The Business Side Of Law: Nathan J. Brelsford Of Azeros Legal On 5 Things You Need To Create Or Lead A Successful Law Firm

An Interview With Eric Pines

Eric L. Pines
Authority Magazine
Published in
10 min readJun 7, 2022


… Understand your strengths and weaknesses and hire accordingly. If you are great at things like finances and marketing own those. If you struggle in knowledge with topics such as human resources, hire someone smarter that you can trust to make sure everything is being taken care of.

As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Nathan Brelsford.

Nathan J. Brelsford, Esq., founder of Azeros Legal, PLLC, has been helping individuals and business seeking a financial restart and represents them in chapters 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcy cases. He attended Arizona State University’s College of Business where he obtained a B.S. in Accountancy and he received his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego (J.D. 2005). Brelsford is a member of the Arizona State Bar, National Association of Bankruptcy Attorneys and the Arizona Consumer Bankruptcy Council and is licensed to practice before the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, United States Tax Court and the Arizona Supreme Court.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you ended up where you are? Specifically we’d love to hear the story of how you began to lead your practice.

When I graduated from law school in 2005, I knew I wanted to start my own practice and help individuals rather than a corporate practice at a big firm. This was also important to me as I wanted to work one-on-one to help clients and not have to work through associates and all the red tape. It has been quite the journey over the last (almost) 20 years. From the beginning, I made a conscious decision to only take on enough business that my partner (at the time) and I could personally handle. I wanted to make sure that our clients had a relationship with an actual attorney (their case not handled primarily by support staff) working with them from start to finish.

I’m a huge fan of mentorship throughout one’s career. None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Who has been your biggest mentor? What was the most valuable lesson you learned from them?

My dad is my mentor. He was a successful pharmacist and entrepreneur, building a long-term care pharmacy, which he later sold. Watching him work hard and help people every day was an inspiration to me. The most valuable lesson he taught me was to work hard and still take time for your family and then things you love.

From completing your degree to opening a practice and becoming a business owner, your path was most likely challenging. Can you share a story about one of your greatest struggles? Can you share what you did to overcome it?

Marketing was always the biggest challenge to me. I understood the importance of it, but I didn’t have any education about how to do it in undergrad or in law school. Luckily, I made some early connections, via networking and my volunteer board work, with individuals who had a marketing background. Along the way I have been able to not only learn alot but also trust their decisions and recommendations.

Recently, it has been more difficult to hire dedicated employees. COVID and The Great Resignation has really changed what people want out of a career and even changing what people thought they wanted. My only hope is that in the long run this doesn’t impact the legal field if we don’t have enough individuals who select law as a career path.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story about how that was relevant in your own life?

“Success is not how high you have climbed, but how you make a positive difference to the world.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

This quote really speaks to what I do every day to help my clients and the perception of what filing bankruptcy means. My clients (in general) are not just irresponsible people who just ran up a bunch of credit card debt. They are often victims of circumstances, such as unexpected medical bills or a job loss that need a clean reset to help get back on their feet.

This is not easy work. What is your primary motivation and drive behind the work that you do?

Helping people. Helping my clients (and potential clients) understand their options and if bankruptcy is right for them. Often it is but sometimes it isn’t. Making sure they understand everything (and I mean everything) that will come with filing a chapter 7 or chapter 13 is important, there shouldn’t be any surprises. Also, listening to their situation and when bankruptcy isn’t the right option, giving guidance and advice on what would be the best path for their financial future.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I can’t really go into specific cases, but I recently went through a rebrand from the typical last name of a firm to an “actual name.” Previously, because of legal reasons I was unable to do so, because by law you couldn’t use trade names, you had to use the names of partners. I worked with a marketing agency to go through the entire branding process of selecting a name, logo, messaging and a new website.

My goal was (and is) to transition from a traditional law firm to a more modern law firm that could meet clients where they need. Utilizing technology (such as optional virtual meetings) has allowed me to also expand office hours to meet with clients on their time.

Fantastic. Let’s now shift to discussing the business of law. Can you tell us a bit about the nature of your practice and what you focus on?

I am a bankruptcy lawyer, helping individuals, small business owners and small businesses with both Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings throughout the state of Arizona. I also provide tax resolutions services helping clients solve their IRS problems. My firm also helps individuals with debt defense, debt settlements and other consumer protection services, such as dealing with abusive debt collectors. Additionally, I also help consumers deal with student loan issues.

You are a successful attorney. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? What unique qualities do you have that others may not? Can you please share a story or example for each?

The three biggest character traits most instrumental to my success​​, in no order of importance, are dedication, listening and passion for helping others. Bankruptcy can be a tough field as there is such a negative perception of people who file bankruptcy and those who are bankruptcy attorneys. But I have a passion for helping people and not judging their current life situation. Individuals never know what life will bring, I think more than ever we all saw that though COVID, and everyone deserves a second chance.

Do you think where you went to school has any bearing on your success? How important is it for a lawyer to go to a top-tier school?

I think the quality of the education is more important than the status of the school. I was able to attend the University of San Diego School of Law (a high level school) and the quality of education I received along with the real world examples from the professors, has everything to do with my success.

Managing being a law practitioner and a business owner is a constant balancing act. How do you manage both roles?

It is just something I have to do — there is no other option. When I have a heavier caseload, I make sure to block time on my calendar to take care of the business related aspects. But I always make sure to not take on too many cases at one time, so that I can make sure that I have time to personally work with every client. This also includes the time I need to take care of the business related items.

Can you help articulate the entrepreneurial skills a lawyer needs to run and lead a successful law firm?

There are quite a few entrepreneurial skills a lawyer needs to run and lead a successful law firm. My accounting background certainly helps from a financial standpoint. Also, having someone internally or working with a marketing or PR agency is important as well. Especially when starting out, when you are competing with law firms (who are often aggregating leads) with large national advertising budgets, you need someone on a local level who can help you marketing and tell your story. Trust the skills that you have and trust the skills of others!

As a business owner you spend most of your time working IN your practice, seeing clients. When and how do you shift to working ON your practice? (Marketing, upgrading systems, growing your practice, etc.) How much time do you spend on the business elements?

I spend 75% of my time helping clients and 25% running the business. I shift when needed, and now with a lot of advancements in technology and software specific to the law industry, such as Clio and Lawmatics, ​​ I am able to organize and automate many aspects of running the business that used to take a lot of my time and energy.

Can you share some specific, non intuitive insights from our personal experience about how a leader of a law firm should:

Manage personnel: Take time to understand your employees and what they want and what their goals are. Sometimes they want to also become an attorney, sometimes they just are happy with where they currently are — and that is ok. But knowing where your employees are and what their goals are is important.

Hire and fire: This might be intuitive but I don’t think many implement it — but I can’t reiterate the statement: hire slow and fire fast. Just because you need someone doesn’t mean it has to be literally anyone, and often you know within 30 days if it is working or not.

Generate leads: Make sure you are asking for reviews. If you are doing a good job helping people — they are almost always willing to leave a review. These reviews go a long way in generating new leads.

Advertise: Google is really the only game out there that matters. Again it is hard to compete with the big national advertising budgets. Finding key words you can compete with that clients are searching for, without breaking the bank, is key.

Manage finances: Besides having an accounting degree? :) If you don’t have a financial background, hiring someone you trust to manage it for you, even if it is outsourced, is very important.

Ok, thank you. Here is the main question of our interview about the business side of law. What are your 5 Things An Attorney Needs To Know In Order To Create A Successful And Thriving Law Practice.

  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses and hire accordingly. If you are great at things like finances and marketing own those. If you struggle in knowledge with topics such as human resources, hire someone smarter that you can trust to make sure everything is being taken care of.
  • Be responsive and spend time understanding what your clients need. When individuals are calling an attorney for the first time, they might often be nervous. The more you listen and are understanding the better job you can do for your clients (they don’t always need an attorney and it’s ok to give them that advice to save them time and money).
  • Network! It is amazing how many referrals you can get by networking. Especially if other attorneys don’t cover your specific field, when they have a client they can’t help, they will think of you!
  • Utilize SEO and marketing to make sure you are searchable for the key words in which you practice (this is often an overlooked tactic). You can do this yourself or you can hire internally or use an agency.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews and referrals. If you are a good attorney your clients will not only refer friends and family to you but will also leave a review (which is also great for SEO and searchability).

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I think the biggest thing would be to change the perceptions that people have of those who file bankruptcy. I know I mentioned this above, but often people who are filing bankruptcy are not doing it out of choice, but out of necessity.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can visit my website at or connect with me on Linkedin at

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

About the Interviewer: Eric L. Pines is a nationally recognized federal employment lawyer, mediator, and attorney business coach. He represents federal employees and acts as in-house counsel for over fifty thousand federal employees through his work as a federal employee labor union representative. A formal federal employee himself, Mr. Pines began his federal employment law career as in-house counsel for AFGE Local 1923 which is in Social Security Administration’s headquarters and is the largest federal union local in the world. He presently serves as AFGE 1923’s Chief Counsel as well as in-house counsel for all FEMA bargaining unit employees and numerous Department of Defense and Veteran Affairs unions.

While he and his firm specialize in representing federal employees from all federal agencies and in reference to virtually all federal employee matters, his firm has placed special attention on representing Veteran Affairs doctors and nurses hired under the authority of Title. He and his firm have a particular passion in representing disabled federal employees with their requests for medical and religious reasonable accommodations when those accommodations are warranted under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (ADA). He also represents them with their requests for Federal Employee Disability Retirement (OPM) when an accommodation would not be possible.

Mr. Pines has also served as a mediator for numerous federal agencies including serving a year as the Library of Congress’ in-house EEO Mediator. He has also served as an expert witness in federal court for federal employee matters. He has also worked as an EEO technical writer drafting hundreds of Final Agency Decisions for the federal sector.

Mr. Pines’ firm is headquartered in Houston, Texas and has offices in Baltimore, Maryland and Atlanta, Georgia. His first passion is his wife and five children. He plays classical and rock guitar and enjoys playing ice hockey, running, and biking. Please visit his websites at and He can also be reached at



Eric L. Pines
Authority Magazine

Eric L. Pines is a nationally recognized federal employment lawyer, mediator, and attorney business coach