Greg Marks is a Partner at Slack Davis Sanger, a team of experienced injury lawyers helping victims of catastrophic injuries resulting from accidents. He has over 20 years of experience and has worked for the office of Cowles and Thompson and for the Law Office of F.L. Branson. Greg was also a Partner at Guajardo and Marks, where he represented victims who suffered disabling injuries or wrongful deaths.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Greg Marks explains how he began representing automotive product cases
- How can a pitfall evolve into a learning experience?
- Why your firm needs to have quality marketing strategies to stand out
- The value of preparation for winning cases
- Greg describes growing up in Dallas and advocating for change
- Why clients should interview multiple lawyers to find the best fit
- How software tools can be leveraged in unique ways
- What hobbies Greg enjoys during his downtime
In this episode…
Being an attorney is not without its fair share of challenges. Among the greatest of these hurdles is marketing. According to Greg Marks from the firm Slack Davis Sanger, failing to understand marketing can cripple the effectiveness of your firm. How can you continue to grow in your industry through every milestone?
Mistakes can be a catalyst for learning experiences, and Greg uses his mistakes in marketing to better his future. He has experienced many transitions throughout his career and taken incredible risks. Listen as Greg talks about learning how to budget and prepare for your firm’s future from his own experiences.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, Michael Renfro sits down with Greg Marks, Partner at Slack Davis Sanger, to talk about getting the results you desire with your firm through strategic marketing and learning from your mistakes. Greg discusses how to turn anything into a learning experience, why marketing strategies matter, developing a passion for cooking, and much more!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Michael Renfro on LinkedIn
- Gladiator Law Marketing
- Greg Marks on LinkedIn
- Slack Davis Sanger
- Crime Junkie Podcast
- American Association for Justice
- Attorneys Information Exchange Group
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.
You’re listening to 15 Minutes, where we feature community leaders sharing what the rest of us should know but likely don’t.
Michael Renfro 0:13
Hello, everyone, Michael Renfro here I’m the host of 15 Minutes share your voice, where we talk with top notch lawyers and law firms about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode as always, 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 possible. Your firm does need to have the better website and the better content. Gladiator we use artificial intelligence combined with machine learning as well as now over a century and a quarter of a century of experience dedicated to specifically law firms to outperform that competition. To learn more, please go to Gladiator Law Marketing. That is GladiatorLawMarketing.com, where you can schedule a free marketing consultation. Today we have Greg Marks with us. I know it may say James on the screen here, but just know that his name and what he goes by is Greg, Greg bright wants to start off by telling us where in the world are you and what practice area do you do you focus on most?
Greg Marks 1:20
Sure. I office in Dallas, Texas, and I am a personal injury trial attorney that kind of focuses more on automotive product liability cases. But I do a whole host of other personal injury cases as well.
Michael Renfro 1:38
But the focus that has been has come about over the years has kind of ended up being towards the product liability more within like you said the automobile industry.
Greg Marks 1:47
Yeah, yeah. You know, I have an engineering background. My undergrad was in engineering, I went to work as an engineer before I went to law school. And, and so it, you know, so the automotive product liability kind of fits with my background. So
Michael Renfro 2:04
a lot of that going on before you ever became an attorney. Liability, right? That’s the side of it, where you’re like, Yeah, okay, risk versus cost, really gonna do this. Okay. We’ve all heard the stories, and we all understand I mean, you know, the world that we live in, yeah, we all die, but we all die. So when you’re looking at risk, you know, you have to look at the fact that all of these people at some point are going to die. And I’m not trying to sound like a cynic. But it is the reality. And when you’re actually looking at a business, and I get why there has to be this, you have to look at the assessment of what all it is, I wish that it wasn’t that way. But unfortunately, you know, $100,000 will outweigh a human life when it comes to risk assessment. So yeah, just just the super, super silliness of it, if you will. So I heard a little bit, how did you get started in the personal injury realm and and get this practice going? Because I got that you were the engineer that you were but how did how did it transpire that you
Greg Marks 2:59
became an attorney? So my dad was an attorney. And he was kind of a jack of all trades, did criminal defense, divorces, federal general practice, he did a general practice. And my mother had worked for him as a paralegal and that kind of thing. And she always wanted me to go to law school, she wanted my, I have two other brothers, my, so my dad had three sons, and she wanted one of the sons to be a lawyer. And so I got chosen. She put the pressure on me. It actually, you know, it kind of fit because, you know, as an engineer, I solve problems. But those problems were quantitative problems, right. And as a lawyer, I still saw problems, but they’re more of a qualitative problem than a quantitative problem. So it’s, you know, I enjoy doing it, it and I’m glad she kind of focused me in on it. So, you know, the funny thing is, when I started out, when I graduated law school, I started out at an insurance defense firm doing doing the insurance defense, and which was, by the way, I would recommend that to anybody that’s interested in doing planners work, start out doing insurance defense work, because it gives you just so much experience, right? And it gives you insight and
Michael Renfro 4:29
insight inside information to and inside her are a lot of insight into the other side.
Greg Marks 4:38
And I did that for seven or eight years. And I thought, you know, it’s my heart’s really more on the plaintiff side than on the defense side. So then I just went out and hung a shingle. And while I was practicing, I had a friend of mine, who had a product case and he had several of the He does, but he wanted the driver of the vehicle to be represented. And so I got that case. Now he had contributory negligence on him and so forth and so on. But it was a, it was an interesting case, it was a fuel tank inside the pickup truck, there was a crash truck burst into flames. My client was the only one that survived. And so that’s what got me into automotive products cases. That was one of years ago,
Michael Renfro 5:30
I was about to ask when that was just after the turn of the millennium.
Greg Marks 5:34
Well, actually, now it was more than that. It was in the 90s. Yeah, it was in the 90s. So I guess 30, almost 30 years ago.
Michael Renfro 5:41
So Time does fly. Right? Yeah. So what were the early days, and I got that that’s the kind of the one that started you off. But what were the early days of the of the practice that you that you have now where it is, you know, what you are? Now what were those other days? Like?
Greg Marks 6:00
You know, it was when I first went out on my own, the internet was just kind of kicking, taken off. Yeah, taken off. And I had a friend of mine who had kind of he was trying to promote websites and kind of do that kind of thing. And so I did a website, and from where it was then to where it is now. It’s right now.
Michael Renfro 6:29
It’s not actually I wouldn’t even call it it’s not the same sport. It’s not the same sport, it’s completely different. The landscape is different. SEO technically, is only one portion of what actually gets you to rank on Google’s website.
Greg Marks 6:44
Right. Right. Yeah, back then, you know, it was, first of all, no one really even had a website.
Michael Renfro 6:50
So exactly. Had one, they would find you pretty. It’s,
Greg Marks 6:54
it’s right. So, but anyway, it was that experience, you know, learning about marketing, that’s been a huge experience for me. Because the marketing world has changed. There’s so much stuff out there. So. But my practice what it was like than I was I got what I could get. You know, the problem is, is that products cases can be quite expensive. And so you find
Michael Renfro 7:28
that they’re expensive on the on the firm, a lot of people don’t understand how much money goes into the investigations and all the other things. I mean, that’s, that’s just one piece of it. There’s all the other research. I mean, I get it, it’s, you end up spending quite a bit. I mean, sometimes I know some firms have gone into spending seven figures on a case that they knew was going to win them obviously a lot more, but they they had to put Shell out the money to get there.
Greg Marks 7:53
Oh, yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, early on, it was it was investing this money and hoping that you’re gonna get it back. And, and, and fortunately, I was fortunate that I was I was able to pursue that, that end or that type of litigation and be able to make it work. So Well, I
Michael Renfro 8:18
wouldn’t say exactly fortunate, because you just brought up a key word there. That means that you had to be in court, sir. And and that means that you if you’re a litigator, then you must not be too bad at convincing either the judge or the jury or whomever it is that you’re trying to convince of your case.
Greg Marks 8:35
Wow. Wow. Like all like all trial lawyers, you know, they will tell you, I’ve won some that I should have lost, and I’ve lost some that I should have won. So that
Michael Renfro 8:45
goes with I mean, that’s, you know, I put that to any sport, how many times have you watched the game and you knew that the winner was not the way it should have been? And then you have both sides, someone who should have won it didn’t and someone that shouldn’t have lost? Or should have lost in that. Right. So Right. I mean, it just happens that that happens, in my opinion with the numbers, you know, but the way that you I wanted to come back to something just real quick, because the way that you described going from the insurance into the personal injury are going from sorry, not the insurance, but from the
Greg Marks 9:17
mechanical engineering, to the
Michael Renfro 9:19
to being a lawyer, you know, it’s very similar for a salesman when they if they’ve been selling a product their whole life, and then all of a sudden they have to sell a service. Because it’s that it’s similarly it’s that difference between a tangible and an intangible, right. Okay, that makes really, I can’t really prove to you that everything I’m selling to you is going to work, you really have to take it on faith. And that’s what a lawyer has to convince anybody who’s hiring and the Hey, that all I have to show you is the experience that I have done this correctly in the past and typically when not everyone, right, right. Right. And that’s really the same thing a salesman has, by the way when, when we’re selling a service, particularly like marketing you I tell people I’m like the first time that somebody tells you gives you a guarantee and marketing. You need to run the other way because there is no guarantees. And that’s like the number one red flag to me when somebody says we guarantee results.
Greg Marks 10:14
Sorry, what was
Michael Renfro 10:15
your biggest milestone? Do you think? And this can be the biggest turning point as well. So it might be one of the same but what do you think was the biggest, you know, the biggest milestone for you?
Greg Marks 10:27
You know, I guess the the biggest milestone I had a case against Mitsubishi opens in South Carolina.
Michael Renfro 10:38
Sounds interesting. I grew up in South Carolina. Oh, really? Well, it wasn’t in Lexington and Columbia was gloomy. That whole area.
Greg Marks 10:45
Oh, nice. Nice. This was up in Greenville, South Carolina Spartanburg, Greenville area, the area. And and it was against Mitsubishi. And it was a rollover of a Mitsubishi Montero Sport, right. And my client was a was a who was a soccer player for Furman University. But he was actually very good. He had been on all the national teams from age 13 to and I think he was on the what they call the u 21. Team or something like that. So, but he played for Furman college as well. And so he was on his way, he had probably gone to the European League, and so forth and so on. But he was in this rack, he damn near lost his leg, saved his leg. But it anyway, he had big injuries. And I remember
Michael Renfro 11:41
why loitering injuries, let’s just put it that way. And, you know, up
Greg Marks 11:45
until that time, I settled most by settled most of my products cases. And but Mitsubishi was like, we’re not paying you a dime, they wouldn’t offer a dime. They said, We don’t owe it and we’re gonna and I said, Okay, well. So we went to trial, and we ended up with an $8 million verdict. So
Michael Renfro 12:08
that looks like you did oh.
Greg Marks 12:13
Newsflash, they didn’t know us.
Michael Renfro 12:15
Yeah, exactly. I bet you would have. I’m sure the my first words would have been politely. I think you do. Oh, it looks like the verdict was in our favor. So we’ll be looking for that. Jen. Was that
Greg Marks 12:30
that was 2008 2007 2008. So that kind of changed my perspective? And
Michael Renfro 12:41
I’m assuming that gave you a nice chunk of capital to to take the business further. Where you wanted?
Greg Marks 12:48
It did? It did so. So, you know, that was that was helpful. And, you know, it was a major push major milestones in
Michael Renfro 13:02
not just a milestone, but it really Yeah, I see how I mean, that was that gave you not only a ton of experience, not only a big win, but then a lot of capital to literally like, like we talked about, you know, take the company to a different level now. Right? Exactly. What do you think would be what would you say was the biggest pitfall challenge mistake, whatever you want to call it, that you feel like you learned the most from and gave you the most traction on the other side?
Greg Marks 13:33
So you know, the question, right? Yeah. It’s kind of a broad question. So
Michael Renfro 13:41
it is, is but it gives you the option. I mean, if you want to name a couple, you know, what I’m looking for is really something that you know, at first it hits you and it all kind of suck, but in reality, it turned out to be a, you know, a catalyst to an even better moment or learning something from it that gave you a lot of knowledge, if you will,
Greg Marks 13:58
you know, I think my biggest pitfalls is, is twofold. Number one, is not understanding marketing, and spending wasting a lot of money on just really bad marketing ideas. That that’s, that’s probably number one. The number two thing is as a plaintiff’s attorney, you know, your, your revenue fluctuates, right? You sometimes you get big chunks. And so you need to learn how to budget
Michael Renfro 14:31
how to make that money stretch, right, there you go. I can imagine when you got a million part of it went to this company for 10 years, let’s just
Greg Marks 14:44
write it so you know, so I get it, I get it, but by budgeting, budgeting as a plaintiff’s attorney budgeting is extremely important. Keeping your overhead low is even more important. You get like you say, you get a big leg and then The next thing you know, oh, we need new computers. And we need this. We need that. No, really
Michael Renfro 15:05
No, you did all that. You did that big case with all that equipment that you have right there. So
Greg Marks 15:11
right right. Now you really don’t need that. So learn to live within your means, if you will. There you go. There you go. So, but the marketing, you know, you get calls every single day about
Michael Renfro 15:26
you guys get them a ton, man, I know, I don’t even coat we just, uh, you know, as a company, we, I came on board almost four years ago in January for Gladiator. And we, after two weeks, with Adam, who’s the CEO, I was like, listen, we’re not gonna get anywhere cold calling these folks. We need to find ways to be different and get their attention with what we do. So that they’re like, hey, I want to do what you do. And that’s, that, to me, speaks more of who you are as a company as well. You know, I can’t stand just you know, as a salesman, and I’m sure you will get this as an attorney. But I can’t stand selling a product that I wouldn’t buy myself or don’t believe that it’ll work exactly how I describe it. You know what I mean? Yeah, when I’m selling SEO, I feel like if we’re if the company isn’t using that same tactic to give them ranking. Right, that’s like, that’s a big clue to me. When you talk to an SEO company, like why aren’t you raking? Well, we don’t SEO our own site?
Greg Marks 16:30
Well, I don’t I don’t know if you know this, but I was a client of gladiator market mark. I didn’t know that, ya know, for four years. And I hope you liked it with us. And I was gonna say, I loved him. The only reason we moved is because we’re an exclusivity thing. We had an exclusive the thing and what happened was we moved we’ve merged, yes. Another firm. Yeah, when we merged, we couldn’t use because Adam had conflicts and these other cities that this firm was at,
Michael Renfro 17:00
I didn’t know that I was talking to you today. I did not. I looked up and I even saw Texas, and I was gonna mention, you know, one of our biggest clients happens to be a horse, you know that? Yeah, I, you know, one thing I’ll say, since you said it, I will at least it tells everybody, we take our exclusivity very seriously, because you can only get one person to the top, you can only job. For one firm in an area, I actually have a call or later today, where someone’s trying to get me to give them exclusivity on a national national level. And I’m like, Do you have any idea how much money you would have to pay me? Number one for me to just turn off the whole country?
Greg Marks 17:40
Right. And you know, the funny thing is, that was one of the mistakes is going through companies prior to Adam, going through companies spending tons of money, and not getting any results. And you know, having having your website hacked into turns into security issues. Oh, my God, it was it was terrible. And, and as a plug for, for Gladiator. I will say this, I got I can think off the top of my head to $5 million dollar cases off my website from Adam. So there’s
Michael Renfro 18:20
no way in hell, you spent 5 million with us. So
Greg Marks 18:25
Michael Renfro 18:27
that’s awesome, man. That’s awesome. And I I know that just on a side note, and I know it’s all on the podcast. But just on a side note, we are always looking for a way to to have that relationship back. Trust me, we we didn’t like it when we lost it. And if it ever turns around that we can take it again. We will we will always be there. We loved you. So I never ever got to meet you. But I never all I ever heard was I think he worked with Nicole. Yeah, yeah. Believe it was Yeah. Only everything I ever heard was just nice. That’s what I mean. Let me just say when when the clients, we look at that good fit thing, which I also a lot of attorneys talk about to like knowing when to say no to a case. Right, right, right. And we’ve kind of learned that same thing as marketers, like, there’s times when you’re like, Look, man, this isn’t gonna be a good fit. I think you should go talk to these folks over here where you can yell at them for the next three years. But you weren’t you were a pleasure. So well, hey, who were some talking about your area there? Who do you who would you call? If you only want to name one? That’s fine, or if you have a couple, but who would you call a mentor and what would you say is their best piece of advice?
Greg Marks 19:39
You know, I had really the I had the luxury I guess you would call it working with two of the finest trial lawyers. I bet you learned a lot in Dallas and the first person that I worked with was a gentleman who just recently passed away by the name of Jim Coles and That’s when I was doing. That was when I was doing insurance defense work. And Jim Coles was not afraid to try any case, and he got hit big, but he also got some zero verdicts. So, and that’s on the defense side, you know, that’s what, that’s what you’re looking for. But he was not afraid to try to try any case, and that tenacity, that lack of fear, you know, you know, he, I learned a lot from him. And then I had the pleasure of working with on the plaintiff side, I had the pleasure of working with Frank Bramson. Who,
Michael Renfro 20:38
local as well, I’m a similar local,
Greg Marks 20:41
local plaintiff’s lawyer, but he had, you know, he’s now nationwide, he’s, he’s top notch plaintiff’s lawyer. And, and I learned a ton from him, just just the way to prepare a plaintiff’s case. And to. And, again, he has, he has no fear of going to trial either. So.
Michael Renfro 21:07
So I got a question for you, because everybody has a different take on this. But what would you say is the most you know, because I’ve heard everything from like, 60 to the 90 on this question, what percentage of of winning a case do you attribute to preparation?
Greg Marks 21:24
Or litigation? So I think there are two elements of of, of winning a case, one lack ability of your client, right, and to preparation. So where do I put preparation? percentage wise, it’s not 90%. But it’s, it’s probably 70%.
Michael Renfro 21:47
But at least, right. I mean, obviously, there’s always a percentage that comes down to how you perform, you know, number one under pressure, and number two on the spot, and that final performance, because that’s, but you know, the the thing that I continue to hear is, if you are not so prepared, and so overly prepared to the point where you’re ready for any particular thing that comes your way. Right, that’s, that’s the real key is that you have an answer for anything thrown at you. And that can only be done through preparation and practice and preparation. At least that’s the way I mean, I see it that way. And that’s what I’ve heard from most great litigators.
Greg Marks 22:21
And in in in the preparation is not just preparation for trial, but it’s it the preparation starts from the day you get the case, right, and getting all the records and and taking the proper depositions. And basically not leaving any stone unturned. Yeah,
Michael Renfro 22:39
exactly. Yes. Exactly. Exactly. It when I say preparation, I am saying that is encompassing of all the research and all the note taking that you did up until that so let me be very clear on that. To me, you can’t have the preparation without everything. I mean, I don’t mean to sound rude at all. Just say like, that’s, that’s part of it. I I completely concur. So tell me, that’s great. What’s one of your and it can be, you know, something that you find most important or just something that’s a typical day, but what’s what’s a daily ritual that you feel like you need for a successful day?
Greg Marks 23:19
Well, there’s two things I like to walk in the morning. And right now, in the fall, the weather is cooling down. And so that’s actually really, really nice. And so about three miles a day, not a lot, but I just like to watch blood flowing, gets the blood flowing clears my head. And especially in the fall, it’s in the spring, it’s just beautiful time to do that. And then I do a little journaling. Just kind of when I get back from walking, I just kind of write a page of, of, you know, just thoughts in my head and no structure to it or anything of that nature just writing stuff down. So
Michael Renfro 23:58
deep thoughts with Greg. On Saturday, was it John handy, I think was this was the day deep thoughts with John handy. Yeah, I used to love that. But you seem to be close to my age. So I’m 50 born 72. So I figured you might might catch the reference there. Well,
Greg Marks 24:19
I appreciate you saying that. I’m close to your age. I’m actually 63 Set the
Michael Renfro 24:25
hell out. Well, you look you look damn good for your age. Sir. I would not have guessed that you were I might have thought that you might have been in your 50s but I definitely would not have guessed that you were in your 60s. So keep it up. Well, I appreciate the walk and helps and you know, I also believe that laughing helps keep us young. So and I don’t see you hesitating to build out a nice laughter so keep that up to what I would say note most people kind of in this can be strange or quirky or it could just be a hobby, but something that you would say most people don’t know about Greg
Greg Marks 25:00
So when I was young, and what I want what I wanted what I wanted to be was a short order cook. Really? Yes. I wanted to, you know, make the have the flat top grill eggs the hag bacon. Yes. You know the the whole club sandwiches? Yeah, that’s what I wanted to do. And obviously, I didn’t go that route right or nor did I spend seven years in college to being a short order cook but but I do love cooking. And, and I, you know, watch all the cooking shows
Michael Renfro 25:41
I Oh, do you like Iron Chef and all the competent, competitive? So I imagine that cooking is still a huge passion for you today. Does the family. Do they look forward to it when they know that Greg’s cooking for the night?
Greg Marks 25:55
Well, they do. And you know, my wife is a great cook, as well. And but, you know, I like on Sundays, I like to cook family dinners and have people over. You know, that kind of thing. I like to try different things. Right? Right, get creative and that kind of thing. So I like so that’s, that’s something that a lot of people don’t know about me. Because even though I look like I eat a lot, I also like to cook so
Michael Renfro 26:21
I like to cook. So there’s a reason there’s a reason that you met as a cook. So in my family, I was the original cook. My wife and I have been together now for almost 16 years married for over 12. And when we first had kids and started building a family, you know, and I already had kids, she was a stepmother. So I told her I was like, Look, if you really want to family with me, you’re gonna have to learn to cook. And I don’t mean hot dogs and macaroni. Right? She has. What’s funny is I taught her all these recipes and taught her how to cook and now she does it all but but she comes back and she’s like, you know, we really miss your cut, like, because I taught her all these great recipes. But she’s like, we still like it when you do it. So they forced me back in the kitchen occasionally. To to have dad cook, you know, but yeah, he’s become, I now enjoy it because I go downstairs, you know, round five o’clock, and I’m like, what’s for dinner tonight? You know, and as long as it’s not leftovers, which does happen at least twice a week. I mean, she has to have mine off. I get it and we have to we have to eat it. But what it’s not leftovers, I’m always I’m always surprised. So I get it.
Greg Marks 27:29
Well, you know, cooking is something that definitely can be learned. So yeah,
Michael Renfro 27:33
I mean, it is it is a learned thing. I do believe that. I mean, my son had the passion has has the same passion. I had a cookbook at 12 that I started writing and creating recipes. And I’ve always loved cooking and I actually was a short order cook for a time. Oh, nice. Yeah, I went into the restaurant, you know, it was, it was the way I got into serving. So for the first couple years I was I was cooking. And then I was like not to be rude to the cooks. And I loved them back there. And that’s where all the chiefing was going on if you know the situation in the back house, but I was like there’s five times more money, five times more money. That’s all there is to it. Like if I go out there and serve or bartender, you know, and it’s in. It’s also you can do even better when you have a personality, which you can imagine that I don’t have a slob personality. So my tips would always be some of the highest in the house. Oh, nice, much happier out there. Making them buy more drinks and desserts. You know? Yeah. Yeah. There
Greg Marks 28:30
you go. Nice. Like, you know, you mentioned having a cookbook at 12. Yeah, I think I was 13 and 14. There was a long time ago, there was this Australian chef that had a TV show. And it was one of the first cooking TV shows that I can remember. It was called the galloping gourmet. And yeah, he was an Australian chef, and he would just get tanked while he was cooking, drinking, just drinking constantly drinking why? A little bit. A little bit more for me that kind of thing. So I got his cookbook and was was cooking recipes. And I was cookbook when I was 13 or 14. So the packet goes back.
Michael Renfro 29:12
Isn’t also Julia Child’s wasn’t that her name that did all that she would kind of get lit when she was in that. Am I right with that? Yeah, yeah. Okay. Okay. Yes. And then there was, you know, the first cook you’re gonna love this. This gives you more of my age to the first cook that I was introduced who was the sweetest cook on the Muppets. That was that was my first television cook and I was like, you know, as I got older, I’m like, Now I understood why he was so funny to the adults. Right? But at the time, it was just funny to watch Uber you know him do his thing. But yeah, that’s kind of funny. What would you say the craziest thing that you’ve ever done this year okay with sharing, obviously the craziest thing you’ve ever done
Greg Marks 29:57
wow. You know, I don’t know I don’t do a lot of crazy stuff. I mean, bungee jumping. I guess.
Michael Renfro 30:07
That’s crazy man isn’t really crazy. Crazy. How old were you when you did it? That’s the better question.
Greg Marks 30:13
That’s probably in my 30s. Yeah, see,
Michael Renfro 30:15
I won’t do that. Now. I think about my back and I’m like, I don’t
Greg Marks 30:21
write. It’s not about
Michael Renfro 30:22
being crazy. It’s about am I gonna withstand the whiplash of the of the job? You know?
Greg Marks 30:31
I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junkie, just a little bit. And I think all trial lawyers are a little bit of a drink.
Michael Renfro 30:39
Yeah. Because you because especially the litigators, right, the adrenaline starts pumping the moment you got to stop talking.
Greg Marks 30:47
That’s right. So, but I’m not crazy. I mean, I don’t do death defying stuff. And bungee jumping is not really death defying in my mind. I mean, obviously, it can
Michael Renfro 30:59
Greg Marks 31:00
Let’s go wrong.
Michael Renfro 31:01
Yes, it can. So did you grew up there in Dallas?
Greg Marks 31:06
I did. Well, the suburb of Dallas. Irving.
Michael Renfro 31:10
What was that? What was that like growing up? And that would have been if you’re so we’re talking like late? Or early? Mid? 50s. Right. Mid 50s. Or late?
Greg Marks 31:19
I was I was born in 1959. Yeah, late 50s. There we go. Yeah.
Michael Renfro 31:23
So what was it like going up there in the 60s?
Greg Marks 31:26
Yeah. You know. So Kennedy was shot in 63. Right. So you were Yeah. And so I don’t necessarily remember it. But I remember all the kids talking about it. I was gonna
Michael Renfro 31:42
say you remember all the chaos and backlash from it, especially since it happened in your state.
Greg Marks 31:48
Right. Right. Well, and in the city, and my dad, my dad had an office, downtown Dallas. Wow. And the shooting occurred just two blocks from his office. So. So you know, you grow up with that. And you hear a bunch of talk and stories and never
Michael Renfro 32:06
thought about that. You’re like, the only is the first time, you know, and I love learning something new every day. I’m sorry to interrupt you. But I never thought about, what was it? Like for someone growing up in Dallas after the President was killed there? Yeah. Yeah. Wow. And how did that happen? I mean, honestly, how did that affect you growing up? Did you feel almost like you were in an unpatriotic city at times? Like you were pushed to that, to that thought, like, almost feeling it about your own city. But knowing I know, this is a great city I have, I see all these great people. And I know all these, you know, they’re doing all these great things. So I know, it’s not all this crap I’m hearing,
Greg Marks 32:46
you know, is probably too young to really take it all in to really digest it all. You know. It’s funny, because Dallas was a very conservative still is a fairly conservative city. But yeah, but my dad did criminal defense, the late 60s, there was a big change in big push to change criminal law, provide Miranda came out close to then, you know, the Miranda warnings and all that and so. And in my dad was kind of on the forefront of that my mom was on the forefront of that she would go to protests and rallies and things of that nature. So I kind of grew up with a little bit different perspective that, you know, and actually, things were changing for the better
Michael Renfro 33:41
right? That’s what I’m saying. It’s hard to hear that. It’s hard to hear the rumors on one side, but then you’re living life in a city that is ultimately moving in forging ahead. And, you know, for the most part, I mean, when there’s bad in every city, you take any city in America, and you can find bad and you know, I love Atlanta, but there’s some really bad parts of Atlanta, and that’s where I grew up was, you know, or I should say, where I became an adult from 16 to around around 28. So, but yeah, you know, I can imagine that it’s not easy when you’re feeling one thing that you’re living, and then you’re hearing these whispers and rumors of, you know, another simply because one event and you know, it’s that old adage, right? It just takes one bad apple. Yeah,
Greg Marks 34:26
yeah. And, and my dad, you know, did a lot of criminal defense and he would come home with stories about the Dallas D A. ‘s office district attorney’s office, and, you know, there was a famous movie called thin blue line about how I know that. Yeah, that how the Dallas district attorney’s office basically cheat and not provide all the evidence and so forth and they, you know, probably convicted some people that were innocent and stuff I would hear these stories and so from the inside though you from the, from the inside and and so, you know, you understand that you, you learn that even some of our institutions that should be free from deceit and bad thing corruption and bad things they aren’t. So nothing is right, right. You know, I
Michael Renfro 35:27
always point people back to the ying and the yang, because I think it is the best representation of what we are, you know, because I look at it like this, if you take that center point of the ying and yang, and you just draw, and you have 360 lines, right? Somebody is always on one of those lines. And it doesn’t matter where that line is, that means you always have a little bit of something and a lot of something else. And sometimes you’re right on a line where you have even your matches as shitty as you are. So, we run the gamut as humans, and if we’re humans, and that’s the truth, which I believe it is, then the institutions that we create, whether they’re political, governmental, whether they’re religious, right, they’re all going to be tainted by the human hand. And there’s nothing you can do about that. That’s, you know, there’s quite well taken, you can all you can really do is try to be I have come to the point where I feel like if you continue to do the right thing, and live what you believe is righteous, which is funny, here’s a thing I always point out, the guy that you call a hero is a villain to the other side. He’s not just a bad guy, he is the number one villain if you’re calling him hero, someone else is calling him villain, and vice versa. If you’re calling that guy a villain. Someone else is calling him hero.
Greg Marks 36:43
That’s absolutely true.
Michael Renfro 36:45
So I’m ready to throw all that shit away. That was where I was living back in the 90s. In the early 2000s. I’ll just I’ll just throw that out there. I golf with everybody. I didn’t care what color. I didn’t care what religion, I didn’t care what politics. You want to try to beat me in golf? Let’s go man, because I’m about the out there, right.
Greg Marks 37:05
That’s perfect. That’s perfect. Yes, absolutely. It’s,
Michael Renfro 37:10
we could go into and I’ve said this before, but if you take any two Americans, let’s just look at Americans. I think that almost every American probably has more than 70% in common with each other. So all of a sudden, that’s because of these few little things that I think you’re a horrible person to the court. And when you share 70% of the same beliefs. Yeah. Yeah. I agree. What are some of the things that you respect most of the colleagues in your in your area? I know, we talked about your mentors, but what do you what do you think of some of the colleagues? What are some of the colleagues that you respect most is what I’m in. You know, in your industry in the let’s just talk about the PII industry.
Greg Marks 37:47
Yeah, you know, I know, personal injury lawyers sometimes get a bad rap because they do for for being
Michael Renfro 37:55
salesmen were car salesmen. Everyone, right? Right. Right. And you guys are bus chasers or ambulance chasers? Sorry, I got the wrong vehicle.
Greg Marks 38:05
Well, a lot of them are on the back of buses. They’re on the back of buses. But no, and, you know, having, you know, I was president of the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, so I, I mean, I, I can’t, all the people that I know in Dallas, and Fort Worth, all the personal injury attorneys that I know, they all are interested in giving back and, you know, some of them make a lot of money, some of them make good money, some of them make, that’s all good money, but they’re all interested in the crime in the community and trying to give back and, and, and that, to me is kind of heartwarming that I’m in a, in a community sub community that is is trying to help the broader community. So I’ve seen
Michael Renfro 38:56
you know, just on a on a side note, I have seen it obviously, I know you realize I talked to only attorneys, right? And mostly we represent Personal Injury simply because they have the most competitive landscape within the marketing arena. But I will say you know what? Bing Bing that I’ve been working with attorneys now since Oh, seven. That’s cuckoo. That’s gonna be 12 days. I don’t know if you can read the sign up there. But it’s very clear. So this house runs on love laughter and inappropriate humor. I like it. I like it. And that’s why I have it running over the cuckoo literally. But now back to I have seen with my own eyes now. What does that admitting to 16 years working with attorneys that you know, they’re what see are 15 years it seems very clear that the vast majority of them actually care and the bad rap They get it back, it’s back to what we already tackled, you know, one bad apple can change the view of everybody, right. And there are some bad apples in the pie game. And most people know who those are, you know, and you can, you can tell the difference many times from just having a simple 15 minute conversation, which the beautiful thing with getting a personal injury attorney is that they don’t charge you for that consultation. You can literally interview I didn’t pay a dime to one of those guys. And I’m only going to pick one. And I’m not saying that everybody should go out and take advantage of it. But I’m saying if it takes 50 interviews to find the one that you feel like is going to care about you, your family, your needs, your money and your life, right, Google puts it right, then then the reality is do it and find the right one, because I’m seeing like you that the vast majority. And if I had to put a percentage, I would say more than 80% of the attorneys I talked to are very good people. And whether they’re making a lot of money or not. Most of them are trying to be a part of their specific community throughout the throughout the whole, and they truly want to help their clients, whoever their clients may be, you know, whatever practice area they have they have focused on, they truly want to help. And I mean, that’s all you know, I don’t think you can ask for much more than
Greg Marks 41:17
I will tell you this, because I’ve done both sides as a defense lawyer. Man, when you learn something, or had information or had a technique like a golden ticket, you kept it close to your chest, right? I mean, you didn’t, you didn’t let it out. Now, as a plaintiff’s attorney, we share everything. Every different
Michael Renfro 41:38
Greg Marks 41:39
is just amazing how different it is. So
Michael Renfro 41:43
yeah, I will absolutely agree i There’s no Assistant DA is sharing with other assistant TAS on how to win the case. Right? That’s right. That’s right, which almost benefits the other side, quite frankly, because you know that on that side, they’re all like this. I’m dealing with it right now on a personal life issue with my son. And this is, you know, we have a we’re dealing with a DA that, in a nutshell simply knows she can win. So she’s not doing the right thing. Yeah, I know, you know exactly what I’m you don’t have to know the case. She’s simply knows that she has winning material, therefore, she is unwilling to look at all the other factors of the life involved.
Greg Marks 42:23
Yeah, yeah. And the sad thing is, is that their careers, are turned on dictated by win loss records.
Michael Renfro 42:32
That’s why they look at it like that, because that’s all that effing matters to them is how many they win. And how many did I lose? Because that’s all my supervisor is going to look at and determine whether I move up as a DA,
Greg Marks 42:45
right, not whether you’re a good person that whether you’re trying to do the right thing, both winning or losing. And that’s it, and that’s
Michael Renfro 42:52
no different than the quota of a traffic officer. True, you know, right. Like, I don’t, I don’t care if they’re right or wrong, you need to bring me 30 tickets every single month, I need one, or whatever, you know, but they have quotas. And that hasn’t stopped that I’m aware of, you know, which is why you always know what the beginning of the month you’re like.
Greg Marks 43:14
Slow down. That’s right. You, you mentioned something, what was it? Oh, about interviewing different lawyers. And I’m finding that more and more people now are interviewing multiple lawyers, which I think, personally is a fantastic idea.
Michael Renfro 43:31
Yeah, it lets them see just who is you know, as I as I said earlier, it shouldn’t take you 1520 minutes to see if they’re true to their colors or not,
Greg Marks 43:40
right? We call it, we call it it. Kind of in the industry, we call it a beauty contest. Because I’m friends with all the players attorneys in town, and so I know, who they’re interviewing and so forth and so on. And, and you know what, I encourage it, because even though we may have be on the same level of talent wise, our personalities are different.
Michael Renfro 44:03
Yeah, not everybody’s gonna match with that everybody’s gonna match with Tom or David or Julie. Julie. You know, everybody’s Yeah, yeah, I agree. So, if I and you know, the thing is, what’s funny is, you know, what might be a bad client for you. ends up being a great client for someone else, because the personalities fit.
Greg Marks 44:25
That’s right, exactly. Right. So I
Michael Renfro 44:29
have learned that and that goes with that old adage. One man’s junk, is another man’s treasure. There you go. There you go. What’s your favorite podcast? Don’t Don’t say anything else. But this one, man. What’s your favorite podcast?
Greg Marks 44:44
I’m a big crime junkie. I love crime junkie podcast. Oh, is
Michael Renfro 44:49
that the name of it? Crime junkie. Crime junkie podcast junkie. I’m gonna have to check that hold on, man. Yes. Now you said something I gotta write down. That one just sounds like it might be deliver things in a little bit more modern way than then, than others. I mean, I’ve just right off the bat. I like the name of it. Yeah, yeah. I’m junkie. I hope they’re shooting up a lot of crime in this podcast. I’m just teasing conferences. I mean, there’s so many with you guys. So I know Pillman may be the one but what is your favorite conference each year? Ah
Greg Marks 45:31
you know, there are so many cocktails, I
Michael Renfro 45:33
know you. I think Pei literally has the most as well. So yeah, personal injury for those of you who are not just I should probably Sorry, I’m with an industry guy. So I know I can slip with the acronyms but personal injury. So there’s so there’s 100 of them at least. So,
Greg Marks 45:50
you know, I’m a member of several associations. American trial, American, white American American Association for Justice aaj used to be the American Trial Lawyers Association. Now it’s aaj. They have, you know, biannual big conventions, those are always fun to go to, when they’re always in decent places. I’m a member of a group called the attorney information exchange group, which is mainly, but not all, but mainly product liability. Plaintiffs lawyers, who use it as a way to share information. They have biannual. And those are really informative, especially for what I do. Those are very informed. So
Michael Renfro 46:41
they’re always bringing the newest developments, if you will, or changes within the within the industry, particularly litigation,
Greg Marks 46:48
right? Then there’s the mass torts made perfect. That’s out in Vegas, and always like Vegas, always in Vegas. That’s a favorite. That’s just pure fun. I don’t know.
Michael Renfro 47:02
Why else would you go? They they’re smart. They’re like, we’re just going to hold this in Vegas every year, who gives a what we’re talking about? come to Vegas. Right.
Greg Marks 47:12
Now, I’ve not been to Bill Nye or some of those others. But I, you know, probably like to go to one of those. I probably scheduled the day that. So
Michael Renfro 47:22
it lots of times it’s a standard answer from personal injury, guys. So I’m glad you brought a few others to the table. Last Last one, what would be your number one tool. And it could be software, and it very well may be software. But what would be your number one tool and or software that you really can’t live without throughout the day?
Greg Marks 47:49
So my number one tool is this thing called transcript pad that goes with trial pad. Okay, and then but the transcript pad you, you can load up all your depositions in this transcript pad and then make notes highlights. I mean, I’m assuming
Michael Renfro 48:10
they probably have an app. So you can literally access this on your phone too.
Greg Marks 48:14
Yes. Yep. As long as it’s an apple, it’s an Apple product. So
Michael Renfro 48:21
okay, you can you can push the devil
Greg Marks 48:28
Yeah, I have to have two computers. Now I have to have an Apple computer and an a Microsoft.
Michael Renfro 48:34
Because the country runs on Microsoft. But the rest of the world is now running on Apple, I think eventually there may be a change if Apple because there they keep I’m just telling you by they’re making their own silicone now I’m sure you’ve heard about their own chip, right. So in that, and the fact that they now are making just a little, you know, Apple in a box, I think we’re gonna see more and more institutions from you know, school government associations, all that I think they’re gonna start. I’ve already known a few that have. So you know, it’s the beginning, but I think for probably the next 1015 years, you’re still gonna, like you, you’re gonna have to keep both or have the way to access both, you know, me, I’m on Apple, but I literally use Microsoft products all day by using office 365. Oh, yeah. You know, like, even though, even though I don’t know if you’ve heard of that, but that it’s just because of the Microsoft products. But I imagine you have some things that the courts are using that are specific to Microsoft. So that’s where the trouble lies in paradise, if you will, for an attorney where you have to have, I mean, almost every attorney I’ve known for the last 20 years has had to have Microsoft no matter what. They might have an iPhone. They might have a Mac, but they had to have Microsoft, right? Just just for the court systems, right? Ah, I didn’t. I didn’t think
Greg Marks 49:52
about that. Because now everything like you say is it web based, web based? Yep, subscription service kind of thing and you don’t have your
Michael Renfro 49:59
own If you already have Office, you can do 365. And just log into Outlook, you can log into, like, you can literally build word, presentation, all that without actually having to download the software. Oh, perfect. That’s perfect. Check it out. And it’s not they’re not charging, you know, when you look at expenses, right, and risk versus reward and all that kind of thing, I think you’ll find I know we use it. And it makes it quite easy. Because you know, with that 365, you get shared folder and shared disk space where people can have files on there that you can limit the permissions. So like, people can have a file on there, that is a live file, and any of them three can change it, but nobody else in the company can see it.
Greg Marks 50:44
Oh, nice. Very nice. Check that out. I’m gonna check that out. See, I was telling you about a product and you sold me on a product. So
Michael Renfro 50:53
I wouldn’t even do an Apple guy too. So I find as I try to find as many ways that I can stay on Apple as as possible. What’s Yeah, I prefer it.
Greg Marks 51:05
Sorry, yeah. You know, I used to try to use parallels and run my Microsoft on my Apple Computer. I hate I hate. I hated that. So
Michael Renfro 51:15
never runs. I mean, even though it is technically the same hardware, and should it doesn’t sound the same, because it’s not, you know, the way that Apple makes it is, it’s, it’s the only thing I like this proprietary because everything else when they say proprietary makes me run to the hills. Right? Right. You know, the fact is, OS Mac OS will only run and I think there’s ways around it, by the way, just between you and me. And the in the audience, I’ve talked to a lot of techies who say you can, ultimately there’s ways around it where you can put Mac OS on other computers. But that’s just so much harder. But everybody knows, you can put any OS on a on a Mac, right? It doesn’t ever run the same exam. By the way, it’s not just, it doesn’t run the same for any of them that I’ve seen, because I’ve seen people run Linux, on their mass people home on their Macs, none of them run the same as the Mac OS does on the Mac. So what are you gonna do? I do like Chrome, by the way, I don’t know if you’ve used Chrome. But Chrome is. And I’ll end it here. And I’m not trying to sell them. But my kids use them. And one of the reasons that I liked them is they kind of took all the things that were great for Mac and all the things that were great from micro and smash them. And kind of a common sense, what feels like, I think if you try it, you might agree just from talking to you, but it’s actually a pretty, pretty decent approach to operating system. And they’re, they’re like 200 bucks a Chromebook. So they’re not expensive either. Okay. But they do, I will tell you this, they run differently Chromebook goes to they do 15 gig of hard drive, and then everything else is cloud can have unlimited cloud, right? But you only get 15 gig on your, your device, right? Oh, they there is something to be said about if you’re using Chrome. Now my kids don’t matter. What my kids are searching and doing do not matter to me that the government knows. Once they get to a little bit older age, I will probably pull them over to some some other equipment, either Microsoft or Mac depending on what is the best of the time. Right? I always keep that in mind that yeah, everything they’re doing is going into the cloud. So it is what it is, you know? Yeah. I feel like unless you have something to hide who the hell cares anymore? That’s, that’s my Yeah,
Greg Marks 53:43
I gotta tell you, I hate the cloud. We’ve got a case management system that’s in the cloud. And just to get information downloaded, takes for ever say, your cloud,
Michael Renfro 53:55
I’ll tell you this. It’s just like anything else. The cloud is as good as the software and the hardware that is backing it. Because other clouds I mean, they’re they’re not no two clouds are alike and no two clouds are born equal. Let me just put it that way. You’ve got some that are really crappy. And even though they use that word, you know, it doesn’t mean that they’re at this level. Right? Right. So just do the same thing you’re telling those people to do interview them and look there’s some you know, if you if you ever want to have a talk about it, I can we can have a side discussion on on cloud services because there’s you know, they’re not all created equal and there’s some that you would prefer to use because they’ll give you your information as fast as pretty much anything else. Oh, nice. That’s what you that’s that’s what I’m looking for. Yes. Why am I had an awesome time. Thank you so much. Yeah, it literally was a kid you not I didn’t even tell you this at the beginning, but I was like three seconds away. Because I was like, I don’t think he’s shot I literally looked over why was that? I don’t think he’s gonna show and I didn’t know that I feel So back because I did not know who you were you totally I mean, you you got me like I was literally inside, you know jaw drop. Oh token gherardo March. I just didn’t put it together because it is not garage. It’s not the website that I looked at until you guys left you know, so I never even right. I never even put it together. Plus I never got to meet you personally, but I am I am happy. I did know and I had a great time and thank you so much for coming.
Greg Marks 55:30
I thoroughly enjoyed it. And this is the God’s honest truth. I didn’t realize this. This was a Gladiator Podcast. So there it is. Yeah. Well, when you got on I realized it so
Michael Renfro 55:43
perfect. You never know in that funny how circles end up in? Yeah, I it’s just another proof that this world is extremely small when you open yourself up to it. Yes,
Greg Marks 55:56
I agree. I agree. 100%. So, I want to, I enjoyed it. So
Michael Renfro 56:01
I did too, man. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day. Have a blessed day. Have a blessed week and an even better weekend with the family. And do you think
Greg Marks 56:10
All right, thank
you. Thanks for listening to 15 Minutes, be sure to subscribe and we’ll see you next time.