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But the narrative arc is incomplete if it only tells a rags to riches story of an inmates kid who did well. Although he had won multi-million dollar settlements, built a thriving brand, and had all of the trappings of “success” it still left him feeling empty. “The truth is I was a crazy man in Las Vegas. I was an adulterer. I ruined my first marriage with adultery and would have ruined my second marriage too. I had everything everybody wanted but I was just a broken dude who was good at hiding it.” On April 26, 2006, on the verge of his second marriage crumbling, he cried out “God, I can’t do this anymore.”
The epiphany came for Lerner reading his bible one morning when “I realized that God, in the person and image of Christ, died on that cross for me and that I must be worth loving if the King of the universe was willing to die for me. If He loved me in the sinful, shameful, way that I had been living I must be worth loving and I could finally love myself. Once I could love myself I could truly be intimate with my wife and love her the way she needed to be loved and not the way I wanted to love her. This changed my marriage, changed me in the community, changed me as a boss. It was simply a radical transformation, an almost Pauline conversion. I finally had a purpose and a calling to use my God given gifts not for me, but for His glory, and to touch people’s lives.” That is exactly what he has set out to do since the date his mission in life changed.
Lerner and Rowe Gives Back, their charitable foundation, today donates nearly ten thousand fully stocked and supplied back-to-school backpacks, sponsors a 5K run against human trafficking, supports the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada's annual Superhero 5K, sponsors the Cops and Burgers fundraiser event for Special Olympics and their 7th annual golf tournament in December raised $460,000 to support Arizona charities. They also offer a scholarship program to assist low-income students, and these are just a few of the many charitable endeavors the company is involved with.
“Ours is not just a business focused on law or injured people, but it’s a business focused on our communities,” he remarks. Community involvement is absolutely the greatest way to engage your employees and your community. Tens of thousands of people a year have benefitted from their Thanksgiving turkey giveaways, in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Indiana, Nashville and Chicago.
“You never realize how blessed you are until you see what others don’t have. When you drive by our giveaway in Tucson – giving 1,500 turkeys away – and you see people sleeping in line the night before to get a $25 turkey, my God.” The company usually provides for 10,000 families every Thanksgiving. Lerner and Rowe has two full time members engaged in ministry throughout the country and is always willing to work with other companies, lawyers or non-lawyers, to teach them how to get involved in their communities. Voted the most philanthropic business in Phoenix six years running it appears that they may know how to lend a hand.
Also in the spirit of helping others, Lerner is founder of Law M3, a mentoring project aimed to help attorneys be the best versions of themselves.
“I really think it is incumbent upon us in any profession. That’s how people get better. Just as the Bible says, ‘iron sharpens iron.’ You mentor people, to get them to be leaders in their own communities.”
Lerner believes that the future of his profession, especially post-Covid, is going to be in consolidation. “I believe a lot of law firms nationwide are struggling but most lawyers don’t believe that there is an exit strategy and they make the mistake of just leaving it to guys that work for them or taking an earn out. Our focus now is finding firms around the country who are looking for an exit strategy as we believe that bringing in strong management and efficiencies as well as a winning culture can make any firm a better version of itself and with our marketing power and leadership we can allow good brands to become great brands.
We believe that the money is ready to move into the single event personal injury legal space at a greater pace with the success that Wall Street has seen in the funding of mass torts. Our practice area simply gives more consistent returns and with the changes to the laws in Arizona allowing non-lawyer investment in law firms we believe that we are poised to be leaders in this phase of consolidation nationwide as few other firms have our reputation, track record of consistency, managerial experience or resources.”
Ultimately Lerner’s goal in going into other markets is evangelical as well. “As we go into other cities so does our Lerner and Rowe Gives Back. We can keep growing our business and making more and more of an impact nationwide with our brand with the added benefit of greater employee engagement in the communities we serve as they know they are part of something that's more than just a law firm.”
Picasso once said: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” For Glen Lerner, he has indeed found, and bestowed his gifts, to countless individuals who have benefitted from his help.
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