Brian Glass

Episode 011

Brian Glass

Firm: Ben Glass Law

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Show Notes

In this episode of “Celebrating Justice,” Brian Glass shares his journey of becoming a trial lawyer and the experiences that led him to ultimately achieve his goal of working with his father, Ben Glass, at Ben Glass Law. Brian talks about his path from being an uncertain law school graduate during the economic downturn of 2008 to working in different firms and eventually finding his passion for trial law. He discusses the challenges and rewards of representing clients and shares tips on the importance of delivering excellent customer service that leaves a lasting impression. Brian also recounts a memorable case involving a drunk driving accident and the trial that led to his record-setting verdict in Virginia. The conversation covers various topics, including the outcomes of legal cases, and for his “Closing Argument,” Brian emphasizes the importance of what he calls “Living Life by Design.”

Key Takeaways

  • The influence of family, life and priorities can play a significant role in career choices.
  • Finding one’s passion and area of expertise is crucial for success in any profession.
  • Delivering excellent customer service is essential for building trust and loyalty with clients.
  • Lawyers should be intentional about their careers and lives, considering what they truly want.
  • “Living Life by Design” means creating options for oneself and making choices that align with personal values and goals.


[Theme Song Plays]

Brian Glass: You have this one -way journey through life and you only get to experience it once… So yeah, we took that case to trial and it started in Fairfax County on the same day as the Johnny Depp Amber Heard trial… And so what we’ve focused on here is being good trial lawyers, but delivering excellent customer and client service… 

Narrator: Welcome to Celebrating Justice presented by the Trial Lawyer’s Journal and CloudLex, the next-gen legal cloud platform built exclusively for personal injury law. Get inspired by the nation’s top trial lawyers and share in the stories that shape our pursuit of justice. Follow the podcast and join our community at Now here’s your host, editor of TLJ and VP of marketing at CloudLex, Chad Sands. 

Chad Sands: Welcome back friends to Celebrating Justice. In this episode, we’re hearing stories from trial lawyer, Brian Glass. It’s a family business for Brian at Ben Glass Law, but it wasn’t always that way. Join us as we dive into his impressive career and uncover the passion that drives his pursuit of justice. First, I asked him, why did you want to become a trial lawyer? 

Brian Glass: I should have a better answer to this question, but I don’t. Growing up, my dad was a trial lawyer. He was a medical malpractice and a serious injury lawyer here in Virginia. I went to law school in 2005 to 2008, kind of not knowing what I wanted to do when I got out. And for that reason, applied to a whole bunch of different jobs, right? Big law, small law, mid law. And in 2008 was a hard time to get out of law school and find a job. My first job was at a general practice firm, the only job that made me an offer. And it wasn’t a good fit, right? I had no training, just kind of thrown into —Like I swear I got sworn in on Tuesday and I was in court representing somebody on a traffic ticket on Wednesday by myself. Which is not a good setup for me. And so I lasted there like maybe four months and I gave my notice left and started working at a trial law firm. You know, I was in the same city as my dad, but across town because I didn’t, we never really had the conversation about do you want to come and work with me for me?

But I didn’t want to work for him because I didn’t want to, you know, I wanted to make my own way and make my own friends, my own way of doing things. So in 2009, I started in an auto accident firm. And it was interesting because of my clients, I probably only talked to 25 % of them in the beginning because all the communication was done through the Korean speaking staff. But as I was kind of figuring out what kind of a lawyer do I want to be, I was trying criminal cases, I was trying civil cases, and I just didn’t like hanging out in the criminal and the traffic hallways and talking with old grumpy curmudgeonly lawyers. So I got out of the criminal work and made my way over to more, more auto accidents. And what I loved about that is, you know, it’s only one of the only areas in the law where you’re totally decoupled from your hourly rate, right? As a plaintiff’s contingency fee lawyer, the entire basis for how you make more money: you become a better lawyer, you attract a better class of clients and you run those cases more efficiently. And so you have really three, three layers of levers to pull in order to increase your income. And so I saw that as like, all right, if you can figure out how to learn a little bit more about the business and apply that to good customer service and being a good lawyer, you can make a whole lot of money doing this. And I also enjoyed being on stage. So I like talking to judges. I like talking to juries. That’s kind of how I wound up down the rabbit hole of

of trying civil cases, trying auto accident cases for a living. 

Chad Sands: What about, you know, growing up with your dad, did he drag you to the courtroom? 

Brian Glass: So definitely never got dragged to a courtroom. You know, obviously there was take your kid to work day. We went and we watched trials. I vividly remember, you know, he had some some dog bite case. I must not have been older than eight or nine, and brought home the medical visual medical illustrations with some girl whose face had been bitten by a dog. So I remember that, but we weren’t deeply embedded in it. 

Chad Sands: Thinking back to that first firm you worked at when you mentioned you were trying to really figure out what you wanted to focus on with your career. What do you think you really took away the most that helped you?

Brian Glass: I got to try a lot of cases. So I sometimes joke that a lot of my client base, they all knew what to do after a car crash. Right? And when everybody sort of knows that that’s how you do it, you wind up with a lot of cases which have scratches to the bumper, a $7 000 emergency room bill, and then a $7,000 chiropractor bill. And insurance companies don’t love those cases. So it gives you a lot of opportunity to go in and try them. So I was in trial probably once a month, early on. 

And the thing is, if I were going back to that part of my career, I probably would have gone and done insurance defense for two years, knowing what I know now. And instead of trying 12 cases a year, I would have tried 100 because those people were in there three times a week. 

Chad Sands: Yeah. A lot of people I talked to do, you know, some of them do start on the defense side. What was it like though working, you were a young lawyer and most of your clients, as you said, didn’t even speak English or didn’t even communicate through you. So what was it like working with the translators and having that relationship with them when you’re trying to work directly with the client?

Brian Glass: Yeah, so there’s really two components to that, right? The translators are our office staff for the most part, right? Outside of any court proceeding, I was just communicating to the office staff. That cost me probably some opportunities early on to learn the soft skills of getting clients to do what’s best for them and what’s best for their case. And it cost me a couple of years of learning really how to educate and figuring out what’s the most important thing to the person on the other end of the phone.

Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s time. Sometimes it’s, I can’t wait a year to go to trial and I will take a little bit less money to do it now. And all of those are soft skills that trial lawyers learn as you’re handling more and more cases and as you have more and more client communication. And then of course there’s the translator in a deposition and that, thank God I’m not doing that anymore. Because there’s nothing worse than three hours of listening to a Korean or whatever language it is, back and forth. And you can, like, the question will, I don’t know, 25 words, like a 30 second question. And then there’s three minutes of back and forth. And then the answer comes back and it’s very short. And you’re like, you didn’t translate all of that, I know. So yeah, I don’t have that frustration anymore, but those, I’ve been in some painful depositions. 

Chad Sands: Do you have a funny deposition story? 

Brian Glass: Do I have funny — Yes. Can I tell it on your show? [laughs]… So we were representing a guy who’d been hit from behind by a driver that then drove away from the scene. The police officer shows up on the scene and he’s making the report. And we had the police report and we had the police officer’s name. And this defense lawyer who I didn’t know is going down this rabbit hole of, do you remember the police officer? How tall was he? What did he look like? Did he have brown hair? Was he blonde? Blue eyes? And finally, my client who’s a good old boy. Just looks at her and goes, “Ma ‘am, I’m not gay. I don’t know.” [laughing]

Chad Sands: Very direct, right? You’re asking the wrong questions. You’re asking the wrong guy. That’s funny. So I know you do a lot of stuff. You have your own podcast. You’re really active on social. What makes you unique as a trial lawyer? 

Brian Glass: So I’ll tell you, and I’m not sure that it’s as a trial lawyer. One of the things that we figured out in our business a couple of years ago is that most cases don’t go to trial. The vast, vast majority of cases don’t go to trial. And so having a unique selling proposition that I’m a better trial lawyer is kind of of limited value, I think. And so what we’ve focused on here is being good trial lawyers, but delivering excellent customer and client service. Because people never know had they hired somebody else, whether they would have gotten a better result or a worse result, faster, longer, whatever. But they do know how their client experience was with your firm and they are comparing that client experience with every other business that they come into contact with. The example that I give is you can either be Chick -fil -A, which everything is my pleasure, my pleasure, my pleasure. Yes, we can do that. Or you can be the firm that answers the phone, law offices, or it rings and it goes to a phone tree and somebody might call you back in 72 hours. And people know because they do business with every other business in the world.

And so our focus has really been on delivering an excellent customer service experience. Every client gets a phone call at least every 30 days to check in on how they’re doing. Even if there’s no update in their case, we’ve integrated with softwares like Hona to deliver a case status updates depending on the case stage. So somebody moves from treating to in a demand setting, for instance, they get a push notification that takes them to a web app that says, “Here’s the seven things that people are most likely to ask when they’re at your stage. Do you have any questions beyond this? Give us a call,” right? And so that’s a great augmentation of good client customer service that we’re already delivering. 

Chad Sands: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s a great answer. You mentioned using software to give updates, staying in contact every 30 days, no matter what. What other tips do you have to share about really creating that customer experience that leaves a lasting impression? 

Brian Glass: So it’s doing all the little things — lasting impression. That’s an interesting turn of phrase because you know, how many of us have had the experience where you have a new client and they were in a crash three or five years ago and they settled the claim and it was in the same state, but they’re calling you instead of the lawyer that handled it last time. Why is that? Because they don’t remember who the lawyer that handled it last time is. People do business with people that they know, like and trust. And so from the time that you come through our door, we’re trying to build that. And we build it by, we have a print newsletter, it’s eight pages, it goes out every month. None of it is about the law, right? People don’t care the five things that you should do in your auto accident. They care about what trip did you take with your family? I have a paralegal who fosters kittens. There’s always pictures of her kittens. I have a paralegal who’s an amateur pole vaulter. You know, her competition pictures are in there. All of that is to build know like and trust, really not with me so much as with my team. So like again, if you go and you look at our Google reviews, most of them don’t mention the lawyers. Most of them talk about the staff because we really built them up and try to celebrate them. So we have that print newsletter. We mail to new clients what we call a shock and awe box. So most of my clients have never set foot in my office. They’ve done a phone consultation. They’ve docu -signed, become a client. And so we mail them a big box of stuff, t -shirt, branded teddy bear, you know, down to a book on how to be a great client. And, and we have another one, this is, it’s called “Everything the Insurance Company Knows about Truth, Justice and Fairness,” and it’s totally blank inside, right? It’s a journal for the course of your case. And what we’re really good at is going into other industries and pulling out things that we like about those industries and bringing them back. What happens with lawyers, we do these consultations and then you go to a CLE and you say, well, we need to have a social media policy. Or if you declare bankruptcy, you need to tell me. And we put all of that in our retainer agreement. 

Sometimes we mention in the initial consultation, but nobody’s actually reading the retainer agreement, right? So you have to be giving them physical things that they will hold onto and look at after the initial consultation. And if you mail somebody a book, like people, we just don’t throw out books. It’s just not how it works. So, you know, we use all of those little touch points as opportunities to create know, like and trust relationship with our clients.

Chad Sands: Those are great tips. I mean, and it’s interesting, no like and trust. It almost sounds like Google’s eat, you know, authority when you’re talking about digital marketing and expertise and authority and trust. You’re doing that in the physical world directly with your clients. Those are a lot of great tips. Let’s get back to the stories. I know it’s hard to choose one, but could you share a story about one case that had a lasting impression on you?

Brian Glass: Yeah, it’s easy for me to choose one. So I had the the largest auto accident verdict in the state in 2022. I represented a woman who was hit head on by a drunk driver and just suffered catastrophic injuries. 11 surgeries, 40 days in the hospital, half million dollars in medical costs. She was in a war colostomy bag for I think a year and a half. And it’s funny that the overlap between her path home and his path home. They were both within a mile of their house when this crash happened. It was the only half mile stretch of road that the two were on at the same time and just wrong place, wrong time. So yeah, we took that case to trial and it started in Fairfax County on the same day as the Johnny Depp Amber Heard trial. So my whole team came over to watch opening statements in my trial and I thought, geez, look how much the team cares they’re here because they want to see how great their boss is at trial.

No, they were, they were sneaking, four court rooms down, to try to catch a glimpse of the back of Johnny Depp’s head. 

Chad Sands: That’s so funny. I will never forget that trial because I got COVID like the day before it started. And so like, I got to watch the whole trial, like, well, I had COVID in bed. I’ll just never forget that trial. 

Brian Glass: Well, there was a, there was a lot. I mean… and I know some of the lawyers involved because they’re local and I can’t imagine trying a case in the national spotlight when everything is being broadcast and in an age where a lot of people are sitting at home like you, you know, with with nothing to do but watch your trial or or make TikToks. How stupid you are. So that, yeah, I don’t envy the lawyers that took that case on locally. And I would never ever want to try a case that’s in the spotlight like that. 

Chad Sands: So how did your case unfold? How did that verdict come out and how does your client doing? 

Brian Glass: She’s doing great now, all things considered. Our case, it was interesting because I always thought if I were defending this case, I would just say we made a mistake, you know, do something reasonable. Yeah. And at no point was that the defense. So in Virginia, you can get punitive damages and a drunk driving case if the blood alcohol is over a 0 .15. He was a 0 .16. They brought in a toxicologist to say, no, no, no, the medicine is wrong. He really was a 0 .14. But it didn’t matter. If we’re arguing one point on either side of it, doesn’t matter. They argued at one point, this guy had driven home from a casino. And he said, I had two beers at dinner and that was it. Our toxicologist said, no, somebody his size and weight would have had to have nine or 10 drinks to be that drunk. And the police, when they pulled him out of the car, they found a bottle of fireball in the driver’s door well. 

And they cross-examined the cop on, well, the scene wasn’t entirely secure because it was chaotic, because there were EMTs there. And like somebody could have, maybe somebody else placed the fireball bottle. And you know, it’s just unbelievable. And so I saved that. I’m like, we’ll just put that in the back pocket. And then she got up, the defense lawyer got up in closing argument and she said the word accountability and responsibility like 17 times. We took accountability, except responsibility. Just do something reasonable. Said, “You know, jury, they just told you that maybe there was a magical fireball fairy like dropping bottles of whiskey in the door well. And now she wants to tell you accountability.” I think the first thing that I said in rebuttal was like, “Did we watch the same trial? Were we in the same courtroom?” So I asked the jury for 10 million. They gave me four and a quarter. A million of that was punitive damages, which ties the record in Virginia for the largest punitive damage award. It was reduced to 350, which is the statutory cap on punitives. But yeah, what my client really wanted was to have her voice heard. And so she was really, really happy at the end of all that, you know, not with the money, because the money doesn’t, in cases that size, it’s really not about the money. But with the fact that she felt like her voice was heard, and you can’t declare bankruptcy out of an alcohol related event. So that was an excess of the insurance policy limit. And that’ll follow him around. So she’s really, really felt like she got justice. 

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Now here is this episode’s closing argument.

Brian Glass: As a human being first, but as a lawyer second, you have this one -way journey through life and you only get to experience it once. And most lawyers spend so much time chasing the next case and the next dollar and the next promotion and title, you know, without ever really thinking about where is it that I want to be at the end of all of this.

And recognizing that our industry is near the top, if not at the top, in terms of anxiety, depression, suicide, alcoholism, divorce, all those things that you want to avoid. But we also make a lot of money. And there are ways in your career to pull two levers, to make more money and to spend less money, to create options for yourself, even if you’re somebody who graduated law school with $150,000, $200,000 in debt. And life is all about having those options so that when you get to pivot points, you can say, no, I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to do this kind of law anymore. I don’t want to live here anymore. And creating the ability to go and, you know, kind of live the life that you want to live. I call it “Living Life by Design.” 

And so one pivotal moment for me and the reason that I joined my dad’s firm back in 2019, I was at a firm, I was a partner, I’d been a partner only for about 18 months. My name was on the door. A couple of things happened. We had somebody quit. We made a decision not to expand office space into the office next door. And then my wife, when she gave birth to our third boy, like almost died. 16 units of blood transfused. She was in the ICU for a couple of days. He was in the NICU for 10 days. And at the time my dad was 60 and I just thought like, if I don’t go and do it now, I might never get a chance to go and practice with them. 

And having the ability in your life to make those kinds of life altering decisions is really important. And knowing, at the end of the day, what it is that you want. And one of the things that I wanted before we got to the end of my career was a chance to practice with my dad. And he’s gone through a little bit of a health scare this year. And so we’re working through that and we’ve built here now a firm that’s grown 4X in the five years that we’ve been here and it’s a lot of fun. 

If you find yourself in a practice and it’s not a lot of fun, you want to have the flexibility and the capability to hit the reset button and go and do something that is, because that’s why we’re here. So I’m 40. Statistically speaking, I’m half way through my life. But by the time you’re 65, you maybe can’t do all the things that you can do at 40. And so not putting off until the end of your life, the travel and the time with family.

Most lawyers were just not very intentional about our careers and our lives. And so I would challenge lawyers to spend a little bit of time thinking about what the hell do I actually want out of this thing? And then what would I have to sacrifice in order to get it?

Chad Sands: That was trial lawyer, Brian Glass. Thanks for sharing those stories. To learn more about Brian and his firm, visit their website, All right, I’m Chad Sands. Thanks for listening. See you next time.

Narrator: You’ve been listening to Celebrating Justice presented by CloudLex and the Trial Lawyer’s Journal. Remember, the stories don’t end here. Visit to become part of our community and keep the conversation going. And for a deeper dive into the tools that empower personal injury law firms, visit to learn more.