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Betting on Yourself with Jess Davis of Davis Adams

A Plaintiff’s Med Mal Attorney’s Journey From Big Law to Building a Niche Practice

In this episode, I sat down with my good friend Jess Davis, a plaintiff’s medical malpractice attorney here in Atlanta. We go way back, and Jess shared his inspiring story of leaving a big law firm job at Arnall Golden Gregory to start his own plaintiff’s firm focused exclusively on medical malpractice cases.

The Spark That Ignited The Change

Jess vividly recounts the Halloween night in 2006 when he missed taking his young son trick-or-treating because he had to stay late working on a filing. That fateful night was the catalyst that made him realize he needed to take control of his time and his career path. Just a few months later, he took the leap into starting his own firm with his friend and now longtime business partner Chad Adams.

Building a Medical Malpractice Niche

When they first started out, Jess and Chad took pretty much any case that came their way to generate revenue. But after getting a couple of big med mal referrals from an out-of-state attorney who read about their firm launch, everything changed. Jess talks about the “aha” moment of realizing they could position themselves as the go-to med mal firm by simply leaning into the types of cases they were already getting.

From there, they went all-in on medical malpractice, streamlining their marketing efforts and referral processes around that single focused niche. Jess shares how that specialization has been key to their enduring success over the past 15+ years.

“Safe is Small” and Taking Calculated Risks

One piece of wisdom Jess imparted really struck me – the notion that “safe is small.” If you want to achieve big goals, you have to get out of your comfort zone and take risks, even if that opens you up to potential criticism or failure. Jess talks about applying that mindset to building his practice by constantly putting himself out there through content creation, speaking, and networking rather than playing it safe.

There are so many other nuggets of wisdom that Jess dropped during our conversation:

– The importance of being responsive to referral sources
– His insights on picking the right expert witnesses
– Reflections on his 20+ year partnership with Chad
– The personal financial goals driving his long-term vision
– And much more!

Whether you’re a plaintiff’s attorney or any type of entrepreneur, I think you’ll find a lot of value and inspiration in Jess’ story and perspective. Give it a listen to hear a master practitioner share his blueprint for betting on yourself and persevering to build a successful niche business.

[00:00:00] Jess Davis: None of those cases came with me, not one, nor were we equipped to do them, nor did I want them. But but I will say this when we left, we went in and Chad and I both got called in by the litigation practice group leaders at Austin and Byrd. And I do want to make clear. I had a great experience at that firm.

[00:00:17] Jess Davis: I learned a lot from some really good people and some really good lawyers. And when we left, they said, guys, we wish you the best. You’re brave for doing it. If you ever need anything, call us. So, you know, I think a common story is I worked at a big firm and I got burned out and I hated it. We didn’t hate it and we didn’t get burned out.

[00:00:35] Jess Davis: I just wanted something different. And it really, I remember telling them when we left, I said, You know, this is not us leaving because we’re unhappy. It’s just us leaving because this isn’t what we want. I don’t want to be a big firm partner. I want to have my own firm. So, it was a good experience and good people.

[00:00:51] Jess Davis: And I’m grateful for my time there.

[00:00:53] ​[00:01:00]

[00:01:22] Jonathan Hawkins: All

[00:01:22] Jonathan Hawkins: host. I’m excited to have a good friend of mine on for this episode, Jess Davis. We go way back. I can’t remember exactly when we met but we’ve known each other for a long time. So you’re here in Atlanta. You’re a plaintiff’s MedMal attorney why don’t you introduce yourself to everybody and tell us, you know, exactly what you do, how big your firm is, how long you’ve been going at it and all of that.

[00:01:49] Jess Davis: thanks for having me ever since you launched this podcast. I’ve been waiting for the phone call and it it finally came. So I’m glad to be here and I appreciate you having me. But yeah, my name’s Jess Davis. I’m a plaintiff’s [00:02:00] only med mal lawyer. Here in Atlanta, and I think we’re one of the few firms in Georgia and really around the country.

[00:02:07] Jess Davis: All we do is MedMal, nothing else. So, a big car wreck comes in or truck wreck or whatever. We don’t keep any of that stuff. It’s only MedMal all day, every day. I started out at a big firm, and I think we’ll probably get into that in a minute. And after a few years there, transitioned out with a couple of partners.

[00:02:25] Jess Davis: And started our own thing and we’ve been doing that. That was 2007 when we left our big firm. And that’s what we’ve been doing ever since.

[00:02:33] Jonathan Hawkins: So when you left, so you’re at the big firm what kind of stuff were you doing at the big firm?

[00:02:38] Jess Davis: I was doing mostly antitrust law, interestingly enough. I got paired with a partner who was a real antitrust sort of expert. And he’s the guy that got most of the antitrust work that came in. And loved it. It was kind of an antitrust geek. And I loved it too and really enjoyed it. So I did some general litigation stuff, but mostly it was [00:03:00] antitrust work.

[00:03:01] Jonathan Hawkins: I can imagine, I’ve never done any antitrust, but I imagine those are gigantic cases and what role did you have in those?

[00:03:10] Jonathan Hawkins: Were you reviewing documents all day or were you able to get out there and do some stuff?

[00:03:14] Jess Davis: mostly reviewing documents. However, you know, I would get, we had a couple of midsize cases. Where I was able to write some motions, respond to some motions, do some briefing. I don’t think I ever took a deposition, but I was able to do some stuff. But yeah, a lot of document review there. There generally aren’t many midsize antitrust cases that end up at a big firm.

[00:03:37] Jess Davis: So often I’d be a team of maybe 30 lawyers and we’d be reviewing, you know, 20 million documents.

[00:03:43] Jonathan Hawkins: Wow, I imagine you were putting in a lot of time. What was the impetus? What made you say? All right. I’ve been here for a little while. I’m ready to try something else. What was the spark?

[00:03:54] Jess Davis: There are a few things. One of them is I worked really hard in law school to get a big firm job. That was my goal [00:04:00] to land at a spot in my class where I would get the interview. And I felt like, well, if I get an interview, I’ll be okay. And it worked out. And I kind of went through the normal summer associate process, got the offer.

[00:04:13] Jess Davis: From Austin and Byrd was very excited about that. But my last year of law school, I clerked for a firm in Macon. It was O’Neill, Brown and Clark at the time, and they were sort of high end plaintiff’s lawyers. And as soon as I got there and started doing that, I loved it. And I thought, okay, this is what I’m going to do someday, ultimately.

[00:04:34] Jess Davis: And I loved it, but but I had the big firm job set up and I was already married. And you know, so I knew I would at least start with that path, but the real impetus. was Halloween of 2006.

[00:04:51] Jess Davis: And that was when my son, my first son, was a year and a half old. So it was the first Halloween we [00:05:00] were going to be able to dress him up and walk him around the neighborhood. And I was so excited for that. And I was headed out the door. And a lawyer at the firm said, Hey, I’ve got this HSR pre merger filing, Hart Scott Rodino pre merger filing to do.

[00:05:15] Jess Davis: Can you knock it out tonight? And I like this lawyer a lot. She always treated me very well, but on that particular night, I said, well, is there any chance I could do it tomorrow? And she said, I’d rather get it done tonight. And so I stayed at the firm doing a pre merger notification filing that night.

[00:05:35] Jess Davis: And got home at about nine o’clock and my son had already trick or treated and his candy was dumped out on the living room floor. And I said, put your costume back on, buddy. We’re doing it again. He said, what? And I said let’s do it. So dressed him back up, walked him around the neighborhood again.

[00:05:51] Jess Davis: But I came back home that night. I told my wife, I said, that’s it. I’m not, my time cannot be out of my control. [00:06:00] And it was really that night when I said, okay, I’m going over the wall and I’m doing it soon.

[00:06:05] Jonathan Hawkins: Nice. That’s, I mean, I guess that is a too common story from lawyers at big firms. The one part of that story is hopefully she was In the office the next day to actually get it. I’ve heard stories where they. So I get this to me and then they’re out of town for a week.

[00:06:24] Jess Davis: I don’t know that she was, and I would never use her name because she always treated me very well. And I liked her a lot and she was a good lawyer. That particular sort of experience, I don’t think was her finest hour. And it wasn’t common from her, but it really was less about a systemic way that I was having to live there.

[00:06:44] Jess Davis: That wasn’t a normal thing. It really was sort of isolated, but it it just made it very clear to me that they’re going to be other things. They’re going to be. Birthday parties and little league games and trips to the beach and all that. And I just [00:07:00] knew I’ll work hard. I work a lot of hours, but I need to be in control.

[00:07:06] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah. Okay. So Halloween of 2006, you decide how long till you actually pulled the trigger you were gone.

[00:07:14] Jess Davis: So, started sort of turning things over my mind a little bit the next spring. So probably four or five months later. Chad Adams, who has been my law partner since 2007, who was a summer associate with me at Austin and Bird, he came in with me and we had become good friends. We walked to the old Twisted Taco in Midtown, which is no longer there.

[00:07:34] Jess Davis: It was close to our office. And I said, Chad, I think I’m going to leave and start a law firm. And Chad was one of those guys. We had become pretty good friends at that point, but he was one of those guys that was not only really smart, but he was the kind of guy that I felt like when things get hard and it will get hard, I mean, we’ll, when we start out, we’re going to be struggling for money and cases and everything.

[00:07:58] Jess Davis: the kind of guy I want to be in a foxhole [00:08:00] with. He’s not running like he’s going to stay there with me. And figure it out. I felt that way about him. And I said, I think I’m gonna leave. And he said, I’ll go and we talked to one other lawyer at the firm who wanted to go also. And we left June 1st of 2007.

[00:08:17] Jess Davis: So I was a little over. You know, what, seven months from deciding to do it to packing my stuff up and heading out the door for the last time.

[00:08:29] Jonathan Hawkins: So I imagine working on the big antitrust cases at Austin and Byrd, none of those cases came with you, right?

[00:08:37] Jess Davis: None of those cases came with me, not one, nor were we equipped to do them, nor did I want them. But but I will say this when we left, we went in and Chad and I both got called in by the litigation practice group leaders at Austin and Byrd. And I do want to make clear. I had a great experience at that firm.

[00:08:55] Jess Davis: I learned a lot from some really good people and some really good lawyers. And when we left, [00:09:00] they said, guys, we wish you the best. You’re brave for doing it. If you ever need anything, call us. So, you know, I think a common story is I worked at a big firm and I got burned out and I hated it. We didn’t hate it and we didn’t get burned out.

[00:09:13] Jess Davis: I just wanted something different. And it really, I remember telling them when we left, I said, You know, this is not us leaving because we’re unhappy. It’s just us leaving because this isn’t what we want. I don’t want to be a big firm partner. I want to have my own firm. So, it was a good experience and good people.

[00:09:28] Jess Davis: And I’m grateful for my time there.

[00:09:31] Jonathan Hawkins: You know, it’s funny folks that lead the big firms to go start something. The reaction is usually one of maybe three. It’s, you know, good luck. Wish you the best. It’s I wish I could come with you or it’s you’re crazy. What

[00:09:45] Jonathan Hawkins: are you thinking? you may have gotten all three of those depending on who you talk to.

[00:09:50] Jess Davis: We got some of that. We did have a couple of people who have been out of shape and said, I can’t believe you didn’t invite me to go with you. Strangely, those people that were people who never would have done it. I mean, [00:10:00] they were a company people from the start, but I think they would have liked to have been asked.

[00:10:04] Jess Davis: And I’m sure there were some because we were only starting our fourth year, I guess. So, you know, there were plenty of people who have thought, wait a minute, you know, you’re halfway toe. You know, maybe making partner here and getting set up, you know, in a good situation, but but it was great.

[00:10:19] Jess Davis: It was amicable and you know, and everybody handled it very well. So

[00:10:25] Jonathan Hawkins: So you go out, it sounds like you probably did not have any clients came with you. you had this really big antitrust experience, you know, going into it, what did you think you were going to be doing and how did you plan to get clients? I mean, what kind of work were you planning to do?

[00:10:41] Jess Davis: all we knew at that point was that we were going to be plaintiff’s lawyers. That’s really all we had in mind. We didn’t know if that was going to take the form of a lot of car wrecks or if we do business litigation. Honestly, we probably had not thought it out as, as well or as [00:11:00] thoroughly as I would now advise someone thinking about the same move to do.

[00:11:05] Jess Davis: I think we were really confident, honestly. I think we just felt like, we’ll make it work. We’ll figure it out. I don’t know what it’s going to be. But it’s going to be something, you know, it’s, you know, we’re smart and we’re hardworking. And I just, I think we both kind of felt like, you know, 1 thing to know is neither Chad nor I came from a place of, I don’t know, privilege is the right word, but.

[00:11:29] Jess Davis: We both came from sort of, I thought we were middle class when I was growing up. As it turns out, we probably weren’t. I thought we were, but, you know, we were probably more working ish class. And I worked my way through college. As a drive through teller to SunTrust branch Chad got through college on his own and and we just didn’t, we never had a lot and we just always sort of figured we’ll just work harder.

[00:11:59] Jess Davis: We’ll figure it [00:12:00] out. We’ll scrap, we’ll claw, we’ll do what we have to do. So, we didn’t really know what it was going to look like. We just knew we were going to be plaintiff’s lawyers and that if we worked hard enough, talked to enough people, got out there, it was just going to work out.

[00:12:14] Jonathan Hawkins: You know, the other thing about particularly from a big law situation. I mean, you’re on a big platform, you need something, somebody does it, or it’s already been done before. You don’t have to figure it out. It’s just you’re just there to work the cases, everything else about running the firm sort of just magically happens. So when, in the early days of your firm, what was that sort of shift like from going from, Hey, everything sort of happens to now all of a sudden, oh crap. I got to figure out how to do this.

[00:12:46] Jess Davis: I don’t recall it being particularly burdensome. You know, we were a three lawyer firm, so there wasn’t a lot of sort of administrative stuff going on. I do remember things like getting a lease with [00:13:00] Dell to get a bunch of computers and stuff like that. I don’t remember it being, you know, particularly onerous.

[00:13:06] Jess Davis: I just, you know, there was some stuff to do. We signed a lease, we got some computers, we got a phone system, we got an IT guy. And then we were kind of off and running. So that part of it as I look back, it seemed fine.

[00:13:18] Jonathan Hawkins: And did you bring staff with you?

[00:13:21] Jess Davis: We didn’t bring any staff with us. I don’t think it was probably an attractive employment option for someone to leave Austin and Bird to follow us. But We hired paralegals we went through a bunch of them in pretty quick succession, but but we hired staff once we got out and with varying degrees of success, we found some that stayed for a while, we found others that didn’t stay very long.

[00:13:45] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah that’s an issue. I think every entrepreneur across every type of business, but particularly law firms it’s sort of the hiring, the recruiting, the retention and just figuring out how to handle that stuff. That’s, that can be a challenge. [00:14:00] Let’s talk about. You know, you said when you started your firm, you sort of, all you knew is what you wanted to be a plaintiff’s lawyer. You didn’t particularly have any sort of specialty in mind. What were the early days like? What kind of cases were you pursuing or attracting?

[00:14:16] Jess Davis: Man, everything. I mean, it’s probably a pretty common story, but I mean, if you walked in the door, there was a good chance we were going to try to take your case, whatever it was. I remember in the early days, a guy came in with an employment discrimination case and Chad and I were like, great, let’s do it.

[00:14:30] Jess Davis: And we didn’t have any idea that you have to like get the right to sue letter. I mean, didn’t know any of that. So some things we kind of stumbled headlong into and realized like, that’s a skillset we do not yet have. There were some car wrecks. There were some premises liability cases. One of our early big cases was a defective construction of a giant church.

[00:14:51] Jess Davis: We figured out construction stuff and and did that. And you know, it was. I mean, we needed money, honestly. I mean, [00:15:00] none of us came from a place of having any, you know, stash of capital to say, Hey, we can all work for two years. And while we’re building this thing we needed to generate revenue quickly.

[00:15:10] Jess Davis: So if you came in the door, we were pretty much on it, but a mix of things, car wrecks, slips and falls, that kind of stuff.

[00:15:18] Jonathan Hawkins: So were you doing any hourly work to generate some

[00:15:20] Jess Davis: No, we did not do any hourly work. The construction case I mentioned had sort of a hybrid thing, so it did generate a little steady money but not enough, it was all plaintiffs contingency work and we had some friends too, who kind of threw us the cases they didn’t want and they would say, Hey, I got this good case.

[00:15:37] Jess Davis: I want to help you guys out. They weren’t good. I mean, they were the cases and they didn’t want, they were sorry they ever took them. But but we made some of them work and, and yeah, I mean, it worked out

[00:15:48] Jonathan Hawkins: okay. So, you know, the spark that caused you to leave was missing the Halloween with your son. You didn’t have a whole lot of money. How did you get the courage to go out when you had a [00:16:00] family and a son and all this to take care of it? I assume maybe your wife was working, so maybe that helped.

[00:16:05] Jonathan Hawkins: But you know, obviously you needed her support. What was that like? What were those conversations like?

[00:16:10] Jess Davis: great question. She was not working. Actually. She was staying home at that time with our little boy. She was actually pregnant with our second child when we did leave. And I remember one night she was so supportive and she just believed in me. She kind of felt like you’re a fighter. You’re a scrapper.

[00:16:27] Jess Davis: You’re going to make it. Like you are going to, you’re going to make whatever you do work and I believe in you. And that was awesome because if she had said, honey, I don’t know if you have it. I don’t feel good about this. I that, that may have dented my confidence enough to say, huh, okay, maybe I need to rethink this.

[00:16:43] Jess Davis: But she just said, I believe in whatever you want to do and I think you can do it. But she did ask me one night, she said, do you have any concern that we are giving up so much security? For something so risky and I swear to you, my, my [00:17:00] immediate reaction was, I don’t have any security right now. I sit in an office and I.

[00:17:07] Jess Davis: Wait for people to bring me work. I’m like a little bird in the nest with my beak up in the air, waiting for a worm to get dropped in it every day. And I said, honey, that’s not security. I don’t any day now, and this is 2007. Remember what happens about 24 months later. All of a sudden there was no security at any law firm anymore.

[00:17:28] Jess Davis: But I said, honey, this is not security. This is me hoping they just keep me around for, you know, seven, eight years, which at that point, that’s kind of the way it worked at big firms, right? I mean, as long as you didn’t do something super stupid. You were going to at least be there to like your seven before they said, Hey, it’s not looking great.

[00:17:46] Jess Davis: Maybe you need to start looking around. But I said, I feel like security is, I know how I need to, I know how to go out and hustle up a 25, 000 car wreck and make a 10, 000 fee if I know how to [00:18:00] do that and I’m willing to do it and every day, get up and hustle. And find that’s security. I don’t need anybody else for that.

[00:18:07] Jess Davis: My, my beak’s not up in the air asking for a worm at that point. That’s me doing it. And I truly felt like, and this sounds like one of these things you say after you’ve achieved some level of success, but at the time I really believed it. And I really felt that way. I felt like. My present situation is the complete absence of security.

[00:18:29] Jess Davis: I am fully reliant on this firm, keeping me employed and bringing me work and handing me documents to review. And I don’t know how to do anything. I don’t know how to go find a case. I don’t know how to sign up a case. I don’t know how to draft a complaint. I don’t know how to take a deposition. I don’t know how to go to a mediation.

[00:18:45] Jess Davis: I don’t know any of that. I’m just, I’m sitting in my office waiting for other people to give me work. Security is I know how to do all that stuff myself. Oh,

[00:18:54] Jonathan Hawkins: I think that is hugely perceptive. I think a lot, and I’ve heard this from many lawyers over the [00:19:00] years, I’m sure you have to at the big firm they feel like going out and trying something outside of a big firm platform is too risky, but a lot of times sticking around for too long is actually the riskier play.

[00:19:13] Jess Davis: Jonathan, I just had lunch 30 minutes ago. I was at lunch with Chad, my law partner, and we were talking about two of the smartest people we’ve ever known. And they happen to be lawyers from the big firm who stuck around too long. And both of them right now, I would say are struggling or not in good spots because you know, you’re there for eight, nine, 10 years.

[00:19:36] Jess Davis: And at some point, you know, and surely you have listeners who experienced this and, you know, you’re making A fairly healthy income at that point and equity partnership doesn’t work out and they firm tells you, you should look well. Now, where do you go? You know, who’s going to pay you 400, 000 a [00:20:00] year when you don’t have a lot of trial experience.

[00:20:03] Jess Davis: You know, or just general litigation experience. So I think staying at a big firm to, to, for me, that felt risky. That’s what was risk to me was relying on anybody else. Security to me was give me a fish and pull. I’ll find a place to fish. I’ll catch a fish. I’ll cook it. I’ll eat it. And I don’t need anybody else to help me.

[00:20:23] Jonathan Hawkins: Completely agree. And a lot of times the earlier. You take the risk the better because you’re not you don’t have all the lifestyle creep So you’re not set with all these expenses all over the place

[00:20:34] Jess Davis: And you’ve got. stuck You’ve got four kids in private school. I had lunch with a friend of mine, who’s a big firm lawyer. And he said, I’m thinking about taking the jump, but, and I could have told you right then you’re never, ever making the jump, man, I know you, and I know you’re not doing it, but he had four kids.

[00:20:51] Jess Davis: I think at Marist maybe or, you know, some Atlanta private school. And he said, I would just need to be sure that I’m going to make at least X. And I was like, man, [00:21:00] that’s not, that doesn’t exist. Need to be sure we don’t have that.

[00:21:05] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah

[00:21:05] Jess Davis: You know, eventually you will do it. And he said, well, so yeah, I mean, the earlier you do it, I think the better.

[00:21:13] Jess Davis: I agree with that a hundred percent.

[00:21:15] Jonathan Hawkins: Okay, so you jump out you’re taking all sorts of plaintiff cases of all types, and now, today, you’re a MedMal only firm, which, like you said, I think is pretty rare. I, you know, even if somebody said I’m a MedMal only firm, but a, just a clear liability, high damage trucking case comes in, and they’re gonna, they’re gonna keep it, but you’re not.

[00:21:36] Jonathan Hawkins: So, me from you’re doing just about anything to now you’re only doing MedMal. Tell me the process, how you got there, what, what happened.

[00:21:44] Jess Davis: Okay. I’m picking up a voicemail one day and it says, Hey, my name’s Randy Singer. I’m a lawyer in Virginia. I’ve got a couple of med mal cases to refer. Give me a call. And I thought this is on the scale of waste of [00:22:00] time. This is slightly above that. This is not a complete waste of time, but it’s going to be close because you know, I don’t know him.

[00:22:07] Jess Davis: He would have no reason to call you. I just, you know, I did not have high hopes, but I called him back. I said, Hey, Randy, Jess Davis, returning your call. And he said, well, look, man, I’m a med mal lawyer. And he did some other stuff in Virginia beach. And he said, and have two med mal cases in Georgia. Kind of a long story as to how they ended up with him.

[00:22:26] Jess Davis: But he said do you do med mal work? Well, we had not at the time, but I said, sure we do. Of course we couldn’t. And he said, great. Well, they’re both pretty big and they’re both pretty complicated. So he starts telling me about them. And halfway through the first case he was telling me about, I put him on mute and I screamed, Chad, get in here.

[00:22:48] Jess Davis: So Chad comes running and I said, this is real. Like this is real. And Chad sat down. So Randy tells us about the cases. And he said, I’d like to bring you guys in. He had seen a daily [00:23:00] report story about us leaving Austin and Byrd. And he said, you know, I read that story and I just sort of made a note that those guys seem like hustlers.

[00:23:11] Jess Davis: And if I ever have a case in Georgia, I think I’ll call them. And he did. And that’s how he got our name. So we take the cases. And they were complicated and big and Chad looked at it and I looked at each other and we’re like, okay, well, now, you know, now we’ve got, you know, on our cane fishing pole, we got a whale on the other end.

[00:23:29] Jess Davis: Now, what do we do? And there was a big deposition coming up of a very sort of highly regarded and. Known to be very belligerent defense expert in New Orleans. He was an infectious disease doctor. And Randy said, okay, I need you to go take this guy apart. And I remember thinking like, Oh, I like, Ooh. So I studied for that deposition.

[00:23:53] Jess Davis: Like it was the bar exam. I cram, I studied the file. I talked to our experts and I learned how [00:24:00] to pronounce all the words correctly so that the defense expert would know that I at least know what I’m talking about or it would sound like I know what I’m talking about. I studied the chart. I got as prepared for that deposition as I think I could have been.

[00:24:13] Jess Davis: If I’d had another year to prepare, I couldn’t have done anymore. And I went down there and this guy walks in the room and he looks at the court reporter and he screams, get out of my chair. And he throws the court reporter into another, not physically, but moves her to another chair. And he sat down and looked at me and kind of said, what do you want?

[00:24:30] Jess Davis: And I thought, okay, it’s on. And so I started taking the deposition and I was intimidated and I was very uncertain of myself, but I knew the file and he just started saying stuff. And I would say, well, doctor, can we turn to page eight 73 of the file? Because what you just said, I don’t think is what’s reflected in the record.

[00:24:50] Jess Davis: And And I did that for several hours. And at the end, I thought, I think that went pretty well. I think I held my own in there. So the defense [00:25:00] lawyer who was a friend of mine said, Hey let’s go grab lunch together. And we’re having lunch at Mother’s in New Orleans, having sandwiches.

[00:25:06] Jess Davis: And he says well, I’m going to withdraw him and let’s get mediation set. And I said, well, why would you do that? And he said, because of what just happened, he said, I can’t put that guy up. You just. eviscerated him. He said, that guy’s done. And he said, and instead of putting somebody else up, I think we just need to see if we can shut this case down.

[00:25:25] Jess Davis: So I remember when we got to the airport, I called Chad and I said, we can do this. Like, we can do this. And that was the beginning of realizing that It wasn’t that hard. It just required some time and effort and you know, and just study the file and, you know, learn and work hard. And that was it.

[00:25:46] Jess Davis: That was the day. And from there. Those were the stories we would tell when we would do our marketing lunches. Hey, what are you working on? Well, glad you asked. We just settled necrotizing fasciitis case for, you know, a [00:26:00] bunch of money. And people would say, oh, so you do Med Mal. Well, I’ll keep you in mind for that because that was our marketing story.

[00:26:05] Jess Davis: I didn’t have a, Hey, we just, you know, settled the trucking case for 20 million. That was my story. It was my only story to tell at the time, my only good story. So people said, oh, you’re a Med Mal guy. Well, six months after that’s all that was coming in the door. And finally, there’s a I think it’s a Mike Ditka quote, but it could be Bill Parcells, I forget which, but he says, you are what your record says you are.

[00:26:30] Jess Davis: We looked at our case list and we were like, we’re med mal lawyers. I mean, you are what your case list says you are, right? I mean, if you call yourself a Med Mal lawyer in 18 of your 30 cases or car cases, you’re not a Med Mal lawyer, you’re a car wreck lawyer. All we had was Med Mal, and that’s when we just realized that’s what we are.

[00:26:50] Jonathan Hawkins: I love that story. I love that deposition story. I’ve never heard that. So yeah, thank you for sharing that. So, so, there’s a few pieces to [00:27:00] being a bed mal lawyer. So one is you got to know how to do it, which obviously you figured that out. But then there’s the other pieces. I mean, generally speaking, those are expensive cases to pursue on the plaintiff side. And, you know, most juries sort of lean towards doctors. So, you know, yeah. What were your thoughts about those factors of focusing on MedMal only?

[00:27:22] Jess Davis: Well, the expense, let me take you on two different parts. The expense part is a real thing. When we started our firm though, it was 2007, and that was when credit was readily available. Now that changed. Shortly thereafter, but in 2007, you could walk in. It was Wachovia at the time we went to, and you could get a fairly healthy line of credit just if you knew somebody or, you know, you hadn’t filed bankruptcy.

[00:27:48] Jess Davis: So we had a reasonable line of credit that we were able to access to litigate the cases. So that part of it worked out. And in terms of MedMal being hard [00:28:00] and, you know, cases not you know, lots of defense verdicts. I mean, I think there have been years when MagMutual has had 100 percent success rate in trying their cases in Georgia.

[00:28:10] Jess Davis: So we knew that. I think we felt like, okay, not many people want these cases. You know, if you decide, you wake up one day and you decide, I want to be the trucking lawyer, good luck, right? I mean, you’re going to run into some heavy competition. For that, from a lot of people who are already the trucking lawyer, there just weren’t a lot of people out there saying, I want to be the med mal lawyer.

[00:28:34] Jess Davis: In fact, it was really the opposite when we would talk to people and I’d say, so you do med mal and say, well, I’ll look at some cases every now and then, but if you see a good truck wreck or a, you know, a good elevator accident or a good plane crash or whatever, you know, send that to me, but we saw people sort of.

[00:28:52] Jess Davis: resisting being branded as a med mal lawyer. And we thought, let’s just go 100 percent the other way. [00:29:00] Let’s do the opposite. We’re going all in on, no, we are the MedMal lawyer. And in fact, it’s all we do. And we thought, you know, that’s not going to be a hard brand, not to own, because you know, there’s definitely strong competition and some really good lawyers out there, but that’s a brand people will remember.

[00:29:18] Jess Davis: And most people have a hard time even referring MedMal cases because they’re kind of, who does that? And who wants this case? So we just thought. There’s an opening here to identify in a market segment that most people don’t want to identify with. And we just decided that would be our brand. And that’s what we do when we felt like it was worth it to give up anything, everything else.

[00:29:42] Jess Davis: And in fact, we weren’t getting calls for truck wrecks or car wrecks. So it’s not like we were even really giving anything up. Yeah, and we just went all in on the Med Mal.

[00:29:51] Jonathan Hawkins: Well, it sounds like it has worked because that was, I mean, how many years ago? 2007. Now what? 16,

[00:29:58] Jess Davis: was really about 2000. [00:30:00] It was about 2010 when we really made the commitment to Med Mal. There’s probably another few years where we, you’re right. Where if a car wreck case came in and it was somebody I knew from church, for instance, and they said, Hey, can you handle it? You know, we would do it.

[00:30:16] Jess Davis: But probably 2000, I don’t know, 15, 16, 17, somewhere in there. So when we said, okay, we want to put on our website that all we do is MedMal, and if we’re going to say that, it’s got to be true. It can’t be that we’re taking a few cases under the table and not really talking about them because then we’re just lying, right?

[00:30:33] Jess Davis: I mean, then our marketing is just dishonest. And so we either need to say we’re doing mostly MedMal and keep those other things, or we can say we’re doing all MedMal, but we cannot keep anything else. And that’s when we stopped keeping everything. And it has worked. I mean, it’s turned into a great practice.

[00:30:49] Jess Davis: We’ve been fortunate to have some success and and it’s worked out very well for us. So I wouldn’t. Definitely wouldn’t have done much differently.

[00:30:58] ​[00:31:00]

[00:31:11] Jonathan Hawkins: So I do want to get into some of your marketing, but before we do that, I want to go back way back before, before the law. I think this is correct, but you were in politics for a while, right?

[00:31:22] Jess Davis: Yeah.

[00:31:23] Jonathan Hawkins: So yeah, tell me about that. So I guess maybe after undergrad for some period of time, you were in politics. So

[00:31:28] Jonathan Hawkins: What did you do?

[00:31:29] Jess Davis: I was a super political nerd in high school and I just loved it. When we would do like the elementary school trips, even, you know, when I was even younger to DC. You know, I was always the kid who was like standing there wanting to read like everything inside the Jefferson Memorial. The other kids are, you know, playing and running around.

[00:31:48] Jess Davis: And I was just a big political nerd. So I majored in political science. And when I graduated, my congressman from my, I’m from Columbus, Georgia. My congressman had a staff [00:32:00] opening. So, I moved to DC and I worked on Capitol Hill and it was awesome. I loved it. Now he ended up losing to a guy from a different party and that guy kept me also.

[00:32:10] Jess Davis: So I worked for a Republican and a Democrat while I was there. I had a very entry level job. My starting salary is 20, 500. By the time I left, it was 25 5. But so you’re scraping to survive in D. C. On that. But it was amazing. I mean, in my office for my cubby was, is in the Capitol and you know, I, that’s where I worked and I thought it was amazing.

[00:32:37] Jess Davis: It was awesome. I mean, for lunch, I’d walk down the mall and go sit down on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and have a sandwich. And I thought it was amazing. But I had an entry level staff job. I was. What’s called a legislative correspondent, which is a letter answerer. This is back before email.

[00:32:53] Jess Davis: There was no email at the time. So all the letters that the Congressman would get came, they were actually letters [00:33:00] and I would open them and read them and put them in categories. And hopefully I had a form letter. Hopefully it was an issue that had been mentioned enough that I drafted a form letter, but sometimes it was some random one off thing and I’d actually have to draft a reply based on what I thought the Congressman would say, and then he would read it and sometimes he’d say, I would never say this, but most of the time he’d just sign it.

[00:33:21] Jess Davis: But it was amazing. I loved it and had a great experience.

[00:33:24] Jonathan Hawkins: So did you take the DC experience and do that anywhere else? Politics anywhere else? Was it just DC?

[00:33:30] Jess Davis: It was just DC. When that had sort of run its course, what I realized is that there are people who stay there and sort of make it a life. And I could tell pretty early, I didn’t want to do that. That a career staffer, now you can work your way up to some pretty lofty staff jobs, but the idea of being sort of a DC staff guy forever was not appealing to me.

[00:33:54] Jess Davis: To me, it was one of those post college things for two or three years Where you go have the great [00:34:00] experience, meet some cool people, and then sort of turn the page to something else.

[00:34:05] Jonathan Hawkins: So did you go straight from DC to law school or did you do anything else in between?

[00:34:10] Jess Davis: I, so I went to Chicago for a while because my wife wanted to go to graduate school. She went to graduate school at DePaul in Chicago. So we had a three year detour there where I worked for some technology companies, essentially just doing sales work. But I knew by that point, this is who I want to be with.

[00:34:28] Jess Davis: And if she’s going to Chicago, I’m going to Chicago. And so I had three years to kind of kill in Chicago. But but yeah,

[00:34:35] Jonathan Hawkins: All right. So you were in sales. So

[00:34:38] Jess Davis: did sales for three years in Chicago. Yeah,

[00:34:41] Jonathan Hawkins: did you get sales training? We, I don’t know if you’ve ever talked about

[00:34:44] Jess Davis: no, we haven’t. I didn’t get any sales training. What I got was go sell our stuff. And in Chicago it was, I didn’t know anybody, so I didn’t have any connections to call on. So I was basically just knocking on doors and trying to meet [00:35:00] people and, you know, trying to do what I could to sell stuff.

[00:35:03] Jonathan Hawkins: you know, I bet that really sucked, but I bet the experience has served you really well over the years. I bet. I don’t know. Tell me.

[00:35:13] Jess Davis: Probably I hated it, honestly. I mean, and you know, mainly because I didn’t believe in the stuff I was selling.

[00:35:20] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah,

[00:35:20] Jess Davis: I’m telling now when I’m meeting with somebody now and they say, well, I’m talking to a few different MedMal lawyers, I can say with a lot of conviction, I’ll do a great job for you.

[00:35:31] Jess Davis: I have other friends who do this. They’re good. I think we’ll do the best job and I believe that. I mean, in my core, I believe you would be foolish not to hire me for your med mal case. And when you believe that, you know, it’s easy to get passionate about it. It’s easy to have some conviction. It’s easier to persuade people.

[00:35:49] Jess Davis: But when you’re working for a technology company and you’re thinking, I probably wouldn’t even buy this stuff myself. I mean, no, what I know about it, you know, convincing somebody else to buy it. You know, it was hard. [00:36:00] So, yeah, it Chicago is great. Love the city. My wife and I had a blast. Those were some years where I basically had to kind of suck it up and say, look.

[00:36:09] Jess Davis: I’m here for her. She wanted a specific program at DePaul, and I’m going to be with her, and while we’re here, I’m going to pay the bills.

[00:36:19] Jonathan Hawkins: That’s cool. I, you know, I didn’t know the sales background, but that’s a good segue into back to the firm and sort of your marketing approach. So you mentioned earlier, you know, you sort of picked your niche and then, you know, there’s different camps out there. I’m more in the, Hey, you need to go deep on a niche.

[00:36:35] Jonathan Hawkins: And then there’s others that like to do, you know. They don’t want to niche down too much. So one, I guess, marketing approach is you got your niche. You just tell people about it. But how have you grown your firm over the years? What sort of marketing approaches have you taken?

[00:36:50] Jess Davis: So I want to give a nod to Art Italo, because he deserves it. Art, some of your listeners surely know, is a Sort of a law [00:37:00] firm, branding, marketing consultant in Atlanta and art early on was a proponent of a few things. One was branding yourself. And when we made the argument that, all right, we need to do a bunch of different things, or I would say, what do you want to be, you know, what do you really want to be?

[00:37:19] Jess Davis: Because if you want to be BMW, guess what? They don’t make, they don’t make a car that competes with the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Accord. That’s they have said. Even though that segment of the market, those are the biggest selling, you know, brands, BMW has just said, nah, not what we’re going to do. We’re going to be performance.

[00:37:39] Jess Davis: Cars for people who want to spend a little more for a performance car. And that sort of analogy resonated with me and I thought, okay, I get that. They’re BMW or Mercedes or pick, you know, Porsche, whatever you want to pick. They have decided there are certain areas we’re just not going to compete in.

[00:37:56] Jess Davis: Doesn’t fit with what we want to be as a brand. So he was a [00:38:00] proponent for that, which we kind of bit on and sort of got comfortable saying, okay, we’re going to be Med Mal lawyers. The other thing he did, which was probably more important is he said, go to lunch four or five times a week. And meet people and do it the right way.

[00:38:16] Jess Davis: You don’t show up and, Hey, let me tell you about my firm. And I’d really like you to send me all your med mal cases. It’s Hey, tell me about your firm. Tell me, you know, what’s going on. Tell me what kind of work you do. And I like talking to people. I mean, you and I have done this at lunch before. I like hearing other people’s stories.

[00:38:33] Jess Davis: I like what’s to hear what’s going on. I like to figure out what they’re doing that maybe I can use. I like to talk. I like to listen. So I really enjoyed that. And it came very natural to me. And I just met a lot of, you know, Good people over the years and many of them became friends. And I would say you’re a good example of that.

[00:38:53] Jess Davis: You know, once you build friendships with people, now you have not only a friendship, but now you’ve got [00:39:00] somebody that has some real loyalty to you in terms of referring cases. So. That’s what we did. I had lunch for probably four on average, 4. 5 times a week. I would say for five years, maybe 10 years and just developed this huge network of people and, you know, some fall off and some meet other people and some drift away.

[00:39:22] Jess Davis: And but by and large, I mean, we put together a big group of referring attorneys just based on lunch meetings.

[00:39:30] Jonathan Hawkins: You know, I’ll tell you that. So art is the one who introduced us many years ago, and he had a similar effect on me. I was sort of, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and he helped me focus my my. He helped me crystallize my focus. It’s changed. But at the time, you know, I had my focus and he said, go meet people. And I did the same thing. I remember there were some weeks. I mean, I went crazy. I remember there may have been a week or two where I did 15 sort of meetings a

[00:39:57] Jonathan Hawkins: breakfast, lunch, coffee, whatever. That could [00:40:00] wear you out. But, you know, and, you know, I remember art telling me you’re going to kiss a lot of frogs.

[00:40:04] Jonathan Hawkins: Some of those lunch meetings or just, you know, I knew within five minutes I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t,

[00:40:10] Jess Davis: But I found that was pretty rare, though. I can really count on. I think I can count on one hand. I promise you the number of meetings were halfway through it. I felt like I might just get up and say, I’m going to the bathroom and head for the parking lot. Like, this is painful. Because I can normally find something, and I know you’re the same way.

[00:40:30] Jess Davis: It may be it’s that we’re both from Columbus. Maybe it’s that we both like the Falcons. Maybe it’s that we both lived in Chicago. I can find some, if things are crashing and burning, I can normally get to an island, right, where there’s something we can talk about for 45 minutes and get through this. I bet there’s less than five times where I’ve ever thought, we’re just done.

[00:40:54] Jess Davis: I don’t have anything left.

[00:40:56] Jonathan Hawkins: I think I would agree with that. I think it’s few and far [00:41:00] between some are more challenging than others,

[00:41:02] Jonathan Hawkins: but I’ll tell you, it helped me sort of generate a skillset of finding that place, finding that Island that we could talk about, right. Because it is a skill and you got to flex it and you know, the other thing that I’ve noticed, you probably have to, there are a lot of lawyers that just don’t do that.

[00:41:20] Jonathan Hawkins: Which is crazy to me, but

[00:41:24] Jess Davis: don’t know what else we would have done. I mean, if Art had said, okay, fine, you don’t want to do lunches. I don’t know what plan B was. It wasn’t going to be spent 100, 000 a month on billboards because it didn’t have that. At the time we started Google marketing, which has become a bigger part of what we do now, but it didn’t really exist.

[00:41:43] Jess Davis: As it does today. So that’s all we knew. And that you know, art had that sort of hierarchy of you know, you meet people and you sort of move them up the friendship chain. And the other thing he said, too, that really resonated me with this, he said, if you find someone you just don’t like. [00:42:00] Don’t go to lunch with them anymore because your lunch meetings need to be things that when you wake up and look at your calendar, you think, Oh man, awesome.

[00:42:07] Jess Davis: Have lunch with Hawkins this week because then you look forward to it. I mean, then you have you know, some motivation because you know, Hey, I wonder how his kids are doing. I wonder how the podcast is doing. It’s going. I wonder what’s, you know, what’s up with him. And I just removed those very few people that I thought, oh, I don’t want to do that lunch.

[00:42:24] Jess Davis: And, you know, at some point it becomes hanging out with your friends, right? I mean, after a few years, you have so many people that you’re kind of just doing maintenance on those relationships, really. So I have liked it. I do less of it now, honestly, than I did back then. But it was the key to building our practice.

[00:42:45] Jonathan Hawkins: well, I, you know, I don’t typically drop your name, although I will if you want me to, but I use you as an example. On how to build your practice through relationships and meeting with people. I’ve had that conversation with a number [00:43:00] of folks. I think I may have even posted about it on LinkedIn. But you are sort of exhibit a for that in my mind.

[00:43:06] Jonathan Hawkins: And obviously it’s worked. I mean, you guys are thriving.

[00:43:09] Jess Davis: Well, I appreciate that. And again we followed Art’s plan. You know, we didn’t come up with it on our own. We you know, he said, if you want to make it, this is how you’re going to do it. And we just. Followed his instructions and it has worked out and I made a lot of friends. I mean, I’ve, you know, along the way I’ve got lots of friendships and relationships now that I value that came from that in addition to revenue.

[00:43:33] Jess Davis: I mean, honestly, at the end of the day, you know, that’s sort of the driving force behind all of that. And and that’s, you know, it’s worked out well for us.

[00:43:41] Jonathan Hawkins: So related to this I think maybe I’ve heard you talk about it or maybe you’ve Written about it. I don’t know. But so you get out there you have all these relationships people start referring you cases. And so What’s your approach on you know how to treat? Referring attorneys and i’m not talking about fee splits or anything, but i’m talking [00:44:00] about, you know, keeping them in the know That sort of thing because they are A second client in a sense

[00:44:06] Jonathan Hawkins: that you need to keep informed.

[00:44:07] Jonathan Hawkins: So what’s your approach to that? You Yeah,

[00:44:11] Jess Davis: attorneys are like gold. I mean, a good referring attorney, I mean, why would you not treat that person you know, as well as you possibly could? I’ve never understood that. Ever. When I refer cases out, I tried to refer a case out not long ago. It was a Med Mal case that didn’t fit sort of our, wouldn’t a good fit for us.

[00:44:37] Jess Davis: And the lawyer said but I thought it was probably a decent case. And for this other lawyer, who I knew was looking for cases like this, it’s probably a perfect fit. And he said, well, I’m really tied up. You know, can we talk next Tuesday or something? And I was thinking like, dear God, next. And it was like a, maybe a Wednesday or Thursday.

[00:44:55] Jess Davis: And I thought next Tuesday? No, we can’t talk next Tuesday. [00:45:00] I don’t understand that. And this may harken back to when we were starting out. We were hungry. I mean, hungry for cases. So I was taking your call whenever you called. And if I needed in at worst, I’d say, Hey, I’m taking depositions, but can I call you at 7 o’clock tonight or first thing in the morning?

[00:45:20] Jess Davis: But I would have never said next week. And when I see that it I don’t understand it and I never will understand it, but referring attorneys, when they call us, we try to over deliver it. We call it sort of the Chick fil A Disney thing here. You know, those are the two places where you pull up and it’s hope you’re having a great day.

[00:45:39] Jess Davis: How can I help you? And everything works right. You know, and it’s, there’s a focus on customer service. And as you said, you know, the referring attorney is another customer for us really in many ways. So we try to differentiate ourselves. from other firms by saying, Hey, I see that you called a half hour ago.

[00:45:57] Jess Davis: I’m really sorry that I didn’t get you then. Wanted to call you [00:46:00] right back. Wow. That was quick. Well, I saw that you called and it’s important. Well, I’ve got this case to refer to you. Great. Can I call her this afternoon? Well, sure. Wow. That’s quick. Then that night, Hey, thanks for that referral. Just so you know, I spoke to her this afternoon.

[00:46:16] Jess Davis: We’re going to look at it or it’s not a viable case, but thanks anyway. I think, you know, referring attorneys, I mean, you need to be constantly thinking, how do I impress this person? How do I make it easy for them to refer cases to me? Right? I mean, the last thing you want is somebody that has to call you 2 or 3 times to even get somebody and then you never follow up.

[00:46:40] Jess Davis: So they don’t know what happened. We actually have a system in our software. that has a bunch of steps to always send an update email check in with them. So, yeah, it’s, I mean, treating those people well. And if you’re going to spend the time to schedule a lunch and drive to Alpharetta and go to Olive Garden and have a two hour [00:47:00] lunch and spend half your day to earn that connection, I mean, why not work hard to keep it?

[00:47:07] Jess Davis: You know,

[00:47:08] Jonathan Hawkins: so the attorneys out there that get cases referred take notes that’s really important and I’ve experienced it with you Jess so I mean you do it. So I need to be better about it for sure. But yeah I think that’s really important. So I want to switch again because there’s something else and this is for the trial lawyers out there.

[00:47:28] Jonathan Hawkins: This is something I heard you speak on fairly recently that I thought was really interesting. And it’s about the testifying experts that you hire and you can take us through sort of maybe some people think and, but what you think. So maybe you lay that out for us.

[00:47:45] Jess Davis: yeah, I’ll try to do this. I think this was a whole presentation. I did. So I’m going to try to nutshell it for you here. You know, when we started, there was a theory that you wanted to find an expert who hadn’t really testified much, you [00:48:00] know, maybe they’d given 1 or 2 depositions, but maybe been to trial once.

[00:48:03] Jess Davis: And the idea was that. That person would not appear as a frequent flyer type expert, but they would appear just as a good, and for us, an expert almost always means an MD, but they would just appear as a good medical doctor, just weighing in on this sort of case, but they’re not really an expert routinely.

[00:48:22] Jess Davis: I don’t know, I think that has changed generally, but it has certainly changed for us. We are looking for people who have done it a lot and do it a lot. We had an expert one time, I think I told the story of the presentation that you were referencing. We had an expert who the deposition started and the defense lawyer said, have you been deposed before?

[00:48:42] Jess Davis: And he said, actually, I think it was 500th maybe, but he said, actually, this is my 500th deposition today. I just. noted that on my calendar and then that guy continued to just run the deposition. The defense lawyer would say something and the expert would say, it’s not really the right question. I think what you really want to know.

[00:48:59] Jess Davis: [00:49:00] And it was like a virtuoso performance. It was fantastic. And that was sort of a light bulb moment for me where I thought, I really want people who do this a lot. So that, that’s an example of one differences. Sort of, looking for the new expert versus the seasoned expert.

[00:49:18] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah, that was really interesting. You know, I’m not doing a ton of trial work with experts but I thought that was really interesting. So I wanted to ask you about that. So you know, you’ve been with your partner, Chad, for, I don’t know, 20 something years, maybe

[00:49:33] Jonathan Hawkins: at this point. So, you know, there are a lot of people out there that are thinking about going into partnership. You know, what, looking back on it, what do you think has led to. The 20 year success that you guys have had,

[00:49:48] Jonathan Hawkins: Made it work.

[00:49:49] Jess Davis: Pick your battles. And it’s the exact same thing that I would say to anybody. No one’s asking me for marital advice, but it’s the same thing I would say to someone who says, Hey, I’ve been married for six months. [00:50:00] You got any advice? It is no different, Jonathan. No different. It’s, you know, and in a normal week, so my wife and I have been married now since 2000.

[00:50:11] Jess Davis: So what? It’ll be 24 years this December. And in a normal week, my wife and I don’t make many decisions. We’re on autopilot. Kind of. I mean, it’s who’s picking up the kids. You know, who’s taking Eliza to soccer, who’s, you know, we just kind of have our routine and we’re executing, but we don’t sit down most nights and say, okay, honey should we replace the roof?

[00:50:33] Jess Davis: It’s gonna cost 40, 000. Yes or no. Okay, great. Should we? Those are just not common decisions. Chad and I make those decisions every day, all day. You know, do we file this case? It’s going to cost a hundred thousand dollars to, to, you know, litigate it for the next six months. So there are opportunities for disagreement in significant ways between me and Chad that really my wife and I don’t face.

[00:50:56] Jess Davis: And we have treated our law [00:51:00] partnership like a marriage. And that is realizing a couple of things. One, it’s not perfect. There are, Chad’s difficult to deal with some days. I’m very difficult to deal with most days, probably. And we just both realized there are things about you. I would change if I could.

[00:51:18] Jess Davis: You’re not the perfect fit, but you’re pretty good. And I like it and it works. And I think what happens is people start law firms. And one of them wants the colors to be red and blue and the other one wants to be, you know, green and blue. And it’s like, well, I don’t know, maybe it’s not even going to work.

[00:51:35] Jess Davis: And and I think you’ve just got to realize there are very few things that I would say Chad, if we can’t agree about this, I’m not so sure it’s going to work. And in fact, it’s never happened. There’ve been a ton of things, Lord, hundreds of maybe thousands of things over 20 years where we’ve said, I don’t agree with you.

[00:51:55] Jess Davis: I think that’s crazy. I think you’re wrong. I don’t like it. And I’m kind of pissed [00:52:00] about it. And I’m done talking to you right now, but you step back and you think this isn’t a deal breaker. This is just something we just disagree about. And. We’ll have to work it out. But but if you treat your law practice like a marriage, which is essentially, I’m in this to stay in it.

[00:52:18] Jess Davis: I don’t plan on going anywhere. Now, if something happens that I don’t foresee right now that’s a big issue that we can’t get past, then I don’t, then we’ll have to see. We’ll have to talk about that. But I’m not looking for reasons to leave. I’m looking for reasons to stay.

[00:52:35] Jonathan Hawkins: So what about sort of your I don’t know if the right word here, but sort of skill sets or focus within the firm. So, you know, you do sort of one function and maybe he does something else.

[00:52:47] Jonathan Hawkins: Talk about that.

[00:52:48] Jess Davis: Yeah. It’s very, yeah, it’s very clearly delineated. So, in our firm, we have sort of all the marketing and the outreach and the bringing a case in the door and sort of that extra level of responsiveness to the [00:53:00] referring attorney and the referred client, because I want that referred client calling the referring attorney back and saying, wow, thanks for putting me in touch with Jess.

[00:53:08] Jess Davis: He’s already called me and he seems like a great guy. And that maybe I developed some of this doing sales. I don’t know, back to your earlier point. But sort of providing that sort of Chick fil A Disney kind of experience on the front end. I have a paralegal who orders the medical records for me.

[00:53:26] Jess Davis: I look at the records. We have a nurse who looks at them with me. If it looks viable at that point, I reach out to potential experts and see what they think. And basically I get the complaint ready to go. And during that process, I’m checking in with Chad. Hey, do you think we’re on the right track here?

[00:53:41] Jess Davis: Hey, are you also interested in this? You see anything I don’t see? He’s not out of that picture. It’s just, I’m mainly responsible for that. When the lawsuit gets filed, I hand it to Chad, and he really handles most of the discovery work. Chad loves nothing more. And he is not better at anything in the world than taking [00:54:00] a deposition and just completely gutting somebody.

[00:54:04] Jess Davis: I mean, he he’s the best I’ve ever seen. at taking a really good deposition. He also has that skill set that I don’t always have where he doesn’t mind discomfort. He doesn’t mind making people mad. He doesn’t mind conflict. He doesn’t. And I don’t really mind it. But, you know, my natural inclination is to kind of try to find a way to work through things.

[00:54:28] Jess Davis: He doesn’t have that chat is. I’m in point A. I’m going to point B. I’m getting there. You can get in my way if you want to, but I’m getting there. And he does a great job with depositions, loves taking them, realize he always says my highest and best use on this planet is taking depositions. And he’s great at it.

[00:54:47] Jess Davis: So he kind of takes over and does that. And then once the discovery is sort of done, we kind of come back together. You know, move it towards, you know, the final stage of getting it prepared for mediation or trial.

[00:54:59] Jonathan Hawkins: Well, that’s [00:55:00] that’s I think I’ve heard similar experiences with other partnerships that have lasted a long time, you know, it’s you sort of you work well together. You don’t you overlap a little, but

[00:55:10] Jonathan Hawkins: maybe you don’t. You’re not exactly the same. I think that’s a helpful thing. So I want to shift again.

[00:55:15] Jonathan Hawkins: So recently you had a LinkedIn post about safe as small. I think that’s what it was. So tell us about that. What was that about and what does that mean to you at least?

[00:55:28] Jess Davis: So, you know, like many people, I probably think too much at times about how what I’m doing is being received by other people. You know, what do people think? And I think it’s very common. I mean, I won’t say everybody experiences that, but I think most people experience that. So I was in my car recently driving out of town and I was listening to a podcast and Michael Gervais was the guest, didn’t know who he was.

[00:55:54] Jess Davis: Turns out he’s a pretty well known sort of, coach, psycho analyst kind of guy. But but [00:56:00] he started talking about his new book, I think is stop caring what other people think about you. And he said, safe is small. And when he started to explain it, I had 1 of those moments where I felt like I really wanted to pull off the side of the room, just, you know, process it for a minute.

[00:56:17] Jess Davis: But his point was this. And you’re probably a great example of this. At some point you thought, I want what I’m doing to be big. I want to scale it somehow. I’m going to start posting on LinkedIn every day. Well, you surely thought, But what if people say these posts are stupid? You suck. You shouldn’t post every day.

[00:56:40] Jess Davis: You should stop. I mean, you, you had to at least consider what am I going to do when, if that happens even better, I’m going to do a newsletter because what you and I have talked about this, what happens as soon as you do a newsletter? What does some of your friends do?

[00:56:54] Jonathan Hawkins: Well, unsubscribe

[00:56:56] Jess Davis: unsubscribe, right?

[00:56:57] Jess Davis: I mean,

[00:56:58] Jonathan Hawkins: And it, you know, I tried to tell myself, [00:57:00] it’s not personal. I just get too many emails, but it, you know,

[00:57:02] Jonathan Hawkins: you feel it a little bit. Yeah.

[00:57:03] Jess Davis: Well, you know, I started our newsletter a couple of months ago, and sure enough, the first wave of unsubscribes came through. And I looked at some of the names, and I was like, YOU? I thought we were tight, you know? I mean, you can’t even just delete it. You gotta, like, quit it. But but you decided, I know it’s gonna happen and I know some people are gonna unsubscribe and some people are gonna read it and think, that was just stupid.

[00:57:27] Jess Davis: I don’t even know why I wasted my time doing that. Then at some point you decided, I think I’ll do a podcast. I won’t repeat, but all the same stuff, right? It would have been so much safer for you to say, you know what, I’m going to do three lunches a week and I’m going to just work with the people I have and I’m going to build it, you know, safely.

[00:57:45] Jess Davis: But you put yourself out there, you know, with a podcast and with a newsletter with LinkedIn posts every single seven days a week, you post on LinkedIn. Don’t you?

[00:57:53] Jonathan Hawkins: Yep.

[00:57:53] Jess Davis: Yeah. And it’s that it is, if you’re okay with the small [00:58:00] result, then great. You can play it safe. And that’s fine. If that’s what you want to do, but if you have some bigger goals and I do, I have, I mean, honestly, I have some financial goals and I’m trying to get to a certain place financially by a certain point in my life, I wake up every morning and I look at a paragraph that I’ve written by X date, I will have X and here’s how I’m going to do it.

[00:58:23] Jess Davis: And to get there, I can’t be safe. I can’t be safe. I’ve got a dream big and I got a plan big and I got to work hard. And then you got to get out there and do some things. I mean, you were sort of my Inspiration sounds a little corny, but that’s why I started posting on LinkedIn. I thought, well, gosh, it’s, you know, he’s generating a following.

[00:58:44] Jess Davis: So I started posting stuff. It’s been a couple of months ago now, and I’ve gotten a lot of traction and a lot of views and a lot of comments. I got a case today from LinkedIn from Oklahoma.

[00:58:54] Jonathan Hawkins: That would happen. I knew that. And for the people out there, you know, you’ve got some really good posts. [00:59:00] And so, they’re not all trial lawyer related, but there is a lot of trial lawyer related stuff. And so to the listeners out there, I encourage them to find you on LinkedIn and hit the follow button.

[00:59:10] Jess Davis: well, thank you. I appreciate that. But sort of the whole safe and small is. You’ve got to get out of needing to feel safe if you are going to achieve anything that’s really significant. It’s actually taped on my monitor right here, Safe is Small. I mean, and I keep it where I can see it all day. Because whenever I start to think, Gosh, I should really post this or reach out to this person or speak at this event, whatever, but I don’t know.

[00:59:42] Jess Davis: And you get a little bit of imposter syndrome and people will realize that maybe I don’t know as much as they think I know. I look at that and I think. I can’t be safe. So that’s what that’s what it means to me. And it’s sort of how I use it in my practice and building the firm,[01:00:00]

[01:00:00] Jonathan Hawkins: So you mentioned you’ve got a personal goal. What’s your vision or goal for the firm? Do you have one? Have you thought about that?

[01:00:07] Jess Davis: you know, not different than my individual goals really, because the firm is just two of us and I own 50 percent of it. And my law partner sort of has the same vision and I do. And that is you know, there’s a defined window of time that we’re trying to get to a defined place. And it’s a dollar number, honestly.

[01:00:27] Jess Davis: And and my vision is for the firm to get me to that place. I mean, that’s it. I don’t really, the firm and, you know, and my goals they’re just, they’re the same really. They’re intertwined.

[01:00:43] Jonathan Hawkins: So is it the sort of thing when you get to the goal, you may start winding down the firm and do something else, or you just sort of keep riding.

[01:00:50] Jess Davis: I think, you know, for all my life, I’ve said, I’m one of those people that will never retire when I’m, you know, 90, you know, if I live to be 90, [01:01:00] probably still have a law office and I’ll probably still go in two days a week and move papers around, you know, and come home. And I don’t know why, but in the past, probably two or three years, I’ve changed that entirely.

[01:01:14] Jess Davis: And again, I have a place I’m trying to get to by a certain period of time. And I think when that day comes, I think I’m going to call the state bar and tell them to move me to an active status. And I think that’s going to be it for me. I do not think I’ll practice law a day after that.

[01:01:30] Jonathan Hawkins: Wow. Wow. Well, I mean, it’s good to know. I mean, to know where you’re going, hopefully you’ve sort of got what’s next sort of started mapping that out.

[01:01:41] Jess Davis: Yeah. I mean, honestly, what’s next after that is, is we’ve worked really hard and we have we’ve had some success and I want to spend, I don’t know, maybe the last trimester of my life, I guess is probably what it’ll be doing what I want to do. [01:02:00] when and how I want to do it, wherever that may be. So if that means that you know, we go spend three months on Martha’s Vineyard and, you know, join a book club and ride bikes every day.

[01:02:13] Jess Davis: I don’t know, maybe I’ll, you know, maybe we’ll do that. If it’s, we want to stay here and volunteer at the dog shelter in DeKalb County, if I want to go. I don’t know what it’s going to be. And that’s really the point. I don’t have a, here’s what I want to do. I just know that whatever it is I want to do, I want to have that ability, you know, and I, and it’s going to be different.

[01:02:37] Jess Davis: I don’t know, but and it, you know, it goes back in some ways to leaving Austin and Byrd. I just want to be in control. I want to be in control of my time. And really right now I’m not, I mean, this law practice, It is demanding as you know, I mean, it is, I’m working most nights when everybody else is asleep back here in my home office and I’m working another [01:03:00] two or three hours and we’ve put a lot into it and we work really hard and we care about it and we go at a pace that I don’t think is sustainable until we’re, you know, 80 years old.

[01:03:10] Jess Davis: So I look forward to grinding. We’re not going anywhere anytime soon. I mean, we’re gonna be around for everyone out there referring cases. I’m going to be here. And we’re not going anywhere. But but I can foresee a time when I’m ready to close the door on this chapter

[01:03:28] Jonathan Hawkins: Well, I know you’ll get there eventually hopefully sooner rather than later, but so you’ve been at it for a while. You know, you’re at the big firm, you started your firm, you had a wide open practice somewhat, and then you’ve created a niche practice. You’ve had a lot of success. So for the lawyers out there that may be thinking about starting their firm, or maybe in the early days of the firm, any words of wisdom or advice for them?

[01:03:52] Jess Davis: boy. I’m trying to think back. To maybe things I wish I had known at the time that I didn’t know, [01:04:00] because that’s probably the most helpful commentary I could give. I think the main thing, honestly, is waking up every day and really believing. That you can make it. I think that confidence I don’t know that we would have made it without that.

[01:04:17] Jess Davis: I think it’s easy to feel like especially if things are not going well, I think it’s easy to feel like I’m not sure if this is going to work. But I think the mindset part of it is huge. I don’t believe in manifestation and the respect that if you really hope hard enough for something.

[01:04:35] Jess Davis: It’ll happen. Don’t believe in that at all. I do believe in that concept, though, in a here’s what I hope that will happen. Okay, what have the people done who have accomplished that? What are their characteristics? What are their traits? What have they done to get where I’m trying to go? And what are the steps I need to take?

[01:04:54] Jess Davis: Okay, well, I’m trying to get from point A to point B, there’s 7 steps [01:05:00] and waking up every day and thinking, okay, I’m going to execute on these 7 steps, you know, having a plan to get there instead of just hoping that you get there. You know, and then all the, you know, more basic advice that most people know, and that is, you know, keep your overhead low and that kind of thing, you know, limit your fixed expenses.

[01:05:17] Jess Davis: I would say nobody can hear that enough because. Even the people that hear it that think, well, you know, I definitely need a pretty nice office. No, you don’t. Oh, you know, you can get a Regis office or whatever. And, you know, you can make it work. But but to me, I mean, I think the believing that this is going to work, I have a plan.

[01:05:40] Jess Davis: You have to change your plan because whatever you think is going to work right now in six months, you’re going to realize, okay. Okay. You know, I need to I think art describes it. Italo describes it as, and I don’t even know if this is true, but it was a good analogy, whether it’s true or not. But he said like when an airplane takes off from Atlanta, flying to Cleveland.

[01:05:59] Jess Davis: You know, they start [01:06:00] out, but then they make like 300 course corrections along the way, because however you start out, ultimately it’s going to drift you the wrong way. Again, for pilots out there, they may say that’s not true, but the point works here and that is you’re just constantly course correcting, you know,

[01:06:15] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah. So, you do MedMal here in Georgia for sure. Do you do you handle MedMal cases in other states?

[01:06:22] Jess Davis: we do, we’ve done them gosh, in a lot of States, I think we have. We might have the largest necrotizing fasciitis settlement in the Pacific Northwest, maybe. We’ve had some big cases. We just had a pretty big case in Alabama. But it has to be a really good fit. There has to be some reason, for instance, we do a lot of infectious disease cases and that’s why we were brought into the case and Spokane, Washington.

[01:06:47] Jess Davis: But so for the right fit, yes, but typically we’re in Georgia.

[01:06:52] Jonathan Hawkins: So for the folks out there, if they want to get in touch with you, refer your case, maybe get you involved. How do they find you? What’s the best way?

[01:06:59] Jess Davis: The easiest way [01:07:00] probably is just to go to our website, and it’s davis adams, d a v i s a d a m s, davis adams. com. And my contact info is on there. Another, the one, another thing I haven’t understood is lawyers who don’t have their personal email address on their website. And I don’t know if you, But there are lots of lawyers that you can’t find their email address on their website.

[01:07:22] Jess Davis: Never understood that either. But my email address is on there. My phone number is on there. You can get straight to me. And we’re always grateful for cases. Lots of people refer MedMal cases and most of them aren’t viable cases. Just statistically, that’s the way they shake out. But we’re grateful for the opportunities, all of them.

[01:07:41] Jonathan Hawkins: Awesome. Well, thanks for coming on Jess. It’s been fun.

[01:07:43] Jonathan Hawkins: And thanks for your friendship over the years.

[01:07:45] Jess Davis: Yeah, I appreciate it. I appreciate all of your encouragement and I enjoy our lunches because I always come away from our lunches with sort of an extra boost of energy. So

[01:07:55] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah.

[01:07:56] Jess Davis: everything you’ve done.

[01:07:57] Jonathan Hawkins: Likewise. I always come out saying, all right, I’m gonna go [01:08:00] conquer the

[01:08:00] Jonathan Hawkins: world. So. We got to get another one on the calendar soon.

[01:08:03] Jess Davis: For sure. Let’s do that.

[01:08:04] ​