dordick and Bob Simon?
Mauro Fiore (20:49):
Oh, how did I become friends with them?
Maria Monroy (20:50):
Like, well, how did you guys all become friends?
Mauro Fiore (20:52):
Well, I’ve known Gary for more than twenty years.
Maria Monroy (20:54):
Mauro Fiore (20:55):
Yeah. Um, ‘cause again, remember, I’ve been practicing for twenty-five years, so I’ve been, I’ve been around the PI business in LA for a long time. Um, even though people think, “Oh man, he looks so young,” even though I don’t get that as much anymore. But people, a lot of people didn’t believe I was a lawyer for so long.
Maria Monroy (21:13):
Mauro Fiore (21:13):
Maria Monroy (21:14):
Well you started so young.
Mauro Fiore (21:14):
Started very young. So I’ve been around the PI business a long time. Became friends with Gary, like, twenty years ago, and I pretty much talk to him more than anyone I talk to besides my, like, wife. You know, I talk to Gary a lot. Um, so we’re just very close that way. I used to spend a lot of time with him before I had kids. We don’t spend as much time anymore together, but I still see him a lot. We talk a lot. We go on vacation. You know, Gary has a house in Cabo. We go down to his house in Cabo sometimes. And I’ve been to Europe with him. Um, I think a couple times. We ran the bulls in, in Spain.
Maria Monroy (21:49):
That was true?
Mauro Fiore (21:50):
Yeah, that was true.
Maria Monroy (21:51):
You both did that? How did you become friends with Bob? You haven’t told me.
Mauro Fiore (21:53):
Um, how did I become friends with Bob? Um, I met Bob, uh, through Gary.
Maria Monroy (21:57):
Mauro Fiore (21:58):
Yeah, Bob was — Bob and his brother Brad were, like, young guys coming up, starting their own firm. And uh, Gary was very much a mentor to them. You know, um, Gary’s mentored lots of, uh, lawyers, you know.
Maria Monroy (22:13):
Well, let’s talk about that for a second. Do you think that that’s important to, like, associate yourself with other people in the space that maybe are direct competitors? Like, do you think there’s a benefit to that? Have you derived a benefit from it, do you think?
Mauro Fiore (22:25):
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, you know, what are we all, uh, competitors? Yeah. You know, but like I said, there’s tons of business out there.
Maria Monroy (22:37):
Mauro Fiore (22:38):
Tons of business. Um, and uh, you know, the cases that people want Gary for, they’re going to go to Gary.
Maria Monroy (22:43):
Mauro Fiore (22:44):
The people that — cases that are, people want me on are going to come to me, you know, and Bob the same way. So we’re not really, like, you know, at each other’s throats over business or anything.
Maria Monroy (22:53):
Because I feel like there’s just — especially in, in California, particularly in LA — there’s a lot of, in my opinion, a lot of frenemies. And you guys are not frenemies. You guys are legit friends.
Mauro Fiore (23:04):
There’s a lot of people that are jealous types, you know. Lots of jealous types. And I’ve never been — I mean, I’ve, I don’t have a jealous bone in my body. I don’t give a shit, you know? But yeah, I mean, I’m not the jealous at type at all, and neither is — most of my friends aren’t. We’re so happy for each other. I have a very big friend group, you know. They’re all very successful PI lawyers. There’s, like, maybe six or seven of us, uh, that we all hang out, you know. Besides Gary and Bob, you know, there’s Minh Nguyen if you know him. And Gene Sullivan —
Maria Monroy (23:34):
Uh, I’ve heard of Gene.
Mauro Fiore (23:35):
Maria Monroy (23:37):
I’ve heard of Dan Kramer, too.
Mauro Fiore (23:38):
Mark Bloom. Uh —
Maria Monroy (23:39):
I don’t know any of them. No.
Mauro Fiore (23:41):
Uh, Spencer Lucas, who’s a partner at Brian Panish’s office.
Maria Monroy (23:44):
You can intro me to everybody.
Mauro Fiore (23:46):
These are all — Spencer’s one of the few partners at Brian’s office. There’s only, like, five. He’s one of the five. And, um, Tom Fayer, if you know Tom.
Maria Monroy (23:55):
Mauro Fiore (23:57):
Out of Orange County. Uh, he’s in Torrance. These guys, uh — So these guys are, like —
Maria Monroy (24:00):
Younger guy, right?
Mauro Fiore (24:01):
Yeah, they’re — Most of those guys are younger, except Gene’s a little older than me. Um, but so these are, like, my group of guys, and they’re all very successful personal injury trial attorneys. That’s the one thing about my group. We’re all trial lawyers.
Maria Monroy (24:13):
And is it — is there synergy?
Mauro Fiore (24:14):
Like we actually try cases, you know
Maria Monroy (24:15):
Right. And is there synergy? Like if you say, “Hey, I have this case going on,” do you run it by them? Do you — is there—
Mauro Fiore (24:20):
Yeah. I mean, as a matter of fact, I just got a text message, uh, on a group text from Gary, who’s in trial, asking the guys that I just mentioned to uh, help, help him with some metaphors for a cross examination he’s doing today that he says he couldn’t really come up with anything great. And he wanted to hear what we thought, you know. So Gary’s asking us.
Maria Monroy (24:44):
Mauro Fiore (24:45):
And he’s in the middle of a cross examination. So the benefit I derive from being friends with people like that, that I’m on this text chain with Gary and all these great lawyers talking about trying cases. But you know, it’s nice to be friends with these, with people that are very successful in your same business who are all helping — trying to help each other, you know.
Maria Monroy (25:04):
I think the takeaway from this is don’t be jealous and, like, make friends with people in your space, because no one’s going to understand what you’re going through better than other people doing the same exact thing you’re doing. You know what I mean? Like, I’m friends with our competitors, and people tell me all the time like, “Why are you friends with your competitors, Maria? That’s so weird.”
Mauro Fiore (25:23):
Maria Monroy (25:24):
And I’m like, “No, it’s not. There’s enough for everyone.”
Mauro Fiore (25:26):
There’s tons of business, there’s tons of money to be made, and people have crazy egos. I don’t have a big ego when it comes to, to that. I mean, of course I’m confident or whatnot in my skills and, and uh, things like that. But yeah, you’ve just got to let all those things go and just try to be friends with people that, one that you get along with. And if they happen to be able to help you along the way, great, you know? Like, back to Bob, I met Bob through Gary, because Gary was mentoring Bob and Brad a lot. They were — and I used to tell Gary, I used to say, “Man, who’s this Bob Simon guy? Man, he seemed to just come out of nowhere, you know?” And Gary would like, “Yeah, him and his brother are from Pittsburgh or —“ So I was like, “Yeah, crazy.”
Mauro Fiore (26:10):
This was, like, 15 years ago. I was like “Crazy, man. This guy just suddenly just dropped out of the sky.” And Gary said, “Yeah,” you know, and then he said, “Hey, you know what —“ Uh, the first time I met Bob, he said, “You know, Bob’s speaking on a panel with his brother at the Santa Monica Bar Association or something.” But Gary said, “Hey, let’s go down and see Bob and his brother speak on this panel with these judges, and then maybe we’ll go have dinner with him after.” I was like, “Yeah, man, I’d like to meet this guy.” You know? So me and Gary went down there and had dinner with Bob and Brad after they spoke on this thing in Santa Monica. And that’s when I first met him. And then we’ve been friends ever since. But I met him through Gary. If not, I probably would never would’ve met him.
Maria Monroy (26:49):
That’s so, that’s so funny ’cause the first time I met Bob — and it was a few years ago, actually at Dordick’s conference — I had no idea he was a big deal. Like zero. And he was like, “Hey, let’s schedule a call. Like I do you want to speak at Law-di-Gras? Do you want to, like, Justice HQ stuff? Whatever.” So, like, we jump on a call. All this — this whole time, I have no idea he’s, like, a big deal. And then I don’t know how I figured it out, and I literally texted him or called him. I was like, “You’re a big deal? Like, I didn’t know that.”
Mauro Fiore (27:14):
Bob’s very unassuming, you know? And same thing with Dordick. He’s the same way, too. You just — Gary’s the most unassuming guy. Gary likes to wear, like, 501 jeans and, like, a white t-shirt and, like, he’s very unassuming. Um, but, you know, but he’ll roll up in a $500,000 car and get out wearing a Hanes t-shirt.
Maria Monroy (27:34):
Now, okay. So last question. What advice would you give lawyers that are starting out their firm right now?
Mauro Fiore (27:43):
Believe in yourself. You know, you have to believe that you will get where you’re going. You know, if you want to be successful, you want to have, uh — you want to be a trial lawyer, or if you want to be one of these lawyers that signs up lots of cases and refers them out, or whatever your goal is, you have to believe that you can do it. Believe in yourself. You can do it. And uh, you have to trust the process, you know? I mean, it took me many, many years to make any money and be successful. You know, it took me a lot of years, a lot of failures, a lot of cases that didn’t go my way. A lot of years where I didn’t make any money. A lot of years where I was barely surviving. You know what I mean? So it was nothing overnight. You know, I still think even now with everything that has changed about, not just being a lawyer, but all businesses are different now, right?
Maria Monroy (28:33):
Mauro Fiore (28:34):
There’s AI, there’s the internet, there’s social media, there’s this, that. There’s so much craziness. I mean, I started practicing law in the nineties with no internet access and, like, you’d write a fucking letter and fax it to people, you know?
Maria Monroy (28:48):
Mauro Fiore (28:49):
So that’s back in the nineties, and if you wanted to look some shit up, you had to go to the law library and look in the books. So I’m from a different era, you know, so a lot of this shit is still foreign to me to this day. But you know, you just have to do the work, put in the time. You know, it’s still the same. I don’t think that that has changed. If you put in the time, um — I don’t think, I don’t think just working hard guarantees that you’ll be successful, but working hard will at least put you in a position to be successful.
Mauro Fiore (29:20):
Or you’ll be — Like they say, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Right? I think you just have to put yourself in the position. But if you don’t put the time in and you know that you haven’t put in the time, then how are you — you just blame yourself is what I see. So the lawyers that come to me and say, well, uh, they want everything and why didn’t they — why don’t they get these good cases? Or why don’t they get good verdicts? Or — and then they just haven’t put in the time. They haven’t put in the sacrifice. I don’t feel sorry for those people at all.
Maria Monroy (29:52):
Well, and it also sounds like there— there’s a lack of being grateful for where they are. And I, I truly believe that if you want to get to the next level, you have to be grateful for where you are in that moment. And if you’re just complaining, what — The universe is just going to give you more of that. ‘Cause that’s where your energy is going instead of having grit and, like, kind of just — you keep pushing, right? And then you get there.
Mauro Fiore (30:17):
Yeah. Like my mom, she always used to say, you know, don’t complain. Uh, because there’s so many people that have so much less than what you have that they would die to be in your, in your spot. You know, they would die to have your level of success or your level of respect or whatever it is. So people that complain about where they are have to realize you’re lucky to be where you are, and other people would love to trade places with you. So, like, me personally, I’ve always been extremely grateful for any — I mean, you know, I sometimes I, I, uh, wake up in the morning or whatever and I’ll be, you know — I have two small kids. They’re four and three. My son, Max, and my daughter, Samantha. Um, like, I’ll wake up in the morning and I’ll just be, if I have nothing on my calendar, and you know, and I’ve run my own office for twenty-some years, right? So no one tells me shit, what to do.
Maria Monroy (31:18):
Mauro Fiore (31:19):
You know, which is nice.
Maria Monroy (31:20):
That is nice.
Mauro Fiore (31:21):
I can sit there on the couch and watch Paw Patrol with my kids for hours if I want.
Maria Monroy (31:23):
Mauro Fiore (31:24):
You know, and they love to watch cartoons with their dad. And —
Maria Monroy (31:26):
Mauro Fiore (31:27):
And I, and I feel I’m so lucky that I’ve put myself in that position that I can do that and, um, not have to worry about anyone telling me what to do or going, telling me where to go or anything of that nature. Um, and I sometimes I think to myself, “Wow, I don’t know how I’ve pulled it off.” Actually, I’m actually surprised.
Maria Monroy (31:48):
Mauro Fiore (31:50):
Yeah. I’m actually surprised —
Maria Monroy (31:50):
We all live that. Yeah
Mauro Fiore (31:51):
I’m surprised. But it’s like, I haven’t had a paycheck, a guaranteed paycheck in twenty-some years, right But yet I’ve paid all my bills for a long time, and —
Maria Monroy (32:03):
No, and you’re doing well.
Mauro Fiore (32:04):
And, and, and, you know. Yeah. Doing great. You know, I have six lawyers work for me, a bunch of staff. We own our building, and sometimes I can’t believe I pulled it off.
Maria Monroy (32:15):
Mauro Fiore (32:16):
So I’m happy and very hap— And so going back to what you’re saying, I’m super grateful for where I’m at. Would I like to be ten times more successful? Sure. I mean, I’m — That’s one thing. You’re, if you’re ambitious and you’re, um — you, you’re never happy, right? I’m never happy.
Maria Monroy (32:36):
I think that’s just, like, the human condition though.
Mauro Fiore (32:38):
Maria Monroy (32:39):
I, I truly think that we adapt so quickly to wherever we are that you’re always kind of looking for the, um, next best thing. I don’t know.
Mauro Fiore (32:50):
Maria Monroy (32:51):
I don’t, I don’t know that it’s a good part of the human condition.
Mauro Fiore (32:54):
Yeah. But, but I think if you get complacent, then you get, that’s —
Maria Monroy (32:55):
Mauro Fiore (32:56):
You get lazy. That’s the thing.
Maria Monroy (32:58):
There is, like, I don’t know, a delicate balance there, I would argue. Or there’s, like, a thin line where —
Mauro Fiore (33:03):
Maria Monroy (33:04):
I don’t think it’s good.
Mauro Fiore (33:06):
I know lots of trial lawyers, and I know lots of lawyers that work in the PI business who don’t try cases. And there’s a difference between them. You know, there’s a difference in the way they are, the way they look at things. Trial lawyers are a different breed.
Maria Monroy (33:18):
You know what’s really weird? Most of our clients — our PI clients, which most of our clients are PI clients — are trial lawyers. And we can’t figure out why that is. But now, even when we do intro calls, it’s, like, one of the things we try to, like, politely ask, you know? Like we need to understand — and trial lawyers are very proud that they are trial lawyers.
Mauro Fiore (33:44):
Maria Monroy (33:44):
So it comes out very quickly, right?
Mauro Fiore (33:45):
Maria Monroy (33:46):
But that’s one of the things we want to understand, because we know that they’re — Like, that’s our ideal client. Like, now we have realized trial lawyers are our ideal client. Um, and one of our clients once said, “It’s because we’re the ones that can afford you.” Which I don’t necessarily agree with that, because you have firms that are very successful that don’t — They’re not really trial firms. But I don’t know what that is. Why, why that’s —
Mauro Fiore (34:10):
Yeah. It it, it’s just, you know, you you, if you hang around enough PI attorneys and you hang around enough guys that are trial lawyers, you’ll see that that they have a — some thing. There’s something about them.
Maria Monroy (34:25):
Mauro Fiore (34:26):
Or them, you know. Women. There’s lots of great female trial lawyers that I know personally. Great ones.
Maria Monroy (34:30):
Mauro Fiore (34:31):
In LA specifically, we have lots of really good female trial lawyers.
Maria Monroy (34:33):
Mauro Fiore (34:34):
And I think that actually to some extent, I think the female trial lawyers have an advantage.
Maria Monroy (34:36):
They do. They have empathy. Lots of empathy. Bibi Fell’s my favorite.
Mauro Fiore (34:40):
Yeah, I like Bibi a lot. She’s great. So I remember the first time I met her was at a party, and I didn’t know who she was. I thought she was so sweet. And then I — somebody said, “Oh that’s Bibi.” I said, “Wow, that’s Bibi Fell! The famous Bibi Fell! From San —“
Maria Monroy (34:50):
Oh, I totally, like, fangirled her.
Mauro Fiore (34:52):
Yeah. “The famous Bibi Fell from San Diego.” ‘Cause I’d always heard about her.
Maria Monroy (34:55):
Mauro Fiore (34:56):
But I’d never met her, you know, and she’s, she’s great.
Maria Monroy (35:00):
She’s a wonderful human.
Mauro Fiore (35:01):
I’ve actually gotten a chance to work on some cases with her.
Maria Monroy (35:04):
Oh, that must have been amazing.
Mauro Fiore (35:05):
So yeah, she’s great. So yeah, there’s great female trial lawyers in California and um, and I’m, I hope that that’s — You know, they say that, um, more than 50 percent of the people in law school currently are female.
Maria Monroy (35:18):
Mauro Fiore (35:19):
It’s like 60 percent.
Maria Monroy (35:20):
Mauro Fiore (35:21):
So it seems like females are gravitating to the law more and more. I know that I deal with tons of defense attorneys that are female. It’s probably almost like 50/50 now.
Maria Monroy (35:30):
They don’t start their own businesses. So that’s the thing, it’s rare for us to see women-led — especially in the PI world. In family law, we see it a lot more. And it — you know, I don’t know what your thoughts are on that, but I definitely think that they’re — you don’t see as many women-owned law firms. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it has to do with —
Mauro Fiore (35:52):
Maria Monroy (35:53):
Mauro Fiore (35:54):
I can, I can think of one or two. But yeah, it seems like lots of female attorneys that I know are — either work at a firm where they’re partners, but there’s a bunch of partners and there’s lot male and female partners that might run the firm or who knows what. Or a lot of them are associate lawyers, or they work in family law. Seems family law’s got a lot of female attorneys.
Maria Monroy (36:18):
They do. They they do. And they are — I love our female family law clients. They’re, like, they’re amazing.
Mauro Fiore (36:25):
Maria Monroy (36:26):
Like really amazing.
Mauro Fiore (36:27):
Yeah. I mean, you know, I know that, uh, the defense lawyers I deal with, a lot of them are really good.
Maria Monroy (36:33):
Mauro Fiore (36:34):
They’re really good lawyers, so —
Maria Monroy (36:35):
I hope they start to, like, start their own PI firms more. I think we have one —
Mauro Fiore (36:40):
There’s some —
Maria Monroy (36:41):
One PI firm that one that I can think of right now, but her partner is her husband.
Mauro Fiore (36:44):
But your —
Maria Monroy (36:45):
I would like to just see like a female-owned —
Mauro Fiore (36:51):
Your business is, like — You’re nationwide, right?
Maria Monroy (36:53):
We’re nationwide, yeah
Mauro Fiore (36:54):
And you deal with only with attorneys.
Maria Monroy (36:57):
Primarily PI. Like 90 percent PI. Yeah. Nothing else. We’ve never worked with anything other than lawyers. B2C lawyers. Like, we won’t work with a business law firm for example.
Mauro Fiore (37:10):
Maria Monroy (37:11):
We can’t help them. There’s, it — We would just be taking their money.
Mauro Fiore (37:14):
Maria Monroy (37:14):
Because think about it. If you’re a business owner — you are a business owner.
Mauro Fiore (37:17):
Maria Monroy (37:18):
And I guess this is, like, you’re a lawyer, so it’s kind of a dumb question to ask you, but you wouldn’t go to the internet to find a business lawyer. Most business owners, even if they’re not a lawyer, aren’t going to the internet to find a lawyer. They’re going through their own network. “Hey, who do you use?”
Mauro Fiore (37:36):
Yeah. I’m always shocked, myself, in the PI world. It’s like, I’ll go out to dinner with Gary or whoever, Bob or you name it. I’ll — and they’ll tell me, “Oh, I’ve got some crazy case.” Or I, they, “I settled some case for millions of dollars,” but I was like — So my always, my question was, “Hey, where’d you get the case from?” You know?
Maria Monroy (37:55):
Mauro Fiore (37:56):
And then when they tell me, “Oh, like, off the internet,” I’m just like, “What the fuck?” Who is, like, googling for a lawyer when they, like, “I just lost a fucking arm.” You know? And there’s something — so it’s, like, it’s crazy. In the PI business, people will, because people hire a lawyer off the internet.
Maria Monroy (38:10):
Because people want, like, the answer fast. We talked about this, right? Like you said, how people have — like, everybody wants everything now. So are you going to wait for your buddy to give you a call back, or are you going to just Google? We have a client that texted me the other day. “Within the last 24 hours, we got two cases over a $1 million. A hundred percent attributable to you.” One of the ways that people find, like, the more serious cases — They’re not searching “car accident lawyer.” They’re searching for — They’re trying to understand what happened. So they’re researching the injury. So this particular injury from this particular type of car accident case.
Mauro Fiore (38:47):
Maria Monroy (38:48):
So if you have content like that on your website, these informational searches can turn commercial, meaning then they call you.
Mauro Fiore (38:55):
Maria Monroy (38:56):
So, like, we do this on the trucking side, right? Like in Texas, trucking is huge. I mean, I guess you could argue everywhere, but we have these, like — We create these websites within a website on just questions related — answering questions related to trucking accidents.
Mauro Fiore (39:11):
Maria Monroy (39:12):
And it’s like, it absolutely works. Especially I think the younger generation, they just go to Google.
Mauro Fiore (39:21):
Yeah. Just, you know, like, you know, I got a case — I got a case recently and uh, this lady calls me. She wanted to talk to me only, you know, which — they didn’t want to talk to my intake department or any other lawyer in my office. She calls and she wants to talk to me only on a new case. I was like, “Okay, I’ll called her back,” and it —
Maria Monroy (39:39):
You’re so nice.
Mauro Fiore (39:40):
And it’s this lady and she’s, I’m talking to her, and she sounds pretty sophisticated. So I’m thinking, “Okay.” So she says, you know, “I’m a, um, assistant United States attorney general,” or something, you know, and I was like — I said, “Well how did you get my number for this case?” You know, because I don’t — certainly know anybody who’s an attorney general of the United States or something. And she’s based here in LA and she’s like, “You know, I know most of this PI lawyer advertising is bullshit and these guys are all full of shit. So I did my research, and I found that you’re the only lawyer I could find that actually tried a case, um, that’s very similar to mine. And I read the verdict, and you got a good verdict.” But —
Maria Monroy (40:24):
Yeah. But see, that’s a highly sophist— sophisticated search.
Mauro Fiore (40:25):
So yeah that’s like the only time, like I’m telling you, this is so — such an outlier.
Maria Monroy (40:29):
No, no. That’s atypical.
Mauro Fiore (40:31):
You know, that’s — But most of the time it’s people just putting it in, okay, “car accident in West Covina” and then whoever pops up.
Maria Monroy (40:37):
No, we have a — we have a client in Texas that, before he ever showed up on the first page for truck accident lawyer, got a huge trucking case from informational intent searches from the website. So from SEO, but the informational side, which isn’t talked about enough because it’s — A) Most agencies don’t do that. But B) it’s a little bit more complex to understand. Right? It’s so — and it’s not sexy. It’s very sexy to rank number one for a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles, right? Like, you’ve got all of LA competing for that right. Now, don’t misunderstand me, we also rank for that. That’s, like, the goal, right? But you can supplement that from the informational searches. And it’s interesting, ’cause sometimes the bigger cases come, again, from the more — like, the weirder searches, right?
Mauro Fiore (41:28):
Maria Monroy (41:29):
Not straightforward. Thank you so much to Mauro Fiore for everything he shared today. You guys know the drill. If you found the story valuable, please share it with someone you want to see succeed, subscribe so you never miss an episode, and leave a five star review. I really do appreciate it when you guys leave a review. Thank you so much for listening.