Frederick William Penney

Frederick William Penney: Invest in people, not just ideas

Recent economic news shows that American investment confidence is at the highest levels in the past 15 years, in part because of growing investment in Silicon Valley companies. However,  California plaintiff lawyer and media personality Frederick William Penney says entrepreneurs should remember to invest in people, not just ideas and objects.

Penney, 56, grew up in a low-income community in Sacramento, California, paying his own way through college at Brigham Young University. After obtaining a bachelor of arts in philosophy, Penney pursued a career in law, earning a juris doctorate in 1991 from J. Reuben Law School of Brigham Young University.

“I grew up with little to no money. I remember wanting to become a lawyer, but realized that I had to persevere through a lot of schooling while my friends were out buying new homes and cars, because they had money right out of high school,” said Penney. But to Penney, finding the right partners were necessary in order to succeed in the realm of law.

Penney started Penney and Associates law firm in 1992, where it began growing all across Northern and Southern California. Independently and over the years, Penney has earned significant accolades for his legal articles, became a managing partner of his firm, and legal commentary in radio, but he says his partners have allowed him to achieve the greatest successes.

“Most of the mistakes that I have made came down to individuals. I believe that a good business person should always first invest in people. You can have the greatest business or greatest idea but if you have the wrong people implementing it, you are more likely to fail,” said Penney.

“If you have a mediocre business or business idea, and a great person or persons handling that company, then the odds of it becoming successful is much greater than the aforementioned business,” said Penney. “The biggest mistakes I have made in the past have been investing in the wrong person.”

The difficult legal cases taken on by Penney’s firm and his partners earned him significant recognition in the media sphere, eventually leading the lawyer to become the host of the nationally syndicated radio show “Radio Law Talk.” There he and his co-hosts, Todd Kuhnen, Denise Dirks, and three-time Emmy nominated producer Cal Hunter give their analysis on the legal topics of the days. However, Penney says entrepreneurs need to keep their minds open in order to follow the pathway of business that works for them.

“What is successful to one person is not always a formula of success for the next. Everyone has to find their own way. I have heard so many people say ‘I have not become successful in life or business yet because I have not yet found my passion’,” Penney noted. “Well, most people have not found their passion, and still have become successful.”

Penney said to arrive to his point of success in life required reliable people who are willing to work with you through difficult times and profitable times. However, those who match your work ethic can help you accomplish great success.

“I have always learned to endure to the end, I have always said that business success takes time. It is ok if it takes you ten years to build your business, getting rich quick is so rare but unfortunately those are the ones that make the headlines,” Penney said of those who tout their success from investments only. “Work hard, persevere, keep balance in your life first, business second.”