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Jay Kelley Featured on Game-Changing Attorney Podcast

Michael Mogill, founder and CEO of Crisp Video, hosts the Game-Changing  Attorney podcast. Each episode features law firm entrepreneurs and market leaders — people who flourish in the face of adversity, challenge the status quo and define what it means to be a game-changer.

Mogill’s latest guest was Elk & Elk Managing Partner Jay Kelley, who was recently selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021 Edition. Kelley was also recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” for 2021, receiving the highest overall peer-feedback for medical malpractice law in Cleveland.

Elk & Elk Managing Partner James Kelley was a guest on the Game-Changing Attorney podcast.

In the episode, Kelley spoke about the strategies that have established Elk & Elk as a respected brand and market leader. He discussed his experience growing and evolving a beloved brand, and provided valuable insight on establishing a legacy built to outlast the names on the door.

Show Highlights

The entire interview can be streamed or downloaded here.

  • 2:03 – Kelley’s unique beginning
    • “I got into the practice of law on a whim of sorts in college. I met a visiting professor who was from the Abbey Theatre in Ireland — Vincent Dowling — and he convinced me to take an acting class. I absolutely loved the presentation aspect, and he was all about persuasion through acting. So it was how do you stand, how do you communicate, tempo — everything. It was my favorite class I took in college. I then took a second Shakespearean-style acting class within the second semester, and I was committed to doing something where persuasive speaking was a part of it. That’s what led me to law school, and then this practice.
  • 5:23 – Utilizing past experience in the courtroom
    • “I think the greatest skill that I bring to a courtroom is that I listen. I find myself to be very patient before I act or take an approach. I work up a case from both sides and utilize those four different perspectives that I’ve tried cases from in every case.”
  • 8:33 – On being an attorney and businessman
    • “I used to view being a businessman and being an attorney as something different, but I now actually think they’re the exact same thing … You are trying to do the same thing, whether it’s building your brand or building your case.”
  • 15:04 – An answer for every caller
    • “We promise every single person who calls us is going to get an answer … So when someone calls, we promise a singular thing, and that’s that we will at some point sit down with you and give you an honest, unfiltered answer as to what happened, what should have happened and what your legal rights are.”
  • 18:00 – The mark of good branding.
    • “Sometimes you wonder what your brand is, and then something you don’t even intend slaps you in the face. For example, this year, I’ve started to be in some of the live ads with Arthur [Elk], and the theory being that we want to transition this very gradually. Well, you would have thought that a great unsolved crime had occurred during the first Cincinnati Reds game. People blew up our social media and our phone lines, wondering what happened to David [Elk]. It got to the point where we actually had to put out on social media, ‘No, this is our transition. Dave is fine!’ We kind of had to prove David was okay. It became kind of a funny thing within here, but it was such an incredible tribute to them. You wonder if people are paying attention, and here’s proof that they are.”
  • 22:24 – Giving back to the community through sports
    • “We are active with every one of our marketing decisions. We try to say, ‘What cause is this meaningful to?’ … We always try to find something that gives us a chance to let people get to know us and see that we really are part of this community.”
  • 37:33 – Passing the torch
    • “Two years ago, probably the largest medical case in Ohio occurred. There were 87 law firms that had shared the 600 or so patients, and the fact that the court selected our firm to lead that case locally was something that brought pride for me, but also you could see it in them as well. That’s the other part of brand — the pride and the satisfaction when you see that the public starts to see your brand and the way you feel about your brand. For the legal community to select us to run something that large was incredibly flattering, and I could not have been happier than to come back to Arthur and David and say, ‘Look what you guys built. Look at the opportunities you gave us.’ [John O’Neil] and I are lucky we get to start with the headstart they gave us.”
  • 38:37 – How do you define success?
    • “I think success is very personal. I think in my personal life, it is 100% the happiness of my kids and my wife. As it pertains to the business and the firm as a whole, I want our firm to be seen as a trusted source within the legal community, the regular community and most importantly, by our clients. Then for me personally within that space, I want my clients to feel like they made the right decision when they hired me. So it’s nothing super crazy, but when I’m gone, I hope people think I left it better than I found it.”
  • 41:07 – Jay’s best advice for attorneys
    • “I would say, embrace failure as what it really is, which is a learning opportunity. I think that so many people are so afraid to make a decision and fail that they become paralyzed. You know, if you want to build a brand, start to build it, but make sure it reflects who you are. Be honest with yourself, and if you make a mistake, pick yourself up, learn from it and move forward because nobody ever has gotten anywhere without making mistakes and failing along the way.”
  • 42:31 – What does being a game-changer mean to you?
    • “To me, being a game-changing attorney means that you are delivering something that is exceptional within your arena. For us, we believe everything comes down to, ‘Do we deliver exceptional legal service to our clients?’ So, if you want to change the game, deliver the best legal service. Then building the brand is, ‘How do you let the world know?’ But the first step, the condition precedent, is to be exceptional.”

Share and Subscribe

You can share and subscribe to the Game-Changing Attorney podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsAmazon Music and Spotify. It can be streamed and downloaded on Crisp Video’s podcast page, as well.