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Law Firm Leader: Mark Cantor

mark-cantorMark Cantor

Cantor Injury Law

Mark Cantor likes a good fight.

That’s why he grew up competing in taekwondo and wrestling. That’s why he enjoys verbally sparring with people. Ultimately, that’s why he became a lawyer.

He also likes to win, and just as well: he’s been doing plenty of that.

About three years ago, he overhauled his practice in St. Louis, spinning The Cantor Law Firm — the personal-injury firm he founded at age 28 — into a new entity: Cantor Injury Law. After spending $400,000 on marketing, his caseload has exploded. He has hired four other attorneys and 15 paralegals. He has doubled his office space and spent a half-million dollars on renovating it. That means new furniture, new phones, new computers and dual monitors, but the feature of which he sounds most proud is invisible: The office has gone entirely paperless.

“We have some remnants of file cabinets,” he said, “but we’re getting rid of them.”

After all of this up-front investment, the results are adding up. During one week in early December, for example, Cantor Injury Law won a combined $3.7 million in favorable resolutions. Soon thereafter, he said: “I made more last week than in the first very many years of practicing law.”

Cantor earned his J.D. at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, where he met his wife Amy.

“I like to say it was an arranged marriage,” he joked, “because we were the two Jews at the Jesuit university.”

Early in his career, Cantor worked for Alan Mandel, now of Mandel & Mandel, who mentored him on how to litigate and interact with people. Cantor recalls how in his very first case, he wound up yelling at the opposing counsel in court until Mandel pulled him aside and said, “Why are you yelling at him? He’s a good guy!” That opposing counsel was Fielding Poe; years later, Cantor has hired Poe’s son, David Poe, to work at his firm.

By age 30, Cantor had put out his shingle. He’s been his own boss ever since. (The legal entity known as The Cantor Law Firm still exists; that’s where Amy handles family and divorce cases.)

To market the firm, he makes sure to have multiple billboards — sometimes more than a dozen — erected at any given time. He advertises on a smaller scale too, putting the Cantor brand on wallets, pocket knives, grocery bags, ice scrapers, lip-balm sticks, jar openers and other objects.

“We’ve got the best swag,” he said.

Yet the best branding he could ask for, he notes, is the honesty and probity of his team whose members must appear in court nearly every day.

“If someone has a false claim or they swear at us, we fire the client,” he said. “We’re trying to handle legitimate cases, and if we find out they’re not legitimate, we’re not going to be complicit in that.”

In personal-injury litigation, he said, “a lot of people think you’re gaming the system, so the first thing I tell a new lawyer is to not do anything wrong on my behalf.”

Doing the right thing is not just good — it’s good business, he said.

“The critical growth factor is integrity,” he said.

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