Interview with John L. (Lin) McCraw
As a trial lawyer for over 20 years, Lin McCraw has worked tirelessly to represent victims of negligence throughout the State of Texas. Lin’s accomplishments include obtaining Board Certification in Personal Injury Trial, being elected by his peers to serve as the President for the Texas Trial Lawyers’ Association, and graduating from the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College.
For those who know him, Lin has always shown a willingness to graciously lend an ear and advice when asked. His commitment to his community, to his employees at his firm, and to his family are all apparent from his interview. We hope you will get as much out of this interview as we did.
What is your favorite part of a trial? Why?
Voir Dire. I love learning about people and seeing how and why they think the way that they do. It is scary and a rush to have to deal with unexpected answers and issues in real time.
What resources do you use in preparing for that part of trial?
I use the TLC method of getting into the juror’s skin and sharing deeply the issue I am most afraid of in the trial and why. I would rather get a deep connection and real answers to one issue that defines the case, rather than 4 hours of fluff.
“Go right to what matters, address it honestly, and treat every answer as the gift that it is, especially the “bad” answers.“
What have your experiences taught you about managing people in a law firm?
All employees have different needs that get fulfilled by work. Some need community, some need ego validation, some need to be a part of something bigger than themselves, some find value in the mission we have to help our clients in a real and tangible way, and some just need to matter. I try to figure out what the employee needs from work more than a paycheck. We try to make sure that the employee understands how their role in my firm fulfills that role for them.
What is the culture of your law firm like, and how does this contribute to success with clients?
Our culture is built around our values of honesty, integrity (internal and external), hard competent work, being responsible for our actions, measurement of results, and supporting each other. Every part of the firm is critical and supports every other part of the firm. Clients can see and feel when a team is working as a team and helping each other achieve goals. Our employees love to celebrate birthdays and life events over the top with each other. Birthday pranks are crazy fun. Halloween outfits are often the stuff of newsletters and Facebook posts.
Because we interview for fit and motivation to learn as well as ability and we really do respect each other and work to enable everyone to achieve, our employees like working at the firm and refer other high performers they know when a position opens. Clients gush about the way they were treated by various staff members and about how the staff members really care about them and their cases.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone considering practicing law?
Practicing law is not enough to have a successful law practice. You must delegate, measure, and motivate others if you are going to build a successful practice.
“You must learn the skills of the business of law in whatever practice area you are in if you want to build a practice that is sustainable and does not make you a slave to the firm.”
I waited 20 years to start turning a practice into a real business. I should have prioritized it from day one.
What organization/charity are you most passionate about?
Direction 61.3 in McKinney provides a place to live, additional education, and support to kids aging out of the foster care system. Without a way to transition, these young folks (who are already at high risk of substance abuse and being trafficked) do not have any chance at all. Direction 61.3 is helping change that right here in McKinney.
We are grateful for the opportunity to have Lin McCraw’s time for this interview. If you have a chance, please take a look at Direction 61.3, a charity that Lin is passionate about in Texas, which provides transition services for individuals aging out of the foster care system in McKinney, TX. Thanks again to Lin!
The combo of good person and good lawyeris rare, but when you run that good into great, you get Lin McCraw, which is the rarest of the rare.
Lin is one of the best. His clients are in good hands.