#WIB – Q&A With Maxine Gunzenhauser Managing Partner at MG Law

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1. Can you please tell us more about your business?

A. In starting MG Law, the goal was to build a disruptive law firm. Ethics and transparency are the firm’s core values, and we spent a few months planning the systems and policies to ensure that we retain our identity, particularly as the firm grows. Among many other things we do differently, we do not give our attorneys targets, and have a “minimum force” rule, requiring attorneys to use the least amount of billable hours required to win for our clients. It’s not often that you hear of a firm telling its attorneys to charge as little as possible, but that’s what we do at MG Law. 

2. When, how and why did you start your business?

A. We went live on 1 September 2019. I do have a legal background but moved into digital marketing and online travel in 2016. After seeing the opportunity that existed in the legal industry, it made sense. 

3. What is your role in the business?

I primarily oversee and manage the processes within the firm, offer support, ensure systems are implemented and implement new strategies. Officially, my title is Managing Partner.

4. Where did you study and what did you study?

A. The University of Pretoria, I obtained my Bcom Law Degree with Taxation and Accounting (Cum Laude) in 2011 and LLB degree (Cum Laude) in 2013.

5. How did you finance your business?

A. Through credit & savings.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

A. My mornings are generally the same. I wake up every morning, go outside and pray, then go for a 20 minute run. By 7:30am I am usually at my computer with an almond cappuccino, working through my emails and the day’s tasks. After that, I head to the office to see what’s going on. I generally take a break for dinner, then carry on if there is urgent work.  

7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?

A. I am Jewish Orthodox observant, and keeping the Sabbath keeps me sane. Everyone should have their own weekly “Sabbath” and disengage completely from work. It’s important to remember that work will always be there, and you will always be busy. I have other things I do each week, that are non-negotiable, no matter what is happening in my life. There are sacrifices to be made to build a successful business, but to me, these are more social. It’s not necessary to completely put off living.

8. What drives you and inspires you?

A. Building something amazing for the whole team. If the business grows, we all benefit. Growing a business gives you the opportunity to change many people’s lives, and helping others is truly a driver for me.

9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

A. During early morning runs when it is very quiet, especially running through a park or forest.

10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?

A. Coming from a Google advertising background, my business partner and mentor is very involved in the firm, and runs our digital marketing campaigns. These are highly effective, and there is a daily influx of emails and phone calls from potential clients.

11. What is next for your business?

A. First a Cape Town branch, then we are looking at opening firms in other countries, we are specifically considering the US and India. I hope to one day have many “MG Law” branches around the world, all operating with the same core values.

12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business

A. Find a mentor, and listen to them. Not only will you be able to take a lot of shortcuts by learning from their mistakes, but you will be able to go over your own mistakes with them, and improve yourself. Don’t make excuses. Just do it. You are not your past, and you can rise above anything.      

Let go of your ego. When you are being constructively criticized, your ego directly takes away from how much you will learn. The test for an ego is if you start arguing with someone in your mind. Stop. Listen, and analyze if what they’re saying is true. Then work on it.

Listen, don’t speak. When you give your opinion, you are not learning anything. When you listen to what others have to say, you are learning. When people have criticisms or suggestions, soak them up.

In your business, decide on your core values, and stick to them. They need to be non-negotiable. You should write them down and always refer back to them. Don’t compromise.

Contact Maxine Gunzenhauser on 011 282 0854 or email maxine@mglaw.co.za.

To find out more information, visit: MGLaw.co.za