Leading Through Adversity: A Conversation with Eric Chaffin of Chaffin Luhana
I recently sat down with Eric Chaffin of Chaffin Luhana to talk about what his law firm is doing now to take care of themselves and their communities.
Check out our full conversation below, and remember — what you do NOW will impact the future of your firm.
00:36 Determining a core value. For Roopal and I, we started our firm 10 years ago. We really focused on what we wanted to be about. What did we want to present to the public, but then also live in our core values? So the phrase “Doing good by doing right” has been our motto, our guiding principle now for 10 years.
4:06 Mobilizing quickly to help the community. My team was saying, “We want to have a positive impact on our community, so we have to be in a good place ourselves. We have to be in a good place for our firms, and then of course for our communities is where it comes after that.”
So I am really proud of the fact that we could do it, really, in under a week, and then from the point we said go, on a Tuesday morning of last week, we were able to mobilize, get tons of small businesses involved with us (who, by the way, were suffering themselves) and give 10,000 sandwiches to the public, literally on the Monday after we had the concept on Tuesday.
So I think that part of the reason why we were able to do that, frankly, is some of your coaching through CrispX. Certainly surrounding ourselves with other positive business owners, because that CrispX community has been so positive for us, that we’ve actually taken that back, and we have positivity within our firm. So, we’ve actually grown that within our firm.
6:11 Responding to the coronavirus situation. We figured out pretty quickly in New York, we had to do it, because of what’s going on in New York. You can just listen to Andrew Cuomo’s talk this morning about how bad things are in New York. As he said, and others have said, “We’re the canary in the cave. We’re the first ones going in, to see what’s going on.” You’re going to get, really, a look at what’s going to go on around the country.
So, from our perspective, not being alarmist, but we saw this coming, and so we responded. What we did is we moved that New York office remote, with the things I just mentioned and talked about. We then moved pretty quickly, within just a few days, and did the same thing for our Pittsburgh office, where we have a lot of people.
8:39 How important connections are in a time like this. In a firm like ours we have multiple offices, because everyone’s starting their day off with positivity, and high-fives or recognition of one another, in connective ways.
I don’t care who you are in society right now, whether it’s you and I, Michael, it’s my mom, who’s a social worker who is 67, at home by herself, with no hugs or kisses from anybody for weeks, to other people who have five people at home with a dad and mom, and everyone pulling their hair out.
No matter who you are, those connections, to me, are what now is about.
There’s a quote that I love right now, which is — You may have seen me post it on Facebook at times — but it’s really that quote that says, “When everything is uncertain, what is important becomes clear.” I may have just butchered that, but the concept is just really a beautiful one, I think.
9:21 What you should do heading into an uncertain future. In full transparency and full vulnerability, as you know, I’m no less scared than anybody else. It’s not that I’m sleeping perfectly at night. We’re feeling the hit as well. We’ve got a large team to support. We’ve got their families. All those different things. I think the difference is just getting up every single day and continuing to endure and persist.
I think that the main thing is don’t panic. Be flexible in what you’re doing, both with your team as well as with your marketing efforts and how you brand your firm. And be authentic out there. I have a lot of confidence in trial lawyers, that we’re all really good people, and unfortunately we don’t always have the opportunity to change that public perception — and now we do.
15:26 Not using this as an excuse to let your physical health slip. I was ready to do, on April 25th, the full Iron Man, which is 140.6 miles — a swim, bike, and run of that distance. The world has changed in terms of what I’m able to do, because that event was canceled. I’m not sure when it’s going to happen again. But, am I sitting back and licking my wounds, and saying, “Well gee, I’m not going to work out now?” No. I’m sticking to my routine. I’ve even helped and worked with my team now, to work on their routines, in terms of what they’re doing.
If you agree or disagree with anything we’ve discussed above, I want to know about it. You can text me personally at 404–531–7691.