Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

Are you an attorney who is looking to generate more leads for your firm? In this engaging episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, hosts Jim and Tyson sit down with Ted DeBettencourt from Juvo Leads. They delve into the nuances of chat services for law firms.

Law firms can benefit from having effective chat services. Many people will use chat services when they want to get quick answers. A successful chat service will turn general inquiries into physical clients walking through the door. A lot of chats are lost if bots are used to answer all questions, which is why it is good for general, repetitive answers. When a potential client wants more information, the chat needs to be handled by a live person.

There are a lot of challenges that law firms face when using chat services. One challenge is that many small firm owners do not use it themselves, so they believe it is not needed for their small business. But, Ted pushes back on firms to emphasize that using chat services will generate more leads for a firm, leading to more business.

Take a listen to learn more about chat services!

Jim's Hack: Read the book, Just Called People. The book goes into detail about the creation of iOS and the traction approach.

Ted Tip: Be more cognizant of the times between going to work and coming home. It is important to get mentally prepared to focus on family time and not think about work until the next day.

Tyson's Tip: An AI tool built into Adobe, which allows you to ask questions inside of the pdf document.

Episode Highlights:

  • 6:49 The concept of sales funnels 
  • 9:52 The significance of the top and bottom of the funnel
  • 15:51 Exploring the potential use of funnels for injury attorneys 
  • 22:15 Insights into the marketing techniques used by non-lawyers

Connect with Ted:

Resources:

Transcripts: The Power of Human Interaction with Ted DeBettencourt

Jim (00:01.272)
Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer Podcast. My name is Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:06.382)
And I'm Tyson Mutrix. What's up, Jimmy?

Jim (00:09.08)
Tyson said my microphone wasn't loud enough, so now I'm making sure to speak with emotion and volume.

Tyson (00:21.774)
man you're yeah you're lagging again yeah it's you know it wasn't that it I guess it was quiet but it was kind of like I don't know it sounded like you were almost like in a bathroom in a way it was just kind of a weird but you moved out you moved it closer to yourself so you're you're good to go but how you doing man how you feeling?

Jim (00:38.712)
I'm feeling great, you wanna go ahead and introduce our guest?

Tyson (00:41.518)
I certainly do. Our guest today is Ted Bettencourt. Ted Bettencourt helps law firms get more leads in cases through his human powered message answering service, Juvo Leads. Real people answer law firms website chat, SMS messages, GBP messages, and LSA messages, turning those conversations into qualified leads in cases. Before co -founding Juvo Leads with his partner Nick Taylor, Ted ran a small legal marketing agency in Boston.

Ted was chat agent number one at Juvo Leads, first answering chats on his own clients' websites, to now have his chat team answer chats on over 1 ,100 websites around the country, and we'll ask some more about that. Ted, welcome to the show.

Ted DeBettencourt (01:26.777)
Yeah, thanks for having me guys. Long time fan, been in the Facebook group, kind of sneaking in there, watching the comments for a long time now. And what's the, is it meme Friday or is it meme Thursday? I always forget, but I'm always watching all those and trying to add when I can.

Jim (01:42.712)
It's meme Monday and man, there are some people, like when I see in my Facebook alerts that somebody, I know who it is, there's some people that post every Monday, like they have a bag of memes. It's crazy, I hardly ever look at it, but that's great. So Ted, tell everybody maybe about your journey, how did you get into chat, what's your law background, all that good stuff.

Ted DeBettencourt (01:51.513)
yeah. Yeah.

Ted DeBettencourt (02:03.353)
Sure. I went to law school in Cleveland in 2006, 2009, midway after my first year of law school. My writing teacher was like, Ted, I don't know if this is for you. I didn't really like what I was doing, so I said, you know what? I'll get the MBA as well. And got out and started working in legal marketing pretty quickly. Was working for a content farm out in Boston. I said, hey, everything you're doing, I can basically do on my own.

plus do SEO. So I worked there for about three months, then I kinda spun out from there, created my own agency. And by agency I mean, you know, one man shop, I was doing a little bit SEO, website building and content for clients. Learned it, Google Ads, all the fun stuff for kind of a small shop. From there, my clients started using chat. It was 2014, 2015, chat was kinda on the rise. There were a few big players in the market. And one of the problems is I had a client in Boston that,

He did PI, but he also did legal mal and bankruptcy. And the problem with legal malpractice is that everyone that loses a case thinks they want to sue their lawyer and they have a case. So the problem is with legal mal, you have to really filter those out. So it has to be a very tight situation, kind of like Med Mal. Like, you know, you only want a Med Mal case if it's death, dismemberment, or injury to your child for a lot of firms. So legal mal is kind of similar that, you know, one to 2 % of the leads are any good.

So I kept asking my chat companies, hey, I need you to not send me these junk leads. They say, yeah, yeah, we'll do that. We'll make those changes. No problem. And I was using a few of them at the time. I won't say their names. Some of them are still in the market. They're like, yeah, yeah, we'll make those change. We won't send you these bad ones. We'll really filter these for you. So they'd say that. And then a week later, the same thing was happening. Two weeks later, the same thing was happening. And I just have to keep going back to them. So my firms were yelling at me. And I was talking to the chat companies. And they were

promised me everything was gonna change and it never changed. So eventually I got frustrated and I said, hey, if you don't make this change, I'm gonna fire you and answer their own chats. They kind of said, yeah, yeah, sure you will. So I did just that, I fired them and started answering my own chats and answering them the way my firms wanted me to answer them. First thing we did, we answered chats a lot faster. So we really measured our speed to lead and speed to chat response. I know for firms, how fast you call back a missed call is, or a form submission,

Ted DeBettencourt (04:23.833)
is completely relevant to your likelihood of turning into a case. If you wait over five minutes, you're losing 50 % of them right then and there. So the same rules apply to chat. If it takes more than 30 seconds to reply to chat, you've already lost about 60 % of the chatters. So what we started doing is answering, I started answering chats really fast and I was filtering them out according to what my firms wanted. So when I did that after a few months, I was realizing my chat leads were going up 40, 50%.

And not only were they getting better, were they getting more leads, they were getting better leads. So they were more qualified leads. And qualified, if you don't know, in Latin is juvo. So kind of based on that concept, we said, you know what, maybe we'll try to make Chad like a thing for this agency and use it to get more legal clients. We tried that and that kind of pretty much failed. Couldn't get any more clients. I wasn't the greatest agency owner, if I'm gonna be perfectly honest.

but I was really good at getting more chat leads. So instead of having it be an add -on to my agency feature, service, I decided to spin it off as his own company. And so it started as me answering chats on my five, six, seven, eight clients in Boston slowly turned into us answering chats on about 1 ,100 sites around the country. So it turns out if you answer chats fast, you answer them well, and you do things that a few of the competition can't, you can really make it.

make a name for yourself in the chat world and get a lot more leads for your firms.

Tyson (05:53.71)
So you, it's funny, because we sent out a questionnaire to all of our guests, and the question we had asked, one of the questions we asked you was, there's like one thing that listeners can learn from, let's see, I want to make sure I read this correctly. If listeners only learn one thing from your interview, what would you want it to be? And you said, butts not bots, and you give an explanation. So,

I want to talk about that a little bit, but I also want to get your opinion on using bots to filter, but then humans to communicate. So because we, that's something we do, we use bots to filter and then we have live, we have our cares team that live chats with them. So give us your thoughts on bots, not bots, and then bots to filter and then bots to communicate.

Ted DeBettencourt (06:48.153)
Sure, so bots not bots is kinda the approach we take and it's not, we don't believe that robots as of right now, if you go in a chat and there's a bot company that tries to convince you that it's human, you're gonna have a negative experience. As soon as someone realizes they're chatting with a robot, if it's a bad lead, if that's your whole approach, we're gonna use a chat GBT powered or click A then B then C then D.

That's not as an empathetic of a solution as talking to a real person. As soon as people realize they're wrong with the bot, they lose the chat. So you're gonna lose a lot more chats when you use bots. And I say that, and I wish it wasn't true because a large percentage of my company's pay is to our chat agent. So if it was a lot easier and we would have more effect using robots, we'd do that in a heartbeat. But as of right now, it's still a lot more effective to have real people being the backbone of the chat.

of the chat environment. From a filtering method, there are a few ways to do it. So, there's generative AI and there's more kind of like the select A than B than C. So, any type of chat GPT as faking a person, people are still picking up on it. You can't, as of right now, if someone realizes they're chatting with a robot, they're gonna get frustrated and they're probably gonna leave. There are ways to do it using filtering tools where you don't have it.

fake like a person, but you have buttons to select. And I think you're seeing this more now on different chat companies on the market. So, you know, there's three or four buttons to start a chat, depending on what avenue you take. So maybe it's a PI firm that they want all their leads, but, you know, they have a friendly firm down the road that does bankruptcy. So if a button says, are you here for a PI matter or bankruptcy? They click bankruptcy. Well, that's not really a good lead, but that might be a lead that they could send off to their…

partnered, or their friend down the street. So if you use a filtering button to filter out the PI from the bankruptcy, it's not as good as having a person right then and there, but it's an effective solution from a cost perspective. So then you click that bankruptcy button, then basically a form pops up, they fill out that form. You're still getting bankruptcy leads, but you're not theoretically paying for them the same price that you would if you had a real human answer. So it definitely can work, it's just…

Ted DeBettencourt (09:11.193)
It's all in the devil's end of the details with that. It's making sure the balance is right and that you're not showing a robot to your top leads.

Jim (09:20.92)
How far out do your chat agents take the, do they actually do the signups and send a contract out of chat or how far do they go?

Ted DeBettencourt (09:30.041)
Yeah, so it really depends. It's everything what the firm wants. So we'll find out from the firm exactly how far they want us to take it. Everyone's a little bit different. So we have seven ways we get leads to firms. We email them, we text them, we can call them if it's during business hours. I know everyone calls that something different. We call it Fast Isle. We can book consultations right on their calendar. We can add it to their CRM. It comes to our dashboard. They say we schedule it. Yeah, we can schedule it. And then lastly,

depending on the circumstance, we can sign retainers for them right then and there. So usually for retainers, we usually have a different set of standards for retainer signing versus a regular lead. So maybe we'd send them a lead for a car accident within their state within two years. But if it happened within 90 days and there were physical injuries and they weren't at fault and they got in an ambulance and they were the ones that was injured, the person chatting, then we could offer to sign a retainer right then and there for them.

Tyson (10:29.358)
I'm so curious. I wanted to ask this earlier and I should have asked it earlier, but like what drew you to this profession? I know that you had some experience doing it, but like what made you want to go all in? Because I mean, you have gone all in. I mean, you started the company and everything else. Like what was it that drew you to this? And I guess I'll add a follow up to that as well. Like does AI concern you at all when it comes to the butts versus bots?

Ted DeBettencourt (10:59.929)
Sure. Let me just the first one first. So honestly, it was I was ticked off. So one of the things that one of the big companies does and I'm not going to say their name, but they're owned by a billion dollar company. So I'm kind of punching up a little bit because they're billionaires and I'm not. Is one of the things they would do on the chat is when I look at my chat on mobile, they would take this big bar that said chat with us and block my phone bars.

So on all my mobile sites that I'd make for my clients, I'd put a mobile sticky bar. So when you scroll down on the website, the phone bar was there so it's easy to call, you know, set up with call tracking, call roll, all that stuff. But as soon as I put chat on, chat would block that phone number. So I'd have to like call them and say like, take the phone bar down, you're not getting me more leads, you're just stealing my phone calls. Because now someone that wants to call can't, and that really ticked me off. It was like, all right, so you're making me pay more for leads that would have called but can't because you're blocking my phone bar.

So that was kind of one of the impetus and I realized like, hey, if this is ticking me off, there's gonna be a heck of a lot of other SEOs that aren't aware of it or aware of it and shouldn't be happy with it. So that was kind of the impetus and realizing like, hey, the companies that are out there that are answering chats are doing some things that are kind of shady. And they're still doing other shady things to this day. Like there's one of the companies out there that they take your leads and if they don't think that you want them, they sell them to other firms. So.

They even put it on their website. There's a lot of articles about it. Mockingbird does a great article about it. It was Engage Selling Your Leads. They're selling them to up to 10 different firms at once. And I realized, hey, if these guys at the time are the market dominators and they're doing these shady things, there's an opportunity to serve this market better and faster. And that's kind of what inspired me to do it and what's been driving us to this day.

Tyson (12:51.598)
So I want to say something and I don't know if the engages here punch it up at, but it doesn't matter. Something that engages done for years that has frustrated the hell out of me is they'll call and they'll say, Hey, so we've been working with Jim hacking and we want to talk to you about the engage project. And that's what they do. Or they would say that was like their line. It was always their line for years. Or they would say, they would like to say things are pretty misleading about like having a case. We want to talk to you about some cases that we have with Jim.

Ted DeBettencourt (13:15.129)
Mm -hmm.

Tyson (13:21.504)
hacking. Like they would say things like that and like that that really pissed me off and I would like for me I would never work with them. I just it's one of those things I just really aggravated the hell out of me.

Ted DeBettencourt (13:32.409)
Yeah. And I, they're a billion dollar company. I don't mind punching up and like, they're a lot smaller than they were on the chat side, but like there are a lot of other companies that are like our size or smaller. I'm not going to, everyone is out here trying their best, but them in particular, well, they able to do stuff like that. It would just tick me off. And I, I hear you and I've heard other agency owners say like very similar things that they, they'll tell the firm they're working with the agency and then they use that as just like way to get in the door to talk to someone. And then it's like, well,

Now you're talking to the firm and you gotta tell them that you were lying? Like that's not a good way to start a relationship.

Ted DeBettencourt (14:09.498)
You had another question. I forget the part two there, Tyson. Sorry.

Tyson (14:13.774)
it was a… I'll let Jim ask his question and then I'll follow up with the next one.

Jim (14:27.16)
Should I go? I couldn't hear what happened. Should I go? Okay. What do lawyers get wrong when they think about chat?

Tyson (14:30.286)
Yeah, go ahead, Jim.

Ted DeBettencourt (14:39.097)
Depends on the size of the firm. A lot of the smaller firms think, do I want chat or do I not? And they say, well, I don't like interacting with chat. So if you're a smaller firm and you're not really digging into the numbers as much and you're kind of going off your gut, for the smaller firms, the message I get back is, well, I don't use chat myself. It's like, all right, great, this doesn't really matter. So I always try to turn the conversation, well, you don't like chat, but you like what it gets you.

and you put chat on a website and you get 50 % more leads day one. So if you have no chat on a website, you put chat on, we do a lot of A -B tests and we have a bunch of case studies that we always show off on this. You have no chat on a website, then you put chat on, your total lead volume goes up 50%. So the question isn't do you like chat? The question is do you like what chat gets you? And that's 50 % more qualified leads. So that's a pushback I always get. And then the second thing for the bigger firms that are more number centric, it's where your chat's coming from. So a lot of…

you know, all the chat companies can do the same things for the most part. They answer chats on your website. Some can do retainers. Some can do GBP messages. Us and pretty much everyone else now is doing SMS messages. But our big differentiator now has been we answer LSA messages. So that's a huge impact for law firms leads. So by answering messages from LSA, you actually get a ton more phone calls.

So what we're doing now is saying, okay, well, you're getting the website leads from your current chat company, you're getting the SMS, maybe even the GBPs, and maybe they're inside retainers just like we do, but what percent of your leads right now are coming from LSA? And if they're saying, well, 10%, I say, well, you might wanna make that 20, wanna make that 30%, we can help make that accurate or make that happen by answering the LSA messages, and no one else in the market can do that.

Tyson (16:29.038)
That's pretty good. I should not have asked you the compound questions, but the follow -up question I had to the one before was AI. Are you concerned about AI at all at this point?

Ted DeBettencourt (16:46.969)
Am I concerned? We were when it came out and you know when everyone was talking about chat GPT and you couldn't have a conversation in a coffee shop and not bring it up. That's kind of died down a little bit. So the question is more to your first question. Am I afraid that it's going to take over maybe at some point but as of right now it's not. You can't fake a human. Will people be able to augment their existing chat with things like writing the summaries using AI. Things like summarizing and opening.

having different buttons to click to get to a real person and having robots use beyond the less effective traffic. Yes, that's probably a reality and probably is happening as we speak. But I don't think it's going to happen in the sense that, or at least in the next three to five years, in the sense that it will replace humans answering chats. There'll always be a place for humans, at least for the next three to five years as we see it. But there are ways to use AI to help supplement.

and speed things up or deal with some of the lesser valuable chats.

Jim (17:54.552)
I'm interested, I guess your chat responders are just sort of working out of their house. You don't have like a little factory where all the chatters are, do you?

Ted DeBettencourt (18:04.537)
No, we just wanted, we thought we were on that route, but like reality is like we, the greatest day of my life as a company was the day we hired our first chat agent. Like answering those chats around the clock 24 seven, like it was like, it got a lot. So we just kind of started with hiring people online. We got lucky with our first few hires and then we didn't really have all these processes in place. So, you know, hire one went well, but then we started creating rules and systems. And our big thing is that,

We grade every chat that comes in on a 10 point scale. So where agents are hired, fired, paid, promoted, demoted based on their bi -weekly chat score. So I know we lose a little bit of the culture by not having like a call center, a center location, but we kind of do that as a company. We're remote, my partner's remote, everyone works remote for us. And so is our chat team. But we can do that because we have really, really tight controls. Like if a chat goes bad for whatever reason, we know about it.

before the end of the shift, we're dealing with that agent. And if it's a training concern, we train, we address it from a training perspective. If it's another issue, we address it that way. But we do have a lot of controls in place. And it's, you know, you can't do that with all businesses, but thankfully, chat's pretty simple. Say the right thing, say it fast. Can we measure if they're saying it fast? Absolutely. Can we measure if we're saying the right thing? Yes, we just see if they're following the script. And base score is based on that.

Jim (19:30.456)
How many chats can someone have going on at a time? Like what's realistic and then how do you, talk to us about how you oversee the chat people. I'd love to know about that. Well, because we're getting ready to bring in chat in -house for our intake team. And so I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on that.

Ted DeBettencourt (19:49.017)
Sure. A few people have brought it in -house that we, you know, talked to, tried reaching out to Morgan and Morgan a few times, they brought it in -house. I love sending him videos and taking a, doing a chat on his website. I won't do this for other small companies, but you know, I think John got the cash to float a chat or two. So I'll take a video of his chat team responding and seeing how long they take. They have 30, 40, 50 second gaps in those chats. When you take that long, that means you're losing dollars.

Every time it takes you 30 seconds to respond to a message, you've lost about 40 % of your visitors. So you can't take that long. Dollars equals time. So when you have those gaps, it means you're losing money. So from an overall perspective, if you're doing in -house, measure the time it takes to respond for each agent, for each chat. If you're not doing that, or if you're having chat agents do other things, they're gonna prioritize doing other things, because chats are gonna come in 24 -7.

So if you'll bring it in -house, make sure you have 24 -7 coverage and make sure that's a primary thing they're doing because they'll do anything but answer those chats that come in around the clock when they're in the middle of an email. So if you're bringing it in -house, measure, measure, measure, time to response is the number one thing you should be looking at and need to look at. Part two on that, how many chats can answer? Typically one. We always have overflow rules, so we always have to staff above and beyond.

what we expect for that day. But if sometimes our expectations aren't met, we do have chat agents that are handling more than once at a time. That's usually just because of overflow. And then within an hour, we have our OT team jumping on and offering overtime to our chat agents who love to take it.

Tyson (21:29.646)
Good stuff, love it. I think that last little bit is worth the episode because there's a lot of great information there, so awesome stuff, Ted. We are gonna start to wrap things up. Before I do, Ted, if people wanna reach out to you about Juvo, how do they get in touch with you?

Ted DeBettencourt (21:44.697)
Come to our website, Juvo, J -U -V -O, Leeds, L -E -A -D -S, and start a chat on our website. You can find out more about our service and book time on my calendar if you're interested in trying us for yourself. And our big thing is we give a free 30 -day trial. So try us on the website, try us free for 30 days, and see how effective we can be for you before you make a buying decision.

Tyson (22:06.414)
stuff. Alright, for everyone else, if you want to join us in the big group, big Facebook group, we'd love to see you. Just search Maximum Lawyer on Facebook, you'll be able to find us there. If you're interested in coming to one of our quarterly masterminds in the Guild, go to maxlawguild .com. We did open up Charlotte for non -guild members, for anyone interested, but the tickets are gonna be very, by the time you hear this, it may be sold out, but hopefully…

You can join us if you want to come. And while you're listening to this, the rest of this episode, Jim and I would love it if you would give us a five star review. That way we can help spread the love to other attorneys and law firm owners across the country. All right, Jimmy, what's your hack of the week?

Jim (22:49.24)
So for me, I have been critical of EOS in the past of not having a good people component. And I think ultimately I didn't understand it. The people behind EOS and Gina Wickman, they have a new book out just called People. So if you go to Amazon and look for EOS People book, I finally understand what the traction approach is to working with team members. And I think it's solid. So if you are looking for help in trying to get everyone.

that does a really good straight line through of how to get buy -in and how to find the right people and how to test whether or not the people that you have are the right fit for your firm. So people, just go to EOS Peoplebook and it's pretty good.

Tyson (23:33.902)
very very good I know that that's something that's always kind of I don't know bothered you but something that you've wanted for a while so really cool all right Ted so we always ask our guests to give a tip or a hack for us it could be a book it could be a podcast could be a quote you you name it what do you got for us?

Ted DeBettencourt (23:50.201)
Sure. Well, I've been really putting a lot of effort into kind of work life balance and not so much working less, but really spending time and effort trying to master the time when I get home and the time when I put the kids to bed. So just putting a lot of time into there. I really feel like it's made my work life a lot better just cause I know I kick butt in the mornings, do everything I need to do with the kids, with the wife, get them happy and do the same thing at night when I get home. So I'm just kind of really being a lot more cognizant and focusing on, on that hour window, leaving the house or you know,

getting ready to work in that hour coming back and having everyone get settled in with that time of day. So just putting a lot of effort there has really made my life a lot better.

Tyson (24:29.998)
For my tip of the week, it's something that we were talking about AI, so I'll mention an AI tool that's built into Adobe. And I don't know if it's based on the plan, but for those of you that don't know about it, on the right side of the window when you're in a PDF in Adobe.

if it, let's say it's a bunch of medical records or a contract or something, you can ask the AI questions inside of the PDF. It's pretty cool. So for anyone that has not used that, and I know there's a lot of Mac users that may not use Adobe because you got built -in preview and everything else, but Adobe is pretty cool. They're trying to, you can tell that they're trying to…

when it comes to the video products, when it comes to their PDF products, trying to implement AI as much as possible. I think they're playing catch up, but they are trying pretty hard. And that tool is really, really helpful when you're trying to find certain information about a PDF. So really cool. So check it out. Ted, thanks so much for coming on. Appreciate it. Good luck with Juvo. And hopefully people will reach out to you if they're interested.

Ted DeBettencourt (25:34.265)
Thank you very much. Yeah, thanks guys. It was a pleasure.

Jim (25:35.576)
Thanks, Ted.

It was great, buddy.

Tyson (25:40.11)
You bet. Thanks guys.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer podcast, recorded at our recent Mastermind event, Jim and Tyson tackle pressing questions from attendees about law firm management. 

The discussion spans from the efficacy of the firm's podcast as an internal tool, to the nitty-gritty of marketing strategies and the intricacies of employee training. A key focus is on maintaining firm operations during team members' extended leaves, with a consensus on the value of cross-training and the potential for internal growth during such times. 

Listen in.

Episode Highlights:

  • 01:45 The best spend for marketing and the worst marketing spend
  • 03:42 Lead tracking, intake software, and CRM tools
  • 05:29 Performance evaluation and top grading 
  • 07:29 Lead response time
  • 09:40 Salesforce digital engagement package for real-time communication
  • 09:57 Client expectations and team management
  • 15:01 Handling team members' absence
  • 19:08 Strategies for managing team absence, redistributing duties, and viewing it as an opportunity for growth
  • 19:15 Utilizing team members' absence as a chance to advance and expand the firm's capabilities

Resources:

Transcripts: When to Fire and When to Hire for Your Law Firm with Jim and Tyson

Speaker 1 (00:00:01) - Run your law firm the right way. The right way. This is the Maximum Lawyer podcast for 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) - If you tune in to our main episode earlier this week, you know that we had a live podcast recording at the Minneapolis Mastermind event. After our recording wrapped up, we opened the floor to our attendees for a live Q&A session with Jim and Tyson. This episode will sound very different than usual since our attendees didn't have a microphone. You'll hear Jim and Tyson summarize the attendee question and then go into their answer. So we hope you enjoy a peek into our live podcast event. And if you haven't listened to this week's main episode yet, be sure to go back and check it out before diving into this episode.

Jim Hacking (00:01:00) - All right, who's got questions for us? Come on.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:02) - The question was, do people in the in the firm listen to the podcast? They they have to when they're onboarded. So they're forced to they don't listen to the whole thing.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:10) - But they, they do. They're there's I think 10 or 15 that they're, they're forced to listen to.

Jim Hacking (00:01:16) - Everyone thinks I'm boring. They don't watch my YouTube channel. They don't watch Maximum Lawyer or listen to Maximum Lawyer. I don't think very often at all.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:23) - Are you talking about the Firm podcast or the. Oh yeah, The Firm podcast? Yeah.

Speaker 5 (00:01:26) - Sorry. No.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:27) - Maxwell. And so there's we actually have Maxwell episodes in the two. But no. Absolutely. We'll have we'll have employees sometimes I'll kind of stick my foot in my mouth and say, hey, I was listening to your episode on this such. And I was like, maybe I should have said that. So yeah, they they do not everybody, but some of them do.

Jim Hacking (00:01:45) - So the question is when it comes to leads, what's been the best marketing money that we've spent and the worst marketing money that we spent? Well, I've never done a billboard, but Gary Berger spent a shitload of money on a billboard, and he never got a case out of it because it had a dedicated phone number.

Jim Hacking (00:01:57) - So I just anecdotally, I've heard that. But for me. I'm a big believer in our email list. We have about a 40% open rate on our emails, and to me, that's the one channel that I can control because I don't have YouTube in between. Me, I don't have Facebook in between me. And that really helps set my voice, which is something that I think is important. So we send out three emails a week and it's us talking about cases or about things in the news. So I'm a big believer in starting with a list. I don't know if it's the most effective thing that I've done, but without a doubt, the thing that brings us the most cases is YouTube and TikTok. So we get about 35% of our cases from YouTube and about 10% from TikTok, and everything else is referrals or other things.

Tyson Mutrux (00:02:43) - Yeah, I think the worst money I ever spent was on one of those. Those lead services like those. You just never know what you're going to get with those.

Tyson Mutrux (00:02:50) - Like they're just garbage. The I mean, I think our best investment is on it's been on Facebook, which is like everything's shifting quite a bit when it comes to social media, but a bunch of time and effort and Facebook, but then also, Google my business, which whatever it's called now, like just like doing those regular posts, like that's, that's a like if I were to just invest in one thing, it'd probably be like that. Like that Google, like Google my business page, because like, everything else kind of runs off that I think that that's going to shift quite a bit with AI going going forward. But right now, like our Google My Business page, it's a massive generator because you can run AdWords off, you can do a lot of different things if you've got that thing locked in. Okay, so three questions. How often do we do our survey. The other one was how do we track our scores. And then the third one was the the softwares we use intake intake softwares.

Tyson Mutrux (00:03:42) - So I know that we use begin. So it's through Zoho Begin. And it's it's very similar to Pipedrive. And do you still use Pipedrive?

Jim Hacking (00:03:50) - I love Pipedrive but we switched we switched the whole firm. Everything is in Salesforce now. Yeah.

Tyson Mutrux (00:03:55) - And then the the scores we do them, it varies on the what phase of the case we're in though early on it's a little bit more regularly we do it. So I think we do one after the first two weeks. And then I think it's at 30 days and then like every 30 days and then 45 days as the case sort of progresses, it, it, it it widens a little bit. They enter that into a form inside of inside a file line is where it goes. In our new system it will be a different form, but it's a form that our employee fills out. And they just it's got a they can put the score. And then what they'll do after that is they'll type in any notes from it. And there's a it's a script that they go through.

Tyson Mutrux (00:04:35) - And then that is then linked to Zoho Analytics. And so that that chart I showed you was from Zoho, Zoho Analytics. And so it's and it updates in real time. And whenever I click on it, it'll actually give me a rundown of all the scores. And then we can see because if we get like a zero I'm going to want to know why. And so you click on it, you can see why. Because you'll I mean you the they come through. And so we see them as they come through to. So they when they do one it'll go to the the team and the team will see. Okay. Well I got a five like what the hell is going on. And sometimes you don't feel it's warranted and sometimes it's completely warranted. But. Bill wanted clarification as to whether or not I'm advocating for getting rid of people or not, because I kind of backed off of it a couple times. And so he talked about Jack Welch getting rid of the bottom 10%, which I'm very familiar with, that, that that approach, actually, I'll be very, very clear.

Tyson Mutrux (00:05:29) - If they're not performing, you should get rid of them. Okay. I was not clear enough about it was I'm not advocating getting rid of the people for technology. I'm not talking about replacing them with technology. That's what I'm talking about. Because you're still to have that customer service, you're going to have to have people to do that. There are ways of supplementing that, too, but you're ultimately going to have to. You're going to need someone on the phone with them or meeting with them in person. You're going to need that people. People need that. At some point I may replace that, I don't know, but we just went through top grading with our firm. We're still we still use top grading. And it some people might think that that's very ruthless, but we we turned our firm upside down like we went through. And we got rid of a lot of people, people that you would think were probably like integral to the firm. And we got rid of them or they escorted themselves out.

Tyson Mutrux (00:06:20) - Right. So they they found a new place to go to. And so I'm, I'm a firm believer that if they're not, if this isn't the right place for you or if you're not performing, then you should probably go somewhere else and we'll find a way for that to happen.

Jim Hacking (00:06:34) - So the question is, do we do? The question is do we have people? Do you have expectations for how fast people call back, and do we track it? And another one is do we do that same process for referral sources? So I'll take a tackle. The second question first. No we don't. We just send them on their way. We have a referral list and we just send them to list. We don't do it. Like Gary said of a warm transfer, we don't have the bandwidth right now to do that. I'd like to one day, but I don't as far as I don't track how quickly people get their return call. But after Gary's presentation today, we will. I do know that the average time between someone calling us and signing up.

Jim Hacking (00:07:16) - For those that do sign up, it's like two two days, 2.4 days. So that's that's all I got on that.

Tyson Mutrux (00:07:23) - And I'm going to ask, do we track how long it takes to get back to a lead. Yeah we do. So okay. We do.

Speaker 6 (00:07:29) - But normally it's if they call you take.

Tyson Mutrux (00:07:32) - Yeah. The and so you're Kevin you're we're talking about like if like the lead come through like a chat or through email.

Speaker 7 (00:07:38) - Yeah. Like during business hours it's easy. But like for example we have intake people that are you know, kind of on call. But if it comes in at like 9:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, like our goal is still five minutes, but it's like kind of hard to it's hard to track, for one thing. And then it's also like, well, if it's a really good lead, then I really expect you to drop everything. But like if it's pretty clear that liability is going to be tough, we may not even want the case. And like, you want to come back in the morning like that's fine.

Speaker 7 (00:08:03) - So I was just saying it's just like hard to determine, like I don't want to overwork my team, but I also don't want to miss out on leads. I mean.

Jim Hacking (00:08:09) - When you listen to Gary, you would some of it assumes that you have unlimited resources and unlimited people power.

Speaker 8 (00:08:16) - And. All right. Right.

Tyson Mutrux (00:08:18) - So we so something that Kashif built out was we do have the chat bot does have a way of filtering out leads and then sends them resources on, on other practice areas. I think. So that that does help filter out some of that. The and I don't I honestly don't know if we collect that their email or anything like that. I just don't know the there are you're going to want to make sure you tie in your if they submit a web lead, you know, they're getting the follow up email and text messages if you collect that. And so like there are those things that that we supplement it with. And then first thing in the morning Cares team, they have their list of leads.

Tyson Mutrux (00:08:58) - They're they're calling. They're reaching out. If they don't answer they're texting they're emailing. So they're doing and we've our cares team. They're on the East Coast. So that's that's good because like first thing in the morning they're like kind of reaching out and they're conscious if it's like you know if they're like in California or something like that, they're they're careful about things like that.

Jim Hacking (00:09:16) - But we just signed up for Salesforce Digital engagement package. So it's going to be pretty neat. We can we can respond in real time to chat the contact us form, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and something else all from inside Salesforce. So the the intake specialist will view it all as one, but it'll be on all those different channels however the person chose to. I love that it's pretty cool. I don't have.

Tyson Mutrux (00:09:40) - That. That's pretty.

Jim Hacking (00:09:40) - Cool. We have a ton of people on WhatsApp, so WhatsApp is really important to us. And when we switch to Salesforce, we lost that WhatsApp and that that was a lot for us.

Jim Hacking (00:09:48) - So getting that back up and running is key. So the question is, how do we translate my big fat head from YouTube into. I didn't say.

Tyson Mutrux (00:09:55) - He didn't say.

Speaker 8 (00:09:56) - He just say big head.

Jim Hacking (00:09:57) - Yeah. How do we translate my big head? So I mean, I say on the show, I don't handle cases. I say, you don't want me handling cases. I haven't handled the case in a long time. You want the team that we've assembled, and we've got a great team that works on these cases every single day. And this is to me, if you're ever if you're ever in that situation and you don't know what to say, always come back to this is how we do things around here. That's just not an option. And in fact, at our firm, if somebody is absolutely insisting on working with Jim, we turn the case down. That's a red flag for us because they're going to be very difficult if they can't accept right out of the box that Jim's not their lawyer, then.

Jim Hacking (00:10:39) - So it's all about what will you tolerate and what are you, what are your expectations and what are your stated if you state at all at the beginning, no, Mr. Hacking won't be your case. It won't be handling your case. The other attorneys will consult with him if they need to, but we have you know, we have four different pods. They work on your kind of case every single day, and they're more than qualified to handle it. People. People. I thought that was going to be a huge thing, but that's almost all just ego. So the question is and you're talking about from from the team members themselves. So the question is do do we get any pushback from team members who are located in other areas that don't necessarily want to do things the way the rest of the firm does, because they think they're special where they are.

Speaker 8 (00:11:18) - So for us, you.

Tyson Mutrux (00:11:19) - Added the last part. Yeah, but.

Speaker 8 (00:11:21) - I would add that to you. Yeah.

Jim Hacking (00:11:23) - I get to I get to editorialize the question.

Jim Hacking (00:11:25) - Yes. So for us, we have offices in DC in San Diego. We don't actually have any employees in DC in San Diego. So we just have the way that we do things. And it's the same regardless. I mean, most of our team is in Argentina anyway, so it's just the way we do things. So I wouldn't I don't think we get much pushback on that too.

Tyson Mutrux (00:11:43) - You know, like we're we could right now close both of our like the physical offices and just be virtual if we needed to. So the way it's set up is there like our mail, we have some mail that go to the offices, but those usually go to a mailing center. for the most part, as long as they're mailed to the right address. So there's like we scan things a certain way, but otherwise there's no difference. Like, we could do that same thing in any state in the country. Like, what are you experiencing, Steve?

Jim Hacking (00:12:11) - Like what? What's happening? So Steve was talking about sort of the the task orders and those that push back from doing tasks, and they like to think they're the only ones who can do it a certain way.

Jim Hacking (00:12:25) - I mean, your outfit's much bigger than mine, Steve. And I think that for the most part, you know what? What needs to happen. And you know that these people are driving you crazy. So I think that it's it's interesting when people take that approach, even even well-intentioned employees can try to hide some of the things that they do or the way that they do them. They I think part of them view it as job security, and they're worried that if everybody knows how to do this thing, that I become more expendable. But that's exactly why we need to get it out of their heads, because otherwise we're held hostage. Yes.

Tyson Mutrux (00:12:58) - So, I wrote this. This is one of the red flags for me. Like, maybe the worst employee that you could have is the one that's too busy. But they want more control, so they want to control it. Like that may be the worst employee you could have. Like they're the most toxic employee. Like, they're really bad. Like, that's a really bad thing.

Tyson Mutrux (00:13:16) - You think.

Jim Hacking (00:13:16) - You're low maintenance, but you're really high.

Speaker 8 (00:13:18) - Maintenance. Yes.

Tyson Mutrux (00:13:18) - Yeah, exactly like I oh, I'm like, I do everything around here. And. Okay, so you had to be really, really careful I think. So you and I don't know if you summarize this part, but so he was talking about he wants everything in a queue and people kind of get the next task or whatever. I think that might be a problem by itself because there's no accountability if everyone's doing it, that no one's doing it. So you might want to try to find a way to assign it to specific people, and that might help solve your problem a little bit. I don't know how you'd filter it. I don't know what your process is like, but I think that might solve it because then you can say, hey, Bill, you're not doing your work, you're not doing your job. You have 12 items in the queue and you're not doing any of them. Right. So that may be maybe a fix, I don't know.

Jim Hacking (00:14:04) - So the question is, how do we handle situations in which a team member is going to be out for a significant amount of time, maybe for paternity or maternity or some other long PTO kind of thing? How do we handle that internally with the teams, especially when people have developed some specialized knowledge? Two things that we've done. One we've done for a while and one we're just starting to do now, is we haven't gotten big enough where people can have a job, buddy, where it's not necessarily that you're switching your you're splitting the duties, but that at least, you know, if you've promoted people, they know how to do the roles they used to have, and you try to make sure that there's some kind of overlap, that's sort of a softer thing. The best thing, and this comes straight from Amani and she's insisted on it, and it's what she used to do when we had kids for her judges is like a memo on each case as you walk out the door, like you don't get to go on your paternity.

Jim Hacking (00:15:01) - I mean, you can if you have to, but generally, you know, the expectation is, is in those weeks leading up to you being gone for whatever period that is, that you let you have a fully detailed brief on or memo on each case, literally every case that you're going to leave behind so that other people can pick it up right then. Now, if you have a CRM and you have like file mine or something, where you're actually having that real time dialogue in the feed and things, that helps. But otherwise we've always and she's brought this to the table, made it sort of like you're the one who's going to be gone. So and you're a lawyer. This is for lawyers. You're a lawyer. You know, these are your cases. It's your responsibility to make sure these are handled properly for the other team members. I think you turn to it's a matter of respect for your peers. It's a matter of setting up your team for success. It's a matter of, you know, we're we're we're so happy you're going out on PTO.

Jim Hacking (00:15:53) - We really are. We want you to have this time with your family. We want you to take time for your health issues, whatever it is. But at the same time, we need to make sure that the the best interests of the clients are satisfied and really making it sort of like a team approach and sort of like for the good of the client and go to the firm.

Tyson Mutrux (00:16:10) - I think it's more complicated than what the question is, actually, because I was actually writing down the things because we have someone out right now, she's on maternity leave and it's it's actually been a pretty smooth transition. But I jotted down some notes, actually, like some of the things that I thought, like have helped us the most. Cross training with what you're talking about, the overlap. I think having that cross training between roles, even if it's like just really basic stuff, it can go a really long way. And doing some of those, like the trainings as a firm as opposed to like, you know, like you do the training over here, you do the training over.

Tyson Mutrux (00:16:43) - It's like everyone do. The training helps quite a bit, having a hiring process, because sometimes you have to just hire somebody new. That's what you got to do. And so being able to actually like I know I've talked about our hiring process is slow, but we can fire it up in a heartbeat like it's with a push of a button. We're ready to go. So being able to do that helps us quite a bit. So with with this particular person that's out, we actually end up hiring a new person in advance of this so that we would know we're not replacing the person, we're just adding another person. So that has helped quite a bit. Before she left, she helped train up the person that was that's there now in that, in that role, having those those training tools there so they can access them all the time, having a process instead of it like everything everywhere. That's another thing. The last two I don't think most people would think of these have helped quite a bit.

Tyson Mutrux (00:17:34) - Well, maybe the last one you would have thought, but like having a like advancement. So everyone knows. Kind of like where they can go to their next role and maybe there's a stopping point somewhere. But knowing where that next point is. And so we have one of our case managers. She was promoted from our CARES team. And so she's able to fill in when necessary because she's already done that role. So she's having that ability to advance within the firm. It allows you to sort of lean on those people to if if you do have someone out. So the one I'm talking about, her name is Krista. She was she was in the care team, and now she can kind of fill in whenever this other person is out. And then the other part is, I can't stress this enough. With top grading. I'll preach top grading every day because having a players, it changes everything because, you know, everyone's like, I'm going to chip in and help out instead of like, oh, these are my tasks over here.

Tyson Mutrux (00:18:28) - I don't want to do anything else. It's I want to help out. And what can I do on like cares team? I know you're overwhelmed. What can I do? Hey Red team, what can I do? I know that I know that such and such is out today. Can I help out? Can I make a phone call? It changes it so much. And so that one that's probably the top of the list. And then the other ones are secondary.

Jim Hacking (00:18:47) - I'll add one more and that is that. Having had people go out on leave and then decide not to come back once or twice. We now assume they're not coming back and act accordingly. I think that's really important too.

Tyson Mutrux (00:19:01) - That's good. That is good. I mean, it's yeah, I think it's just planning for the future. That's good. Playing defensively. Yeah, I like it.

Jim Hacking (00:19:08) - The question is if they do come back then what do you do? Well everyone gets a little bit of a breather right. Because they have been stepping in and doing it.

Jim Hacking (00:19:15) - I wouldn't necessarily hire right away, but I'd be ready to hire right away like I would when I assume that they're not coming back. We give out their duties to other people. We make sure that everything is getting done. And me personally, what I view it is as an opportunity to grow in the in their absence. So I would actually put the foot on the gas a little bit. Like Andrew is going to be gone for a year, Andrew is going to work 75%. This is our manager. Our managing attorney is going to live in France for a year starting in July. So we're advancing his. One of his colleagues, another lawyer, to help with sort of the logistics of case management. And I'm looking this as my goal is so that when he comes back, we have enough work to sort of need two supervising attorneys, right. Or at least the equivalent like to me that's that's all bonus if if other people are learning how to do that person's job, that's that's better for them and it's better for the firm.

Jim Hacking (00:20:08) - So I view that as a plus. All right. Thanks everybody. This was fun. We never did this before.

Tyson Mutrux (00:20:13) - Very cool. Thanks everybody. Appreciate it.

Speaker 1 (00:20:18) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. To stay in contact with your host 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

In this live-recorded episode, Jim and Tyson, delve into the intricacies of managing a law practice. They discuss the critical role of honest self-assessment in recognizing a firm's downward trends, such as cash flow issues and ineffective marketing. 

They also dive into the importance of understanding firm metrics, which metrics matter and why. As well as mistakes they’ve made in the past and what to know to avoid them. 

They also explore the challenges of filtering out low-quality leads, refining intake processes, and aligning marketing efforts with the firm's focus areas. 

  • Client management
  • Proactive communication
  • Client feedback to improve services 

If you feel like your firm is right around the corner from greatness, dig into the data-driven strategies and a strong, client-centered firm culture for skyrocketing your firms success.

Jim’s Hack: Be on the lookout for people or yourself that use the words: “Sort of …” This is a red flag word phase that means you need to pay attention and clean something up.

Tyson’s Tip: Go back and look at the last ten leads that you lost and see if you can identify the trend. 

Episode Highlights:

  • 01:59 The importance of identifying signals that things are trending in the wrong direction 
  • 05:22 The importance of monitoring and addressing cash flow problems
  • 13:09 Tracking leads, holding team members accountable, and the impact of low expectations on performance
  • 16:35 Signs that marketing is not working
  • 20:37 Strategies for improving conversion rates 
  • 28:35 Identifying red flags in client management
  • 34:23 Creating and implementing core values 
  • 41:48 The necessity of having a system to ensure important tasks are completed before progressing to the next stage

Resources:

Transcripts: Right Around the Corner from Greatness with Jim and Tyson

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.

Jim Hacking (00:00:23) - Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. Oh, I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson Mutrux (00:00:27) - And I'm Tyson. You did that the other day, too. Yeah.

Jim Hacking (00:00:30) - So this is a live recording. We have a live audience and we're very excited. We're at the Spring Mastermind in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We just had a great presentation by our friend and intake expert, Gary Falco's. What did you think of the presentation?

Tyson Mutrux (00:00:45) - I thought it was awesome. That was really, really good.

Jim Hacking (00:00:47) - Yeah. You know, I've heard a lot of that stuff before. Obviously, he and I talked about a lot of those things on the podcast series that he and I did, but even that being said, there's still some things I'm doing wrong and things that I can improve on. So I was glad to hear it.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:01) - Yeah, I was it was like those little nuggets too, that like aren't in the slides that I was. It was just like a little bit of like phrasings and things like that where I was like, oh, we got to write that down. You got to write that down. That was really, really, really good. Can we stop for a second? Because like an acknowledged like we've never done an in-person podcast.

Jim Hacking (00:01:18) - That's right, that's right. This is the first time we've ever been in the same room. Yeah. In eight years. I think that's right. Maybe, maybe we've done little pop up things, but I don't think we've ever done maybe. Did we ever do one, like on the phone? Because in the old days we did them on Skype and those that would always crash. But we might have done one.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:33) - We we tried. So Jim and I, we went on a walk and we, we tried to record one and I don't think we ever went live with it like so we were sharing AirPods.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:44) - Yeah. Or it was a, it was a, it was a headphones of some sort. It was in.

Jim Hacking (00:01:47) - Columbia I think.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:48) - And we walked and we, we might have released that one. I think we did. Okay. So maybe it's the second one in person. Yeah.

Jim Hacking (00:01:54) - That was a long time ago.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:55) - It was a really long time ago.

Jim Hacking (00:01:56) - All right. Well do you want to introduce our topic for today?

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:59) - Yeah. So the fancy name you came up with it like he's our name person. He comes up with, like, names for everything. It was right around the corner from greatness. And the idea is to kind of keep it that way. Right? You you're you're up and coming, you're growing this firm, and you want to be able to identify some signals that maybe things are trending in the wrong direction. So you want to keep things going. We want to try to keep you that on that path, as opposed to like having this thing out there that you're ignoring and then you just crash and burn.

Tyson Mutrux (00:02:35) - So is that a good summary?

Jim Hacking (00:02:37) - It is. And, you know, I've had so many periods in my career of having this law firm for the last 16 years of times where I was not being realistic about our actual situation. I wasn't being honest with myself or with others. My son asked me the other day, what was the name of that class that you taught when you met Tyson? And I said, oh, it's something like how to run a law firm. And I said to him, Ibrahim, the irony of that is that when I met and taught that class, I was like fat, flat broke. I was not bringing in cases. I was not doing any of the things that we talk about when it comes to building a successful law firm. So I thought we could talk about starting with some of the problems that you and I've had as a law firm, owners and times where we haven't properly assessed where we're at.

Tyson Mutrux (00:03:21) - It was called law practice management. The the smartest thing you did was bring other people in to teach.

Tyson Mutrux (00:03:27) - Right? The book was terrible, but it had a bunch of grammatical errors and I would go through and it wasn't my book. It was not your book. I would proofread it and I would like I was like, it was like an awful book. You didn't pick it, I bet.

Jim Hacking (00:03:38) - No, I was just subbing one one semester, one summer session because the main professor was out on sabbatical.

Tyson Mutrux (00:03:44) - No, but you brought in people, and what was really cool is you brought in people that were specialists in different things, like you brought in someone and maybe from Simon on, like how to answer the phones, which I thought was really, really good. I thought that was really effective. So like, that was the smart thing you did was just do that. And you also you had us build like write a business plan for the law firm, which was cool. It gets you to think. And you had to deal with other, you know, co-owners, which was that was one of those things.

Tyson Mutrux (00:04:12) - Like it was kind of eye opening. We're like, oh, this could be I would never want to partner with that person. Because like the way the negotiations process worked with, like creating the business plan.

Jim Hacking (00:04:21) - Well, it's funny too, because I knew early on that helping other people create content was a good way to go. So, you know, in a way, I was that was the precursor to what you and I do now, talking to law firm owners and talking to experts. It was it's just sort of the recording of that is now in a podcast form instead of in a class.

Tyson Mutrux (00:04:40) - Yeah. It would be nice if those were recorded though, because there were some really good things. They're like really good. Like they should like every professor should record every class because like, it's just it's content. There's a lot to it. But so I took detailed notes. I want to I want to see where you kind of shift gear to like the topic of the day, but where do you want to start? Because I kind of did this in like order of when a case might come in, but like, what are some things that are sort of at the top of the list that you could identify that, hey, this is a signal that maybe things are not going right.

Tyson Mutrux (00:05:11) - And kind of the way I looked at it was these are the symptoms. And then maybe this is the indication of what's going on is kind of the way I looked at it. So like, what are some of the things that you think of when you're like, okay, you got to keep an eye on this.

Jim Hacking (00:05:22) - Well, I think that, you know, obviously the big ones are if you're not being able to. Pay your bills if you're not paying your quarterly taxes on time. If you are having cash flow problems. I think that's the tricky thing that law firm owners forget about a lot of the time is its cash flow. You might you might get a hit, especially if it's a pie situation where you have some cash that you're running with for a while, and then all of a sudden you're like, oh shit, you know, it's not. It's not there now. So what am I going to do?

Tyson Mutrux (00:05:48) - And I don't know how much non pie firms use lines of credit. The one of the things I put down is I think you're starting to like max out your line of credit or you're using it a bunch.

Tyson Mutrux (00:05:57) - If you're sort of building that debt like that is like an indication that currently things are not great. There's with cash flow though. And so I want to kind of stay on that topic with cash flow is like the the future indications. So like the there's some for pie firms. I'm trying to mix it in with other other practice areas too. Like if you have if you're starting to see like a decrease in billable hours, which could be a it could be from a variety of different things, that could be a personnel issue. But if you've got a decrease in those billable hours that you're collecting on, like you're talking about future. So there's like there's future cash flow problems you're gonna look at to like with with a pie firm. If we have a decrease in settled cases, that's bad. Right. So if we have a decrease in some cases, if we have a decrease in leads or assigned cases, that's really bad for us because in the future we're looking at nine, ten, 11, 12 months.

Tyson Mutrux (00:06:47) - In the future we're going to have a dip in our revenue. And so that's going to be a problem for us, especially if you're like overstaffed. At the same time, you're, you know, cases resolved. And this is one that's interesting to me with like cash flow because kind of like with if you're doing like looking at pie firms like we've got to turn cases pretty quickly because we got to keep the checks coming in like that's that's part of it. But like non pie firms like the billable the flat rates kind of like with your stuff you have the turntable. It's kind of like a restaurant does. And if you're not turning tables it didn't snowballs. So what you have is all right we're not getting these cases resolved. And then what happens is, is that you've got these other cases kind of piling up behind you. So the waiting rooms filling up and then you can't you can't service those people. So now you're like your caseload is swelling, which is a problem. So you're, you're you're having to hire more people for basically not getting more revenue.

Tyson Mutrux (00:07:39) - So it it can kind of snowball. And then next thing you know, in a year you're screwed.

Jim Hacking (00:07:45) - Yeah. And you know, I don't necessarily even have to go back to 2012 to talk about issues with cash flow. You know, last year we had a situation where the signups were coming along more slowly and we started sort of taking money from future weeks. It had been earned, but it's money that we usually would have used for expenses for 2 or 3 weeks down the road. And quite frankly, we probably just didn't have enough of a cash cushion to be able to ride that out.

Tyson Mutrux (00:08:12) - Yeah, and having that access to some sort of cash, I mean, I don't know, do you? I know we have a lot of credit. Do you all do lines of credit. Yeah, I think it's I early on I was like no anti anti line of credit. I just know we get we want to do this thing. No no. Like not having to tab in the line of credit.

Tyson Mutrux (00:08:30) - But if you are if you do want to grow I think you have to have that access to capital because sometimes you, you have to hit it sometimes. And I think that having that access is really, really important, even if you never use it just in case. I think it's pretty, pretty.

Jim Hacking (00:08:44) - Valuable when you have cases that you have to finance. So you have to invest money into your cases. You know, for us that's not a situation. So that too can cover cash flow.

Tyson Mutrux (00:08:53) - So so yeah that's a good point. So we had I don't think it was about a there was a actually the thing was last week we signed more cases in Q4 of 2023 than we'd ever signed. And so it's one of those things where you have to you have to watch out with pie because you then that means you've got an increase in case expenses. And so if you have, you have to be really, really careful. Because if you sort of have this thing where cases settled is going down, bunch of new assigned cases, right? So you have an increased cost, decreased revenues, that's a disaster waiting to happen if you don't have an ability to tap into something.

Tyson Mutrux (00:09:30) - And so it's one of the things where it's nice to have that if that would ever happen, where we can tap into that to to give us that cash flow to get us through that. Because I know on the back end of that, lots of settlements, you know, money coming in. Right. But you have to you have to have something that maybe gets you through that.

Jim Hacking (00:09:44) - Sometimes I think to that we should step back for a second in this conversation and talk about either accurate thinking or being honest with ourselves. And I think that what you and I are assuming right now is that all law firm owners have all their numbers dialed in and are accurately looking at the reality of the situation. And I don't think that's necessarily true. And I think that can be a huge impediment because there's like this dark thing over there in the corner that you don't want to look at. You don't want to tell your partner about, you don't want to let your employees know about. Right. And when you talk about the.

Jim Hacking (00:10:24) - A snowball effect. To me, I just come back to am I being honest with myself? Do I have do I have an actual understanding of where I'm at? When I was when I was really struggling in 2012, I was not looking at the numbers. I wasn't talking to Amani about the numbers. I was really sort of scared to even venture over there, right? And I knew it was bad. Right? So and I just didn't want to do it. And I was sort of covering it with things like eating or, you know, trying to figure out other things to do outside of the law firm or even as dumb as it sounds, excessive spending. Right? So like, there's a lot of different ways that people can try to escape their reality. And I think that we have to really acknowledge that. And being a law firm owner can be so isolating, can be so all on your own. And you have all this pressure, pressure of your family, pressure of your employees, pressure of your clients.

Jim Hacking (00:11:21) - And if you're carrying all that stuff and you don't have ways to share that, to release that, if you're carrying that all on your shoulders. That's why I'm glad we're having this mastermind and others tomorrow in my group. I'm going to be really talking to people about being vulnerable and being honest. Because if you're not honest about that here or anywhere else, you're really setting yourself up for big, big problem.

Tyson Mutrux (00:11:42) - So don't you think with like being open and honest, like things like that's I think that is where like the power of things like iOS scaling up, they really help because it's, it's sort of about that communication. There's obviously you want to have goals and targets and your rocks and all that kind of stuff. But one of the major benefits that we never talk about with like iOS and scaling up, because I use scaling up, you're more of the iOS where you you're forced to talk about it because you're talking about those numbers are sort of out in the open, and so you're talking about them with your leadership teams.

Tyson Mutrux (00:12:15) - I don't think we ever I don't think we if we do talk about we don't talk about that part of it enough to because things like that help you get those out in the open.

Jim Hacking (00:12:22) - Well, once you're dialed in and once you have the right numbers that you're looking at and checking out, once that happens, there's nowhere to hide. There's nowhere for you to hide. There's no way for your team members to hide. You're going to find out the people who aren't performing, who aren't doing things the way that you want. And one of the things that I've been thinking about is this concept that. And I'm going to talk about it tomorrow in the mastermind that we get what we tolerate, we get what we tolerate. In other words, whatever we're willing to accept, that's what we're going to get. So if you have low standards or low expectations, then you're going to get low performance. If you have high expectations and high standards, then the the right people are going to stay and rise to that occasion, and the wrong people are going to wash out.

Jim Hacking (00:13:04) - And that might be you and a role that you're carrying. You might need to be not the one in charge of that role.

Tyson Mutrux (00:13:09) - So there's a lot in there that that a lot of different things, like when it comes to like leads and accountability with with your people, because some of some of the stuff that I looked at when it comes to like in prepping for this, because you you've got these numbers right. So let's say that you there's a certain number of leads that you want to get or sign cases. We'll say sign cases a month that you want to target you have is your target in. And I'm talking more from, you know, personal experience. Like earlier in this year we saw a dip right. We saw a dip in sign cases. And we're like okay what's going on? What it allows you to do because it's out in the open. Let's start assessing things and figuring out what's wrong with it. So you can you can point to those things and we're okay. We started to dial things back in.

Tyson Mutrux (00:13:55) - Right. So now we're back up. We're if we just kind of let that go right. And the people that are responsible for that, let them just kind of do their own thing. We wouldn't have fixed it by now. Right. And so something we did I've talked about top grading before is we were implementing all these different things, and we had other areas where we were tracking them and people didn't like it. And those people aren't the people in our firm anymore, right? It sucks, but that's the reality of it. And so if you have that, if you had the pushback, I don't I don't I don't like you tracking that. I guess what they're not they shouldn't be in your firm. They should not be in your firm. And that to me is like what's really interesting because you start to track these things, you get them out in the open and you shine a light on it. Right? It's like the rats, you know, running around. They don't like it.

Jim Hacking (00:14:43) - And just that's just what I was going to say. There are vampires in our firm, and there are vampires who are known, and there's vampires who are not known. And the light, the light, the, you know, the vampires go screaming away or the rats go screaming away. And when you when you do it in a fair way and it's it's objective and it's not bullying, but it's actually just, hey, this is this is the situation when it becomes much more objective, it takes the emotion out of it. It is out there for all to see. You're going to get buy in from other team members. They're going to understand why you make certain decisions that you make. So I think that's really important.

Tyson Mutrux (00:15:21) - And I think that with with that I think it's important. Like it's not it's not about being. Accusatory and say, you did this or you did that, or you're not doing that. It's really about like, how do we fix the issue? And if you've got people that are kind of sabotaging you because they're kind of trying to sweep things under the rug, they don't want you to see, right? They're like, oh, I don't want that number out there.

Tyson Mutrux (00:15:38) - I don't want the that's where like it's to me it's a really big red flag where because we started to get the we've talked about this before. That's not how we used to do things or like I don't really I like the way the firm used to be. It's because we didn't we didn't hold you accountable. Who wouldn't like that? That's right. Who wouldn't like that? Right. You got to come in and do whatever you wanted, right?

Jim Hacking (00:15:58) - So I think it was President Bush that said the tyranny of low expectations, right? So if we if we are not holding our team to a high standard, if we're not holding ourselves to a high standard, then like I said, you're just going to get what you accept and it's just going to be really, really bad.

Tyson Mutrux (00:16:15) - All right. So I want to let's shift gears a little bit because I want to go to, I want to kind of go to your favorite topic. I thought we would start here, but we've got another things. What are some signs that leads like the marketing is not working for you because you've I mean, you've done it like the highest level and you've tweaked you've changed things quite a bit.

Tyson Mutrux (00:16:35) - It's like what? Like what? What are you looking at? Like what do you like? Okay. Like what pisses you off? You're like, I don't this is this drives me nuts. You know what I mean?

Jim Hacking (00:16:42) - Well, the intake team loves to blame marketing for bad leads. Like they love to say. Oh, these leads are bad.

Tyson Mutrux (00:16:49) - So they bad. Well.

Jim Hacking (00:16:51) - So we had certain sign up. We had a really great week. And it was after a really strong push of trying to get the intake team to do their job better. We did a really push, strong push. There were no changes in the leads, but suddenly everyone's perspective had changed and they were like, oh, these leads are great. These leads are awesome. So it's so funny how they like to like, ask other people and or blame other people for their issues. I think for the most part, the best signs that things are going wrong are obviously a dip in calls. More pushback on price.

Jim Hacking (00:17:25) - You know, we have people coming in from all these different channels, and we've we've gotten to a point where we can even tell which channels are outperforming others. And I think that's important. But if you're not getting the leads that you want, then you're probably in the wrong channels. Your message is wrong. You know, you're not connecting with people, and I think you need to change it up.

Tyson Mutrux (00:17:47) - So you touched on the number of calls. And so there in Amy's in here. She can hold me accountable on this too. Like what we noticed was we had a massive drop in in in call or it was actually website visits. Right. Which you normally think. Not good right. Not good. Because we were like, oh wow, what's going on? And what we had done was, is Joseph, who's our SEO guy, who's we hired. He's in-house. We change a lot of things. We removed a bunch of content, which we've been told for years to keep on there.

Tyson Mutrux (00:18:20) - And we what was happening was, is we were getting a bunch of junk coming into our website, like people that we didn't want, like a bunch of 1983 cases that we didn't want a bunch of med mail cases that we didn't want. So we were dealing with just overwhelm, like our intake people. Our care team was just getting flooded with with junk. Just crap. They really was really crap. And like, you know, criminal cases, family law cases, things that we just didn't want. Like we would just have to refer them out. We were just basically a referral service to a certain extent. But we tweaked all that and our the website plummeted. But our quality of leads has has spiked. So I do think the reason why I want to bring that up is does just because you see a drop in a number doesn't mean it's necessarily bad.

Jim Hacking (00:19:07) - Especially if you've been doing deliberate things to discourage bad leads.

Tyson Mutrux (00:19:10) - And so it's it's it's an indication that maybe I need to go and look a little bit further.

Jim Hacking (00:19:14) - Yeah. And that's the importance of your numbers. You know, I was reading traction again and there was a section in there about, you know, we use software to track our numbers, and we have a goal in a 13 year or 13 week rolling average of the numbers. And we've gotten too complacent with seeing red on our chart. And when you see red on your numbers, that's a sign that you can't just, like roll it over to the next week. That means that's an issue. That's something you got to address and figure out why. And and again, I'm holding myself responsible because I've been sort of easy on the intake team. Obviously after sitting through Gary, we all probably feel like we've been too easy on the intake team. But objectively, Jim has been too easy on the intake team. In fact, what I was thinking while we were sitting there is, well, life's pretty hard in operations. Those guys get it pretty hard from up above. Maybe Jim and Imani should switch.

Jim Hacking (00:20:03) - Maybe Imani should go run. If Imani sat through that, she she she'd be seeing Red at at the money that you. If you really think about the money you're spending on marketing and you see that money going out the door for the leads that aren't signing up, you would be more more direct with your team. And I think I've been too soft on them and soft on that issue. And I think that that. That was the great insight I got out of today.

Tyson Mutrux (00:20:26) - All right. So I want to talk about like that the conversion part of it, like spending versus converting all that. But I'm just curious like why the 13 week rolling average? Like what?

Jim Hacking (00:20:37) - Just curious. Software works. It just shows you, you know, you have the column for what your goal is. Then you have each of your columns have the 13 rolling week. So then you can see how things are trending. If you you know what your average for each number, whatever the number is, you have your goal and then it compares it.

Jim Hacking (00:20:53) - It's nice to have.

Tyson Mutrux (00:20:54) - All right. So let's shift gears to kind of back what you were talking about. So you spend this money on marketing right. And then you've got you've got to the point where you signed up the case. And so that's the frame that I'm talking about. So you spent the money on the marketing signing cases. We're not signing cases. There is a friend of ours. He's a guild member. I won't mention anything else, but I know that he, a couple of years ago spent a lot of money on marketing and got one lead. That sucks, right? Like, that really, really sucks. But I do think that between like, that's I think that's one of those things that's an extreme example. I don't think I think most of the time we're spending a bunch of money and we're not seeing the results, but there's a lot in between that we can track to figure out what we can tweak here and there. So like, what are some of the things that you will look at that people can look at like, okay, how do I dial these in a little bit more? Because instead of just like, like firing your marketing company or stopping what you're doing, you might be able to do some other things in the middle to make sure you're getting those some cases.

Tyson Mutrux (00:21:54) - Well, you.

Jim Hacking (00:21:54) - Probably always want to test. Right. And and so for us, each rung of the funnel from, you know, lead in to need determined attorney qualified, contract sent, contract signed paid at each of those are all hinges. So if you can improve each one a percent or two, that's going to have exponential growth not incremental growth. So I think that's that's the key to us is, you know, where is the problem. Which of the which of the goals that we have. And we have a goal for each of the we have a goal for lead ins. We have a goal for attorney qualified. And, you know, the conversion rate that Gary was talking about. And then you're always just trying to make incremental improvements.

Tyson Mutrux (00:22:32) - So what's that first hinge for us.

Jim Hacking (00:22:34) - It's lead in and then need determined which means that our intake team has reached out to them and figured out that they have a kind of case that we might want to help with. And so to your point about getting a lot of fluff leads or bad leads, we we have a real problem there.

Jim Hacking (00:22:49) - So we get we get hundreds of leads each week. But getting that down to knee determine that's almost 50% right there. So half of our leads out of 400 leads are no good. I mean, we get people calling. They just said today, I said, how are the leads this week? They're like, we're getting a lot of, hey, can you find me a job in Iowa and stuff like that?

Tyson Mutrux (00:23:09) - So that then is going to it's going to it's going to delay how long it takes people to reach out to actual valuable leads, which is going to then drop those numbers too, because. Yeah. So that's that's interesting.

Jim Hacking (00:23:21) - But but my team has developed filters like the first to look at area code, see if they have a US number. That's one thing. And then they look at you know we have a standard sort of do they have a path that they know of. Right. If they if they don't know of a path and they think they can get some immigration benefit, like we literally get people in Madagascar saying, can I become a citizen tomorrow? So that's just how.

Tyson Mutrux (00:23:42) - Could you filter that out before they even have to do all that manual looking? It's tough if I can help you with that soon. Probably. Okay. That's that's interesting. The so then is that a content problem or is it like an SEO like that's.

Jim Hacking (00:23:55) - Jim's fat head on YouTube. Problem is what that is. Is that what that is? I just talked to everybody, right? I don't know if I'm in the right pond or not.

Tyson Mutrux (00:24:02) - So will you tweak that based on that or do you think you'll keep doing.

Jim Hacking (00:24:05) - Actually I go I go on the show and I say, don't call us and ask for a job in Iowa. Only call. They made me. I do this every episode.

Tyson Mutrux (00:24:14) - Are you joking? Like they're literally calling about jobs in Iowa? Yeah.

Jim Hacking (00:24:17) - Or like can, like, I really I'm 18 years old. I really want to live in the United States. How can you help me? Well, I can't, right? I can't really maybe I can tell them.

Jim Hacking (00:24:26) - Go find a student visa or something, right. No. So that's a that's a real problem. So literally the marketing team we have, we have marketing designed to repel those people.

Tyson Mutrux (00:24:35) - Okay. That's good. So that reminds me of, I just like talking about this one because it's, we had this one where we were getting a string of, like, injury cases. It was like about not having insurance because, you know, people that practice in Missouri, there's like, pay to play statute where if you don't have insurance in your car crash, there's some exceptions to it, but you can't get paid and suffering if you didn't have auto insurance. So it's a it's, it's.

Jim Hacking (00:25:02) - It's a Missouri law.

Tyson Mutrux (00:25:02) - It's a Missouri law. Now there's, there's there's been some yeah there's been some challenges to it lately. And there's some circuit circuit court decisions that you can kind of use to try to get them to pay. But what was good is like we did some videos where we we this is a case and this is not a case.

Tyson Mutrux (00:25:17) - And so it changed what the number of good cases we were getting and the number of bad cases or good calls versus bad calls. So. There is a way of tweaking, and ours is to a lower extent than what yours is because your, your, your, your, your content is on a much greater scale. But I'm sure that you could probably you probably have that issue a lot more where you're having to tweak things quite a bit.

Speaker 4 (00:25:35) - Yeah for sure.

Tyson Mutrux (00:25:37) - All right. So then like what's that next hinge. I don't we don't spend a whole lot of time on marketing attorney qualified.

Jim Hacking (00:25:42) - That means they've talked to an attorney. So that's really where we start our conversion rate if they've talked to an attorney. So we have three intake attorneys who don't handle cases. They just do intake. And once we get to that we still got a lot of room to improve. So our conversion rate is only 30% of the ones we want or the ones we want. So Gary said that should I mean Gary said there's firms that have 9,598%.

Tyson Mutrux (00:26:04) - Yeah. So like whenever you're trying to fix that area, like what are you looking at. Like like how can you I'm just curious. Like what things you can do.

Jim Hacking (00:26:13) - Follow up. What makes people decide to hire us? You know, one thing we're not doing, and I was just talking to somebody after about we need to. Oh, I was talking to Carrie about really listening to the calls of the people that don't sign up and figuring out what what are the trends in the cases that we would like to sign up, but people don't hire us.

Tyson Mutrux (00:26:35) - That's I mean, that's a good one. Let's say it was pi. Like, if you were, if you were going to be designing for a pie firm, like, how would you what would you look at?

Jim Hacking (00:26:43) - Well, what are the main reasons why people don't sign up?

Tyson Mutrux (00:26:48) - let's see. Main reasons why they wouldn't sign up. They want to I would say number one is they want to handle on their own. That's probably the main thing to do it yourselfers.

Tyson Mutrux (00:26:56) - We don't lose a ton to other firms. So that's that's good because we do have a really good follow up, the dies or I'd say number one. Number two is our fee. Sometimes where we're at 35% as opposed to a third, but we also don't we have a we have a way of selling that because we don't have that elevator that goes to 40%, but it's a lot of times it's at 35%. The number one is the DIY or so.

Jim Hacking (00:27:20) - Is that 2% important to you?

Tyson Mutrux (00:27:23) - It's it is a very, very it's very important because what happens is sometimes you have to file suit on a case. You just have to get to get the true value. The problem we would run into quite a bit was you get up to the point where you need to file suit and they'd say, well, your fee goes from a third to 40%. I just want to sell the case. And and they'd be like, well, let's say you file suit, you get more money, will you drop it down to a third? And I just 35%.

Tyson Mutrux (00:27:49) - It's 35%. They don't have to worry about going up. We'll file suit if we need to file suit on, it doesn't change. So yeah, it's it's not about the additional 2%. It's about being able to do other things. It's about it's about not having confusion for the clients. It's about them not having to second guess okay, well they're going to get more money. Am I going to get more money? It just makes it easy.

Jim Hacking (00:28:09) - Is there a way that you could make the increase dependent on getting them more money? Like you like the percentage? Change this for what? Like if you reach the max of what they're offering and then you file suit and you get them more, could you hinge it on that?

Tyson Mutrux (00:28:23) - There's a way I think I think that would complicate I think that would complicate it.

Jim Hacking (00:28:26) - But maybe you should test.

Tyson Mutrux (00:28:27) - Good. I don't think that the the number of cases we lose because of that is that big to, to worry about really. All right. So I want to get to something that you probably avoid like the plague.

Tyson Mutrux (00:28:35) - And it's more like that the operation side of things, the client management side of things. So what are some of the things that you look at when it comes to some flat red flags to keep an eye on?

Jim Hacking (00:28:47) - Well, as someone who handles no cases, the number one thing.

Tyson Mutrux (00:28:52) - That you use too.

Jim Hacking (00:28:52) - Though. Well, no, I have an answer. The number one thing I look at is people that email me because everybody thinks I'm their lawyer, even even though I don't handle any cases, everyone thinks I'm their lawyer. So number one is and I've got I got two this week about the same employee. So I got two complaints to me about their the process is not being followed I don't know. I mean I defer to you more on that because you do more operations stuff.

Tyson Mutrux (00:29:13) - Yeah I had number one lots of update calls. You're getting calls from people and they're like, hey, what's going on with my case? Those calls, because those calls are just they they grind everything to a halt.

Tyson Mutrux (00:29:28) - I know that they're calling to get an update and they deserve an update. But if you have them, like if you're doing that all day, you're not doing anything else. You're not doing anything on the on anyone's cases. So if you that's like one of the big ones, we're like, I, I know we started to really get things tuned in whenever all those started to plummet. Like that is one like if you're dialed in, dialed in, you're not getting a bunch of update calls and you spent.

Jim Hacking (00:29:50) - A lot of time making systems to affirmatively advise clients of what's going on in their cases, much better than I have.

Tyson Mutrux (00:29:56) - Yeah, and it's about educating the clients about the process. And it's it's it's educating them about the process. But yeah, it's updating them. It's creating mechanisms that do update them as the case progresses. But a lot of that upfront stuff like what I'm gonna steal some of the things he was talking about earlier too, about here's what's going to happen next. And he said it really.

Tyson Mutrux (00:30:17) - He said it really, really well. And so I wrote down some of the things he said, but which we're going to tweak things just a little bit, but like explaining that up front as to how things are going to happen is, is big. Getting those videos out the door, like the automated text messages and all that. The emails. Here's what's going to happen. Here's how long it takes. Here's how long your case takes. Setting those expectations. How do you explain.

Jim Hacking (00:30:37) - The different stages? Like how do you explain interrogatories? How do you explain depositions?

Tyson Mutrux (00:30:41) - We have videos and podcasts that go out. Is that what you mean or like? Yeah, yeah. So we have email videos and podcasts that go out, depositions, emails and podcasts that go out. The depositions is really handy because we have that whole course that we created for clients, and they all like to listen to the podcast before the depo. So on their way to the Depo, they'll listen to, just to kind of remind themselves.

Tyson Mutrux (00:31:04) - And those are things that we're not having to I.

Jim Hacking (00:31:05) - Think how you.

Tyson Mutrux (00:31:06) - Saved a ton. Yeah.

Jim Hacking (00:31:08) - Because you're saying the same thing every time.

Tyson Mutrux (00:31:09) - Yeah. Our depo prep is the the amount of time it used to take has been condensed down to a lot of times it's a 30 minute phone call and they're like, I feel great. I went through all the training and I know, I know the ones that did it and they didn't do it. Like I can see where like if they actually completed the training. But it's also very evident when I'm on the phone call with them. Yeah. Like have you actually done clueless. Yeah. So I mean that's pretty good. You know you mentioned frequent complaints. That's. Another one where if you're getting those, you're having an issue, you're getting Google reviews, something. I'm going to throw this in here like one of my favorite things to look at and I'm going to pull this up is the the client feedback scores. So we have it like this is something we track.

Tyson Mutrux (00:31:50) - And this is something we we act like we're proactive about it. If we start to see a dip in our clients feedback scores, that's a big problem. So if you look here's our. Our check ins on communications, like how we're communicating with clients. See how it's see, there's a massive drop. Like earlier here. This was, this is, 2021. So this goes all the way back to 2021. This is 2024. So we see okay, if we see a dip we need to do something about it. Now the dip is down to like that's 8.2 is the lowest. So it's it's not like it's terrible. But like right now we are at see that over 9.8. Like that's that's a big indication to us like is okay how are we doing on client communication scores. And we track two different things. It's Howard communicating with you. But what's our responsiveness to you. Like that's a different score because these are different right. You got they're similar. But you can see that the trends are different.

Jim Hacking (00:32:49) - Do those come out as if from you Tyson.

Tyson Mutrux (00:32:52) - Is it for me personally does it like.

Jim Hacking (00:32:53) - Say, hey, this is Tyson, I'm checking in on you or is it just know these.

Tyson Mutrux (00:32:56) - Are we we call the clients. Oh. So we we manually call the clients. You call. Oh you could you could do this via text. Sure you could. But if someone says, I'm going to give you a 7 or 6 or lower, guess what? What's going on? Like we can we can assess the problem and figure out what's going on. So anytime there's a dip in a team, we can say, hey, what's what's going on? And we can we can look at their team to, to to figure out and diagnose what the problem is. And so that's another one of those big ones that if you're not tracking those, that's it's a massive it's a really easy way. It's there's an expense to it. Right. We're having to actually have people call you can send out text messages and do it in a different way.

Tyson Mutrux (00:33:38) - That's fine. But it's an easy way to diagnose problems with that client and then head off whatever the problem is before it becomes a really big issue.

Jim Hacking (00:33:45) - That's good. Yeah, we use Net Promoter scores at different stages of the process, but in honesty, we just look at the comments and we don't necessarily look at the overall score. So we probably should do a better.

Speaker 4 (00:33:55) - Job of that.

Tyson Mutrux (00:33:55) - Yeah. And it's also an easy way for you to ask for reviews too. That's that's a good one. And then I guess the last thing I want to talk about, let's talk about culture and personnel, because we kind of hinted on this earlier, you've kind of had like you've gone up and down like I've had I've gone up and down when it comes to, to like the culture. Right. Like it doesn't stay the same. Like no matter what as you grow. Like what? Like if you were to like points, like 1 or 2 things, like, what are those things that people should keep an eye out for?

Jim Hacking (00:34:23) - So for us, our culture was all over the place until we instilled or we came up with our core values.

Jim Hacking (00:34:29) - So we sat down. Adela, Amani and Jim sat down three years ago, and we made a list of the employees through our past who had been the ones that exhibited the kind of lawyers or paralegals we wanted our team members to be. And so we wrote down all their names, and then we went person by person and said, what are the characteristics that Andy shows? What are the characteristics that Aaron chose? And then once we had that list of characteristics, then we sort of saw trends, and that's how we came up with our core values. So to me it was like in Kansas City, they have a little dinosaur thing for kids, and it's little black pellets of old tires and you actually dust off the dinosaurs. And to me, that's how we came up with our core values as we unearthed them. Right? And so we came up with our six core values. And now we hire on our core values, and we review people on our core values. And we give raises based on our core values.

Jim Hacking (00:35:24) - And we talk about core values at every quarterly meeting. We talk about it at every review. We talk about them all the time we have them posted in the office. And I think that really has helped instill the culture. Core value number one is we fight for immigrants every day, and that's sort of the approach that we wanted. And so I think that's really helped keep the core values and the and the culture a little bit more consistent than personality based.

Tyson Mutrux (00:35:46) - I like that. I think that anyone that hasn't done those, the core values, because we get a lot of questions about that all the time. They have an easy way of doing it. I think that's great. I think it's it's it's one that you're getting a lot of buy in with. Yeah.

Jim Hacking (00:35:58) - And so then when we do reviews this is attraction thing. When we do reviews, we list each core value and people get a plus or a plus minus or a minus and a plus means they exhibit that characteristic 75% of the time, plus minus between 25 and 75 and minus.

Jim Hacking (00:36:15) - And if and then there's certain of the six core values, there's some that we cannot accept a minus on. Right. Or something we can't even accept a plus minus. And we thought actually you had to have six. We were doing it wrong for a while. And then after the core values, then we have get it one it and have the capacity. So does the person get the job? Do they want the job and do they have the capacity for the job?

Tyson Mutrux (00:36:37) - I like that I'm smiling because I'm kind of thinking about like what you're going to say about my what? Like what to look at when it comes to culture. I think it really just comes down to if you've got like that internal like that negative turmoil. Yeah. You know what I'm talking about, like that. It's just like that. Kind of like that back biting the itch. If you have that, like your culture is wrong, your culture is wrong. I think it's that simple because I think that there's that there's you can have positive turmoil, but I wouldn't call it turmoil.

Tyson Mutrux (00:37:06) - I would just call it like the energy. Yeah. You've got you can disagree about things and we encourage disagreement. We we like disagreement. That's good. But it's like that. It's like that negative energy that that's really, really bad. And what what kind of part of the reason why I was smiling was, is I thought you were going to talk about something else. So Amy and I, we went through this. Don't ever write telling by about any of our plays. But we we went through and we kind of we created like a list of what are the essential roles in the firm. Like we could never do without these roles. Okay. And then we then took and we kind of drafted we like you did a draft where like, these are the employees that we'd pick and like it was like I'm talking like we if we were to cut our, our firm by like two thirds, like, so we made it really, really difficult for us. And because I think I've talked a little bit about this, but yeah, we did, but not all of this.

Tyson Mutrux (00:38:00) - So what we did is we went through and we drafted okay, here's who we would go with. And you're left with people that you like are they're kind of borderline I think I'd like to have them. And then you have your ones that over here that right away. They would never make the list. And those are the ones you don't want your firm. It sounds ruthless. It sounds terrible. But it's one of those things. It forces you to go through this and you're like, okay, if I were going to redesign this, these people would never be a part of the team. It's tough, but and it forced you to make some really tough decisions if you're going to do that. And did you we did. Yeah. It's we we had to make some tough decisions. It just it's but if you're going to get the team that you want, you had to make tough decisions. And just that's the reality of it. Agreed. All right I the last thing I'm talking about is like processes and stuff like what are some like some indications that the processes really aren't working.

Tyson Mutrux (00:38:58) - Do you want to anything you want to throw out on that.

Jim Hacking (00:39:01) - Well, it's tricky for us because the cases that we used to have that took 2 or 3 months now take a year or a year and a half. So that and there's still big gaps where nothing's really happening. So that's hard to carry as a law firm. And I don't think we did a very good job of realizing the impact of cases taking four times, not because of anything we're doing, it's just because of the government. So I think that's one thing. But with processes themselves. I mean, I was talking to the intake team, and I know that our processes, as documented are out of date. So I think you have to have regular review of your processes. And I think having different people involved in that is good. But I think that if you just expect the same old processes to keep working, things are too dynamic in a law firm.

Tyson Mutrux (00:39:45) - Yeah. So the first thing you said is really interesting because two of the things I wrote down were cases taking too long and any phase of a case taking too long.

Tyson Mutrux (00:39:56) - But with what we were saying earlier, your yours are taking longer for other reasons. But the point is, is that you track it and you figure you kind of diagnosed with the problem is like those are like two of the big ones for me. Some other things. Is that incomplete files? If you look at a file it's like there's things that are incomplete. It may be a process problem a really, really easy way. Okay. Maybe like we're in the process. Are we missing this thing. And so it may easily be a process problem. Deadlines being missed like discovery deadlines. If you're if you have your attorneys regularly missing deadlines or having to get extensions, you probably have a process problem. That's another one for us. I know that that we're not following the process. If I start to see a dip in our average fee, I talk about average quite a bit, but I know that you're not following the process. If I look at your team and see that the average fees down because you're what you're doing is you're you're not going the extra step of sending the, the 2 or 3 additional demands and then saying that hammer letter, what you're doing is you're just trying to get the case settled as quickly as possible.

Tyson Mutrux (00:41:00) - And so you're what you're doing is you're coming off the policy and you're saying, okay, well, it's $50,000 policy. I'll make a counter for $40,000. I know that you're doing that. I guarantee that that's what you're doing. If I look at all your files on average, that's what you're doing. You're you're selling the cases short is what you're doing. So that's a key indicator.

Jim Hacking (00:41:18) - The last thing I want to say about processes, I finally have come to believe that there have to be things you have to have. You have to have a part of your system that prevents people from proceeding without doing what you want them to do at that stage. And if you leave it up to chance or leave it up to how people feel, you have to have the system so that the same things are done, the important things. It's okay to leave the small things, but the important things have to be done and verified and checked before they move on to the next stage.

Tyson Mutrux (00:41:48) - Yeah, and the way we're looking at it with that is if I were to remove the employee, how would this continue down the line? So if you were to take because and I'm not I'm not saying I'm not at all that you should get rid of employees.

Tyson Mutrux (00:42:01) - But what what could I do if it was just the client and it was like basically a DIY software, right? How would I continue to move the case down the road if I remove the employee from it? And that's it's, it's it's a it's a thought exercise that will help you kind of streamline things. That way you can keep that employee there. Because the way I viewed it is we were a customer service firm. Like it's about customer service. So we need the employees to to provide that. Customer service means a lot of phone calls, right? I think. I can't wait to hear what you're going to say here. But the you you use that technology to, to move it down the road, and then you use the employees to call and check on on the clients all the time to see how they're doing. What was it?

Jim Hacking (00:42:43) - I'm laughing because you have some pretty cutthroat thought exercises. Yes. And a lot of them involve eliminating employees.

Tyson Mutrux (00:42:51) - Yeah, well, yeah, maybe. But I mean, that's not what I'm saying, though.

Tyson Mutrux (00:42:55) - That's not what I'm advocating for. But it's it is a it's a it's a good thought exercise. Cool. All right. Ready to wrap things up? I'm ready. It's weird wrapping things up whenever you're we're in person. But yeah, before I do, I want to remind all of you they're here. Give us a five star review. And everyone listening, it helps us spread the love to all amazing attorneys like you all. And if you want to join the guild, all of you and the guild here, here. It's fantastic. So you don't need to do this, but anyone else go to Max Law guild.com. What's your hack of the week?

Jim Hacking (00:43:23) - For my hack of the week, it's to listen to two words. See if you say these words, or if people on your team say these words. And the words are sort of.

Speaker 4 (00:43:34) - Sort of.

Jim Hacking (00:43:36) - Are we following this process? Sort of. Are we doing well on intake? Sort of. Sort of. Is a very soft and squishy phrase that a lot that covers a lot of shenanigans and people not doing things the way that they're supposed to.

Jim Hacking (00:43:54) - So listen to yourself and listen to those words, because I am an old softy and I need to stop using words like, sort of.

Tyson Mutrux (00:44:04) - That's I like that a lot. That's that's good. One of my red flags was that. Well, that's not how such and such does it. It does. That means you're not following the process like that. Such and such over there wants to do their own thing. But so that's the sort of thing. It's interesting. So I wanted to have something more sort of intake related. So that's good. The intake as well. The sort of and I'm going to I'm going to give a tip for that I previously gave, but I'm also going to give a new one as well. The, the new one, if I'm assuming everyone's tracking their leads and a pipeline and everything, you're tracking them, go look at the last ten that you lost and see if you can identify the trend. Figure out what's going on. Is there one person that's that's tailing those leads? Is it did you not follow up? Just look and identify the trends.

Tyson Mutrux (00:44:54) - Just look at them, don't you? Don't you sure. You might have something that tracks it in your system or whatever, but just go look and read through the notes and see if you can identify something because you might be able to identify, oh, this is why. The other thing, though, is I was talking to Brooks about this during. There's something Gary had mentioned. It made me think about it, and I'd given this as a previous tip, but one of the things we do in our notes when we're talking to clients, and you could do this with leads to is we'll write at the end of the note, a little bitty thing about whatever they were doing. So I use an example of Brooks, like they were at the grocery store talking to me on the phone, and they were picking up diapers for their kid. Right. So you've put in that little bitty thing, whatever that thing is. And so, yeah, Jim, last time, you know, you called, I know you were at the store and you were picking up some diapers for your kid, you know, how's your baby doing? You just throw it in and you're kind of looping.

Tyson Mutrux (00:45:42) - You're just kind of keep looping and looping and looping, and it helps that continuity. And it. This is something that just came up organically. I didn't come up with it. One of the 1 or 2 of our people came up with it I love it. It's great because it does allow you to kind of look in the notes. You're like, oh, this is what's going on in their life. And they they're like, oh, they actually they actually give a shit, which is pretty cool. Awesome, cool. All right. Man, this is fun.

Jim Hacking (00:46:05) - It was fun.

Speaker 1 (00:46:08) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. To stay in contact with your host 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 is struggling with mapping out your goals? In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, co-host Tyson Mutrux explores the critical role of having a clear vision for both your law firm and personal life.

Many law firm owners struggle with creating a vision for themselves and their own businesses. Tyson shares the creation of his tool, the vision finder and what rules are needed for people to create their vision. These rules include writing your thoughts down on paper and sitting down to let your mind wander. Tyson also goes through some of the personal vision questions law firm owners should ask themselves to understand where they want to be. It is best to think about how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you as well as thinking about who the most important people in your life are. These rules and questions in this tool are meant to help you create a vision that you see for yourself.

Take a listen to learn more about this great tool.

Episode Highlights:

  • 00:24 The struggle with creating a vision for law firm owners 
  • 2:09 Detailed rules for creating a vision
  • 4:58 Questions and considerations for personal vision
  • Ask us a question about starting your own law firm here!
  • Peak Performance Intensive with Dr. Jason Selk, sign up here!

Resources:

Transcripts: Struggling with the Vision of Your Law Firm?

Tyson (00:01.358)
Welcome back to another Saturday episode of the Maximum Lawyer podcast. This is Tyson and today what I'm going to talk about is vision. And it's something that I know people struggle with quite a bit. I know that because of guild members quite often have asked questions about vision and sometimes people just say they don't know or I think something more often that we see is law firm owners or attorneys that

you know, they're 10, 15, 20 years into their career. And I think that maybe they think that they can't have a vision, it's too late. And that's not true at all. And so I wanted to do this one, there was a vision finder that I put together for the guild, and I'm not gonna be able to go through the whole thing on one of these short episodes because they're so, it's such a long questionnaire, but.

It's one I put together because I've asked people about their visions and it's a lot of the questions that I ask them, where I put them through it. I did this, Stephen Lefkoff may or may not remember this, but a couple years ago, I think Stephen, I don't know if he was struggling with vision, but he was asking questions about vision and I talked to him for about an hour and I asked him a bunch of questions and it was very, very detailed in what I was asking him. And so I put these questions into…

into this questionnaire, so I'll go through a little bit of that. Before I do that though, I do wanna remind you about maximum lawyer and minimum time. It's something that Jim and I have put together. It's something that we have spent a lot of time on, and I gotta get my notes up, so give me a second.

Tyson (02:00.302)
Sorry about that. I didn't quite have it up yet.

Tyson (02:40.365)
Here we go.

I'll just redo that part of it.

Before I get into today's episode though, I do want to remind everyone about shooting me a text if you want to get in on stage one of maximum, lower, minimum time. It's something that Jim and I have put together that we think is the foundation for getting you to where you want to be, whether that's a stage one, stage two, or stage three law firm. If you want stage one, which we give the entire maximum, lower, minimum time, all three phases, two are…

Maximum Lawyer Guild members are gildians. Absolutely free, but we'll give you stage one free just by texting stage one to 314 -501 -9260 and we will get that out to you right away. All right, so let's get to the vision finder. And there's some rules right off the bat that I've got to get to you to set the groundwork for that. And it has to be in writing, okay? That's number one.

Has to be in writing, and this is for your personal and your professional visions. I have them, I write them out separately. Do you have to write them out separately? No, not necessarily, but I would say that I would write them out separately. They're very intertwined, but our personal lives, our professional lives, I think that we get so wrapped up into our professional lives that sometimes we forget about our personal goals as well. Has to be in writing, though. Keep it at four pages or less. It's rule number two.

Tyson (04:16.43)
You wanna keep it short or shorter. I think a page is fine too, but four pages or less, it doesn't need to be a novel. Number three, you're gonna have to take some time to really open your mind and let your mind wander. Don't just sit down, get down to business. I think you need to let your mind think for a little bit and let it wander because…

I think sometimes we will sit down and we'll force our minds to go a certain way and think that that's the right way, or that's the way we're supposed to be doing things. Sit, go find a place, a happy place, and go let your mind wander. Rule number four, you need to think big. Let your mind to go to where it will go and then think bigger from that. You don't want to get trapped into that middle class mindset.

Christopher Nicolason has talked about it before. You don't wanna be capped at that. So let your mind wander, let it get to where it is, and then think bigger than that. And the fifth one, and this relates quite a bit when it comes to number three, unless you can let your mind wander in your office, but get out of the office when writing your vision. Go somewhere else, go sit under a tree. I don't.

Go sit next to a river. I don't know get out of the office go to the library go somewhere where You can be a little bit more creative when you're writing it and the way you write it. It doesn't matter All right Let's talk a little bit about the personal vision first and again, I'm gonna keep this short so I'm not gonna go through everything If you are in the guild listening to this you're gonna you you have access to all these in the vision finder but for

for this, I'm not gonna go through everything. But a couple of the personal vision questions. And this is, I want you to be thinking about what it looks like in the future. So think about, you know, the way I like to put this is, and I know that people struggle with this, in 30 years, okay, how does your life look? And I know that's really hard. Some of you that are a little bit older, you might think, well, I wanna think 15 years. Okay, that's fine, think 15 years, all right.

Tyson (06:41.902)
But for me, I like to think out 30 years. Now that I'm 41, maybe I need to be thinking like 20 years, but I still in my mind, 30 years. And no matter what it is, around retirement age, okay? Think about retirement age when you kind of want to hang things up. And as I'm talking, the birds have started chirping. So hopefully it's not too distracting. They're right outside my window. There's a tree out there, but.

Here's the question. How do you perceive yourself and describe how you believe other people perceive you? So how do you perceive yourself and describe how you believe other people perceive you? And that's how you want people to perceive you. That's how you want to perceive yourself around that time, whatever timeframe you give yourself. Another question is, who are the most important…

in your life and why are they important to you? And again, think about that endpoint. It's not the endpoint because you're not going to die, but around the time where you're sort of retiring, who are those people that are surrounding you? Who are the people that you're with that you're spending the most time with? What are those relationships like and why are they important to you? All right, let's talk a little bit about your health. How would you describe your health? Are there any areas…

of your health that you would, that you wanna make sure at that point are at full capacity, I guess I would put it. That's not one of my questions, but I'm kind of, I'm sort of tweaking this a little bit for the podcast. So for example, sometimes like maybe right now you're having weight issues or maybe you're having health issues of some kind, whatever that health issue might be. How do you want that to be then, right? It may not be perfect, but.

What do you want it to look like at that time? Hobbies, let's talk a little bit about hobbies.

Tyson (08:46.414)
What are the one, and I'm skipping ahead a little bit on some of these questions. So there's some setup questions to this one, but what are the, what are five things you've wanted to try but have never gotten around to it? And this is more currently, because this isn't one of those, you know, prospective, you know, future looking ones. This is a current ones, because this is to get you thinking about the things that you've always wanted to do that you need to start to kind of chip away at.

of questions. And then the last one under personal I'll get to is under finances. And this is, I'll kind of skip ahead here to figure out financial goals. So the question starts with let's figure out some of your financial goals. How much money do you want to make per year? How much money do you want to have in your personal bank account? How much money do you want to have in your business account?

And this is to really get you thinking about the finances part of it so that it doesn't sneak up on you. Like how much money do you want? Do you want investments? I want you to really be thinking about those things if you've not been thinking about those things because some of you are listening to this and you're in a really good financial position. There's a lot of people that aren't, okay? And for those of you that are not, it's completely fine, okay? There's time.

You just gotta start planning for it. And that's what I kind of want you to think about. And you know what? I lied. I'm gonna do one more category and it's under home life. I think this part's important. It's really, really important when it comes to vision. I like this question a lot. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to live? And then there's a series of questions underneath that. But whenever Amy and I are talking, for those of you that don't know, Amy's my wife.

Like we do have that conversation sometimes where, you know.

Tyson (10:47.342)
We talked about where we want to live and why and what we don't really want is that situation where you know, we look back and we kind of regret that we stayed in a certain place because you know, it wasn't, it wasn't, we just, we stayed there because we felt we had to, right? And we didn't really want to have that. We don't really want to have that thought. So that's one of the questions. And this next question is more one of those perspective ones where you're looking into the future.

What daily moments in your life make you the happiest? And you can do that for now and also in the future, but it's really good because it gets you thinking about, all right, what does my day look like from a personal standpoint? All right, I'm gonna skip ahead. There's another category when it comes to retirement that I'm gonna skip in the personal part. Under professional vision, this is one where, I'm gonna ask this question and.

because I do think it's really, really important. Why did you go to law school? Why did you go to law school? Some of you went to law school because you felt like that was the next step. There's nothing wrong with that. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Some of you did it because you had a certain cause that you wanted to attack. Maybe you've gotten away from that. And maybe you'd like to get back to doing that. And so, that's why I like to ask that question because…

gets you really thinking about have you gotten a little bit off track? And maybe not, maybe you got off track and it was by design and you don't ever want to go back. That is also fine too. So it's something that, it's an important one. Why did you start your law firm? Very similar, very similar, not the same, but very similar reason why I asked that question too. Are you happy with your career? Why or why not?

If you're unhappy, what needs to change to give you the opportunity to be happy? Let me ask that again. If you're unhappy, what needs to change to give you the opportunity to be happy? And this is one where if you need to pause the episode right now and write this down, I recommend that you do it. If you're unhappy, what needs to change to give you the opportunity to be happy? This is the thing that you need to address now so that…

Tyson (13:10.19)
when you're looking into the future, whenever that future does occur, this thing hasn't kept you unhappy the whole time. Okay, so that's a really important one. And you know, I will, I'll ask a…

One more under the practice part of it. What is your niche? And I put in there that you need to choose one, not multiple, just one. I want you to focus on one. And why did you choose the niche? And what excites you about your niche? So those are two things that I really want you to answer. Because it's very, as you can tell by a few of these questions, we're kind of getting to the core of why you're doing what you're doing, right? We're getting to that.

because I want to make sure you all are doing the things that you really set out to do and that you want to do in your life. And then let me skip ahead when it comes to clients. I'm gonna skip that part. I'm gonna get into priorities and maybe we'll wrap on this one because there's a lot more we could get to. It's 14 pages by the way. So it's 14 pages. It's very detailed.

List your top three priorities in your career. And then there's another one, list your top three priorities in your life. And this is one where it's gonna really, these are very similar to rocks in a way. Very, very similar to rocks. Or really more like bee hags, I guess. They're more like bee hags. And what I would recommend with these things is, and some of these you may have already achieved, which is fantastic.

I would recommend that you choose things that are looking into the future and you try to knock out one of these things at a time as opposed to doing them all at the same time. Because if you focus on everything, you're going to focus on nothing. So I would list these things, the top three priorities in your career and in your life, and focus on them one at a time. Try to knock out.

Tyson (15:17.774)
That is the last thing I'm gonna talk about today. I am sure I'm over time. Yes, I definitely am. I'm looking at the time now. So I'm well over time, but that's okay. This is a, I think it's an important one for everyone. For anyone that wants the full vision finder sheet, it is available to guild members, maxlawguild .com if you are interested in joining the guild. For everyone else, remember to get stage one.

of maximum lawyer minimum time texting 314 -501 -926. You could also text me, just the same number, just to see if you have any questions or topics you want me to cover, 314 -501 -926. 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, everybody.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

Are you looking for a way to streamline your law firm’s efficiency with claims? In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer podcast, Becca Eberhart chats with Jim Andrews about his innovative platform, Precedent, which aims to improve the efficiency of attorney-handled claims. 

Jim shares what Precedent is trying to achieve within the legal space. Precedent tries to bridge the communication gap that exists between plaintiff firms and insurance carriers, which can be a complicated relationship. Since both areas work with each other frequently and still use outdated methods to share information, Precedent uses AI to streamline and standardize administrative tasks and communication.

Jim shares how AI is being used to reduce timelines for claims making their way between both industries. One of the features of the AI technology being used is extracting all the necessary information insurance carriers need from documents the legal firm provides. When it comes to this important information, the system can identify missing or incorrect information on the spot. Since it can be spotted quickly, it provides legal firms the ability to adjust and change what is needed. This ultimately limits the need for unnecessary and lengthy communication between both sides.

Take a listen to learn more about Precedent!

Episode Highlights:

  • 00:23 The mission of Precedent
  • 1:29 The communication problem between firms and insurance carriers
  • 13:04 The implementation of AI in streamlining injury cases
  • 17:43 Addressing the communication problem

Connect with Jim:

Resources:

Transcripts: Precedent: Rethinking How Claims are Settled Between Law Firms and Insurance Carriers with Jim Andrews

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 new tricks. Let's partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.

Becca Eberhart (00:00:23) - Welcome back to the Maximum Layer Podcast. I'm Becca Eberhardt, CEO at Maximum Lawyer. And today we're sitting down with Jim Andrews, the president and co-founder of president. Jim has nearly two decades of experience shaping the insurance landscape. Throughout his career, Jim has gained a unique perspective on bridging the gap between plaintiffs firms and insurance carriers, identifying opportunities for synergy and growth that others might overlook. Their platform is revolutionizing the industry and expediting settlements through a unique perspective. Coupled with AI driven expertise and digitizing demand, resolution, precedent is helping to automate administrative tasks, reduce delays and avoid protracted settlements, ultimately cutting costs, reducing pending cases, and even helping to avoid litigation altogether. Jim, welcome to the Maximum Lawyer podcast.

Jim Andrews (00:01:16) - Thank you so much, Beck. I'm very excited to be here.

Becca Eberhart (00:01:19) - Awesome. Great to have you. All right. So let's just dive right in. What is precedent and what is the number one pain point that you guys solve?

Jim Andrews (00:01:29) - Precedent is a neutral third party that sits between plaintiffs firms and insurance carriers with a primary goal or objective of facilitating much better communication between those two parties. And as it relates to that particular number, one pain point that we solve, it really is about the fact that these two parties are still faxing each other, which kind of blows people's minds. And we actually had a fun anecdote where he asked the intern to send a fax, and he was like, what are you talking about? Of course. Right. And they're still they're still physically mailing things. They're still calling each other and leaving messages and playing phone tag. And there's just a lot of unnecessary interaction or really lack of interaction in some situations that's that's not happening. So we're facilitating a much more seamless way for them to engage with one another without having to do it directly. Because, as I'm sure you can understand, it's a very combative, confrontational relationship.

Jim Andrews (00:02:33) - But because the number of injury claims that have an attorney has increased, about 25 years ago, 10% of claims had an attorney. Well, now it's 50, 60, 70% in some venue. But they're still doing things like they sort of occasionally interact with each other when the reality is there. It's millions and millions of times a year, really, cases per year that there's an attorney and an insurance company and there's absolutely no standardization in the way that they interact.

Becca Eberhart (00:03:06) - Awesome. That sounds really great. You made some really great points. I guess I hadn't even really thought about how how much further there is to come in that communication process there still.

Jim Andrews (00:03:17) - Yeah, absolutely. And we're we have clients. This is not a hey, we're building this thing. It's we have built this this platform and our initial clients, we've been fortunate to work with one very large plaintiff's firm, but all of those initial clients are already seeing that benefit of essentially any time that they previously would have had to pick up the phone or send something in the mail, or send an email or send a fax.

Jim Andrews (00:03:41) - There's one point to deliver that, whatever that specific request in the process is, it's come to precedent. We know how to interact with all the hundreds of insurance carriers and what their preferred sort of consumption methods are, and we're really helping facilitate, again, a much easier interaction and creating standardization between the two parties.

Becca Eberhart (00:04:02) - Awesome. Okay, so who started precedent and what inspired your founding team to create a platform focusing on streamlining attorney handled claims?

Jim Andrews (00:04:12) - So our team has a really great background of a blend of people that have worked in legal, people that have worked in insurance, and our CTO came from Amazon, but specifically our CEO, Grant little, had spent about 20 years working in property and casualty insurance, most recently was the chief technology at National General. But he came up as a casualty, an injury claim analyst. So he was looking at all this data, trying to understand trends. So it was always something that was really near and dear to his heart. Our head of data science is a gentleman named Derrick Stuckey.

Jim Andrews (00:04:46) - He has a background more in sort of consumer data science, worked at Groupon, worked at some other technology companies that serve consumers. But he's really sort of on that forefront of what's the latest and greatest in in data science, in AI, etc.. And then our CTO, Logan Chittenden, which is a tough one to say if you haven't said it. A lot of times, he actually started a company called Say Hi that was acquired by Amazon and was a big component of for how much better or worse, your opinion of Alexa, of how Alexa really operates in sort of the foundation of Alexa. So we feel really good about that sort of core founding team, of course, because we came together to start the company. But we've also added a lot of great talent to, you know, the executive level as well as to the entire company from, again, across experiences from legal and insurance and technology and the inspiration to answer the second part of your question, really, you know that at the end of the day, we want to help injured people get back to their life more quickly.

Jim Andrews (00:05:50) - And the biggest way that we could impact that across, you know, the entire industry was to facilitate this better interaction between the plaintiff firms and the insurance carriers, because at the end of the day, and I always use the analogy of they're like a divorced couple that really does not like each other, but they have a child, right? And when you're a divorced parent with a child, you need to cooperate with your, you know, former spouse to do what's in the best interest of of that child. And that's the claimant. Is the child in this analogy or the client. Right. They've had an accident. They're injured. They're just looking to get back to their life and they're, you know, seeking their treatments and doing the things that they need to do to get themselves healthy and that it becomes a really what delays the process is the bureaucracy, is the lack of trust, is the lack of standardization in those processes that are all a part of how a claim goes from happening to when that client ultimately gets their settlement and that issue is resolved.

Jim Andrews (00:06:57) - So we're really, you know, looking to bring this process into, you know, the year 2024 and beyond and take it out of I don't know when faxing came out, but probably before I was born.

Speaker 4 (00:07:12) - So absolutely.

Becca Eberhart (00:07:14) - Okay. That's perfect. So let's.

Speaker 4 (00:07:16) - Dive in a little.

Becca Eberhart (00:07:17) - More. So precedent utilizes technology and data solutions to address the lack of transparency, standardization and automation in the claims process. But can you elaborate on how you actually do this?

Jim Andrews (00:07:30) - Yeah, absolutely. So that your audience will be very familiar with the various points of engagement that they have with insurance companies. It could be the client comes in their office and they haven't even filed their claim yet. So then the attorney takes on that task of setting up a claim right now, very time consuming. You've got your case managers or your staff sitting on hold for 30, 45 an hour just to set up a claim and start the process. Beyond that, then they're sending their letter of rep, looking to make sure that the carrier got the letter of Rep looking in certain states to confirm what the policy limits are.

Jim Andrews (00:08:07) - And in all states, right, is their coverage potentially has a carrier accepted liability on this claim. And then as that process continues, you start to obviously the client's getting treatment, you start to get those medical records and then they they create their demand and, and send that demand to the carrier. But again, even in that step of creating the demand and sending it to the carrier, they're having to call that carrier numerous times to even determine, did the adjuster get the demand? Did it get to the right adjuster? So the way that we've incorporated technology across, you know, those various use cases, and we are also headed to a place where we do even more than that related to the negotiation and ultimate settlement of that case. But for example, take claims, set up the limits disclosure and the acknowledgement of the demand. We have both what we refer to as passive and active participants. So I spent I didn't really talk about my background, but I spent about 20 years selling technology to property and casualty insurance carriers.

Jim Andrews (00:09:09) - So think about every commercial during every sporting event and every radio break. Right. Those were my customers, and they still are being able to go to them and say, do you want to stop getting these phone calls to set up claims, to disclose limits, to acknowledge that you've received the demand? We will work with you, massive insurance company, to try to fit what we're doing as well as we can into your process, or maybe make some slight adjustments to that process. And for the plaintiffs attorneys, again, they can just come to us and say, here's a claim information and police report. Can you set this up for me? So we have built a platform that facilitates making that process much more streamlined for us as precedent and then engages or interacts digitally with that insurance carrier. So when they get something that comes from precedent, they know that it is a letter of rep or demand. They know how to get it to the right adjuster. And I mean, you would be amazed by what we have seen historically of how long it can take an adjuster just to get a demand from the time it it could take ten days before they even know they've got a demand.

Jim Andrews (00:10:19) - And at that point, you know, the attorneys and case managers are already like, what's going on with this case? It's been forever. And the carrier is like, I just got this case. What do you mean? It's been forever, right? Right. So having to balance those things out and and what we're seeing is and what is most exciting for I think for us at precedent, but also for the plaintiff firms and for the insurance carriers, is we're compressing that timeline, because one of the things that's been really enlightening for me, having spent most of my career working with the insurance carriers, is there's a similar metric that both of them use, but I'm not sure either party is aware of it. And and insurance, which is where I learned the metric. It was called cycle time. How fast are you getting through your work? Right? How many claims are you processing? Well, at the firms, it's called time on desk, but it's essentially the exact same thing. And.

Jim Andrews (00:11:13) - They both have an incentive to process those things quickly, because what does that lead to? It leads to a satisfied client from a plaintiff firm and a satisfied claimant from the insurance carrier side. So really creating that opportunity to help facilitate and streamline. So there's a lot of, you know, components to our technology that are, you know, it's almost like an iPhone. There's a lot in the background that you don't know or need to know how it works. But if you're a plaintiff firm, all you know is, I could send this stuff through precedent, and my cases are going to resolve more quickly with a lot less administrative overhead. And and an important point is there's no impact on settlement. And we're neutral third party, you know, continue to really scream that as loud as I can. So we don't go to firms and say, I'm going to get you a higher settlement. We don't go to carriers and say, we're going to get you a lower settlement. But we say to them is we're going to cut out a massive amount of the overhead associated with getting to that resolution and do it more quickly.

Becca Eberhart (00:12:18) - That's great. And I'm really glad that you brought up the technology. I think that's a great segue into my next question. So I also saw on your website that this is an AI solution to streamline injury cases. And I just heard on a conversation on another podcast referred to AI washing. So this phrase is similar to the phrase we've all heard of like greenwashing, which is where companies want to appear to have like an eco conscious claim, but really they don't prioritize it. So now we're seeing companies do the same thing with AI. It's a buzzword, it's trending, and it can help a company be more desirable to clients who want the latest technology. So how are you guys implementing AI as a solution to streamline injury cases?

Jim Andrews (00:13:04) - Yeah. Great question. And you know, I understand the growth in the use of the term AI has, you know, driven a lot of talk without specifics of what is that? What are people actually doing and what does that mean? And it it's a very convenient thing to say.

Jim Andrews (00:13:19) - Well, we do AI now, so we're different and and better than we were before. So specifically to precedent, I mean we're using essentially all of the tools that any modern technology company that's on that leading edge of what should be used to improve any platform's capabilities. So a specific example would be around dealing with documents. Right. So using OCR, using computer vision, using natural language processing, using large language models and using all of them sort of in concert to be able to do something as very important and maybe not so simple. So I don't want to undermine it. But taking in a demand that's 600 pages of narrative with medical bills all over the place and police reports and witness statements, whatever that information is, they're not necessarily very well laid out. There's companies in the market now that are saying more narrative, more narrative. And I don't think what plaintiff firms realize is insurance carriers aren't. They're not really looking at the narrative because they're dealing with, you know, an average caseload, so to speak, or pending what was what the carriers would call it for an adjuster is 150, 200 claims.

Jim Andrews (00:14:38) - Wow. And maybe early on in your career, you read the first ten narratives and you feel bad that, you know, Jim can't play basketball anymore because of this accident, but they need to have a standard process on their side for how they evaluate these injuries. And it comes down to what were the medical bills? What was the treatment, when was it done? What was the frequency? Were they consistent in how they went to treatment? All those things that demonstrate to the carrier that this was, you know, legitimate injury with a legitimate amount of treatment needed, and this person did everything they could to to get their treatment. So because that stuff is all over the place in these demands, what we do as a part of our process before we get that demand piped into the carrier or delivered digitally, is actually extract all of the information from that demand that we know the carrier needs to start their evaluation process, because otherwise they're opening your 600 page demand. They're having to read through everything and they say, oh, okay.

Jim Andrews (00:15:40) - Becca went to the chiropractor on this date and had this thing, and then putting that into a different system or even Excel to then later transport or transpose into another system. Right. So where that first step in the process, which is sort of the long pole in the tent, we're taking that out of the process. And the benefit to the plaintiff firm in us doing that is much higher quality demands. And so before we would send demand to a carrier, we would actually go through, do our medical bill extraction, sort of analyze the. Man and say, hey, you forgot to include you. Have you have 22,000 of medicals in this. There's only 14,000 of bills, like where's the rest of the bills? And typically the reaction is, oh, I forgot. But if that doesn't get caught, well what happens? It takes ten days for that adjuster to get the demand. Three more days till they look at it. And then 15 days after it's been sent, they come back and say, hey, you didn't include those bills.

Jim Andrews (00:16:39) - Well, that's 15 days of lost time. Absolutely. So and and obviously, you know, getting getting these injured parties paid as quickly as possible is really important to the plaintiff firm. So our ability to do things like identify missing bills I mean, we see wrong claim numbers, wrong adjuster names, wrong. I mean sometimes it's entirely wrong medical bills for the specific client, right? It's like, hey, this is the wrong Jim Andrews or John Smith, right. Again, because obviously you have humans that are compiling these demands and that's just prone to human error. So one of the things that we do leveraging our technology is really ensure that this is a settlement ready demand, for lack of a better term.

Becca Eberhart (00:17:24) - I love that okay. That's perfect. So your website says that you solve the communication problem between insurance carriers and law firms. And we've covered this a little bit. I want to see if we can go a little deeper. I mean what is the communication problem between those two. What is the resistance there?

Jim Andrews (00:17:43) - Well, obviously there are adversaries right in this in this world.

Jim Andrews (00:17:46) - And that's that's just sort of it is how it is. And it's not going to change. But another example of the communication problem. So I'm Jim Andrews, attorney at law. You come into my office, I say, Becca, I'm going to help you. We're going to get you what you deserve. You've already filed a claim. So my case manager or someone on my staff calls the insurance carrier that was representing the insured. That was involved in the accident that hit you and says, well, let's say that for the purpose of this, that person's name is Steve Wright. What are Steve's limits? What are Steve's limits? What are Steve's limits? And they call the plaintiff firm's call because it's really important for them to understand. Is there even any coverage here? And what we're seeing is about 34% of the time, there's actually no coverage. And so now the attorney knows, okay, this is not a case that anyone's going to take because that person didn't have or now I know that I need to.

Jim Andrews (00:18:45) - It's becomes of more of a first party claim. I need to go after the uninsured motorist settlement because that's what's available to help my client, you know, get back to their life. And so the calls, the volume of calls is typically 6 to 8 calls per claimant or per per client. Right. So we've gone to the carriers and many of the big carriers and said we can stop the phone calls, but you need to commit to disclosing the policy limits and coverage decisions or liability decisions more quickly. And for the most part, we've got a really strong reception to that because we have to remember there they have an obligation in many venues to tell you what the limits are. So we're taking all those inbound phone calls away. But let's not forget about the outbound phone calls that the plaintiff firm has to make. So if you know you're sitting there and you're running your practice and you're thinking, you know, how can I do more with what I have? Well, stop making all these phone calls and do your limits requests through precedent and free up that time for, you know, more high value tasks, right? I don't think making a phone call and saying what were Steve's limits is the best use of somebody who's, you know, working in your office for for that.

Becca Eberhart (00:20:09) - That's huge. And I love that. Do more with what you have. I mean, that's really beneficial to especially like the solo and smaller law firm owners. I think that's great. Yeah.

Jim Andrews (00:20:19) - And we're we're actually seeing as well a lot of impact at the higher volume firms because you know, as you grow and what I've seen is these firms can really grow rapidly is it's hard to kind of manage that. It gets a little unwieldy, so to speak. And so you lose sight of process quality. And and so being able to say, hey, we're all of our claims set up. This happens through precedent. All of our and we know that it's going to be faster and less expensive. All of our limits disclosure that and a letter of breadth that happens through precedent. All of our demand quality reviews and demand delivery that happens through precedent. So the growth, the high growth or the firms that are looking to do more with their existing resources are really where we're seeing the most success.

Becca Eberhart (00:21:07) - Okay.

Becca Eberhart (00:21:08) - So have you guys seen anything or do you think that there are two different types of. Journeys. So those who don't actually mind communicating with the insurance companies and others who wouldn't do it at all if they didn't have to. Similar to how there are law firm owners who still go to court and others who don't. Do you think that precedent is still beneficial to lawyers who don't mind communicating with insurance companies, or is there a greater gain for them to not do it themselves, even if they like doing it? Well, I can't.

Jim Andrews (00:21:38) - Imagine that any firm likes calling and waiting on hold and kind of being a, for lack of a better term, sort of a nuisance and just being having to be super persistent. But they have to do it. But as it relates to do our attorneys never going to go to court or are they never going to pick up the phone? One of the things that we're actually releasing later this year is the ability to schedule a call through our platform. So the adjuster that get the demand, they review it, they're ready to negotiate, or even the insurance company could do the same thing is the ability to say, okay, Jim is available Friday at 10 a.m. eastern for 30 minutes.

Jim Andrews (00:22:19) - I'm going to set this time. So we strongly feel that the actual communication on the most pertinent matters is not, you know, going to be changing dramatically or drastically, but certainly that a lot of, again, sort of mundane, low skill interactions are things that are right to be displaced by technology.

Becca Eberhart (00:22:43) - Okay. So precedent accelerates communication, causing rapid resolution. Are you able to put a number or a percentage on how much faster cases do settle?

Jim Andrews (00:22:55) - Yeah, absolutely. So overall, back to that time on desk metric that I mentioned earlier, seeing that reduced by about 15% on overall time on desk. Right. But to get more specific about, you know, how long is it taking from a demand being sent to actually let me start earlier in the process. So just think about limits disclosure. We're getting the policy limits disclosed within 72 hours on 90% of the inquiries we make, and within five days of 100% of the inquiries we make. And if you go ask plaintiff firms, you know, around the country, how long does that take them? It's 1015.

Jim Andrews (00:23:35) - We had one of our current clients say before we worked with you, it could take us up to the 29th or 30th day, which was the the legally required timeline to get that. And in that whole process, they have no idea about, you know, does this coverage even exist? What treatment can I recommend? Because I don't want to financially burden my claimant if there's no ability for them to recover this money for the treatments that they're having to to get. So again, 72 hours in the majority of the situations where we're getting the policy limits specific to actually resolving the the case and getting settlement, that's where we're seeing about from the time of demand is sent until the time offer is accepted, about a 36% reduction in that timeline as well. And again, heavily attributing that to the fact that we've got these direct connections into the carriers to serve up this information in a way that fits their process, because, you know, I usually would have sort of led with this. But if you think about the marketplace, you've got hundreds of carriers on one side that all have a different process for how they want to consume and interact, consume information and interact with plaintiff firms.

Jim Andrews (00:24:48) - On the other side, you've got hundreds of thousands of firms, or at least attorneys, and maybe tens of thousands of firms that then have to figure out, oh, how does this carrier like and how does that carrier like, oh, I forgot that they changed their fax number last week. Right. Whatever those situations are, that's something that goes away with working with president. And now that we know what the carriers want and how they want to receive this information, we can make sure that it fits into their process because these are just huge, huge machines with hundreds of thousands, you know, the top five carrier each has at any given point, over 200,000, some 300 and 400,000 injury claims open at the same time. So any individual attorney or plaintiff's firm couldn't go to all 500 carriers that they deal with and say, hey, this is what we're going to do. Can you be faster? And at the same time, none of the carriers could go to all of these plaintiff firms and say, hey, this is our process fit into it, because they might, you know, a plaintiff firm might only deal with a specific carrier once every five years, right? So why would they waste their time? For us, it's again about being that central, neutral third party that standardizes things between the plaintiff firms and the carriers.

Becca Eberhart (00:26:10) - Okay. Can you walk us through the process of. Information exchange and negotiation between the law firms and insurance carriers. So what I'm wondering is, are we in a portal? Are we calling, are we chatting? Like, what does this really look like?

Jim Andrews (00:26:25) - Yeah, definitely no calling. But the the way that we've set up our platform is of course, you can directly access precedent through our website to submit, depending on the use case, right. Whether it's the police report to set up the claim or the letter of rep to get the limits or the demand. But we're also actively working with a number of case management systems because the long term vision for the company and it will take time to get there is I'm in my case management system, I shoot a request out. It goes through the precedent platform, direct integration into one of the various claims systems on the other side. And some of those claim systems, for better or worse, are home built by the insurance carrier. So obviously that's a custom integration situation.

Jim Andrews (00:27:10) - The ultimately where we would like to be and will be is something that you never really access our platform to do. It exists, as you know, a module or an object in your case management system and similarly on on the carrier side. But as it relates to and I don't know if you were going to ask this later, but negotiation. So that's really where we're headed as far as what is the future roadmap look like. And we have actually already had in sort of a beta environment, a plaintiff's firm and insurance carrier come together and they both were in the, you know, blindly submitted here's 20 cases we would each like to resolve. One of the most interesting things about that was they had overlap on 12 of them. So both parties, without having any knowledge of the other side, both said, hey, I'd really like to resolve these same, same 12 claims from there where we have mutual agreement on, let's try to resolve these things. They are in our platform, you know, making their offers, answering questions, getting through that process of negotiation.

Jim Andrews (00:28:19) - Now, did it work 100% of the time? No. Right. Sometimes they had to get on the phone or they just said, hey, it's not going to resolve here. This case is going to continue down a different path. But we did have, you know, a number, a majority that did resolve through our platform, which obviously was very exciting for us. But we're we're focused now because we really see ourselves as everything from setting up a claim to the eventual, potentially distribution of the settlement money of that payment, that our capability enables that entire process. But we're starting at the beginning claim setup limits, disclosure, demand quality, review and delivery.

Becca Eberhart (00:29:03) - Perfect. Okay, last two questions. So how do you guys help reduce the claim settlement cost? I'm wondering we've touched on this. Is it just kind of this taking the time and making it take less time, or is there more to it?

Jim Andrews (00:29:19) - Yeah. As far as the actual cost that's associated with essentially administering a case or administering a claim, right.

Jim Andrews (00:29:28) - It's if you start to add up, I had to set up the claim that took an hour on the phone before I even got to talk to an adjuster. But let's just say it was an hour. And then after that, I'm calling back to determine what are the policy limits. Is there coverage? Do they accept liability? Well, that could be another hour. Actually, it's going to be 6 to 8 phone calls. But let's just say now we're at two hours. Now you've got your demand. You send it in, you make another series of phone calls. Did you receive it? Who's the adjuster? By the time the adjuster gets it again, this five bills are missing. Where are they? They're calling back. Right. So in every step of this process, there's, you know, an hour plus of time that's spent again, doing low value, low skill tasks that could be accomplished through technology. So, so in that totality, let's just say it's five hours per case at a minimum.

Jim Andrews (00:30:31) - And you're processing 100 cases per month. That's 500 hours a month. That's 12 ish full time equivalents. No, sorry. My math bad there. That's three full time equivalents. So that, you know, think about what that that cost associated compared to what you're getting from it. But you have to do those steps right. So you need to do them. Well, if I could do them not just at a more cost efficient price, but also get get the information I want more quickly, it's ultimately going to result in lower expenses and absolutely faster resolution.

Becca Eberhart (00:31:12) - Okay, before we wrap up, is there anything else that you would like to share about president about anything that's coming up in the future?

Jim Andrews (00:31:21) - Well, yeah, we're we're obviously I think there's that's a loaded question. Right. Because I could talk about exciting product updates or, you know, be sure to, you know, email me or do that. My cell phone okay. Oh, perfect. What what I'll say is that we're obviously very passionate and excited about what we're working on.

Jim Andrews (00:31:38) - We've really enjoyed the opportunity to kind of understand both perspectives in this situation and continue to work as a third party to bring everything forward, and you're going to be seeing a lot more of us this year. We just did our first exhibiting conference last week at mass. Torts made perfect, obviously not our target demographic, but there are single event attorneys there, so that was a very fun event. And then we'll be at Palma, will be at Ala. We'll be at a lot of conferences the rest of this year, and just certainly would love to hear from firms both, of course, about their interest in potentially using our products, but also feedback on other opportunities to to help them make their practices better and again, ultimately help these injured parties get to their resolution more quickly.

Becca Eberhart (00:32:29) - Absolutely. Okay. So if our listeners do want to reach out to you, though, I mean, how should they do that? Is this your website and email, a phone number? You know.

Jim Andrews (00:32:36) - I'll just throw my email out there and I'll, I'll take the spam backlash for it.

Jim Andrews (00:32:41) - So I got a nice, easy name, Jim Andrews at President Comm. And hopefully your audience is all familiar with how to spell precedent, just like the legal term, because, you know, we're setting new standards over here too at precedent. So awesome.

Becca Eberhart (00:32:56) - And we'll link in the show notes as well.

Jim Andrews (00:32:59) - Awesome.

Becca Eberhart (00:33:00) - All right, Jim, thank you so much for joining me today.

Jim Andrews (00:33:04) - Thank you so much, Becca. This was great. I look forward to having a chance to to meet some of your listeners and maybe join the podcast again in the future. And we'll do a how I built this style success. maximum lawyer.

Becca Eberhart (00:33:15) - Yes, absolutely.

Speaker 1 (00:33:18) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. To stay in contact with your host 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 lawyer who is looking for a new way to improve your marketing capabilities? In this engaging episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, Jim and Tyson delve into the world of digital marketing with expert Julie Chanel where they discuss success in building sales funnels.

Julie shares the concept of a sales funnel and how it can be used for marketing a business. A sales funnel is simply a website that usually comes out of social media and calls for a consumer to take action. As it relates to the legal field, lawyers can use funnels such as a Google Ad to get potential clients to think about making that call. Funnels are so important for lawyers because people are not getting a lawyer until they are in crisis, so you need to be top of mind at all times.

Julie provides examples of the different types of funnels lawyers can use to reel in clients. One funnel includes those that are helpful to a potential client. This could be an ad targeting a generic legal matter that a lot of people may encounter in their lifetime. Retargeting funnels exist on social media platforms as reminders after someone has visited your website. It is a way to stay in a potential client’s mind in case a time comes where they need your help.

Take a listen to learn more about integrating sales funnels in your practice!

Jim's Hack: Talk to people who are not lawyers about business development. It provides different perspectives on how they do business and learn different skills.

Julie’s Tip: Send things like landing pages and follow up emails to 5 people who work in different industries. This will allow you to get feedback on how your work is interpreted.

Tyson's Tip: Make a note when you speak to a client that involves a personal or positive event so that when you speak to the client again, it can be brought up as a conversation starter. It is a great way for the client to feel seen and heard.

Episode Highlights:

  • 6:49 The concept of sales funnels 
  • 9:52 The significance of the top and bottom of the funnel
  • 15:51 Exploring the potential use of funnels for injury attorneys 
  • 22:15 Insights into the marketing techniques used by non-lawyers

Connect with Julie:

Resources:

Transcripts: Unleashing the Power of Funnel Marketing with Julie Chenell

Jim (00:00.89)
Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:05.166)
I'm Tyson Mutrix. Man, that's got a lot of enthusiasm. What's up, Jimmy?

Jim (00:10.01)
How you doing, man? It's our one guest recording of the day, so I'm excited.

Tyson (00:14.608)
Yeah, I am too. I'm a little surprised. We normally have a whole host of people that we're interviewing, but luckily we've got Julie on today. And I want to make sure I'm saying this right, Julie. Julie Chanel, is that how you say it? All right.

Julie Chenell (00:27.723)
Yeah, correct.

Tyson (00:28.495)
Very good, I got the good nod, so very good. So let me introduce our guest today. Julie is a digital marketing expert and coach currently making her mark on the internet as the co -founder of several popular online business brands such as Create Your Laptop Life, Funnel, Gorgeous, Digital Insiders, and more. Julie has inspired and equipped thousands of up -and -coming business owners with the skills and strategies they need to create, build, and grow profitable online businesses.

She's done over 10 million in sales in the last five years and teaches people how to not just make money, but keep it. Julie, welcome to the show.

Julie Chenell (01:09.675)
Thanks so much for having me. I'm happy to be here.

Jim (01:12.314)
For everybody listening just on audio, you can't see it, but Julie's got some pretty sweet neon behind her and one of them looks like funnel gorgeous. So let's talk about what it is that you do, Julie. How did you stumble into all this and tell us a little bit about how you ended up here today.

Julie Chenell (01:28.971)
Yeah. So I, everything that I did was kind of by accident. And I think that's a lot more common than people realize. I was a stay at home mom of three small children. I was trying to make a little extra cash. I thought that writing was going to be my, you know, my entry way and it worked fine for a while. I am asked this like little audience on a blog. It was all good until it wasn't until I had to get divorced and all of a sudden my little side hustle of writing.

wasn't gonna make enough money. And so I was really good at WordPress at the time. I was like, well, the tech is kind of cool. Maybe I'll become a web designer. Became a web designer, started to make more money, realized that sales funnels, which were this like weird type of website everybody was talking about, were actually commanding a higher price than websites. And this was good for me because I had to support four children. And so I started to learn everything I could about sales funnels. And I got some clients and I made,

people lots of money, enough money that people were like, huh, you're pretty good at this. And I thought, okay, cool. So I became a sales funnel agency. I was like, I'll try that. And then at one point I remember thinking, I don't understand the logic here, Julie. You're charging someone $25 ,000 to build them a sales funnel. They're making a million. Maybe you should just build a sales funnel for yourself. And so I did that. I went on, I made a million dollars, all the awards and the shiny objects and.

Then I became an educator and I started to teach people all the things that I had learned about funnels. And I partnered up with a woman, Kathy Olson in 2018. She was a fine arts designer. She'd worked for big brands like Disney. She brought her design skills. I brought my marketing skills. We came together and we launched Funnel Gorgeous in 2018. And in 2020, we added software. So we teach bootstrapping business owners who are heart led ethical marketers.

who have a female audience, even if you're not a female business owner, we teach you how to market to them effectively through sales funnels.

Tyson (03:34.579)
So I want to take this in a direction that you may not want to talk about, but…

I want to talk about that period in your life where you were going through the divorce and I wonder how that shaped your perspective on running the business because there are times in a law firm owner's life or a business owner's life where a big event happens and you have to adjust, you have to reset. So I do wonder like how that might have, that time of your, that period in your life might have allowed you to either reset or readjust and how that's shaped the way you

you've run businesses going forward.

Julie Chenell (04:12.587)
Yeah, there's nothing like a fire to see what you're made of, you know, when you're backed into a corner. So the conditions of my divorce were actually pretty like a little bit like a Jerry Springer episode, uh, because I, I filed for divorce and found myself pregnant basically at the same time. So there was just tremendous stress on me and I wasn't interested in taking child support or alimony because I knew that, you know, we were kind of broke at the time. Like what good was it for me to take all my

you know, husband's money and then have him be broke and then our kids not be okay. So I said to him, listen, if you can handle the bills, I'm not going to ask for child support and alimony. Just, I need a little time. So he actually stayed with the kids. I got an apartment. I worked full time, nine to five pregnant to get health insurance. I came home, I'd take a nap and then I'd start work at 5pm on my web design business and I'd work till about 11 or 12 at night.

and I made enough money to save up for my maternity leave. I was making four or $5 ,000 a month. It wasn't quite enough to quit, but it was close. I basically worked two full -time jobs for nine months. I had the baby, and I never, actually, I did go back to work for about six weeks, and in those six weeks, it was the first time I made 10K in my web design business, and I was like, all right, I'm quitting. My baby was like six to eight weeks old. I quit.

and I went on my web design. It took me another probably six to nine months before I had enough money to get a house where I could like have my kids, you know, full time. I counted the days. It took me 547 days from the day that I left the stay at home mom lifestyle to becoming a six figure business owner and able to get my kids back. And I tell everybody I didn't have a choice. I had a new baby. I had three kids that I miss dearly.

I had to make it work and so I did. And that's really the pressure cooker that I was in for those two years.

Jim (06:19.258)
That is awesome. 547. I think if I were you, I'd get that tattooed on my ankle. Um, but that's great. Um, let's talk about funnels. So some people listening to this podcast will be well aware of what a funnel is. Um, what can you tell people who don't necessarily know what a funnel is? And then for those that do maybe a mistake or two that people have when they think about a funnel.

Julie Chenell (06:45.291)
Yeah. Okay. A funnel is really just a website. Nobody will want to admit that, but that's really what it is. It's just a special type of website. So your general website is like a brochure. I go to your website, there's all these choices and options and you're putting your best foot forward. A sales funnel is a website, but it's designed to have you take one action. And usually funnels, people don't search for funnels, right? People search for Google for websites and then they find your website.

But funnels are usually websites that are coming off of social media. So I'm on Facebook, I'm on LinkedIn, Twitter, wherever I am. I am not actually looking for you, but I am interrupted by some piece of content, whether it's organic content or paid content. And you've got my attention. I don't have much time, right? Just like someone who's searching, they're looking for you. They're like committed to solving their problem. Someone on Facebook is just trying to be entertained. But if I catch your attention, I got

five seconds, eight seconds, if I'm lucky, to pull you in. So the funnel is designed to be distraction free. It's designed to come off of some sort of paid media or organic media that's gonna pull them in to take an action that hopefully then you can follow up with them later. I think the biggest mistake people make about funnels is that they forget where their customer is at the moment they are seeing that funnel for the first time. This is the number one problem. If you are a law firm,

and you are trying to get people and you are using Google, right? You're using Google ads. They're actively searching for you. So they're going to probably be a little bit more of a hot, hot lead. They're going to be maybe committed. They might be in crisis, but here is the funny thing. Let's say I'm searching for a divorce lawyer. Well, we'll keep it, keep it on brand, right? I'm searching for a divorce lawyer. I find, you know, Google my business or I find a Google ad or whatever. I click on your website, but for whatever reason, your website,

is lame or stale, or maybe I'm not sure if I'm actually gonna get divorced, I'm gonna pop off. But then, an hour or two or three later, now I'm on Facebook, I'm not looking for you, but all of a sudden you show up in my feed as an ad and you're telling me, hey, should you stay or should you go? 10 things to consider before you pull the trigger on getting a divorce. Well, I'm gonna click on that, right? Because that's kind of in my head and that's more like edutainment and I'm gonna put my email address in, I'm gonna get that.

Julie Chenell (09:11.051)
And then I'm gonna remember, hey, those guys are the guys that told me blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. At that point, I may go back to that website and I might finally book that call. That is the signature difference between funnels and websites and people get it wrong all the time.

Tyson (09:25.176)
That's a really great example because I'm sure a lot of people are thinking, well, how am I going to make this work for my firm? And I think that that's really good. So, and I don't know if there's a right answer to this or not. I just, I'm curious. And Jim is very familiar with funnels because he's got an Instagram problem now where he buys things from Instagram funnels. But the, what would you say is the most important part?

like the top of the funnel or the bottom of the funnel? Because to me, it seems like it'd be the top because you've got to get their attention and get them to click. But I'm sure that there's probably something I'm overlooking. So I'm just curious about that.

Julie Chenell (10:04.427)
Oh my gosh, it's hard to say what's more important. I mean, I would say that if you don't get your top of funnel right, you're not gonna have any other problems to solve, right? Because there's no, nobody's gonna be paying attention. And top of funnel is about attention. Whether it's search attention or interruption attention, either way, outbound, inbound, you need to get people's attention. But again, it's like throwing a bunch of chum in the water off the back of your boat.

you got 700 fish, great, but you don't have a net, it's waste. It's wasted attention. And so the bottom of the funnel is that net. It's that, you know, making sure that once you get that attention and people are paying attention, you're not losing them because your bottom of the funnel isn't working correctly. So, you know, they're both important. It's like asking what's more important in football, offense or defense. You know, I don't, I don't know.

Jim (11:01.082)
So Tyson's right, I have had a little bit of a problem with Instagram funnels lately, but when it comes to lawyers, a lot of lawyers don't necessarily think of themselves as selling anything. They don't even think of themselves as, you know, I mean, everyone knows they're competing in the marketplace, but what are some steps that people can take towards developing their first funnel?

Julie Chenell (11:25.995)
Well, so with lawyers specifically, we have to think about how people buy your services. And I've employed a lot of lawyers in the past couple of years, I'm gonna have to say. So lawyers are the types of service where I am not gonna buy from you until I'm in crisis. And then whoever comes to mind first is gonna be who I choose, usually. I mean,

Some people shop around for lawyers, but if people are really in crisis, they're usually like whoever they get recommended to, whoever the family says, oh, use this guy, whoever is top of mind, right? So you have to stay top of mind, and that is your biggest thing. So I would say the best funnels for you are funnels that will be helpful to potential people, even if they're not gonna be your customer yet.

The other type of funnel that's really helpful is a retargeting. So people who have gone to your website already for some reason, you know, uncle Joe sent you over and they went to your website. Once they're on Facebook, they should be seeing you in their feed as a reminder. Um, and those are usually retargeting funnels are usually like book of call funnels, application funnels, things like that. Um, the top of funnel, more top of mind stuff would be more of that edutainment where you're actually,

trying to be helpful to the community, helpful to the people around you, whether they use your services or not.

Tyson (13:00.664)
So what are you finding that are the most effective lead magnets these days? Because I know that, I mean, at one point it was e -books and another point it was white papers and there was video newsletters and there was just a whole host of different things. What are you finding these days, what are the most effective things? Because you mentioned that the 10 things or whatever it was for the family law, family attorney or whatever, but are there other options these days that are more effective?

Julie Chenell (13:29.739)
You know, I still, I talk about like quality of lead magnets, because I think everybody should have multiple. You know, you got lower quality lead magnets like quizzes. People will fill them out all the time, but sometimes they're low quality leads. Then you have the things you're talking about, white papers, eBooks, PDF guides, you know, those kinds of things. Those tend to be a little bit less expensive with paid media. Sometimes they're, you know, sometimes they're good quality, sometimes they're not. And then you have a higher commitment lead magnets. These are things like free workshops.

free challenges, free webinars. They require a level of commitment from your customer. They have to sit and watch you. I really like free workshops and paid workshops for expert -based businesses because it gives people a chance to get to know you and to learn something valuable. It gives you a chance to make a little bit of money and then you become sort of that pillar, that like thought leader that they remember later when they're in crisis and when they need you.

Tyson (14:34.347)
You're a mute, Jimbo.

Jim (14:38.106)
They call it a funnel because it narrows as it goes down. And I'm wondering, I have two questions about a funnel. So when people get in sort of that middle range where they've been educated about the service that we provide, they've talked to us, but they haven't pulled the trigger yet. What advice do you have for those leads? And then what do you have other off ramps in the funnel? Like, what do you want us to do? Or what would you suggest we do for the people that don't end up buying?

Julie Chenell (15:04.939)
Yeah, so in our software, so FG Funnels is our marketing automation software and the top of funnel, you know, ends up being something like an application and book a call. And you've got points of friction along the funnel where people are going to fall off, right? You've got hit the page and apply or not. Once they apply, book a call or not. Once they book a call, show up or not. Once they show up, buy or not, right? And so every point of friction, you need to understand the options.

or the off ramps that could be taken and create guardrails. And that's usually text messaging, phone, DMs, things like that.

Tyson (15:48.112)
So I wonder what your advice would be to an injury lawyer. So I'm an injury attorney and to a certain extent, there's some things where you can drive traffic. For example, estate planning. So I could drive traffic. I could create some sort of sense of urgency through advertising. I could even make the argument that you can do that with a divorce too, where it's something that's been on your mind a little bit. Let's kind of push a little bit on that button. This is a bit of an example.

excuse for an injury attorney, but it's also, it's got the dose of reality in it too, is I can't make you get into a car crash, right? And there's also, there's the immediacy of, it's important that you get an attorney very quickly, because if you don't, you can really, there's a lot of things you can do to screw up your case. So I wonder if, with funnels, like what are some, I wonder if you've experienced this before, where there's a way of using these effectively for an injury attorney, even though you can't drive traffic, you can, you can't,

can use it in some other manner. So I just wonder what your thoughts are on that because I've always thought it'd be a great thing to do. Like there's certain events where we could certainly use funnels. Where we'll run ad words far more whenever it snows or there's ice or some sort of inclement weather. Like those are opportunities for us to run more ads but if it's like nice outside we probably won't. So any thoughts on that?

Julie Chenell (17:13.995)
Yeah, I mean, to this day, I remember the commercials and the billboards for like Hammond, I think was his name, like around here for an injury attorney. Like, why do I know that? I know that just because of just the incessant commercials. The same with like Bob's Discount Furniture, you know, they were like terrible commercials, but like, I know who Bob is and I know where to go if I need discount furniture. This is like top of mind marketing that…

you know, yes, you can create demand for something with certain types of, of marketing estate planning. For example, you can, you know, with edutainment, try to get people to think about something that maybe they hadn't thought of, but you're right with injury attorneys and stuff like that. You can't, you know, you're either injured or you're not, but it's really a volume game of like, how top of mind are you? So that when that does happen, either you or the person that's friends with you is like, Oh, you should call that guy.

And that is really, that's really content driven. I mean, that's really all it is. I don't know that it's as much about the funnel as much as it is about the content that you're putting out so that when they end up going to your website, right, they think of you, they're like, oh, who's that guy? And they Google, they get to your website. They may or may not book a call in that moment, but once they land on your website, you.

sure as heck better have an application funnel retargeted to them in Facebook or Instagram when they're searching.

Jim (18:43.642)
Let's talk about your process and sort of how it goes to work with you. Let's just pick somebody. Let's say a, uh, what city are you in?

Julie Chenell (18:52.555)
So I'm right outside of New Haven, Connecticut.

Jim (18:55.706)
So New Haven, Connecticut, so let's say there's a divorce lawyer who's just starting out and wants to get more clients, because that's what everybody says. I want more leads. I want more clients. You're sitting down with them, walk us through what it would be like to work with you.

Julie Chenell (19:15.243)
Yeah, so it's funny because I primarily teach people copywriting and messaging. Yes, I can teach them design, I can teach them tech, automations, I can talk about ads, but my actual college background is in clinical psychology. So I am fascinated with human behavior, what they think, how they feel. And so what I'm gonna do with someone is I am going to really help them start to develop voice of customer, which is the…

If you can show up in their feed, paid or organically, and you can talk in a way that they're like, holy crap, that person just got inside my head, you will not easily be forgotten. And so I probably would focus on their website and looking at their website, is the voice of customer on their website, positioning around all of their social media, their entire digital real estate, what does it look like? I would probably help them set up a bunch of free lead magnet type funnels.

with good follow -up and just kind of see what their sales pipeline looks like as far as that email, especially that copy and that messaging, because depending on the type of lawyer you are, I mean, most of the time you guys are dealing with people who are in some sort of pain or trouble. And so being able to break through the stereotype of being a slimy lawyer or being a shark or what have you, I'm gonna really help someone with that voice of customer and copy is how you're gonna do it.

Tyson (20:43.611)
I love it. That's good stuff. All right, Julie, so we're getting close on time, so I think we better wind things down. I would love to ask you a bunch of questions about this. If people want to reach out to you and work with you, what's the best way for them to get ahold of you?

Julie Chenell (20:59.563)
Yeah. So you can go to my website, juliechennell .com. That's where all, all my stuff is. So it's C H E N E L L one N two L's.

Tyson (21:08.954)
Very good, excellent stuff. So we are gonna start to wind things down before I do, before we get to our tips and our hacks of the week. I wanna remind everyone to join us in the big Facebook group where we should have a lot of people be, they're very generous with their time and their answers and they're sharing a lot of information every single day. So join us there. If you wanna join us in the guild, which is our paid membership, go to maxlawguild .com. We'd love to have you there. We've got four events a year at least.

where.

We have masterminds and we put on other sort of classes and seminars which are a lot of fun. We had our second Zap -a -thon last year and we've done a workshop on videos that Jim put on which was fantastic. We've done one on automation which was a lot of fun too. We'd love to have you so join us at MaxLawGuild .com and while you're listening to the rest of this episode, if you don't mind leaving us a five star review, we would love it. It helps us spread the love to other attorneys. So if you got something from this episode or any of the other episodes,

episodes we'd love to hear from you. Jimbo, what's your hack of the week?

Jim (22:14.97)
I have reached a stage in life where my son is old enough to be starting his own business. And so just like I spend time each week talking to law firm owners, I've now set up, we have a weekly meeting where we just talk business. We talk with his mother about life on Sundays and now on Thursdays, it was actually right before we recorded this episode. So actually one of my questions for Julie was a question he had asked me. But in any event, the hack of the week is,

Talk to people about business development who are not lawyers. Talk to whoever you have. If you have a son or daughter that you could talk to, that's really great. We're having a good time talking together. But just talking to him about his business and his business is filming houses for realtors that are getting ready to sell a piece of property. But he's setting up his funnel. He's talking about MailChimp and email sequences. I'm so proud of him. It's really fun, but…

It's so enlightening to talk to someone outside the industry because you realize it's all the same. It's all the same. We think we're special. We think we're different because we're lawyers and we're above all that. But really we're not and we've got to learn all the same skills and all the same.

Julie Chenell (23:24.907)
We were left on a cliffhanger there.

Jim (23:27.258)
Oh, I probably locked up. We're all having to overcome the same issues and we're all having to learn. So when you talk to someone in another industry, it really helps enlighten you as to the issues that you face yourself.

Tyson (23:45.372)
Yeah, and you know what? The other thing you'll learn too is that non -lawyers or non -people that don't have a license, they've got it's a lot more difficult to sell. So you can learn a lot of easy things. Like whenever you need a lawyer, you usually need a lawyer. Like there's no way in hell you should ever do a divorce without a lawyer, right? Like there's certain things you should never do. I would say you should never handle an injury case without a lawyer, but there are people that do and they get…

They get scalped by the insurance companies. You should never handle your own immigration. There are certain things like you should never go to criminal court and handle your case on your own. They don't have that requirement in other industries. It's like, yeah, I could use you, I could not use you kind of a thing. So we have a huge advantage. You can learn a lot of techniques from non -lawyers because it's just more difficult. So they've got to be a lot more clever with their marketing. So I think that's good advice, Jimbo. All right, Julie.

ask our guests to give a tip or a hack. It could be a book, it could be a podcast, quote, you name it. What do you have for us?

Julie Chenell (24:53.259)
Man, so one thing that I will say, I'm gonna stick with copy, just because we've been talking about marketing and funnels. So I would recommend, and similar to what Jim said about going outside your industry, what happens with experts is that we get cursed with technobabble, and we forget that we're talking like an expert and we're not talking like a beginner. So when you have some good copy, follow -up emails, landing pages, whatever it is,

send it to five people and maybe one lawyer and the other four should not be in law whatsoever. You know, a marketer like me, a potential customer or two and get feedback on how do you interpret this? Because we often think we know what's going on inside the head of our customers or our leads when they're reading our copy. And we are oftentimes clueless. I never fail to be surprised whenever I'm doing a launch. I'm like, I know what the objections are. I know I,

No, I know. And then I go and I ask and I'm like, oh yeah, I didn't think of that. Oh no, I didn't think of that. I didn't think of that. So it's just kind of getting in the weeds with those people and like getting that feedback really, really makes you a stronger marketer.

Tyson (26:07.458)
That's fantastic advice. I'm going to start doing that. That's really good. I never thought about that. So awesome. So for me, my tip is this, and this is something, it's really interesting what happens organically inside the firm. And at our quarterly meeting, we always share things that are working, things that are going well, how we can improve. And one of the things that the people had started organically doing that I didn't realize is every time they speak to a client, they would put a little bitty note,

about what's going on in their life at that time. So, you know, maybe they're their kid as some sporting event or something like that. And the reason why they do it is every time you talk to the client the next time you pull up the previous note and you say, hey, well, how'd that sporting event go where your, you know, your son was in that soccer tournament. And it's really, it's like, I was like, man, what a brilliant idea. So it's something that we like everyone has started doing where every time you talk to a client, you pick up one or two things that's going on, you put it at the bottom of the

note and that way everyone can tie those all those conversations together kind of loop like that looping technique and so it just the clients feel heard they feel remembered and so it's a little tidbit that I want to pass on their bikes that I think it's fantastic I didn't come up with the idea I would love to claim it but I didn't but it's something just came up organically really cool all right well Julie thank you so much for come on really appreciate it love talking funnels so it's been a lot of fun and we really appreciate and hopefully people will reach out if they need something.

Julie Chenell (27:36.203)
Awesome, thank you so much for having me.

Jim (27:38.106)
Thanks for your time, Julie.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

Do you struggle with keeping realistic expectations? In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, Tyson and Jim share their insights on unbridled optimism and how it relates to the field of law.

Unbridled optimism involves the idea of being overly optimistic and not focusing on the right things. Jim and Tyson share the reasons why people tend to act this way. For some, it is done to avoid having negative conversations. Being optimistic turns your mind away from potential downfall or feelings of heartache. As it relates to the legal field, it is important to see a problem and figure out how to address it. For Jim and Tyson, it could be seeing a dip in email signups, thinking about why it happened and finding ways to solve the problem.

Jim and Tyson share the importance of accurate thinking. Things are not always going to go your way and decisions you think are good will not deliver perfect results every time. Accurate thinking involves being realistic about the outcomes of situations. Setting benchmarks can help create action. If something does not go according to plan, set a benchmark or action that will lead to another result.

Listen in to learn more!

Episode Highlights:

  • 1:35 Let's talk about the negative impact of unbridled optimism
  • 11:18 Explanation of the Stockdale Paradox
  • 13:04 Importance of accurate thinking and setting benchmarks

Resources:

Transcripts: Is Unbridled Optimism Holding You Back? Exploring the Downside with Jim Hacking and Tyson Mutrux

Jim (00:01.492)
Good morning everybody. Happy Saturday. Just so you know, Tyson and I are actually recording an episode for today's Saturday session. Tyson, how are you doing?

Tyson (00:10.498)
I am doing all right, brother. How you doing?

Jim (00:13.86)
Your eyes look cool, I don't know if it's the light or what, but you look like, uh, I don't know, you look pretty cool.

Tyson (00:19.822)
Look at my blue eyes, baby. It's just one of those blue eyed days. It's funny, have I ever told you that one of my eyes is green and one of it's blue? One of them's blue. If you look really close, I don't know if you…

Jim (00:29.152)
Mm. Yeah, I can see the right one's green and the left one's blue. Yeah, that is.

Tyson (00:34.798)
Crazy, right?

Tyson (00:38.402)
But uh…

Jim (00:38.98)
All right, so let's start the episode and then we can talk.

Tyson (00:42.055)
Okay, cool.

Jim (00:44.416)
Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:47.898)
And I'm Tyson Mutrix. What's up Jimbo?

Jim (00:51.692)
Well, we haven't recorded an episode with you in the car for a while. Luckily, you're not driving. You did pull over because you're on your way to court. Um, I guess you're going to get dressed when you get to court. Is that the deal?

Tyson (01:02.098)
Yeah, I don't like to wear it, like I don't like to drive in my suit. So I know that seems a little nutty, but I just don't like, I don't like the wrinkles it causes, it's not comfortable. So yeah, I change when I get there.

Jim (01:16.536)
We could probably do a whole episode on that because like, I like to dress up with everything but the tie. So I fold my tie into my jacket. I don't wear my jacket in the car. And then I just like to do my tie with my reflection in the mirror or the reflection of the window of the car out in the parking lot, which sometimes is weird because then clients come up to you while you're still getting dressed.

Tyson (01:35.314)
Yeah, I've definitely had that. I've been with Mark Hammer before and he's like doing the tie in the elevator, you know. He's a he's a magician with those ties.

Jim (01:46.477)
That's funny. Well, I'm excited about our topic today. Do you want me to introduce it for everyone listening?

Tyson (01:51.85)
Yeah, you've got an interesting one. I'm interested in this, so fire away.

Jim (01:58.752)
All right, so, you know, we've both read Carol Dweck's book, Mindset, and in that book, she talks a lot about an open mindset and a closed mindset. And I think that is a good way of thinking about, you know, how you frame things, how you look at struggle, how you look at trying to overcome things. I think that's good, but I also think a lot of people view the world as an optimist or a pessimist. And I wanted to talk today about

the downside of unbridled optimism. In other words, when you're always thinking that right around the corner, something good is gonna happen, that even though there's objective proof in front of your eyes, that things may not be so great, you sort of disregard that because you're just so confident of your cause. And what brought this sort of to mind was, a friend of ours,

has decided to close their law firm. And it's someone that we were close to that we're very fond of, and I think frankly we didn't realize that things were as dire as they were. And so this isn't at all particular about that person, but it just triggered this idea and recollections for me about times in my life as a law firm owner where I've been overly optimistic, and maybe, and this is again just me, not focused on the right things.

Tyson (03:23.83)
Yeah, this came up the other day when we were talking and then it made me think about the book Man's Search for Meaning, which was that he talked a lot about that in his book where the people that the optimists were the ones that died the fastest because in the concentration camps, yes, thanks for that. I think that context is important. So the people, not in general, the people that were in the concentration camps, they died the…

Jim (03:42.898)
in the concentration camps.

Tyson (03:51.958)
the fastest the optimist did because it wasn't realistic. And so every time, basically we're gonna be saved tomorrow, we're gonna be saved tomorrow. And then every time that it happened, it was very demoralizing. And so you have to be really grounded. And I, yeah, and to not make this about that particular person, I do think that we do that sometimes. You know what I mean? Like we…

It's a natural thing and it may not just be your law firm. I think in general and The other part of this too is like sometimes we might be eternal optimists in some parts of our lives But not others, which I think that that's an interesting thing too where You might tell yourself that your kids are they're gonna win this game, right? They're really gonna win this game or they're gonna win this tournament and the reality is there's they have no chance There's just no chance

And I do, it's funny how you kind of have gravitated to that book and I've gravitated to Man's Search for Meaning because it is, the negative effects of being this eternal optimist which sounds like a very positive thing, there's really negative effects to

Jim (05:06.308)
Well, it's funny that you brought up sports because, um, you know, I coached my boys baseball all through grade school up until eighth grade. And in seventh or eighth grade, I was coaching the wizards and I was still letting everybody play equal amounts of time, even though the team really wanted to win. And after a very demoralizing defeat and after, and I'll never forget it. I was laying in bed next to money and she, she slammed her arms on the mattress and said, okay, I'm just going to say it. I'm like, what, what? She's like,

you can't have everybody play equal. You need to try to win. And it was just like a bucket of cold water on me. And she said, you know, we're past that stage where everybody gets to play. And so I bring that up because sometimes I don't see that. I look at other things, I try to keep people happy. And a lot of times…

If you're being overly optimistic, it's a way sort of to avoid tough conversations. You might be thinking some team member is going to turn the corner, or you might be thinking that you're going to sign up a new kind of case or, you know, that all these great cases are going to come in all of a sudden. I mean, I would imagine that would be particularly hard for personal injury guys, just because the, if you just find that one case, it can make your whole year. So that, that would really lend itself to unbridled optimism. That next case is just coming around the corner. I know it.

Tyson (06:30.838)
Yeah, I was talking, I don't know who said this to me. I wish I remember who told me this, but they were like, I'm fine with singles and doubles. And I was like, I remember when they first said it, I was like, what are you talking about? But I actually think that that's actually a really good way of looking at cases, is singles and doubles are okay. Singles and doubles win games. Because if you are, as PI lawyers, we see the big hits, you know what I mean? Like, we see them, oh great, you have a really great verdict, fantastic.

but

It's really easy to get caught up in that. Yeah, that next case is right around the corner, but it's just not realistic. But with it, here's where I think it's a massive problem is marketing because people say, oh, well, it'll turn around. It'll turn around. We'll start getting cases again. And instead of looking at dissecting what's going on, they instead just say, oh, it's going to be okay. It's just going to be fine. We're going to get another case. So something that we have…

I'm guilty of that in the past, but something that I'm really cool. I'm happy with what we're doing is like we We've got a really fine tune where if we start we see a dip. Okay, let's start looking Let's start to see what's going on. Maybe maybe it's an algorithm thing Maybe it's who knows it could be a bunch of different things But we start tweaking things if we need to and I think that's really we've got to be dialed in every aspect of our lives Where you tweak you tweak you tweak you tweak?

Obsessing you don't have that where I do I do think that the power of saying Everything's gonna be fine is very powerful in a lot of different things and that's it's powerful whenever it's Not overreacting to something but it's very it's not effective Whenever you try to figure out where all your leads went, you know what I mean? So you got it. You got to use that in the in the appropriate way

Jim (08:29.892)
I think that's right. And I think that where this really comes down to is balance. Like what's the middle path? Like let's not go too far to either extreme, be totally optimistic or pessimistic. I do think that I wanna make clear that there are places for optimism. I mean, I think starting your day and looking at the things you're grateful for, and I think focusing on the wins, I think all that stuff is very good and very powerful.

I'm talking about, and we are talking about, sort of this blind optimism, a blind optimism that's just not even based in reality. And I do think for a lot of people, me included, there were times when I was stressed out, the firm was not doing well, and that made my optimism even more, like it kicked it into gear more. And I think it's just an avoidance strategy of, like you said, really assessing where you're really at.

Tyson (09:20.222)
Yeah, so there's something, there's this video I kind of used to, the reason I'm bringing it up is I think it could be misapplied. There's this video though that I use whenever things are tough, I'll watch it, and it's this guy talking about how, and I've mentioned it on the podcast before, but he's talking about how we want to do hard things, like we don't want to do easy things. And like…

We don't want to like he mentions payroll He's like, you know, like whenever I have like a hundred thousand a month payroll and he's like, you know what? Ten years ago. I would have dreamed to have ten hundred thousand dollars a month in payroll that kind of a that kind of a thing and I

I will use that sometimes to kind of pump me up, to keep me going, everything's tough, but I, it's, if you misapply that, if you say, okay, things are really, really tough, and you're, the freight train's about to run you over.

That's not going to be very good. You know, like, so you have to be very, because we will use these techniques and we'll use these videos. We'll use these sayings. And without stepping back and thinking, okay, am I in a lot of trouble here? Is this not what I think it is? And I think that maybe the key is the step back. You know what I mean? I'm all about optimism and everything, but it's that step back.

and take a look at things. If you can just do that, it'll help you go a long way to say, okay, am I being realistic here? Let's just stop for a second. We can be optimistic about this, but am I being realistic?

Jim (11:03.072)
What's the first presidential election that you remember?

Tyson (11:07.29)
Bush v. Gore. Well, no, the first one I remember, I remember going into the voting booth with my mom and it was Bush v. I'm sorry, it was either Bush v. Clinton. It had to be Bush v. Clinton, I think, is what it would have been.

Jim (11:23.044)
Well that's the election I want to bring up actually because it wasn't just Bush v. Clinton, it was Bush v. Clinton v. Perot. And Ross Perot had a running mate named James Stockdale, Admiral Stockdale. Admiral Stockdale had been in the Hanoi Hilton with John McCain and there's a quote attributed to him which is now referred to as the Stockdale Paradox. And I'm going to read it to you. It's from Good to Great. It's in Good to Great. I don't know if you remember. The Stockdale Paradox.

Tyson (11:29.966)
True, yes.

Jim (11:52.148)
is a concept along with its companion concept, confront the brutal facts. Developed in the book Good to Great, productive change begins when you confront the brutal facts. Every Good to Great company embraced what we came to call the Stockdale paradox. Here it is. You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties and at the same time, have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.

Tyson (12:20.83)
I mean that's perfect. I mean that's what we're saying right? I mean that is that's Now Let me ask you this. What is your advice to people you're in the hustle and bustle of the day You're getting I mean you're getting whacked over the head by insurance adjusters You know what you haven't signed a case in a week or two Things are getting tough bank accounts starting to shrink

I guess in that moment, how do you have someone escape that moment to step back to realize what do I do now? Thoughts?

Jim (13:00.74)
Well, the other day I was at my daughter's softball game and they lost and their coaches sort of lost their temper. And I think that a good coach, when the team is doing poorly, motivates them back up to neutral. And when they're doing really, really well, they throttle them back down to neutral, right? And so I think that in that context of what you just said, I've been thinking about Dan Kennedy. He always talks about one of Napoleon Hill's

um… truth that nobody ever remembers and that is accurate thinking that you need to have accurate thinking you need you need a mechanism to check whether your uh… thinking is accurate you know right now my aunt is in decline she lives with my mom and so you know things are only going to get worse and so what we've really decided to do is to set up these benchmarks where if this if this event happens if this sort of

If we reach this stage, then these things need to happen. Right? And so, and then we're trying to get everybody on the same page. And I think you have to do that same way, same thing with yourself as a law firm owner is that, you know, you know, pull that rip cord if this happens. So you really need to, you need to objectify it a little bit, keep your optimism to keep your spirits up in the moment and, and most importantly, don't get caught up in the, the fallacy of sunk cost, you know, just because you've been

pounding your head on the wall, you might be pointed in the wrong direction. You might have your ladder leaning on the wrong wall. You might be doing the wrong thing and it's not ever going to get fixed. And that's what sometimes happens. And that's why people ultimately have to throw in the towel.

Tyson (14:42.526)
Yeah, I think that your advice is, for anyone that's listening to this, go back and listen to that last minute of what Jim just said. I think that that's the game plan. If you do need to sort of break that chain of eternal optimism. It makes me think about the benchmarks that you were talking about, which I think are a great idea. It makes me think about, I don't know if you remember that diagram that Infusionsoft had whenever they announced their BHAG.

It was like this mountain or something, I think is what it was, like a mountain and then like on that mountain, kinda like if you were to climb Everest, right? You've got these different places you've gotta make it to, different stages. And I think if you were to view your goals like that, it would go a long way instead of just looking at that big mountain top at the very top of it and saying, okay, how do I get there? Now I gotta get to stage one, let's get there first. Then I get to stage two, where I get there next.

And so you're breaking it down. And so if you are facing these issues, instead of facing it with this eternal optimism, if you'll just kind of, okay, let's get to that next, what's that next place we need to get to? And then obviously we want to get out of this mess, whatever this mess is, but what's that next place I need to get to get started on it? I think that would go a long way to helping out.

Jim (16:09.208)
I want to touch a little bit on what we talked about last Saturday in our guild morning meeting call and that is that sometimes people say I want to be this kind of lawyer and provide this kind of legal service even though nobody's really asking for it and You know whenever you're trying to create a market or you feel like you're having to educate people about the value of what you sell I think you're starting off way behind the starting line. In other words, you're making the

process much, much harder. So I think that sometimes people get off on the wrong foot, they're headed up the wrong mountain because nobody really wants or needs what they're offering. And we have to remember that at the end of the day, there is a market for legal services and we are competing with others and there is a limited number of opportunities. And so if you pick wrong early,

all the optimism in the world isn't going to make that much of a difference.

Tyson (17:10.558)
Yeah, I agree with that a lot. Makes me think of like, I don't wanna give away what my tip of the week is, but it kinda makes me think about that a little bit. But, all right Jimbo, anything else you wanna go over when it comes to eternal optimism?

Jim (17:28.8)
Just one. I mean, you know, half the times we do a hot seat. I always like to ask the participant if they have a significant other what their significant other says about what their situation is because the significant other hears Every day the day in and day out and so like someone will come in and they'll be thinking Oh my business partner is going to turn it around and finally do what she's been promising to do for the last three years And then I say, what does your spouse say or your your?

girlfriend say about that to the to the partner and they're like oh they're sick of hearing about this they know they know this stuff isn't gonna change and so what I would say is everybody needs a person to bounce things off of to check their pessimism or their optimism I think therapy or a coach you have to have something where you are forced to say things out loud because you can get real squirrely in your head

if it's just, speaking for myself especially, if I'm just relying on the things that I say in my head, I mean, you've witnessed this with me, that you can really go into weird, weird land, right, if you don't get that stuff out. And sometimes when you say it, just the act of saying it, you realize, oh yeah, that's not accurate thinking.

Tyson (18:52.834)
No, yeah, wait a few hours. You know what I mean? So let's do a, yeah, wait a week. You know, it made me think about this. This is gonna sound really negative, but I promise I'll connect the dots. So I saw this video yesterday of Burt Reynolds, and he's talking about, I don't know what show he's on, but he's talking about how…

Jim (18:55.833)
That too.

Tyson (19:13.686)
You might meet the person of your dreams, and you might really, really love them, and it might be true love, and they may love you back. And so you may love each other, but they may be the absolute wrong person for you. Okay, sounds terrible, right? But here's where I'm gonna connect the dots.

If you don't have that person like Amani to Jim that can help throttle Jim a little bit, or that Amy to Tyson that can help kinda throttle me back a little bit, you need to find someone else that you can bounce ideas off that can help throttle you a little bit. Because if you know you're that type.

Jim (19:43.076)
Hehehe.

Tyson (19:56.206)
You gotta know what your personality types are, right? And if your personality type is to make some pretty rash decisions, then you need to have someone that throttles you. Or if you're the opposite, you need to have someone that's the opposite, just that you can reach out whether that's…

coach, whether that is just a best friend, a family member, someone at your church, whatever, find that sort of opposite that helps balance you out a little bit. Because spouse may not do it for you and that's fine. There may be someone else.

Jim (20:27.852)
It's funny, we've ended our podcast basically with hacks on the topic, but it's not our hacker tip of the week, so everyone's getting a double dose today.

Tyson (20:35.086)
That's right, baby. All right, let's get to those tips and hacks before I do. I'll remind everyone to join us in the big Facebook group. We'd love to have you. Just search Maximum Lawyer on Facebook. If you want to join us in the Guild, we would love to have you. Our next mastermind is in a few weeks. And so people that join the Guild, they have access to those masterminds. We'd love to have you. There's also a Jason Selk event that we've put out there that he's going to be doing

going to be a pretty cool event so check that out as well and while you're listening to the rest of this episode if you don't mind helping us spread the love by giving a five-star review we would greatly appreciate it. Jimmy what's your hack of the week?

Jim (21:21.188)
I'm glad you brought up that Jason Selk thing, because when we have our meeting today, I'd like to go to that. So I'm thinking about going to that. I don't know if you were, but for my hack of the week, Amani and Noor have learned to spot the Instagram purchases that I make. So I've become sort of a sucker for the Instagram ads, and it's so easy now, because you just click, and then Apple pay it. So that's how I got my Chris Farley shirt, the van down by the river, so they know that's one. And then…

I just got this really great new alarm clock on Instagram. It's great, I love it, especially during Ramadan. It's been great waking me up. But I clicked on another ad and I got this great book. It came a while later. It's called The Black Book of Questions. It's all about sales and different selling methods and ways to talk to intake and so forth. I'm just making my way through it. It's really great. The main guy is a guy named Jeremy Lee Minor.

But like, I had to go digging for that and I was like, oh I forgot I even ordered that because they put me into a sales funnel, like they were trying to upsell me out the wazoo, so I mean if nothing else, just to go through that experience and see how dialed in they have it, they were calling me, texting me, doing all kinds of stuff. So even if you, and I don't think the book was that much, I think it was like nine dollars or something. So check it out if you can, it's NEPQ, seventh level, and it's Jeremy Lee Minor, I don't know, we'll see but.

I just thought you'd find that funny.

Tyson (22:50.302)
Yeah, I want to look at that book. Jeremy Miner is a big on YouTube and TikTok. That's one of those guys that I wanted to get on for the podcast, actually. So Jeremy Miner, I know who he is. I will find, I will tell you, you might find some of his, if you watched his videos, his techniques, the way he talks, sometimes a little annoying. Hopefully he never hears this episode. But, because he, just watch some of his videos. That's all I'll say. It's not like direct pound you in the face

selling, it's a little different. But for my tip of the week, it's this. So I started jiu-jitsu last week, and so my tips are not to join in jiu-jitsu. My tip is, and this kind of coincides with the topic of the week about eternal optimism and being careful that find something that humbles you.

So I will tell you, for those of you that have done jiu-jitsu, it can be a humbling experience. It can be also really rewarding and awesome and everything else, but do something that humbles you because I think it does help balance you. We can kind of…

Especially like I did some pretty I don't know I Freaking fly airplanes a red motorcycle. I you know, like the personal injury can be lots of highs as well But you gotta have something kind of ground you and so whatever that thing might be Do that because I think it'll help balance you out a little bit Jimbo good talking to you. I'm gonna run to court. I've got We've got some other recordings today. So I look forward to chat with you later

Jim (24:29.688)
Good luck in court, buddy. Bye, everybody.

Tyson (24:31.883)
See you buddy. See you Jimbo.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, co-host Tyson Mutrux delves into the advantages of shared inboxes for law firms, as they can enhance team collaboration and efficiency.

Tyson provides a detailed look at Zoho Team Inbox's features, such as customizable views and email templates, which streamline communication within legal teams. Listen in!

Episode Highlights:

  • 03:15 The benefits of using team inboxes, including improved collaboration, productivity, and reduced response times
  • 04:07 The various features of Zoho Team Inbox, such as customizable views, email assignment, chat integration, snooze option, and email templates
  • 08:13 How to use client names as tags, integration with automation rules, and the importance of integrating with case management systems
  • 09:05 Analytics and reports available for law firm owners, including email response tracking, activity logs, encryption, two-factor authentication, and role-based access
  • Ask us a question about starting your own law firm here!
  • Peak Performance Intensive with Dr. Jason Selk, sign up here!

Resources:

Transcripts: Team Inbox: A Place to Centralize Emails with Tyson Mutrux

Tyson (00:01.11)
Welcome back to another Saturday episode of the Maximum Lawyer podcast. This is Tyson again, and I today want to talk about shared inboxes. They're called team inboxes. Sometimes we call them team inboxes. Other people call them shared inboxes. And I want to talk a little bit about those. And I want to talk about some of the tools that we use and how it might benefit you. Before I get to that though, I do want to tell you about something.

really cool that we are putting together and that is an event in Miami with Jason Selk. It is a wonderful event and actually I've got to get the details of that so give me a second.

Tyson (00:46.466)
boo Sorry, Sharon

Tyson (01:04.334)
you're gonna find the link.

Tyson (01:30.211)
I didn't realize that how many texts that me, Jim, and Becca had with each other. So just trying to get to it.

Tyson (01:44.106)
You know what? I'll just record a separate slot. Oh, I got it finally. Alright. Here we go.

Tyson (01:56.79)
Alright, before I get into today's topic though, I want to talk about something really cool that Jason Selk is doing in Miami. It's called a Peak Performance Intensive. It's specifically for attorneys. I've worked with Jason for several years now. Jim is working with Jason. I will tell you the results that I've gotten personally. Absolutely amazing. But he's putting this on June 11th.

2024 I'll put a link in the show notes. It's in Miami. It is apps. It's gonna be absolutely amazing I did a similar event out in Las Vegas a couple months ago and really enjoyed it Highly recommend it. It is June 11th from 9 until noon in Miami It's it's just a it's gonna be a really cool experience. It's gonna be it's not a huge venue Okay, we're talking about ten people. Okay, we're talking it's a very

small, very close, very intimate setting where you're going to get a lot of hands on, a lot of interaction with Jason himself. So I highly recommend it. Like I said, it's specifically for attorneys. So definitely recommend going to that. For those of you that don't know Jason Silk, former sports psychologist for the St. Louis Cardinals. He's worked with several sports teams. And

It's really interesting if you when you do your research on him, you'll see that he's turned teams around Okay, and he's the sports psychologist. He's not the coach So it's really interesting the results that he has gotten and I can tell you just like I said before from personal experience Absolutely amazing, but June 11th 2024 Hopefully you can make it it's gonna be a great event. Alright, so let's get to today's topic and that is team inboxes shared inboxes and

It's really a place where you can centralize and manage emails, okay? For those of you that have teams and as your teams have grown, you've seen how big of a pain it is whenever something is stuck in someone's email inbox and you can't get to it, even though you need to it. This removes that, okay? So it improves your collaboration, it improves the teamwork, it enhances your productivity.

Tyson (04:22.05)
because you're not having to wait on someone. And so this is gonna allow you to reduce response time, to get back to those emails a lot faster. As many of you do know, this is great for me because I don't like to be in my email inbox and this allows the team to be in the inbox. That way I don't have to unless I absolutely have to. So it's really, really good. There is, with our…

The one we use, we actually use, it's called Zoho Team Inbox. It's what we call it, a team inbox. But there's a lot of different customizable views, which is pretty cool. So each person doesn't have to look at the same view. There's different ways of filtering based on the status of it, the priority, or the team member. What's also really cool is if I send an email,

and someone responds to it, I get a notification. So it doesn't give everyone a notification. And I've chosen to get that notification inside of Click, which is our equivalent to Slack, which is pretty cool. It's something like, somehow it determines, it realizes that you're the sender, and so it notifies you as the sender. What's also really cool is you can assign emails to people. So, and you can hand it off too. So let's say that I've been dealing with a certain matter, let's say it's a discovery matter.

Okay, back and forth, yada, yada. We've worked out the discovery. And the next thing we need to do is schedule depots. And it's all in the same email chain, okay? I can then take that and then hand it off to someone else, assign it to them, and let them take it from there. Really, really cool feature. Another really cool feature is, and this is probably my favorite feature on this, is that your ability to chat about the email on the side, and it's actually attached to that email. And this way,

Let's say you have to have a discussion about the discovery or about setting depositions, you know, hey, Quincy, here's the chat, you know, hey, Quincy, will you respond to this email and say, let them know that we're, you know, we want to take depots at our office, whatever, whenever it may be, whatever the communication may be, you can do that on the side. So it's not inside the email, it's on the side, it's on that email. So the topic that you're discussing, it's right there. So you're not having to go into somewhere else to find it. It's right there. That's a really cool feature.

Tyson (06:41.706)
Another feature that this has that was not in, I don't know how long Gmail has had this, but Gmail does have this feature as well, but they have this option of, you can delay the email or you can snooze it, I guess, where it pops up whenever you choose to snooze it too. So if it's something I don't really need to look at for a week, you can snooze it and then come back to it. So it doesn't pop back into the inbox. I mean, you can search for it if you needed to search for it, but…

It's really cool where you can snooze it and then come back to it, really like it. Oh, and something I didn't mention in those chats is that you can actually tag someone. So you put the at sign and then choose them as the options, which is really cool. That way they're notified of it as well. Another thing when it comes to assigning those emails, you can choose to follow an email or unfollow an email. So that way you're not getting alerted every time. And your, so your inbox.

If you just wanna see the ones that are assigned to you, you can do that. You can just go straight to their boom, the ones that are assigned to you. So the R options on it are really, really cool where you don't have to see all the emails at any given time. You can just see the ones that you wanna see, which is really cool. There's also the option of, if I need to share an email with someone, you can copy the thread URL, which is really neat. That way, instead of you saying,

you know, respond to that email from State Farm Insurance. No, here's the threat. Boom, click, and the email pops up right away, which is really, really cool. An added feature, there is an, and I don't think it's called activity section, but you can see the activity on it. So you can see if someone opened the email, you can see if someone responded to the email. So it's sort of a, it's a…

condensed view of all the activity on that particular email, which is really cool. Instead of going through every single email and scrolling through all the text and all the signatures and all of the disclaimers at the bottom, but you just look and you can see, okay, we responded then, we sent a follow-up here, they then responded and you can go, a note was made here, all of that is done right then, right there, which is really, really cool, which I like.

Tyson (09:02.942)
Email templates, which is something that Google has now too, they did not until fairly recently, I don't think. I may be wrong about that, but email templates are something that's really, really good. If you're sending the same emails quite a bit, let's say you're sending follow-ups to a demand that you've sent, or follow-ups to discovery, or sending discovery, you can add all that to the template. You may need to make some changes to the actual template, but that's fine if you need to.

you know, shortcuts, saving some time if you're doing the same thing over and over again. What's also kind of cool is you can personalize things, you can have your own templates versus templates for everybody. So the firm has access to a bunch of templates, but you can also make your own templates if you don't want everyone to have access to it, which is another really cool thing that we use. All right, so.

Tags just a couple of things. I just want to go over with it really quick So I'm kind of I'm going through an actual presentation I did last year with the firm and I just want to make sure I hit everything that I think would be beneficial To all of our listeners and so I want to make sure I hit all those tags is another way where we can tag The we use actually the client's name is the tag so that way we can sort everything is organized We have access to everything it integrates with a lot of different things and that's something you want to make sure that

You can have different automation rules set up with it, but any type of email, especially when it comes to a team inbox, you wanna make sure that you have access to other integrations, because it'll allow you, especially your case management system, organizing it, all of that makes it a lot easier. And then I guess another thing I'll talk about is you can share an email. So let's say I draft an email. And…

It needs to be sent by an attorney, but the pair legal drafts it. Okay, and I think that may be a fairly common thing, but you want the attorney to review it before it goes out. Well, and this is something that we do where the case managers will draft something for the attorney. The attorney will go in, take a look at it, make sure it's good, and click send. Very, very helpful. That way the attorney's not having to draft that email, but they can go in there, get it done, and take a look at it, and it'll go out right away.

Tyson (11:24.366)
There are different signatures, so everyone can have their own signature set up, which is pretty cool. That's a really nice little feature. So if you're worried about that, you can have your own custom signatures if you want it, which is also a pretty cool one. From the owner standpoint, law firm owner standpoint, there's analytics and reports that you can look at. You can see who is responding to their emails, who's not responding to their emails. You can see how long people are in there. It's really, really cool.

And so that's something from an owner's standpoint. It's really good. You can also look at the activity log where you can see It's a separate thing. So you have all the team inboxes that you might have in your firm You can see all of the activity as to what's going on if you need to okay really good ours We have encryption which is obviously important that we have the two two-factor authentication It's we also it's you know role-based access. So we have control of overall of that

Not everyone has access to everything, which is pretty good. But that is enough on this topic. I know it went a little bit long, but I thought this was kind of a fun one. I think maybe it's something that you can get some use out of because it's, I will tell you, it helps free up your own inbox. It allows you to get out of your inbox and allow the team to do the work as opposed to just it all following on you, because especially those of you that do litigation, a lot of litigation stuff, it's gonna go straight to you. Right?

even though it comes to you, the team is the one that has to work on it. So this is one of those things that it really does help free up that time. But that is all I have today. Make sure that if you… I would love to hear from you, but if you want to go… Oh, hold on, I'm not going to redo this part. I'm trying to pull up something.

Tyson (13:17.8)
Let's see.

Tyson (13:21.43)
you're gonna do some uh… have to do some clever editing on this one.

Tyson (13:39.214)
Let's see, I'm gonna pull up Becca's email.

Tyson (13:53.23)
I don't know where it was, well hopefully you can splice this together. Alright but that is enough for today. I would love to hear from you. We get a lot of texts, a lot of good texts from people and I would love to hear from you. Even if it's just to say hi, make sure you put your name in there so I know who you are. But text me at 314-501-9260, would absolutely love to hear from you. But until next week, remember that consistent action is the blueprint that turns your goals into reality. Take care.

Watch the YouTube version of this episode HERE

Are you someone who is looking to transition into law? In this engaging podcast episode, Jim and Tyson sit down with Bill Gshwind of Minnesota Construction Law, who shares his unique journey into law after a 25-year tenure in business.

Bill shares lessons learned from a business failure which led to a transition into the legal field. After spending over 5 years owning a business where many financial mistakes were made, Bill decided to take a chance and sell the business after realizing he had lost control. Transitioning into the legal field came from working with a lawyer who did not understand him as a small business owner. From that point on, Bill dedicates his time working with clients in which he understands what their needs are as business owners.

Bill provides insight in his decision making processes and how it structures his firm. One thing Bill has implemented is strategic planning, which involves long term planning and mapping out how you will get to your goals. This can ultimately lead to certain decisions being made to ensure that goal is reached. Bill also shares the importance of ensuring the responsibility for the performance of work is not put on a client. It is important that lawyers are doing what they are hired to do and have clients leave feeling satisfied.

Take a listen to learn more!

Jim's Hack: Tell clients that: Just because you can doesn't mean you should.Tyson's Tip: Get your blood tested.

Episode Highlights:

  • 12:16 The impact of the business failure on the decision-making process
  • 18:38 The challenges of the billable hour system 
  • 19:24 The importance of delivering value to clients 
  • 22:27 Using tools to solve client problems

Connect with Bill:

Resources:

Transcripts: Becoming a Law Firm Owner as a Second-Career Success with Bill Gshwind 

Jim (00:07.25)
Oh, sorry. Welcome back to the Maximum Warrior Podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:13.412)
And I'm Tyson Mutrix. What's up, Jimmy?

Jim (00:16.322)
I was a little distracted when the show was supposed to start because I was looking at what I'm going to use for my hack of the week. And so I was a little distracted and Tyson started pointing at me because I was sort of spaced out.

Tyson (00:28.985)
You missed the countdown and I was like, just give me the finger, the good finger, not the bad finger. What's up dude, how you doing?

Jim (00:32.383)
I'm sorry.

Jim (00:37.342)
I'm great. It's Friday. We had a good day of recording yesterday. This is take two of our Attempt to interview our good friend bill gush wind bill. How are you?

Bill Gschwind (00:47.609)
Um, I'm here again. Yeah. Apologize for yesterday. You know, the, uh, technology is a great thing when it works, but man, it can sure get in the way when it doesn't.

Tyson (00:57.3)
Yeah, but you know what, we're, trust me, Jim and I have gone through several technical difficulties over the years, so that was nothing. But let's do a, I'll do a quick little bio of you. I've had the good fortune of sitting next to Bill at dinner and having a good conversation with Bill, but let me give you a little bit of his background, we can talk more about it in a little bit. But Bill Gishwind decided to practice law after more than 25 years in the business world,

Bill Gschwind (01:05.315)
I'm sure.

Tyson (01:27.854)
as owner of an equipment rental company, which is a pretty interesting story in and of itself. The decision was triggered when the rental franchise he joined after 10 years as an independent business began to fail. Bill felt business clients needed a lawyer who understood the heart of a small business owner through good times and bad, lawyer who understood business enough to really know how to integrate legal advice with business practices. And we'll get to that in a little bit, but Bill, welcome to the show.

Bill Gschwind (01:55.133)
Thanks much for having me. I really look forward to spending some time with you. My first experience with the Guild was down in Scottsdale. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect but I'll tell you it has been very pivotal for me and I think it was a great experience. I really look forward to this time with you and continuing to work with the Guild.

Jim (02:15.394)
Bill, yesterday I mentioned that I had taken two years off between law school and college, and that when I showed up in law school and the other law students who had come straight through from college were telling me how hard it is, I sort of giggled to myself and just kept going. What was it like, I think you said yesterday that you were 48 when you started law school, what was it like?

going back after that big of a gap. I know you'd gotten your MBA, but what was it like just being there and what was your sort of mindset going through law school?

Bill Gschwind (02:47.533)
Yeah, I think, you know, I was going into it really understanding, first of all, I knew why I was there. I knew what I wanted to do with it. I still didn't really understand what it meant to be a lawyer. I didn't really understand what it meant to practice law or what law really was. I'm not sure that I really figured that out until a couple of years, probably after I got out of law school. But…

But there was a focus and there was sort of an understanding. I wasn't in law school for the idealistic reasons of being there to help people and go after mean, nasty businesses. I was there to really learn how to help other people and give myself the tools to be able to help other business owners not have to go through what I went through. There was just a maturity level.

I think between myself and a lot of the other students. I was, I went to, I lived here in Minneapolis, St. Paul area, the Twin Cities. We had four law schools at the time, we're down to three. The school that I went to, William Mitchell College of Law was at the time, known mostly for its nights.

program, kind of a part-time program. So most of the people that were in that program were second career individuals. And they did have a day school at the same time, and there were a couple of courses I needed to take that were only offered during the day. And I'll tell you, when I went and took those classes, that's where the more the traditional student was. It was just night and day, the difference between a student who had…

who was there as a second career and the people who were going through sort of the more traditional undergrad right into law school and just the approach that they had. So it was a wonderful experience. It really was. It was also kind of a reality check in many ways. I was a 48-year-old guy and now I'm in school with a bunch of 22-year-old people.

Bill Gschwind (04:40.025)
And, you know, the view of the world was very different and the reasons for being there was different, but it was fun. It was, I enjoyed the studying. For me, business, my day job, I was doing business coaching and consulting. So my day job, my eight to five job was doing the coaching and consulting. And then my second job was the law school and that was my 5pm to 8am job. So it was a bit, you know, it was busy. But.

We got through it just fine.

Tyson (05:12.616)
I want to go backwards from there. We usually will go in chronological order in most episodes, but I want to go backwards. I want to go to probably a pretty painful time for you whenever you've had some business failure. Tell me how, maybe give a little bit of background about that and then how has that shaped the way you've run your firm?

Bill Gschwind (05:21.671)
Yeah.

Bill Gschwind (05:29.499)
Yeah.

Bill Gschwind (05:40.937)
Yeah, that's you're right. It was a very painful experience to go through. Um, you know, looking back on it, um, it was a, it was a, it was an educational experience. I learned a lot about myself. I had to, um, step back and ask how much of what happened was, was preventable, was foreseeable. Um, and what kinds of lessons did I take from it? So.

I had started my rental business on my own. It was a Greenfield start. I started in 1994. I ran it through to about roughly 2000, 2001 or so. And the business was beginning to change quite a bit. The rental business was beginning to change. It was moving more from a homeowner to more of a construction commercial side. And in order for me to be able to stay in the business, if I wanted to stay, I was gonna have to invest a lot of money, which I…

wasn't really interested in investing. And along came a franchise opportunity where they were making an awful lot of money available. So I ended up going into several million dollars of debt in order to buy equipment to make this transition from a homeowner store to an equipment, a contractor-oriented store, much larger equipment, entirely new location. But after a few years, the franchisers program, they sort of had a franchising program that was set aside next to their,

new equipment manufacturing and selling program and the two divisions within the company didn't really agree. They battled. It caused the rental program to just, it didn't work well. The program didn't work well. So after probably a year, year and a half of fighting, meeting with a lot of other franchise owners trying to figure out what we were doing, my head was beginning to get just all foggy. I mean, I couldn't make decisions. I couldn't move forward. I didn't.

This was my presence in our community, the people that knew me because I was the guy that owned the rental store. So, it's an awful difficult thing to walk out and yesterday my store was open and tomorrow it isn't. I had two kids in college at the time, I had another two in high school. So to close that store was really tough. What changed though, and it was interesting…

Bill Gschwind (07:59.169)
I felt very lost and I felt very confused, but what I mostly felt was out of control. And I just ended up waking up one morning and said, you know what, this is BS. I can't function if I can't control things. And while I'm going to lose the business, I'm trying desperately to save it. But in trying to save it, I'm preventing myself from being able to move forward. So when I woke up that morning and said, I'm done with this, I'm not going to play this game anymore.

I am going to move forward at shutting this down and moving on. And that was, the worst of the pain was done. Now it was a process of working through the process of winding out of the debt. I engaged a law firm in town, it was really one of the first times I spent a tremendous amount of time working with a law firm. I think the attorney did a decent job, so far as I could tell, seemed to understand what's going on. But I felt like I was battling my attorney quite a bit. And a lot of that,

came from, as it turned out at the end, when I asked when we were all done, when we finished, it came out okay. I ended up not filing bankruptcy. The debt got wiped out, the equipment got taken back. I still left with a bunch of cash. I was left with a building. I couldn't practice, I couldn't run that business anymore. We had a non-compete, so I couldn't go in and do that rental business anymore. But…

I wasn't crushed by it and I sat down with my attorney when it was all done and asked him, why was this so difficult for us to get to this place? Why was it so difficult for you to get to this place with me? And he said, you know, I've never been in a situation where with the amount of debt you had, we ended up anything above zero. Typically we, you know, the hope was to get you zero, you could walk away without a bankruptcy, but most often it's a bankruptcy and then you walk away with nothing.

And that was for me, that was the click was he didn't really understand the heart of a small business owner. He didn't understand how much we invest in our businesses, how much of ourselves goes into that thing that we build. We, it's like birthing a child and raising it and to have it yanked away from you is a very painful, difficult experience. And so what I think I came away with as much as anything Tyson is when I

Bill Gschwind (10:14.189)
work with my clients, I work with people who I understand have everything that they have invested in their business. It's more than just the thing they do, it's more than just their job, it is their identity, it's who they are, it matters to them more than it matters to most anybody else that works with them or most anybody else that they typically interact with who don't own businesses. And so, you know, one of the things that I, and the way that I incorporate that really into the way that we've…

we practice and what I try to work with my team on is understanding that, and we do represent all businesses. Our clients, it's a very narrow niche. We're business attorneys, but our clients are all owner-operated construction companies. So it's a very, very narrow niche, which helps quite a bit. It also, it's obviously for a lot of reasons, like with your businesses, the sort of case intake and all the things that are dealt with in more of a consumer-oriented is a very different scenario. But I look at it,

As one of the tools that I have in my box when I work with my clients is the golden ticket, the lawyer license. And I can do things that lawyers can do. But the old saying, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, right? Can be real problematic if you don't understand the heart, you know, the bottom line of what the business is. If all you do is go in and approach the problem as a lawyer, then you tend to look at the lawyer solutions.

and figure out which one of those are the ones that should be applied to the problem as opposed to looking at the problem and figuring out is it a legal solution that is going to be best or is it a business solution that's going to be best and which one of those do we incorporate. I find that I, peeling, most of the people, one of the sayings that I use quite a bit Tyson is that, and Jim, is that people come to us out of desperation, we want to keep them out of inspiration, right?

They come to us with what they perceive as being legal problems. We need to peel back enough of the onion to find out why is there a legal issue that we're dealing with. And more often than not, it's a business issue, not a legal issue. So we, by, and then we have to figure out what is their goal? What is the objective? What are they trying to accomplish? And then we have to figure out is the business solution the best one that's going to get them to their ultimate goal? Or is the legal solution going to be there? Or what combination of the two is going to get us there?

Tyson (12:45.032)
Jim, you're on mute.

Jim (12:50.142)
Thanks for sharing that story Bill and I'm sure that was a very tough time One of my very good friends got laid off from a big company yesterday and it just reminded me you know why one reason why I do this which is that I Can have a little more control over my own destiny and I'm wondering that experience of being sort of beholden to the Franchise or and having to get out of all that stuff. How has that impacted your decision-making and how you want to structure your law firm?

Thank you.

Bill Gschwind (13:22.469)
I think it's…

Bill Gschwind (13:27.725)
It's made me more thoughtful about what I do. It's, yeah, it's an interesting question. How has the, you're thinking, Jim, the beholden piece of it, the beholden to the franchise piece, is that what you're referring to?

Bill Gschwind (13:51.673)
You know, it's interesting. I've come to learn that I think franchises work best for mid-level corporate management people. They are not good places for entrepreneurial people. Entrepreneurs are people who are always looking for a different, better way of doing something. And franchisees need to follow the plan that somebody else developed for them, right? I mean, if you own a, you know, let's take a…

If you own a McDonald's franchise, you don't get to go buy your napkins at the local Costco store. It's not part of the franchise model and part of what makes the consistency, part of what makes it, you know, the customer goes to the McDonald's in Minneapolis and then goes to the McDonald's in Atlanta, they get the exact same experience or very similar experience because that's what the franchise model is designed to do.

So I don't know that going through what I went through changed me so much in the sense that, I guess what I learned was that I'm not good in an environment in which other people are telling me how to run my business. I have to sit back and think very clearly what is it that I wanna do? When I was doing my business coaching and consulting, one of the things that I learned part of the learning back business and figuring out how to do that is,

is really the understanding of strategic planning. And I think strategic planning, and I apply that in my law firm, and I think it's probably the most important thing that I could probably share with anybody that's listening to the podcast, is strategic planning is different than business planning. A strategic plan is different than a business plan. A strategic plan is a long-term vision of where you wanna go and what you wanna do. And a business plan is a one-year implementation process. And so, to me,

In order for you to be able to build and grow a successful business, you have to have a really good, clear picture of what you want that thing to look like when it grows up. I always try to look at a three to five year horizon, and I ask clients the same question. Same thing that I ask my clients, I ask myself. If everything works out exactly the way you want it to work out, what does your business look like five years from now? And the more clear, solid, that you can paint that picture in your head.

Bill Gschwind (16:14.829)
If you can see a brick building, if you can see what the door looks like, if you can see when you walk in what they're sitting at, you can see what the services are that you're offering. The more concrete that you can make that vision of where you want to be in five years, the more able you're going to be able to work backwards and build the plan that gives you the step-by-step piece to arrive at that destination. I refer to it as my two o'clock on Space Mountain on Tuesday.

and share a little story with you. This is sort of the analogy that I would use. Two families are leaving on a vacation on a Friday afternoon, two neighbors. And the one neighbor, when you ask them, where are you going? They say, I'm going to be on Space Mountain at 2 o'clock on Tuesday. And the other neighbor says, I'm going to Disney World. And so they both take off and they head down the road. And as they're going down the freeway, they hit a detour in the road. And they both get off on the detour, get off the exit. And at the top of the exit, there's a sign that says, Corn Palace. And.

The one family says, corn palace man, we've never been there. That would be awesome. We're going this way. We were on vacation. We've got some time. Let's go check out the corn palace. And the other family says, we got to be on space mountain at two o'clock on Tuesday. So they keep heading down, followed the tour, get back on the road. The other family goes up to corn palace has a wonderful time. It really wonderful experience. Get back in the car, start heading again. They get down a little ways and they get to the next place.

and they see a sign wall drug. Son of a gun, we've never been to wall drug. What a great experience, it's vacation. Let's go check that out, right? So now we're about three or four days down the road. The second family's made it to about Denver. The first family, it's Tuesday at two o'clock and they're on Space Mountain. And the family in Denver says, we've run out of time. We're gonna have to turn around and go home.

And the purpose of the story is if you don't know what your two o'clock on Tuesday in Space Mountain is, you don't know whether the opportunity that's presenting itself is an opportunity or a distraction. And the only way you can know that is to have a really good idea of where you want your business to be, to be able to make that decision. And so for me, the way that I run my firm is I've always put together a strategic plan. And I know where I want to go and I know what I want to build. And so the things that come along are not going to distract me.

Bill Gschwind (18:34.465)
And the very, you know, when I'm looking at hiring people, I know exactly why I'm hiring them and what role. Doesn't mean we don't make mistakes. And it doesn't mean we don't, you know, do things in ways we shouldn't have done them. But it's easier to see that we're on the wrong path because we know where we wanna go and we can see that the path isn't taking us where we wanna go. It's easier to evaluate the opportunities and whether they truly are. If we know where we're trying to go and we have it in our head. You know, one of my other, and I think this ties in real tight is,

You know, the old saying I use is, when you're up to your ass in alligators, it's really difficult to remember your job was to drain the swamp. And you know, so much of what we do when we're running a business every day is we get so caught up in the cases, we get so caught up in the little things that go on every day, the problems that come up every single day. And if you just get yourself wrapped up in solving those and forget the big picture, then five years from now, you're exactly where you were five years ago and you haven't grown and done anything with your business.

Tyson (19:35.7)
You know, you were making the wall drug family and the corn castle or whatever it was called, sounds pretty appealing to be honest with you. But, so you've got opinions on the billable hour. And so, and I think it's interesting because I actually am of the opinion, I'm sure people are gonna hate this. I think that the billable hour is a beautiful model for business owners. I think it's great. It also, I think it's also, it's very equitable for the business owner. I know it's removed some predictability for the clients,

Bill Gschwind (19:44.067)
Yeah.

Bill Gschwind (19:48.388)
I do.

Tyson (20:05.934)
I think it also helps harness clients. This is also coming from someone that's never billed, but I just viewing it from the outside looking in looks like a beautiful model. So what are your thoughts and what are the alternatives?

Bill Gschwind (20:20.741)
Yeah, I think the challenge with the billable hour, and again, remember I work with contractors, right? So I work with people who, before they start building a football stadium, have to give a reasonably predictable dollar amount for what that project is gonna cost them. And everybody knows in the middle, no construction project ends in the exact same way that it was expected to start. There's always gonna be changes.

There's going to be things that pop up that weren't controllable. And so a part of the reason why I have the perspective I have or the discomfort I have with the billable hour is because it is designed to shift all the responsibility for the performance of the work onto the customer essentially. It says I don't know what's going to happen.

I can't tell what, you know, how this case is going to go. I don't know what opposing counsel is going to be like. I don't know what the scope of discovery is going to be like. And because I can't control any of those things, I can't give you a price. So I'm just going to do it on an hourly basis. And I understand that. I understand that it feels that way. But if you're a professional doing the work that you do as a professional, you ought to be able to understand what some of those things are that are going to come up. You ought to be able to predict some of those.

and much more than your customer can, right? Much more than the client can. So the other reason that I find it challenging is that…

We don't sell time. People don't come to us purchasing time. They come to us to get solutions to their problems. They come to us for the value that they need to receive from the services that we provide. And you know, customers have to make a profit too. We don't always understand that. Our clients have to see a profit too. When you go in and you buy a hamburger, let's pick out McDonald's again, if you end up paying six bucks for a hamburger that you felt was worth three,

Bill Gschwind (22:27.429)
you've had a loss and you're not going to go back and buy that hamburger again. But if you pay three dollars for a hamburger you thought it was a six dollar experience, you've now made a profit. As a customer, you've received more value than what you thought you had to pay to get it. You've made a profit and you want to go back and do that again and again. I think the billable hour removes the concept of delivering value to our clients.

And that's one of the big issues. The other concern I have, and I think that this is sort of a problem with the industry and I think it's one we're gonna be wrestling with, especially with AI coming in, is how do you justify as a law firm, how do you justify spending money on things that will make your firm more efficient, reduce the amount of time it takes to provide services to your client?

if the end result is you generate less revenue for yourself. It's a loser, right? It's hard to justify investing in efficiency in your firm if it's gonna mean the billable hours go down. What we should be looking at is how, is like any other business looks at their services, how can we provide our service at a lower and lower cost with an increased value so that the price that I can charge for it creates profitability for my business?

And when you start thinking about how you deliver services to your clients that way, then you can begin to find ways to increase the value of your firm vis-a-vis other firms. I have, I don't have it now, it's being updated, but we do a profit and loss. We do a P&L on every one of our litigation cases. And so we know, you know, we know what the attorneys cost, we know what the staff costs, we know what our overhead is, we know what our billing rate is.

Now, a lot of our litigation, we're still working on coming up with a good way to flat fee that. We do flat fee conciliation court matters, but we do the same thing. We have to figure out what the value is, what the client will pay for it, what they're comfortable with. And I'm a big, you know, I really believe that price drives cost more than cost drives price. So, if you know what the price of the services is you're going to sell and what your clients can afford.

Bill Gschwind (24:51.033)
You've got to figure out a way to produce that within the price that you have and the profitability margin that you have. The other piece I think that's important is we as lawyers have a lot of tools available to us to help solve our clients' problems. If under the billable hour concept, I'm going to pull out every one of those tools and in fact in law school, one of the things that they teach us is you know when you're done researching when you keep coming up with the same things you found before.

Is there a reason why you needed to keep searching that long to get to that point before you knew you had enough information to move forward with the case? Well, in the bill of blower, yeah, you're going to keep doing the research. You're going to keep spending the time until you know you've uncovered and turned over every one of the rocks, because that's what we were taught to do. And the only way to do that, the bill of blower rewards you for doing that. But if under a under a price value profit model.

you have to make a decision. And of course you do that in conjunction with your client and what their ability is, but it gives your client the ability to help and set a budget. I don't have, as a client, I don't have unlimited funds. I've got so much money that I have available that is reasonable for me to move forward with my case. And being able to make the decision on whether I'm gonna settle or not settle is gonna have an awful lot to do with where I am in my budget. I have to help my clients be able to make those kinds of decisions.

So I think a significant amount of the work that we do is flat fee work. A lot of the transactional work is all flat fee. We've got to fix prices. And I know a lot of the, a lot of firms, I mean, I've seen that one when I was in Scottsdale. It sounds like a lot of the criminal defense firms, some of the state planning firms are moving more to a flat fee model. Some of the other cases that have a little bit more litigation involved them are

are billable. But I think we're going to see that as AI comes in and as more technology comes in, we've got to wrestle with that. The other side of it is I have a real problem with giving my staff a billable hour goal. We don't have billable hour objectives. We don't have, we don't use the billable hour as a measurement tool in any way, shape or form because I don't want my staff to be motivated to find ways to spend more time doing stuff.

Bill Gschwind (27:19.606)
to not find the most efficient way to resolve a case. One of the things.

Tyson (30:03.328)
I think there's a lot of great advice in there and a lot of wisdom in that as well. So I think time will tell. But we are up against the times, Bill. So we are gonna start to wrap things up. Before I do, I wanna remind everyone to join us.

in the big Facebook group if you've not already. There's over 6,500 people in the group, so we'd love to have you there. If you wanna have more high-level conversations with people like Bill, who clearly has got the experience, and you can just tell he's got some expertise that he brings from many years of running businesses, we'd love to have you in the guil

If you've gotten something from this episode or from any of the other episodes, we'd love it if you gave us a five-star review and it helps us spread the love to other attorneys all over the country, really all over the world. Jimmy, what's your heck of the week?

Tyson (30:57.192)
You are on mute again, sir.

Jim (31:04.566)
So I have a lot of clients who sometimes want to do dumb things or take a chance. And so what I've done with that, you know, one of my favorite things to tell clients is just because you can doesn't mean you should. And so I sent off for a set of Dungeons and Dragons dice. So I have a four sided die.

An eight sided die a ten sided die I don't know how many this one has twelve and this one has twenty and so depending on the percentage of Stupidity that I think they're exhibiting I tell them to pick a die and then I roll the die and say Can you afford for this die not to come up in your favor and it usually makes the point pretty clearly? So that's my hack of the week get yourself some die so you can explain to your clients how dumb they're being

Tyson (31:52.677)
You know, I'm not surprised by this hack at all, not one bit. Coming from you Jim Boat, so this is good. That's fun. No worries, I do too. So we'll wrap this up Bill. Bill, so we always ask our guests to give a tip or hack of the week. What you got for us?

Jim (31:58.986)
I gotta go guys, I'm sorry, I gotta call, I gotta go.

Tyson (33:15.016)
I would agree with that. I think that's one of my favorite books. It's a fantastic book, so highly, highly recommend it. My tip is drastically different from anyone's, yours or Jim's. Mine is to get your blood tested. Go to the doctor, get your blood tested, and have the doctor go through the results with you. It's something that I do regularly. I was having a conversation with Chris Nicolason fairly recently and we talked about it. It's a highly valuable tool.

to adjust many things you're doing, your diet, exercise, all that kind of stuff. So something I highly recommend that you do. But Bill, thank you so much for coming on. Really appreciate it. I got a lot from this episode. So thanks for sharing your story.

Tyson (34:03.188)
bit.

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