The offices of Berman Law Group in Boca Raton, FL, are located in a 50,000-square-feet building a couple miles (give or take) off the southeast coast of Florida. Offices, meeting rooms, and various other workspaces for 17 attorneys and 100 total employees are contained here. So is a full replica courtroom, complete with a raised judge’s bench and 12-member jury box, for holding mock trials and presentations. But’s it’s the 15,000-square-foot, decked-out gym that truly sets this place apart from other law firms.
It’s here, at The Berman Team (TBT) Gym, that identical twin lawyers Russ and Ted Berman meet at noon-sharp every Monday through Friday for an intense hour-long workout. Needless to say, most lawyers aren’t quite so diligent in their training, especially ones working 80-plus hours a week running a firm as successful as BLG.
Their time in the gym is paying off. If there was such a title as the “Fittest Twin Lawyers in America,” the 41-year-old Bermans would own it, evidenced by lean, muscular physiques at 5’11,” 175 (Russ) and 190 pounds (Ted).
It’s not all for show. For the Berman twins, being fit separates them from their counterparts, helps shatter the typical lawyer stereotype, and overall makes them better attorneys.
“It’s an old motto that I’ve always lived by: You look good, you feel good, you play good, you get paid good,” says Ted Berman, applying a common athlete mindset to his own occupation. “People have an image of what they think a lawyer looks like, and we’re breaking that mold. You say ‘attorney’ and people think of some guy with gray hair, maybe in his 60s, who probably has no personality. That’s not us. We’re young guys, super aggressive, and energetic, which is a different mold.”
Work Hard, Train Hard
They may be breaking stereotypes, but Russ and Ted Berman still have quintessential lawyer workloads. Their workdays start at 6:30 a.m. and go well into the evening, even after they’ve left the office. The Berman Law Group specializes in catastrophic injury claims and spends a lot of time in court, with an estimated 400 to 500 cases in active litigation.
They’re extra busy these days with two high-profile class action lawsuits: one against China for its role in the COVID-19 pandemic (the first lawsuit of its kind), and the other taking on large sugar companies for toxic sugarcane burning in Florida’s Glades region. “Me and Ted are 24/7 guys,” says Russ.
Striking a work-life balance isn’t easy for the Bermans, but it’s absolutely necessary. Because as driven as they are to grow their firm, “being dads is our number one priority,” says Russ, who has five children (Ted has two). “We make sure we’re at everything for our kids. Starting early in the morning gives us the ability to get the work done in the office and then leave early if needed. I’ll take off at three o’clock to go watch my son’s varsity baseball game, but while I’m at the game I’m working on my phone or laptop. I have a three-and-a-half-month-old daughter, so I make sure I’m home at a certain time to hold her and play with her. The key is starting early and keeping to a schedule.”
Whether they leave the office midday or stay late working on a case, the Berman’s 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. appointment is set in stone. They don’t go out to lunch. Instead, they meet their CFO and childhood friend Marc Muscarella at TBT Gym for an intense, efficient 50-minute training session. This isn’t an optional thing that gets postponed or canceled if work is hectic. Work is always hectic at Berman Law Group. Come noon, training takes precedent.
“If you don’t make working out a religious thing, it won’t happen,” says Russ. “We make sure we’re there at 12 o’clock, whatever else is going on.”
TBT Gym is a private, invite-only facility stocked with free weights, commercial-grade machines, functional strength accessories (plyo boxes, medicine balls, resistance bands, etc.), and a field turf area for athlete-based training. The Bermans and Muscarella use it all, mixing up their workouts constantly to build lean muscle, get stronger, and improve overall conditioning. They achieve this through a variety of methodologies: heavy weights and low reps, light weights and high reps, multi-exercise HIIT circuits, and so on.
“We’re not talking and goofing around in the gym,” says Russ. “Our workouts are fast-paced and intense. We get our work done and then we’re out, back to the office.”
“It’s a great way to break up the day,” says Ted. “It allows you to take a mental break from what you’ve already accomplished that morning, and then mentally prepare yourself and refocus for the rest of your day.”
A Fitter Lawyer Is a Better Lawyer
The Berman twins’ dedication to health and fitness extends far outside the gym.
To their nutrition: Both follow healthy, but not overly restrictive diets, with Ted adhering to a 16/8 intermittent fasting scheme during the work week.
Both their wives are huge fitness fanatics as well: Ted’s wife Deborah is a former NPC Bikini competitor and IFBB pro, and the two have an impressive home gym that came in especially handy during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Russ’ wife LeAnn, a former professional model who you may have seen on TV or in magazines, also lives the healthy lifestyle. Both women stay fit and promote the lifestyle to their kids.
Their dedication to the gym rubs off on the BLG culture, where many of the employees at the firm take advantage of the on-site TBT Gym. “It ends up being a trickle-down effect,” says Ted. “Because of the way we carry ourselves and the things our staff and associate attorneys see us do in our daily lives, they start to replicate that as well.”
And of course, as two of the fastest-rising attorneys in Southeast Florida, the twins appear in local ads for the firm, where presentability and projecting confidence are critical. On a day-to-day basis, being in shape helps directly with their job demands.
“Feeling good physically promotes doing good work,” says Russ. “Having a positive attitude, being able to get things done, having an increase in energy levels, being able to efficiently deal with your responsibilities — there’s a lot that spills over into your professional life just from being fit and eating right.”
This outlook is such a departure from archetypal law firm culture, where work is always top priority and health and family take a backseat, that the Bermans are often pigeon-holed into other occupations.
“I’ve literally had people ask me what I do for a living, and when I say I’m an attorney, they’re like, ‘No, you’re not,’” says Ted. “They just don’t believe it. They think we’re into other things, something related to fitness or finance or whatever else. They just don’t see us as attorneys. We really don’t fit that mold, but the mold is changing.”