Joseph Tamburino

Owner of Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm

Joseph Tamburino is the owner of Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm and one of the most effective criminal defense attorneys in the Twin Cities; being named a Minnesota “Super Lawyer” for the last two decades straight. A graduate of New York University and the University of Minnesota Law School, Tamburino began his career in the Anoka County Attorney’s Office in 1989, and then worked as a public defender for seven years. In 1997, he joined what would become Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm and has become a prominent and visible member of the Minnesota legal community.

Joe has defended his clients against a wide range of charges and has over 34 years of criminal experience. Joe was nominated for an Emmy Award for his legal analysis on WCCO CBS TV throughout the trial of Derek Chauvin and is a regular resource for Court TV and national media. He also presents regularly to law schools and legal professional groups on a wide variety of criminal topics including: drinking & driving, alcohol-related accidents, homicides and criminal sexual conduct, campaign finance, white collar fraud, harassment, personal injury, Title IX and first amendment (free speech) cases.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

My typical day involves court appearances, client meetings, and many times trials. I make my days productive by being focused on doing the best that I can for our clients and enjoying my work. Our office is filled with hard-working, great people, and we have a great time working with each other.

How do you bring ideas to life?

As a lawyer, I bring my ideas to life through a well-structured and meticulous approach. It all begins with thoroughly identifying and understanding the legal issue at hand, followed by conducting extensive research to support my ideas. Brainstorming sessions and collaboration with colleagues help me refine my thoughts and develop a comprehensive plan tailored to the client’s needs.

Communication with my clients is also key. As I involve them in the decision-making process, it ensures that our ideas align with their goals. Once we have a solid strategy in place, I execute it with dedication and adaptability, being prepared to adjust as new information arises. Continuous evaluation of each legal case allows me to learn and improve my skills, ensuring that I consistently provide the best possible legal representation and bring my ideas to life in the most impactful and meaningful way for my clients

What’s one trend that excites you?

I don’t use AI technology. In fact, it hasn’t really made inroads into criminal practice yet.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

Setting clear and realistic goals is one habit that has significantly improved my productivity as a lawyer and entrepreneur. By starting each day or week with a clear list of objectives, I create a roadmap that helps me stay focused and on track. To achieve this, I break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, which not only makes them less overwhelming but also allows me to track my progress more effectively.

As I set specific deadlines for each goal, I’m able to instill a sense of urgency and prevent procrastination. While working on my goals, I regularly reassess and adjust them as needed, allowing me to adapt to changing circumstances and prioritize things more effectively. This habit not only enhances my productivity as a lawyer but also as an entrepreneur, enabling me to make steady progress toward my long-term vision while efficiently managing my legal responsibilities and business ventures.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The Internet is coming, and it will have unlimited capabilities for research and advertising. Capitalize on it immediately.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

That working in the office is better than working from home.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

As an entrepreneur, I highly recommend everyone embrace failure as a learning opportunity. In the journey of building and running a business, setbacks and failures are inevitable. Rather than letting them discourage me, I choose to view them as valuable lessons. I analyze what went wrong, understand the reasons behind the failure, and identify areas for improvement.

This mindset shift not only helps me grow personally and professionally but also fosters a culture of resilience within my firm. Embracing failure allows us to innovate fearlessly, experiment with new ideas, and continuously evolve. By learning from our mistakes, we refine our strategies and increase the likelihood of success in the long run. I believe this approach can benefit everyone, empowering individuals to bounce back stronger, build better products or services, and ultimately achieve their goals with greater confidence.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

When I find myself overwhelmed or unfocused, I take a step back and reassess my priorities. I start by breaking down my tasks into manageable chunks and creating a to-do list with clear deadlines. Taking short breaks and practicing mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, helps me regain focus and reduce stress. If needed, I delegate tasks that can be handled by others to free up my time for more critical matters. Seeking support from colleagues or mentors by discussing challenges and seeking advice is also essential for regaining perspective and navigating through overwhelming moments.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

Internet marketing and media appearances. I’ve gradually expanded my firm’s presence on the internet, and my appearances in the media. I make myself available to print, TV, and radio media as much as possible.

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

Investing in Yellow Pages media when they were obviously a dying branch of the media. I should have jettisoned our Yellow Pages advertising earlier than I did.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Be active in your local community. I attend many different local functions with community and business groups. It truly helps develop your brand and creates good-will.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

One piece of software that has been instrumental in boosting my productivity as a lawyer is a cloud-based legal practice management tool. I use it to streamline various aspects of my work, from case management to client communication. With this software, I can easily store and access all case-related documents in a secure centralized location, ensuring I never waste time searching for important files.

This web service also enables me to set reminders for court dates, meetings, and deadlines, helping me stay organized and on top of my schedule. It allows me to share documents and updates with clients in a secure manner, promoting efficient and transparent communication. Overall, this cloud-based legal practice management software has become an indispensable tool, streamlining my workflow and allowing me to focus on delivering the best possible legal services to my clients.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

Sending flowers to someone who needed them at the time. It really cheered them up.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

1776 by David McCullough. Breathtaking review of the formation of our country.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

I like watching the Morning Show and Outlander.

Key learnings:

  • Embracing failure allows you to grow personally and professionally and also fosters a culture of resilience.
  • Setting clear and realistic goals allows you to make steady progress toward your long-term business ventures.
  • Technological innovations improve day-to-day tasks and also empower companies to provide cost-effective and high-quality services to their clients.