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Jeremy Weisz  7:17  

will be nervous as well. What’s a lesson you learned from your dad, whether it’s in business, or like,

Howard Ankin  7:24  

my dad has a lot of lessons in life to be learned. One of the most part is like he is the most loyal when it comes to my mom, probably the most best lesson he could ever teach anybody. But in terms of his clients, that is an equal loyalty. You know, just to this day, my dad is really retired. But if he has somebody that calls him ins, like, I want to, you know, I usually like people call, they talk to my dad, I’ll advise them, I’ll talk to him. But I still have people that call me today. And they’re like, I need to talk to your dad. He’s my lawyer, my dad to his credit, he’s like, I’m their lawyer, and he’ll call them in, you know, my dad, I’ll be talking to them. And they’ll be like, nervous about making sure that like the case comes out perfectly for them. Like as if it’s his own life, he needs to make sure that like the case worked out. And basically the concept of anything anybody needed, he was there to help. And today, that’s really how we run our practice here. And that’s how I run my practices is somebody calls, we’re here to help, whatever I can do, if we can’t handle it, we try to refer people tell their people, whatever we can make happen for him. So it was not too many people that have that, like, I don’t know, tenacity that my dad had to make sure that if you if he was held responsible for helping you, he made sure you’re helped.

Jeremy Weisz  8:52  

What kind of personality do you have to have? Howard, I feel like people come to you, and they’re experiencing some kind of turmoil in their life. And you have to be, I don’t know, somewhat empathetic. May seems like a tough job.

Howard Ankin  9:09  

It’s definitely a tough job. And I have to say to you, it’s definitely been made harder post COVID. You know, it used to be working 15 hours a day, you know, six and a half days a week. That was just the life of a lawyer. And, you know, pretty much like when COVID came, it seems like off society did like a reboot, or read thought on, you know, what it was to have a career or what it was to have a work life balance. So even if you want to be in the office on a Saturday morning, you’re not really finding anybody else on a Saturday morning in order to talk to or fix things or to make things happen. Those aren’t the expectations. So law is definitely starting to be practiced in a different way now, but the same way People have expectations of people that you’re going to be available to help them 24/7. But yet, the other way around, if you want to call them 24/7, this is really post COVID. Other people really aren’t around 24/7, she could be around 24/7. And that’s something that, you know, as a society in general, you know, we’re as Americans, we’re really going to have to figure out how that works.

Jeremy Weisz  10:25  

How has that changed practicing law for you?

Howard Ankin  10:30  

You know, I don’t know, if it’s for me that maybe it’s the post COVID Or maybe that, you know, like, my children are at the age where, like, they really need me, or for my purposes, maybe I’m at the point where I’ve 7770 Something people helping me, or maybe I’m at the point where, like, I really know what I’m doing, or all those things in combination. But I used to be somebody that, you know, you could have pulled up, you know, the cot in my office, because I was here working. And I did that for, you know, this is my 25th year of, you know, having ink in law. And it’s probably it’s my 30th year being a lawyer. So pretty much for 25 years, that was my lifestyle was around the clock working, I do have to say is, you know, I probably work in 10 or 15 hours a day now. But, you know, like the concept that I’m not doing it in my office, but I may be doing it at home, I don’t know, like the world changed as to how, you know, laws practice, and like the Zoom call that we’re doing. Now, this was never done like sway before. So maybe it’s opening up other avenues to allow people to have a work life balance that was never had before, but it was dealing with like, How was practice to how it was practiced even just five years ago, rolling with those changes, and making sure that you’re still providing great advocacy. That’s what I’m contending with now.

Jeremy Weisz  11:57  

However, when I look at you and your firm, I feel it’s a masterclass in how do you build authority, a brand in a very competitive space and become top of an industry? So I’m wondering, how have you, when you think about you building your reputation, and the brand Aiken law brand, what have you done over the years,

Howard Ankin  12:17  

you know, historically, probably, if it’s now a generation ago, two generations ago, there’s always people in any profession that are dialing it in. And there’s always people that like, they’ll give blood to make sure that like, they’re the best in their field. So part of what I’ve tried to do is trying to be a resource to the community that basically says, When you come here, you’re taken care of. And now more than ever, because what’s really proliferated in the marketplace is, there’s just a lot of people that are doing things that they shouldn’t be doing, you know, like, you can get involved in an auto accident. And you might get, you know, people that are calling you off of stolen police report information, offering you legal services, and I don’t know, who would accept legal services from somebody that’s offering them services like that. But so what we try to do is make sure that people know what they’re getting, and know that we were here long before they had their case, and we will be here long after they have their case, you know, I’m a third generation attorney. Okay. And I practice that way, you know, like, I have a reputation that I have to continue. That was followed by my father and grandfather’s great reputation for helping people. And so even today, you know, a big part of what I do, I’m involved in a lot of Bar Association, virtually most every bar association that I deal with, you know, I’m a board member, President, you know, so on and so forth of these law boards, and they need my help, because they need people. It’s not just like what the law says, But the rules for how we practice as lawyers. Now we hold hold ourselves up to the highest esteem as lawyers, you know, we’re trying to figure out, all these rules were written, you know, for a world that wasn’t an internet world wasn’t a pre or post COVID world. So try to make sure that people are getting the services that they expect, and that, you know, lawyers and professionals are held to those high standards, even though it’s modern technology world or a world where everybody wants to work life balance, you know, the public and clients. These still deserve to have people at their very best. And society still really deserves to have lawyers that are acting as their really best to make sure the law is how it should be for everybody.

Jeremy Weisz  14:50  

You know, you do a really good job of building your brand and authority and one of the ways you’ll collaborate with other you know, people that are recognizable in Chicago, you know, When I look, you know, did some research I see you with Andre Dawson, I see you with as again, I see you, Scott beside Nick. So I’m wondering how do you what’s most beneficial to and how you collaborate with some of the major figures in Chicago?

Howard Ankin  15:17  

Well, it’s like everything else. Let’s say somebody wanted to have a podcast, somebody would say like, Well, hey, you should call you, Jeremy and Rise25 is the place to go. Okay, and they know that they would get good service for that. Okay. So like, if somebody said, I want to go to a dentist, I need an accountant, I need a lawyer, you would ask somebody and say, Hey, who is somebody that would be somebody that could help me with this? Who’s the best in the profession. And so, you know, in our society, people really look up to our athletes, you know, like, we respect our athletes. And so I have done well with the local athletes of the Chicagoland, almost to the point where if you’re an athlete in Chicago, and you’re not in a Howard Ankin commercial, yearn, popular athlete in the city of Chicago. But it wasn’t always like that. Just like everything else in the building of my practice, I had to go out. And I had to start with like the first athlete, and that first athlete needed to realize that when they were acting as a pitchman for me, and they said, Look, Howard Ankin is where you go, if you need help. And then these athletes weren’t gonna get egg on their face that Howard Aiken wasn’t going to call them, Howard Ankin was going to talk to them, Howard, and Ken wasn’t going to do for them. Now, I’m not going to tell you that, you know, we live in a society where there are some people with unreasonable expectations. And I’m not going to say that there’s a couple people that if you went online and saw review that I don’t have some unfair character assassination. Okay. But I will tell you that like, Look, I’m a third generation lawyer. And I read being a lawyer, and the athletes that are pitchman for me, they believe what they do for a living, and they recognize within me, you know, that like instinct, that I’m a home run hitter, and they just like me, they just do. And I like that. And so a lot of them, it starts out the first year where they’re a pitch, man. And the next thing, you know, they text me, and they call me and, you know, it’s like, I got a camaraderie with them. Where I really appreciate the fact that they’re helping me. And I really appreciate that we have a, you know, we have a connection together.

Jeremy Weisz  17:39  

Yeah, I think there’s a lot to be learned with the authority and the branding that you do. And I know, there’s a lot of favorites throughout the years. I mean, you mentioned some of my favorites, because I’m a big baseball fan. So I remember it again, and the White Sox and Andre Dawson. But I know you did some work with Tim Anderson. So I’d love for you to talk about that for a second. Well,

Howard Ankin  18:01  

Tim Anderson is just, you know, there’s certain people in this world that are just born with exceptional personalities, and they’re just exceptional human beings. And Tim Anderson to me, he just, he just emanates, you know, like somebody that just wants to do his best in life. So he seems like he, you know, is great on the field. And as great as he is on the field. He, at least for how I know him, he seems to be wanting to give back. And he basically is saying, like, look, I was hit in life with the lucky stick. And I feel a need to give back to the world saying that, that I was given something, and I’m gonna give it back. Because I had this great opportunity. And that’s, that’s really one of the reasons why I you know, I really like them a lot. But there’s others like, you know, I, the Vander quakes, which are two professional basketball players that are married to each other here in Chicago. And they’re doing exceptional things, you know, on the court and an exceptional things for women’s basketball and exceptional things, for women in sports. And they were they you know, recently one of them was named, you know, top 50 greatest women’s sports athletes of all time. And I just love being connected with them, that they’re trying to do everything in life to give back to their sport and give back to the world also. So there’s a lot of special people that are in sports, and I’ve been lucky to be able to, you know, work with some of them.

Jeremy Weisz  19:34  

One thing Howard, I want to point people towards is your website. And for a couple reasons, obviously, if you have a need for whatever, you know, for some of the services I mentioned, you can go to but I think it also is really instructive. Just when you look at the site, to know the someone’s customer client, right, you hit the site and I encourage anyone to go to a n k i n And you can you know, Um, you know, follow along with me. But when you hit the site, you see immediately a picture of the person for that, you get that personal touch, and then you see, get a free case, you see the Google ratings. And then you have, it’s always not apparent on everyone’s site that there’s a number at the top right, there’s get a free case where you get a free case review, there started chat, there’s a blinking phone for someone to call, there’s a lot of really good calls to action and makes it easy for people to contact you, which sometimes gets lost on websites. And I’m wondering of the thought process on the Get a free case review. I mean, me if I’m contacting someone, I’m wondering, How much is it gonna cost? I mean, is this going to be expensive? Or how is it going to work? How did you come up with and the thought process of the first thing that catches my eye is get a free case review.

Howard Ankin  20:57  

So, you know, there are other lawyers that advertise their legal services, I feel What sets me apart from a lot of my competitors, or a lot of other people that may advertise nationally is I actually practice law, I talk to people every day, I’m at my desk every day. So I don’t use the marketing of my practice, to be a business, I use the marketing of my practice to basically say, please come to me, now I owe a debt of service and gratitude of about 70 people with me. And I want to make sure that the lawyers that are also with me and my partners and associate lawyers, and also the support staff, I think I have the greatest staff of anybody. And I want to make sure that they’re well compensated. And that’s why we’re always going out into the marketplace to say, please use our services. Now, for my purposes, you know, one of my good friends from childhood, Rafi, our bell, he helps me with my website. And then another person that I didn’t know, from my childhood, but I feel like I’ve known them, since my childhood we’ve been working so long is Eric rebels. And between the two of them, they’re like, you know, two bookends for me, where one helps with the marketing aspect of my office. And the other one helps with the online marketing in my office, and the two of them coordinate together, to really provide me the best advice that I can get on marketing my practice, and with both of them being able to advise me on that, and the three of us working together, that typically like I like coming to work on Friday mornings, because Friday mornings is typically my day for my marketing advertising work. But the other five and a half days a week, you know, I’m working, and I’m working on my cases, and so on and so forth. So anyways, you know, your compliment, you know, about like how somebody could easily find me, and so on and so forth. That really goes to my dad, who, you know, had the theory that like, everybody should be able to call him at any time and be able to reach him and get services with them. So in the days before cellphones, and so on, and so forth. My dad’s clients not only had his work number, but they had her phone number. Since the time I was about seventh eighth grade, I was already like picking up the phone and some clients that I’ve had over the years, and even today, I’ve known since my childhood. And then at the same time, you know, like Rafi, our ballot market GED, and then Eric revels, who used to have his own private practice who I influenced to come in house with me which Rafi would come in house with me do, but it’s the successful or doesn’t want to Eric was also very successful also, that those two guys come up with the like when you are able to pinpoint the certain things. That’s both their brilliance. And I’m very lucky to have them. Like, I’m lucky to have the brilliance of, you know, my partners and lawyers here and support staff. They’re also doing great things for great people as well as I am. I’m just here to help set that direction to Howard, I’d

Jeremy Weisz  23:57  

love to hear about from each of those. You mentioned, Rafi, you mentioned Eric, and let’s start with Rafi. What’s when you think of advice you’ve gotten from him on the marketing side? What sticks

Howard Ankin  24:10  

out? You know, we want to make sure that we mark it real. Okay, I guess that’s how Rafi would put it to me. So years ago, you know, Rafi and I started out when we were about 18 years old. And we were working, you know, selling cokes and peanuts and stuff at the ballparks. And that’s where we met. But at that period of time, which seems like you know, two lifetimes ago, everybody that was working out at the ballparks. Everybody was a hustler. They were all just trying to make their life better. And everybody that I meet that Rafi and I work with at that time. They’re all successful in their individual fields. So years later, when Rafi was starting his own business, he came to me and said Hey, I’m doing this. And I knew who he was from, you know, being friends with him from all those years. And I said, Absolutely. We’re going to start working together with this. And so, you know, he just has a certain mind, to be able to say, we need to do this better. But this is the advice that he gave me. He said, Howard, I can’t market you, if you’re truly not the best. You can’t just say to me that you’re the best, you have to show the world that you’re best. And it was because of him that he’s like, You got to try cases, you need to be in the courtroom, you need to have your own case, look, you need to be the president of your Law School’s Alumni Association, you need to be on the board of your state bar association, you need to be a governor for the National Bar Association. Okay. And he’s the one that has pushed me over these last 10 or 15 years to say, you need to be the one that setting the agenda, you need to be the one that’s doing it for people. And before people even hire me. I’ve already been advocating in Springfield, I’ve already been advocating in Washington, DC, when somebody comes to me and say, Why should I hire you? I’m like, I’ve already been doing it for you, the laws the way that it is, because I’ve already been doing what I’ve been doing long before you met me. And my reputation is just what you heard from your family or friend that referred you to me about the great result that I got you from before. It was just great advice from my good buddy, Rafi, who was like, You need to be doing better than anybody else. And he’s still putting me to task. That’s why I’m here with you today. He’s like, You have to be a thought leader, you need to be with Jeremy. And as you said, he’s the one that made it happen. He did. And no less, by the way, I could be talking about my buddy Eric revels, and he gives me the same advice and the same pushing on his side. And he equally, you know, makes me come to work every day to be the best that I can possibly be. What

Jeremy Weisz  27:12  

I love that, you know, show people you have the best. I love that. What advice do you have the six out from Eric?

Howard Ankin  27:20  

Eric is just, like, brilliant in terms of his, you know, marketing skills. And we sometimes go at it, you know, he’s very passionate about, you know, his ideas and how things should be marketed. And I’m very passionate about, like, how things should be marketed to, and there’s times where he thinks that he has a really great idea. And I’m like, That is a really great idea. But for the other guy, okay? Because I want people to know that, like when they mark it, like, even with you talking to Jeremy, I think you get the idea. I’m not that lighthearted of a guy, just as my wife Tracy, okay, I’m serious about life. And I’m serious about being a lawyer. And I want to make sure they like that when we’re marketing to people, they understand that the marketing that I’m giving, I want there to be a certain level, okay, that the public sees when they see our marketing. And I’m always trying to make sure that like the marketing that we do to the public, it’s never a down marketing. Okay, I want other lawyers that see my marketing, I don’t want anybody coming up to me and be like, hey, Howard, hey, now, I don’t think that looks good for us. Okay. And sometimes I see some marketing that’s done by other people. Not that it’s not ethical, not that it’s not legal, it’s just, it’s a little bit on the on the low Rob, I want to make sure that it’s on the high brow. And that’s why like, I want, like, if I’m in a picture, I want them to see athletes with us. Now, one of the things that Eric and I came up with is, you know, when I was growing up, understanding a more difficult concept, like, how does a bill become a law? So you would watch like, I’m just a bill on Capitol Hill, and you would see like a little bit of a, you know, like a, like a, like a, you know, you see a commercial that basically took a hard concept and made it a little bit more easily in a in a cartoon fashion. Okay. And so we have a stickman device that, you know, Eric and I came up with, but he continues to drill down on this stickman and we try to take the heart concept of, hey, you’ve been injured. You have this legal case, this is something that’s happening to you. And we try to boilerplate that down to basically be like, this is something that like from our like a concept from our childhood, how we could take like a cartoon, but show people, this is how we make it easy. And even though you know a bill turning to law is far from easy, and helping somebody that’s involved in a legal case is far from easy. But we try to, like, illustrate that, like, if you go to the right lawyer, we can make life a lot simpler and easier for you. And if you handle it yourself, or you go with someone that doesn’t have a certain amount of knowledge and experience is we do to be able to handle. Howard,

Jeremy Weisz  30:38  

I have one last question. Before I ask it, I just want to thank you for for sharing your story, sharing your journey and some of the things that worked for you throughout the, you know, the years and I want to encourage people to go to, check out more what they’re working on there. You could check out more episodes of inspired and Rise25. The last question I have Howard is, when you think of some of your favorite books or resources, it could be business related. Because you run not only our lawyer, you wear a lot of hats, right? Not only your lawyer user of cases, you have over 70 plus staff, for your firm is a lot of moving parts here. So I’m curious of if you have any favorite resources, whether it’s a book, a podcast, a video, something that people are like, I want to learn more and get inside the head of what Howard has learned. What are

Howard Ankin  31:33  

some of your favorites. So you know, law is a is a profession, it’s not a business, you’re forever learning. And I’m forever trying to read various things or to add on to my knowledge, I’m always trying to talk to people like you, Jeremy, to understand like what other people are doing and understand how to, you know, make things better. And I hope when people talk to me, they learned something from me also. So I read, you know, there’s a lot of like, you know, you go to the Self Help section, you know, like either online or at the bookstore. And there’s always like some famous books about what people do. I try to read all those books, I try to read everything that’s about law, or about the new cases that are coming down, and what’s happening with that. And I keep trying to keep myself apprised. Generally, like one of the things that I like to do at night, I’ll just sit with my iPad before I go to sleep. And I’ll just read, you know, as much as I can read about current events, or anything that I can read about to be updated. But I will say there are probably two things that stand out to me as far as like anything that I’ve ever read. Without getting into a specific author or a specific book or anything like that, because I don’t know what you’re allowed to say or not say what you can say a specific book. Yeah, that’s great. Yeah,

Jeremy Weisz  32:52  

there’s, like five credits on my audible Howard show, you give me some specific books.

Howard Ankin  32:59  

There’s one book that people read. And it’s basically a book about like, how people become successful. And it’s like, you read every single chapter about, like, what makes people success. And one chapter says, like, if your birthdays in January, versus a birthday later in month, people that have January birthdays, because their oldest in their year, they might be more successful than others, okay? But anyways, so like sometimes when you do read, reading things may not be something new, sometimes you read things that reinforces something that you may already think. But he was one of those things from that book is there’s something that’s called the 10,000 hour rule. And it basically says that if you want to be successful in something, or you want to be the best at something, you got to get 10,000 hours in, in order to be able to do it. And that’s one of the reasons why I feel that I’m highly successful and is a is an attorney and helping people is my 10,000 hours in. I was getting that in. In my childhood. I was getting that in by the time I was in high school. You know, my dad was a sole practitioner, if they couldn’t reach my dad at home that work. They reached them at home, I was taking messages. When my dad walked through that door at seven o’clock at night, in order for my family to sit down at dinner. I’d meet him at the front door, and I’ve been given them the list like I was his legal secretary. Okay, so or legal assistant. So what I’m saying is, I really subscribe to the 10,000 hour rule. And if I have people that come work with me, I just basically say, look, I can teach you as much as I can teach you. But if you don’t want to be here, if you don’t want to work, if you don’t want to get into it, you’ll be successful, but it’s going to drag out the timeline for how long it takes you to become successful. And I tell everybody, whether it’s their golf swing, okay, or whatever they want to be doing. You got to put your time in or you’re just not going to get there. And then my other favorite one is there’s somebody else that basically says, You got to get the best people that you can get to be working with you. And then get everybody put in, you got to get everybody working with you that you can, that’s the best and get everybody on the boss. And I want you to get the best people on the bus, then you could figure out what seat they need to be sitting in. And in terms of, you know, my law practice or working with people that I work with, I’m all the time trying to work with the best possible people that I could work with, and then figure out what’s the best possible seat for the for them to be seated in as far as being able to move forward. And especially at a time like now coming out post COVID A world where everybody’s trying to figure out how to have a work life balance, working with the best people and figuring out what the best seat that they should be in. I think that rule is more important than ever. Howard,

Jeremy Weisz  35:54  

I love both of those books. So I mean, I think the 10,000 hour rule or law, whatever it’s called is in several books, but the one that sticks out is Malcolm Gladwell, outliers. I think that’s the one you’re referring to. That’s a fantastic book and then the Good to Great by Jim Collins really talks about like what you’re talking about. So both of those books I love so thank you for sharing those everyone can check those out and just check out and more episodes so power. Thanks so much. Thanks, everyone.

Howard Ankin  36:23  

Thank you very much Jeremy.