Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

Join us at the next Guild Mastermind in Minneapolis on April 18th and 19th! Click here for event details.

Are you an attorney who is interested in joining a supportive group of fellow attorneys? In this podcast episode, Jim and Tyson explore the impact of their mastermind group for lawyers. 

Jim and Tyson discuss the great things that have happened since beginning the quarterly mastermind sessions. One of these things is the ability to learn different ways of doing things from lawyers of all backgrounds. There are multiple ways to succeed and many people tend to not realize that. But, sharing perspective in the mastermind has created this notion for members. Working in law can be stressful and competitive, but Jim and Tyson share how participants are able to network, share ideas, overcome struggles and get validation from their fellow attorneys. The mastermind sessions are all about fostering a supportive environment for attorneys to grow and learn.

Jim and Tyson share their methods for preparing for mastermind sessions. Starting off the mastermind sessions with a few questions help set the tone for the day and get people thinking about their work habits, business decisions and how they interact with clients. Mastermind sessions are all about digging deep with members, helping them understand their problems and receive positive feedback from others.

Take a listen to learn more!

Jim’s Hack: If you find yourself in a rut doing the same thing over and over, just do one little thing differently to be disruptive.

Tyson’s Hack: If you think that you may have hired too many people, go through an exercise of picking your top 6 people that you can’t work without to narrow it down.

Episode Highlights:

  • 5:23 Exploring the benefits of running a mastermind
  • 7:30 The dynamics and perspectives of participants in the mastermind
  • 9:22 Planning and setting the tone for mastermind sessions
  • 23:04 Discussion on the importance of making small changes 

Resources:

Transcripts: Unleashing the Power of a Mastermind: Transforming Legal Practices

Jim Hacking (00:00.938)
Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:04.384)
And I'm Tyson Mutrix. What's up, Jimmy.

Jim Hacking (00:08.514)
Well, my friend, today on recording day, we always record on the first Thursday of the month. Today is the first day of February. It's hard to believe how fast January went by, and of course, I still think it's 2002. So things are moving very quickly.

Tyson (00:27.092)
in the army. That's when I was in the… Dude, man, as we're talking, I feel jacked. I lived through the day from my fingertips all the way up to my shoulders. I'm just like, my arms are about to just explode. I was going to tell you something before, just like, I know it was funny because I went to go give the kids hugs this morning when I got back from the gym. I couldn't even squeeze my hands. It was like…

Jim Hacking (00:47.362)
That's a strange thing to say.

Tyson (00:56.156)
I couldn't even pick something up if I wanted to. But I was going to tell you something before we started. I wanted to make sure we recorded it. So I got off the phone this morning with a friend of ours. She's also a Gildian. But a client had called. I don't know if I should say this, but I'm going to anyways. One of my clients has been calling around. And yeah, like asking for a.

Jim Hacking (01:20.25)
Oh.

Jim Hacking (01:25.602)
Second opinion?

Tyson (01:26.672)
Yeah, like, yeah, trying to get his basic second opinion and maybe like hire another lawyer. Well, I think it's funny is like it is a it's a client that I have told given the exact same advice now less than five times and she won't take my advice. And I told her exactly what was going to happen if she didn't take my advice. That has happened. And now she's not happy about it. And if you juxtapose that with this other client that I got the phone with where the current offer is $400,000.

Jim Hacking (01:29.846)
Better deal.

Tyson (01:55.14)
We're probably going to end up around 500,000. They're like, Tyson, we trust you, whatever you want, let us know. It's just like, it's so many, so many of these truths that are so true. It's like this other case, not worth near as much, won't listen to me. It's a pain in the butt client. And then you get this other one. It's just like, Hey Tyson, we trust you. Like whatever, like whatever you recommend. It's, it's just so.

I'm going to take pride, actually, I'm going to fire the client because it's something we had been talking about in the office for a while, like this particular client, she's a real pain in the butt. I'm just going to, I'm sick of dealing with her. I'm just going to send her on her way. So this is just advice to anyone that's dealing with that. Just send those people on their way. They're just not worth your time. The low value clients are just usually not worth it. That's it. That's all my mind this morning. So I want to get off my chest. How about that? This is my counseling session.

Jim Hacking (02:45.579)
We could do it.

We could do a whole podcast just on that. I mean, you know, when you have, you know, it's always the clients with the $50,000 case versus the clients with the half a million dollar case that are so much harder to deal with. I mean, not always, but so often is it's, you know, that whole 80-20 rule that 80% of your headaches come from 20% of your clients. It's, I think, you know, one of my favorite things to do is to fire clients. I haven't gotten good and worked up and fired a client in a while, but I probably need to do that. It's…

It's cathartic. It lets your team know that you're standing up for them. It's gonna free you up to work on more high value cases. And most importantly, it's gonna free you up from the mental gyrations of dealing with this fool.

Tyson (03:32.036)
Yeah, well, and the thing that made me the angriest was that she said that she thought that I was going to sabotage the case if, uh, if, uh, if she fired me. And I'm like, what? It just, it just, things like that just drive me through the roof. It's like, that is, it just, it's like, whenever they try to, they try to tack you whenever it comes to just, uh,

your character. That's when it's like, OK, now you're getting me mad. But yeah.

Jim Hacking (04:06.074)
Just know that is how that person walks through life. Right, like that's a hard way to live. That's how they're choosing to, that's their worldview. That's how they approach everything. They think everybody's their enemy, even their own lawyer. And you know, those are the worst when people, oh, nice product placement there for the Guild water bottle.

Tyson (04:22.609)
Oh, nice.

Um, quick timeout. Is my, is my video glitchy?

Jim Hacking (04:30.795)
No

Tyson (04:31.564)
Okay, because I got a notification that it wasn't getting it because I've got I'm using my bluetooth

Jim Hacking (04:34.442)
Every now and then it's fine. The audio for sure is fine. The video, they'll catch all the video up.

Tyson (04:41.432)
Okay, cool. All right, so do we want to, with that nice segue Jimbo, do we want to talk about today's topic?

Jim Hacking (04:48.642)
So, back in 2018, when we were having our annual conference, for the first time we had a mastermind the day before, I think, yeah. And we really, really enjoyed it. It was time set aside for people in the guild. It was time where we got to hear from people about what was going on in their lives, and everyone liked it so much that our friend Paul Yoko Baita suggested that we do that quarterly.

And we have pretty much done that quarterly ever since. And it's an interesting thing running a mastermind as opposed to attending a mastermind. So we were talking about what a good topic for the podcast might be. And I think that sharing the things that we observe, obviously with anonymity preserved, would be a good topic for us to talk about sort of the mindsets that we see, the…

changes that we've seen people make in the shifts.

Tyson (05:50.204)
Yeah. It is interesting because when you go to these, sometimes there are, it's weird. I feel like each one is different. At least I don't see the same things in the room. Sometimes you'll see a common thread. I will say this too. It is important how you start the day. It's important who you start with. There are certain things that you do have to sort of do it just.

You have to tweak things just a little bit. I think you and I have, and Beck have kind of learned this a little bit. But I think one of the most important lessons is that sometimes we think there is a way and there's one right way and this is the way and you've got to do it that way. And I think that there's there, we have that thought because there are several people and companies out there that tell you that there's a way. But the reality is, is there's.

I was sitting in a room in Scottsdale a couple weeks ago with some really successful lawyers, all doing it different ways. And so I think that's an important thing that people need to know. There's not just a way of doing things that's the right way. There are several different ways that you can achieve success. There's several different ways of being happy. And so it's not just like you do this one thing.

and this is how you do it and you become successful. There's a lot of one things.

Jim Hacking (07:21.226)
One of the great things that I really enjoy is the fact that we'll have people in there running seven figure firms and we'll have people who have just started out and are just sort of scratching the surface of their greatness. And so to see the interplay between those types of people is really, really powerful. That goes to your point about people doing things differently.

I think that a lot of the value of the mastermind comes from hearing the things that you say to other people or the things that other people say to you. I think…

your time on the hot seat is probably the least valuable just because it's hard to take it all in and really where you get the insights are from the side conversations, the observations that you make, the things you put in your notebook. I think that in our group, we had, like you said, different people coming at it from different perspectives and also we had some people that were being pretty hard on themselves and I think that another great thing.

about taking a day every quarter away from your life and your schedule is that you get validation, that you're on the right track, that you're doing the right things, that you have the right mindset. And I think that that's just another benefit of the mastermind.

Tyson (08:40.416)
I was looking up something, Jim, and there's this principle, and I had to look up what the principle was called. I couldn't remember the name of it. So Occam's razor. I always forget the name of it, but it's the rule that the simplest solution is almost always the best. And it's funny is because when you get people sometimes on the hot seat and they're talking about this very complex thing, right? And it's…

They've really in their head, it's they've over complicated it. It's way more complicated And then the answer is like so simple like such a simple solution and then they kind of like it's that moment where you see them and like someone has told them like Quit over complicating like this is like do this thing instead and they're like you can't you kind of see like the stress just fall off of them like

Oh, it's like, wow, you're so right. Like, I love those moments.

Jim Hacking (09:42.25)
Yeah, and those moments were, we had a lot of those moments in our group. Um, we had people who were struggling, people who were, um, honest and vulnerable. And, you know, you said that, you know, we've sort of gotten to a point where we sort of structure the day a little bit, cause we know, uh, who's who we might want to lead off, how that's important to sort of set the tone. I, I spent.

my time before we started. I mean, one funny thing was we had a video set up with a laptop, which we don't usually do. So I put on like serene scenes on YouTube and just ran it all day. So that was just sort of setting the tone in the room. And I did it a little bit more organically. I just sort of talked about how masterminds had helped me before, the kinds of things that I'd learned during masterminds. And I sort of start off the mastermind with two questions, which…

I always like to remind people of. And number one is from Dan Sullivan, which is, if we were sitting here a quarter from now or a year from now, what would have to have happened for you to feel like you made progress to where you wanted to be? And the other from Jerry Colona, which is, how have I been complicit in creating the conditions that I say that I don't want? So that sort of gave people something to riff off of. And then I did something very different this time. I let people share when they were ready. So I went off script. I kept everyone on the timetable,

I just, and I thought, oh, we might have some really awkward silences. Not one, not one awkward silence where people were, everyone was ready. The, usually by the time that the person was ending, the next person was ready to go. So it really worked out well.

Tyson (11:20.576)
Interesting. I'll have to try that sometime. The, what I, and I do wonder if this, I mean, it seems like people like it whenever I tell them, I'll give them the order. I'll say, hey, like, okay, the next three people are going to be this, and then we'll go into the break and then I'll tell them, okay, after the break, it's going to be these three. I usually don't tell them the full day. I don't know, maybe, because there are sometimes people are ready, they're jumping at the bit to get going. Like, they've got a big issue that they really want to talk about.

Jim Hacking (11:23.498)
Yeah.

Tyson (11:49.508)
that is pressing. And so I have switched it up before. I've never done what you just said, but I do like that. That's a cool idea. Have you had the moment where the solution comes in the first couple of minutes? I'm talking really, really quick to the point where you have to move on to a new topic.

Jim Hacking (12:13.246)
Yeah, sure, sure. But, you know, oftentimes that's a superficial kind of a thing. So that's when I would sort of encourage them to go deeper and do something a little bit more personal. Yeah, but that is, that can be painful, especially if people are fast talkers or if they, you know, sometimes people know what they need to do and they just need to hear it from other people.

Tyson (12:32.888)
Yeah, I'm not gonna say who the person is, but there was a person that I did have, not this year, or not this quarter, but a previous quarter where the person was like, all right, here's the answer, let's move on to the next thing. And it was interesting because you do have the different dynamics at play where we did solve many, many problems with that person because they were like, all right, we've solved that problem, now let's get on to the next one. But sometimes where it does take some time, like we…

Tyson (13:04.29)
This one we had, I posted a little bit about it in the guild about there was some role playing and I'm not going to get into what.

Jim Hacking (13:10.974)
I really want to know about this because something unusual happened right, I think, right after lunch. And I know you can't talk the specifics, but I think the exercise itself I want to hear about.

Tyson (13:21.168)
Yeah, so one of the members who had been to the trial lawyers college, he kind of used, and I think the technique was from this, but he had another member stand up and basically they looked at each other and he had them say some things. And then he had another guild member pretend to be the person's spouse.

And then they kind of looked at each other and told each other certain things. And then he had them sit in this room. So they picked a part of the room that we were in. And like, OK, where is your happy place? Where's the place that you feel the most comfortable? And they chose the spouse as the person to do the role playing with, because this was the person that they were most comfortable with.

Okay, so comfortable place, comfortable person. And so they have this conversation, right? They have this conversation about what the issue is. And by the way, this is all unscripted. Like this was all just like, he looked, no, the guild member said, hey, do you mind if I try something? I was like, sure, let's do it, right? So like they do it. And I mean, it ended up with a.

Jim Hacking (14:31.842)
You didn't see it coming.

Tyson (14:43.88)
with a pretty big revelation and a pretty big solution to the issues. And it was really cool. But it was one of those things where it's not like a simple, like, here's the issue, let's deal with it. Because sometimes it takes some, you have to dig. Sometimes you have to dig and dig and dig and dig and dig. And there are times where you don't get to the solution until the very end. It takes some time to get there. But it was cool to see because we were all kind of like, it was like there was this like this aha moment. Like,

Ah, we get it. Okay, this makes sense. It was cool. And I mean, it forced, I mean, not forced, it led me to like share some things that I don't usually share with people. Like with like, I pulled him aside afterwards because we ran out of time. I would have said it during the actual hot seat, but I pulled him aside and told some things afterwards that, you know, I don't really tell people. And it was, it just kind of was one of those cool things where like he was very vulnerable. He was willing to participate in it.

It was cool. It was really, I'd never seen that before in a, in a, in a mastermind.

Jim Hacking (15:45.09)
That's really great. And speaking of digging deep, you know, sometimes you'll get people who've been to the mastermind over and over and, and sometimes talking about the same things. And that can be a little bit, uh, troubling, but it's also, uh, interesting to see what it actually takes for them to, uh, move. Right? So movement is what we're after. You know, it's one thing to know something.

We always sort of giggle and laugh that you know after the mastermind Somebody's getting fired somebody's getting hired and somebody's you know taking less time at work and that's all good stuff, right? So it's just interesting as a as a thought experiment and as a People watching experiment sort of like you said earlier that you know, the two different clients handling things differently It's really you know people are complex and people bring all their baggage and all their all their history and their experiences to

the running the law firm and how they interact with their team. And it's just really, really cool to see how that plays itself out.

Tyson (16:49.58)
Yeah, you were talking about the, um, the ones where people bring up the same thing. I love the moments because you and I are not in every single one, right? We're in up and we're in different rooms and we've had it where there's like three rooms before and four rooms before. And it's, it's funny because you'll have a member say, listen, Jim, like you said that two hots or two masterminds ago, like this is the same. Yeah. Like.

Jim Hacking (17:11.518)
Right, I remember when you said that in St. Louis.

Tyson (17:14.708)
like why having you take an action on that? And so people are getting called out and that's why I like it, that's why I love about it is because you're gonna get called out if you're sitting in that same room with someone that you were with before and you've not done the things you said you were gonna do. So that's part of it too, because it's not like you're in the room with a bunch of people that aren't willing to share their opinions, right? One, we're lawyers and two, they're guild members, they're usually pretty, like they're more than comfortable to speak their mind.

And so you're talking about successful people that are willing to share. And so I think that part's pretty cool too. And it's funny because it doesn't have to be you and me. There's other people that are gonna call them out for it. There's several people that are willing to do it.

Jim Hacking (18:00.194)
So some might say that after having done this for a couple of years now and doing this regularly, and obviously you and I do two hot seats a month in the guild itself, what sort of your approach to it or what value are you getting out of it by being a participant in the group? Because I have some thoughts, but I'd like to hear that from you.

Tyson (18:21.968)
I think there's two questions there. So that my approach, you know, I used to take a very direct approach. Like when we were, you and I started the guild, like we, I was the first person cried, I mean, like, I think the first two people cried. Uh, yeah. Um, I, we've learned a little bit. I, I've, I have learned to take more. It depends. I was, here's what I'd say. I have, it depends on the person on the hot seat. Sometimes I have to take a very, a very active role.

Jim Hacking (18:35.55)
Yeah, we had to back it off a little bit.

Tyson (18:50.916)
Sometimes I take a, I'd say the majority of the time I take a very hands-off role, because I tell people in my group, I don't want this to be this situation where I'm asking all the questions. Everyone needs to be jumping in, we all need to take part in this. And so I take that approach, and because there's sometimes where like, I mean I have things to add, but not as much as what someone else might have, because they may have been in that situation. So that's the approach. What I learn, I mean I,

I learned something off of every single hot seat. So I usually take, I've changed the way I take notes. I used to take very active notes on every single person and I've got, so I've got very detailed notes from the early hot seats. And then I would pick out pieces from each of those, but then it got very hard. So now what I do though, is I now just participate more like active listening where I'm just listening and not writing.

And so what I'll do is, because what I would do before is I would use that almost as like a cross-examination or I can go in, well, you said this and I'll pick, you know, we'll kind of pick it apart. Now I just do more active listening, but I now I listen and I'll just, if I hear something that I know I can implement, I'll just write it down and I'll, and so it's, I leave with far less notes. I usually with like one page of notes, it's as opposed to like dozens of pages of notes and I'll just, if it's something I want to implement, I'll implement it. But it's, um, that's how, that's my approach.

What about you?

Jim Hacking (20:17.726)
I take a lot less notes than I used to and I have developed this sort of strange little thing where I hear phrases and the phrase is what's important and the phrase is what I write down and then and even at the end of the mastermind we have everybody go around and talk about like what's your big takeaway or what's the one thing you're going to do. I'll list all of my takeaways and they're usually quotes or just slightly different takes on things. I love it when people say something a little bit wrong and dealing with immigrants on YouTube.

it's great because someone will say some little phrase and I'll grab it and I'll say, that would be a great video or that would be great content. And so with the mastermind, when I hear something, uh, that's just a little bit off or something I can play with, like, what can I play with or not necessarily that's something I could implement that would, that's, that's good stuff, but also like, what's the energy here? What's the phraseology? Why did they say it that way? How does that affect me hearing that? You know what, you know,

I spend a lot of time thinking about that rule from evidence. So what's the effect on the hearer? Like, I think about that a lot. Like, how is this affecting me? What I heard, how does it affect me? And so I'm much more organic than I used to be trying to stay present, like you said, active listening, and then trying to just suss out. You know, I have stuff written all over my notebook. I'm drawing, I'm doing all this stuff. And so when I pull it all out at the end, it would probably be total less than a page, yep.

Tyson (21:42.168)
Yeah. So it's, I'll give you an example. So we did the hot seat the other day and I texted you about this. You had this line that it, and so I've got to actually have it in front of me because I'm going to put it up here. Um, so it's, is that something, cause the, the person said something, uh, and you said, is that something you want to overcome or something you want to stick with? And, and I was like, Oh, that's freaking gold. It's just like a golden line. Like you can, you can use that to so many, like.

Jim Hacking (21:52.13)
Ha ha.

Tyson (22:10.308)
Like, cause like think about like how many things like throughout the day, like I bet every day you could use that line. You know, you know, Tyson, is that something, is that something I want to overcome? Or is it something, something I want to stick with? No, I want to overcome that. Like it's just like, like you said before, you're like, you know, the answer, but it's like, it's such a good line. Like, so yeah, there are several things. I, I did say this thing. I wrote down myself that I, I'm a, you know, this is gonna, I'm gonna pat my back for a second, but like, I said this line during, uh,

hot seat in Scottsdale. I said because they were talking about revenues and all that and then we were talking about like how their profits were like they weren't making any money and I said it's because revenue is an ego number like that's what it is like it's like you were talking about you and I were talking about before like the number of employees you have it's an ego number that's all those things are like so um like there are things we're like that we'll say we're like oh that's kind of that's kind of good we'll write that down uh but it's usually the other things that people say I agree I agree that's why like

Jim Hacking (22:56.528)
Mm-hmm.

Tyson (23:08.624)
I will, like your line, I'll write things like that. Like those are my notes. Like with the way you're telling me. Like those lines that they think, like to them, I don't even think that they hear it coming out of their mouths. But to us, we're like, oh my gosh, that's crucial. But that's a big deal.

Jim Hacking (23:26.018)
Well, it's so great that you got so tickled by that quote and that you texted it to me because this morning, my wife and I were in a pretty intense conversation and I said, hold on, hold on, I'm gonna quote myself. And so, and it was the exact right phrase for the exact right moment. And she was like, blah, like.

Tyson (23:36.197)
Thank you.

Tyson (23:44.42)
That's fucking great. Oh, I guess I should, now we're gonna have to put an E on that or bleep that out. I don't think I've accustomed this podcast. That was good. All right, let's wrap things up Jimbo. We both have calls in four minutes, but I wanna wrap things up before I do. Wanna remind everyone to join us in the guild. We would love to have you go to maxlawguild.com. There's just a lot of great people there that are just always willing to share. If you've gotten something from this episode or from any of the other episodes.

We would love it if you'd give us a five star review so we can help share the love with everyone else. And if you're not quite ready for the guild, that's fine. Join us in the big Facebook group. Just search Maximum Lawyer and you should be able to find us. Jimmy, what's your hack of the week?

Jim Hacking (24:27.394)
Well, given the fact that we were talking about the mastermind, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the next mastermind, which is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 18th and 19th of 2024. Looking forward to that. One of the great things about having this little side gig with Tyson is we get to pick places we want to go. And my son is a freshman at the University of Minnesota, so I'll get to see him while we're up there and spend some time. That being said, for my hack of the week, it is this.

If you find yourself in a rut, doing the same thing over and over, in different parts of your day, and you're getting down in the doldrums and you're like, da da, time to make the donuts. If you just feel like you're doing the same thing every day, just do one little thing different. Or as my wife would say, differently. Just do one little thing differently. Brush your teeth with your left hand. Drive a different route to work.

Take a walk when you usually would have a snack. Just one little thing, and just keep track of that each day. Just try to do that one little thing, or one little thing. Just try to be disruptive to your spot where you are. Try to be, you know, just wiggling out of the tough spot that you're in, so that you can start making better gains. Because to me, change and recalibrating usually comes from taking a small little step.

Tyson (25:55.896)
Yeah, pattern interrupts. I completely agree with those. Perfect. All right, so let me tell this really quick story. We had an employee that was kind of having that. And I said, I had the person walk me through their morning. I said, okay, tomorrow morning, you're gonna not do those things. And I want you to just go to Starbucks. I want you to go to Starbucks. Like I said, where's the closest Starbucks? She told me. And so she went to the Starbucks instead. And she like, it was funny. She's like.

her routine had completely changed. But she said it made such a massive impact. So you're totally right. I think it's great. So my tip of the week is, I've given this advice to a couple people lately, so I'm gonna give this as the tip. If you think that you may have hired too many people, go through this exercise.

Pick your top six or 10 or whatever it may be. I like six, just make it forces you. It's a smaller number. Who are your, if you were to pick six people from your team to keep, and you couldn't keep anybody else, who would it be? And so like how like you're picking a basketball team. Go through that exercise. It could be 10 if you want, whatever it may be, but make it a small number and it'll tell you who your essential people are. And so it's an interesting exercise. It's a very difficult exercise, but something I recommend.

All right, Jimmy, that's a good one. I will talk to you more later. See you in a little bit. See you, buddy. See you, bud. Later, dude.

Jim Hacking (27:26.082)
Alright bro, thanks man. Later dude.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

This week on Maximum Mom, your host Elise Buie is joined by Brita Long. Brita is an attorney and attorney coach who teaches flat fees to other attorneys and more importantly mind set. 

One of the workshops Brita provides is on our relationship with money. "It ain't about the money" isn't about the knowledge of personal finance or small practice finance, but about our thoughts, beliefs and feelings about money and how those affect our behavior. Including: charging flat fees. 
When Brita began working with attorneys she quickly discovered that nearly all of them had money mindset/belief issues that were causing them to self sabotage in regard to money. Take a listen!

Episode Highlights:

  • 04:20 Brita’s mission to maximize attorneys by teaching flat fees and emphasizing personal development and mindset in the legal profession
  • 13:44 Every problem in the office is a leadership problem
  • 19:25 The importance of emotional intelligence in the legal profession
  • 21:59 The impact of money mindset on legal practice
  • 26:26 The financial challenges and self-sabotage tendencies observed in small law firm owners
  • 28:29 Advocating for the adoption of flat feesLearning and Ego in Legal Practice 
  • 32:50 The role of ego in legal practice
  • 41:11 Energy management
  • 49:02 The lack of safety in expressing vulnerability in the legal profession and the potential for limitless reform in the profession

Connect with Brita:

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Transcripts: Maximizing Your Legal Practice and Personal Development with Brita Long

Speaker 1 (00:00:01) - Welcome to Maxima Mom with Elise Buey, where you'll hear from women who are navigating the same messy journey as you lawyering, entrepreneurship, and mothering. What a trifecta. We're here to share tips, resources, wins, losses, and encouragement for moms who are raising a family while building a law firm so you feel less alone in your journey toward a fulfilling career and being the best mom you can be.

Speaker 2 (00:00:30) - Welcome to the Maximum Mom podcast! I am so excited to be back today, and I am super excited to welcome Brett along to our podcast. Welcome. Well thank you, thank you. It's afternoon here, but it's good afternoon wherever you are. Yes, indeed. Well, first I always like to just start. I mean, let's just get over the initial part of, you know, it's called the Maximum Mom podcast. So I always like to know who and what makes up your your home, your family. Like, you know what makes you a maximum mom? Well, what makes me a mom? I don't know about maximum mom.

Speaker 2 (00:01:09) - I don't know what that means. My kids are grown, so I have one biological son who is now my law partner, which is a whole different ball of wax. That's been crazy. Um, and then my my two stepsons, they are 30 and 33, so I'm on the tail end of and with the. Hindsight's beautiful. Isn't it? I mean, it is absolutely beautiful still in the midst of those 20s. So, you know, we're still in that, you know how it is. Yeah. But they're coming around in their 20s that you're not so stupid anymore. They've figured out maybe you maybe knew something. Oh, isn't that the most powerful thing when one of them just says, I had one say to me recently, they were like, mom, I really probably should have been listening to you a lot longer. And I was like, hold on, hold on, hold on. Let me get let me take hold. Can you talk into the can you talk into the phone one more time? So true.

Speaker 2 (00:02:18) - And I have to say, I tend to think the girls tend to listen earlier, which is interesting than the boys. Whereas the boys are like, yeah, mom, I don't know. But then when they come around, they're like, oh, all right, so you did have something to say despite your mom ness. And yeah, it's pretty interesting. But you know, better late than never. I'm a firm believer in people have to figure their own life out, you know what I mean? Absolutely. Start their own, make their own mistakes, do their thing. And I surely don't sit here with I told you so. I'm just like, go do your thing, you know, because how else do you do it? That's the way to do it. I mean, would you really want a kid that was just like, you know, shaking their head, yes, yes, yes, yes. I mean, no, there's no way I could have raised a sheep. It would have been an impossibility with my personality.

Speaker 2 (00:03:10) - It just would not have worked well. And how boring. Yeah. Well, yeah. And horrible for them. Like. Right. They need to. Absolutely. Yeah. Go do their own thing. Well I want to let our listeners know what you do. I mean, I think of you and obviously you correct me if you think of you differently. I think of you someone who is really working to maximize attorneys so that they kind of, I don't know, harness the power of flat fees, financial security and ability to have more stability in their practice and really conserve and enjoy their time and energy more utilizing flat fees. What would you say is your mission? Yeah, that's that's part of it. It's definitely partly to teach flat fees. I would say that the bigger overall is personal development and being. I'm not sure that there's a word for it. I'm kind of being the a voice, a voice for some sanity in this profession that I think we have lost sight of tremendously. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (00:04:20) - And for for people who are fairly courageous in advocating for other people. We don't advocate for ourselves. We don't question what we're doing. And so I work with attorneys, mostly attorneys, um, some other normal people, but mostly attorneys on really creating the life that they want to live. You know, I don't buy this. The law is a jealous mistress. If you want to be an attorney, that means you have to work 80 hours a week. You have to have no relationship that is any real value with your kids, with a spouse. You know, I just don't buy that. And when I see I've been practicing since 1997, when I see attorney after attorney after attorney literally killing themselves or slowly killing themselves with drugs or alcohol or numbing or numbing in any facet, you know, I'm like this. This is not working. Right? Exactly. Clearly what we are doing is not working. And I certainly believe that flat fees can be a big part of that. But when I started teaching flat fees, I very quickly realized that, you know, you don't see your own things.

Speaker 2 (00:05:39) - And so when I started teaching, all these other attorneys started having issues that I hadn't had. And when I really realized so much of it was mindset, and now I say about 1% of flat fees is the knowledge. You know, everybody wants the fee agreement. Forget the fee agreement. That's that's the least of it. Seriously, it's not the knowledge, it's the mindset. It's being willing to feel uncomfortable. It's so much deeper. So then I really started and I had been doing my own personal development work for years. That had changed everything internally and externally in my life. And when you do something like that, you feel it as an obligation to help other people. If they're willing, if they're open, I can't help somebody who's not open to it. Exactly. I mean, it's so the timing of this conversation for us, I cannot even tell you the just, like, weird. Universe timing. Just this morning, I decided to just launch this whole idea of consulting with attorneys because I've been working with attorneys every Friday, I've been setting aside all these Fridays, and I work with attorneys just for free, like helping them, mentoring, whatever you want to call it, what I'm doing.

Speaker 2 (00:06:57) - And I've been doing it for months, and my leadership team is like at some point at least this you can't just like keep. I'm like, well, I could keep doing this. And they're like, yeah, but you know, there's issues of money mindset, like how do you have somebody who they have to be brought in as well. And so this whole thing and we're going to talk about that in a minute. But I was talking to somebody this morning and they were just like, yeah, I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this. And I'm like, I can never help you. You know, in like, there is no like if you can't consider the possibility that there could be a change in that, the change would come from within you, you know, as the leader, unlike we are kind of, you know, like, I'm not here to be some kind of, like, crazy drill sergeant or whatever. And it's like, you've got to be willing to do the work and do the change and the mindset around this, it it it's everything.

Speaker 2 (00:08:00) - And I, I know I like sound like a broken record to people where I'm like, we've got to work on your mindset way before we figure out, you know, how you're going to hire this next person. Because, you know, we got to look at the whole thing about what you're doing. And I think that that mindset piece is just critical. Oh, it's it's everything. Well, and I would say even more so than mindset is soul set, which is a term my coach and and mentor Phillip McKiernan came up with. So I always want to give credit. I do think, though, that I've it took me a while to to I think I figured it out to figure out why some people were so reluctant, you know, reluctant to do flat fees, reluctant to do what I told them to do. I mean, I've had people spend, you know, I'm not cheap, a lot of money on my work and not do any of it. And I couldn't figure it out.

Speaker 2 (00:09:00) - And then I did. And then I had to look at my own life and went, oh, shit. Right. Sorry, I swear. Um, and I do think that for so many people, you know, this might be offensive, you know? Whatever. A people want. Easy. They want. Easy. And attorneys. We have no problem working hard. But when it comes to. Is self reflection when it comes to lying to ourselves when it comes to being uncomfortable. Oh, we are ridiculously horrible. Horrible. And I think that there are so many people who would rather have failed because they didn't truly try. They didn't play full out. Oh yeah. Then try and have it not work. And then because then something's fundamentally wrong with them. Now that's I think that's a totally false. And I don't think they're aware of this consciously. I think it's a totally false dichotomy because. If you play full out and you continue to play full out, it might not work as you expected, but there's no way that you're going to fail because even at the end of the day, you will at least set.

Speaker 2 (00:10:28) - I gave it everything. I gave it everything and it wasn't meant fine. Failing sometimes is my greatest teacher. Oh, I mean, sometimes it has. Always. Always. When? When I started the happier attorney. I did, you know, what do I know about video courses? I did all these things and I had taken a sabbatical from practice. So, like, all my eggs are in this basket and my ego was in this basket, which is always dangerous. And, um, I've been taught, you know, you open up the course for a week and then you shut it down on Friday and nobody will buy till Friday. So, you know, Monday. And I think I had like 300 people in my Facebook group. So, you know, and they had said, oh, 10% will buy. So I'm like, okay, 30 people will buy. Okay, here we go, here we go. So Monday. Nothing. Tuesday nothing okay. So Friday, Friday.

Speaker 2 (00:11:23) - Guess how many people had bought the course? Friday 5000. So then, like, I'm freaking out. Sure. Freaking out. And then I do the, you know, pity party. What's wrong with me? Nobody. You? No no no no. Why? You know, why can these, you know, 30 year old teachers from Duluth sell their courses to, you know, 30,000 the first day and you know all of the nonsense, okay. And thankfully, I, my mentor, I reached out and he's like, good. And I'm like, what are you talking about? Good. And I you know, I knew what he was going to say. And he said. Why did you need this? And so I asked my clients all of the time. How is this exactly what you needed? And some get really pissed off at first. Oh, yeah, because nobody wants to hear that. Okay. But then it starts to sink in and well, actually, you know, my marketing was crap or that was a crappy client to begin with.

Speaker 2 (00:12:34) - You know, there's always so for me, and I've had some pretty horrible things in my life. I mean, I, I always tell people, we're not in the trauma Olympics, right? Okay. You know, you can always find somebody that's had more trauma than you. That doesn't mean that it didn't. Right? It wasn't bad for you. But every bad thing that has ever happened in my life has been what I needed. Yep. I mean, isn't that powerful though? Like to actually come to that realization. And I know for me, one of the biggest realizations in this whole journey of leading a law firm and, you know, just doing all this is really coming to understand that every single problem in my office is a leadership problem. And I'm like, well, turn that mirror over again, dear, and see what the problem is. But that's pretty empowering, I find, because I can't ever make anybody do anything like, that's not even a thing. I even try anymore.

Speaker 2 (00:13:44) - Whereas when I realize it's a leadership problem and I can turn that mirror on myself, I'm like, I can make a change here. Like I can do something different. It's pretty empowering, you know, where if I'm constantly pointing out the window, we're doomed. I mean, it's exhausting. As someone who has tried most of my life to make that person do there. It's exhausting. And it doesn't work. It doesn't work. I mean, it doesn't even slightly work in the drama it brings around. Your entire existence is so overwhelmingly exhausting to me. Like, I just I was not a big fan of drama as a young girl, and I'm not a big fan of drama as an old girl. Like, I just am not a not a fan. And so but I mean, it has taken a long time to realize how to eradicate that drama and just like, bring it all down. I said something to somebody the other day, and I mean, they looked at me, but I was like, it's really true.

Speaker 2 (00:14:47) - I said, you know, you cannot operate your firm from your stomach and how it feels. It's got to be operated from data, like you need to be able to make objective decisions. And when people tell me, oh, this is how I feel, I'm like, that's great information. But it's not going to inform any of my decision making. Like we must look at the data. And that has been pretty empowering to to understand, like, you know, how can we move things forward? How can we just be empowered to solve problems? But you know, how many people are addicted to the drama and the chaos? Because and I used to be I didn't know this. I used to be addicted to chaos because a I was very comfortable with it. I knew what to do. Yeah. I mean, that was my superpower, right? That was absolutely my superpower. And I didn't think I was. Worthy I this wasn't conscious, but until it was brought to my attention, I didn't feel I was worthy of just having calm completely.

Speaker 2 (00:15:56) - Yeah. And I see I, I, I just had a conversation with an attorney a couple of weeks ago that, um, I could tell pretty fast this wasn't gonna this wasn't going not only it wasn't going to work with her and I, she was never going to get what she said she wanted, right? Ever. Not with me. Not with any other coach, not with any other program. It wasn't going to happen because the problem was her and she was going to this strategy, this strategy, this strategy, this strategy. And her goal was completely outwardly goals. Right. It wasn't going to happen. And what's sad is even if she met that outward goal, it would be a total crap show. And I can't I can't help that. I can't help people who aren't ready to be open to okay my way. When it was breed away. Things didn't go well in my life. You know that muscling through that, I'm going to think it through. And we attorneys, we have such a we have such a problem because we're smart.

Speaker 2 (00:17:03) - Right. And we've been told how smart we are. I mean, I remember the first day of law school, somebody, some professor saying you're the elite. Then you might call the elite. You're the elite. Like who says that to somebody? But anyway. And so then we think we can. Every solution can be thought through, except that most of our problems are emotional problems. You can never fix an emotional problem with an intellectual solution that doesn't work. How is it working out for you trying to do that? And what's really funny is the, the we attorneys, you know, we don't like to think we're emotional. You know, we're we're robots. We're you know, it's beneath us. We don't make emotional arguments. You know, we're just such little snot sometimes. The people who I have seen say, I'm not emotional. I don't make emotional decisions. Absolutely. When you look at their behavior, they make the most emotional decisions, but we cover it up with logic. Yeah, it's a fascinating it is a fascinating dynamic.

Speaker 2 (00:18:10) - I think lawyers have I mean, I'm coming to really think I mean, this sounds awful, but that law school is doing us such a disservice by not having a total track on emotional intelligence, because we are literally being hired to come into people's lives in all kinds of different ways, be it business, bankruptcy, family, criminal, you know, personal injury, whatever the practice area. But we are coming into people's lives and we are supposed to be collaborating and creatively solving problems. Yet we have, like so much of our profession is. Their level of emotional intelligence is so below the bar of what I think is just average. You know, where it. I feel like we really are missing out on so much nuance in our ability to connect with our clients, with opposing parties, with courts, because of this lack of emotional intelligence and trying to teach it. I know we spend a lot of time in our office teaching emotional intelligence and really talking about it a lot. It doesn't always work.

Speaker 2 (00:19:25) - No. Well, to me, it's fixing your own crap. I mean, I know I took a little hiatus from practicing to write and create the happier attorney. And then when my son got licensed, we opened up this practice. And I don't practice a lot, but I had one case where I had to come in because it was last minute and it was a trial, and it was going to be too much for him to, you know, handle right away how I approach that case, given the internal work that I've done in the last six years. Was night and day different than how I would have seven eight years ago? How I approached opposing counsel who was just one of those. How I approached different things that happened at trial, opposing party. And I was so much calmer. My client was so much calmer. Oh yeah, it was a total night and day difference. And what was great was my client had some issues. And I was more direct with him. I treated him like a coaching client.

Speaker 2 (00:20:32) - Right. And what he does with that is up to him. But it was. It was nice. But you can't. I don't think you can, you know, do that with clients unless you're working on your own crap. You know, you say professors. Holy cow. We could sit here and I. I could go three hours on the scandals. I mean, like news, Google scandals at my law school. And those were the professors. They can't be teaching emotional intelligence when they're on the news with their literal drunken sex scandals. You know, losing bar exams because you're on a cruise with your mistress. Oh, I'm not kidding you. That is a chapter in my you can't make this shit up book. You can't. So maybe maybe the law professors, they don't teach us about emotional intelligence. Maybe we leave that to somebody else. I think it needs to be somewhere, though. It needs to come in to the curriculum. I mean, along with, you know, actually how to run a practice, the business of running a practice, you know, and helping people understand, like, how do you hire, how do you, you know, work with somebody to support them through a problem? How do you terminate if needed? You know, just all of the things like this idea that somehow we're all going into a big law firm.

Speaker 2 (00:21:59) - I mean, the stats just show that to be so far from the truth, right? And oh, and that it's okay if you don't. Number one, that doesn't make you a less attorney. And you also have a right to get paid, even if you're not in a big firm. There's there's an idea. Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, don't you think that comes in to the whole money mindset of of what is happening with I mean, I know you've heard it because, I mean, you and I are almost the same age, I think, where when we went through law school, it was this whole, like, everyone should do, you know, this many hours of pro bono work? And I'm like. Um, okay. Well, could we at least, like, make sure we're all, like, getting paid? We're eating, we're paying our student loans. We're making sure our employees are eating and paying their student loans. And it's like, seriously? I mean, the numbers.

Speaker 2 (00:22:54) - I mean, I'm all for pro bono work, don't get me wrong. Like, I mean, if we can make it work and obviously as a firm, we can have policies around what works for us and what fits in who are our situation. But to try to guilt attorneys into like 100 hours a year of pro bono work, I'm like, yeah, and let's get real. So I was, I pro bono queen here in law school. I was the head of the domestic violence pro bono thing, which was a big deal at our law school. And, and, I mean, I, I did all of the things and I was quickly disillusioned. Disillusioned because I got, you know, even in law school, like. Okay, well, we're throwing a little, you know, we're throwing a crumb at this person that's not helping them, right? This person doesn't know what to do here. Telling him to go and fill this out. And okay, that's not helpful. So I'm a big believer in low bono.

Speaker 2 (00:23:53) - I think people have to have skin in the game. Yep. Have to have skin in the game. And I, I spent some time in a third world country as a kid in I mean poverty, the likes of which most people can't even imagine. Okay, so I do. I think I know what I'm talking about here. Even in the most remote village where there's no electricity, there's no running water. Relationships were reciprocal, right? It might not be an equal money value, but let me tell you, you know, nobody was coming to your house for dinner without bringing something, right? It might be, you know, a dead chicken. It might be, you know, some rice. But they were bringing you something, right? That's human nature. And if there's not some reciprocity, it it's a problem. So I'm a low bono person. Um. And do it or don't do it. Not. You know, I'm going to go to a I should be careful. Um, you know, the road to hell is paved with great intention, right? So I think it's important sometimes for us to step back and, you know, instead of giving ourselves a pat on the back and say, oh, I did all this pro bono this year or this, you know, awards, first of all, if you have to get don't even get me started on awards for pro bono and all that nonsense.

Speaker 2 (00:25:14) - But, but. Do it or don't. Exactly. Take a case from start to finish. But going to a clinic and, you know, in a different practice area and giving advice that you don't even know is right. No. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It's pretty concerning. Pretty concerning. Anyway, that's my to $0.02. But absolutely, you know, it's I think it's important for us also to look at who's saying that. What position are they in. Because it's really easy to sit there and say you should when you're getting a paycheck every two weeks. Exactly. When you when you have nothing to lose. So and we don't even examine who's saying it. Yeah, I find it a fascinating thing. And I think it just almost encourages what I see to be some of the small law firm owners. I see a lot of self-sabotage in small law firm owners as far as their money goes and their finances. You know, like really just not having a good relationship with money and the whole idea of how can they.

Speaker 2 (00:26:26) - Own the money like and and just not turning it into something. It's not. I mean, I think of money as just almost a tool, you know, like but a lot of people, I think, get wrapped up in all kinds of things. Uh, well, I do a money workshop. Oh, and it's about your relationship with money because it's. And it's called it ain't about the money because it ain't about the money. And, you know, some of us come by this naturally. Some of you know, honestly, some of this, you know, is a lot of childhood stuff. But, yeah, the powers that be in the legal industry do not help. I mean, when you go to CLE after CLE after CLE and they're talking about, oh, if a client complains, refund their money. Pardon, pardon if I've done something wrong. Absolutely. Yeah. You know, and and maybe if it's a business decision. Maybe. But this automatic like are you paying my bills.

Speaker 2 (00:27:24) - Right. You know, unless they did something unethical or, you know, cost benefit, you know, I get it. But then again, you know why? Why is your client and happy but just this automatic, like you don't have a right to make money. The whole reasonable fee. I've been practicing since 1997. I could no more look at another attorney's statement and see if that was reasonable or not. Then I could fly, flap my arms and fly to the moon. Now, if somebody had something that was hourly that was crazy, like, you know. I build two hours to file a notice of appearance or, you know, something, you know, yeah, that's going to get my attention. And I'm going to be like, huh? Tell me about that. Okay. But this idea that you can judge somebody else and is that fee reasonable? I mean, and it's, it's it's so crazy. And the hourly billing is so insane. I remember when one of my first jobs, um, it probably was my first job.

Speaker 2 (00:28:29) - It was at Kmart, remember? Kmart. Oh, yeah. Okay. And this thing, it was dirty. It was even at 16, it felt degrading. You know what one of the worst parts of that job was, was the clocking in and clocking out. The look of this big machine made this big noise. It was so degrading. And I knew that at 16 and here we are, we have doctorate degrees, we do important things, and here we are literally clicking, clocking in and clocking out to get our little money. And I have attorneys going, oh, I don't know, flat fees I don't know. That's dangerous. Oh you can't do that. And family law telling us who've been doing it in family law for, you know, 15 plus years. Oh, oh okay. We'll explain how we're doing it. What we what we're doing is crazy. It's crazy. It's so wild how it is still so. It's so still not mainstream at all. And I mean, we haven't gotten our firm hasn't gotten to a full flat fee model.

Speaker 2 (00:29:31) - I mean, we are working on it and, you know, we're moving over and doing all the things, but people literally will be like, Elise, you realize this isn't going to work at all in family lore. So how how did how did attorneys attorneys have been a turning since well before Christ? Okay, guess when hourly came about? Pretty recently. Pretty freaking recently. Okay. 60, 70 years. So how was it that they charged before all of those thousands of years flat fees? This isn't you know, this isn't rocket science, y'all. This is how we buy everything every single day. Only attorneys are making it over. My job is so stupid. At least. Seriously, my job is so freaking stupid. It is teaching the simplest thing to attorneys. It's okay. You want to buy this calculator? How much do you want to buy? How much are you willing to pay for this calculator? This is what I teach attorneys. The reason that I make good money doing it is because we attorneys overcomplicate and overcomplicate and overcomplicate and overthink and overthink.

Speaker 2 (00:30:49) - Just tell me what you. You want to buy a for a dollar? You want to buy it for five. This is this is how simple it is, right? Well, then I look at the criminal law side because so many criminal attorneys use flat fees and have used them. And that's just been their model kind of forever. You know, and when people want to say, oh, it's impossible and family law and I'm thinking, do you know how many like court hearings, criminal attorneys go to those calendar calls status things like it is a constant. And how are we doing it if it's impossible, how are we all doing it and how have we done it for decades? I could I could sit here and give you a list and list and list I when I was up in Washington before you, I as far as I know, I was the only family law attorney in Washington doing flat fees, right. How did I do it? It's impossible. I'm doing it. I've done it.

Speaker 2 (00:31:39) - That's just fear. That's just. That's just the. I'd rather not try and fail rather than figure it out or admit. Put my ego aside and admit that maybe I, I need help. Yeah, which is reasonable, I think, to get the help and figure out, okay, what can I learn? Somebody said to me the other day and it really just struck me, we pay for consultants and coaches, and the whole reason to do that is to gain their 10,000 and 20,000 hours of expertise and be able to short circuit some of that learning and that failing that, we might do on our own, which would be perfectly normal to happen. But if we can short circuit some of it, great, more power to us. And for somebody to see what we don't see, we don't see our own blind spots. You know, we're sitting there walking around with, you know, toilet paper flowing out of our skirt and we don't see it. And so, yeah, a good coach, a good consultant is going to be like, hey, this is why you're this, this is what you're doing wrong, right? There's the toilet paper.

Speaker 2 (00:32:50) - Here's the toilet paper. But but you got to get your ego out of it. And and what I love is I'll see, you know, in the on the attorney and flat fee group, somebody or lawyers on the beach, somebody will say, oh, I tried flat fees and it was a disaster. Okay. So let me let me get this straight. You tried something that you've never done before where you have no instruction, you have no one showing you how to do it. And it didn't work. And so it doesn't work. Imagine translating that to any other skill. Oh, I tried to make bread today. I didn't look at a recipe. I've never made bread before. I didn't even watch a YouTube video, but I put some water and flour together. And it didn't work. No shit. Right. Exactly. When I think of it like learning, can you imagine learning calculus or, you know, mechanical engineering just being like, yeah, I decided I'm gonna just, like, go out there and, you know, whip up a car, right? It's going to I mean, it takes a little bit of practice.

Speaker 2 (00:33:53) - So you have to know the things, and it still takes practice to get a new skill. But again, you know, let's you got to get the ego out of it. Have you read or, you know, kind of looked into any of the sci Wakeman teachings, like reality based leadership or no ego? Um, she actually, I mean, when you talk about the ego piece, I think you would really enjoy some of her, her books. And I mean, she's, you know, a leader. What's the name? Her name is Sai Sai Wakeman Wakeman. And she has a book, Reality Based Leadership or No Ego. And I mean, the no Ego book is such a powerful read around the drama that's caused by ego and how much emotional waste occurs in businesses due to egos and due to, you know, ego related behaviors and how and it's literally just, um, it's kind of mind boggling to me how powerful it is. We're reading it as a firm. We're doing like a book club.

Speaker 2 (00:35:02) - And it's really interesting, you know, to see how how people react to different things. And, you know, a lot of times you'll have people be like, well, we obviously don't need this. We don't have this problem. And I'm thinking like, I'm like, I think I'm pretty. I've done a lot of work recently, the last six years. I think that, um. I've done very well on my ego, but just this morning at least I had to take my car into service and they gave me a loaner. And, you know, of course they give you a nice brand spanking new. Yeah, a beautiful loaner. You know, they're not stupid. No. And I'm driving this thing. I don't even like it, but I'm like, oh that's pretty. And oh that's 000 my ego's, you know, like, who am I trying to. And then if I can see where people go and you know, before you know it, you've just bought a $70,000 car and that is 100% ego that you back up with.

Speaker 2 (00:36:08) - Well, actually, I do need those side beeper things. It's a safety thing, you understand, in the massage seat. It's not an ego thing, it's a safety. And we do that every single day. All day long. Totally. I mean, I find though, this is I mean, this is one reason, I think when we moved out to the place we live where we're just surrounded by nature and just like, literally like if I have my choice of hopping on my phone and looking at social media or sitting in my hot tub and looking for eagles, I am in the hot tub looking for eagles every single time. Good. Because do you know what I mean? That whole just like, I don't know what it is, but almost got me started on social media. Yeah, the keep up with the Joneses mentality of everything. And I mean, it's something Doug and I are really digging into figuring out. Like, I mean, even in our travel, we're like, how can we only go see nature? Like, how can we make it where we're spending our time in places that are truly bringing us peace, you know, bringing down all stress and all things? I mean, I hate to say like I'm this anti city girl now, but a lot of times I'm, I just, I don't want to get caught up in I mean, we go to Seattle, you know, to spend the night.

Speaker 2 (00:37:33) - We might have things to do and it's immediately this, you know, I mean, you're in a parking lot in our car is, you know, $100,000 less than 100 cars around us. And I'm just like, whoa, we are. And it's kind of wild sometimes when you do this. And I bet you experience when you go, well, you know, I moved from downtown Seattle. You know, where my little house in West Seattle was, overlooking the water overlooking the port and the city and, and very much caught up in the stuff. And I just knew I needed I knew I needed out of that. Right. And I'm in this little town, a little blue collar town in Texas. Not even in, you know, cool. Austin. And it has I'm calmer. That's I am calmer. And then I spend I spent some time in Italy. I'm going back and right. And I do better in small and calm and quiet. And if I need fancy, I can go get fancy.

Speaker 2 (00:38:42) - That's fine. But when you. Nature is very healing. Oh, it's. I did not I truly did not realize at one I didn't realize how much healing that was needed. Like, let's be serious. I mean, right, I think until I went through 2022 and I think when my bookkeeper died in a plane crash that just like absolutely did me in, like I was just, you know, how kind of like you've kept everything a little bit below that surface and you're thinking you're, you know, handling it, you're compartmentalizing it all perfectly, and it's all good. Well, beautiful lies we tell ourselves that definitely bubbled over to a like, oh, okay. That wasn't great. And then you know how that goes once it starts overflowing. You've got, you know, because it wants to come out. So like once there's an opening it's like, oh, we're. Exactly. Count us in that trauma Olympics, though. Yeah. So it was it was kind of a time. But then having this year and making such a concerted effort in 2023 to literally be like, if it is not a peaceful thing, it's not happening.

Speaker 2 (00:39:55) - Like, I mean, just really toning it all down. And it was exceedingly eye opening to realize just how much I mean, just like you're talking about. I didn't even realize I needed to be calmer. Do you know what I and being around nature, it it also puts you in your place a little bit tiny the world and. Yeah. And you really realize, you know, what you thought was a big deal isn't. And life goes on and sometimes it doesn't. You know. Yeah. Being around I mean I didn't think I loved cows going to work and driving by cows almost every day. I don't know why. Don't ask me why, but it just brings me down. Seeing the stars when you can see stars at night, which is something a lot of people literally can't even do, right? Because of all the city lights. You okay? We're here for a little, a little bit. Life's going to go on. Do your best. But really, is this is this that big of a deal? You know, this client not hiring you or, you know, whatever, whatever, right.

Speaker 2 (00:41:11) - Whatever. And it's so many of those like, really? I mean, I said something to somebody the other day, I'm like, is this thing something you're going to even remember five years from now? I'm like, if not, can we just forget about it now rather than actually spending all this time you're about to go ruminate and Lord knows what. And I'm like, let's just let it go right now by oh, it's not even the time. It's the energy. It's the energy vampire of the ruminating and the taking it home with you and, you know, thinking about it, how much that night. And so that's what I do. Well, I love that. And how can people best reach you? Like if somebody wants to find you, they want to work with you. Either be it on the flat fees, the happier attorney, the money mindset work that just general coaching in mindset. How can somebody best reach you? So for flat fees happier attorney com okay or I'm on Facebook just private message me.

Speaker 2 (00:42:11) - Um and for the personal development uh, it's going to be breed along comm. That website is not up yet. Um, and it's just be pretty low income. So just private message me on Facebook. Um, or just Google. Just I'm pretty I'm pretty easy to to find, but and what I would say about the personal development is everybody has their crap. Everybody. Oh, yeah. And the more you're like, I don't want to do that, the more you need to do it. And my my life has just been. I cannot even tell you how my life has been transformed by one person who cared enough about me to say, what if you everything in your life is going to change? If you start being kind to yourself. If you don't, nothing will change. You don't have it because you don't feel worthy of having it. And I didn't understand what he was saying. Pretty, pretty smart guy who has done it. I didn't understand it all, but I trusted him enough to just go, okay, I don't know what that I don't even know what that meant.

Speaker 2 (00:43:29) - Because seriously, I'm like, you don't understand. I'm nice to myself, I get facials. Okay. That's how out of touch I was. I equated facials with being kind to myself, as I'm being a total ass to myself as I was flogging myself and talking to myself like just such shame based at the likes of which I would never speak to another human being right every day. And once I started that journey, then the floodgates opened and I wouldn't go back. I literally when I started this work, I was. If I am in a van down by the river. But I'm doing this work, so be it. So be it, I don't care. I feel the same way about this personal development. I would live in a van down by the river. I would be homeless every day and be who I am now and how I feel about myself now. Then go back to who I was. Six, seven, eight years ago. Now the good thing is the outside things happen along with it.

Speaker 2 (00:44:42) - I don't ever have to make that choice, but I would. It is. It's the best feeling in the world. It's the. It's the feeling. Here's what it is. At least all of the feelings that everybody's chasing. You know, when I make this money, I'll feel better. When I have this in savings. I'll feel better when I marry that person. I'll feel better when I divorce that person. I'll feel better when I am a size four. I'll feel that when I get to, you know, that trip off, all of the things that everybody chases all of the time. They're trying to get the feeling that I've got. But they don't know it. And you can't get the feeling out there with all of the stuff, right? That's not where it is. It's internal and the only way to get it internally. Is to do the work and feel the feelings. You don't want to feel, right? Oh yeah. I mean, feeling those feelings and getting through them.

Speaker 2 (00:45:39) - Well, and I think you hit such a nail on the head when you talk about the core wound part, you know, about feeling worthy and you know whether you feel lovable and you know those types of things and really accepting and understanding where that comes from. And then how can you almost like, retrain yourself, you know, and, and actually be able to create worthiness and love ability and you know, those things inside yourself? Yeah, that's that's it. I mean, that's in an absolute nutshell. And there are a lot of hurt and people out there. Well, and that's the part that just I feel like in our profession it's a higher number than normal. Like, and I don't know if people are just attracted to it to work out their shit or if something happens here or combination. But who acts like that? Well, it's so sad to me. The suicide. We see the drug and alcohol abuse we see. I mean, just. Really anger. Oh such anger. Such anger that we.

Speaker 2 (00:46:52) - That that and the the poor behavior. That we can get away with. I mean, this, this last trial opposing counsel. I mean, he went, you know, there's fair game. Have at it. Freaking have at it. Then there is intentionally trying to humiliate opposing party for the sake of humiliating the opposing party. Right. That has nothing to do with my client. That has to do with you and your insecurity and your shit. And who does that? Who does that? And we can get away with it because I'm just I'm just cross-examining. I'm just zealously advocating for my client. And and, you know, the judges don't do anything. The judges aren't like, hey, knock it off. Nobody does anything about it. So people get away with it, you know? And that tells me everything about that person, right? So yeah, we're pretty unhappy. I mean, I've had two suicide threats on calls when people are calling me about flat fees to learn about my program.

Speaker 2 (00:47:59) - Two suicide threats. Wow. Um, people are hurting. Oh, I think I really think they are. I mean, I just I see a lot of hurt out in our profession, and it truly just. It makes me sad. Like it really makes me sad. I mean, I saw something might have been this morning where somebody was saying that there was a CEO out in the world that literally turned down a remote work request from a mom whose baby was born, and they're in the NICU. And the CEO was like, no, you need to come to the office. And I was like, what? I'm like, where is basic humanity? I mean, the fact that this mom is actually thinking she's working while the child is in the NICU is kind of amazing to me. And I'm like, the thought that you'd be like, no, you can't work from home. You need to be in the office. That's like, what's the matter with people? Yeah, and it's not safe in our profession.

Speaker 2 (00:49:02) - It's not safe to to be vulnerable, to say, I'm really having a hard time. And again, you know, the road to hell is paved with good intention. And now we have these lawyer assistants programs. Would you feel safe going to one of those? I wouldn't I wouldn't feel safe saying, hey, I'm really, you know, having a hard time to the bar. You know, whether it's true or not, they certainly have earned a reputation for eating their young, you know, and and I have a client who has had some mental health issues. They are on her, like where I'm like, okay, has she done anything wrong? No. Right. You're just all up in her business saying she has to be on this drug and this drug and this drug. Oh, because the bar, the bar association should be dictating what drugs you're on. That's a problem for me. That's so. No, it's not safe to, you know, say. Yeah, it's I'm really struggling here.

Speaker 2 (00:49:59) - The reform that could happen in our profession is literally limitless in my mind. Absolutely limitless. And yeah, it's yeah, we could we could have a whole nother conversation about that. Okay. I really, really appreciate your time and being able to speak with you today. I mean, I just I feel like I could talk to you for hours. I. I could. Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing. Welcome. Thank you for having me. Absolutely. And we will be. Thank you for your work. Oh, you know, thank you for. I think the more people, you know, start talking about the emperor not having clothes on. The safer it is for everybody to go in. You don't have any clothes on. And what we're doing ain't working, and this is nuts. Yeah, well, I think we have to. I mean, I just I think those of us that have been in this profession long, long. And I've watching it, I don't see a lot of evolution in the timeframe that I have been.

Speaker 2 (00:51:02) - And I think I've been practicing law since 1994. And I'm like, hello? Like, that's a while now. And, um, there's still some of the same struggles. And I'm like, I think it's worse. And that's a problem like that is, can you imagine if you had the same behavior you had in 1994, like, what a mess your life would be right now. Like, I think it's actually worse, actually, to evolve what I see is worse. I see behavior that is absolutely worse than when I started practicing. It's just kind of unbelievable. Well, I do really appreciate your time and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. Thanks so much. Bye bye.

Speaker 1 (00:51:47) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Mom podcast, a production of Maximum Lawyer Media. Be sure to subscribe to the show so you never miss an episode. See you next time.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

Are you a law firm owner who needs help measuring the success of your firm? In this podcast episode, Tyson delves into the creation and implementation of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for law firms. 

Establishing KPIs for law firms are important because they show how a firm is progressing and what needs to be done to further drive success. Setting up and maintaining KPIs can be difficult, but Tyson provides a few tips on how to customize KPIs and ensure they are working for the firm. It is important to ensure that KPIs are tailored to different roles. Staff within law firms have different tasks and roles and there will be different KPIs needed to measure them. For example, a KPI might be used to measure how many files a case manager reviews every week. But for a receptionist, a KPI could be an average call time or how many calls are being taken a day.

Tyson shares the importance of reviewing your KPIs and adjusting them as the firm grows.  KPIs also need to be adjusted with individual performance. Job tasks will change over time as people take on more responsibility or change the way they are doing their work. KPIs will need to change alongside this as they will reflect new ways of working. Make sure to communicate these KPIs to staff and let them know when and why they are being adjusted.

Take a listen!

Episode Highlights:

  • 2:05 Tips for customizing KPIs to align with the unique objectives
  • 4:41 Setting KPIs that are challenging and attainable for team members.
  • 6:27 Importance of reviewing and adjusting KPIs to align with evolving needs
  • 8:13 Tips for effectively communicating the purpose and importance of KPIs

Resources:

Transcripts: Tip for Establishing KPI's (Key Performance Indicators)

Tyson (00:01.494)
Hey, it's Dyson and this week I am back with another Saturday episode and I'm going to be talking about tips for establishing KPIs. Those are key performance indicators for those of you that don't know what KPIs mean. They're an extremely useful tool for measuring and driving success for your firm and for really any company. I was listening to a podcast the other day with Jeff Bezos and he was talking about KPIs.

the largest companies use them, the smallest companies should be using them. They're really, really important. Um, before I get to this episode though, just as a reminder, if you are interested in joining the guild, go to maxlawguild.com. It's a wonderful community of amazing attorneys where they share, you know, their, their just best advice, best tips, uh, collaboration. And it's just an, it's just amazing group of people.

We have quarterly events where like we're going to be in Arizona soon. We'll be in Scottsdale. We're in Miami last year. We'll be in Vegas coming up. There's just a lot of cool places, just a lot of great people. And so if you're interested, go to maxolgill.com would love to have you, but let's get into the show. And we're going to talk some more about KPIs. So we just went through and we had our leadership meeting last week where we were talking a little bit about.

Revising the KPIs and we went through all of them and created new scorecards for everyone not new scorecards, but we edited the scorecards that we had for everyone and I fear this would be a really good episode to talk about KPIs because it's something that you do have to give it some Thought and it's not the easiest thing in the world. It's a it's a really challenging thing But it's something that once you have it it's a tool that allows you to make sure everyone's rowing in the same direction and that everyone is

is rowing just as hard as everyone else. And that may be, it's something that's really, really challenging to get just right. And we by no means have it just right, but it's something that we're constantly working on and we're striving to make sure that we're getting better at it. But let me give you some of the tips for getting KPIs in place. So here we go.

Tyson (02:21.35)
Let's first though talk a little bit about just the importance of KPIs. They are…

Tyson (02:37.475)
I'm not gonna I'm not gonna do that, but let me let me redo that All right, so let's jump in a little bit more with damn it

All right, so let me jump in with some tips on getting your KPI set up. They're something that they're really going to help you align your team members, the actions that they're doing to the overall objectives of the firm. So number one, make sure that you tailor the KPIs to the individual roles. Each position in your firm. So it's not like you can just take a KPI and just slap it on everybody. It just doesn't work that way.

Each position in your firm, it's going to have its own set of unique KPIs because each role has its own unique purpose, right? A case manager role is going to be completely different than a receptionist role. You've got different objectives for those positions, so you got to make sure that the KPIs help reflect that. So for example, a case manager's KPIs might focus more on

Okay, how do we make sure that the cases are moving forward, we're getting the progress, but we're also having clients that are happy, that wanna refer us cases, okay? Compare that to, let's say, a receptionist, right? The receptionist's role is to make sure that, you know, they're the voice of the firm, that when people call, they're getting questions answered, or they're getting routed to the right place, and they're not missing phone calls. You, there's, they're completely different objectives. So,

One of the KPIs for our case managers is to the certain number of file reviews that they have to do every single week. And that's to make sure that the files are moving forward and as a part of the file review, they have to make sure that the client has been communicated with. And when they do the file review, they're supposed to update the client as well. There's a lot that goes with it. So that is one of the KPIs. You've got to do so many of those a week. When it comes to a receptionist, one of the KPIs is the average call time. Okay, you don't want the receptionist

Tyson (04:44.934)
on the phone for a really long time, she needs to get that call to the right person, the right person, and if you have them on the phone too long, that means that you're probably not getting them to the right people in a timely fashion, okay? So that's just a couple examples of the KPIs that we have. We have, you know, I'll get to this in a little bit, but you wanna kinda limit it to three. You don't wanna go any more than three. Some of ours have two, some of our people have one.

Many have three, but you don't want to do it. You don't want to have more than three. All right. The next tip is you're going to want to make sure you're balancing aspirational and achievable KPIs. And that's something that can be tough because you want people really hitting the ball out of the park, but you have to also make sure that it's reasonable. If you set KPIs are just.

never going to be achieved. People take them seriously and they'll get discouraged and they're not going to work for you. Okay, that's a big problem. So you got to make sure that you that they can actually attain these kpis because they're going to be rated on these Okay as a part of your job scorecards. This is how they're going to be evaluated on a regular basis And if your team consistently hits their targets without effort though You're going to raise the bar because if they're always hitting it, it's just too easy. You need to you need to push them a little bit more but

You're gonna be aiming for that continual growth that way you don't have that complacency and you know That's obviously the opposite of the those unattainable goals because if you do that, they're just gonna get discouraged and they're It's gonna really demoralize them. So you don't want them to disengage So invest that effort in finding the balance that you need and it's gonna take some time You're not gonna get it right the first time most likely It's gonna take some time for you to really figure out what that balance is

Third tip is consider perception and motivation. Understand how team members, they're gonna perceive their roles and their contributions to the firm. The KPIs, they should not only reflect their responsibilities but they should also resonate with each team member and that in each position, that way they can value the work that they're doing. Make sure that you're having some KPIs.

Tyson (07:08.342)
that really do get to the core values of the firm, the values of the individual, and that way you've got this alignment that boosts motivation and also job satisfaction. So take that into consideration as well. Tip number four, regular reviews and then adjustments. Okay, so KPIs are not this thing that you just set it and forget it and that they're always there. It's not like a core value, okay? Core value, those are gonna be set in stone, you're not gonna be changing those. Those are gonna be there forever.

KPIs are going to change. They're probably going to change, I wouldn't say regularly, but they are going to be things that are going to change. So regularly review them in the context of both the individual performance and then also the firm's evolving needs. I talked about Jeff Bezos, but Jeff Bezos talks about making sure that you're not, you don't have these KPIs that people are using for years and years and they…

there have been several people that have changed over time. And by the time that 10 years after that KPI is created, no one knows why it freaking exists, right? You don't want that to happen. So you're gonna, because sometimes the KPIs aren't necessary anymore. What was necessary 10 years ago is no longer necessary. Your firm is probably completely different. So make sure that you are constantly, I would say least yearly, looking at your firm needs and see if the KPIs.

fit those firm needs. That's a really, really important part of this. And then the last tip I want to get to is just clear communication and support. Whenever you are introducing these KPIs, you're going to want to make sure that you're communicating clearly why you're using KPIs, why they're important, how they contribute to the firm's success. Having this communication to the team, instead of just dumping them on them and saying, do these things.

it's gonna go a long way to get buy-in. And that's one of the things that's gonna be the most challenging part of this too, is getting that buy-in. And I can tell you, you're gonna have some people that are not gonna like it. I'm just gonna tell you, we went through the whole top grading changeover and many of the employees that don't like accountability, they really struggle with KPIs. So just keep that in mind. You're gonna get a lot of, well, I like the way things used to be. Too bad.

Tyson (09:28.822)
Okay, you're gonna have to get past that and they're gonna have to get past that. It's something that's gonna be necessary for your firm to grow to take you to that next level. And it's also gonna be very rewarding for you and for the employees because they're gonna see the progress that you and the firm are gonna make in overtime. All right, that's enough with KPIs for now. As a reminder, if you have something you want me to cover on the Saturday episode, shoot me a text. Just text me 314-501-9260. I would love to hear from you.

Until next week, remember that consistent action is the blueprint that turns your goals into reality. Take care.

Join the Guild!

In this episode of Maximum Lawyer, CEO Becca Eberhart shares a cost-saving tip for individuals and businesses: switch from monthly to annual subscriptions to potentially save 16% or more.

Many services offer discounts for annual payments and urges listeners to actively review and manage their subscriptions. Becca advises checking for unused services and negotiating better deals, cautioning against long-term contracts that may limit flexibility. Listen in for encouragement and ideas to be proactive and mindful in financial management for immediate savings and long-term fiscal health.

Episode Highlights:

  • 00:24 Opting for annual subscriptions instead of monthly ones
  • 03:54 The importance of actively reviewing and managing subscriptions
  • 05:14 Cautions against locking into long-term contracts

Resources:

Transcripts: Mindful Money Moves: 16% Savings Through Annual Plans

Speaker 1 (00:00:01) - Run your law firm the right way. The right way. This is the maximum Lawyer podcast. Maximum lawyer podcast. Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson metrics. Let's partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.

Becca Eberhart (00:00:24) - Welcome to another episode of the Maximum Lawyer podcast. I am Becca Eberhardt, CEO at Maximum Lawyer in. Today's quick tip will help you save on your recurring expenses. With no shortage in subscription services, it's easy for us to lose count of the subscriptions that we accumulate. The convenience of auto payments often causes us to lose track of the cumulative impact on our finances. Without hyper attention to our accounts, it's effortless to overlook the gradual accumulation of these seemingly minor expenses. One effective strategy for saving money is opting for annual subscriptions instead of monthly ones. It's common for companies to offer the equivalent of two months free when we pay them on an annual basis. By making this simple switch, you could potentially save 16% on your recurring expenses. When signing up for new services, we're usually presented with two options one pay a certain amount per month, or option two save a certain percentage and pay upfront for the year.

Becca Eberhart (00:01:29) - When this happens, our brains see that small amount, let's say $100, or then we see the other amount $1,000 for the year. Our brains tell us the smaller amount feels better or safer, but in reality, at the end of the year, you'll have spent 200 more dollars for that decision for the exact same service. This is applicable to various services such as Dropbox, acuity, Your Appointment Scheduler, Canva podcast hosting, YouTube premium, your Amazon Prime membership, Disney+. Almost all services offer this discount except for Hulu, no ads, and I have a bone to pick with them. Sometimes an annual plan is offered even if a company doesn't advertise that they have them. For example, you did not hear this from me, but SiriusXM does not advertise that they have annual plans. But I loathe monthly expenses. So I chatted in and asked if they had any available. They do and there is a cost savings to them. So if it appears paying monthly for something you or your law firm uses is the only option, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Becca Eberhart (00:02:40) - If all you did was change your monthly subscriptions to annual plans, you would cut at least 16% of all of those costs combined. For example, Amazon Prime has one of the highest subscriber counts. They are 1499 per month, which is $179.88 per year, or the annual Prime membership is $139 per year, saving you $40.88, which is almost a 23% savings. Now that $40 savings isn't going to change much in your life or business, but I do think that small purchases combined add up quickly, amounting to good chunks of money that could be repurposed somewhere else. And I also think that this can help you condition the way you think about money. Many people don't even want to think about money. So this exercise of reviewing where your money is going and always committing to the annual package will save you and keep you on alert to ways that you can pay less for the things you do use. Now, many of you have a bookkeeper, an accountant, or a CFO managing your finances and you might not like to deal with finances.

Becca Eberhart (00:03:54) - But here's my only warning. It's important to recognize that their perspective may not be aligned entirely with your financial goals. Your vested interest in saving money might not be as significant to them. Therefore, I do urge you to take an active role in reviewing your expenses to ensure that you're not overpaying after the first time that you review your subscriptions. Create a calendar invite at a minimum of biannually, but quarterly is preferred to review your expenses and make sure you're still using what you're paying for, and confirm that you're getting the best deal on what you are using. By doing this by annually or quarterly, you can catch some of the things before they renew and cancel them before it's too late. Be sure to set your calendar event to recurring on a quarterly or biannual basis, so it automatically adds this event, and you'll avoid too much time passing between reviews. Your focus during each review should be canceling what you no longer need, and saving where you can switch your plan from monthly to annual. Now, while committing to annual plans is beneficial, I do caution against locking yourself into contracts or subscriptions of longer than a year, even if the company is offering great savings for the commitment.

Becca Eberhart (00:05:14) - The fast paced evolution of technology with new products launching every month, our own personal changing preferences and business growth, it may render certain services obsolete or irrelevant. Keeping flexibility in your subscriptions allows you to adapt to these changes without incurring unnecessary costs, and being locked in can hinder your ability to explore newer and more efficient options. We'll go much deeper into vendor contracts in a podcast of its own in the future. In summary, adding in this practice will not only contribute to immediate cost savings, but it will also create a proactive and mindful approach to how you manage your personal and business finances.

Speaker 1 (00:06:02) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. Stay in contact with your hosts and to access more content. Go to Maximum lawyer.com. Have a great week and catch you next time.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

Are you a new law firm owner who is struggling with running your business? In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, Jim and Tyson are joined by guest Jose de Wit, an immigration attorney who shares his journey of starting and running his own law firm as well as the challenges that exist.

Jose shared the challenges that exist with owning a law firm. One challenge is finding people who are the right fit. Sometimes, it takes a few hires to find that one person that matches well with the owner and the goals of the firm. Hiring for a law firm is also determined based on how the firm will operate. It is important to decide if a front facing or virtual setting is what you want and hire based on that.

Jose provides some tips for those who are hoping to run their own firm. Due diligence is an important aspect when becoming your own boss. There are some things that need to be ironed out at the start. Some of these things include setting up a bank account to receive payments and pay bills as well as seeking advice from other law firm owners in your circle. Platforms like LinkedIn are the perfect place to find other lawyers and make connections. Success in the law firm industry is all about networking and establishing good relationships!

Listen in to learn more from Jose!


Jim's Hack: 
Let’s push back on the idea that you need to get hiring perfect every time. Make note of what went right and didn't go right and change your strategy the next time around.


Jose Tip: 
Read the book by Benjamin Hardy, which is about a layered approach to reading physical books and audiobooks, which can help you get through your reading list.

Tyson's Tip: Try playing the game “A Moth Presents a Game of Storytelling”, which includes cards that are great conversational pieces.

Episode Highlights:

  • 1:56 Challenges in running a law firm
  • 6:57 The use of LinkedIn 
  • 10:26 The decision-making process for hiring

Connect with Jose:

Resources:

Transcripts: Navigating the Challenges of Law Firm with Jose de Wit

Jim Hacking (00:04.097)
Welcome back to the Maxim Warrior podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:07.887)
and I'm Tyson Mutrix. What's up, Jimmy?

Jim Hacking (00:11.395)
Tyson, my friend, we are going to be talking about immigration today, running an immigration law firm, and lots of things that I like to think about. So I'm excited.

Tyson (00:21.507)
You were doing the steepling thing as you were saying that. So I can tell you're excited. Yeah. And it's a guildy and it's someone that we like talking to. Jose DeWitt. Jose, how's it going? Welcome to the show.

Jose de Wit (00:35.714)
Thanks. Good morning. How are you?

Jim Hacking (00:38.563)
Great, we're great Jose. So tell everybody about you and your law school experience and how you came to own a law firm.

Jose de Wit (00:47.55)
It was a roundabout process. So I went to law school in the San Francisco Bay Area at Berkeley, and then I stuck around there for a couple of years. I started out at a big firm.

and then got into immigration by accident. I wound up in Florida for personal reasons. I thought it was going to be a short stay. So immigration, you can practice immigration in any state as long as you're licensed in any jurisdiction. So I thought I'd pick up a little bit of work while I was here. And one case turned into another, and then that turned into a book of business. And then I worked at a few firms as an associate. And…

a couple years ago decided to make a break for it and start my own firm.

Tyson (01:40.795)
So, is there anything that's surprised you from what you thought it was gonna be like compared to what it's actually like?

Jose de Wit (01:49.99)
everything. So yeah, in my, probably this is not unique for anybody who's done this, but I in my head this was I've been a perpetual associate. I'm used to grinding and pumping out the cases and I'm good at it and so it's going to be more of that except I'm going to make more money at it and maybe there's going to be some small percentage on the top of like miscellaneous admin work and occasional marketing and it you know it's been the inverse, right?

that was surprising to me. When I started the firm, I didn't have the benefit. I wasn't plugged into MaxLaw, for instance, or any of the other resources that I lean on now to understand what it's like to run a firm. So it was, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. And also I was surprised by how much I would like the…

running a firm aspect of it. I didn't see that coming. Everybody in my family is, they're all entrepreneurs. I was the black sheep so to speak in the sense that I was the one, the only bookworm, the only, the only, they always laughed at me because I was the one who wasn't practical minded and was just good at just sitting down and figuring out

cases and writing, but just not a people person, not a get things done person. And once I was in that seat, I was shocked at how much I liked it and that I actually wasn't half bad at it.

Jim Hacking (03:25.203)
Or those first six months, like Jose, how did you get clients? Was it just you? How did you sort of set things up?

Jose de Wit (03:33.894)
It was just me for maybe the first month or two. And then very quickly I hired one VA and one in-person paralegal, neither of whom worked out in the end. But it was…

Jose de Wit (03:55.454)
it was good to go through that experiment of hiring and figuring that out early on because at least I'd made a few mistakes and was ready to get into the hiring process with eyes wide open once we actually really didn't need people and were ready to grow a little bit more.

Jose de Wit (04:16.774)
So I was the only attorney, I still am the only attorney really. At first I was lucky in that a friend from law school, he's general counsel at a fairly large hospitality company and.

He I already had some cases lined up with them before I left my old job. So Um, I knew from the start that would be at least some um source of revenue. They were my only client at first and From there on um, it was it was slow going but that one client kept us afloat for a little bit. Um It I

The two partners I worked for a few jobs before I started the firm, they split right before I went on my own and I shared office space with one of them. So that was a really…

That was good at first. I had cheap rent from her and use of the copier and all those things that I wasn't ready to, all those costs I wasn't ready to absorb on my own yet. And she fed me some work, at least some contract work where she had overflow, so that was helpful also.

Tyson (05:32.251)
You know, there are things like that are really are, it is really something that helps out young lawyers that, I mean, I know I had the benefit of a lot of that whenever I first started out. And so like there are things like that where like just like use of a copier is just, it's such, it can be like such a really big thing. Are there like, what are some tips or some advice you might give to some young lawyers that are or older lawyers that are considering, you know, starting their own firm?

Jose de Wit (05:39.85)
Ahem.

Jose de Wit (06:00.962)
I was, you know, I probably wish I had done a little bit more due diligence before I did it. It was impulsive, but so I think it might have been a smoother ride if I'd figured out a few more things before I started because, you know, I was opening a bank account in a hurry because we didn't have a trust account and clients were ready to pay me and I just didn't have anywhere to put.

the money. So like very, very basic things like that, that I hadn't laid the groundwork for before I started, that it wouldn't have taken a whole lot of thought or effort to at least have in place. I think. So one thing that I started doing very quickly and that was

helpful was just ask for help, reach out, surround yourself with people who are doing this, have done this, and are willing to lend a hand and lend advice.

as a perpetual associate, most of my career I had been really cloistered. I was just in the office. I went to occasional, like AILA, the Immigration Lawyers Association, I'd go to occasional events and I knew a few people there and would say hi, but I didn't have a very strong network within the immigration sphere or outside of it. And so jumping in, realizing I was out of my depth.

and needing to figure it out quickly forced me to just build a network very fast. And so I think if you don't have one, start thinking about that right away, because it's been invaluable to see what others are doing, what mistakes others are making, how they figured things out has been huge.

Jim Hacking (07:49.663)
A lot of our members have consumer facing practices and I know you certainly do, but you also have part of your practice that is sort of more working with companies and corporate stuff and so a lot of the things that we talk about in MaxLaw might not necessarily apply and so sometimes people…

get frustrated with Tyson and I that we don't have more advice for people like that. So what tips do you have for people that sort of spend a lot of their energy working with corporate clients or, you know, repeat clients like that?

Jose de Wit (08:21.714)
So if a lot of what you guys talk about is video and social media and putting stuff out there and those types of channels and so I

dipped my toes into that and didn't have much traction. And then one thing I got out of the last mastermind I was in was, why don't you try LinkedIn? And I hadn't really given it much thought. And so it's, and that's been huge. Just in a few months, I've, you know, we've had a really good response. And so I guess, you know, a lot of what Max was about, it is applicable to…

corporate practice. It's just pick your platform, I guess. Know where the people you're trying to target are actually circulating and spend your efforts there. And then a lot more of my business development is still networking, networking. I think a lot of the kind of mass outreach type of marketing, we do it and we still have a lot of ways to go there, but it's a lot more about relationships.

Tyson (09:32.027)
All right, so I want to ask you a related question because Jim and I do get some pushback with the B2B people. We're different. I want your honest opinion. Do you feel like you all are different or do you think that many of the principles are the same? I'm super curious what you think.

Jose de Wit (09:54.122)
I'm still navigating that. So for example, intake. Intake is a puzzle that we haven't fully figured out yet. So with like the whole, Gary Falkowitz and the whole thing about not charging for the consults. And a lot of this is, it's not applicable for the types of relationships that we're building because a lot of our corporate clients, they don't.

they don't have a case they need help immediately with. It's more of they want help about how do we set up an immigration program at our firm? And that's something that we're gonna charge hourly for off the bat. And so the dynamics are different. So intake, for example, the mold you guys have set out doesn't fully fit us. So.

I'll report back once we do figure out something workable, but that. Other parts of it are, I think, a pretty close fit.

Jim Hacking (11:03.583)
I know that you are- Oh, go ahead.

Jose de Wit (11:03.882)
You know, like for example, I think that systems and money and all those things, they work the same at a consumer facing firm and at a corporate firm, right? But its intake is, I think, is very different.

Jose de Wit (11:23.794)
And to give you a concrete example, like, so we, I wave, we in theory charge for consultations, but I also wave.

Jim Hacking (11:24.099)
I know it.

Jose de Wit (11:33.006)
ton of them. But it really just depends on who's referring it. And I just kind of, at this point, have a you know it when you see it sort of feel for when this is going to be definitely the $250 I'm going to make out of this are nothing compared to what this relationship is going to be worth, even if they don't hire us, but just because I want to know this person, because they're going to not hire us, but they will refer us to others. And so figuring out how to translate

system that intake staff can follow is a nut I haven't cracked yet.

Jim Hacking (12:10.643)
You are on the precipice of hiring an associate and I'm wondering what, what was, what were the mental gymnastics you had to go through to finally make the decision to do that and, and what are you looking for as you go through this process?

Jose de Wit (12:25.026)
I think it in the back of my mind I've known I had to for a while now the two things that pushed us over the edge were a Good chunk of our revenue is seasonal and comes in at the end of the year so we wrapped up last year having money in the bank that Would let us absorb that salary even in the first few months that it'll take to get this associate situated so that confidence and then the other is

Okay, so we I opened the firm in early 2022. The first year went well, but it was just by the seat of my pants. And so I started 2023 with the idea that I don't want to grow or at least not grow much, but I want to just buckle down and actually

figure out systems and processes and get ourselves very organized before we are ready to push and grow some more. And 2023 went by without any of that happening because I was spending so much of my time working in the cases. And so just looking back at 2023 and evaluating why that goal didn't end up happening, I realized, okay, we're never going to…

be able to grow and get organized unless somebody else is really a good chunk of the casework, and I have time to work on the business.

Tyson (13:50.595)
Do you have an idea as to what you want the firm to actually look like? I mean, cause you're at the, you're at the sort of the bidding, beginning stages of hiring. So do you have like an idea in mind? Like, okay, I want, I want it to look like this. I want it to be in this number of locations. I want us to operate, you know, hybrid in person, virtual. I mean, do you, do you, have you thought about that? How you want it to look?

Jose de Wit (14:11.802)
Mm-hmm. So I want to grow just enough that there's some redundancy that I can take time off. And there's people who can take care of things. And if somebody's out, they have coverage. And it's not just one person in each seat. And if somebody's gone, everybody has to jump in and panic.

But about that much, I don't want our firm to get huge, really. So that's our kind of very fuzzy growth target. So maybe a couple of associates and maybe 50% to twice as much support stuff as we have now, and that's about it. We're at five full time to part time right now. So somewhere bigger than that, but not a ton bigger. And the…

I started out with the idea that we were going to be 100% virtual.

the immigration agencies have foiled us in that because they love getting these giant bricks of paper, you know, these substantial volumes. And so having a multifunction copier in my living room was really getting old. And it was my wife printing everything out. And then if we weren't home, then I couldn't have staff coming to my house to print out stuff, right? Or expect them to have a huge multifunction copier in their living room. So that has forced us to have a brick and mortar presence,

if it's a small one, right? For now, just to get the cases out and scan the stuff that comes in. But the vision when I started out was to be able to, I mean, we're in Miami. I've been in Miami for about six years now and I've lived here on and off my whole life. But.

Jose de Wit (16:04.102)
I'm a Spanish citizen as well, and also a Guatemalan citizen. And the idea was be completely virtual so that if we want to go back home to Guatemala and our son, who's two and a half, have him go to school down there for a couple of years and spend time with his grandma and his cousins, that we can do that. Or if we want to try our hand at living in Spain for a couple years, that we can do that. And business immigration facilitates that because there's not a huge in-person requirement.

USCIS are occasional, there's no court work. So that's where we want to eventually end up.

Jim Hacking (16:41.595)
Jose, Jose what stresses you out?

Jose de Wit (16:46.066)
everything. I'm a very tightly wound person. But I think one thing that I've struggled with from the start and I still do is I get excited about things. And so one of the things that prompted me to start the firm was that I…

I thought a lot of things were very cool to me and I wanted to try them in my practice, outside of my practice, and I wanted to have the freedom to do that. And so I have a tendency to jump in and try this and try that, and it's worked, and sometimes like our growth, right? Like we decided to get into traveling to Latin America to do speaking engagements and conferences, and suddenly we're putting together conferences on our own. And it was just kind of a, this would be fun sort of idea, and it's worked out. And now I'm…

advising a legal tech startup and that's building on a platform to build exceptional ability cases using AI and that's been a lot of fun and all that's well and good but it means that

our operations are kind of haphazard because I have a hard time systematizing. And that stresses, like that's of my own making, but it stresses me out to not have predictability as to who's handling what and how they're handling it and everything's just kind of as it comes right now. And if anybody who's spoken to me at length about

my practice and knows that this is just my struggle, right? That this is the thing that we struggle the most in my firm.

Tyson (18:30.056)
Have you considered maybe hiring someone to help you with that part of it since you struggle so much with it?

Jose de Wit (18:37.394)
I've considered it. It's something that I actually that the project of training myself to actually participate in building that out at the firm is it's a personal goal that I'm excited about and I want to try out before I say I failed and I want to hire somebody else at it.

just because I don't know, this has been a fun ride so far. Just building all these muscles I didn't know I had and this is one of them. Right? So you know it's like at some point…

When I was in high school, I tried skateboarding and I sucked at it, but all my friends did it and I had to try it and I had to fall on my ass a few times before I realized, okay, maybe this is not my sport. So, kind of, it's less fun than skateboarding, but this is, you know, something I wanna try before I delegate out.

Tyson (19:37.632)
I too tried to become a skateboarder and failed miserably at it. So I'm right there with you. I could see Jimmy on a skateboard.

Jose de Wit (19:41.698)
I'm going to go to bed.

I'm bad at most sports. It turns out I don't have depth perception. I didn't find that out until I was like 18, but it explained so much because you throw a ball of a set of keys at me and I'm just kind of flailing around. I figured it out when I was taking flying lessons and when I was gonna get my pilot's license, they gave us a test to test depth perception and it explained why I was really, I was good at…

taking off and navigating the plane but not so much as landing it because so fun fact.

Jim Hacking (20:23.863)
Ha ha. So.

Interesting. So how did you make the decision to join the guild and what were you looking for when you decided to do that?

Jose de Wit (20:37.134)
Um, well, so, um, like I said, it was, um…

Sorry, I clicked something here and lost the, lost my window and I can't see you guys. All right. Okay, so like I said, it was kind of drinking through a fire hose when I started out. And so I just started looking for resources wherever I could find them. And I can't remember if I came across the podcast first or the big group on Facebook, but I found one or the other and then,

Jim Hacking (20:51.684)
We can hear you.

Jose de Wit (21:17.05)
that was helpful and I just kind of lurked in the group and listened to the podcast and then found it valuable and jumped in. At the same time I was also joining a coaching program and I was also joining other groups and so I was just finding help wherever I needed it and this is one, so MaxLy is one of the things that just stuck, that clicked with me and I found helpful. And I just like, I like the people who participate

Tyson (21:47.891)
Yeah, I mean, like there's, that's my favorite part too. Like just, there's just like a lot of great people just, you know, they, they're so willing to share. They're like just, they're, they're sharers. It's, it's great. So very good. All right. Uh, Jose, we are getting close to time. So I do want to be respectful of your time. I'm going to wrap things up before I do. I want to remind everyone, if you want to join us in the guild, uh, with people like Jose who are fantastic, uh, go to maxlawguild.com. We'd love to have you there. Uh, just a lot of great people.

Jose de Wit (21:48.855)
ready

Tyson (22:17.219)
A lot of great business owners that are sharing all of their best tips and secrets, which is awesome. And if you want to, if you're not quite ready, join us in the big Facebook group, just search Maximum Lawyer and you'll be able to find us there. And if you've gotten something from this episode or from any of the other episodes, if you don't mind giving us a five star review, we would greatly appreciate it. Let's get to our tips and hacks of the week. Jimmy, what's your hack of the week?

Jose de Wit (22:47.042)
Thank you.

Jim Hacking (22:47.215)
Back in 2022, one of the greatest baseball players I'll ever see in my life retired, his name was Mr. Albert Pujols, el hombre. Albert Pujols had a very, very long career. He's going straight to the Hall of Fame when he's done. His batting average, 296. That means he got a hit less than three times out of 10. And I bring that up because I keep seeing people thinking that they have to get hiring 100% right every time.

And I really want to push back on this idea that you're going to get hiring right every time. And I think that the real lesson is each time you hire someone, if it works out, write down why it worked out. If it didn't work out, write down why it didn't work out. And then each time you go through the hiring process, do things a little bit differently. If you do it the exact same way every time, you're going to get the same result. But if you if you look at hiring,

way that you ideate with software and look at it as how do I keep getting better at this skill? How do I develop this muscle more? Instead of hiring becomes such a roadblock for so many of our members and such a scary, scary thing. It's not that it's not that hard. Just think of it as an experiment. Don't beat yourself up over bad hires. Just figure out how can I do better next time.

Tyson (24:09.563)
I like that. That's good. It's an experiment. Very good. Jose, you are next. By now you should know that you should have a tip or hack ready for us. What you got for us?

Jose de Wit (24:21.322)
Yeah, so I have a huge stack of books that I've been wanting to read and I can't get through them because the hours are long and then at home we have a toddler who demands attention. And this one's from Benjamin Hardy, the guy from what is it 10 how many X is easier than however many other X 10 X and two X, I think. Yeah, there you go. And it was he had this layered approach to audio books and then physical books where He it was on this podcast and it was like how I read some insane amount of books a year.

and it was first listen to the audio book and so as you're listening to it.

half of them he said like within the first 20 minutes I realized this isn't even worth my like background noise time and so it's out and I didn't waste time trying to read that book. Then others I listened through it and I just kind of absorbed at a surface level and then the ones that I find really potentially valuable I sit down and read and actually highlight and take notes and so forth because his point was if I try to read all of them then it's a lot slower and I'm taking notes on stuff that might not be all that valuable so it's kind of this like

process, right? That starts with the audio book and then going back to the… So I've tried it this month, and I already got through three books that had been on the waiting list for months and months and months. So it's working for me.

Tyson (25:41.027)
I like that a lot. I'm gonna steal that. Cause that's a, cause there are a lot of books where I like force myself to finish them. I'm like, oh gosh, this is like why, you know, just cause you do get the gist of it in the first third. So very good. All right, so here's my tip of the week. So I had mentioned a book on the potty that's before about storytelling, but I bought this game. It's called the Moth Presents a Game of Storytelling. So the writer of that book that I had mentioned before, he was like,

He'd spoken at the Moth quite a bit. I actually don't play the game, but it's, I like the cards inside of it. So it gives, it's like, they're, they're very thought provoking. It will, they're, they're really good conversation starters or they're really good questions you could ask on the podcast. There's, there's a lot of things you could do, but, or you can also practice your storytelling. Like for example, like, like on, I just picked a random card, like the, the one side of it says food, prepare a story about things you eat, Vittles, grub, cuisine, groceries, and it gives you some things that you could, that you use to talk about.

And then on the other side, it says, tell us about a time you bit off more than you could chew, a time you cooked up something special, a time when food soothes your soul. So it's just kind of a cool, they're just, it's, it's something to help get your, um, get your, get you thinking creatively. So, um, you can play the game. I've never played the game. I don't even know how to play the game. I like it just specifically for the ways that gets you thinking about, um, different things and also, um, gives you different questions you could ask people.

So I think it's pretty cool, good conversation starters. So if you want, if you're doing a bunch of networking and you want some conversation starters, it would actually be pretty helpful for you. But Jose, thank you so much. Really appreciate you sharing your story and coming on and being an amazing guild member. And we love seeing you grow and all the awesome things you're doing. So thank you so much for coming on.

Jose de Wit (27:25.822)
Yeah, this was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me on. Bye, take care.

Jim Hacking (27:28.291)
Thanks, buddy. See ya.

Tyson (27:29.223)
that. Thanks Jose. See you Jimbo.

Jim Hacking (27:31.735)
Bye buddy.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a successful law practice? In this episode, Tyson takes a dive deep into the essentials of law firm growth and how to properly structure a firm for maximum efficiency. 

The way a firm is set up can really determine how well it will succeed. Tyson shares the successful method of structuring a law firm using the pod model. The pod model is a team of 3 people which is led by an attorney. They are supported by a case manager and a litigation assistant. This model ensures every attorney has 2 dedicated team members to help with their caseload. A benefit of this structure and why it works so well is the ability to cross train amongst the case manager and litigation assistant. That way staff are skilled in a few different things if there is a need to backfill.

Tyson provides a few tips for law firm owners to use to make sure the pod model works well. Communication is a huge key to not only the success of the pod structure but managing teams as a whole. Scheduling regular team meetings within and outside pods is great to touch base on what is happening with cases. Another tip is the use of a communication tool like Clic or Slack to quickly reach other staff as a way to ensure people stay connected.

Listen in to learn more!

Episode Highlights:

  • 1:11 The benefits of structuring law firms using the pod model
  • 2:10 The distinct responsibilities of roles within the pod structure
  • 3:11 The advantages of the pod team structure
  • 5:55 Tips for successful team management

Resources:

Transcripts: Staff Allocation for Case Management to Maximize Efficiency

Tyson (00:02.678)
Hey, it's Dyson. I'm back with another bite-sized episode that's gonna pack a punch. Yeah, I'm gonna change that.

Tyson (00:13.482)
Hey, it's Tyson. I'm back with another Saturday episode and this weekend we'll be talking about staff allocation for case management and how to put teams together that support your attorneys to maximize your firm's efficiency. Before I do that, I want to just talk a little bit about maximum or minimum time. If you've not yet gotten your hands on it, your time's running out. I'm just telling you you're I'm not going to tell you when but it's going to be very soon. We're going to

You pull in the plug on that. So we give it, it's something we give to all guild members, absolutely free. We're gonna give you stage one of it, absolutely free just for being a good listener. Just text us to, text stage one to 314-501-9260. That's stage one to 314-501-9260, and we will give that to you absolutely free. It's a roadmap that we've created that's gonna help you build the law firm.

of your dreams. All right. So this is interesting. So I'm going to talk about firm structure, but about an hour ago, I actually had a nice long hour-long video call with Ryan McKean, and we were discussing firm structures and a way to structure when it comes to compensation, a lot of different things. We talked about a lot of things over that hour. It was a really fantastic conversation. One of the things that we were talking about was…

the way to structure the firm. And he and I have both for a while been on the, I wouldn't say it's bandwagon, but on the approach, it's the correct approach of building pods and having pods run your cases. So I'm gonna talk a little bit about that and how we structure our pods. Because it's changed over time. We used to have much, the pods were much bigger and we were probably overstaffed, to be honest with you, when it comes to the pods.

We've moved our resources around, we've changed the way we've done things, and I'm going to go through that a little bit here. So let's get into it. All right, so the way we've really honed in our case management structure, we've done it to optimize our workflow. Each pod, so each attorney leads a team. We call them teams now, we used to call them pods, we now call them teams, but it's the same model. But each attorney leads a team that consists of both a case manager and litigation assistant.

Tyson (02:38.522)
And the setup, it ensures that every attorney has two dedicated team members that can help support their caseload. When it comes to the roles and responsibilities, we do differentiate those between the two. Obviously, their names are different, but as you might imagine, just by the names, litigation, assistance handle litigation tasks, case managers, they do venture into the litigation side as well. But the majority of theirs are, or of their roles are almost.

almost mostly focused on pre-litigation. But the case managers, really, their linchpin is client communication. They are there to make sure that the clients are getting the communication that they need. They handle a big part of the scheduling, not all of it, but they handle a big part of the scheduling, because we do, our receptionist takes on a big role of scheduling things, but they do case updates, most of the client communication.

and a lot of the things that keep the cases moving forward and they keep the momentum in the cases. Their role though is absolutely crucial in keeping clients updated and getting them the information that they need and then also getting information from clients. Litigation assistants on the other hand have very little client contact, if any at all sometimes. They take on the heavy lifting of drafting, dealing with service, doing legal research.

written discovery, it's invaluable in laying the groundwork for an effective case when it comes to the litigation side. So the case manager doesn't deal with all of that stuff unless they need to fill in, and that's one of the benefits of the pod structure is there is overlap. We do cross train on things so that people can fill in with each other. That's a big part of it. Another way of looking at this in a way is,

we've split up the traditional paralegal role into two roles, but by doing that, since the roles are so well-defined, that we're allowed to handle a larger caseload. So each team is able to handle more cases because people are working, their jobs are really, really focused, and that's a huge benefit of it. But let's talk about some of the other benefits of the structure. Because we've got it set up this way, a big part of it is cross-team support, and…

Tyson (05:06.41)
That means that a case manager for one team or litigation for one team, litigation assistant for one team, they can provide coverage for other teams. So if someone's gone on vacation, if they've lost a loved one, because we have, we have a very, very favorable bereavement policy at the firm where you lose a close loved one, you're off for 10 days. Okay. So there might be a situation without much notice, you know, people are going for 10 days.

and that's a long time, right? But because of this structure, you're able to have people fill in for each other, and that way the clients aren't just left without getting their questions answered, but the attorneys aren't left just trying to handle all the cases by themselves. It's a huge benefit. Another part of it is just the standardization of processes. Each team is structured to work the exact same way. That way you can move one case manager

over to another team without missing a step. That's a huge part of it, which we have had to do before. We've had to move people around because sometimes personalities, they don't work well with each other. And sometimes you have to move people around to make it fit. And that's one of the good parts about it is you've got each team, they're self-sufficient, they do their own stuff, but you can move people around to make it work better. Let me give you a few tips for making this work.

Clear communication is a big part of it. Having regular team meetings, so daily meetings, and if you need to have weekly meetings on top of that, you can do that as well, they're a little bit longer. But regular daily check-ins, super important. We also have click where people can communicate during office hours, it's another big part of it too. But the main thing is that daily huddles where the teams are meeting with each other to go over cases, big part of it. It allows us to make sure the cases are moving forward.

Utilize the technology I mentioned clicked before. Make sure that your case management software, it suits your team structure. So I'm not gonna, I mean, I've talked about, we use Filevine, but we also have Zoho. Just make sure whatever software you use, it can facilitate easy sharing of information and tracking the progress of your cases. Really, really important. Encourage collaboration. So you're gonna wanna foster an environment where the case managers and litigation assistants

Tyson (07:31.426)
They feel comfortable collaborating, and not just within their teams, but across the firm as well. You gotta make sure that people are sharing the knowledge and the experiences that they have. That way you can, this is gonna lead to a lot of innovative solutions, but you don't want a bunch of knowledge just stuck in one team. You wanna be able to spread that out. So you wanna make sure you collaborate. You encourage that collaboration. And then a couple other things. Make sure there is that continuous learning. So if you do have that team where

They hold a lot of knowledge and you're gonna have some lopsided teams sometimes where some have more experience than others. Make sure you have regular trainings that involve the case managers and the attorneys and the litigation assistants. That way everyone is up to date on latest processes, if there's any rules changes, all of that, they're all included. And then make sure you have a feedback loop where, you know, you establish a feedback loop where you're regularly asking for feedback from your teams.

on what's working, what's not working, what can be improved, and how to change case management, how to change case management systems, how to change workflows. Having that feedback loop is really gonna allow you to improve and then also propel you into the future. So structuring the way you handle cases is a big part of what we do. So I really want you to be thinking about how best to set up your team. I can tell you I'm…

I've tried it a few different ways. I've tried the departmental model. I've tried the pod model. I think the pod model is by far the best. So give it a try if it's something that you think you want to take on. As a reminder, if there is something you want me to cover on a Saturday show, just shoot me a text and I'll try to cover it. 314-501-9260. Keep those suggestions coming. They're always great and always welcome.

Until next week, remember that consistent action is the blueprint that turns your goals into reality. Take care, have a good week.

Join the Guild!

In this podcast episode, Becca Eberhart, CEO of Maximum Lawyer, challenges the mindset of waiting for the perfect time to start a law firm. She walks through debunking the myth of needing perfection, ample resources, or complete knowledge to begin. 

It’s time to take action with what you have and that “waiting” is a waste of precious time. It’s time to embrace "good enough" and start before feeling fully ready, with action being your key to turning dreams into reality. 

It’s time to choose progress over excuses and to commit to starting a business without delay. Listen in and be encouraged.

Episode Highlights:

  • 00:24 When you are waiting for the perfect time to start a business
  • 02:14 Successful businesses that started without the best equipment
  • 04:18 The regret of delaying, and the need to start before feeling ready

Resources:

Transcripts: Never Allow Waiting to Become a Habit

Speaker 1 (00:00:01) - Run your law firm the right way. The right way. This is the maximum Lawyer podcast. Lawyer podcast. Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson Matrix. Let's partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.

Becca Eberhart (00:00:24) - Welcome to another episode of the Maximum Lawyer podcast. I'm Becca Eberhardt, CEO at Maximum Lawyer, and today we're talking mindset. And this quick message is for those of you who want to open your own firm but haven't yet. Today we're going to talk about the tendency to wait to get started. Do you have plans for the life you're going to live or law firm you're going to run someday? If you're telling yourself that there's going to come a perfect time to start your business, your perfect time will never come. Now is as good of time as any. Waiting is a habit we create. We often get hung up on the fear of uncertainty. But if you're someone who wants to open their own law firm, you must realize that those two things don't coexist certainty and entrepreneurship. So you're going to have to pick one.

Becca Eberhart (00:01:11) - Would you choose security at the expense of an unfulfilled life? Another common reason we wait is the desire for perfection. Brené Brown said, I'm a recovering perfectionist and an aspiring good enough list, and I think that's a really smart aspiration to have as someone who wants to run a business. Many of us struggle with the belief that if something's not perfect, it's not ready. Whether that's your business idea, website, your branding, your social media or anything else, you can change it all and you will change it all. It will never feel done because as soon as we get to the point where we've arrived, we discover new opportunities, come up with ways to make a bigger impact. And with all of that comes more growth, more change, and more work. You might also think you don't have the time, money, network support or the knowledge to start your business. You're going to have to choose between what's holding you back and what you want the most. Start where you are with what you have and do what you can.

Becca Eberhart (00:02:14) - That's how you'll gain traction. There are so many great businesses that started without thinking they needed the best. Dave Ramsey started in his living room. Facebook started in a dorm room, Google and Amazon started in garages. Spanx and Walt Disney started in apartments. What this all comes down to is if you want it, you'll find a way and if not, you'll find an excuse. Every single time this perception we have that we have to start our businesses with the best equipment, the best website, the best softwares and an admin team is just a lie. It's honestly just great marketing. So you have to be aware of what you're consuming. What are you seeing, reading and watching? The needs, even for startup businesses are actually very minimal. So the next time you get really excited and catch yourself thinking, I need this first, just take a step back and think, do you need it? Or would it be nice to have it? Being able to filter out these thoughts will serve you well.

Becca Eberhart (00:03:14) - As you get your business off the ground, you'll be able to clearly see if the business you're building is viable, profitable, and scalable without the added stress and pressure of excessive expenses in the beginning. Here's something a lot of people fall into and be honest with yourself. You'd rather learn about how to take action or read what you need to know before you take action, or watch someone else take action than to just take action. Soaking in knowledge and consuming information is easier, more fun, and makes you feel smart. But that's not what's going to make your dreams a reality. You really do have to start before you're ready, and that's a skill worth learning. Here's another thing I really want you to think about is this week typical for you? Chances are it isn't. You have a one off meeting, maybe a new show just came out on Netflix, or you had to skip a workout for some reason. Now think back to your last typical week. A week where 100% of everything worked out exactly as you planned.

Becca Eberhart (00:04:18) - Is that week further back than you thought? Does it even exist at all yet? I bet you live as if, though this imaginary week were a reality. The point is, we often tell ourselves this story that we're waiting for the right time or the perfect conditions that will never come. Finally, waiting is a waste of time. A truly non-renewable resource. You can easily convince yourself that tomorrow is the day and look back and a year has passed, or even more. And once you do get started, you'll wish you had just made the commitment a year ago. You'll think how far ahead you could be, how much you could have learned, how much you would have grown, the people you could have met, and the opportunities that would have come your way. You really do have to start before you're ready. So whatever excuse you're using to put off following your dreams and opening your business, it comes down to a decision. Your decision to find a way or find an excuse. I know this puts the ball back in your court and oftentimes people don't like that.

Becca Eberhart (00:05:17) - So while the answer is simple, it's not easy. So you choose choose not to wait. Make this day one, not one day.

Speaker 1 (00:05:28) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Lawyer podcast podcast. Stay in contact with your hosts and to access more content. Go to Maximum lawyer.com. Have a great week and catch you next time.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

Are you a law firm owner who needs help running a firm? In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, Jim and Tyson speak with Mark Lopez, a seasoned criminal defense and personal injury attorney. They discuss the do’s and don’ts when it comes to running a law firm

Running a law firm is not a simple task. It involves a lot of moving parts and strategic planning. Part of this includes hiring the rights attorneys for a firm. Mark provides a few examples of what he considered when hiring for his firm. One thing is to not hire people that are similar to yourself because they will have the same downfalls. You want attorneys who have different ways of working and bring different ideas to the table, so there is a good balance. 

Mark shares some things he does as a law firm owner that helps with keeping things running smoothly. One hack is using the Otter App in the morning to take note of marketing ideas and ways to improve client satisfaction. This is then turned into actionable items that he can bring to the team. Maintaining communication with former clients is a good way to ensure consistent business. Whether it is sending birthday cards or newsletters, this is a good way to get referrals and become the law firm everyone goes to. Having a successful law firm is all about ensuring the client is happy.

Take a listen to learn more about Mark Lopez.

Jim’s Hack: Read the book “10 X is Easier Than 2 X” by Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy, which talks about how people move from one level of success to another.

Mark’s Tip: Read the book “Influenced” by Robert Cialdini, which outlines the best ways to market for a law firm.

Tyson’s Tip: Sort your inbox for emails in which you have a clean inbox on one side and emails that need reviewing on the other side.

Episode Highlights:

  • 5:26 Advice on managing a law firm
  • 14:12 Financial implications of law firms
  • 18:24 The benefits of working on weekends in a quiet environment

Resources:

Transcripts: Advice for Hiring Attorney’s: Shoulds and Shouldn'ts with Marc Lopez

Speaker 1 (00:00:01) - Run your law firm the right way. The right way. This is the maximum Lawyer podcast. Lawyer podcast. Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson Matrix. Let's partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.

Jim Hacking (00:00:24) - Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson Mutrux (00:00:28) - And I'm Tyson Matrix. What's up Jimmy.

Jim Hacking (00:00:31) - Oh Tyson I always get a little nervous when we do Riverside. For some reason it just popped up and said we can't access your video, but then it's it's all streaming, everything's good. So, you know, we've had lots of different formats. And I was watching a movie the other day, a wonderful movie called Past Lives, and it was set about ten years ago, and it was all on Sky. A bunch of it was on Skype, and I was like, oh man, I remember Skype. I remember those ringtones and everything. We used to record Maximum Lawyer podcast on some thing that over sat Skype. Remember that? Yeah, I.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:01) - Do remember that it was a download onto my computer and if I did not remember to hit the record button then it would not record it.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:09) - And it was yeah, we we recorded full episodes that never happened. So they were never released. But yeah. And I do remember that ring I, I couldn't like I couldn't do it right now for you. Yeah. Do you. Yeah. That's what it is. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (00:01:25) - Do do do.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:26) - Do. Yeah. Yep. That's all I do like that. They should bring that back. They. Yeah I'm I'm missing the boat man. They were ahead of the game ringtone. Yeah. They missed the boat completely. But all right, let's let's get to our our guest though this week our guest is Mark Lopez a fellow Gildan who's awesome. He's a criminal defense and personal injury attorney dedicated to obtaining exceptional results for clients. I love that bio. Very short and sweet. Mark, welcome to the show.

Marc Lopez (00:01:57) - I'm so excited to be here. I feel like I'm with like celebrities, so if I'm blushing, I'm sorry, but I'm trying to I'm happy to be here. Thank you guys.

Jim Hacking (00:02:04) - We should had you on a long time ago. Mark, it's good to see you. Tell everybody about your firm, about the kinds of law that you practice and sort of what your firm set up is like.

Marc Lopez (00:02:14) - We are in Indianapolis and we practice in central Indiana for criminal defense, and we are statewide for personal injury. I am one of seven attorneys at the firm and I don't I know everyone said they love their job. I literally love coming to work. I love being a lawyer. I think this is the coolest job in the world. We get to mess with the government, mess with the insurance companies. I think this literally. I wake up in the morning and I am excited to be here. I'm often one of the first people here and I'm usually the last one to leave. And it's not because there's so much work and it's miserable. I just love being a lawyer and I don't know, I just love helping people. I love getting money from insurance companies. So that's a very simple existence.

Tyson Mutrux (00:02:51) - Where do you think that passion comes from? Because you obviously have a lot of passion for it. So where do you think that that that originates? You know.

Marc Lopez (00:02:58) - It's I think about that a lot because my dad was a police officer. And so part of me thinks maybe I'm getting back at him in some capacity. But I know and I've, I very remember for insurance stuff. It sounds so silly. But in college I had no money and I bought these giant speakers from BestBuy and I bought their insurance. And I remember I went about a month and a half later, hey, they weren't working. I had the insurance and they just blew me off. And like this, like this little ball of anger towards Best Buy insurance has just festered into this giant, I don't know. And that's that's where that comes from with the criminal offense. I'm not quite sure because my best friend is a cop, so I'm not anti-police in any capacity unless when they're lying. You know.

Jim Hacking (00:03:36) - Mark, some of our members struggle with hiring an associate.

Jim Hacking (00:03:39) - And I'm wondering what were the mental thought processes that you used when you decided to expand the number of lawyers you had in your firm from just beyond you?

Marc Lopez (00:03:50) - I will tell you this, the only reason I feel qualified to give any advice on this is because I've done it wrong so many times. And so, you know, my first associate, I hired him with the idea that he would help me with legal work, but I also wanted him to generate legal work. And so I would get so incredibly frustrated because he wasn't doing both. And it was only when I made that jump for the third associate, when I was like, okay, this guy, he has no new business requirements. I just need him to help with the legal work. And then when I did it like that, and that's what I've been doing since for everybody else, you know, have an idea of what you want them to do because it's it's not fair to the person you hire to be like, hey, I want you to do this, this and this.

Marc Lopez (00:04:31) - All the things that I was struggling to do. Hey, you do it too. So if you have more work than you need and you can't get that work to a paralegal criminal defense, you're just in court so much, you just can't avoid the court. But if you can't have a paralegal do it, then get an attorney. And when I was starting to do NPS, the clients would sit right back at the end of the case saying, hey, we want more attorney contact, we want more attorney contact. And so that was my cue that I needed to make it happen. And so any mental roadblocks that they weren't going to do it like me or they weren't going to be as good as me, I got rid of them because I got to give the client what they want.

Tyson Mutrux (00:05:04) - All right. So let's use some of your mistakes then. Mark, let's let's figure out how you're able to get to where you are now when it comes to you being one of seven attorneys. So if you were to give the, you know, how long have you have you been practicing? How long have you owned your firm?

Marc Lopez (00:05:20) - I've had this firm's in 2009, attorneys in 2006.

Marc Lopez (00:05:23) - So that's. Plenty of time to make lots of mistakes.

Tyson Mutrux (00:05:26) - Yeah. So let's go back to the 2006 self. Right. What advice would you give to the 2006 Mark Lopez when it comes to here's what you need to do when it comes to hiring attorneys. These are the things you should and shouldn't do.

Marc Lopez (00:05:41) - So 2006 Mark was still working at a law firm, so I'm going to jump to 2009. I opened this law firm, you know, don't hire people that are just like you because they're going to have the same they're going to say the same downfalls as you. So my first associate, who still works with me, he's my partner now. He's very similar to me. And a lot of the things that drive him crazy. When I ask myself, why am I so mad at them? And it's usually like, oh, I'm irritated about that with myself as well. So I don't know if I'm answering your question. Tyson, do you want more specific? I want to make sure I give you what you want.

Tyson Mutrux (00:06:11) - Yeah, I appreciate that. No, I think what if I, if I were a listener I would want to hear okay. So like, what are some like do's and don'ts when it comes to like, like we were just earlier we're talking to Kevin Cheney about like, bonuses and things like that. So do you have any advice on, you know, pay structures, hours? How do you divvy up the work? I mean, any advice that you have, I think would be would be helpful to people.

Marc Lopez (00:06:34) - So regarding like bonuses, we do quarterly bonuses. And I love the quarterly bonus, just because I feel like it's easier for me to keep track of KPI. I my Kobe is, I think like four and 944493 or something. So I don't like having to like do 12 months of reviewing KPIs. But we do quarterly bonuses, and every attorney here has numerous ways to earn bonuses. Hitting KPIs. Every attorney here also has their own tracking phone number that they can. It's on their card and they can leave it at places.

Marc Lopez (00:07:07) - And friends and family have that. And it's very obvious when a call comes to that number. So they get a bonus based on those numbers, the people that call from them if they've handled the case. A lot of the people call for Mark Lopez, but if they handle that client and the client has a subsequent matter, or that client refers the firm, somebody after the case is done, they get a bonus on that. So I want to try to make it like I just be very honest with you guys. If I knew January 1st exactly how much money I was going to make for the year, I think I would be depressed. I think that would be very sad for me unless it was like, you know, $1 billion or something. But I like the idea that my work can generate further business. So regarding bonuses, I love to have like little things out there that they can they can really stack up. And I met with one of my associates last week for lunch, and I was kind of breaking it down for him, and it's just fun.

Marc Lopez (00:07:54) - I don't know, I love I love paying people because when I'm paying people, that means I'm getting paid too. And so on the other question, you had hours for the attorneys. It's self-regulating. We have like a master call log. And if I see a certain attorneys, clients are calling upset, they're not calling back and whatnot. You're not working hard enough. But we try not to be on them too much because criminal defense, we're driving to different counties. Some of us are taking calls on the weekends, so I'm not going to get mad at somebody that skips out at maybe 4:00 on a Friday or takes a three hour lunch in the middle of a Tuesday. Does that make sense?

Jim Hacking (00:08:26) - Mark talked to us what it's like having two different practice areas. How do the two coexist?

Marc Lopez (00:08:31) - It's been a big challenge. So we did this in 2020. Before that, I was primarily a criminal defense. I always had 1 or 2 injury cases floating around. And when I started as a lawyer, I work for a personal injury attorney here in Indianapolis, and he had a pretty big operation, so I knew how to do that.

Marc Lopez (00:08:49) - But after two years of working for him and I still had to take every single settlement up to him to get approved. And so I kid you not, he would grab the case. Hey, you did a great job. Let me make a quick phone call. He'd call them up and get ten, 15 more thousand dollars. And I literally was just one day I sat down, I said, hey, I want this. I want to be able to get more money per case. And he looked me in the eye and he was like, hey, you have to do trials. He's like, once you start doing trials, you will start getting better results. And I bet he wished he never told me that because I quit the next month and I went to the prosecutor's office because, I mean, I've been there for two years and I had two jury trials and it wasn't for lack of wanting. It was just I feel like in civil litigation there's not that many opportunities, or at least not as criminal.

Marc Lopez (00:09:32) - And then with criminal, a lot of jury trials in the prosecutor's office, a lot of trials in general. And so I feel like I'm rambling. What was the actual question, Jim?

Jim Hacking (00:09:40) - How do.

Speaker 6 (00:09:40) - You have personal.

Jim Hacking (00:09:42) - Injury and criminal work together?

Marc Lopez (00:09:44) - So 2009, I started my law firm. And then I've always maintained friendships with injury attorneys. And then 20, 21 of my good friends, Jamison Allen, he expressed a desire to leave his current firm and we were going to just join up. And my game plan was to use the marketing skills and my name to try to help him get cases, and it's definitely been a challenge. There's more like, you know, you pay $25 for a pay per click for a relatively good DUI lead. It's like 100 and 1520 for a personal injury lead. And then you call you, oh, I'm not hurt. My car is just messed up and you could just see money evaporate. So it's been a definite challenge. Combining the practices. I'm very lucky.

Marc Lopez (00:10:26) - I've known the guy who's my injury partner who handles most of that. The actual substantive legal work. I've known him since 2000, like four. So there's a lot of trust I have with him, I won't lie. Sometimes I'll be listening to things and I'll be like, man, it'd be a lot easier just to focus on one or the other. But it really is kind of for me, who, you know, attention. I enjoy my attention being drawn in different areas. It's kind of fun to do different areas of law, like making slip and fall videos, then making a domestic violence video. So it's hard work, Jim. That's the real answer.

Tyson Mutrux (00:10:54) - If you were to give up one of the practice areas. So whether it's criminal defense or personal injury and just focus on one of them, which which of those would you would you give up and why?

Marc Lopez (00:11:04) - You know, that's it's a scary question. They both fulfill so many things for me and the passions I have regarding the law enforcement and insurance companies right now.

Marc Lopez (00:11:13) - I feel like I've been almost I've been doing criminal offense for a long time. So when I wake up in the morning, sometimes I have better marketing ideas. I'm more passionate about making the injury marketing as opposed to the criminal, but I do love both. And it sounds I'm serving two masters, you know you shouldn't do that. But you know, Tyson, you had a I listened to a lot of Max. I didn't listen to a lot of Max Guild podcasts. And we have the, you know, the we have those really cool weekend ones where it's just a guild. And Tyson, you made a comment that you have a particularly good ability to persuade in court and you weren't bragging. It was just kind of talking and you're just like, hey, I've, you know, I'm just really good in person. I don't necessarily like zoom because I'm really effective in person. And when you said that, I literally smiled and I, I owe so much to courtroom presence. I owe so much to anything I do in the courtroom.

Marc Lopez (00:11:59) - The fact that I've been a criminal defense attorney, I've done so many jury trials. When you get to court, you're not scared. You're not hesitant to say things that maybe other attorneys like, you can't say that, man, I've asked for a bond on someone that's got her fourth DUI and got another DUI while you let them out last time, judge and look the judge in the face. I mean, this guy out. Judge, you got Christmas. If you ask for crazy things in criminal and you go to civil. Yeah, I want $2 million. That sounds outrageous. It's not outrageous. Asking for bond on a fourth DUI when they on probation for it. That's outrageous. So when you said that, man, I I'm not I'm not trying to speak for you, but I literally I knew you were coming from the fact that you have been in criminal court. The fact that you were doing that, that's made you a better an amazing injury attorney. I mean, I'm sure you've put those two outs together before, but I love criminal defense, man, I love it.

Marc Lopez (00:12:48) - I love the nonsense things we have to deal with.

Tyson Mutrux (00:12:50) - Yeah. No doubt. I mean, there's being in because you're just you're just inundated with it. It's a constant. I mean, it's like kind of like when you're learning a religion, I guess, or not. Religion, a language like the immersion, like the immersion is the best way of learning a new, a new language is they just be immersed. It's like the same thing with court, like being immersed with it. And the best way of doing it is just doing criminal defense.

Marc Lopez (00:13:10) - So I don't know if I could give one up. I'm sorry, but sometimes I wake up more passionate about injury. For marketing at least.

Jim Hacking (00:13:17) - Is there much overlap? Is there cross-references from one to the other?

Marc Lopez (00:13:20) - There are, and it bites both ways. So we do get some referrals from injury from we do get some injury referrals from our former criminal clients. We do a good job following up with them. Just hey birthday cards, newsletters, emails.

Marc Lopez (00:13:32) - But we also find that sometimes they call with absolute nonsense. And because there are former clients, we do spend maybe a little bit more time than we would just explaining to them, hey, this isn't a viable case. Here's why. We all were never rude on the phone. But if I don't know somebody and they've just wasted $125, click. Hey man, I can't help out with that. I'm sorry, but if they're a former client, you know, I've seen them in court and they sent those cases. There's a certain way you have to be more graceful about it. So I have loved the the cross references, but it does take some time to build and also maintain.

Tyson Mutrux (00:14:03) - All right. I'm gonna I'm gonna ask this in another way. I'm gonna try to pin you down the. If you were to give up one, which one would make you the most money and make you the happiest?

Marc Lopez (00:14:12) - That's a that's a that's a very interesting question. And the reason why I see a lot of future in injury is there's more dollars per case.

Marc Lopez (00:14:22) - So we're talking a pure business perspective. I love my I love my criminal cases. But when somebody calls me just hypothetically, if I have ten criminal cases, I know each one of those is worth $4,000. And so there's no outlier. That doesn't happen. If you take ten injury cases, maybe eight of those are going to be $8,000 cases. But we have seen where these outliers are. All of a sudden you case hired you. You thought it was good. All of a sudden there's a $300,000 max policy offer. So if I had to be the only one doing the law, I was going to court every day. I was the only one answering the phones. Thank God I'm not. I would probably focus on personal injury just because it's a lot of work. It's a lot of hand-holding, but just the sheer numbers. You don't need to accomplish those same numbers to pay for seven attorneys and 20 support staff. You could do it a lot less people, so it probably wouldn't make me happier with the most money and pushing me hard here.

Tyson Mutrux (00:15:19) - Yeah, no, I get that too. Yeah, I get that too. And I wonder if your experiences like. To see where my highest, like the highest moments as a lawyer, was probably due a criminal defense, but my absolute lowest moments as a lawyer was doing criminal defense because like the highs and the lows are so extreme and it's the same. I think it's the same way with money too. But when it comes to criminal defense. But it was it was there was definitely some extremes when it comes to that.

Marc Lopez (00:15:44) - I had no gray hair until I was walking back from a murder verdict, walking to a murder verdict and I, I, we ended up winning. But that walk between my office and the courthouse, I just felt them grow. I was like, this is yeah, man. So the stress is insane. And then Tyson, I don't know if you've noticed this, but I've helped out on a few jury trials. On the injury side, the injury jury trials and criminal defense is like a no holds bar.

Marc Lopez (00:16:08) - Everyone's mad at you. I feel like, you know, most criminal defense attorneys feel like the judge doesn't really like you either. Everyone's mad, everyone's fighting, objecting. I mean, you're sweating every hour, and a criminal jury trial is like ten. We did a civil jury trial. And I'm not saying it was easy, but most of the witnesses were recorded. Everyone's super nice pros. And council brought us coffee. I was like, no, man, when do we attack? When do we go crazy? And they're like, nah man, just, just chill out. Good day everyone. I was like, these guys have been the biggest jerks pre litigation and now everyone's nice. Whereas with criminal defense I feel like before the jury trial everyone's just hey man what do we got to do. This case done. Hey man, it's just so funny I don't know man. Like I, I'm excited to do more jury trials on the civil side because they're not the stress is not as crazy.

Marc Lopez (00:16:54) - I mean, people's lives and people hurt and there's never enough money. I get that, but the actual minute is not there. Did you notice anything like that?

Tyson Mutrux (00:17:02) - Yeah, I agree yeah, 100%. It's it's a different world for sure.

Jim Hacking (00:17:06) - Here's my question. When you get to work first thing in the morning and you're there ahead of everybody else, and when everybody's gone at the end of the day, how are you spending those bookends of your day? How do you spend that quiet time when no one else is in the building? That's my favorite time as a law firm owner in the building. How do you spend that time?

Marc Lopez (00:17:23) - The morning is just on the way to work. I use the Otter I app. I don't have the phone in my hands. Not allowed in Indiana, but I have the app and I'm just talking and I'm just shooting ideas. Usually they're marketing ideas. Usually there's ways to improve client satisfaction, but I just talk. It's a 15 minute drive. I get to the office, press the stop button, I get up to my office.

Marc Lopez (00:17:45) - I actually import that in the ChatGPT and I say, hey, give me some actionable items from this, this dictation, and I'll kind of just kind of go through ideas like that. And I just, I love the quiet time when I'm just me by myself. A lot of that spent on just process improvement, marketing ideas, just trying to get ahead of my day. It used to be like I'd be here the only one before an hour. Then we started getting people who got here earlier too. And then we have quite the little crew here that's super early, but we all kind of agree we're here because we want to be. We love each other. We want to be separate. But I do love those times. Jim and I just I used to be typing everything out and just writing stuff down. Now Otter and ChatGPT, I'm just flux of ideas and it's just the quiet time is wonderful, I love it.

Tyson Mutrux (00:18:24) - Yeah, I think those are my favorite times. We're even coming in on a Saturday or Sunday.

Tyson Mutrux (00:18:28) - It's like it's, you know, it's complete, you know, quiet. You're not going to get interrupted. It's pretty nice. But all right, Mark, we are getting up against time. So we want to respect your time. So I'm going to start to wrap things up before I do. I just want to remind everyone to join us in the big Facebook group. Just search Maximum Lawyer and you'll be able to find us there. And then also give Jimmy and myself a follow on on ex. Jim's been posting quite a bit there and he posts a lot on LinkedIn too, but we've been posting a lot more on LinkedIn too. But give us a follow I'm at at Lawyer Tyson. Jim, what's your handle on on Jim hacking? Jim hacking at Jim hacking. Very very good. And then if you want to join us in the guild, that'd be great. A lot of great people like Mark Lopez in the Guild go to Max Law Guild Comm, and we would love it if you would give us a five star review.

Tyson Mutrux (00:19:10) - If you get something from this podcast to help spread the love to other attorneys all across the country. Jimmy, what is your hack of the week?

Speaker 6 (00:19:18) - I have a book that.

Jim Hacking (00:19:19) - I've been putting off reading for, and there's a. When I tell you the title of the book, you'll know why I put off reading it. And it's ten X is Easier Than two X by Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy. I've. I have to be careful with how much time I spend thinking about the glorious future. So I wanted to be in a place where I was ready to listen to this book and read this book while grounded in where we currently are. So it's it's it's great the discussions as to how people sort of shed the things that got them to one success level so that they could get to a new level of success is eye opening. And these are the same pair that did the Who Not Howe book. So I know a lot of our members listen to that or read that. And, and this sort of builds on that because it's about sort of reinventing yourself when you need to get to a new level.

Tyson Mutrux (00:20:10) - I well, I can't wait to read that one. That's I'll put it on my, on my long list of books that I want to get to, but let me know if I need to move that bump that one up the list, because I do like the sound of that one. So very cool. All right, I'm not going to screw this one up. Mark. What is your tip or hack of the week?

Marc Lopez (00:20:27) - Tip of the hack of the week is a book as well. It's influenced by Robert Cialdini. I know we've all talked about this, but if you are a law firm owner, if you are in charge of marketing, if you are helping writing copy or anything like that, please get that book. The most recent addition is made 2021, and every time I read that and it's always around my office, I don't have it here right now, of course, but every time I look at it, I just find a new idea. And we've been asking people for reviews and we've been using that phrase.

Marc Lopez (00:20:57) - Do you find yourself to be a helpful person? Everyone says yes and then ask them, okay, it would be helpful for us to get a review. And we have actually increased our close percentage on reviews, which I'm like, this is like a mind hack. So a Robert Cialdini influence get the most recent one. Like it is too funny. Thanks for having me, guys.

Tyson Mutrux (00:21:16) - You just you just aggravated the hell out of me because, like, that's so true. I need to go back and read that books. I love that book. And that's such a good, good hack. That's fantastic. That's great. All right, so let me give my tip of the week. And then I'm going to ask more how people can get in touch with you. But so mine is I was getting a little behind on my email probably an understatement. But we I thought of this idea and it's actually pretty effective is so if you if this this works for people that are Gmail users. So if you've got Google Work Workspace or whatever it's called.

Tyson Mutrux (00:21:46) - So if you create you set up multiple inboxes. So you go in and you go into your current inbox and you mark, you label all of your current emails and I label them emails to sort, and then I archive all of them. And then I created multiple inboxes inside of the settings. And then I created a like in just section one is just it's called sort. And so I've got a clean inbox on the left side, but on my right side it's the emails that we need to go through. And so we can go through kind of one by one. But then all the new emails, we were able to address those as they come in, clear the inbox and then get to the other ones. So Elizabeth has been working on the other other column, you know, getting there. She's been working on it for a while, getting it organized. But so that's my, my, my tip is to if you if you want to get control of your inbox, but you're you're sort of out of control at this point.

Tyson Mutrux (00:22:33) - Do that. It's really, really helpful because it, it, it allows you to have that clear inbox, address those, get rid of them and then move on to the next ones as you can get to them. So it's pretty it's been pretty helpful for me. So that is my tip of the week. Mark, how do people get in touch with you if they want to reach out to you?

Marc Lopez (00:22:50) - I'll go email me Mark with a C at Mark Lopez Law.com. You can give us a call (317) 632-3642. And members answered 24 over seven. And that can be answered by me. But I will get your message and I can give you a call back again. Mark Lopez Mark with a C I love it.

Tyson Mutrux (00:23:05) - Thanks, Mark. Appreciate your time. Appreciate you all for all your insights.

Jim Hacking (00:23:08) - Thanks, buddy. That was great.

Speaker 1 (00:23:12) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. To stay in contact with your hosts and to access more content. Go to Maximum lawyer.com. Have a great week and catch you next time.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

Do you need a vacation but don’t know how to prepare for it? In this podcast episode, Tyson underscores the importance of vacations for maintaining work-life balance and recharging. 

For business owners, it can be stressful to plan for a vacation without thinking about how the business will run while you are not there. Tyson shares some things to think about when planning a vacation and leaving the work to your team. Preparing for time off is all about strategically planning and figuring out who needs to oversee what and what needs to be worked on. In preparation, find a point person (for example, an executive assistant or office administrator) and brief them on everything that will need to be covered over the course of the vacation. If you have clients, let them know so they can contact your point person during that period.

Briefing your team and delegating responsibility is a big part of prepping for a vacation as a business owner. Set some time aside to meet with your teams and figure out what is coming up during the time you will be away. Go over what needs to be delivered and how to respond to certain scenarios so there are no surprises. Tyson shares the importance of ensuring you have an out of office message with all the relevant contact information so people know who to reach out to. As a business owner, have trust that your team will be on top of things while you are gone!

Take a listen.

Episode Highlights:

  • 00:23 The need for strategic planning to take vacations
  • 3:53 Briefing the assistant 
  • 5:01 Briefing the team and clients prior to a vacation
  • 10:20 The importance of trusting the team during a vacation

Resources:

Transcripts: How to Get Your Firm Ready for Your Vacation

Tyson (00:02.166)
Hey everybody!

Tyson (00:05.974)
Hey there, it's Tyson. And today for this Saturday episode, I'm going to talk about vacations. And before those of you that say, I don't have time for a vacation, I'm going to give you a step-by-step way of getting ready for vacation so you can actually take a vacation and enjoy it while you are gone because stepping away from

does require some strategic planning, but it is necessary for you to really recharge your battery and get some of that creativity back that you need. You got to spend time with your family. You're not going to want to, in 30 years, 20 years, 30 years, wherever you are on the timeline, 40 years, you don't want to regret not spending time with friends, family, friends and family. So I'm going to hopefully give you some…

some tools on how to address that. But before I do, I just make sure you, if you want maximum or minimum time, for those of you that have been listening for a while, if you've not gotten it, make sure you get it. Get stage one for new listeners. Get stage one of maximum or minimum time. It's the roadmap that Jim and I created that we give to all Guild members absolutely free. You're going to get stage one for free just for being an amazing listener. And just text stage one to 314-501.

9 2 6 0 that's the number or the word either one stage 1 3 1 4 5 0 1 9 2 6 0. I'm going to talk a little bit about one of my favorite places to vacation with family. I don't know if it's the number one, it might be, but we really love going to the Smoky Mountains. We really enjoy it. It's a lot of fun. Kids like seeing the bears and being out in the woods and going hiking and it's a really cool place.

to recharge. What's also kind of cool is you, on the Tennessee side at least, there's a lot of touristy things. So if you do want to take the kids into town to do some touristy things, you can do that as well. But it is one of the things where we normally go once a year. One of the first times we went, I don't know if it was the absolute first time, but our daughter, she had been wanting to go on a vacation.

Tyson (02:29.546)
She came home one day and said, hey, I want to go to the Smokies. And we talked about doing it and we had taken a trip and we hadn't really decided on anything. And we did things maybe the wrong way. We did things where I wouldn't necessarily recommend that you do, but we got on a Verbo or Airbnb that night and booked a place for the week and left down the next day. So it was a lot of time, a lot of fun.

And luckily we have a wonderful team that did not interrupt me at all. It was awesome. And they really allowed us to enjoy our time. And that's what I want for you. But for those of you that are maybe in a smaller firm, I understand that it's very challenging to do something like that. And for those of you that are in bigger firms, same thing. I get it. It can be tough, but I want it.

you to be able to have the same thing, those same types of well-deserved vacations without worrying about the firm while you're gone. Now, could I have done that every single week? No, because of other obligations, but I just so happened to have that week available and we had the resources, the team that could fill in where need be. So I was able to, but let's do things the right way. And let's first talk about…

the role of your assistant or whatever you want to call them, but you're going to have to have someone that you can really rely on in this. And so it's one of those things that having an assistant, once you get to a certain size, I definitely recommend having an executive assistant, but even if it's just someone that you, an office administrator, someone like that, that you can rely on while you're gone, really important. But before you leave…

you're going to want to brief them thoroughly. So whoever this point person is, you're going to want to brief them about everything that's going on. While I'm gone, my executive assistant, Elizabeth, she monitors my emails, she messages, she monitors my messages, and she is the main point of contact, the only point of contact for staff while I'm gone. During the vacation, she is empowered to handle.

Tyson (04:44.37)
routine matters and only reach out to me if there's an absolute emergency. And having this buffer it's key to ensuring that I'm not going to be bombarded with a bunch of messages and that the firm runs smoothly without me being there. Really, I can't stress that buffer enough. But now let's kind of give you a step-by-step on what you should do in preparation for the vacation.

about two weeks before leaving, you're going to want to brief your team and any clients that you need to inform of your upcoming unavailability. And you're going to want to assure them that your assistant or whoever the point person is, is going to be handling any of your matters in your absence. So you're going to want to give them someone that they can reach out to. Because if you don't, they're going to reach out to you. Okay. So does it matter?

None of this matters if you don't give them a point person. So you're gonna wanna give them a point person to reach out to, especially those of you crazies that give your clients cell phone numbers. You're gonna wanna give them a point of contact in case they need to reach out to you and get ahold of you. Number two is you're going to delegate specific responsibilities. Okay, so you're gonna assign responsibilities to your team members. Ensure that each person knows what's expected of them.

and how to handle specific scenarios that may arise. One thing to consider is as you're doing this, start to document it, okay? So this is what happens if blank occurs, and then you explain what happens. And as you document that, you're not gonna have to tell people the next time because they're gonna already know, right? Because you've got it documented somewhere, so just that's a little side point. But make sure you're delegating specific responsibilities.

This is what happens if a court calls. This is what happens if a new lead calls. Assign different responsibilities to different people. The third thing is emergency protocol. Okay, so you're gonna establish a very clear definition of what constitutes an emergency, and then you're gonna tell them what to do if that actually happens. But this is gonna ensure that you're only contacted when absolutely necessary.

Tyson (07:13.378)
but you need to define for them, and I'm not going to define for you what an emergency is, what an emergency for your firm is, it can be different from an emergency for our firm. You're going to also want to list some examples so people have an idea, kind of like what I did before when it comes to, before I get another episode, I talked about an urgent matter, we talked about office hours in a previous episode. And if-

And if a client were driving to the office looking for the office because they had a deposition scheduled, that's an urgent matter. Now, this is not an emergency, but that's an urgent matter. But that's an example of an urgent matter. That way someone might break the office hours protocol to reach out to you. So that's something that's urgent, right? Here's something that might be an emergency. Client says that they are on their way to the office for their deposition.

you're out of town. That sounds like it might be an actual emergency. But what you would do is you would hand it off to the assistant. They would contact the assistant. The assistant would try to resolve the matter and they probably would be able to. That's the situation. Well, it's actually pretty simple. Even though it may seem like an emergency, it's probably more disurgent than anything else because you could say, well, the reality is there's nothing we can do about it because I'm out of town.

So the assistant would work on rescheduling everything, letting the necessary people know, great. However, what may be an emergency if you're a criminal defense attorney and you don't have a jury trial scheduled on your calendar and your case gets called out. So I'll use the city of St. Louis for example, city of St. Louis for criminal cases, they put you on this rollover docket and then your case might get called out on a Monday, a Tuesday, Wednesday.

or it may not get called out at all. Maybe you don't have it on your calendar and your case gets called out. Well, that's an emergency that you're going to have to deal with. Is anything going to happen? Are you going to be able to appear? Probably not, but you could at least address it. So that's an emergency. There is a distinct difference between urgent and emergency and you need to define that for your people. The next thing is, is that, make sure you're preparing your point of contact.

Tyson (09:37.366)
So you're going to provide your assistant or your point of contact with all the necessary information and resources they need on where you're going to be and how to get all of you. So this includes access to files, key contacts, any detailed instructions on handling various scenarios. So you're going to want to make sure that they have all the information that they need to handle any matters while you're gone. Really important. And then the last thing, this is simple, but it's something you should do.

Set your out of office reply. Just remember to do that. That way people know if they do respond to you or email you that they're not going to get a response right away. And they may not get one for one or two weeks. It depends on how long you're gone. But let them know in that out of office reply that how they can get ahold of your assistant. So give their information, give their email, give the phone number to the office and who to speak to.

Make sure that they have that information that way they can get any answers for any urgent matters that they might have. All right. So I can just tell you from my personal experience, I can't stress enough the importance of trusting your team in this. I know that many of you have issues with that. You have trust issues, but you've got to trust your team. If you don't, you're never going to get to the point where you can go and you're relaxed somewhere. You've got to give them the ability to make mistakes. They might make some mistakes while you're gone.

but most mistakes can be fixed. You're going to want to delegate here, resist the urge to micromanage. Remember, vacations are meant to be fun, but a big part of it is disconnecting from work so you can recharge. All right, so remember to effectively take a vacation, you're going to want to prepare as a firm owner. It might seem daunting, but…

Use those steps that I just gave you and it's absolutely doable. Trust your team to handle the things while you're gone. As a reminder, if you have something you want me to cover on the Saturday show, shoot me a text and I'll try to cover it. 314-501-9260. I would love to hear from you. We've had just so many great suggestions and I will continue to get to them as I can. Until next week, remember that consistent action is the blueprint that turns your goals

Tyson (12:05.663)
into reality. Take care.

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