Attorney at Law Magazine sat down with Craig Goldenfarb, the founder of GOLDLAW. Goldenfarb is a seasoned legal professional, transitioning from a successful litigator to a role overseeing client cases and major legal matters. He’s also a passionate advocate for community engagement, spearheading initiatives like the Emanuel McMiller Scholarship and Heart of the Game.
AALM: What motivated you to pursue a career in law?
CG: My mother was the first female professor at Harvard Law in 1967. Growing up, I watched as she defended alleged criminals and protected their rights, while facing the struggles of being a female lawyer in the 1970s and 1980s. Her passion for her career and for fighting for the rights of individuals inspired me to follow her path.
AALM: Your career has evolved from being a litigator to now overseeing teams and managing large cases at your firm. Could you share some insights into how this transition has impacted your perspective on the legal profession?
CG: I realized that I had a passion for business early in my legal career. I recognized that I could help a larger number of people fight for justice against insurance companies if I transitioned from trial attorney to law firm CEO.
AALM: Who are some of your mentors and the best lessons they imparted?
CG: My father-in-law, a personal injury attorney in Miami, was, and continues to be, my mentor. I was fortunate enough to have a mentor who taught me how to be a business owner in addition to being a trial attorney. The best advice he gave me was to respond rather than react, in every situation.
AALM: Your dedication to community involvement is evident through initiatives like the Emanuel McMiller Scholarship and Heart of the Game. Can you elaborate on what inspired you to create these charitable causes and how they align with your professional values?
CG: I have always been a person who wants to help any group of marginalized or underrepresented portion of our community. The scholarship was set up to help the urban community find their way into legal careers.
My second charity, Heart of the Game, was inspired by my witnessing several soccer players die in front of me during my soccer career. The fact that an available AED could have saved their lives was very empowering and led me to create a charity that gives away AEDs for free throughout Florida.
AALM: You’re the founder of the 7 Figure Attorney Summit. Could you tell us more about the summit’s purpose and the strategies you believe can empower attorney CEOs to enhance their practices?
CG: Law school did not teach us anything about how to manage people or run a business. Once I started down the path of becoming a CEO, I started learning these skills. I realized that other attorneys were struggling in these areas, so I developed a private coaching business and a seminar business (7 Figure Attorney), to help lawyers learn to run a profitable and fulfilling business, while still providing excellent professional service to their clients.
AALM: Could you share a memorable experience from your time playing NCAA Division I soccer at Duke University, and how that might have influenced your approach to your legal career?
CG: I learned the value of humility. As I was not a starter, I still had to practice just like everyone else, and train just as hard. It made me realize that no matter how good you are at something, there may be those who are better. This lesson taught me that “comparison is the thief of joy,” both in business and in life.
AALM: Your involvement in organizations like Compass and the Palm Beach County Human Trafficking Task force reflects your commitment to community engagement. How do these activities align with your vision for the role of a legal professional in society?
CG: As an attorney, we hold a position of authority in society. Leadership is about setting an example for others. My involvement in community organizations that support those who are in need, reflects my commitment to helping to “even the playing field” in life, for everyone in our community.
AALM: Your mother’s background as a Harvard Law School graduate and the first female teaching fellow at Harvard surely had an impact on your choice to pursue a legal career. How do you think her legacy has shaped your approach to the law and leadership?
CG: I have used my mother’s example in order to develop some grit and determination. Witnessing the struggles she faced as a female attorney in southwest Florida helped me realize that “leaning into your discomfort” is where real growth occurs.
AALM: What advice would you give to young lawyers who are just starting their careers?
CG: Don’t be so focused on what you earn. Be focused on the culture and opportunities for growth at any law firm or practice area you pursue. Those young lawyers who have a growth mindset and are lifelong, humble learners, are the lawyers who succeed in law, and in life.
AALM: What is something our readers would be surprised to learn about you?
CG: I have created a game room in my office for my employees, with a pinball machine, a foosball table, a bumper pool table, and an arcade machine with 80 arcade games from the 1980s. This has added to the excellent firm culture we have created at GOLDLAW. We have a lot of Gen Xers in our office, so I suspect we have some good bumper pool players!
AALM: Anything else to add?
CG: I am honored to be in a profession where we can truly help people. In my current role, as CEO, not only can I help my clients, but I have the opportunity to impact the team members at my company and many sectors of my community.