Cesar Ornelas was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and is the son of Cesar and Belia Ornelas. In Mr. Ornelas’s early years, he was raised in a mobile home park in Kyle, Texas. It was during this time that Cesar Ornelas and his father would go around selling watermelons in order to provide for his family. Through this life lesson, Cesar learned the value of hard work and discipline. These values translated through to his education through both college and law school, during which Cesar Ornelas supported himself by successfully starting and operating multiple companies.
Cesar Ornelas started to practice law after graduating from St. Mary’s Law School in record time. He has been handling catastrophic personal injury and death cases since his first day in practice. Since becoming a lawyer, Cesar Ornelas has done significant work for his clients throughout the state of Texas and the United States.
In addition to being a member of the State Bar of Texas, and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Cesar Ornelas has been named as a life member of both the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. The Million Dollar Advocates Forum is recognized as one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States and less than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.
In the spring of 2021, Cesar was selected to be a part of The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, an invitation-only program extended exclusively to those trial lawyers practicing civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I was inspired by my cousin, Joey. He’s someone I’ve looked up to for as long as I can remember. His drive and motivation helped encourage me to reach for the stars.
Joey was a phenomenal baseball player and was on the path to get drafted to Major League Baseball . One night, as he was driving home, his tire de-treated and his vehicle rolled over. The roof on his truck collapsed, leaving him paralyzed. Joey’s accident was preventable, had the tire company manufactured the tire properly.
It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to be an advocate for victims like him. Today, I am passionate about holding big companies accountable for their actions and ensuring that accidents like Joey’s do not happen to others.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Our firm is growing rapidly, and we are starting to see more clients nationwide. As a result of this, I typically travel three to four days out of the week. During my travels, and even when I am able to be in the San Antonio office, my schedule is filled with meetings, and I continue to work outside of regular business hours.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I see myself as a visionary. When I see something in my mind, I’ll work to put a team together and make sure that the idea comes to fruition and that all the work necessary to support it gets done in an efficient and timely manner.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Clients are beginning to reach out more and more via social media platforms. As a result of this, we can reach and access more families in need of our firm’s assistance. When you have built a strong brand on Facebook and Instagram, you are able to establish credibility and gain access to clients in a timelier manner. I am excited that our firm continues to grow in this area and is able to tell the communities about the services we offer.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Consistency is key. When your clients know that they can rely on you to handle their injury needs, and your firm consistently communicates with them and always offer the utmost level of care, we are able to illustrate that our consistent presence in their life is going to bring them hope, relief and justice.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself that through hard work, everything will get better. I would also advise my younger self to keep on dreaming, and to never stop. External circumstances do not determine whether you have a strong internal drive. I would also tell myself that it is okay to think differently than others. What others have already done did not work for them. There are opportunities out there for everyone, you just must keep working hard to make yours become a reality.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Before you make a final decision about something that you are not entirely sure about, make sure to seek the advice of others who know more about the subject than you do.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
My firm uses innovation as a strategy. We are willing to change and adapt the way we do things ranging from the software we use, how we handle larger and more difficult cases, and even in the way we grow and adapt to the marketing of our firm.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I would have to save my biggest failure as an entrepreneur would be in relation to a digital marketing firm that I started early on in my career. I was not entirely aware of how difficult it would be to get a business off the ground and was able to overcome this failure by bringing all the lessons I learned from it into my current law practice today.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was when I purchased flowers for my wife. I am traveling quite frequently and wanted to make sure that she knew I was thinking about her, even while I was out on the road.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Our firm uses Litify. It gives us the ability to truly organize our firm and clients. I love that each staff member has access to a client’s case with the touch of a button. Litify also operates on the cloud, which makes it accessible from cell phones as well. Even after hours, our team can provide up-to-date information for and about clients.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I believe everyone should read Rich Dad Poor Dad, written by Robert Kiyosaki in 1997. It is one of the best personal finance books ever written with lessons for everyone. This book teaches you to understand that you have choices in life. It also shows you that learning doesn’t end when you leave school.
What is your favorite quote?
“Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success… Texans don’t bury their failures. They get inspired by them. They take their failures and turn them into rallying cries. Failure inspires Texans to become winners. But that formula is not just the formula for Texans. It is a formula for all winners.”
– Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- Build a great team. When I see something in my mind, I’ll work to put a team together to make it happen. You can’t do everything by yourself.
- Before you make a final decision about something that you are not entirely sure about, seek the advice of others who know more than you do.
- Learning doesn’t end when you leave school.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.