Michael Duffy, the firm’s managing partner, was a guest on the Profit With Law podcast with Moshe Amsel. The topic of discussion was about how he started Duffy & Duffy, PLLC.
Mr. Duffy, who majored in finance in college, decided to get into law after learning there were no finance jobs available after graduation. He began his legal career doing defense and small personal injury work at a small firm. He eventually left to start his own firm.
Mr. Duffy started taking on what he called “stinky fishes” — that is, cases no other lawyer would take on. He knew these were not very popular cases, but they helped him earn enough experience and helped build up his reputation as one of the premier attorneys in the country. They were also necessary to help pay the bills.
Being a good lawyer, he said, comes from focusing on a specialization and persevering. “One of the things that makes good lawyers, particularly good contingency fee lawyers, is a lack of fear,” he said. “In order to do what any of us do for a living, you have to have that ego within you that says: I am good enough to do this, I can stand in front of a jury and convince this jury that I am right, and the other side is wrong. That is something that I have always instilled into my firm and that’s why we are able to get some of the highest outcomes in the country for our clients.”
According to Mr. Duffy, small law firms must concentrate in an area of law where they are the best. The key to a successful law firm, he said, is to say “no” to cases which are bad or which you are not experienced or knowledgeable enough to handle. “Believe in yourself,” he said. “And if you do believe in yourself, ultimately, you will succeed.”
When Mr. Duffy began his own practice, he only had a handful of attorneys working for him. Now, he has 14 attorneys and a support staff. The key to building up a successful law firm is to find attorneys with the right attitude. He looks for applicants who can understand medicine and the legal aspects of medical malpractice, focus their attention on the medicine’s logical transition as it exists into law and handle a case, from phone calls to jury selection. Mr. Duffy pointed out that every medical malpractice case is an exercise in logic. He has created a process that he utilizes when he is bringing on a new attorney to the firm that allows him to get a sense of how their mind works.
To listen to the podcast, click HERE.