More Than a Jingle: Lerner and Rowe emphasize philanthropy as ‘the way to go’

More Than a Jingle: Lerner and Rowe emphasize philanthropy as ‘the way to go’

By Jordan Houston

Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys has built a reputation as one of the most reputable and successful law firms in the country.

Founders Glen Lerner and Kevin Rowe — with catchy slogans like “One Call, That’s All,” “In a Wreck, Need a Check?” and “Lerner and Rowe is the way to go, call 977-1900” — have dominated daytime TV, billboards and radio stations for years.

Boasting over 50 attorneys and roughly 400 support staff across Arizona, Nevada, California, Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico and Tennessee, the powerhouse duo has helped over 150,000 injured people recover billions of dollars for car/truck/motorcycle accidents; premises liability injuries; work-related injuries; and mass tort claims for recalled drugs and products including Roundup, 3M earplugs, Zantac, CPAP, hernia mesh, talcum powder, Elmiron, Paraquat and others.

According to Lerner, “The development of our mass torts department over the last five years is one of the things of which I am most proud. Everyone always knew us as one of the biggest accident firms in America, but now we have become one of the bigger mass tort players as well. It’s a tribute to our staff, the relationships we’ve developed with other top firms nationwide, and the knowledge gained from over 30-plus years of practice that gives our clients around the country the greatest opportunity for success with their claims.”

In Arizona, Lerner and Rowe has fully staffed offices in Phoenix, Bullhead City, Yuma, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Tolleson and Glendale. Since its inception, the Phoenix-based operation with the ubiquitous brand has grown to become far and away the largest personal injury law firm in the state. But what truly separates the company apart from the rest, according to Rowe, is its refusal to settle in one area — giving back to the community.

We’re never really content, and we’re not stagnant. We always want to continue to grow or look within and be better among ourselves and the firm,” the Southern California native says. “How can we learn to be better for our staff, our firm and for our clients? How can we expand to help people in other states?”

We have created a really wonderful work culture where we have engaged our employees to want to be involved with the things we do in this community,” adds Boston native Lerner, saying the firm’s Arizona offices are its most profitable and largest locations.

Lerner and Rowe’s nonprofit arm Lerner and Rowe Gives Back “pays forward the law firm’s achievements and successes by assisting other community organizations that serve children and families struggling from the recent economic downturn.”

The personal injury attorneys both highlight the latter’s emphasis on the firm as a “business” rather than just a law office.

Relational,’ not ‘transactional’

Founded by Rowe, the Lerner and Rowe Gives Back Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that seeks to provide direct benefits to those in need. It offers secondary support to myriad philanthropic organizations specializing in helping the “homeless, the hungry, the abused and sick and even to (our) four-legged friends.”

At the end of the day, we want to help those in the communities we serve,” says Rowe, also an emeritus board member for the Military Assistance Mission (MAM). “Everywhere we open up we have the foundation, not just the law firm. We are more than a law firm.”

The foundation hosted in April its ninth annual Charity Golf Classic, at the Scottsdale McCormick Ranch Golf Club. Underwritten by the firm, the event funnels all proceeds to local charities throughout the state, the attorneys explain. This year’s efforts raised over $560,000.

Most attorneys and most people — especially business owners — are transactional, not relational,” Lerner says. “It’s, ‘What can I get from this person or deal? What does this do for me?’ I guess, maybe growing up the way I did and (then) finding a partner who shares my same beliefs, we’re not like that.

The fundamental tenet of our faith is ‘Love God, love people,’” the father of four continues. “But how do you love God if you’re not loving people?”

Other foundation Arizona initiatives have included assembling at the Phoenix Metro Auto Auction in November 2021 to distribute more than 650 Thanksgiving meal packages, a $5,000 sponsorship for the Phoenix Light the Night Walk hosted by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and in March 2021, Lerner and Rowe Gives Back was a $20,000 Platinum Sponsor for Make-A-Wish Arizona’s annual Wish Ball.

Commercial success

In 2017 and 2018, the law office of Lerner and Rowe expanded its personal injury legal services from Arizona to New Mexico and Tennessee, opening law offices in Albuquerque and Nashville. In 2019, it rebranded offices in Nevada (the original office founded in 1991 by Lerner), Illinois and Indiana from Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys to Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys and has continued to flourish nationally.

The duo has now been together for nearly 25 years, which started when a new law school graduate, Rowe, was introduced to Lerner in Las Vegas by a mutual friend in 1998.

Kevin and I were two peas in a pod from day one, kind of cut from the same cloth,” Lerner says.

I had always thought I would never have a partner, but he was so good at overseeing day-to-day administration that he became the only attorney that ever worked for me — out of probably close to a hundred — that I offered the opportunity to be a partner. It’s the best business decision I ever made.”

You can look at partnerships over the years. Firms come and go and partnerships fail often,” Rowe says. “It’s crazy that ours has been so strong and great — and it’s stronger now than it has ever been, because of our friendship, love for one another and our families and what we do.”

Lerner adds, “We complement each other very well. The things that aren’t my strengths, he’s great at. The things that aren’t his strengths, I’m good at.”

Compatibility aside, it’s no secret that marketing techniques have played a major role in propelling Lerner and Rowe into the spotlight. Armed with a $30 million-plus advertising budget, the firm’s commercials are typically short and straightforward — incorporating an element of offbeat yet effective humor.

I think the real big thing for us has always been relatability. What you see on TV is exactly what you’re going to see when you walk in the office — minus the suits. We’re not going to be in suit jackets,” Rowe says with a laugh.

I think we bring some fun and humor to our commercials, but with that same humor, we’re also trying to get some issues across that may or may not be humorous. It’s a difficult and fine line, because we are talking about people’s lives at the end of the day.”

Rowe, who is admitted to the Supreme Court of Arizona and various federal courts, cites numerous occasions in which potential clients called from accident scenes or from inside ambulances because “they remembered” the firm’s catchy telephone jingle.

Auto accidents or injuries are right up there with one of the worst things that could happen to people,” Rowe says. “We’re trying to bring some humor and to let you know we’re the best — we have results and the experience.”

In 2020, The National Trial Lawyers — which analyzes dollars spent on advertising and the overall success of a firm’s yearly marketing efforts — named Lerner and Rowe the No. 2 law firm in the nation on its 100 Most Influential Advertising Law Firms in America list.

Lerner and Rowe kicked it up a notch in 2021 by recruiting musician and television personality Flavor Flav as the ultimate “hype man” for its Super Bowl LV commercial.

Humble beginnings

Lerner prides himself in fighting for “the little guy,” against big insurance companies and large corporations. “I grew up on welfare with a father in jail for double murder. I know what it’s like to have to fight and have the odds stacked against you. I am a fighter and never quit and I never want to quit for our clients, and I think at my core I exude that to our people and clients.” He has worked “odd jobs” throughout his life, including stints as a teamster and a garbage man, “to better understand many of the people he would someday represent.”

Ultimately, at the end of the day, we want someone to be better off from the relationship (with the firm) than they would’ve been without it,” Lerner says, noting there isn’t anything else he would rather do. “In all humility, I’m really good at this. I’ve been doing it for 31 years and have represented more people than probably anyone else in the United States over that time period. I’ve seen everything. I’ve tried lots of cases. Who would you rather have as your attorney, our firm with our experience and resources or some new guy you just saw on TV or a billboard with no experience? It’s a no-brainer.”

Lerner graduated in 1987 from Duke University, where he was a member of its 1986 NCAA Division I Men’s National Championship soccer team — with a major in religious studies. He is a 1990 graduate of Tulane Law School in New Orleans. By 1992, Lerner had started a solo practice in Las Vegas typing his own pleadings. He began running TV commercials in 1998, spending $10,000 per month, and the firm grew rapidly.

With an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and a Juris Doctor from the Southwestern University School of Law, Rowe joined forces with Lerner in 1998. They became Lerner and Rowe in 2005. Rowe is licensed to practice law in the states of Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Illinois and New Mexico and is a member of each state’s bar association.

He is also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, the Top 10 Insurance Bad Faith Trial Lawyers Association, Top 100 Trial Lawyers Association and the Top 25 Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association. Rowe has repeatedly been recognized as a Top Valley Lawyer by the North Valley Magazine since 2016.

Arizona has really embraced us and allowed us to do things we’ve wanted to. It’s a blessing they’ve taken us in and allowed us to help them,” Rowe continues.

We know we are truly blessed, and we want to continue to do the best job we can to help those individuals in their time of need. Our Facebook giveaways for the 25 days of Christmas or Christmas in July where we give away tens of thousands of dollars in gifts to those in need are some of the most rewarding things we do.”

For me, to grow up the way I did and to be able to feed 10,000 families at Thanksgiving the way we do, or give away a box truck of Christmas presents, or any of our constant giveaways is like being Robin Hood. We fight these insurance companies — who constantly take premiums from people and then don’t want to pay claims fairly — and then we give money back into our communities to touch lives,” says an almost defiant Lerner.

As part of its overarching mission to give back, the firm has “gone green” to reduce its ecological footprint. Interoffice changes have included recycling toner cartridges, purchasing recycled content office paper and adopting a shredding system — which saved over 52 trees in the past year.

Each ton of shredded recycled paper will save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 400 kilowatts of energy, 90 cubic feet of landfill space and 100 gallons of gasoline, the site continues.

Lerner and Rowe Gives Back is also exploring its role in helping Arizona combat human trafficking, which has some of the highest numbers of reported cases. The nonprofit was the 2021 title sponsor of the Phoenix Dream Center’s fifth annual Charity Golf Tournament, which supports efforts to end human trafficking. All funds raised were allocated toward the center’s human trafficking survivor program, which is one of the largest in the nation.

Lerner and Rowe truly is more than a law firm. It is the firm for you whether you are in an accident or just in need of a helping hand. They are, in the words of Lerner, “just two guys who never forgot where they came from and love people.”

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