Cortney Shegerian is an attorney at Shegerian & Associates in Los Angeles County, California. Her focus includes all aspects of legal case management, with a particular emphasis on law and motion, trial preparation, and mediation. Cortney fights for the rights of her clients, who include victims of workplace harassment, sexual harassment, those with disabilities, and those with personal injuries both inside and outside the workplace. Cortney also oversees the firm’s marketing efforts, and helps come up with unique and innovative ways to keep Shegerian & Associates one of the most well-known employment and injury law firms in California.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
My uncle, Carney Shegerian, founded Shegerian & Associates in 2000. He managed to grow the firm from one employee to over 20 employees. I joined the firm in 2013, initially helping grow the firm through various marketing opportunities, and after graduating law school in 2013 became an associate attorney with the firm. Since joining the firm, we have continued to grow the size of the firm both in terms of employees as well as number of cases handled each year.
How do you make money?
The law firm makes money in a traditional compensation model, typically retaining a percentage of cases settled or won in trials. It of course is more complex than that, but that is the basic concept behind it.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
The law firm really has been successful and profitable since Carney founded it, and has grown exponentially over the years to include a staff of over a dozen today.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
One of my first ever trials in 2014 was a jury trial that we lost. It was devastating not only to me, but also devastating that we didn’t win the case for our client who I believe was wronged by their employer. I quickly was humbled and realized the amount of unknown that exists in a jury trial, everyone has their own opinion and their own trigger points. I handled it by learning more, gaining more valuable experience, and gaining a deeper understanding that law can be more of an art than a science.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Referrals are always king, but in the legal industry paying referral fees to other attorneys and law offices can get expensive. We’ve seen really great success in digital marketing — blogging, SEO, paid ads — all the traditional things that people tell you to do online. I think the big difference is doing these things right, with the right budget, and the right people.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I’ve been fortunate to have a great education and great teachers around me in the workplace. In addition to an overwhelming amount of experience and information at my disposal, a strong drive to help my clients is what really helps the law firm be successful and is what makes going to work everyday a great pleasure.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Seeing the look on a client’s face when they just win a trial or settlement after years of emotional distress from being wrong in the workplace. While it doesn’t make up for the acts committed against them, it at least can act as somewhat of a resolution and closure to the situation.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
One trend that really excites me is when we win a verdict against a company, sometimes that company actually changes its practices in how they deal with their employees, which makes me feel like I am making a difference. We see all types of injustice against employees in the workplace, and in recent years we have finally started to see more and more legal regulation in place and serious penalties for those who mistreat their employees.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I recommend spending certain days focusing on the macro concept and other days focusing on the micro. You have to have time to shut out and focus on the interworking of your business to make it great but you also need time to focus on the general concept and how to push it forward and evolve. Those require different skills and are both essential to success.