The Berman Law Group offices in Boca Raton, FL are located in a 50,000 square foot building a few miles off the southeast coast of Florida. Here are offices, meeting rooms and various other work areas for 17 lawyers and a total of 100 employees. This also applies to a fully reconstructed courtroom with a raised bench and a 12-person jury in which mock trials and presentations can be held. But it's the 15,000-square-foot decked-out gym that really sets this place apart from other law firms.
Here, in the Berman Team (TBT) Gym, the identical twin lawyers Russ and Ted Berman meet every Monday to Friday at noon for an intensive one-hour training session. Needless to say, most lawyers aren't quite as diligent in their training, especially those who work more than 80 hours a week in a successful law firm like BLG.
Your time in the gym is paying off. If there was a title like "Fittest Twin Lawyers in America", 41 year old Bermans would own it, which translates into lean, muscular bodies at 5'11, 175 (Russ) and 190 pounds (Ted) shows.
It's not all for the show. For the Berman twins, the fit separates them from their peers, helps break down the typical legal stereotype, and makes them better lawyers overall.
"It's an old motto I've always lived by: you look good, you feel good, you play well, you get paid well," says Ted Berman, applying a common athletic mindset to his own profession. "People have a picture of what they think a lawyer looks like and we break that mold. They say 'lawyer' and people think of a gray-haired man, maybe in his 60s, who probably doesn't have a personality. That are not us. We are young people, super aggressive and energetic, which is a different form. "
Courtesy Russ and Ted Berman
Work hard, train hard
They may break stereotypes, but Russ and Ted Berman still have the fundamental workload for lawyers. Their workdays start at 6:30 a.m. and last well into the evening, even after they leave the office. Berman Law Group specializes in disaster claims and spends a lot of time in court. An estimated 400 to 500 cases are in active litigation.
You are particularly preoccupied these days with two high profile class action lawsuits: one against China for its role in the COVID-19 pandemic (the first of its kind) and the other against large sugar companies for branding toxic sugar cane in Florida's Glades region. "Me and Ted are 24/7 people," says Russ.
Finding a work-life balance is not easy for the Bermans, but it is absolutely necessary. As motivated as they are to expand their company, “Being a father is our top priority,” says Russ, who has five children (Ted has two). "We make sure we do everything for our children. If we start early in the morning, we can do the work in the office and leave early if necessary. I'll take off at three o'clock to see my son's college baseball game, but while at the game I work on my phone or laptop. I have a three and a half month old daughter so I make sure to be home at a certain time to hold her and play with her. The key starts early and adheres to a schedule. "
Regardless of whether they're leaving the office at noon or working late on a case, the Berman is at noon. until 1 p.m. The appointment is set in stone. You don't go out for lunch. Instead, they meet their childhood CFO and friend, Marc Muscarella, in the TBT Gym for an intense, efficient 50-minute training session. This is not an optional thing to be postponed or canceled when the work is hectic. At Berman Law Group, work is always hectic. Training has priority around noon.
"If you don't make it a religious thing, it won't happen," says Russ. "We'll make sure we're there by 12 noon, whatever else is going on."
The TBT Gym is a private, invitation-only facility equipped with free weights, commercially available machines, accessories for functional strength (plyo boxes, medicine balls, resistance bands, etc.) and a lawn area for athletic training. The Bermans and Muscarella take advantage of everything, constantly mixing their workouts to build lean muscles, get stronger, and improve overall fitness. You can accomplish this through a variety of methods: heavy weights and low repetitions, light weights and high repetitions, HIIT circuits with multiple exercises, and so on.
"We don't talk around the gym," says Russ. “Our workouts are fast and intense. We do our job and then go back to the office. "
"It's a great way to end the day," says Ted. "It allows you to take a mental break from what you've accomplished this morning and then prepare mentally and focus on the rest of your day."
Courtesy Russ and Ted Berman
A fit lawyer is a better lawyer
The Berman twins' commitment to health and fitness extends well beyond the gym.
Regarding their diet: Both eat healthy, but not too restrictive, with Ted adhering to an intermittent 16/8 fasting scheme during the work week.
Both women are big fitness fanatics too: Ted's wife, Deborah, is a former NPC bikini competitor and IFBB pro, and the two of them have an impressive home gym that came in particularly useful during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Russ' Ms. LeAnn, a former professional model you may have seen on TV or in magazines, also lives a healthy lifestyle. Both women stay fit and promote the lifestyle of their children.
Their commitment to the fitness studio is reflected in the BLG culture, in which many of the company's employees use the TBT fitness studio on site. "It ends up with a trickle effect," says Ted. "Because of the way we carry ourselves and the things our employees and lawyers see in our daily lives, they are starting to repeat that too."
And of course, as two of the fastest growing lawyers in Southeast Florida, the Twins appear in local ads for the firm where presentability and projecting confidence are critical. Every day it directly helps to be in shape to meet your professional requirements.
"Feeling good physically promotes good work," says Russ. "Having a positive attitude, being able to get things done, increasing your energy levels, being able to be efficient with your responsibilities - there are a lot that will affect your professional life just because you are fit and eat right. "
This view is such a departure from the archetypal law firm culture where work is always top priority and health and family take a backseat that the Bermans are often immersed in other professions.
"I was literally asked what I do for a living, and when I say I'm a lawyer, they say," , you're not, "says Ted." They just don't believe it. They think we like other things, something related to fitness or finance or whatever. They just don't see us as lawyers. We really don't fit into this shape, but the shape is changing. "