In order to create a successful business from nothing, you need to begin with the right mindset and constantly develop your business skills to make progress—as Gregory Ward has learned over the span of his career. For Ward, an attorney who started out as a defense lawyer, making the leap to launching something of his own was a tough transition at first.
Initially, after founding a law firm with a trusted group of professionals, Ward achieved accomplishments quickly. However, these highs didn’t last.
A series of personal challenges—including a divorce, illness and death in his family and the failure of multiple businesses—pushed Ward into a deep hole of debt amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars in the negative. With a young daughter to raise, he found himself unable to afford necessities and unsure of what to do. His life had taken a turn for the worse.
Despite his dire financial circumstances, Ward decided to keep moving forward and embark on a new journey. In 2012, he and his wife, Jany Martínez-Ward, opened The Ward Law Group as a personal injury firm that primarily caters to Spanish-speaking clients. Martínez-Ward’s firsthand knowledge of the struggles that Hispanic immigrants can have when dealing with a foreign legal system was the driving force behind this focus.
Ward himself had formerly represented insurance companies and was familiar with the process that carriers use when determining whether a person has a valid claim. From this experience, he realized the most vulnerable clients were often non-native English speakers and immigrants.
The pair first began running their business from a small office with nothing but a cellphone, foldable table and laptop. It took time for their firm to attract clients, but they had faith in achieving success.
“When Jany and I founded The Ward Law Group, we had the mission to become the best family-owned personal injury law firm with a focus on Spanish speakers,” Ward says. “We wanted to provide our clients with top customer service in the industry while maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards.”
Since The Ward Law Group’s inception, Ward says they have been able to scale it by 40%–50% every year. He and Martínez-Ward have also shifted from handling all tasks themselves, expanding their team, including employees located abroad. Additionally, Ward shared about a significant milestone for his team: achieving a confidential settlement in excess of $100 million, which brings the firm’s total settlements to over $500 million.
Ward attributes The Ward Law Group’s success partly to the core values underpinning it: service to the clients, team and community, along with faith, accountability, leadership and loyalty. In reference to his own accomplishments, he is grateful to his mentors who have helped him improve and grow over the years. He believes their knowledge has enabled him to learn more quickly than he would have without their guidance.
Throughout his career, Ward has received recognition from various publications and organizations, such as Florida Trend Magazine and Super Lawyers. Beyond his work with his firm, he pursues other interests related to his expertise, including writing contributions to publications and taking on speaking engagements, such as his guest appearance on the Personal Injury Lawyer Marketing & Management Association’s Grow Your Law Firm podcast. He also hopes to offer classes that help entrepreneurs scale their businesses sustainably through systems and processes that can enable companies to grow without sacrificing quality.
When looking back at where they started, both Ward and Martínez-Ward are elated to have built a profitable law firm from the ground up and celebrate the numerous cases they have won for the underrepresented Hispanic immigrant population.
“We have not only fought for our clients to get the compensation they deserve, but we have [also] used our expertise to walk clients step-by-step through the process of accessing medical care and helping themselves and their families heal again,” Ward says. “It’s been a blessing to represent these individuals and teach them that they deserve justice no matter where they’re from, the language they speak or the color of their skin.”
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