about this episode

If you’re going to play at all, you’re out to win. Baseball, board games, playing Jeopardy, I hate to lose." - Derek Jeter (The Captain)

episode transcribed

Todd Burnham 0:00
Hi, this is Todd Burnham. I am a licensed practicing attorney. But just because you're listening to me doesn't mean that I represent you. This is for informational purposes only if you're good with that, then let's roll

Chris Braden 0:23
What do you do when you move to a new state during a recession with no contacts, no job, no money, little experience and a family to support? You lean on what you know, you continue to learn to grind every day and you keep getting better. Join Todd Burnham as he outlines how he started Burnham Law in his basement grew to seven offices relying only on his experiences and inspirations from being a college athlete. His unique style of motivation and raw sense of humor are a welcome change from the business advice you're used to hearing. Whether you're a new or seasoned attorney trying to grow your practice or an entrepreneur in any service industry, Todd's story is sure to inspire you to take action and follow your instincts. This is Deep Bench with Todd Burnham. Hey, Todd, how's it going, buddy?

Todd Burnham 1:12
Good man. What are we up to? What number episode of this season one are we at now?

Chris Braden 1:18
We're at 14 or 15 man.

Todd Burnham 1:20
It's crazy.

Chris Braden 1:21
It's good season, right?

Todd Burnham 1:22
Yeah, I didn't know I had so much to say.

Chris Braden 1:24
We had a preseason that we haven't talked about much.

Todd Burnham 1:27
Do you want to talk about it? Like, okay,

Chris Braden 1:29
No, because we learned a lot. We got better. And I'll have to tell you. I think you put me through two a days. It was really hot.

Todd Burnham 1:36
I'm just here to make you better.

Chris Braden 1:37
You were not letting me go get water.

Todd Burnham 1:39

Chris Braden 1:40
You're like

Todd Burnham 1:40
Water's for babies.

Chris Braden 1:42
Yeah, no, you were like water's for winners. And you're not one.

Todd Burnham 1:45
Coffee's for closers.

Chris Braden 1:47
I love them. So anyway, we talked about role players. We've talked about culture. We've talked a lot about a lot of things that go in to the law firm. Every team each year, most teams do they vote on captains that there are leaders on the team, whether they're designated a captain sure or not.

Todd Burnham 2:07

Chris Braden 2:07
There are people, people that are just leaders on a team. What do you do to make sure or to put people in a leadership role? Like what's the process for you?

Todd Burnham 2:17
So I guess in the beginning, it was based on need, try, yeah, putting an office need someone to run it, I believe that this person has what it takes, right. But as you get better, and you get more and more attorneys that are just high level, it's really not about necessarily captains, to me, it's about fit. Because, for example, I have, there's four attorneys. In the tech center, we have Erica Amat y Leon, Lori Jo, Lisa Perrigo, and Rosie Rizk. All four of these lawyers could run and be in charge of an office could run the law firm for all probably matters. But the the example that I have is that Eric is, you know, like we were talking before, like wolves, like, I'm just a wolf.

Chris Braden 3:12

Todd Burnham 3:13
You know, like, I'm just I'm very passionate about what we're doing and building a team. And Eric is someone that has been doing this for in family law for like 20 years. Right. And he's also methodical, extremely intelligent, and is probably more of a type B personality when we're talking about leadership.

Chris Braden 3:34

Todd Burnham 3:35
If you've got a bunch of Type A's, who better to lead that group, right, you're not going to have the friction, you're not going to have and especially with someone that is really good at listening to people's input, and giving a response to something or an issue that is respected.

Chris Braden 3:53
Look at it through a different lens.

Todd Burnham 3:55
And the correct one for them. Right. And it's and he's not someone that's going to just say, Well, I'm in charge here.

Chris Braden 4:04
That's how we're doing it is how we're doing it. Right.

Todd Burnham 4:07
And then you have someone like Danielle Davis, who is an exceptional young attorney who embodies the traits and the characteristics that I think blend exceptionally well with Burnham Law. Right? And so, when I look at her and I see where her trajectory is, and her commitment level to her craft in this firm, then it's easy to say, Danielle, I think you're gonna be someone that I want in Cherry Creek, because it's a different demographic and the people that I have there are people that I have Sarah and a new person and I'm really excited about Marla Hooper from New Mexico. These people are like she's has a mentoring spirit to her. Okay, right. And so who better to mentor and you know, see one do one teach one. Right? And so that's kind of like the mentality of mentoring and with her, I think that she is that kind of type A, but it's a mentoring type A. So, and then you have Stephanie who's like type A and just a baller, right? You have someone like Heidi in Fort Collins, who is experienced and is extremely emotionally intelligent in the way that she interacts with people, all different ages and groups. So it's it's kind of like, it's that emotional intelligence component to look at people and see where are they going to fit. And if it doesn't fit, make a change. Those are the leaders, those are kept

Chris Braden 5:32
In radio, there's a lot of people that just want to be really good at radio, and they don't want to be a program director. I know tons of salespeople that love selling, and they don't want to be a sales manager. Are you cool with people that just want to be really good at being an attorney?

Todd Burnham 5:52
Oh, my God. Yes. I'm so good with that. Because I think that I provide the infrastructure to make you the best that you're going to be, period. So Prime example, I'm in Boulder, right. I've got Aaron Belzer here, who's the director of civil litigation with Ashley are socially we're just in arbitration and just smoked in so impressed with both of them to the point that I think I would have them in on a podcast because if you want to see what young, determined, knowledgeable, sophisticated attorneys look like doing civil litigation, it's those two, right, so I have that. And then I have JP Prentiss and Jennifer Scott, both of whom are my partners in family law. Right. And Jenn, I used to call her Warhorse, and she still is, she is someone she has a family. Her husband's an attorney has his own practice. She has two young daughters, it's important that she that she wants to be the best lawyer that she could possibly be. She wants to get great results for clients just wanna spend time with her family, JP, same deal. And at the same time, he's dealing with all these other technology based changes that we're doing right. And, and so who runs and who's the leader of this of this department, right? It's just like, you don't have to put a name to it. Jenn leads by example, JP leads by example. And also a little bit of tried to get us better on the technology side.

Chris Braden 7:18

Todd Burnham 7:19
And then I'm here just like, ah, rah rah, right? And, and so Boulder is kind of like a Petri dish of everyone doing different things in leadership capacities. But without someone calling it a leader.

Chris Braden 7:32

Todd Burnham 7:32
And so here, it's different. We're all doing many different things. But we're all going towards the same thing. Right? If you have in the in the tech center, I don't have to do anything, because I know that that thing is just being run the right way. And the people that are part of a team know their place and know what they want to accomplish. And you have Stephanie, who manages all of the people from the Springs, but it she has that inherent respect of the people because everyone, no one can can criticize Stephanie, for not caring enough.

Chris Braden 8:07
That's true.

Todd Burnham 8:07
Right? And so everything is different, and the leaders are going to lead in different ways. And a lot of times, I'd like to think that you know, you're going to have captains you're going to have in a sports team. But I really like to think that I'm a captain genzebe captains, Donna Bystricky is a captain, Jessica Lasky is a captain, we're just all good at certain aspects and coming together, we make a team. So you're gonna have people that are going to be the point of contact. So you're not sending out emails all the time and say everyone do this. And it's also important to have people in different offices that are going to be points of contact, if you want to, you know, kind of get an idea of what people think about something. I don't implement things willy nilly and say, From now on, we're going to do this, right. It's hey Stephanie, once you ask people down there, what they think of this, Eric, when you ask, you know your people like what they think. And then, of course, people have an opportunity to call me directly or anybody else. But I think that leadership is and captains they are very different in like sports compared to what we're doing here. Because the captains aren't more important than the players here. And the coaches aren't more important. The owner isn't more important. The GM isn't more important. It's just everyone's got a role. And as I told Karen, so you got to stop telling him you got to stop talking to me, like I'm the owner of the firm like, Look, man, that you are, yeah, but I'm the tripod, right? I'm in PR here. I'm doing the podcast, and I'm not more important than you.

Chris Braden 9:38

Todd Burnham 9:38
And so I think that kind of mentality is of Leadership isn't relegated to just people that have leadership titles.

Chris Braden 9:46
I think that's one cool distinction that you made. I mean, there's captains and then there's leaders and like, for example, Von Miller if he wasn't voted Captain who's the leader?

Todd Burnham 9:56
Von Miller.

Chris Braden 9:57
Right. Exactly. And I think when you have it Team, there's leaders in a bunch of different categories like football on offense, defense, you got linebackers leader, you got secondary, I mean, yeah, they run across the board. And if you have one bad leader in any part of those positions, I mean, it can throw everything out of whack.

Todd Burnham 10:17
And I've been, you know, I've been a poor leader.

Chris Braden 10:21

Todd Burnham 10:21
So I've experienced what that's like. And it's like, you know, fitting a square peg into a round hole, which we, you know, we talked about being self aware and making changes, studying the tape, great leaders, I think are going to be aware and, and take action in addressing their shortcomings. Right. And I like to think that all the people that we have hear from people, the person at the front desk of every office to the the lawyer that is heading, that office, in particular, are all going to have those leadership traits and qualities that make them approachable, and that make them amendable, to changing things that they do if it's not in the benefit of the team. It is easy to talk about man. And it might sound like utopian, and like oh my god, this dude is crazy talking about this, I swear to you, that's what we have. That's why you don't add lawyers just because you have so many clients coming in, you are particular about the person you're going to add to the team. And to that, for to that respect. I think that captains are the point people but everybody here has a voice that's a little bit different than this is more like the locker room mentality of culture that we're talking about with this rather than people that are going to lead because every single one of these people I think have had they have those those traits, even ones that might not voice their positions and their opinions a lot people that have game don't have to talk about it. People that like Jenn, she just crushes all the time, like well, well well respected in the courtroom. And by opposing counsel. I don't hear her much.

Chris Braden 12:02
But she doesn't have to talk about it. She bes about it.

Todd Burnham 12:05
Exactly. You got to be able to walk the walk. Right and you don't have to necessarily talk the talk.

Chris Braden 12:11
Well, good job, Todd. Man, you put together a great team here. So good stuff.

Todd Burnham 12:15
Appreciate it, man. Catch you later. Hey, thanks for listening. Make sure you subscribe and until next time, keep getting better.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai