Start by getting the right people on the bus. Jim Collins

When I ask what a law firm and a taco joint have in common, it is not intended to be another one of those lame lawyer jokes.


The other night my wife and I stopped by Torchy’s Tacos for a quick bite, and my wife pointed to a large, colorful plaque hanging near the entry (the graphic here). 

The plaque and the Torchy’s story prompted me to think about the common vein that runs through all successful businesses, including law firms.

Torchy’s started in 2006 in South Austin as a food trailer. The owner, Michael Rypka, was a former Executive Chef and had an idea about building a business around a handful of basic principals. Generalized to all businesses his principles are:

  • Deliver a great product/service – Always
  • Honor your client/customer
  • Treat all employees with respect
  • Continuously focus on improving the bottom line honorably
  • Make the workplace a good place to be for all employees

Torchy’s has been a huge hit. People are lined-up, day and night.  The enterprise has successfully grown from a single food trailer to a dozen sit-down restaurants in the Austin area, and has expanded to Houston, Dallas and other cities.  This is a pretty amazing accomplishment when you consider that there is some sort of taco joint on almost every corner in Texas.

When asked about maintaining quality as the business expands, Rypka says that it substantially comes down to hiring and training people who have the same vision you do.  This is a lot like the Jim Collins quote above.

What principles are you building your law firm around?