• Podcast

Episode 91 — Dan Gerl — Do It Your Way: Explosive Growth Through Creative Innovation

Dan Gerl is the Founder, CEO, and Managing Partner of Puget Law Group in Seattle, Washington. While he started out as an aspiring graphic designer and eventually became a prosecutor, he quickly discovered his life was going in a different direction.

Dan was one of the many amazing law firm owners who participated in the inaugural Crisp Effect Challenge — but unlike the others, he walked away with the Grand Prize: a brand new Rolls-Royce Ghost.

In this episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, Dan joins the show to discuss:

  • Running a business during a time of turbulence in your personal life
  • Taking a step back and doing what’s best for your law firm
  • Understanding what it means to be a leader

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Spotify.

Show Notes:

Taking on the Crisp Effect Challenge. “You’ve got to see this as an opportunity. Everybody around us was throwing in the towel and shutting down. They weren’t just going remote, but they weren’t taking cases. I said, ‘I don’t have that option. I’ve got to make hay.’ We doubled and tripled our marketing efforts, buying up outdoor advertising because nobody else was doing it, and I just looked for opportunities everywhere. You owe it to your team. That allowed us to cruise significantly in 2020 when many other law firms folded.”

Life is a highway. “I’d always wanted to be a prosecutor. If anybody had ever said, ‘20 years from now, you’re going to have the fastest-growing criminal defense firm in the US,’ I’d be like, ‘No, and how dare you?’ [Being a prosecutor] was not the road to success for me. I was shown the door by the person who made those decisions, and then I didn’t know what I was going to do or even if I was going to keep practicing law.”

Building a legal army. “We’ve now got eight former prosecutors on our team. I’d say that makes us the most formidable criminal defense team on the West Coast at this point. As time goes on, I think I can say things like that.”

It’s not always about you. “I started realizing that I didn’t need to see my name out there. I don’t like my name — it sucks. It felt really limiting. I wanted to build something that would grow, have significance, and ultimately would get some traction. Bringing people like this in, making sacrifices, and giving up a significant part of what I owned in exchange for the possibility of this thing that I now have significant control over has exponentially increased potential.”

What Puget Law Group is doing differently. “Being the opposite of risk-averse [is what we’re doing differently]. I don’t know if I would’ve gone in that direction if I had seen a lot of other people doing that. I wasn’t seeing anyone doing that.”

High risk, high reward. “A lot of these [decisions I’ve made] have turned out very favorably. Being able to have freedom and be creative is enjoyable and has allowed us to succeed in those areas. I’m able to inject some humor, swagger, and generally more of my personality [into what we do]. I’m having fun, we’re growing, and it’s working. With those three things, what more could you need?”

What it means to be the best. “I would never say I’m the best attorney; I’ve never felt that. I take pride in being a good attorney, but that was never the thing. I always wanted to be the best, whether it was the best prosecutor, the best graphic designer — but somehow I think I might now be the best guy who’s running a law firm and who’s also doing graphic design and coming up with ideas to put on billboards. It seems to be working better than anything else I’ve done up to this point.”

How to stay ahead of the competition. “I’ve learned to trust my gut on things. By doing that, I haven’t steered myself wrong yet.”

Arriving in style. “My idea is that I would use this Rolls-Royce as a mode of getting people from that airport in Seattle to the children’s hospital. They’re really in need of something like that. I wouldn’t want that to be available to someone like me — I would want it to be available to someone who needs it. They have a ride waiting for them, and it’s a Rolls-Royce. For that one period of time, they don’t have to stress about anything.”

What does it mean to be a game changer? “Always try to walk that balance between having confidence and being humble. Always know you’re accountable for everything. People are looking to you to lead them, whether they necessarily understand what you’re trying to do or not. You’re the person who has to understand that you need to make a change and be the conduit to lead them there.”

EPISODE RESOURCES AND REFERENCES

Puget Law Group
Seattle, Washington
Rolls-Royce Ghost
The Crisp Effect
Game Changers Summit 3
Boston, Massachusetts

CONNECT WITH MICHAEL
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