As the founder and managing partner of namesake Herman Law, Jeff Herman has devoted his professional life to seeking justice for victims of sexual assault, rape, abuse, and sexual exploitation. As a commercial litigator in the late 1990’s, Jeff Herman was deeply moved by the discovery that a referred woman’s autistic son was abused in his pre-school. Upon further personal investigation, it was discovered that the child’s abuse happened at the hands of an employee, who was also a convicted pedophile. Immediately, Herman recognized his calling, and the scope of his work, as well as his practice, shifted toward specializing in sexual abuse cases.
Amassing years of experience, Herman has grown his practice into one of the nation’s leading law firms specializing in cases of a sexual nature, devoting his entire caseload to this realm of practice. He has provided hundreds of families, survivors, and loved ones with justice, closure, and the ability to regain their rights. Bolstered by the life-changing results he provides to clients, Jeff Herman has successfully embedded deep meaning into his professional scope and has been able to successfully operate his firm with integrity, a strong moral compass, and the business savvy needed to ensure his ability to aide families throughout the years to come.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
The law has always been a source of interest, motivation, and drive for me professionally. However, specializing in sexual abuse cases has allowed me to parlay my passion for helping individuals victimized and marginalized by others and combine it with the law, amounting to a marriage between the two motivating factors. I was deeply moved by the story of a mother whose autistic son was abused at pre-school, an area meant to be a solace for a child. Personally vested in this case, I proceeded to organize data and invest this case vehemently, ultimately discovering the abuse was the result of poor background checks and hiring processes implemented by the pre-school. The notion that this child’s suffering could have easily been prevented if the pre-school took protective measures within their hiring policy was absolutely appalling. Though I was not able to turn back the hands of time, I was successful in holding the pre-school accountable for their negligence and the integral role it played in the horrific events experienced by this child. Bringing closure, advocacy, and strength to his family felt life altering and encouraged me to plunge into this line of work on a full-time basis, ultimately devoting Herman Law to focus solely on advocating for the rights of individuals such as this child.
How do you make money?
Herman Law is a full-service law firm with a special investigative unit, large amounts of resources placed in due diligence, customer care, and handling sensitive cases with the utmost respect. We are proud to offer consultations at no cost, and we never collect fees unless we win cases. Thus, Herman Law only collects fees upon reaching a successful verdict or settlement, placing confidence in our attorneys to keep the firm successful. At the pinnacle of a family’s distress, we aspire to evoke a sense of confidence with our clients, and we find that this internal confidence breeds client trust, confidence, and understanding of our complete loyalty to serving their needs completely.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Due to my confidence in my own work scope, as well as that of the staff at Herman Law, the practice maintained appropriate funding, profitability, and was on track for success very quickly. As I’ve had experience within the legal realm prior to establishing Herman Law, I was fortunate to parlay those past experiences into a successful startup.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
At the time of the inception of Herman Law, I had already amassed experience within the realm of law. Thus, I was completely motivated and driven by the concept of really making a difference and providing tangible results for families, victims, and individuals affected by an irrevocable act. With such an extensive schedule to maintain, I didn’t really have time for self-doubt. Clients look to me to be a pillar of unwavering strength, and even throughout the initial years of the practice, I have always understood my need to portray strength, confidence, and a sense of stability for clients.
Personally, though, there was a time within my career where I considered changing the trajectory of the firm’s focus, and perhaps exhibited self-doubt related to my longevity in this grueling arena. After several years of dealing with what I consider to be the worst of humanity, I began to feel physically ill, and it began to impact not only my personal life but also my ability to perform within the workplace. Recognizing the need to care for myself in order to help others, I began biometric training and was able to maintain a balance between feeling empathy for my clients and maintaining the objective status needed to ensure positive results.
How did you get your first client?
As a referral, I investigated the case of the concerned mother whose autistic son was sexually exploited at his pre-school. I was so deeply interested in the case that I decided to personally investigate the circumstances of the purported events. From there, Herman Law began taking on cases rather quickly on a national level.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Within such a sensitive and niche field, client comfort is crucial, and thus, referrals are truly the best means of spreading insights about a positive experience. However, given the oft confidential manner of cases, clients sometimes do not publicly share their experiences with others, making it somewhat difficult to rely on word-of-mouth referrals. At Herman Law, we have found that offering complimentary consultations to potential clients has aided in providing the first step for clients, who sometimes are not certain about taking the first steps toward garnering justice.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Though I’ve wanted to help absolutely every individual who contacts Herman Law, perhaps the toughest choice involves the initial communication with clients and determining which cases we can, and cannot, take on. Within the changing landscape of politics, social awareness, and various movements, there is certainly an increased social demand for justice and empowerment for individuals who have experienced sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and/or other traumas. With this wonderful increase in group empowerment, however, came more scrutiny, public judgment, and the need to objectively consider all aspects of a case prior to taking it on.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
For any individual to be professionally successful, I truly believe that passion must play a crucial role, along with education, drive, experience, and motivation. As this niche field requires an expansive amount of multi-tasking, long hours away from home, and a steady head, it is not for the faint of heart and can very quickly become a less than desirable vocation if one’s heart is truly not in it. Additionally, within this scope of work, minute details amount to extremely valuable pieces when placed together correctly. Thus, having concise information and maintaining the organization of information is a crucial aspect in this field. As a visual thinker, I find it to be exceptionally beneficial to display information, timelines, and theories in a tangible manner, in order to then conceptualize and internalize the information. For that reason, I maintain large whiteboards with information in my office and rely on them for successfully piecing together fragments related to each case.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The most gratifying aspect of operating Herman Law comes from the ability to turn victims into survivors and to bring tangible closure, respect, and confidence to individuals impacted by sexual abuse, often as a result of negligence on behalf of the institutions who are supposed to keep them safe. Within my expansive career, I have brought about positive change for many families, and being able to see tangible hope within the faces of survivors is what keeps me moving forward.
Memorably, I took on the case of a young boy who was sexually abused andultimately attempted suicide at a young age. He was not protected by his school, and his experience had a profound effect on his confidence, self-worth, and trust. Through our conversations, he began to feel more confident and valued that I believed him, listened to him, and encouraged him to regain his life. Eventually, the trial resulted in the favor of the boy’s family, but more important than a court victory was the notion of positive change that this yielded. The boy is now thriving in school and has found a sense of belonging, trust, and confidence within his community.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
As Herman Law continues to take on cases on a national level, we are committed to providing excellent service, time, and efforts to all of our clients. We will continue to provide justice and accountability within this growing scope throughout the future, and we will continue to devote 100% of our time, resources, and energy toward this campaign. We are currently working on pro bono cases and utilizing our time to educate community leaders, partners, and other individuals about how to prevent potential abuse, screen for abuse, and how to effectively speak with those who have been impacted by sexual exploitation.
What business books have inspired you?
Though I suppose it is not technically a book about business development, per se, the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” By Dale Carnegie has taught me many lessons related to the mindset of various types of individuals. Within society, most people tend to justify their actions as being normal, acceptable, and “right”, even if those actions are deemed morally reprehensible by the general population. Thus, through reading this book, Carnegie helped me understand how people mentally operate. Though I may not always agree with people or understand their reasoning, being able to mentally place myself in their shoes is a skill that is fundamental toward garnering insight and potentially propagating change.
What is a recent purchase you have made that has helped with your business?
Though it indirectlyimpacted my business in the sense of allowing me to gain further understanding of the power of education and empowerment of youth, the best purchase that I have made in recent memory is an item I purchased for my oldest child. I recently purchased him a fishing rod, which he has since taken to very swiftly. As a direct result of this purchase, my son now wakes up early to fish before schooland donates his daily findings to a local food bank. Thus, this simple purchase has empowered him to take on a hobby that he is passionate about and recognize the benefit of helping others and paying his luck forward. This has further instilled my belief that allowing tools for people to flourish is a truly beneficial tool to allowing them to live their best lives. I have certainly parlayed this lesson within the scope of my business.
What strategies do you implement when speaking with victims of sexual crime?
Of course, individuals who come forward are facing a truly life changing situation, and it is crucial to maintain an objective mindset, while providing support, empathy, and a trusting space in order to allow individuals to speak freely. Trained in forensic interviewing, my goal is to garner insightful information, preserve a victim’s statement, and ensure that an individual does not feel victimized all over again throughout the conversation. It is a difficult line to walk but one that can determine the course of action for the future of someone’s life. Thus, I take every effort seriously when speaking with individuals, clients, and their families.
How do you handle several cases simultaneously?
As I continue to be extremely involved in every case that I work on, I find it crucial to maintain organization in all aspects of each case and amongst the entire team working on each case. From the initial meeting, I sit down with my team of legal associates, private investigators, and researchers, and we compose a detailed strategy to investigate, organize, and follow through on each case. Through implementing this method, each member of the team remains on the same page and is constantly aware of the role of each member on the case, as well as their own responsibilities. After the completion of this initial doling out of duties, the entire team remains organized through a software utilized by Herman Law, which allows each team member real-time access to documents and the ability to edit items globally.
Additionally, many tasks related to information gathering are completed prior to even submitting a case. We find that this strategy allows the team to approach a case on an offensive level, already understanding the desired trajectory of the case, before it has officially begun. We collect evidence, interview witnesses, and research various items related to the potential case independently, and then we combine our findings to create the largest scope of understanding of a particular case in a shorter amount of time. This strategy allows us to move forward in a streamlined fashion and work on many cases without losing track, focus, and energy.
How has the popularity of social media changed the manner in which sexually inappropriate interactions occur?
Though technological advancements have certainly opened up a lot of doors for modern society, they have also allowed various groups to become more vulnerable than ever to potentially deviant behavior. For example, modern technology has made it easier for an adult of authority, or even pedophile, to contact a child; however, it also means that the individuals performing these acts also leave a digital fingerprint, which is ultimately what allows law enforcement to locate them and legal forces to garner evidence needed to effectively prosecute these crimes. As many predators feel “safer” behind the shroud of internet anonymity, they are more likely to attempt to utilize the abundance of social media for lascivious interaction. Thus, it is important to be aware of these new-age dangers and to educate young people, as well as their families, about the unique technology driven challenges potentially facing them. Additionally, it is equally as important to for educators, parents, and families to be able to spot red flags and communicate potential problems with authorities. As technology continues to evolve, predators will continue to do what they have always attempted to do. The new wave of social media justice, though, will also equate to continued advocacy for victim empowerment and continue attempting to eradicate victim shaming. In essence, it is a double edged sword, and much like everything else, requires the continued watchful eye of families, good Samaritans, law enforcement, and local communities.