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Where You’ve Been and Where You’re Going w/ Ron Payne 409
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In today’s episode, Jim and Tyson chat with estate planning and business advising attorney, Ron Payne! They dive into the journey of jumping your firm ahead. If you’re interested in learning more about the various practice areas he’s drawn to, lessons to those who practice in multiple areas, and the struggles of running a firm, check out this week’s episode.

Mr. Payne is the CEO & Managing Partner for Apple Payne Law, PLLC in Kernersville, NC. APL strives to serve the “entire family”, handling family law, business advising, estate planning, and real estate transactions. When he’s not busy running the firm, Ron enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 sons, serving as the Cubmaster for his son’s Cub Scout Pack, camping, and video games.

3:29 high school band teacher

7:55 specialist guru

12:11 Legal Aid

15:45 business and estate planning

18:03 core values

21:22 I like change

24:40 expand

28:02 we all belong at the table

Jim’s Hack: If you’re looking for that instant message, connect the team realm, check out Discord, a communication tool. It’s very functional, has a great interface, and good user experience. 

Ron’s Tip: There’s a platform for everything these days. Draw a picture of your tech stack using Canva for your employees to make it easier to understand what they’re using each program/tool for. 

Tyson’s Tip: You can always improve your marriage. Check out the Go-Giver Marriage: A Little Story About the Five Secrets to Lasting Love book.

Watch the podcast here.

Join the Guild: www.maxlawguild.com

MaxLawCon tickets are on sale now! Grab your ticket today at www.MaxLawCon2022.com

Jim:                  Welcome back to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I’m Jim Hacking.

Tyson:             And I’m Tyson Mutrux. What’s up, Jimmy?

Jim:                  Tyson, we are heading on our sixth‑year completion of running this podcast every single week. How about that?

Tyson:             That is quite incredible. It really is. It’s hard– honestly, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. It really doesn’t. But that’s exciting to me. I didn’t know that.

Jim:                  Before I get started, I must point out our friend, Jordan Ostroff, made a very nice post about the Max Law Conference in the big group. And he was shocked – shocked, I tell you, by how many people told him that they didn’t even know there was such a conference. So, I think that, for everybody who’s listening, if you really want to up your game, listen at the end of the show where Tyson gives you details on MaxLawCon2022. Tickets are going fast. We’d love to see you in St. Louis. And it’s really going to be an awesome show and a great opportunity for people to take their firms to the next level.

Tyson:             I love it.

And, you know, I’m just going to go ahead and drop the link now, www.maxlawcon2022.com. And I’ll talk more about that later, too.

But you know what? This reminds me. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I usually ask for a review at the end. But, if you don’t mind, while you’re listening to this, you’ve got plenty of time, please leave us a five‑star review. We will greatly appreciate it. Help spread the love.

But let’s go and jump into the show.

Ron– we have Ron Payne. And Jimmy, do you want to do the bio?

Jim:                  Well, Ron, will fill us all in on his story. Ron has been a great member of The Guild and a great member of the big group, and also came to the conference last year. We’re really happy to have him. I’ve had lots of good conversations with Ron and I think he’ll be a great guest for us today.

So, Ron, welcome to the show.

Ron:                Thanks for having me. This is– It’s cool. It’s beyond what I’ve been listening to for so long. Six years, man. That’s awesome.

Tyson:             It is time. It is time.

So, tell us about your journey and how you got to where you are now.

Ron:                So, I grew up– I was born in California. My parents did the blow‑each‑other‑up style of divorce – lawyers, counselors, therapists, guardians. If there was a thing you could have in family court in California, I had it.

Ultimately, I ended up moving to live with family in North Carolina and decided to become a high school band teacher. The band was my refuge from family insanity. And so, that’s what I did.

And after teaching for four years and having a couple of parents make death threats, I said, “Wait a second. We’re not going to– we’re not getting paid for this.” So, I decided to go to law school. Complete career change. Always said I’d never be a lawyer but my dad said I liked arguing so, I guess, it worked out.

So, I went to law school, graduated in 2011, and there was nobody hiring. So, I said, “Well, I’m going to start my own firm. I’m going to use Clio. It’ll bundle up all of my cases nicely and tidy in one location and I’m going to use this as my resume to become my job.”

Ten years– almost 11 years, dear Lord, later, here I am still running my own firm and loving the freedom of it. I started out doing mostly family law. Now, I’ve got little kiddos and I don’t like the stress that comes with seeing little kids in custody cases who look like my little kid or my kids’ age. It was too much, so I hired other lawyers to do family law. And my practice focuses on estate planning and business advising.

But our firm is a whole family approach. We have niched down to four practice areas – family law, estate planning, business advising, and real estate closings. And we have an attorney who does real estate, two that do family law, and then I do estate planning and business advising. And one day I’ll hire somebody to do that. But today is not that day. And that’s us.

Jim:                  Ron, I know that you are in a small town and you’re between some other sort of slightly bigger towns. Why don’t you talk a little bit about the legal community where you’re at? And then, I know that, in your firm, you’ve added practice areas, taken away practice areas, added people, taken away people. Why don’t you talk a little bit about that experience?

Ron:                Yeah. So, we are– Kernersville, it is a really great location. It’s a very small town vibe but even though it’s– we’re up with like 30,000, or 40,000, or 50,000 people now, I guess. But to my west is Winston‑Salem and to my east is Greensboro, home of PTI Airport. And we’re about an hour and a half west of Durham, Raleigh, the RTP (Research Triangle Park) area of North Carolina – State capital.

So, we’re sandwiched between two very large urban areas. So, we draw clients from both. And that’s been great because we get the benefit of small‑town practice. You can drive right up to my door, park, walk right in. We’re in a small office complex like a lot of us probably are. We have a two‑floor suite.

And so, we get clients from both Greensboro which is a huge urban market. Greensboro is the second or third biggest city in the state. It’s pretty huge. And there’s a lot of lawyers over that way. Winston‑Salem’s about half the size of Greensboro, much smaller legal community, not as cutthroat or competitive maybe as Greensboro, just by the nature of the size of the of the market.

A lot of folks here still practice law, country style. Meaning, they do multiple practice areas. Almost everybody that does family law dabbles either in criminal court, traffic court, or maybe they dabble in PI or a couple of other areas to balance out the family drama.

As far as our firm. So, currently, we have 11 or 12 people. I don’t know because we’ve hired and hired. And I think I’ve hired four or five people in the last two months. So, we currently have the five attorneys, right now– or four attorneys – real estate, two family law. The second one just started this week. I finished onboarding her on Wednesday and turned her over to the senior family law attorney to take it from there, now that she knows the Apple Payne Law way. And then, of course, myself. And then we have a law clerk who is a 3L at Wake Law. And she’s already accepted an offer to join us in the fall. And she’s going to be just our intake attorney. And that’s a new thing for us, but I’m inspired by a lot of the folks in The Guild who have gone that route. And so, we’re heading that way.

I am currently between paralegals. My most recent experienced paralegal, who was a rock star, big law called and offered her a teach‑the‑attorney job, like a training position, offering meaningfully over double what I was paying her. And it was enough money that I was like– “I mean, I can’t blame you. You’ve got kids. This is life‑changing money. Keep in touch.” I mean, we’re still on great terms, but I just couldn’t compete with that, so.

But I was transitioning out of family law. So, the family law paralegal took all my family law cases, what few there were left. And then, we had just hired an estate planning and probate paralegal to be kind of a specialist guru just focused on that, you know. And then, we’ll see where I go with the business advising if I hire a separate paralegal to assist me, kind of managing partner, executive administrative assistant, or senior paralegal. I don’t know what that looks like yet so as soon as I figure out what I want it to look like, then I’ll hire somebody.

Like a lot of the folks in The Guild, I feel like hiring somebody at the front desk has just been an insanity project. We’ll hire somebody. They’ll come. They’ve been great. We’ve had some great people but four of the last five people I’ve hired, not counting the one this week, have had a family or life emergency in their first month of employment which took them away from the office for at least a week. And then, three of the cases resulted in them deciding to go with different employment that was– I’m a super flexible, laid back, chill boss, but I can’t not have you here for a month. And they were understanding but it just didn’t work out.

So, we’ve been hiring, and hiring, and hiring. But we’re really good at it now. So, hey, silver linings. Yeah? Does that answer? I’m happy to keep talking about it, but I don’t want to just ramble either.

Jim:                  That’s good.

Tyson:             Well, that’s fantastic. Yeah.

So, I wonder what has drawn you to the practice areas that you’ve chosen. I’m really curious about that.

Ron:                So, family law has been a bread and money maker. And as Jim could attest, if he so chose, I even asked him one time, “Maybe I should cut this bad boy out?” And we looked at the numbers together one day, on a quick phone call, and he was like, “You can’t. You can’t do that unless you want to like set the whole house on fire.”

Family law has just been a great practice area for us. I’m really good at it. I just don’t personally like it, so we hired people and they’re doing it. I did family law for so long because I came from that family situation. And, as a kid, of a completely set‑on‑fire house, I just get it. I understand what folks are going through and my teaching background allows me to speak, I think, in clear English. Maybe I talk too fast, but I explain it well. And so, family law clients have been very pleased. We’ve been able to collect a pretty good amount of Google reviews. And that has drawn referrals and that kind of stuff to us.

And then, the estate planning stuff came out of the family law stuff, right? Those folks need to redo their wills when they get divorced. And I like estate planning. That’s fun. It’s perspective. It’s not reactive, necessarily, to the trauma. Like divorces, you’re very reacting and you’re kind of playing catch up emotionally.

A lot of times estate planning comes in reaction to the loss of a family member, or a loved one, or a friend. But also, you know, buying a house, having a baby, adopting a child, those are events that people go, “You know, we just had a kid. I really need to get this estate planning thing in place. We’ve been talking about it for eight years.” And I really enjoy that, so we’ve really set the last eight to 12 months really starting to build up that practice area.

The real estate thing. So, our real estate attorney was practicing family law with us. That’s what he came on board to do. And after about, I don’t know, eight to 12 months of family law, he said, “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t hold hands. I don’t like it.” He just couldn’t push himself to like tell people you just need to agree and be agreeable because in divorce law, as y’all know, people just aren’t agreeable a lot of the times because there’s emotional baggage to not– they don’t see through to the numbers.

I said, “Well, what do you want to do?” He said, “Well, I’d like to do real estate.” I said, “Well, do some market research and get back to me.” And he did. It turns out that all the real estate attorneys in our area are older than 55 most of which were over 65. And, as a matter of fact, within six months of starting a real estate practice, two of them retired so, all of a sudden, there was a spate of closings that needed to be done. And the other firms are going, “Well, we can get you but it’s going to be six to eight weeks before we can close.” Well, of course, the realtors and the owners of the houses and the buyers are all going, “Ah, I can’t do six weeks.” So, we kind of put out word that we could handle it sooner.

And one of my good family law clients that I got from a low bono case through Legal Aid. So, 10‑second plug for taking those Legal Aid cases and doing your good work, not only was I doing good work, domestic violence cases to help individuals out, but those folks have other legal needs. And just because they use Legal Aid in North Carolina, for domestic violence, doesn’t mean they don’t have money. It’s because when you go to the police and need a protective order, they send you to Legal Aid because Legal Aid has a free clinic.

And so, that client turned into a long‑term client and has single handedly given us probably 50 closings. So, it was a great referral partner and a great success. And so, she came in and said, “Hey, I hate my closing attorney. They’re a jerk. They never return my calls and they can’t even close me for six to eight weeks now. Can I send you referrals?” And I said, “You know, we don’t know what we’re doing.” And she said, “I’ll show you.” Okay, I just wanted her to show us some closings. So, we picked up closing as a practice area. We’re now averaging between 20 and 30 closings a month with 30 kind of being our new baseline. This is the red line you’ve got to get to every month.

And we’re operating two offices. The real estate office is in Winston‑Salem, in the big town, in the office of a luxury realtor who focuses on $500,000 and up houses. Although that meant a lot something different six months ago. It does now. But there you go. So, that’s how we kind of got into those different practice areas.

 

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Jim:                  You’re listening to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. Our guest today is our friend, Ron Payne.

Ron, you know, Tyson and I talk a lot about niching down and about how important it is to really just have one practice area. And I know that you’ve been able to translate that and sort of operate in The Guild and in the big group even though you have multiple practice areas. What lessons should Tyson and I take away? How can we help people who do have more than one practice areas? Where’s the connection there?

Ron:                That’s a really great question. And I struggled with that niche/don’t niche. And I think the answer that I have kind of come to peace with is you need to niche down as an individual. So, I had been niching– the reason I do business advising is because family law clients have small family businesses and, in divorce, they need to know where to go next. And so, I picked up or they needed to set up an LLC. So, I picked that up. But what I realized is I’m not a good lawyer if I’m doing all of those practice areas. So, individually, I do think you kind of need to niche down – one or maybe two practice areas. If you dabble in a third, you probably need to have a mentor or advisor so that you don’t– because you can’t keep up with all the new developments in law CLEs requirements with [inaudible 00:15:33].

So, yes, I’m kind of saying niche down. So, what we have done is, I am practicing now, not exclusively yet in business and estate planning. If you need to do family law, yes, I could do it but I’m leaving that realm. And so, I hand those off. Our family lawyers only do family law. That’s not to say they can’t do a traffic ticket. You know, if their family member wants a will, you know, they can run lead on it because it’s something. But I think it’s important, a real estate attorney has finally shed his last one or two family law cases from over two years ago and is only doing real estate now. And so, individually, we are niched. As a firm, we are not niched.

Now, the other side of that is, “Okay, how do you market your firm?” And I think that’s something that we’re still growing into. We use the EOS system that a lot of Guild members use and a lot of the folks in the big group use, too, along with Profit First. But mostly, with EOS, you know, in developing your market plan, you’ve got to have, I think, a vision for the firm at‑large.

So, we serve people in their entire lives of need. We serve individuals. So, that means, when you have a family, we help you with your family stuff. When you have a small family business, we help you with your family business. When your family buys a house, we help you with a house, you know. And then, every family needs a plan. We’re all – from dust we come, to dust we go. And so, we help the family plan for the end as well as the beginning. And, you know– and then, doing your Google advertising and stuff to market to each practice area. I mean, that’s an ongoing thing but–

So, we are niched. And all the niches play together nicely in a puzzle. You know, we’ve talked about adding other family kind of related areas, but I’ll have to be sold to see how they really fit into our family first thing.

The other thing we did to kind of find that is we established a very clear core value system. We’re still working on like vision and some of the other parts of EOS but our first core value is family first. That means my family first. Our family, here in the law firm, second. And then, our clients’ families third.

The analogy I like is the airplane. If you’re on an airplane, put your own oxygen mask on first before you help your kid. Once your kid’s got an oxygen mask on, then and only then should you help others around you. You know, if you’re passed out from lack of oxygen, you’re not going to be much use to the other people much less your child next to you or the people around you. So, take care of your family first, our family second, and then that’ll position us to take care of our clients’ families third. And that’s enabled us to pull things together, I think.

Tyson:             I really like that core value. These core values, are these things that you came up together as a firm or did you come up with them yourself and then you sort of announced them to the firm?

Ron:                Yes.

So, I came up with them first because one of my problems when I interviewed with other firms, and then my law partner retired in 2020, right, like two weeks before the pandemic happened. So, we kind of had a chance to reset and re‑evaluate. I felt from like the next couple of months, I was like a ship without a rudder. And I was in the big group which got me into The Guild and somebody was like, “EOS, man. Check it out.” So, I read the EOS book. It was like, man, you’ve got to have a vision. I was like, “Oh, my goodness. Well, duh.” And so, I did a lot of soul searching about what do I want this firm to be.

At that time, March 2020, we had two lawyers, a paralegal, and a receptionist. We downsized the entire firm down to four people kind of our core four. Three of which are still with us today – myself, the real estate attorney who is still doing family law, and then my office manager.

And so, what I did is I said, “I’ve got to figure out what I want.” And they said, “Man, you’ve got to figure out what you want.” So, I did. I went. I sat down and I said, “What’s the most important thing to Ron?” That is family first. I don’t want to work at a firm where, if I have to go be with my sick kid, anybody’s judging me in my building. Likewise, I don’t want anybody in my building, who’s got a sick kid, to have to worry about, “Well, my boss is going to fire me or hate me if I go tend to my kid who’s sick” because my kids are my world.

My dad was a corporate attorney. I love him. He provided a good life for me especially given what I know that he went through in the divorce but because of that he wasn’t able to physically be there with me all the time and spend all the time that I would have wanted with me. So, spending that time with my kids is more important than anything in the world.

So, when I started doing this core value inspection, it just made sense that that was it. So, once I came up with the other core values – our core values are family first, honesty, and integrity, and always lifelong innovation, always learning – lifelong learners because it’s important, as a former teacher, to always be learning. And if your word doesn’t mean anything, then you don’t mean anything to me. And there are so many attorneys that will say whatever just to close a deal, especially in family law, so it’s just important that we don’t practice that way regardless of what other lawyers may do.

And so, once we had that in place, I pitched it to the team. We had like a team meeting with everybody on deck and I said, “This is what I’m thinking. I want your feedback.” And they were like, “Dude, this is it. I love this.” It really did fit who we are and who we’ve become. And so, yes, I got their input but I kind of came up with the first round of iterations. Like, I probably spent a solid two months just chewing on this for hours at night and I couldn’t– finally, one day, it just kind of like a light shone down upon me and it made sense. So, then, I pitched it to the team and here we are.

Jim:                  Ron, one of the things I love about hanging out with you is your optimism. You’re just a very positive fellow and I enjoy that and like that. What are things that you struggle with or that bother you about running your firm?

Ron:                I’m glad I seem more optimistic. I try really hard to be glass half full because the last 24 months, like many members in The Guild, I perennially feel like I’m about to fall off the rail into the dark abyss but for the saving grace of our Guild members.

So, the biggest struggle for me is I am very – like many folks, I really want to– I love tech. I love new tech. I have to very actively restrain myself from trying something new. I like change. And so, I balance that. The way I get around that is I balance my team with members who don’t like change as much, like open to change is important but who aren’t necessarily grab the first, you know, shiny car that drives by. So, one of the things for me is trying to resist that urge.

And then, the other thing is, I don’t mind spending– you know, spend $100 to try something new or a thousand dollars to try a new marketing program. And so, I struggle with keeping– balancing the “you need to spend money to make money” which I think is so true.

But also, you know, we’ve grown. Now, I mean, our payroll can be anywhere from– is approaching like $50,000 a month or something ridiculous. And you see that number when it used to be like, if I had a $10,000‑month, man, we’re rolling in gas. And now, you know, if I don’t have $25,000 by the 15th, I’m like a nervous wreck. And so, it’s really hard to kind of keep in perspective, as you grow, that those numbers grow with you and everything is bigger.

The other thing that’s hard for me is managing the “I’m still working in the firm and I don’t envision a time, anytime soon.” One day, I won’t do cases. But I’m doing 30 or 40 hours of casework a week. And then I spent 20 to 30 hours managing it because we’re in this hungry growth mode. And in order to grow, I need people to do the work but I can’t stop doing the work to make the money to pay the new people until they’re in and fully on boarded. And I think balancing that is so important and just keeping a clear head, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that was terrifying, and scary, and all those things.

Tyson:             So where are you heading with this thing? And what’s your vision for this firm? I mean, you’ve got a lot of growth. You know, you’re not in a huge area. So, are you looking to expand to other cities? What are your plans?

Ron:                So, as always, it’s a work in progress. But where I’m kind of at right now, there’s– I love our building. And if I had to move the firm in a way that required me to sell my building, I probably would– I would stop growth before I did that. With the new attorney hire, the clerk that’s starting with us in August. She’s already working with us 15 to 20 hours a week, as her law school schedule permits. That fills up every physical seat in our office but one. But we have our real estate team that does closings in both Winston and here, so they bounce and forth back in between and all that.

And so, where I’m at right now is next door to me, in the building that I’m like I’m not going to sell – next door is an open unit. It’s a vacant unit. But here’s the thing, it’s been vacant for 10 years, 12 years. However old this building is, the building is vacant. We’re at like a condo– or a townhouse‑style unit. And so, the townhouse unit, condo, or whatever you want to call it next to me is empty. It’s so empty, they haven’t even put the drywall on the walls yet which is great because nobody’s going to buy it in that condition at its current price, currently. So, I want to, if I could, if I can, and I think I’ll be able to but it might be two or three years before I can do it– hopefully, sooner but we’ll see. I want to buy that unit. And then, I’m going to expand our family law, estate planning, and business advising teams.

Ideally, I’d like to have one or two lawyers in each of those areas. Right now, I’m building the estate planning and business advising areas to fill my book of business and I’m still speeding up the family law folks. I’d probably hire one more family lawyer and maybe two or three more paralegals. Right now, it’s two attorneys and one paralegal. I’d like to get it to two attorneys and two or three paralegals or three attorneys and five paralegals for family law. Family law is a weird one where you can be one-to‑one, or one‑to‑two, or two‑to‑one depending on your caseloads, so we’re going to flesh that out.

And then, the Winston‑Salem office is in a position to hire maybe one or two more people to have like a team of one or two attorneys. Currently, it’s one attorney and two support staff. I’d like to have one or two attorneys, ideally two, and then like six to seven support staff, maybe even eight because that would allow the attorney to take a vacation and closings do not stop.

Right now, I’m the backup closing attorney, but I’m also the backup family law attorney. And I’m the only estate planning attorney, so y’all see where the bottleneck is there. It’s right here. So, I’ve got to grow that, but I’ve got to have enough caseload to sustain two attorneys on closings just yet.

So, two to three years, we’ll max out that office, maybe expand into the unit next door. That’s probably it. The only– but– maybe, I might add a family law attorney office in Greensboro because the market there is so huge. The problem is that family law in Greensboro does not practice like family law in Forsyth County. And so, even though we’re geographically next door to each other, you can’t actually practice– one attorney can’t practice in both because the calendar systems for the courts are incompatible with each other. And it’s a bloody nightmare. So, that’s where I’m at.

So, I’d like to see us grow. We’re currently targeting between– I’m hoping to hit seven figures this year, huzzah. And I think, in the next three to five years, we’ll be between 2 and 5 million depending on the growth there.

Jim:                  Ron, you came to the conference last year. If you could tell our listeners what you got out of the conference? And then, I know you’re presenting at this year’s conference, so why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about what you’re going to talk about?

Ron:                Awesome.

Yeah. So, the conference was amazing. I mean, I went expecting to get a lot out of it, but it was way better than I could’ve imagined. The day before the conference, I went to the mastermind. Everybody should sign up for the mastermind but leave me one seat, please. The mastermind was amazing because getting to sit down with 15 other law firm owners, plus or minus, I don’t remember the exact number, and just talk about, “Hey, this is something I’m struggling with.” (1) You can contribute to solving their problem, but (2) for me, the great awakening of not just the mastermind but the whole conference is hearing all these law firm owners struggle with my struggles and solve my struggles or having achieved gotten past the struggles and they’re struggling with something else, but just seeing other people on that journey.

I have found that being the practice owner in a small town like I’m at, I can’t just call the other lawyer and be like, “Hey, what do you think? How are you struggling?” because they’re also my competitor. I mean, we’re buddies but they’re not going to open their secret sauce book and share it with me.

And a lot of the lawyers who don’t even want to grow their firms, they’re one lawyer, two paralegals. They do one thing. And that’s cool, but they don’t relate to me and I can’t share my questions, and secrets, and worries, and concerns because you also don’t want the local bar, you know, “Oh, God, he’s stressed about his math or whatever.”

So, just being in a room with everybody. I keep referencing it in The Guild conversations, but I think it was– was it Christopher Nic–? I can’t say his last name. Nicholson? His talk about how we all belong at the table and we are good enough. I did not expect a motivational speech to be the highlight of the conference for me outside of the mastermind but I dang near cried in that presentation because I was like, “Okay. I can do this. And I’ve just got to believe in myself and keep pushing through. If all these co‑owners of businesses can do it, I can.”

And there was so many side conversations with owners, between sessions, in the hall. And, if you’re a member of The Guild, plug for The Guild, they’ve got a little side room with treats for you. If they keep doing that this year. Please, guys.

But that was– just being able to sit down in a lounge with other lawyers or benches outside the conference hall, and just talk about the day‑to‑day struggles, incorporating what you’re hearing in these presentations was epic.

And there’s no other legal conference like it because– like I love the Clio’s Conference but Clio’s conference is very tech, issues, global, where’s the law profession going? Great conference. It doesn’t help you as a law firm owner. Family law conference – fan frickin‑tastic but, you know, you don’t learn how to run a law firm at that conference.

This is the only conference that I’ve seen and that I’ve attended, where I learned how to better run my law firm. And I came away as a better owner, as a better boss, as a better mentor to my team so that they can be better lawyers in that sense. So, that was great.

I am so excited to speak this year. I’ve already kind of hinted at what I’m speaking at, that is core values. I did not expect something– like so many people in The Guild, I did not expect core values to be this like real important thing, right? Like, yeah, you’ve got to have core values. Cool. I’ll make some core values.

And the more I thought about it, with it, the more I struggled with it. And the more I struggled with it, the more I got down to what the real issues were.

But every firm does family law. Like all the family law attorneys do family law. A lot of them do estate planning. What makes you different? Well, your core values make you different. But if you don’t know what your core values are, you don’t have a direction. You’re just practicing law which is cool but then you’re just like every other schmuck lawyer, you know, person out there and you don’t stand out. And you don’t have a way to stand out because you’re not selling you. Core values is what makes you or your firm you.

And so, I’m going to talk a little bit about the importance of core values in my journey on how I came up with them and why they’re so important. And I think, most importantly, the difference we’ve seen in our firm, both as a team, and as a practice, and as individual attorneys going forward. So, I’m really excited about that and I appreciate the opportunity.

Tyson:             I am really looking forward to that, Ron. And thank you for the kind words about The Guild. Really, really appreciate it.

I do need to wrap things up. I’ve got court in a few minutes, actually. First in-person court in about two years– or, actually, in St. Louis County, so pretty excited about that.

Ron:                Woohoo! Good luck, man!

Tyson:             Thanks.

Before I wrap things up, I want to remind everyone to join us in the big Facebook group, a lot of great activity going on there. If you want a more high‑level conversation, join us at maxlawguild.com. And make sure you get your tickets for the conference. maxlawcon2022.com, June 2 and 3, in St. Louis/St. Charles, Missouri.

Jimmy, what’s your hack of the week?

Jim:                  My hack of the week is Discord. So, a lot of people use Slack and I really like slack, but I’m taking a course right now and we use discord for discussion of everybody in the group taking the course. And I really like it. It sort of comes from the gaming world, but it’s pretty functional. And I really like just the interface of it and the user experience. I just– I’d put it a little bit ahead of Slack. Now, we have so much invested in Slack, I probably won’t change. But if you’re looking for something in that instant message sort of connect the team realm, I would take a look at Discord. It certainly holds its own against Slack.

Tyson:             Yeah. Moving away from Slack is definitely hard. Whenever we did it with Click, Click makes it really, really easy. You can basically click a button and it’ll transfer all of your channels over, all the information within the channel – pretty seamless. I’m guessing Discord probably has something very similar to that. But Discord, I’ve heard really, really good things about it. So, it’s very interesting.

Ron, we always ask our guests to give a tip or a hack. You know that. What is your hack of the week?

Ron:                Man, I love that Discord thing. I mean, we may have to talk about that sometime, Jim. We’re a Slack team too, but I love Discord also.

My hack of the week is– you can’t see it if you’re listening on the podcast but I’m going to hold it up to the camera. It’s a picture of all of our technology. So, we were onboarding our new employee. And then, we realized we are a very– as many Guild members are, in this day and age, very– you’ve got a platform for this, and a platform for this, and they all interface together. And so, we drew a map of our technology using the icons of each program to show the flow of our clients through our system and what each program was used for. And then, at the bottom, we showed the icons for the other like key programs we use that don’t fit into that niche.

And our new employees now understand, when they’re setting up their 15 online accounts, what each thing is for, where it fits in, and when and why they need to access it. And it took me 30 minutes, on Canva, to draw that picture. So, draw a picture of your tech stack for your employees. It’ll make it a lot easier so they understand what they’re using their tools for.

Tyson:             I love that idea. That’s a fantastic idea.

For my tip of the week, it’s actually the Go‑Giver Marriage. There’s a brand‑new Go‑Giver book that came out a few days ago. So, I’m about halfway through it. And it’s really, really good. So, you know, sometimes I need to work on my marriage. I’ve got a great marriage, but it can always improve. And so, I really– continue the story on from the original Go‑Giver book. I thought it was really interesting the way they’re doing it. I highly recommend it.

Ron, thank you so much for coming on the show. Really, really appreciate it. Love the story. Next time, we just need to have another hour or two to talk to you about things. I love it.

Ron:                Thanks, man. I appreciate y’all having me.

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