Running a 7 Figure Law FirmWith Empathy and Balance
Meet the Founder and Principle Attorney of Gilormo Injury Law, Amber Gilormo. Before venturing off on her own as a business owner, she worked under a nationally recognized personal injury firm, trained by some of the more prolific attorney in Georgia. In her career, she has helped hundreds of clients win six and seven figure results — recovering millions of dollars.
Her empathy has proven to be one of her top skillsets working in personal injury. As a mother and wife, she understands the importance of work life balance all whilst truly being there for her loyal database of ever-growing clients.
Tell our readers about your journey into the law.
You know, when you own a business or you’re self-employed, it’s like, if you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. What brought me to where I’m at today, as a business owner was not a linear path. I graduated from law school, growing up, my mom worked as a CPA for a bunch of lawyers, and interestingly enough, she worked for several personal injury lawyers, and some of those lawyers were what I would call sketchy lawyers. As she was doing the book, she found out that some of them are misusing client money and all these other things. And as I grew up, I had always kind of recognized that there is definitely a power to law and the practice of it, and it’s very easily misused. I didn’t think I knew it at the time, but because it is such a powerful profession, I wanted to be able to actually help people rather than have people be taken advantage of.
After graduation, I had been working at a general practice law firm, doing kind of everything. It’s a Jack of all Trades, if you will. So, I learned a little bit about a lot of stuff and a lot of it, we call it trial by fire. So, I would just have to show up to court and figure it out. I did that for contract disputes, criminal defence, personal injury, and I got into a niche where I practice personal injury and intellectual property for the past decade.
My primary focus in terms of my practice areas has definitely shifted to more of the small business owner support, and I do that for things like trademarks, trademark protection, helping people build a brand portfolio and turn businesses from just an idea into an actual brand.
I really enjoy helping people realize their potential, in that respect, because I think a lot of people get stuck in the day-to-day management of the business and don’t really focus on the big picture and how to protect and how to grow it. That’s where I come in and where my firm in the resources that we offer come in.
Did you open your practice right after law school? Is that something you knew you were going to do?
Well, actually I worked for a general practice law firm out of law school. So, you know, just a regular, I was going to say 9 to 5, but let’s be honest, a 9 to 9 kind of job. So, we worked extremely long hours, and I did that for six years, working for law firms as an employee. I think that was important to gain that experience and get exposure to people who knew more than I did, because you come up and you learn, you don’t know what you don’t know until you learn it.
And then when I was pregnant with my first child, I decided that I didn’t want to work on somebody else’s timeline. I wanted to have the freedom to be able to choose my hours and choose who I represented and to be more intentional with my time. That’s what drove me to start my own practice, my own business.
Now, do you focus primarily on personal injury?
So now, I’m split. I do about 50/50. Fifty percent of my clients are catastrophically injured, personal injury cases with traumatic brain injuries, permanent injuries. And then the other fifty percent of my clients are trademark clients, business clients, and whether they’re mostly online businesses, I would say. That’s really where I’m focusing on is, I guess, a creative entrepreneurial industry.
When it comes to your practice and how you run your practice, give us the vision of where you would like to take the business in the next five years?
Over the course of the five years, my goal for myself would be to transition what I do on a day-to-day basis from the practice of law to the business of law, because I think a lot of women, in particular, we kind of are self-limited in that respect. We’ve shown up for so long, we’ve done all the work, and it’s great that we can do that on a day-to-day basis and help the clients in those ways. But on a bigger picture, I am going to focus more on the business side of it and that I’m directing the firm and the direction of our projects and how we handle our user experiences for the clients and how we help them grow.
In terms of the firm’s plan over the next five years, I am trying to do a, in the legal field, they call us like kind of dinosaurs in terms of we’ve always handled cases, you know, paper pushers, we have lots of books in our offices, and I take my firm as digital. We are remote. We’re virtual firm. We do have an office to meet clients, if we needed, but we are a hundred percent paper neutral. And so, we keep all of our files online. And I want to be able to continue to offer those types of services, I think it’s important, but those types of benefits to our employees and help them grow, so that they can have a better work-life balance as well.
And is that something that you also thrive for? I mean being a young mom as well and still running your practice, is there such a thing as balance now?
Yeah. So, this is my third child who’s currently sitting on my lap, loving me. But I have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old as well. With my 5-year-old, that was the one who inspired me, before he was even born, to go ahead and start my own practice. When I had him, I could tell you honestly, no, there was absolutely no work-life balance for me at all. I mean you have to grind a little bit. It’s entrepreneurial, and we know that now. You know, I think people think you do it for more freedom of hours, but what you do entrepreneurship for is you’re going to work all the time, especially at the outset, in order to grow it. And so I was doing that with him. But now, having been established as a business owner myself for six years, at least I found with this pregnancy and with this child, that I’m definitely able to balance it more.
I think the key for women, for new moms who are entrepreneurs is that you have to find a way to be comfortable delegating and sharing the responsibilities that you carry. Otherwise, you’re going to get bogged down in the day-to-day and not be able to focus on those important moments with your children that you can’t get back, because we want to be able to work to live, not live to work. And so, my focus is definitely on the work to live balance.
When it comes to giving advice even to your younger self that you had just finished law school, that other young attorneys can take in or that obviously want to be mothers as well, what does that look like?
My advice to my younger self is that’s what I was taught, was that I was going to be on the hook for it, but realistically, all I can do is the best that I can do and make sure that I communicate better expectations to clients, so that I don’t take those pressures on myself, because we are two separate people.
Whether it’s working for a corporation or to a person, we can’t take on their responsibilities. I think new entrepreneurs, new lawyers, new business owners in general, we tend to want to do as best we can for somebody, but we internalize that and personalize that, and you really shouldn’t. You can only do what you can do for you.
How do you set those goals with your team, and hit targets?
When I’m training new employees, we actually read it together. It’s the Ritz Carlton’s approach to client management. It’s called ‘How the Ritz-Carlton Creates a 5-Star Customer Experience’. I do not hold my employees to any benchmarks in terms of retaining clients, settling cases, making revenues, none of that. The benchmark I hold them to is the customer experience, because I know, if our clients are having a good experience, then the word of mouth will spread in any industry. In terms of an ROI on your marketing dollars, is going to be the cheapest and best return on your investment. So, for me, the goals I’m setting for people are to make sure that they are very strategic and intentional with the time that they’re on the phone with clients, with the email communications that they have with clients. And I tell them never to rush through communications with people. Schedule it out on your calendars.
What does success represent to you now?
Success represents, at this point in my life, being able to have a better work-life balance. I know that’s a lot to talk about that whether it’s online or just in general conversations, but, practically for me, I’m a very practical person. I don’t really care too much about the high-level stuff. I want to know how things can affect me, how I can use them, what I can and can’t do with something, and that really translates to my time, because I do have a husband, three kids, and I’m trying to be able to have hobbies and things that I think we push to the side. I want to be able to focus on that while also growing a business and being successful in it. So, success is really all the things, but when it comes down to it, it’s having a balance.
You know, one of my mentors in the field, and I use the term ‘mentor’ and it’s funny because he’s much younger than me, but he’s got a huge following on social media, he gets all his clients from social media. He’s a CEO lawyer on Instagram and on all of his accounts, but he hosts a summit or a conference every year for lawyers to come and talk about marketing. He has this panel last year that was called “The Billion Dollar Panel” and there were all the attorneys up there who have made a billion dollars each. Okay. Wonderful. That’s a fabulous benchmark.
Something that two of the men on the panel said about work-life balance was, “Yeah, sure, I missed some soccer games, but my kids had lobster for dinner.” And that’s a direct quote. And at the time I was eight months pregnant with this son currently, and it actually brought tears to my eyes. I’m like, that’s a really shitty way to live. Success to me actually is the exact opposite. I don’t want to be serving them a Hamburger Helper overnight. But if I can give them chicken par and go to all the soccer games, then I’m good. It’s having a quality work-life balance but still killing it that means success to me.
As I’m sitting at my home office now, I have a little desk set up for my kids where they color. And when I’m working there, my daughter comes in, she’s 3, and she’s like, “I’m doing my work, mommy.” And so, setting a good example for them just to show them, you know, not necessarily like don’t work all the time because I certainly do shut this down when they get home from school, but when they’re on their off days and I’m trying to get stuff done, for them to see, like you put an effort, you get reward, that’s I think one of the biggest things that motivates me – is setting a good example for them.
All Photo Credits – Mecca Gamble
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