27 — Jay Kelley — Evolving a Beloved Brand While Honoring Its Legacy


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"This is a very risky business, but at the end of the day, you've got to bet on yourself." - Jay Kelley

  • Why does this attorney actively seek out complex cases and tough trials?
  • How did a visiting acting professor inspire Jay to study law?
  • What does creating a lasting law firm legacy look like, especially when it’s not your name on the wall?
  • How can the courtroom art of persuasion help you build the ultimate brand?

With Challenge Comes Reward: Why Jay Kelley Picks the Tough Cases

Jay Kelley's path to becoming an attorney was somewhat unconventional — from an acting workshop to a job as a courthouse clerk, eventually wrangling the position he was really after: the felony division. Jay is attracted to tough cases, and his passion has followed him through to today, where he takes on some of the meatiest medical malpractice trials around.

We talk about the power of truly knowing yourself as an attorney and as a businessman, how vulnerability can build credibility, and why Jay's analytical mind has put him head and shoulders above the competition.

Playing the Long Game: How to Build a Brand That Lasts

When it comes to building your firm’s brand, it’s important to realize that your brand already exists — whether it’s by default or by design. Jay elaborates on his decision-making process when it comes to the long-term marketing strategies that have established Elk + Elk as the respected brand and market leader they are today.

He talks about the value of client service, why there's no substitute for community outreach, and how the persuasive skills honed in the courtroom should be pervasive throughout your brand.

A Firm For the Future: How Elk + Elk Are Successfully Transitioning

Elk + Elk's founders are well-known faces in Ohio and beyond, thanks to their instantly recognizable advertisements. So what does it take to hand over the keys smoothly to the next generation of partners?

Jay Kelley gives his insider insights on Elk + Elk's long term transition that requires careful messaging and a series of highly strategic and well-executed steps. He explains why your law firm’s brand needs to be bigger than one individual. Plus, he tells us just what happened the first time they replaced their founders on a primetime TV spot!

Key takeaways:

  • Brand recall without brand credibility is not enough. Getting your name in someone's head is only half the story. To really have an impact, your actions must speak louder than words.
  • Don't just reject — become a trusted advisor. Even if not every call you field contains a winnable case, you can still use your expertise to help bring clients and attorneys together, all while building your reputation as a source of knowledge and trusted advice.
  • Seek out challenge and you'll be rewarded. To grow as an individual and as a firm, you need to set and meet ever-higher goals and hold yourself accountable. The bigger the challenge, the sweeter the victory!

Links and Resources

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