Brian Ross is a Partner at Ross Legal Corporation. As a full-service boutique law firm providing legal services to emerging companies, Ross Legal counsels diverse clients, from individuals to multinational corporations. Brian is an experienced attorney in technology, new media, cannabis, and various other industries. He’s held executive-level positions as the Divisional Vice President and General Counsel at Verizon Digital Media Services and as the Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs and Global Digital Media at MTV Networks.
After attending the University of Sussex (England) for an education abroad honors program, Brian graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a degree in political science. He went on to earn his JD degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Brian Ross talks about his background in law and his experience with cyber law
- How can you lawfully monitor and secure the internet?
- What prompted Brian to become a lawyer?
- Why you should empower your clients
- Overcoming the challenge of transparency
- Brian shares his typical day: iced coffee, pilates, and family time
- The benefits of mentorship and collegial manners while working with a team
- Brian discusses shattering the deceitful lawyer stereotype
In this episode…
No matter the product or service you sell, it is crucial to understand the particulars to decrease your risk of exposure. But understanding legal marketing jargon can be complex for the untrained ear. How can you effectively communicate with your clients? Is it possible to provide a clearer view of the legal process?
Brian Ross follows the “measure twice, cut once” model to empower his clients. By remaining transparent with clients, your client feels more secure and knowledgeable about the legal process. For Brian, working as a team with colleagues and clients brings value to his work. Having an open line of communication and helping your clients understand the process can smooth out potential kinks and increase satisfaction.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, join host Michael Renfro as he sits down with Brian Ross, Partner at Ross Legal Corporation, to talk about how to establish better relationships with clients and colleges. Brian talks about his motivation and inspiration to become a lawyer, the importance of privacy and security on the web, and the benefits of mentorship to increase opportunities.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Michael Renfro on LinkedIn
- Gladiator Law Marketing
- Brian Ross on LinkedIn
- Ross Legal Corporation
- Polina Ross on LinkedIn
- Alex Kazerani on LinkedIn
- James Segil on LinkedIn
- Phil Goldsmith on LinkedIn
- Land of the Giants
- The Adam Carolla Show
- Club Random with Bill Maher
- StarTalk Radio
- Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda
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 0:13
Hello, everyone, Michael Renfro here I’m the host of 15 Minutes, share your voice where we talk with top notch lawyers as well as law firms about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing where we deliver tailor made services to help you accomplish those objectives and maximize your growth potential to have a successful marketing campaign and make sure that you’re getting the best ROI that your firm is able to get. You do need to have a better website and better content than the competition. Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence combined with machine learning, and literally over a century of experience to outperform the competition in those regards. In that regard. To learn more, please go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com. That should be at the bottom of the screen. And for those of you who are just listening, excuse me, that is GladiatorLawMarketing.com. Or you may reach out to me directly at or excuse me at the email at following email Michael@gladiatorlawmarketing.com. And that’s simply Michael. Anyway, let’s get right into it. So today’s guest is Brian Ross with Ross Legal. And I already heard a few interesting things about Ross right here in the beginning. But Ross right out of the gate. Why don’t you tell us just a little bit about your practice and what your practice areas are.
Brian Ross 1:36
Michael, thank you. It’s great to be here with you. Yeah, I am Brian Ross with Ross Legal. We’re a boutique law firm based in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles a little bit about myself. I’m a 25 year attorney, I spent about half of my career in big law and in the law firm setting. And the other half of my career I was spent as an in house General Counsel, running legal teams for emerging companies, two of which ended up getting acquired by Fortune 100 companies. So it’s been an interesting ride. And it’s it’s great to be here with you today.
Michael Renfro 2:09
No, that’s that’s that’s really awesome. So let’s kind of get right into it. How did you get started and such a, obviously, I’m assuming where you got started as far from where you ended up, like so many others.
Brian Ross 2:21
Yeah, humble beginnings. You know, here in the San Fernando Valley. I’ve been working as you know, since I was 14, I’ve always enjoyed it, you know, Christmas tree, lots of movie theaters, restaurants, retail stores. I went to UCLA as an undergrad. And then I went to UCLA law school. And I wanted a career that would let me you know, open some interesting doors, challenged me academically, and law felt like the perfect fit. So I jumped right in. And I spent some time at right out the gate at a plaintiff’s law firm. And I was in court every day, I was arguing motions, I was doing all the stuff that young lawyers you know, want to do, rather than being stuck in a basement writing research memorandum. It was a lot of fun. And then I went to big law firms in Los Angeles, one was called Baker and Hostetler, which is a national firm, based in Ohio. And then I spent the balance of that time, I had Mitchell Silberberg and Knupp. And the early days of my career were just dynamic. I switched from, you know, plaintiffs work to you know, working for big established companies and clients. And I was working with entertainment companies, you know, technology companies, this was during the first internet bubble, when things were really exploding and we were all figuring out together, what it meant to be an internet company. And what it meant to put together a contract for things like internet marketing and search and what have you, right? So it was all coming together at this time. Super exciting. And, and also a lot of new media companies that were distributing content online. So that was a fun training time for me. I worked on some interesting cases like all the Napster litigation, I was one of the lawyers who helped bring down Napster for better or worse, depending on how you feel about that kind of making the world safer, you know, iTunes, and Spotify, I guess. And then there were a bunch of progeny had followed Napster like Rockstar and other ones. And we dealt with all those guys, a lot of anti piracy work. A lot of you know, anti counterfeiting a lot of trademark work a lot of copyright. We’re not a protector was a lot of what I did, yes,
Michael Renfro 4:20
protection, too. I mean, I, you know, the one thing that I try to tell people they don’t they really don’t realize is the average person you talked to him. And what’s funny is when I say the average person I’m talking about sometimes, you know, a partner or a girlfriend or wife, husband, whatever, of someone who is an extreme techie, right? And they have no idea the amount of what happens on the true internet. And I say that because there is the dark web and what goes on there and then there’s what everybody else sees on the outside but it’s it’s, it’s vastly different. And one is completely unsecured. And it really bothers me, I hope one day we figured out a way to, to me it’s no different than any other playground. I’ll put it that way. You don’t want to have a playground where people can get hurt, and people can take advantage of someone. And essentially, this is a playground for businesses as well as communities and recreation and everything under the sun. So I agree with you personally, I think there has to be some form of simply put just regulation to make sure that that people aren’t being taken advantage of or hurt.
Brian Ross 5:23
And this Yeah, well, that’s been a constant theme, you know, through my practice with these companies, which is, you know, the internet is not the wild, wild west.
Michael Renfro 5:30
And once you when you got into it, sir, it was the wild, it sort
Brian Ross 5:34
of was it was I’d literally
Michael Renfro 5:37
described it that way for years. Sorry,
Brian Ross 5:39
go ahead. Yeah, no, it’s true. I mean, we were trying to figure out, you know, at the at the beginning, what do you do with children on the internet? Right? How do you handle their data? And of course, laws came out to try to protect that. What do you do in terms of privacy? What do you do in terms of security? You know, privacy and security are related, but they’re two different sides of the same coin? And how do you handle those. And of course, now we have Europe as their own legal scheme for privacy. And we’re trying to cope with that here as a bunch of American companies. And I’ve got clients all over the globe who have to deal with that. And there’s also California, which is leading the way in terms of privacy. So regulations come, they’re slow. You know, the way the sausage is made behind the scenes is very messy. There was also a lot of kerfuffle at the start about how do we handle copyrighted content and infringement? And do we allow services like YouTube, to grow into multibillion dollar companies on the backs of other people’s content that they’re getting and using for free without permission, and all those questions had to be sorted out in real time, it’s sort of like doing heart surgery on a patient who’s running around the track and they won’t lay down, you have to keep moving. And you have to, you know, adjust as you go. So that’s what we did. And, and then when I switched hats, and I became the in house lawyer, we had to come at it from the other side, more of the business side. So it’s really been a fascinating journey. And and I’ve been proud that I can help, you know, create new precedents, and copyright and trademark law, a lot of history.
Michael Renfro 7:03
I mean, you’re part of history. I mean, you can’t, you know, give yourself a kudos, but you are part of history, what you’re doing is part of where the internet going, where the internet is going where it has, you know, come from, you’ve been a part of that. I mean, truly kudos because I think that a lot of people and a lot of people when we are living, right, while we’re living, we don’t realize what impact or just how impactful what we’re doing is many times and I can see it, because I know the internet is huge. So just giving you those tools
Brian Ross 7:37
on Thank you. I mean, it’s really interesting that some of the people I’ve gotten to meet because of my legal career so far, there was a gentleman, Dr. Leonard Kleinrock, and he’s a professor of computer science professor at UCLA. And the interesting thing about Dr. Kleinrock because I worked with him on the Napster case, he was an expert witness. He transmitted the first message across the internet. In 1969, there was a big server, a battle hardened server at UCLA, there was a identical one up at I think, Stanford, and they linked the two of them through phone lines. And they figured out you know, how they were going to send messages through this TCP IP protocol. Anyway, they started typing the word log on. And they got as far as I think, oh, and then the system crashed. So he was there for the very first internet transmission. He’s one of the fathers very first internet crash. Right. So imagine being able to tell your grandchildren that you met, you know, and worked with Thomas Edison, you know, or Henry Ford.
Michael Renfro 8:33
Or Dr. Klein, Ron. Amen. Yeah, you’ve got you’ve had some real not just being on the fringe, but also being part of it. You know, there’s on some parts fringe, but then clearly, you’ve been on some, you know, the Napster case was huge. We all remember it. I won’t forget it. I used to sit on Napster up until Napster was gone or NAFTA changing.
Brian Ross 8:56
Yeah, yeah, it sure was.
Michael Renfro 8:59
I also worked on a different day.
Brian Ross 9:03
I also worked on a case involving the estate of George Harrison in from the Beatles. Yes, I was on the other side of that case. But as a result of that, for some months in my office as a young associate, I had a cardboard box that I had to keep secure. And that cardboard box was filled with original memorabilia from George Harrison’s house in Los Angeles, which collapsed during a mudslide. And I had a ticket from the Shea Stadium concert of the Beatles 1964 encased in a Lucite block that George used to keep on his desk in his home office at home while he was doing whatever he was doing. And of course, all this stuff went back to the George Harrison state eventually, as part of the case. But for a little while, I had access to this stuff as a Beatles fan and photos that no one’s ever seen, no one ever will see. And of course you don’t pledge to secrecy about all that stuff. But but just being around that was just a fun experience in writing. or just little things like that, that you do as a lawyer that, that make it fun?
Michael Renfro 10:04
Yeah, I have a little I don’t believe in me, but definitely would would have loved to seen some of those pictures as a Beatle fan, Beatles fan, myself, and my whole family and even my kids now, who are 22, or Beatles fans? That’s pretty awesome. For sure. So real quick, where did the idea of becoming a lawyer come from? Where did that originate?
Brian Ross 10:28
I wish I could say it was a result of careful planning and plotting. But really, it just sort of grew out of the fact that I always enjoyed reading and writing and arguing and talking and persuading. And it just felt like a natural fit. Obviously, watch all the TV shows. But actually, I was involved in a lawsuit when I was a young child, it was a medical, I was about 12 was
Michael Renfro 10:50
a medical young to be involved in and an actual case that you were in court type thing, right?
Brian Ross 10:56
Yeah, there was a doctor who did something, and he kind of botched my surgery. And so we had to deal with that in court. And I remember as I think, as a 12 year old, actually having my deposition taken. And, and you know, my mother was sitting there next to me. And she said, I was really precocious about the whole thing and kind of running the lawyer in circles. And I thought, all right, this is, this is sort of fun. So yeah, that’s what that’s how I got in, I
Michael Renfro 11:23
guess. No, that that, you know, I think that. So, you know, obviously, I’ve done this interview. And I’ve also talked to many, many attorneys. I’ve been working with only attorneys since oh seven myself in regards to marketing. And it’s funny because that’s why I said I don’t think I’ve ever heard one story that has where an attorney A is more than 15 years into it, where they are, where they started from in be their stories were how they got into it, and what got them started as many times I don’t want to say the same, but they’re either one or the other. And what I mean by that is, they either naturally progressed to it because they just, you know, they learned that they were a natural attorney in the in the sense of investigating and re debating, and being able to possibly even be a litigator, right, a classic great litigator. And then the other ones like the other half the time, it’s usually because someone told them, they should go into it and kind of guide them through it. So it’s like they either found it themselves, or someone was like, you know, and we’re not one person. By the way, the story is many times, multiple people told me I should be an attorney or told me that I am very good at this are very good at that. So if they didn’t see it themselves, then they were kind of shown that by other people, if that makes sense.
Brian Ross 12:41
It does not tell you that the thing about what makes a natural attorney it was a little different than what I thought it was going to be coming in, I thought it was going to mean someone like me who’s good at you know, like I said, reading and writing and discussing things. actually turns out that I think the natural lawyers are the people have more of a mathematical mind, almost the people who have majored in math or even philosophy, because when you’re learning law, a lot of it works like a flowchart. It’s like if this happens, then go here. But if that happens, then go down here instead. And then that branches off into other options. So people who are used to thinking that way, and that logical sort of flow, they tend to take to it like a like a fish and water. me I had to learn a new way of thinking. And, and I did, but that’s what law school taught me.
Michael Renfro 13:22
And I like to I like that. So well. I’m going to kind of double up on a question because it makes the most sense. But what milestone gave you the most traction?
Brian Ross 13:37
Gosh, I don’t know if there’s a particular legal victory or, or that sort of thing. When I think of milestones, I guess I think, you know, career transitions. And really,
Michael Renfro 13:48
things that have transformations right kind of changed the way the transformational way that the firm things.
Brian Ross 13:54
Yeah, and seeing the door open in front of you and being able to recognize that the doors opening and that it’s a door that that you should jump through. And so for me, it was at the end of my eighth year as an associate. And that’s right around the time when people are really thinking whether they want to become a partner in the law firm, or whether they want to, you know, do something else. And I put a lot of hard thought into it. And when I had the opportunity to jump in and go in house, I took it. And I was working into solar energy and photovoltaics company. And I was you know, running legal running a lot of others wearing a lot of other hats too. And I came to realize I loved that that Startup Challenge where you’re taking a growing company, and you’re putting it together and you’re and you’re helping foster that growth and keeping the company clean and always balancing risk versus, you know,
Michael Renfro 14:41
risk management always being legal or legal safety, right.
Brian Ross 14:44
I mean, lawyers, lawyers as a breed are very risk averse. We’re very you know, conservative minded because our job is teaching people how to avoid problems a lot of the time. But entrepreneurs learn how to take calculated risks. They’re risk takers and pushers
Michael Renfro 14:58
you have to take a certain amount of risk As to be an entrepreneur, that’s just the simple ends, I talk to an entrepreneur lawyer just yesterday. Funny enough, so please continue. But I think that’s so funny.
Brian Ross 15:09
It’s true. I mean, you have to learn when I’m advising my clients today, as a result of all my past experiences, having been the law firm lawyer that works for the client, but also having been the client, sitting at the table around the table with all the other executives, and sometimes hiring outside law firms to help me with the work that I need to get
Michael Renfro 15:25
done is gonna say, imagine you’ve gotten help from other attorneys along the way, absolutely. All
Brian Ross 15:30
the time, all the time. And so sometimes I’m the client, and I’m reviewing the legal bills that are coming in onto my desk, and I’m trying to figure out why was this money spent? I was. So I always approach everything with a business goal in mind. And I think that’s been a part of the reason that I’ve gotten such traction. Working with so many emerging companies, in my latest iteration as a lawyer, is because I do understand a lot of the challenges that you face when you’re trying to run a company. And legal is not the only thing on your plate, you’re not trying to run a law firm, you’re trying to run up internet company, or
Michael Renfro 16:00
whatever it is, whatever whatever it might be, you’re just trying to do it in the confines of the law, and make sure that you’re not doing how do you say anything incorrectly or anything that may leave you? How do you say exposed? You know, to me, many times the the law factor is, is kind of almost the same as as getting good insurance, if you will, right? It’s a, it’s a protection, because anybody starting a company, I’ve started company, I’m an entrepreneur. So I speak all this from experience, and I’m only agreeing with you, I hope you see that. But like, if you no matter what company, you start, no matter what product service you’ve come up with, you never understand all the ins and outs of it. You don’t, and you’re not expected to either. That’s why you get a lawyer for that, and an accountant for this, and you get those experts who understand those particular parts of it, your piece really should be the service or the product itself. And then you let the experts, you know, I mean, it sucks for all of us, right, we have to give money away. But the reality is, it’s good money spent, and there’s always money that needs to be spent, nobody likes to give money away to anybody, they always think they can do it themselves, I’m just telling you, that’s it’s not the way to do it, I’ve been there and tried to do it myself, there’s a certain amount you can do yourself, but then there’s a certain time when you really do need to bring the experts in. And you guys are experts.
Brian Ross 17:18
It’s true, I try to empower my clients to do as much as they can on their own. And I also tell them, you know, measure twice, cut once, that’s sort of my motto, because a lot of stuff is more costly to undo after the fact right than if you just did it right the first time. And and having been announced for so many years and having worked with these companies, I understand, you know, pass the legal were okay, now we have to get the product team involved, or the tech team, or we got to get you know, executive sign off? Or how do we get finance involved? Can we can we actually can the billing department actually bill in the way that this contract is saying that, you know, the relationships gonna work? Can we support this administratively is this going to cause all kinds of disruptions throughout the company, and ripple effects beyond legal into business? So that’s kind of the perspective I bring to my clients.
Michael Renfro 18:05
And yeah, we just funny enough, the Gladiator, we actually have a whole what it called a whole guide or paper, whatever, whatever the word on client empowerment in the sense of what, because part of what we do for the attorneys that we work with, it’s very similar. And some of the things I’ve heard you say, and I bet you probably take this next one to heart too, is we try to speak it in their language, because when an attorney comes to us, most of the time, they don’t understand marketing language, that’s a different language to them, just like, Attorney he’s talking to one another is a different language, you know, to to the non legal, right. And so, we always try to present things in a way that is more understanding of a person who was not in marketing, but as an attorney. So many times I use analogies that attorneys will absolutely get, you know, especially since I’ve used almost every attorney on the planet, at this point in my life, except for an elder. But regardless, I digress. You know, it really makes them feel much more comfortable. We also try to explain all the ins ins and ins and outs with complete transparency. You know, not not just because we can say we’re transparent, which everybody loves to say, but also because if they understand it, what I have found is if people truly understand on the other side, then they’re easier to work with when you come to them with hurdles that are going to happen. hurdles happen. There’s nothing you can do about it. You know, and that actually leads me to my next question and your, you know, it says big challenge, but think about it this way, what is the biggest hurdle that you overcome? That, you know, what I always like to hear about is that gave you the most it wasn’t really a hurdle. When you look at it, it was a transformation moment or a learning moment that allows you to really take it to a different place. Does that make sense? That question that I’m asking.
Brian Ross 19:57
Yeah, yes. And I think when people At some thought, really the biggest challenge I had to learn to overcome was learning how to effectively delegate and learning how to share responsibility with others. So that, you know, we can make it happen. Teamwork is, what does it teamwork makes the dream work or write something like that. Or there’s
Michael Renfro 20:16
no I in team. There’s one I remember, coach,
Brian Ross 20:21
well, the coach said that to me in high school, and I said, Yeah, but there’s M E. And then he made, he made me run laps after that. But, but when I was in house, I grew up in a legal team at a particular company, and we had some really excellent attorneys and paraprofessionals the secretaries, but we also had some people who, frankly, you know, probably weren’t pulling their weight, or may have become more of a liability, you know, personality wise, throughout the company than, yeah, and so I, you know, I guess I was loyal to a fault. And I, I did everything I could to pull those people along, and to kind of protect them. And when I really should have been doing was taking them a clearer look at what we’re trying to accomplish, and whether they really fit. And that was a lesson I had to learn. And it was a difficult one, you know, because no one likes being the bearer of bad news, hey, you know, I’ve got to let you go or this isn’t working out, right. Or you need to find another place in the organization. But sometimes that’s, that’s necessary. And as a result, it’s made me a lot choosier about who I work with. And today, when I associate with, you know, colleagues and expert attorneys and and people, you know, where I’m trying to share the load, but but get the work done to the level that I’m used to.
Michael Renfro 21:34
That’s really funny that you say that, because I interviewed interviewed Trisha Meyer, yesterday, who I told you, she’s not only attorney, but she is an entrepreneur, obviously, she works in that practice area, as well, in the sense of helping businesses much like yourself, I just have to tell you, I think you’ll find this extremely I don’t believe in coincidence at all. It’s not, I believe everything happens the way it’s supposed to. It’s just my personal belief. And literally her. You know, one thing yesterday that she said, was learning when to cut your losses, which you didn’t say it in quite the same way. But there is, there’s obviously an amount to that. Because when we have friends, and I’ve learned this one myself, those are the harder ones that you’re like you really want to, or even if they’re not friends in the beginning, Brian. And what I mean by that is, I can’t count the number of times where I saw somebody what seemed like they were really trying, but ultimately, I did end up having to let them go and should have done it sooner, but just didn’t, I wanted to believe in them. Right. And it’s sometimes like you say, it’s very difficult to come to the resolution that, Hey, I like them. They’re, they’re good at what they do in many ways, but they are not a good fit for this situation. And I’ve got, I’ve got to part ways, right, it’s not an easy thing to
Brian Ross 22:52
know, we have to learn it, no matter what we’re doing. Our business, some of us are in the chain of management. Some of us, you know, may not manage or supervise others. But in one way or another, we all have these relationships, and we have to learn how to deal with them.
Michael Renfro 23:04
Now, even if you’re even if you’re at the lowest of the totem pole, then there’s times where you have to do that with a project and maybe go to your, your superiors and be like, Look, I cannot do this, or I need help or whatever the case, you just have to understand your limits and understand the limits of those around you. You know, yeah. What would you say is your you know, that’s your biggest challenge. What’s your proudest moment?
Brian Ross 23:29
There’s a few I could look back on. But honestly, one of the proudest moments I had in my career was being part of the acquisition of a company where I was the general counsel was called Edge cast. And the company built, we built a global content delivery network, sort of an infrastructure layer on the internet, where we make videos and content moves smoothly and quickly, no matter where around the world, someone was trying to watch it. And we also layered all these security features onto that. And that company was acquired by Verizon, and it was publicly reported that the acquisition price was around, you know, $400 million. So it was at the time, I think, the largest acquisition, you know, of a tech company in Los Angeles. And it was a culmination of years of hard work, not not necessarily just on that transaction that involves a lot of hard work, but also just getting the company up to a place where it was desirable to a company like Verizon, not just because of the technology, but also because there’s no skeletons in any closets. And everything is clean and transparent and available. And, and that was probably one of my proudest moments.
Michael Renfro 24:29
No, I liked that. That’s, that’s very cool. That kind of leads me into this and you’ll you’ll get it but what would you say? What would you say is your best piece of advice from someone you would call a mentor?
Brian Ross 24:42
Well, at the very start in my career when I was a baby lawyer, Mark Jones was really my first boss. You weren’t what lawyer? I’m sorry, say that. I was a baby lawyer. I
Michael Renfro 24:50
was. You got me, Brian. I thought you gave me some kind of term I hadn’t heard yet, but you were. That was That’s cute. So when you were a baby lawyer,
Brian Ross 25:02
yeah, yeah. And Mark, he’s no longer with us. But he was he was an amazing fellow. And the one thing I remember him saying, and maybe this wasn’t unique, but he said, When you’re in court, and the judge is on your side, just shut up and win. Don’t talk yourself out of a victory. That was an important piece of advice. And then, at a big law firm, I worked for an associate, who was actually operating on a partner level, she’s amazing. She still is today. Her name is Megan, Megan gray. And Megan taught me walk faster, walk faster of walking down the hallway, going somewhere. And there was always walk faster, walk faster. And you know, I took that to heart meaning just, you know, get on things, jump on them quickly. And then moving forward, right. Always be moving. Yeah. And the CEO at EdgeCast, Alex kasarani. He, he taught me to always be knowledgeable, be decisive and be kind always be kind. And, and have an attitude of being of service to others. They’re not there to serve you. You’re there to serve them. And if you come with that, with that mindset, you’ll get it back tenfold.
Michael Renfro 26:07
I really liked the last one. I’ll say that because and I know you don’t know me. But my story my personal story is, is one of just like most people’s, I tell everybody that everybody’s story is incredible. They just need to share it right. But my only point is that dad was a real jerk for many, many years, even went by the nickname that rhymes was MC because I went by MC and I was MC the, I’m sure you can fill in the blank there. And I was proud of it. Right. And it wasn’t until later in life. And that was all before I had my my two twin boys at 28. And then I had a real you know, change of heart. And I think you’ve already kind of heard some of who I am. But you know, I live now. And the moment and I believe everything happens the way it’s supposed to because that taught me how valuable kindness is because now now I go out of my way I am I am the servant of my world. And what I mean by that is all I tried to do with my world is help everybody and do everything and not not in a people pleasing way either. Right? Because people pleasers I’ve come to find out Brian are usually trying to please themselves by doing good. Right? This is more, I took so much from the world early on that it’s time to now give back for the remainder of what life I have left. And I only have about maybe half of what I’ve lived left. So I’ve got to do a double time. That makes sense.
Brian Ross 27:31
It does. But that’s part of your evolution as a person. And it’s
Michael Renfro 27:34
exactly exactly what it just reminds me though, of what you know, some people get it in the beginning. And everybody has their journey. And some people really get a talk later on after they had to walk the other side. You know, I imagine you’re your friend there Edge. Edge cast Am I remember? Yeah. Am I saying? I didn’t. Alex was he was Alex. Yeah. I don’t have the best memory. But I’m trying.
Brian Ross 28:00
There was there was a trio there was Alex, James and Phil, and they’re all amazing individuals. But
Michael Renfro 28:05
how they went when this was happening, if you don’t mind. And
Brian Ross 28:09
I want to say probably around, you know, 40, early 40s. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And they’re the kind of guys who’ve done this. They did it with other companies. And they’ve since done it with another company, and they’re just constant entrepreneurs with that motor size. It never turned off. Just just amazing, guys. Yeah. Yeah.
Michael Renfro 28:24
That’s very cool. That’s very cool. So just a few last questions here. A typical day, why don’t you give us like daily rituals. And in that, like, really, what’s the most important ones for you, and a typical day of what you consider a successful day.
Brian Ross 28:40
Typical day like everyone else, I also have twin boys and I have a daughter. And so it’s a long day starts at around six 630 ends at midnight. I like to start my morning with coffee, like everybody else, usually iced coffee. I’ve been into Pilates for about 10 years, which I used to lift weights very heavy, but I switched over to Pilates. And it’s been great for me and you know the core. I guess once you have a strong core, you can be a weekend warrior you can do whatever you want and even serves you in your daily life at work you know, sitting on the desk all day or whatever. Like to Oregon Yep, yeah, I had a standing desk for a long time.
Michael Renfro 29:21
I take it out of the shop, but my Pilates balls sits back there on top of my on top of my my bike there, but I don’t I don’t have it in the shot when I you know, but many times we’ll pull the desk down and do the because just sitting on the ball and you know, what I’ve learned is the act of sitting is so much better than just sitting if you’re going to sit find a way to either be lean sitting something that’s not just the average, you know
Brian Ross 29:45
100% 100% But just trying to stay healthy, stay organized, keep my personal space organized, keep my work organized. And I like to cook with my wife and I both like to cook to cook dinners and and that’s it you know very family oriented Very
Michael Renfro 30:00
nice, you know, any crazy hobbies or strange habits involved with the with Mr. With Mr. Ross.
Brian Ross 30:10
I mean, I have a shelf of half read books that I keep looking at there that are calling back to me and I want to read them and I buy books on Amazon and they sit there and I haven’t opened them yet. And we might all be that way. I don’t know,
Michael Renfro 30:21
I share. Unfortunately, I have probably more unfinished books. And I mean, some of them I really got into and I’m like, why won’t you just pick it back up and go, but I have so many other things to do. You know, it’s a and I won’t say that I’m best at time management. But you know, a book to me is going to be more of a I want rather than a need. So and I have more needs right now than I have once if that. That kind of makes sense. Does it does, it does.
Brian Ross 30:52
It’s good to not want it’s good to want what you have. And
Michael Renfro 30:56
don’t really try to want too much. And when I say knee what I mean by that is there’s things I need to accomplish. They’re not things I want to accomplish it that Right? Right. I mean, I do have I guess I’m just a very aggressive but no, I was gonna say I do have dreams I didn’t want to say like sound like I don’t have any once. You know, but go ahead. And other than that, yeah.
Brian Ross 31:16
I guess I just very eclectic music lovers. The only other thing I mean, I have hundreds of different folders on Spotify with all kinds of different collections. And I’m constantly jumping from you know, the most obscure music you’ve ever heard to what to fun, you know, soundtracks to everything so I don’t like to be put in a box I guess. But that’s me.
Michael Renfro 31:38
We actually have a truly we have a lot in common. I can’t begin to tell you we we have things in common with going by chance to be a Taurus would
Brian Ross 31:47
have to know I guess I’m gonna cancer,
Michael Renfro 31:49
cancer. So yeah, but I’m the same way in the sense that my The difference is I don’t have multiple folders. I have one ongoing mix that now has approximately 3200 songs in it. And I just hit random on that. But it is everything from classical and even some great country to things that you would be like that sounds really odd. I don’t even hear music in that. I mean, I have every genre because I believe that all music is great. As long as it’s made for soul and not money. That’s just my my personal thing. Like you can hear the difference in a music and music that was made purely to get $1 Bill versus music where someone’s speaking about you know, and even for music. I don’t know if you listen that but I listened to a lot of foreign tracks where I truly don’t understand what they’re saying. But you can you can just feel that they’re saying it with emotion like it’s you know, it’s in the music.
Brian Ross 32:42
Oh, you don’t there lyric. Look, you don’t have to go for it. And for that you can just listen to Pearl Jam. I can’t understand a word what that guy is saying.
Michael Renfro 32:51
Unfortunately, I was around when Pearl Jam came out they were Eddie Vetter was one of my one of my all time favorites. When I was a kid, craziest thing that you’ve ever done. I didn’t go into law school, going into law school. Maybe,
Brian Ross 33:07
maybe that or the craziest thing I ever did was moving to England for a year during my college days, you know, and taking a year abroad. And it really the answer. The reason for that was just because so that was maybe the craziest thing I ever did.
Michael Renfro 33:18
Which is really, you know, truly I don’t consider that to be I mean, I have a little saying that normal is strange anyway, right? Everything, what people consider to be normal is ultimately what is strange, we just have to get to know one another. But to me, that’s really not crazy. That’s actually I think it’s an urge and a lot of us at that time, you know that, hey, I want to go and see some of the world and see a little bit more before I ended up making settling down to what is going to be ultimately a very similar life every day with less, you know, changes, if you will, right, but going out there and just running the country man, I I still I never got to do it. It was one of those things I wanted to do. And it’s kind of still on my now bucket list if you will do before I die kind of thing. So where are where are you from? And what was it like growing up there? I was born
Brian Ross 34:05
and raised in the San Fernando Valley and so it was very idyllic kind of Suburban. You know, you told me
Michael Renfro 34:11
that in the beginning. Nevermind that was that there’s my bad memory and I do apologize that you know off with that but tell me a little bit more about what it was like to grow up there just a little bit.
Brian Ross 34:21
It was just you know, a lot of riding BMX bikes down the street hanging outside with my friends, you know, until the till the streetlights came on. Little kind of a miniature forest near where we lived. And so we would go in there and make you know camp outs and
Michael Renfro 34:34
trails, trail trails, you
Brian Ross 34:36
know, yeah, a lot of you know, no cap guns, you know, being in caps on the on the front driveway with hammers and just just doing silly stuff. And you know, I just had a great kind of a free range childhood. I really I really enjoyed it. Yeah,
Michael Renfro 34:53
it’s funny. You do that in South California because it is basically the same thing in South Carolina. I’ve always, always tell people though, the only taboo It is I found out later that I lived on what was once a plantation ground. So a plantation had sold. And they developed it into a neighborhood, right. And we lived on the outskirts, but there was, it was multiple forests. And there was also a few lots that hadn’t been finished. And all these places became either Hills for jumping with BMX, or trails, or camping or building forts. I mean, it was, you know, very free range, like you said, and really enjoyed it, because we were about a mile and a half, really, outside of really even being back then it was it was more like the rural area, less than even the suburbs, you know, right. Sure you get it. I think you kind of already told me this when you were, so I’m going to skip that one. So I’ll just do this in the industry now, because I know, you told me some of your mentors, but in the industry now and today’s you know, up to date, if you will, in the present day, who would you say is maybe one or two of the colleagues that that most impressed or that you have the most respect for? And if there’s some of the same already, and it hasn’t changed? That’s fine, I understand your answer. But I try to let you know, I’m not really necessarily talking about the guys in the past or folks in the past women men, but you know, is there anybody today that really has your
Brian Ross 36:13
eye there’s no particular legal, you know, shining star or anything like that, that I that I focus on. I mean, a lot of people have different accomplishments, but But honestly, the person I learned the most from tends to be my partner. And I think I mentioned she, she’s my wife, as well. And she’s a respected, accomplished, you know, 20, plus your attorney in her own right on a completely different track. And she was a partner at a big la firm, and she left to start her own thing. And when I left the in house world, I took my practice and plugged it into that infrastructure. And so we work together, and we complement each other. And she’s very strategic, and very forward thinking, and I learned a lot from the way she thinks. There’s also my mentors that I mentioned, you know, that I’ve been privileged to work with over the years. And I really think your, as a young lawyer, going to be as strong as you know, your mentor opportunities. A lot of people want to just hang out their own shingle and start and learn from the ground up themselves. And that’s great. But I wanted to learn from others. And there’s certain nuances and things that you pick up just by being around, you know, experienced practitioners that you don’t get when you’re trying to learn it, you know, in the school of hard knocks. So all my mentors, I respect, and anyone really likely, we talked about this already, but anyone with an entrepreneurial risk taking spirit, I enjoy, I enjoy working with him. And also, maybe most importantly, because I know we talked about this a lot already, but anyone who you can find a way to work with in a kind and collegial manner. Because law, of course, can be adversarial by nature. And it’s really easy for someone to fall into, you know, the eighth hole mode. But if you can avoid that trap, and just learn to be kind, it doesn’t mean you’re being weak. It just means you’re being a human being. And we all have to work the same work day. So let’s get through it together with not only competence, but but kindness. And, and those are the people I respect most believe it or not,
Michael Renfro 38:05
I actually just had this. My wife was we were having a discussion. I mean, it’s everything. And you and I think you mentioned at first but the example that I’m about to give is not a business example at all. To me, kindness goes in all forms of life. I finally took that one phrase, I know you’ve, if you know this one, or if you don’t know this one, I’ll be quite surprised, but kill them with kindness, right. And I try to teach that to my son because they get my particularly my my, I have twins that are 22. And then I have a third that’s more or less than adopted, that’s been with us for four years calls me Dad, they’re all 22 They moved, he moved out here, we moved out here from the East Coast about a little over four years ago to Colorado Springs. And long story short, you know, I tried to teach that to my, my kids and my wife, I was telling, I was like, I want to talk to the neighbor because of the situation that happened. And she’s like, don’t tell him like, look, I’m going to talk to him, I need to stand my ground. Being kind does not mean I let people walk over me. And And when there is confrontation, you can do it in a kind manner. Now, if they don’t respond kind, that is their problem. And they’re the ones that are going to go and be upset, not me. I’m going to continue my day knowing that I did it kindly. I asked for something that is reasonable. And I did it in a manner that was respectful and ultimately kind you know, and so I 100% love the fact that you brought that up as much as you have because to me it’s it’s vital. And I’ll also throw this extension out there, or invitation Excuse me. Because this is not about we don’t we don’t pick and choose. I really just love anybody and interviewing anybody and you have such a unique situation. If your wife will be so willing, I would love to have do an interview and we’ll call this part one of Ross legal and that part two, or we’ll call her part one and release her first. However, however you like to but I just wanna let you know that that invitation is absolutely there. I would love to do one to interview I think that would
Brian Ross 39:58
be very kind you NAFTA This is overall I’ll let her know that and thank you very much. Look, I spent almost a decade as a litigator. So if we have to mix it up, we can mix it up. But I’d much rather, you know, take the kind of approach. And so that’s where I started,
Michael Renfro 40:13
you win more battles. When you’re kind. And I just had this conversation with my owner, I was like, there’s even times when you can be bad cop, good cop, because the whole concept of that is literally being mean. And then being kind, right. That’s the whole concept of good cop, bad cop. I’m sure you know that. That saying, and I’m like, listen, there’s times where, you know, if I’m dealing with someone who has hurt me, I might be a little play a little good cop, bad cop in the sense that I’ll show that I’m angry, I’m still not going to call them a name. I’m not gonna occur, not what I used to be. And I’ve also learned that it gets you much further, when even when you’re at your most heated, you still show them Hey, I am not upset at you. I’m upset at this or whatever the case is, and try to remain as calm and time as you can. What’s your uh, I’ll ask this in a double phase. Because I’m running out of minutes here. I meant to be done already. But favorite podcast and favorite conference.
Brian Ross 41:07
favorite podcasts? Again, very eclectic with my podcast. Sometimes I listen to things I’ve touched on my industries, but often I just like to enjoy myself. So there’s a podcast called Land of the giants. And they’re in season three right now. I think season one was about I think Amazon or Google and season two was Amazon or Google they what year one was one of those year two was the second one. And I think year three I think it’s about Facebook and meta and Instagram. I you know, I haven’t tuned in on Season Three yet but very informative. I also like listening to Adam Carolla his podcast. I like listening to, to Bill Maher’s club, random to new podcasts, a lot of fun where he interviews people. There’s one called Star talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson about all things science and astronomy. So again, very eclectic, right. And then Alan Alda, the actor from Mash.
Michael Renfro 41:57
Familiar, I’m 50, bro. Trust me. Yeah, watch well,
Brian Ross 42:01
but for the benefit of everyone listening, Alan Alda is also a benefactor of this institute on the East Coast about communication, and helping science. Practitioners communicate more effectively what they’re doing. And he has a podcast called clear and vivid. And he interviews all kinds of people from all walks of life, I would check it out.
Michael Renfro 42:21
I was about to ask, is it interview based? Or is it just him? And you, you and you answered before I got the opportunity. So he brings, I would imagine interview based based on what you said it was, he’s probably trying to introduce these people more into the world, which let’s face it, a lot of techies are many times. It’s almost like, you know, a lot of these things we’re talking about actually get a bad name. One of the things that Trisha said yesterday, attorneys in general, get a bad name salesmen. I told her, like salesmen have always gotten a bad name. Nowadays, tech giants and tech people have a bad name because they’re so eccentric and different, you know. And it’s really a back to what I said earlier. It really boils down to we’re all different and we’re all strange. If you just get to know us, you’ll find that some many times those oddities and strange things. Oh, here we go. Cuckoo. Perfect timing, right.
Brian Ross 43:08
Yeah, look, I know that, you know, 99% of the lawyers out there, ruin it for the rest of us. But there are there are some there are some out there trying to do the right thing. Because
Michael Renfro 43:17
there’s more. I actually know this. As I said, I’ve been doing it now for 15 years. Right? There are more good attorneys, I can say by the numbers. I have worked with every attorney that is no BS. I have worked. And when I say that, I mean, I’ve hired almost every type of attorney out there, including personal injury twice. So have gone through some situations where, you know, I needed every kind of attorney, even the one that gets the worst claim in the world as the ambulance chaser, right. So these people are not what they’re those horrible stereotypes usually are. I’m not saying that some people don’t exist, stereotypes are for a reason. But there’s bad and all good. I think ultimately, the problem is just like salesmen, and just like these, these a centrist because I’ve met a lot of tech folks in my my time and what I do outside of this, and they’re all nice people, they’re always good people, I don’t think I’ve made any of them that are just absolutely what I would call evil people. Right? But there’s a lot of people that probably would, because they never got to know them and all they see is what’s on the outside or, you know, that’s kind of back to that judging a book by its cover theory. And I again, I think all of that goes back to if you’re truly being kind and you’re not judging anybody, and you’re giving anybody the benefit of the doubt right out of the gate.
Brian Ross 44:33
Yeah, look, Mike, I mean, I make lawyer jokes, okay, you know, because it’s fun. You know, my colleagues for the most part are very professional and ethical minded and well rounded people and I’ve enjoyed I’ve enjoyed you know, my career and working with these folks.
Michael Renfro 44:46
You sound like you’ve had an exceptionally very not just one of these and when I say one of these, I don’t mean necessarily down moments but here than there than here than they are right different things. That kind of all led you to that to where you Lord, it’s looks sounds like it’s been a really fun journey and you’ve met quite a lot of good people that are involved in some things. Like I said, Man, I’m really do mean it. I know you don’t know me from all over the wall. But I’ve got a lot of respect for you and give you a lot of kudos because you’ve been a part of internet history and where the internet is now, you literally have been a part of that’s
Brian Ross 45:17
very kind. And likewise, you know, you’re putting your stamp on the internet right now, which was 15 minutes. So I’m grateful
Michael Renfro 45:22
to be part of it. Hey, man, I appreciate that. And believe it or not, I do other things. I’m hoping that by the time I leave this world that I will put quite a big stamp on. The whole reality is try to be nice all the time. You’re going to be mean, you’re going to be angry, there’s, there were natural human beings, right, we’re going to have our moments where all of us have a bad moment. But if you’re always trying to be positive, then you will outweigh that negativity, which is going to be balanced on its own. It’s gonna happen, you know? What’s your favorite says, we’re talking tech. And here’s here’s a final question. But software tool, what’s if it’s just one, that’s cool, but if you have maybe one piece of software and one that’s not software and a tool, or if you have a couple you want to share, but what would you say is most invaluable to you and your in your journey these days?
Brian Ross 46:11
Gosh, is it as a small law firm I use as my case, which is a web based, you know, building and time management platform, that’s, that’s a daily part of my life. And it’s indispensable for research, you know, I go with Westlaw and practical law is their product. It’s great for in house folks who need to get their arms around, you know, a topic really quickly. And then obviously, all the stuff that people use, like you know, Microsoft Office and Safari and my iPhone, my laptop, my wireless phone headset, that I use it in my office as a as a godsend. And and a ballpoint pen is maybe my other favorite tool.
Michael Renfro 46:44
I love my space pen, bro. This is like this thing is because of the smallness and the now the the Inexpensiveness of them, because they only charge like 15 bucks for these things, and you get like, you get like five refill, they last a lifetime. And I’m a guy that I will literally write in the bed, I’ll write on my side. So obviously, there’s that old adage, you know that they write upside down, but they really do. They’re pressurized. That’s all there is to it. But yeah. When I say that we’re similar, man. Only one of these books is someone else’s writing, the rest of them are mine. And I’ve got a whole nother shed over there. I have more blank books that I’ve written. And on my shelves, unfortunately, I sometimes feel like that guy that they’re chasing, and seven, I’m gonna get a knock on the door. Sir, we think you might be a little it’s been an absolute pleasure, I bent over a little bit by four minutes, I apologize. I do mean, and when I say I would love to have your wife on, it’s been an absolute pleasure, interviewing you, Brian Ross of Ross Legal. Hopefully, she’ll do. And we can actually have a two parter. And that will be really cool. And I would actually just say, you know, if she’s willing, I would kind of maybe hold this one off, depending on where we are and our launch measures. And that way I can literally, you know, have you on one interview. And then the next week, have your wife or vice versa, whichever, you know, I would honestly let you folks decide. But obviously, it would kind of make more sense to do this one since we talked about your wife.
Brian Ross 48:14
That will be there’ll be a blast. I’ll talk to her for sure. Awesome. It’s really been a pleasure.
Michael Renfro 48:20
Nah, man. It’s been awesome. Thank you so much for being here. I and as I tell everybody that I that, quite frankly, I tried to say this to everybody. If I don’t, that just means I probably didn’t have the best experience. But when I have a good experience, and most of the time when that actually comes to volition, it’s a great connection. I would love to reach out maybe in a year and have a follow up and see how things are going for Ross Legal. And maybe at that time, what would really be fun and it would be very easy to do is have a have both of you on and that way we can you know the first one was you second was your wife a year later. Let’s see how the firm is doing have both of you.
Brian Ross 48:55
That’s sounds like fun. And maybe by next year, it’ll be called 16 minutes, because you’re gonna you’re on a growth path yourself.
Michael Renfro 49:00
There you go. We might just go up to 30.
Brian Ross 49:04
Yep. All right. That’d be wonderful.
Michael Renfro 49:07
Have a wonderful morning. I know it’s still morning there for me as well. Have a wonderful morning and have a wonderful week. There’s still some left and have a great weekend. And stay lifted.
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