Adam Rossen is the Founder and CEO of Rossen Law Firm, a practice representing clients in criminal defense cases. Adam has represented thousands of clients across a spectrum of criminal cases and severe felony charges. His experience as an Assistant State Attorney in Broward County provided him a unique understanding of prosecutorial strategies, making him an effective defense attorney. His background and courtroom approach has resulted in numerous acquittals and dismissals for his clients.
Adam is a double-degree holder from the University of Florida and a law graduate from the University of Miami. Over the years, he has received numerous accolades including a perfect 10.0 rating on AVVO, an AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale Hubbell, and recognition as a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Florida Legal Elite Rising Star.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Adam Rossen shares his career background and how he founded Rossen Law Firm
- What inspired Adam to become an attorney and defend people?
- Adam’s transition from being a prosecutor to doing all aspects of criminal defense
- The type of clients Rossen Law Firm represents
- How Adam learned to run a business in addition to being a lawyer
- Rossen Law Firm’s most effective marketing strategy
- Adam reminisces on his first court case
- The proudest moment in Adam’s career
In this episode…
Constructing a thriving law firm specializing in criminal defense requires a deep understanding of the law, strong relationship-building skills, and the ability to navigate an ever-changing legal landscape. For those embracing these challenges, a rewarding and influential career awaits.
Adam Rossen leveraged his background as a prosecutor and his innate passion for marketing to build Rossen Law Firm into a successful practice that helps good people when bad things happen. He found that the keys to success in criminal defense were building trust with clients, effectively representing their needs, and utilizing creative marketing strategies.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, host Chad Franzen interviews Adam Rossen, Founder and CEO of Rossen Law Firm, to discuss how he built a flourishing criminal defense practice. Adam shares insights on the firm’s growth, attracting ideal clients, running a law firm as a business, and the milestones he proudly reflects on. Additionally, he highlights the law firm’s proactive approach during the COVID-19 pandemic and the valuable experiences they provided to interns during that uncertain time.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Chad Franzen on LinkedIn
- Gladiator Law Marketing
- Adam Rossen on LinkedIn
- Rossen Law Firm: Website | LinkedIn | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok
- Manny Serra-Jovenich on LinkedIn
- Great Legal Marketing
- Ben Glass on LinkedIn
- Charley Mann on LinkedIn
- Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman
- Gino Wickman on LinkedIn
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.
Chad Franzen 0:12
Hi, Chad Franzen here. I am a host of share your voice where we talk with top notch law firms and lawyers about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing delivering tailor made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential. To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. Gladiator Law Marketing uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com where you can schedule a free marketing consultation. Adam Rossen is the founder and CEO of Rossen Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale. Adam always knew he wanted to be a lawyer because he wanted to help people. He truly believes that bad things happen to good people and he wanted to be the one to help them achieve their best future. Check him out on social media and YouTube at Rossen, R-O-S-S-E-N Law Firm to hear more about his team’s victories and courts and to learn more about criminal defense. Adam, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?
Adam Rossen 1:13
Hey, Chad, thanks for having me. Pleasure to be here.
Chad Franzen 1:15
As I mentioned, you are the founder of Rossen Law Firm. Tell me a little bit about how that got established. And what led up to it for you.
Adam Rossen 1:23
Sure, absolutely. So graduated law school and way back in 2006. And I completed an internship at the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, loved my time there. And so I said, You know what, I want to be a prosecutor and I started, they hired about 35 of us. They’re all you know, all at once, I was the first promoted in my class twice, before most people were promoted once. And I loved it for a time. I loved being in trial. I love the camaraderie we were all, you know 24, 25 years old. In a way, it was kind of like Grey’s Anatomy for prosecutors and public defenders, just, you know, having a great time, and trying cases, and just being a young lawyer in court every single day. But after about a year, year and a half, I realized that I wasn’t able to help people in the way that I thought I would, there was a lot of bureaucracy in that office, just a lot of things that I wasn’t really happy with. And so 26 years old, with my roommate at the time, we decided to start our own law firm. And we had planned for a few months. And we thought we knew what we were doing. Of course, we didn’t. But that’s kind of the excitement and journey of being young and in a way too dumb to fail. And we started our law firm, March 1 of 2008. We were partners until 2015. And then in 2015, we decided, you know, he was doing more immigration, I was still doing more criminal, we just thought it would be best to split the firm’s, we’re still very close to this day. And we rebranded as Rossen Law Firm in 2015. And since then, I really got serious and focused about building a business about marketing and growing. And we went from, you know, when or for the seven years at my old partner and I were together, never even had an employee. No, we were calling, you know, we were each other’s in our own secretary, or legal assistants, we were everything. And when we split, I said, Alright, I gotta get serious about this. And it kind of snowballed. You know, within a year, we hired somebody, and we went from one to two, then two to three, and then from three to six, six to 13. And now we’re at about 20 employees, you know, in our office, and we felt, you know, a really nice criminal defense firm.
Chad Franzen 3:48
Now, when and how did you know you said you wanted to be an attorney because you wanted to help people? What’s kind of you remember, like, when the light bulb went off, went on that you that that was what was gonna happen, and that was what you wanted to do?
Adam Rossen 4:02
Right so I always wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer. I liked both both are service based professions, helping others, but I loved lawn order as a kid, I always was a good argue or that I was also, you know, a good debater, but I was also a little shy. And so you know, I kind of had those, that balance of you know, and at the time, I thought all lawyers were litigators. I didn’t realize that actually, most lawyers are not litigators. But as I went to high school and went in graduating high school, I really wanted to go into medicine. And I remember at the University of Florida, I believe it was the spring semester of my freshman year sitting in organic chemistry class, just going, this is not for me. I don’t want to do this. And so I ended up dropping chemistry. I think it was taking biology as well dropped chemistry dropped biology, actually withdrew from the semester from that semester, and said, You know what, I’m going to switch majors and start over and I really want had to go to law school to be a lawyer. So that was really the moment where it was solidified in my mind.
Chad Franzen 5:07
Great good for you. Hey, so you say you were a prosecutor? Take me through a little bit of that transition then so you’re done with prosecutor anymore. What are you mainly focused on now?
Adam Rossen 5:17
Right so now we do all aspects of criminal defense, you know, state court we do Federal Court white collar fraud. We have a very busy DUI practice as well really anything involving criminal law you know, we have six attorneys right now we have two board certified attorneys, which is very difficult in in the in the legal field in Florida to become board certified. And so you know, anything? Well, I look at it as if it’s a petty theft shoplifting charge. Well, that’s not a big case for us or traditionally however, for the client that’s the biggest thing to them in their world and you know, a shoplifting charge is a career killer, shoplift, you know, who’s gonna hire a shoplifter night? You know, an alleged a shoplifter, right, somebody who maybe made a very poor choice in the heat of the moment. But that’s something that’s a career killer, that that could literally ruin somebody’s life. So it is extremely important. So we look at it as though we love the big cases, we love the small cases, we love the medium case, we love it all. And we handle it all. Because we’re really in this to be community and relationship builders, first and foremost, and then build an amazing thriving business that can then further our goal is to help our clients.
Chad Franzen 6:32
You said that most of the people you work with, you know, in terms of clients like you like he’s a potential shoplift shop that are people who just found themselves in the wrong situation and made a bad choice? Are they people who are in trouble often.
Adam Rossen 6:44
Right. So everything, you know, I’m a big believer in attract and repel. So everything in our marketing, we attract clients that we want that we traditionally work best with, and we try to repel the others that we don’t, you know, out of our entire caseload, which is quite a lot of cases. Now, I think we have less than 5% of our clients are currently in jail or in custody, meaning that our clients are usually first time or second time people through the system. That just we’ve just found that those are the type of clients that we work best with. You know, there’s for the other type of client that’s habitually in and out of jail, habitually in and out of prison. There’s other lawyers that are the best fit for those clients as well. So our firm’s motto is we help good people when bad things happen so they can achieve their best future. And we look at it as a past, present, and future, you know, good people, right past meaning, you’ve lived a good life, you know, if you’ve made it, I always like to say, you’ve made it growing up or living in South Florida till your 30s or 40s. And it’s your first time being arrested shows you’re pretty good person, because it’s very easy to get arrested down here. You know, something that obviously happened as the president, but why are we doing that way our clients can achieve their best future? What are our goals? So that’s our firm’s motto, we see a lot of mental health and substance abuse, especially in the post COVID world. You know, and we are very, we’re very well trained, and very in tune with our clients, you know, mental health or substance abuse issues as well. And we have a vast network of therapists, counselors, clinicians, that we can refer our clients to.
Chad Franzen 8:31
Okay, great, awesome. Hey, let’s talk a little bit more about the growth of your firm and how it kind of got started, you said, when you when you kicked it off with your partner, you were young, and you didn’t really know what you’re doing. Now that you’re, you know, more experienced, and you know more about what you’re doing. Well, in what ways would you say you didn’t know what you didn’t know?
Adam Rossen 8:51
Right? So, you know, I was 26 years old. Our goal was just to make what we were making at the prosecutor’s office, which, you know, was such a low amount, that it was fairly easy to just based on referrals. So we did really referral marketing, we were out there, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we had time. So I stumbled into some speaking engagements that that, you know, did really well for us, we just tried to be everywhere, anywhere and everywhere, we could be with every single bar function meeting people that didn’t really work so well. I don’t particularly like going to bar functions, because the lawyers that are there have a more of a closed mindset, and they just want to tell you, you know, or tell you how terrible every idea is that of you know, having a positive growth mindset. But something’s worked well, you know, some of the speaking gigs that we got and others. But, you know, they’re really that that was really it. There, you know, in 2008. Bull was around it was very big. It’s not what it is now, but it was it was there and it was a big piece of the puzzle. But I looked at those things with a fear based mentality and from a cost based mentality. So, how much is this going to cost? What if it doesn’t work? am I wasting my money? Are we going to lose it all? Instead of the investment mindset, you know, and really thinking about it through that way, and instead of taking, you know, removing the fear, to seize an opportunity for growth, so now we’re all about that it’s a really a lot of it was the mindset shift.
Chad Franzen 10:23
What did you do? You know, a lot of a lot of attorneys tell me when they first started, they knew everything about law, you know, they were well trained to do law. But in terms of running their own business, that was a bit of a, you know, a bit of an eye opener, was that the case for you?
Adam Rossen 10:39
Yeah, I’ve never, you know, been taught business didn’t go to business school, didn’t learn about it in college, or in law school, they don’t teach us any of those things. I’ve always liked it. But until about 2015, when I got serious, you’ll first it was more about marketing and less than about business, as at that point, it was, you know, my, my buddy wasn’t, you know, on one hand, I needed to make less, because I didn’t have to cover the costs of of somebody else. But on the other hand, if I had a bad week, or if, you know, if I wasn’t bring it in, I had the benefit of having a partner. So without that person to hold my hand and literally jumped into the deep end of the pool with it all fell on me. So I was just focused on marketing, marketing, marketing, learn all about it. podcasts, blogs, I just kind of immersed myself. And really over that year, year and a half, I feel as though I got a master’s degree in marketing and really just kind of self taught. Well, you know, I was taught by some of the best because I, you know, books that just learned everything, but I, in a way I set the course curriculum and learned it and figured it out. And then once we got the marketing down, then it was about Okay, wow, I have three employees now. You know, I need to learn about business, I need to have an employee manual, I need to be a boss. Right. And, and really, the last few years have been less about marketing and more about running a successful business and learning how to do
Chad Franzen 12:06
Did you enjoy the marketing part? And what what was most effective? I mean, okay. So you hit you had to you did the marketing, because you had to did you enjoy that?
Adam Rossen 12:15
I actually did, I found that I really did, it was kind of like a puzzle, you know, with writing blog posts, and Google and just everything being like, Okay, we, you know, this is how the algorithm works, or this is how you know, what you need to do and just try it and really see if there’s results. And so, I realized that I really, really enjoyed it. You know, I always enjoyed practicing law, I love being in a courtroom. But you know, as of now, in 2023, I don’t have a caseload. I don’t go to the courthouse, I don’t really practice law. I’m still very involved with our lawyers. And I’m involved with the strategy, and I’m involved with the clients. I love our clients. But I’m not the one going to court five days a week, I think last year 2022, I went to I was actually in the courthouse less than 10 times a year for a criminal trial lawyer, that’s unheard of. We’re in court every single day.
Chad Franzen 13:13
What what did you find, as you were kind of doing marketing and trying to get yourself out there and promote yourself? What did you find to be the most effective? Or would you just say, you put it all together? And it worked for you?
Adam Rossen 13:22
That’s a great question. So, you know, a lot of internet based marketing, digital marketing has been really effective for us, but also relationship building and relationship marketing, you know, I’ve taken some of the ideas that I’ve had with prior speaking engagements and, and used it for other, you know, in other avenues. So, for example, about five years ago, you know, I heard about some divorce lawyers that that really focused their marketing on marriage and family counselors. So I said to myself, well, that’s really smart. How can I do the same for private practice, you know, therapists, and maybe drug and alcohol, you know, rehab centers, and, you know, drug and alcohol counselors, because there’s a need, and, you know, from my dealings in cases with those, those professionals, they were scared to be involved. They were scared to talk to the lawyer. So I really thought about it. I said, Well, you know, how can I love speaking? How can I give a presentation, and I don’t want to come across as though I’m ever just there to build relationships or get business? How can I actually provide value? So we came up with a lecture topic, basically, teaching therapists how they can about the criminal justice system in South Florida. And the whole theme of the lecture was, hey, we’re scared of you guys, too. You’re scared of us. We’re scared of you. And the last thing we want is Johnny to see you on Thursday. Tell you about the big court date he has on next Tuesday. And then you find out that Johnny went to prison for five years and you know, and all you’re going to be thinking about is Wow, could I have done more? What Could I wish I spoke to the lawyer I wish the lawyer called me, I would have showed up for Johnny to, you know, to advocate for his progress. And so we designed a whole lecture series around that the interplay between therapist and criminal defense attorney. And it went amazingly well. And that opens the door to some, you know, we have 50 therapists that we can refer to our clients and just further relationships. So it’s been a mix of both as great as the digital marketing is when you know what you’re doing and do a good job. Sometimes good old fashioned referral marketing, and relationship building is just as effective.
Chad Franzen 15:35
Yeah, sounds good. Hey, when you first when you had your first ever trial, like you got out of law school, I’m sure you were very well prepared. But, you know, how did you feel when you you got to your first trial, and there was like a real judge there and a real attorney that you were going against? How did you kind of feel and maintain your drifts?
Adam Rossen 15:57
Well, definitely scared and nervous. I was lucky that during my internship, when I was in law school, I actually was able to try five jury trials before I even graduated law school. But I, I second chaired them, I wasn’t the lead attorney. But it that was an amazing experience. But I’ll never forget your first real trial. So at that time, they since I was a Certified Legal intern, I was allowed to do everything that I was able to do after the bar exam. And after the bar exam, it usually takes about 10 weeks or so 10 to 12 weeks to get your bar results. So the day the bar results came out, I actually had my first real jury trial. And the bar results came out at 10am or so. And I remember, everybody in my group was getting their bar results running back from court and I say, I’m like, Guys, I’m gonna trial, I’m going to, I’ll check at six o’clock that night, you know, I’m like, I’m focused on this, I certainly don’t want to find out my results that have to go back to trial and everything. So I went through it, you know, thinking about all those things. In that case, I got my book looked by a much more experienced attorney. And that process really helped me, you know, I’ve learned so much more from getting my butt whooped, than from my successes was a case I should have won. But you know, just didn’t have the experience to win it. And they couldn’t see and anticipate their defenses. So that was really bad. You know, I was disappointed, you know, you always and even to this day, it’s I was a high school basketball coach, and a pretty good player. And I would always get not really the nerves, but the anticipation, you know, waiting for the jump ball going through warm ups and just be like, Alright, let’s go already. Same thing. In a jury trial, it’s really not nerves. It’s just like, alright, jury selection takes so long, like, let’s go, let’s go, I want to get up and give an opening statement, I want to get up and drill that witness. So it’s really just the anticipation of waiting. But once we got through that, on that day, you know, I was disappointed, I lost. But I went home. And kind of in the quiet solitude by myself, I saw my bars alternate path was very happy. So that was a great ending to the day of having first first real trial, that finding out you know, losing to being disappointed, but then finding out that I passed the bar.
Chad Franzen 18:18
As Rossen Law Firm has kind of grown and evolved and your career has continued. Are there some milestones or some times that you look back on? you’re particularly proud of?
Adam Rossen 18:28
Yes. So I am very, very, very proud of the way my firm handled COVID. So I still think I’m pretty young. But at the same time, I’ve been around long enough to at least see some trends and see, you know, kind of fluctuations in the economy and in business. And, you know, I started my firm March 1, originally, march 1 2008. And everybody, there was a major recession that happened later that year, right, the Great, the great recession. And everybody said, Well, how are you doing? Go back then? I’m like, we’re gonna do it. Okay. Because we don’t really know anything, any anything better. We’re surviving. It’s okay. But it 2020 No, what I realized early on was that, you know, I believe what everybody’s zig zag. So when everybody’s buying, you should sell and everybody was laying people off. I think, you know, freaking out overreacting. I mean, he had pretty much closed down for three days and people are laying off 30% of their force are asking people to take pay cuts, and how do you move in, you know, weeks yet? And so we had just grown to a team of six. And for criminal law, having two lawyers and a team of six is, is quite large in South Florida. You know, criminal lawyers don’t traditionally build big firms. And my payroll was the highest that had ever been at that point. And it was a little scary and nervous. But we had three employees that had been with us less than 90 days, but I liked them and they provided value and I believe in being a great leader. So I told everybody, I said Look, we’re good, we’re going to be fine. And literally for criminal law, the world shut down. If people aren’t out partying, there’s no people getting arrested, there’s no business of. So what we did is we pivoted in a way, we had three legal assistants and a marketing director in house, and our two new legal assistance be converted to marketing assistance. And we every major project that I wanted to do for years, I said, we’re just gonna work from home and grind these projects out. And we started to, and it really started to build momentum. And then that summer, you know, usually every summer we take on two or three turns. And that summer, we took on 13 interns, virtually by zoom, because everybody lost their internships with judges and law firms and different things. And I said, if we’re really community and relationship builders, it’s our ethical and moral obligation to bring in all these interns. And we gave them an amazing experience. We still hadn’t, you know, Zoom court had started by May of that year. So they would see our depositions at our court on Zoom, we would speak to me and my partner, Manny, the other attorney, we would we would speak with them, we would, you know, give scenarios that the George Floyd murder happened. And I, I emailed everybody, and I said next Wednesday, from one to five, we have a project, I’m not telling you anything until one o’clock next Wednesday. And I wrote up a law school fact pattern saying that we were hired to represent the police officer, Derek Chauvin, who was George Floyd’s killer, so I made sure to take the heart approach. And I said, these are the Minnesota laws. Right, tell me how we’re going to win his case, don’t take the easy road out, right. And you have four hours from one to five o’clock. Go. And we ranked them just against each other on a curve, just like law school. And it was an amazing experience if we did that. And it was great. I mean, we had high schoolers College, and law students. And so and then we also use them as content writers. So we give them topics to learn about and write, and they would, you know, then, of course, we would edit it and go, but they did a lot of the grunt work of getting us, you know, getting our writing there. And I think we added about 30 or 40,000 words to the website. So I’m very proud of all of those things have really just how we handled COVID. And we got our PPE loan, I remember the first one where we got that I was in the office by myself. And I just cried tears of joy because it needed it so bad. And it helped tremendously. And from all of those things, it really put the firm which was doing well on on a hockey stick level trajectory of growth. And that really helped us launch us into 2021 to scale and to go from six to 13 employees.
Chad Franzen 22:54
Yeah, that sounds that sounds great. Did you feel or did a defenders who were defending Derek Chauvin follow the principles that were suggested by all the people that you were working with? Did you feel like that was actually a winnable case? Obviously, I was kind of rooting rooting against him, but maybe from a criminal attorney perspective, did you feel like that was a winnable case? To begin with?
Adam Rossen 23:17
It was I did not. I mean, it was it was a very tough case. But also, you know, just the video really, without that video, the case would have been completely different. But no, it was a very, very hard case. And I wanted our interns to have that exercise of think through discomfort, you know, advocate, argue, come up with something and their, their thoughts and ideas. Were very creative. And you know, and it was, also it wasn’t just about the thoughts and ideas, but it was about why, you know, right. So you want to argue this as a defensible Why did you choose that, you know, walk me through how you’re trying to maybe attack the statutes and the law, you know, not necessarily condone the behavior, but say, hey, it doesn’t apply to murder. You know, right. Maybe it was a manslaughter, maybe it was something lesser, but it wasn’t counts of murder. You know, I’d really try to work through it really attack the statute, so that they all did a really good job.
Chad Franzen 24:16
Okay. Yeah. Sounds great. Hey, I have one more question for you. But first, tell me how people can find out more about Rossen Law Firm.
Adam Rossen 24:22
Sure. I mean, we we like to be everywhere. So we’re on all social media Rossen Law Firm. We’re on YouTube. We have a great YouTube channel with lots of informational videos. We have an amazing website as well. rossenlawfirm.com. So really, you know, just Google us. It’s two S’s, R-O-S-S-E-N. Law Firm. And we we tend to be everywhere, so you can’t avoid us.
Chad Franzen 24:46
Okay, great. Hey, last question for you, as a risk of putting you on the spot who has been a mentor for you, and if you can think of some of the best advice you received, what would that be?
Adam Rossen 24:58
Sure. So I’m very Fortunate, you know, one of my goals over the last five years or so was to seek out and develop mentors. And I have quite a few now I’ve joined some various coaching groups. And, you know, and having that sounding board because when I was a kid, you know, being a pretty good athlete playing really high level basketball, and then coaching and just just going through life, I always wanted more mentors and didn’t really have them. So that’s been a huge goal of mine. So one of the groups that I’m in is a Great Legal Marketing, and I’ve known Ben Glass and Charley Mann for a long time, and I consider both of them to be really close, such as friends, but personal mentors, I’m in some other groups as well. And just, you know, really, I’d say, I’m so blessed to have maybe about seven or eight, you know, real mentors that I can call or text at any point and hop on the phone. Just this morning. You know, I had a 20, 30 minute call with our, we run our firm on on EOS, which is from the book Traction by Gino Wickman, the entrepreneur operating system, and we have an EOS implementer or EOS coach, and, you know, had a 30 minute call with him just texted him. And he’s like, Yeah, I can talk. And we just talked and we ran through some things in advance of our of our two day annual retreat that’s coming up next month. And just you know, somebody like Cesar who is internationally known for his business acumen and his coaching to be able to just, you know, hit him up at any point and do that I’m so lucky, but I made those deliberate choices to seek that out. So I have about, you know, eight to 10 mentors that are really close, you know, really near and dear to my heart.
Chad Franzen 26:43
Okay, very cool. Hey, Adam, it’s been great to talk to you. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time today.
Adam Rossen 26:49
Yeah. Thanks for having me. It’s been great. soloing, everybody.
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