How Can Law Firm Owners Overcome the Fear of Delegating Tasks?


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Are you a law firm owner who is struggling with trusting others? In this podcast episode, Jim and Tyson discuss the reluctance of law firm owners to delegate and rely on others' expertise. 

Many law firm owners struggle with wanting to take on every task that exists within a firm. But, the reality is lawyers, like many other professionals, are experts in law and not experts in all areas needed for the success of a firm. Jim and Tyson share a few reasons why law firm owners choose to not delegate tasks to others. One reason is owners starting their career handling all aspects like bookkeeping, intake and scheduling and not being comfortable with letting that go. Another reason is not having the time to recruit or having a bad experience with too many other professionals. 

Jim and Tyson provide some solutions law firm owners can take to give some of the responsibility back to others so they can get back to doing what they do best. It is important to practice delegating tasks to other people. Think about one area that is taking up too much of your time and search for a tool, company or an individual who can come on board and take it over. Spend more time perfecting your craft as a lawyer and let go of those tasks that can be done by others. It is all about optimizing your time!

Listen in to learn more.

Jim’s Hack: Check out the podcast Tetragrammaton, which is about startup culture.

Tyson’s Hack: Watch the Rick Rubin interview with Andrew Huberman where they discuss how to keep the body still while keeping the mind active.

Episode Highlights:

  • 2:22 The challenges law firm owners face in delegating tasks
  • 4:17 The reasons why law firm owners may avoid hiring experts
  • 14:41 Proposed solutions to address the issue


Transcripts: How Can Law Firm Owners Overcome the Fear of Delegating Tasks?

Jim (00:04.31)
Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:07.804)
And I'm Tyus and Mewtrix. What's up, Jimmy?

Jim (00:11.234)
Tyson, my friend, it's good to be with you. I'm excited about recording this episode with just the two of us today.

Tyson (00:17.892)
I am too. We didn't have the Saturday show in the guild because of the holiday. And so we've not talked for a couple weeks, at least on a show together. So I'm too. I cherish these times with you, Jim. I do. I really do. I say that jokingly. But I do. I do mean it. But what's going on with you? How was your holidays?

Jim (00:33.886)
You jerk.

Jim (00:42.658)
We had a great holiday. The highlight was we had our open house, which we haven't had in a few years since before COVID, and you and Amy and the kids came up, so that was fun. We had a lot of traffic, a lot of happy people, and we kicked off the new year right.

Tyson (00:55.824)
Dude, you had so many people in that house. It was crazy. It was an interesting mix of people. It was, you had, I don't know the youngest child, but I'm assuming the youngest child, the least that I saw, was, I don't know if I saw any babies, but I saw maybe someone that was like three or four, all the way up to people that were, I won't even guess their ages, they're older people. You had a wide mix, you had every race, nationality, it was…

Jim (00:57.966)

Tyson (01:25.792)
It was an interesting mix. I don't know if I've ever been in that much of a mix of people before. It was interesting, it was cool.

Jim (01:34.462)
My kids thought it was funny because they don't know the concept of independent George from Seinfeld, but just that all these different parts of their lives were colliding and like their friends from high school were talking to lawyers or you know, like, and then and then there's, you know, I have some friends who just like to talk to each other. So I would just put them together because they just sort of go.

Tyson (01:53.364)
Normally in those situations, I'll be like the one talking to people and stuff, but like I was having fun listening to conversations. I was like more eavesdropping. It was really, it was just interesting listening to the conversations. It was, so kudos to you for having such like a diverse friend base. It was cool.

Jim (02:14.142)
Awesome. Well, I think we got a good topic for today and it comes out of a recent discussion I was having with one of the members in the guild and you know when we When someone joins the guild usually their First order of business is to come to one of our Monday meetings So at 8 in the morning for me and 1130 for you We meet with whoever wants to show up for the guild that week

and talk about their goals for the week or their one thing they're going to get done this week to move their firm forward. And then we alternate on Fridays at 11 30 checking in. And then if there's a new member, they have the option of staying on that call and meeting with you or me to talk about what the guild is about and what happens there and all that good stuff. So I was talking to one of the new members and they were kicking around the idea of hiring someone to help them with something. And

You know, they were in a pretty specialized legal field as I remember. And I just left myself a note for a podcast episode because I think a lot of law firm owners hold themselves out, hold themselves out as experts. Like, so for me, that would be immigration for you would be personal injury. And we do develop an expertise, but we talk a lot about on this show and in the big group and in the guild about, you know, um,

getting rid of the things that you're not really good at or that aren't your strong suit. But there's so many law firm owners who fight that and who want to try to do seven different things. They want to do their bookkeeping. They want to do their intake. They want to do their marketing. They want to do their operations and they want to handle cases. And so what I wanted to talk about today is this sort of disconnect where we're holding ourselves out as legal experts and we want people to hire us based on our expertise and we understand the value that we bring people.

based on our expertise, but we don't see that as consumers ourselves. So I wanted to throw that out there for you.

Tyson (04:21.036)
I do agree with that. I think this is a problem in any business. I don't think it's just specific to lawyers, but I do think it's, like I see my dad, my dad's a mechanic and he's the same way. He runs a business and he has problems letting go of things. But I think it is a common problem. It's something we do to our detriment for sure. Let's try to dissect this a little bit. Because I do, like,

Off the top of my head, I kind of think there's a few reasons why that is. One, I think it's partially because it's like the way we've always done things. So you start, you start with just you, you know, you're doing the bookkeeping yourself, you're doing the marketing yourself and you expand, expand. And you, you kind of hold onto these things and you're afraid to let go of these things. I, I think another reason might be that they, I think they, you know, they think that they could, they're the only ones that can do it.

So they think that they're the best, and if they give it off to someone else, it's gonna go to crap. I think some of it's hiding. I think some of it, they like to hide things from people. I think that may be another reason. Maybe things are not as great as what they tell people they are, or that they tell their employees that they are. That may be another reason. But I think there's a variety of reasons. It doesn't matter what the reasons are. But I do think it's important that we…

I guess it is important to know what they are just because that way you can kind of diagnose it a little bit. No matter what, for example, you might want to say that you could probably say that about SEO with us. We had hired a company for a while, but we've decided to bring it in-house. But we are relying on an expert. We hired an expert. They're in-house. They're just full-time with us. So we just shifted gears.

I know I'm guilty of many things too, where I don't rely on experts as much as I should, but I wonder how, so this came up as a topic in with the Guild member, but did any of this, because a lot of times you bring things on the show because they've affected you, and not necessarily because of someone else. So you're very good and open about that. Is there something that is going on in your firm that you're like, I need to do a better job of this?

Jim (06:40.374)
No, I think there's a lot of problems that I have and a lot of things that I do that I shouldn't be doing. But this particular thing, I've always been sort of leaning more towards the side of getting help. And, you know, I know how to edit a YouTube video. I know how to upload a YouTube video. I know how to rip audio. I know how to make a podcast. I know how to send a package in the Federal Express. So I've never really had this particular…

Dysfunction when it comes to owning a law firm But I do sometimes find myself pulled back into doing things that I don't wish I was doing so maybe that's where it's coming from But you know just sometimes things catch my ear when people say things and I just think

How can we hold ourselves out as experts if we're not willing to use the expertise of others? I mean, you know, I think some classic things that we see with law firm owners that they probably shouldn't be doing and should be relying on people who do that thing every day is bookkeeping and numbers. I mean, you could spend all day looking at your numbers, running reports, inputting data, extracting data when if you just got someone who knows QuickBooks inside and out.

You know, you save yourself all kinds of time and allow you to develop your expertise better. I mean, your time is more well spent studying your craft and studying your field and getting better as a practitioner than it is being sort of good at lots of different things.

Tyson (08:08.504)
May I propose that maybe the question is the wrong question that you're asking? That maybe is, how can you really be the expert that you say you are when you don't rely on the expertise of others because you are wasting so much time doing those other things?

Jim (08:24.266)
Yeah, yeah, I mean, you know, I have this immigration answer show where people call and ask me immigration questions And I know that I should be spending more time Staying up to date on the latest immigration news And sometimes I don't know the answer when people ask me something There's this new pilot program that the department of state has and I was like, I don't know. I got to go look it up. So um, I think that if we if we are Truly wanting to be an expert spend more time getting good at what you're good at versus, you know

covering up things that you're sort of halfway good at.

Tyson (08:59.02)
I think what you said there is a little different because there's a lot of value in doing what you're doing. I mean, there's a ton of value, as you know, in your doing your immigration answer show. So doing that, because I don't want people to have this excuse, oh, I shouldn't be doing this marketing activity because Jim says I should be spending time on my craft. And that's not what you're saying. So I think what you're saying there is a little bit different. But I do think that maybe we need to spend a little bit more time on.

because you and I talk a lot about business and marketing and management and all that kind of stuff and operations and systems and everything else, but there does need to be a part that's just a given that you need to dedicate time to your craft. And even if you're just running your business and you've got someone else that's really, like you're the CEO and there's someone else that's running the cases, you still need to understand the business because understanding your craft is understanding the business.

It's like someone that is, if you're making cars, right? If you're running Tesla, guess what? Elon Musk knows a lot about cars. He does a lot about engineering. He knows his craft. So he's got to know those things. And if you don't know your craft, if you don't know trial skills, if you don't know, you know, the ins and out of injury law, negotiations and all that, then you're doing your firm a major disservice.

And so I do think that maybe you and I, we don't talk about that maybe enough.

Jim (10:33.11)
Yeah, and I always come back to that great talk that Alicia gave, Alicia Kinchelow gave at Max Law when we were at Del Mar.

Tyson (10:39.992)
Why do you say that? Because I was thinking about that as you're talking, I was thinking about her talk. Yeah, absolutely.

Jim (10:44.65)
Yeah, and she said that when she wanted to learn a new practice area, she studied for 30 minutes a day for her practice area. And just think what more of an expert we would each become if we were doing that. Or if you are the one in charge of marketing or the one in charge of running a business, then you spend your time developing your skills as a marketer or as a CEO. I mean…

I think that's so much more valuable than doing the low-level stuff, the polishing, the silver, the easy stuff that you said is sort of a form of hiding. I think that's right, and it's also a form of not pushing yourself to get better.

Tyson (11:23.852)
Yeah, I do. So you're talking about like the 30 minutes a day and all that. And I wish I could remember who said this, but this person was talking about how rather than read like 20 new books in a year, read one book a year and read it again and again.

Jim (11:44.622)
That was yesterday, I saw that yesterday, someone said that on social.

Tyson (11:47.736)
Oh, it may have been, you may have seen it yesterday. This is something I saw like months ago, but it definitely got me, it was around the time that I read A World with That Email by Cal Newport. And it was right around that time frame where like, I kind of like was sort of obsessed with that book, and I still am, I think the whole concept is amazing. But I wonder, so if I kind of zero back in on what we're talking about, I wonder if when you do kind of focus on,

skills if you do kind of focus on like one skill set at a time until you've really mastered that skill and then move on to the next one. But I don't know the right answer to it, but it is something where it doesn't matter. You should, I think we should be focusing on it more. But why do you, I mean, are there other reasons that you think that maybe people are not focusing on it enough? Like, and why they're not higher? What I mean by your initial question is, like, what are the reasons why you…

do you think that people are just avoiding hiring experts? Is it money? Is it other things?

Jim (12:50.598)
I think money might be tight or people are cheap or the I mean when people when lawyers get on and brag about this great New website they built on Squarespace. I'm like, what the hell are you doing? What the hell are you doing? Who wants to see your radius website on Squarespace? Right and why are you spending all this time? You know perfecting your logo, right? It's just it's just

Not doing the real work. It's not doing the work that matters and it's sort of busyness for the sake of busyness As opposed to you know what we're talking about Developing your expertise. That's sort of a On the business thing. That's something that's going to pay dividends. That's something that's going to allow you to scale That's something that's an exponential investment. So You know spend

$20 an hour five, you know for five hours give that hundred dollars to somebody else if that frees you up To do five hours of higher level work. It's it's what we're talking about all the time around here

Tyson (13:47.94)
Yeah, and I wonder if part of this too is starting early is probably better because you're building the bedrock, but that's the hardest time to do it because you have the least amount of money. But if you can rely on the experts early on and build that strong base, it's probably best. But even though that that's the hardest time for you to probably do it, that's probably the best time for you to do it because that way it'll accelerate your.

growth as you get like three, four, five, six years into it, because you've already got that growth, you've already invested that money in it. Whereas if you were to start and not use the experts early on and you kind of do things your own way, you do things the wrong way, we'll use the bookkeeping example, you get your book set up the wrong way. So now you're four or five years into it, they're all jacked up, now you hire an expert, now you're spending a ton of money to fix everything and get everything on the right track. So it…

if you can do it earlier on, so if you're just starting your law firm, relying on the experts is probably even more important than, because you're going to set that groundwork for everything else.

Jim (14:53.25)
Which is the same thing we say to clients. Oh, I wish you would have hired me earlier. Oh, I wish, you know, it's much easier for me to have filed this case from the start. I'm gonna have to charge you double because it's so much of a mess now that I've gotta try to save your ass from getting deported or something, right? So.

Tyson (15:08.78)
Yeah, I get so aggravated whenever someone calls me, you know, even a month into an injury case because they've jacked so many things up at that point. Their treatment is so messed up. Like they gave a recorded statement. Yeah, you're right. I mean, like it's like, gosh, you're right. It's the exact same advice we give clients. Exact same advice.

Tyson (15:32.688)
Did it cut out for you? Yeah, I said it. Because it did the same thing whenever you were talking to. I'm going to clip this. What I said was, I just agree with you. It's the exact same advice we give to clients. Let me kick a question over to you. That way, there's an easier transition. So I guess, what's the solution to this? Let's do some RSF on this, Jimmy. How can we RSF this?

Jim (16:00.718)
Well, I think one thing that is the reason we keep going back to Alicia's talk is because it's making a decision to set aside time every day that isn't interruptible, that isn't subject to negotiation, that this is just a half hour where I'm going to get better at what I'm doing. And that's like making an affirmative decision before the craziness comes in. If I recall, she did it sort of first thing when she got to the office before the bullets were flying. I think that's important. I think…

Practicing letting things go and delegating, you know, I'm a big believer when you and I come upon someone who's Trying to do everything we always talk to them about trying to develop that muscle of letting go the muscle or the skill of delegating

with supervision, delegating a little more, delegating a little more, till you get more comfortable at it, give away small things, you know, start small. It's like in Atomic Habits when James Clear talks about, you know, leave your shoes out and your gym clothes out in the morning, you know, the night before, just so that you sort of, like, just break that cycle a little bit. Just do something a little bit different. Like, get in the count on Fiverr or Upwork and just look at the things that people can do for you.

and just find something simple, maybe not even in your business, maybe just in life. I mean, hell, just sign up for Instacart and have somebody deliver your groceries. You know, just start to learn that you don't have to do everything. And I know the biggest hurdle, I think, to this is the most part that people view it as an expense. But it's not an expense. It's an investment. It's your buying time. Ultimately, you're buying time.

to do the things that will make the biggest impact on you and your firm, as opposed to just piddling around on low-level stuff.

Tyson (17:55.32)
Yeah, I think that's, there's a lot of lessons what you're just talking about, like when it comes to like optimizing your time and just reconfiguring your week. So we, you know, I'm having to, you know, take over some cases recently, just cause, you know, you and I have talked about it, but like there's just to kind of, you know, keep things, you know, moving, you know, consistently and efficiently until we, you know, hire a new lawyer, but it is, it's interesting because I spent so much time.

last year giving up, like saying no to things and kind of, you know, minimizing the things I had to do. It has given me the bandwidth where I can be a little more flexible too with my time, where I can fill in and it doesn't really interfere with a whole lot of other activities that I've had to do. So there's a lot of other benefits to it where sometimes you do, we talked about, you know, getting dragged back in a previous episode. When you've optimized your time like that,

it does give you that flexibility where you can adjust it, where you've kind of zeroed in on the things you should be doing the most. But whenever you do have to inevitably step back in on a couple of rolls just to fill in, it allows you to adjust. And so that flexibility is there, and it gives you that bandwidth. And I mean, I don't think I could go at this click at this pace for a year, but if, I mean,

It does allow me to, because I've got that flexibility, to go for extended duration until we can kind of fill the gaps. And so there's other benefits to it whenever you are relying on those experts, whenever you are freeing up your time, you're optimizing your week, whenever shit does hit the fan.

Jim (19:41.054)
Yeah, and remember, you know, just try experiments. You don't have to declare this is how it's going to be forever Just try experiments and try that letting go try You know setting aside time to do the big thinking work because if you're not doing it No one's doing it because you're the law firm owner. So if you're not doing this stuff It's not getting done and you're just going to keep spinning your wheels

Tyson (20:02.7)
Yeah, I agree. Um, all right. Any final words on that Jimbo?

Jim (20:08.5)

Tyson (20:09.924)
Alright, so I'm going to wrap things up before I do. Because I enjoyed this talk. I think it went in a few different areas. I didn't think it was going to go, but I do want to wrap things up because we're running out of time. For those of you that are not yet in the Maximum Lawyer Facebook group, join us there. I just searched Maximum Lawyer on Facebook. And there's, I can't imagine how many.

Thousands or tens of thousands of or I don't maybe hundreds of thousands of posts inside of Facebook. So if you name the topic It's gonna it's gonna be in there. So check us out there if you want a You know higher level conversation with guild members and the ability to go to masterminds across the country will be in Scottsdale soon You know, we'll be all over the all over the country Vegas later on this year Join us in the guild go to max all guild calm and if you if you've gotten a benefit

benefit from this podcast over the years or even recently join us or give us a five-star review if you would do that it would we really appreciate it helps us spread the love to other attorneys that need the help so Jimmy what is your hack of the week

Jim (21:22.786)
So, our hack of the week, my hack of the week, comes from our friend Michael Edelman from Infusionsoft. He suggested that we check out a podcast called Tetragrammaton. I don't know, I've never heard of it.

Tyson (21:36.6)
Hold on, is Michael Edelman still at Infusionsoft? Or keep? Okay. Yeah, yeah, okay.

Jim (21:39.41)
No, no, he's on his own, but that's where we know him from. So he suggested this podcast called Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin. I don't know who Rick Rubin is, but he did an interview.

Tyson (21:49.4)
Oh, Rick Rubin's like a music guru. Yeah. Rick Rubin's a big deal.

Jim (21:53.522)
Yeah, well, he's also a pretty good interviewer and this interviewer interview is with mark and resin who created netscape and is a vc guy who started one of the first vc firms called andresen horowitz and I mean i'm about a half hour in and it is so good It's it's a lot about the startup culture and startups, you know, the biggest problems that startups haven't rick asked him you know, what's the Biggest problem that causes companies to fail. Do you know what he said?

Tyson (22:24.796)
Um, the, I mean, I think most people say cash, but I'm sure he's gonna say something different.

Jim (22:31.554)
He said, in-fighting. He said, you gotta keep your team together and on the same page. And I'm feeling that right now, so I appreciated that message. But he had a great line. He said, there's an old VC adage, most companies die of suicide, not by homicide. And so, that it's death from within versus death from without. So, I highly recommend it. I can't wait to finish it. It's really, really good. It's just like pure good stuff.

Tyson (22:33.469)
Oh, interesting.

Jim (23:01.438)
Every answer is just boom boom. And Andreessen is just a freaking genius.

Tyson (23:05.924)
Yeah, okay, so I'm gonna shift gears then. I'm gonna give you a different tip of the week because it'll be consistent with what you just gave. The tip I have then is look up the Rick Rubin interview with Andrew Huberman. And that was a really good one too. What was really interesting about that interview, Andrew Huberman was interviewing Rick Rubin. They're apparently really, really good friends where like their family spent time with each other and everything.

but he talks about what he found to be really interesting and you might really like this, Jimmy. You know how we talk about physical activity but keeping the mind quiet? Rick Rubin has this exercise and it's one of those things for creativity. He focuses on keeping the body still and keeping the mind active. So when I can't sleep at night, what I do is I will lay in bed and instead I will try to be…

like as still as possible. And I just let my mind go. He's like, I think most of the advice is, hey, like just, you should, you know, quiet the mind so you can fall asleep. Yeah. And so I've stopped doing that. And it's amazing the ideas that you'll come up with. And so I think it's a, I'd never heard that before, but it's a great interview. So yeah, Rick Rubin is like a, apparently he's like a genius and all that. I had not heard of him until recently either, but. So yeah, the Rick Rubin interview with…

Jim (24:13.326)
Mind like water, mind like water.

Tyson (24:34.053)
with Interhuman.

Jim (24:36.127)

Tyson (24:36.836)
Alright man, well good stuff. I will see you in about 30 minutes. See you dude.

Jim (24:41.39)
Thanks, brother. Later.

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