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Embracing Challenges and Building Trust in Law Firm Leadership With Jereme Baker

Embracing Challenges and Building Trust in Law Firm Leadership With Jereme Baker

December 13, 2023   |   Written by Gladiator Law Marketing
Jereme Baker Jereme BakerJereme Baker is the Founder and Managing Partner of Baker Law Group LLC, a Colorado firm specializing in real estate, business and corporate law, estate planning, and probate matters. With a career marked by significant roles as both in-house and outsourced general counsel, Jereme has delivered legal and business advice to a range of small- to medium-sized businesses. His notable achievements include the formation of a multimillion-dollar joint venture investment fund, aiding a private equity client in acquiring over $30 million in real estate assets, and playing a vital role in a $60 million commercial real estate development project. Established in 2011, Baker Law Group reflects Jereme’s comprehensive expertise and commitment to legal excellence, as evidenced by his recognition as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers and receiving the 2014 Billy Lewis Young Lawyer Courage Under Fire Award.
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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Jereme Baker shares Baker Law Group LLC’s core practice areas
  • How and when Jereme knew he wanted to be an attorney
  • The rewarding aspect of practicing law
  • What were the early days of Baker Law Group like?
  • Jereme talks about his initial hesitation to delegate tasks
  • Why Jereme found it easier to expand to multiple locations due to the pandemic

In this episode…

Leading a law firm through its growth and trust-building phases is a complex undertaking. What are the essential strategies for successfully navigating these challenges in today’s legal market? Jereme Baker, a seasoned legal entrepreneur, emphasizes the importance of embracing challenges and fostering trust. His journey reflects the essential balance between overcoming initial doubts and trusting the evolutionary process of developing a legal practice. Jereme points out that success in law isn’t just about legal knowledge; it also requires courage, strategic planning, and adaptability, especially in crucial phases like hiring the first employee or expanding to multiple locations. In this episode of 15 Minutes, Chad Franzen speaks with Jereme Baker, Founder and Managing Partner of Baker Law Group LLC, about leading and expanding a law firm. They explore the critical steps of confronting fears, the importance of building trust within the team, and the strategies for effective firm growth and management. Jereme also shares his insights on making pivotal decisions, nurturing client relationships, and adapting to the dynamic demands of the legal profession.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver tailor-made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential. To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com or schedule a free marketing consultation. You can also send an email to adam@gladiatorlawmarketing.com.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:01   You’re listening to 15 Minutes, where we feature community leaders sharing what the rest of us should know but likely don’t. Chad Franzen  0:13   Hi. Chad Franzen here, one of the hosts of Share Your Voice, where we talk with top notch law firms and lawyers about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, delivering tailor made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential. To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. Gladiator Law Marketing uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com where you can schedule a free marketing consultation. Jereme Baker is owner and managing member of Baker Law Group. He has comprehensive experience in real estate, business and corporate law, estate planning and probate. He has served as both in house and outside general counsel for small to medium sized businesses. Jereme’s achievements include negotiating a multimillion dollar joint venture, assisting in the acquisition of over $30 million in real estate assets and facilitating a $60 million commercial real estate development venture in Denver. He founded Baker Law Group in 2011, and has received accolades like the 2014 Billy Lewis Young Lawyer Courage Under Fire Award and recognition as a Rising Star by superlawyers.com. pleased to be joined by him now, Jereme, thanks so much for joining me. How are you? Jereme Baker  1:35   I’m doing great. Glad to be here. Chad Franzen  1:38   Hey, so tell me a little bit more than about Baker Law Group, and kind of what you guys specialize in? Jereme Baker  1:45   Yeah, so our firm motto is we’re a  law firm for today’s small business and individuals. So essentially, we focus on small businesses providing legal services to small businesses and individuals. We have, you know, core practice areas of general civil litigation, business, real estate, and probate and estate planning. Chad Franzen  2:07   How did you know when and how did you know you wanted to become an attorney? Jereme Baker  2:13   Yeah, so I’d say, you know, kind of first thought about it was when I was in my senior year of undergrad, I took a law and society class at Rutgers University. And, you know, it just kind of became apparent to me through that class, just how much the law shaped and impacted our society, you know, from really everything from our educational systems, to our governance systems, you know, to our work environment, and work life. So it’s, it kind of opened my eyes, but I wouldn’t say I wanted to become a lawyer just because of that class, but it kind of piqued my interest. And then as you know, kind of time went on, I graduated, and I was still thinking about maybe business school, or law school. And I interned or kind of got a job and opportunity back home, where I’m from Jacksonville, Florida. With personal injury law firm, they were one of the top PII law firms and in Jacksonville, and I worked there for about six months, just kind of assisting paralegals, you know, opening files, doing simple stuff and thought it was kind of boring, and I didn’t really get an opportunity, I really didn’t maximize that opportunity. To be quite frank, I was a little intimidated by it. And then I said, Well, you know, I don’t think I want to do this law thing. And then I ended up going back up to New Jersey, my girlfriend, wife now, at the time, we stayed together, which was kind of to my surprise, and went up there and did some part time work at an accounting firm, because I was thinking, hey, you know, maybe I’ll go into business law route. And, you know, through that short experience there, I was, like, you know, there’s more paperwork here than there ever was at the law firm. And it’s all numbers. And you know, so I said, maybe law school isn’t so bad. So I end up start studying for the LSAT and the rest is history there. Chad Franzen  4:08   What did you What did you enjoy about law school? And then how Okay, so did you kind of transition into the legal industry? Jereme Baker  4:16   Yeah, you know, I mean, what did I enjoy? I really enjoy my business classes. You know, is where I got the highest grades you know, in corporations and organizations, business organizations. But unfortunately, I came out during the recession and Oh, nine so especially started oh eight and was right in the thick of it and no nine there weren’t a lot of opportunities. A lot of folks are there opportunities were getting rescinded from from loss or law firms and other businesses and but I did have an opportunity part time with the boulder housing authority. And then kind of out of nowhere, you know, kind of got an unexpected opportunity to work at the DHS office in Boulder, not criminal law. is absolutely not what I wanted to do. I had no interest at no classes in law school. But I said, you know, full time job versus part time. You know, I’ll give it a shot. You know, I didn’t want to be anywhere near a courtroom prior to that. But you know, it was a good experience for me. I end up getting my feet wet in court, and I understood what it was to try cases in front of a judge. So that was kind of the beginning of my legal journey there. Chad Franzen  5:26   What brought you to Boulder? I know you went to school at the University of Colorado for law school. Did you was that? Was that? Like, did you just apply to a number of places that you got in there? Or was there something else about it that brought you there? Jereme Baker  5:38   Yeah, so it was a little bit more of a personal connection there. So my mom was born in Colorado, and my grandmother. And I have some other small family out here, like my small family out here, my mom’s side, my aunt and cousin. And but we used to come visit as a kid, when I was a kid growing up, probably every two or three years, we all pile in the van and drive out here, take the three day trip and spend the summer out here. And I just always loved it, I loved the mountains, had a personal connection with me and my grandmother lived in Lyons, Colorado, just north of Boulder and beautiful spot, if you’re familiar with it, you know, basically right in our backyard was the st reign River and we go to big down there throughout the summer. So I always had a special place for years, I used to dream about Colorado, growing up as a kid, to be honest with you coming from Jacksonville, Florida, living in the city. So you know, of course, around the time that you know, I was a young adult, and, you know, Colorado was was was cool. But I wasn’t given that much thought, you know, when I started applying to law school, so where do I want to live? And that’s was the advice that I was given, go to law school where you want to live? And, you know, I applied to a handful of schools. But you know, as soon as I got the acceptance letter, you know, at CU Boulder, I knew that’s where I was going. Chad Franzen  6:53   Awesome. Awesome. So Baker Law Group now is based in Colorado, how did it come about? Jereme Baker  7:01   Yeah, so you know, I ended up very early on in my legal career decided to, you know, hang my hat on my own shingle. Again. You know, it was something I was kind of scared to death of, but my dad really encouraged me. And in doing that, and even opened myself up to the possibility of doing that. Because I was still very inexperienced, but you know, I had a little bit of legal experience. So I decided to give that a shot. You know, had a mentor of mine who, fortunately, he kind of steered me to an office location where there were some other senior attorneys kind of semi retired attorneys ahead, you know, 3040 years of experience that, you know, I was able to kind of start my journey there and be able to pick their brains a little bit to try to stay out of trouble. Chad Franzen  7:49   What were the early days? Like, I’m sure that those I’m sure having those more senior kind of people around, you helped? Jereme Baker  7:58   Yeah, yeah, no, definitely a lot of anxiety and paranoia. Just not wanting to, to screw up. You know, in a lot of research, you know, a lot of a lot of effort, you know, I learned a lot, just making sure I was competent to practice law in some of the areas that, you know, I decided to practice in. And, you know, as, as I alluded to, definitely picking the brains as much as I could, you know, I really bugged those, you know, senior attorneys any chance I got, you know, hey, can review this motion? Hey, do you? What do you think about this? Or am I on the right track with that, hey, how do I respond to this? And, you know, I go around, you know, that sort of shared office, you know, and, okay, I feel like I’m bugging that one too much. Let me go check out another one here. So it was, yeah, it was, it was interesting. Definitely. Definitely a little a little scary. But, you know, as time went on, you know, I got a lot more, you know, more and more comfortable with, with the concept of practicing law and kind of being out there on your own. Chad Franzen  8:57   How much time had passed between when you graduated from CU. And when you started Baker law? Jereme Baker  9:03   Not a lot, I think it was less than just under two years. Chad Franzen  9:06   So given that you’re pretty, you’re pretty young, pretty new in the field that will relatively new, you still had some a lot of legal expertise. But what was one thing upon starting the law firm that you were that, like, kind of hit you in the face? Like, I just didn’t realize that that was gonna be part of this, or was there anything? Jereme Baker  9:29   Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot of things, you know, you know, honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, even going to law school, you don’t really know what to expect from you, maybe I don’t have any lawyers in my family that I could reach out to and talk to and get a sense of that. I did. Of course, you know, work at you know, like I said, my personal injury firm for six months, you know, before law school. So, you know, I kind of knew in an office look like but I really didn’t get to do much do much more than that. You know, so I’d say, you know, part of it was, you know, maybe just the enjoyment that I got out of, you know, consulting with clients and advising them and helping them with their problems wasn’t, you know, really at the forefront of why I went to law school are what I was expecting to be the most rewarding. I mean, I really enjoyed figuring out problems for them, or solving their problems, doing that research and finding the AHA, you know, I’ve got it, but also being able to share that with them and help them you know, in difficult times. That’s probably what I wasn’t expecting, but also probably the most joy that I get out of practicing law. Chad Franzen  10:38   So now, I’m looking at your website here, it looks like you have more than 10 attorneys who work at Baker law, what does growth kind of look like for you guys? Jereme Baker  10:51   Yeah, um, you know, it’s been a bit of a staircase, you know, as business typically is, you know, it’s, uh, you know, two steps forward one step back. But, you know, I mean, I started off, you know, part time having a part time paralegal, you know, and then I could have a full time paralegal one, and I could have a law clerk. So I would say growth has really, you know, obviously, when you go that full time attorney, I think I did that within the first couple of years, you know, I’ve doubled in two years, right, then that kind of middle part, you know, we didn’t grow quite as fast. But I’d say the last three years, we’ve seen a lot of growth, you know, went from, you know, I think two or three attorneys to 10. In the past, you know, two and a half, three years. So, the growth has been picking up lately, so, but it’s, yeah, it hasn’t been, you know, 100%, just straight, you know, straight line there, it’s definitely there staring at numbers. Chad Franzen  11:47   So when you first decided you wanted to expand how, I guess, nerve racking, or how much of a gulp was it to realize, like, Okay, I’m hiring somebody, I have to pay them and, and all these things. Jereme Baker  12:00   Yeah, you know, that’s always constantly the back of your mind. You know, you just you don’t know, um, you begin to trust what you’re doing as time goes on, and you find success. And a, this is working. But, you know, a small business, and any business is a delicate thing in some ways. You know, you can have something that can definitely derail you or knock you off course, and you don’t see a comment, or you don’t expect to count to come. But, you know, again, I think over time, you know, you kind of see things building, and you see revenue coming in, and you’re like, um, I mean, it’s coming in, I’m not exactly sure it’s gonna continue to come in, but it seems like the things that I’m doing are working, and it’s, you know, and it’s increasing. So, just kind of keep doing what you’re doing and have confidence and trust in what you’re doing. And, you know, you kind of start to build a little bit of faith and trust and, and is all you can do, you know, and you can’t you can’t control everything. Chad Franzen  12:54   When I introduced you I talked about or I mentioned a few kind of big things that you’ve been involved in, what are some moments maybe that you look back on that you’re particularly proud of during the lifespan of your firm? Jereme Baker  13:07   Yeah, you know, I would say, you know, just a few milestones, you know, you know, hiring that first employee, being able to do that and say, Okay, I know, I don’t have to do everything, right, I don’t have to answer the phones and be my own bookkeeper and practice law and do all the research and make sure rents pay me then. So that was a big milestone, just something to be proud of. But also, it was, it was helpful. And then, you know, having my first office that I could actually have a door that I could close. That was a big moment. And I started off with the seniors attorneys in that space. And my attorney, my clients didn’t know it, because I would meet them in a shared conference room, but I didn’t have an office, right, I was basically in a paralegal cubicle at the back. So getting that first office where I can actually close my door, you know, and have my own personal space was a big milestone for me, and then, you know, and then slowly getting my own just office entirely, you know, not just based for me, but for my staff, and then, you know, now we have three locations. So open up that second and third locations have been big milestones and things that I’ve been proud of, but I’m just excited to see how much I know I know. Chad Franzen  14:25   It can be nerve wracking when you hire a new a new employee or whatever, especially for the first time because of all the responsibilities that come along with it. How much or how stressful or worried were you when it came to like delegating like okay I need I mean you know, trusting somebody else to do what you know you can do even if you don’t want to do it. Jereme Baker  14:44   Yeah, you know, one thing I will say it was a it was pretty slow and me having that trust for someone especially the first time the first time around. You know, I was very much you know, having given With an assignment, you know, at the time, it was, you know, a law clerk, you know, given the assignment, reviewing, checking all the citations, redlining, and, and making sure it was done properly and correct. And they were kind of thinking about the problem the way that they should be. And you know, that relationship continue that way for quite a long time, you know, really, really several years. And not to say it took that long to completely build the trust, but that’s just the way that we operate it. And, you know, and then at some point, after, you know, two or three years, I really felt okay, this is Lockhart knows, just about as much as I do at this point, right, we’ve been working so closely together, and I trust the way that he thinks, and he writes, and he interacts with clients, you know. So that was a long process the first time around, you know, if you want to continue to grow, as we want to, and we have done, you can’t quite take two or three years, you know, before you let someone off the reins, but it’s definitely, you know, something that you try to monitor and track and have a system in place to where you can make sure that person is doing good work. But at some point, you got to have a little bit of trust to that you’re hiring someone and their license, and they’re competent, to do the work and that they’re going to do it. You know, and that always doesn’t work out that way. But, um, you know, that’s it unless you just want to be a solo practitioner, and, you know, have maybe a paralegal than that. That’s the only way if you actually want to grow your farm, you just got to do it. Chad Franzen  16:34   Speaking of speaking of growing up, you mentioned that you’ve gone from one to three locations, how has that kind of changed your life as the kind of the head of the business? Jereme Baker  16:45   Yeah, you know, I would say it’s, you know, a lot more to manage, of course, but at the same time, really, it’s been a little bit easier transition than I probably expected, I think part of that was because of the COVID experience, you know, where we still have one location, and that at that time, and everybody came into the office, we always met clients in the office. And COVID changed all of that. So it actually was a good kind of precursor and, you know, kind of a good experience to go through. When we decided, hey, we’d like to have a second location. Okay. Well, you know, because of COVID, we, we’ve already been doing some of these things remote, and it was a little bit more streamlined and a little easier to do to do that second and third location. Because of that, really, but you know, it still has its challenges. Chad Franzen  17:44   Are there any? Are there any daily rituals that you find particularly important? What is it? What does the day look like for you? Jereme Baker  17:52   Yeah, I would say, you know, two things, I would say one is, stop looking at emails, I have to stop looking at emails, at some point that evening, I don’t want to have that email at nine o’clock at night, that just keeps me up for the rest of the night, you know, and so shut it down, shut it off, you know, just don’t look at it, until the next morning, it can wait. It’s not worth having a sleepless night or thinking about, you know, solving a problem or an issue or whatever it might be. And in that same vein, you know, it’s really trying to tackle the thing that you least want to do that day, early. So you’re not thinking about it at night, and it’s not to come at home with you. You don’t want to do it, you don’t want to deal with it, whatever it might be. But just try to tackle that early in the day and get it over with. So you can go home to your family and not be thinking about work as much. Chad Franzen  18:48   I have one more question for you. But tell me how can people find out more about Baker Law Group? Jereme Baker  18:55   Yeah, you know, I mean, we obviously have a website, jbakerlawgroup.com. You find out about our website there or, you know, give us a call, I’m happy to talk, you know, especially if it’s an attorney, you know, I’m happy to share any information I can. So just pick up the phone and give me a call. Chad Franzen  19:12   You mentioned you had some mentors who have who have helped you a lot, especially when you were getting your own firm rolling, what would you say is the best or I don’t know, maybe even the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received? Jereme Baker  19:24   Yeah, I would say the best advice was something I just continue to carry with me. And that’s, you know, face your biggest fear, right? Don’t run away from what you’re afraid of. face it head on. You know, that was when I started my my law firm. I was. I didn’t think I could do it. I was super scared of it. And I was thinking about not even practicing law anymore. And you know, it was because I was afraid of the challenge in front of me. I was afraid maybe I couldn’t succeed at being an attorney. I couldn’t concede it start my own firm. So attorney told me, you know, face your fears and that I was going through it at that moment too. And, you know, so I kind of tried to carry that with being in fact, in the background, I’ve got a little scrawny man and in a medieval armor with a sword out and kill me. I’m trying to slay a dragon. So that’s kind of a reminder to me, you know, to face your fears. And as daunting as it may seem, you know, just just go after it. Chad Franzen  20:30   Yeah, that’s great. Great advice. Good story. Thank you so much. Hey, Jeremy has been great to talk to you. Thank you so much for your time today. Really appreciate it. Jereme Baker  20:36   Yeah, thank you. I appreciate it Chad, take care. Chad Franzen  20:39   You too. So long, everybody. Outro  20:42   Thanks for listening to 15 Minutes. Be sure to subscribe and we’ll see you next time.

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