Trey Branham attended Florida State University, where he earned his B.S. in Political Science back in 1992. From there, he attended the University of South Carolina Law School where he graduated with his J.D. in 1999. He also graduated cum laude. He served as the Associate Articles Editor for the South Carolina Law Review during the same period of time.
Trey Branham was the first member of his family to ever graduate from college. Much of this is the result of the example set by his stepfather, who taught Trey the power of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and of living life without regret. Hard work. Sacrifice. Commitment. These are qualities that were instilled in him at a very young age and they are ones that have served him well up to this point.
After spending some time with a larger law firm, Trey Branham knew that he wanted to do something different. He didn’t want to represent corporate interests – quite the opposite. He knew the struggles that people were facing. The difficulties that were being experienced by the people who lived and worked in the same communities that he did. He wanted to focus his energy on representing people with real, life-altering problems – a goal that he and the rest of the team at Dean Omar Branham Shirley are singularly dedicated to.
All told, Trey Branham is passionate about giving his clients a voice no matter what. Branham and the rest of the team at Dean Omar Branham Shirley are dedicated to fight for the most favorable outcome possible. They want to amplify the voice of their clients as much as possible in a way that guarantees it is heard by their peers. They want to do their part to create a better world for their children – in Trey Branham’s case, his son. Every day, he is grateful for the opportunity to represent his clients and that is one ideal he will never stop striving for.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
Our practice is a common one in the law. We focus on helping people who are seriously hurt in the worst moments of their lives and try and give them the best representation we can against some of the world’s largest companies. The secret to our success is no real secret at all. We work hard, every day, to make sure our clients’ voices are heard.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day usually starts early, 6am is a usual start. The hours before 9am and after 5pm are usually the most productive time for thoughtful lawyering. If we are in trial, the day never really stops. 3-4 hours of sleep a night is the norm. If we are not the day is filled with internal strategy discussions, brief writing, calls with opposing counsel, calls with clients and the administrative burdens of running a 60 person law firm. We are fortunate to have an amazing support staff who makes it all go.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Collaboration. Collectively we have hundreds of years of legal experience in the firm. Everyone brings something unique to the table and we all learn from each other. It is this collaboration that makes it possible for us to tell our clients’ stories in the most vivid and lifelike ways possible.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Virtual courtrooms have transformed how we do things and elevated our levels of productivity to new heights. It was not unusual, pre-pandemic, for our lawyers to travel 200+ nights a year. Whether participating in court hearings, meeting with witnesses, or working with clients, all of those things required travel. While in person trials are critical and some travel will always be required, that requirement is much less now. The increase in productivity and morale from these lessened travel obligations is incredibly meaningful. Equally as important, the work product is as good or better than pre-pandemic. This trend allows our people to have easier lives, spend more time with their families and still do the very high quality work our clients need.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Loving what I do. If you don’t love your job you won’t be great at it, much less will you innovate. Similarly, I am always curious to learn new things. So much of this practice involves the history of what happened 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago. After doing this for more than 20 years, I still learn something new each day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Trust your gut. Have faith that you know enough to make good decisions.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I’m a nice guy.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read the documents. Your cases are won and lost in the documents. If you don’t know the documents you don’t know your case.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Hard work and surrounding yourself with people who are way smarter and more talented than you are. Lift others up and celebrate their successes.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I missed a critical issue in the very first case that I took to trial. I think it cost us the case. I didn’t push hard enough because I trusted the other side. I’ll never make that mistake again.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Its not a secret. Find what you love and are really good at. And then be better at it than everyone else. That’s where you will find success.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Donating to a family that had lost everything in a fire. It’s so important to make sure you never forget just how lucky you are and that life can change in an instant.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Email. I couldn’t live without it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Doubt is their Product” by David Michaels. David served as the administrator of the Occupations Safety and Health Administration in the mid 2000s. He details how industry manipulates sciences and governmental agencies to sell products that are harmful to consumers.
What is your favorite quote?
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.