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How to Build the Law Firm You Want (Instead of Making Partner)

Anthony was 21 years old, installing banking software, and hating his job. 

The son of a surgeon, Anthony knew he didn’t want to be tied to a beeper like his dad was. His dad had worked hard to make a life in a new country after immigrating from the Philippines, but Anthony knew he wanted something different.

He wanted to own his own business so he could make his own decisions, choose his own hours, and only do the kind of work he wanted to do. 


So he went to law school. 

(Which I love, by the way, because not many people get into law with the idea of starting their own business.) 

After law school, he spent some time doing insurance defense work at a big firm. He also spent a few years working in the DA’s office, getting experience in the courtroom, trying cases, and meeting judges. 

One day, while he was working at the insurance defense firm, he got a call from a friend who wanted to start a new firm. After waiting to get one more year of experience, Anthony said, “Let’s do this.”


So they teamed up to build something from the ground up. 

In the beginning, they were doing anything they could do. Anthony took any case from DUI defense all the way up to drug trafficking. They were highly motivated and determined not to fail. 

Instead of spending their money outside when they had a good paycheck, they invested it back into their company. They hired their first staff person, which was a game-changer. Before that, they were the ones answering phones and buying stamps - on top of doing legal work. 

They grew their business to 6 lawyers and 4-5 other staff members, but eventually, it became overwhelming to manage. A lot of their day was doing administrative or HR work instead of working on cases. So in 2016, they parted ways. 

Today, Anthony runs the Gorospe Law Group Personal Injury Law Firm. His firm provides aggressive and dedicated advocacy to injured clients in Tulsa and through the state of Oklahoma, working tirelessly to provide them with positive results. 


What Holds Women Back? 

Especially in Anthony’s type of law, there aren’t a lot of women going out and starting their own thing. Most of Anthony’s female colleagues are in larger firms. 

I wanted to hear from Anthony what he’s noticed that holds women back from starting their own firm. 

Anthony has talked to several attorneys who are excellent, talented female attorneys. They’re smart. They’re personable. There’s not a client in the world who wouldn’t want to hire them, but they’re a little more fearful to jump out and do their own thing. 

It could be because they don’t have as many examples, but another thing he’s noticed is the potential golden handcuffs. 

There’s a promise of getting shares or making partner, but he would challenge women to figure out what that means exactly. Sometimes it just means you get moved to the other side of the letterhead or you get something as trivial as dental insurance. You have to decide if that’s worth giving up your flexibility and independence. 


I asked Anthony to share 4 key lessons he learned from starting a firm with a partner, then going out on his own.

Build a great team and culture.  


Have a culture that fits the people you want to work with. Spoil them to death. Make them so happy that they would never leave, because having good people work with you will save you over and over again. 

When someone’s not working out, respect your organization enough to let that person go. Conversely, when someone is completely valuable to you, take care of them in a way that keeps that value, whether it’s by money or a flexible schedule. 

Anthony’s staff knows better than to ask him whether or not they can go to their kid’s ballerina recital. It’s always a yes. 

Just the other day, Anthony went to his kid’s track meet in the middle of the day because those are the things you don’t get back. Whatever you can do at 10:00 in the morning, you can do at 10:00 at night. It’s less about the hours and more about getting the tasks done. 

Learn to say no. 


Your firm will go through cycles where the phone’s ringing and others where it’s not. If you’re in a lull and you take a case you otherwise wouldn’t take, you’ll be mad at yourself later on. The peak is going to come again. Your phone will start ringing and you’ll want to have space for the cases that fit your firm the best. 

Having a great referral network. 


In this industry, you want to carve out your spot instead of trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. Having a good referral network allows you to do this. 

When someone calls asking for a worker’s comp, you can say, “I don’t do that, but I’ve got a great referral guy.” That client will be taken care of and that will reflect well on you. Those referrals also come back to you. Some of Anthony’s best cases have come from referrals from other attorneys who don’t do what he does. 

Be smart with money. 


Especially when you start, be smart with your money. Live below your means for a while if you need to. A lot of young lawyers will hit a big case, and the next time you see them, they’re driving a porsche. You don’t know when the next case is coming. Instead, invest that money into marketing and bringing in more clients. 


Anthony and I go way back to our law school days, so it was so good to sit down and chat with him. 


To listen to our full conversation (and hear the trip down memory lane we took), check out my latest podcast episode: 

How to Build the Law Firm You Want (Instead of Making Partner) 


If you’re on the fence about going out on your own, my question for you is this: 

Is the pain of staying in your firm and dealing with all the same things greater than the pain of branching out? 


Ultimately, if you want to create the life and destiny you want, you have to take the reins - whatever that means for you.

Here’s where to find Anthony: 

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