THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 206
Interview on 07.07.2022

Hosted By
Kevin Daisey

Featuring Attorney

Brian Woolf



Managing Partner of
Woolf Law Firm, LLC

About Brian Woolf

Brian J. Woolf is the Managing Partner of Woolf Law Firm, LLC in Connecticut.

Brian had been engaged in the private law practice for over 25 years. His primary areas of practice are : Criminal Defense- State and Federal , Motor vehicle offenses, White Collar crimes, Personal Injury and Civil Litigation ( Plaintiff & Defense). He have represented hundreds of clients , ranging in allegations of every aspect of criminal defense from minor motor vehicle matters to murder. He had experienced in representing clients in almost every possible aspect of criminal law governed by State or Federal Statutes. ( my website contains an in depth description of all of these).
The Woolf Law Firm, LLC prides itself with treating each clients matter as the most important thing in that clients life, (as it ought to be,) and treating each client with dignity and respect.

Learn from his expertise and what trends are helping grow his firm on this episode of The Managing Partners Podcast!

Watch the Episode

Episode Transcript

Kevin Daisey:

All right, everybody. Welcome to another live recording of the Managing Partners Podcast. I’m Kevin Daisey, and I’ll be your host. Also, the founder of Array Digital, where we help law firms grow through digital marketing. Today, I got a special guest coming out of Connecticut. Brian Woolf, welcome to the show.

Brian Woolf:

Thank you, Kevin. Thank you for inviting me.

Kevin Daisey:

Absolutely. So, yeah. Thanks for joining me today to share more about you, your story, and how you operate your firm there. So, I just want to dive right in and get started. Yeah. I always like to know why you became an attorney and what that trigger was, what that experience was like.

Brian Woolf:

Well, let me say this. From the day I was born, and I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and as a child, I was told by all of my family that I need to be an attorney. And so I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. I left South Africa in 1967, after graduating high school, moved to Israel prior to the Six-Day War, beginning in 1967. I then went on to undergraduate school at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, got my undergraduate degree there. I followed that by coming to the United States where I got a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and then came to Connecticut to go to law school, went to UConn Law School. Following my period of time at the UConn Law School, I had no idea what area of practice I was going to practice in.

Brian Woolf:

I then was fortuitous to have been appointed by the governor as the commissioner of banking and securities for the state of Connecticut, which I served from 1980 to 1985. But before that, I served my predecessor as his chief legal counsel and executive assistant. I basically had complete supervision over the securities division of the Connecticut Department of Banking, in addition to my responsibilities to the commissioner. And during that period of time, I subsequently became commissioner when he passed away very early in life, unfortunately. And the governor appointed me initially as acting and then as commissioner. I guess my claim to fame is that, if you may recall, you may be too young to remember that, EF Hutton, the company. “When EF Hutton speaks, everyone listens.” They were the largest investment banking brokerage firm in the country, headed up by George Ball, the former secretary of state for the United States.

Brian Woolf:

I was the first securities regulator to call hearings, in which I was represented at those hearings by the attorney general, who happened to be Joe Lieberman, who became the United States senator, then subsequently vice president nominee under Al Gore. He had a broader order to cease and desist against EF Hutton, which snowballed in the other states. And I’m not proud to say that, or happy to say, that eventually led to the demise of EF Hutton. I was known as a very strong securities regulator, but I think a fair securities regulator. But then I also had all the banks under my jurisdiction as well; banks, savings and loans, savings banks, credit unions, consumer credit, truth in lending laws. You name it, I had that. It was a very, very tumultuous time in the ’80s, because there was a lot of banks and savings and loans, particularly, going out of business.

Brian Woolf:

So, I was dealing with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Savings and Home Loan Bank, Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Company, the National Credit Union Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission on the securities side. So, I had a very active time during my period of I served in that. And then when I left there, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I mean, as a banking commissioner, I had to prosecute… Not prosecute, but bring investigations on white collar criminal matters, which I worked with the criminal authorities in Connecticut. And when I left there, I wasn’t quite sure. I decided to go out in the private business for a while, in the real estate business. It was those days when Ronald Reagan came into power and they changed the tax laws so there was no more passive income, and there was no benefits in some ways to that.

Brian Woolf:

That caused a lot of problems. And I decided to leave that area, which was the real estate area, and go into law. And I opened up myself primarily into solo practice in my living room of my home, initially. Fortunately for me, I became familiar with a lot of prosecutors and people like that. And they suggested, “Why don’t you try practicing criminal law?” This was approximately 30 plus years ago. And I started taking on a couple of clients, I had no idea what I was doing. And I’ve come to this place today as the managing attorney for the Woolf Law Firm.

Kevin Daisey:

Wow. That’s quite the story and rap sheet and experiences that you’ve had. So, you just jumped right in and got a lot of different experiences that sounds like. And just so you know, I was born in the ’80s, 1982. That was the early ’80s, but still. I was pretty young at that point. But no, so what awesome experience you’ve had, and I’m sure that all that prepared you for what you do now, and going into criminal sounds like it made a lot of sense, as your colleagues and friends suggested. So, you said 35 years?

Brian Woolf:

It’s a little over 30 years. I started in approximately… Opened my private practice in 1995.

Kevin Daisey:

Okay. Excellent. Well, congrats on the success you’ve had and, again, I think it’s just a interesting journey you’ve had to get to where you are. And so we’ll talk a little bit more about the practice itself that you have now. So you say, do you focus on the state of Connecticut? Do you have certain areas that you really focus on? What does that look like?

Brian Woolf:

Well, I’m admitted to practice, obviously, in Connecticut, both state and federal. I’m admitted to practice in Florida. I’m admitted in the federal courts of New York. I’m admitted in the state and federal courts in Massachusetts as well.

Kevin Daisey:

Excellent.

Brian Woolf:

I focus primarily on Connecticut, but I do venture out to Massachusetts sometimes. I’ve done some things in Florida. But my primary area of practice, while I do some personal injury, catastrophic personal injury, I don’t focus on soft tissue issues; throw those out, usually. I would say that the clients that are most attracted to me and I’m most attracted to handling, are clients, what we call the high-profile type of clients. I don’t take on too many misdemeanor charges. I’ll do them once in a while, but I don’t personally handle them. Most of my cases are murders, rapes, sexual assaults, home invasions, and things of that kind.

Kevin Daisey:

Okay.

Brian Woolf:

I do that. I’m a member of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. I’m their liaison with the Connecticut Department of Corrections. So, I assist all my colleagues with respect to issues they have over there. I try to do as much as I can. I’m very active in the criminal law section of the Connecticut Bar Association. And I try to do my best at my age. I’m going to be 75 in September. I just turned 74 and a half.

Kevin Daisey:

I was going to guess 45.

Brian Woolf:

Well, thank you.

Kevin Daisey:

At most.

Brian Woolf:

I have not colored my hair. I want to let you know that. This is my natural hair.

Kevin Daisey:

I like it.

Brian Woolf:

There’s my staff. We are not a big firm. I mean, there’s a couple of lawyers, a paralegal who is very well-trained in the area of paralegal, so when you’ve got a really high-powered paralegal, knows what she is doing, it’s very helpful. I have an attorney who’s off council to my office; a former prosecutor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, David Lemasa. And I often, if I’m going to a big trial, I will get someone on a contract basis to assist in those matters. I work very closely. I could call them, sort of like an in-house private investigation firm I use on every case, which I think is necessary. I have all my experts usually, whether it be forensic experts, whether it be experts on excessive use of force or things of that kind, I have access to all of them.

Brian Woolf:

So, everything’s in place. It’s a question of putting everything together and it’s very interesting and it’s very time consuming and it’s very… I always compare myself to a doctor. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. He saves lives, we’re saving freedoms. And whether it’s a small case or a big case, we try to treat our clients with the utmost of respect. I can’t say there aren’t clients which we don’t… Sometimes the chemistry doesn’t work, it happens. But we try to give our clients the best possible information that we can. We assess their cases from day one. We give them our best assessment of what we believe can be done. But we are also very frank with them that the case that the state has against the person is either weak or strong and what we can do.

Brian Woolf:

And we put everything into writing. And that, I think, is very important. On my testimonials you’ll see on my website, you will see most of the testimonials state very clearly that what they appreciated most is that they don’t BS anybody. I’m very [inaudible 00:10:30] and transparent. I tell them, “I’d rather you not hire me and go somewhere else, but I’ll tell you’ll probably be back to me later if you get advice different from mine.”

Kevin Daisey:

Well, actually, everyone that’s tuned in and watching right now, the website address is down on your screen. If you’re watching this on video, you can go take a look at Brian’s website and see more about him, the testimonials. I always encourage that there’s referral possibilities. Maybe someone else in Connecticut or nearby that has a client need that they can’t fulfill, reach out to Brian. But connecticutcriminallawyer.com, if you’re listening on the podcast. So again, connecticutcriminallawyer.com. And yeah, I think what you said there, Brian, too, is really important. One, I got out of that was you assess it day one. So urgency: You respond with urgency, and then you’re transparent and candid, if you will. And I think that’s important, especially in your line of work, that it’s not sugar-coated, it’s “Here’s the facts. Here’s what I believe.” And you don’t have that person assuming a best-case scenario.

Brian Woolf:

Well, I give both best and worst, but obviously I explain myself. A lot of people say, “How will this thing end up?” And I say, “Well, look, I’m going to give you an analogy. You call a doctor on the phone and tell the doctor you have a major pain in your stomach and you want to know what’s wrong with you, and the doctor tells you ‘Meet me at the operating room tomorrow morning. I’m going to operate on you,’ what would you say to that doctor? Are you crazy? You haven’t done your MRIs, you haven’t done your x-rays, you haven’t done the blood work or anything like that. I can’t do that.” So from day one, I can assess a case, but you never can really, really assess a case until you get all the discovery: arrest warrants, police incident reports, things of that kind, and get your private investigators involved if it’s a case that requires the involvement of private investigators to do your private investigative work and stuff.

Brian Woolf:

But when it comes to the end and it comes to the time where an offer is made to resolve the matter, you have to give the client a transparent understanding of what the weaknesses and strengths of their case are, what the weaknesses and strengths of the state case are. And if you take it to trial, this is what could happen. And this is if you lose, this is what could happen. And there is a trial penalty, unfortunately. You resolve a matter, that’s one thing. You go to trial, you’re going to get closer to the maximum, what you’re charged under the… And we don’t have indictments in Connecticut. Federal courts have indictments, but the state courts in Connecticut do not have indictments. Everything’s by information.

Kevin Daisey:

Excellent. Well, again, for our client standpoint, I think it’s communication and being transparent and telling them what they need to hear is really important. We have clients at our law firm, so I think the biggest issue I ever see is that clients don’t know what’s going on, or they’re not updated. They don’t get the right information and then they’re just wondering what’s happened with their case. So I think that’s really important.

Brian Woolf:

That doesn’t happen. That doesn’t happen with us. We have a-

Kevin Daisey:

It sounds like it.

Brian Woolf:

… open case list that’s made every Monday, when we know what’s going on with these cases. And I can assure most people and most clients that we will not only, we will communicate, we’ll initiate communications. And if they contact me, I do not leave my office until I get back to them.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, that’s awesome.

Brian Woolf:

8:00 or 10:00 at night.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, good on you for all that and providing a good service. My next question would be, how do you all get clients? What’s worked well? Any marketing you’ve done, anything outbound that you’ve done that’s that’s been effective at getting prospective clients to call.

Brian Woolf:

Okay. Yeah. I would say that 40 to 50% of my clients come through referrals from former clients of mine. I’ve never been a big advertiser. I don’t advertise on TV, I don’t put up billboards, I won’t even hand out my cards when I go to court. Okay? Most of my stuff is done through my website, and my website, I believe, it’s got good SEO. People seem to get to me. I come up pretty well on Google. My SEO appears to be working for me from those who are doing it for me. My blogs are four blogs a month, we do.

Kevin Daisey:

Nice. Very good.

Brian Woolf:

But you know-

Kevin Daisey:

You’re preaching to the choir over here.

Brian Woolf:

Excuse me?

Kevin Daisey:

You’re preaching to the choir. We do digital marking for law firms. And all those things you’re saying are, I think, crucial and critical, especially in your space. So I’m happy to hear that you’re doing that.

Brian Woolf:

Well, I’ve been Super Lawyer for five, six years in a row right now. But let’s not kid each other. The Super Lawyer is good, but we know how it is, okay?

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah.

Brian Woolf:

I did just agree to Martindale-Hubbell, lawyer.com to a one year for that. I mean, I’ve nothing to lose, but at the age of 75, quite honestly, I want to leave something for the others that work in the office when I decide to retire to Florida, which is why I took the bar in ’78.

Kevin Daisey:

I was going to ask you about that.

Brian Woolf:

That’s where I want to be. I want to be by the sun. The South African blood is too… The winter in Connecticut is not for me. I thought I’d leave a long time ago. But I want to be able to leave this, and if I want to sell the business I have an asset here. And if I don’t sell the business, I want to be able to remain a name partner of the firm and continue like that. But as I said, to answer your question, most of my stuff comes from referral by other clients. Equal amount from my website.

Kevin Daisey:

That’s excellent. Well, thanks for explaining that. I’m a huge believer in SEO because that’s one of the things that we do. But yeah, it builds a foundation. If you’re no longer practicing or you want to sell or give it to the employees or whatever, that’ll last for a good long time. And so I just think it’s important for folks to invest in that. So, that’s good to hear it.

Brian Woolf:

I mean, you’re born in the ’80s. ’75, and when I was going to elementary school and high school, we didn’t have even copy machines. There were still the old Gestetner machines where you put things in. So I was never that tech-savvy. I’ve had to learn a lot, but I’m not tech-savvy. I have IT people who handle all my tech stuff. My other staff members know how to handle tech stuff. But I don’t. I mean, I have my iPhone. I was even scared to put my ear pods in my ear because I wasn’t sure I was going to be compatible with this [inaudible 00:17:52] I want to do it. So, fortunately, I have a good support staff, excellent support staff. And I think that’s one of the key things you can’t… We don’t use specific programs like Clio, or anything else like that. We have our own built-in systems that-

Kevin Daisey:

For case management?

Brian Woolf:

Case management. Yeah.

Kevin Daisey:

Excellent. Well, but the thing is, you’ve adapted, you’ve allowed some change to come in, and that’s worked out well for you. And I think some older firms and people who’ve been around for a while, they’re reluctant to do any change.

Brian Woolf:

It’s not easy. You have to put your mind to it to learn how to do it.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah. Excellent. Well, awesome. I was going to ask you about the Florida bar because I was thinking, I bet he wants to go to Florida at some point. Any plans anytime soon, have you got an area that you love?

Brian Woolf:

Yeah, I like the Palm Beach County area.

Kevin Daisey:

Mm, beautiful.

Brian Woolf:

I used to have a house at the PGA golf course in Palm Beach Gardens, when the kids were young and things of that kind. I didn’t want to move there, because the Florida school systems were not what I wanted for my kids. So, I sold the place and now it’s time to go, but I made that decision a long time ago. I took the bar in Connecticut in 1977, and then I took the bar in Florida the following year.

Kevin Daisey:

Oh, wow. So it’s something you’ve been thinking about for a while.

Brian Woolf:

Oh, yes.

Kevin Daisey:

I’m actually going to Palm Beach next week, to The Breakers.

Brian Woolf:

I’ve been to The Breakers. Outstanding resort, outstanding resort.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah.

Brian Woolf:

And if you’re in the area there, go to a restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens called Cooper’s.

Kevin Daisey:

Cooper’s?

Brian Woolf:

It’s owned by a very good friend of mine. His name is Richard Rosenthal. He owns a chain of restaurants. He’s actually just retired.

Kevin Daisey:

Cooper’s.

Brian Woolf:

Cooper’s in Palm Beach Gardens, outstanding restaurant. They own nine other restaurants up here in Connecticut and Massachusetts. I’ve known Richard since he started his first one, Richard Rosenthal.

Kevin Daisey:

Excellent.

Brian Woolf:

So, enjoy it.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, I appreciate the recommendation for that. I will definitely check that out. So yeah, [inaudible 00:20:14] forward to, and I’m sure we’ll end up down there at some point as well. And Massachusetts, I get to come up there every once in a while. My wife’s company is based out of Boston.

Brian Woolf:

Well, if you’re up here, just give me a call. We’ll get together. Be happy to.

Kevin Daisey:

Oh, absolutely. Well, Brian, is there anything else you wanted to share that you got going on? I know we were talking a little bit backstage and you were mentioning how often you get to talk to the media that wants to talk to you all the time. Give us a little idea of what that’s like.

Brian Woolf:

Well, whenever there’s any high profile cases, the media will often… Whether it be our local NBC station or our local Fox station. National media’s contacted me as well with respect to some cases that have made the national news. And I’m regarded as someone who they can call to speak with. I’ve been a commentator for some of those NBC and Fox stations. And as I said, I was known for my days when I had to deal with the press on a daily basis in the ’80s.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah.

Brian Woolf:

I still have lots of friends in the media. I believe and I hope that they don’t call me just because they knew me, because they think I know what I’m talking about. And it’s a privilege for when you do get that, it’s a kind of a recognition when they call you to comment on some major, major cases. I mean, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Dulos case in Connecticut, where the wife was killed and the [inaudible 00:21:48] fiance were involved with that. I’m often asked to talk about that. We have a case now, which is called the Fitbit murder case, which is right now being on trial.

Kevin Daisey:

Hmm. Fitbit, like a watch?

Brian Woolf:

Yeah. Well, basically, he’s accused of killing his wife. And he says he didn’t kill his wife, but his Fitbit said otherwise. Okay?

Kevin Daisey:

Oh, wow.

Brian Woolf:

So, that’s on trial. Trial, I believe, starts next week on that.

Kevin Daisey:

Wow.

Brian Woolf:

So they called me to talk about that. Obviously, I don’t know too much about… I don’t try to second guess my colleagues on these cases. I will talk generally about the procedure and the process of selecting juries, of what the state has to do, what kind of things the defense lawyers have to do, and what’s going on, on a particular day when it’s sometimes information which is above and beyond what an average layperson can understand. I try to put it in layperson’s terms.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah. I’m sure you got to be careful about what you say and how you say it too. But it’d be good exposure, I would assume.

Brian Woolf:

I can say anything I want about other cases, I just can’t say a lot in the press about my cases.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah. There you go. So yeah, that’s great exposure, I assume, too, for you locally. And that probably helps with a lot of the referrals that you get and some of the leads you probably get as well. So, that’s excellent.

Brian Woolf:

I can’t complain about the incoming leads, the phones, emails. My website has contact where you can contact me directly from my website. You could do everything on my website. I interview people by Zoom. You can pay me on my client portal on my website. It’s all there.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, Brian, I thank you so much for sharing everything with me today. And love your story. And hopefully you’ll be getting down to Florida soon and relaxing a little bit. So, you’ve had a good, amazing career and I’m sure you’re going to continue practicing for quite a while. But thanks for sharing everything today, and is there anything else you want to say before we go?

Brian Woolf:

No, I thank you for having me, and please don’t be a stranger. Keep in touch.

Kevin Daisey:

Absolutely, yeah. I will definitely check out your friend’s restaurant and I’ll be in touch for sure. And maybe we can link up here soon when I’m up north, or maybe we’re down in Florida at the same time. I try to get down there as often as I can.

Brian Woolf:

Sounds good to me.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, Brian, stay on with me for a second. Everyone else, thank you so much for tuning in to another episode. I learned a lot from Brian, his long career. Awesome story. I think some of the takeaways… And see, he’s getting leads right now, calling in. Big takeaway: urgency, transparency with your clients. I think that’s very important. And make sure that you’re not only relying on referrals, but investing in things like SEO, that’s going to help you get your name out there and people can find you that are looking for your help.

Kevin Daisey:

You can find this episode and many others, we’re probably over 250. We only have about 175 on the website at this point. We’re trying to get some of those up. But if you go to arraylaw.com/podcast, you can sort by state, practice area, criminal law, for instance. You can see all of our criminal law managing partners and learn from them. And then if you ever need help with marketing, SEO, the things that Brian has already done very well, that’s what we do. We help law firms with their website, SEO, advertising and things like that. So just reach out to us if you have any questions and we’ll be happy to help you. And that’s it. Brian?

Brian Woolf:

Thank you.

Kevin Daisey:

I’ll talk to you soon, sir.

Brian Woolf:

Okay.

 

Website Design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Online Advertising, Social Media & Digital Marketing.

© Array Law
Website Design, Online Advertising, SEO, Social Media & Digital Marketing.
© Array Law