Meet the 2023 Excellence in Leadership Crisp Game Changer Award Winners

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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

First up, Marshall Rice and Bill Kendig of Rice & Kendig earned the Excellence in Leadership Award!

Meet Marshall Rice

Marshall Rice is the second-generation attorney in his family, following in the footsteps of his father, Carl Rice, who founded Rice & Kendig.

“From a young age, I observed him tirelessly assisting numerous individuals, and it was almost a predetermined path for me to attend law school after college and join the firm,” explains Marshall. “After dedicating nearly 16 years to working within the firm, it became evident that a shift from being an employee to becoming an owner was on the horizon.”

This transition presented a unique opportunity for Marshall and his law partner Bill Kendig to modernize and revitalize their firm.

“Motivated by this vision, I delved back into studying the intricacies of law firm ownership and stumbled upon The Game Changing Attorney by Michael [Mogill],” shares Marshall. “It immediately struck a chord with my sentiments about the evolving legal industry, igniting the inspiration to reach out to Crisp. Since then, Bill and I have embarked on an exhilarating journey of transformation.”

Meet Bill Kendig

Bill Kendig practiced with Carl Rice for 30+ years “on a handshake agreement” and shared values around their primary mission: to serve their clients. Marshall Rice, according to Bill, also shares those values.

“When it became time for Carl to retire, Marshall is the one who envisioned and added growth to the firm value and mission,” Bill elaborates. “Our market had become dominated by law firms outside of our region. Our market share was shrinking. We believed — and still believe — that our clients are best served by our local roots and local experience.”

Bill believes Rice & Kendig is set apart by their strong knowledge and relationships with excellent care providers, as well as exceptional reputations with local lawyers and judges. Understanding they were no longer the best-known firm, Bill agreed with his partner that the time had come to invest in the future of their organization.

“I could have retired with Carl, but I love serving clients and practicing law,” he shares. “I see our firm as a ministry first and business second. We have the opportunity to serve real people and to make meaningful impacts in the lives of our clients.”

Leadership at Rice & Kendig

Since joining the Crisp Coach program, Marshall and Bill have transformed numerous areas of their law firm, but the leaps they’ve made in leadership and the progress they’ve generated as a result earned them the Excellence in Leadership Award at the 2023 Game Changers Summit.

“Crisp imparted invaluable insights that transcend the teachings of law school,” says Marshall. “Their guidance provided us with a well-defined roadmap for achieving success. Beyond just offering support, Crisp immersed us in the essence of a thriving business culture, setting a stellar example by practicing what they advocate. The remarkable growth of Crisp stands as undeniable proof of the efficacy of their systems.”

Originally, the firm’s primary objective with its Crisp Coach membership was to guarantee a steady influx of high-quality cases. However, as they embarked on the coaching journey, they realized that becoming a proficient leader is just as essential.

“I hate to admit that I love/hate my Crisp experience,” acknowledges Bill. “I love being challenged and knowing I can do more. I hate being reminded that I have not kept up with changing times, technology, and opportunities. Crisp is not satisfied with telling me I can do better; Crisp demands I challenge myself and commit to doing better. Crisp knows I am busy, tired, and have too much to do, but Crisp rejects my excuses and simply insists I do better — in all aspects of my life.”

Rice & Kendig realized that to enhance their service to both their clients and the community at large, they needed a well-structured strategy. They credit the resources and guidance offered by the coaching program for giving them the blueprint to achieve these goals.

“A leader does not continually react without a plan,” says Bill. “A leader makes plans and implements decisions to fulfill those plans.”

“As a leader, armed with this wealth of knowledge and an arsenal of tools, you are now equipped to steer your firm toward greatness,” agrees Marshall. “It’s about finding the right individuals and implementing the precise systems to facilitate your journey towards success.”

Rice & Kendig Now

Before implementing their newest leadership initiatives, Rice & Kendig lacked a clearly defined and structured leadership framework. They simply received cases, managed them, issued instructions to our staff, and had two bookkeepers in place. There was no formal organizational chart, no established system, no leadership meetings, no staff meetings, and no concrete plan in place.

Now, the firm has undergone a remarkable transformation. Bill and Marshall have taken significant steps to define their mission, vision, and core values, providing a clear sense of purpose for their team. They defined an organizational structure with an established accountability chart that delineates roles and responsibilities.

They have leveled up their communication and collaboration strategies, including regular leadership and staff meetings, fostering open dialogue and ensuring everyone is aligned with firm goals. They offer one-on-one sessions with each team member, providing a platform to discuss their progress and concerns, which has promoted personal growth and job satisfaction across the board.

They’ve introduced continuous learning initiatives and various educational opportunities for their team and enhanced their human resources capabilities, ensuring a supportive and inclusive work environment. Onsite Training sessions have empowered their team members to improve their collaboration and enhance workplace communication.

This comprehensive transformation has revitalized Rice & Kendig’s office environment, making it more cohesive, efficient, and conducive to both personal and professional growth.

We call that an Excellence in Leadership Award that’s well-deserved.