Two Minutes With John Richmond of Richmond Vona

Block Club client John Richmond is never one to shy away from a challenge. As one half of the up-and-coming personal injury firm Richmond Vona, he wants to change the way you think about PI lawyers. We recently sat down with the straight-shooting attorney to talk about the similarities between documentary filmmaking and trial law, looking to other industries for inspiration, and how he defines success.

  1. How do you start your day?

    I wake up at 5 a.m. and hit the gym. A hard morning workout helps me clear my mind and feel energized to tackle the day.

  2. Would you consider yourself a creature of habit, or do you avoid routines?

    I am definitely a creature of habit. I feel that daily routines help me to maintain a solid foundation, which better equips me to handle the unexpected.

  3. What’s your best habit?

    Getting to the office early, before our team arrives. I do my best thinking before the sun rises and when the office is quiet.

  4. You cut your teeth at law firms in New York City. How have those experiences impacted your work at Richmond Vona?

    Working at both a very large and small firm helped me gain invaluable perspective. I have borrowed a lot from both and like to think that our firm is a hybrid of the two: large-firm technology and innovation with a small firm’s personal approach.

  5. What trait would you say most helped you get to where you are now?

    Extreme attention to detail. In my opinion, this is a key differentiator and shows people they can trust and rely on me.

  6. If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be?

    Documentary filmmaker. Similar to a jury trial, a documentary can serve to expose social injustice or corporate wrongdoing in an effort to make society better for all.

  7. Personal injury law sometimes gets a bad rap. What attracted you to the profession?

    I’m a very competitive person who believes that you don’t know your true capabilities until you insert yourself into high-pressure situations. I felt that being a trial lawyer was my best opportunity to continually push myself, and I was drawn to the idea of helping people stand up to the big insurance companies and corporations trying to take advantage of them.

  8. What’s an important aspect of personal injury law most people don’t know?

    If insurance companies and big corporations just did right by those they hurt, personal injury lawyers wouldn’t exist. They will very rarely, if ever, appropriately compensate someone who is unrepresented. Personal injury lawyers are necessary to level the playing field and hold these big companies accountable.

  9. What’s the most challenging part of the profession?

    Seeing good, hardworking people in crisis. We represent those who have sustained unexpected, life-altering injuries or death due to the negligence or intentional acts of others. We develop very close relationships with our clients and their families, so you can’t help but feel tremendous empathy for them. However, this also serves as motivation to do whatever it takes to obtain justice on their behalf.

  10. In the past, you’ve spoken about how people can be mistrustful of lawyers. How do you challenge that conception and build rapport with clients?

    We earn our clients’ trust through complete transparency and constant communication. From day one, we will take the time to walk you through the process and answer your questions, and are always available. Even if we can’t accept someone’s case, we take the time to explain the legal reasoning behind our decision. I think people really appreciate that.

  11. How have you challenged yourself recently?

    I recently started working with a corporate coach in an effort to continue to improve as a communicator and leader. It can be challenging to truly self-reflect, but it is imperative to growth.

  12. What does success look like to you, both professionally and personally?

    To me, professional success is defined by maintaining a firm culture where our team members feel safe, respected, and challenged, which, in turn, motivates them to work tirelessly to achieve the best possible results for our deserving clients. Personally, feeling successful is knowing that I have done all that I can to earn the trust and respect of my friends, family, team members, and clients.

  13. There’s a perception that some old-school paradigms persist in the legal industry. Are there any changes taking place that excite you?

    Definitely. The legal profession can be quite antiquated. But we are now seeing law firms like ours embrace new technology, focus on internal culture, and place a high emphasis on customer service. It is very exciting to see positive responses to these changes that will serve to elevate our profession as we move forward.

  14. Do you ever look to other industries for inspiration when it comes to shaping Richmond Vona?

    Big time. Whether it’s working to improve firm culture, searching for new technology to give our clients a competitive advantage, or trying to break the traditional law firm advertising mold, we typically look to other industries to see what we can borrow and implement at our firm. I think there is a lot more overlap between industries than most people realize, but you have to be willing to spend the time and resources to investigate.

  15. Finally, there’s a quote that says, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.” What does it mean to you to serve your community?

    It means everything to me and our team. We want the community to know that, when the unexpected happens, they can trust Richmond Vona to step up and fight for their rights.

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