Lem Garcia is the Founder of Lem Garcia Law, one of the fastest-growing personal injury law practices in California. In 2014, he decided to venture out on his own and founded his personal injury practice with just a couple thousand in the bank and a lot of donated time and effort from his family. Now, Lem Garcia Law has grown to three locations, employs 15 employees, and has recovered millions of dollars for their clients.
Lem was working as a photographer for the L.A. Clippers when he decided to shift gears into law. He earned his law degree from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, where he received the full scholarship, was a member of the Law Review, and graduated in the top 20% of his class. After law school, Lem worked as an independent consultant at several law firms.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Who is Lem Garcia?
- The story behind why Lem decided to start a law firm in one of the most competitive legal areas.
- What does it take to build a brand strategy that’ll make you stand out in a competitive space?
- How to leverage successful client relationships.
- Things Lem wishes he did differently when he started his firm.
- How does community outreach play into your law firm brand strategy?
In this episode…
The personal injury (PI) law practice is one of the most competitive areas—but that didn’t stop Lem Garcia from choosing to dive in and thrive in that space.
According to Lem, what makes a difference is building a brand strategy that sets you apart, leverages successful client relationships, hires and fires right, as well as being present and helpful in your community. Easy enough, right?
Learn how to build a brand strategy that’ll differentiate your personal injury law firm on this episode of The Esq.Marketing Podcast with Matthew Laurin and his guest, Lem Garcia of Lem Garcia Law. They discuss what it takes to create an effective and successful brand strategy, how to piggyback on flourishing client relationships, mistakes to avoid when starting your law firm, and more.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Esq Marketing, your firm’s strategic search marketing partner. Esq Marketing helps law firms generate more clients and cases using search marketing and helping them land on the first page on Google so that clients can find you right away. We help companies ranging from those with 10 or less members to those with over 50 in their team, essentially creating a marketing department for them to help them reach potential clients with ease.
Matthew Laurin 0:04
You’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast hosted by Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing, where he features successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States. Now, let’s get started with the show.
Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing and you’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast where I feature successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States. This episode is brought to you by Esq.Marketing, we help law firms generate more clients and cases using search marketing. And speaking of successful lawyers today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Lem Garcia founder of Lem Garcia Law, Lem received a journalism degree from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, then worked as a Law Clerk for several years at a complex civil litigation firm in Pasadena. He earned his law degree from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, where he received the full scholarship and was a member of the Law Review and graduated in the top 20% of his class. After law school, Lem worked as an independent consultant at several different law firms. In 2014, he made the decision to venture out on his own and founded his own personal injury practice that has now grown to three locations, employing a staff of 15 employees. Lem Welcome to the show. That’s quite a resume.
Lem Garcia 1:19
Thank you. Thanks for having me on the show. It’s It’s an honor.
Matthew Laurin 1:23
Yeah. Thanks for being here. So we’ll jump right in. Why did you decide to start your own practice in one of the most competitive legal practice areas in the industry.
Lem Garcia 1:33
So I started my office because I was unemployed at the time, I was looking for work. And when I went to law school, I always wanted to have my own business, have my own practice. before school, I was working for a solo attorney. And you know, I always wanted to do the same thing and do things my way. So when I was looking for work, I just said, You know what, this is a good time for me just to go ahead and do it. And when I started, I didn’t even know how competitive the space was, like, I had no idea how many personal injury attorneys there were out there. I had, I didn’t know I mean, I saw the commercial that’s on the billboards. But it didn’t really resonate with me just how competitive It really is. And I think if I knew at the time, I really probably wouldn’t have started like, now if you Google car accident attorney, you know, it’s just a long list of attorneys, helping people that have been injured. And it’s a super competitive space. And I think I was really just blessed by my ignorance to how many personal injury attorneys are out there. There are a lot of them.
Matthew Laurin 2:47
Yeah, there’s fierce competition in that in that specific practice area of law. So, that reminds me of a cool quote, or saying, and I can’t remember where I read this, but it was about navy seals. And at any point during their training, they can quit by going and ringing this bell on the beach. And, and the ones that do, you know, it’s more likely that that they’ll quit later on, because they already know what it feels like. And so it sounds like, yeah, that was a blessing, like, not even knowing what the how competitive space was, or how high the mountains you had to climb, were kind of helped you out a little bit and in certain things up.
Lem Garcia 3:26
Yeah, it helps tremendously. I mean, I was always there, I always wanted to help out people. I mean, to be clear, when I started, I didn’t focus only on personal injury. You know, I, I hung myself out, I hung a shingle to handle all kinds of cases, you know, I was doing worker’s comp, Social Security, disability, wills and trusts, you know, I just put a bunch of stuff out there, hopefully, that people would come to help out, know, and seek my help. And then the cases that I was getting were mostly personal injury claims. So I said, You know what, let me How can I best serve people like, well, just let me focus on this. And just really focus on learning this area of law so that I can best serve people and really just build a business that that’s really helping out a lot of people. And we’re doing a great job by just, you know, honing in on that particular area of law.
Matthew Laurin 4:24
And Lem the more that I read about you, I was seeing things about why you wanted to be a different personal injury law firm than what you’ve seen out in the space. Can you talk a little bit about what it takes to build a successful brand strategy? like where do you start? Is it internal culture development or processes or where you start with it?
Lem Garcia 4:45
Well, where I started with the businesses, really just looking at what people are doing. I think I just started doing research on law firms, and just really analyzing what firms are doing. What offices are doing? And how can I be different from what everybody else is doing? Because I think, really, you know, in a business, you have to stand out and to stand out, you have to be willing to be different. I think people are, you know, I think the inclination is to say, Okay, well, let me see what everybody else is doing. Let me copy that, so that I can replicate their success? Well, I think it’s important to not just see what they’re doing and what works, but also to see how you can be different and stand out to the clients and the public that you’re that you’re trying to help.
Matthew Laurin 5:38
So what were some of the things that you saw that a lot of PI firms were doing that you could do different or better when you when you did your research?
Lem Garcia 5:46
So I looked at one thing that I really did was look at different law firms and the Yelp review that they were getting, or just the Google review that they were getting, and I just made a list of all the things that clients were complaining about, like, what were common complaints. So I went, you know, I not just in LA, but California and other states, I would just what are clients complaining about. They were complaining about not being being able to talk to the attorney, or they were complaining about not enough updates about their case, that they would always have to call the attorney or the law office for an update. Just not being transparent. You know, these are the bad things that people were complaining about. I mean, firms do great jobs. But I was looking for how can we improve on what people are already doing really well. So I compiled a list, I compiled a list of these things. And I really wanted to hone in on fixing those mistakes, so that we can best serve the public. So I think that’s something that I really focused to differentiate us, from everybody else.
Matthew Laurin 6:55
That’s really brilliant, because it’s so simple. I mean, you just, you find out what people really, really need, you know, what, what are their pain points, like, obviously, everyone wants to be represented, and have a good attorney and maybe get, you know, some wrongs righted. But, but then there’s a little things too, about communication and knowing what’s going on. And, and yeah, that’s, that’s, you know, mining that information. Those are good stuff. And we’ve done that a lot in our own work, too.
Lem Garcia 7:23
Yeah, is huge. I mean, it’s the voice that people really expressing their concerns, and how things can be different and how things can improve. And the information is just out there. And, like you said, just just mining it, and then correcting it, so that, you know, we can do a better job than everybody else. And and, you know, give that service to the public?
Matthew Laurin 7:43
Yeah. You mentioned, you know, reading reviews and testimonials along those lines, how do you leverage successful client relationships? So you have people that that had a good experience with you? How do you leverage that in your brand strategy and in your marketing.
Lem Garcia 8:00
So I think just from day one, what’s really important for us is to always know that we want to have a happy client at the end, so that they’re best served, but also at the end of their case, they’re, they’re happy to refer their family and friends to us, they’re happy to leave a review online for us. And then if, if the unfortunate habit to get into another accident, they’re they’re happy to come back to us, you know, for help. What we do to leverage any kind of relationship that we have is to, like if they leave a review online, it’s really important to make sure that you know, you’re not scared to, to share that on social media and yourself, just get a review, and then repackage it and put it on all the different platforms that are out there. Instagram and Facebook. Google My Business, just anywhere where you can let the public know that you’re helping people out, just put that back out there. Like Don’t be scared to, you know, to your own horn. Because if you’re scared to do that, people might not know how much you’re helping other people like you, you have to promote yourself, you have to get the attention. And you have to put yourself out there because the public or you know, clients will do it. But then there has to be that extra push behind it to make sure that people know that you’re doing a great job.
Matthew Laurin 9:30
Do you think that attorneys are sort of averse to doing that, like say they get the reviews? But are they? Do they just not think about that? Are they sort of averse to sharing that information and public forums?
Lem Garcia 9:43
You know, I think probably the though the older, more experienced set of attorneys are not as willing to do that. I think that might be you know, an old framework that they would use In the past, like, well, you just do good work, and then people will know and come to you, which is very true. But then you have to give that an extra boost like people, not only will they refer to you, but then they’ll also leave a review. And then you can do that review and let even more people know, like, it’s just putting gasoline on the fire versus if you just help one person in the you know, hopefully they talk to their family. So, but I think the younger set of attorneys, you know, the ones that are just starting off their office, and they’re more familiar with social media and entrepreneurship, I think those attorneys are very ready, willing and able to share their reviews with with the world.
Matthew Laurin 10:44
I hear you. Lem during your journey for building the brand that you are running now. Were there any missteps that you had, that you wish you could have done over?
Lem Garcia 10:55
As far as just the office mistakes?
Matthew Laurin 10:57
I mean, I as far as as far as building a brand strategy or building, you know, what the firm the the the image that the firm has today? Is there anything that you you did in the past, you’re like, man, I really wish I would have done it differently.
Lem Garcia 11:08
You know, it’s hard to say a mistake. I mean, there there are things that I wish I could have done better. I mean, is it a mistake to to build a website on your own? You know, this is what I did I build a website on my own. I, you know, I just went on Squarespace. And I said, I’m gonna figure this out, and I’m gonna figure out SEO, yeah, I’m gonna create a bunch of content, you know, this back in 2014, Google was much different. And I just said, I’m gonna put a bunch of content out there. And I think that’ll work for SEO. Um, was that a mistake? I mean, it worked. Do I wish I could have hired somebody back then? Absolutely. Right. But I didn’t have the money. Like I didn’t, you know, the money wasn’t there. So I wish I, I probably, you know, would have been a lot better in the beginning, if I had someone that, you know, does that for a living a professional job on the website? And then, you know, professional SEO, I think that would have helped out tremendously. But you know, the resources just, you know, they weren’t there. Sure. Yeah.
Matthew Laurin 12:08
Well, in what about in like, you know, personnel for your firm or other types of business decisions? Any anything there where you’re like, I think this would be good advice for somebody starting out on their own firm to to avoid?
Lem Garcia 12:22
Yes. So I mean, I think I still have this problem is, is you have to know when to let somebody go. And you have not only yet to know, but you got to do it. Right? Yeah. There’s one thing of knowing like, Oh, you know, this person isn’t doing good job. It’s affecting everybody else’s work. But then you have to be willing to take that step and say, Hey, you know, we don’t think it’s a fit. We wish you the best of luck, you know, good luck to you in the future. That is something I think, you know, was a mistake in the past, because if you have someone in your office that isn’t meeting your expectations, or brings a bad attitude, I mean, those things just from one person that one person can can really become a cancer not
Matthew Laurin 13:19
Yes, agree totally
Lem Garcia 13:20
that cancer spreads, right? And then once it spreads, like if you get rid of that one person, like there’s still that effect, right? with other people that are there. So I think that’s a mistake that you know, I wish I could have corrected before I just you know, it’s it’s hard it’s hard it’s really hard You know, they’re relying on you and the paycheck to pay for their car, their apartment, you know, whatever situation they’re in, they’re relying on you and then you’re just gonna you know, let them go maybe you know, give them two weeks pay and then it’s like you know, good luck finding a job it is it tough I mean, that’s that’s the first part II can’t you know, I wish I could be I don’t know more cutthroat about that, but it’s just, it’s not in my nature is that that
Matthew Laurin 14:13
that advice is like gold because I haven’t met a business owner yet who is like, Oh, it was easy to let them go or it was easy to like ask people when I need to. We are an EOS agency and one of the principles in that is knowing where you have the right people right seat. So sometimes you have the right person and they’re in the wrong seat. Sometimes you have the right person that is in the wrong seat and then sometimes you just have wrong person wrong seat they don’t they don’t have a place in the organization and I totally agree if it I’ve seen people struggle with that before and let it go on and on and on. And it is like a cancer it just sort of it gets harder not only because you let it continue for so long, but But yeah, can destroy other parts of the business. So that’s that’s really great advice.
Lem Garcia 15:00
Yeah, it just it reminds me of that movie, you know, with George Clooney. I forgot what it’s called. But he you know, he gets hired to fire people. And I know when I watched that movie before, it’s like, oh, it’s not so hard to, you know, before I was a business owner, I thought it’d be easy to fire people. I don’t no big deal. But yeah. And then I’m here. It’s like, Oh, yeah, it’s really hard.
Matthew Laurin 15:18
Yeah, it gets really personal. So, yeah, great, great advice there. How does community outreach play into your law firm brand strategy? I noticed some some stuff in your profiles online and on your website about community outreach?
Lem Garcia 15:32
Yeah, I think it comes easy for me community outreach, and I know how important it is, especially because, you know, my main office is in West Covina. And you know, I’ve lived in West Covina my entire life. So I that’s why i open here is because, you know, I already know people here, I know, the community. And I know, just the culture of the city, right. And when people come to me, there’s already that familiarity. Like, we’re from the same city in the oval. And we’re very similar, like we met, we’ve never met before, but the fact that we’re in the same city, you know, there’s, there’s just a vibe that we know that we’re like one another, and I think it’s important to make sure that you reach out to the community around you. Because most people want to have a lawyer that is close by to them, and they want to have a lawyer that is like them, like comes from the same places then because you know, they can relate? Yes, so we make it a point to reach out to the community. I mean, I already have, you know, family and friends here, people from still from high school around their families around. But we make it a point to to get out there. And really just make sure that the community knows that that we’re here to help everybody out.
Matthew Laurin 16:55
And I’m assuming you’ve gotten some some good response from that. Whether it be in media or just even just personal communication from the community about how they feel.
Lem Garcia 17:05
Oh, yeah, tremendously. I go out. And people recognize me, they’re like, Oh, you know, you helped out my friend or you helped out my family member. Oh, I saw your you know, I saw your banner at the high school football field. I saw you run on the local 10k. I saw your booth at the 10k. I see your local ads that you run online. Yeah. It just keep on seeing my face. They see the logo. And it just with that it already, you know breeds that familiarity and and that trust that people need to that client the trust that clients need to have before signing on?
Matthew Laurin 17:47
Yeah. And you’re a pillar of the community. Right? Like, it ties people together.
Lem Garcia 17:52
Yeah, I mean, you want to say pillar I mean That’s that sounds great. Yeah.
Matthew Laurin 17:57
So you live and work in Southern California. Tell me who is going to take it all this year, the Lakers or the Clippers?
Lem Garcia 18:10
I want the Clippers to win they need one. When the Lakers have plenty Clippers, they need one. Come on.
Matthew Laurin 18:22
So I bring it up because you were team photographer for the Clippers.
Lem Garcia 18:27
Yeah, I was a team photographer for the Clippers. Back in the day, the 2005. They had a pretty good team, they made the playoffs second round. But I’ve been a fan of bowties my whole life and is only a problem now. They’re both really good. Yeah. How did it
Matthew Laurin 18:42
Tell me about that story? Did you? Were you into photography? or How did you how did you get that gig?
Lem Garcia 18:47
Yeah, no, I was I was working as a legal assistant in Pasadena or an attorney. And then yeah, my passion was photography. Like I love. I love what I still do. You know, I love taking pictures. And I was doing some side work, you know, event photography. And then I saw this post for, for photographer for the Clippers, and then I just, you know, send my resume, send some photos. And I practically begged them for the job. I told them like, I love the Clippers, I love photography. These are the two passions of my life coming together. And it’d be the dream job for me. I’ll do a great job for you. And whatever you want, whatever you need, I’m there for you. And because of that, they they called me in and they’re like, you know what, we love what you had to say we don’t meet many people like you. If you can do the work and quality is good. You got the job. So I got it.
Matthew Laurin 19:39
That’s so cool.
Lem Garcia 19:40
Yeah, yeah, it was great. It was a great time a great year. But yeah, it was fantastic.
Matthew Laurin 19:47
Just for the one year you did that for the Clippers.
Lem Garcia 19:49
Yeah, just that one year. I mean, they were in a drought for so long. I don’t know how many playoffs or they’ve won but they were in a draft for so long. So that was that was huge for the team like they invested Second round and they could have gotten to the Western Conference Finals. If they weren’t, you know, there were like a whole bunch of plays on in that series, but they should have kept
Matthew Laurin 20:07
you on board. You’re there. They’re lucky. Yeah. You’ve been listening to Lem Garcia Founder at Lem Garcia Law Lem, where can people go to learn more about your law firm?
Lem Garcia 20:19
You can visit the website at LemGarciaLaw.com and if you want to talk to me or anybody at the office, you can dial hashtag 4Law if you’re in California and from your cell phone.
Matthew Laurin 20:32
Sweet. Thanks for being on the show Lem, I really appreciate it.
Lem Garcia 20:35
Thanks for having me.
Matthew Laurin 20:40
Thanks for listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.