The OI90 Formula: A Massive Time Hack for Lawyers with Brett Trembly


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In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, guest speaker Brett Trembly shares valuable insights on time management and productivity for lawyers. He introduces the OI90 formula, a three-step business system consisting of office hours, an issue matrix, and a 90-minute weekly team meeting. 

Brett shares the importance of protecting one's time and focusing on high-value tasks. He suggests implementing office hours for both team members and clients to minimize interruptions. 

Additionally, he suggests using software tools to streamline operations. Brett's practical tips and strategies provide actionable steps for lawyers to improve efficiency and success in their practices.

Episode Highlights:

  • 00:40 Introducing the OI90 formula and how it has been life-changing 
  • 3:00 The challenges of running a one-man show
  • 8:43 The importance of spending time on high-value tasks
  • 12:15 A three-step business system that includes office hours, issue matrix, and 90-minute weekly team meetings
  • 15:58 Setting office hours to minimize interruptions and increase productivity
  • 17:08 Determining when interruptions are allowed based on specific criteria
  • 18:01 Running productive 90-minute weekly meetings to address issues and push the business forward

🎥 Watch the full video on YouTube here.

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Transcripts: The OI90 Formula: A Massive Time Hack for Lawyers with Brett Trembly

Speaker 1 (00:00:00) - In today's episode, we're sharing a presentation from Max Lakhan 2022. Keep listening to hear Brett Trembley as we share his talk. The I-90 Formula a massive time hack for lawyers. You can also head to the maximum Lawyer YouTube channel to watch the full video. Let's get to it.

Speaker 2 (00:00:16) - Run your law firm the right way. The right way. This is the maximum lawyer. Podcast. Lawyer, podcast. Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson Tricks. Let's partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.

Speaker 3 (00:00:40) - So I'm just really glad to be here today. I would be remiss if I didn't think Jim and Tyson for having me and Becca for everything she does for this conference, the I-90 formula. Very excited to talk about this today. It has been life changing business, changing everything for me as as I've started to implement these things only a year and a half ago. I wish it had been a lot sooner. So it says three easy to implement tactics to eliminate work interruption. A massive and I am not exaggerating here a massive time hack for lawyers time hack.

Speaker 3 (00:01:12) - Why do we use hack? Everybody likes the word hack. It's going to save you so much time, which I hope you get that takeaway from this. So there we are already was introduced get staffed up and trembly law, which I'll weave in a little bit about, is sort of my journey. So why the why is always first Simon Sinek says start with why. Why do we want to save time? I think we can pretty much agree that being overwhelmed and really stressed sucks, right? Like that's that's not something anyone's going to argue with anyone like being stressed and having no time to spend with their family. Okay. I don't see any hands, but that's what happens a lot, a lot of us lawyers out of necessity when we start, but then just out of maybe not knowing what we didn't know or not taking the right action, we end up running a hot dog stand on the corner where the entire business is us. And if we're not there serving those hot dogs, then business isn't happening.

Speaker 3 (00:02:04) - There's no money coming in. You go on vacation. And it's even more stressful because. Because where's your next client going to come from? Your business essentially shuts down. And that was my story. I started Trembley Law in 2011, three years out of law school. I thought it was awesome. My first month got some new clients and friends brought in like ten grand and I thought I was rolling in the dough right That very first month, second month, about half that. My third month in business. January of 2012, I brought in $0 and the stress really kicked in. What am I doing? How am I going to solve this? You know, I just thought I would you know, I think I'm a good lawyer. Everybody thinks you're a good lawyer. I think I know what I'm doing right. I've been a high achiever. Let me just go and kick some butt. And it was two years of just getting in my own way, doing everything myself and all the hats. I was the hot dog stand on the corner.

Speaker 3 (00:03:00) - If I showed up and I worked hard, sometimes I could bring in the business. I hit a ceiling of about $9,000 a month. I just couldn't get over that and I couldn't figure out why. And it was really frustrating. So essentially, you don't lack time. You lack focus, thoughtfulness or clarity and not thoughtfulness. Like you're on thoughtful, but you don't take the time, as Glenn was talking about the mindfulness, to be more thoughtful about what you're doing or you lack clarity or you're just too busy to be less busy as we often say, you, I don't have time for this. I don't have time for that. I don't have time to hire. I don't have time to train. I don't have time to do more. And what it is, is a lack of focus not on your business, because I think we're all here because we work hard and we want more. But on specific tasks within your business that are going to push you to the next level. So in 2014, I finally hired someone double my law firm revenue the next month and I'll give myself credit.

Speaker 3 (00:04:01) - At this point I just rinse, repeat. And I started moving the needle and spending my time on areas that we're going to push my law firm forward. So the five entrepreneurial stages which which, by the way. So for my law firm, again, just me, myself and I when I started and now we have 12 attorneys, 36 total people, Inc 5000 lists two years in a row, definitely won't be on there this year. It's hard to maintain that, but I'm just saying that for the credibility that I've been through most of these stages, I am now at the point where I'm trying to do more and spread a message with my second company with Get Staffed Up, which is Delegate your way to freedom, right? Trying to kind of reach that influencer stage. But whatever stage you're in, we have something for you today. This this system oh, I 90 is going to help you regardless of the stage you're in. And I'll talk a little bit more about that in a second. So the why should be clear because we want more.

Speaker 3 (00:04:58) - We want to do better. We want to have less stress. We just want to have a better life. So what what should I spend my time on if I'm not spending it on doing everything myself, answering my own emails, just constantly being a slave to my email, to the phone, to scheduling? I'm networking. I'm working really hard. Well, what should I spend my time on? Anybody heard of Perry Marshall or read any of Perry Marshall stuff? His book, 8020 Marketing, is one of the best business sales and marketing books I've ever read. A real guru in some of his other stuff, he talks about ten versus 100 versus 1000 versus 10,000. Dollar activities. And if you can read that, I'll read some of them for you. But essentially $10 an hour. Anybody still run their own errands? Right. Probably a lot of us doing expense reports, cold calling or emailing, talking to unqualified prospects. Right. Doing doing, setting up your own consultations instead of having them set up for you.

Speaker 3 (00:05:58) - This one, I love spelling everything perfectly. One time I got an email response from somebody who I had sent an email newsletter to is like, Well, if you can misspell a word, then certainly we're not going to use you. And I, you know, we're not all perfect. So I look up this lady, no employees got her dog on our website and I'm like, Man, I wish I could help this lady, but some people can't get out of their own way. But I was practicing mindfulness and I didn't respond with what I wanted to say, so. All right. So pushing ourselves to the next type of activities, right? I was just completely stuck in this column except for one hour per day on average, I could squeeze in for legal work. And if you're a true solo, that is the average amount of time that you will spend on legal work is one hour per day. And a lot of times those hours come on the weekends and at nights, right when you're already tired.

Speaker 3 (00:06:49) - So getting yourself to the if you're at ten, the 100 per $100 per hour activities such as creating marketing tests and experiences, managing pay per click campaigns, doing social media well, this is pretty rare. Outsourcing simple tasks. Customer follow up. Right? But how do you get there? Well, you've got to have someone else taking care of all of the $10 an hour tasks. Again, if you're running the hot dog stand and you start doing higher level like promoting, someone still has to be there to take care of the business. And that's the part that most people sort of like. I couldn't get over. I couldn't be convinced that I needed to take the step to hire somebody. But what do I spend my time on now? A thousand and $10,000 per hour task? Sure. Some of the other ones creep in, right? But instead of managing your pay per click campaigns for example, it's creating pay per click campaigns, judging your marketing materials. How much time do you think I spent on creating these slides? Zero.

Speaker 3 (00:07:49) - All right. That was a softball. I don't need to do my own slides anymore. Anyone have a marketing team that can do this stuff for you? So you can you can get out there and speak. You can get in front of different events organizations and still take care of all the other high level activities your business needs done, but you're not doing the lower level activities. All right. It's a great feeling. Anybody have business that's coming in? As you sit here today, your phones are being answered, Consultations are being scheduled. New clients are signing up. The legal work is getting done and you're getting paid again. Great feeling when you can get there. It doesn't happen overnight, but when you start focusing your time on just pushing yourself up the ladder, that's when it gets better and better. There's a quote here from Perry Marshall. I think it's on the next slide. When you move from doing $10 an hour to $10,000 per hour work, the least valuable minute in your day is worth $0.19.

Speaker 3 (00:08:43) - And the most valuable minute is $166 to you. Now, you're not going to. Maybe someday you'll get there, but you can't just say, I'm going to spend all day doing $10,000 an hour task. It doesn't really work that way, right? You're not going to be able to speak for eight hours a day. Essentially, you want to find yourself in the $1,000 an hour task. So there is this book, if you will. If you want to copy this book, you can go online and grab it if you want a free copy. I love sending this book to people. It's not my book. Someday, hopefully, I'll have my own book to send out. Right? I'm promoting Perry Marshall here, but he is so good and so clear of what he does. The book is called Detox Declutter and Dominate. If you text the word delegate to (833) 899-3272, we will send you a free copy. It is only about ten pages. It's mostly visual and it's mind blowing on how good it is.

Speaker 3 (00:09:35) - So again, just write this down and at the end there'll be a landing page where you can also grab it. But text the word delegate to (833) 899-3272. So we talk about this. This is a fun one for me. I tell my team, hey, I need a slide that shows the feast and famine when you spend time. I need to show like a guy or a girl working really hard on marketing and then you go to and then you make some sales and then you bring in the legal work and then you get paid and then your business grows. But the other ones go back down, right? Because now you're doing the legal work, but nobody's spending the time on the marketing and the sales. And so it's the feast or famine cycle. So anyway, that's what they came up with. So here, if you start hiring though, then marketing, right? You start doing better marketing. Well, you don't just move on and stop marketing because you've put systems and people in place. So then you bring in sales, you bring in legal and that's how your business starts going.

Speaker 3 (00:10:28) - I think we all know this intuitively, but for some of you who are like me, it really needs to be hammered home that it is possible you can do it. And the what again is. Is what you need to spend your time on. So going back to the five stages, if you're a hustler, you know, you've got maybe, maybe none, maybe 1 or 2 people. You just got to you need that personal assistant to take care of all of the things that are getting in the way of you going to higher level activities like legal work, for example, on average, what, $3,350 an hour? We should be pushing ourselves to do as much until we can hire attorneys of that type of work and get rid of all the other things that get in our way. Experimenter You've got about five people. You're starting to to figure yourself out how to hire, who you want to bring in, what your message is, your culture, your core values, right? And you keep growing your team, you become a visionary.

Speaker 3 (00:11:20) - So you're just dictating this big nice picture and you're selling it. You start to set up systems because you want to scale, and then you start scaling and you turn into an influencer. Now, the problem is, as most of you have found out, when you start hiring and you start bringing people on board, you want to delegate and you want to get rid of things. But are things always done perfectly for you every time you just find those great team members? No, it doesn't work that way. It takes time. You got to train, You got to have again, create more and more systems. You got to give feedback and you have to grow. So even though you're pushing yourself up through the levels of entrepreneurship as a business owner, as a law firm owner, trying to get to the because every lawyer has a message, right? I think every lawyer really deep down wants to get to the place where they are shouting from the rooftops about what immigration should be because you're the best, most passionate immigration attorney or criminal law.

Speaker 3 (00:12:15) - You know what the legal system should look like. And, you know, getting stuck with all these people who need your time and not creating those time barriers is, in my experience, what holds a lot of people back. So you don't have to only work on your business to grow. You can work in your business, but it's focusing on the right types of activities and then protecting your time. So let's talk about protecting our time then the I-90 formula. This is just a three step sort of, you know, business system that we came up with. A lot of it is taken traction. Anybody use iOS or traction out there? I see a few hands. Just a phenomenal, unbelievable system for running your business. But it's not a cure all. It's not going to do everything for you. You're still going to need those mentors, those guides. They're going to go deep on the people and the systems. But the other parts of your business, you you're you're going to need resources for.

Speaker 3 (00:13:08) - So always for office hours is for issue matrix and 90 is for the 90 minute weekly team meeting or departmental meetings. And let's go through those office hours. Anybody remember office hours in law school? You went and you sat outside of your professor's door. You try to get there 30 minutes ahead of time, but there was already 15 of the same people who were there every Tuesday or Thursday, and they were always in front of you. And they all seem to get the good grades, right. Nobody's bitter. It's the same concept. And it's unfortunate that it took me so long to figure out how much time this can save. One of the biggest time sucks in our business is scheduling small meetings. I've got some time here. Email back and forth. Go to my link. Well, my my calendly link has 15 minutes, so sometimes people cancel. Now you're waiting and then you only you only need five minutes, but you schedule the 15 minutes anyway. It's just such a pain. And to me that's why office hours are just so mind blowing.

Speaker 3 (00:14:10) - You can hold office hours with your team every day if you want, but normally 1 or 2 days per week for one hour and it's a set time. And when you're ready, your assistant sends a message to the team and says, Jean's office hours are open. Team, go ahead and run in there. So what does it look like? Somebody goes to your office hours and they're in the waiting room. Host will let you in soon. Hold office hours on Zoom or virtually even if you're back full time and everyone's in your office because you don't want people getting up and walking around the hall and waiting for your time and knocking and who's next virtually is just makes it so easy. Someone's in the waiting room, right? And this is what it looks like. You let someone in, for example, this is one of our office hours talking to Juanita, one of our associate marketing, our associate marketing director, handling an issue. You can see up here, these are all, I don't know, five, six, seven people in the waiting room.

Speaker 3 (00:15:01) - You know, they're doing their work just waiting for you. That's the point is, if your office hours start at one and you can't get to some people to 145 or 150, they're doing their work, their screens open, and it's not a time waste for them either. You need someone else and you bring in Oh, I need to talk to Joe and Juanita about something we're all working on together, so I'm going to let them in at the same time, and then I'm going to finish my work with them and I'm going to move on and let the next person in. It will save you hours and scheduling and hours on the wasted time going back and forth. Boom. Next issue, next issue, next issue, Next person needs you. Next person needs you. The best part of this, though, is that instead of people interrupting your time. And interruptions are what kill our productivity is business owners. And as lawyers, instead of interrupting you every time you're you're maybe you're handling legal work, maybe you're writing a brief, maybe you're coming up with a great argument.

Speaker 3 (00:15:58) - You're preparing for trial, whatever it is, Right? Maybe you just need mindfulness and headspace and people interrupt. They need your time. And it's so frustrating because it's such a productivity killer. They will not waste their time trying to interrupt you and your time will not be interrupted if you have set office hours. One of my favorite responses now, when people send me a text or a message again, I don't have those things open all the time is I respond with two words. Office hours. I'm training my people to not interrupt me unless you need to be interrupted. So on the issues matrix, this is very particular per firm, right? These are the issues that if you answer yes to any of these issues, if your team does, they will be allowed to interrupt you. Again, you adjust these according to you. These are just some examples. Will this influence a single purchase of $10,000 or more? Will this improve our systems, impact more than $10,000 of sales or affect our reputation? By me not answering right away, will we lose out on 5000 or more dollars as the question already been directed to everybody else who can potentially answer this question? Because that's really running up the ladder the way it should be.

Speaker 3 (00:17:08) - One of my favorite not on here, but for us it's can this wait to the 90 minute weekly meeting? Right. Which I'm going to talk about next. These are the things that will help guide. You can't just say, don't talk to me in offsite because what if there's a media opportunity? I almost missed out on being on the news one time because somebody couldn't get in touch with me. Right. Thankfully, we work that out. There are times where you want to be interrupted. VIP client gets client calls. You probably want to be interrupted. And by the way, speaking of clients, you can also set office hours for your clients so that you train your staff to tell your clients, Hey, from 1 to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, LC makes calls to her clients. Will you be available during that time this Wednesday? Good. She'll probably call you around 105 110. So they're waiting for you and they expect your call, but they're not calling you and interrupting you. I know it sounds funny.

Speaker 3 (00:18:01) - I lot of my clients would like that. If you're very courteous about it and you explain why, it can be very, very powerful. So what is the 90 minute team meeting? If you raise your hand, if you've read traction, if you use EOS, you will recognize this. But to me, how you run your meetings is how you run your firm. And when you see tweets and memes about, oh, you know, meetings are terrible and the people who like meetings don't like getting things done. When you run meetings the right way, it becomes really a powerful way to push your business forward. I cannot imagine running a business without 90 minutes meetings every week per department or if you're not quite big enough for the entire team. So a typical meeting agenda, five minutes. Good news. Personal good news business. It's a check in, right? You're just you're just getting into the meeting. Five minutes, reviewing your KPIs or your scorecard. If you need ten leads a week and you've gotten you've gotten seven, that's probably still a green.

Speaker 3 (00:18:54) - But if it's five, four, three, that's a red indicator. And you start seeing red, you start to notice issues that jump out at you. This is a great way to keep in touch with the high level numbers at your business you need to look at every week. The next one is reviewing your rocks or your objectives for that quarter. Five minutes on track, Off track. You're setting issues, employee headlines or customer headlines. Something big happening next. Five minutes, the following five minutes. You're reviewing your to do's from the prior week. And then the 60 minutes is you're solving issues. You have employee leave and you open their desk and you just find like, what on earth were they doing with this stuff? You can't even believe all of the things in their desk that they were hiding or not talking about. We had one time somebody mouse was working in the not working for like six months and they just never told us. And I was like, You know what? I'm going to own that one because we didn't give them an opportunity.

Speaker 3 (00:19:45) - This is pre 90 minute set weekly meetings where people could come and you give them an opportunity to bring up issues and present them to you so you can help or your leaders or the department chairs or your senior attorneys, whoever it is, can help solve the issues to move the business forward. And the last five, you're basically rating the meeting. So the best part about traction to me is the software. You don't even need an iOS coach to use traction. But if you use traction tools or 90 IO, the software is so good and so helpful for your business, that will be a big one for you. That's again, Traction tools or 90 IO. I have no affiliation with either. I just love them very much and I think they're amazing. Again, you can scan this QR code. We have a resource. We will upload this presentation. And and also give you there's some other things on there. And that's it. Again, I want to thank my time's up. I want to thank Jim and Tyson and just encourage you that if you put in safeguards and you and you protect your time and then you focus on higher level activities, that's how your business will grow.

Speaker 3 (00:20:56) - And hopefully you will start to realize your dreams. That's all my time. Thank you guys so much.

Speaker 2 (00:21:03) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Lawyer podcast podcast. Stay in contact with your hosts and to access more content, go to maximum Have a great week and catch you next time.

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