When we started Gilson Daub in 2011, we wanted to be radically different from the traditional law firm choices that were out there. Law firms are historically slow to embrace change. Models that worked 20 to 30 years ago were no longer working for clients and employees. From the very beginning, we set out to make the practice of law dramatically better. We have aimed to lead the way in presenting a new model that sets the standard for practicing law for the future. We took intentional steps to implement cutting-edge technology to better serve our clients, significantly reduce caseloads for our attorneys so they can provide exceptional customer service, and incentivize case closures rather than inflate unnecessary billing. That said, the core of our strategy is to create a law firm culture that attracts and retains the best attorneys in our industry.
Brent M. Daub, Esq.Senior Founding Partner and Trial Attorney
For decades, the traditional “old-school” law firm culture was very poor. The model was not diverse or inclusive and it created unhealthy competition among associates where high billing was the only real measure of success and career advancement. Conversely, we pride ourselves in building a collaborative law firm culture that is responsive to our employees and fosters a commitment to cooperation and team success. For us, this process ever and always begins at the top. Our headship model promotes responsive, transparent, and team-building-focused leaders who help the firm deliver on those commitments each and every day. Attorneys and staff join Gilson Daub because they want to work on a team that puts people ahead of profits.
How is the firm able to foster such focus on work-life balance when the industry standard is quite the opposite?
Since the “old-school” law firm model put such an unhealthy emphasis on inflated billing practices, this often left clients feeling overcharged and attorneys feeling burnt out; and while that had been industry-standard for so long, I’ve never met an attorney who went to law school to be the highest biller. People want to make a difference. People want to take pride in the quality of their work and build relationships of trust and open communication with their clients and co-workers. At Gilson Daub, we recognized from the get-go that an emphasis on high caseloads and over-billing was ruining client relationships and taking a toll on lawyers’ health and well-being, so we established a model that reduces caseloads and sets reasonable performance expectations. Our paperless case management system also allows our attorneys the opportunity to perform in a flexible working environment, which means our attorneys can dedicate their weekly schedule to the most important aspects of quality work, excellent communication, and healthy lifestyles.
As of March 2021, Gilson Daub occupies 18 offices in California, Nevada, Hawaii, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, and Utah, so what do you attribute your consistent growth trajectory to?
Since we opened the firm’s first office in California in 2011, we have been so fortunate to be able to attract some of the nation’s top employers and insurance companies as clients. When we started handling their cases with a commitment to exceptional customer service and quality, our clients immediately took notice. They started sending us work throughout the state of California and began to ask us if we could bring the same level of work to other states as well. Now, our clients approach us every month, asking for help throughout the country.
We started 2021 with the opening of our newest office in Salt Lake City, Utah – which is the first of several new states that we are going to be serving this year. In the next twelve months, we have plans to open offices in Kentucky, Oregon, and Idaho – with
additional state openings coming in 2022 and beyond. Over the past several years, we have also expanded our practice area from workers’ compensation defense to subrogation recovery, and general liability defense as well – and aim to further expand our practice areas to better serve all the needs of our growing client base ongoingly.
As an attorney, there are many law firms to choose from, however, most attorneys are not just looking for a job, but an exciting career. Many of the attorneys in our industry have told us that most of the other firms out there are still operating under the outdated law firm models that only see attorneys as numbers and not people. We are looking for a specific candidate profile who has a strong commitment to quality work, customer service, and collaborative teamwork to help us continue to keep Gilson Daub the firm that clients prefer and employees are proud of.
Diana Tsudik , Esq.Southern California Regional Partner
After working at another more traditional firm, Gilson Daub first attracted me with its openness to change and new ways of practicing law. The firm, even when I joined back in 2014, already had an industry leading tech-centric model that was very interesting to me not to mention how the focus on people vs. billable hours was paramount (not a common practice at many firms, certainly). Gilson Daub is also very unique and set apart from the rest with its push for optimum work-life balance. We believe that if our attorneys are truly happy, that they will perform better which is ultimately better for the firm as a whole and for our clients’ success in general, too.
Gilson Daub takes pride in providing all of the necessary tools to set everyone on the team up for however they choose to define “success” from support staff to attorneys to partners, everyone is seen to be of tremendous value and supported in various ways. We are always given the freedom to pursue our cases freely and do whatever needs to be done to ensure success for our clientele. Our team has complete trust in one another, which means no overbearing attitudes and no micromanagement; so, when I began my role as a partner, especially, I really appreciated the full autonomy I was afforded and from the outset to run our West LA County office as I saw fit.
How does this differ from the experience you’ve either had prior and/or how you believe your colleagues experience their work?
All of the tools we have in place at Gilson Daub create a better and more seamless workflow for everyone. We have tech-enabled case management capabilities to help streamline work as well as whole departments and dedicated staff members trained to specifically handle certain tasks. Having various touchpoints of support for each client/case keeps tasks easily defined,
everything moving forward, and a lower likelihood of backlog. By operating in this manner, everything is highly-organized, compartmentalized, and reduces the risk of error on anyone’s part.
As mentioned before, our team of support staff is integral to our success at Gilson Daub. There is always room to grow here, but if you’re interested in staying put at the level you joined that’s okay, too, and it isn’t frowned upon. That said, having a team of people rather than a single secretary to help with my caseload has been extremely efficient and ultimately game-changing as things don’t get bottlenecked if one person is extremely busy and/or out-of-office for any period of time. Our ability to work as a team simplifies everyone’s roles and leads to a sense of collective success for us all.
How does Gilson Daub allow you to grow new talent within the firm? And what traits are you most looking for in new team members as the firm continues to grow?
Gilson Daub provides the opportunity for growth and discovery at every level, at any time. Whether you’re an experienced attorney, have just passed the bar, or work on the support team and want to explore newer and bigger career opportunities, Gilson Daub allows, fosters, and even encourages free reign for anyone to chart their own course within the firm and the field at large. When you come to Gilson Daub, you also get a first-hand look at everything we do. We set new staff up to work with everyone from senior attorneys to administrative team members to other new hires to ensure everyone has proper training and on all fronts and feels connected to as many parts of the company as possible. It’s also worth noting our six-month review process; and while communication occurs on a very frequent basis across all levels, having twice-yearly formal check-ins to ensure new staff is feeling integrated and on the right track is vital and so appreciated by all. Unlike many of our competitors, we see these check-ins as “people-first” and are certainly not entirely work-centric; and in regard to new candidates – we are always looking for those that posses a strong sense of dedication, curiosity, professionalism, and the ability to always ask questions, regardless of your level of experience.
Personally, I am most invested in the continued growth of our California offices. It’s always exciting for me to meet new colleagues and clients, too, so I’m especially looking forward to the return to post-pandemic “normalcy” and getting to have those in-person interactions that simply can’t be matched by a Zoom meeting.
Everyone on our team is a person first and is never seen as just billable hours – which, quite frankly, is still commonplace within our field. Our firm’s tech-enabled work experience is also one of the things I’m most proud of and has really put us at the forefront of our respective specialty and cutting-edge law tech, in general.
At Gilson Daub, we’ve carefully curated a large team of great people at every turn. There is an unmatched level of dedication, comradery, and idea-sharing here and we’re always looking to expand this group to find more qualified team members who are going to push the firm to even newer heights.