In this episode, Jim and Tyson will go over the different kind of skills you need to run a successful law firm and be a good lawyer.
“Why the skills that make you a good lawyer probably are not the same skills you need to run a successful firm?”
Lawyer VS Entrepreneur:
Sometimes people have occupations that fit their personality and sometimes they don’t. Being a good lawyer is not the same as being a good entrepreneur and business owner. Although it sure shares a lot of values and mindsets.
Identify Your Skills:
Finding what it is that you are really good at, what your unique strengths are, it’s really important because: 1, it helps you figure out what you are good at and what you should be doing, and 2, it helps you find people who have different skill sets that can support you and fill in the places where you might be weak.
Think Outside The Box:
If you are doing the same thing as everybody else, you are probably doing the wrong thing and you need to really look outside of your usual space to find people that can teach you things that you haven’t thought about. Some of the best tools that we use came from outside of legal marketing…
How Can I Be Doing That Better?:
Whenever you are listening to CLE’s or business podcasts, etc, don’t think “Great, I am already doing that”, think “How can I be doing that better”?
Invest In Yourselves:
You really need to make time and find out people who you resonate with you. Keep pushing yourself.
Implement what you know. Read a lot, study a lot, listen a lot, but implement.
Max Law Con:
Hacking’s Hack: Inventory your email and delegate: Categorize the different types of email that you receive and once you have a comprehensive list of categories of emails that need responses, delegate those emails automatically to the right person in your office. .
A book from a coach: “Organize Your Team Today: The Mental Toughness Needed to Lead Highly Successful Teams”, by Jason Selk, Tom Bartow and Matthew Rudy.
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Transcripts: The Skills To Run A Successful Law Firm And Be A Good Lawyer
You know, you have to work hard at it, you have to kind of hone your skills and work on your craft. And so I think we focus a lot of our times, go into COEs, which we absolutely should sharpen your swords. But something that people fail to do, a lot of times, they fail to sharpen their skills when it comes to running a business and vice versa. A lot of times people, attorneys will focus on the opposite. And they’ll focus on just running the business and not being a good lawyer.
It’s just a whole different world, a world that the ABA does not get you ready for a world that law schools do not get you ready for. And I really think that the reason our podcast and the Facebook group and everything else about our message has really taken off is because we’re filling a hole, where lawyers who know how to be good lawyers, but want to be better at marketing are better at running their firm, really have a place to hang out and share. And I think that’s why our message is really resonating with people. 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. You’re back on the maximum lawyer podcast and I’m Jim
hacking. Tasty music’s What’s up Jimmy Tyson, I
just got back from my second meeting at Strategic Coach last Friday, I’m pumped up I’ve been working on outlines and scheduling and doing all the good stuff that successful entrepreneurs like law firm owners do. I also just got back from the Bread Company. I had breakfast with our friend David Terry, who’s coming to the conference. We talked about the conference. And I’m all fired up.
Nice, very exciting stuff. You had an interesting weekend that what do you call it? What’s the coaching thing you attend?
Strategic Coach in Chicago? Yeah. So how was that? So this was my second one, we go up once a quarter. And there’s obviously about 90 days in between sessions. I’ve learned a lot more this time than I did last time, I saw some of the successes that I’ve had over the last nine months. But I’m really excited about the months ahead, I actually got to meet the insolvent who started strategic coach. He’s has a podcast with Joe Polish and one with Dean Jackson. So I got to shake his hand and ask him a question was pretty cool.
Very cool. And anyone that listens style of marketing knows who Dan Sullivan is, because they talk all the time. And he’s basically the equivalent of our John Fisher that we talked about. So. So question I have for you, cuz I know that a lot of people have been considering doing coaching. And I know we jumped in with our firm with coaching not too long ago, in between your quarterly meetings, what do you all do in between them? What’s the accountability, like?
So it’s sort of hands off, I would say that there’s a lot of built in workbooks and things that you can do on your own, there’s a weekly call that you can get on every Monday. But as far as somebody overseeing what you’re doing, it’s really on your own. And I think for me, that’s really good. Because a lot of times, I’m just looking for someone else to provide me direction. And with this approach, I’m sort of having to move the ball myself. And I think that’s good.
Interesting. That’s, that’s the same experience that we’re having. So I was just curious if it’s more intensive or not. So alright, let’s get into the today’s topic, you want to introduce it?
Yeah. So today, we’re talking about why the skills that make you a good lawyer, probably are not the skills you need to run a successful firm. And the way that I got to this as a topic is sort of convoluted, but about a year ago, my son got diagnosed with ADHD. And in doing that, we had to go through a lot of assessments and meet with a lot of teachers. And it dawned on me that one of the reasons he was having trouble in school was because he doesn’t like following all the rules of school, he just sort of naturally bumped up against that. And it occurred to me when we’re going through that process, that the teachers who he was having the most conflict with, were the ones who really liked the rules, and that these teachers were in a role that they are very good at. And they like structure, and they like people to sort of do things the way that they’re supposed to. So he was in a situation where he was particularly different than they are. And so it just got me thinking about how sometimes people have occupations that sort of fit their personality. And sometimes they don’t. And so I think that there are a lot of people who are drawn to the law, because of maybe the chance for advocacy, or their ability to develop skills in arguing or advocating or, you know, forcefully bringing in position for a client or, you know, trying to improve things for their fellow humans, but just because that’s what they’re good at as warriors. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to be good marketers, or good entrepreneurs or good managers, even so I think there’s a disconnect there. I think it’s something that Michael Gerber talks about, and I think it’s something you and I could talk about Today and really bring some value to the listeners,
I agree with you and I disagree with you, here’s where I agree with you. It makes complete sense that because we’re not trained in law school to run businesses, we’re just not. I did take a class with you when I was in law school, and that class was law practice management. But due to time constraints, you couldn’t teach us everything. So it just you don’t get the right training. So in that vein, you are right on not being able to run the business of skills are not the same, because you’re spent three years training, how to be a lawyer and be a good lawyer, and all your externships and internships are all devoted towards that. And you have trial skills, and moot court and all this different these different things that are focusing on those skills, as opposed to having skills on actually running a law firm. So you’re right about that. I think you’re wrong in this thing. Everyone’s heard the adage, you know, like, and trust, you know, that conveys over so if you have people that know, like, and trust you as a lawyer, especially when it comes to trial lawyers, or in a courtroom, if you can get a jury to know like, and trust you. They obviously know you because you’re in the courtroom, you’ve introduced yourself, but to get the next few like and trust you, that’s a fantastic advantage. The same thing holds true whenever you’re getting clients, not just getting clients is that right business, I get that. But that is where there’s a lot of crossover because being successful in business, when people are know, liking and trusting you is the same as people knowing and liking and trusting us as a lawyer. Now, there’s all this other stuff on the backside, right? If all we had to do was bring in clients at the fantastic, but there’s all these other issues, Human Resources issues, managerial issues, you got the whole marketing component, which is full of a variety of different things. If you’re a TV marketer, social media, your website, everything, like John Fisher, getting referrals, through all your referral partners, marketing to them. And then you have everything else when it comes to accounting, paying your taxes and all kinds of stuff. There’s so much that when it comes to actually running a business, it’s not just think clients. So I mostly agree with you, but I slightly disagree with it.
Well, I think people are complex. And obviously different people handle different things well, and different people have different skill sets. And but what I’m talking about generally is what do you think, are the attributes that make people want to go to law school? And do you think that those attributes carry over to running a law firm,
I couldn’t tell you the slightest why people go to law school, if they don’t want to be an attorney, even you see it every day, a lot of people that went to law school with only attorneys anymore, a lot of them didn’t even take the bar, if I had to guess, I mean, mostly a lot of them are driven to make you can walk them into category, but a lot of them are, they’re drawn to money, they just want to get into a profession. So they want to be, you know, an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, one of those ones, to just to make money. So you can kind of put those people in one category. And then you have the people in another category that just don’t know what to do. So they get a law school, and they’re, they’re in a financial position to be able to do it. And you have true believers, you know, the people that are true believers that just want to go and help people and they really believe in the law, the actual I mean, that’s what draws them to go to law school. The attributes that those people actually hold, I don’t know. I mean, at least my law school class was very diverse. So that’s why I really couldn’t tell you what I mean, what do you think?
I think it’s one of those topics. I think you’ve covered most of them. I think, if I had to rank them, I think, based on the conversations I’ve had with people about ready to go to law school, I think a lot of them are doing it just because they don’t know what else to do. And I think the idea of a profession is something that they like, I think there’s plenty people that go to law school knowing exactly where they want to go. I’m sure John Fisher knew why he wanted to go and be a lawyer. But I think for the most part, a lot of people, especially those who come straight out of college, are still sort of finding their way. But what I’m wondering is what I’m thinking about is are the attributes of those people. And maybe we’re maybe the risk is generalizing here. But people who want to be lawyers, I think generally want to be in charge or want to be the boss or want to be sort of forceful. I think for most people, they want to have an impact. And I guess my question is, you know, when you want to make that transition, do you think that thinking like a lawyer harms your ability to think about bringing in cases or thinking about building systems or thinking about building something, you know what I mean?
I absolutely do think that that’s true, because if you’re thinking like a lawyer, I don’t know if practicing law and running a business really go together. Because, I mean, if you just look at the ethics opinions, at least in Missouri, I mean, across the country, I mean, we learned about it in law school, they just don’t jive. So I think that they do run against each other. And so I think that that does make it difficult, but a lot of the things that do Make a great lawyer also make a great business person. And that’s, you know, you have to work hard at it, you have to kind of hone your skills and work on your craft. And so I think we focus a lot of our times go into CLAS, which we absolutely should, shouldn’t sharpen your swords. But something that people fail to do, a lot of times, they fail to sharpen their skills when it comes to running your business. And vice versa. A lot of times people, attorneys will focus on the opposite. And they’ll focus on just running the business and not being a good lawyer. I mean, you and I know a ton of good lawyers that are bad business people and vice versa. And I’m sure people listening to this know the exact same thing. So they really don’t. Or the problem is, is that being a lawyer takes so much time, you’re going to be really, really good at it. And so it takes away from the other things. And so that’s why, with our families, that’s why we made a lot of the decisions that we did, because I don’t have as much time to practice. I mean, I obviously do I spend a lot of time I take it very seriously. But I had to step away from all the day to day stuff, because there’s just so much else out there when it comes to running the actual firm. In Chris’s, the opposite. I mean, Chris spends a significant amount of his time working on cases and honing his skills. So that’s why I think it’s important wherever you do have a partner, you have to look for things where you can fill each other’s gaps.
In the E Myth, Michael Gerber sort of tells his business tale through Sarah a baker. And Sarah is really good at baking. And because she’s really good at baking pies, she thinks that she can open up a pie business and it sort of hits you like a ton of bricks. And I think that’s sort of where the podcasts and the conference came for you and I is that it’s just a whole different world, a world that the ABA does not get you ready for a world that law schools that get you ready for. And I really think that the reason our podcast and the Facebook group, and everything else about our message has really taken off is because we’re filling a hole, where lawyers who know how to be good lawyers, but want to be better at marketing, or better at running their firm, really have a place to hang out and share. And I think that’s why our message is really resonating with people. Yeah, I
think you’re right. Well, if you look at most of the attorney, programs, business type programs, things like that. They’re focused on marketing, and I don’t think we we did that I at least, we’ve tried not to I think what we really tried to do is just create a place for people to learn and get better, especially for us. I mean, it just helps you and I get better. And so you’re absolutely right. It’s just it. I mean, there are so many things out there, when it comes to running a business, I think if people sat down, and if you’re a solo, let me just sit down and write a list of all the things you do on a daily basis on a weekly basis. And if you have not done that, that’s an exercise you need to start with. Because that’s the beginning of starting a system. Starting your systems is just writing down everything you do. And in a typical week, you may be shocked if you’ve not done that to this point, because you do so much. I mean, there’s a lot you do. I mean, you are every department, when you’re the IT department, or the marketing department or the accounting department, you are the legal department, you’re everything, which is I mean, looking back, it’s quite astonishing. I mean, I’m I’m in a different station than it was, you know, seven, eight years ago, it’s kind of shocking to think of all the things and Jimmy think that like all the things you did at the beginning, I mean, it’s there’s so much to do. And it’s I mean, it’s really hard to do, and you’re juggling a lot of balls. So a lot of hard work, but it’s a great journey. I’ll take a
little riff off what you just said. I mean, over the last quarter, that was one of our marching orders was just write down all the things that we do. And at first, I thought I was supposed to write down only the things that I do that I don’t want to do anymore. But my coach said, no, no, you’re supposed to do everything. So I’ve been doing that. And then last week before I went to the session for coach I went through and I figured out what are the things that I’m no good at? What are the things that I’m good at? What are the things that I’m really excellent at and what are the things that only I can do. And so I think that really was a valuable exercise. So I agree with that, you know, and finding what it is that you’re really good at what your unique strengths are. I think that’s really important. And, and the reason that’s important is because one that helps you figure out what you’re good at and what you should be doing. And it also helps you find people who have different skill sets that can support you and sort of fill in the places where you might feel a little bit weak.
Yeah, I mean, that’s I can always go back to this just because it’s just think that’s this is the basics. But really, if you sit down if you if you go back to what we learned from I love marketing when it comes to sitting down, writing down all the tasks, and then figuring out what you can delegate what you can eliminate what you can outsource. When you commit yourself all that if you go through that exercise, you can really you can really see where there are holes in your business. You can see there are holes when it comes to staffing needs. means there are holes when it comes to you as an individual. It’s a really simple beneficial process that I really recommend people do. And I mean, if you’re just now listening to this podcast for the first time, go back to some of our older podcasts and start listening, as you really don’t have to just do what I just said to Jimmy I just said, really does start you off on the right foot, because you start to really think about your business and what you should be doing, what you shouldn’t be doing. It’s a great exercise. It’s one of my favorites to do. And honestly, I probably should do it. Again, it’s been a while since I’ve done it, but I definitely should do it. Again, we’ve been focusing so much on systems lately. And other areas, I haven’t really stepped back at that level to do that. So maybe it’s something I should do. The other lesson
that I think comes out from doing this analysis is that we really need to look outside the law for solutions that if we spent all of our time doing what other lawyers do, or reading the same articles that other lawyers do, that we really do ourselves a disservice that some of my best ideas have come from outside the legal marketing and legal firm management world. I mean, you know, obviously, with I love marketing, most of my marketing lessons I’ve learned from someone who advises real estate brokers and someone who advises carpet cleaners, on how to run a successful firm, Dan Kennedy talks about this all the time is if you’re doing the same thing as everybody else, you’re probably doing the wrong thing. And that you need to really look outside of your usual space to find people that can teach you things that you hadn’t thought about. And I think that’s a really important point.
Yes, some of the best tools that I use came from outside of legal marketing, legal journals, yada, yada, yada. I mean, I focus the majority of my reading on non legal stuff. And I’ve talked about that before. I mean, just as simple as getting ink and entrepreneur and Fast Company delivered to your office, as opposed to a lot of the legal journals, it can make a big difference. I mean, I, I mean, I started using Slack way ahead of everyone else. But it was just something I read in Ink Magazine one day, and see you do get, I mean, in some areas, the legal industry is ahead of the curve. But for the most part, they’re behind the curve. And so it’s, it takes a while for our industry to start adopting things, think outside the box a little bit on this cliche, but start reading these non legal met business magazines and newspapers, and you can do it for free in your phone. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s easy to do nowadays. And you will get a ton of great ideas. I mean, you really, really well. And if, if you think about when you’re reading them, something I used to do, and that’s what’s talked about getting well actually read on your phone now. But something I used to do Jimmy as I used to take Ink Magazine, and entrepreneur and Fast Company, I would read them from from cover to cover, and on the front and Sharpie, I would write the key points that I learned from from it. And I would try to keep it as concise as possible. And so I would have each one magazine’s would have a list of things that learn from it, that would be takeaways that I can use in my firm. So when you’re reading these things about, you know, how can I use these in my firm? And another thing, this is something that we learned from your boy at Infusionsoft, I can’t think of the fourth Sixth Division guy, I can’t think of his name, but more know, how can I be doing this better? So I know what seems whenever you’re listening to see a lease or business podcast, legal podcasts like this podcast, you’re thinking, Well, I’m already doing that. Instead of thinking, how can I be doing that better? I think that’s a really good lesson. And it’s so funny, it was just hit me like a ton of bricks when he said that, you know, because I remember, during his presentation, we have a lot more to do. But me that means I was just closing him off. I wasn’t listing and then and until he said that it really changed my mindset when I go to those CLAS and listen to podcasts and things like Daddy, we don’t know everything. Okay, we just don’t so so kind of open your mind up a little bit.
And, you know, that brings up another topic. And that is you really have to invest in your continuing education. And I don’t mean CLE I don’t mean learning about the law. I mean, learning about how to market and how to build something and you have to you and I had much fun and enjoyed greatly the Infusionsoft conference every year and that has since gone by the wayside. But when I just had breakfast with David, he was telling me how he had a friend who’s sort of high up in Social Media Examiner, and he went out to Social Media Marketing World and he volunteered so you got to go for free. But he got to go into all the sessions. You got to hear Pat Flynn, and Michael Stelzner and a bunch of other people. So you really need and he went all the way up to San Diego from St. Louis to do that you really need to make time and carve out time and find people who you resonate with, you know, Chelsea Lambert said, you know, find who it is who resonates with you whose message resonates with you, who do you like and, you know, keep pushing yourself and if Gary Vaynerchuk is someone you find annoying and fun And somebody else. And so it’s gonna be different for each of us. And so I think that not only listen to people outside of the usual markets, but also, you know, giving yourself the time and space to do things other than practice while in the grind every day is super important
that in the next step is doing something that you did for years, but you’ve been you’ve been way different lately is that you got to take action you used to and I think you’ll admit this, you use to read and read and read and read and read that just absorb all this information, and not do anything about it. But especially as of lately, you’ve been killing it. Last couple years, we’re just going out and just doing things doing what you’re learning. So I think learning is one thing, but actually taking actions back. So I think that that’s, that’s the next important step.
Absolutely. You know, I was definitely sort of addicted to reading content and getting sort of pumped up by it. But Coach has helped and talking to you has helped me to sort of do much more focused on implementing. And so yeah, that’s been great. Speaking of
investing in your future, Jimmy, I know that you’re the one always talks about the conference, but I’m going to talk about it for a second. It’s getting very, very close to being sold out. So make sure you go to our website,
Max wall con dot maximum wired.com.
Go there. Go ahead and register the fee did go up a little bit, but not too much. It’s still extremely cheap compared to most conferences, you’ll go to Cardinals game is sold out. So sorry about that. But we do have a lot of other great things we’re gonna do, we’re gonna do a run in the morning, we’re going to go have dinner the night before the conference starts. And then anyone that’s interested, maybe some some bourbon cigars, so it’d be a lot of fun. May 17 2018. We are extremely excited. We have a fantastic lineup. If you if you don’t know, I’m not gonna go through the entire list right now. But your website, check out the list. It’s pretty incredible. Jimmy, nothing about the conference enough about me, what is your hack of the week?
So my hack of the week is inventorying my email and so what do I mean by that? So what I’ve been doing is trying to come up with different categories of the type of email that I receive. And I got a little spreadsheet going so they can make a list of categories. And then once I’m done, and I feel like I’ve got a comprehensive list of categories or the type of emails that need responses, then I’m going to be delegating those emails automatically. I’m going to have those read and and handled by people in my office. So I won’t be handling emails, unless it’s something that only I can handle over the next couple of weeks.
So I think I don’t know if there’s John Fisher, or someone in my experience, I can’t remember who it was. But they they made the comment. I think it was John, you know, you have someone answer your phones, why don’t have someone to answer your emails, which is a very astute point. It really is. It is like you don’t let that is so so true. But I guess if you’re having a personal email sent to your to your email address, your firm address, and you may not want to have that happen. But Jimmy, I’m going to steal your system. I keep waiting for someone to create the right system. I hope you create it. I’ve looked into it. I’ve interviewed virtual assistants, I can never find the right person. I’m waiting. So hopefully you’ve got the right system. I’m rooting for you, because I can’t stand email. As you know, my tip of the week is actually going to be a book and the book is from there’s a series of books by Jason Selke. And Jason Silva is the coach that my partner Chris and I hired. He’s got one called executive toughness, but the one is that I’m gonna recommend, he’s actually got a few, but the one I’m gonna recommend is called organize your team today. It’s the Mental Toughness needed to lead highly successful teams, I think that that’s really going to resonate with a lot of people. And it’s something that we went to a conference at Vegas, and we had a read chapter there, but then we had to finish reading it. It’s a really, really good book, and it’s really about getting your mind right, and we have these daily things we have to do to get our mind right, what’s to start the day and all this kind of stuff. It’s it really is great. So I definitely highly recommended it’s by Jason Selke and Tom Bartow, B AR, t o w. And Tom Bartow, really interesting guy. He was really good friends with John Wooden and they talked about the story but I think John Wooden, he was given some award at the White House and he was able to invite I think two or three people I think three people, John Wooden invited his wife I think his son, I may be telling the story wrong, but the point is invited Tom Buck, Tom Bartow. Tom Bartow got to go with him and this he’s a financial adviser that had worked for Edward Jones, and then another another one of the big ones was really, really successful. So I highly recommend that book. Very good book. So that is my tip of the week.