Fireproof: Resilience Strategies for Contingency Fee Law Firms

Ari Kornhaber

Ari Kornhaber

Founder, EVP and Head of Corporate Development

mike morse

Michael Morse

Attorney & Founder of Mike Morse Law Firm

In this blog, we delve into  the story of  Mike Morse, founder of Michigan’s largest personal injury firm, Mike Morse Law Firm – a journey that offers insights for developing resilience strategies and exemplifies what it takes to thrive amid crises. Mike Morse is the best-selling author of the book Fireproof.

Resilience: A Business Necessity

No business, especially not a personal injury law firm operating on a contingency fee basis is immune to adversity. The real test comes not from facing setbacks but from the ability to rebound and improve thereafter. Resilience, therefore, isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential.

Even the most successful personal injury law firms can face devastating challenges like loss of major clients, unexpected economic downturns, and more. The key to not just surviving but thriving after a tragic event is resilience — having the structures, processes, and mindset in place to adapt and rebuild stronger than before.

The story of Mike Morse’s personal injury law firm offers crucial lessons in building a fireproof law firm that can withstand any disaster through effective resilience strategies.

Navigating Disasters with Agility

Mike Morse Law Firm’s first major test came when a midnight blaze burned down the firm’s newly purchased 6,400 square foot office building. While this was emotionally devastating, Mike’s team team displayed exceptional adaptability. They set up a temporary office in a parking lot, ensuring that by 9 a.m., depositions and court appearances proceeded without a hitch. This response not only kept the firm afloat but also underscored the importance of agile crisis management and preparedness in maintaining client trust and service continuity.

The second “fire” was losing a stream of referral cases that made up 70% of their business revenue overnight. Without any warning, a referring firm abruptly ended its relationship with Mike’s firm. This unexpected financial hit could have sunk the firm, but Mike viewed it as a wake-up call to never put all their eggs in one basket again. Instead of scrambling to replace the lost revenue by forging referral relationships with other firms, Mike began investing in TV advertising to market his firm directly to potential clients. Slowly but surely, he was able to replace then exceed the lost revenue stream.

The Power of Team Cohesion

Adversity often serves as a litmus test for a team’s strength and cohesion. In the case of Mike Morse Law Firm, it highlighted the strength and unity of Mike and his team. During the fire crisis, each member took on crucial roles, from salvaging IT equipment to establishing a temporary workspace. This collective effort not only kept the firm operational but also reinforced the second strategy: Foster a cohesive team where each member understands and can execute their part in emergency protocols.

5 Keys to Making a More Resilient Law Firm

In response to these crises, Mike developed a “fireproof” business model focused on resilience through:

  1. Cross-trained teams

When the fire struck, no single person had all the knowledge of what to do. But by specializing the team members in different roles and responsibilities, the law firm could collectively problem-solve and support for each other.

  1. Redundancy and documentation

Key processes, data, and intellectual property were backed up and documented across multiple people and systems. That way, the firm could operate uninterrupted if any one person was unavailable.

  1. Diversified revenue streams

After losing the firm’s major referral channel, Mike realized the importance of not over-relying on any single client or marketing source for new business. Having multiple lead generators gave the firm its resilience and ability to continue to grow despite major setbacks.

  1. Building brand and image directly

Rather than renting leads from another firm and paying heavily for the privilege with a 40% referral fee, the firm found it was more cost effective to build their own TV advertising and digital marketing capabilities to control the messaging and directly promote their brand.

  1. An empowered, problem-solving culture

When crisis hit, Mike’s team didn’t wait to be told what to do, but proactively took ownership, collaborated, and found creative solutions to keep servicing clients without delay.  .

Cultivating Market Leadership Through Resilience Strategies

Surviving a crisis is one thing; emerging stronger is another. Firms that integrate resilience into their core operations set themselves apart as market leaders. By embracing these resilience strategies — from cross-training to diversification to a problem-solving mentality — law firms can fireproof themselves to withstand the unexpected fires that inevitably come.

Those that do will be positioned to not just survive but thrive, setting themselves up to excel amidst the industry’s inevitable challenges and become a market leader.

Watch the video above, to discover how to harness resilience strategies, team collaboration, and strategic problem-solving to overcome any challenge.

Special Offer – Complimentary Copy of Fireproof

Get a complimentary copy of Mike Morse’s best-selling book Fireproof. Simply click on the link below and then complete the form to request your copy of Fireproof.


Mike is the founder of Mike Morse Law Firm, the largest personal injury firm in Michigan. He lectures across the nation on best practices for running and building a successful law firm. Recently, he was named a #1 Amazon best-selling author for his book Fireproof.

Meet with Esquire Bank

Interested in funding sustainable law firm growth? Learn how your law firm can finance its case costs and free up capital to invest in key business areas and growth. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with an Esquire Bank Business Development Officer today at a time convenient to your schedule.



* The information provided on (or accessed through) this blog is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, and should not be relied on for, law firm operations, tax, legal or accounting advice. Some of the information may not be applicable or appropriate for all law firms. Please consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors as appropriate. Results may vary by law firm.

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  • Life Cycle Stage: Educated - Best Practices
  • Content Tier: silver
  • Content Type: video

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