Gina Campanella is the Principal at Campanella Law Office, which she founded in 2015 to assist healthcare professionals and small business owners with their daily transactional needs. She is an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall University School of Health and Medical Sciences and General Counsel for New Jersey State Nurses Associations, New Jersey Emergency Nurses Association, and the New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Gina sits Of Counsel for The Law Office of Karen Wachs, Esq.,The Law Office of Mark Faro LLC, Santarcangelo Law LLC, Moustakas Nelson LLC, and is a member of the MHA Advisory Board Counsel for Seton Hall University.
She graduated from Union College with a BA in history, Seton Hall University School of Law with her JD, and Seton Hall University with her MHA in healthcare administration.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- How Gina Campanella began practicing transactional and business law
- Finding value and balance between your work and happiness
- Why you should set boundaries with clients while building trust
- Gina talks about practicing and growing your firm with kindness
- How to cultivate a more welcoming and helpful environment for other attorneys
- Gina shares how a supportive family can provide courage to achieve your goals
- Tips for giving back to your community as a small business owner
- Why Gina believes you should not have to change who you are to fit in
In this episode…
When you’re welcoming new attorneys to your team, what steps can you take to cultivate a more inclusive environment? When you’re trying to build experience as a new attorney, how can you avoid common mistakes and get on a path to achieving your goals?
Simply put, if you have to be someone else to be successful, you’re in the wrong place. Gina Campanella believes in practicing law with kindness — and that includes valuing your self-worth. When she began her own practice, she built the foundation to be part of her community and be supportive of her colleagues. No matter the problem, Gina responds to clients and attorneys with kindness and contributes her experience to find a solution.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, join Michael Renfro as he talks with Gina Campanella, Principal at Campanella Law Office, about finding the value in practicing kindness. Gina talks about why it is crucial to set boundaries with clients, how to practice law while being supportive of colleagues, and tips to give back to your community.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Michael Renfro on LinkedIn
- Gladiator Law Marketing
- Gina Campanella on LinkedIn
- Campanella Law Office
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.
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 0:12
Hello everyone, Michael Renfro here I’m the host of 15 Minutes 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 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 in order to have a successful marketing campaign, and make sure that you’re getting the best ROI. Your firm simply put, needs to have the better website and the best content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence along with machine learning and now well over a century and a quarter of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, please go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com That’s gladiatorlawmarketing.com, where you can schedule a free marketing consultation. With that, let’s go ahead and get right into our episode. Today. We have Gina Campanella. With us. Gina wants to tell us where you’re from. And we’re I should say where are you are not where you from, where you are, and what practice area you’re in.
Gina Campanella 1:17
Thank you so much, Michael. As you said, my name is Gina Campanella. And I have my own firm Campanella Law Office in Midland Park, New Jersey. And I opened my firm in 2015. And I focused my practice on Well, three main areas really, business law, I do corporate law, but really focusing on small businesses, your mom and pops or startups or entrepreneurs. And I do have a specialty in that area on healthcare businesses. And I also do have a real estate practice commercial and residential was kind of grew out of that business practice.
Michael Renfro 1:54
I gotcha. Have you have you had just a curiosity? Have you consider getting your real estate license and taking that further where you can represent it?
Gina Campanella 2:03
Well, I couldn’t do both ethically,
Michael Renfro 2:05
ethically, you know, that’s a you know what I didn’t, I never knew that. I didn’t know if ya could still be a lawyer and an agent, you just couldn’t work on the same project.
Gina Campanella 2:14
I couldn’t work on the same deals. And I don’t envy the realtors I work with. They actually do a lot more work than I do, in my opinion. So I’m perfectly content to sit at my desk and do the papers do
Michael Renfro 2:27
the legal stuff. So how did you take take me back to the beginning of this firm? When I asked this? How did you how did you get started? How did this transpire that you ended up getting your own practice?
Gina Campanella 2:39
This was I think it was always in the cards for me to have my own practice. You know, I grew up in a small business family. And I’ve always kind of been very business minded. i Yeah, very entrepreneurial minded, very business minded. You know, when I was in college, and I was kind of deciding, well, which which direction do I want to go in? For me there was it was really well do I, I loved the law. I love the history of it. I love the study of the law, but I also really love business. But for me, it was kind of that struggle. Do I want to go to law school? Do I maybe want to get an MBA? At that point, I thought there would probably be more opportunities with a law degree, not entirely, still not entirely sure if I made the right decision. Yes, still not entirely sure if I made the right decision, but I’m happy with where I am. And that’s all that matters. Choosing law school, and I did not have a straight path to get where I am. I started I actually started out. I didn’t focus on business law. When I was in law school. I did not have any lawyers before me and my family with the exception of my sister and she was only three years ahead
Michael Renfro 3:56
of me. So yeah, so both of y’all. She’s an attorney, too.
Gina Campanella 3:59
She’s an attorney as well. Yeah. But we didn’t have any, you know, generationally older attorneys to kind of guide us, right. Well,
Michael Renfro 4:08
we mentors within the family,
Gina Campanella 4:10
exactly. No mentors within the family. So it’s kind of we both kind of bought into this. You know, law school sales pitch of litigation, litigation, litigation, if you really want to be a lawyer go to litigation, and it was really neither not for either of us. But you know, that’s kind of where you got pushed if you didn’t know to push back and go in a different direction. So my, my first three years out, I was actually a divorce lawyer. And I so after three years, I actually thought I was going to quit practicing law. And at that point, I went back and I at that point, I actually thought okay, I did make a mistake, I need to go back. Let me go back and see if I can go back now and get that MBA and go back and and chase my passion. In which was business,
Michael Renfro 5:01
right? I found, you know, it all worked out, essentially the way
Gina Campanella 5:06
it all worked out in the end. Yeah. So I found out I’d have to take postbaccalaureate classes, I would have had to take the GMAT. So I actually found a Masters in healthcare administration, an MBA for healthcare, I decided to take that instead. And when I got my mha, then I was finally able to break into transactional business corporate work in the healthcare field. And once I was able to break into that field, I was in a mid size boutique firm for about four years, I absolutely loved what I was doing was finally happy that I went to law school loved my career. And then once I had about four or five years of experience under my belt in that field, I finally felt ready to take the next step, and opened my own firm. And it’s awesome. That’s got a team and that got us here.
Michael Renfro 5:59
So seven, are about to celebrate. Are you in your eighth? Now already?
Gina Campanella 6:05
I’m in my eighth year. Yeah, gotcha. Yeah. In my,
Michael Renfro 6:10
hey, listen, anybody that makes it after the first three, to me, here’s what I have learned. And I do have, under my belt, a few companies that I’ve started and sold, and I am 50. But what I have found is if you make it past three years, it’s really where you’re going, it’s up to you at that point, you, you now, you really have the right to decide if the company is going to continue if you’re going to sell it, are you going to blow it up? What? Where do you want the company to go after those after those first three years? So at least that’s been my experience. So it’s when I see people make it, you know, who are in their seventh and eighth, then I know that their success really is within their their hands at this point, they determined? Yeah, I mean, we always determine our success. And I don’t want to take away from that either, because I believe that but you know, a business. And a lot of people will look at this, but a business is no different than a child, it’s why they literally get the same number of digits just separated ly different, you know, than a social security number because you you give birth to a new entity. And the reality is that three years old, they are an adult, and they now fly on their own. And you do have control over but you know, really all your control is in that first three years of how well the company is going to flourish and be an adult, if you will. So that’s how I look at it. But yeah, at nearly eight you’re, you’re closing in on almost being grandparents.
Gina Campanella 7:31
Yes. Absolutely. And and you know, it’s funny, because I I mean, one of the things that I did have one of the bigs I think one of the biggest pitfalls, or one of the biggest mistakes I probably made in those eight years,
Michael Renfro 7:50
please. It’s not a mistake, by the way, I don’t believe in those the
Gina Campanella 7:53
biggest learning experience. Yes, one of the biggest challenges I had to overcome. And one of my biggest learning experiences was I did join with a partner, a year and a half in there
Michael Renfro 8:05
can be either a home run or strikeout
Gina Campanella 8:09
from late 2017 until about mid 2019. And I knew about three months, and it was it was not a good, not a choice I should have made that’s
Michael Renfro 8:23
unfortunate, because that’s already far enough and to where you kind of have to see certain amount of it, which is probably why it took two years to see it.
Gina Campanella 8:30
I knew it was I knew that it was a choice I regretted almost immediately,
Michael Renfro 8:36
just out of curiosity, because I see a lot of that was did you take on another male or another female?
Gina Campanella 8:41
Another female? And, you know, it just I think it was? You know, it just I think I didn’t. And I think it was intentionally presented to me that our visions about business aligned until we were partners.
Michael Renfro 9:02
Yeah. And then I’ve been there you everything’s Go, go go. And then when you actually get
Gina Campanella 9:10
Yeah, once we were partners, all of a sudden, all the things that were presented to me about our common visions for our business were suddenly different. And they were things that were not only just different, but I was quite frankly very opposed to
Michael Renfro 9:27
mentally or I should say on a on a
Gina Campanella 9:31
Yeah, things that I’m just level. Yeah. Passionately morally opposed to as a as a business owner. Right. So you know, so I kind of had I consider 2019 was kind of a rebirth, a relaunch, but even that it was a huge I love it because it was a huge opportunity for me. Because in 2015 It was my first launch. And I feel like there were things I did in my first launch Where from 2015 to 2017 I was like okay, if I ever do this again, this is what I’m going to do a little differently and you got to do it. Again, this is what I’m going to do, you know, things like an easier to spell website. You know, make
Michael Renfro 10:11
your branding very, you know, people, people have no idea how important the concept of branding and that’s not sales like everybody always wants to wrap up branding, advertising, marketing and sales as they’re all separate components of you bringing in a new partner client, whatever you want to call it,
Gina Campanella 10:27
right? Even even just the opportunity to take a second bite at the apple with my branding into anything team. That’s, that’s excited for it
Michael Renfro 10:37
to fix the mistakes, you know. And again, I truly you know, so I’m Native American, I got Cherokee Blackfoot, and one of the things that the Native American, like, as far as I know, all the tribes, they, they embrace mistakes, they in fact, if they do a project, for instance, they’re sure to include a mistake, because perfection is unattainable as a human. Right. So part of their perfection, if you will, and what I have shared the same view with the same blood and all that is that, you know, the perfection lies in the imperfection, right? And all those things that you did, I love talking to folks like you, because all I’m hearing is everything that you did, led you up to being the person that you are now to the place you are now to happiness, like I tell people, you know, true happiness has nothing to do how much money you make. I’ve made a lot of money, and it did not change my happiness level at all. It happiness only came when I was finally happy with me. And then, you know, it shines out. You can see that and other people when they’re
Gina Campanella 11:38
right when they’re happy. Well, exactly. If that’s, you know, it’s I bet she
Michael Renfro 11:42
wasn’t happy. I don’t know or but part of what’s going on?
Gina Campanella 11:47
Yes, I would. I would definitely venture that she’s not be happier, happier. Yeah, I would say that I think she could be happier. And really, for me, I think that was you know, the main differentiation. People say to me all the time, you know, oh, don’t you want to grow? Don’t you want more locations? Don’t you want to employ all
Michael Renfro 12:08
that? Growth? Growth? Growth? Yeah, it’s 2022. Now, come on,
Gina Campanella 12:12
Jane. All right. You know what? No, I don’t see anything wrong with staying exactly as I am. Because to me, growth, and managing employees, and managing staff and managing various locations. That’s not what’s going to make me happy.
Michael Renfro 12:29
That came from your background, I believe. And what I mean by that is you, you came from a different class of people that understand that being a small business owner is fine. I don’t want to necessarily like I know, this is the day and age of billionaires, and soon to be trillionaires. And I get that, you know, we all grew up playing Monopoly, knowing that we could get just more zeros, right, right. But for some of us, you know, and for a lot of us, I’m starting to find out, like when you really obtained true happiness, you realize that I don’t need everything in the world, and I don’t need enough money to afford everything in the world. I can really see who’s not happy to win. I won’t name any names. But when you say a company moved to another state so that they save 2% on taxes. You’re like,
Gina Campanella 13:08
huh, yeah. Okay, yeah. Yeah. And you know, what, it’s, it’s, to me, it’s, it’s part of the reason, especially as an attorney, that I opened my own firm. First of all, I wanted to be able to perform my career in a way that makes me happy, right. And I wanted to be able to help my clients in a way that makes me happy, which means your way, right? My way. So part of it is being able to serve my clients in a way that makes me happy, help people in a way that makes me happy. Obviously, we all work because we need money. We like we want to have a home, we want to be able to give our kids and families, right things that make us happy, do things that make us happy. But at the same time, it’s free time also has value. The ability people give it credit for these days, right? Exactly. So for me, the balance between there’s there’s a happy space, where there’s the balance between the size of my firm, and then the free time I have
Michael Renfro 14:18
which let me throw this in. It’s the size of your firm, which equates to how much time do you have to put into it for it to run smoothly, and not delegate any more or wear new hats?
Gina Campanella 14:29
Exactly. Exactly. So if I like to keep the ratio imbalance where I’m spending just enough time nurturing my firm, where it’s continuing to create generate happiness for me, but I still have enough free time where my personal life is also generating happiness.
Michael Renfro 14:51
Do you have a family?
Gina Campanella 14:53
I Well, I I am not married. I don’t have children. But I have two three beautiful nieces. is, and two of them live in Ohio. So for me, it’s very important to have time for them also be there for everything for my nieces in Ohio. So and if
Michael Renfro 15:11
you ever do end up, you know, I would have been true to say that a family is probably not opposed. They’re not opposed to that idea. Yeah, when that when that happens, you will have already created the timeframe and the space so that you can start a family and marry somebody have kids and
Gina Campanella 15:28
exactly kit and caboodle. Exactly. So you know, so for me, it’s, it’s, it’s about, it’s definitely I work very hard. And I enjoy that. But when it’s time to enjoy not working, you have to know how to do that to
Michael Renfro 15:47
play hard. Work hard, play hard. And let me say this, I give you kudos because a lot of folks don’t? How do I say this, because I know I’m probably gonna sound pompous. And I don’t mean to. But there’s a lot of growing up that we do once we have kids, and it just can’t happen until you are parents, there’s just nothing I don’t, I used to not understand it. Now. And now I’m seeing that there’s a second and third fold possibility, you know, become a grandparent, or even a great grandparent, then, you know, it’s a new level each time, right. The thing that I find interesting is that not a lot of young folks who don’t have kids have seen the value of their free time, they are willing to put everything all day and night, you know, through the weekends. And one of the things that I find even enjoyable with my company now, you know, I am a salesman. So I’ve been doing this for years, and I know that I’m if I have a connection with someone, I’ll give them that weekend or that nighttime call, because I’m trying to close the deal. But I always set the precedent and set the expectation that the team is nine to five, Monday through Friday, they’re not going to answer emails at night, you know, unless you have an absolute emergency that your site is down. We’re out of the loop we monitor, you know, for those occasions, but I love that, you know, and it sounds like you’ve you’ve pretty much put that in place to you where you know, it’s like my phone is my work phone. And that’s the phone I answer and I turned this one off, and then it changes when I go home. You know,
Gina Campanella 17:21
I’m very much the same way. And it’s, you know, I, I set very much the same boundaries with my clients. And I have to
Michael Renfro 17:31
or else the expectation,
Gina Campanella 17:33
we have to but I’m the same way like I have clients I’ve been working with since I opened in 2015. I feel like they’re there you know that saying a client will become a friend faster than friend will become a client. Absolutely. I have clients I consider friends. At this point.
Michael Renfro 17:49
I break that rule by the way they say in sales don’t befriend your Yeah, you’re the person you’re trying to sell. I’m like, I don’t believe that rule at all. I’m like people will buy from their friend. Yeah, quicker. They might not work for him, but they’ll buy from him.
Gina Campanella 18:04
Well, and I think I’m with an attorney as well. Oh, yeah. interpersonal relationship and trust that you just build a friendship.
Michael Renfro 18:16
Have you heard the acronym FM? FL? No, sorry. I’m sorry. M y m l? Oh, my goodness. Google came up with that acronym to describe you. Your entire industry is as as well as and you’ll get it but it’s called my money my life. No Your Money Your life. That’s why it’s your money your life. Why? Your Money y m y l I don’t know where the F came from? Yeah. Your Money Your life. Because doctors, attorneys, accountants, most of the professional white collar folks have a huge effect on your money and your life. If you’re dealing with one whether it’s your doctor, your attorney, gosh forbid your CPA or or your securities ation. Right. Right. But I mean, you know, they they really it’s funny that they came up with an acronym, you know, based on just that because it you know, there is white collar, but then there’s white collar who are why and while who literally, you know, have a huge, not just effect but you know, can can have a tremendous effect on your future,
Gina Campanella 19:29
too. Yeah, well, and it’s but I’ve been I’ve really gotten to that point with most people where yeah, if if you really truly need me an off hours. I’ll meet that time for you.
Michael Renfro 19:42
That’s different, you know, but that’s that’s no different than the emergency moment, you know,
Gina Campanella 19:47
but it’s at the point now where it’s, if I see the phone ringing, and I see it’s one of my clients and it’s an evening or a weekend. I know it’s an emergency
Michael Renfro 19:57
because they’ve you’ve set those boundaries already. Won’t they won’t even but yeah, yeah. But if it was a new client, I bet you would let that phone.
Gina Campanella 20:04
Yeah, that phone will not even be ringing. And let’s say, and I trust them that it’s, there’s a trust between us. That’s awesome. It’s an emergency, and I pick up it, you know, because I know them that I trust them all. There’s that level of trust that, you know, they know I’m always there for them, they don’t have to panic that they’re not going to be able to get me right. So they don’t have that compulsion to try to reach me whenever they can. You know, so if I see that phone ringing at night, or on a weekend, which is very rare. I know it’s an emergency. Available I pick up.
Michael Renfro 20:48
That’s, that’s cool. Yeah. So when you could not find a mentor within the family? Who have you ended up? Who do you end up finding over the years that you would say, is, excuse me, isn’t mentor? And what would you say is there? If it’s more than one piece of advice? That’s fine, but what would you say? Was their their greatest piece of advice for you?
Gina Campanella 21:08
Um, I think probably the, there have been several over the years. But I think I’m gonna focus on the people, I consider my mentors now. And the people I consider my mentors now, or really the peers that I work with, who have more years of experience than I do, simply put just more experienced. So you can Yeah, because it’s for and I think I want to focus on that for a couple of reasons. Because first of all, one of the ways I’ve always built my practice, and again, I get a lot of criticism about this from people. But I believe I practice the kindness attorney who I treat my colleagues with kindness first. I I’m always polite. And, you know,
Michael Renfro 21:58
your reply was me when you had to reschedule your email between us was
Gina Campanella 22:02
your paralegal, you’re a secretary, I don’t care, I’m going to be polite, you’re human? Do you, you know what we’re gonna work together, we all have the same goal, we need to help our clients, we’re gonna get through this together. Even when I’m very aggressively advocating for my clients, there is a polite way to do it. And there’s a horrible, disgusting way to do it. Okay. I’ve always in between, I believe in practicing with kindness, right? Because if I don’t do that, I can’t live with myself. And I’ve found over the years that has served me so much better. I now have an entire group of colleagues who I can call on for anything, they probably adore you. You know, yeah, I mean, I can call on for anything, I have colleagues who I work with all the time. But you know, maybe they have 1020, or even 30 years more experience than I do. Um, you know, for example, if a there’s a, I had a very complicated commercial real estate transaction, and any attorney who tells you that they’ve done it all and seen it all is lying, right? And something very strange I had never seen before, right? So I called my colleague who I absolutely adore, who has about 30 years more experience than I do, he and I had just finished up a transaction, I adore him I adore his paralegal has 2030 years more experience than I do. And I, I emailed both of them, actually. And I said, who has a few minutes for me to pick your brain. And I and I told them the problem. I said, if either of you have seen this before, and both of them responded to me with some advice. And it’s just that kind of a thing. That’s, you know, it’s you can’t practice isolated. And I think that really practicing with kindness has been the biggest service to me.
Michael Renfro 24:02
I truly believe in the adage of hope, sorry.
Gina Campanella 24:06
I mean, not even that just to my mental health, but also, I truly believe it’s the reason that my practice grows and thrives.
Michael Renfro 24:15
kill them with kindness has always been been a you know, it doesn’t matter how that other person talks to you that that just means it might not be a good fit, by the way, and I’m sure you’ve learned that along your your avenues as well. When you say, Hey, I like you and I get that you need some help. But you probably got to find better help from this attorney or something like that. But you know, what I will say is that, if you’re always being kind, and it’s something I did get, and I’ll, I’ll just reflect for a moment. I have come of age over the years and the 25 year old may 25 years ago, was not spouting the same things that I am saying today. So number one, nice to see it and someone younger, because it took me 46 years to really turn into the You have kindness. But I now I love myself so much more. Because I know at the end of the day, I didn’t say anything mean, I didn’t say anything nasty, I didn’t go out of my way to hurt somebody. I didn’t react with animosity, you know, which is just as guilty as being the jerk in the beginning. You know, if I’m a jerk to you, it takes to to fight, right. It’s only a fight nasty, if you come back and yell scream at me. So I truly have taken on that, that notion of killing with kindness. And I find that I sleep better at night, regardless of what people think of me, which is nice. By the way, that is a nice, because it’s more for me. And I know, that may sound selfish, but I have found that if I love myself, take care of myself, then all the other people in my life are going to be taken care of, and I can actually give them good love, right, I can truly care about them, because I care about myself. So you have to kill them with kindness. The last note I’ll make on that is that I learned to finally do that to myself as well. And that’s when you’re really, you know, kind to yourself, find everybody else.
Gina Campanella 25:57
Right? Well, and then I try what I tried, because I was not treated that way as a young attorney. So I try to be very conscious of treating young attorneys that way. And you
Michael Renfro 26:10
started out with under like, I know, you got this one. But obviously, that’s part of what you were saying is was it five years that you spent under the wing of somebody was that
Gina Campanella 26:18
Well, I was I was working for other people, probably my first eight years. Yours. Okay. Yeah. So or so. Um, and the first four or five of those eight years, were not very nice people in not very nice fields. So that that’s an entirely other podcast that could take
Michael Renfro 26:44
or you know, I’ll say this I
Gina Campanella 26:48
a traumatic trigger warning podcast.
Michael Renfro 26:52
Yeah, but as deep right. Yeah, I
Gina Campanella 26:54
try to I try now to kind of, and I had people at that point in time, who showed me so much kindness that now I still think about them. And I wish I really were a light. I wish I remembered their names. Because now I would go back and find them and say thank you. So like, you have no idea what this little bit of kindness meant to me when I was in this dark place. But I don’t even remember their names. So what I do to thank them is pay it forward now. And you know, when I come up? Yeah, when I come across that young attorney who seems flustered or stressed out or like they’re in a bad employment situation, I try to be that light for them. As long as I know, we’re on opposite sides here. But you can ask me questions, I’m not going to help you.
Michael Renfro 27:47
We’re both attorneys, right, that are trying to do the right thing, right? We’re both
Gina Campanella 27:51
human, we’re both professionals. Please don’t feel embarrassed to ask me a question, I’m going to help you and I’m not going to hold it against you. I’m not going to whip it out later and use it as a weapon against you. You know, you can ask me for help. It’s okay. I’ve been in your shoes. And it’s I’ve, I’ve come across people who’ve been very grateful for it. And that also makes me feel very, very good. That’s, that’s
Michael Renfro 28:19
you can’t, it’s what I keep trying to tell people like the place that I’ve cut, you can’t buy this happiness. And I used to, you know, what’s really funny is when you’re not happy, and I’ll just throw this out there when you’re on the other side of it. And you don’t have that, that kindness in your heart and that happiness, right, and you’re the Scrooge if you will, then everybody appears to be like you. Because whatever you are is what you see in the world. And so I didn’t think a lot of people were happy. When I was unhappy. I thought most people in fact, I used to say, I don’t know, anybody who’s happy. Now that I’m in this place, by no coincidence, because I don’t believe them. And I’m Fr I don’t know if you know that acronym, eh, F AR, everything happens for a reason. But I absolutely now, I just continue to see happy, kind people. And it’s because that’s who I’ve become. So that’s now a when I’m attracting and be what I see now in the world. Now, what used to be a very dark, pessimistic world to me, has become an extremely beautiful place. I think you’ll see the same, the same kind of thing. Definitely. Absolutely. It makes it it makes a difference. It really, it really does. And again, I mean, I’m just glad you asked to go through the number of years, because if you do a dark place, I was in a very, I was very, very dark out a 10 year period from like, basically 16 to 26 that was horribly dark. And I won’t get into all that. But, you know, I also believe in this. I don’t have any regrets to that. And I mean that I say it’s nice to see I got here, and that’s all that matters. That’s, that’s what this life is about is to get here and then try to spread. That’s where I’ve come?
Gina Campanella 30:07
Well, you know, I’m very lucky because I had an incredibly supportive family. Right. I had wonderfully supportive parents. Um, you know, when I, when I was in that place where it was, you know, all I dreamed about was going to law school and being a lawyer, and then I got there and I was miserable. Right. And, you know, all
Michael Renfro 30:26
I wouldn’t, even to saying, No, I don’t want to do this.
Gina Campanella 30:30
Yeah, you know, I, at least I had parents that I could express that too. Right? And they were the type of people that would say, Okay, how are you going to fix it? How are you going to shun you for it? Right? And, oh, PS, there’s always a room for you at our house. Right? If if you, if you are worried about your finances, while you’re fixing it always come back home, right there. You always I still have a bed at my mother’s house.
Michael Renfro 31:00
I have to say, funny enough, I have the same two parents, except they’re older now. So one man has for 20 years. And the other one’s funny enough visiting right now. But if I ever needed to, it wasn’t that long ago, I had to, you know, they’re always there. And that that is?
Gina Campanella 31:15
I’m well, my parents had no one. So they changed the pattern with their children. So you know, it’s so it’s Thank God, I have them. Because if I didn’t, if I didn’t at least know that I didn’t have to worry about a roof over my head and food on my table when I wanted to change my life. Right? I don’t know if I would have been brave enough to do it.
Michael Renfro 31:37
Exactly. You know, it’s nice to have a bit of a safety net, if you will.
Gina Campanella 31:42
You know, so I knew that I had a place to sleep. And I would have food to eat, even if I had no job. And I was paying tuition, to go back for something else and change my life. So I was very, very, and I and I appreciate how fortunate I was in having that opportunity. Because a lot of people don’t have it.
Michael Renfro 32:01
No, in fact, I would venture to say that it’s probably half and half. I think today, you probably have as many great parents as you do. Maybe I would like to think there’s even more better, you know, that ultimately, there’s a higher number of better parents than then yeah, just because of the education of it, and of parenthood and all that kind of stuff. Right. Right. Talking about parents. Let me ask you, where when you grew up, what was it? Like? Where did you grow up? Number one, was it the same place that you are now? Number one, and what was it like when you were growing up?
Gina Campanella 32:35
Well, I actually I did end up moving back to the town I grew up in. Didn’t go didn’t go other places.
Michael Renfro 32:42
Right? When I saw some of the world, but then came back. Yeah,
Gina Campanella 32:45
but then ultimately came back. Um, and growing up. I mean, I had, you know, very typical suburban childhood. Very typical suburban, northern New Jersey childhood. Bicycles. Yeah, you know, I mean, we we live about 20 minutes outside of New York City. So I feel like I really got the best of both worlds. You know, one of the biggest cities in the world was right in my backyard. And my parents were city kids, my parents grew up in Brooklyn. So there was no fear of the city, we were in the city all the time, you’re up in the city. You know, so I had all of those opportunities at my fingertips. But at the same time, had, you know, the safety and the comfort and all of the luxuries that come along with growing up in the South, like you said, riding my bicycle and stuff like that, that come along with growing up in the suburbs. So, you know, I was very lucky, you know, wonderful public schools that I had the opportunity to go to. I ended up going upstate New York for college. Bill still absolutely love upstate New York. Beautiful, beautiful place. I did end up coming back to New Jersey for law school. And lived a few different places around the state. And then ultimately, after I moved back home when I was making that transition, when it was finally time for me to get my own place again, decided to stick around. And, you know, all my friends were here again, all of my way out. You already had your roots. Yeah, you know, my roots and my branches. Were here now. So I decided, hey, might as well stick around.
Michael Renfro 34:32
I was gonna say so my wife is probably I can never remember but she was pretty close to grew up close to Middlesex right across the bridge as well. What was it whatever part of Jersey that is, anyway? Yeah. It’s funny because, you know, she shared a lot where she was in a, you know, pretty standard suburban area, you know, but at the same time, literally, the city was, I mean, put it this way from her home, she could easily see the towers when they were standing.
Gina Campanella 35:03
Yeah. Because they were so yeah, that’s cool.
Michael Renfro 35:09
Just out of curiosity, I think you kind of touched on this, but I was has it was it always like from childhood early childhood? Was that always an aspiration to become an attorney?
Gina Campanella 35:21
Um, I think it was definitely, I always liked kind of thing. Oh, I don’t know if it was necessarily like, I identified it as I want to be an attorney. But I always liked that. I always liked that kind of thing, like something in business or, or corporations or running a business or having a business. Um, you know, and then as I went through school, and I started to study, you know, history and the law, and that’s really where I started to get very interested. Right. So it just kind of naturally flowed that. Okay. You know, like when I was in college, and I knew I wanted to continue my education, right? Well, business in the law are two things I’m very interested in. You know, if I continue my education or law, I can still do business or the law. If I just go into business, I can just kind of do business. So that’s ultimately why I decided, Okay, let’s go, let’s go to law school, because I’m still going to have more options with a law degree than with a business degree. And it’s exactly like you said, there were a lot of bumps in the road, there were a lot of twists and turns. But quite frankly, I don’t think I’d be here without those. No way. And I don’t believe that, I think if I had gotten a job I loved right out of law school, I’d be sitting somewhere in at behind a desk as a partner, and I think I was happy. But I wouldn’t be really be happy. Yeah. And I agree. I never would have gotten here without those bumps in the road, and I’m grateful for everyone,
Michael Renfro 37:03
I can truly say that I would not play the tape of my life one bit different, because I wouldn’t be who I am right now. And the only way I would possibly do that is if you could somehow show me had I taken a turn earlier that I would have gotten here 20 years earlier. Maybe Maybe I might consider it, you know, but Jamie Yeah, some hardcore, like, you gotta show me that real? And make sure you know, just out of curiosity, so was there ever anything else that you wanted to be other than an attorney? Was there anything that you were that you know, kind of a dream thing?
Gina Campanella 37:35
Um, you know, I think it’s, and this is funny, because I, you know, I was talking to friends the other night, and I was saying to them, like, you know, sometimes I think I enjoy the owning my own business part more than the practicing law part. So I think, yeah, I think if anything, it’s just being a business owner. I think if I ended up being a business owner, like, I don’t really know that the type of business is really irrelevant. I think I just really enjoy having a business being the part how that makes you part of the community. Contributing, yeah, I enjoy how having my business in my community makes me a part of my community, brings me into the community allows me to do things and help in the community. You know, so I truly think that if I was even if I were not an attorney, I would have ended up in something in the business field, and I probably would be a small business owner owning a
Michael Renfro 38:37
business or some God
Gina Campanella 38:38
doing something in the community like this.
Michael Renfro 38:42
That’s cool. What’s the craziest thing that you’ve ever done?
Gina Campanella 38:48
The craziest thing
Michael Renfro 38:50
that I’ve ever done, if you’re okay with sharing on videotape, yeah,
Gina Campanella 38:54
I was gonna say I’m not super crazy. I’m in my personal life. I mean, probably the craziest thing people learn about me in my personal life is that I I have a motorcycle.
Michael Renfro 39:04
Oh, that’s cool. That’s a little What kind of bike I have.
Gina Campanella 39:07
I it’s actually a trike. It’s, um, it’s a Harley. Sportster. Nice with that striked out. So that’s I’m not too super wild and crazy in my personal life.
Michael Renfro 39:19
Except that you’re a Harley girl existed. I’m
Gina Campanella 39:21
a Harley girl, right? Super crazy, but super crazy. Just
Michael Renfro 39:25
a little bit of crazy and then on the weekend. I’m here,
Gina Campanella 39:31
but I have to say probably the craziest thing I ever did was just quit my job. Right?
Michael Renfro 39:37
Maguire like just isn’t good. I’m out and just Yeah, I
Gina Campanella 39:42
quit my job. Went back to school. Goodbye. I’m out. anymore. That’s awesome. Yeah.
Michael Renfro 39:51
So here’s here’s our last few. These are just kind of the fun ones. What’s your favorite podcast?
Gina Campanella 39:56
Oh my goodness, my favorite podcast. Ah, that’s a tough one. I you know, right now I’m actually very into I have to be honest, I don’t even know the names of a lot of the podcasts I listened to. But right now, I’m into a lot of health and nutrition podcasts. Because with your specialty, yeah, so I’m listening to a lot of health and nutrition podcasts. I so I like, I honestly, like a lot of educational podcasts. But I also, I also really like podcasts like this that are relevant to my field. So I also follow a lot of podcasts, we
Michael Renfro 40:45
really actually listened to quite a few different podcasts throughout the week.
Gina Campanella 40:48
Yeah, so it’s so I don’t, I actually find them hard to keep up with
Michael Renfro 40:54
what sounds like you while you’re listening to one, you’ll you’ll see this other like, you don’t want to, you don’t want to just
Gina Campanella 41:01
watching one pop up in recommendations. And I’ll be like, That’s cool. We don’t know the names of what I’m watching. I’m more that person where it’s like, you may like this. And I’m like, oh, yeah, nay. And then I have
Michael Renfro 41:14
become that person. Spotify has spoiled me. I used to know the name of every artist and every song on every album, and I could tell you all about them now. They’re like, Who is that? I’m like, I don’t know. But I’ve been listening to this for like three years now. And it’s one of my favorite songs. Yeah, I can’t.
Gina Campanella 41:29
So for me, it’s it’s mostly like educational podcasts, right? And then also just like interview podcasts, or even stories like this,
Michael Renfro 41:38
right, gotcha. Favorite conference.
Gina Campanella 41:40
Do you have one of those? Oh, my goodness, I
Michael Renfro 41:43
business or is it attorney? I’m curious. I have a feeling you’re probably more into a business.
Gina Campanella 41:48
I am the business. I have learned the business conferences. And it’s it’s not a favorite actual conference. But I go to two different kinds of conferences. I go to the conferences where I attend as an attendee. And then I go to conferences where I’m working with the you have the buyers prefer the ones where I’m working.
Michael Renfro 42:06
Yeah, you know, there’s, I have done both I’m sure you can imagine. And I would much rather, I don’t really do them as much as I used to. But I would much rather be the booth than the attendee. I don’t know, it felt weird when you were an attendee. But it always felt weird to me. When I went to a conference, I felt like I was, had to do certain things. But as a booth, the only thing I had to do was talk to everybody that walked in. Exactly,
Gina Campanella 42:32
exactly. I just find that it’s so much. It’s so much more engaging. Yeah. And then usually, I’m also I also happen to manage to book a speaking gig when I’m there working right. You know, so I just find them to be a lot more engaging when I’m there working. Then when I’m there and attending, so I like when I’m at conferences working a lot more.
Michael Renfro 42:58
That’s awesome. Last two, so first, rather than a mentor, let me ask you, is there any piece of advice that what’s what’s the one piece of advice that you would give to any fledgling attorney, regardless of their practices?
Gina Campanella 43:13
I think that they probably the biggest mistake young attorneys make. And the reason that they are fledgeling, as you say, is, is because they’re trying to be someone they’re not. They think they have to be someone, they’re not to be successful. Right. So the biggest piece of advice I’d give them is if you feel like you have to be someone you’re not, you’re in the wrong place.
Michael Renfro 43:42
You’re not doing it the right way.
Gina Campanella 43:44
Right. You’re you’re in the wrong if you feel like you have to change who you are.
Michael Renfro 43:49
To do that. Yeah, definitely. Yes. If you have to change who you are, then you are definitely
Gina Campanella 43:53
you are in the wrong place. Keep looking for your place. I promise you it’s out there. You’ll find it. Yep.
Michael Renfro 44:01
Last one favorite tool and or software. It might be, you know, software that is your favorite tool. But what’s what’s the thing that you rely on most?
Gina Campanella 44:12
Oh, definitely. CLIA, which I use for my practice management where that cleanser. Yeah. And it’s and the really funny part is I’ve been using Clio for years now. And I’m just starting to learn how to be a master. But it can do. I’m just starting to learn because I started using it. And then I just got so busy so fast, that I didn’t have time to powerful, right, so I’m just starting to learn some of the things that can automate for me and save me time. Yep. But anything that can automate something for
Michael Renfro 44:48
automation, a beautiful thing. Oh, my
Gina Campanella 44:51
goodness. Oh, my goodness. Because I don’t have staff. I don’t have secretaries. I don’t have paralegals. I mean, I have a remote paralegal who has a contract service. I have remote receptionist’s who are contracts service. I do not want to have to unlock an office door to make sure other people are coming to work, right. Yeah, you know. So it’s any computer program that can do something for me that in a typical office like someone would be having the secretary do love it, give it to me.
Michael Renfro 45:22
But Clio is definitely the number one right now. Biggest time saver and biggest.
Gina Campanella 45:26
Yeah, it’s been great. Well, Gina, I
Michael Renfro 45:30
love having you on loved conversation. It was exactly what you said it would be a good conversation. Maybe we’ll you can come back and see us again in a year or so. continued good fortune. And I don’t think it’s by any mistake from talking to you. So just continue doing what you’re doing. Continue being you and thank you so much for, for coming on and sharing that with us today.
Gina Campanella 45:51
Thank you so much for having me, Michael. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and speak with you and I’d love to come back anytime.
Michael Renfro 45:56
Have a wonderful week. Have a even better weekend. And stay blessed.
Gina Campanella 46:01
Thank you. You too.
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