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Home / Podcast  / 076: David vs. Goliath: Balancing Scales Between Legal Success and Personal Challenges with David A. Axelrod

Like the underdog in a courtroom drama, David A. Axelrod, an Illinois trial lawyer, shows us that the true measure of victory goes beyond the legal battlefield.

On this episode of Great Practice, Great Life, join Steve’s conversation with David, where David unfolds his personal and professional saga, illustrating how a grounded approach to law, coupled with a tenacious spirit, can build a practice that thrives on respect, communication, and strategic marketing. He recounts his transition from insurance defense to medical malpractice and personal injury cases. Also, he offers a glimpse into the trials he faced outside the courtroom, including his health battles and the support of his wife, Sharon.

There’s a thrill to hearing how David’s solo practice, started from scratch with a single phone and a relentless drive, blossomed through a simple and effective strategy: directly asking for business. His story is sprinkled with the wisdom of experience. This episode peels back the layers of a landmark case that pitted him against Walgreens, leading to a historic win that reshaped his career trajectory.

For those who wear both legal professional and family anchor hats, David shares his insights on achieving harmony between high-stake trials and personal life. We explore the motivations that should drive a law career and the importance of passion over profit.

The lessons here are for young attorneys charting their course and anyone striving to master the balancing act of ambition and family, risk and reward. David’s candidness and relatable anecdotes offer a blueprint for those dreaming of a great practice and great life.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • David’s transition from insurance defense to medical malpractice and personal injury law
  • His personal health battles, including a kidney transplant from his daughter
  • Beginning a solo practice with a simple marketing strategy: directly asking for business
  • The landmark case against Walgreens, resulting in the largest jury verdict in an Illinois death case at the time, simultaneously transforming David’s career
  • David’s advice on balancing a demanding legal career with personal life
  • The importance of family time and pursuing law out of passion rather than for profit
  • The critical role of David’s wife, Sharon, in his professional trajectory
  • Support systems in achieving success in both career and family life
  • Strategies for growing a legal practice, including persistence, continuous learning, detail orientation
  • Building relationships within the legal community
  • Maintaining a fulfilling life outside of the law, such as engaging in hobbies and making time for family, which contribute to overall well-being and success

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Supporting Resources:

Group Coaching

Tailored Coaching

David A. Axelrod & Associates, P.C.

David A. Axelrod: LinkedIn Profile

Steve Riley

Certified Practice Advisor & Attorney

Steve Riley has coached attorneys for more than 20 years. His one-on-one coaching focuses on a limited number of top producing attorneys committed to taking their practices to new levels of excellence, profit, and personal success. He also presents at group coaching workshops around the country for individual law firms, state bar associations, and other legal organizations.

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