From Briefcase to Boom with Scott Rose


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Are you ready to take your law firm to the next level? In this episode, Jim Hacking and Tyson Mutrux sit down with Scott Rose, owner of Rose Legal Services, to discuss his journey of starting his own firm and the valuable lessons he learned along the way.
Scott shares how he overcame challenges during the Great Recession and found success in criminal defense.
The most valuable lesson from this podcast? Scott realized that working more hours himself wasn’t the key to growth. Instead, he focused on leveraging other people and implementing systems. He also emphasizes the importance of core values, unique selling points, and long-term goals for your firm.
Tune in to learn more about Scott’s strategies for growth and how you can apply them to your own practice. Don’t miss out on this valuable insight from a successful entrepreneur in the legal field.

Episode Highlights:

01:40 Meet Scott and hear his story starting with the challenges he faced during the Great Recession
03:16 Scott’s transitioned to focusing exclusively on criminal defense
08:31 The impact of the Guilds  mastermind group on Scott’s growth and success
10:54 The importance of relying on other people and systems
16:49 Navigating the challenges of practicing criminal law in a changing landscape and strategies for growth
Scott’s Tip: Read the book “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” by Atul Gawande
Tyson’s Tip: Go through your tasks work flows and make them more efficient. 🎥 Watch the full video on YouTube here.

Connect with Scott:


Transcript: From Briefcase to Boom with Scott Rose

(00:00:01) – Run your law firm the right way. 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.

(00:00:22) – Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. I’m Jim Hacking in tiresome Tricks.

(00:00:27) – What’s up, Jimmy?

(00:00:28) – Hello, Tyson. Everything is figure out everything is wonderful. Everything is moving along. Life is good. How have you been?

(00:00:37) – I am doing well. I agree with all those things. It can all be figured out. Usually it’ll all be okay too. Right? So it’s all figured out. Well, I like that I get to fly really early this morning. I get to fly at 5 a.m. So it’s funny now, like when we’re recording, it’s 10 a.m., so it’s weird to think that I’ve been up for so long. You’d normally get up really early. I don’t know how you do it.

(00:00:59) – Yeah, I get up at 420 most days. I was up today.

(00:01:01) – I got on the peloton because I did take my son Yusuf to the airport. He’s going out to see some high school buddies out in San Francisco for the weekend, so he’s really excited. But yeah, when you start your day early, I mean, you’ll see around 9:00 you’ll get the yawns and be pretty sleepy. I think that’s what usually happens to me.

(00:01:17) – I can’t wait. So let’s get into this. Let’s introduce our guest Jimmy. Our guest today is Scott Rose. Scott owns and operates Rose Legal Services is a law firm in Saint Louis that dedicates its practice exclusively to representing people who have been charged, arrested or investigated for a crime. Scott is also a friend of ours and a member of the Guild. Scott, welcome to the show.

(00:01:40) – Thanks for having me. This is the first time I’ve ever been on a podcast, so this is great. Appreciate the invitation. Well, Scott, we’ve enjoyed watching your journey and watching you grow your criminal defense practice. Talk to us a little bit about law school, what happened after law school and when you decided to open your own firm.

(00:01:59) – Sure. Well, you know, I wish I had one of those heartwarming, inspirational stories. I’ve heard many of them on this show, but it didn’t really happen that way for me. I graduated law school in 2000, and I worked for three different law firms as an associate, and I was mainly doing commercial litigation during that time, and I had started my career in Nashville, Tennessee. I moved to Saint Louis in 2009 when I got married. My wife is from here. This is her hometown. So I came here and I did get a job here. I was working for a law firm in Saint Louis, but things kind of fell apart with the Great Recession. And the law firm I was with blew up. I found myself in the middle of the Great Recession at 40 years old and applied for job after job after job and got nowhere with it. And I had bills to pay. And so and it was about that time that my wife got pregnant. And so I was really just trying to pay some bills and I was doing anything, any kind of work that would come in, anything I could get hired for.

(00:03:16) – I did a, you know, several different things. And I discovered, though, that I could get hired to represent criminal defendants. And fortunately, I really did love criminal law way back when I was in law school. I love those classes. And I did a clinic at a prosecutor’s office when I was in law school. So I did have a strong interest in that. It’s just that was not what I had practiced the first 11 years or so, but found that I could get hired doing that. And I did enjoy it. And then it was about 2013 when I stopped doing everything else, then just went all in on criminal defense. And for about the next five years or so, I would say that I was one of those better call Saul types. I was a guy with a briefcase and a cell phone and, you know, courthouse to courthouse. I was learning the ropes. I even had a judge one time call me a courthouse rat because guess he saw me in the courthouse so much.

(00:04:12) – But that was kind of the way things went, you know, for those five years. And then it was 2018 when we were growing and got a couple of employees. And then in 2018 and 2018, it was me and two staff people and one of the staff persons left and I made the decision. But even at that time, we were really it was very questionable whether I was going to be able to continue to maintain. It seemed like that we were just busting at the seams. It seemed like it was too much work for one lawyer. And when that staff person left, I made the decision not to replace the staff person with a staff person, but to replace the staff person with a lawyer. And so that was the first lawyer hire. That was September 2018. And I feel like. That’s when all the trouble started, but also when all the growth started. And since then we have just accelerated rapidly. I got involved with the Guild and got exposed to all these entrepreneurial ways of thinking and running law firms, and now we’re in a fancy new big office.

(00:05:18) – There’s five lawyers here, five staff people, a small army of Vas. And so that’s how I got here. And I think the really the acceleration that has taken place has had a lot to do with hiring the lawyer and a lot of things that I’ve learned in the Guild. Now, I think that’s a very heartwarming story. I think it warms my heart to hear the journey. And I think every story of people going out and believing in themselves, no matter how they got there, I find that to be very heartwarming. I’m glad to hear that I hadn’t considered that perspective. The birth of the firm at the time really felt like it was out of desperation. But, you know, maybe it has a happy ending or at least a happy present. So I.

(00:06:00) – Appreciate that. Yeah, and that’s actually where I want to go back to. We’ll get to the trouble and the success a little bit, but I want you to go back to the moment that you don’t have a job. You’re in a city that you didn’t grow up in, you didn’t start your professional career in, and you now have to start a firm.

(00:06:19) – So what is going through your head at that time?

(00:06:22) – Well, and I’ll add that my wife was pregnant with twins. So yeah, that there were some dark days in there for sure in the middle of the Great Recession. And and it just it really kind of felt like I had washed out at the time. And so, you know, I was not at all clear what I was going to do or how this was all going to work out. And I remember how it started was that I began developing a direct mail campaign in the basement of my house, and I printed the letters myself, signed them, stuffed the envelopes and set them out on the front porch for the mailman. And that was sort of the genesis of it. I don’t know what I was thinking at the time, Tyson. I mean, I had no idea. I definitely was not thinking that I was going to be doing this like where we are today. I definitely wasn’t thinking that at the time, and I can’t say as there was a vision.

(00:07:19) – I was trying to pay the bills and it was really no more complicated than that. I wish there had been a vision, but there wasn’t. So, Scott, when did things shift? When did you get sort of out of that survival mode where you’re just like running from courthouse to courthouse with your cell phone and your briefcase? When did you start to have the space to think about something more? Oh, what a great question. You know, guess the honest answer is I think that has always been a challenge and is still a challenge for me today. I think the key moments were when I realized I could get clients, I could get criminal defense clients. There is a way to make this work. That realization, which would have been like something like 2013, that was a key moment, the hiring of the lawyer in 2018. But that was a key moment. And then I guess I would have to add to that, the mastermind group in Atlanta in April 2022. I would say that may be the only time I really felt stuck was when I went to that mastermind group, because at that time I think I’d gotten to where I was, I’ll call it a brute force strategy.

(00:08:31) – And what I mean by that is, you know, every problem could be solved by me working harder. Just put in another couple of hours, I’ll get this problem solved, you know, and. And I’d gotten to where I was just, you know, by dedicating myself to it and through hard work. But the problem in April 2022 was there was no more brute force left. There was no time left. There was no I mean, the strategy wasn’t going to work anymore, not at the size we were then. And there were some people in that group in Atlanta who talked about things I’d never heard of before, Had no previous exposure to at least was the person who ran at Polyakov. Vitus was in there, Sandy van Ryan Brown. And I specifically remember when I was on the hot seat and I sort of laid all the stuff out there and there was a there was about a five minute conversation, I’m guessing five minutes, where Elise and Sandy Van and Paul Jacoby were talking about my situation.

(00:09:31) – And I had no idea what they were saying. I didn’t follow it at all. It was simultaneously terrifying and mesmerizing, you know, And I think probably they were talking the language of traction at the time. I don’t really remember now. I mean, because I didn’t I didn’t understand at the time and hadn’t read traction at that point. But I came away from there with a lot of great ideas and some books to read and things like that. And I felt like that mastermind group, it ended up. Changing some thinking for me. And I would say now we’re probably twice the size we were then. I remember that night in the happy hour that we had, which was so much fun. That place we were at was great. I remember you and Raheem, where you were talking to people nonstop that night. Your mouth could not stop going. You had so many questions. I know you asked me a bunch of questions. I remember That really was that mastermind must have been really powerful for you.

(00:10:23) – It really must have unlocked some stuff. Because I remember that night you were, like, on fire. Like, I’d never seen you that way before. I believe it. I mean, it was overwhelming, you know? But obviously, I mean, all to the good. I mean, it made it’s made a big difference.

(00:10:36) – I remember that. Is that the night we talked about the no fee guarantee?

(00:10:40) – Oh, the plea guarantees. Oh, yeah. That is the night we talked about the plea guarantee. Yes, that was fun.

(00:10:45) – That was a fun discussion. All right. Well, so I want to talk about what were the steps, what were the action steps that you took after that mastermind that puts you in the better position that you’re in today? I mean.

(00:10:54) – If I had to sum it up in just a sentence or two, it would be that I was going to have to use leverage to continue to grow and to improve the firm that me working more is not going to.

(00:11:05) – That strategy may have been effective for getting to where I was at that point, but it was what it got me. There was not going to get me to the next level and it was going to be a different strategy and I was going to have to rely on other people and systems and things like that. And then the things that I put in place, we didn’t have core values at the time. I rolled out core values a couple of months later and then, you know, putting down on paper really all its all it ended up being the traction stuff, the what are our unique selling points, What are our goals? You know, what’s our one year plan, our three year vision and our big, beautiful, audacious goal, you know, things like that. I’ve never done anything like that before. I’d never put it on paper. I never thought about it, much less began sharing it with the people who work here. You know, I think that ended up being a lot of it.

(00:11:55) – And, you know, we’ve had to do a lot of hiring. And I think I was probably very understaffed at the time, and I didn’t realize it because I’d never imagined being as big as I was. Just the whole the whole idea, the whole notion that a single lawyer, one lawyer could have $1 million law firm. I mean, I don’t I don’t know when. There was certainly a time not too long ago that I would not have believed that that a solo practitioner cannot generate that is, not one guy can generate $1 million in revenue in a year. And I do remember some numbers being thrown around in that Atlanta mastermind. And I remember sitting there thinking to myself, how how does one person do that? And but of course, that that’s that’s what you guys talk about all the time is how you do that. And I think, you know, I feel like just with my experience, I worked in law firms and what my law school classmates ended up doing and things like that.

(00:13:01) – I think I was probably late to completely embrace being a solo practitioner. Like it felt like I guess I always felt like you’re supposed to go work for a big law firm and then you work your way up and then you make partner and that’s how it goes. And if you don’t do that, you know, then you failed. And I think that was some bad conditioning that I received from what was my education and training in the law. And so that had to be unlearned, if that makes any sense.

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(00:14:21) – You’re listening to the Maximum Lawyer podcast. Our guest today, Scott Rose. He’s a successful criminal defense lawyer who has grown his firm from him driving around town to the various courthouses in the Saint Louis area to five attorneys, five support staff and an unlimited number of Vas. Scott talked to us a little bit about the conversations you have now with your spouse. What does she think about the success you’ve had? I mean, you should be really, really proud of yourself. I mean, to basically start from scratch with a little bit of a closed mindset perhaps to now having a very much an open mindset and, you know, a leveraged, successful criminal defense. Practice. What does your wife have to say about all this? Well, I don’t think she foresaw all this either, to be honest.

(00:15:07) – Back ten years ago. I mean, it was pretty stressful for her, too, because it wasn’t exactly like the money was rolling in back then. But I think, you know, she and I spend a lot of time talking about the issues and the firm and where we’re going. You know, what are we going to do? She works in corporate America. She’s a lawyer herself, and she’s worked in HR in the past. And she currently works for a trust company. So, you know, she does have that corporate background is really helpful. And, you know, she likes dealing with the HR issues, which I do not. And so I rely on her for that. I don’t know how someone could enjoy doing that, but somehow she does. Yeah. I mean, I think she’s kind of as surprised as I am by the whole thing and was probably a little skeptical of me going places like Atlanta and stuff like that, you know? But now that we’re on the other side of it sees the benefit of it.

(00:16:04) – And but, you know, she and I spend a lot of time she doesn’t work in the firm, but she does help me with these things and especially personnel decisions. And so we do spend a lot of time talking about those types of issues.

(00:16:15) – You know, it seems to me like I was talking to somebody the other day that was not a criminal defense attorney, and I was talking about how it seems to me that it would be really, really difficult these days to practice in in the field of criminal law because there’s a lot of changes that have happened in Missouri and specifically in the Saint Louis area, where it seems like the number of cases has gone down. I feel like it would be really hard to get business. How have you navigated that? Because I feel like you’re in a really good mindset now and that you’ve navigated that pretty well. Whenever I’ve spoken to other criminal defense attorneys and they seem to be like struggling pretty badly. So how have you navigated that?

(00:16:49) – Well, I know exactly what you’re talking about, and I know of criminal defense attorneys in the area who have gone out of business or, you know, gone to work for prosecutor’s office or public defender’s office because they couldn’t really make it in private practice anymore.

(00:17:04) – There are a lot fewer cases being filed in this area now than used to be, which has to do with some of the election results, the prosecutors who won the local elections. There’s also been bond reform. There’s a lot fewer cases being issued on warrants where bond has to be posted. And that makes it more difficult to get hired because the urgency is is somewhat removed from the situation. So I know this is happening and sometimes I’ve wondered how are we able to continue to grow in spite of these things when other people are shrinking or going out of business? You know, and I don’t know that I have any great answer for you, but it’s been tough following the the traction things, following the things that I’ve learned in the Guild, have a coach now. And, you know, working with him, we’ve done a lot with direct mail. And actually, you know, one thing that the Guild did for me was it was through a referral from Alexis Austin that we got connected to our Internet marketing company and we had had three false starts with Internet marketing companies before this one.

(00:18:06) – And number four turned out to be the one that worked, and that came from a referral from inside the Guild. But I think that was a key development in our growth was getting connected with our Internet marketing company. So it’s been focusing on these marketing strategies and perfecting our intake process and all the things that you guys talk about every day, you know, is that we try to do those things too. And, you know, the growth seems to have just happened.

(00:18:34) – It’s interesting. So I think if you were to go back to 2019, I really wonder how much of 2019 was spent focusing on marketing, you know, things like that, and actually think all the way back to whenever you started the firm, Like how much of your time was actually spent marketing or was it just really running from court to court?

(00:18:52) – Well, when I first started, I did spend a lot of time developing the direct mail campaign. I had the time to spend. So, you know, I would say a lot went into that.

(00:19:03) – But eventually I got the direct mail campaign more or less on autopilot. And then there was that period of time where it was just running courthouse to courthouse and just let the direct mail campaign run on autopilot. There was a period of time there where I wasn’t doing much marketing. I was doing some marketing, but I wasn’t I wasn’t personally spending the time on it because just had that campaign on autopilot. And then the Internet marketing companies, that was really something else. And that you were talking about 2019. That’s really when all that was going on. There was some real pain in that, you know, in having three marketing companies that I didn’t work out. I terminated the contract on each of the three, you know, for lack of results. And, you know, guess I know a lot more about marketing now. We could still. Tyson We that’s the crazy thing. I mean, we’re talking about we’ve been looking backwards. But if we look forwards, there’s so much I haven’t done yet, you know.

(00:19:59) – Much more marketing we could do on the Internet. We haven’t done any videos yet. We’ve done very little on social media. If I could clear my plate to spend the time on marketing or maybe hire a marketing director or something like that. I feel like there’s so many levers I haven’t pulled and buttons I haven’t pushed yet. I should spend more time on marketing than I have. But fortunately the direct mail campaign just sort of runs and our Internet marketing company is doing a great job. And you know, so we continue to ride that. You know, I signed up to do a hot seat with you guys. It’s supposed to be coming up in a few weeks. And I think the big challenge right now is just how to manage all of this. And it is feeling like even though I have removed some things from from my plate, I don’t run a docket anymore. I’m not the responsible attorney on any file. We’ll have one. But other than that one and I don’t really do consultations anymore, have the other lawyers do those.

(00:20:56) – So I have cleared my plate a lot, but I am finding it difficult to manage and we do not have an integrator. I think when you’re smaller, the visionary and the integrators are the same person. And you know, and I don’t know at what point you got to have to it seems like that point may be coming up at some point soon. And so, you know, those are the things I see. You know, what are we going to do about an integrator? Are we going to do it? Are we going to have a marketing director? Am I going to have a lawyer who does nothing but consultations, things like that? I guess internally, that’s what I see. And then externally, I’ve got to put to use all that stuff we talked about, about the videos, you know, I mean, I’m not doing videos and social media. I got to do all that stuff. There’s so much more we can do, you know, to get even better than we are now.

(00:21:45) – I just love the way you’re thinking these days, just the way you’re analyzing all angles. I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s really cool to watch. I think it’s also awesome that you’ve been dominating the way you have without using video. I know Jim and I talked about you need to be using video, you need to be using video. But you’ve been dominating without it. I think it’s really cool to see, but we are going to wrap things up. We are at time. So before I do, though, I want to remind everyone to join us in the big Facebook group, go to, search maximum lawyer and join us. There is a lot of great activity every single day. If you want a more high level conversation with people like Scott, go to Max Law that’s Max Law Guild. And through there you’ll be able to access our quarterly masterminds and we had a thon recently we had a video workshop in January that Jim taught, which was fantastic. So if you want access to that information, go to Max

(00:22:35) – And then while you’re listening to the rest of this episode, if you’ll give us a five star review, we will greatly appreciate it. All right, Scott, actually, I’m sorry I went out of order. Almost. Jimmy, what is your hack of the week?

(00:22:47) – So for my heck of the week, it’s a book by an immigrant and it’s a book about automation. It’s by the guy who created Jot Form and it’s a very, very practical book. Lots of tips, lots of exercises that you can do to figure out how to automate things big and small. The name of the book is Automate. Your busy work just came out last week. I’m about a third of the way through it and already there’s stuff that I’m implementing. And the nice thing is, is he recognizes that books like this, you.

(00:23:19) – Know, expire as soon as they’re printed. In other words, you know, the tips and things that he has on there. So it’s much more about the mindset. And then he gives the current software that fulfills the roles of automating in there.

(00:23:31) – But it’s more about this is what you need to think about. It’s very practical.

(00:23:34) – That’s cool. Spill the beans though. What’s the current software that fulfills all those needs? Do you remember?

(00:23:38) – No, no. I’m just saying for like if he talks about Gmail hacks, you know, like he’ll say, well, maybe, you know, five years from now, you won’t be using that anymore. I mean, he definitely plugs jot form a little bit in there, but it’s not overly annoying or anything.

(00:23:49) – Gotcha. After reading a world without email, I’m convinced that email is on its last leg. You’re going to see it diminish quite a bit over the next decade. But that’s for another topic for another day. Scott Now it’s your turn. What is your tip or hack of the week?

(00:24:03) – So I’ve mentioned this to you before, Tyson, but now can say it publicly. The book, The Checklist Manifesto has made a big difference in our firm. I would recommend that to everyone. It’s a great read and it’s also very practical.

(00:24:17) – The idea is that the work we do has become too complicated even for experts to be able to do for memory. You can be a very competent and well trained and qualified expert in your field, but the work is just too complicated not to have a checklist. And so we’ve implemented checklists at every key point in the process in our firm just to make sure that we’ve got consistency and efficiency and everything. And that goes back to that book. I would recommend that to everyone.

(00:24:45) – I love that book. We had everyone in the firm read that book. We did too. Yeah. Many of the flows that we’ve implemented are because of that book. And it’s funny, you did not know what my tip was today. I do not know what your tip was today. My tip is actually what we’re doing. What we’ve been doing actually is going through our task flows and then making them more efficient because you’ll set them up. And then what’ll happen is you’ll realize that shouldn’t go there in the process or we don’t need that at all.

(00:25:11) – So my tip is to once you’ve got it set, you need to let it sort of breathe a little bit, let your people go through the process, but then step back and then analyze things and see what makes sense and what doesn’t and move things around and remove things that shouldn’t be there anymore. So that’s my tip. I think that’s great. It’s an awesome segue. I love that book, but once you’ve got it set, you’re not done. You need to still tweak it a little bit to make sure it’s more efficient. So excellent. Scott I will tell you, I think this is one of my favorite episodes. Me too. It was just really cool to see and it was great to hear the story and the fact that you shared your story with everyone. So thank you so much for coming. We appreciate your time.

The post From Briefcase to Boom with Scott Rose appeared first on Maximum Lawyer.

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