Cesar Ornelas was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. In his early years, he was raised in a mobile home park. It was during this time that Cesar Ornelas and his father would go around selling watermelons to provide for his family. Through this life lesson, Cesar learned the value of hard work and discipline. These values translated through to his education through both college and law school, during which Cesar Ornelas supported himself by successfully starting and operating multiple companies.
After graduating from St. Mary’s Law School, Cesar Ornelas began to practice law. Since his first day in practice, he has been handling catastrophic personal injury and death cases. Since becoming a lawyer, Cesar Ornelas has done significant work for his clients throughout the state of Texas and the United States.
Cesar Ornelas is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. Additionally, he has been named as a life member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. The Million Dollar Advocates Forum is recognized as one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States and less than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.
In the spring of 2021, Cesar was selected to be a part of The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, an invitation-only program extended exclusively to those trial lawyers practicing civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law.
We were able to talk with Cesar Ornelas and hear his insights on how he effectively manages his workflow and is able to create a balance between that and his personal life.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?
Consistency is key. Our clients know that they can rely on us to handle their injury needs. We consistently communicate with them and always offer the utmost level of care. Doing these things help us to illustrate that our consistent presence in their life is going to bring them hope, relief, and justice.
How do you prioritize your work?
Every member of our firm knows that each client matters just as much as the next one. We can fully function in this mindset, and our staff is trained to communicate to our clients that they ARE a priority. If a case comes in that is time-sensitive, for example, the tragedy at Astrofest, our staff knows how to act quickly and take all the necessary measures required to address the needs of our clients in a prioritized way.
How do you find a work-life balance? How do you like to spend your free time?
It can be very difficult to find a proper work-life balance, but I always try to remain aware of the responsibilities that I have – both to the firm and to my family. I make sure that I have time to dedicate to my wife and son, as I value family on a deep level.
Can you share your personal approach to managing an effective balance between life and work?
This is something that I am always working on. I am a workaholic, so the scales are tilted more towards work. I am trying my best to be at home more often now that I have a 2-year-old.
When possible, I include my wife and son on my travels and make sure to involve them as much as I can in everything I do. Without them, I would not have been able to accomplish what I have today.
How do you manage your workflow effectively?
My organization is set up in a way that allows for the workflow to be as efficient as possible. Each staff member has the knowledge and skills to manage their personal workflow, which helps me manage my own.
Our case managers are trained to know when a client needs immediate help, so when they call me with an issue, I already know that they have exhausted every angle they could have up until that point. Teamwork is essential to the overall workflow management of our firm.
I also excel in prioritizing tasks. Being aware of time-sensitive issues and tackling them head-on has allowed me to manage my workflow effectively over the years.
What is your approach to starting a new project or business venture?
I am not someone who wastes time when it comes to new ideas or business ventures. When I am motivated by a new project, I get to work on it immediately.
I have built a strong network and have established connections with reliable people, both inside and outside of the legal field. As a result of this, I typically know exactly who to reach out to for the specific project I have in mind.
What are some of the keys to effective decision-making?
Gather all of the facts, seek advice if you need it, and then make an educated and decisive decision.
What criteria do you use to decide what to do yourself and what to delegate to others?
I analyze the tasks that I am presented with and determine whether I am the best person to successfully complete them. If I feel that I am not, I find a team member who is better suited.
I trust the members of my staff, and they trust me. This mutuality allows for a smoother delegation process.
How do you manage the stress of all the things you are not able to complete?
I manage the stress of all the things I am not able to complete by being honest with myself about what my involvement can be. If needed, I will delegate a task and move on to one that is more suited for me. Having staff members that I can trust helps ease the stress of completing tasks because sometimes, it does take a village.