August Member of the Month: Joe Mitchell, Esquire

1.    Tell us briefly what a typical work day is like for you.

My typical workday starts at about 8 a.m. (I’ve been working from home even before the pandemic). I usually start my day studying various things dealing with improving in my new career as a business coach, consultant and mentor for lawyers and entrepreneurs who operate in the small business space like I did for 25 years. I help small business thrive above the norm and significantly increase their incomes without the owners stressing out and working all the time.  I still do some legal work – mostly dealing with the pardon and expungement of the records of black men that have turned their lives around. (and I am very proud of what the Barristers have done around this issue, particularly David Williams and David Pennant).  I have numerous client sessions throughout the day and I’m also reaching out to get new clients both on social media and on the phone. I’m constantly focused on learning something new and providing service above the call of duty. In recent months, I have been writing my new book, The Art of Joyful Achieving, which came out in early July 2020 as an Amazon Bestseller.

2.    What do you enjoy most about your job?

What I enjoy most about my work is the opportunity to contribute to people who I feel are gifted and motivated. I also love to learn new techniques to empower my clients and have them reach their goals without a lot of stress.

3.    What do you enjoy most about being a member of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia?

I love being a Philly Barrister alongside my honorable brothers and sisters, as we share a common journey of success and contribution in the legal field. I love the dedication that the leaders of the Barristers have to the growth and success of the membership, the quality of the meetings and the opportunity to meet very interesting people that look like me.

4.    What do you believe has been your most important personal attribute in your legal career?

My most important personal attribute has been my strategic approach to problems. I love to be challenged and I found plenty of challenge as a 20-year criminal defense attorney where at least 90% of my clients committed some kind of a crime. I really enjoyed getting them deals that they could live with and from time to time beating cases that I had no business beating because of my strategic approach.

5.    What has been the best moment of your career thus far?

I was working with several lawyers as a team against an insurance company that refused to settle for the policy limits which were $100,000. Our guy had been hit by a car head on while he was driving a motorcycle through no fault of his own and went flying in the air to land more than 30 feet from his bike.  He required numerous surgeries and over six weeks in the hospital. We ended up getting a $500,000 settlement due to the insurance company’s failure to settle when they should have.  The judge suggested that because they refused to tender that maybe they could be facing a million dollars in damages at trial. This was the most unexpected and outrageous settlement that I’ve ever experienced and by far the best experience for myself, my team and my client.

6.    If you hit the lottery tonight, where could we find you tomorrow?

If I hit the lottery I probably would not do a whole lot different especially in light of the coronavirus – too much trouble to move anyplace warm and lovely year round right now. At some point I think I would move someplace very nature friendly and I would continue to do my best to up-level people’s lives through coaching consulting and mentoring.

7.    What artists are you listening to now?

I love the playlist Soul Coffee on Spotify and then I love the classic old-school 80’s R&B. Nothing beats that for me. Of course when I’m working and focusing, I like to listen to all kinds of instrumental music – jazz, classical, chill Hip Hop… you name it.

8.    What is your favorite restaurant in the Philadelphia area?

Well I am a health nut and people are surprised that a gluten-free pescatarian can actually enjoy food. Surprisingly I love Capital Grille the steakhouse even though I don’t eat steak – it’s such a classy place with great food in addition to the steaks.  And they make special orders with amazing vegetables and fish.

9.    If you had a chance to give out your own award, who would you recognize?

I would recognize Temple Law Professor Frank McClellan, a longtime friend of mine who had a brilliant career serving injured people as a personal injury lawyer, being a law school professor and then finally writing a very meaningful book on Healthcare and Minorities. He’s a brilliant man and he cares and I don’t think that we have given him the accolades they really deserves.

10.    What advice would you give to members of the Barristers?

My advice would be to work with zest and with regular periods of deep focus.  Keep your vitality at a maximum through eating, sleeping and exercising like a pro.  Get clear on what you really want to do and stay focused on being the best all-around person you can for your clients, your family, and your community. Aim High, Think Strategically and be Brave. Black Lives Matter!