This week we turn the tables and share an episode of the Financially Legal podcast with Dan Lear where Jim and Tyson were the guests!
Financially Legal is a twice-monthly podcast with accompanying articles on the financial aspects of the business of law. Host, Dan Lear, talks with law firm leaders, academics, business professionals and thought leaders to provide compelling and provocative insights at the intersection of finance, economics, and law.
12:30 finding a supportive space
14:01 can anyone be a small business owner
17:00 take the action
23:41 filling the need law school leaves open
24:29 The Morning Meeting Show
27:13 Maximum Lawyer, Minimum Time
38:29 Maximum Lawyer Conference
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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.
Dan: I’m really excited to welcome Tyson and Jim, from Maximum Lawyer, to the Financially Legal Podcast.
Guys, thanks for joining me. And, also, you know, Tyson, I’m embarrassed that I didn’t catch this in the intro. I should’ve asked you how to– I would’ve said, “Tyson and Jim Hacking,” but I don’t know how to pronounce your last name. And I’m just going to cut that right up top and ask you how to say it because I’m sure it’s a question you get.
Tyson: So, I always do this first, though, I’m not going to tell you until you take a shot at it.
Dan: Okay. All right. And I have no problem embarrassing myself. So, I’m going to go with the Americanized version Mutrux but that sounds really, really painful.
Dan: And so, now, I’m going to try to go with a more kind of Franco-philed version which is kind of Mutru, but I also don’t speak French. So, I know that’s probably off as well. So, maybe we should let Jim introduce himself first so we can prolong the drama.
Tyson: Jimmy, go ahead. How do you say your name?
Jim: I’m Jim Hacking.
Tyson: And I’m Tyson Mutrux.
Dan: Ah, there it is.
You know what? And this is even doubly embarrassing, I have listened to a couple of episodes of your podcast and I’ve heard you introduce yourself. So, it’s kind of like–
Yeah. Anyway, not worth going into.
Tyson: In jury trials, what I’ll do is I’ll pronounce my name as Tyson Mutrux. And then, I’ll say it for any of you French teachers, it’s Mutrux, in French. Because there are some Mutrux’s in Missouri, they pronounce it Mutrux. Our family pronounces it Mutrux. But whenever I’m on the phone with someone, I’ll say, “Mutrux. It looks like Mutrux.” I’ll say that to them. So, it’s funny that you said Muturx.
Dan: I mean, yeah, that’s, again, the very ugly Americanized version of it. But it’s not real pretty. But that, again, you know, if Stephen Colbert can call himself Colbert, I think you’ve got a lot of latitude.
Tyson: My wife and I have actually had the– not to bogart this conversation about my last name, but we’ve actually had the conversation about changing it to Mutrux, but I’m not so sure how my family would feel about it. I do like Mutrux more. I think it sounds better.
Dan: Way more dignified, for sure.
Well, why don’t each of you quickly introduce yourselves. And then, if you can, just give the maybe elevator pitch, one or both of you, for Maximum Lawyer. Obviously, we’ll be spending a good chunk of the time talking about that today. But I often find guests do a way better job of introducing themselves than I could in the intro that I’ve already given.
Tyson: Jimmy, take it away.
Jim: So, my name is Jim Hacking. I’m an immigration attorney in St. Louis. I started my firm in 2007. And, in 2012, we went all-in on immigration and stopped doing anything else. So, we’ve niched down. And I helped start the Maximum Lawyer Podcast and movement with Tyson five years ago.
Tyson: Yeah. And my name is Tyson Mutrux. I am a personal injury lawyer in Missouri. We’ve got offices in St. Louis, in Columbia, Missouri. We’ve been doing exclusively personal injury since 2017. Before that, I was doing criminal defense and personal injury. We decided to drop criminal defense all together. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. And Jimmy and I, let’s see, five years ago, launched Maximum Lawyer and it’s been awesome. The podcast has taken off. Conference has taken off. And we’ve had just a lot of great growth since then.
Dan: Well, that seems like a perfect place to jump in. So, tell me how you guys think about Maximum Lawyer? What is this group? And maybe even start with how you met each other and how this all began.
Jim: So, I have a friend who teaches at the law school and every summer she teaches a course on lawyer management – law firm management. And when Tyson was a third year, she couldn’t teach that summer and she asked me to teach the class. So, I actually taught the class. And that’s how we became friends. He was, really, one of the few students actually paying attention sitting in the front of the class and like he was very interested in owning his own firm.
And so, the way that the podcast started and where Maximum Lawyer came from was Tyson and I would have these great conversations about running a law firm. And we were trying to use a piece of software called Infusionsoft. And we thought that we could build our firm on the backs of Infusionsoft. So, we were having these great conversations and I said, “You know, we should record these and release them as a podcast” because, in my mind, despite that class that Tyson took and that I taught, for the most part, law schools do very little to teach people about the kinds of things that you, Dan, talk about – the financial part of running a law firm. And, you know, it’s always been interesting.
We’ve always gravitated, and we still do now, towards two different areas. And the part that I always go to is marketing. And the part that Tyson always goes to is systems and operations. So, from the outset, it was a good mix. And we had different practice areas. And neither of us want to ever have law partners again but we have this partnership and it’s about as partner-y as I want to get. We have a lot of fun.
We keep the group loose. The group has really grown, the podcast has really grown. We haven’t missed a week in five years which is something that I’m very proud of. And the group itself has grown to, I think, around 5000 members – the Facebook group.
And I think that we really tapped into a longing that a lot of solo and small law firm owners had in that, you know, when you’re the top woman or the top man, at the firm, everybody looks to you and there’s not a lot of opportunity for collaboration or commiseration and that we just sort of hit the ground at the right time. And, you know, it was really funny, we would find one person in this city and they would recommend us to other people in that city. And it really was more of a movement, an organic thing, than anything that we really planned.
Tyson: Yeah. And it was kind of cool. I would say it’s a crowdsourced podcast and community because we started– it was really– I think we went eight episodes. It was just me and Jim and we’re just– really, just, honestly, just recording. We recorded several episodes where we didn’t record it the right way. And so, we had to re-record it.
We had our, you know, false starts and everything but they were like, “You know what? Let’s put together a Facebook group.” So, we put up a Facebook group and, for some reason, people started to join the Facebook group. And then, we’re like, “Oh, let’s start having some guests on this thing.” So, we started having guests.
I mean, no one really big at first. Apologies to the people that we had on at first but– and then, I can’t remember, Jim, who our first big one might have been. Maybe John Fisher might have been the first pick. And we’re like, “Oh, we got John Fisher on the podcast, you know. This is great.” And this is really snowballed from there. It grew, and grew, and grew.
And then, we’re like, “You know what? Let’s do a conference. Let’s have a conference.” My biggest fear was that no one was going to go come, that we would have this thing up and like 10 people would show up and we’d be sitting in this room. And we had a really cool venue. It was at St. Louis University. their law school had a– it was a newly renovated building. And we had it and it was classroom style and 70– what? 70 to 75 people, somewhere around there, showed up to the conference. And we’ve even had a couple of sponsors and we’re like, “Oh, my gosh. This is amazing.” And then, the next year after that, we had 150 people come to Delmar Hall in St. Louis. It was awesome. It was a cool, cool venue.
Dan: And quickly, Tyson, just what were the years that this was happening? When was this?
Tyson: So, 2018 would’ve been the first one. The second one was 2019. Last year was supposed to be the third one. And then, obviously, it didn’t happen. But we did do a– well, I wouldn’t call it a virtual version of the conference. We ended up launching The Guild instead because we were–
I mean, last year was supposed to be a really big conference. And it’s going to be just this year, but– And then, we decided to launch The Guild instead. And The Guild is just a– I’d say it’s a more advanced version of the big group. So, you’ve got a lot of people that get it. And most of the people in the big group get it. I guess, you have to be in the group to get it, to know what I’m talking about.
Then, we launched The Guild. It’s a high-level conversations every freakin’ day. It’s pretty cool, the number of people that are in the group that are just willing to really spill the beans and share everything just to be in the group.
Jim, did I leave anything out?
Jim: No. I think you nailed it. It has certainly been organic. We’re excited about this year’s conference. A lot of energy’s going into it. And I just got back from a conference where most of the presentations were between an hour and a half and two hours. And ours would be 20 minutes at the max, half hour at the max. So, it’s going to be a lot of very compact content. We’re going to have breakout sessions for the first time.
But, overall, I just really enjoy getting to talk to other lawyers and helping them figure out, you know, where they’re stuck and help them get unstuck.
Tyson: And, Dan, just one last thing I want to add.
Dan: Yeah, please.
Tyson: Jim used the word organic. And we don’t run ads. We’ve never run ads. This is something where we’ve not– we went years before asking anyone for a penny. You know, it was just this very cool thing that it has just blossomed. It’s the coolest thing to see it grow and just watch the podcast numbers grow. And it’s really– it’s just– it’s a cool thing. Just, it’s kind of like watching your kid grow. You know, it’s just this magical thing you see just get bigger, and bigger, and great. You know, it’s just– it’s cool. It’s a really cool thing.
Dan: Yeah. I’m assuming you guys both have kids or maybe you can relate to that. As I often joke, yeah, it’s a vicious cycle. You keep feeding them. They keep growing. But that’s little more of a cynical take.
Jim, so I want to definitely talk about The Guild but maybe a good way to get there is to step back because, Jim, I think you mentioned something that I think is really interesting or, at least, worth talking about. You said, “We sort of sensed there was this longing.” Say more about that. What is it that you think you’ve tapped into? What is it that you think that lawyers are looking for, or were looking, or are finding in the community that you’re building?
Jim: So, if you think about lawyers who go out and start their own firm, there’s probably two or three camps. One camp are those who plan it out, very detailed. They have their business plan. They know exactly what they want. And they come up with these world-class business plan. Then, you have people who are sort of thrown into it and just sort of decide on a lark, you know, “I’m tired of my job. I’m quitting.” And then, you have people who are in voluntarily separated from their prior firm and they’re sort of stuck. They’re in a stage where they could go work for somebody else, but they want to try going out on their own.
And it’s all peaches and cream, when you’re thinking about how it’s going to go. But then, when you go out on your own, it is sort of like having a baby. You know, everyone tells you what it’s like to have a baby, how you don’t have sleep and how, you know, you’ve got to change diapers every three hours. And you think, “Yeah, yeah. I’m sure I’ll be able to figure that out.” But then, once you actually have the baby, it’s a totally different bag.
So, you know, Michael Gerber calls it that entrepreneurial seizure where we say, “I know exactly what I want to do. I want to start my firm.” And then, you start your firm. And then–
This is one of my favorite questions to ask people in the podcast which is, “Tell us about that day that you decided to go out on your own. And then, tell us about that day, when you’re sitting in your desk and you have gone out on your own. What are the things that are going through your mind on each of those days?”
And so, I think that what we’ve been able to do is to tap into those people who went out on their own, in any one of those scenarios. And we’ve built a community of people who, but for us, would be really isolated. And there aren’t a lot of resources. There aren’t a lot of places that you can talk.
We really do a good job, I think, of monitoring the group, keeping it positive. The people have a growth mindset. Any negativity is out. Any political stuff is out. Any going off on each other is out. So, we really have tried to create a safe space for people to be honest and vulnerable to talk about their high’s, to talk about their low’s.
I mean, at the conference last year, we had people sharing stuff that was personal– at both conferences, personal and emotional because, you know, running a law firm is hard. Running a law firm is hard. There are so many different aspects to it. There are so many different people looking to you for guidance that, like I said at the beginning, if you’re sitting up on that mountaintop and everyone’s coming to you all the time, that can be exhausting.
And so, just to be able to find a space to say, “Hey, you know, I’m going through this problem with my software. I’m going through this problem with an employee or, you know, “I’m thinking about changing or adding a practice area. What do you guys think?” It’s just hugely supportive?
Tyson: I think Jim did a really good job of summarizing it. He had me thinking, as he was talking, like we have cried with these people, we’ve laughed with these people. We’ve had people that on, you know, Monday say, Listen I’m– and like, you know, in tears. Like I don’t know if I’m going to make another week, you know.
We’ve had people get on to the Facebook group and say, “Like, I just don’t know how I’m going to do this. Like, this is extremely tough for me.” And they’ve really just opened up their– open up. I mean, really expose themselves. And they’ve been really vulnerable. And it’s really amazing to see other people come to their aid and say, “We’ve got your back.”
And it’s a really cool place because Jim and I, I mean, we’re in the trenches with everyone else. I mean, we didn’t do this thing. We’re like, yeah, and you see these where like you’ve got these organizations that pop up. “We’re the end all be all for whatever your needs are.” They’re not actually practicing, right? But Jim and I are actually practicing. So, we’re in the trenches with these people and it’s a cool thing to see people come to other people’s aid, you know. And it’s just a neat group.
Dan: So, to drill down just a little bit more, kind of on this framework that Jim set up, I’d be curious on your guys’ thoughts here. Jim, you mentioned these three groups, those who come in with a very formalized, well-thought out business plan. Those who sort of approach this on a lark. And then, finally, those who maybe become involuntary solo’s or small business owners.
I guess, kind of a two part-er. Tyson, as a litigator, you can appreciate this. Do you see that one of those three groups is drawn to the group, particularly? And then, do either of you have any thoughts on, kind of, is there one of those three that really shouldn’t be solo’s? Can they all be made into successful small business owners and small law firm owners? What are your guys’ thoughts there?
Jim: I laugh about business plans. I mean, I think it’s important to sort of nail down what you’re wanting to do but, as I’ve been saying lately, somewhere out there is a law firm owner who decided to open up her firm on March 14, 2020. And she probably had the world’s best business plan ever.
Dan: Early March was our soft launch for Gravity Legal [laughs].
Jim: Right. Well, I mean, I opened up my firm during the recession, in 2008, so–
Jim: But, yeah. I mean, you know, I love that quote from Mike Tyson, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
Dan: Totally. Yep, I was thinking of that same thing.
Jim: I think that we’ve seen all kinds of people succeed in the group from all three of those phases. You know, some of the people that get involuntary separated, they have a fire burning in them. They want to prove everybody wrong.
Jim: So, I think a lot of it depends on personality.
Now, at our firm, we’re really big on the Kolbe Index. So, we have everybody who works for us, take that Kolbe index. And we found that a lot of our lawyers and paralegals are very high fact finders and, usually, high follow through but definitely high fact finders. And so, I actually think a lot of lawyers wait too long to go out on their own and try to plan too much because that’s sort of what the industry is built. You know, lawyers are fact finders. And so, I think the personality of lawyers often colors how they are as business owners to their detriment.
I think that lawyers need to be thinking more entrepreneurially, and more as a business owner, and less as a lawyer or, at least, they need someone else in the firm playing that role. But, if you run your business like you practice law, I think you’re really setting yourself up for some artificial limits on what you can do. I don’t know if that’s exactly an answer to your question but it’s sort of what I’ve seen. I think that, too often, law firm owners and lawyers play it too conservatively because those are the kinds of people that are originally drawn to law school, if that makes sense.
Tyson: Yeah. And I think Jim’s right. I think that the– I mean, really, the key difference in all the three of those categories, the ones that actually make it and do well are the ones that take action. And, a lot of times, what happens is that business plan– I think business plans are a smart idea, okay? And I don’t think Jim saying it’s not a smart idea. And I’m going to really distill what he’s saying down to, if you don’t take action on it, it doesn’t freaking matter.
And people use that as an excuse. They say, “I’m going to create this business plan.” And next, you know, it’s a one-page business plan. It’s a 20-page business plan. It’s a 30-page business plan. It’s a 50-page business plan. And this business that they were going to launch, you know, in a year, it’s now three years down the road. Now, it’s five years down the road. And they’re using it as an excuse. It’s a crutch for them not to take action. And the ones that do the best are the ones that take action.
The other part is– and the ones that really take that next step. And I talk about confidence quite a bit because it’s something that I had to learn is you have to realize that you’ve got it. You’ve got the ability to do it. And one of the things that the lawyers that– they fail a little bit. And we all fail at things. Like, we all– if you run a business, you’re going to fail at something. It’s just going to happen. Things are not going to work. You’re going to have a shitty day. It’s just going to– that’s how it works, okay? You might have a really terrible month.
But the ones that really persevere, they get through it and they realize that, “Yeah. I can do this. I’ve got the skill set to do this. I went to law school. Law school’s not something that most people can do.” And some of you are like, “Oh, you know, law school’s easy.” I mean, if you compare it to the general population, “No. You did a pretty damn good thing.”
And the people that realize that, “Yeah. You know what? I am good. I can do this.” Those are the ones that really excel in making sure that they take action and that they’ve got the confidence that they can do it.
Dan: That’s great. I love it.
So, one of the things that came up, as you guys were talking, and I’m just curious, did you succeed in turning Infusionsoft into a practice management system?
Jim: Great question. Tyson, why don’t you take that one because you’re the king of Infusionsoft?
Tyson: Yeah. I mean, I actually, like Infusionsoft. I think Infusionsoft is– the thing I love about Infusionsoft–
Dan: Now, called Keap. Not a podcast sponsor, by the way, [inaudible 00:18:59].
Tyson: I refuse to call it– I refuse to call it Keap.
Dan: Spelled K-E-A-P, yeah.
Tyson: K-E-A-P. Keap. It is the dumbest name.
But the thing about– that I loved. I won’t say love. The thing I loved about Infusionsoft was the company, the people – the people that ran the company. It was amazing. And the moment that they threw ICON out. They tried to recover. ICON was their big conference and it was amazing. You’d go out there and you leave that place– and I was teasing Jim, because he just came back from a conference, you’d have conference fever. And I’m talking you’d have conference fever for weeks. And it was just you had a high.
I still remember the first one I went to and the music that played. And I was like, “Oh, just– it was amazing. It was just– like, they play the same song over– like, every time it was time for people to come back into the conference hall, they’d play the same songs.
Jim: It was Flo Rida.
Tyson: Yeah. So, it was so great. But it was really– it was nuts and bolts stuff. It was really good.
To answer your question though, I successfully turned it into a case management system. However, it’s not the most effective case management system. And I’m currently in the process of migrating away from it. Jim has, for a couple of years, migrated away from it.
I think that if Infusionsoft had kept to their principles and been the same way they were three years ago, I’d probably still be sticking with it. And my guess is Jim probably would, too. But they’ve changed as a company, not quite the same. And, by that point, we’d abandoned what we were going to do with Infusionsoft anyways when it comes to Maximum Lawyer. So yeah, to answer your question, yes but then both of us have gotten away from it.
Dan: Love it.
Jim: Running your own practice can be scary. Whether you’re worried about where the next case will come from, feeling like you’re losing control over your growing firm, or frustrated from being out of touch with everyone working under your license, the stress can be overwhelming. We will show you how to turn that fear into a driving force of clarity, focus, stability, and confidence that eliminates the rollercoaster of guilt-ridden second guessing and mistake making to get you off that hamster wheel for good.
Tyson: Maximum Lawyer in Minimum Time is a step-by-step playbook that shows you how to identify what your firm needs and how to proactively get it at every stage of the game so you’re prepped and excited for the inevitable growth that will follow. Name the lifestyle that you want and we’ll show you how to become a maximum lawyer in minimum time. Find out more by going to maximumlawyer.com/course.
Dan: One of the things that came up, as you guys were talking about the group, and I’m curious, I think you wear this as a badge of pride. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t, but I’d love for you to comment on it is there seems to be an interesting dynamic between, I think, first of all, how you started this group and how it’s grown.
But, also, I think, second, you both mentioned, “Hey, we’re in the trenches.” We’re practicing law ourselves. I don’t know, maybe this is just the entrepreneur in me but do you really– and, obviously, now, you’ve got a paid community so there’s some kind of revenue coming in from Maximum Lawyer. Do you really view this as a business? What do you see kind of what you’re doing with this group?
Jim: So, the Maximum Lawyer is five years old, right? And, to this day, any vendor or employee of Maximum Lawyer has taken out more money from the company than we have. I honestly don’t know how much money’s in there. At the moment, we’ve actually been locked out of the bank account. It’s my job to get us back in. And I’ve just been too busy today to call the bank to find out how to change our login. But we are making money now. We started The Guild. And the conference – the conference, pretty much, breaks even. And then, I just got my first coaching client this last month, so I’m excited about that. But where it’s headed–
And we do wear it as a badge of honor. I mean, I think that– I look at these people on Twitter, these people who’ve never built the thing in their life, who love to tell lawyers what to do. And these can be lawyers or non-lawyers. You know, the legal market is a cash-infused market. There’s a lot of money that law firm owners make. And there’s all kinds of people that are happy and willing to take that money off your hands.
And so, you know, we have these law professors, or people that sit around and think about where the future of law is going and all that stuff. I think it’s such a waste of time. I mean, it’s interesting. I like to pay attention to it. I love Clio’s Legal Trend Report. I think that’s really helpful because it’s very practical.
But I think that where we come in is we fill the need that law schools leave open by not training lawyers on how to run a firm. We’ve built a tribe of people who are like minded like us. I mean, we can talk about any aspect of running a firm from start to finish because, you know, my firm has 20 people in it now. And we have five attorneys. And there’s like real world things that come up every single day.
I mean, Tyson and I haven’t had to sit around and think up a content idea for the show or one of our Guild calls in years because we just– you know, Gary Vaynerchuk talks all the time, you know, don’t create content, just document. And we’ll come in– Tyson–
My favorite part of the Guild and my favorite part of maximum lawyer, honestly, is every Saturday morning, from 8:00 a.m. till 8:30, Tyson and I are in the Guild and we just talk about our week. And that has created content for us. That has created lessons for us. That has created a path for this product that we have now called Maximum Law in Minimum Time. I mean, it really is the day-to-day operations. And that’s the stuff that people really want to hear. It sounds boring, but people love to be able to say, “If Jim and Tyson can do it, I can do it, too.”
Tyson: Yeah. It’s really kind of funny. You’ve mentioned the people like on Twitter, you know, like– or you see these Facebook ads, “Oh, you do this and you’ll make seven figures.” They’re like they’ve never built a damn thing. They’ve never, ever, ever done it. They’ve just thought about it. And what they’ll do is they’ll come up with these principles. “Do these six things here. Do these eight things. And this is how you become a seven-figure law firm.” And it’s all bullshit. It’s all it is. And so, I think– and I do wear it as a badge of honor, the fact that we do run these law firms and we both got these successful law firms that basically run themselves at this point.
Jim and I, we do work at our firms, but we spend a lot of time on Maximum Lawyer. And we can do that because we’ve built these firms that have good systems. We’ve got these teams or we have lawyers that can help run the firm. We’ve got management, they help run the firm. And we’re able to do what we’re able to do because of what we’ve built in our firms. And we’re able to do what we do in Maximum Lawyer because of our experience running these firms. And we’re able to convey that knowledge to people.
I’ll give you an example. Like, people are like, “Oh, you’ve got to automate. You’ve got to automate.” They don’t know what the hell that means. They never built out any sort of automation campaign in their lives. They couldn’t show you how to do it. They couldn’t show you what products to use and they’re just full of shit. And that’s the stuff that drives me nuts. Like, that’s sort of like, it might be like our boogeyman, you know, like the person that just– they try to sell these things and you’ll see it.
Jim and I, we’ve got this perspective where we have these people that try to come into the group and try to sell things. We see all the time. And they don’t know anything. Like, they just don’t know anything, so we’ll kick them out the group. But it’s just– it’s one of those things that drives me nuts because, like Jim says, this is a cash cow. And there’s a lot of cash in the legal industry. And our buddy, Kelsey Bratcher, calls it the lawyer tax. You know, like there’s a lawyer tax. So, they’ll charge a lawyer, you know, 10 times what they would charge, you know, a guard, you know, and he just calls it lawyer tax. And it’s completely true. And he works in multiple industries. And he says he’s never seen it before. It’s kind of crazy how much they try to charge us, as lawyers, compared to other industries. I don’t know. Whenever we can, we try to call them out on their BS.
Dan: This seems like a great place to jump. I had already wanted to ask about The Guild. And then, Jim, you were like, “Oh and we also launched this other thing, Maximum Law Minimum Time.” So, let’s talk about both of those. What are you doing with The Guild? And I think one of the questions I definitely like to ask, just for listeners is, maybe this is a good place to walk into this. Like, there’s the podcast which is obviously free. Folks can listen to that. There’s the Facebook group which, I believe, is limited to lawyers or– lawyers? Okay, you’re both nodding, so. And then, there’s the event which maybe we can talk about as well. I’m assuming there’s some kind of admission for that. But I assume just about anybody can come.
But, anyway, let’s kind of walk through the different layers and offerings that the group has. And, again, if you don’t want to consider them offerings that’s totally fine. But talk about sort of how folks can engage with you, what the different levels are, kind of what the different expectations are.
Jim: So, you’ve hit on most of them. Maximum Law in Minimum Time really came out of some work that we wanted to do. And it actually, of all things, stems from our time with Infusionsoft.
So, Infusionsoft had a grid where they would look at the five stages of entrepreneurial growth, right? And so, the first stage is, obviously, when you first open your firm. The second one, I think, was up to 100– those were companies, up to maybe 100,000. And then, the next one’s like 100,000 to 500,000. And we wanted to–
You know, the Facebook group, it’s great. There’s 5000 people in there. So, it’s sort of a little bit of the wild, wild west. And there are sometimes where people ask the same questions over and over. And we noticed that there were these different aspects of running your firm, you know, like vision, people, systems, marketing, leads, intake – all that stuff. And we decided to build a product for people that were in one of those first three stages – stage one, stage two, or stage three. And we wanted to take all of our collected knowledge of what we’ve learned, both in running a firm and in interviewing people for five years straight on the podcast. We wanted to turn it into a product that people could access.
And then, the way that it works is. if you join the Guild, then you have access to the product. I think you can buy the product but it’s like $2,000 which is sort of crazy. So, most people just join The Guild. And then, The Guild is actually our laboratory where we talk about the real-world implementation of the concepts that we’ve developed for Maximum Law in Minimum Time. So, people can work through the course themselves.
And the fun thing for Tyson and I, we’ve just built out the first three stages. And we’re going to start working on four later this summer. The fun thing that we noticed was that, you know, some people might be in stage one when it comes to vision, and stage three when it comes to employees, and stage two when it comes to, let’s say, intake.
Dan: That’s interesting.
Jim: And so, it’s all about improving your game.
And the biggest thing for me, what I spend all my time doing, when I think about all these things – the conference, Maximum Law in Minimum Time, the Guild, all that stuff is you say you’re here and you say you want to get there. So, what we want to do is to help you get from here to there. Whatever that is. You can define that yourself. Different people want different things. Some people want a lifestyle law firm. Some people want to make as much cash as possible. Some people want to eliminate all headaches from their lives.
And our idea was that we’d gather all that stuff, put it into the product. And then, at the conference, the themes of the conference, the different sections are all going to follow Maximum Law in Minimum Time so that people can hear from successful lawyers, who’ve done things in each of those areas, to up their game. And this will be the first time where we actually have breakout sessions along those lines, so I’m really excited about all of it.
Tyson: Yeah. I mean, I think, Jim, you did a good job of explaining everything. I mean, you’ve got the Guild, you’ve got Maximum Lawyer in Minimum Time. You’ve got the conference. You’ve got the podcast. And then, we have max law media which includes the multiple podcasts that we have. So, those are all the different things that are part of Maximum Lawyer. But Jim did a great job of explaining, basically, what The Guild is and what it does.
Dan: So, let me just ask a super tactical question. Again, just for folks who have been listening and they’re like, “Wow! I really like the way this group operates or what they’re saying.” I’m a lawyer. This is the first time I’m hearing of Maximum Lawyer. I want to drink the Kool Aid either, you know, slowly or quickly join the group where– like– and, again, we’re getting a little tactical but like would it be best to sort of walk through Maximum Law Minimum Time? And then, how does somebody sort of feel their way into this?
Tyson: I mean, listen to the podcast and go to the Facebook group. So, go to the Facebook group. Search for Maximum Lawyer. Join the group. And see if you want to absorb any of this information. I mean, my guess is, if you’re probably listening to this podcast, you’re probably looking to learn some things. And if you’re open to learning, if you don’t think you know it all, and if you’re also willing to give, like, for example, we talk about the go-giver quite a bit. Now, if you’re willing to give and not just receive– like, we don’t like takers in the group, right? There are people that try to come to the group and they’re just takers, right?
The people that really get it, the ones that do the best, are the ones that give too, right? They share. They’re willing to share. they’re willing to be open. They’re willing to not think that they know it all.
And so, start with the group. See if you like what you see. Listen to the podcast. I mean, start at the beginning. I mean, a lot of the people that really get a lot out of it, they start at the beginning of the podcast. I don’t know how many we’re up to but five years’ worth, one a week. You know, we’ve quite a bit of content out there. Pick and choose what you want to listen to, and listen to it. See if you like it. And go from there. That’s how I’d start with it.
Jim and I are– I mean, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re not on here to, you know, pitch any products. I mean, we’re just talking about, you know, the things that we’ve done and how Maximum Lawyer’s grown. And if you want to be a part of that, great. If not, okay. That’s fine, too. There’s a lot of other groups out there.
Dan: Love it.
All right. So, kind of as we round home here, I wanted to ask you guys a question. And, obviously, I can see you – the listeners, ultimately, won’t or can’t. But even notwithstanding that, when you gave your intro’s. Jim, you said, Tyson was a third-year law student in a class that you taught. And you said, you started your firm at ’07. I’m very delicately getting to the point that, Jim, you’re a few years older than Tyson, my guess. What I’ve been interested by, just in talking with you guys today and watching you interact with each other is, I feel like there’s an interesting sort of multi-generational, you know, thing going on here. Like, I think often like folks who find themselves working as closely on something wouldn’t necessarily have– and, again, I’m not sure. There’s a bit of an age difference and I find that interesting. And I think it’s cool that you guys probably bring differing perspectives but would love for you to just quickly kind of chat about that. You know, is it a situation where like, you know, Jim, you bring sort of more experience and Tyson you bring kind of a different type of view? How does that dynamic work with you guys? And how do you think it shows up in the group?
Jim: That’s a great question that no one has ever asked us.
Tyson, how old are you? Like, 37?
Jim: Yeah, 38. So I’ll be 51 this year. So, yeah, that’s a more than a decade’s age difference. I think that it’s just always worked. I mean, I think we both learn a lot from each other. I think that we both have different real-world experiences. I mean, Tyson can tell you funny stories about before he went to law school. I mean, he was in the Army. He worked for State Farm. Both of us worked between college and law school. And I think that that’s really important.
So, I think that, for both of us, we were raised by dads who didn’t have a college education, and worked their ass off, and were entrepreneurial. And I think that that has sort of spilled over into our mindsets. You know, you’ve got to go to work. You’ve got to put in the hours. You’ve got to build something.
And I think that, as far as the age difference, I think that, you know, I’m getting to a stage where I’ve told Tyson where I want to do more coaching and I really get a lot of energy out of being around younger people. You know, like, I have this firm with– we have like 20 employees and I’m the one who does all the tech. Like, I’m young at heart, for sure. And I think that that helps as well.
But we’ve never really gotten– Tyson, I don’t think we’ve ever gotten in a fight once, knock on wood, right? We’ve never disagreed about anything. We did the one cardinal sin of anybody telling you to start a business, you should give one person 51% and one person 49%. My wife hits me over the head about that every now and then. And we’re 50/50 partners, you know, in everything, by collaboration. And we sort of– I think– Tyson, you tell me what you think. I think we sort of have our spheres within the company even– or the concept of Maximum Lawyer and what we focus on. And I think we both get to go tinker in our own little spaces and we bring back and say, “Look at what I’ve built.” Then, we go from there.
Tyson: Yeah. I mean, I think, as people, I mean, we’re extremely different, right? If people knew about us, our upbringings, all that kind of stuff. Again, because we talk a little bit about it. I mean, we’re very different people but we also have a lot of similarities. And we talk about this quite a bit. People, whenever they’re looking for a law partner, like they usually start looking for someone that’s just like them. And that’s the last person that they want, right? Okay. So, if you’re exactly the same, then you’re going to be want to be doing the exact same thing, right?
And so, Jim’s right. We do have our own little spheres, you know. And he focuses a lot on marketing and what he does. And I focus a lot on the operations and the systems. That’s the stuff that I like to mess around with. And I like to build things from a systems standpoint. He likes to build things from a marketing standpoint. I’ve not broken this to him but that’s also systems, but he likes to still think of it as–
Dan: The first fight. The first fight [laughter].
Jim: It’s an art. Damn it, it’s an art. It’s not a science [laughter].
Tyson: Yeah. Yeah. It’s the–
And so– yeah. So, we have our– and here’s the other thing. It’s like we both have like the freedom to go off and build our own things, you know, and do those things, and then come back and say– like, you say, “Hey, look what I did,” you know. And like– it’s like, “Okay, great.” It’s all for the benefit. And here’s the thing. It’s like we both know. We both trust each other. Like, whatever we’re doing, it’s for the benefit of Maximum Lawyer, right? It’s not for the detriment of Maximum Lawyer.
I mean, I’ll give you a prime example. Jim has been wanting to get into coaching for a little while, right? Organically, he got his own, you know, his first coaching client. He didn’t go and say, Hacking, you know, Coaching. He didn’t start his own company for that. He’s running it through Maximum Lawyer and we have the trust. He knows that I’m not going to go off and start some systems course and sell some systems course. Why would we? That’s sort of our like, Why would we? It doesn’t make any sense. And so, we have each other’s backs. And we have our own little playground we can play around in, you know. And there’s different parts of the playground that I can play in, different parts of the playground he can play around with. and that’s fine.
Dan: Thanks for indulging me on that one, guys. That was interesting.
Dan: Kind of, as we wrap up–
Tyson: [inaudible 00:37:55] really quick, though. Jim, he just called you old, just so you know.
Dan: No. No. You see, that’s why I said I was like, delicately. Like, I knew that Jim could possibly be the Doogie Howser of legal, teaching a course to older students. But like I just sensed, right? I was like kind of doing the math.
Jim: You got it. You did it.
Dan: So, I guess, kind of, we can wrap this into the last question, but I did want to ask kind of– again, a multi-pronged one that I’ll let you guys take in a number of different directions. But like, the future of in-person conferences is weird, right? And maybe it’s only weird for the next six months, while we all kind of try to figure out what that looks like. But I’d be curious kind of (a) What’s on the schedule? Like, are you guys planning to do an in-person conference? I think you mentioned it. And then, you know, if you want to opine on kind of what you think that’s going to look like or how you’re thinking about it differently, that’d be awesome.
And then, as I mentioned to you guys, before we started, you can use this as a time to talk about what you’re going to be doing or if you want to talk about something else as well. But if you want to sort of it could be an opportunity to wrap the kind of opportunity for you to talk about Maximum Lawyer, in general, and how folks can engage. Again, I’ll leave that up to you.
But I’m curious, both in this specific kind of what you’re thinking about the conference but also just in general, kind of how you guys think that’s going to evolve and maybe even what it means for Maximum Lawyer.
Jim: Tyson, go ahead.
Tyson: So, I think people are desperate to get out of their houses and their towns. And they’re desperate to go places. And we’ve given the question that you just asked a lot of thought. And we were originally scheduled to have the conference in June, so just a couple of months away. And we, ultimately, said, “It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in June.” I don’t think people are going to be as comfortable. And so, we made a tough decision. We said, “Okay. Let’s move it to October.” By then, the vaccine rollout– and we made this decision months ago, but we were sort of playing the odds. Vaccine rollout will have been to the point where most people will be vaccinated, if they want to be.
And we already know this, by the number of ticket sales we have, we’re going to sell this thing out. So, we know people want to get out of their houses. We just know. We already have the data now to know that that’s what they want to do. They want to get out. There are going to be the few that are going to be hesitant. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that but– I mean, Jim just went to a conference, an in-person conference. I mean, people are already doing it which–
I mean, you saw the Kentucky Derby, the largest sporting event that the US has had since this started. I mean, people are coming out of their houses. People are getting vaccinated. I don’t know what the numbers are up to now but– I mean, millions of people, hundreds of millions of people have been vaccinated at this point. And so, by then, people are going to be ready. People are ready now. And they’re going to be ready. Definitely, they’re going to be ready in October.
And my guess is, by October, there’s going to be a lot of people that have already been to conferences. I mean, October is after the conference season, right? So, by that point, my guess is there going to be a lot of people that have already been to some conference, had been on a plane. They’ve flown somewhere. My family just got back from our trip ourselves, you know? So, I think people are ready. I really do.
Dan: Yeah. I just went to one in-person. And I’ll be honest, Jim, you can maybe reflect on this, I thought it was a little early. Like, it was still– it felt just– I’m vaccinated so like I, personally, didn’t feel that risky but like there was still enough awkwardness. That’s my opinion, but I think October seems reasonable. But Jim, you know, if you have any thoughts on that.
Jim: Well, at this conference I went to, they gave you a sack full of wristbands. One was red. One was yellow. One was green. Green was you’re good for hugs and handshakes. Yellow was sort of, “Yeah, I’m here” and 6 is sort of keep your distance. So, that was sort of an interesting thing.
I’ve been traveling throughout the COVID. I had Corona in November and I’ve been vaccinated. So, I think, I felt pretty comfortable. And we were in Texas. You know, they don’t care about COVID at all down there.
So, as far as, Dan, what you were talking about, you know, what are my big takeaways or what I want people to think about is that, you know, we all have things that we have to work on. We all have things that we want to do better. We all have things that are strong about our firm or about our practice. We all have weaknesses. And there’s nothing wrong with sort of saying that out loud. And just sort of I think people spend too much time just doing, doing, doing and not enough time thinking and journaling.
And I think it’s really important to just sort of take a real assessment to see “Where am I at? Am I happy where I’m at? What would I like to change? And then, who do I know that can help me get there?”
You know, I love that whole StoryBrand concept of– you know, that Tyson and I really have walked into this role of sort of helping people as a guide that, you know, we want to help people. And we have guides in our group. We have, you know, Seth Price, who knows about SEO. And we have Jay Ruane who knows about social marketing and all that stuff. And so, we have all these different people that can help you get to where you want to be.
And so, don’t accept the status quo. Don’t stay where you are. Don’t suffer in silence. Come into the group.
I agree with Tyson. I would listen to the podcast. I mean, we have 250 weeks of podcast which means there’s over a hundred hours of content. And I know there’s closer to two because of all the added stuff that we’ve put in there, 200 hours of content that you can educate yourself. You can just, you know, soak it all in and open up your mind.
I mean, Tyson and I, the one thing that makes us really sad – and I honestly mean this, sad, is when we come across law firm owners who have that closed mindset. That Carol Dweck book about mindset, open mindset versus closed mindset. I think it’s one of the most important books that I’ve read as a law firm owner.
And there are people, even in The Guild, who have that closed mindset. And it might just be about a particular issue. It might be, “I’m not going to hire anybody ever again. I had this bad hire. It didn’t go well, eight years ago, and I’m never ever going to try to delegate a thing the rest of my life.” Or, they miss a statute of limitations or something so that, therefore, they square it off, and then they’re stuck.
And so, what we really want to do is to help people unlock those places where they’re stuck and to get to a freedom that they won’t get to if they don’t sit and think about where they’re actually at. You know, step one is admitting that you’re powerless over whatever it is. And then, try to make a decision to change.
Dan: Love it. That’s awesome.
Yeah, I think, just to editorialize a bit, too, Jim. And this isn’t true for every lawyer, but I think that that challenge of kind of not doing and thinking is particularly challenging for lawyers because we’ve created this construct where, for the most part, every six-minute increment is lost value. And so, like your time becomes so high pressure and you feel– at least, I know I felt this way when I was practicing, like stepping back and thinking about anything besides sort of how to crank out the next hour. Again, it not only feels wasteful but like you can actually count what it would have been worth to you. And I think that that creates a really challenging construct. So, I thought that was a great thought.
Again, guys, as we round out, check out the podcast. Obviously, join the group. Folks who are interested, potentially, in attending the event. Do you want to give the details on that and how people would find out more? I mean, if the tickets aren’t already sold out, we can get a rush on the bank here– or run on the bank here. When is it? And how can people get tickets?
Tyson: So, they can go to MaxLawCon.com. The conference is October 12th and 13th. There is a Max Law Guild Day on the 11th. If you’re interested in the Guild, you go to maxlawguild.com. Yeah, MaxLawCon.com has all the details.
Well, guys, this has been a lot of fun. Really appreciate it. Super insightful. I’m excited to get this content out into the world and let folks hear about it. But thanks so much for taking the time.
Jim: Thanks, Dan.
Tyson: Thanks, Dan. Appreciate you having us.
Thanks for listening to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
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