Are you an attorney who is interested in joining a supportive group of fellow attorneys? In this podcast episode, Jim and Tyson explore the impact of their mastermind group for lawyers.
Are you looking to create a more cohesive and successful law firm? Ron Payne’s presentation at MaxLawCon 2022 sheds light on the importance of core values in guiding the direction of a law firm and creating a positive work environment.
Ron emphasizes that core values should be more than just words on a wall, but should be integrated into the hiring process and daily operations of the firm. He shares his own core values, which include honesty, respect, family first, teamwork, and lifelong learning. These values guide his hiring decisions and help him create a positive work environment.
Ron also discusses how he uses core values in his job ads to attract candidates who align with his values. This has resulted in more qualified candidates and better hires for his firm. He also advises being selective with clients, only working with those who align with the firm’s values and prioritize their family and children.
Ron reminds listeners that core values are an ongoing process of learning, innovating, and striving to be better. By incorporating core values into a law firm’s culture and operations, it can attract the right people to the team and create a more cohesive and successful firm.
So, what are your core values? Consider identifying your “why” and defining the qualities and values you admire in your team, colleagues, and clients. Run these values by your leadership team and incorporate feedback, but do not compromise on who you are as a firm. Start the journey towards a more successful law firm today!
00:38 The importance of core values in law firms and how they can help improve the firm’s direction
04:10 The process of choosing core values that match personality and where you want to be in three years
06:09 The importance of honesty and respect in the workplace and how it can affect the firm’s success
10:35 How using firm’s core values in job ads to attract qualified candidates who aligned with the firm’s values
12:32 The importance of core values in law firms and how it affects the type of clients they take on
14:17 The importance of knowing your “why” and how it drives you to go to work every day
16:49 How to define core values by identifying the qualities and values you admire and what you don’t want to work with
18:40 The importance of incorporating core values in law firms and how to share them with the team
19:18 How he conducts team evaluations based on the core values of his law firm
19:59 Suggests ways to market the core values of a law firm to stand out from competitors
Watch the full video on YouTube here.
In today’s episode, we’re sharing a presentation from Max law con 2020. To keep listening to hear Ron Payne as we share his talk, core values, the no BS version, you can also head to the maximum lawyer YouTube channel to watch the full video now to the episode.
nRun your law firm the right way. This is the maximum lawyer podcast, podcast, your hosts, Jim hacking and Tyson metrics. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.
So I’ve accomplished mission number one, I made it up the stairs. Nobody fell. Check. Number two, it’s Friday. It’s 214. Y’all are awake, and I’m awake. I remember last year by this time, I was like, All right, I don’t know what’s happening. They’re speaking on the stage. And I have no clue what they’re saying. So kudos for here. And I hope that this hour, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you’re like, I’ve got so many ideas that I don’t even know where I’m gonna start, I hope I can give you one little thing that you can take away with you. So the first thing I’m going to start with is just, you know, what are core values. So, core values are so important to me, because this time last year, I was like, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I need to improve things. And I don’t know where to start. I found traction, I found ELS. And I was like, Okay, there’s a roadmap, I’m gonna go with this. So all of my concepts that are here today, they arise out of Eos. There’s other methods. EOS is one method has worked really well for us. So the first thing is core value is what matters most to you. Now I’m in a single ownership situation. I had a partner he retired, it’s just me. And I took that opportunity. I said, What can I do to make the firm my own. And so as I was doing that, I said, what’s most important to me, and I could only come up with one, my family, nothing else matters. If you took away everything to me, as long as I have my wife and my two kids, I don’t care. You could burn it all down. I could do any job I’ve done on a dairy farm. So I literally shoveled shit. And I’ve worked in law firms at universities, I got to be on stage with Rascal Flatts during law school through a fluke of coincidences, and who knows who’s with a marching band to Greensboro Coliseum. So that was pretty awesome. I’ve done a lot of cool stuff. But if I’m with my wife and kids, I don’t care. Everything else is like an add on. So for me, core value number one family first. And in my mastermind this week, they said hey, buddy, we know your core value, you’re not following it. And I love that our guild will be like, Hey, we love you. You need to get back to your basics. This is my core value right there. My wife. And then my kiddos. They bring me joy, everything else whatever longer that I got them. Sure, like, Okay, I know what matters most to me, What can I do next? You’ve got to hire the right people, right? So if you’re like, Alright, I know I want to do this. What kind of people do you want to find? Who can I find? What am I looking for? There are two kinds of lawyers in my experience. overly simplified, of course, right? There are those who practice like, oh my god, it’s tomorrow, let’s get ready to go. And they just live in this perpetual state of tomorrow’s the deadline. Some of us made it through law school that way, and that’s okay. I have found for me, it will give me a coronary or a stroke, or both. If I’m around people like that, I’m just way too chill. I used to teach high school, yell at me, please, all you want. You’re not going to see me crack. If you see me in the corner crying, you know, it’s pretty bad now. So you’ve got to find people who fit what you’re looking for. Right? That doesn’t mean hire. You don’t hire you seven times over. Otherwise, you’ve got a personality problem. But also then the next thing, right, so we found that what do you want to exude it to your clients? Right? So before I got into core value, so the whole title, this was core values because I got into core values. I was like, that’s a bunch of BS. We’ve all done that. Right? You’re like that’s corporate speak. I worked at Walmart. They had core values. Sam Walton died, and that became Money, money and money. Also, who can we cut? What hours can we cut? What services can we cut? How can we not restock and still make money? That was Walmart After Sam Walton died? It was the strangest transformation I’ve ever seen in my life. And I was 16. So I was like, great. Core values. Sounds fantastic. Let’s have some corporate bullcrap. Well, after we did that, I was like, but you know what the book says this, everybody in the guild is like, oh, my gosh, core values. EOS EOS is amazing. And I read the book, and I was like, this seems pretty amazing. What I’m doing is not working. I should try something else. definition of insanity here. So after I chose my core values, I was like, Fine, I’m gonna give it a shot. And I spent like two months on core values. No, folks have asked me, How do you choose your core values? For me, I’m the single owner. So I said I need to pick values that match me. Where do I want my farm in three years? Because I don’t think all the people are the right people. So I shouldn’t be asking the wrong people where I want my firm to go right. So I pondered it and then after I chose it, all of a sudden were like going in the same direction. And it actually led Add. This can be painful. Like a lot of lessons we’ve learned at the mastermind in the conference, I lost an employee had been with me 10 years, she literally carried the firm. When I went through my divorce, her family adopted me when I was going through my divorce, invited me to Thanksgiving, invited me to Christmas, I still love her to death, I gave her a severance package that would make the financial advisors in the room cry, because she had been there for me didn’t care what it cost me, I was not giving her I gave her notice by giving her like a six month Good luck. Because it just didn’t fit anymore. We had grown apart, we weren’t rowing in the same direction, it hurt. But we weren’t on the same page anymore. Immediately after that, all of a sudden, we’re all rowing in the same direction. Because there was this one piece that was splintering everybody, every team meeting, you’ve got everybody looking at me and looking at the member who’s not on board with my core values. And that hurt. And I needed somebody to point it out to me. And then we did it. So after that we were all going on the same direction. So my core values, family first, my family, first, the whole oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your children. It’s true, because if you don’t have any oxygen, you’re not going to be effective at helping your clients, you’re not going to be helping your team help your clients if you’re a multi member team. Our second one is honesty and respect. We’ve all worked with the lawyers who are full of crap. They don’t tell the truth. They don’t tell the truth in front of the judge. They don’t tell the truth in front of you. And you can’t trust anything and they’re negotiating with. I don’t respect that I don’t want to work with that. I don’t want them in my office. I don’t want them as clients. I don’t want them anywhere near me. So if you don’t have honesty and respect, and the other thing is I’ve worked with lawyers who are great lawyers, they are great in the courtroom, but they are just mean people. They’re jerks. They’re jerks from the moment they meet you, they’re better than you they know more than you and they will always win and it doesn’t matter what you do, you can go straight to hell. Okay, buddy, take a pill. It’s just the job, man. Like, at the end of the day, this is our work, we have to see each other again, can we not get along professionally, I don’t want them working for me, because I don’t want them exuding that to other attorneys. This is a small profession take care of each other. It’s a hard profession, take care of each other. I want them on my team. I don’t want the other ones on my team. Last but not least lifelong learners and innovators. That means we never stopped learning. When I was a student. Back in the days, I wanted to be nothing but a high school band director. So I got a call high school when I said I’m going to college, went to college and I became a band director. And so this always learning as a musician. You never play a good enough. I wanted to jump up yesterday with the trombones and there’s like, Hey, can I have one of those please, five minutes wouldn’t been as good, but little out of touch. But you’re always learning always getting better. Whether it’s CLS, you’re here. It’s Max law, we’re always getting a little bit better at whatever we’re weakest in. Those are the people I want on my team. If my paralegal is not asking me, Hey, I’m a little weak at this. And I’m not asking her Hey, what are we weak at? What can we do? How can we get a little bit better? Look, I can’t train somebody to be a good person. honesty and respect, I can’t teach you that if you don’t have that. This is not the company for you. I’m sure you’ll find a good home. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. But you’re not the right fit here. But I can teach you how to draft a demand letter, I can teach you how to enter your time into Clio. Even though I make that more complicated than I need to sometimes, right. But I can’t teach you to be a good person. So I want somebody who’s always willing to learn now, funny story after you set your core values. So I set these back in the fall of 2021. It’s 2020. Tonight. Yeah. So in 2021, we set our core values. We had our leadership meeting in April of 2022. And we decided, hey, we need another core value. We’re not talking about getting paid here. We should talk about getting paid. So that’s a great idea. I wholeheartedly agree. And so they said all right, we need to add another one. I said what’s that so what do you think? And my leadership team together came up with Success provides possibilities. Anybody ever worked at Panera and here, okay now, so Panera is is profit provides possibilities. Ironically, my office managers, a former Panera manager, I don’t know where the idea came from. But it was great. And the whole team was like, yes, we want that. But we don’t want to just we want it to be customer centric, too, right? So if we’re successful for you, you have the opportunity to close the door on that divorce, get that new house that we’ve just closed on know that your estate plan is good. And now it’s said and we’ll be able to revisit in a couple years. But at least if something happens today, God forbid and you walk out and get hit by a bus your family is protected. We have given you possibilities to now not worry about that move on with your future. And for us profit might look like better paychecks, better benefits, more work life flexibility, longer vacations, you get the idea. Right. So those are the things that we came up with. So at first when I rolled this out, I kid you not my team was like, oh boy, Daddy got ELS wondering how long that’s gonna last. We’ve all been there. You have no idea of the week. And they’re like I’m out. Check the Dorsia audios. And that was my team because I would come home from every Clio conference I went to and I was like, Oh, if we get this plugin, we can do this. And they were like, great. He’s not even going to show us how to use it Izzy. And it was true. It was it was honest criticism. So after Eos, they were like, Okay, we’ll see. But I knew that was coming because I had read the whole book. And so then after a month, I’m like talking about us. They’re like, Wait, he’s still talking about core values. Because the first thing I did is I went out The big speeches said, Hey, y’all, we’re gonna have core values this your core values. If you don’t like it, there’s the door. I’ll give you a severance. Have a nice day. And I said it really nice jokingly, but I was not joking. And the room was red. Right? So I’m one of them said, you know, I, okay, maybe not. But we will not going in the same direction. Once we got everybody on board. It was like, bam, we’re right there. We’re going in the same direction. Well, now we’ve got core values, how did I do anything with core values? Great, your team knows them, you’ve got to implement them. So I took a survey beforehand, a lot of you answered it, thank you. And it was like 90% of people had core values. And like 85%, were all you know, even using them. So I want to get more to the usage of them, since most people seem to have them. But when we started using them, we put them in our job ads, I will try to send out at least on the guild or on the page or get it to Beckett so they can include it in the resources from the presentation a copy of my last job ad from wise hire. But it says basically, are you family first, and this is the place for you? If you answer and I said Are you family first? Are you honest? Do you respect other people? And if you can answer hell yes to these three questions, then you should apply. All of a sudden, all of my job applications were people that lined up with me. It still it’s a paralegal job. So I need you to type the things I need you to talk to the clients I need. Right I please do paralegal things. So I don’t have to, but all of a sudden the people are getting, they walked in the door and my whole team was like I liked them. I like them. I like them. I don’t know who we’re going to hire now. And so we got to pick based on qualifications. And they came in knowing that we were the firm they wanted to be at because there’s plenty of job ads in my market right now for paralegals, but all of a sudden I was able to get like 20 applications, and I was able to hire for experience when I was looking for it, as opposed to like, well, either you get a whole bunch of unqualified ads or none. I got less ads but more qualified ads. So we had greater candidates and we had better hires.
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The other side of that is great. Now you’ve got team members, you’re all on the same page. The other part of this is clients. I also learned to go hey, if a client walks in, and they’re not family first and by family first, I don’t mean they treat their family, right. You know, in a Family Law that matters, right? If you do family law, family member family law function, awesome. So if they walk in and they’re not treating their family, right, they’re not putting their kids first they say I’m putting my kids first. But they really mean if I can screw my ex. That’s what I’m going for. Those are not the clients for us. Now there are lawyers in town who will take them I’m in a big market. I’m in the Greensboro, Winston Salem triad market, Greensboro, I think, in excess of one or 2 million folks. It’s a huge market. And don’t quote me on those statistics. I’m not the Census Bureau, but it’s a big market for us. But there’s like 100 attorneys there. And there’s like 50 family law attorneys in Forsyth County, which is where I primarily practice, there’s somebody else for you, there are plenty of people who will take your money and fight the fight and go all the way straight to the gates of hell. And that’s okay, that’s just not me. And if you want a lawyer who’s going to take somebody to that end, I’m not your guy, we will be frustrated, we will hate each other. And I will get a bad Google review at the end of that. And we don’t want that. So we found that, but the clients who buy into this, not only do they want me, they’re like whatever, Here, take it. Today. Actually, I had my first client hit $100,000 in legal expenses. And I’m not even working the case anymore. Because I’ve had it for five years. And I handed it off to our senior family law associate. Now, that client loves us. I tried to fire them. I said, Look, you’ve been with me for four years, your case is getting uglier. We should consider a switch of counsel fresh eyes, clear vision, and they were like, Nope, I want you I said it’s not gonna be me, it’s gonna be the guy I hire and they said, don’t care. I want your firm. That’s a huge compliment. And it’s because they know that I care about them. And I know they’re putting the kids first. And they know we will tell them if they’re not. And as that next part, right, that gave us clarity. So we’re getting into this and all of a sudden, our client goals are clear, my marketing is more clear than it’s ever been. Is it perfect? No. Also, let me just say, you know, I’ve got a billion things to work on. I’m here just like all of you and I am learning a million things. I’ve got my core values figured out. Now I can go to step two of the EOS process. It’s always learning, always innovating and always trying to be better. I’m not there yet. And if we ever get there, then that’s when I hit 3.5 million in the bank account and I’m out of here. I’ll be on a beach having a drink. See, maybe I’ll come speakers on my gotta hit three point 5,000,001st We got a few dozen years for that. So how do you find them? So first of all, what is your why? If you don’t get anything else from this and you don’t know what your first core value because you’re you’re like, what are my core values? And do they line up with me? What is your why? Why do you get up and go to work every morning? Yes, you get up and go to work for money. But all of the rest of you, you’ve got something beyond getting paid, that drives you to go to work every day. So what is your why? I get up for my wife, Jennifer, she’s my second wife. My first marriage ended in an unfortunate circumstance did not go the way I wanted to. And one day she said, I’m done with you. Three years of law school career changes, and six moves later. I understand that no, no hard feelings. Me and the mother in law didn’t get along anyways. Right? So then I don’t have any kids. I’m 3031. Unlike 34, by this time, I’m like, Oh, God, I’m never gonna have kids in my life. So failure, what am I going to do? And I took three months to go find myself. Then I met Jennifer. She is my rock, my saving grace. If anybody ever heard her, I will be. There is no law. I’m going to need some of the best criminal defense attorneys in the room because she is my rock. I love her. I would give it all for her. She said, Honey, stop it. We’re moving to Spain like Bye, love you. Right. And then we have two beautiful kids. One of those is my stepson. His dad’s not here with us anymore. That’s not just what happened. He made poor life choices. I’m his dad, I would do anything for him. My youngest, Aaron, I used to do family law and I had to get out of it. I heard a family law attorney and why did I hire a family law attorney? Because I was having those cases come in. And all I saw was my four year old he was one at the time. But they were telling me all my kid and DSS and all I’m seeing is my child like you’ve got a separation issue, buddy. Get out. So my why is clear. And I carry this with me everywhere I go. And even at my mastermind, they said hey, buddy, look at your mug. That’s your why isn’t I said it is? And they said are you doing that? And I was like, oh, okay, thanks. Asked for the hard advice and you shall receive. Secondly, what qualities? What advice do you admire the most? What are you looking for in your team? What are you looking for in your colleagues? What are you looking for in your family? What are you looking for in your clients? And then the flip side of that is if you’re like, I don’t know what to define as my values? Well, let’s let’s flip it on its head. What do you really not want to work with? And for me, it kind of manifested itself in both I want really honest people. But that came from having family law cases where people would consent to things in an email and then be like, No, I’d never consented that. Here’s your email. I’m filing a motion to have your whatever thrown out. And you go have the court and you’re like, hey, this is the thing he sent me via email, your honor. And the judge goes, Why are we here? Get out, dismissed. And I win. But I just spent $10,000 on my clients money arguing over something that we shouldn’t argue over the facts argue over the outcome. Yes. Why are we arguing on emotion? That means nothing. Why are we even here? Especially for those of you in family law, you know that there are those who will do that, right. So I wanted to start my core values with Well, what do I really not want to be around. So I don’t want to be around liars. I don’t want to be around cheats, I don’t want to be around when at all costs, doesn’t matter. The outcome is the only thing I will fight you to the death. Now there are times that you need to put on the battle armor and go in and raise the sword and hurrah. But that doesn’t have to be every day. If you always do that. I’m gonna count whatever he’s charging again. But if on the other hand, like I’m gonna pick on joey for a minute, because he’s a really a huge inspiration he shares so much with the guild. Joey is always happy. If Joey came to me upset about something I’m going to listen. I have never seen him angry. And I’m sure probably been angry once or twice. But I’ve never seen it if he’s upset. And it’s something that I’m going to listen to that because he’s mad. He’s usually pretty happy. If they’re always angry and throwing things you’re like, okay, whatever. I mean, yeah. Go at it. Have at it. So what are the things you can do next, find your values. When you find those values? What do you do next? Run them by your leadership team. incorporate feedback as you can listen, learn and don’t compromise who you are. If you’re the owner of the firm. It’s Yes. So let’s say your team has input. But if you’re like, oh, I don’t want that as my value then. No, no, that shall not be our value. But thank you, but say why? Right? Especially if it’s your leadership team, you’ve got to share that. When you’re ready. Run it by the entire team. And if it fits when it’s done, ship it out, share it with everybody, then all right, huzzah, we have core values, incorporate them front and center to your team. Now this is where I’m kind of at in my phase, no lie I’ve seen I think it was Alexis Austin’s she’s got the big poster that had her core values on it. She shared in the guilty. Yeah, I’m stealing that. And I’m going to do it one of these days. When I get to it on my issue list. It’s like 17th, but it’s going to happen. Right? incorporated in your team meetings. When we have one on ones. I ask how’s your family doing? How are you doing? You? Don’t I? I’m asking them in their evaluations. How are we doing it family first, and so I’ve got our sections for our team evaluations broken into three sections. You can guess what the three sections are? Right? Because I need to update them for the fourth core value. When we have team meetings, we have team evaluations and our job ads, I list our actual core values, I write them out I put the definition might as well go ahead and tell you who we are and what we are if you don’t want to apply here great and if you do then please also added bonus instead of getting 600 applications from anybody who hits apply all you get the ones who really want to work for you because they know more about you. Also, in my market there’s 50 family law attorneys in Forsyth and probably 100 in Greensboro. If you want to work at a family law firm there are plenty of opportunities or hire a family lawyer. What makes my firm different? And this is who I am. If you don’t like it, it’s cool. There’s others go. There’s a lot of great lawyers and time to hire one of them. And if you’re if you’re looking for me that cool, let’s work together. I’m excited about that. Get it on your website, get it in your advertising, getting your marketing, it’ll help yourself stand out. Why are you not just the other guy down the street? Well, thank you for hearing me out. Happy Friday, and hope you learned a lot and have safe travels home.
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