Paul Samakow is the Founder of The Law Offices of Paul A. Samakow, P.C. Paul has been a practicing plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer since 1980, helping over 20,000 clients in Virginia and Maryland. He is a member of numerous plaintiff organizations that focus on educating and helping victims.
During his career of over 40 years, Paul has become a well-known attorney in his local Hispanic community, creating numerous safety campaigns and contributing to multiple causes and events. Paul is also a frequent lecturer to community, civic, school, and professional groups.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Why Paul Samakow doubled down on serving the Hispanic community through his personal injury law practice
- How to break the potential language barrier when you want to work with people from the Hispanic community
- What typical messaging targeting people from the Hispanic community should look like
- Things to avoid when marketing to the Hispanic community
- The best advertising medium for targeting Hispanic people and how to track results
- How to get the best out of your targeted marketing
In this episode…
If you’re looking to market to and serve your local Hispanic community successfully, it’s best to learn how from someone who has been doing it for over 40 years: Paul Samakow. But there’s a caveat.
You can’t expect that you’re going to start building up a large, consistent caseload after three, four, or five months. Paul says it’s a commitment of at least a couple of years that includes spending your budget on the suitable advertising medium, backend personnel, follow-up system, and a lot more. Want all the details?
Learn about how to successfully build up your Hispanic client base on this episode of Matthew Laurin’s Esq.Marketing Podcast featuring Paul Samakow, Founder of The Law Offices of Paul A. Samakow, P.C. They discuss viable markets, overcoming language roadblocks, what type of advertising works (and why), and more.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- The Law Offices of Paul A. Samakow, P.C
- Paul Samakow on LinkedIn
- Textarudo Ad on Youtube
- Call Paul Samakow: 703-761-4343
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Esq Marketing, your firm’s strategic search marketing partner. Esq Marketing helps law firms generate more clients and cases using search marketing and helping them land on the first page on Google so that clients can find you right away. We help companies ranging from those with 10 or less members to those with over 50 in their team, essentially creating a marketing department for them to help them reach potential clients with ease.
You’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast hosted by Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing, where he features successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States. Now, let’s get started with the show.
Matthew Laurin 0:22
Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing and you’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast where I feature feature successful and solo SMB law firms from all over the United States. This episode is brought to you by Esq.Marketing, we help attorneys get more clients in cases using search marketing. And speaking of successful attorneys, today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Paul Samakow. Paul has been practicing plaintiff’s personal injury law since 1980, during which time he has helped over 20,000 clients in Virginia and Maryland. During his 40 plus year career, Paul has become a very well known attorney in the local Hispanic community, having created numerous safety campaigns and contributing to numerous causes and events. Paul, welcome to the show.
Paul Samakow 1:02
I can’t say thank you enough for having me. Pleasure.
Matthew Laurin 1:06
So let’s jump right in here. Um, why the Hispanic market? Is there opportunities there that that you saw or, or demographics you wanted to help?
Paul Samakow 1:17
Well, there were, you know, I mean, I’m a sole practice attorney always have been, well, the last couple of years, I now have an associate. But when I began my practice of law in 1980, there were four or five law firms as they’re now probably 15, or 20. advertising on TV than networks and cable stations. And the amount of money they were spending back in 1980, was obscene. And so you know, as a guy hanging out a shingle, if you say, I started my own practice, I didn’t go to work for anybody else. I had to figure out, you know, how to get some work. And I speak Spanish well enough to be, you know, understood, and enough to understand most of the time when people are talking to me, but I’m not, I would never tell somebody, I’m fluent. So I started looking into the area’s Hispanic community, which is very large in DC area. It is described as the eighth largest Hispanic market in the country, a lot of people. And there was nobody advertising that if you get hurt, call me, I’ll help you. And I started with a couple of very small newspaper ads in a couple of different local newspapers, neither of which even exists now. But the phones started ringing off the hook. And I thought, Wow, so I went onto the radio. And I had to hire three people almost immediately, just to answer the phone. And then an epiphany. Wait a minute, what about Spanish TV. And so the number of offices and the number of employees that I’ve had, since that auspicious beginning, has varied, but at one time, I had as many as nine offices, two of them were headquarters, and seven were satellite offices. And I’ve had as many as 21 employees. Now, with COVID, I’ve scaled down tremendously, because you don’t need to be where they are, everybody in their grandmother, now has access to a mobile phone, or you can sign them up with DocuSign, or any number of other, you know, signature software. situations, you know, whatever you call those things, signature software, signature gathering software, I guess, you know, we can send them a contract and get on the phone and explain it, they sign it and push the button and send it back. And you don’t have to be in front of them. I mean, everybody likes the concept of being remote. They don’t have to get in a car and find the office in wonder if there’s parking. And so I’ve scaled down tremendously. And I’m more efficient now. And but that’s the answer. I mean, I started at the beginning, and I was the only one and for years, and now there’s competition. And that’s okay. Because I truly believe that, you know, it’s a world of abundance. It’s not a world of scarcity, you know, there’s more potato chips in the grocery store if you want them.
Matthew Laurin 4:21
That’s a good attitude to have. And so I there must have been something you liked about working with that community. Did you? Did you stay exclusively with the Hispanic market? Or? Oh,
Paul Samakow 4:31
well, I mean, I you know, the percentage of my case intakes varied anywhere from 60 to 70% of individuals who are Hispanic, some speak English a little bit, some not at all. But you know, I mean, the Washington DC area really is a melting pot of the world. And I’ve had clients from China, from Russia, from Iran, from Japan, from Vietnam from you know, France from Spain. I’ve got two clients right now in Israel. And you know, getting translation services has always been one of the big problems, gee, would you like to have that problem? But, I mean, it’s, uh, you know, and then I have what I’ll call your native born, learn how to speak English from the day they were born. Individuals that you would call Americans. But I don’t like to say an American is solely someone who speaks English because there’s plenty of people from around the world who are now Americans and I think it’s politically incorrect to just put an umbrella over only people that look like me and say, there those are the only Americans but the Hispanic community is very loyal. If you know if an American comes in, okay, what happened here? I’m sorry, I lost you. Oh,
Matthew Laurin 5:54
I still got you
Paul Samakow 5:56
can’t see. Take your time. There we go. Okay. Something happened. My screensaver came on. No worries. You know, if an American comes in, you know, it might be one or the other of a married couple, the person who got hurt, maybe they’ll bring their spouse in Hispanic individual is injured, they come in with their mother, their father, the aunt, the uncle, two kids, and sometimes the pastor. So it’s a very it’s a very community oriented group of people that, you know, support each other. And what I found is that I get so many referrals from people who are coming in for moral support, because you know, we hug and we kiss and you know, in Spanish, there’s a term it’s that the term is a Holic, it’s una brosseau. So before COVID, you go over and literally give everybody alguna Rasul amigo. And, you know, I mean, that’s your, you’re seen as being real, because hopefully, you are real. And so I have an extraordinary network of people who are my clients who have been my clients and keep referring their friends to me. So it’s, it’s very rewarding.
Matthew Laurin 7:08
That’s extremely heartwarming. Um, the language aspect of it is interesting. So when you when you first decided to work with this community, or this this demographic, did you have to learn how to speak Spanish then or, or things that you already knew how to speak it, but was that ever a bear?
Paul Samakow 7:27
I’m not fluent. But I quickly realized that I had to have lots of people who were so you know, over the years, I’ve had an array of people from virtually every South American and Central American company in my employ, Guatemala, Salvador, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, you name it, you know, Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans don’t agree that they’re Hispanic sometimes, which is funny. But yeah, I mean, so I have everybody that’s bilingual, that speak that everybody that works for me asked to be bilingual. And we have all of our documents in Spanish so they can read them.
Matthew Laurin 8:05
So you were able to achieve that with with personnel not so much like mastering it yourself. Right?
Paul Samakow 8:10
Correct. I mean, I will go in if the individual doesn’t speak English, I will go in with somebody who, you know, can translate and you know, 75% of the meeting, we don’t need them. But just in case I have somebody sitting there.
Matthew Laurin 8:25
That’s, that’s great. Because I think if you were I mean, if you were starting a law firm, or if you’re interested in working with members of the Spanish community, or the Hispanic community, on the it might be a roadblock for a lot of attorneys who maybe don’t speak any Spanish.
Paul Samakow 8:41
Well, one of the things that, you know, you know about me, because you saw my resume in advance, I have a second business. And that is I’m a consultant to attorneys all over the country, showing them how to build up their Hispanic client base in their market. And so, you know, one of the first things they asked me is, do you need to speak Spanish? And my answer is absolutely not. But you need to have at least two employees who do. Why do I need two employees? Because I’ll tell you why. Fred, because if Maria is sick, you still need one to answer the phone.
Matthew Laurin 9:15
Yes, that’s a good point.
Paul Samakow 9:17
Yeah. So um,
Matthew Laurin 9:19
you know, your consulting business, can you can you speak a little bit more about that, as
Paul Samakow 9:23
well? Yeah, I mean, what happened? I guess about almost a decade ago, just a little shy of about 10 years ago, I developed the safety program. And I’ll try and be brief here because I know time is limited, but the safety program is basically don’t text and drive. And in Spanish, there is a word that is slang. Everybody knows it. No matter what country you’re from, there’s different dialects of Spanish all over the world. But everybody knows the word test the rudo, a test a rudo is someone who’s stubborn or hard headed. So the wife I’d say I attest the route, I’ll take out the trash. And it’s the husband she’s talking to because he knows he’s supposed to but he doesn’t want to be stubborn. So we took out the s in the word test the rudo, and I put in the letter x, and then I created a concept and a character which are both trademarked and copyrighted, and the word is Textarudo, and I actually have a book with Textarudo pictures and we take our costumed of employee wearing Textarudo costume to festivals. And we have a little key chains that we give out I probably given out close to three quarters of a million key chains over the years to people at festivals and, and everybody knows him because he’s on TV. And one of the things that on the TV has the Spanish TV has that, you know, daytime American soap operas have they have soap operas at night, and these are the cheesiest, corniest things you’ve ever seen in your life, but they are hysterical. And everybody follows them. It’s like, they have more of a following than the people who watch the housewives or the Kardashians. And so I run commercials in primetime at night with the tails of Textarudo. And it’s like a little soap opera. And they follow his ups and downs and his foibles and his joys. But he’s always trying to get over that he shouldn’t text while driving, and he’s going to get married. But no, she won’t marry him because he’s still texting and driving. And so COVID actually put a Kufa in the story because I was going to actually have a wedding because he’s now going to stop texting. He promised her and they were going to get married. And then they were going to have little Textarudo children that was go to school, and what did you learn today? We’re not to text and drive, you know. So there’s a whole story, that then I have this concept, if you will. And I’ve got eight and a half plus years of television commercials, some of which are so gut wrenching, funny that you can’t sit still without, you know, having to go to the bathroom and pee in your pants. But the message is there. People like what you do, they don’t like what you say, Oh, I’m aggressive, I fight hard, I care. Sure who doesn’t. But when you show people that you care about them when you show them, and that’s what I’m doing with these commercials, I’m spending my money, giving them a message, don’t text and drive, it’s dangerous. Your family loves you, they want you to come home, you know, just put the phone down. I mean, I have all measure of messages that, you know, the last 10 seconds of these 32nd TV commercials are. And you know, if you get hurt, I’m always here to help you. So I’m licensing this to attorneys across the country, and some are doing okay. And a lot of them dropped out because of COVID. You know, they didn’t want to continue spending money if nobody’s on the streets driving, which in my mind is a mistake. You know, when I recognized what was going on, I started to double down on my commercials. So but you know, so I have a whole program. I’ve got an attorney in upstate New York, who’s now going to be calling me next week to let me know if he wants to, you know, have me get involved with him and do consulting and licensed my Textarudo campaign. So it’s a it’s been a fun thing over the last four years or so when I started this and, you know, it’s um, it’s not something that’s particularly extraordinarily lucrative for me, but yeah, I’m making some money. But, you know, moreover, I just liked the idea of introducing into communities don’t text and drive. The big the government in Brazil came this night, excuse me, Bolivia, came this close the licensing Textarudo from me. And then the elections came and the next one didn’t want to hear about it. All right.
Matthew Laurin 13:56
That’s really a brilliant marketing campaign. And I like how you talked about, um, oh, you know, you show you actually care. And I totally agree that, you know, you speak to the pain points of an audience and, and, you know, come out come across as human it’s really powerful.
Paul Samakow 14:14
Matthew Laurin 14:16
Um, and along those lines for for marketing, what should attorneys avoid? When marketing to the Hispanic community? What’s what are some things that you found?
Paul Samakow 14:28
They should avoid, they should avoid BS. They must be real. You know, how many TV commercials Do you watch with attorneys and they are so boilerplate and they just seem like they’re just talking off in the air and they’re not even looking at the camera. I don’t think there’s a group of people in the world who can smell bs or smell. You know, someone who’s just in it for the ride more than Hispanics you sit down with Then Hispanic and they know instantly whether you’re telling the truth if you have integrity or not, and that has to come through in your TV commercials, that has to come through your radio commercials. You know, it doesn’t make any sense in my mind to run a newspaper ad any longer. So I started, but you know, that was 40 years ago newspapers, nobody reads them anymore. Unless, you know, unless you’re in New York, and you’re looking as if the governor is going to resign, you know, but the, the bottom line is just integrity, it’s real person to person humility. You know, I tell people not to make jokes, unless you’re guaranteed that you’re going to get, you know, an extraordinary reaction, because jokes aren’t funny, particularly from lawyers, unless they really, really, really are funny. So I, you know, I don’t let people try and make jokes if I’m counseling them or consulting with them. But you just come across and say, Hey, you know, this is something that’s important to me, your health, your well being your safety, your family. Come on by, you know, and I don’t I only handle injury cases, but I’m a resource, you got a divorce situation and immigration situation, a landlord tenant situation, a criminal situation, coming to see me, I’m not going to charge you anything. Just sit down, tell me your situation. And let me call my friend, Fred, or George or Sally, you know, and I’ll see if I can get you a good attorney, rather than you figuring out where you’re going to go. These small things add up, and you get loyal people who just will forever come back to you, and they don’t care about the money is different from a lot of other types of people who will I got hit and rear end and I had to go to the doctor for three weeks, I should get $5 million, right? No, I’m sorry, you know, most Hispanics, all they want to do is make sure their bills are paid. And they got medical care, because many of them don’t have health insurance. They don’t even know where to get a doctor. So we we make sure they get good and proper medical care and complete medical care. And they’re better, we help them get the car fixed, we get their medical bills paid, I take a fee, and then I give them some money. I don’t care how much they got, you know, many, many, many of them, they take three quarters of the money I just gave them and they send it back home to mama Sita. I mean, which is a wonderful thing, you know. So you know, it’s again, what’s the advice to an attorney thinking to go into that market? Be yourself, show that you are a real live person and not just into free what you can get out of it?
Matthew Laurin 17:40
Do do that in other ways besides the marketing campaign with the texting drive, so like for example, you mentioned being a resource for them. Do you do that by having helpful content on your website or providing tools for them to access that may not include meeting with you things like that?
Paul Samakow 18:01
The answer is no I don’t publicize it I don’t advertise it. It’s not on the website. But the word of mouth is extraordinary. And there isn’t anybody in the community that doesn’t know that they can call me for anything legal. I mean it’s it’s just it’s a very powerful you know, message to put out one by one by one by one. And like most attorneys after the case closes I send the clients a letter Thank you for letting me be your lawyer I hope that everything was okay and by the way if you ever have any legal problem please feel free to call me so I do. I do what a matter of speaking advertise it, but it’s not like it’s on TV or radio or something.
Matthew Laurin 18:46
Understood. It’s a Where should your advertising budget go to to reach the Hispanic community if you if you’re an attorney wanting to work in this niche, what you what should you be focused on in terms of advertising,
Paul Samakow 19:00
TV, TV, TV, TV, TV, TV, TV, 95% Telemundo, that Telemundo. Una vissi on Univision. And I will get lawyer as well. You know, I have a social media director who’s Hispanic and they say that people, you know, they are on Facebook, they are. But that’s not what the businesses mean, if you’ve got if you got 25 $30,000 a month to spend to develop in Hispanic practice 25 or 30,000 of it shouldn’t be on TV. Now four years from now and you’re getting lots and lots of cases, okay? Now you have more money to spend. Now you’re 35 or 40,000. So spend 37, five on the TV and put 2500 into into, you know social media. Americans do. Respond to social media, and so do Hispanics. But it’s about the term, you know, ROI, return on investment. If I have $5, where can I best spend it? And here’s another generational thing that many won’t know. So here’s a golden nugget. Now, today, Hispanics are assimilated mostly into our culture. They speak English, they have good jobs with American companies. They are not living with mom and dad any longer, and they get into a car accident. And they call up mom and dad and they say, Hey, I got into an accident, I’m going to go to lawyer, Fred. And mom and dad say, No, you’re not. You’re going to lawyer Paul Samakow. And maybe that 25 year old has heard of me, and maybe not, because they don’t watch TV as much as mom and dad. The allegiance to their parents and the respect for their parents is enormous. They are going to go to Paul Samakow when mom and dad say go to Paul Samakow. Don’t get all the business, I get a lot of business. But you know, it the the the deference and the respect to the elders is tremendous. So the plugging on TV has value for the people whose eyeballs are seeing it and their immediate and their extended families. Not too many people know that.
Matthew Laurin 21:29
Yeah, that’s really interesting, the deep knowledge you have of the culture. Have you successfully been able to track that? The the TV spend it all? Or any?
Paul Samakow 21:39
How does? How do you do? How do you do that? Every single person that comes in how did you get my name? And you know, I don’t? I don’t want to sound like I’m kind of you know, some kind of conceited jerk or something. But the response more often than not, is well, everybody knows Paul Samakow. I mean, I don’t know where I got your name, because my friend told me to come to you. Okay, but have you seen me on TV? Yes or no? And check in a little box. You seen me on social media? Because I’m there a little bit, yes or no? Many of them. Tell me how I heard you on the radio. I haven’t been on the radio for over 15 years. You know, but it’s trackable to the extent that I can look at pockets of Hispanic communities around the Washington DC and Baltimore area. Until I got 15 cases from this area. I got 21 cases from that area. Last month, I got 16 cases from this area. So while TV is all broad, you know, it pays to say hey, you know, and for you, and for my friends out there and Falls Church, I’m talking to you put the phone down, you know, when you’re driving, that kind of thing I intersperse here and there and now and again, because I know that falls churches in Hispanic area in large part. If I go to somebody and say, you know, hey, my friends in Fairfax station, I don’t think there are five Hispanics who live in Fairfax station. So I’m not going to plug their community. But, you know, is it 100%? Perfect tracking? No, it’s not. But it’s enough to understand that what I’m doing is working.
Matthew Laurin 23:22
There’s not 100% perfect tracking. And I mean, I think the way you’re doing it right now is perfect. I mean, just asking people how they found out about you. I mean, what it’s right from the right from the source of how they heard about you and I that resonates with me how you said, you know, they heard you on the radio, but you haven’t advertised on the radio. And I’ve had an experience too, in advertising and marketing in my career, where sometimes people just don’t know where they heard about you. Like, yeah, maybe, maybe they they heard it in the background as they’re walking through a room on a TV commercial. And that’s why they thought it was on the radio or something.
Paul Samakow 23:54
Matthew Laurin 23:58
Yeah. Okay. So though, that’s the extent of my questions. Um, is there anything that we didn’t cover that you think attorneys in general should know if they’re, they’re going after the Hispanic market?
Paul Samakow 24:10
Well, you know, again, I mean, it’s a process. Many of the attorneys that I have worked with and consulted with don’t understand the necessity to stick to it and they’ve left my program, even though they were starting to see a an increase in the number of cases, you can’t expect that you’re going to start building up a large, consistent caseload after three or four or five months. This is a commitment of at least a couple of years on TV. So you better have the budget to do TV. You better have the back end personnel to handle the cases. You better have the computer system and the follow up. I mean there there are 50 different things that I bring to the table when I have an attorney and counsel him or her on how to, you know, go into this community. And I’m ridiculously cheap. I mean, I don’t know what an SEO company charges. But, you know, you can get some of those people that charge four or 567 $1,000 a month, I’m less than that. But you know, I get a fee. And, you know, it’s, it’s worth its weight in gold. Because if they stick with it, you know, they’re going to be the number one attorney in their Hispanic communities market. I mean, it’s just, there’s just no question about it.
Matthew Laurin 25:36
It sounds like a bargain. Um, ladies and gentlemen, you’ve been listening to Paul Samakow. Thank you for sharing your advice on how attorneys can break into their local Hispanic market. Where can people go to learn more about you and and your consulting services?
Paul Samakow 25:51
Well, I have a, I have a phone number, they can call me. Imagine that have a lawyer that has a phone. It’s a it’s a local number. The phone number is 703-761-4343. Somebody on my office will answer it. And they say, hey, I’d like to talk to Paul. And boom, they’re talking to me. And they can ask me questions and I can send them materials, I can send them a book that I wrote about how to do this, which you know, wets the whistle, but doesn’t really give you all the information, but it’s a valuable book that I give away for free. It’s a marketing tool for sure. For my consulting business. You know, so, um, you know, just I, I have conversations with attorneys 34567 times before they agree to sign on or not, because I don’t want to have somebody sign on and start spending, you know, $25,000 a month or more, depending upon what market they’re in wasting their money on TV if they’re not fully in 110% committed. I mean, depending upon what market you’re in, you know, I mean, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, that’s a mountain of money you got to commit every single month and if you don’t, your competition is swallowing you. I mean, you can’t you just can’t compete. You don’t have to be the number one spender but you got to be in the middle of the pack consistently because ultimately my message with Textarudo is going to rise to the top people recognize that and I get people all the time when I walk around the community Well, not so much now but before COVID lawyer Samakow no text a no text a text in a way but they showed me the key chain you know, I went to I don’t want to keep hammering but I went to a restaurant with my wife and friends a couple years back and the guy who was serving the water was Hispanic and he recognized me they all do i mean again I’m not trying to sound conceited but I mean I want to eat you know so many times every single night in their home. So when he came back a second time to fill the water glasses he showed me he had my my my key chain
Matthew Laurin 28:04
Nice Nice. Yeah, I really appreciate you taking the time and being on the show. Um, we I don’t mean to sit sound robotic, but I just try to stick to the questions but everyone man is really cool. I like your marketing campaign. I didn’t even know you were doing all that I didn’t have a ton of crap from James but um that’s that’s pretty cool. I’m gonna search for that now. Excellent and those videos on YouTube.
Paul Samakow 28:29
Oh, they are Yeah, you can just look up Paul Samakow and you can find them. You can also go to the Textarudo website or the Textarudo Facebook page TEXTARUDO textarudo
Matthew Laurin 28:44
extra route my daughter’s and taking Spanish right now in eighth grade and I’m going to tell her that the original word the testarudo, would you say that means again?
Paul Samakow 28:58
It’s a stubborn person, somebody else? Yeah, so Textarudo is a play on that word, because text Ruto knows he shouldn’t text and drive and it keeps doing it.
Thanks for listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.