Episode 107 — Randi McGinn — Authenticity is the Advantage
Some people are born with a moral sense of right and wrong flowing through their veins. Randi McGinn, one of the best trial lawyers in the country and the first woman president of the Inner Circle of Advocates, is one of them.
Once Randi enrolled in trial practice classes in law school, she knew she had found her calling. Through storytelling, she has made a career of bringing justice for her clients for over 40 years — and she has no plans of stopping any time soon.
In this episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, Randi tells listeners all about her inspiring journey, highlighting points such as:
- Challenging the status quo, both inside and outside of the courtroom
- Understanding that you have multiple obligations and responsibilities and giving your all to everything you commit to
- Being a role model to those around you
Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Spotify.
Self-confident from an early age. “I just always thought I could do whatever I wanted to do. I give my mom credit for this because that all came from my mom’s unconditional love for me. In high school, they told me I couldn’t play tennis since there was only a boys’ team and no girls’ team, so I told them I would go play on the boys’ team instead. I kept showing up every day until they finally let me on the team. I haven’t ever been able to take ‘no’ for an answer, and in fact, it has the opposite effect on me when I get it — it makes me want to do it even more. I see it as a challenge, which makes me try harder to actually do it.”
Finding your passions. “It wasn’t until about a year and a half into law school that I started taking trial practice classes. From there, I found my place: I learned how to stand up and talk, how to not get embarrassed and fall over, and I ultimately fell in love with the storytelling aspect of it. I’d always loved telling stories from my days as a journalist, and being a journalist is great practice for being a trial lawyer, so it was a perfect fit.”
Money can’t solve every problem. “A year into my practice, a woman’s son was killed in a motorcycle accident by a drunk driver. We got the case settled right away, but when it came time to pick up the money, the mother wouldn’t come to get it. After calling multiple times, she finally came in one day and sat across the table from me. I placed the check in front of her, but she still wouldn’t take it. She burst into tears and asked, ‘How can I take money from my son dying?’ At that moment, I realized that it’s not about the money for people in those situations. I encouraged her to donate it to M.A.D.D. or something similar. Since then, my practice has focused on something called ‘Transformative Law,’ which is the act of finding something in each case that we can change to prevent this from happening to someone else.”
A trial attorney’s secret to winning cases. “He or she who tells the best story wins — that’s how it works. You have to become a master storyteller, and you do that by becoming a student of storytelling. If you’re watching a movie or book that affects you greatly, you need to break down why it is that that book or movie was so effective and what about the story was so effective. Use those tactics in the courtroom.”
Comfortable and strategic fashion choices. “I think jurors don’t like what they think lawyers look like. For this reason, when I’m in the courtroom, I don’t wear suits like I thought you had to. I wear normal clothes, and when the jury looks around, they’ll notice that I look like them. I’m comfortable in dresses and sweaters because I’m comfortable in those and because I think it’s comfortable for others.”
Dreams by trial and error. “If you want a dream to happen, you’ve got to make it happen yourself. You may make a lot of mistakes along the way, but that’s what needs to happen. Try on other styles, both literally and figuratively, and if it works, great — but if it doesn’t, try on another one. You’ve just got to see what works best for you.”
Learning slowly but surely. “Fire fast; hire slow. If somebody has some major problems at work, it’s better to just let them go quickly. We used to try to bring in counseling or other methods of ‘fixing’ the problems, but it’s not worth the time, money, or effort because if there’s a problem employee, you’ve just got to let them go. We’re still working on that.”
Being different is an advantage. “The most encouraging part of the future of law school graduates is the diversity. There still isn’t enough diversity among trial lawyers — most trials are tried by guys — but that’s slowly starting to change. I personally believe women make for better trial lawyers than men do, simply because I think the jury gravitates toward women more. Being different in the courtroom always works to your advantage.”
Get rid of the guilt. “Give 100 percent to whatever is in front of you at the moment. If you’re at work, don’t be sad that you’re not with your family; focus on what you’re doing and know you’ll be back with them soon. If you’re with your family, give 100 percent to them and don’t worry about work. There is no balance, and once you realize that, you will be much more content with life.”
What does being a game changer mean to you? “A game changer makes the world a better and safer place. They change the corporate mindset to focus on human life more than the bottom line.”
RESOURCES & REFERENCES
McGinn, Montoya, Love, & Curry
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.)
CONNECT WITH MICHAEL
Text directly at 404-531-7691