“People are lawyers because they’re curious about problems.”
In 2017, Michael Morrissey set out on his own and started a firm, thinking that a few years down the line it might just be him and his dog working from home. Morrissey Law + Advisory has since grown into a 20-person strong, fully-fledged law firm. That incredible growth is a big part of why I wanted to speak to Michael on DLD.
Rather than using ruthlessness to build his business, Michael has adopted a much more wholesome approach: curiosity. More than a word, it’s an attitude that’s embedded in everything he does: curiosity in building relationships, a team with diverse backgrounds that wants to be kind, figuring out how to create a safe environment and in dissolving hierarchies. I’m extra happy about his 50/50 male-female managing director team.
There’s also curiosity in his business style with its focus on experimenting and learning from other industries:
“There’s a sense [in general] that commercial information is sensitive and important so we’ve got to keep it to ourselves. Well, sharing information has helped us all to grow.”
Morrissey Law works primarily with construction companies and startups, both of which involve lots of moving pieces and interesting/difficult questions. It’s a fearlessness of the unknown – maybe garnered in his journalist days – that has allowed Michael to grow his business into something that works and reflects who he is. That, and fostering an environment that’s curious, culturally diverse and decisively non-hierarchical.
Here’s a shortlist of the ways in which Michael is doing law differently:
- A ‘flat’ team structure and the benefits of throwing out billable hours.
- Team objectives (similar to Clarissa Rayward, episode 59).
- Fixed/value pricing – we talk about how he’s incorporated it and why it’s important for the lawyers as well as for clients.
- Some of their latest hires, jobs you might not have thought of that have an important place in a growing firm.
About our guest
Michael Morrissey is a construction lawyer by trade but what he loves is working with people to build teams and to succeed on projects. He built Morrissey Law to have a firm with a relationship-focus and he believes this not only makes for an interesting place to work but makes for a happy one too.
Their relationship focus means they can work with people to design creative solutions to their legal problems.
Michael Morrissey quotes
- “People are lawyers because they’re curious about problems.”
- “As I grew the firm, the focus for me was very much to build a law firm environment where we had really nice, kind, creative and interesting people and that’s what led to us being the size we are at the moment.”
- “You find good people by being curious.”
- “The downside of curiosity is that there’s always something shiny to look at.”
- “Letting go of some of the traditional structures around your business is really important.”
Find Michael online
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