It’s important that entrepreneurs find something that keeps them humble and honest at all times.
It has been well over 40 years since D. Scott Carruthers relied on his work as a debt collector with GC Services — then the largest collection agency in the United States — to help pay his way through law school. In the years that have passed since he earned his Juris Doctor from Western State University and passed the California State Bar, Scott has built a reputation as California’s premier debt collection lawyer. Specializing in debt collection and commercial law, Scott continues to draw on his experience working on more than 6,000 legal collection cases while representing collection agencies, debt buyers, and large creditors.
Scott, the founder of The Law Office of D. Scott Carruthers, has a wealth of litigation experience — both collection and non-collection litigation — including as a Judge Pro Tem for the local courts in Orange County and as a founding member of the Debt Buyers Association. Clients not only benefit from Scott’s extensive legal experience and expertise, but also from the fact that The Law Office of D. Scott Carruthers features a robust in-house support staff — including asset locators and debt collectors — and has longstanding contracts with local process servers and other relevant professionals.
Where did the idea for The Law Office of D. Scott Carruthers come from?
My experience with GC Services — where I worked as a debt collector while attending law school — was instrumental in shaping my career and in determining the areas of the law I wanted to focus on once I completed my legal studies. I founded The Law Office of D. Scott Carruthers in order to fulfill my desire to specialize in debt collection law as well as commercial law.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
One of the benefits of having access to such a sizable and talented team of professionals made up of debt collectors, asset locators, support staff, and the like, is the simple fact that I am able to sharply focus on serving the specific needs of our firm’s clients with the ultimate goal of delivering the best possible legal outcome.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I try to find connections — whether it is in an unexpected place or between things seemingly unlikely to have any clear kind of link — to spark an idea that is new or unique. It was actually this practice that helped me come up with the idea for The Law Office of D. Scott Carruthers while I was still attending law school and working as a debt collector.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The direction taken by debt collection agencies, debt buyers, and creditors is exciting, and I’m looking forward to see the many new strategies the industry develops in the coming years.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’ve been able to maximize my productivity because of my longstanding commitment to investing in human resources, especially when it comes to staff training and retention.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Prior to beginning my career in the legal field, I learned the most from the time I spent as a debt collector with GC Services. It was far from the worst job I’ve ever had, but I didn’t learn anything truly valuable from any of the previous jobs I worked up until that time.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
When I first started out, I didn’t fully recognize the value of seriously investing in staff retention and endured some struggles while trying to replace staff members during those early years.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
It’s important that entrepreneurs find something that keeps them humble and honest at all times. Egos can swell rather quickly during times of success, but without humility and honesty, it is unlikely that any kind of success will last very long.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
The success we’ve achieved at Law Offices of D. Scott Carruthers is largely the product of our continued investment in assembling a team of lawyers, debt collectors, asset locators, and support staff capable of delivering consistent results for our clients. There is no better strategy for growing a business than the ability to deliver on any promises made.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As I noted, one of my greatest entrepreneurial missteps was failing to invest in retaining staff members, especially those who received a more lucrative offer elsewhere. I quickly realized the benefits of continuity and began investing seriously in retaining our best staff members.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There aren’t many applications legal professionals utilize on a widespread basis, so an application that made sense for use in the legal field could grow at an exponential rate.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I arranged a one-on-one yoga and tai chi session for one of my team members as a way to say “thank you” for the work she’d done for the firm. She had mentioned an interest in practicing yoga or tai chi, so I thought a one-on-one session would be a nice way to get started.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Although I am still quite fond of using a simple yellow legal pad, I’ve benefited from the scheduling and time management software programs we recently incorporated into the office. When appropriate, we also use Slack as a communication tool.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Running Lean: How to Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works,” by Ash Maurya. Entrepreneurial success requires the efficient use of vital resources like time, effort, and money, and Maurya’s book is all about developing practical strategies for efficiency in entrepreneurship.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Kimberley Motley, Ash Maurya, and Richard Susskind.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.