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Episode 91 — Dan Gerl — Do It Your Way: Explosive Growth Through Creative Innovation

“I'm happy I get to do it my own way. I get to have fun with it. I'd hear other attorneys in the community say, ‘that's so tacky’ and ‘it's unethical.’ But I'm like, ‘Good,’ you know? Don't you want to have fun? Wouldn't you like to do it your way, if you could do it your way and you could succeed?” - Dan Gerl

  • Why did Dan transition from graphic designer, to prosecutor, to CEO of a criminal defense firm?
  • How did Dan’s life change when his 4-month-old, Jack, had a heart attack?
  • How did telling Jack’s story of recovery win Dan a Rolls-Royce?
  • What has Dan learned from his experience in the legal industry’s top coaching program?
  • Why does Dan use the term “The Avengers” to describe his partners?

Let the Good Times Roll(s)

In late 2019, Dan Gerl had one of the most terrifying experiences a parent can have. Out of nowhere one day, his 4-month-old son Jack had a heart attack and stopped breathing. After they rushed him to the hospital, Dan and his family learned of a rare type of tumor in Jack’s heart. For months, they all lived on pins and needles as they waited for the surgery that might save their son. Procedures were delayed due to COVID. Jack got the flu and couldn’t travel to his pre-op assessment. Just as they discovered that Jack was eligible for surgery, Dan’s mother passed away.

It’s a testament to Dan’s strength that throughout all of this, he continued to run his highly successful criminal defense firm, Puget Law Group. He also continued his commitment to his coaching program and even took things to the next level by competing in the Crisp Effect. Through it all, he created powerful, creative videos documenting his 2020 experience: with the firm, with his mother, and with Jack.

At the Game Changers Summit 3 in 2021, Dan was recognized by 2,500 of his peers for growing his firm 200% and the powerful positivity that permeated his work. As the winner of the Crisp Effect Challenge, he walked away with the keys to a $300,000 Rolls-Royce Ghost. But the greatest win of all is that his son Jack had successful heart surgery, has fully recovered, and has been growing and thriving ever since.

Doing His Share

Dan’s work doesn’t just demonstrate his positivity. It’s a window into his creative spirit. A former graphic designer, Dan uses his skillset to create a distinctive brand full of humor, swagger, and eye-catching visuals. He’s found ingenious ways to employ this advantage, zigging where other law firms zag, especially during COVID. As Dan says, “We got big time into buying up outdoor advertising — doubling and tripling our marketing efforts — because nobody else was doing it.”

But for all his creative and professional success, Dan is still incredibly humble. He doesn’t care if his name is on the door. He has made big sacrifices, relinquishing his role in the courtroom and recruiting talented partners to share his stake in the firm. He’s never looked back. “I wanted to build something that would, that would grow and have significance. The potential for that is exponentially greater than what I had.”

Key takeaways:

  • Play to your strengths. Find a way to incorporate your unique skill set.
  • Adapt. Overcome. When he didn’t make it as a prosecutor, Dan made a name for himself in criminal defense.
  • Turn pain into a positive. Let hard times make you stronger.

Links and Resources