April 20, 2023

Interview with Kevin Kennedy Sr. | Ep 027

Interview with Kevin Kennedy Sr. | Ep 027
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Today we're talking to Kevin C. Kennedy. Kevin is a local lawyer with decades of experience.  He's kind of a big deal around here, and he's giving you his secret to success. You won't want to miss it!

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John: What's going on everyone? We are excited to be back here. We are doing our interview series and we have an amazing guest today. I'm excited to introduce him to you. 

Kacie: Let's get into it. This is gonna be great. Let's go.

The Business Project podcast business can be complicated. We break it down to regular people like us can understand and find success. I'm John Crespo, accountant and consultant. I'm Kacie Bryant, marketer and event planner. If you run a business or want to run a business, Welcome to the show.

Kacie: Welcome back everybody. I am super excited. I've been looking forward to this all day long. We have Mr. Kevin Kennedy with us, and Mr. Kennedy you are. An icon. I feel like in our city, you've just done so many things here. I I just wanna get in, I wanna tell a quick story before we get into it. Test. No, it's okay.

I, we were on the phone. I had you on the phone to schedule this interview and I put you on speaker phone so that I could pull up my calendar and I was at the checkout line at Walgreens and the lady heard your voice and went absolutely crazy. She was so excited that you were on the phone, and I feel like that's just a testament.

To you and everything that you've done for our community. So why don't you just tell us a little bit about who you are and 

Kevin: your business? All right, well that's fascinating that you said that. I was, uh, recently in, uh, airport, in Miami. And, uh, These people come running. I know your voice. You've got to be Kevin.

I was a little incognito, so I used to think about the distinctive voices of John Wayne and Clark Gable. So I guess all in all, Kevin Kennedy does have a distinctive voice and uh, that caught it. So that's pretty interesting. Well, let's just kick it off. You know, I was born and raised here my entire life.

Uh, our family goes way, way back and probably. Land that we're taping this on today was owned at one time by the Whitfield family. They gave the first land to the first church in Tennessee, and uh, that's Spring Creek Baptist Church, which is only a few miles away from here. And, uh, so the roots are really deep.

That was the, my grandfather was a Kennedy. He married the Whitfield and they were pretty slick in those days. They gave them farms. And so over the years, Uh, they had lots of kids and they divided it up. And so I still live on the Kennedy Walking Horse Farm, which is just a few minutes away from here. And my dad loved horses and, uh, I got caught up in the horse world and have loved horses and, uh, That's the truth now, when I was a little boy, the best advice my dad got me.

So we're gonna be giving some advice through the day too. Yes. Exciting. All through this. And so I am delighted. I have some business formulas that in my professional opinion are magical. And so people love magical formulas. I love to tell these. In fact, uh, I don't even know where to start, but I'll go back.

Uh, when I was at Spring Creek, part of my secret. Which it is no secret was all the training I had in the church. So what do I tell all the young lawyers? I'm hiring young lawyers all the time and um, they all want to know, well, how'd you get the multi-million dollar cases? Everybody wants to know the success, and quite frankly, it's a simple formula.

Read your Bible. All the wisdom in the world comes out of the Bible. I love it. I was interviewed by the American Trial Advocacy Journal and uh, they were, you won so many jury trial. And I said, what's your secret? That's, I get that question. What is your secret? And I said, it is no secret. It's really biblical principle.

That's nice, Mr. Kennedy. But how did you win all those jury trials in. And, and I said, well, it kind of reminds me you will reap what you sow. So today, my friends, y'all are in the middle of sowing lots of seeds and you know, not every seed's gonna come up because not every ground is fertile, receptive, ready, and wants to grow and wants to go.

Just keep going and keep growing. So that's a concept that's unbelievable. So all of my children, I had 'em in the, uh, church. That's where I gave my first little speech. I didn't realize where it would take me. And so in the fourth grade, my dad encouraged me to become a four H speaker, and I did. And he would stand me up.

My mother helped me write the speech and my dad would help me deliver. And he was not really a very sophisticated, educated man. He was a barber, worked 42 years, but he had common sense and he directed me and he inspired me and he encouraged me and I won the school and won the district and went on and, uh, won a lot.

Public speaking, I'm at Austin P I didn't think I was smart enough to be a doctor because I worked all the time so that could have handicapped my grades in high school. So, and then I said, well, I am a pretty smooth talker. I'll pursue law 18, pursued it and, uh, sought a lot of advice and, uh, I broke a lot of records.

Wow. How does a little boy that worked at the grocery store right here at 14 made $12 a week? Somebody say, praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. Yeah, I heard my preacher, he was up there and he said, I gave my testimony at the First Baptist. He said, you know, there was a time I made more money than Kevin Kennedy and the whole church, they all clapped.

They thought that was clever cuz he made $35 a week when he started and I made 12. Oh wow. So, uh, what can I share today from my perspective? Well, at one time I owned how many businesses you think I owned Hick. John testifies. She's too slow. Oh my goodness. I you can't even consider, that's too many businesses.

How many of you say. Two, two. Both of you sit down and take some notes. I told everybody, pull your paper out and take. At one time I owned 11 separate businesses. Oh my goodness. Now one of those was the Kennedy Law Firm, and I think when I did that, I may have had two locations. I have three today. Uh, so what did I learn from that?

You can't spend one day a week on a business. You can't spend one hour a day on a business. So I learned through trial and there I never knew anyone that ever walked down that. So some other big things that, uh, I undertook, uh, I had the horses. I never knew a man that owned a hundred horses. And I said, but Kev, can you do it?

So I was always big on goal setting. I'd go to all the leadership seminars. Zig Ziegler was one of my heroes. One t. I'm teaching if anybody's listening. Mm-hmm. Cuz I'll show you how you'll break some records and they say, Kev, I'm teaching if anybody's listening. So I was introduced to Zig Ziegler in 1992 and that day he really changed my life.

I was in Atlanta, Georgia. Keep going. Keep growing. When I was there, man, it was so powerful. And he said I got some tapes and I was a young man, didn't really have the money and I bought how many tapes. I bought 'em all cuz he had a secret. And if I could get what he's got, I'll break through. It was Dream weekend.

I hope you're listen. Here's how it went. 30,000 people, they were screaming. I said, what are all these people excited about? My wife, Rhonda was, and she's, she's not into it yet. You hear me? She's not there. And so at the back of the room, they have a Prevo motor coach. Wow. Then they had the Rolls Royce. I looked at that song, I said, that is bad to the bone.

Then they had a big four door Mercedes, and then a co. Well, at that time I was driving a Corvette. I've owned 35 Corvette's, but that Mercedes was banging at me. Mm-hmm. Nice. Whoa. So 30 days from there, it's Dream weekend from 30 days. From there, I was driving the four door Mercedes. Three years from there I was driving the Rolls Royce and.

How does that happen, Kevin? You start learning, you start talking. You start, uh, experiencing, and you keep on stretching. I hope the audience is listening to me. I'm gonna teach you another lesson. You know, everybody lift your arm up. Let's say you do it. Lift your arm up. 

Kacie: Hold on. Can I have, can I ask you a question about ahead really quick?

Okay. Because I'm just very curious. You are very humble. I know you're, you have, you know, you've got an amazing personality. You're very humble in, in all of this, just talking to you on the phone. You're very courteous of other people. And how do you, how do you maintain that through all of this, through all of these things that you're doing and all the cars that you've driven, how do you maintain that?

Kevin: Well, and here's kind of one of the things when people said about the Rolls Royce, uh, fascinating, if y'all will. The humility. Some people say, Kev, you're not very humble. You're out loud. You got the biggest personality in the room, please. Uh, well, that's part of, uh, letting people know I never was really ashamed of who I am.

Mm-hmm. And, uh, People have to know you to do business with you. Uh, I do want to hear humility because I don't want to be humiliated. I'd like to take y'all to a whole new level, but I never want to take you where you're humiliated. And there's some fine lines right there. Uh, the roles. Is a fascinating little bit.

I have so many stories to tell, but when you hear it, you're never gonna believe it. So I had a lawyer, he's in Nashville at Christmas, and he was with all these rich, rich lawyers, and this guy said, I need somebody to litigate Middle Tennessee. He said, well, you need to meet Kevin Kennedy. He said, who's Kevin?

Ken? He said, well, he's 40 years old and he drives a Rolls Royce. He said, I wanna meet him. That was like November 27th, and then within 30 days we had met and then we made a deal. In 90 days, we'd made enough to pay for the Rolls-Royce. Wait a minute, Kevin, why do you even tell that story? Because if you didn't step out of the boat.

He would've never entertained my presence. You couldn't even have gotten a meeting with him. Right. So I share that about y'all stretching. And you know, it's kind of interesting when we were talking about so many of these, uh, law firm ventures. I remember the day that we said, well, we'll go in. They said, Kev.

Hey, anybody's already got uh, business, they already got a lawyer. You can't generate enough to pay for the building and pay for, um, the secretaries and pay for all it and start your own B law firm. You can't do it. I remember telling them, you're right, you can't, but I can. So is that a little difference when you're talking about trying to be a humble man or talking about me and God?

Can do anything. It's kind of like all things are possible with him. The same thing happened when we had the second law firm and they said, Kev, a lot more richer people than you, a lot more smarter. They've tried a second location, but yet they couldn't do it and you can't do it. And I'd say, what? You're right.

You can't, but I can't with. Yeah, so in the third location, straight across the street from y'all, and they said no one has ever done three locations in Clarksville. It's not going to happen. Uh, it's no way to make it. And of course, it's been years and years and years, and we went through that same thing.

So I have to keep a balance. I'm so glad that you said that, but even back with my business formulas when I was putting these things together, it doesn't hurt me at all for you and John to break records. It doesn't. Yeah. In fact, when Austin P calls says, Kev, we got this project that needs, and I said, okay, so I'm in at X, but I got some friends over here that are in.

Can you help me? Can you And the whole community wins Yes. Because of our relationships. 

Kacie: Yeah, that's good. And you know, I think that there's a big difference between being confident and being humble. I think that you have a lot of confidence and it's, I was gonna say the same thing. Yes. And it, it, um, it, but you have also have a lot of humility, so that's really great.

Kevin: You're nice. Thank you. Very nice. And, uh, I still always see I've had some of those David and Goliath moments. When there's no way the world would say, you're only a boy. You can't take that giant. And I heard that Bible verse when David responded to all of them and he said, remember the battle's not mine.

It's the Lords and uh, you know, I do believe in church tithing. What does that mean? 10%? People say, Kev, I can't afford to do it and I'm teaching. You can't afford not to do it. And, uh, I've done some big projects before. You know what, I'll hear my close associates and. Kev, you gotta be a good steward now.

And I said, well, it's always easy for a man if you had a million dollars to go give a hundred thousand. That's a easy formula. Will you just follow it? But are you willing to give before you get before you? The biggest giver is also the biggest getter, and if you walk around with your hand closed as you got $5, Hey, nobody's gonna get your five, but your hand's not open to receive the 500.

Mm-hmm. And God really wants us to do good. Remember this, I'll teach this lesson. The church is the bride of Christ. There's no way he can fund the church except through people like you and me. Mm-hmm. So what that means, he's got to get resources to us to fund his church. So when I learned that principle, I understand.

So we are walking in faith. There's a Bible verse. Walk by faith and not by sight. It easy. If we all had mountains of money, you can see it. I can see it. Hey, we can bask in our comfort. But when you have to walk by his faith, then that really makes a difference. So I'm bolding my witness now than I've ever been because I'm more mature and watched him and uh, that's kind of the puzzles.

Remember all the lawyers, there've been some brilliant lawyers that work for me. They all want the success formulas. But when I tell 'em it's biblical principles, then they're still a little stunned and they're still seeking more. Mm-hmm. Yeah. You know what 

John: I noticed about, you mentioned biblical principles and tithing and how important that is.

I'm a firm believer in givers gain. It's true. The more you give, the more you gain. Right. 

Kevin: The Bible says give and it shall be given unto you. Exactly. Press down, shaking together and running. And I also one of my favorite, you're gonna reap what you sow. So if I sow kindness and mercy and generosity in your life, don't ever worry about me, because that's exactly, I believe the Bible.

I will reap mercy. Sure. And kindness and generosity. And also my family will do the same. You know, the Bible says he never sees the righteous, forsaken nor their seed. That means your children and go right. I love it. Yeah, I love 

Kacie: it. One thing, uh, Matt Lasseter, who's another great business name, our 

Kevin: community, I'm very impressed with him.

Kacie: He, um, I asked him, what's your secret formula for your success? And he told me, being quiet, he said, being quiet and being still. I was expecting, I was so excited to have a meeting with him, and I had my notepad. I was ready to start taking notes, and that's what he said. He said, being quiet and having one, one minute at least a day, just sitting there in complete silence.

And that was, it has really impacted my life 

Kevin: for sure. Well, that's very interesting. I'm in a busy world and uh, it's hard for me to calm down when I get hyped up and they said, well, why do you hype? Because it takes enormous energy. You know, I have a residential rental business that I started too, but I wanted to teach that lesson, so the hundred horses, I said, I never knew anybody, but I'll pursue it.

So I got up to 108 horses. Wow. They kept having babies. I was selling, but they were having babies. So I met, my goal, exceeded the goal. Well, a few years I said. I don't really want to set the goal of a hundred houses. I don't want to do that cuz it's too much work, too much money, too much risk. But I said if I could do it with a hundred horses, we will do it with a hundred.

So we set it and we achieved that goal. And so along the way, We helped lots of people that painted houses and put down carpet. We helped a lot of guys that needed work, and I say, just empty out that house and let's go. So to that degree, I've helped lots and lots of people. On the front of my building, it says we are committed to helping people.

So when y'all invited, I wanted to take this opportunity to share and thank you. You know, no one understands what y'all have to do to put this together. Yeah, but you're sharing these nuggets of gold and other people don't have the opportunity. One more Bible verse in speaking in your life to whom much is given, much is required.

So you can push away and push away and push away. But remember, you're. And I really do know this. A little advice and a little knowledge goes a lot way in the world of prosperity. If you just knew how and how to do it and when to do it, you can help so many people. Yeah. 

John: What, uh, a phrase that you said earlier in the, in the interview had stuck with me and I think it's gonna stick with 

Kevin: me after this point.

It probably, well, I have that effect in your mind. I can't get Kevin Kennedy outta my mind. Go ahead. It's great 


John: you. It. 

Kevin: You keep going. You keep growing. Amen. And it's true. So we are going here today on the podcast, and you know when I get opportunities, when I won this recent award, the National Trial Lawyers Golden Gavel Award, I'd only seen one in my whole life.

Never dreamed that I could win it. So what did that really mean? Then I've had the opportunity of all kinds of national podcasts and. It introduced me to a whole new platform. And then people, when I'm at the airports now, you do get to feel that people come up and say, Hey, can we get your picture? Sure. I, I, I'm happy for people to share with their sorority clubs or their fraternity.

I'm really happy if I can bring a little joy. For sure. Hey, this world is, will beat you down. And so, uh, That kind of entry, and those were things I never saw. One more lesson, my friends, whenever you're doing something good, there's so many side benefits you don't even understand and you'll never see till you're enjoying them.

And you say, I didn't see that come from anywhere, but that's why he who so sparingly you are holding yourself back. He who sows consciously. All these blessings come from the left and the right, the north and the south, the east and the. Wow. 

Kacie: Yeah, that's good. So I wanted to ask you your one takeaway. I feel like there's been so many takeaways in this.

I know you gotta go and we wanna be respectful of your time. But what if one thing, if somebody got one thing out of this podcast, what, what do you hope they walk away 

Kevin: with? Some of the most profound men. In my life, uh, and I'll teach you the most profound thing was a relationship with Jesus. That's the whole secret.

That's what motivates me. That's what str that's my one message. My heroes were all the Christian Zeig Zeigler. Changed my life, changed my children's lives, and it will even change my grandchildren's lives because he taught. And anytime you hear anybody that teaches something other than is a biblical prayer, that's why it's important.

What does the Bible really say about this? If anyone espouses anything that's in conflict, then throw on the brake. Throw on the brakes and if it's biblical, you can feel good. Some of the most trusted men in this whole city are, the ministers have a relationship. A a client came to me from Stewart County once and they said, you know, my granddaddy told me this story.

I said, well, just tell it. He said, you need, um, a preacher you can believe in and a lawyer you can trust. He told me that once 30 years ago, and I've never. Got in away with. So still does it get down to the basic principles? Honesty is still the best policy. Uh, and help your brothers and all the things that go into, uh, so many of the other successful people.

I saw 'em reach plateaus. I saw 'em hit the ceiling. Why they didn't take the other spiritual side. There's a whole nother avenue of life when you can walk with the Lord. 

Kacie: That's so good. 

John: Yeah. I mean, I just wanna say one thing as well is that, uh, you mentioned, you know, you get a lot of your principles get your principles from the Bible, right?


Kevin: The best 

John: Self-help books. Yeah. The best personal development books. Yes. To get their principles from the Bible. It's so true. 

Kevin: You gotta hear this. You can see parallel. I'm with you. Oh, John. So when I win the national award, you know all these great advertisers from all over the nation, they're obsessed with lawyers who spend millions every year.

Millions and tens of millions. Hundreds of millions. So all the great lawyers has said, where did Kevin Kennedy come? What is, so they're all analyzing me and they want to check everything. So they've been flying in and one particular guy was of a Jewish faith, and uh, he was just, he's a really nice guy I love, but he was so fa, he said, can I get my picture in the front of your building where those two, Jesus.

I said, go for it, brother. And he said, so he and I, we talked a lot like we did today. And I said, and he's one of the biggest givers I've ever. And that's how we met at National Trial Lawyers. He was from the state of Michigan, biggest personal injury lawyer there, and he helped so many. I said, real, really?

Remember this? It's all about biblical principles. You're doing them. That's right. And you just didn't call it. So, uh, it's fascinating and I'm glad to share that. 

Kacie: Yeah, that's great. I appreciate it. So if people are looking for you, how can they find you? 

Kevin: Well, it's, uh, the Kennedy Law Firm and, uh, I'm still kind of old school, you know, I know I hit the TikTok, but, uh, thats really famous.

The people around me that do all that and. Yeah, we had tremendous success. Never saw that coming. It's really just been within like 13 months. Mm-hmm. I didn't even really know what TikTok was until thir. And the girl said, well, let's do one, let's do one. And then it just hit, and then the people around the nation said, you know, I even had a movie offer, I gotta tell this.

So they came in and wanted to do this movie offer with me, and they talked about the script and they said, Kevin, you're gonna do this, but at the end of the movie, you're gonna lose the. I said, throw on the breaks. If I ever do one movie, guys, Kevin Kennedy cannot lose. I said, you'll have to revisit and come back when we got a winner.

That's right. But TikTok really, it blows me away. Uh, and it really hit a note across this nation with the colleges, all the colleges, all over the, uh, United States. And so I never saw that coming. I'm enjoying. That little bit. And then some days it's a little more than you can, the people that are with me when so many people, I was at the Kentucky Derby and they just stopped the crowd and I said, oh my goodness.

And then the people in the back start screaming, y'all gotta move. You gotta move. You know, there's a hundred thousand. And we couldn't really move. And I knew that was gonna get outta hand. Real quick. And so, uh, but we really didn't have much to where to go. So the people with me say, Kev, you got to go. You got to go, everybody.

This is what you hear. Kevs got you covered. That's 

Kacie: Kev. So funny.

John: Well, we, I love the TikTok videos just saying that, and I think it's not just the, the personality that that shines through, but the, the message at the same time. Amen. Thank you. That's what makes the impact. And, um, I think. I learned a lot. I took a lot of mental notes and that, that one phrase is gonna stick with me forever, I think.

Um, so I really appreciate 

Kevin: your time. That is good. And I'm gonna speak a little power into both of your lives. May the God Almighty expand your mind today. May you have new friends like you've never known before. He can open doors. That no man can shut. Are we strong enough? Are we bold enough? Can we be inspired through this moment we've had together?

Some men are moved by desperation. I choose and challenge you to be moved by inspiration. 

Kacie: Amen. I love it. That's, I love that word. Inspire is one of my favorite words. Thank you. We appreciate you 

Kevin: very much. You're good. You're real good. Thank you. When time is passed and words are through, may I always be thought.

As a friend to you. Do you have a book? I have six books. You have six books. Six books. And, and the motivation was that was, I had those winning formulas. Yeah. And I wanted to share 'em, and I wanted to teach 'em. And there 

Kacie: we go. We'll make sure and link those, all of this information. We'll make sure and link in the description of this podcast so they.

Go out and get your books and follow you on TikTok and we appreciate you so much. Thank you you for being here. Thank you. You'll 

John: not be disappointed. 

Kevin: Well, I gotta say this about your set. You know, I've been around, but both of your eyes are so encouraging and I hope you can take away that we can inspire one another.

The bi iron sharpens iron. I'm a better lawyer when I walk away from this table today than I was when I came in. And for that I say thank you. Thank 

John: you. Thank you. For sure. Yeah. Thank you. 

Kacie: Well, thank you guys. We hope that you got so much out of this likely. I know I did. Yeah. It's such an amazing, um, interview.

I just love it, man. You set the bar high for the next one, so we're gonna have to find some good people. We have your son coming in next week. Yeah. Well 

Kevin: then, now fire him up. No mercy. Only winners go to the front. That's 

Kacie: right. All right. Thank you guys. You have a good rest of your day and we will catch you next week.

Thank you. 

John: Bye.

Kevin C. KennedyProfile Photo

Kevin C. Kennedy


Kevin C. Kennedy founded this firm in 1992. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and is licensed to practice in Tennessee state courts, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Mr. Kennedy's primary areas of practice include personal injury law, workers' compensation, and Social Security disability law. He is a member of the Tennessee Association for Justice and the American Association for Justice, and has been recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Kennedy is active in his community and has served as a board member for several local organizations. He is also a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the Knoxville Bar Association.