Cesar Alvarez provides insight about the growth of Greenberg Traurig

It’s amazing how time flies. I have been writing my monthly column for South Florida Business & Wealth for one year, my show just had its sixth anniversary, and we just had our 1,000th guest on “Fried on Business.”

Guest No. 1,000 was an abogado gigante: Cesar Alvarez, CEO and co-chairman of Greenberg Traurig. What an amazing interview. Not only did Cesar talk to our audience about how he turned Greenberg Traurig into an international legal powerhouse, we also discussed how he maintained the corporate culture of the Greenberg Traurig team during the expansion. He was successful because he got up after every failure.

The legal industry was consolidating at the time Greenberg Traurig wanted to expand, so Cesar found best-in-class groups of attorneys to be able to get any question answered quickly. He empowered the lawyers on the ground with the freedom to make decisions. Greenberg Traurig became “the largest small law firm in the U.S.”

Cesar and his leadership team built the firm’s brand by having great partners with key practices in the right markets. All of the partners have a strong business orientation. They are problem-solvers that give solutions. Any attorney could provide a fast, dependable solution. This helped Cesar keep his legal practice strong and consistent.

To improve the firm’s quality of service, he suggests that his lawyers record their sides of their conversations. He then wants them to ask themselves: “Would I pay $400 to $500 per hour for the advice I gave on the call?”

Cesar sees the future of the law firm as being more virtual. Costs will need to be kept in check with the globalization of legal services. “Our economy needs to become more efficient with legal services. This will be done with technology,” he says.

The highlight of the interview was when Cesar discussed his first meeting with the legendary Mel Greenberg, who had been seeking bilingual lawyers to build his firm. He kept calling Cesar by his brother’s name, Carlos. When Cesar discovered how much a Greenberg Traurig partner paid in taxes on an annual basis, he decided he’d let Mel call him whatever he wanted. Cesar got the job and the rest is legal history.

Tips on branding

A regular guest on the show is branding expert Bruce Turkel. During this interview, Bruce outlined some of his best branding tips, such as: “It’s all about them” and “You have to repeat, repeat, repeat your message.”

We talked about being your authentic self in business. Bruce advises to project who you are to people in an honest and forthright way. People will be attracted to that. It will build your brand the right way. I know I work hard to project positive energy and strong expertise in my business meetings. It works for me. ?

To listen to these and other interviews, go to our website, friedonbusiness.com. We interview thought leaders every Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. on 880 AM. Listen live by visiting bit.ly/jimlive.

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