Michael Liner

Last month in this column I wrote about how 2020 is a vision year for Liner Legal. Although to some it may appear as the founder of my growing firm I am captain of a mighty Navy vessel sailing effortlessly through any tide or current, in my own mind I still see myself as one man paddling a tiny raft across violent rapids with only one oar and a broken compass. 

Regardless of the speed of the waters or the vessel I pilot to get there, having a set destination to aim towards is important.

As my practice has grown over the last seven years, my purpose—the reason I get up and go to work every day—has changed. I love helping people. Those who know me and know my story are well aware that I chose to be a disability attorney because this unique area of the law gives me an opportunity to bring security to people who are truly struggling on a daily basis. But as a young(er) attorney, what got me out of bed every morning was the opportunity to make money. It’s amazing how time and experience changes things. I still get excited about running a profitable practice that allows me to provide not just for my own family but also for the families of my employees, but that is not the primary motivator any longer.

What gets me out of bed today is the opportunity to create change.

Not just through the legal work we do in our office, but through our philanthropic work and civic engagement. I am proud of the fact that Andrew November is on the Deafness Advocacy Committee for the Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center and that Rebecca Cervenak is the program director for the Prison Yoga Project – Ohio. I measure our success as a law firm by how much good we do for the community and how much money we give, rather than how much money we make.

Is that upside down thinking?

Perhaps.

But one lesson I learned early on is that the more you give with pure intent, the more you will receive. In the end, very few of us (save for maybe members of a Forbes list) are remembered by the balance in their bank account. Instead, what we are remembered by is what we gave to others, in the form of love, time, effort, and/or philanthropy. Liner Legal will be a giving law firm.

With that vision in mind, even with only one oar, I am confident we will get where we need to go.