What does it take to build a firm that has offices in half a dozen states, signs over 70 cases a day in one office, and employs more than 450 people? Glen Lerner of Lerner and Rowe can tell you that the key is consistency and having a team you can trust. In the past two decades, Glen has grown a firm that has some of the best brand recognition in the country.
Glen has built a national reputation and a firm that has recovered over a billion dollars for their clients in the last five years alone. He has worked as a teamster and a garbage man to gain a better understanding of the people he represents. And today, he prides himself on fighting for “the little guys” in personal injury cases.
On this episode of Tip the Scales, Glen talks to us about what exactly makes Lerner and Rowe so successful and how they’re navigating the challenges of a post-COVID world. We dig into why good processes are so critical, how to stand out in a competitive market, and Glen’s deep-rooted obsession with trees.
- Focus on improving. Build processes that help your firm consistently deliver a better client experience. You should never feel like you can rest on your laurels — always be looking for ways to get better.
- Worry less. Delegate tasks to people you trust, and trust that everything will work out okay in the end. Learning to go with the flow can help you find a healthier, happier mindset in your life.
- Find the right people. Hire people into your firm who are dedicated to the same principles as you. If you have a solid team that believes in your company values, you’ll be able to create a great culture and brand.
Glen Lerner (00:03):
Nothing bothers me. I’m always going to fight. That’s one — I mean, I’ve had, it’s been amazing. They’ve counted me dead and out about 50 times, and everybody always misjudged, when they thought I was done, you know? And so, uh, I’m still standing and it’s kind of, that’s kind of cool.
Maria Monroy (00:19):
In law school, attorneys are taught to challenge everything. Tear things apart, break them down. But the qualities that make lawyers great can be some of the worst for running a business. At every stage of growth, running a business and practicing law can feel overwhelming. And what happens when you try to add life and family to the mix? It can feel nearly impossible. You don’t have to do it alone. I’m Maria Monroy, president and co-founder of LawRank, a leading SEO agency for ambitious law firms. Each week we hear from industry leaders on what it really takes to run a law firm, from marketing to manifestation. Because success lies in the balance of life and law, we’re here to help you Tip the Scales. Today I am live with Glen Lerner of Lerner and Rowe, one of the biggest PI firms in the country. Today, we discuss how to find the right people for your firm, the importance of building consistent success, and how worrying less can help you build a healthier life. What states are you in?
Glen Lerner (01:24):
Here’s where we started, Arizona. We have about 300 employees in Arizona. That’s our biggest. Um, about 80 people in Chicago. In Indiana, um, Albuquerque, small office, less than 20 people, but we sign up more than Vegas now.
Maria Monroy (01:40):
Glen Lerner (01:42):
Albuquerque’s becoming a good little market, but we just — I mean, Arizona pays for everything. I mean, Chicago’s become very successful now, but, you know —
Maria Monroy (01:48):
So you have more cases in Arizona than here?
Glen Lerner (01:50):
I have more cases in Arizona than anybody in the United States has anywhere.
Maria Monroy (01:54):
What do you attribute that to?
Glen Lerner (01:56):
Um, I think Kevin and I both living there and being on the ground. Um, this office was so successful. This was — if it wasn’t the most successful law practice in the country when I was there, it was way up there. But I left here in 2007. I’m the energy, and I’m a high energy guy.
Maria Monroy (02:11):
You are, you’re super high energy.
Glen Lerner (02:12):
So when you lose and when you lose that energy — You know, I have amazing people here. I love my guys here, though. But they’re not the guy in the — they’re not the guy on the billboard. It’s not their name on the building. And it’s, it doesn’t have that same vibe, you know.
Maria Monroy (02:33):
Why did you leave?
Glen Lerner (02:34):
We didn’t want to live here anymore. Didn’t want to raise our children here anymore. We wanted to raise — we went back to our farm in Pennsylvania for, uh, about a year. And then we, uh, we moved down to Arizona. Thought it was close enough to still be able to run the Vegas office, but we were just starting in Arizona, thought there was more opportunity in Arizona, a little more healthy environment, I thought, for our family. And, uh, we fell in love with it down there.
Maria Monroy (02:57):
And then you went to Florida at some point?
Glen Lerner (02:58):
Oh yeah. I’ve had six homes in Florida in the last — I’ve — I’m a one-woman man, but, um, Florida’s been my mistress.
Maria Monroy (03:05):
Glen Lerner (03:06):
You know, so we’ve owned six houses in Florida since 2014.
Maria Monroy (03:13):
Why do you love it so much? The beach?
Glen Lerner (03:15):
Yeah. I like the humidity. I, something about my lungs, I don’t know. I just like it better. But I think now that we moved back — Um, we moved back here to Arizona about a year and a half ago.
Maria Monroy (03:22):
Glen Lerner (03:23):
I won’t leave again. I love it. In fact —
Maria Monroy (03:25):
Why did you come back?
Glen Lerner (03:26):
I’d be more inclined to go to Los Angeles than I would to Miami now. Start a little business in Los Angeles and just, there’s more for me. It’s just closer and easier. But I love Miami. I mean —
Maria Monroy (03:39):
But why did you come back from Miami to the West Coast?
Glen Lerner (03:42):
I missed my business. I missed being at the helm and I really felt post-COVID, they needed my energy, they needed my leadership. You know, it’s hard to be an absentee boss. To keep going back and forth, coming, going, leaving. There’s not fair to the business.
Maria Monroy (03:57):
Do you feel like there’s a significant impact when you’re there? Do cases go up?
Glen Lerner (04:02):
It’s not so much cases going up. I think morale, culture — I, I’m an energy dude, you know?
Maria Monroy (04:05):
Glen Lerner (04:06):
I’m like a little nuclear reactor. I, it is what I am.
Maria Monroy (04:12):
That’s why I was asking like, what do you do to have so much energy? ‘Cause you’re like, “I need coffee.” And I get here and I’m like, “You do not need coffee.”
Glen Lerner (04:18):
I think coffee, you know — Imagine if I did drugs! I’d be — oh my God.
Maria Monroy (04:21):
But do you, like, meditate, exercise?
Glen Lerner (04:22):
I exercise every single day of my life.
Maria Monroy (04:23):
Glen Lerner (04:24):
Maria Monroy (04:25):
Weights or cardio? Both?
Glen Lerner (04:29):
Maria Monroy (04:30):
Glen Lerner (04:31):
But I work out a lot and I’m just — I’ve always been a high, high-energy, positive. And it’s just who I am. That’s, you know, I don’t have much else going for me. Receding hairline, shrinking, getting older. But, uh, you know, I’m, I’m really positive, and I’m very upbeat and I’m, uh, I’m just having fun. I swear to God, I got a second wind about a year and a half ago and I just — I, I’m really good at what I do, and I love it. And I think I get everybody to kind of follow suit. I got a great partner in Arizona, you know, who I made a partner everywhere in the country. And it’s really good. We, we complete each other, because I do all the stuff he can’t do. I handle all the stuff nationally, all our mass torts, all our relationships nationwide.
Glen Lerner (05:12):
I know everybody in the country. He knows everybody in Arizona where, I mean, our charity was named the most philanthropic business in Phoenix. You know, we, we’re going to raise well over a million dollars just for our golf tournament we’re having at the end of the month. Which is pretty amazing for lawyers especially. No one likes lawyers. They almost like us. You know? You know, so I think it’s — you know, it’s nice when you see stuff on Facebook where people write and say, “Hey, thank you so much for what you guys do in the community.” It’s amazing. And what a blessing. You know, I feel like I’m kinda like Robin Hood, and I steal from the insurance companies, and we take a little bit for ourselves, you know, but we do okay. But uh, I really give it back, you know, especially the way I grew up. You know, I grew up really poor. I grew up with a father in jail for double murder. I grew up on welfare, and I think it’s just always been a nice thing to — I always like the — I always was for the little guy.
Maria Monroy (06:03):
Did you know you were going to be successful?
Glen Lerner (06:04):
I always thought I was going to be a professional athlete.
Maria Monroy (06:05):
Glen Lerner (06:06):
I was always sure I was going to be a — I was a soccer player, and I was a great soccer player.
Maria Monroy (06:12):
Oh wow. Okay.
Glen Lerner (06:13):
Just too many — but four, four knee surgeries. Uh, within my first year and a half, uh, at Duke, you know. We won the national championship at Duke my, uh, senior year. But four knee surgeries within my first two years. Just took away all my speed and everything. So made any hopes —
Maria Monroy (06:30):
That’s only sport I like.
Glen Lerner (06:31):
Maria Monroy (06:32):
And that I follow, because I’m from Mexico, so you know, there it’s like —
Glen Lerner (06:34):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course.
Maria Monroy (06:35):
And my kids, well, one plays and the other one — talking about my boys — loves it. Like they both — it’s, like, the one sport that they follow and watch. Do you still follow it, or no?
Glen Lerner (06:45):
Maria Monroy (06:46):
So the World Cup is, like, a big deal.
Glen Lerner (06:48):
That was crazy. That was a big —
Maria Monroy (06:50):
Did you go?
Glen Lerner (06:52):
No, I went to the World Cup, last World Cup I went to is 1994.
Maria Monroy (06:56):
Wow. I went to — it’s supposed to be here next time.
Glen Lerner (06:59):
Yes, it is. So that’s going to be exciting. The majority of the games are going to be here, and then you’re going to have, uh, I think a third of the games split between Mexico and Canada.
Maria Monroy (07:08):
Yeah, I’m super excited. I plan on going as much as I can. How long did you play for?
Glen Lerner (07:14):
Well, from the time I was — I started late. That’s why I was never going to be great. Um, I was a really good American football player. I could have played almost any sport. I was a really, really good athlete at Duke. You know, the coach at Duke said I was the best athlete on the best team in America. I was a great athlete, but I was only, you know, back then I was five nine. I’m shrinking. I’m down to five eight. And, um, just — I was never going to be tall, and so football wasn’t going to be for me.
Maria Monroy (07:40):
What did you learn from playing sports that helped?
Glen Lerner (07:44):
Oh, teamwork, for sure. Teamwork. Teamwork, camaraderie, leadership, you know. Team, team, team, team, team team. The greater good, you know. We’re huge culture people. That’s an — I think that is the backbone of our business is our culture. You know, it’s not just about me and Kevin. I guess I should say, good English, uh, Kevin and I. It’s um — we really focus on the team. I want to put my employees ahead of myself. Um —
Maria Monroy (08:12):
How many employees do you have?
Glen Lerner (08:14):
Maybe about 450.
Maria Monroy (08:15):
That’s crazy. That’s ridiculous.
Glen Lerner (08:17):
I know. But, um,
Maria Monroy (08:18):
Glen Lerner (08:19):
I think with — we want to put them ahead of ourselves because, you know, it’s hard. I mean it’s hard. Everybody thinks Lerner and Rowe is me and the other guy. Lerner and Rowe is those people on the front lines. I don’t deal with any clients’ cases anymore. I mean, I deal with cases behind the scenes non-stop. I evaluate every case that goes from claims to litigation, every fir— case in the firm, I see. And that allows me to see who’s going to handle it. Should we keep it? Does it meet the threshold to keep? What are my guys in claims doing? What are the case managers doing? So I can evaluate how people are doing and then mentor them. And if they’re not doing things right, “Hey, why aren’t you doing this?” I love mentoring people. And I’ve been doing this 32 years, and I’m not that great at anything in the world, but I’m really good with cases. I’m like a savant with cases ’cause I see possibilities. Most people just see what’s in front of them. I see what cases can be, you know, and most people just want to be done with something quickly. And I don’t. You know, this is a client’s only chance to recover, and so you want to make sure they can — you know, whatever’s necessary is can be done for them, you know?
Maria Monroy (09:28):
So you say it’s all about teams. Was it easy for you to delegate?
Glen Lerner (09:32):
Oh yeah. I’m the least micromanaging guy on the planet, ’cause micromanaging kills people. So —
Maria Monroy (09:34):
Glen Lerner (09:35):
I’d rather people screw up a couple times. Now if you screw up too many times, you are kindly asked to leave. You know, you’re not going to — You’re not welcome here anymore. You’ve lost, you know, you’re out of the circle of trust. But why hire people if you’re going to micromanage them? That’s silly. Might as well try to do it on your own. There are certain types of people. I’m not a risk-averse peop— uh, person.
Maria Monroy (09:59):
So earlier we were talking about all the coaching that’s available now and how popular that is.
Glen Lerner (10:04):
Oh, goodness gracious. Yeah.
Maria Monroy (10:05):
What are your thoughts on that?
Glen Lerner (10:07):
I think a lot of people, they just want to be coached up a lot. Uh, but they’re not willing to go out and do it sometimes, you know. It’s nice to get ready, “Coach me up, coach me up, get me ready.”
Maria Monroy (10:18):
It’s like they’re doing something. They feel like they’re doing something by being coached.
Glen Lerner (10:21):
Yeah. But ultimately it comes down, just going out and taking the chance. And I think a lot of people, there’s a fear of failure. So if you go out and you do it and you strike out and you don’t get cases, you’re like, “I’m a failure.” You know, I’ve always been the type of guy, let me go out and get cases, and I’ll figure it out along the way.
Maria Monroy (10:38):
How would you do it now though? Like, let’s say you didn’t have a brand anymore,. Brand new firm, 2023, what would you do?
Glen Lerner (10:43):
The world’s changed, hasn’t it?
Maria Monroy (10:44):
Glen Lerner (10:45):
It’s crazy. I’m a, I’m a brand dinosaur. I love brands. Um —
Maria Monroy (10:49):
Well you have a really strong brand.
Glen Lerner (10:51):
I’m one of the two or three strongest brands in the country.
Maria Monroy (10:53):
Glen Lerner (10:54):
But um, every day, people that don’t have a brand nip away at me. Like little minnows, pulling a case here, pulling a case here, online, social media, uh, Google.
Maria Monroy (11:09):
Glen Lerner (11:10):
You know, and it’s hard. You’re battling. Um, if I weren’t — if I didn’t have a brand, I would absolutely call Maria Monroy at LawRank.
Maria Monroy (11:24):
No, no, no. I’m serious. Would you start a brand?
Glen Lerner (11:31):
It’s hard to build a brand. It takes so much. It depends on the market. But it’s such a, I mean this is the world’s most competitive business model. I am convinced. ‘Cause think about it. You have, you have anybody can become rich overnight with one lucky case. Get it, sign it up, refer it to a big litigator, wait, go get a 40, 50% referral fee. And now you can compete against guys with brands. But if not, you gotta go out nickel and dime until you build a little momentum. Um, and it takes time. I mean, to build a brand, to build my brand in Chicago took $10 million cash from me, took four and a half years before we weren’t putting any more money in. Took another probably three years to get all our original investment back. You know, I joke around, I could’ve put that money in a Franklin Templeton fund and been way up instead of just getting my money back, you know, by, uh, you know, a few years ago.
Glen Lerner (12:23):
But now it’s — I’m a cash flow guy. I’m a cash flow monster. I love cash flow. And I think one of the things that separates me from a lot of other attorneys is that I always saw the beauty of cash flow early on. And so, you know, when people come up to me and say, “Man, how much is your overhead?” And I never thought about it. I’ve never thought about once what my overhead is. ‘Cause I’ve never — no one’s check has ever bounced. You know? But that’s the difference between risk-averse and being, you know, I call — I’m a cowboy, you know, I just don’t worry about things. Nothing’s — what’s the worst scenario? I don’t have money, then, all right. I suck. You know, I’ve never worried about it.
Maria Monroy (13:02):
How many states are you in?
Glen Lerner (13:04):
I mean, brand dominant. Vegas, Albuquerque. Albuquerque is not a state. New Mexico state. Um, Nevada, Arizona, uh, New Mexico, Chicago. Not a state again. Illinois. Indiana. So five states where we’re brand dominant. Absolutely very dominant.
Maria Monroy (13:30):
And you’re in other states as well?
Glen Lerner (13:30):
We handle cases in a number of other states where we have licensed attorneys. You know, handle a bunch of cases in Missouri. Um, a lot in Wisconsin. Uh, where else?
Maria Monroy (13:43):
Where, where do you want to—
Glen Lerner (13:45):
A lot in California.
Maria Monroy (13:46):
Glen Lerner (13:47):
Maria Monroy (13:48):
Where do you want to dominate next?
Glen Lerner (13:49):
I mean, I’ve always wanted — My dream’s always been to go to LA, and I think one of the biggest mistakes I ever made was going to Illinois instead of Los Angeles. Because Los Angeles is a triangle. Phoenix, Las Vegas, LA.
Maria Monroy (14:03):
Glen Lerner (14:04):
And I think our brand would’ve translated much quicker.
Maria Monroy (14:05):
Because people drive in and out.
Glen Lerner (14:07):
And it’s much better laws for what we do. You get great verdicts on some cases in Chicago, but too many substandard insurance companies. So when you’re a big advertiser like we are, and you, you know, there’s a certain level on the social echelon that you attract in this business model. We know what it is. But a lot of those people don’t have insurance or this substandard insurance. Whereas in California, you can make them pay because of the good bad faith laws. There are no bad faith laws supporting you in, in Chicago and in Illinois. So it’s made it difficult in that respect to have a lot of teeth behind this massive volume.
Maria Monroy (14:40):
You like to move, huh?
Glen Lerner (14:41):
I get fidgety.
Maria Monroy (14:42):
No, I don’t mean physically. I mean like actually move, like go live in, go live in Florida. Go live in —
Glen Lerner (14:47):
Oh, I’m a wanderer.
Maria Monroy (14:48):
Glen Lerner (14:49):
I absolutely have wanderlust.
Maria Monroy (14:50):
Glen Lerner (14:51):
You know —
Maria Monroy (14:51):
I’m the same way.
Glen Lerner (14:52):
So I, I, you know, I have all my friends back home and I’ll, I’ll sometimes I’ll say, “Man, it must be so cool just to go to high school in a place and stay there.” And, you know, everybody —
Maria Monroy (15:02):
Sounds awful. I’m sorry. I mean, I just, —
Glen Lerner (15:03):
Yeah. To me it’s — I cannot do it. No, I’m a wanderer. I have my little partner in crime, my wife. Aside from that, I have my kids and everything. Kids are all over the place. You know, I just, I’m a wanderer. I’ve always been that way. But I’m happy in Arizona. I don’t know if I’ll move again, but I’m already, I’m always on Zillow. Zillow is — Some people look at porn, this or that. I don’t look any of that crap. My wife, she’s never worried about me looking into that crap. Other women, nothing. You know what she looks at? She sees me on the computer. “What are you looking at?” She’ll come over. I’m on Zillow, like in Beverly Hills or LA or back in Miami. And she’ll go, “What are you doing?” And I’m like, like, she, like — I’m, like, hiding, and I try to hide my computer, and she’ll look. “Oh my God, that’s beautiful. Where is that?” “How much do they want?” You know? She’s an enabler.
Maria Monroy (15:55):
So LA’s next?
Glen Lerner (15:57):
We started a little business there, uh, because I’ve always wanted to do faith-based films. So we started a little, uh, production company there. So we’ll see what happens. If it takes off, then maybe we’d spend more time there. But the politics are just so crazy there. The tax is everything. So I don’t know if I could do that to myself. But I love the weather so much.
Maria Monroy (16:16):
Really? I think it’s a little bit cold.
Glen Lerner (16:18):
Oh my god. I love the weather. Everything grows here. I love plants. Plants. My favorite thing is on the planet.
Maria Monroy (16:20):
Do you garden?
Glen Lerner (16:21):
Oh, more than anybody on the planet. But I garden, like, with a lot of people working for me and stuff.
Maria Monroy (16:29):
Oh you don’t do it yourself?
Glen Lerner (16:30):
Yeah. I’m kind of like Pharaoh.
Maria Monroy (16:32):
Glen Lerner (16:34):
It’s crazy. Um, what I’ve done at my house in Arizona or my — We got a couple hundred acres at our farm in Pennsylvania, and all I do is cut down trees, plant new trees, non-stop. I just love trees. I’m like a Lorax.
Maria Monroy (16:48):
Glen Lerner (16:49):
Yeah. That’s, that’s my hobby. I just go outside and wander for hours. “I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that.” I have OCD. I mean, it’s just serious OCD.
Maria Monroy (17:00):
So well —
Glen Lerner (17:00):
It’s, it’s it, perfection OCD.
Maria Monroy (17:02):
But it’s probably worked out for you.
Glen Lerner (17:04):
I sometimes, I think I’m a little mad for sure.
Maria Monroy (17:05):
But maybe —
Glen Lerner (17:06):
But at least I’m cognizant of it. Yeah, but it’s only with trees.
Maria Monroy (17:09):
Glen Lerner (17:10):
With trees. Yeah. I’m, with cases and stuff, I’m a — The hard thing when you do this business, because so much, especially once you — You gotta feed the beast once you get to a certain size. So you need X number of cases. You know what you need. You know your volume, you know what you’re doing. And so you start judging yourself, like, as a person. It almost, “How’d we do yesterday?” “Oh, we signed up —“ You know, we’ve had days where we’ll sign up 70, 80 cases in a day in Phoenix. That’s a good day.
Maria Monroy (17:41):
Glen Lerner (17:42):
And then there’ll be a day that maybe you sign up — I mean, if we sign up less than 25 or 30 in a day in Phoenix, that’s, like, a bad day.
Maria Monroy (17:50):
Do you stress?
Glen Lerner (17:51):
I don’t ever stress. You know why? Because I know that Kevin’s stressing. He stresses for me.
Maria Monroy (17:52):
You let him stress.
Glen Lerner (17:53):
Yeah, I don’t worry. What’s the worst scenario? Like I said, what’s the worst scenario? But you look at your numbers for the day through all the markets and I know a number we, we need to be, you know, a month. And if we’re, like, significantly below that, I’m like, “Man, this is the end. Is it the end of the empire?” You know? And you say, “Yeah, I’ll do something else. I’ll go dig trees or something.”
Maria Monroy (18:18):
A lot of lawyers are worried that PI — I keep hearing this rumor, and I think it’s been around forever.
Glen Lerner (18:22):
PI is going to die.
Maria Monroy (18:24):
Do you agree?
Glen Lerner (18:25):
Man, I’m probably the first person that said it. By the year 2035, ’36, ’37, as autonomous vehicles take over more and more of the road. Absolutely. But think about it also, every year you have more cars on the road with accident avoidance. Um —
Maria Monroy (18:41):
Glen Lerner (18:42):
Devices in them. I think I can’t crash my cars. If I tried, I couldn’t crash my cars into anything, you know.
Maria Monroy (18:54):
I don’t know. I have a Tesla, and it has the self-driving feature, and it messes up.
Glen Lerner (18:59):
All the time.
Maria Monroy (19:00):
So I think we’re further away than we think. It freaks me out. I don’t like using it.
Glen Lerner (19:06):
Yeah. But when I think, you know — Kevin and I were talking about on the plane ride over today, um, before the self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles and everything, I actually think AI is going to interfere and make us more and more obsolete.
Maria Monroy (19:22):
How? Just —
Glen Lerner (19:24):
I think the op— opportunity for people to take AI and apply it to what we do. Ultimately, you can get AI to do a better job than the case manager, the intake rep, or the attorney. Ultimately people will be able to just go find a business online that can handle their entire case for them. Find them a doctor that handles what they need, get them to the right people, take their case, put in a demand, tell them where their settlement range should be with this. And I think it’s coming.
Maria Monroy (19:51):
So you think that’s going to be the end of PI?
Glen Lerner (19:55):
I think that, along with the autonomous vehicle, something, but yeah, PI is — Nothing lasts forever. You evolve and adapt. That’s why we’ve, you know, we have I think maybe the second-largest criminal practice in the state of Arizona under a different entity. Uh, Law Group. Lerner and Rowe Law Group, um —
Maria Monroy (20:10):
What’s it called?
Glen Lerner (20:11):
Lerner and Rowe Law Group.
Maria Monroy (20:14):
Okay, I didn’t know that.
Glen Lerner (20:14):
Yeah. Um, we’ve been in criminal for a long time. Um, starting an immigration practice. So we’ll absolutely have a robust immigration practice over the next several months. We’ve had a strong bankruptcy practice forever. Um, we’ll start diversifying. We’re going to get more into business litigation, looking for high-end business cases that we could do on a hybrid or a contingency model, ’cause so many of the old firms still are hesitant to do that. You know, we’re cowboys. We’re willing to eat what we kill. Those guys aren’t. They want to be paid. They want to be paid hourly. I don’t want that. I want a chance for the big bucks. I want to hit the lottery. You know, so you just have to make sure you pick the right, the right horse to back.
Maria Monroy (20:55):
What about employment? Do you guys do employment?
Glen Lerner (20:57):
No, but it’s something we’ve really, really considered for Los Angeles, and we’ve talked to several people about that. But I think, I think over the next two to three years, we will be a full-service law firm handling almost everything. The only thing we won’t be doing is, uh, charging hourly. You know, it’ll just be, you know, be immigration, criminal, and we’ll actually start a family law component as well.
Maria Monroy (21:19):
I was going to ask you that, ‘cause I think —
Glen Lerner (21:20):
And I hate family law.
Maria Monroy (21:21):
Glen Lerner (21:22):
I did it my first seven years. You see the basest side of human nature. People are so rotten. I once — you know, I always tell this story. I once had a guy come into my office. I’m a straight up guy. I say what is. He came in, first thing he said, “My wife is the biggest bitch ever.” I was like, “Man, you must be the biggest idiot I’ve ever met, then.” I said to him, and he looked at me, he got all upset. “What do you mean?” I said, “Well you married the biggest bitch ever.” And he said, “Well, she wasn’t like that when I married her.” I said, “Obviously she wasn’t, ’cause every action is a reaction to another action. Maybe your wife became that way due to the way you treated her, or you weren’t giving her what she needed. So don’t come in here telling me that, you know.” And he’s like, “Hey man, you’re right.” You know? But sometimes you just call people on things. You know?
Maria Monroy (22:11):
It’s funny, when my husband was in law school, a lawyer friend said, “Whatever you do, don’t let him go into family law.”
Glen Lerner (22:17):
It’s very hard in your soul.
Maria Monroy (22:19):
I think so.
Glen Lerner (22:19):
I think it’s, it’s almost like, you know — you ever wonder how psychologists or psychiatrists can do what they do? They hear all this bile coming from people. People that have been abused, people that have been cheated on, beat, whatever. And you listen to this all day, and no matter what, you think, you can take it and filter out, but it, it lays in there in people’s souls. I don’t give a crap. There’s no way you can hear that. And the same thing when you do family law. You hear this crap, and you see how people try to hurt each other over custody and this and that. I love divorces when there are no kids involved in stuff. Easy. That’s easy peasy. When it’s kids, that’s tough. They always use the children to hurt the other person. That’s just so sad. And the children become the pawns, you know, and they just, ultimately, they’re the ones that get hurt. It’s amazing when people can resolve things amicably. It’s just sad. Divorce has become such a common part of our culture.
Maria Monroy (23:14):
Well, remember, hurt people hurt people. So. But I definitely could not do anything like that. Like my energy gets too impacted. My sister’s a social worker, and she actually works at a children’s hospital.
Glen Lerner (23:25):
Maria Monroy (23:26):
So she sees all sorts of awful things and I’m like, “You’re a great human,” ’cause I just could not. I would take that home. Like —
Glen Lerner (23:35):
What we do to people is amazing. You know, what we do to our fellow man, it’s absolutely amazing. I’m just amazed by people sometimes. It is, it is. But all right, well, let’s not get too somber and deep with it.
Maria Monroy (23:49):
I mean we, we, we could. It, I, I think it all comes from childhood, but —
Glen Lerner (23:53):
Everything comes from childhood.
Maria Monroy (23:54):
Glen Lerner (23:55):
Everything comes from childhood. I mean, if you — the incidence of, of sexual abuse.
Maria Monroy (24:02):
It’s crazy. And it’s underreported so it’s —
Glen Lerner (24:07):
Absolutely. It’s, well, it’s probably well in excess of 25 percent of children are sexually abused.
Maria Monroy (24:14):
Yeah. It’s crazy. And scary.
Glen Lerner (24:17):
And it stays with them forever. And the truth is, people carry this baggage forever and this shame and this feeling like they did something wrong and not realizing how beautiful they really are. You know, and how worthy they are. And that’s, you know, that’s what Jesus — that’s where Jesus comes in. You know, whatever happened to you, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you’ve done in your life, it doesn’t matter. You are worthy. “I took your — I took all that sin and shame and laid it up on the cross for you.” You know? But people can’t accept that.
Maria Monroy (24:45):
Were you always religious?
Glen Lerner (24:47):
I’m not religious.
Maria Monroy (24:48):
Glen Lerner (24:49):
I hate that word. Religious. It’s a terrible word. Um, I have a relationship.
Maria Monroy (24:53):
Why is it a terrible word?
Glen Lerner (24:54):
Because religious is about — So many people that are religious are hypocrites. Um, I was —
Maria Monroy (25:00):
I, I agree. I grew up Catholic. So, definitely agree.
Glen Lerner (25:02):
Yeah. Um, I’m, I’m not religious. I’m a guy that has relationship with God through the intermediary, intercessor, Jesus Christ. I’m a Jew who gave his life to Jesus. ‘Cause I was a crazy man. When I lived here in Vegas, I was an adulterer. I was just a bad guy. I screwed up my first marriage with adultery. It’s hard. God gives you this pretty face and you know, I was just, I was just a bad guy. I didn’t know who God was and — But I was yoked with a wife with a lot of faith, and it was amazing what He’s done in my life. April 26, 2006, I gave my life to Jesus. And it’s been amazing what He’s done with me as a man in my marriage, um, as a boss, as a leader of people. And I think everybody can see that. I still say some stupid things sometimes, but I’m funny as all get out. So it’s just hard to bite my tongue. God. I, and I know, I, I think every night I have to say, “God, I’m sorry I said that today.” You know.
Maria Monroy (25:54):
Wait, can we talk about the first time we met?
Glen Lerner (25:57):
I called to apologize because I thought I was just very abrupt with you, and I didn’t want to seem abrupt and you were so nice and gave me such a lovely compliment. But I just felt really bad. You know, I didn’t want to — I felt like I almost brushed you off, and I didn’t want to feel like that. I just thought you were so sweet and everything.
Maria Monroy (26:15):
But that was so sweet of you to call me. Like most people would not have done that. And —
Glen Lerner (26:19):
I just felt really bad about it ’cause you kind of came up and you’re like, “Hey, can you teach me how to —“
Maria Monroy (26:23):
I was like, you were such a good — and honestly, I at that point didn’t even know what a big deal you were. Had I known, I maybe would’ve been —
Glen Lerner (26:30):
I’m like Vaughn Burgundy. I’m kind of a big deal around here.
Maria Monroy (26:33):
I don’t, I didn’t know. And had I known, I think I would —
Glen Lerner (26:37):
Maria Monroy (26:40):
Had I known, I wouldn’t have.
Glen Lerner (26:41):
If you haven’t seen Anchorman, go see it.
Maria Monroy (26:43):
Oh my goodness.
Glen Lerner (26:44):
Not Anchorman 2. That’s — Anchorman 1.
Maria Monroy (26:47):
Can all my episodes be this fun? Uh, I probably wouldn’t have gone up to you, but I did. And you weren’t rude. You were just, I, I think it was during COVID, and you were trying to get out of there.
Glen Lerner (27:00):
It’s just, well you just said, you know, “Teach me how to be —“
Maria Monroy (27:05):
How — you’re such a good public speaker. That’s the —
Glen Lerner (27:07):
Well, I’m just a charismatic guy. I am what I am, and I’m an evangelist. It’s simple as I am what I am. I can’t do anything in the world, except I can just speak from the heart, and I never look at anything. I’ll do an entire jury trial without looking at a note. I talk to people. Look in people’s eyes, look at their hearts and talk to ’em. Just be yourself. People know when you’re being honest and transparent. You know, I had a guy that used to work for me, really good. I mean, he’s a great trial attorney. One of my competitors here, great lawyer, but he’s disingenuous in some respects. We, we’re walking in. We had just had lunch, and he’s never — anybody in my conference room, anybody in my office that’s new. I always say hi to every client, introduce myself. One time I had a client in the down here, and I go say hi to everybody.
Glen Lerner (27:49):
So we had a kid in here and uh, he was, I, he was with his mom, and I walk up. He had a cane with him. He’d gotten hurt pretty bad. He has a cane. I take his cane, I start doing, “If you are blue and you don’t know where to go to, why don’t you go where fashion sits. Puttin’ on the Ritz.” And his mother goes, “Who’s this idiot?” And he goes, “Mom, this is my attorney, Glen Lerner!” I talk to everybody. I, that’s what I am. You know, my guy ignored every single person ever in the conference room, I mean in the reception area, walks by anybody, doesn’t. But one day he sees somebody and, like, their neck brace on, arms bandaged, you know, crutches. And he runs over and he says, “Hi, I’m so-and-so.” And I walked up and I said to the client, “This guy’s a piece of poopy. He’s never said hi to one person ever here in the reception area, but he sees you with all your, your paraphernalia on, you know. And he thinks, ‘Hey, I’m going to make money off this guy, so I’ll just go say hi.’ Just want to let you know about him.” You know?
Maria Monroy (28:58):
But this was while he was working for you?
Glen Lerner (29:00):
Right in front of him, I said it.
Maria Monroy (29:03):
Glen Lerner (29:04):
Yeah. I don’t like people doing that.
Maria Monroy (29:06):
But did you did you let him go?
Glen Lerner (29:07):
Nah. He ended up flying. Eventually it was — he had to go off on his own eventually. He’s a very gifted lawyer. You know, I wish he was a more gifted person, you know.
Maria Monroy (29:15):
Glen Lerner (29:15):
But I, I don’t give a crap about what kind of lawyer. I care what kind of person you are. All I care if I, you — anybody we do, we hire, any interviews we do, all I ask, “What kind of guy is he? What kind of lady is she? Are they high character or not?” All I care about is high-character people. I don’t want the smartest people.
Maria Monroy (29:33):
How do you measure that in an interview?
Glen Lerner (29:38):
I don’t know. You just get a feeling with people.
Maria Monroy (29:40):
You trust your gut.
Glen Lerner (29:41):
Yeah. But sometimes you, you strike out.
Maria Monroy (29:42):
Glen Lerner (29:43):
We all strike out.
Maria Monroy (29:44):
Yes we do.
Glen Lerner (29:45):
You know, gosh, some of the people we thought were our friends. I’ve had people that have been friends for ten-plus years, and they sorely disappoint you sometimes. You know, and that’s one of the things I’m noticing — I’m about to turn 59 — how few friends I have. I know everybody in America. I mean, there are few attorneys that know more people than I. Uh, I have more so “friends” around the country. Every big lawyer, virtually, I know, hang out, dinner, da da, speak to all the time. But how many real friends? I even count my friends now. Um, two or three fingers. Some of my closest friends have passed away. You know, aside from, I just hang out with my wife. That’s it. I hang out with my wife, I hang out with my partner a lot. Um, couple other, that’s it. As you get older, I want fewer people in my life.
Maria Monroy (30:28):
Now, you have 450 employees, give or take. What kind of processes do you have to have in place for that? Are you guys very process —
Glen Lerner (30:36):
Oh yeah, absolutely. We’re very process-driven. And I think we’re always, um, if I give myself a compliment, never complacent. We’re always looking where we have holes and then trying to fill them. Always be better. Always trying to be better. Just ’cause you — Money is not a measurement of whether you’re doing what you do well. I really want to see us always doing things smoothly, efficiently, making sure fewer and fewer client complaints. And in this business, no matter what, you’re always going to get some client complaints. We’re dealing with the clientele that’s a, a unique clientele. We’re advertising to the people that don’t know any doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs. We’re usually advertising to a lower social echelon.
Maria Monroy (31:15):
Glen Lerner (31:16):
And they’re not going to process information the same as some other people would. So if you get a — I mean, how many times we’ve been told, you know, we stole the check, “My attorney stole my check,” because we can’t give them their check yet, because we’re still dealing with Medicare. Medicare could take three months, six months, nine months. But you try to explain that to a client that’s signed off on the release. They think that they’re supposed to get paid. It is what it is. But we’re always trying to come up with better and better processes, you know. Um, we just hired a new attorney maybe a month or so ago and she said, “Man, comparing you guys to any other firm I’ve ever, you know, been with or I’ve heard about, I’m so impressed with the processes you have in place and just trying to get better all the time.” I want to get better and better. I love that word “better.” Great. We’re getting better. Okay, let’s get better. That’s it. Okay, great. All right. We do well. All right. Uh, in Arizona last month, all 11 of my claims guys settled over a million dollars.
Glen Lerner (32:19):
Great. Month is over. What are you going to do this month? I don’t give a crap what happened last month. The second it turns to the April 1st, all I care about is April. I don’t care about last month. What have you done for me? Like, it’s not about more, more, more. I want consistency. Any — I use Alabama and the New England Patriots as examples for anybody I talk to. And both coaches, Nick Saban and Bill Belichick, they’re about a process. So you give people a vision of what you’re trying to create. You give them a process to achieve that, and you tell them to trust in the process and to buy in. That’s it. That’s how you run a successful business. And then when you do what they’ve done, why do we talk about Nick Saban and Bill Belichick all the time? Alabama. Alabama and New England.
Glen Lerner (33:07):
Because consistency. Consistency. Every year they were successful. New England’s fallen on hard times the last couple years. But God, the — there will never be that level of consistency in professional football — probably professional sports — ever again. What, 17, 18, 19 years in a row without a losing season. That’s unbelievable. Alabama every year playing for the national championship or right there in such a competitive world, because they have a process in place. That’s what I wanted for my business. And so you try to be like those guys. I think they could lead any Fortune 500 company, either Nick Saban or Bill Belichick, and they both coached together. They used to be on the Cleveland Browns. They were assistant coaches with the Cleveland Browns. But they have the same ideas. How can you be a leader of people you know, and get people to buy into your vision, share your vision, give them a clear path to be successful and find successes?
Glen Lerner (34:07):
You know, every — all right, perfect example. There was a coach for um, Cleveland a couple years ago. Came in, big fat dude, Freddie Kitchens. Kid, come up from Alabama as an assistant. And now he’s the head coach at Cleveland. First thing for — Cleveland had been zero and 16 the year before. Second team, besides Detroit, to ever go the whole year without winning a game. Freddie, what does he say? First year interviewing, “Freddie, what’s your goal? What are we trying to do?” “We want to win the Super Bowl.” “Come on man, you’re a moron. I know you’re going to lose and be a loser and get fired. You know why?”
Glen Lerner (34:45):
Let’s set achievable goals for people. You haven’t won a game. So first goal, we want to win a game. I don’t want to win the Super Bowl. I want to win game first. Gotta give people achievable goals. We’re going to get better every day. What makes Nick Saban so successful is he doesn’t worry about who the opponent is. I don’t worry about who’s out there. I don’t worry about any of my competition. I don’t worry about any of my competitors in any of the markets. My, my partner does. He’s just, he’s so ingrained in listening to what’s going on in the community, knows what everybody’s doing. I don’t give a crap about them. I’m going to focus on, on us. If you can beat me, beat me. But I’m going to focus on us doing everything we can. So Nick Saban’s, “Okay, I don’t care about who the opponent is. I don’t care about — I’m going to try to win this game. I’m focusing on each player on every play. If this player, the left tackle on this play wins his matchup, we have a chance to be successful in that play, then we do it the next play.” So get everybody to buy in to be successful in there. The things that they’re doing daily, and you keep doing that consist— consistently. Consistently.
Maria Monroy (36:03):
And how do you get that across to such a large team?
Glen Lerner (36:07):
I think just coaching and you know, we obviously have everything broken down into team leaders and then, you know, the two ladies you saw wandering around here, so they’re from our Phoenix office. They flew up with us today, and they come in and they make sure people are following the process we put in, and we put in some new processes recently. So the team leader for this office, for the case managers, they’ll meet with her and go over the things and make sure they’re all being implemented correctly, and what can we do to be better? What can we do to help? And we do that throughout the offices. We’ll do that in Albuquerque tomorrow. I want to fly into Albuquerque for a couple hours. So just trying to get everybody to buy in. And it’s not easy. But I think if you make the attainable goals for people, if you set all of a sudden, okay, you know, “Albuquerque, you’re doing this, we want to, we want to win the Super Bowl,” you know, when the office just started a couple years ago, “We’re going to win the Super Bowl!”
Glen Lerner (36:59):
Why don’t you settle our first case? You know? And I think, so it’s trying to — you want victories, and you need people to have, you know, a feeling that they’re getting better all the time. And a way to hold people accountable and to evaluate them and to give them good feedback and be able to tell, hopefully in the first 90 days, if this person’s a keeper or not. If they’re not a keeper, get them out. As long as they’re a keeper, keep really investing in them, you know. It’s amazing how much time and energy — Do you know for every person you hire that you fire immediately, you’ve lost a year of salary.
Maria Monroy (37:33):
Yeah, it’s crazy.
Glen Lerner (37:33):
And the energy though, to educate people and to get people to buy into your, your system and your culture, it’s a lot, you really — we’re putting way more into hiring now. It used to be, “Oh hey, Maria, oh we like you, you are blonde, here. You seem like a pleasant person. Welcome to the team.” We got you doing the Wunderlich tests now. We got you doing so many personality tests, and still sometimes it doesn’t work. But at least when we hire them, it’s a much more educated process, I think. And I think they have a better — I don’t want to have to fire anybody. I want people to be successful, but I don’t want to set people up for failure, hiring someone for a job that just doesn’t fit them. You know, you want to hire people that are going to be — I want longevity. So many of my people here have been with me 15, 20 years. That’s how you build a good team. You got people coming in and out, that’s not good.
Maria Monroy (38:26):
And it’s so common now.
Glen Lerner (38:27):
Yeah. Well it’s hard to hire right now.
Maria Monroy (38:28):
Ah, it’s so tough.
Glen Lerner (38:29):
Yeah, it’s hard running a business. Post-COVID, the world has just changed. It’s not — you know, when COVID happened, I think we let go of about 80 people just to retract a little bit. You kind of looked around, and these people aren’t adding a whole lot of value. These people are completely, they’re getting paid to do nothing. This guy, this guy had some people that just, I loved them, but they just, they weren’t adding the type of value that I needed. I knew it was coming with COVID. I kind of was like Nostradamus with it. I was like, “This is going to be big.” A couple people I know, “Ah, it’s nothing. This’ll be a month.” Yeah, we’re still, everybody’s still suffering from it. It’ll never be the way it was. We’re never going back to that. So you can either adapt and evolve or you become extinct.
Maria Monroy (39:18):
Did you guys go remote, and do you still have a portion of that remote or?
Glen Lerner (39:22):
We had — well you had to go remote in certain places.
Maria Monroy (39:23):
Glen Lerner (39:24):
Like Chicago was remote, especially as a blue city. This was remote for a while as a blue city. Arizona was only remote for the first couple months. Um —
Maria Monroy (39:32):
And now do you still allow some remote work or no?
Glen Lerner (39:36):
You, you — there is no such thing as fully remote at my firm. Absolutely not. But you get one day off a week as long as you’re doing your job. And if you’re doing an exceptional job, then sometimes you can have two days off a week to work remote.
Maria Monroy (39:48):
Off, off or work from home?
Glen Lerner (39:51):
No, you don’t get off work. You work from home.
Maria Monroy (39:54):
Okay. Okay. That’s, that’s —
Glen Lerner (39:54):
I got off. No, just out of the office. Okay. You, so you can work remotely up to two days a week. Now we still probably have 10 to 15 people around the country that work in certain offices, but moved. A lot of people moved. Moved to Florida, moved to Texas. A few people are living in Texas, so they work remotely, but then they have to come in every six to eight weeks and kind of spend several days in the office for, more than anything, just to bond with their teammates.
Maria Monroy (40:18):
Glen Lerner (40:19):
I think it’s important. I’m such a, I’m such a huge guy with culture and team, you know, I just love that whole concept.
Maria Monroy (40:30):
Yeah. We’re all remote and that’s, I would argue, the one thing we miss out on.
Glen Lerner (40:35):
How many people do you have?
Maria Monroy (40:36):
We have 30.
Glen Lerner (40:37):
Maria Monroy (40:38):
Glen Lerner (40:39):
And where did they all, where were they supposed to be working if they weren’t remote?
Maria Monroy (40:42):
So initially it’s, it’s so funny. We were going to sign a lease on an office in San Diego the week that COVID hit. And we, like, had already negotiated, lawyer involved, like the whole thing. And we say to the, to the broker, we’re like, “I don’t — I think we should hold off. Like, my kids were sent home from school.” And he was like, “Oh no, this is nothing to worry about.” And we were like, our gut was like, “No, let’s just hold off.” And we, we didn’t sign it. And then we actually started hiring employees out of Mexico. And now about 65% of our employees are in Mexico. And I will say they are amazing employees. Like I would argue better employees than US employees
Glen Lerner (41:34):
In which respects?
Maria Monroy (41:36):
It’s just a completely different culture. Like, there’s no such thing as, like, silent quitting. Um, and obviously we pay, for Mexico standards, amazing. And it has to be, you know, kids with a certain level of education. I say kids ’cause they’re on the younger side.
Glen Lerner (41:53):
What, in terms of pay scale, is it, is it equivalent or less?
Maria Monroy (41:57):
No, it’s much less. So it allows us to have way better results and scale, because we have so many more people per project, versus here we have one person. There, we get four.
Glen Lerner (42:08):
I gotcha. I just never, you know — People have talked to me about virtual hiring or, um —
Maria Monroy (42:13):
A lot of lawyers are doing it.
Glen Lerner (42:16):
I just, I’d rather pay millions of dollars, millions more a year to have my people on the ground and be able to touch their lives. You know, I just, it’s not just about money with me. I want to be able to see them, touch them, feel them. I just think, all in all, I think they get, they give more back to the clients being in constant contact with my partner and I, our people, than somebody just, you know, somebody —
Maria Monroy (42:38):
Well, we have offices.
Glen Lerner (42:39):
Maria Monroy (42:40):
So we actually have —
Glen Lerner (42:41):
No, I, I mean though —
Maria Monroy (42:42):
The, like, virtual assistant type of thing.
Glen Lerner (42:45):
Maria Monroy (42:46):
Yeah. I mean you’re, you’re so set up though. I mean you, you’ve built such an amazing brand that I think it makes sense for you. But I could see how lawyers just starting out —
Glen Lerner (42:55):
We would sa— would save a ton of money going to virtual.
Maria Monroy (42:57):
You would, yeah.
Glen Lerner (42:58):
Maria Monroy (42:59):
I would say I could see what I mean is like a young lawyer just starting out. They don’t have the —
Glen Lerner (43:04):
Well I was talking to Ethan Ostroff, you know Ethan —
Maria Monroy (43:07):
His name sounds familiar but I don’t —
Glen Lerner (43:09):
He — Boy, he’s a sharp young guy. But we were at dinner the other night and talking, and he owns a virtual assistant company putting virtual assistants in touch with lawyers and overseeing the whole thing.
Maria Monroy (43:21):
Yeah, there are a lot of those.
Glen Lerner (43:22):
And you certainly understand why people do that. It’s highly efficient. Um, I think it’s just, what do you want? Is it — at the point, at the — I think the point we are is the money worth not having the people in our stable, more than anything. You know, I can’t explain it. I just feel culturally being here, they can offer the client more than if they were just off in their own little world still doing what they’re asked to do. But they don’t bleed Lerner and Rowe. I mean all our people — probably have 200 of our 450 people are involved with all our Gives Back. You know, we um, gee whiz, we’re going to raise $1.1 million, $1.2 million for our golf tournament at the end of the month. We were named the most philanthropic business in Arizona. It’s pretty amazing what we’ve done with our, our Gives Back and our philanthropic side. And it’s kind of fun. It’s like playing Robin Hood, you know, growing up all like I did. You know, going and robbing the insurance companies, take a little for myself and get the clients money, and then give a bunch back in the community. It’s cool.
Maria Monroy (44:35):
Isn’t it crazy though, how some people think, like, lawyers are the issue instead of, like, it’s really the insurance company?
Glen Lerner (44:41):
Insurance companies are just scumbags, but it is what — Just corporate America. It’s fun to hit them. But um, to be able to do that and engage our employees, I think you get a different type of an employee. You, they galvanize the employee base by the things we do in the community. And ‘cause Lerner and Rowe is just two dudes. You know, it’s, it’s two dudes, but we can’t represent all these people coming in. So it’s our people, but they need part of our DNA, and I think the only way they can have that is being involved with the other people involved, and it kind of all it all — if they were over in the Philippines or Mexico, they don’t get that. But here, interacting with the people that interact with us, you get it. You know? And I think they become part of this culture and I, I want to build that. I like that.
Maria Monroy (45:24):
There’s a benefit, of course.
Glen Lerner (45:25):
I like being a boss, and I like being a Godly boss and a good boss. I am a good boss. I’m a fun boss.
Maria Monroy (45:31):
No, I see. I, I get to see it for a second.
Glen Lerner (45:32):
I’m, I am chaos.
Maria Monroy (45:33):
How often do you go to all the different offices though?
Glen Lerner (45:36):
90 percent, I’m in my main Phoenix office. I go into the office every single day. I don’t work a full day, but I go into the office usually from 9 to 1. You know, Kevin and I have lunch virtually every day, go over stuff. Um, 9:30 to 1:30.
Maria Monroy (45:50):
How did you guys meet?
Glen Lerner (45:52):
He was introduced to me here through our, uh, close personal friend we both shared. And so he said, “You’ve got to meet this guy, my lawyer.” And so he and I met, he had just, um, he had just finished law school maybe a year or so before, had him pass the bar, and he’s, we just hit it off. We were two little, two little maniacs, set loose in Vegas. So we were having fun, and we just hit it off. And then he was the only person I ever asked to become a partner and gave a piece of the business. I told him in 2005, “Go get licensed in Arizona. I’ll give you a piece of the practice.” And I did. And then he did such a great job with Arizona, I gave him a piece of all the other practices about three, four years ago. I gave him piece of Vegas, Chicago. He’s great at the day-to-day. No one in the country runs day-to-day better than he does. He’s so anal, so stressed.
Maria Monroy (46:45):
Glen Lerner (46:46):
Everybody says, “Do you sleep well at night?” I said, “Yeah, I sleep great ’cause I know he’s not.”
Maria Monroy (46:52):
Glen Lerner (46:52):
Nothing in the world stresses me out.
Maria Monroy (46:53):
I need someone to stress for me.
Glen Lerner (46:54):
Everything in the world stresses him out. Nothing stresses me out. You could tell me the whole business went down. Okay, whatever. My farm’s paid for. I’ll go back to my farm. I don’t care. I don’t get too upset about anything. I know where I came from, you know. I think when you’ve come from not much and you grew up the way I did, with my dad in jail for double murder and just a tough kid always fighting. Nothing bothers me. I’m always going to fight. That’s one. I mean I’ve had, it’s been amazing. They’ve counted me dead and out about 50 times, and everybody always misjudged, when they thought I was done, you know? And so, uh, I’m still standing, and it’s kind of, that’s kind of cool.
Maria Monroy (47:34):
Did you do a lot of personal development work?
Glen Lerner (47:38):
Maria Monroy (47:40):
Glen Lerner (47:41):
Did a lot of Je— Jesus did a lot of development on my person.
Maria Monroy (47:44):
But that is, I think that’s —
Glen Lerner (47:45):
He did a lot, a lot of work for, Jesus. I was, I was one of His big reclamation projects, but He’s very proud of me now.
Maria Monroy (47:51):
I would argue that is that self-development though. It just —
Glen Lerner (47:55):
Absolutely, but it’s not — I don’t give myself credit for anything. I think it’s only when you submit to His lordship in your life that you can finally start to grow. You know, we’re always, we always want to be in control. I think it’s, once you realize that, uh, I’ve been in control this whole time, and it’s been nothing but a train wreck with me in charge, you know? So I finally gave God the keys to the car. Now when I did give him the keys to the car, it was a Rolls Royce at the time. So he was like, “Thank you, Glen. Nice car, going to be pimping.”
Maria Monroy (48:27):
That’s funny. I’m a control freak. So that definitely makes me think —
Glen Lerner (48:31):
Nope, zero interest in control.
Maria Monroy (48:33):
That’s where my anxiety comes from. ‘Cause I can’t control things.
Glen Lerner (48:37):
You can’t. I think the first thing to realize is you can’t control things.
Maria Monroy (48:41):
I know. I have an issue with that.
Glen Lerner (48:43):
The only thing I can’t control is my love of trees, and buying trees and plants. It’s madness. Now you have seen places.
Maria Monroy (48:50):
What’s this tree obsession? Where’d it come from?
Glen Lerner (48:52):
Oh I don’t know. I, I truly believe I watched Dr. Seuss’s Lorax and it probably just affected me very badly.
Maria Monroy (48:59):
So what is it that you love about trees?
Glen Lerner (49:02):
I just like creating. I’m a very, very, very creative dude. I just like building things, like, I like building my business and then I’m onto the next thing. Butterfly. Oh, chasing, you know, I like building things. I like the challenge of building, and then it’s much harder to maintain than to attain. It’s easy to build something, try to do, I — perfect example. So an attorney said to me one night we’re having dinner and um, we were in Chicago. He had opened there as well, and he used to work for me, and he’s like bragging, he’s having a great year. He said, “I’m going to make $10 million this year, and da da da da da da.” “Dude, dude, I’m proud of you. That’s fantastic. But you know what, brag to me when you’ve done it 17 years in a row in multiple markets, you know?” Consistency. Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, consistency. I don’t give a crap about one-hit wonders. That’s why you see all these morons on the billboards. Don’t worry about them. Half these guys are cheating to get what they’re getting. And ultimately it’s going to come back.
Maria Monroy (49:55):
Glen Lerner (49:56):
Oh my god, half these people are paying for tow truck drivers, paying people in the hospital. It is what it is.
Maria Monroy (50:07):
Isn’t it illegal?
Glen Lerner (50:08):
Of course it’s illegal! The bars don’t do anything about it though. You know, the bars don’t do anything about it. It’s amazing. Every place, everybody cheats. We’re the only ones who have never cheated, I think. And the truth is, I’m the one who has to deal with the bar half the time because they don’t like a zombie in one of my commercials.
Maria Monroy (50:28):
You had a zombie?
Glen Lerner (50:29):
We had a zombie in the commercial, and the bar sent us letter saying, “Um, you need to state that that is a, that is um, not a real person.” I’m like, “You’ve got to be kidding me. You morons.”
Maria Monroy (50:41):
Which, which bar was this?
Glen Lerner (50:42):
This is Nevada Bar.
Maria Monroy (50:43):
Glen Lerner (50:44):
Yeah. It’s crazy.
Maria Monroy (50:46):
Are you in Texas? You’re not in Texas, right? Or you are?
Glen Lerner (50:49):
Um, yeah, we handle cases there. ‘Cause we license —
Maria Monroy (50:51):
’Cause the bar is —
Glen Lerner (50:51):
Attorneys there. Yeah. It’s getting — the whole business model is changing. Uh, Texas’s tort reform is really, you know — except for the big commercial cases. Texas is tough. Florida is undergoing massive tort reform.
Maria Monroy (50:59):
Glen Lerner (51:00):
I’ve had, you know, I’ve uh, just had a friend of mine reach out to me today saying, wants to talk ’cause he wants to try to come out here and do something to Arizona. You know, with the, uh, alternative business structures come out there like a lot of people have, but every place is changing. It is what it is. You know, everybody, may tell you all the sunshines when your market goes down. You know, this market was the best thing in the United States for a long time. Then everybody came in thinking it was so great. Then the insurance companies started just fighting us on everything. It became more difficult, you know? Now you have a ton of people, and this is probably the most competitive market in the United States. Las Vegas.
Maria Monroy (51:35):
Glen Lerner (51:36):
Oh yeah. The amount of money
Maria Monroy (51:37):
In terms of —
Glen Lerner (51:38):
Oh, the amount of money. Billboard, tv, radio, the amount of money spent per TV household here is as much as any place in the country. Only places even comparable are Atlanta; Birmingham, Alabama; and Baton Rouge. It’s crazy. But Phoenix is getting ultra-competitive.
Maria Monroy (51:55):
I didn’t know that.
Glen Lerner (51:56):
Every market’s competitive. Think about the business. Some poor bugger goes out and gets hurt, takes one for the team, and you get to make a million dollars. “Come on, sign me up, coach. I want to do that business.” You know, it is what it is. That’s why it’s so competitive. Anybody in, you know, can become a one-hit wonder. You know, you get lucky. Your aunt’s hairdresser’s gardener’s boyfriend’s dog sitter doesn’t know who to call, and they call you by chance ’cause the dog sitter’s aunt’s babysitter’s hairdresser’s whatever said, “Call so-and-so. He just passed the bar.”
Maria Monroy (52:37):
Glen Lerner (52:38):
And so this moron gets a case, you know, someone’s head fell off, refers it out to some big-shot attorney like Brian Panish or somebody, gets a referral fee of 40 percent on $20 million, and now he’s a competitor overnight. Just got a $3 million check, and if he doesn’t go out and waste it all, he’s going to be your competitor on TV. It is what it is. There’s no other business in the world that you can do that.
Maria Monroy (53:03):
How much longer do you think TV’s going to work?
Glen Lerner (53:06):
Every year, TV’s going down in the amount of, um, as the media buys. I think roughly about 40 to 42 percent of media spend is now on TV. And about five years ago it was still 60 percent. So, it’s —
Maria Monroy (53:25):
Glen Lerner (53:26):
I mean it’s still, we’re spending — we spend 40 percent of our budget on TV, but it’s trying to get more creative with radio and billboards. I don’t even understand billboards anymore.
Maria Monroy (53:36):
I would assume billboards have —
Glen Lerner (53:37):
It’s, we all blend with one another. I mean you drive around here, this is madness.
Maria Monroy (53:43):
I see your billboards all the time.
Glen Lerner (53:44):
Yeah. But so you see everybody else’s billboards.
Maria Monroy (53:45):
I see a lot of billboards.
Glen Lerner (53:46):
So how do you differentiate me and my personality from the other people on a billboard? You can’t.
Maria Monroy (53:51):
Glen Lerner (53:52):
We’re all two dimensional there. They can compete with me there. They can’t compete with me here, ’cause I’m so charming and witty and fun and different. You know, it is what it is. That’s why TV’s great for me, because I say “cah” and “pahk,” and you can’t hear that on a billboard. So people from Boston, they hear “cah,” “Hey, hey, it’s a mating call!” They’re like, “I like that guy. I’m going to that guy. You know, he’s from back east.” But it’s just, um, TV’s always been good for us, because I think people see us for who we are. We’re just approachable dudes. We’re regular guys. That went to law school —
Maria Monroy (54:24):
Do you do social media? Like TikToks, reels —
Glen Lerner (54:27):
Oh no, don’t get me started on TikTok. We tried TikTok, and they had me dancing and doing stupid things.
Maria Monroy (54:31):
Glen Lerner (54:32):
Yeah, I wanted to kill myself. It was so embarrassing. I said, “I’m not doing any more of this crap.”
Maria Monroy (54:36):
Glen Lerner (54:37):
Yeah. They said, “Well, why don’t you start commenting on things? You’d be good at commenting on, you know, things that are happening in the news.” I might start doing that. I don’t know.
Maria Monroy (54:44):
Just do something that feels authentic to you. Don’t do something —
Glen Lerner (54:46):
I’m too lazy to do that stuff though.
Maria Monroy (54:48):
But you just said that, that’s where your charisma is, so why wouldn’t you be doing it?
Glen Lerner (54:53):
Because it takes too much time away from my trees.
Maria Monroy (54:55):
Oh my goodness. So what do you do? Do you just plant a bunch of trees?
Glen Lerner (54:59):
No, I, I buy trees, and I have people plant them.
Maria Monroy (55:01):
Well, I figured that much out.
Glen Lerner (55:02):
And then I walk, and I look at them and say — so I have a couple hundred acres at my farm in Pennsylvania. I bet you fif— We’ve planted hundreds and hundred, and when I plant trees, I plant trees that weigh, you know, a couple tons.
Maria Monroy (55:18):
Where do you bring, like, are they brought from?
Glen Lerner (55:19):
I brought, I brought ’em from other nurseries, but I bring in, you know, we bring them in in big trucks.
Maria Monroy (55:22):
Do you have a video?
Glen Lerner (55:23):
No, but I mean, I have one cool video of some trees being craned in here with a 180-ton tray at my house in Arizona. But, um, we’ll bring in big trees, you know, everything, big root balls, you know. But we have, I mean, I just bought, I just bought a, my first excavator, my first giant excavator. Yeah, yeah. We got it all going on at my farm. Got, I got tractors, excavators, we got all sorts of goodies. But, um, oh, we’ll plant giant, giant trees. And you know what, I’ll plant a tree, walk around for a year, and then say, “I don’t like that tree there.” Dig it up, plant it somewhere else.
Maria Monroy (55:58):
Okay, but you don’t get rid of it.
Glen Lerner (56:00):
No, no, no, no, no. But I call it the Snoopy statue effect. Now, you know what a Snoopy statue is?
Maria Monroy (56:04):
Glen Lerner (56:05):
Maria Monroy (56:06):
Glen Lerner (56:07):
You know, Snoopy. When I was a kid growing up, we had these Snoopy statues, and Snoopy statues had little sayings on them, and I collected them. I couldn’t go to sleep at night if every one of my Snoopy statues wasn’t lined up perfectly.
Maria Monroy (56:22):
So you are OCD.
Glen Lerner (56:24):
Beyond. So if I look at things, and it depends upon my mood and where I am, I look at the, where the trees are. “I don’t like that tree there anymore. Okay, go get the excavator, let’s move the tree,” you know, and it, it’s — Time goes on, it gets a little more difficult moving, you know, a, a three-ton tree now, not a one-ton tree, and you’re moving it, uh, half a mile away. Just the way my mind works. I’ve, you know, I sometimes I’ll walk around my property and think, “Oh, I am definitely going mad.” But it’s better than, like, doing drugs or something like that, you know? So it’s healthy.
Maria Monroy (56:56):
Well, I think it must also be like, you have so much money, right? Obviously I have to assume that you do. So what do you do with, you know, like —
Glen Lerner (57:03):
Yeah, I never cared about money that much. I’m the —
Maria Monroy (57:05):
But it gives you the ability to do things like move a a bunch of trees everywhere.
Glen Lerner (57:09):
Absolutely. Yeah. That’s my peace. It’s absolutely, besides working out, I’m outside. I don’t like being inside, I’m just one of those people. I’m, you know, when I’m wandering on my property in Pennsylvania, even where I live in Arizona, I have a big parcel. I’m always wandering around in the wash, just doing things. I, I just like being outside. I like looking at things, like looking at the birds and things like that. It’s very peaceful to me when I’m not working. I think it takes my mind away from this stuff, you know.
Maria Monroy (57:36):
Thank you so much to Glen Lerner 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, and leave a five star review. It goes a long way to help others discover the show. Catch us next week on Tip the Scales with me, Maria Monroy, president of LawRank. Hear how the best in the business broke out of limiting beliefs, overcame adversity, and built a thriving, purpose-driven business in the process.