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Ben Glass is a practicing attorney and leader in how to market law practices. He aspires to make a meaningful impact in the lives of his clients every day.

Ben was born and raised in Annandale, Virginia. He was the oldest of seven children and as a child, he soaked up the family values his parents modeled. It was also in his childhood that he discovered his love of soccer, which has affected how he views his career.

Ben is a proud father of nine, five of them biological and four of them adopted. Family is the hallmark of Ben’s life. In fact, his desire to have a life centered around his family is what led him to discover his own methods for growing a practice that serves him, not the other way around.

In this episode, we’re going to hear Ben’s passion around each person discovering and leaning into their superpower, whether or not everyone should consider adoption for their family, and why being a lawyer is the best job in the world.Show Description Text

Transcription

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Ben Glass:                          
I think it’s the greatest profession in the whole world, because you can be this coach to someone, this inspirational leader and you can handle the legal side, and that’s really, really cool. And I want young lawyers who are burned out, frustrated, caught in a box to realize no, no, no, there’s a pathway over here.

Luke W Russell:               
Welcome to Lawful Good a show about lawyers and the trials they face inside and outside the courtroom. I’m your host Luke W. Russell. I’m not a journalist, I’m not an attorney. I’m trained as a coach. I love human connection and that’s what you’re about to hear. Today I’m talking with Ben Glass, both a practicing attorney and a leader in how to market law firms, Ben seeks to make an impactful and meaningful effect in the lives of his clients. Ben was born and raised in Annandale, Virginia. He was the oldest of seven children and as a child he soaked up the family values his parents modeled. It was also in his childhood that he discovered his love of soccer, which has affected how he views his career.

Ben is a proud father of nine, five of the biological and four of the adopted. Family is the hallmark of Ben’s life. In fact, his desire to have a life centered around his family is what led him to discover his own methods for growing a practice that serves him not the other way around. In our conversation today, we’re going to hear Ben’s passion around each person discovering and leaning into their superpower, whether or not everyone should consider adoption for their family, and why being a lawyer is the best job in the world. Ben, let’s start at the beginning. You were born in Annandale, Virginia. Did you grow up there too?

Ben Glass:                          
I did and I live within 15 minutes of Annandale, Virginia. So my mom and dad moved into our house in 1960. I was actually born Arlington, at Arlington Hospital. And we just sold that family house a year ago. So yes, we grew up there.

Luke W Russell:               
Was that a little bitter sweet selling the family house?

Ben Glass:                          
It was because that was a cool neighborhood. So the 60s, the 1960s where probably 30, I think at one point we counted 30, 35 kids on this street and the couple of streets where everybody knew everybody. You went in and out of people’s houses. Other people’s moms and dads watched and reported on you. We played kickball in the street. We played all sorts of sports in the backyards. Truly for younger people, this is Americana. This was a great neighborhood and just everybody knew everybody. Most of us went to the same parochial school or of course the local elementary school. And we still have friends from that neighborhood.

Luke W Russell:               
You were one of seven kids growing up. Were you a pretty good big brother?

Ben Glass:                          
Yeah, I think so. It’s kind of funny because last year I published a book called Play Left Fullback and I talk about some of this. So my siblings they wanted to dispute my version of what I wrote in my book, to which my response was, write your own book and I’ll read your book. So yeah, I think so.

Luke W Russell:               
How do you think growing up in a large family is different than growing up in a family with fewer people in the house?

Ben Glass:                          
My dad was an only child. My mom grew up in a large family. And so I don’t have the experience, and of course my own family is large, so I don’t really have the experience of growing up in a smaller family. I will say that what’s interesting is my kids today, as they would go back to the house I grew up in, could not imagine that we were all … There was only two bathrooms. In the basement as we had more kids, my dad was an engineer and really good with his hands, would throw up more walls. By the way, without asking anybody’s … the government’s permission. He just, he was wiring. We had no plumbing because we had no bathroom down there, and we just did it. And that’s all we ever knew.

And we were neither rich nor poor. We had everything that we thought that we needed. We fought of course. It’s interesting because we’re all, as we’ve gone through the last couple of years when my father passed away, a couple of months ago, my mom passed away a couple of years ago, we were able to as sibling adults meet and make decisions and have real discussions with our mom and dad about how they wanted to live out their life, take care of what. And of the seven of us, we all had different skillsets and different sort of assets to be able to do this. And so growing up in the family, as much as we probably fought and wanted to kill each other from time to time, as adults we were able to walk through that journey together, and we’re still friends. We pretty much live close to each other.

And my wife and I, Sandy and I were talking about this the other day, it’s like we’re all different. I mean, we are all so different in what we grew up to do, what our own families are like. We were able to really handle that, I think, in a very orderly, good way. No infighting, you’re going this. Can you take care of this? Help them Medicare and numbers, you’re good with insurance, you’re good with care.

Luke W Russell:               
Did you eat meals together as a rule?

Ben Glass:                          
We did. Now so whether it was a rule or not, so we had a small kitchen. Again, my kids look at the kitchen that my mom cooked the meals in and like, “How is this even possible?” Because literally at one point dad had built basically a picnic table, so it was a bench. A bench on each side. And so we did. Dad was an engineer, electrical engineer, worked probably 9:00 to 5:00. He was home, I mean he wasn’t traveling. He didn’t travel that much. And mom would make breakfast for us and we’d have dinner. That’s my memory. And that’s one of the things we carried over into my family is that by and large even in the running around that a big family would do, buy and large we have eaten breakfast together and dinner together.

Luke W Russell:               
How did soccer get into your world?

Ben Glass:                          
This is the coolest thing. So there was a club, the Annandale Boys Club who was formed by a guy named Everett Germain. I’m still good friends with his son, Kip, formed an organization in let’s see, I was born in ’58, so probably mid 60s. It was called the Annandale Boys Club. Now it’s the boys and girls club, and somehow a couple of dads I think just got interested in soccer. And so Annandale in the 60s and 70s was one of those hotbed communities in the United States where soccer became a big deal and we produced national champions, in some cases, and I was fortunate to play on one of those teams. And so that’s how it was. And back then, you played little league baseball in the springtime, you played youth soccer in the fall. You played basketball usually in the winter. We did some gymnastics. And it was just one of those things where I just got turned on.

And I was so fortunate, so fortunate to grow up with kids who got turned on by it. I grew up with guys who were just, this was our whole life. And we had travel teams and we had coaches. But the coaches were mainly volunteer dads and they were mainly volunteer dads who were not born in the United States, so they would come here with a soccer background of some sort. And in every spare moment of our lives we would play. And if there were two trees on a field, that was a goal. And we would ride our bikes to each other’s houses and I’m very, very blessed. And so my dad coached. He just bought the books, because of course he had never … He grew up playing football and baseball like most folks his age, and that was it. And there were some guys, coaches and organizers who just worked very hard for us to make soccer a big deal.

Luke W Russell:               
Now did most of your siblings or all of your siblings play soccer too?

Ben Glass:                          
They all played at some point. They could not have avoided it. But they also all played basketball, softball, little league baseball, did gymnastics. The girls did dance. So it wasn’t like anyone was ever forced to do it. It was, still is, but it was a pretty big thing.

Luke W Russell:               
Yeah. Do you think sports nowadays build character?

Ben Glass:                          
I do. And it can build good character and bad character. Sports is still a big part of the American life. I think that what is sad, because again, I’ve had kids now. I’ve coached and we’ve had kids gone through sort of the travel thing, what’s sad is, I don’t see kids doing what we did when we were little, which is ride your bike to the church, because the church had a field. Call your friends on the phone with the wire and say at 4:00 we’re going to meet there, bring a soccer ball, bring a football, bring whatever, and we’re going to just play, because the majority of the hours that we spent growing up, we’re playing like that. Not at soccer practice. And of course when we were growing up none of the adults knew the game, so they didn’t complain to the referees. They didn’t try to coach the team unless you were the coach.

And so today, everybody’s an expert. And I think in a lot of places it’s really, really good. With social media you see a lot of bad character being developed and the other thing you see today is kiddos who are too willing, if they can’t get into the starting position of a team or the club they just go to a different club. There was Annandale and there was Springfield, and you would not switch. You wouldn’t think about switching to go [inaudible] when we were growing up.

Luke W Russell:               
Yeah. Let’s go back to family dynamics. My father is one of 11. I grew up with non-Catholic friends who are one of nine, one of 10. I have my aunt had 10 kids. So I grew up seeing incredible beauty in big family experiences and yet, many people have criticized big families. How do you feel about those criticisms?

Ben Glass:                          
Well, I mean, you mean criticized, you shouldn’t create more people than the earth can sustain or something silly like that? Look, I’ve not heard that criticism a lot. And of course we went out and had five biological and then went out and adopted four more, not born in America. So there’s sometimes voices out there. Here’s what I say to anybody is that life is a one way journey. We don’t get a chance to do it over. And it is yours to live as you design it, all right. So if you want to have the big family awesome. Great. Raise them, like our standard, be productive. Don’t be a felon. And each of my children too has found a different spot in the world to go to.

So my overall view of the world is, I want to give you the confidence to make your own choices as long as you’re not defrauding someone, cheating someone, or using your force to get something out of somebody else. Create the life you want. You must create a product or a service and that service could be your own labor, into the world that someone else will pay for. That’s how man lives. There’s no other way to live. And great, write your own book about why you should have small families. That’s awesome. I’m not going to criticize that and I’m not going to listen. I mean, the other thing about life is learning to listen to people who have advice who is respected and not listen to just the critics.

Luke W Russell:               
At age 16, you said that’s when you knew you wanted to be a lawyer. Did you read something or was there an event that led you to this understanding?

Ben Glass:                          
I think there was a couple of things. One, I really liked Perry Mason. That was cool figuring stuff out in a half hour or an hour. I went to Catholic parochial school where rigid education, we learned to diagram sentences. And you had to be a top game, academic. When I went to the public high school, it was like, “Wow.” The work we did over here in the past is a lot harder than the work we’re doing here. A lot of these kids didn’t seem like they were very interest in learning. Not everyone, but enough. So I had an English teacher who was like, “You love reading, just structure your own deal. You read, write book reports, do whatever.” So I came across books like F. Lee Bailey and things like Helter Skelter, even though it’s not a lawyer book, there was crime and there was trials and there was drama in there. And that interested me. Now why it interested me, I don’t know. But I liked figuring stuff out.

It’s like, “Okay, this looks like it would be pretty cool.” Now did I do anything specific with that goal? Not really because from the time I was 16 til the time I was 21 really, the only … like soccer, big S-O-C-C-E-R, that was the biggest thing. In fact, I’ll tell you a funny story is, all of us on our youth team were recruited to play at college. And again, this is the 70s and not a lot from scholarship money, but we were recruited, and we had a relationship. So the club had a relationship with a number of schools in Virginia including William & Mary. Coach says, “Yeah, they’ll like you.” So four of us from our national championship team went to William & Mary to play.

It wasn’t until after I said I would go to William & Mary that my classmates are like, “You know that’s a school for really smart people.” I was a B student. And they’re like, “That’s a school for really, really smart people.” And I’m like, “Well, I’m going there to play soccer. Here’s the name of this really smart school, I don’t care.” And I’m going there with my friends. So even in college, I was driven primarily to play soccer. It wasn’t like I created my whole curriculum based upon I wanted to go be a lawyer.

Luke W Russell:               
I love that. So you go to your undergrad and did you go straight into your doctorate from there or was there a bit of a transition period?

Ben Glass:                          
No, there was no transition period. So finished William & Mary and graduated in 1980. By then I knew I wanted to go to law school. Again, I was an average student so I didn’t have a lot of choices to law school. But up here, George Mason University in Fairfax said you can come. Again, then I looked and go, “Oh look, it just got its ABA accreditation.” It’s brand new and it’s in a converted department store. That didn’t bother me. Okay, that’s cool. I’m going to go either live at home or rent. I ended up renting a room at friends house and stuff. And just went to law school and didn’t think anything of it. After my first year of law school, I got married and so during my first year of law school Sandy was still at William & Mary. We’d met there. So every other weekend I’d leave the last class on Friday, drive down to Williamsburg for the weekend, drag her to a soccer game. Drag her to the library. She thought that was weird. And then we got married shortly after she graduated and that was it.

Luke W Russell:               
How has your view on the role that lawyers play in American society grown and shifted over the years?

Ben Glass:                          
So that is a good question. I think the other thing that I was introduced to was Gerry Spence and to his books and tapes and stuff. Again, now this is back in the early to mid 80s. And I read as I got more interested in the trial work, I read stories of great trail lawyers and big cases and so back then you start to think, “Wow, lawyers can have this huge impact on society, because look, we helped redesign automobiles and lawnmowers and stuff like that.” And that’s very idealistic and that certainly happens. But however, for most of us we’re never going to be involved in work that changes the design of an automobile or something. So I think as a young lawyer you start with this idealistic view and every seminar you go to reinforces idealism.

I think that that’s changed. It certainly has changed for me. A point I would make is that it can be whatever you want it to be for your own life, of course. But I think that today, the role that lawyers can fill and I’m biased, because I’m a solo and small firm guy, I deal with individuals, is really helping individuals figure out the next step for their life and I can impact you. If I’m representing you, I will have an impact on you that’s far beyond what I know about your legal problem. And that’s my superpower. It’s I can help you make some decisions if you want me to help you that will serve you for the rest of your life. And I think that that is an underserved role in the lawyer world. In other words, we get sort of bound into, I’m a lawyer, I can get you out of your DUI. I can get you divorced. I can get you personal injury settlements. Okay, we’re all good at that thing.

Those guys and gals who want to can have a profound effect on people’s lives by being able, and it sounds cliché, but being able to look wholistically at their lives. Now, it’s hard to do that when you’re 27 and a lawyer, because you don’t have life experience. When you’re 63, and you’ve got a ton of life experience, for me, the legal part is just, it’s a small sliver of flavor of what you get when you get to know me, if I’m representing you. Or even if I’m just chatting with you. I can’t help you legally, but I can help you with thought. That’s what I’m good at. The sad part is young lawyers and kiddos who are going to law school will hear the negative. And lawyers who are older will say, “Why are you doing that? It’s not worth it. It’s too stressful.”

They won’t hear it from me. I think it’s the greatest profession in the whole world, because you can be this coach to someone, this inspirational leader and you can handle the legal side and that’s really, really cool. And I want young lawyers who are burned out frustrated, caught in a box to realize, no, no, no there’s a pathway over here. Really we’ve affected hundreds if not thousands of lawyers in small firms to say, “Huh, there’s something besides just being a fricking lawyer.” You can go buy that skill.

Luke W Russell:               
What advice would you give an ambitious law student getting ready to enter the real world?

Ben Glass:                          
Yeah, go figure out business. Marketing, sales, systems, HR, people. By the way, it’s not in any curriculum in law school, virtually. Virtually not in any curriculum. The fact that you can train to be a great lawyer means nothing to the market. So that’s number one. Not only don’t ignore it, but seek out the business side. And again, I’m controversial in this because the profession, the Virginia State Bar, they think that’s all. My argument is, if you’re a great lawyer and you don’t have people lining up outside to want to come in a buy services from you, then what difference does it make if you’re a great lawyer. Nobody will ever know and nobody will every benefit from you. So that’s number one.

Number two is, the other advice is I would want them to know that there are lots of lawyers out that feel like I do, who enjoy the practice, who are making a difference. Who are creating jobs and paying taxes for a lot of people. We have a lot of mouths that we help feed here. And we can do that while preserving our own lives. The subtitle of one of my books, and still get home in time for dinner. That it is all possible and people … The sadist thing is when people say, “No, it’s not. Never heard that or no one’s ever said that before.” I’m like, “Okay, well you just haven’t seen broad enough.” And I blame the law schools. I blame the profession for that. And we need more voices like mine and there are voices out there. Not anymore. Everything that we thought about we could do as lawyers. We can have fun with it. We can make money with it. And it’s win, win, win, win, win. And we make our staff’s lives better, we make our client’s lives better. That’s possible.

Luke W Russell:               
Have you had public pushback from other professionals or associations on the-

Ben Glass:                          
Yeah.

Luke W Russell:               
… Really? Can you tell us about that?

Ben Glass:                          
So a couple of years ago, the Fairfax Bar … So I’m a member of Fairfax Bar Association and they call me up and they say, “Hey, we’re going to do a marketing for young lawyers, will you come do a little CLE?” I’m like, “Yeah, of course. This is what I do, I inspire young lawyers.” The day before the event the president calls me up and he goes, he says, “Ben, I’m a little concerned that you’re speaking in front of our young lawyers.” “Well, tell me about what your concern is.” He says, “Well, some of your philosophies are against our philosophies.”

He’s basically saying, “We believe every lawyer, in order to get better they should join lots of committees, volunteer all their time and they should be a better lawyer. And you’re telling them that they can have fun, enjoy life, build a business, make a profit and all that. I go, “You’re right.” His name was Ed, I said, “Ed, you can disinvite me if you want, because I’ve got other things I could do tomorrow at 4:00. But this is who I am.” And so, yes, we have that. In Virginia, I’m constantly, when Virginia is doing things like talking about mandatory CLE and their solution for the … Well, the whole profession’s solution for the lawyer wellness crisis is let’s learn how to meditate and pet kitty cats instead of, “Hey, let’s learn how to create a business that makes you happy.”

So we butt heads on that, which is cool, because when you’re a marketer like I am, it’s cool to have a common enemy. And what I have discovered is there’s lots of lawyers who think like I do. They just don’t have a guide. They’ve never had someone say the things so outwardly as I do. And others. I’m not the only voice out there, of course. And then they get inspired by it. And the coolest part about that is, I’ve had older lawyers, so lawyers even older than I am who say I have reinvigorated their interest in the profession and their interest in their practices. They never knew it could be like this.

It’s work. You’ve got to go learn some business. You’ve got to be willing to tell your story. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. Again, none of it’s false. None of it’s misleading. This is all about I think being vulnerable a little bit. I tell my clients my stories of my ups and downs. And that’s a cool part about being Ben is that I say I have fun with the practice. I have fun with my coaching business and I have fun with, like if you’re a young lawyer and you want to come here and just bring me a sandwich, we’ll spend an hour, hour and a half at lunch and I’ll give you actionable things and I’ll show you a different way of thinking about the practice.

Luke W Russell:               
Oh, I love that. A moment ago you mentioned the lawyer wellness crisis. What do you think are some factors behind driving that? But as far as contributing to that crisis.

Ben Glass:                          
Well, so it’s from a study a few years ago and the profession discovered that 60% of lawyers are depressed, unhappy, don’t like the profession. And we’re like, “Oh, this surprises you.” They acted like the were surprised. So what drives that? Number one is a mentality that says we have to always serve and we have to put the client as number one above all else. I believe you put yourself first. You create a business that makes you happy. When you do that, you will attract people to come to work for you. They will be happy. When you do number one, make yourself happy.

Do number two, build a great team and make them happy, then the clients will be served. If you turn it all upside down, and you say every time a client has a brain idea and, we call it a brain fart, and wants to contact you and interrupt your thinking, then you’re going to be miserable. So that’s number one. Number two, I’ve never played … I’m a contingent fee lawyer playing in the billable hour world. You’re at conflict with the client, because the longer it takes for you to do something, the more money you’ll make. But really if you’re experienced you should get better at what you’re doing and I can solve problems … Maybe I solve a problem in half an hour that is $100,000 differential to the client. I don’t want to be paid $600 or $300 for that half an hour. I want to be paid my fee for that, for increasing the value of the case.

So I think that that billable hour pressure is there. The other thing is, it’s just the thought that because I’m a lawyer, my business is somehow different. And I need to follow all of these rules and stay inside this box and I can’t be like the entrepreneur bagel bakery shop owner over here who’s killing it, because I’m a lawyer and so I’m different. And so if we can shake those foundations and show you that if you follow this do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for your team, then the clients will be really well served.

Luke W Russell:               
Ben, you eventually found your niche in medical malpractice. For the lawyers coming out of law school, do you recommend that they start with a niche, or maybe should they dip their toes in different ponds? What do you recommend there?

Ben Glass:                          
So I think that coming out of school. The earlier that you can present yourself to the market as a specialist, the better you will be. Specialists make more money than generalist in every occupation, every profession. That doesn’t mean that you have to always be that. But the mistake that young lawyers, or any lawyer who goes out and starts his or her own business to make is to say, “I do everything.” And you go to their website, there’s 27 different things they’re good at. Well, when I have a, let’s just make something up. I was attacked by a martian and I want to sue a martian. I’ve got to find the lawyer who sues martians. And when I see a lawyer who only sues martians my perception at least is that this lawyer knows what they’re doing.

And so the sooner that you can figure out what makes you happy, if you don’t like moms and dads calling you about what their spouse did with the kids over the weekend, as you’re going through a divorce and that drives you crazy, then you shouldn’t be in family law. And just because you might start in family law and work for a firm that does it, that doesn’t mean you have to stay doing that for the rest of your life. I think a mistake that a lot of young lawyers make is to not realize that all of this is open to them and that for every, whether you want to be DUI defense lawyer, a family lawyer, tax lawyer, whatever, there are lawyers who have been very successful and we’ve just got to figure out who they are. Be curious. Find out how they do it.

Luke W Russell:               
Now before we get to what you’re doing now, I’m curious, when did you start your firm and how much money did you make that first year?

Ben Glass:                          
Yeah. So out of law school I worked for 12, 13 years and then you have the, Michael Gerber describes as the entrepreneurial seizure, “Hey how hard could it be to start a law firm?” The reality is, I was coaching three soccer teams at once. Three of my kids teams. I was on a 45 minute each way commute, that wasn’t good. All right, how hard could it be to start a law firm? I’m a good lawyer. I was getting good results. I took some cases with me. I don’t remember how much I made that first year. And I’m sure it wasn’t a lot. Here’s what I do remember. It was, because you came with cases, it really was the second and the third year that were really, really challenging. And some of those early years, I didn’t make. I lost money. Working the whole year and paying out more money than it … to everybody else who’s working, which wasn’t a large firm, that was hard.

And so what I do remember, two things about starting my own firm. One is, oh my gosh, there’s a market for someone who can come in and just help you make all those decisions you have to make. Like copier, leases, paper, stationary. Someone should be that person who just coordinates all of that for you. Number two, the thing was, oh my God, it’s really expensive. And I don’t know anything about hiring and firing, marketing and every little dime now is your dime going out. And I do remember the Yellow Page rep calling me up and saying, “Hey, it’s closing.” The Yellow Pages was closing in another week and I could buy my little dollar bill size stupid ad, which is my donation to the Yellow Pages. Because back then, again this is 1995, when Ben Glass Law starts and Yellow Pages were big, the lawyer section was big and there were lawyers buying two pages in the back and the front.

But that was good. I figured out I had to learn to do something different. And I discovered some gurus. And my now friend Dan Kennedy found a book he had written and it just got me to think this whole idea of look around at other entrepreneurs outside of your industry, good ideas there, and look around at what your industry is doing and figure out they’re all doing the same thing and so don’t do that. Let’s just not do that. So it was very hard. It was a lot harder than I ever thought, because I’m a good lawyer, good cases, they’ll come. Everyone says, do good work, cases will come. Yes.

Luke W Russell:               
I want to go back just for a little bit to those years when, like your second and third year where things were tough and you were watching more money go out the door I imagine. Did you have kids at this point?

Ben Glass:                          
Oh yeah, because I’m coaching soccer. And we had just bought a fairly expensive house in Fairfax County, which is a fairly expensive place to live. So all of that. It was the perfect storm.

Luke W Russell:               
Yeah. You’ve got a wife, new house, kids, and you now have your own practice and you’re spending more than you’re making. Sometimes when lawyers get into that place, it’s just it can be a really dark place mentally. But you were able to get through that. For the lawyer who’s in that place that they’re struggling, they want to be a lawyer, but they’re just feeling overwhelmed, what would you say to that person?

Ben Glass:                          
Yeah. Because there are a couple of things. It was really dark. It was very, very stressful. Over the years now, I have met hundreds if not thousands solo and small firm lawyers. I don’t care how successful they appear today and how successful they are today, to a person, they have been through this. That doesn’t necessarily make it easier for the next person coming along, but oh my gosh, the stories I have heard are very similar to my own. And then, if you broaden it and look across entrepreneurs, same story. So what it tells us is that we can speed up the education process for you.

So one of my superpowers is this, you tell me about your practice and that you’re struggling and you show me sort of what you’re doing and what you like doing and we have some questions. I can move you off that needle. And I can get you closer to what would be perfect for you for sure. And what I’m good at is helping lawyers feel like what’s the best use of my next dollar or my next hour in building the business. Because when you are in that position, you are prey to what I call … I look over there, because I’ve got a stuffed vulture that says marketing vulture on him. You are prey to the marketing vultures who say, “I can save you, I can get you leads, I can get you cases, I can get you in the first page of Google, just pay me whatever money you have left.” And that’s what I’m good at is helping you make a great decision about that next hour, that next dollar.

Luke W Russell:               
When my wife and I got married, we both wanted 10 children, give or take. We wanted a big family. After my first child was born, I realized that for me personally I wanted quantity of time with each child, and my wife and I determined that for us our path was more than one kid, less than 10. I’m curious, as a father with a big family who’s very family oriented, how did you manage time, Ben, with your kids? And how did you think about that as a father?

Ben Glass:                          
So it’s messy at times. And I’ve written about this and talked publicly from the stage, so it’s not big secret, but a couple of my kids who were raised in an orphanage in China, required an extraordinary amounts of sort of mental health care. And so if you were just looking at purely time, number of minutes, you will see that for some of my kids, they got less and other got an extraordinary amount. And that has overflow. There’s overflow trauma in families. I think that the important thing, and this is really hard and we’re certainly not perfect to have it. It’s not necessarily the quantity, but it’s the quality. It’s being present.

We talk about being present, again, it sounds cliché-ish. It’s very real. And what I think I’ve discovered about parenthood and fatherhood is that we can lecture, we can try to teach, we can have discussions at the dinner table all we want, they really do, so your children, really do pay attention to this, how do you treat your spouse? How do you treat the person serving you in a restaurant? How do you treat the other driver who’s name you don’t know who just cut you off? What they see you do and hear you talking about has a profound impact on what they will grow up to be.

Luke W Russell:               
Yeah. As you mentioned, you adopted four children, do you recommend adoption to parents?

Ben Glass:                          
Do we recommend adoption? So I mean, we could do four hours on this.

Luke W Russell:               
Yes.

Ben Glass:                          
Again, you’re making a decision about your own life first and adoption is complicated, because every child who has had any period of time without loving parents is going to suffer from some form of early childhood trauma. Their brains have been rewired, that’s just the way it is. So what I do recommend is that if you have that desire, you A, talk to people like us. My wife and I have really good resources. Here’s the books you should read, here’s what you should think about. Don’t ever think that because I adopt a child, and give it a loving home, feed the child, nurture the child, that’s all. I mean, this is really, really hard work. So you have to be prepared to deal as a parent team to deal with virtually anything, as you would even in a child born biologically to you. And you have to be willing to go out and seek coaching and experts and therapist and be prepared to seek coaching and experts and therapists and another set of coaching and experts and therapists, but it’s just hard.

So, do we recommend adoption? I recommend building your life the way you see fit. If this is a calling you believe you have, there are plenty of resources out there. You’ll hear great stories, you’ll hear horror stories. You just need to be prepared to be flexible and the sooner that you can start to detect that my child, either my adopted child or my biological child, because of what my adopted child is doing, needs therapeutic care, willing to go and to find that care. It’s really, really, really complex. I mean, we say our kids have taught us more than we have ever given them.

Luke W Russell:               
What people listening can’t see is your big smile when you talk about your family. What did that first discussion look like when your wife … Can you remember the very first time your wife brought up adoption?

Ben Glass:                          
So we adopted because for years Sandy felt the call. I said, “You’re crazy. We have count them, four kids and a dog. Our life is full.” I mean like, “Are you kidding me. We’ve got four kids. I’ve got a business. We’re really busy.” How could this even happen? Now I have a sister who was unable to have children and so she and her husband went through the process and adopted one and then later a second little girl from China. And so that kind of like, “Well okay, maybe it’s not quite so scary, because at least someone we know has now gone through the process.” And looking back we wouldn’t change a thing. We would have probably done better sooner, had we known what we know today. How that would ever happen, I don’t know. But yeah, at first it was like, “No, you’re crazy.”

Luke W Russell:               
So are you ever discouraged by the number of children waiting to be adopted and the number of adults available to adopt?

Ben Glass:                          
No, not discouraged. I don’t get discouraged by much. So start with that premise. What things can I control, what things can I not control? I work with a group Love Without Boundaries. I’ve been on their board for years. I coach a little bit their leadership team. Where we’re doing work, began primarily in China, we’re now in India and Uganda and Cambodia. And so the need is overwhelming. The need is fricking overwhelming. You open the paper today as we’re recording this, and just the number of people in India that are COVID affected. It is overwhelming.

So if you just look at the numbers you could get discouraged. But I can’t control that. I can only control what I do and I can control my openness and willingness to have discussions like this and to maybe inspire someone the next person to do it. I tend to look at life as opportunity and I realize that I can’t do everything. I can do what I can do and I’m going to maximize. I believe that we’re born and created to maximize our own specific set of gifts and talents. And so if you’re not interested in adopting, that’s cool. Or if you’re not interested in even having children, that’s cool, because my philosophy is you build your own life for yourself first. And that’s the way that man has to live.

Luke W Russell:               
Ben loves spending time with Love Without Boundaries, a charity focused on helping vulnerable children across the globe access healthcare and education. I want to take a moment to share more about this organization and the good they’re doing in the world. Join me as we listen in to Amy Eldridge who is CEO of Love Without Boundaries.

Amy Eldridge:                   
So back in 2003, I visited my first orphanage which was in China. I have two children that are adopted from there, just like Ben. And I didn’t have any idea what to expect and I always say that my life changed forever that day, because walking into an orphanage with row after row of babies in metal cribs just turned my heart inside out. And it was that day that I met a little boy who was nine months old who was dying of heart disease, and the orphanage told me that he would not be getting surgery because they didn’t have the funds for it. So it was through trying to get that little boy the surgery that he needed to save his life that the idea of creating a foundation to help children all around the world who need access to medical care and education and nutrition was born. And since that time, we’ve gone on to help well over 50,000 children, so it’s just grown beyond anything I could have imagined back in 2003.

What I hear a lot is, why aren’t you helping kids in the U.S.? I hear that frequently. And I feel like every child regardless of where they were born deserves to experience love and dignity. And all of the doors for us have opened overseas, in Africa and Asia, to help some really vulnerable children. So I think there’s a place for everyone to do good in the world. For Love Without Boundaries, it just happens to be internationally and we have such amazing local partners on the ground that we can make such profound difference for such a small amount of money in a child’s life. Any charity would say that donations are always welcome. They can find us at lwbkids.org, and we have so many different ways to give. One time donations can be used. $40 will feed an entire family for one month. And these are families who have six to eight children. We also have ongoing sponsorships for education and foster care. So there’s lots of ways to get involved.

Luke W Russell:               
You can support the work they’re doing and learn more about their organization at lovewithoutboundaries.com.

Ben Glass:                          
Now the need is big. I’m just here to be a message carrier and a fund raiser and to tell our story so that people who have adopted and are struggling with it can know that there’s hope, can know that there’re resources. And people who haven’t adopted can ask the right questions before they make that decision.

Luke W Russell:               
What do parenting and lawyering have in common?

Ben Glass:                          
Parenting and lawyering for us have in common the fact that people look to us for guidance and inspiration. So you have that and as I said to you earlier, it’s not just what we say, but it’s how we act. How they watch us in the world. So I think there’s a lot there. I think that certainly looking ahead and trying to be organized, and having big calendars that people can write their stuff on, and communicating with your spouse about what does the next week look like. And also understanding, yes, so understanding that it’s okay to say I need a break. And there’s going to be periods of time … There’s no such thing as equal parenting. There’s always somebody has a little bit more energy, a little bit more time. And the other can be just tired. It’s recognizing that. And I think that running a law firm is the same in that we all have different skills and being okay with your own skillset and being okay with ceding your ego to somebody else who’s better at something. I think parenting and law has those sorts of things in common. You need high emotional intelligence, I think to be happy at both.

Luke W Russell:               
You’ve done well for yourself, building up a financially successful firm and you have a business where you’re teaching lawyers how to build their own lifestyles. Would you consider yourself self-made?

Ben Glass:                          
Yes. So what does that even mean? Nobody ever gave me much of anything. I’ve always been curious and if I have a fault it is putting stuff in action before it’s been fully [inaudible] out. Lots of things seem like a good idea at the time. That’s how we learn. And many of my friends consider ourselves totally unemployable by others. I mean, we just would not fit into the model. Someone said, “Well do you ever want to be a judge?” What and show up at the same time every day, dressed in a shirt and a tie, five days a week and listen to whining lawyer all day? No, that’s not my jam. Not at all.

So I think so, I think that I’ve done a lot to go and further my education about things that matter to me and have helped moved the ball forward for my life. I think most, I mean, aren’t most people at the end of the day, certainly most successful people are quote, self-made. There are only a small percent of people inherited wealth and just have it. The rest of them, you read the Forbes millionaires and billionaires list, self-made. You listen to this great podcast, Built To Sell Radio, about guys and gals who built business and sold them, self-made. I think humans are born to be self-made.

Luke W Russell:               
What does it mean to you self-made in the sense that there are people along the way who I imagine probably contributed something?

Ben Glass:                          
Oh, for sure, right. And to say somebody else built the road that I drive into, yeah, so there’s a couple of us that go on that road. Somebody builds a library, there’s handful of people that go to the library. So yes. And as I said earlier, there are people and things that come into your life that change the trajectory of your life for sure. I think the come into everybody’s life and some of us recognize opportunity or take risks while other don’t. Lawyers, like a quote, fault … Or a challenge for lawyers is we’re really good at seeing issues. We took all the tests that could get us into law school, because those tests were about seeing issues. We took all the tests that got us through law school and through the bar exam, because we could see issues. How about like, I think self-made people see opportunity.

Luke W Russell:               
Do you consider yourself a grateful person?

Ben Glass:                          
Yes. 100%, because look, you don’t have anyway to control who you’re born to, what you’re born into, anything of that stuff. And I get it. Born in Virginia in the late 1950s to loving parents who were able to afford to send me to school, send me to college. I walk into Costco, as you can imagine, our family are big fans of Costco. It’s the most amazing deal in the whole world. Can you imagine most of the world’s population cannot conceive of a place where you walk in, everything you could possibly imagine is there. I am 100% grateful for that. I am grateful for the people … For my children. All of them. All nine of them, for the thing that they have gone through from having imperfect parents.

Luke W Russell:               
You’ve mention, Ben, multiple times your superpower in this interview, and I really like how you refer to that. For the person who’s listening, particularly an attorney who’s thinking, “I don’t have a superpower,” what would you say to them?

Ben Glass:                          
Everybody has a superpower. Your superpower might just be your story. At least the beginning. And nobody has your story. Whatever your journey is, to being a lawyer and to the place and the profession and your career and your practice area, you have that story. And I’m telling you that there’s somebody else out there who would benefit from just hearing your story. Particularly if you will be as my favorite author, speaker, Brene Brown talks about being vulnerable and being willing to get into the sort of the messiness of human interactions. I ask everybody, like I’ll have high school kids come in, they’ll bring me lunch or college kids or kids that are thinking about going to law school, I ask them all that question, what’s their superpower. It usually makes them stop, but they all have an answer for it.

It was like, “What is the thing that you would do, that if you did it time would fly? You would do it for free if you could. Figure out a way to make money.” Usually I’m like, “Well, there is a way to make money with whatever your superpower is.” And just know that, I mean, you were born uniquely. Your job is not to look at the next person and say, “Oh my gosh, they’re bigger, faster, stronger than I am. I could never be like that.” Because there are certain things that you are just better at, then they will ever be at, and the world needs all of us. The world needs this diversity of thought and of talent and of gifts. And God, if you have one, don’t hide it. Somebody would benefit from it and you’ll benefit from somebody else’s.

Luke W Russell:               
I’m currently reading Tim Ferriss’ book Tribe of Mentors. In it he asks a wide range of people the same set of questions and here’s one of his questions I’d like to ask you. How has a failure or apparent failure set you up for later success? Do you have a favorite failure of yours?

Ben Glass:                          
The financial struggles that the firm and my family went through in the early years certainly set us up for success later, because it forced me to go out and to learn stuff. It was not at all fun. It was horrible going through that. If someone tells you, I’ve never had that experience, they’re either lying to you or they simply have worked for somebody else their whole time. And even that, I mean, even then they’re going to have had that. So is it a favorite failure? I think it is a failure that people can identify with. It was a real struggle. I didn’t know what I didn’t know when I started the firm. I didn’t know anything about business. So I think that’s one. Certainly if you’ve tried cases, we all have lost cases we shouldn’t have lost. We’ve won just as many cases that we probably shouldn’t have won, and there’s learning in everything.

Today, I think I am hardwired, and again, I’ve learned to do this, to look at every obstacle and to ask yourself the question, where is the learning in this? It really helps you because it prevents you from getting really pissed off that something bad has happened to you. Where is the learning in this and what is my responsibility for whatever situation I’m in? Because I believe that you’re a product of all the decisions you’ve made in the past, by in large your future is a product of the decisions that you will make. Yes, certainly bad things happen, things that are out of your control, they happen.

But if you can just step back and observe that stuff that happens, the bad stuff, and get through the short term, because the short-term can be hard, and the older you get the more you realize that there is a tomorrow, there’s going to be a day that’s better coming down the pipe. We just have to get through the short-term without killing somebody. And we do that by saying, “What’s my role in how I got to this particular bad spot in my life.” So my role was failing to be more aware of what it would really take to run a business. I think the profession could do a lot better at job at that, even today. I don’t blame them.

Luke W Russell:               
Yeah. Thinking to your comments about how when you started, went off on your own, you thought, “How hard can this be?” I’m curious, how you felt, you’d mentioned hiring people and such. I remember when I first started hiring employees I thought, I have leadership skills, I’ll be good at this managing people thing. And I was terrible. Absolutely terrible. It’s taken me years to become maybe decent in that role. I’m curious, was that a challenge for you in managing people as a business owner?

Ben Glass:                          
Well, I didn’t think I was good at managing people, so that thought didn’t get in my way. I think the challenge I had was if I was looking for someone to come join and you had a good story about why you needed a job, I would try to help you. And it’s still a challenge today. So my team will say to me, “Oh Ben, you see platinum in everybody. And we need to be a little bit more ruthless.” Ruthless means I’m paying attention to the details when we hire someone, because I believe I can coach everybody. Well, it’s not true. There are some people that just they can get to a certain level and that’s awesome, and often times the people that get you to a certain level are not the people that will travel with you to the next level. And that used to, I would feel bad about that. Like you have a longtime employee, but you’re growing and they’re just, they’re leveled out. And so now you have to get over the fact that you’re going to separate. And that’s sad the first dozen times you do it, but then you figure out that if your place isn’t the perfect place for them, then it by definition isn’t the perfect place for them and they need to be released to go find a place that’s perfect for them.

So I did not have that thought that you did that I’m a good manager, because I didn’t even know anything about managing people. I was like, “You need a job. I have a job and I’ll pay you first before I pay me. How’s that sound? Is that a good deal? Okay, good, come work for me.” I was an idiot about that. So we are much better today. I think we’re much better at vetting people. And a mantra at the law firm always is, you shouldn’t be here unless this place is making your life better. There’s other firms offer different benefits or different work hours or whatever, and if you find one, we’ll help you get there. But you should be here if we are helping make you happy. Now, here’s what I need from you. If there’s a delta between what you’re feeling and experiencing here and where you would like to be, I need to know that. I can’t promise you perfect, but I can promise you this, if I don’t know what perfect is for you, I can’t help you get there.

And the funny thing about employees is, most of them don’t actually believe that until they’ve been around a while. Because no one’s ever told them that before. No one’s ever had that kind of relationship. People ask why do you build a firm? Or what’s the mission of your firm? Well, ours isn’t justice. It’s not serving the public. It’s not any of those things. It’s we want to build a business where people will thrive. Again, others will thrive, the team will thrive and when those two things happen, then the clients will thrive. And so when you have that, we make a lot of decisions around that like, is this more that we’re making going to be one that helps those three constituents in that order? In that order. Thrive, and that means grow, then it’s probably a good decision to make. That’s just my son and I who’s my partner here, I mean, we are very aligned that we want this place to be a happy place for us to provide … The business, it generates income, but it also is not horribly stressful, which this is …

I mean, I’m getting off topic from your question, but one of the things we’ve heard over and over from people who work here and who have come from other places is that they are amazed at the work environment here, and because they have only experienced many of them, and this is sad, places where it’s caustic. I’m shocked by some of the things that business owners and supervisors think they can get away with. It’s 2021, are you kidding me? This is a place where your life will thrive. If you come to work for here, you will grow. And there may be a time when you leave and awesome. You leave either because you found something that will be better for you, or you’re capped out here in terms of what you can do for us. Either way is going to be awesome and we’ll help you on that journey.

Luke W Russell:               
What I love about that answer is you answered, my next three questions. So when I hear what you’re talking about, I hear in my head, I categorize this as a discussion about workplace culture. What does that phrase mean to you?

Ben Glass:                          
Combining your passion in your work and dealing with people you like. So culture is not do we wear jeans or have a half day off or any of that. Culture is does this place energize you? And I’ve had people who told me that before they came here every Sunday night they cried. Because they were going to go to work on Monday in a place that did not … It not only did not bring them energy, but it sucked energy out of them and it was miserable. And people will say, “Well, that’s impossible to build.” I think we’ve built it. I think by and large, we have a place that provides energy to the people that we work with. And again, if that’s happening, then your clients are going to be really well served.

And how do we do that? How do we do that? We are constantly having discussions … Well first, we’re pretty open. Every month we have monthly luncheon. Four times a year it’s a state of the firm address, because we will have had our quarterly goal setting meeting. Here’s where we are financially. Here’s the number of cases. Here’s what we’re trying to get to. Here’s some endeavors we’re working on. But we repeatedly say, what I’ve just said to you a few minutes ago, which is if this isn’t perfect for you, we need to know what could we do?

So when COVID, a year ago when COVID started and it was deep and dark and we have moms with kids at home, we didn’t set rules. How would we know what rules to set. We said, “You come tell us what would be great for you.” Because for some people, coming into the office, we have a lot of space here, was better. And if they had childcare, “Oh, well can’t afford childcare.” Well, how could we work this out? What would be perfect? I can’t promise you perfect, but I promise you we will listen to you and we will try, because we like you. Because we like the team that we’ve built. So culture for us is, we’re pretty open, we want you to grow, we expect you to ask questions, and we expect you to want to grow and we expect you to advocate for yourself. And again, the biggest challenge with that is, people don’t believe it’s actually true, because of their past experiences. It is true.

Luke W Russell:               
Yeah. What legacy do you want to leave your employees?

Ben Glass:                          
Yeah. Wow, what a great question. The legacy I want to leave my employees is my overriding life philosophy, is that your life is there for you to create. It won’t always be perfect circumstances, there will be people in circumstances that come into your life that can change the trajectory. I want you to be curious. I want you to learn to advocate for yourself. I want you to learn how to listen to others. You don’t have to agree with them, but you at least have to learn how to listen. By the way, it’s the same discussion we have at the dinner table. So it’s no different.

What you see with Ben Glass at the dinner table, in this discussion here, on stage and in books, I think you’ll find is 99% congruent across media choices. That’s the legacy I want, is that if you’re in if you’re in a place that isn’t perfect for you, that there’s lots of people like me who are running businesses like we do who respect the individual and will listen. Again, it doesn’t mean everything you want you get. I can’t get it to you, and I can’t plan if I don’t know.

And the other thing I’ll say is, you come to me with an idea for how you can make more money, we want you to make as much money as you possibly can. You bring me the idea. You see how the money flows. You see what work we do. Don’t just come here and say, “I’ve been here five years, I need more money.” That’s not very attractive to the owner. What are you going to do to help bring more value to the firm? And that’s a big lesson for young people. It’s like there’s a great book, I think it’s called Earn It, and it’s written by a woman who’s in the entrepreneur operating system traction world, and it’s for employees. It’s like, “You want to make more money, you figure out, what does your supervisor need? How does he or she make more money? How does the money work?” Be curious. They will love you.

You love it when an employee wants … They don’t just want more money, but they want to figure out how things work here so that they can add value. That’s the legacy I want to leave is that the world is filled up with win-win relationships. That’s capitalism, it’s the perfect economic system. It’s the perfect fair justice system. If we will not take by force or fraud, we’ll put our value into the world and we’ll be open with what we need. That’s the legacy that I want to leave with my employees. And we tell them, the worst thing about working for us is this will be the best place you ever worked.

Luke W Russell:               
I love that.

Ben Glass:                          
We’re confident about that.

Luke W Russell:               
Yeah. Is it possible to take those ideas and apply them to a law firm?

Ben Glass:                          
Of course, I mean, a law firm is … I mean, only a lawyer would ask that question, because lawyers think that we’re somehow different. We’re not we’re just a business. And I’m applying it, I mean, this happens to be a law firm. So we’re absolutely doing it here. So 100%. Now what do you need? You need people who are not bound by tradition. Lawyers think, “Well, we’ve been doing this for 30 years, it’s really cool.” Well okay, that’s never a good reason. We’ve been doing it before, that’s the way we should do it this way now. No. Consumers are looking, whether you’re a business consumer or an individual consumer, we lawyers are being compared to Amazon, FedEx, every other kind of great service that’s out there.

So it 100% is possible and I mean, not only are we doing it, but there’re firms all over the country who listen to people like me, again, I’m not the only voice here, and are building firms where people are thriving. We think it’s the only way to do it. Otherwise, it’s cesspool. I mean, if people aren’t happy then how are your clients going to be well served?

Luke W Russell:               
Yeah. Amy Eldridge said, “Ben is someone who motivates you to be a better person.”

Ben Glass:                          
Yeah, so I hope that everybody who comes in contact with me would believe that statement to be true. And by motivating you to be a better person, what I’m doing is I am freeing you up to think for yourself, to realize that you have unique value in the world. Again, whatever your superpower is. To let you know that there’s someone who has walked that path with maybe your type of talents and gifts who has been successful. The challenge is not reinventing the wheel, but finding that person and figuring out how they think. This is why books like I was telling someone this morning at crossfit, every week five books show up at my house from Amazon. My wife reads books. I read books. This is how you learn about other people’s experiences. So yeah, I would hope that people who come and spend any amount of time with me would think that what Amy said is absolutely true.

Luke W Russell:               
Every good boss has to learn to let go of some controls. How hard was that for your personality?

Ben Glass:                          
I’m learning to be better at it. Now how do I do that? Well, I spend a lot of money on coaches myself. And when you spend a lot of money on coaches, you do what they say, because you’re spending a lot of money and otherwise it’s not worthwhile. And so learning that my biggest superpower at the firm is not necessarily in doing the lawyer thing. So again, there’s a lot of lawyers who are a lot better than I am. I’m good at what I do. I’m really good at what I do. There’re lawyers who are better. And I can train up someone. Again, I can turn anyone into a platinum. But, the business sense, the how do you attract clients, how do you manage people, I think that there are fewer of us who are actually good at that. And the ones who are good at that have by and large shed to large extent the doing of the things. They have let go of the vine as they would say in traction, in EOS.

And then you have to be comfortable with that and that’s really hard when you’ve built something. You’ve built whatever business, but lets just talk about a law firm. You’ve built a small solo practice into one that’s got a lot of moving parts and a lot of people. We have all worked very hard to do that. It is hard to get a lawyer who has always had his or her hands in every case, it’s an ego thing, like, nobody could do this as good as I could. My clients want me as well. So this is all absolutely wrong. I mean the clients are happier now, because I have a terrific team who provides a high level of customer services and touches. Yes, I’m the still the legal strategist, at least in the disability side. I don’t do any of the personal injury work. I mean, Brain does it. He’s got a great team and I don’t have to. And me getting out of the way makes the whole deal better.

Luke W Russell:               
So I take it is the social security disability where you’ve landed on what you love?

Ben Glass:                          
Yeah, it’s not social security, it’s long-term disability insurance policies. Most of these are what you’re, if you worked for a company they’ll typically have a plan for you or you can go on the market and buy one. They’re governed by ERISA, which is a federal law, so they’re all in federal court. I lucked into one 20 years ago. Again, one of these things that happens. Oh, this is interesting, I didn’t know what it was. I had to figure out how to file it and pursue it. And then just got really interested in it and today, more than 80% of all the lawsuits filed in Virginia in this niche are filed by us. And I’d put my team up against 99.9% of all lawyers. My non-lawyer team knows more than almost every lawyer in America about these cases.

And so that’s where I play, mainly it’s in long-term disability insurance. It’s fascinating work. It’s an underserved market if anybody is listening to this and is looking for a niche where there aren’t enough lawyers, this is one of them. And once you figure out what the rules are and what the law is, and that’s a lot easier today than it was when I started, then you can have a practice. I show people how to do that.

Luke W Russell:               
Is it possible for Ben Glass to retire?

Ben Glass:                          
Yeah. So I retire every single day from things I don’t want to do and people I don’t want to be around. I think that I will always, as long as I’m physically and mentally able, I will do work that’s interesting to me. So retirement in the traditional sense of, “Hey, I’m not coming into the law firm, I’m not doing coaching,” I don’t think so. I mean, I’m one of those guys and on of my coaches he’s the same way, as long as we get to work with interesting people and we believe we can add value, and they’re actually adding value to our lives, because they are interesting, we’ll do that. But there’s a lot of stuff that I just don’t do anymore.

So here’s a tip. You want a big tip of the day? For years, I have a journal, down the center of the page you draw the line and on the left hand side is crap I don’t like to do and crap I like doing. And so the quicker we can eliminate, delegate or figure out just nobody needs to do, the stuff we don’t like to do, the happier our lives will be. In the beginning when you first start to think about this, it’s a long list. If you just track everything you did in the week, we lawyers do a lot of different things. A lot of it we don’t really like doing, we just think that I have to do it because my name’s on the firm or nobody else can do it better and that’s just objectively we found that that’s not true. So you retire from those things.

You retire from people who don’t add energy to your life and you know what, it sounds mean, but it’s actually okay. This is the way of life is designed to be so that I can spend time with people I find interesting who get value from me being around them. And I get value from me being around them. I’m a huge introvert. I might not appear that way. I like being on stage, I hate being at social hour, I hate small talk. I would rather just … An insider secret at our … we have these big events and I tell my team, cocktail hour, but at 7:55 I’m out of here. I’m going up to my room. I find those types of discussions all hard.

Luke W Russell:               
I know it was very recent when your father passed, but would you be open to a few questions about him?

Ben Glass:                          
Totally. Sure.

Luke W Russell:               
What would you like to tell us about your dad?

Ben Glass:                          
So my dad was, he was an engineer. He was there for us all of the time. He helped us figure things out. I tell a story and well, the title of my book, Play Left Fullback, comes from him figuring out that the important part of getting on a travel team was just to get on the team. We would figure it out later, so tell the coach you play left fullback, because no else is going to tell the coach you play left fullback. So that was it. You couldn’t ask dad a simple math question, because it would ensure he would go into the history of mathematics and trigonometry and all of that stuff. So he was that. He was an only child. Probably an introvert himself. I think he struggled the last couple of years because of COVID and because of needing care, it was just really really hard for him and not being able to be personally around him.

Luke W Russell:               
I read your father’s obituary and it said that he remained full of ideas until his final days. That sounds a lot like you, Ben.

Ben Glass:                          
I have a lot of ideas, but again, different gifts and talents. So his ideas were how do I create the squirrel proof feeder? How do I irrigate the garden in the back?

Luke W Russell:               
I love it.

Ben Glass:                          
How do I make mechanical things simpler? All of which he tried to teach me, some of my brother got that. I got none of. Where my interest came from, I really don’t know. I do have a lot of ideas.

Luke W Russell:               
Okay, Ben, it’s your 80th birthday celebration, people from all throughout your life are present. A gentle clinking on glass can be heard and a hush washes over the room. People raise their glasses to toast to you. What are three things you would want them to say about you?

Ben Glass:                          
He doesn’t look 80. He’s healthy, is a model of athleticism. I think that he’s always willing to help someone who genuinely wants to be helped, really to be self-made, not just handout, but let me help you do your life. And that no matter whether he knew you were watching or not, he lived by the same set of values. In other words, what you see is what is actually said about him.

Luke W Russell:               
To learn more about Ben’s law firm, visit benglasslaw.com.

If you were thinking, hey, these interviews are unique and really highlight the humanity of the guests, that’s because this is what we do all day every day. I own an agency and we work with law firms who are marketing and advertising for mass torts and personal injury claims. We drive results by using the power of human stories. Our unique and thoughtful methods for crafting messages allow us to help lawyers get clients by connecting with the hearts and minds of potential claimants. If you’re looking to serve more individuals in need of legal help and you want to get away from generic marketing, shoot me an email at luke@russellmedia.us. That’s L-U-K-E @ R-U-S-S-E-L-L-M-E-D-I-A.U-S and we can set up a time to chat. Or if you just want to give me a ring, ping me on my cell, it’s 317-855-8597. And if you’re thinking, wait, is that normal to leave a phone number in a podcast? Well, maybe not, but hey look, I have been in this industry for a long time. I know a lot of great people in it. So you can reach out to me at 317-855-8597.

If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please leave us a review on Apple Podcast or head over to our website to leave a comment at lawfulgoodpodcast.com/review. This podcast is produced by Kirsten Stock, developed in collaboration with Max T. Russell, and edited and mastered by John Kerr. A special thanks to the companies that make this project possible, X Social Media, Russell Media and the SEO Police. You can learn more about these groups by visiting our website, lawfulgoodpodcast.com. I’m your host Luke W. Russell, and you’ve been listening to Lawful Good.