Right Around the Corner from Greatness with Jim and Tyson


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode Highlights:

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


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

Speaker 1 (00:00:01) - Run your law firm the right way. The right way. This is the maximum Lawyer podcast. Maximum lawyer podcast. Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson metrics. Let's partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaker 1 (00:46:08) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. To stay in contact with your host and to access more content. Go to Maximum lawyer.com. Have a great week and catch you next time.

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