When to Fire and When to Hire for Your Law Firm with Jim and Tyson


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In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer podcast, recorded at our recent Mastermind event, Jim and Tyson tackle pressing questions from attendees about law firm management. 

The discussion spans from the efficacy of the firm's podcast as an internal tool, to the nitty-gritty of marketing strategies and the intricacies of employee training. A key focus is on maintaining firm operations during team members' extended leaves, with a consensus on the value of cross-training and the potential for internal growth during such times. 

Listen in.

Episode Highlights:

  • 01:45 The best spend for marketing and the worst marketing spend
  • 03:42 Lead tracking, intake software, and CRM tools
  • 05:29 Performance evaluation and top grading 
  • 07:29 Lead response time
  • 09:40 Salesforce digital engagement package for real-time communication
  • 09:57 Client expectations and team management
  • 15:01 Handling team members' absence
  • 19:08 Strategies for managing team absence, redistributing duties, and viewing it as an opportunity for growth
  • 19:15 Utilizing team members' absence as a chance to advance and expand the firm's capabilities


Transcripts: When to Fire and When to Hire for Your Law Firm 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 for podcast your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson Metrics. Let's partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.

Becca Eberhart (00:00:24) - If you tune in to our main episode earlier this week, you know that we had a live podcast recording at the Minneapolis Mastermind event. After our recording wrapped up, we opened the floor to our attendees for a live Q&A session with Jim and Tyson. This episode will sound very different than usual since our attendees didn't have a microphone. You'll hear Jim and Tyson summarize the attendee question and then go into their answer. So we hope you enjoy a peek into our live podcast event. And if you haven't listened to this week's main episode yet, be sure to go back and check it out before diving into this episode.

Jim Hacking (00:01:00) - All right, who's got questions for us? Come on.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:02) - The question was, do people in the in the firm listen to the podcast? They they have to when they're onboarded. So they're forced to they don't listen to the whole thing.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:10) - But they, they do. They're there's I think 10 or 15 that they're, they're forced to listen to.

Jim Hacking (00:01:16) - Everyone thinks I'm boring. They don't watch my YouTube channel. They don't watch Maximum Lawyer or listen to Maximum Lawyer. I don't think very often at all.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:23) - Are you talking about the Firm podcast or the. Oh yeah, The Firm podcast? Yeah.

Speaker 5 (00:01:26) - Sorry. No.

Tyson Mutrux (00:01:27) - Maxwell. And so there's we actually have Maxwell episodes in the two. But no. Absolutely. We'll have we'll have employees sometimes I'll kind of stick my foot in my mouth and say, hey, I was listening to your episode on this such. And I was like, maybe I should have said that. So yeah, they they do not everybody, but some of them do.

Jim Hacking (00:01:45) - So the question is when it comes to leads, what's been the best marketing money that we've spent and the worst marketing money that we spent? Well, I've never done a billboard, but Gary Berger spent a shitload of money on a billboard, and he never got a case out of it because it had a dedicated phone number.

Jim Hacking (00:01:57) - So I just anecdotally, I've heard that. But for me. I'm a big believer in our email list. We have about a 40% open rate on our emails, and to me, that's the one channel that I can control because I don't have YouTube in between. Me, I don't have Facebook in between me. And that really helps set my voice, which is something that I think is important. So we send out three emails a week and it's us talking about cases or about things in the news. So I'm a big believer in starting with a list. I don't know if it's the most effective thing that I've done, but without a doubt, the thing that brings us the most cases is YouTube and TikTok. So we get about 35% of our cases from YouTube and about 10% from TikTok, and everything else is referrals or other things.

Tyson Mutrux (00:02:43) - Yeah, I think the worst money I ever spent was on one of those. Those lead services like those. You just never know what you're going to get with those.

Tyson Mutrux (00:02:50) - Like they're just garbage. The I mean, I think our best investment is on it's been on Facebook, which is like everything's shifting quite a bit when it comes to social media, but a bunch of time and effort and Facebook, but then also, Google my business, which whatever it's called now, like just like doing those regular posts, like that's, that's a like if I were to just invest in one thing, it'd probably be like that. Like that Google, like Google my business page, because like, everything else kind of runs off that I think that that's going to shift quite a bit with AI going going forward. But right now, like our Google My Business page, it's a massive generator because you can run AdWords off, you can do a lot of different things if you've got that thing locked in. Okay, so three questions. How often do we do our survey. The other one was how do we track our scores. And then the third one was the the softwares we use intake intake softwares.

Tyson Mutrux (00:03:42) - So I know that we use begin. So it's through Zoho Begin. And it's it's very similar to Pipedrive. And do you still use Pipedrive?

Jim Hacking (00:03:50) - I love Pipedrive but we switched we switched the whole firm. Everything is in Salesforce now. Yeah.

Tyson Mutrux (00:03:55) - And then the the scores we do them, it varies on the what phase of the case we're in though early on it's a little bit more regularly we do it. So I think we do one after the first two weeks. And then I think it's at 30 days and then like every 30 days and then 45 days as the case sort of progresses, it, it, it it widens a little bit. They enter that into a form inside of inside a file line is where it goes. In our new system it will be a different form, but it's a form that our employee fills out. And they just it's got a they can put the score. And then what they'll do after that is they'll type in any notes from it. And there's a it's a script that they go through.

Tyson Mutrux (00:04:35) - And then that is then linked to Zoho Analytics. And so that that chart I showed you was from Zoho, Zoho Analytics. And so it's and it updates in real time. And whenever I click on it, it'll actually give me a rundown of all the scores. And then we can see because if we get like a zero I'm going to want to know why. And so you click on it, you can see why. Because you'll I mean you the they come through. And so we see them as they come through to. So they when they do one it'll go to the the team and the team will see. Okay. Well I got a five like what the hell is going on. And sometimes you don't feel it's warranted and sometimes it's completely warranted. But. Bill wanted clarification as to whether or not I'm advocating for getting rid of people or not, because I kind of backed off of it a couple times. And so he talked about Jack Welch getting rid of the bottom 10%, which I'm very familiar with, that, that that approach, actually, I'll be very, very clear.

Tyson Mutrux (00:05:29) - If they're not performing, you should get rid of them. Okay. I was not clear enough about it was I'm not advocating getting rid of the people for technology. I'm not talking about replacing them with technology. That's what I'm talking about. Because you're still to have that customer service, you're going to have to have people to do that. There are ways of supplementing that, too, but you're ultimately going to have to. You're going to need someone on the phone with them or meeting with them in person. You're going to need that people. People need that. At some point I may replace that, I don't know, but we just went through top grading with our firm. We're still we still use top grading. And it some people might think that that's very ruthless, but we we turned our firm upside down like we went through. And we got rid of a lot of people, people that you would think were probably like integral to the firm. And we got rid of them or they escorted themselves out.

Tyson Mutrux (00:06:20) - Right. So they they found a new place to go to. And so I'm, I'm a firm believer that if they're not, if this isn't the right place for you or if you're not performing, then you should probably go somewhere else and we'll find a way for that to happen.

Jim Hacking (00:06:34) - So the question is, do we do? The question is do we have people? Do you have expectations for how fast people call back, and do we track it? And another one is do we do that same process for referral sources? So I'll take a tackle. The second question first. No we don't. We just send them on their way. We have a referral list and we just send them to list. We don't do it. Like Gary said of a warm transfer, we don't have the bandwidth right now to do that. I'd like to one day, but I don't as far as I don't track how quickly people get their return call. But after Gary's presentation today, we will. I do know that the average time between someone calling us and signing up.

Jim Hacking (00:07:16) - For those that do sign up, it's like two two days, 2.4 days. So that's that's all I got on that.

Tyson Mutrux (00:07:23) - And I'm going to ask, do we track how long it takes to get back to a lead. Yeah we do. So okay. We do.

Speaker 6 (00:07:29) - But normally it's if they call you take.

Tyson Mutrux (00:07:32) - Yeah. The and so you're Kevin you're we're talking about like if like the lead come through like a chat or through email.

Speaker 7 (00:07:38) - Yeah. Like during business hours it's easy. But like for example we have intake people that are you know, kind of on call. But if it comes in at like 9:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, like our goal is still five minutes, but it's like kind of hard to it's hard to track, for one thing. And then it's also like, well, if it's a really good lead, then I really expect you to drop everything. But like if it's pretty clear that liability is going to be tough, we may not even want the case. And like, you want to come back in the morning like that's fine.

Speaker 7 (00:08:03) - So I was just saying it's just like hard to determine, like I don't want to overwork my team, but I also don't want to miss out on leads. I mean.

Jim Hacking (00:08:09) - When you listen to Gary, you would some of it assumes that you have unlimited resources and unlimited people power.

Speaker 8 (00:08:16) - And. All right. Right.

Tyson Mutrux (00:08:18) - So we so something that Kashif built out was we do have the chat bot does have a way of filtering out leads and then sends them resources on, on other practice areas. I think. So that that does help filter out some of that. The and I don't I honestly don't know if we collect that their email or anything like that. I just don't know the there are you're going to want to make sure you tie in your if they submit a web lead, you know, they're getting the follow up email and text messages if you collect that. And so like there are those things that that we supplement it with. And then first thing in the morning Cares team, they have their list of leads.

Tyson Mutrux (00:08:58) - They're they're calling. They're reaching out. If they don't answer they're texting they're emailing. So they're doing and we've our cares team. They're on the East Coast. So that's that's good because like first thing in the morning they're like kind of reaching out and they're conscious if it's like you know if they're like in California or something like that, they're they're careful about things like that.

Jim Hacking (00:09:16) - But we just signed up for Salesforce Digital engagement package. So it's going to be pretty neat. We can we can respond in real time to chat the contact us form, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and something else all from inside Salesforce. So the the intake specialist will view it all as one, but it'll be on all those different channels however the person chose to. I love that it's pretty cool. I don't have.

Tyson Mutrux (00:09:40) - That. That's pretty.

Jim Hacking (00:09:40) - Cool. We have a ton of people on WhatsApp, so WhatsApp is really important to us. And when we switch to Salesforce, we lost that WhatsApp and that that was a lot for us.

Jim Hacking (00:09:48) - So getting that back up and running is key. So the question is, how do we translate my big fat head from YouTube into. I didn't say.

Tyson Mutrux (00:09:55) - He didn't say.

Speaker 8 (00:09:56) - He just say big head.

Jim Hacking (00:09:57) - Yeah. How do we translate my big head? So I mean, I say on the show, I don't handle cases. I say, you don't want me handling cases. I haven't handled the case in a long time. You want the team that we've assembled, and we've got a great team that works on these cases every single day. And this is to me, if you're ever if you're ever in that situation and you don't know what to say, always come back to this is how we do things around here. That's just not an option. And in fact, at our firm, if somebody is absolutely insisting on working with Jim, we turn the case down. That's a red flag for us because they're going to be very difficult if they can't accept right out of the box that Jim's not their lawyer, then.

Jim Hacking (00:10:39) - So it's all about what will you tolerate and what are you, what are your expectations and what are your stated if you state at all at the beginning, no, Mr. Hacking won't be your case. It won't be handling your case. The other attorneys will consult with him if they need to, but we have you know, we have four different pods. They work on your kind of case every single day, and they're more than qualified to handle it. People. People. I thought that was going to be a huge thing, but that's almost all just ego. So the question is and you're talking about from from the team members themselves. So the question is do do we get any pushback from team members who are located in other areas that don't necessarily want to do things the way the rest of the firm does, because they think they're special where they are.

Speaker 8 (00:11:18) - So for us, you.

Tyson Mutrux (00:11:19) - Added the last part. Yeah, but.

Speaker 8 (00:11:21) - I would add that to you. Yeah.

Jim Hacking (00:11:23) - I get to I get to editorialize the question.

Jim Hacking (00:11:25) - Yes. So for us, we have offices in DC in San Diego. We don't actually have any employees in DC in San Diego. So we just have the way that we do things. And it's the same regardless. I mean, most of our team is in Argentina anyway, so it's just the way we do things. So I wouldn't I don't think we get much pushback on that too.

Tyson Mutrux (00:11:43) - You know, like we're we could right now close both of our like the physical offices and just be virtual if we needed to. So the way it's set up is there like our mail, we have some mail that go to the offices, but those usually go to a mailing center. for the most part, as long as they're mailed to the right address. So there's like we scan things a certain way, but otherwise there's no difference. Like, we could do that same thing in any state in the country. Like, what are you experiencing, Steve?

Jim Hacking (00:12:11) - Like what? What's happening? So Steve was talking about sort of the the task orders and those that push back from doing tasks, and they like to think they're the only ones who can do it a certain way.

Jim Hacking (00:12:25) - I mean, your outfit's much bigger than mine, Steve. And I think that for the most part, you know what? What needs to happen. And you know that these people are driving you crazy. So I think that it's it's interesting when people take that approach, even even well-intentioned employees can try to hide some of the things that they do or the way that they do them. They I think part of them view it as job security, and they're worried that if everybody knows how to do this thing, that I become more expendable. But that's exactly why we need to get it out of their heads, because otherwise we're held hostage. Yes.

Tyson Mutrux (00:12:58) - So, I wrote this. This is one of the red flags for me. Like, maybe the worst employee that you could have is the one that's too busy. But they want more control, so they want to control it. Like that may be the worst employee you could have. Like they're the most toxic employee. Like, they're really bad. Like, that's a really bad thing.

Tyson Mutrux (00:13:16) - You think.

Jim Hacking (00:13:16) - You're low maintenance, but you're really high.

Speaker 8 (00:13:18) - Maintenance. Yes.

Tyson Mutrux (00:13:18) - Yeah, exactly like I oh, I'm like, I do everything around here. And. Okay, so you had to be really, really careful I think. So you and I don't know if you summarize this part, but so he was talking about he wants everything in a queue and people kind of get the next task or whatever. I think that might be a problem by itself because there's no accountability if everyone's doing it, that no one's doing it. So you might want to try to find a way to assign it to specific people, and that might help solve your problem a little bit. I don't know how you'd filter it. I don't know what your process is like, but I think that might solve it because then you can say, hey, Bill, you're not doing your work, you're not doing your job. You have 12 items in the queue and you're not doing any of them. Right. So that may be maybe a fix, I don't know.

Jim Hacking (00:14:04) - So the question is, how do we handle situations in which a team member is going to be out for a significant amount of time, maybe for paternity or maternity or some other long PTO kind of thing? How do we handle that internally with the teams, especially when people have developed some specialized knowledge? Two things that we've done. One we've done for a while and one we're just starting to do now, is we haven't gotten big enough where people can have a job, buddy, where it's not necessarily that you're switching your you're splitting the duties, but that at least, you know, if you've promoted people, they know how to do the roles they used to have, and you try to make sure that there's some kind of overlap, that's sort of a softer thing. The best thing, and this comes straight from Amani and she's insisted on it, and it's what she used to do when we had kids for her judges is like a memo on each case as you walk out the door, like you don't get to go on your paternity.

Jim Hacking (00:15:01) - I mean, you can if you have to, but generally, you know, the expectation is, is in those weeks leading up to you being gone for whatever period that is, that you let you have a fully detailed brief on or memo on each case, literally every case that you're going to leave behind so that other people can pick it up right then. Now, if you have a CRM and you have like file mine or something, where you're actually having that real time dialogue in the feed and things, that helps. But otherwise we've always and she's brought this to the table, made it sort of like you're the one who's going to be gone. So and you're a lawyer. This is for lawyers. You're a lawyer. You know, these are your cases. It's your responsibility to make sure these are handled properly for the other team members. I think you turn to it's a matter of respect for your peers. It's a matter of setting up your team for success. It's a matter of, you know, we're we're we're so happy you're going out on PTO.

Jim Hacking (00:15:53) - We really are. We want you to have this time with your family. We want you to take time for your health issues, whatever it is. But at the same time, we need to make sure that the the best interests of the clients are satisfied and really making it sort of like a team approach and sort of like for the good of the client and go to the firm.

Tyson Mutrux (00:16:10) - I think it's more complicated than what the question is, actually, because I was actually writing down the things because we have someone out right now, she's on maternity leave and it's it's actually been a pretty smooth transition. But I jotted down some notes, actually, like some of the things that I thought, like have helped us the most. Cross training with what you're talking about, the overlap. I think having that cross training between roles, even if it's like just really basic stuff, it can go a really long way. And doing some of those, like the trainings as a firm as opposed to like, you know, like you do the training over here, you do the training over.

Tyson Mutrux (00:16:43) - It's like everyone do. The training helps quite a bit, having a hiring process, because sometimes you have to just hire somebody new. That's what you got to do. And so being able to actually like I know I've talked about our hiring process is slow, but we can fire it up in a heartbeat like it's with a push of a button. We're ready to go. So being able to do that helps us quite a bit. So with with this particular person that's out, we actually end up hiring a new person in advance of this so that we would know we're not replacing the person, we're just adding another person. So that has helped quite a bit. Before she left, she helped train up the person that was that's there now in that, in that role, having those those training tools there so they can access them all the time, having a process instead of it like everything everywhere. That's another thing. The last two I don't think most people would think of these have helped quite a bit.

Tyson Mutrux (00:17:34) - Well, maybe the last one you would have thought, but like having a like advancement. So everyone knows. Kind of like where they can go to their next role and maybe there's a stopping point somewhere. But knowing where that next point is. And so we have one of our case managers. She was promoted from our CARES team. And so she's able to fill in when necessary because she's already done that role. So she's having that ability to advance within the firm. It allows you to sort of lean on those people to if if you do have someone out. So the one I'm talking about, her name is Krista. She was she was in the care team, and now she can kind of fill in whenever this other person is out. And then the other part is, I can't stress this enough. With top grading. I'll preach top grading every day because having a players, it changes everything because, you know, everyone's like, I'm going to chip in and help out instead of like, oh, these are my tasks over here.

Tyson Mutrux (00:18:28) - I don't want to do anything else. It's I want to help out. And what can I do on like cares team? I know you're overwhelmed. What can I do? Hey Red team, what can I do? I know that I know that such and such is out today. Can I help out? Can I make a phone call? It changes it so much. And so that one that's probably the top of the list. And then the other ones are secondary.

Jim Hacking (00:18:47) - I'll add one more and that is that. Having had people go out on leave and then decide not to come back once or twice. We now assume they're not coming back and act accordingly. I think that's really important too.

Tyson Mutrux (00:19:01) - That's good. That is good. I mean, it's yeah, I think it's just planning for the future. That's good. Playing defensively. Yeah, I like it.

Jim Hacking (00:19:08) - The question is if they do come back then what do you do? Well everyone gets a little bit of a breather right. Because they have been stepping in and doing it.

Jim Hacking (00:19:15) - I wouldn't necessarily hire right away, but I'd be ready to hire right away like I would when I assume that they're not coming back. We give out their duties to other people. We make sure that everything is getting done. And me personally, what I view it is as an opportunity to grow in the in their absence. So I would actually put the foot on the gas a little bit. Like Andrew is going to be gone for a year, Andrew is going to work 75%. This is our manager. Our managing attorney is going to live in France for a year starting in July. So we're advancing his. One of his colleagues, another lawyer, to help with sort of the logistics of case management. And I'm looking this as my goal is so that when he comes back, we have enough work to sort of need two supervising attorneys, right. Or at least the equivalent like to me that's that's all bonus if if other people are learning how to do that person's job, that's that's better for them and it's better for the firm.

Jim Hacking (00:20:08) - So I view that as a plus. All right. Thanks everybody. This was fun. We never did this before.

Tyson Mutrux (00:20:13) - Very cool. Thanks everybody. Appreciate it.

Speaker 1 (00:20:18) - 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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