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Episode 227 — Game Changers: Meet the 2023 Crisp Firms of the Year

In 2023, three firms earned the first-ever Crisp Game Changer Award titles.

Winners of these highly prestigious awards at each level of Crisp Coach membership (ELITE, PREMIER, and CrispX) were determined based on the factors that impact a successful business, an influential leader, and a true Firm of the Year: Leadership, Firm Culture, Client Experience, and Community Impact.

In this special episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, Crisp Founder & CEO Michael Mogill sits down with each of these game changers to discuss the strategies and lessons that got them there:

  • Charles “Bo” Bowen and Ryan Schmidt of Bowen Schmidt Entertainment Attorneys
  • Diego Bustillos and Adriana Bello of BBA Immigration
  • Jan Dils of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law
Episode 227 — Game Changers: Meet the 2023 Crisp Firms of the Year
Show Notes:

[Bowen Schmidt Entertainment Attorneys] The decision to niche down into entertainment law. “I’d say any given year between 30 and 50 percent was entertainment. But we had this corporate practice and it was doing well. It was an hourly billable model, and we could kind of predict what that business was going to be like — but it wasn’t what we were passionate about. Every time we represented a film or got a good deal for an artist, we felt so good because we really felt in alignment with what we love to do. We were really inspired by Crisp’s story and how you niched down to serve attorneys, and we knew that to be where we wanted to be, we had to chase that passion.”

[Bowen Schmidt Entertainment Attorneys] Do things differently. “We’re really making it a point to educate and empower creatives, and there are so many other firms that try to gatekeep that information. They say, ‘We spent all this time and money learning how this industry works. We want you to be dependent on us.’ Forget that. We want our clients to know themselves how this business works, because at least in the music industry, it was created to confuse artists so they didn’t know how bad their deals were. So if we can educate our clients on ‘This is what to look out for; this is why I’m doing this,’ they are now in a position to be more self-reliant and protect themselves out in the world. As far as setting new industry standards, we are constantly working with contracts that are trying to shoehorn in using your voice, your name, and your image in perpetuity without additional consent and compensation, and that’s where we step in and we say, ‘In this new world of AI in the creative industry, we’re going to set standards. We’re not going to allow our clients to sign any agreements that aren’t going to require additional compensation.’”

[BBA Immigration] Walk a mile in your clients’ shoes. “I thought that it would be really easy given my background back home to be able to work and live in the United States. Every time I went to an interview, I was very focused on knowing who would sponsor me for a Green Card. I’d go through the interview process, and by the end of the second or third interview, I’d be like, ‘Will you sponsor my Green Card?’ It doesn’t matter how qualified I was. It was just a hard no. We started working at this consulting firm that provided support to outside attorneys, and when we saw what the other attorneys were doing. We said, ‘Why can’t this be better? Why are you saying no to all these extremely qualified individuals who can bring value to the United States? We think that if we build out our case this way, all these people will be able to come into the United States and bring value to the economy, the environment, societal wellbeing, what it is they do.’ So we suggested that we start doing it. Then we got our Green Card and started working toward that: showing people that there is a way for them to bring their skills and value to the United States because we never wanted our clients to have to go through what we had to go through, that rejection and frustration with not having an option to be able to stay here.”

[BBA Immigration] Curious, patient, committed. “To be a game changer, you have to be relentlessly curious about getting better every single day. You have to be committed, and you have to be patient. You have to be patient because people look at success stories and they figure it’s ‘snap your fingers,’ and it’s not. You might take two steps forward and one back, but you’re still going forward. You have to be patient, and you have to be committed. It’s a long road. It doesn’t happen overnight. As long as you’re curious about getting better and trying to find ways to be better, you can be a game changer.”

[Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law] A pivotal moment. “When I was 12 years old, my aunt lived with us because she was ill with cancer. I did everything with my aunt, and so when she went to the Social Security office I tagged along. I went into the waiting room with her, and she was denied at that point. I really didn’t process what happened, but I remember sitting in that waiting room and the tears coming down, the shoulders rounded, and just being dejected, going back into her car, and watching her just break down. That’s really what drove me when I did my first social security claim. Fast forward. I ended up buying the Social Security building, and I made sure that my office was in the waiting room, so where my desk is, is where I sat. I always want to remember that.”

[Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law] How to scale yourself. “In 1994, I signed every client. By 2007, I had six offices. I was driving to all those locations, doing them in person, and that’s great. But when you reach thousands of clients, tens of thousands of clients, that becomes not a way you can sustain. You have to have systems and processes and procedures. We have intake software that we have developed on our own and case management software. You have to make sure that you have all the manuals, SOPs, all those things that are important to ensure this is how you do it in every single instance. We have three lines of business, so we have to make sure that all three lines are done the way that it should be done. We continuously audit what those procedures and processes are. That just takes a lot o diligence among my team. That’s not me — it’s them. They make sure that we have standard operating procedures and that the manuals are up to date. We have online training on video. We have a whole, on Jan Dils Academy. All those things make sure that the client experience is the same all through all three lines of business.”

Bowen Schmidt Entertainment Attorneys
BBA Immigration
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law
ELITE Firm of the Year
PREMIER Firm of the Year
CrispX Firm of the Year
Golden Flake Potato Chips
Inherit the Wind (film on the Scopes “Monkey” Trial)
Spencer Tracy
Clarence Darrow
To Kill a Mockingbird (film)
Atticus Finch
My Cousin Vinny (film)
Berklee College of Music
Belmont Law School
Frank Sinatra
Academy Awards
Savannah Film Alliance
Georgia Music Partners
Savannah Film Alliance Honors Gala
Model United Nations
Inc. 5000
Chris Voss

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