The Advantages of Working as a Solo with A Big Firm Behind ft. Dayne Phillips ML120
Categories: Podcast

In this episode, Jim & Tyson interview Dayne Phillips, a Criminal Defense Attorney at Price Benowitz LLP. Listen as Dayne tells his story about meeting Seth Price and how he affiliated with him, having the best of both worlds, working as a solo with a big firm backing him up.



    • Transitioning into a solo practice


  • Found The Maximum Lawyer Podcast


      • Listened Seth Price and John Fisher’s episodes
    • Becoming a lawyer at Price Benowitz LLP
      • Started a conversation with Seth and John
      • Went to meet Seth
      • Started working as an employee of a big firm but as a solo in South Carolina
      • The best of both worlds
    • The entrepreneurial spirit is in the DNA
      • His Grandfather opened up one of the first well driller business in South Carolina
      • Made the risky decision and took the leap
    • Seth Price and John Fisher
      • Something special about them
      • Wanting to help others do well
      • Selfless giving
      • Providing information above the fold
    • The mindset in the affiliation
      • First was all about trying to use BluShark
      • Meet with him personally in DC
      • The possibility of a partnership
    • The impressive process of Price Benowitz LLP
      • Client intake
      • Follow up
      • Inhouse accounting, marketing, all handled in house.
    • Advice to other attorneys in a similar situation:


  • Never hesitate to reach out to someone for help


    • Dayne’s set up and arrangement
      • His own website
      • His own marketing with PB logo
      • Highlighting himself and his local and personal branding
    • The advantage of having a big firm backing
      • Trust
      • Confidence
      • Extra backing as a selling point
    • Seth’s managing style
      • Full confidence
      • Liberty
      • Not micromanaging
    • In the future


  • Expanding to other practice areas



The Maximum Lawyer Conference 2019 is coming!


Jim’s hack: A Reddit Ask me anything! Hop on a topic that’s in the news!


Dayne’s tip: Accurate mileage reports. All in the palm of your hand.


Tyson’s tip: The Glympse app; if you want somebody to know your ETA.




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Transcripts: The Advantages of Working as a Solo with A Big Firm Behind ft. Dayne Phillips

Dayne Phillips
There’s somebody out there who’s listening to this, I just hope that they feel inspired to reach out to somebody for help if they’re wanting to make a transition, or they have questions about how to do certain things. And that’s what I think’s amazing about, not only the Facebook group, but of course, the podcast is that there’s plenty of people out there who don’t have the answers. But they can all come together to try to brainstorm or find someone who’s already gone through that crucible of opening a law practice or just running a law practice. And you’re not alone. And there’s plenty of people out here to help

Unknown Speaker
run your law firm, the right away. This is the maximum layer podcast, podcast, your hosts, Jim hacking, and Tyson metrics. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.

Jim Hacking
Welcome back to the maximum lawyer Podcast. I’m Jim hacking,

Tyson Mutrux
and try some new tricks. What’s up, Jimmy?

Jim Hacking
So my friend, how are you?

Tyson Mutrux
Good. You’re at the courthouse. I’m driving. I’m losing my voice. That sounds like you’re whispering in a corner somewhere. There’s gonna be an amazing episode.

Jim Hacking
Hey, you know, our listeners get what they pay for. So we’re low tech, for sure. We’re glad to have everybody listening. And I am excited about the fact that we have finally announced our date for the maximum lawyer conference 2019.

Tyson Mutrux
I’m pretty damn excited. And you know what? I just so people know. We wanted to announce a date months ago, but we had issues with the venue’s not the current venue that we’re using. But we could not get a date from the venue that we wanted. So that’s what the delay was. I’m super excited. And Ken tennis as some pretty creative ideas, someone that I think people really gotta love it, I think we’re gonna at least double the number of people coming this year, at least, I would say. And I think the show, the presentations we’re going to put on this year are going to be just amazing.

Jim Hacking
Yeah, I’m excited. So the dates are June 6, and June 7 2019. Again, it’ll be here in St. Louis, the venue that we selected is really, really nice, but it’s also something that we’re going to have to pay for. So we’re figuring that if we split up the cost among everybody, it shouldn’t boost the fee for the conference that much. But I think people are going to be pretty excited, I think it’s gonna have a lot more of a conferencing type feel to it.

Tyson Mutrux
For sure. I think the audio video is going to be better. I mean, just overall, it can be better, it will be a little pricier. But that can be pricey at all. I mean, we’re gonna keep it as low as possible, just like last year, so I’m pretty excited. Alright, Jimmy, we do have a guest on the line. So I don’t want to keep them waiting too long, you will introduce them.

Jim Hacking
So our guest today is Dean Phillips. He’s a criminal defense attorney in South Carolina. We met him through our good friend and friend of the show, set J price. Dane Welcome to the show, my friend.

Dayne Phillips
Well, it’s a absolute pleasure to be on to say I’m a kind of a fanboy of the show is kind of an understatement. I found the show very early on when y’all started recording, just similar to a recent guest. Searching for law related podcasts to be on the show is an absolute honor.

Tyson Mutrux
That’s awesome stuff. And then Seth has been telling us for four months Hey, you gotta get down on gotta get him on. Gotta get him on. And he always had scheduling issues. So we’re glad to finally have you on. So Jimmy, and I really want you to tell your story about really, meeting set price, how you got your current job, all that. So you probably know the best place to start. So why don’t you go ahead and start?

Dayne Phillips
Well, so it really does start with finding the maximum lawyer podcast, I was at a point where I wanted to possibly make the transition into solo practice was an associate and kind of wanting to make that next step in the career. So I started, like I said, searching for different podcasts to listen to different things came across the maximum lawyer podcast and I haven’t really heard any other podcasts that’s like that. That’s law related. And very early on, you had obviously Seth price and John Fisher on the show. And so cold emailed called both John Fisher and Seth price, and both quickly responded in both provided me with an incredible amount of I mean, just the most selfless people the most amount of information. I mean, John Fisher took I reached out to him and he did a quick 30 minute call with me, said aren’t your you know, how old are you? Where are you at in your career and really just kind of laid an outline of what he thought would be a good, good idea of making the next steps and then of course, reached out to Seth and as I got closer, where I was wanting to go solo, I reached out to Seth knowing that he had blue, the blue shark digital which is their marketing company, and was asking him you know, if I was to go out on my own and I used blue shark and it kind of just hit off from there And then ultimately, as I made that decision, I had kind of put the line in the sand and decided to make that leap of faith and go out on my own. And lo and behold, after making that transition, Seth had said, to come up to DC, see his firm, meet everything that he liked, kind of my ideas and kind of my passion for criminal defense and went up there met Seth and my entire Price Benowitz team and kind of fell in love with everything. And ultimately, it led to becoming an employee of price than what I can tell you that it’s unbelievable. When I think about it, I never thought that one reaching out, I would even get a response. But not only did I get a response, but it ultimately led to a job. And this entire experience has been one that, again, is truly unbelievable. And the systems they have in place, it’s allowed me to be on the only attorney in South Carolina for price Bennewitz, it’s allowed me to, what I say is, I’m not a solo attorney, because I work for a big firm, but I am the only attorney in the place in South Carolina and the firm in South Carolina. So it’s kind of the best of both worlds. I’m not a true solo in the sense that I have a big firm backing, I can go into much more detail later on in the podcast, but just a cold, a simple cold call an email, truly changed my life, changed the direction of my life. And to me, it’s a defining moment in my career, and certainly has changed the course of not only the way I look at the profession, but of course, the outcome hopefully, of how I progress as not only a lawyer, but again, just as a person,

Jim Hacking
then you described it as drawing a line in the sand. And certainly even though you’re affiliated with price bandwidth, and being the only attorney in South Carolina for yourself, Where do you think you get that entrepreneurial bent from?

Dayne Phillips
Well, my grandfather, who, on my mom’s side, he gets kind of crazy to even think he grew up kind of out in the country. And the say he wasn’t educated, I think he only went to the first grade. At least that’s what I’ve been told. He opened up very early on, he was one of the first not to get more country but well drillers in South Carolina. And he kind of stuck it out on his own and did fairly well for himself. And I don’t know if that would be just in the DNA. But that entrepreneurial spirit, that passion, that willing to take a risk, obviously, I had the time I, we my wife and I had just had our our little girl. So my wife was hesitant, and certainly had some reservations about making this big leap. Because where I was at was comfortable. But I was not satisfied. And so that ultimately led to me making that that risky decision, but ultimately has paid off. And without a doubt I am a happier person, my wife can obviously see the difference in being more satisfied. And we’ve been incredibly successful. The one year mark was November 1 Since I left for solo, and then of course joining up with Seth, kind of doing the hybrid model, so to speak. And it’s been a little over a year, and I’m I wouldn’t even turn around to look back, I would have no hesitation about it. It’s been an amazing year, but a lot of work will always be a lot of work. But it’s a without a doubt. I would just say it’s in the DNA. And I probably would have to attribute that to my grandfather.

Tyson Mutrux
Dan, what is it that drew you to John Fisher and Seth price? They’re both amazing guys. And they are amazing attorneys. But is there something else that drew you to them?

Dayne Phillips
After listening to those specific podcasts I just had, because I had listened to a bunch at that time, I was kind of consuming them quite often just all kinds of different podcasts. And with listening, of course, to all the maximum lawyer podcasts. There’s something special about John Fisher and Seth price. And I know that’s beyond evidence of anybody that’s listened to the podcast, but I could tell there was with their podcasts, not just more of an expertise, but also kind of that selfless giving of others wanting to help people do well but also providing information that was above the fold. And there was something like I said there was just something different something that made me say, these are two individuals that I need to reach out to for help to see if they are willing to speak with me to give me you know, invaluable advice that could impact my career and ultimately both of them in a heartbeat did it I mean, like I said it’s it’s really kind of at a loss for words to even go into it. Because, you know, one thing I want to always do now that this has happened to me is pay it forward. I would never turn down a phone call or an email from some Nobody asked him for help. I promise you that.

Jim Hacking
Okay, so you spoke with Jeff. And then you obviously started to have a conversation about maybe affiliating with each other. And were you already out on your own talk a little bit about your mindset as you’re going through that discussion with so forth about whether or not to affiliate.

Dayne Phillips
But when I first reached out to him, it was all about trying to use blue sharp, their services on my own, and of course, got connected with Seth, and we were going over how much it would cost per month, and whether I’d be able to afford that and kind of walk him through those steps. And so it evolved over time from, okay, these are the things you need to put in place, this is how much you would need to spend to move the needle. And then it ultimately just through talking and brainstorming, it got to a point where Seth, you know, was kind of brainstorming on his own for me. And he was bouncing ideas off and saying, you know, what do you think about this way and just do kind of a q&a, it ultimately led to Seth saying, Would you come up to DC and meet us, I’d like to meet you, I want to see, you know, I want to see you in person, I want us to have this discussion in person, I want you to see kind of how we run our law firm. And it was really an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up after that meeting, when I went up to DC and met with them personally, is where everything kind of took off from there. But it literally ever, the phone calls all led to that to that meeting in DC and there was no promise of a job or anything like that. It was literally come up, look at our firm, see how we operate, I would assume fill me out see how serious I was about taking this to the next level. Alright, and I want to talk a little bit more about what you just said. So

Tyson Mutrux
did you have any idea that you were about to get off the job at some point, I mean, was anything crossing your mind? Because at, I mean, you’re sort of at that point, if you’re just leaving out on your own, I’m guessing you don’t have a whole lot of money. So you’re sort of taking a risk, your travel expenses, things like this, and yet did you have some sort of indication that you had a job.

Dayne Phillips
So without a doubt, I did not have a lot of money saved up. So it was very risky. At this point, based on the conversations I had was set, I felt like there was the possibility that some type of partnership or agreement could come into place, because we had just worked well together and kind of coming up with ideas with how to progress my career and how to set up a shop in South Carolina. And so you know, going up there and meeting with them. And I knew that that was a possibility. And certainly that, to me, was interesting. And of course, just having the opportunity of going and see and how they’ve scaled their law firm, where it started with two lawyers, one of them being David Bennewitz, who was, you know, criminal defense, you know, being a public senator and DC, having that background, and then having Seth, you know, kind of more of the business side and then using their talents appropriately and building the law firm in scaling it over in just over a decade. So now 32 lawyers, I think the law firm spin around maybe 1314 years now. And it’s one of those where I wasn’t sure, but it didn’t matter to me, I was gonna go regardless. And again, my wife was kind of a little confused while we built the DC without having a true specific reason. But like I said, I just knew that it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

Jim Hacking
I think that’s a really great point. I’ve had many times in my career where I’ve gone off to meet some lawyer because I want to know maybe about how to prepare a case or I want to know how they do things. And I remember the first time I went to Price Benowitz. And I went down in that basement and saw that call center, where they have their team of college kids eating pizza with the big map and taking phone calls and doing all that intake did you get to see the basement while you were there?

Dayne Phillips
I did so I got to see all the bones of price mentalist top to bottom. So if you go through their process, and you’re not impressed, I don’t know what kind of law firm you’ve you’ve been a part of. Because without a doubt, what we call it is CMT our client management team. So in the basement, you have think there’s 12 individuals, most of them fairly young, either in college out right out of college, and it’s an in house client intake system. So all the phone calls, if someone was to call my office number, the phone call is routed to DC, and the client management team would take the call. And similar to a lot of the other call services, what I’ll get is either a direct transfer to my cell phone or I’ll get an email with the generated kind of intake. So I’ll have not only the PCs name, phone number, email address, the type of case the date of the incident, the court date, I’ll have all that sent to my email address. So when I’m following up, it’s not a cold follow up. I mean, it’s one I’ve had that point of contact through someone who Price Benowitz is trained to properly do intakes Of course, I get all the information I need to do the follow up. And it’s incredibly impressive the way they do it. And then you have the in house accounting department in house marketing, or I guess how would you say maybe outhouse who’s now that it’s the blue shark is not Price Benowitz. They’re two separate companies. But blue shark kind of started in price Bennewitz. And, of course, is now its own separate entity, but it handles the marketing, I mean, from top to bottom, your marketing, accounting, your intake, your client management process is all handled in house and as a solo attorney, to have those resources. It’s amazing. I mean, it’s just, I would imagine, it would add, if I had to do those on my own, it would add an additional three to four hours a day, to a very long day that already worked. So I say that this arrangement keeps me working, the still married hours of starting a law firm from scratch and not having to really push the boundaries of working that 16 to 18 hour type days.

Tyson Mutrux
And I’m curious to hear what advice you’d give to other attorneys that are thinking about going solo and maybe even considering approaching a bigger firm about a similar arrangement? What sort of advice would you give them?

Dayne Phillips
Well, without a doubt, I would say that you should never hesitate to reach out to someone for help. I mean, if there’s somebody that you admire, or you think they are the ones who are doing it the best in that space, then you should reach out to see if one if they’re willing to provide you with some advice, because I can tell you in my career, and certainly what we’ve highlighted throughout this episode, is that people have been so gracious and so selfless with their time that a simple email or cold call often gets returned. And the advice they provide you is nothing short of amazing that they’re more than willing to help young warriors. So if there’s somebody out there who’s listening to this, I just hope that they feel inspired to reach out to somebody for help if they’re wanting to make a transition, or they have questions about how to do certain things. And that’s what I think’s amazing about not only the Facebook group, but of course, the podcast is that there’s plenty of people out there who don’t have the answers. But they can all come together to try to brainstorm or find someone who’s already gone through that crucible of opening a law practice or just running a law practice. And you’re not alone. And there’s plenty of people out here to help successful people, people that have done this at the highest level. So I would tell people never hesitate to reach out for help.

Jim Hacking
Yeah, I love getting calls like that where people are asking for help. I’m always happy to jump on a call or do what I can do and talk to us a little bit about what it appears like to the public. In other words, do you have your own website? Do you have your own office space with the public know that price? Bennewitz even the people in South Carolina would they know that you’re affiliated with this DC firm?

Dayne Phillips
They do so another thing that’s kind of a what I say kind of a genius of house Jeff price wants to work this arrangement is he understands that in South Carolina, because price Bennewitz is regional, DC, Virginia, Maryland, and a couple other spots, but primarily in that region that nobody in South Carolina knows price. Bennewitz is not a name brand firm in South Carolina. So everything that’s my marketing, I have my own website, SC criminal laws. And it’s my picture when it comes up. It’s attorney Dane Phillips, it still has five spin what’s logo, the sign outside of the law office has, you know, Dane Phillips, criminal defense attorney, but below it has kind of the marquee price benefits. Same for the business cards, but everything is highlighting myself kind of not to go to Gary Vaynerchuk the Gary Vee personal brand part of it. But, you know, we one of the things that made me obviously excited about it was that Seth understood that for me to be successful is to highlight myself as a personal brand, that I needed to be the fixture that people are not hiring Price Benowitz they’re hiring Dane Phillips, I’ve been lucky in my career in the sense that I’ve had a lot of great experience being a young lawyer as far as arguing at the Southwest Supreme Court and working on big cases and being president of this afghan Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. And Seth knew that taking those attributes, and highlighting, you know, my name and kind of building that brand, would be way more important than just slapping price Bennewitz on everything. The benefit of having Price Benowitz is because also being a young lawyer, having these big criminal cases come in the firm. There’s a lot of reservation with some people if someone’s going to spend a lot of money on a criminal defense lawyer who’s younger than some of the guys that have been around for 20 3040 years, and are the most well known lawyers in the state. Then I get to also sell them on the fact that I have a big firm backing that too connected with a firm of 32 lawyers, that this is not just a true solo shop of a young, young lawyer, regardless of whatever I have accomplished, but also get to add that extra big firm backing as a selling point, which I can tell you has helped in several cases that I’m probably would not have been hired on had I not had that extra big firm backing as a selling point.

Tyson Mutrux
Today, we talked a little bit about self management style and the things that you liked the most about it.

Dayne Phillips
So the thing I love about self management styles, he understands that with the relationship that we have, where I’m kind of a stand alone on an island here in South Carolina, it’s not micromanaged, he has full confidence. And that was part of in hiring me. You know, hiring a lawyer that’s, you know, in several states away, is I make the judgment calls on cases, I decide what fees are said I decide. I mean, I’m essentially running kind of a law firm here with the help of SAS Law Firm, I’m making all of those calls, but I have the ability to reach out for all the administrative side of things and the help. And of course, as issues come up, Seth is more than willing to talk with me about how we need to resolve any problems that arise. But the day to day operations are all controlled by me. And the decisions that need to be made, are of my own. So it’s really somebody that was looking for kind of that solo practice, but wanted kind of to have that, that backing that that hybrid model, I couldn’t really think of a better situation I, you know, again, I set the prices on the cases, I determine what cases to take. I mean, obviously, that’s, I mean, for criminal, it’s most of the cases that come through the door are generally good, other than the ones, you know, ones that are that have the ability to pay. But as far as his management style, it’s not micromanaging in any way, shape, or form. And so it it fits my personality, to the tee.

Jim Hacking
Today’s episode of the maximum lawyer podcast is sponsored by the Jay price fan club, we spend a lot of time talking about how great he certainly is a good friend of the show, I want to change it up a little bit. And so I want to make it clear. So then you are incentivized to bring in as much business as you can. And you are, like you said almost like a solo just with the back end support from Price Benowitz. Where do you see things headed? Do you think you’re going to be expanding in South Carolina? Or what do you think’s going to happen in the future?

Dayne Phillips
To Seth and I have discussed that, because always part of this is progressing and moving forward, you know. So in that same progression, without a doubt, we hope to expand South Carolina office, hopefully breaking into personal injury and other areas, practice areas that fit well, with criminal defense, you know, there’s plenty of practice areas that Mary will, with a criminal defense model, similar to how Christ Bennewitz has grown from its core, you know, from its origin story, so to speak, as starting as a cornerstone of criminal defense. I mean, that’s one of the other reasons I was so interested in their firm was because there’s just not midsize firms or at least 32 Personal law firms that start out as a criminal defense firm, primarily. And with that we have discussed about building out the office. And, you know, it’s it’s something that I’m beyond excited about, because it’s really the ultimate dream that I had for myself in the first

Tyson Mutrux
place. All right, Dave. And so we do want to be respectful of your time and wrap things up. Before we do I want to remind everyone to go to the Facebook group, lots of action going on there and get involved with the discussion. Also, please, if you will go to iTunes or wherever get your podcasts, give us a five star review, it really does help spread the word. Jimmy, what’s your eigenlijk?

Jim Hacking
Before I get to my hack of the week, I want to say a little bit about the conference one more time and to tell people that we’re going to try to mix it up this year, we might have some shorter TED talks, Ted style talks. So if people have an interesting topic or something that they think would be good for our crew to hear at the maximum lawyer conference in 2019. We’re going to set up a Google forum to take solicitations from people that would like to present for my hack of the week. Again, very interesting that comes back to Seth J price. But last week, his team at blue shark recommended that I do a Reddit Ask me anything. And I did my first read it asked me anything. And we made it a little click Beatty by putting in the headline that I was going to talk about President Trump’s decision or claim that he’s going to try to file an executive order to take away what’s called birthright citizenship. And I have to tell you, it was a smashing success. We had about 950 comments. The thing was just heating up there were some definitely some some people on both ends of the immigration spectrum, but read it as a very good Google juice provider. So having that link to our website with the amount of engagement that we had, is really going to help. So if you can hop on a topic that’s in the news, and that’s in your area, it takes a little bit to set up. But it was sort of fun sitting there interacting with people for an hour. It’s almost like a call in show but your typing your answers,

Tyson Mutrux
the number of comments you got is just incredible. It seems like it, you had a really good time, too. So that’s great. Dane, so you know the routine. So what’s your tip or hack of the week.

Dayne Phillips
So having a statewide practice, I have to drive incredible amount. So there’s plenty of apps out there that do it, I use mile IQ, I think it’s a Microsoft based app. So ultimately, it tracks all your mileage as you drive, you don’t have to keep a logbook. And then of course, you can use that come tax time as your write offs. I don’t know if the new tax law has gutted that part of it as well, like it has with the charitable part of it. But I’m keeping track of my mileage for tax purposes and MileIQ, instead of having to keep a written log, because I’m driving across the state on a daily basis. We’ll keep track of that. And we’ll be ultimately I hope, save me a lot of money come tax time. So without a doubt, there’s plenty of other apps that do it. And I use MileIQ.

Tyson Mutrux
Very cool. My actual tip of the week is related to driving as well, for good. So last week, I had a friend that was in town, and he was running a few minutes behind and he sent me a link, it was Glympse g l y mpfc. What the hell is this, I clicked on it. And it gave me his eta. And it gave me a map with him on a.on a map showing where he was. So it was really interesting. And there’s a variety of uses, I think you can get from it. So I end up downloading the glimpse app. And so I recommend you check it out. So if you want someone to know your ETA for whatever reason, it’s really easy to use really clever. So that’s my tip of the week. Danny, thanks so much for coming on. It’s great to hear your story again. And thank you so much.

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