Detroit area personal injury trial attorneys Christensen Law are celebrating the 7th anniversary of the firm’s founding.
It has been 7 years since the launch. Recently, the original five employees sat down to reminisce about the early days, what progress has looked like, and what they are looking forward to yet ahead.
Amid this unprecedented global pandemic, that, of course, meant it was a virtual meeting. However, despite the distance, they are closer than ever and have extended that initial circle to include a wider collection of like-minded individuals who now make up the close-knit team that is CLAW.
Watch the video here: CLAW YouTube
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
The core group – Dave, Sarah, Michelle, and Stephanie, had all been working together at a large metro Detroit firm. When Dave decided he wanted to go out on his own, he naturally looked first to his current team. Beforehand, he and Leslie weighed the pros and cons. “I remember saying to him, Dave, if you want to do this, you just have to go for it,” says Leslie. For his part, Dave remembers asking her to help with the new venture – for just a short while, maybe just six months – with accounting and operations and generally getting the business of the business established. “And here she is, seven years later…” he says with a sheepish grin.
Paralegal Stephanie McPherson recalls being a bit anxious when Dave asked her “to take a walk” with him one Friday afternoon. “I had already asked to leave early and was worried that perhaps I was going to be fired,” she recounts. But to her surprise and delight, he instead offered her a chance to join him in the new venture. There was absolutely no hesitation on her part. “It was a little scary at first, but looking back, it was the biggest reward professionally that I could have ever asked for.”
Conversely, firm administrator Michelle Waddell knew from the very first moment that it would be a huge success. “We already had something unique and very special with our team…there was a different outlook about how people should be treated.”
“Of course, it’s been a learning curve for us,” says managing attorney Sarah Stempky-Kime. Employees with young families and single mothers struggling to figure out the work-life balance meant the firm’s initial focus had to shift slightly from being a great place to work to ensuring they provided everything necessary to help the high-quality staff they had hired. “When you support and value your employees, it makes the firm culture that much stronger,” Sarah says. “If you care about people, they care about you, too.”
Dave is a big picture guy, Leslie says, so she understood that he needed quality people around him and that the firm’s culture was going to be critical – not only in terms of creating it, but also in sustaining it – and that meant finding the right people, with the right ethos and vision. As Dave recounts, “Priority one is taking care of one another and our clients.”
Watch the full video to learn more about CLAW’s commitment to each other, to clients with brain injuries, and to giving back to the community.
See some before and after shots of the first Southfield office below, and check out our CLAW Art Collection – works curated by Leslie and created by artists with disabilities.