5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO, With Glen Levine
“Being a CEO is a 24 hour a day job. Even when I am away from the office, I always have thoughts of how to improve the business on my mind. It is important to balance family and free time with the time physically spent at the office. Separating the mental tie to the business is much more challenging.”
I had the pleasure to interview Glen Levine, the founding partner of the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, P.A. Originally form Plantation, Florida, Levine learned the value of hard work from his father who is an attorney and a builder. Levine received his B.A. from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1995 before receiving his J.D. from Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad College of Law in South Florida in 1998. Levine then went on to work as an associate attorney in Hollywood, Florida, then joined another firm where he handled many cases and obtained a multimillion-dollar jury verdict. Soon after, Levine and his partner Marc Anidjar, Esq. launched their law firm in 2005 in Levine’s father’s old office space, beginning as a personal injury firm. They then expanded to eventually open their new headquarters in Fort Lauderdale in 2016, hiring 75 employees and becoming a full service law firm to suit the needs of their community. Levine and Anidjar constantly strive to improve their firm, working tirelessly and making themselves accessible to their clients — setting them apart from their competitors. Together, Levine, Anidjar and their team have won more than $450 million for their clients. Levine and his team specialize in litigation cases in the areas of accident claims, property claims, Social Security, Workers’ Comp, medical malpractice and criminal defense. Levine has successfully represented individuals across the full spectrum of litigation, including acting as lead trail counsel in 25 jury trials in the last three years. Of note, Levine represented a Broward County boy who was injured while boarding a bus, resulting in a substantial recovery and the state’s passing of a claims bill to fund the settlement. In his spare time, Levine enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids. Levine is also active in his community, particularly in charity athletics. He has participated in the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, the MADD 5k in Fort Lauderdale, and the Ironman on the Crohn’s and Colitis team, among many other charity athletic events over the years. He is also an active member of the National MS Society, The ALS Association and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I am originally from Plantation, Florida. I grew up as the middle of three boys. Many of the lessons I learned about running a business came from watching both of my parents. My mother owned a children’s clothing store in Plantation for many years. My father, after obtaining his law degree, went into the family construction business. By watching them through the years, I learned the importance of hard work and doing things the right way.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Since forming the firm I have become passionately involved in endurance athletics. I have participated in over 120 races including full and half iron man distance triathlons, marathons, half marathons, 10k and 5k races. I have also completed several century (100 mile) bicycle rides.
I once played a practical joke on all of the legal assistants in my office. I took a small cut out picture of my face and taped it on the bottom of the mouse at their desks. When they went to move the mouse it wouldn’t work. When they looked at the bottom of the mouse, they saw my smiling face.
So how exactly does your company help people?
My law firm started as primarily a personal injury law firm. We handle injury cases for people who were injured as a result of the negligence of others. Over the years, we have expanded our practice to include worker’s comp, first party property, criminal defense, consumer issue and other insurance related claims.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
There are many personal injury law firms. I think the thing that makes our company stand out is our accessibility to our clients and our community. When my partner and I started the firm, we felt that it was critically important that every client have our personal cell phones. By allowing this access, our we have found that we have an easier time gaining our clients trust and much more willing to refer friends and family.
My partner Marc and I strongly believe in giving back to the community. We are both from South Florida and over the years have participated in numerous community events. In addition to giving the financial backing to the many great causes that we support, we also personally give our time to participate in many charitable projects in town.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
I am so thankful for the many people helped my business grow over the years. Perhaps the biggest help came from my father. Early in the business, my father provided office space for our small group of four people. As we grew, my father (who has a legal, accounting and construction background) was instrumental in helping us make decisions. There are so many small issues and decisions that need to be dealt with on a daily basis. Having a steady and knowledgeable advisor like my father has been instrumental to our success.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As our firm has grown, so has our commitment to supporting charitable causes. Over the years, our firm has supported, MADD, National MS, Dolphins Cancer Challenge, ASIS, Las Olas foundation, Crohn’s and Colitis, Jewish Federation, Chabad, and many more. We support these cases financially as well as contributing our time.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. I wish I knew how challenging it would be to manage a staff of 80 people. As our firm has continued to grow, I spend a considerable amount of time dealing with HR and staffing issues. My education in law did not prepare me for the challenges of managing a large staff. Over the years, I have read many books and participated in many seminars to help improve my management approach.
2. Being a CEO is a 24 hour a day job. Even when I am away from the office, I always have thoughts of how to improve the business on my mind. It is important to balance family and free time with the time physically spent at the office. Separating the mental tie to the business is much more challenging.
3. You need to rely on good people. In order to continue to grow and succeed, I can’t do everything myself. It has become very apparent to me over the years that the larger we get, the more I need to trust my staff with tasks I used to reserve for myself. Hiring good people and training them properly is critical.
4. It is important to keep a sense of humor. During the course of a day there are many things that can create stress in the work place. It is sometimes important to take a step back and enjoy a good laugh in order to get through a rough day.
5. In business you can’t please everyone every time. I know that if myself or my staff gave a project or a client a full effort, a client may still be unhappy. As long as myself and my firm stayed true to our core beliefs, we will live with the results.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I would like to have a private breakfast with Howard Stern. I have been a fan of his for many years. As an attorney, I am always fascinated at how great of an interviewer he is. He always seem to draw out information from the people he is interviewing. I think it would be fascinating to hear about his preparation process.