Mentorship, collegiality, and educating members of the public are key tenets, says Dale Orlando
This article was produced in partnership with McLeish Orlando LLP
As a first year, Dale Orlando often found himself speaking at conferences, standing in front of 300 fellow lawyers completely terrified. But his mentor John McLeish told him to persevere because, simply, “that’s what we do — you get out there and you teach other lawyers what you know.”
“John always stressed to us as young lawyers the need to be cognizant of our obligations. What does it mean to be a lawyer? It’s not just about doing what’s good for you and for your client, but also having a sense of community within the bar,” says Orlando, principal partner at the firm. “We’ve also always been very involved in the legal associations because that was John’s way of building the reputation of the firm, and we all adopted that as a core business philosophy.”
For McLeish Orlando today, carrying those central tenets of mentorship and collegiality into 2023 means embracing new ways to reach others. The firm’s recently launched podcast, “Behind the Suit: A Plaintiff’s Journey,” was developed in recognition of a changing world: those traditional conferences gave way to webinars, and now podcasting is “a natural evolution of trying to stay current and provide information to people in an area where they consume it,” says Orlando.
With the first three episodes now on all podcast platforms, the first season of the podcast aims to explore the legal industry, with a focus on civil litigation. The show will provide listeners with an inside look into the workings of McLeish Orlando law firm and the strategies they use to secure successful outcomes for their clients. The series will also feature real-life cases, told from the clients' point of view, to offer an engaging and informative experience.
The "Behind the Suit" podcast targets both the legal community and general public with its entertaining and educational content. The show offers valuable insights and practical strategies for younger lawyers while exploring complex cases and the firm's approach to securing justice. The goal is to provide a diverse range of content that appeals to both personal injury lawyers and those simply interested in the legal field.
In one episode of the "Behind the Suit" podcast, Dale Orlando is joined by fellow partner Lindsay Charles and a client, Prince Amponsah; a budding actor who suffered severe burns in an apartment fire that ultimately led to the partial amputation of both of his arms. The client's inspiring "never quit" attitude and the success of the settlement, achieved three days before trial, will be highlighted in the episode. The episode details the hard work of McLeish Orlando lawyers and the client's personal journey throughout the legal process.
In another episode, along with fellow principal partner Patrick Brown, Orlando discusses The Business of Law. This was a topic Orlando was eager to revisit due to continued interest in a decade-old paper he wrote, signaling an appetite for this sort of knowledge in up-and-coming lawyers. Law school doesn’t teach how to hire and fire people, how to retain great employees and reward them appropriately, or how to negotiate a lease. Unless you land at a large firm with existing infrastructure, young lawyers are left to figure these aspects out on their own — and Orlando and Brown have gained experience through this process.
The podcast’s development is also tied to the evolution of marketing. Going back to the first episode of the podcast- The Business of Law, you can be the best lawyer in the world but if you have no clients, you’re not doing anything for anyone, including yourself, Orlando says, and this is part of an overall program to raise McLeish Orlando’s profile within the bar without the use of what the firm considers tasteless advertising.
“We don’t want to spend millions plastering our faces and names on billboards and buses,” says Orlando. Instead, the firm's focus has shifted to providing valuable insights on their website, which has resulted in an increase in direct phone calls from potential clients. The addition of a podcast to the firm's marketing strategy has only amplified this trend, providing a wealth of information for those going through the personal injury process, either personally or with a loved one. The podcast helps to educate and inform, making the experience less daunting and easier to understand.
At its core, podcasting is all about delivering informative and entertaining content to a captive audience. For Orlando, mentorship played a critical role in his growth as a successful lawyer. He was influenced not only by John McLeish but also by other leaders in the industry who have left a lasting impact in the legal world. In many ways, this podcast is another way to continue that: while young lawyers at McLeish Orlando can easily find a similar caliber of coaching through the open doors of the firm’s senior lawyers, “we’re mindful of the fact most personal injury lawyers practice at small firms, so the podcast provides free mentorship without them having to ask.”
“It boils down to our general firm philosophy and what it means to be a lawyer here,” Orlando says. “We’ve always been of a view that if you give valuable information to people, it does positive things over the long run.”