Meet the 2023 Excellence in Firm Culture Crisp Game Changer Award Winner

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The 2023 Game Changers Summit was for Crisp Coach members only, and the event was largely crafted around celebrating the accomplishments of those firm owners.

Throughout the two-day Summit, Michael and Jessica Mogill took the stage to recognize the most committed members for their incredible transformations and contributions this year.

Winners of these brand-new, highly prestigious Crisp Game Changer Awards were determined based on specific results each firm generated, each leader’s commitment to their goals, and more.

While Firm of the Year Awards at each level (ELITE, PREMIER, and CrispX) were reserved for Day 2, four firm owners were celebrated on Day 1 for Excellence in the following categories:

  • Excellence in Leadership
  • Excellence in Firm Culture
  • Excellence in Community Impact
  • Excellence in Client Experience

We are pleased to announce that the Excellence in Firm Culture Award went to John Richmond of Richmond Vona!

Meet John Richmond

John Richmond started his own law firm to change the way people think about personal injury lawyers.

While working at a prominent mass torts firm representing people who had died or were dying after asbestos exposure, John experienced something he’ll never forget.

“I was really fired up to take on large corporate bullies, and I felt very strongly about helping others,” he shares. “However, every time I walked into a new client’s home I was initially met with discerning looks, as they were conditioned to expect me to act and talk a certain way. [They were] conditioned to think I was an ‘ambulance chaser from NYC,’ so to speak. However, after spending time with me, I was consistently told that I was not what they expected, and in a good way. These comments always stuck with me. Why do we have this reputation? Is it deserved? How would I go about trying to change that?”

Over time, he realized that changing the way people think about personal injury law firms would have to start internally, with building a team and culture that truly focused on collaboration, transparency, empathy, and a true commitment to winning.

“I started thinking a lot about the most successful hockey teams I played for — in particular, my college team that was the #1 ranked Division 1 program in the country,” remembers John. “Everyone got along great, treated each other like family, and was united in our mission to win a national title.”

As a goaltender, John served as “the backbone, the glue of the team.” He applied the strengths that helped him succeed in hockey to the firm he was building at Richmond Vona.

“I realized I possessed the qualities and unwavering commitment to build an unrivaled culture dedicated to truly helping people, taking on corporate bullies, and changing the way the community perceived us,” says John. “I will not stop until we have achieved this goal centered on an unrivaled culture and dedication to the ultimate client experience.”

Firm Culture at Richmond Vona

“We are absolutely nothing and would be nowhere without our team,” John asserts. “If we want to deliver the ultimate client experience, we need to have the best firm culture. We must be comprised of people who feel valued, respected, and recognized on a consistent basis.”

As a leader, John realized that representing the seriously injured can lead to high levels of stress and compassion fatigue for every member of his team, which can then result in burnout and turnover. He set out on a mission to ensure as much consistency internally and for our clients as possible.

“Plus,” he says, “it’s just the right thing to do.”

Here are just a few of the ways Richmond Vona transformed their firm culture in 2023:

  • Implementing key performance indicators (KPIs) to promote accountability and transparency, ensuring every team member is clear and confident about their role and impact on the firm.
  • Creating a custom championship belt that is given by one team member to another each week to recognize someone who went above and beyond to help teammates or a client
  • Hiring a Director of Operations who is focused on implementing more and more culture initiatives;
  • Rolling out increased benefits to now offer the ultimate benefits package
  • Utilizing PRINT and Kolbe (and Crisp Onsite Trainings) so we can all understand each other better, consistently referring back to them each week
  • Leveraging the Crisp hiring funnel to ensure the firm hires the right people who will align with their values, mission, and vision
  • Creating a robust onboarding and training system so the firm can focus more on hiring the right person than just someone with experience
  • And so much more

“I could honestly talk about this forever,” says John. “I really cannot fully describe in words my appreciation for what Crisp has taught me about firm culture.”

Richmond Vona Now

John focused on developing a culture where his team loves coming to work and feels truly seen and appreciated — and his firm is reaping the rewards.

“They know they can come to us with solutions to problems, and they know that we truly have their backs,” he says. “It has been really humbling to see team members become very close friends outside of work and even attend each other’s weddings. They even want me and my business partner to join them at certain events, which is truly an honor. It’s really fun to be able to come to work and enjoy the people you are with every day. Each person knows they play a critical role in the success and growth of the firm.”