Blog

“Creating Workflows that Work for You” w/ Melanie Leonard 198
Categories: Podcast

This week on the show we have attorney Melanie Leonard. Melanie is a Clio Gold Certified Consultant and founder of streamlined.legal where she offers personalized consulting services, training, and education to law firms who are looking to create efficiency in their daily workflow and optimize the use of practice management software throughout their firm.

In today’s episode we’ll talk about creating systems, workflows and automations!

Jim’s Hack:
Jim recommends getting your team together when implementing new software to learn what’s working well and to help those who’re struggling break through.

Tyson’s Tip:
Tyson reminds you stop and take a look at your health, don’t forget about you as a person.

Melanie’s Tip:
Melanie agrees with Jim, and says there’s a lot of value in getting your team into one room together and calls these “better way meetings”. A time to find the best way to do things.

Don’t forget to sign up for MaxLawCon20!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/maximum-lawyer-conference-2020-tickets-62992819218

For more details on MaxLawCon visit: https://maximumlawyer.com/max-law-con-2020/

Thanks so much for listening to the show! To keep on maximizing your firm, please join our Facebook Group – Maximum Lawyer, like us on Facebook – Maximum Lawyer Conference, and subscribe to our YouTube channel – Maximum Lawyer!

You can also go to MaximumLawyer.com or, if you’d prefer, email us at: info@maximumlawyer.com


Tyson: Hey, this is Tyson Mutrux. Really quick, before the episode, I want to thank you so much for listening to the The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. You’re going to love this episode. 

Before we start the show, Jim and I want to invite you to join us for two days with 300 other insane maximum lawyers at this year’s Maximum Lawyer Conference in June. If you don’t have your tickets yet, go to MaxLawCon.com so you can have the ability to come to a place with a whole bunch of people who think like you, believe like you, who see visions like you of what they can create and what they can become.

MaxLawCon is not just a marketing event. It’s not just a business event. It’s not just a personal development event. It’s all of these things wrapped into one. As an experience, it will change your life forever. Make sure to get your tickets right now so you can join us and 300 other insane, crazy, fun, maximum lawyers talk about how to grow their businesses, sharing all the best marketing secrets, the things that are working today.

Now, go get your tickets by going to MaxLawCon.com.

All right. Now, on to the show.

Run your law firm the right way. This is The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.

Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson Mutrux. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm.

Welcome to the show.

Jim: Welcome back to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I’m Jim Hacking.

Tyson: I’m Tyson Mutrux. What’s up, Jimbo?

Jim: Good morning, Tyson. It seems like we haven’t recorded for quite some time.

Tyson: It’s only been two weeks, man. I know you’ve missed me. You’ve had a lot of crying nights on your pillow. That’s fine but I’m back. We’re back together.

Jim: I’m excited about seeing you in Connecticut this Friday. That should be a blast.

Tyson: I know. It’s going to be a lot of fun. You don’t get in, apparently, until Thursday night late so you’re going to miss our dinner which is a bummer but it’s going to be a lot of fun. Our boys Ryan McKeen and Jay Ruane are putting on a pretty awesome [inaudible 00:01:54] out in Connecticut. It’s going to be fun.

Jim: Well, I’m excited about our guest today. Her name is Melanie Leonard. She’s an attorney. She advises lawyers on things technological and firm management related.

Melanie, welcome to the show.

Melanie: Thanks. I’m glad to be here.

Tyson: Melanie, I normally ask people to tell their story, which we can get to at some point, but I’m just curious like do you do more lawyering now? Do you do more advising on the technical side? Tell us what you do.

Melanie: I am doing little to no lawyering these days. I actually sold my practice about a year and a half ago. Actually, it’s almost two years ago, now. In June, it’ll be two years.

Now, I’m simply helping other attorneys implement practice management software in their firms, create systems to support that software. It’s a lot more fun in my opinion.

Jim: Well, Melanie, tell us how you got to that point. How did you survive after law school? What did you do firm-wise? And then, when did you go out on your own? Tell us your whole story.

Melanie: Yeah, absolutely. I went to law school and loved law school. I thought it was a blast and went ahead and went to a small firm, after I graduated law school. Worked there for, I don’t know, about a year or so. And then, went to another more high-volume practice where we did some consumer fraud. That was pretty interesting, got a lot of great exposure in court, a lot of really great experience.

Then, I decided to switch to another small firm. So, a couple of firms in there, where I worked consumer fraud. I did more of a general business practice. I had a lot of exposure to a lot of different areas of law but ended up opening my own firm about two and a half years or so, out of law school, and decided very quickly to focus on real estate.

I know you guys had Cheryl Morrison on the podcast just a few weeks ago and it just aired this week. I was listening to that before I came on. Our stories are pretty similar as far as the kind of law that we do or did. She’s doing residential real estate in the Chicago area. That’s exactly what I was doing. Don’t worry. We’re going out to lunch this week. I’m super excited to meet up with her.

My practice really evolved. I quickly found that I really wanted to focus on a niche because I felt like it would help me make those processes and procedures a lot more consistent and a lot easier to carry out. Especially in real estate, where it is a bit of a volume practice in order to make the kind of money that you want to support yourself. And so, I very quickly decided to focus on residential real estate. I went ahead and built systems through software that would allow me to do that. I did that for about 12 years before I finally decided that I wanted to just focus on helping other attorneys because I enjoy that a lot more than I did the actual real estate practice itself. I mean, I had some great experiences and helped a ton of great clients during those 12 years but it just got to a point where I was getting a bit burnt out and it was more exciting for me to be able to help other attorneys build systems within their firms. 

Tyson: Let’s stay on the old firm for a little bit. So, talk a little bit about the systems that you used in that old firm because I’m really trying to figure out how you got to where you are now because, to me, giving up the firm would be really, really hard. Let’s dig a little bit deeper in there first.

Melanie: It was. Yeah, let’s–

Tyson: Let’s talk about that.

Melanie: Yeah, no problem. Let’s not sugarcoat it. It was a two-year-in-the-making decision process. So yeah, I’m happy to walk you through that.

Just to give you a little idea of what my firm looked like, before that, most of the time, it was just me as the attorney. I had a few other attorneys that helped out here and there but, generally speaking, I was the one consistent attorney across those 12 years. I had differing staff at different times. Sometimes, I just have one assistant. Sometimes, I’d have up to four.

Just depending on the what was going on in my life, I had two children during that 12-year period. Obviously, during those times, I had more help than other times but that’s how we ran. I ran that firm, pretty exclusively, on Clio. At the time, Clio had just come out, say, about a year or 18 months or so into my practice.

When I got pregnant with my son, my first child, it was a situation where nothing creates urgency like pregnancy. And so, it was a kind of a situation where I decided, ”I have to find something and I have to find something that’s going to work to spread my knowledge and what I know about all these cases to somebody else, whether that’s another attorney or another assistant or a combination. And so, that really created an urgency within me to go all in on the software that I had already purchased but was just kind of half used like since it was just me at the time.

And so, I really started taking advantage of the document automation and all that really awesome stuff that practice management can do for you but a lot of attorneys are sometimes too busy to be able to really focus on those things. And so, that created the urgency. I started really going all in on the practice management software. Started using it with the differing staff that I had over that 12-year period and really felt like it changed the way. I mean, task management, specifically, changed the way that I practice law. Absolutely. Hands down. No questions asked. It really took my firm and my practice from being more reactive to now being more proactive, having these workflows and tasks lists in our system.

And so, being able to use those to not only push a file along and help our clients get the resolution that they wanted to close on their house but also to help me oversee that and pay attention to and keep track of what everyone else on my staff was doing because that [inaudible 00:07:31] sometimes be the hardest part is that whole coordination of what people are doing so we’re not duplicating efforts and stuff. So that’s how I really got into practice management.

We used other technologies as well. We use RingCentral for our phone and texting and stuff like that. There were really some great tools– well, there’s even more now, frankly, but there were some great tools that we had at our disposal to be able to do that.

The short version of the story is, after about 10 years of practice, I joined a coaching group because I noticed that my gross income had plateaued and I was trying to figure out, “What can I do differently?” because, apparently, I’m really good at running this kind of firm but I can’t get past that plateau. It was interesting because, as I looked back at the numbers, one of those years or two of those years. I had even had a baby and like, left for a couple of months, and I still made the exact same amount of money.

It’s fascinating to me to see that trend or lack of trend that’s more of a plateau. When I met this coaching group, I decided, “This is something I need to explore, and I need to be a part of.” I was in that group for two years. Through that process, I really was exposed to a lot of ideas that I had never been exposed to. I had never learned anything about building a business until I joined that group. As you guys know, you get out of law school, you start a practice, and you figure it out, basically.

I know you guys were talking in previous episodes about some of the experiences you have had. Tyson mentioned having some experience running a previous firm or having some exposure to running a previous firm. I had none of that. It was just figuring it out.

After 10 years, I’d figured out a lot of stuff but it wasn’t getting me past that plateau. I joined the coaching group. I discovered, through that two years of that business coaching that, really, the law firm was not my passion. I mean, I enjoyed it and I did a real lot of really cool things but it wasn’t my passion. My passion was actually helping other attorneys structure their firms and create those systems that I enjoy so much in my firm.

And so, after two years, decided that– it really got to a point where I wasn’t enjoying the firm very much and decided, “If I was going to have to put in a lot of work to turn the ship around, I might as well build a new ship and one that I was more passionate about.” That’s what brought me to streamlined.legal.

Jim: Melanie, you talked a bit about bringing Clio in with your different team members. Talk to us a little bit about two things. One, getting the team to buy in to using new software because I’m going through that right now with Filevine. Number two, you said that task management turned your practice around. I’d love to hear more about that.

Melanie: As far as buy in of new staff or new people coming on board, that is one of the hardest things, I will admit.

Now, of course, if you’re hiring and you already have the system in place then you can kind of try and ferret that out in your hiring process, right? You can tell them, “This is what we have. This is what we’ll use” and try and get some type of reaction or see if you can figure out how they’ll respond to that.

Like you said, a lot of times, you may be switching with the current staff that you have. Getting that buy in, it can be really hard. It can be a big challenge. What I try to do is I try to look at it from the staff member’s perspective because, obviously, from a business owner perspective, you have all kinds of reasons why this software is going to be better. Maybe it gives you better reporting or better oversight, whatever the situation is.

As a staff member, I may not care about that stuff. That’s not the motivation that gets me through every day. Generally speaking, a lot of times speaking, the motivation that gets people through the daily work tasks that they have is making it easier and maybe making it faster, or more efficient so that they can get more done. If they have that type of mentality, then it’s just a question of looking at the software and figuring out what benefits it has for them. Is it going to make this report that they used to create in three hours take them 20 minutes? Well, that may be very appealing to them.

You really have to figure out what each person’s motivation is because maybe they don’t want to be faster, maybe they like their relaxed, slow pace of life. That’s fine, too. But then, we need to figure out what can we use to motivate them if it’s not the features of the software. I don’t know, is it Starbucks? I don’t mean to imply that people can be bought with gift certificates but what are the small things or big things that can make a difference in their lives? What motivates them so that you can try to incorporate that into your switch, whatever that is.

And then, as far as task management goes, before we started using the task lists in Clio– and for those of you that aren’t familiar with Clio, it’s just basically their version of workflows. Before we started using those, we were very much just trying to react to whoever emails or phoned us last, and what emergency or urgency was coming up next. That’s just a more stressful way to practice, in my opinion.

Once we actually had these workflows documented out and the software was reminding us at the appropriate time to start working on something, then it was like we were put in this position where we could now anticipate what was coming up and we could either get it done so that we’re done in plenty of time and we’re not running up against deadlines all the time or we could restructure things if we needed to for that file because we know, working in a system, not every files can be exactly the same. Some things are different, but we can address that using a system. If we can see, very quickly, which files do not fit within our system, then we can address them and handle them separately.

But if you have no way of identifying that and you just feel like every file is something new and different, you’re going to become quickly overwhelmed and more stressed in trying to service your clients. And so, that’s where workflows really, really became helpful for our firm. I’m convinced that that’s helpful for everyone else’s firm as well.

Tyson: Melanie, whenever you’re going in and working with these firms, are these typically firms that are more general practices? Do they have specific practice areas? Are they niched down? Do they have systems built out? If not, how do you deal with that? I’ve got so many questions about this. I can imagine you’d be going to some of these firms and they’re basically just starting out and so they don’t have a lot of this built out. How do you deal with that?

Melanie: We start at the very beginning as they say in The Sound of Music. We have to take a look at, basically, “What are they doing now and what are their goals?” And so, a lot of times, when we’re working with firms, that’s exactly where we start. We do a two-hour interview to just learn about the firm and figure out how they’re operating now. In two hours, you can get a lot of information. You may not know everything, but you’ll get a lot of information and like really get a sense of how they’re operating.

And then, we just start prioritizing things. What are their biggest pain points? A lot of times, I will be honest with you, workflow is one of the biggest pain points. Generally, the first one is billing, frankly. However, workflows are typically second or third, depending on the firm. And so, we just start at the beginning and figure out what the biggest pain points are, where we can help that’s going to have the biggest impact, and we start there.

When we’re talking about workflows, most of the firms that we work with have multiple practice areas. However, it depends on the firm. A lot of firms will be trying to narrow their focus and we’ll have one– maybe two practice areas. That, of course, we can systematize a lot faster than, like you mentioned, the general practices.

The general practices take a lot longer because, really, you’re working with 10 different workflows instead of two, right? It does take a longer amount of time.

We focus on “What’s your biggest volume of practice?” If you have 80% is estate planning and 20% is probate, then we’re going to focus on estate planning first. We’re going to build workflows for that first. And then, we’ll worry about probate. And so, it’s just very methodical taking it one practice area at a time.

Jim: We’ll pause for a word from our sponsors.

Thanks to our sponsor, Smith AI. Smith AI is a superior receptionist service for law firms, trusted by many Maximum Lawyers, including me. At my immigration practice, the Hacking Law practice, Smith’s friendly US-based receptionists respond to potential clients in English or Spanish, screen and schedule new leads, and even take payment for our consults. 

The best part is that they don’t just handle these conversations via phone. They also have live agents and chatbots capturing leads on our website through their chat widget.

They serve as our friendly gatekeepers while my team and I work uninterrupted. We get new clients and we get work done. How awesome is that? If you’re in a solo or small firm, I know you’ll appreciate this. 

Plans start at just $70 a month for calls and $100 a month for chats. They even offer a totally free chatbot so there’s no excuse. Try Smith AI today and see for yourself why attorneys like me say, “Smith AI receptionists are the secret to business growth.”

Smith AI offers a free trial and Maximum Lawyer listeners get an extra $100-dollar discount with promo code MAXLAW100. That’s M-A-X-L-A-W-1-0-0. Sign up and learn more at www.smith.ai.

Trust me when I say don’t let another day go by, try Smith AI.

Jim: You’re back on The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. We’re talking with Melanie Leonard. She helps lawyers figure out their tech.

I saw that firsthand. Tyson and I had the Zapathon in Arizona. We were very, very lucky that our friends Paul Yokabitus and Melanie Leonard joined us because it became quickly evident that most people were overwhelmed by what we were talking about with Zapier. Melanie and Paul jumped on in and really helped out a lot of people. So, Melanie, I want to thank you publicly for that. I just want to get your overall impressions of how you felt the Zapathon went.

Melanie: It was my pleasure. I was so glad to be there. Honestly, I was not intending to go until about a month ahead of time and I decided, “This will be a really great experience.” I worked a fair amount with Zapier in the clients that I’m helping. And so, I have that experience and that background which was great to be able to bring.

What I was most excited about was just to see the types of attorneys that would show up and to see how they progressed through the Zapathon. For example, I know you’ve talked in other podcasts about the experience of having people there that had never even opened Zapier before, frankly, or maybe they just created their account and that was it. That was very exciting to see all of those people and I had the privilege of working with that beginner group at one point. But to see them– you know, those light bulbs go off in their heads and to say, “Oh my gosh, this could save me–” they start calculating time in their heads, how much time they’re going to save now. With this zap, it saved him five minutes. And if I had to do it 20 times a month, now, I’ve got all of saved time. It was very, very cool to have that experience.

And then, also, one of the things that I think was great to have that mixture of inexperienced and experienced people in the same room, with respect to Zapier, is the idea that we’re learning from each other, too. Even if you have a lot of experience, that doesn’t mean that you’ve thought of every zap that would be beneficial to your firm. I think that having that combination of experience actually did help people grow and learn from each other. And so, I thought that was a really, really great idea.

My general view of the Zapathon was, I was really glad to be a part of it. I was very, very impressed and glad that you guys made that decision to pivot when the first how many ever hours were not going the way you would plan. I’ve actually learned from that a couple of times. 

There’s a mutual attorney in the group that he presented on Zapathon an intake at the ABA Techshow a couple of weeks ago. And so, he was not able to attend the Zapathon, but he and I talked about kind of how things went, what you guys did so that he could be prepared for a similar kind of reaction from his audience at the tech show.

I actually am about to go and teach Zapier to the Atlanta Legal Tech Group down in Atlanta. I’ve taken that experience and the ABA Techshow experience and tried to craft something that will be really helpful for them. I had a great experience to learn a ton from how you guys pivoted and how the workshop actually ended up and will be able to share a lot with a lot of people. And so, I’m super excited about that and glad to have been part of that experience.

Tyson: All right. I’ve got a fun one to ask you, Melanie. 

Melanie: Sure.

Tyson: When you compare running a law firm to running your current business– we know which one you like more, which one is more difficult and why? 

Melanie: I’m going to say the law firm was more difficult. Not that this one doesn’t have its challenges. The first business, the law firm, I had no idea what I was doing going into it. I knew how to do a real estate closing and that’s about it. I didn’t know how to run a business. I just didn’t know.

The things that took me 10 years to figure out and be able to implement in my law firm, in this business, took about 18 months. So, financially speaking, if you want to measure it by money, it took me 18 months in this new business to be able to gross the same amount of money that I was grossing with my law firm. I very much attribute that to the idea that all the things that took me 10 years to figure out the first time around, I can now just hit the ground running with them.

I really don’t feel like it was that much of a difference, frankly. I mean, it’s still a service business. I’m still providing a service to people. I’m sure there are attorneys out there that don’t want to hear this but it’s really not that different. As attorneys and as law firms, we like to think that our businesses are so unique but the reality is that it’s a service business and you can provide a lot of different services in a lot of similar ways. Attorneys can learn a lot from looking at other service businesses and how they work and how they don’t work, frankly.

I was very fortunate to be able to use a lot of the same things that I learned, over the 10 years on my own and the two years in that coaching group, in order to create the business that I have today and be able to grow it even larger. The trajectory is still going up so I’m super excited about where I can take this business that I wasn’t able to do with my law firm. I’m very much looking forward to that.

Jim: That’s awesome, Melanie. You’re also a very active member in the Facebook group. I noticed, maybe about two weeks ago, you threw out an idea that you might try to develop your skills in Filevine as much as you have in Clio. I didn’t get a chance to see what kind of feedback you got and I wondered where you were headed with that.

Melanie: The feedback was very positive. As I suspected, because the reality is, it doesn’t matter what software you’re using. The idea is that there are a lot of great people out there that can help you with tech support, right? There’s a lot of great technicians and software companies that can help you with that. There’s a lot of great business coaches that can help you build your business, generally speaking.

When I started this business, I found that there were not a lot of people that were working at that intersection of building systems and businesses and using software to do it. You would have a business coach that says, “Okay. Well, get a good practice management software.” “Well, which one’s good and how should I use it once I have it?” I found that that was where a lot of people were getting stuck and you would have a lot of good technicians that would tell you, “To create a workflow in Clio, here’s how you put it into Clio.” “Okay, well, but what should the steps in my workflow be?” And so, I felt like there was this void in the middle there between the business building and the technology that people weren’t necessarily getting a lot of help with.

And so, whether the technology is Filevine, or Clio, or Practice Panther, or MyCase, or name any other system you want, it doesn’t matter what the technology is. The reality is that, building those systems to support that technology is going to make that technology help you tenfold. And so, the response I got for Filevine was fantastic. I think it’s a great software and I’m really looking forward to diving deeper into it.

The reality is I did put that out there as a teaser because I do want to grow that part of the business. I’m currently interviewing Filevine experts in order to fill that position and have somebody help me since I’m not yet an expert in Filevine. As soon as that happens, I will be thrilled to make a huge announcement and start working with an additional population of people that are working in Filevine.

Tyson: Melanie, one of my biggest fears is that I will be using a software and like, at some point, I’ll realize that I should have ditched that software like 10 years ago. I imagine if you’re like a Needles user right now. I’m sorry. I apologize to any Needles users. If you’re using needles right now, like realizing, “Okay, I should’ve dumped this like 20 years ago” because Needles is an outdated software.

How do you prevent that from happening? I’m assuming a lot of what you have to do is forecasting out technologies and making sure that this company is legit, and they’re going to improve their softwares, their systems. How do you deal with all that?

Melanie: Yeah, it’s funny, you bring up Needles because I actually do have a very early client that switched from Clio to Needles after a couple months of working with us. It was like, I mean, not a dagger to the heart, but it was pretty disappointing. The reality is now that this firm has been on Needles for a number of years– the reality is, it really just depends on what you’re looking for, right? To them, they had different priorities and different things that were important to them that Clio wasn’t able to support and Needles was. And so, for them, it’s been a great move.

Now, I agree with you. It kind of makes me cringe – the idea that it’s not cloud-based and all that kind of stuff but each firm is different. And so, what I think of, when you asked that question though, is this whole fear of missing out. The reality is, there may be other software out there that you don’t even know about that could be better for your firm.

The other thing that you have to balance that with is the idea that, number one, there is no perfect software, like there is no one ring to rule them all, as I say in my house, and you do the best with what information you have. The other thing is that, number two, and Jim knows this most recently, there’s a certain amount of time and energy and money that goes into switching, right. It’s not easy or fun to switch practice management software. It doesn’t matter what software you’re going to or coming from, so there’s an investment there as well.

What I find more compelling is, “How are you using the software you have?” I have a lot of people that will jump around from software to software. That whole shiny object syndrome. The next great thing to come out, we need to use it. They may be right. There may be all kinds of great things coming out, but if you’re not even fully using the software you have, I question whether or not you’re going to fully use the next software as well. So, if you’re really getting the most out of everything you have, and something better comes along and you think it’s going to serve you better then, “Yeah, let’s go investigate it.” 

My great example is Lawmatics. There’s a ton of people, especially in this group, that really enjoyed Lawmatics. I think it’s an awesome product. It does a ton of really great things. It’s very automated. It can allow you to do some very cool things that a lot of other software doesn’t in that intake space, but I also have seen small firms try to jump into Lawmatics. The reality is, in order for Lawmatics to serve you as well as it can, there is a fair amount of investment upfront, whether it’s money, or time, or a combination of both in order to get templates up and running and form emails and forms that you want your clients to fill out, and all kinds of cool things that it can do. You have to build that stuff.

And so, when I see a one- or two-attorney firm going into that and saying, “Well, I’m ditching Clio Grow, for example, because it’s not as robust.” Well, they’re not even using Clio Grow. I worry that some firms are jumping into software that is not a good fit for their firm despite the fact that it might be a really great software.

If you have a solo who is using Lawmatics, I’m not saying you can’t do it, but that’s going to take a lot of time and energy for that solo to set that up, or outsource it, or however they’re going to do it. But if you’re not prepared for that, then it’s going to be another piece of software that just sits there, you don’t use it, and you’re still paying for it. In my opinion, most people need to look at what they currently have first. I know that Chad Burton is going to do a great talk on that at MaxLawCon so you guys should definitely get your tickets now, if you haven’t already. 

We should definitely be looking at what software we have now, in order to make sure we’re getting the most out of that before switching. That’s the other thing I see a lot of is attorneys wanting to switch because their software doesn’t have this feature. But then, once they dive into this software, they figure out, “Oh, wait, it does have that feature. Or, it has a feature very similar to it that would save us a lot of pain and anguish of having to switch softwares.” I really am a big firm believer in investigating and making sure you’re getting the most out of what you have before deciding to move on because there’s always going to be a better software out there.

Jim: All right, Melanie. Talk to us a little bit about who your ideal law firm is to work with, what is your avatar law firm that you like to work with, and what are the services that you offer to people and how do they get a hold of you?

Melanie: I love working with firms that can see and appreciate the advantages that technology will bring to them. They just are having trouble actually implementing it. Whether it’s because of lack of resources, or whether it’s because they just don’t know where to start, or they haven’t thought of their practice in a systematic way, those are the firms that I love working with so that we can show them exactly how to go about implementing that new software, or the software they’ve had for some time, in a lot of cases. Those are the types of firms we like to work with.

How do we work with them? We can do a lot of different things to help your firm implement new technology or existing technology. What we like to start with is what we call our “action plan”. That’s that two-hour interview where we learn about your firm and how you guys do things so that we can come in and give you a bunch of great recommendations that you may not have even thought of. And then, you can take those recommendations and run with them or have our help in implementing them. Either way, it really all starts with those recommendations to see what’s going to really benefit your firm in moving forward.

Tyson: Excellent stuff. All right.

So, I want to wrap things up. Before I do, I want to remind everyone to go to the Facebook group. Get involved there. I think we’re over 2500 people now. It’s kind of crazy how much it’s grown over the last year. There’s a lot of great people like Melanie in the group, sharing great, great information and resources.

I also want to remind you to register for MaxLawCon 2020. We have a lot of great speakers, including Melanie Leonard, who will speak about Stop Wasting Money on Technology which I’m really interested in hearing that. You’re really incredible.

Go register now MaxLawCon.com.

Jimbo, what’s your hack of the week?

Jim: Well, going along those lines of implementing new software, we told everyone that we were shutting down the office on a Friday morning. We got everybody into one room and we all worked on setting up Filevine the way that we wanted it, in each particular case, and just getting everyone together. One, it boosted enthusiasm about it. Two, it allowed people to share things that they were working on that were really working well. It was almost like a mini Zapathon. And then, it also allowed people who were stuck to get unstuck.

We’ve actually been doing that. We did that for a whole half day. We’ve been doing it an hour a week since then and it’s really been helpful.

Tyson: Very good stuff. We are actually doing ours in about a week and a half. I’m really looking forward to just like digging in and everyone getting involved. We’re going to redo our core values. It’s going to be a lot fun.

Melanie, what is your tip or hack of the week?

Melanie: I’m going to jump on that bandwagon here but add a little more detail. I absolutely think there’s a huge value and firms don’t do it enough, frankly, to getting the whole staff and attorneys together in one room and talking about how they’re doing things. More importantly, maybe why they’re doing things.

What I like to call it is our “better way” meetings. Basically, what we’re looking for is, “How can we find a better way of doing things?” because it doesn’t matter what you’re doing or how you’re doing it. In my opinion, there’s almost always a better way and there always will be because your firm is going to change, and grow, and things are going to be different, people are going to be different throughout the years. And so, always being in that mindset of reevaluating how you’re doing things, I think, can be very, very valuable.

And so, whether it’s a basic, “How do we get the mail from the mailbox to the correct attorney to be able to see it?” That might be something we want to take a look at. In Gemma’s case, we have new practice management software. That sounds great, too.

Whatever the system or the procedure is, let’s look at it. I’m going to give you a tip. The first one, the first meeting, is always going to be, “We need to create a procedure”. And then, your procedure’s only going to get better from there. Basically, the question is just, “How do we do this better?” and “How can we make it better, easier, more efficient?” Whatever your goals are, those are the questions that I would ask in that meeting. 

Tyson: Excellent stuff.

My tip is actually a really good segue from what you were just talking about because we’re always reassessing our firms, we’re always reassessing our businesses, but what we’re not doing is reassessing our health. And so, this is a good reminder to stop and assess your health to see how you’re doing and maybe adjust what you’re doing.

I recently did this about eight weeks ago and I feel much, much better. Some people like John Fisher, Mo Lilienthal, Media Mike, I feel like that have really changed their health and their lifestyle. I think they’re benefiting as well. I know that they’re benefiting as well.

Now’s a good time to really, as you’re reassessing your firms and your businesses and getting better, don’t forget about you as a person, your health, because a lot of you are doing this for your families. If you’re not around, guess what, you can’t do those things. Make sure you reassess your health.

Melanie, thank you so much for coming on. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve learned a lot. Thank you. 

Melanie: My pleasure. Thank you.

 

Thanks for listening to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. To stay in contact with your hosts and to access more content, go to maximumlawyer.com.

Have a great week and catch you next time.