This week on the show we have attorney Ben Glass from Fairfax, Virginia. Ben started his solo practice in 1995, focusing on personal injury, medical malpractice, and ERISA disability insurance law.
He has been featured in or quoted by The Washington Post, Washington Post Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, ABC News Online, Wall Street Journal, and “The Next Big Thing” Radio Show.
Mr. Glass has been interviewed on television, including the stations ABC, NBC, and Fox.
In today’s episode we’ll talk about taking a look at successful people within and outside of our industry, growth mindset, laying aside objections, and COVID-19.
Get Ben’s book Play Left Full Back, released today!
Do a Virtual Happy Hour, it allows you to connect and have some fun during these times.
Mindset tip: allow your mind to think without the limitation of cost or people. This is also the time to read, he recommends Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead.
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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.
Jim: Welcome back to the maximum lawyer podcast. I’m Jim Hacking.
Tyson: I’m Tyson Mutrux. What’s up, Jimmy?
Jim: Tyson, how are you my friend?
Tyson: I am doing well. I am doing well. Working from home, you know, so you’ve got the three kiddo’s upstairs. It’s a different feel, a different start to my week than normal. Otherwise, everything seems pretty normal. How about you?
Jim: Well, when you’re the boss, at my firm, you get to still come to work so I have no human contact with anyone on the drive here. I’m the only one here. I have my whole setup. So, I feel like I’m right at home.
Tyson: Yeah, I’m going to go in later today, I think. I don’t think it’s necessary right now. I’m going to go there to maybe check mail and stuff like that. I think all mail forwarding is on. I’m just going to see if there’s any checks in the mail and things like that. Otherwise, I don’t really see any need to go in.
Anyway, do want to introduce our guest this week? I’m pretty excited about it.
Jim: I am super excited about our guest today. We set this up a couple of weeks ago, before everything hit the fan. I think that it couldn’t be a better time for us to have Ben Glass on the show. Ben will have the right mindset. I know that he’s going to have a great message for our lawyers. I’ve already been following what he’s been saying since the virus epidemic hit.
Let me just tell you a little bit about our guest. His name’s Ben Glass. He’s a personal injury lawyer in Virginia. I was a member of his group which is called Great Legal Marketing for many years. I learned a ton from Ben.
I can picture the first time I went to one of his conferences, how nervous I was, how I didn’t know anybody, how I didn’t know anything about marketing. I went in there, eyes wide open, with just a big notebook to take many, many notes. I remember our friend, Larry Weinstein, was sitting over to the left of me and Ben standing at the podium and just teaching for hours, after hours, with his overhead projector. I learned more in those weekends at Ben’s conference, certainly, than I ever learned in law school. For me, to have Ben on our show is a real treat, a real honor, and I’m excited to have him.
So, Ben, thanks for being with us.
Ben: Well, thank you. That’s a great introduction. I appreciate it. I’m happy to hear you guys say that you’re starting this week and we’re recording this for folks who listen to it later. It’s March 23.
I’m happy to hear you guys say, “It’s okay,” yay, and you’re doing well.
There’s a lot of things we can talk about, of course, on this call. I think that one of the points I’ll make is that I view there’s a real lack of leadership for lawyers here. I hear nothing from the National Bar, the State Bar, or the Trial Lawyers’ Association – nothing proactive about this and yet, what you guys are doing – especially with your group on Facebook, Maximum Lawyer, is so, so important because it’s really hard to go this alone.
And so, I want to applaud you for the group, first of all, which is very active and for doing calls like this, not just with me but all the other good guests you get on because it’s just so critical that we band together, try to think rationally, try to gather together best practice. I think you had something yesterday, I think, on just sort of whole digital issues, how do we get wired.
So, let’s go because this is an important time for all of us and your work is very, very important for our lawyers.
Tyson: Ben, we really, really, really, really appreciate you saying that. That was funny– I don’t know. You’re sort of giving us some credit but I’m looking up at an eight-disc CD set, I think, or there’s like, I don’t know, five or six CD’s in here – Marketing and Money Making Secrets by Great Legal Marketing, Ben Glass. I feel like you were one of the original leaders when it comes to bringing the legal field forward when it comes to progressing, when it comes to running a business and marketing. And so, a lot of that credit goes to you as well. That’s really, really nice.
I do want to back up a little bit because I think it’s important that people know a little bit about you as a firm, instead of the Great Legal Marketing. A lot of people know you as Great Legal Marketing. They don’t know about you as running a law firm. Will you talk about how you started your firm and how that played out?
Ben: Yeah, a hundred percent. I think that’s important because when you’re looking at people who are giving advice or pontificating about opinions, I mean, I’m still in the middle of it, still running a practice.
I had a very traditional career. I got out of law school in 1983. I went to a law school, George Mason University – now, that’s Scalia School of Law, back when it was newly accredited. And so, there weren’t a lot of people hiring in the DC area out of this really brand-new law school. I was lucky. I hooked up with a great trial lawyer while I was in law school. As I was getting out in ‘83, he was getting together in partnership with two other really good trial lawyers. It was mainly an insurance defense firm. And so, they hired me at the grand sum of $15,000 for the year. I got to pretty quickly be able to do depositions, participate with other really good trial lawyers in this area. Do trials, I was defending malpractice cases fairly early on in in Virginia and Washington DC. And so, I got a lot of hands-on experience. Meanwhile, I was growing my family. My family, as many on the call probably know, is now nine. But then, it was about four or five and growing.
I got to a point, about 12 years in, that many lawyers got to where they say– for me, my commute was long. I was coaching three soccer teams. That was getting kind of challenging. I was getting good results and I was making money. And so, I said, what many lawyers say, which is, “How hard could it be to go start a law firm?” Let’s just go. Let’s create something closer to where I live. These guys are great.
I say in my book. I think they would agree with this too, I’m not the greatest business people at the time. I just started, and left, and took some cases that carried me for a while. And then, I kind of realized, ”Holy cow. I don’t know anything about business.” I was a good lawyer. I’d gone to all those seminars. And so, I began to suffer, until the day that I got a sales letter from Nightingale Conant because I was a fan of the, sort of, success industry and the sales and marketing industry, and read and listened to a lot of that stuff, and got that letter from selling Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing Product, and ordered it. First thought, “None of this is for me” because there was nothing in there about lawyers. It was chiropractors and real estate agents. I almost returned it. I’m going to tell a long story in the book.
Basically, in listening to the audio, which was tapes at that time, and then going through the material, I was open enough to realize I don’t understand like half of what Dan’s talking about here but, if I could figure this out, it would change my life. And so, I started to implement ideas outside of legal because I had looked inside of legal. I’d gotten all the books in the ABA and I’m building and starting a new law firm. There weren’t a lot of them but none of them were very good. They were very insular. Everything was about law, law, law. Look at lawyers. Look at lawyers. Dan Kennedy, taught me, No. No. Let’s go look at successful people and successful businesses. Figure out what ideas and strategies and mindset they have. Try to import that into law, even if you’re the first one to do it.
And so, that changed everything for me. I was practicing personal injury law, competing with– you know, I’m in the DC market, right, Washington DC market, so there’s a lot of big players here. A lot of TV advertising here. It changed everything for me because it allowed me to figure out how to fish in a smaller pond and then be a force in that smaller pond. That was good enough.
And so, that was in 1995. I started my firm. We started. Me and my assistant, we worked four and a half days a week because we didn’t have enough work for five days a week. We were in an 1100-square foot suite and the stuff started to work.
And then, about 15 years ago, with encouragement of Dan Kennedy, Bill Glazer, and some others, I took what we were doing and brought it to market in the form of Great Legal Marketing. There was not a lot of stuff out there for lawyers. There just wasn’t. And so, I started to translate really a lot of what Dan was saying into the legal space, really showing what I was doing. So, we started. Great Legal Marketing was started as advertising for personal injury lawyers. That’s how limited it is.
Today, it’s really the whole gamut. It turns out advertising and marketing is not all that difficult. It’s formulaic. We can talk about that. We spend a lot of time, today, teaching lawyers how to build a sustainable business, where people love to come to work, where the customer service is first in class, where we’re still not afraid and probably we’re bolder than ever before in terms of bringing outside of legal market into the practice.
And we grew. So, in that space, from one suite with two people. And then, the second business started 15 years ago. We grew to we were in four suites across two office buildings in Fairfax City. About a year and a half ago, we moved into a much bigger space. We have our own training center, brought both businesses under roof. I employ about 23 people.
Today, the practice is– really, we’re in two verticals. So, the personal injury, which you introduced me as, but mostly my son runs that vertical now, Brian. He’s practiced for 12 years in another firm then joined us a little over a year ago. And then, I developed a niche practice in these ERISA long-term disability cases which, just as an advertisement– this is a vastly underserved market. If someone is looking for a practice area, I think this practice area will grow in light of what’s going on today. This is it.
And so, became, certainly, a regional leader in that space. We have a wonderful team that serves that space. We do more cases than, I’m sure, anyone else in Virginia and probably in this region – the tri-State region, because we have great systems. We have outsourced writers, paralegals, and lawyers. And so, that’s the practice today.
I’m fortunate to run two really good businesses where the most important thing is, the people that I’ve hired, they like to come here. We spoil them in terms of this will be a great place for you to come to work. And so, we can talk about that, too. That’s a long answer to your short question.
So, full-time lawyer but, mainly, I’m CEO of two companies. I’m the thought leader, the visionary. I get a lot of personal coaching. I invest a lot of time and money into my own education both with personal coaches, group coaches, mastermind groups, all that sort of stuff. We can talk about that.
I’m blessed. We have nine kids now. So, what else is there to not like?
Jim: That’s great. It’s been amazing to see the growth of your firm and of Great Legal Marketing.
I want to talk a little bit about Dan Kennedy because I know he’s been a huge influence on you. I remember, at one of your summits, that he actually came. I remember he had all these books with No BS on the title and I thought, “Who is this guy and what does he know about lawyering?” but what an impact he’s had on you and on us.
So, what would you like to know? I think the biggest thing is– people ask me this, like, “Okay, so why are you, all of these years later, still follow Dan? Dan, his own health crisis in the last six or nine months and he’s survived that. Because Dan gave me and many of my friends in that world the permission really to go against the status quo in our industry to think for yourself. To, as he calls it, “spit in the eye of the witch,” and say, “Really? Why do we, for example, as lawyers do things a certain way? Or why do we feel afraid to do other things?” Well, it’s just the way we’ve always done it. We’re so afraid oftentimes to talk about things like profit, and business building, and life satisfaction. My book is a response to the Task Force on Lawyer Wellness and to the Bar’s general response to that problem.
When you start to think like that and then, you start to hang out with other business owners, and you hang out with them, and you find out that, first, they’re good people. They’re good, honest, ethical people who have a growth mindset. When you hang out with people who are doing things bigger, better, and faster than you are, you can’t help but be drawn up into their energy. And so, I think that’s the space maybe I’ve taken here. There’s a lot of people that are, I think, drawn up by the energy, not just what Ben does and says but I’ve accumulated all these lawyers, as you all have in your group. All these lawyers who have a growth mindset.
And so, when you come to an event that we have for your first time and you’re like, “Like, what is this really? Like, is this a scam or something?” And you look around and you see guys and gals who are running solo and small firms. Basically, our market is typically not the guy or gal who’s spending millions on TV and broadcast advertising. We’re just trying to run a legitimate business to provide for the economic and emotional security of our families and of our staff. When you do that, then the client service is just great. And so, I think we’ve kind of figured out a good way to teach that and to say to skeptics, “Just come. Come and see what this actually is.” We’re not for everybody, right, and that’s okay. I don’t try to push anybody [inaudible 00:14:59] but if you like the philosophy of growth mindset, of building something for yourself, your family, and your team in that order, then this is a place to be because this is what we do day in and day out.
Tyson: Ben, you’ve mentioned Bar Association. Tell us how the Bar Associations get it wrong. This is really interesting because someone– the Florida people in our group have that growth mindset. Someone posts something. And then, inevitably, one of the first responses is, “We’ll check your Bar rules.” That’s necessary and everything but tell us how because part of the problem is that the Bar has created this fear in people. Tell us how they get it wrong.
Ben: There’s a couple of levels here. First of all, to the to the to the lawyer who says, ”I can’t do that. It’s against the rule.” I can’t tell you guys how many times someone has said that to me and I’ve said, “Send me the rule” and we look, and we look, and we look, and we go, “You know what, Bob, the rule doesn’t actually say what you heard the rule says, so let’s start there.”
And then, so much of what we teach–
Here’s the only advertising rule. There’s only one advertising rule, really, which is don’t brag about yourself and say that you’re the best. That’s the rule. The Bar doesn’t want that.
Okay. Well, there’s hundreds of things you can do to build trust clues in the marketplace so that the consumer can say to himself/herself, “Oh, Jim Hacking. Well, he knows what he’s doing. He looks to me like he’s on top of his game. He looks to me like he is the best guy in this market area for my problem.” That’s one part. That’s close-minded thinking on behalf of the lawyer who says there’s a big rule and the lawyer is not curious enough to say to himself or herself, “What are all these other lawyers doing? How does Ben Glass think about this? How does Jim Hacking thinking about this? What would Dan Kennedy say?” So, being curious. That’s a really important part. We could talk about trust clues.
Now, the second thing, though, and this is my book, Play Left Fullback, which is available on Amazon starting tomorrow, is a response because in 2016 the National Task Force on Lawyer Wellness issued this long report which I’m sure everybody has read, which said, “Lawyers are depressed and sad, and they don’t like the profession.” I subscribe to some services where I basically get digitally, like every bar journal. And so, for the last four years, we’ve been reading every single president’s letter.
The response was two-fold. One, they’re shocked. Like, “Oh my God, we didn’t know that lawyers were sad and depressed.” I’m like, “Well, that just tells me that you’re on a high tower. Like, you’re not at Bar events. You’re not walking the court houses. You’re not actually talking to ma and pa who are running a solo and small firm because, if you had been, you would already know that.”
But then, their response is, “You should learn how to meditate. You should take more time for yourself. You should eat right.” And so, now we have these– Virginia’s a mandatory CLE state. I call it – this is Ben Glass’ personal opinion, it’s a participation trophy scam because all you have to do is show up and you get a point. We need 12 points and we get a pass for the next year. There’s no requirement that I show up at an event that actually has anything to do with my practice area. I can attend a bunch of events, video. There’s no there’s no requirement that I do anything like learn, right? And so, it’s a scam.
But now we take, on top of that, we mandate, “You have to have a lawyer wellness CLE credit” or more depending on the State. It’s like, “Okay, what are they not saying? Oh my God, we can’t teach lawyers. We shouldn’t teach lawyers how to build a solid business with great core values where the business is profitable, where the people love coming there, where we learn marketing to drive a long line of people outside the door. Virginia actually has, in our mandatory CLE rules, like “these are the eight bullet points of things you can’t get credit for.” It’s all what I just talked about. I’m like, “This is crazy” because lawyers who are running good business– I mean, like, what’s the biggest stress point? There’s a couple big stress points, really. But the biggest ones are financial. I’m not making enough money and I’m stressed. So, can that lawyer write the best brief? Possible. And when they’re financially worried about where the lights are going to turn on? Probably not.
Oh, okay, so I’m financially stressed and now I open my door wider and let in crappy clients which drive me crazy and piss off your staff. So, your staff that you’re investing a lot in, you want great staff to stay around forever, they’re dealing with bad clients. So, you have those two things. My argument is that lawyer and that team cannot be their best when they’re dealing with crappy clients and not making any money. So, why don’t we incentivize, as a Bar Association, right– associations, incentivize the teaching of what you and I talk about all the time, which is build a great business that makes money. And so, they get that entirely wrong.
And so, Play Left Fullback is a response. Wait till you see the print ads that are going to come out soon on this. My goal, personally, is to have some of these print ads rejected by State Bar publications because then I’ll run other advertising that says, “Rejected! Banned by the State.” We have it. We’ve seen this before because we’ve had States like bar our ads, talk about money making.
My argument is this, is that figure out first like “what would be right for your life?” No matter whether you’ve just started practicing or whether, like me, I’ve been practicing almost 40 years. Get off that sheet of paper. Put your laptop away. Put your devices away. Get a sheet of paper and just draw a line down the middle. You make two columns. One of them is “stuff I love to do and I’m good at”. The other is “Stuff I hate to do.” Let’s start there. It doesn’t just have to be work stuff. It can be family. It can be, really, like making an assessment of your life. That’s where it starts.
And now, let’s work on– let’s not listen to anybody – your parents who tell you, you should be doing a certain type of law. The people that you went to law school with who tried to tell you what you need to do. And the Bar which tries to tell you that you need to be like totally subservient to the client and self-sacrifice your way to oblivion. Don’t listen to any of that.
Listen to your own brain, your own mind, and start to craft like “What is the difference between where I am today and where I would really like to be?” I’ll give you a really quick example. The ERISA disability practice is a is a heavy reading claim files and writing briefs and appeals, so there’s a lot of writing. I was trying to figure out, a couple years ago, how to scale that. I said to my coach, Sammy Chung, who I’m doing a call Thursday with Sammy – a big call. We’ll invite everybody to. “Sammy, nobody could write a brief like I am. Like, I’m the smartest one. How could anyone else ever write an ERISA federal court brief on this stuff in my practice?” He goes, “I don’t know but we don’t know until we ask.” You know, Sammy’s language, “Ask the universe”. So, I started saying to people, “I’m looking for writers who’d be interested in learning how to do this.”
Today, we manage like six virtual lawyers and paralegals in this practice. A great resource is a military spouse legal network which is folks who are married people in the military. They get transferred all over. It’s hard to get a law license in every State that you’re moved to. They have these at-home businesses. These people, some of them are like ex-Law Review, ex-Federal court clerkship, State court clerkship. What do they do all day? They sit at home and they write and they write really, really well.
That’s an example of something I thought was a huge barrier. I wrote it down on my list. “I hate being the one to write the first draft of all these briefs” because they’re long. It’s tedious. Now, I get the briefs when they’re 90% done. I direct a little bit of the strategy, maybe, like if a case has a quirk to it, but I get the briefs on my desk and they’re 80% to 90% done. And then, we tweak from there.
My principle, my teaching point is, I’d thought about it. I clarified what I thought the block was – “nobody could do this as well as I could”, and then, I said, “Well, let’s be curious. Let’s try to solve the problem. Let’s see what happens if we try to solve it.” We solved it. And so, we scaled that practice tremendously.
So, I forgot exactly now what question I was answering. I guess, we start here. We start with defining, “What do you want for your life?” And then, we say, “Okay, what type of practice supports the life I would like to have?”
Again, guys, I’ve coached lawyers who are new into our profession. I’ve coached lawyers who are 60s and 70s, who are like, “I like to keep doing this” and we have reinvigorated them. But figuring out, “What kind of practice would support that life?” all right? When you’re doing this type of thinking, you lay aside, for a moment, the objections that your brain will say, “It costs too much. I don’t know the right people. I don’t see how this is going to–
Many years ago, because I was in another mastermind group, I visioned having a 1100-square foot training center in my office. I had no idea where it would be, how I would get it. I had no plans to get it, but I wrote it down. And now, we have this 1100-square foot training center which really comes in great use when you’re doing social distancing. You can meet clients and that we can stay far away.
Figuring out, “What’s the practice?” and just start to write it down. I’m a fanatic journaler. I have nice fountain pens, different colors. I’ve just gotten into that – vision.
And then, you say to yourself, “Okay, who’s the client that serves that practice? Who do I want to see walking in the door?” Now, that’s where we get into marketing. So now, I start to create marketing that attracts that client.
Jim and Tyson, people will say, “Oh, but Ben, that’s you. You’ve got this big project. You’ve got 22 – 23 people working for you.” Blah, blah, blah. I’m like, “No, dude. When I had nothing, I started to think like this.” And I started to create information pieces for my personal injury practice in my first “book.” You printed it off and you put a staple in the corner of it. I had the Five Deadly Sins. I started to learn about direct response marketing and stuff like that. You just do it because you have two choices.
Now, in the midst of this virus thing, you have choices. You can start to play like “The world is going to end Friday”, or you can start to play like “We’re going to get through this” and your firm is going to be the ones to survive. That’s two different mindsets, all right? I prefer to play in the positive mindset. I prefer to hang out with guys and gals who are playing in that mindset. Again, another big teaching point is like who you hang out with.
That’s my response that the Bar Associations either because they don’t know, or they simply don’t want change, or they’re simply protecting their own positions, are not open. And so, I am– I’m not the only one. You guys are there. Richard James, R. John, and Mike Mogil. We’re there saying, “Business happens to be the practice of law and we’re okay with that” because the magic is “when the lawyer is happy, the team is happy, the client is better served, and the community is better served,” not when it’s the other way around.
I think it’s very difficult if you learned in law school and you learn in the profession that the client always comes first. I talked to lawyers who have their cellphones in their pockets and that door is open. Anytime a client has a problem, they call him anytime day or night. In my opinion, that’s crazy.
Lawyer’s good. Staff is good. Clients will be served. Community is good. What’s wrong with that picture and disprove that for me. Anyway, that’s my rant on that.
Jim: Great stuff, Ben.
Tyson: I love it.
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Jim: We’re back on The Maximum Lawyer Podcast with Ben Glass of Ben Glass Law and Great Legal Marketing.
Ben, I’m glad you brought up your book. I’ve really been touched by the early parts of the book where you talk about your mom and your dad and being the big brother to all those siblings and, specifically, your backyard. Before we get into our talk about the coronavirus on the call, I did want to see if you could talk a little bit about the backyard and talk to our listeners about those good days you had as a kid.
Ben: I was born in 1958, so we’re talking the 60’s, in Annandale, Virginia. It was the most wonderful neighborhood. The story I tell in the book is our backyard was about the most rectangular and the flattest. And so, the grass was always bare because, if it wasn’t soccer season, it was football season. If it wasn’t football season, it was whatever. We played in the yard where, in the summer times, you’re out in the middle of the street late at night playing under the lights.
Out of that neighborhood grew a number of athletes. I lived next door to Scott Norwood who had a long career in the NFL. His brother was a great pitcher at UVA and played in the Minor Leagues. I got to grow up playing with great soccer players. All of them went on to play Division One soccer in college. One got drafted directly into the pro’s.
And so, that chapter is about I am grateful for that life that I had. I was the shyest one. I’m an introvert, actually. I was the shyest one in grade school, high school, college, and probably in law school as well.
I learned a lot of lessons. I was entrepreneurial. Somehow, I had a little bit of an entrepreneurial gene. Again, got to play with great teammates. Learned soccer refereeing earlier which I still do. I tell the story of selling soccer equipment out of my locker because there was no Amazon and there was no soccer stores, actually, in Northern Virginia. My buddy and I would import stuff from New York and sell it.
I was the oldest of seven. My mom, in particular, was just always so kind to people. She never like reacted. She responded. In her funeral, she had over 300 people at her funeral at 80-something years old because she was such a centering force.
I won’t tell the whole story but my dad, he’s teaching an advice to me when I tried out for my first travel soccer team is where the title of the book, Play Left Fullback, comes from. Dad is still around. He’s living in a senior facility. He’s very safe and locked down.
I agree/admit to but I’m not ashamed of it. I had a great middle-class environment with a loving family and not a lot of drama. Not everybody has that.
We don’t have a choice about who we’re born to, or where we’re born, or into what circumstances. But we do, every single day, have a choice as to how we’re going to respond to today’s circumstance. Again, I just think, if this is challenging for people, that you have a choice. Like, let’s hang out with the positive people. Let’s hang out with the people who are working on whatever problem it is that we’re facing and maybe find someone who’s worked on it longer than you have. And then, when someone comes into your life, who you can turn around and lift up, then you share that.
One of the good things out of Great Legal Marketing, our mantra is if, Jim, you produced something, and sent it to me, and I put it in the newsletter, and someone else like borrows from it and gets your permission but they make it better, then we share that back into the lawyer universe. And then, the next person takes that idea and they make it better.
And so, I think that’s one impact that I’ve had is that we’ve created a group where, by and large, lawyers have an abundance mindset. They are willing to share. And, in doing that, we have made not only the lawyers better but we have started to restore on a case-by-case basis that position that lawyers once held in the community. That position of respect because they are the wise man or woman in the community who have a lot of answers to a lot of life’s issues. That’s a huge benefit that’s come out of all this, in my view. That’s because I know a lot of lawyers who are members and this is who they are. They’re basically good people.
Tyson: I love it. That’s such great advice.
Let’s get to the present day, in our new reality. Tell us about your current mindset.
Ben: Well, I alluded to it. Just before we went on the call, I went around to my team here and I said, “You know, we’re playing like we’re coming out of this. This could be a relatively short time. We have a choice how to play. So, our mindset to our team is, “We are adults and your gift is your mind. If you feel like it’s better for you to be at home working or even at home not working, we back you 100%. We’ve got a great team here.”
Working at home is not an option for some people, if they have kids and dogs, things like that. For now, I’m in Virginia, so we’re not governmentally shut down and we have a lot of space here. We’ve got 8000 square feet. Whatever works best for you, we’ve got your back.
Number two. We’ve been doing, obviously, a lot of things by phone and by Zoom. Thank God we live now. I started practicing, we had carbon paper. I can remember when the first fax machine was installed. We didn’t have any way of like even mass communication, like conference calls were expensive and rare – group conference calls.
So, proactively reaching out to clients, especially our clients for whom we get their disability checks every month, let them know that that we are here. We’re getting paid today on work we did in the last 6, 12, or 18 months. We’re looking ahead to, when this is over, like there’s decrease in calls and leads, some, some – for us.
Here’s what you do. For any lawyer, first, you don’t just sit and do nothing. That’s a choice but you don’t sit and do nothing. Every single lawyer, no matter how sophisticated your marketing and your systems are, there’s something there that can be improved upon. If you have idle time, there’s a ton of great books and resources out there. And not just in the legal marketing space but in the business space, in the philosophical space, that you’ve been meaning to read, that you can go and read.
I tell lawyers, “A great time to audit your website.” By that, I mean, just go on it and make sure it all works. Make sure that what you think is happening when someone clicks on a webform or, calls your office, make sure that it actually happens.”
I do feel for those lawyers who are not able to shift to sort of virtual, like, that kind of amazes me but I’ve heard stories of lawyers who just aren’t set up. Everybody here is set up with their own laptop. We have a backup virtual receptionist.
For us, the big challenge would be if cheques didn’t get delivered but even we’ve been in contact with these insurance companies who are willing to direct deposit stuff.
I think we were we are prepared because, first of all, we have got a great team and we have spent time building culture, and values, and hiring, and firing the right way. We take the position that you don’t stop marketing. You don’t stop spending on marketing. Some of our members have cut back on spending but that doesn’t mean they’ve have stopped marketing. They may be doing more stuff, creating content for website, creating videos, getting into groups.
One of the things that we do in our practice a lot is we have lunches. We invite other lawyers, in different practice areas, in to do lunch-and-learns. We invite physicians and healthcare providers. So, we’re still doing that. Some of it is virtual but, again, we have a lot of space. Ben believes that every person is an adult who can make their own decision, who has the power of their own mind.
Certainly, if you’re living with someone who’s compromised or you’re compromised, then you’re in quarantine. If you’re young, you’re at a lot less risk. There are some really good podcasts that are going around now that I think are the voice of reason in all this.
That’s what we’re doing. And we said to them, “You can work from home.” But they want to be here. They want to be working to get medical records and bills in so we can keep processing claims.
I realize not every law firm is set up for that. I realize there’s a lot of practices that do depend on today’s client walking in with cash today. And so, that’s more challenging. The best time to have been prepared for this and start preparing for this was years ago. The second best time is now.
I think you just play with the mindset that we, the country, are going to get through this and you are going to be one of the firms that gets through this and comes out on the other side not only surviving but thriving. That’s how we are right now.
Jim: One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is in the book, Good to Great, he talks about Admiral James Stockdale on how he and McCain were the two longest POWs in Vietnam and how he noticed that the people who had the hardest time and who ultimately didn’t survive were the ones who were like “help’s coming tomorrow or help’s going to be here by Christmas, or help’s going to be here by–” and that the people, like Stockdale and McCain, who had an unwavering belief that they would get through it without having the expectation that it was going to end tomorrow. I think that, obviously, that was a lot harder than what we’re dealing with right now, unless you’re sick. Just having to– we can still go to work. We still have the internet. We still have the Postal Service.
I’ve seen lawyers already throw up their hands and say, “Oh, my practice is over.” I mean, really, like, basically, “I’m shutting down. I’m done.” I understand, I guess, conceptually, how fear can override, as you say, using your brain. I think we really have to have that long-term view. And to rely on the past successes that we’ve had. The past things that we’ve overcome and to say, I’m built for this moment. I’m supposed to be here for this moment and my job is to keep this train running, to keep my people employed, to keep my team going. I’m going to keep I’m fighting until I have no more fight left to give.
Ben: Yes. So, there’s a leadership vacuum. I think we’ve talked about it sort of politically, probably. Certainly, State and National Bar wise, for sure.
How about at the local level? And, so what better time than to stand out with a positive message to continue, when you can, to support your other local small biz? Like, in our case, to have lunches even if they’re virtual lunches. What better time to step up into community? At least, thought leadership and not hysteria.
One of the things we’ve done is– again, some people will say, “Ben Glass is crazy” but we’ve said to at-home workers in our church and to kids who are in college in our church, “We’ve got plenty of space here. If you need to do online learning and it’s not the best place for you to be at home because of things. You’re an adult. Here’s our space. You can use your own mind to make a judgment. We’re using a lot of cleaning practices and stuff but we have space. And so, come into our space. We can isolate you inside our space and you can get your work done.” I think there’s lots of opportunities for that, for you.
I would implore folks listening to this, “Don’t wait to be asked to take up that leadership role.” Nobody asked Ben Glass to create Great Legal Marketing. It’s something I enjoy doing. It’s something I thought I had something to offer to the world. It has turned out to be very good for all of our lawyers who are members and for me, obviously. I’ve got young ones who are working that business. We employ a lot of people. Don’t wait to be asked. Be that voice in the in the dark storm right now that says what you guys just said. It’s like, “We are going to get through this.”
The lawyers– I would say you know so much not just in your practice area but because you’ve had a lot of experiences. You’ve been in this world. Like, “Call me. I’ll help you answer your legal questions. I’ll direct you to the right place.” There’s all sorts of things that we can do.
Again, promoting your other small business compatriots in your community. I guarantee you, if you do that, that we get through this, you holding that leadership position in the community will rebound to you in spades, to place that for years. We have tried to take sportsmanship program and all sorts of business lunches that we host and stuff like that. It really, really enures to your benefit.
The last thing I would say is relationships matter. Especially for those of us who are a little bit savvy about this business and marketing, reaching out to your other local lawyers. I advise lawyers all the time like “Reach out to your age cohort.” If you’re a young lawyer and, let’s say you’re, a criminal defense attorney, reach out to the lawyer your age who’s running the bankruptcy practice, the family law.” You be the one who starts a group. Again, it can be virtual now.
Let’s throw our ideas on the table. For you, it increases your referral network but it’s because you’re being the leader. You’re asking this question always like, “What can I do for you first?” I tell you that that is a principle that we really try to live by here. I think it kicks off a lot of endorphins, frankly, when someone says, “Well, here’s what you can do for me” and you’re able to help move the needle in their life. Just from a business perspective, I know that that’s helpful. From a self-worth perspective, when someone says, “I need a hand. Help me get up and give me an idea” and you’re able to be the one to do that, even a little bit. That’s just tremendous.
What we need today, March 2020, is we need these positive stories of people not succumbing to, in my view, the hysteria of the media. Yes, this is hard. Yes, people are sick. Yes, and people are dying but most won’t. Most of us are going to get through this. I want to be on that boat at the end of the day. And so, there’s a lot there.
I think, folks who buy Play Left Fullback and I thank you for that. I think you will find that that book is filled with that central philosophical theme to live your life as you choose it which will enable you to be able to turn around and pick somebody up.
The book, there’s whole chapters in there about all the mistakes I’ve made. People will learn from the mistakes. And that there’s no other way. Like, I don’t tell you how to lead your life. You don’t tell me how to lead my life. But if you like what I’m saying, then you’ll join our little merry band and that will just make you a better resource for your clients, a better resource for your family, and a better resource for our community.
Tyson: I love it, Ben.
All right, so we want to be respectful of your time. So, we’re going to wrap things up. Before I do, tell people how they can get your book tomorrow.
Ben: Amazon has it. Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble have it.
This morning, I checked, we’re number three on the Amazon bestseller list for lawyer sort of marketing and business building books. That’s the place to go.
I’ll tell you this, too. If you buy it and then go over to PlayLeftFullback.com, you’ll see if you put in your order number and tell us who you are, we’ve got a digital product that I think will be very valuable to you as well that we give you if “register” the book. That’s how you do that.
Look, my deal here, as always – we have businesses to run but when people, either locally or not, say, ”I’d love to come and pick your brain a little bit”, my deal always is “Go. Buy a sandwich. Come on in. We’ve got to eat lunch every day, so let’s have a meal together.”
Anyway, thank you guys for having me on. Thank you, most importantly, for putting together your group which is a breath of fresh air and it’s helping. I just look at the membership numbers, it’s huge. And so, you’re helping a lot of lawyers. Not only that but a lot of other businesspeople, too, because I think a lot of what you do overflows into other small biz thinking.
It’ll be that small biz. It’ll be the entrepreneur who brings us out of this. All right. That’s like this is a guarantee of that. That’s what America is great. America is great at being free to innovate, share ideas, put them on the table, get them rejected. Put another idea on the table, get it rejected. Put another idea on the table. Oh, that works. That’s what does make America different, in my view, from so many other countries to date. That’s what we do best.
And so, let’s you and I continue to provoke lawyers to think – think for themselves, put ideas on the table, reject the status quo, and we’ll come out of this.
Tyson: I couldn’t agree more. Couldn’t agree more.
All right. I also want to remind people to go to the Facebook group, get involved there. We have rock stars like Ben Glass in the group. He jumped right in and contributed right away. And so, we really, really appreciate that.
Jimmy, what is your hack of the week?
Jim: My hack of the week is to pick up that book, Play Left Fullback. There’s an exercise that Ben describes. He talked about it here on the podcast today. That is, for lawyers, to spend this time we have down to think about, “what is the practice that you want?” And then, reverse engineer it. So many times, we’re just go-go-go. Sign up a new case. Build the system but we don’t actually spend the time of thinking “What kind of a practice do I want?” That was one of the greatest gifts that Ben gave to me, so I invite you to, like Ben said, “Turn everything off. Get a legal pad. Get out your pen and write out the practice that you want and then start building it today.”
Tyson: I love it. I can’t wait to get my copy. I will buy mine first thing tomorrow.
Ben, we always ask our guests to give a tip or a hack for us? Do you have one for us?
Ben: I just saw that note and I was thinking, as Jim was speaking, “That’s exactly what it is.” My household is filled. A few weeks ago there’s like nobody there and now I got all the college kids back.
Like, get up a little bit early, when you’re fresh, and just think. Again, I’m a writer. I even have some articles on the value of handwriting versus the value of typing into a device. Just allow your mind to think without the limitation of cost, or people, or whatever. Let’s think first, all right.
And then, really, the second one would be to just “this is the time”. This is the time to read. I love Brene Brown’s book Daring to Lead, I think, is the title of it. It’s an awesome book about leadership, about being vulnerable, about rumbling in the mess of personality and of life. She has a special on Netflix, about an hour. She is worth listening to and worth reading. So, there’s two.
Tyson: Brene Brown. That’s great. I really love her.
All right, my tip of the week is– so, last week, I think a lot of you have probably gotten a little stir crazy and you’re not around people every day like you’re used to. So, what we did last week, was just kind of just out of the blue. [inaudible 00:49:49], “Hey, let’s do a happy hour.” We did a virtual happy hour. People grabbed their coffee, grabbed their water. I had a glass of bourbon. We had a happy hour last week.
And so, if you want to be around other people still and you really can’t, do a virtual happy hour. That’s my tip. It actually was a lot of fun. We were sort of kind of feeling things out. How do you talk to everyone? It was actually pretty cool. Everyone was respectful. It was really, really good.
Jim even hopped on for a couple of minutes before he had to go swim in the pool, so it was a lot of fun.
Ben, thanks so much for coming on.
Ben: Yes, sir.
Tyson: This was a lot of fun. We really, really appreciate it.
Ben: All right, guys, stay healthy and have a great week.
Jim: Thanks, Ben.
Ben: [inaudible 00:50:31]
Thanks for listening to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
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