Carl Collins was born in inner city Detroit, Michigan to a schoolteacher for a mother and a real-estate broker for a father. He attended St. Mary’s of Redford for elementary and middle school, before graduating from Bishop Borgess High School. Collins earned a double major in mathematics and philosophy at the University of Notre Dame before completing law school at the University of Detroit. While practicing law, he enrolled in pilot training school and earned his private pilot instrument rating; now boasting over one thousand logged instrument flight hours.
Collin’s law practice focuses on personal injury and insurance law and represents clients around America. His office is in Southfield, Michigan.
Why did you decide to create your own business?
I was encouraged and helped by my father to start a law firm where I could use my own ingenuity and drive to help people better than being hidden in a large law firm for years before taking a leadership role. While in law school I always thought how I could apply what I learned to help the common person. I never thought about using my skills in a corporate setting, but in the communities. After I passed the bar examination, I had more of a goal to help the helpless than to apply for a position within a larger law firm or corporation. I found there to be a ton of work needed within the lives of people in the community that started me off as a busy new lawyer. I’ve been busy ever since day one of 1996.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
Helping others especially the financially and socially disadvantaged and achieving a positive result for their case. My clients are severely injured, and injuries bring depression and other inabilities caused by a lifestyle change and dependency due to their injuries. I enjoy bringing hope and assistance, as well as guiding my clients through the long legal process. The legal profession allows lawyers to exercise their imagination and execute hard work to present a product, not for sale, but to help others. I often use new and innovative ways to help my clients in and out of the courtroom. The legal industry is about using the mind, so it invites the attorney to create ways to further the goal of their clients. This possess a challenge that I enjoy, also because the law is ever changing and different from State to State. Also, my profession, the legal field, allows me to help people from all backgrounds, races, preferences and economic status.
What keeps you motivated?
Positive results. It’s the fight to get a client to be truly satisfied with my legal services. Lawyers often receive a bad reputation, so I am always working to change that reputation. A smile and a thank you from my client are worth all the fighting in court and late nights that I work for them. Also, the law is not only expansive but everchanging. Searching for the best case and getting a judge or jury to agree with what I have presented on behalf of my client always keeps me motivated. I entered this profession to help others and I always want to ensure my current clients receive that help.
How do you motivate others?
Knowing the personality of the person which includes likes and dislikes is the basis of what I use to motivate others. I find that a person is motivated by what they like, not by what they do not like; so, working within those boundaries is key for me. Also, setting a standard of performance that I hold both myself and everyone else to helps motivate people because they can see the level of effort expected. Coupled with the assistance and guidance that within their comfort zone. Nothing is greater than working with a person with as much motivation as I to reach a common goal.
How has your company grown from its early days to now?
My law firm has grown substantially over the years. I started out as just a small firm but now I help to serve clients around the country. Over the years I have represented thousands of clients and their successful cases have helped to advertise my firm and help it grow to what it is today.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
My role models change all the time. It really depends on what stage I am in life. Such is great for me because I am always seeking people who have achieved greatness in their life professionally and personally to find inspiration from. My role models have come from different professions, races, and ages. Each one has a different standard of greatness that I have tried to incorporate into my life and career. The best thing about having numerous role model is that there is always a high standard that I can use from each at different times in my career and life because both are always changing. Good to have an answer to challenges that meet us on the road.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
My calendar is the most important tool in my life. It helps me maintain the balanced work life and not let work overpower my personal life. I am always reviewing my calendar days, weeks and months in advance to make sure I have the appropriate time for work, rest, and recreation every day. I spend a great deal of time consulting my clients and meeting new clients; but I also need quality time preparing, researching, planning and authoring documents to present to the opposing counsel and courts on behalf of my clients. Not to mention the court appearances. Without a well-organized calendar, all of these could get in the way of sleep, gym and recreation. I carved out time for each aspect and maintain those time restraints so that one does not encroach on the other. There are always adjustments that must be made because of unforeseen circumstances, so I frequently am adjusting my calendar to maintain a balanced life.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
Never deprive yourself of sleep and exercise. The lack of sleep prevents you from being your one hundred percent self. The best and peak performance is better achieved when rest is had. Exercise keeps your focus on your appearance and health, which go hand in hand; and is more valuable than money.
What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?
Always listen advice that is given to you, regardless of who tells you the advice. If it’s giving with a good heart, it probably has some value. Any set back that I have experienced, although it was a valuable lesson to overcome, could have been avoided by listening to advice that I later remembered but did not digest at the time it was given.
Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
My winning a six-figure jury verdict for my client who was injured on the bus and the insurance company turned their back to his injuries. He had four minor children and a stay at home wife. He was the sole bread winner relying upon public transportation. He was on a bus going to work when the bus and a construction vehicle collided. Everyone pointed their fingers at the other; but no one wanted to help the passenger. Due to his injuries he could not work for a long period of time; putting his family in the worse condition they had ever experienced. It was terrible the long legal process that was a burden on an already injured family. I was proud at the work that I expended daily to bring justice to this neglected family.