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Episode 69 — Brian Panish — Champions Compete with Themselves

"There's really three areas where there's always a winner and loser in today's society. You know, everybody gets a trophy, everybody gets recognition, except in three areas of life: politics, athletics, and courtroom law." - Brian Panish

  • How Brian won the landmark case that put him on the map
  • Why he left money on the table at the beginning of his career
  • How Brian chooses the right cases for his firm
  • Why Brian emphasizes coaching for the lawyers in his practice

From Locker Room to Courtroom

Brain Panish knows what it takes to win. A former three-sport athlete, he played Division I college football for Fresno State. Instead of entering the NFL, Brian turned his talents towards the legal profession, where his team-first approach and dedication to winning have earned his clients billions of dollars over the years.

As a founding partner at Panish, Shea, & Boyle LLP, Brian is just as competitive as ever. He's gone nearly 20 years without losing a case. He frequently applies lessons learned from his time on the gridiron to his firm, such as the importance of culture to a business's success and how to improve performance through coaching.

Causes Worth Fighting For

Brian has had many victories throughout his career, perhaps none more famous than his landmark case against General Motors in 1999. In that case, a car that was rear-ended left a family burned when the gas tank exploded. Brian was able to secure the family a record $4.9 billion dollars in the verdict.

But money isn't the only thing that Brian focuses on. He also fights for change and consumer safety. In a wrongful death lawsuit against the LA County Metropolitan Transit Authority, he won a verdict that required the government to put protective barriers between their cars, improving safety for their riders.

Play From Behind

Brian knows that being on top is about being relentless. "The true champion is always behind," he says. It's that mentality that's helped him improve his skills as a lawyer, something he demands of the attorneys at his practice as well.

It's also the reason he hasn’t lost a case in over 18 years. He brings his best to every trial, because every client is important and Brian is the only way they'll get the justice they deserve. He hustles for everyone. As Brian says, "Winning is not a marathon. It's a sprint and it never ends. And that's what it takes."

Key takeaways:

  • If you stay the same, you're going back. Your competitors are improving; you should be too.
  • It's a stressful job. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically will help you be a better lawyer for longer.
  • Stand on the shoulders of giants. Read the books. Go to the seminars. Use the techniques other lawyers have developed.

Links and Resources