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Team Culture at Richmond Vona

**Joe Chille:** “I’m Joe Chille, and you can listen to me every morning on The Big WECK. Joining us today on Buffalo On The Rise is John Richmond from Richmond Vona. John, nice to see you.”

**John Richmond:** “Thanks for having me.”

**Joe Chille:** “You know, John, let’s talk about team culture when it comes to personal injury law. This is a term I haven’t really heard associated with personal injury law before. So, what is your idea of team culture, and how do you build it with Richmond Vona?”

**John Richmond:** “Sure. First and foremost, we think team culture is mission critical at our firm because what we’re really trying to do is raise the level of personal injury service here in Western New York. For us, we can’t do that without having the ultimate team—a team that’s there every day, united, rowing in the same direction, working to get the best results for our clients. A lot of these cases are really hard, so it’s really important that everybody feels recognized and rewarded for their good work on behalf of our clients. They are all united in that mission to get our clients the best results possible.”

**Joe Chille:** “So, when you have a client that comes in and you’re going to work with them, is there a certain attorney that is selected to work with those individuals, or do you meet as a team beforehand and discuss the best way to go and then proceed with it?”

**John Richmond:** “Kind of a little bit of both. When a new client comes to us, we want to make sure they’re put with the right team and the right attorney. All of our attorneys have teams underneath them, often with a paralegal and two legal assistants. So, every client gets a dedicated team that’s working just for them. This ultimately allows us to streamline the level of communication and ensure it’s really high level, making sure they’re paired with an attorney who has specialized in their type of case and can work with that team to get them the best result possible.”

**Joe Chille:** “It’s not a situation where, if you come in with a certain… I’m sure there are certain personal injury events that happen more frequently than others. So, you don’t say, ‘Oh, well, we have a tailor-made response to that, here’s the playbook, you’re going to follow the playbook, and that’s the way it works.’ That’s not it, right?”

**John Richmond:** “No, definitely not. I mean, there are certain similarities in, say, any type of car accident case, but every case is unique, and every accident affects our clients in a different way. This is why it’s so important to have that amazing team culture and that unified team to work on behalf of the client to figure out the best way or the best path to the ultimate result for that client because no two are the same.”

**Joe Chille:** “So, how do people decide when they see all these ads on TV or, you know, it used to be the Yellow Pages, right? You’d go through the Yellow Pages: attorney, attorney, attorney. How do people decide? What are the things, in your estimation, that somebody should be looking for when they’re looking for a personal injury attorney?”

**John Richmond:** “Sure. So, you want to look at big things, right? Like, I’m sure most people understand the results, making sure it’s a firm that specializes in that area of law, especially the type of accident you were injured in. But honestly, I think something that goes really overlooked is taking a hard look at the team, the actual team that’s going to work on your case. Knowing who the attorney is, how many cases they have assigned to them, who’s the team behind them. Do they have a set team, or do they just work with a bunch of random people? It’s going to be hard to get a hold of people or hard to talk to the same person. It’s really important to know who’s the team behind the faces or the owners of the firm, who’s actually going to be working on your case, what is their experience, and ultimately, do you get along with them? Are these people who you think are going to have your best interest in mind and go to battle for you? Because a lot of these cases can take a long time, so you’ve got to have a really good relationship with the team who’s working for you.”

**Joe Chille:** “How important is it when people start looking at money figures? You may see an ad that says, ‘You may get a settlement of this,’ but there’s no guarantee that your settlement will be that. How important is something like that?”

**John Richmond:** “I mean, to a degree, it’s important, right? Because you want to make sure the firm you’re working with has success in getting results for people like you who’ve been in similar accidents. But that’s not the end all be all because, as you can imagine, typically law firms are going to showcase their biggest results. That may not always be the same for you, but it doesn’t mean your case isn’t just as important. Every case should be equally as important. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $5 million case or a $5,000 case—you should be treated the same. And that really comes down to the team that’s representing you.”

**Joe Chille:** “You know, I’ve had people say to me before, ‘We see ads on TV for big, big, big law firms, and I just wonder if I’m just a little guy that’s just going in there and I’m going to be lost in the shuffle.’ Is that something people should concern themselves with?”

**John Richmond:** “They should be really concerned with that because it’s really easy, especially at bigger firms, to get lost in the sea of clients. That’s why it’s so important to really understand the team behind the advertisements. How many cases do they have assigned to them? What are their rules on communication? How quickly are they going to get back to you? How transparent are they going to be with you? At the end of the day, you want to make sure it’s somebody who creates a unique and tailored approach to your case and is going to get you the attention you deserve.”

**Joe Chille:** “You talk about team culture. Has your firm received any awards for their approach with the team culture approach?”

**John Richmond:** “We have. We actually recently won a national award from the number one Law Firm Growth Company for Team Culture of the Year. There are about a thousand people in this group, and we were the number one team that got this award. And really, it’s not about me or my partner Keith, it’s about our team and all the hard work and effort they’ve put in to create an amazing place for people to work and a place where people are united in their efforts to help our clients.”

**Joe Chille:** “It sounds like you’ve got a very positive environment that you’re working in at Richmond Vona. What advice do you give to business owners as far as the importance of working in a positive environment?”

**John Richmond:** “It’s everything. Invest in your team. These are people who are going out there on your behalf and should be delivering the ultimate client experience or the ultimate customer experience, depending on your business. You’re nothing without them. It’s team first; you as the owner come last. These should be people you invest in heavily because they’re going to go to bat for you. Make sure they have a nice workplace. We spend most of our time at work, so this should be a place where they enjoy working with their colleagues, and they should be united in their mission that’s aligned with the mission of your business.”

**Joe Chille:** “And hopefully, someplace has low turnover, right?”

**John Richmond:** “Oh yeah, for sure. We look out for that.”

**Joe Chille:** “I really appreciate it. For more information and answers to your questions, contact Richmond Vona by calling 716-555-6789 or go to Sponsorship and promotional consideration for the preceding segment was provided by Richmond Vona.”

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