Take your time with everything you do.
Mary Quinn is a family law attorney from Tampa, Florida. She has been practicing law for two decades and has worked on cases involving everything from mediations to custodial agreements and pre-nuptials. She graduated from the St. Thomas School of Law in Miami in 1996. Before that, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of South Florida in 1991.
Soon after graduating, Ms. Quinn became a Bar certified attorney and joined organizations like the Florida and Hillsborough Associations of Women Lawyers. As one of the leading Tampa divorce attorney practices, her firm works with hundreds of clients who come from all over the state. Additionally, her knowledge of subjects like divorce taxation, child custody modifications, and a lot of other niche issues makes her a very popular counselor in this market.
Besides practicing law, Ms. Quinn has also conducted multiple seminars all over the state. The topics ranged from a basic overview of the matrimonial law all the way to more complex topics like some of the aforementioned. Additionally, she has been certified to practice law in front of some of the highest courts in the nation. Examples include the Supreme Court of the United States, the Supreme Court of Florida, and the United States District Court of the Middle District.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Well, I always wanted to run my own business and work in an environment where I can make the important decisions. After getting my degree and passing the Bar exam, starting a law firm seemed more than fitting.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Start off by waking up pretty early and doing some kind of physical activity. When it is nice outside, I go for a quick jog around my neighborhood. If the weather does not permit that, however, I stay inside and do some yoga or indoor exercises. After that, I go through some of the e-mails that have been outstanding for 24 to 48 hours. I am usually able to catch up with most of them. Then I head to the office and start working on my clients’ cases. This part of the day is quite different every time so it is hard to say exactly what will happen.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I talk to my partner and look for ways to turn them into reality. We normally sit down and discuss the positive and negative sides of the plan before coming up with a course of action.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am happy to see an increasing amount of people going to law schools around the country. Although I am not sure what exactly is driving this trend, I am more than excited for all the future attorneys that are going to make the industry better. Moreover, such a wide pool of candidates is going to make our hiring procedures very easy as we will never struggle to find a qualified individual.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I never deviate from a plan. In other words, when I set a goal for myself, I prioritize the work that surrounds that goal above all else. That way, I never have to worry about missing a deadline or coming up short.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Spend more time outside in the real world instead of focusing on book-based knowledge. My early twenties were all about getting through law school and I sometimes put my studying above all else. Even though this helped me maintain a high grade point average, it hindered my social life at a time. In retrospect, I would have still went on to pursue the same career and achieve the same success even if some of my grades were less than perfect.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Well, I think that professional certifications are an overkill that demotivates people from pursuing tough careers. These include things like the Bar exam for prospective attorneys and the CPA exam for potential accountants. A lot of people that I discuss this with claimed that such exams are made incredibly long and difficult to rule out the people who are not quite ready to enter the practice. In reality, however, people will still be able to practice law and do accounting even if they do not get certified immediately. Thus, it just kind of forces them to spend more time studying after they just got done going through a very challenging graduate school.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I always communicate with my clients. For instance, I will update them on everything that is happening with their case on a daily basis. Most attorneys are a bit hesitant to take this approach as it sets a challenging precedent where you will always have to contact your clients with the latest news. For me, however, doing this has proven to be very advantageous as they are much more satisfied with my service.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I took my time with everything that I did. When I got my first client, they were the only one I focused on for weeks. I never accepted another case until I was absolutely positive that I can handle them both simultaneously. That way, most of my early verdicts were in my client’s favor and this helped me propel my practice.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I lost a few cases due to some extenuating circumstances with my clients, the judges, or the paperwork itself. Although I cannot go into much detail, some of the mistakes made could have been prevented. So, as a reputable Tampa divorce attorney, these types of problems definitely made an impact. Nevertheless, I used it as a learning experience and made sure to never make the same mistake again.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Look into digitalizing the legal world. Most lawyers like myself still practice law by relying on face-to-face interactions with every client. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this approach. Nevertheless, I think that being able to do check-ins via smartphone would be quite revolutionary.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Believe it or not, I recently purchased an incredibly long phone charging cable. I think it is no less than 15 feet long and it has proven to be extremely helpful as I tend to walk around my office or home when my phone needs to charge. Well, this little tool lets me get a larger range of motion.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The software that I use for online research of the codes and regulations is probably what drives my success. I would even go as far as saying that every attorney is directly dependant on these programs to operate efficiently.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border” by Francisco Cantú. It is a great summary of some immigration issues that are currently trending and is based on a real-life experience.
What is your favorite quote?
“It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.”
- Professional certification exams are not very popular with individuals who pass these exams
- Learning from failures is a great way to capitalize on previous shortcomings
- Staying on track with a plan is what helps meet goals and important deadlines.
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.