A knock was heard on the tall thick mahogany door. The bailiff stood up and walked into the jury deliberation room. A few seconds later, the bailiff walked into the courtroom and told the clerk, “The jury has reached a verdict.” The judge in her long black robe entered the courtroom from her chambers and summoned the jury to the jury box. “Ladies and gentlemen, have you reached a verdict,” she asked. “Yes,” replied the foreperson. The verdict was handed to the clerk who summoned the parties to their feet. Before the clerk read the verdict, the client looked to her lawyer and in a soft whisper said, “Thank you.”
“For what? We haven’t heard the verdict yet,” the lawyer said.
The client looked at him and said, “Thank you for believing in me.”
Ten years ago, I walked away from the law firm that my dad, Guy Perenich, started in 1955 to join my brothers, Greg and Tim, in their law firm, Perenich & Perenich. Even though I was a fully vested partner in my dad’s firm, I made the decision that, together with Greg and Tim, we could be a part of a special venture in creating a law firm that reflected the values and principles that Dad taught us as kids. Those lessons were learned while we sat at the dinner table. My dad told us about his clients and their families and why he felt duty bound to help them. It was a simple lesson: he knew each of them personally and he cared about them – he really wanted to help.
After my dad retired in 2007, I reflected on those lessons and decided for myself that I had to get back to my roots. Our firm was, in a sense, not walking away from my dad’s firm, but about returning to my family and carrying on my dad’s legacy.
Last year my dad passed away at the age of 93 and this year we are marking our 15-year anniversary of our firm and 10 years since I have been a part of the firm with Tim and Greg. I think Dad would be proud of what we’ve built and the mission that drives us. Every day we strive to serve our clients as unique persons and families that want a higher form of legal service – personalized service.
The television and billboard advertising from lawyers cannot convey what we do when we sit down, face to face with our clients. I know that some big advertising firms overwhelm the air waves with their messages about what makes them better. But as many people know, the clients who call those firms rarely even get to speak to a lawyer. Usually, an investigator shows up at the client’s door and offers legal representation by “e-signing” a contract. We don’t e-sign our clients. We meet our clients.
From that first meeting, the relationship is established: person to person, attorney to client. And just like Guy Perenich did for the 52 years he practiced law, we will be standing beside our clients in the courtroom, demonstrating our commitment to them and belief in their cause seeking justice.
We know that our field of practice is competitive. In a crowded marketspace, anyone can feel uncertain and anxious about the future. Today, we often hear stories about how automation and artificial intelligence will displace us from our jobs and careers. However, I know that no computer or algorithm can offer what Greg, Tim and I offer at our firm. The best representation a lawyer can give a client requires that the attorney-client relationship reflect a real connection. Each client of our firm makes a larger community that can never be replaced. We know that there are a lot of firms out there and they are spending a lot of money to advertise. But no amount of money, spent on TV, billboards or radio, will replace the genuine gratitude expressed by a satisfied client who knew that he or she had a lawyer who knew them and cared. Even when a case is concluded, our relationship persists. I’m your lawyer and this is your law firm whether you hired me yesterday or ten years ago. When we fight for your shot at justice, we do it because we believe in you. That’s the way Guy Perenich practiced law.
We are excited about what we have accomplished as 3 brothers emboldened by the spirit of our dad. I am grateful to Tim and Greg that I have been a part of this firm for the last 10 years and I am excited about the next 10 years even more.