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Episode 70 — Michael Cowen — Play to Your Strengths and Unlock Your Firm’s Potential

"You need to invest in yourself. There's no better investment you can have than your investment in yourself. I don't care about the stock market or real estate. You are in this profession. You are your most valuable resource." - Michael Cowen

  • Why does Michael focus more on story than technique in trial?
  • What’s the best way to only get the types of cases you want?
  • How is success not as complicated as you think it is?
  • Why hold out for the settlement you deserve, even when it's hard?

The Winding Path

Michael Cowen's journey has been one of hard work and unexpected discovery. He wasn't sure he'd get into law school, but then he earned the top score on the Texas Bar Exam. He didn't think he wanted to be a plaintiff's lawyer, and now, as founding partner of Cowen | Rodriguez | Peacock, he's one of the most successful ones in the nation. Michael hadn't heard of podcasts until he listened to a friend guest on the Stone Cold Steve Austin Show; now he hosts one of the leading legal podcasts in the country.

Michael's success comes down to his constant self-improvement. He's worked with coaches and therapists as well as other attorneys to build on his strengths. It's a decades-long process, and it isn't over yet.

A Rising Tide

One of the things that put Michael on the map is his thought leadership, which includes his books, the Big Rig Bootcamp conference, and his podcast Trial Lawyer Nation. He says that being an authority doesn't happen by accident. "You can't just wait to become organically an authority,” he says. “You have to make yourself an authority."

But the books, the podcast, and the conference aren't just about Michael. It's about helping the community. Michael has seen that there's no need to hoard all his knowledge. In fact, it's better if he shares it. According to hikm, "Having an abundance mentality that there's plenty out there and freely sharing what I know has been the best way to build."

Leaps of Faith

Michael was finding success in his business, but he was constantly distracted by the smaller cases. He wanted to focus on trucking and company vehicle cases, but felt he couldn't say no to smaller clients. Then he realized that if he wanted to get where he was going, he had to take the risk.

"One day, I made the decision,” he explains. “I'm going to have the guts to stop taking the smaller cases...and lo and behold, when I did that, now we have a hundred and something trucking and company vehicle cases at the firm."

That courage has also served Michael well when he's holding out for bigger settlements. "It's scary when you first do it, because you worry, ‘Will they pull the money? Will it go down?’ But you have to hold out or you'll never get it."

Key takeaways:

  • Focus on "how can I help?" instead of "how can this help me?"
  • Tell the story, but don't get fancy. Trust jurors and listeners to make the right decision.
  • Be brave. New heights require going where you haven't gone before.

Links and Resources