This week we’re sharing a speaking engagement from Matt Spiegel at MaxLawCon 2019. Matt is a former attorney, now with Lawmatics, a software solutions company. He shares his presentation about The Silicon Valley Law Firm.
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Transcripts: “The Silicon Valley Law Firm” with Matt Spiegel
Run 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.
In today’s episode, we’re throwing it back to a presentation from Max law con 2019. Matt Spiegel, a former attorney now with automatics, a software solutions company shares his presentation, the Silicon Valley law firm. Don’t forget to head on over to the website, maximum lawyer.com To register for Max talk con 2020. So you can experience these speakers firsthand. Let’s get to it. This is a
bit of a new presentation for me. So you guys know a little bit about me, you got the good intro there. I do believe it’s relevant. I’m going to try to go pretty quick through my slides and actually leave a few minutes at the end of just, chat, have questions whatever. I was a lawyer, I was a lawyer for like six years practice a lot then founded my case, which I know there are many Mikey’s customers in the room. Appreciate that. I left that company about three years ago, and then now on telematics, so new chapters. But this is a bit of a new presentation for me. So I’m so used to doing all the practice management stuff. But I probably did over 100 presentations over my career. They’re all based on practice management, and all that cloud computing stuff 10 years ago, trying to educate lawyers on that. And I think now finally, especially this group, should be pretty educated on cloud computing. So a little bit of a new presentation. And I’m going to, again, try to go through it relatively quick. Also, what I was realizing was that a lot of what I was going to talk to you about some of the stuff, it’s like you’ve probably already gotten it repeat a little repetitive over the last couple of days. And I don’t want to just go over that stuff again. So I thought maybe towards the end, again, we could talk about some stuff that you guys want to talk about. So I do want to kind of go over this idea. And the name of my presentation is the Silicon Valley law firm. And the whole concept here is to try to get lawyers to think a little bit more like a tech startup. All right, there is a giant difference in the mentality of a business as a law firm versus tech business, right? a Silicon Valley startup. Now, law, Maddox is not in Silicon Valley. But we are a startup in the same way we’re in San Diego. So just a little bit south. But it’s still the same idea. And so those big differences, I experienced them, I’ve seen both sides of it. I’ve been on the law firm side I’ve been on obviously, on the tech side, I mean, the differences are pretty profound. And I think that there’s a lot to be learned from the way that a startup really operates that can be used in your firm. So the prototypical law firm. So I do have a couple of things on here that are really more physical, right, there is a big physical difference between a law firm, and tech startup, if you’ve had the pleasure of going into a tech startup office, you notice this right away. And I remember back in the day, I don’t know if anyone ever used to go to the ABA tech show in Chicago, anybody here go or been to the ABA tech show a few years back, they used to do these ignite conversations. And I used to give those and I would talk about how lawyers have like the fourth highest rate of suicide of any profession. I don’t know if anybody actually knows that. But at least maybe six or seven years ago, that was the case, it’s possibly not true now. But one, you know, one of the things I would talk about is like, make your office more like a tech environment. And there’s reasons for that, right? You walk into a tech office, and you’re gonna see a ping pong table in the conference room, we don’t have a conference room, a ping pong table is our conference room table. And a lawyer, you’re gonna think like, I can’t do that, because I’m a professional, and I need to have a nice conference and whatever. And you actually can do that. And your clients are not going to care, they’re actually going to think it’s cool, they walk in, they see a ping pong table, they’re gonna think that you’re more modern, you’re with it. And what it does is it just creates this environment of creativity, which I think most people in this room probably understand that that’s important for a law firm. But if you don’t, it is, right creativity and being a lawyer is critically important. But it is more than just the environment that is created. It’s really the business that there’s a lot of differences. So Silicon Valley, kind of what is right? Well, it’s more than just a place. It’s it’s an actual culture. It’s a mindset, it’s the way that businesses are run. It’s very tech company ish. So when I say like Silicon Valley, again, I’m really talking about tech startups anywhere. It doesn’t just have to be in Silicon Valley. But that’s the obvious place to to label tech companies with. And the most important aspect about that business mentality, in my opinion, is that it’s built for growth and for scale, and efficiency, right. And those two things can kind of be at odds with each other. Sometimes when you’re building for growth and you’re trying to scale you can sometimes do so very inefficiently, tech companies, the good ones, the ones that don’t do that, well, those are the ones that burn out. Those are the ones that burned through all their money, the VC money dries up. They can’t grow and scale efficiently, so they die. But when you can do it, right. It’s a beautiful marriage and you You know, it’s a rocket ship to the moon. And you know, look, it’s gonna, it’s relatively hard, I think a law firm is never gonna quite have the same growth hockey stick curve that you talk about as a tech company. But you can definitely get on that growth curve. And you can definitely scale, you can definitely grow, and you can definitely do it efficiently. So again, let’s just kind of talk about what that business model is, what is that Silicon Valley business model? So what are they it’s high growth businesses, real high volume, right? Just constantly getting customers leads, everything coming in the door. It’s a scalable business model. And then we’ll talk a little bit about what scaling means, like what a scalable business model means, because you can, there’s a million ways to scale, but some of them are the wrong ways to scale. You can’t just for example, you can’t just throw people at the problem, and then measure everything. This is my opinion, the most important thing that you can take away from the mentality of tech firms of tech companies and bring it into your law firm, is measure every little thing. And I’m going to kind of the last slide, we’re going to talk about that a little bit about what you can do with it, and how to do it a little bit. But measure everything, to me, is the most important thing. So what’s a high growth business? Well, there is a hyper focus on marketing. Cool thing about given this pitch to a room like this, is that you guys all know this already, right? You’ve been and if you didn’t know it before you got here, you’ve been inundated with it for the last two days. So it’s good, you understand that you need to have a focus on marketing. But there’s also a focus on retention. Okay, that one of the biggest things that we talk about at tech companies, so like at La Maddix is churn, right churn is the customers that you lose, right? This is like the kryptonite for a SASS company. So what we are as a SaaS company, anybody know what SAS is? Does everyone know what SAS is? That’s pretty good. But SAS is Software as a Service. So anything that you go online and use, and you pay a subscription fee for that SAS, it’s just software as a service, something that you’re going to pay in monthly. So as SAS as a SaaS company, churn is everything to us, if you are losing more customers than you are gaining one, your product sucks. And two, you’re gonna be out of business if you’re not already. And so not only do you need to keep, you know, you need to obviously have it weigh low, but you need to have it below a very certain level. And there are all kinds of crazy cool calculations that we use and metrics that we use. And I’ll, you know, kind of touch on that when we talked about measure everything. But retention is something that we really care about. And it is something that you should care about as a lawyer, too. It’s not as much that like, you’re gonna have somebody who’s using you as their attorney, and they’re gonna cancel your service. Although that can happen, too. It happened to me, I did criminal defense work for six years. And I definitely had people who would fire me in the middle of the case, right. And that’s an eye opening moment, you got to think about that. You want to create an environment where you can keep all of your clients. But when I think about retention for a law firm, I think more about after they’re done being a client, retaining them as a relationship, right, and making sure that they are somebody who’s going to come back to you, if they ever have a problem, again, they’re going to send people to you, if they come across anybody who needs your services. That’s what I think of when I think of retention for a law firm. And I think it’s just as important to a law firm as it is to SaaS company like us. And systems are critical for high growth businesses. I mean, you have entire companies that are built around providing these systems for a high growth business. Salesforce is like a great example. Right? Salesforce is a multi billion dollar business, and is just built in providing systems for other businesses to go ahead and and be high growth. Right. So this is one mindset that, again, I think, is critical for lawyers to have as well, a scalable business model. So this is the this is kind of a tricky one, right? So scaling means you got to grow, right, you got to take what you’re doing on a small level, and now you got to scale it and do it on a really big level, right? Everybody here wants to grow. That means you want to scale, right? But you have to do it efficiently, you cannot just scale a business by like, throwing people at the problem or, or throwing hardware at the problem, like in our case, right? In our case, scaling has a lot to do with infrastructure, right? We have these little baby servers, and then we start getting more and more customers. And people start, you know, putting a lot of stress on those servers, can you scale? Can you grow the capabilities and the bandwidth of your infrastructure in order to keep up with all the customers that are going to come onto your platform? And can you do that in an efficient way? Can you do that? And so that it’s not like a one for one relationship for every customer that comes on, you got to spend X dollars, but really, you know, grow scale exponentially while not increasing the cost, right? And that’s the same thing at a law firm, right? You want to know that like okay, what I’m doing right now I’ve got like one person and it can handle 10 new cases a month. Now if I get another 10 new cases a month, I have to hire another person and then another 10 I gotta hire another person that isn’t not scaling? Well you want to be able to do is say, Okay, I got 10. Now I can go up to 20, then I got to hire another person, and that person can get me to 50. And then if I get to 150, I got to hire another person, that scaling, you know, it’s a little bit of hyperbole to kind of give you an illustration of what I mean by that numbers may be a little different. But the idea is that you can’t just throw people out the problem. And again, there’s been a lot of talk about processes, it’s actually been really cool to hear everyone talking about the different processes that they use and stuff. I’m not here to talk to you about that. And the systems that you can use, I’m just here to tell you that this is where you need those systems is to help you scale, it’s to help you do the things that people typically have to do. But if you’re going to scale a business, you just can’t have people doing it all the time, it’s just not going to scale, right, you’re gonna see your business grow, but you won’t see your profits grow, you won’t see your bottom line grow as much. That’s what happens to law firms. What I’ve seen is they’re like, Man, I’m growing, I’m growing, I’m growing. But I’m not making that much more money, it’s because they’re not scaling efficiently. So this is something really important, I think that that you can learn a lot from how tech companies work is, this is how we do it. As a startup, you do a lot with a very little bit. And then as you grow, you don’t, you don’t grow linearly, you kind of grow exponentially, and measuring everything. So this is one of my favorite things. I am a junkie, when it comes to data. And we collect all kinds of data and we make all of our decisions based on data, I will literally never do anything in any business that I am associated with, unless I can measure it tangibly. And that means people performance, you know, hiring, if I can’t measure that, I don’t want to do it. Sales, turn, cost of acquisition, lifetime value, I mean, all these calculations that are critical to a SASS company like us, really cool stuff. And it’s really fun. Because you can get all this data, you can get all these systems that spit out all this data. And you can just start seeing how things are changing over time and how your tweaks are affecting this and affecting that. But I will never do anything unless I can measure it. Especially if I’m spending money on it. Like if I’m doing anything in marketing, and you cannot measure it, I will tell you right now. And you know, I will challenge any marketer who’s out there. And they should know this if they’re worth anything. But you can never spend any money on anything that is marketing unless you can measure its return, unless you can track how people are coming to your firm. So if you’re gonna go spend money on Google Pay Per Click great, it’s probably going to work. But if you can’t track how many people are coming to you from Google Pay Per Click, you might as well not do it, even if it works, because you don’t know, then you have no idea what to tweak, you have no idea what levers to pull in the future, you have no idea what’s working, what’s not working. So you can’t scale, right? Everything is a test at first you go do a Google campaign, you’re gonna test it, you’re gonna put a little money in, you’re gonna see what you can get out. But then there’s gonna come a point where you’re like, Okay, I gotta see what’s working. And now I got to scale that I got to put some more fuel on that fire. And if you don’t know, then you don’t know you can’t scale, you’re just throwing money blindly into a black hole. Right. And that’s, that’s what happens all too much. With law firms, I’ve seen it a million times, again, the good marketers out there, the people that understand they don’t make that mistake, but I just encourage you to really take that step to just measure every little thing. And this does require setup, right, this does require you to put some effort, it requires some systems, sometimes those systems are pretty complicated, it also could require a lot of brain damage, because you’re gonna have to do some shit on your website that you’re gonna have to go pull some teeth to get done. Maybe some of you can do it yourself. But it is going to require some heavy lifting. But again, you have to do it. A lot of this stuff can just be accomplished with like Google Analytics, right, which everybody is aware of. But if you’re doing anything more complicated, on the marketing side, you’re gonna need to have a more complicated system that is really going to be able to dig in and give you all the analytics that you want. And I’m talking about, you know, there are two numbers that like, actually, we give front and center in our product. And it’s a number that like most lawyers don’t even think about and it’s unimaginable to me, we live and die as a tech company by two numbers, cost per lead, and cost per client. Okay? It’s pretty straightforward, right? It’s how much is it costing me to go and acquire a lead? And how much is it costing me to go and acquire an actual client? Right? And for us, it’s very simple, because we need to make sure that we are going to make more revenue than it costs us to get that client, which is the same for all of you, right? How many of you are tracking those two numbers, your cost per lead and your cost per client? There’s like, one hand, your entire business is based off of those two numbers. If those numbers are out of whack, you’re out of business. If your cost to acquire a client is $10,000, and your average revenue per client is 12. There’s $8,000. You’re gonna go out of business the way it goes. So you’ve got to measure it and I encourage you to really get on those two, though. Two numbers there. The last thing I want to leave you with, collect, learn and iterate. This is the mantra of any great tech startup on the planet, collect data, collect as much data as you possibly can collect data about the behavior of your customer. During a case, what are they doing? What are the good ones doing one of the bad ones doing, like through your intake process, collect data on what makes someone hire you versus what makes someone not hire you learn from that data, understand, dissect it, pick out best patterns, best practices, and then iterate on your process, make your process better. This is, this is everything right? This is everything to a tech company, we live and die by this, we make ourselves better by this, we do this with even features, we’ll release a feature to someone that’s crap to our customers, and then we let our customers play with it give us data, and then we make it better. It’s the same concept. And at the end of the day, what you’re trying to do with all of this, which I think we’ve lost a little sight of as lawyers is you’re just trying to provide a good customer experience, I was having a chat with someone earlier about this very thing. And the reality of this is you can be a not so great lawyer, but provide an incredible customer experience. And that person is gonna love you, you can even lose their case. But if you gave them incredible service, they’re gonna love you. Whereas you could be the best lawyer in the world and suck at your bedside manner. And they’re gonna leave you a bad review, they’re not going to refer people to you, the client experience is really important. You can see my shirt and I wore it on purpose. This is a law Matic shirt. And one of our logos on our shirt is more happy clients. But it is for a reason. Because the same thing for lawyers, you just need more happy clients, and using some of the strategies that we use in our Sass companies, and our tech companies can really get you there. I’m going to close it down now. And if there’s any questions about anything, so how do you how do you measure that I didn’t plant you there. But you just get law Matic so it’s easy to solve all those problems? No, you I mean, you really do need a system in your marketing person, if you have one is the right place to start. Because the reality of it is, is they should be able to get you a lot of the way there without much effort at all. And if they’re not giving you those numbers now, I would I would question
like their capabilities or their the quality, because these are pretty basic things, you have to be showing the your client that what they’re doing is working. So if they’re managing your marketing, they should, they should absolutely have something in place that can give you the data on how many people are coming, who’s coming from where how many people, and then you can obviously take that data and then show how much money you’ve made from them or what the retainers have been things like that, right? But you’ve got to have a system in place. And you might need somebody to help you get that system. But you got to have a system.
It’s it’s the cost, what you’re spending a month for, to bring in clients. So then how many calls or clients you take and their law, Mattis is a good system to do it, but But start with the mission to do that. And then you’re gonna mess it up, just like when you roll out a bad thing. And then you’re gonna get it right over time, because trying to trying to get a client to really say how they found you is always a challenge that we know about. What other questions do we have for matter about law, Maddox?
So this question is about a vanity number. And you’re using that on your advertising. So you can’t track like, which ad they’re calling from. Right? There. Obviously solutions out there for numbers like using call rail or something like that, if I can direct numbers. As far as a solution for the vanity, I don’t like there are some solutions, though, where you can still use a vanity number, I think and somehow track it back to a particular ad. I can get back because I’ve heard of some things that are trying like some companies that are trying to do just that to help you because otherwise there really is no way other than asking them. But
if your vanity number isn’t tracking, I don’t want to what’s the point?
I mean? Yeah, that’s true. Like, it might sound really easy to remember. Right? Like, oh, it’s 7777777? Yeah. Oh, yeah. There you go. And that’s good from a marketing perspective, you
know, that kind of entity? Well, yeah.
So but I think there are some things that you can do, can connect with you offline. One more question, maybe in the back. I mean, it’s, I can only tell you, again, I try not to mention my stuff up here as much as I can. That’s not why I’m here. But I can in this situation only tell you what we would do, right, because we have a nice integration with call rail, so that you can map all your marketing sources that you’re tracking in thematics with numbers and call rail. And what I would do, what we would do is we would see that call come in, and it would still be in in your system. And it might make a suggestion on who that is based on a caller ID or number, you know, data that we can deduce from the number itself. And then you can actually just attach it to an existing customer if we can’t match it automatically. So there is not much you can do there other than make sure it goes into that same system though. So at least you can easily attach it to the right client once you determine who it is. And then at least your source tracking will be there. It’ll be locked in.
Thank you very much.
Thanks for listening to the maximum lawyer but stay in contact with your hosts and to access more content content, go to maximum lawyer.com. Have a great week and catch you next time.
Hey, this is Tyson metrics again. And really quick, I want to thank you so much for listening to the maximum lawyer podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, you can imagine what it would be like to experience this for two days with 300 other insane maximum lawyers who are just like you think like you believe like you and have a vision like you do you’d like to do that then you need to be at this year’s maximum lawyer conference coming up very, very soon. If you don’t have your tickets yet, go to max law con.com. It’ll give you the ability to come to a place with a whole bunch of people who think like you believe like you who see visions like you have, what they can create and what they can become. Maximum lawyer conference is not just a marketing event. It’s not just a personal development event. It’s both of those things wrapped into one. And as an experience, it will change your life forever. So make sure you get your tickets. If you haven’t yet, go to max law con.com And get your tickets. After you get your tickets. You’ll be there with 300 other insane, crazy fun maximum lawyers talking about how to grow their businesses, sharing all of the best marketing secrets with things that are working today. You’ve got to get your tickets now by going to max law conduct calm. Thanks so much and I’ll see you in St. Louis.