Biggest Mistakes with Blogging and Marketing

December 23, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

Matthew Laurin SEOMatthew Laurin is the President of Esq.Marketing, a company that helps law firms generate more clients and cases using search engine marketing.

Matthew has been in the SEO business for over ten years. He possesses a long track record of repeatable success, achieving maximum ROI for SEO campaigns, and leading teams to execute simple yet effective campaign strategies.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Matthew Laurin talks about the big mistakes lawyers make when it comes to blogging and SEO marketing.
  • What to focus on when blogging for SEO gains.
  • Matthew shares a case study of a legal blog post and what they need to improve their strategy and results.
  • The top elements for a quality legal blog post.
  • How accessible is your blog?
  • The Lemon Law example for creating content that potential clients want to read.
  • What is blog spamming?
  • The smart strategy for ranking your law firm website through blogging and SEO.

In this episode…

Your website can be the go-to destination for people in your area who are searching for a personal injury lawyer. But, the problem is your website isn’t ranking for the keywords these people are searching for. Blogging is one way to correct that, but you already have an active blog and still don’t rank for these keywords. What are you not getting right?

Listen to this episode of the Esq.Marketing Podcast with Matthew Laurin as he talks about the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to blogging and SEO marketing. Matthew uses different case studies to show you what works and what doesn’t, and how you can improve your blogging and SEO strategy. Stay tuned for more on how you can increase your traffic—and conversions—today!

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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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.

 

Episode Transcript

Intro

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

Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing. And you’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast where I interview successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States. This episode’s brought to you by Esq.Marketing, we help law firms generate more clients in cases using search marketing. And today we have Jeremy Weisz, who is has done 1000s of interviews, and he will be interviewing me,

Jeremy Weisz

Matt, thanks for having me. I always love chatting with you. Because what you do applies to to everyone, especially, you know, law firms that want to rank higher, and when that they rank higher, that means they get more clients, right? clients, no money, follow them. And so we’re going to talk about blogging and marketing, for SEO and SEO relates to getting the top of search which relates to more clients. So what are some big mistakes you people you see people making with blogging and marketing,

Matthew Laurin

I like talking about this topic, because I get questions about it a lot, like I told you before. Content is a huge part of SEO and a huge part of our philosophy of how we promote clients websites. And when I talk about it on consults with clients, or potential clients, there’s often a lot of either misinformation or misunderstanding about what, how to use a blog for SEO and how to use content for SEO. And it’s really pretty simple. So I do see a lot of common mistakes. But in general, a blog is is kind of a has a has to, I don’t know how to phrase it to two main purposes. So one is to showcase thought leadership for an attorney for a law firm. And and you could do that by elaborating on a topic. And people who are in the search phase of trying to find an attorney will see that post and start to understand more about their situation. And it gets them further along in the process. And then the second purpose is, it creates content that other site owners want to link to. So a lot of people don’t want to link to sales pages. news sites don’t want to reference sales pages, they want to reference useful content that’s been researched and helpful for for consumers. So blog posts fit that mold very nicely. And then you can take that link equity that you get from those from that content and funnel it back to your practice area pages. But in general, those are the two, two main purposes of blog posts. And that and that leads me to the fact that every time I have a consult with somebody, you know, a lot of attorneys are blogging themselves, or maybe they’ve had another company do it or whatever. But you always see some some common mistakes, and they tend to be you know, there’s no clear keyword strategy for blog posts, you know, they’re not focusing on a longtail keyword phrase that has search volume, or it might not be relevant to a practice area they want to generate cases in

Jeremy Weisz

what are they doing, they’re just randomly choosing

Matthew Laurin

a randomly choosing topics or they’re blogging about topics that you know that they they don’t have any you know, they don’t they haven’t researched the search volume or the or the or the searcher intent. And so they may be missing the mark for what people are looking for, especially when they’re in that top of the funnel phase, that research phase of the buying process when they’re just starting to look for an attorney they they’re just entered into this situation where they think they may need legal representation and and they’re searching the internet for answers. And if you don’t touch on those pain points that they’re having early on in the process, then they’re not going to pay attention to you so much.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, Matt. So when you’re starting with someone you’re saying, you’re doing research on here’s all of the longtail keywords that are they have this amount of volume and this is going to benefit you and you’ve also I think do research on you know, they’re more by no buying keywords

Matthew Laurin

yeah keywords that have purchased intent and in the legal vertical keywords with purchase intent are usually practice area plus lawyer or attorney, the word lawyer or attorney so Car Accident Lawyer, Car Accident Lawyer, Florida medical, mental medical malpractice attorney or, you know, Birth Injury attorney, you know, something that indicates they’re looking for a lawyer right now. Whereas a longer tail keyword phrase is going to be like when should I hire a car accident attorney or how much does a car accident attorney cost? You know, things where it’s not clear that they’re really looking to talk to somebody right now but they’re just trying to figure out If you need to talk to somebody, or if they have a case, or if they should be learning more about their situation before they call an attorney, so you want to rank for both of them. But obviously, the purchase intent keyword phrase are the ones you really want to rank for. But you can also draw in traffic from people who are in the search in the buying phase, or in the research phase of the buying process, with a longer tail keyword phrases, and I have some examples that I can

Jeremy Weisz

show show some examples where the mistake is, most people don’t even know what those are, nor do they research stuff.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, and I see them and there’s, you know, there’s always an opportunity to improve even if you have a really well crafted post, but so the first site, I want to look at here, you see my screen?

Jeremy Weisz

Yep.

Matthew Laurin

Um, this law firm is RC Legal Group out of San Diego, California. They’ve been doing a lot of good blogging, putting a lot of content on your site, which is great. You always want to, you know, continue to put content out there. One thing I noticed, though, when I took a look at their Motorcycle Accident post here is the large volume of the word, motorcycle, can you do a Ctrl? Find on the page to find the word motorcycle, and it’s mentioned 50 times. And I think I actually did speak with these attorneys. And they had mentioned that the strategy they thought was to, you know, make sure the page is really relevant for whatever it is they’re writing about the title of this one’s what, what you need to know about motorcycle accidents in Oceanside in Vista, California. So logically, and a lot of people hear this, you know, Google finds the page relevant if the keyword phrases there. But in reality, you probably only need to happen a few times. And Google understands that this page is about motorcycle accidents in this location, so definitely you

Jeremy Weisz

scroll down. Yeah, what does it look like?

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, so I mean, I, my browser is highlighting all the words and you can see you know, all its peppered throughout with the word motorcycle, my suggestion would be to take out a lot of dimension of, of the word motorcycle and instead, go to thesaurus.com and generate other synonymous phrases for Motorcycle Accident Attorney, motor, Motorcycle Accident Lawyer, motorcycle wreck, bike wreck, things like that, to try to approach the content with a more holistic, more holistic strategy for that,

Jeremy Weisz

because then you could possibly rank for other terms related to motorcycles as opposed if you’re using motorcycle.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah. And there’s also a, you know, they’re all in the same category, pretty much. So it’s not like you’re going to rank different pages for slightly different variations of terms. If If, if the term is kind of a variation of what that whatever the parent term is, or then then Google is going to rank that page for it too. For the most part, um, so yeah, that would be my suggestion for this post is just to taper down the mention of Motorcycle Accident Lawyers include statistics about motorcycle accidents in the region include other links to helpful information, maybe, maybe there’s, you know, other types of insurance related information or maybe a list of insurance providers to avoid or you know, I don’t know what it would be, but other helpful information that would, would be useful to somebody who’s searching for this keyword phrase and trying to figure out what they want to do. And then also just having a clearer keyword strategy for the posts. So if it’s meant to rank for motorcycle accident in Oceanside, if you take if you stop for a minute and you think about what someone might be looking for if they use that that query motorcycle accident in Oceanside. They’re they’re probably looking for, you know, maybe images of motorcycle accidents or information about motorcycle accidents in Oceanside. They may not have even been in a motorcycle accident. So doing a little bit of keyword research to figure out what would a person who is thinking about hiring an attorney to help them with a case like this be searching for? if they if they aren’t ready to buy yet? They might be you know, like, how much does a motorcycle accident attorney in Oceanside cost? Or, you know, who are the motorcycle accident attorneys in Oceanside. And from there, you can kind of build on the content and rank for things that draw the type of people in that you want

Jeremy Weisz

to see the post. There’s more buyer intent in those situations.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, more buyer intent for sure. Yeah. Whereas this one has a little bit more research intent, like maybe somebody’s using this query to find information so they can write a paper or a news article or something like that, as opposed to wanting to hire an attorney eventually.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. So yeah, go ahead. Oh, no, go ahead. Question I was gonna say no, um, so not doing research with longtail keywords. And then in addition, having you know, too much repeatable keywords over and over anything else. On this blog, before I asked about the next one, um,

Matthew Laurin

I mean, I think those are the main issues I see with this blog and main things that could improve it. Yeah, I mean, the, I have some other examples here of, of an attorney who is kind of in the right direction, and then one who needs needs a little tune up. And then another one who’s doing some other aspects of blogging correctly.

Jeremy Weisz

All right, yeah, show the next one.

Matthew Laurin

So this guy, Oklahoma lawyer, Hasbrook & Hasbrook, this is a good example of a post that does better at targeting the longtail keyword phrase that has search intent. And then it also has a characteristic that I recommend to attorneys when they’re generating blog content is to link internally to their practice area pages. And the reason for that is back at the beginning of our call, I mentioned that part of the purpose of blogs is to create what we call linkable assets, or, you know, content that other site owners will want to link to. And so he’s, you know, when you generate a blog post and other sites link to it, you can funnel that link equity to your practice or your pages or to your sales pages. Whereas, you know, they may not want to link to the sales pages directly or the practice area pages directly, because they’re not, they’re not always, you know, they don’t have a research intent or a useful purpose in that regard. A lot of the time. So anyway, this guy does this good. So this post who’s at fault for a truck accident lawyer, or I’m sorry for a truck accident for a truck accident, and how truck accident lawyer can help. I didn’t check to see if there was search intent for this keyword phrase. So it’d be important to check that first. But it does kind of touch on the question research aspect of things like somebody may have been in a truck accident, maybe they’re a truck driver, or maybe they were hit by a truck or gotten an accident, you’re not looking

Jeremy Weisz

at who’s at fault. Typically, if you’re not in a truck accident, yeah.

Matthew Laurin

So so it’s obviously like, whoever is looking for content like this. I’m just

Jeremy Weisz

looking for a friend Matt.

Matthew Laurin

I’m asking for a buddy. Yeah, obviously. Yeah, it’s a it’s, it’s, it’s designed to capture people at the research phase. And then here, right at the beginning of the post, they link to their practice area page right here with this keyword phrase so good on that. Yeah, and I mean,

Jeremy Weisz

no people and mistake people make is they don’t do any internal linking at all. Mostly,

Matthew Laurin

I’ve seen that. Yeah, I’ve seen that. And, um, I don’t know if I have an example of that here. But But yeah, all right, this big, long piece of content, it ranks Well, that’s awesome. But internal linking can be just as important as building External links to your site, because it shows Google what pages on your site are important, and which ones you know, or, you know, maybe not, maybe not deserving of so much link authority. So yeah, you want to always want to link link internally to a practice area page. And then I also recommend no following links to like your contact page, like down here, you can see in my browser, it’s outlining this schedule a free consultation, because this is no followed. Because the contact page isn’t really something you’re trying to rank for anything, it usually doesn’t have a lot of content, it’s, it’s a function driven page doesn’t need to, you need to target a keyword phrase. So just nofollow these links, so that link authority is not passing to those. And then any note any external links, like your social profiles, or links to privacy policy should be nofollow as well. Only the links to other posts or links to your practice area pages should be do follow.

Jeremy Weisz

Got it? What was it? What’s the next? Is there? Anything others on on this one? Or should we go to the next? Oh,

Matthew Laurin

yeah, let’s look at the next one. Um, this attorney, this was a good example. And we almost didn’t show this because they couldn’t really see their blog. But I guess that’s a good example of, you know, something you should always make sure is is done is that you that you have the content on your site is accessible no matter what page a person is on. And a good thing to do is put a blog menu item in the main navigation structure of your site so that people can get to that page and see posts on the site and that it’s organized in a way that is logical for Google when you don’t have that blog page. There. It’s more difficult for people to find and then you also don’t get the benefit of you know, any link equity that you have pointing at your homepage. A lot of people by default will link to your homepage if they’re building links naturally to your site. And if you don’t have that page connected in some way, it’s just you’re missing out on opportunities.

Jeremy Weisz

I’m on the phone with people, Matt, and I’m like trying to find I’m like, Where’s your blog? I’m trying to find out more information. And they’re like, Oh, you click on this and it’s like the third thing down or you got to go to the bottom. I’m like, Can you just put it at the top and I was actually looking for it. Right, and I was on the phone with the person. And I go before the call, I wanted to do a little research. And I could not find it. I could not find it.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, that’s always a bad scenario. I’ve seen other sites where it’s like, it’s under an About Us section. And then maybe you can’t even click on the blog until you click on the About Us link. And then it’s a link down on the page as opposed to being in the menu. Right, right. And yeah, I mean, anytime you make it difficult for people to find things when they’re already on your site is that

Jeremy Weisz

I mean, you want people that stumble across it naturally, let alone if they’re looking for it again, find it, um, because I’ve had scenarios. So I totally get what you’re saying.

Matthew Laurin

And then another scenario, like if someone clicks on a blog post link from a search results page goes to your site reads the blog, you know, wants to see more information or more content on your site, and maybe they go to a practice area page, or maybe they go to the contact page, but then they want to go back to the blog, and they can’t find it anymore. There’s another issue. So yeah, yeah, definitely want to that was the example with this site.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. So put it front and center. First of all, if they hit that page, they’ll be able to find more information. Second of all, it’s just easier to access.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, yeah, definitely. And then my last example, here is of another site, LemonLaw.com, who’s doing it’s not they don’t have like a traditional. They’re not doing the blogging in a traditional way, really, that I would do it for ranking for keyword phrases for a specific practice area. So in this case, it’s like, you know, it’s lemon laws or consumer protection laws, but they are doing a really cool strategy where they’re trying to find issues with that people are having with vehicles, keyword phrases that are being searched, you know, kind of, you know, in the near term, and generating content around that, and then linking back to, to their sales pages. So in this case, it’s been really successful for them. And it’s, it’s still follows a similar strategy where they’re looking for a keyword phrase with search volume, because obviously, if people are having issues, and for people that don’t know, the lemon law firm, does consumer protection legal work where if people have issues with vehicles that have repeatedly been back in the shop, and can be fixed or is down for a long period of time, they’re able to recover monetary Awards on for, for that from from auto manufacturers, and there’s actually statutes and a lot of states that provide for payment of legal fees by the manufacturer for consumers who’ve had to go through that process. And this firm does that.

Jeremy Weisz

So most people don’t even know that exists. Probably

Matthew Laurin

they don’t

Jeremy Weisz

or they searching for something.

Matthew Laurin

There’s so much information out there. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Like in this case, it was Ford F 250. Death wobble is shaking drivers of Ford F 250. Death. Wobble was the keyword phrase. So yeah, I mean, people are searching on forums they’re searching on, you know, maybe Lemon Law websites or wherever, you know, on social media trying to figure out if other people have the same issue, how have you been able to resolve it, I’ve had this thing into the dealership, it’s not getting fixed. And so really a brilliant strategy in in targeting these keyword phrases coming up with a post about it. And you can tell that they’re getting a lot of good responses. I mean, 128 responses on this blog, wow, I post ton of comments. And they’ve linked internally to a page, they want to rank here in New Jersey Lemon Law page, and then to their contact form. Um, there are short posts, I mean, not a lot of information, which generally I wouldn’t recommend, but because of the strategy they’re using, it’s really successful because they don’t, you know, they’re targeting something that has a lot of search volume, their, their site is already authoritative. They’re a Lemon Law site. And so when they put this content out there, it tends to rank really well and get a lot of activity.

Jeremy Weisz

Matt does, um, a company like this, do they take cases all over the country? Or is it more specific to their through their region?

Matthew Laurin

This firm takes cases in a lot of states across the country. Don’t quote me on this, because sometimes I forget which states they do. I know they do. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio. And they do some they do some states on the on the, I think on the west coast, either that or they have partners they deal with pretty much anywhere on the east coast. If you have an issue with a vehicle, LemonLaw.com can take care, I just know certain practices of law. It’s like, you know, limited to their state, in general. Yeah, in general. It is. And I think they have enough attorneys licensed in different states.

Jeremy Weisz

Gotta do that. That makes sense. That works.

Matthew Laurin

Oh, you’re right. Yeah, if you’re licensed in a state, you can’t practice outside of that state. I’m in another state.

Jeremy Weisz

So biggest mistakes we talked about is putting too many of the same keyword. Like not researching longtail keywords, make sure you’re doing internal linking. And then the obvious I guess, would be make sure someone could find your blog. Um, you We also talked about or like I’ve heard this term, and I don’t know if you’ve covered it already, but I’ve heard the term spamming before. Is that something you already talked about? Or what what does that mean?

Matthew Laurin

Um, I guess it could mean a lot of things. But for as it relates to blogging, spamming would be generating content that doesn’t have any clear value. So maybe there’s a keyword phrase like Motorcycle Accident Attorney and then writing a post about that, that doesn’t have any meat any real usefulness, any real in depth research, and then just, you know, affiliate with keyword phrases, and trying to link to it a bunch of times with God, exact match anchor text, Motorcycle Accident Attorney, anchor, anchor text, things like that. That would be an example of spamming using a blog to spam because that strategy will not work. And if it does work in the initial stages, it will stop, you know, you won’t those, those pages usually get nixed pretty quickly, because they don’t offer a lot of value to users. Google just wants to provide useful information for people that are searching for the queries. And the more Yeah, this is probably another thing you hear all the times is create useful content. And I hate that because it’s not. It’s not descriptive enough of what you should be producing like, you just if you want a post to rank for a specific keyword phrase, you have to assuming it ticks, checks, all the other boxes has search volume and everything, you have to look at the top ranking pages, and you have to make your content better than all those top ranking pages better than the most comprehensive source of information on the internet for that particular topic area. Yeah. And that’s when Google will start ranking it higher. I mean, you still have to promote it. But in general, for as far as the content is structured, it needs to be it needs to be a really well written piece of information.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, I mean, it seems like the the common thread Matt is, is research, like, first of all, you should research what terms who are searching and then research well, who is ranking for certain things at the top and look and see, what are they doing? And probably they’re doing something that Google likes, or wouldn’t be ranked? Or look at the top three, and then actually do your research and have a strategy?

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, totally. Yeah. And the strategy that we promote for clients is, if they don’t have existing blog content, it’s usually generating content around longtail keyword phrases that are relevant to the practice areas, they want to drive in cases, if they do have blog content. So most often, it’s a case where, you know, the internal linking is not being leveraged appropriately, the keyword targeting is not not as good as it could be, excuse me, or they have so much content out there that doesn’t really have a purpose that is creating a lot of bloat. So we go through and we find posts that may be ranking on the cusp of the first or second page and select those for improvement. We select posts that already have referring domains pointed at them, they already have links pointing to them. And we use those for internal linking. So those are kind of the things that we look at people as

Jeremy Weisz

kind of low hanging fruit and then bolstering that up. Exactly. They’re not even utilizing measure anything that we missed with this with blogging and marketing for SEO and big mistakes people make

Matthew Laurin

no I don’t think so. I mean, I just I think you should be blogging if you’re doing SEO. And just keep in mind that if if you don’t really have a clear strategy with the generating content, you should have one because you’re spinning your wheels If not,

Jeremy Weisz

yeah, so we should point I know they can go to Esq.Marketing anywhere else we should point people towards

Matthew Laurin

Oh, no, that’s it. Yeah. Esq.Marketing. And you can learn more about more about us there. We have a ton of information on the site related to SEO and blogging. And

Jeremy Weisz

yeah, what’s the top podcast episode people should check out? that sticks out to you? I know it’s like choosing your favorite child anything

Matthew Laurin

anything with Jeremy was in it for all that, that’s

Jeremy Weisz

for sure. Any any past guests that stick out that were just um, that is a fan favorite.

Matthew Laurin

Let me take a look at the blog. Yeah. I heard the Lemon Law when we actually did a lemon podcast with lemon law. That’s a good one. The I really like the one with Ann Thayer, starting a solo practice during a pandemic. She talks a lot about how she was able to cut back on costs and kind of where to invest, invest money and where not, which for any business owner. It’s always and even though I’m guilty of this, I get distracted by shiny things and I’m like, Oh, I need to get this or I need to send out gifts during the holiday or I need to you know buy nice office furniture. I need to look professional. I need all these new clothes or something like that, but she was like, yeah, in the beginning, you don’t focus on that stuff you, you know, buy cheap office furniture spend on marketing buy marketing, which I know that sounds like a conflict of interest because I’m marketing but, but investing in the business to generate more business. Yeah,

Jeremy Weisz

I mean, that’s gonna generate more business for sure. Yeah,

Matthew Laurin

she had some other good tips in there too. That’s a good one. And then especially for like solo law firms or one start now and then also Frank Vendt, The Vendt Law Firm. He had some good tips along similar lines, you know how when he was starting out, talked about how he was broke and how he had to really grind to get some business and I think him sharing his experiences is enlightening for other attorneys who might be in the same situation right now.

Jeremy Weisz

Awesome. Check out Esq.Marketing, check out other podcast episodes. And Matt, thanks for having me.

Matthew Laurin

Thanks, buddy. Always a pleasure.

Conclusion

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.

Winning Over Clients From Other Lawyers

December 16, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

Mitchell ChabanMitchell Chaban is a Partner at the Chicago-based law practice, Levin Ginsburg. He is a trial attorney who represents business entities, municipalities, and individuals in commercial, business, and employment-related litigation in state and federal courts in the U.S.

In addition to his jury and bench trial experience, Mitchell also represents clients in arbitrations, mediations, and other alternative dispute resolution cases. He is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and Chicago Bar Association and serves as a Group Leader for the Provisors Chicago West Group.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Who is Mitchell Chaban and what’s his role at Levin Ginsburg?
  • What does Levin Ginsburg do?
  • How Mitchell became a Partner at Levin Ginsburg.
  • Why Mitchell didn’t pursue a solo practice.
  • How to win over clients from your competitors.
  • Mitchell talks about how to find great hires.
  • The challenge with the Farm system for recruiting lawyers.
  • How COVID-19 has impacted the legal practice.
  • How to keep moving efficiently at your firm.
  • Mitchell’s advice for lawyers looking to go into solo practice.

In this episode…

Let’s face it: your dream client may already have a lawyer who does excellent work. But one day, for some reason, you get a chance to talk with this potential client. What do you say to make them change their attorney and work with you instead?

Mitchell Chaban, Partner at Levin Ginsburg, says the number one thing you can do to get business as an attorney is to give business. Then come the questions: who do you give business to? And how? What does any of this have to do with winning clients over?

Find out more on how to win clients over from other lawyers with this episode of the Esq.Marketing Podcast, as host Matthew Laurin sits down with Mitchell Chaban, Partner at Chicago-based law practice Levin Ginsburg. Their conversation highlights how to be more than just a lawyer to clients, recruiting great hires, and Mitchell’s advice to lawyers trying to start their firm.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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.

 

Episode Transcript

Intro

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

Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing and you’re listening to the Esq. Marketing Podcast where I feature successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States. This episode is brought to you by Esq.Marketing we help law firms generate more clients in cases using search marketing. And speaking of successful lawyers today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mitchell Chaban. Mitchell is a Partner at Chicago based Levin Ginsburg. He represents business entities, municipalities and individuals in commercial business and employment related litigation in state and federal courts all around the country. Mitchell, welcome to the show.

Mitchell Chaban

Thanks for having me, man.

Matthew Laurin

Is this your first podcast? I didn’t I forgot to ask you that before.

Mitchell Chaban

This is my maiden run on it on a podcast very excited for the opportunity. Awesome. Awesome. I

Matthew Laurin

haven’t been doing it too long. But I usually ask people that before our intro and just to just to cut I’m just curious from time to time, because a lot of times when I have guests on, they’re like, I’ve never done a podcast and we’re supposed to do something or how do I do this? I don’t do that. And like It’s fine. It’s just we’re just having a conversation. Cool. So um, Mitchell, tell me more about Levin Ginsburg, the the firm You are a partner at what do you what do you guys do?

Mitchell Chaban

Well, Levin Ginsburg has a long and storied history. The firm is 40 years old this year. Founding and its founding partners, Joe Ginsburg and Bob have been our business law attorneys that really focus on transactions. They formed the firm in 1980, and have built it to currently 14 lawyers. We’re a full practice business firm. We generally represent small medium, and some large companies as well as municipalities and some select individuals in all manner of business law, litigation, employment law contracts, corporate mergers and acquisitions, securities, state planning, business succession planning, soft intellectual property, so things like trademarks, copyrights, license agreements, we stay away from patents. We don’t do Family Law, we don’t do personal injury, and we don’t do bankruptcy. But other than that, we pretty much cover the full gamut of the type of legal issues that business owners will encounter.

Matthew Laurin

Gotcha. And I think I read somewhere you’ve been at the firm for 15 years of that 40.

Mitchell Chaban

My 15th annual anniversary will be this January. So just a few weeks from now. It’ll be incredibly 15 years since I joined Levin Ginsburg, that’s awesome.

Matthew Laurin

So did you come in as like an associate or?

Mitchell Chaban

I, this is my 25th year of practicing law. So by the time I got to Levin Ginsburg, I’d already been at this for 10 years, okay, I came in as a senior associate, because I didn’t have much of a book of business, one of the I had been at a couple of different firms before I got to Levin Ginsburg, where those firms really wanted me to focus on doing the legal work, you know, working the files, billing hours generating revenue, I was not encouraged or incentivized to go and develop my own book of clients. And as I reached about the 10th, year of my practice, I started to get opportunities to represent clients that were already represented by the firm I worked for, and I was not really supported in pursuing those opportunities. So that was the signal to me, that I should move to a firm that was more entrepreneurial, and would support my efforts to build a business of my own. And one of the real hallmarks of Levin Ginsburg, is that all of our attorneys are entrepreneurial, we all have an obligation. And we’re all committed to bringing in business ourselves as well as doing the work. So we are complete attorneys, we like to think of ourselves as Renaissance lawyers. So we’re really good at what we do. We’re really enthusiastic about what we do. And we’re all about bringing value to the relationships we have with our clients and our referral sources.

Matthew Laurin

So did that that that entrepreneurial spirit start from day one at Levin Ginsburg? Did you was it always the case where like, you’re going to be involved in the business aspect of marketing aspect, the day to day operation aspect as opposed to just practicing law when you came into the firm.

Mitchell Chaban

That was the expectation when I was hired. I think when I was looking for opportunities around my 10th year of practice, and I was connected with Levin Ginsburg through a headhunter, in the initial interview, they, you know, Joe Ginsburg said to me, what do you want? Where do you see yourself as a lawyer, and I said, 10 years from now, I want to be an equity partner at the firm and have a million dollar book business. And this is self sustaining lawyer and, and have enough work to keep some younger attorneys busy and help mentor them into becoming partners too. And I think that was the right answer. Joe Ginsburg became my mentor. And he challenged me from day one, you said, you want to be a Rainmaker? What are you going to do to develop business, and he made me put together a business development plan with clear goals and benchmarks and set dates to report back to him as to whether I’ve hit those benchmarks, and what am I going to do differently? If I have not, and I was held accountable, year after year, and, you know, maybe that’s what it took. But it worked in business development, on marketing, networking is just kind of a regular part of my everyday life.

Matthew Laurin

That’s, that’s so cool. And it’s different than, you know, a lot of the attorneys I talked to they’ve, for the most part, you know, they’ve worked at firms for a little while, they kind of get the feel for how things work, and then they go off on their own, whereas you kind of, in the attorneys at your firm have sort of been taken under the wing of someone who’s been out there and, and, and allowed to kind of grow within that without facing a ton of risk, right? Maybe that you face if yet if you just kind of opened up shop and started trying to get clients in the door from your own firm. Um, so that’s, that’s really neat that you have a that you had a mentor in the beginning like that. I know, from my perspective, so this agency is the we have a parent agency and the CEO that Chris Dreyer is my mentor, similar, you know, we, we started this agency and, and he’s been really great at holding me accountable and setting goals and showing me how that whole process works. So that’s, that’s unique to you, I guess, in, in the law firms that I’ve spoken with any way that that that you’ve been able to grow within an organization. Um, so, back in the beginning, when you got involved with Levin Ginsburg, was there any thought in your mind about kind of starting off on your own before you came to this firm? Like, did you ever think about like I wanted to start my own deal?

Mitchell Chaban

I did. And the the thing that deterred me from pursuing a solo practice is that after 10 years of working for firms, I was very confident in my ability to do the work in my area of practice, but not confident in doing work outside of my area of practice, areas of practice. And I didn’t want to pass up on opportunities to build relationships simply because the the opportunity that presented itself wasn’t an area of law that I had experience in. So I felt I needed the backing of a firm that, you know, had a breadth of practice areas that would help me bring clients in for whatever the initial need was, and then get sticky with them and develop a personal relationship, and just tangentially, my personal philosophy. And that’s probably not unique to me, that I believe I really have a client, when that person or business calls me about something that has nothing to do with legal services, because they trust me as an advisor, to steer them in the right direction to find them the right person, or, you know, whatever this solution is, even if it has nothing to do with legal work, and it doesn’t mean a fee for me or my firm. And whenever I talk to a potential client, by the time I’m seeing them, they probably already have a lawyer. So why would you make the change? And so what I say to them, and I might be giving away a little trade secret here, but I say to them is, if your existing attorney, CPA banker, if they’re not opening up their world of contacts to you, to make introductions and connections to help you solve your problems and accomplish your goals, you’re not getting the full value out of that with those relationships. So what I’m offering you, you know, consumers of legal services, look at lawyers, a lot of the way that you and I would look at going to a doctor, you just expect that the doctor is competent, and he’s going to get it right so there’s no There’s no you know, extra payoff you get for just doing a good job that’s expected. But the things that the client remembers are that I took their call on Saturday that I talked him off the ledge when they were about to make a really emotional decision that they probably would have regretted, and that they remember when they needed their CFO quit, and they were in a pinch, and they really needed someone right away. And I connected them with the right people. Those are the things that they remember, they don’t remember what the legal product looks like. It’s just like you don’t remember when the doctor set your broken arm. It just worked out. But you remember the experience you had going to the office? So we try to deliver the best client experience possible, because just getting a good result is already expected. So you’ve gone off the tangent time what you asked me there?

Matthew Laurin

No, no, that’s great. Um, yeah, you’re right. I mean, very seldom do we remember exactly what it was we liked about any service that we buy? And, yeah, we just remember the experience, whether it be good or bad. If it’s negative, we remember it being negative, we don’t really can’t really pinpoint it. And if it’s positive, and it’s good, that you’re dependable for for your clients, you’re able they’re able to rely on you. Which leads me to my other question about people at your firm. So you have 14 attorneys. What’s uh, how do you how do you find good people like that, that are entrepreneurial that are that are able to put in the grit and the work? You know, how a lot of letters, a lot of law firms that I talked to, you know, maybe they’re looking to hire their first associate or get someone else in the door to help help scale things? How do you find good people like that?

Mitchell Chaban

Well, that’s a great question. So in my 15, or so years at Levin Ginsburg, my observation is our best hires, whether they be attorneys support staff administrator have always been referrals from people who already work at our firm. So people who are being brought in by my partners or my colleagues, and they already know them, we already have a pretty good idea of what we’re getting, those tend to be the best hires for us. Historically, at least again, over the last 15 years or so, we’ve not had a lot of success with our farm system in the sense of hiring a first year out of law school, and keeping them you know, all the way through their associates ship till the point where we can promote them to a partner. In the 15 years, we’ve had some great hires out of law school, and they stuck around for a while. And then for one reason or another, they left to go in house, they left to go to a bigger firm, they moved away whatever it was. So we have had difficulty bringing, you know, people up from the beginning, although I will tell you coincidentally, today, we made an offer to our Locklear, who is our clerk while he was a third year law student, he graduated in 2020. He passed the bar this summer. And so now he’s officially an associate our firm. So we haven’t given up on the farm system. But you know, in the long term, it has not yielded, you know, what we had hoped for. So we’re, you know, we’re tinkering with the way we handle it, and the hope that this guy who we love is going to be with us for the next, you know, 30 years of his career.

Matthew Laurin

That’s awesome. Man, you mentioned farm system is that? What is that? Is that just a term you refer to for?

Mitchell Chaban

Yeah, it’s a it’s a sports reference, you know, to, okay, baseball farm system that a lot of firms, you know, years ago, they would go to the law schools, and they try to find them, you know, real good students and bring them in as law clerks or summer associates, get to know them. And then find the ones that you think are really going to fit the culture of your firm and do a good job and, and bring them in as first year associates and train them the way you want them to be trained. And that was really the way things worked. I’d say until about 2008. When we had the big, you know, financial crisis, then the law firm started shedding younger lawyers and partners that weren’t carrying their weight. And now suddenly, no one was interested in hiring a first year lawyer, you know, it’s probably a year and a half, two years from when you hire them before you really start making money on them. Okay? The dirty secret about law school is you get out of law school, you can pass the bar and they hand you a license that says you can practice law but the reality is you don’t know how to practice law yet. And you need to be mentored and there’s a cost of you know, more senior Your attorney time spent teaching younger lawyers how to do this. I mean, I enjoy doing that it’s a necessary part of our profession. But it’s a sunk cost. In those younger lawyers, I should say newer lawyers, some of them are in their second careers, they may not be chronologically young lawyers. And so I think a lot of firms have gotten away from that, because they don’t want to sink the resources into train this person, because the odds of an attorney, an Associate Attorney, spending 20 years at one firm right now is pretty low, which, in our experience bears that out. you’ve trained well, you know, new lawyers for 567 years, they get to be really good. And then for one reason or another, they move on, and you got to start over. So that’s sunk investment is gone. So, you know, that’s what I mean, by the farm system. We haven’t given up on it yet. I think our selection criteria may have changed a bit, since we, you know, sort of looked into, why are our associates leaving after a period of time, and there isn’t one reason for it, but, um, and none of them would ever say I think, or at least not to our face that they weren’t happy. It was either. They had a reason why they had to leave, like one moved away, he got married and moved. Another one took a job in house because it was just an easier lifestyle. Yeah. You know, not that they weren’t happy at the firm, but they just didn’t necessarily want that level of intensity.

Matthew Laurin

Gotcha. Gotcha. That makes sense. Um, I wanted to switch gears a little bit here and talk about, you know, the, what’s been going on with COVID and everything and how that’s changed how businesses operate. Has that changed or impacted your firm a lot and how you guys conduct business?

Mitchell Chaban

Well, it’s, you know, it’s certainly impacted us the way it’s impacted. Everybody, our office has essentially been closed, we have been working remotely since the middle of March. If we have clients that have a need or a desire to meet in person, we will do that. In terms of court proceedings, and such, those are mostly being conducted remotely. So in that way, it has impacted the practice, but in a surprisingly positive way. There’s a lot of efficiencies built into these video hearings on doesn’t work so well for like contested court hearings, where you have to present evidence and examine witnesses, but for routine court hearings, it works great. But more to your question about how has it impacted the firm? We used to host a lot of things at our office, our various partners belong to different organizations, and they would host meetings and any potential opportunity I’d have for a new client or something, I always try to get them to the office, you know, they get a feeling of who we are, they can meet some of my colleagues, I think we present Well, when you come to our office.

Matthew Laurin

I didn’t even think about that. Yeah,

Mitchell Chaban

yeah. So so you know, that’s, that’s a challenge. But, you know, sort of ironically, although it’s inhibited our ability to meet face to face, I’ve had people that I’ve worked with, where they work in a company that we represent, and I’ve been doing legal work for that company for years, but I’ve never met this person, I’ve only talked to them on the phone, I’ve never seen them face to face. Well, now we have these video meetings. And so we’re going to AI for the first time in 10 years, I can put like a face to the name. So you know, you don’t get the in person meeting now. But I think you get more face to face than you did before.

Matthew Laurin

Do you think you’ll keep any of these new processes as things kind of get back to normal?

Mitchell Chaban

I think that I will. Um, I you know, to me, the biggest development is what we’re doing right now, this video conference where I can actually see you and in a low cost, a whole bunch of us can jump on and have a team meeting and break out into separate rooms and the technologies, you know, really powerful and creates a lot of opportunities. I think it would be foolish to not continue to use this and find ways to leverage, you know, all the things that this can do.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, yeah, agreed. I know, we’ve always worked remotely. And so my world didn’t change much. But it’s neat to see businesses adapt. I’ve always thought that was interesting. And it’s neat to see law firms be able to leverage technology and change things and find new ways to operate. Is there any other business processes that you guys use? You’re a bigger firm, a lot of the firm’s I talked to, you know, it might be one attorney or maybe two, with maybe one or two support staff. Is there any processes that you use to remain efficient, keep things moving in a efficient manner.

Mitchell Chaban

As you know, as an organization, I think we’re always looking at streamlining our processes, whether that’s this doesn’t really apply some of In my practice area, whether that’s creating form documents that can be filled out by just filling in the fields, or creating banks of legal research that we’ve done on other cases, to sort of have a knowledge Bank of work we’ve already done so when these issues come up again, we have an efficient way to go get that we’re always looking to leverage technology that way I am not involved in that can be you know, committee, I need you talking to me, my, my technological skills are pretty rudimentary. But I, you know, we’re in kind of transition, the two founding partners of the firm are now you know, well into their 50 plus year of practice. So it’s sort of a generational transfer to my generation now is kind of in control of the firm. There are some, um, you know, folks a bit younger than me that are more technologically savvy, that are looking at other platforms to switch to to kind of upgrade some of our existing technology. And that’s where I think the efficiencies are really is in the use of technology.

Matthew Laurin

That’s cool that you have people coming into the firm that are comfortable doing that, um, my final question for you, um, if an attorney is listening, maybe they’re working at a firm and they’re thinking about going off on their own, or maybe just like you did go into a firm that has more opportunities for equity, equity partnership, what would be a piece of advice you’d give to them?

Mitchell Chaban

I guess I have two pieces of pieces of advice. If you’re whether you’re going to go out on your own, or whether you’re going to try to build a book of business with a firm behind you, my first piece of advice is figure out who you are as a lawyer in a in a major metropolitan area, like, you know, Metro Chicago, you cannot be all things to all people. So you need to decide what kind of law you practice and what kind of clients you do and can represent and focus on that. That’s my first piece of advice. My second piece of advice, the number one thing you can do as an attorney to get business is to give business. And that’s a it’s a way of life to look for opportunities to ask the right questions, get the right app information, to make connections so that commerce happens for other people. If you can do that. Business will come back to you.

Matthew Laurin

There you have it sage advice. You’ve been listening to Mitchell Chaban, Partner at Levin Ginsburg, Mitchell, where can people go to learn more about the firm,

Mitchell Chaban

you can go to www.lgattorneys.com and check out our website where you can reach out to me Mitchell Chaban, I’m happy to talk to anybody about anything. If you have a legal issue about anything. I’m happy to talk to you and the initial consultation is always cost free.

Matthew Laurin

Nice. Nice. Thanks for being on the show. Mitchell.

Mitchell Chaban

Thank you so much for the opportunity and thanks for

Conclusion

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.

Partnership Over Solo Practice?

December 9, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

Jonathan Denis

Jonathan Denis is a Founding Partner at Guardian Law Group. Before founding Guardian Law Group, Jonathan worked in the public sector as a legislator and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Calgary-Acadia twice.

In addition to being a recognized authority in politics and governance, Jonathan has received accolades in his career, including being appointed a Queen’s Counsel of Alberta, and winning a spot on Avenue Calgary’s “Top 40 under 40” in 2010.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Who is Jonathan Denis?
  • What was it like for Jonathan to quit politics and start Guardian Law Group?
  • Should you begin your law firm with a partner or go solo?
  • The challenge of being a lawyer and running the business of law.
  • Working for a firm or running your firm: what’s the big difference?
  • Jonathan’s most effective way to generate new business.
  • The one piece of advice every lawyer trying to start a new firm should know.

In this episode…

You want to start your law firm, right? But, you’re not sure what to expect if you quit your job to branch out on your own. On top of that, you’re thinking: should I go solo or find a partner?

Well, just like you, Jonathan Denis of Guardian Law Group once had to make that critical decision. Today, he shares his experience with Matthew Laurin and touches on what he thinks every lawyer who wants to start a new law firm should know.

Join the conversation on this episode of the Esq.Marketing Podcast as host Matthew Laurin sits down with Jonathan Denis, Founding Partner of the Guardian Law Group. Jonathan shares his experience about what it was like to quit his job, find a partner, and start a new law firm. He also talks about the challenges of being a lawyer and running the business of law, the most effective way to attract new business, and more.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Software Tools Mentioned:

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.

 

Episode Transcript

Intro

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

Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing and you’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast where I feature successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States and today outside the United States. This episode is brought to you by Esq.Marketing, we help law firms generate more clients in cases using search marketing. And speaking of successful law firms today, I have the pleasure speaking with Jonathan Denis, Jonathan is the co founder of Guardian Law Group. In addition to being a recognized authority in politics and governance, Jonathan has been named to the Queen’s Counsel of Alberta, and one of Avenue magazine’s top 40, under 40. And that was when he was under 40. Jonathan, welcome to the show.

Jonathan Denis

Welcome. Thank you for having me.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, no worries. I’m glad to have you on. I know it took some doing but we finally got you scheduled and thought you would, you’d be a great guest. Because it just reading on your site appears you’ve had a ton of success, not only growing your own law firm, but in local politics in in Alberta, Canada. Is that correct?

Jonathan Denis

That’s correct. Yes. Alberta is just north of Montana. For those of you who may or may not have been here, I know that. I live in a city called Calgary, which is about 1.21 point 3 million people Canada’s fourth largest city. Also the kind of the number two energy capital in North America next to Houston, there’s a lot of oil and gas in Alberta. There’s also a large number of American citizens who live in my city.

Matthew Laurin

Crazy. I didn’t know that. And I like that you said it’s about Montana, because I it’s so helpful. I feel like we hear about these places all the time, but we never really think about where they are. So that’s cool.

Jonathan Denis

So Jonathan, I’ve lived in Canada my entire life, but I have I’ve actually been to 39 states, I quite like traveling to the United States. I’ve had a great time, every time I’ve been there.

Matthew Laurin

Awesome. Awesome. Um, so take us back to the beginning. When you started your law firm, what was it like for you?

Jonathan Denis

Well, so I, I got into politics actually, rather unexpectedly, the government changed. We weren’t expecting that at all. But then in 2015. And I asked myself, What do I want to do, and I actually met one of my partners, through a mutual friend. And I ended up working at her office for a while. And we decided, actually, we were going to buy that buy some real estate, which we did in 2016. And we’ve since grown this for this firm to 13. legal professionals, plus support staff as well. We’re located in downtown Calgary just east of the downtown, a bit of a different business model, we like I said, we do. Oh, excuse me, my partner, I do want the building here. I just I thought it was a good time to get into get into the real estate business. And this has worked out we developed a floor and it’s, it’s been quite a good venture. Actually.

Matthew Laurin

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So you worked at other law firms before you headed decided to go out on your own?

Jonathan Denis

That’s it? That’s correct. Yeah, I worked at an at one of the Canada’s top 10 National firms before I got into politics as well. The there was options available when I was back into the private sector. And I decided to go the private route of one of the reasons business, I think there’s something to be said about running your own chip. There’s a lot of benefits you have at the larger cars, but I wanted to try my hand on my own. And the best thing I will tell you is it is it’s much better. Having actual partners, as long as you have good partners. And I do I was just talking to one of my partners here. She’s fabulous. And it’s a it’s much better when you have people that you can work with and depend on.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, definitely. Because then you can actually treat it like a business and take vacations and and things get still get done when you’re when you’re not there as opposed to owning a job right.

Jonathan Denis

100%. Like in a law firm, it was not just a business, there’s obviously the professional responsibility. That’s first and foremost, your responsibility to the court, to other lawyers, to the profession to your clients. But there’s also a business acumen that you need. And that’s what separates a lawyer who might make $100,000 a year from a lawyer to make maybe $400,000 a month a year is the business model they have.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, like they said that too. And they, a lot of the attorneys that I talked to, you know, they teach you everything about the law in school, but they don’t really give you a lot of coaching on running a business and all those things that come along with it. And so that could be a challenge. Well, what what was the biggest challenge for you in learning how to do all that? Did you have a business background or

Jonathan Denis

I have been I do have a commerce degree Actually, I’ve run several businesses as well. And actually, when I when I look for students to hire, I typically prefer people that have a business or commerce background. Because again, the Professional Responsibility is always first. But running a law firm is like running a business. And you may have these lofty cases that they teach you about an academia but at the end of the day, you also have to make business cases as to where you want to go where you want to go with your firm. How are you going to market yourself what your niche areas of practice are much like any other business again, so back to the Professional Responsibility there, too. A bit you have to consider as far as being a martyr.

Matthew Laurin

Gotcha, gotcha. And my next question is, what’s one tool or piece of software that you use on a regular basis in your law firm that’s really sort of help you be more efficient or helped you help you grow it?

Jonathan Denis

Well, I’ve been at the accounting software that we use PC Law, I’ve used that most of my entire career I find is a very positive accounting software. There’s other there’s other platforms, they’re like, Easy Law, Clio I’ve used before, I always find that pcls actually is actually the best and ba may not be the most flashy thing in the world. But it’s actually the best piece of software that that we have. I also do a lot of business by email. And I find it’s much more efficient than than other ways of business. And particularly in a situation where you have a this this COVID issue, we’re doing more and more video conferencing up in Canada, you can actually do court appearances by video, which I actually find much more efficient. I hope they keep it when society returns back to normal.

Matthew Laurin

I’ve heard others attorneys in the states doing that. And they say the same thing. I’m trying to think what, what’s one thing you notice from working for a firm to running your own firm? What was one thing that was like, oh, man, that’s totally different. I didn’t realize it would be that way.

Jonathan Denis

Well, we’re going to national office, there’s, there’s always a, there’s really never a shortage of work. At most national offices, you’re dealing with very high end clients. But the downside of that is a lot of the firm’s here are, are controlled out of their central office in Toronto. So you don’t have the freedom. Like I like to write letters to break articles in the paper, I sometimes would have somebody complaining in Toronto, they don’t like my opinion or something, you don’t have that in a smaller office. But a smaller office, though, you do need a marketing plan. And a person’s notoriety only goes so far. So maybe as soon as 1015 years ago, you would just take a big yellow page ad in the Yellow Pages. nobody uses Yellow Pages anymore. So it’s tying into your business. It’s it’s important that you have an actual system that works. And I will tell you that this is no reflection upon a good professional like yourself. But you got to hire the right people in that area, because we’ve actually hired many people that will promise you the world and deliver you nothing but a bill. Yeah, yeah, you

Matthew Laurin

gotta watch out for those SEO guys, they’re scammers. No,

Jonathan Denis

I’m not saying that. Just gonna hire the right people.

Matthew Laurin

I hear you. Yeah, it’s it. You’re right. There’s a there’s a lot of fly by night companies out there. And if you’re not careful, yeah, I mean, anyone can can promise promise results? And then, you know, unfortunately, sometimes they you know, they can’t deliver. Um, so you’re totally spot on about that. Um, I didn’t realize they had the yellow pages in Canada.

Jonathan Denis

They have. I haven’t seen one in many years. But as soon as, like, as recent as about 10 years ago, the good lawyers would take on a page in the Yellow Pages and not just like a card, no one’s gonna read a card, you have to spend the money into a page. And I think that same principle applies to online marketing as well. If you’re going to do it, you may as well do it. Well.

Matthew Laurin

I think they call the the double truck. Is that what they call it up there, too?

Jonathan Denis

I never heard that.

Matthew Laurin

That ad. Okay. I thought I thought the the two page or the one page ad was called the double truck. So, Jonathan, out of all of the advertising marketing initiatives, at your firm to generate new business, what’s been the most effective for you?

Jonathan Denis

So the most effective is still word of mouth. Okay. I actually I teach some of the students there, if you want more work, I’m sorry, my, no worries. If you want more work, all you have to do is do a good job with your existing clients. Okay, because people will talk about I get many referrals from other people that we’ve done good work with. And one of the things we’ve actually started doing here is when we resolve a file, I will ask someone boldly, can you please put a positive Google review for me?

Matthew Laurin

Nice. If that worked out for you. They follow through?

Jonathan Denis

It has it has Yes. But one by one like this. Getting back to politics, as many candidates that I haven’t supported, just because they didn’t ask, you’d be surprised what you can get in this world just by asking. Yeah. And if somebody is happy with you, and you give them a nice checker or settlement, whatever they’re looking for, I will humbly ask them, can you please put a Google review for me It takes maybe 30 seconds of their time. But these things add up after a while. Yeah,

Matthew Laurin

the simplest, simplest advice is usually the best. If you don’t ask if you can’t get there, Jonathan, what’s one piece of advice for an attorney who might be thinking about going off on their own that you would give to them?

Jonathan Denis

Okay, so being on your own isn’t as scary as you think it is. But I would typically want to work at another firm your first few years of career help you learn that learn both the practice and the business of law and develop a reputation as someone who does good work in your local market. So I wait a couple years, but then if you bought on your own, you’re going to need a certain amount of capital to start up. But the second thing is, as I mentioned, you need good partners and good partners who maybe are in different areas of the law, but are people who you trust and you can work with.

Matthew Laurin

It’s great advice. It’s good advice. Guys, you’ve been listening to Jonathan Denis, Founder at Guardian Law Group, Jonathan where can people go to learn more about your law firm,

Jonathan Denis

you can go to their website right now and Guardian.law that’s www.Guardian.law. And all of our areas of practice are on there as well. I’m actually I’ve just been accepted at the University of Arizona to do my Master’s degree, I’m going to be pursuing a a bar call in Arizona, there’s quite a link between the two jurisdictions is reciprocal judgments. So I’m probably going to be doing more cross border work in the future as well.

Matthew Laurin

Congrats. That’s awesome. That sounds exciting. Well, thanks for being on the show, man.

Jonathan Denis

It’s always a pleasure speaking with you, and I hope you have a great week and stay safe in these crazy times in our society.

Matthew Laurin

Thanks, buddy.

Conclusion

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.

Strategic Sales and Marketing Alignment

December 2, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

Suzanne Ratti is the President of Ideas360, a sales-driven marketing company that helps businesses from start-up to exit strategy. Suzanne has worked with Fortune 500 companies like Xerox and SmartCEO to develop complex sales and marketing strategies.

Suzanne is an accomplished public speaker and the Executive Director for both Thrive! Business Communities and Smart Women Professionals. She’s featured in various notable publications, including The Business Monthly, InDesign Magazine, and more.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Who is Suzanne Ratti?
  • What does Ideas360 do?
  • Suzanne shares what it was like starting Ideas360
  • The need for marketing and sales teams to align
  • Strategic sales and marketing alignment for law firms
  • Why lawyers need relational sales training
  • What should lawyers focus on when starting their firm or promoting their business?

In this episode…

Have you ever thought about what your role as a lawyer is when trying to attract clients to your firm? According to Suzanne Ratti, President of Ideas360, you’re a salesperson.

You’re the one who should relate to clients and help solve their problems when they come to your firm. The problem is that many lawyers struggle to see themselves outside of that role and lack the relational sales skills for strategic sales and marketing alignment. So, how do you fix that?

Listen to this episode of the Esq.Marketing Podcast with Suzanne Ratti, President of Ideas360, and Matthew Laurin. Suzanne talks about why you need to align your marketing and sales efforts, why lawyers need relational sales training, and the most important things to do to successfully market your law firm.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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.

 

Episode Transcript

Intro

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

Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing and you’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast where I feature successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States. This episode is brought to you by Esq.Marketing we help firms generate more clients in cases using Search Marketing. Today, we are not talking to a lawyer we are talking to Founder and CEO of Ideas360 Suzanne Ratti. Suzanne has worked with Fortune 500 companies like Xerox and SmartCEO to develop complex sales and marketing strategies. She is the Executive Director for both Thrive! Business Communities and Smart Women Professionals and an accomplished public speaker and is featured in a variety of notable publications including Business Monthly, Bizpeake Journal, and InDesign Magazine. Suzanne, welcome to the show.

Suzanne Ratti

Hey, oh, they’re pretty good list there. I don’t know how you were talking about for a minute, you’re sure you got the right person?

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, highly decorated. Let’s jump right in here. Suzanne, um, you are not our typical guest. We usually have attorneys on the show. But occasionally, I do have other business owners and marketers. So it’s cool to have folks like you, because it just gives you a gives us a audience of more in depth look at marketing strategies and business strategies. So first question, what is Ideas360? And what do you and your staff do?

Suzanne Ratti

So we are a sales and marketing organization. If you think about a typical marketing agency, we do all the stuff a typical marketing agency does, you know, everything that you’re everything that touches your logo or your brand, from websites to content development to graphic design, we do all of that. But the thing that differentiates us and really sets us apart, is I have a 25 year history in sales. And so everything that I do is always focused on what how is this going to impact sales? How is it going to align with the sales strategy? And how is it going to support the sales people and the sales team and their business development efforts? And so that’s kind of a real differentiator for us.

Matthew Laurin

Gotcha. And I like that too. Because I I’ve worked in sales capacities and marketing capacities, and it’s the one thing you know, is instantly it’s like, if you if those two components are communicating, you know, if they tend to flounder, so do a lot of your clients, do they, they have sales resources, or sales departments that can can work with you or work with the marketing component?

Suzanne Ratti

Absolutely. So, you know, I’ve got clients that range from small organizations all the way up to, you know, as you said, some larger companies. And, you know, the thing that that I’ve always found is that marketing and sales usually operate in silos. Marketing can put pretty bows on things and get your plenty of likes and followers. But the sales team is really only concerned about the quality of the leads. And also, how are those leads converting? And so the alignment of those two things is where we we really thrive?

Matthew Laurin

Gotcha. Yeah, very important. So take me back to the beginning, when you started this business, what was that like?

Suzanne Ratti

Um, you know, I had been, like I said, in sales for 20, 25 years, both as a producer as well as a number of different leadership positions, where I had sales organizations reporting to me, and I just always struggled with it if we had a marketing department at the time, yeah. What were they producing, because I needed it to focus on really important factors in my sales presentation. So if I was sending somebody something via email, or if I was directing them to a page on my website, I needed to make sure that the things that I were was finding were important decisions for the client for important pain points for the client, were featured in those materials. And so after about, well, after the first 15 years, what I basically found was that if I didn’t drag myself into the marketing effort, I wasn’t going to get exactly what I was looking for. So when I started Ideas360 it was it was with that dual approach, and you know, very much just serving clients that I had worked with over the years, most of the clients that I began with, were clients that I have either sold products to, and they needed marketing assistance, or clients who maybe I had given them some marketing advice, but maybe they had some disconnects in their sales organization. And so they would call and say, Hey, what do you do when this happens? We’ve got high turnover or, you know, whatever the problems were. So those two things are what really formed the foundation for the company.

Matthew Laurin

Nice. Nice. Yeah. And yeah, I’m sure your sphere of influence up there, I like what you said about, you know, missing components in what you’re trying to sell for marketing, I feel like salespeople end up being like the, the janitors for marketing, like marketing, either put stuff out that they have, that they have to then support, you know, to, you know, fill in the gaps in the story or there or there isn’t something out there that you want them to grow. So I can see why it’s so funny.

Suzanne Ratti

It’s so key nowadays, because you have, you know, if you can visualize your average sales funnel, back in the day, and when I say back in the day, I mean, even 10 years ago, yeah, back in the day, the sales funnel was largely driven by your sales organization. But about 10 years ago, what we started to see was that that sales funnel shrunk, and about 60% of the sales funnel was actually being filled by marketing. And then the sales people were stuck here at the bottom with whatever marketing filled it with. And so that’s why the alignment between sales and marketing is so, so critical. And, you know, one of my favorite quotes that I preach everywhere is, you know, are you selling something or solving something, because if your sales team is just selling a marketing, whatever marketing is putting out there, that’s gonna be much harder to convert than if they’re actually trying to solve a client’s problems, and they have the materials that explain how they solve those problems.

Matthew Laurin

I saw that quote in one of your videos, your, your 300 and 62nd, market beat marketing videos, is that is that what they are the 360 seconds?

Suzanne Ratti

Ideas360 and 360 secs.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, I like those. Those are cool. Um, the, but yeah, you’re right. I mean, a lot of the funnel gets filled with marketing related stuff. And it’s so important, because if they, if they’re not filling it with good leads, and sales, just kind of flounders. Um, so I work with a lot of law firms. How does what your philosophy how does that relate to a law firm? Because I mean, they don’t really have sales people per se, but I feel like a lot of it is still applicable to because it’s a business, right? I mean, they need to bring in, they need to bring in leads they need to, to convert visitors to their site, or or viewers of their marketing to, to clients. How does, how does that sort of

Suzanne Ratti

interesting because that the legal legal industry has a lot of marketing firms just about it illegal, and that’s rightly so because they, every single lawyer is basically a salesperson, whether they realize it or not, they’re there. They’re the sales people for the organization. And so the the marketing firms that I see that are really successful, have that strategic alignment with sales and marketing they have in the marketing, the law, law firms that I see that struggle a little bit are the firms that don’t have either an in house or or external marketing agency, or they’re not really coaching up the law firm team on how to really solve problems. It’s just driving fees, driving, you know, that revenue. So, you know, I think the legal industry is rightly entitled to have its own little niche marketing, you know, sector? Yeah, I think, you know, I mean, every single lawyer is out there spending money to compete with every other lawyer. And so there’s a big component of SEO, SEM, pay-per click, you know, that’s the biggest part of marketing and, you know, you know, as well as I do, you can spend a lot of money on that stuff with the wrong organization who really doesn’t know how to drive the right type of leads. So

Matthew Laurin

yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah. Do you think you mentioned coaching in there? Do you think that would be a wise use of time for a law firm like say, they, obviously, they know the law, they know how to deal with clients, but and the marketing part, you know, it’s probably pretty easy for them, they can, you know, find a marketing partner to help them out. But in terms of working with clients, do you think that’s a reasonable goal to pursue to get coaching on the sales aspect of their job?

Suzanne Ratti

I think it’s the most missed opportunity in the industry. And I’m not, you know, I don’t want to call out names here. But there’s plenty of organizations out there that teach you how to close they teach you how to pitch. Yeah, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about you, lawyers and law. legal advice is a very relational based business. And so sales in that relational role is really a nuance. Yeah, and so on. I’m not talking about pitching and closing, and you know, all of that. But I am talking about sales techniques in a relational setting. I think that, you know, 90% of the lawyers out there have never gone through any sort of relational sales training and it’s key.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, yeah. And the majority of attorneys I talked to, it tends to be more of a, it feels like the profession sort of attracts a introverted type personality in the beginning anyway. So yeah, I can see why that would be a lot of them would struggle.

Suzanne Ratti

Yeah. And I don’t know if I can make this parallel without offending anybody. But, you know, I work with some accounting firms. Same thing, there’s, there’s a lot of introverted, not sales, people type groups in those firms. And there’s another example, go out and hire a business development person, because you’re not going to have an accountant. You know, be a bubbly out of the box, you know, vibrant. It’s just not the stereotype. Yeah. Um, so you know, you cut it, you got to know where your skill sets are. And if you’re, if that’s not your skill set, then make sure that you coach somebody else up to be that important component.

Matthew Laurin

That’s good advice. Good advice. Um, so Suzanne, there’s a lot of shiny objects in marketing, obviously, like you Google how to do certain marketing things. And there’s all kinds of it’s hard to cut to the noise, obviously, what’s one thing that a business owner or a law firm or just a regular business owner should focus on? If they’re trying to try to promote themselves? How do they cut through all that?

Suzanne Ratti

Well, I’ve been number one, you know, you could get 10 different answers out of me on this. But the number one piece that I see people miss, and they don’t miss this Generally, if they have a marketing agency, but they do miss it if they’re trying to do it on their own. Is their Google My Business listing? Oh, yeah. Good. Now, they’re there. A lot of times when I get a new client, that Google My Business listing is skeleton. And that’s a huge opportunity. So that’s number one. You know, the new program, Google’s rolling out with the LSAT, I think is another big one. And having a functional website, on a website that actually has good user experience, but also has great SEO value. I think those are probably my top three.

Matthew Laurin

Those are surprised you say Google My Business person? Yeah. I mean, it’s a free listing. It’s, you can get like a ton of good exposure without a lot of effort just by claiming that and and filling it out.

Suzanne Ratti

And most people aren’t posting to it.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, yeah, they don’t pay.

Suzanne Ratti

It’s crazy. Yeah,

Matthew Laurin

yeah. Cuz you can post you can post content, what is it, like 750 words of content or something like that? Yeah, um, so from your own experience, and also wearing the marketing hat. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s thinking about going off and starting their own business, maybe an attorney who’s been working for a law firm, they’ve had some success, and they kind of want to go off on their own kind of just like what you did like you, you have that experience? And then you went off on your own? What’s, what’s the first thing you tell him to focus on?

Suzanne Ratti

I mean, you know, obviously, Every business has to start with a good business plan. So that’s, that’s number one. And it when you do a business plan, you should be doing a really comprehensive sales and marketing strategy for that plan. And so I think that’s number one, because so many entrepreneurs go out there without a strong business plan. And they’re winging it. They’re doing what they know. It’s, you know, who is it David Gerber in the email?

Matthew Laurin

I just was thinking of that. Yeah, they even a three visited Yeah. The technician turned business owner.

Suzanne Ratti

Yeah. So that’s probably the number one. And you know, the other thing is, get a good mentor or executive coach, who can be your sounding board. With that, because you You may think your business plan is great. You may think your sales and marketing strategy is ideal. But if you have a really well respected mentor, or advisor, who maybe if you only meet with them once or you know, once a quarter, or whatever, that has been invaluable to me is just to have somebody who’s experienced and can say, Well, wait a minute, this part of your business plan is really weak. Or this is a great pie in the sky. But what’s the what’s the real scoop? I think that’s really important for somebody starting out.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, that’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever heard on the podcast, because I mean, I have our CEO of our parent company as a sounding board, and then I know he uses like Carl Saugus coaching and yeah, just any any coaching service or anyone to hold you accountable, is really I mean, everybody needs it. Everyone needs someone to act as a as a mentor or someone to hold them accountable for their goals. So that’s, that’s good advice. So yeah, you’ve been listening to Suzanne Ratti, Founder and CEO of Ideas360 Suzanne, where can people go to learn more about your business?

Suzanne Ratti

Ideas360llc.com is the best way to reach me. You can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and obviously Google.

Matthew Laurin

Awesome. Thanks for being on the show, Suzanne.

Conclusion

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.

How to Get The Best Clients Through Thought Leadership

November 4, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

Jason Lazarus

Jason Lazarus is the Founder and CEO of Synergy Settlement Services, a company that offers settlement services to law firms across the country. He’s also the Founder and Attorney with the Special Needs Law Firm and author of the best-selling book, The Art of Settlement: A Lawyer’s Guide to Regulatory Compliance when Resolving Catastrophic Claims

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • Who is Jason Lazarus?
  • How Jason got into settlement services for trial lawyers.
  • Jason talks about the value he provides lawyers with his book, The Art of Settlement.
  • The marketing strategies behind publishing an authority book for lawyers.
  • Jason talks about the most significant marketing challenge he’s overcome while growing his firm.
  • Discovering the target audience for your marketing.
  • Jason’s advice for attorneys starting a new law firm.

In this episode…

Big success as a lawyer lies on the other side of becoming an expert in your chosen niche. One way to do that is to leverage the power of thought leadership as a marketing strategy, which is how Jason Lazarus became the expert partner to trial lawyers on settlement services. So, how do you leverage thought leadership?

Listen to this episode of the Esq.Marketing Podcast with Matthew Laurin as he sits down with Jason Lazarus, Founder and CEO of Synergy Settlement Services. They talk about Jason’s thought leadership approach in marketing his settlement services to trial lawyers—and why it works, as well as Jason’s advice to lawyers starting a new law firm. Keep listening.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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.

 

Episode Transcript

Intro

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

Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing and you’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast where I feature successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States. This episode is brought to you by Esq.Marketing, we help law firms generate more clients in cases using search marketing. And speaking of successful lawyers, today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Jason Lazarus. Jason is the founder and CEO of Synergy Settlement Services, a company that offers settlement services to law firms across the country. He’s also founder and attorney with the special needs law firm and author of the best selling book, The Art of the settlement. Jason, welcome to the show.

Jason Lazarus

Thanks for having me.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, no problem. No problem. It’s a pretty cool list of accolades. You got there, you got a lot going on.

Jason Lazarus

Yeah, I’ve got a few few designations after my name. I’m not sure what it all means. But I guess it means I’ve done a lot of schooling and a lot of certifications, something like that.

Matthew Laurin

So it sounds like you got a lot of experience. So take me back to the beginning. How did you get started? I know you’re you’re a lawyer, author, but you still are a practicing attorney. Correct?

Jason Lazarus

Yeah, yeah. You know, my, my road was a winding one. Like, I think most people, you know, when they get started in their careers, I graduated from law school and began doing insurance defense work in litigation for about three years and decided it wasn’t something I want to do for the rest of my life. And I wanted to use my training as a lawyer, but in a different way. And I got into the settlement planning world in settlement services. And, you know, over the years saw that kind of morphing into what synergy is my company today, which is this, you know, way to deliver multiple services to trial lawyers to help them deal with the issues that they’ve got to deal with when they settle the case, because you’ve got to understand Medicare, Medicaid, or Risa, you know, dealing with liens dealing with preservation and benefits for clients. There’s just a lot of things that, that make the practice complex. So, you know, when I, when I was working with trial lawyers, I saw this opportunity to create something that would deliver all the services holistically. And so I evolved, you know, my, my practice personally, went back out. Now, I’m an elder law, which is basically Disability Law, and started to work on building synergy, because I felt like there there was just this hole in the market. And actually, there really still is, because we’re the only company that integrates all these different disciplines and solutions to be able to deliver to a trial lawyer and the injury victim, you know, a whole suite of services that helps deal with all the issues that I talked about my book, I mean, you know, that book is, you know, 200 pages of, of 20 years worth of experience in dealing with these, these complexities, and it can get, it can get pretty, pretty detailed and in the weeds. And most trial lawyers, they don’t have time to, to learn all this, they need experts. And that’s, that’s exactly what I’ve developed is, is a team of experts. And, you know, that’s that’s how we approach it as experts for trial lawyers.

Matthew Laurin

Gotcha. And then, yeah, hey, you sent me the book, which Thank you, by the way, I read a couple of chapters of it. And I quickly realized that it’s all Greek to me, and it is not it is not aimed at me, but I could see for, you know, a trial lawyer how a lot of this information could be pretty useful.

Jason Lazarus

Yeah, I mean, it, it is a guide. So it’s really meant to be sitting on a lawyers desk, and when they are dealing with a Medicare client, they can read through those chapters and issue spot and identify, hey, what do I need to be aware of? Or, you know, if they’re dealing with an Orissa lien, you know, what are the kind of basics How do I, you know, begin to get some leverage with a 1024 before request, which is a statutory request to the ERISA plan that creates leverage to negotiate the lien. I mean, there’s, there’s just little things like that, that are throughout the book that for the lawyer, having it at their desk, they can refer to those things and, and be able to then go, Okay, what do I need to do? Or who do I need to involve Who should I call? And for you? Yeah, you know, they’re gonna read through it, it’s gonna be Greek, it’s gonna be Greek to most people and probably put a lot of people to sleep, you know, unless you’re, unless you’re really into this stuff like I am.

Matthew Laurin

So um, so they they keep it at their desk, and they could use it as a reference? Um, what do they do when they need help with something like maybe they’re reading through it? And they’re like, yeah, this, this makes a lot of sense. But you know, I don’t have the time to do this, or I don’t have the tools to accomplish the goals I need to accomplish in my firm. Is that where you got where Synergy Settlement Services comes in?

Jason Lazarus

Yeah, call me. Yeah, it’s funny, because I’ve had a couple of clients who are like, Hey, I don’t want to read through this whole book, and I just call you. And yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, you know, look, the at the end of the day for trial lawyers, there, they want to focus on what they do best. You know, that’s, that’s one of our our marketing things is focus on what you do best. Let us handle all these difficult issues that can arise when you’re settling in case because, you know, every moment that a trial or spends dealing with these issues are moments that they could be dedicating to another client’s case to move it forward. You know, our really our model is, is, is outsourcing for law firms. So there are certain things that when it creates, you know, malpractice liability for the law firms and exposure, if they’re handling things in a manner that’s not consistent with, with the law, for example, Medicare is has been, you know, pursuing law firms through department of justice for failing to, to pay off Medicare conditional payments. So why would a law firm want to take on that risk of having Medicare and the Department of Justice, you know, get all up in their, their business, when they can outsource it to a company like us? Make sure that’s done compliantly. I mean, that’s really the theme of the book is is all about compliance for law firms. So at the end of the day, our services make the law firm more profitable, because they’re not spending time doing things that take them twice as long because they don’t deal with these issues, like we do, every minute of every day. And, you know, ultimately, most of our services are our client costs that are passed along. So for the law firm, instead of paying someone to do some of the things that they can outsource to us, you know, why not become more profitable, more efficient, and also also get a better end result for the client? Generally speaking, that’s, that’s ultimately what we’re driving.

Matthew Laurin

I love that. I love that. And it kind of highlights an interesting aspect of marketing. And I mean, it’s whether you intended to do or to not, it’s really a brilliant marketing strategy. And we do search engine optimization. And the cornerstone of that is high quality content. And that’s really it. This is an example of that is just high quality content that you can put out there that showcases your authority. You know, it gets people interested in what you do. And, and then it also lets them know, like, hey, maybe this isn’t something I should be doing on my own, maybe I should contact these guys.

Jason Lazarus

And it’s a brilliant move for any lawyer from a marketing perspective, because, you know, that thought leadership content for lawyers, when they put it out there, so if they’re an expert in handling certain types of products, liability cases, or niche malpractice cases, if they can write the book on that subject, get that content out there on the web, you know, LinkedIn, Facebook, you know, on their blogs, getting sent out electronically, to their, their potential referral sources. I mean, to me, it’s a no brainer, obviously, it takes time and commitment to write the book. And that’s not easy. But, you know, I worked with a publisher. That was great. And I wrote all the content, but they do have services where they help ghost write, and, you know, so there there are there ways to get content out there expert content, if even if a lawyer doesn’t have the time to commit to doing what it takes to write a, you know, 200 Plus page book, there are ways to get that content out there. And in my mind, and this is the only way we mark it is thought leadership is is the language of lawyers. Right? It’s it’s, you know, talking to lawyers in the way they’re used to digesting content.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, yeah, I agree. And yeah, locally, the one we have I see on TV a lot is the book on measles, glioma it’s like a guide on what to do if if you’re experiencing those kind of legal troubles and I totally agree it’s a it’s a great way to to build thought leadership and I think a lot of attorneys should be doing that in some fashion to market their firms.

Jason Lazarus

Yeah, absolutely. It’s, it is a no brainer, and it’s it really is right in most lawyers wheelhouse. You know, you’re, you’re taught to write certain way in law school and really, you know, like a lot of a lot of how I constructed the book was, you know, articles and things that I’ve written over the years and Picking out and putting it together into a treatise for lawyers. And it really complements to like the business to consumer relationship relationship, because a lot of consumers I think, are looking for free legal advice. Like they’re searching. And they’re like, Well, how do I how do I learn more about my situation before I actually have to pay an attorney to get involved? Yeah. And actually, my next project is writing a book for injury victims, sort of what to expect, you know, when you’re settling your case, and, you know, I mean, if you read a little bit in the book, yeah, I actually, you know, got into a pretty serious accident in 2016. So I went through kind of the whole gambit of it went through a lawsuit, and you know, all those things. So I really feel like there’s, there’s a need in the market to have that sort of a guide for the injury victim, as well as the lawyer.

Matthew Laurin

I don’t know if I read that in your book. But I do recall that story. Where were you in a bicycle accident? Yeah,

Jason Lazarus

yeah, I’m a pretty avid cyclist, and I got hit by a car while I was cycling. So unfortunately, I learned, I learned what, you know, clients I’ve dealt with for the last 20 years deal with firsthand and really, you You never know, until you’ve actually walked down that same path.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah. And that’s why I’m glad you were able to recover from that. So I had another question for you here in, you know, growing your business or growing your law firm, what was one of the biggest challenges you had to overcome professionally, in terms of marketing and promotion?

Jason Lazarus

You know, I mean, I think really, it’s, the challenge is getting enough bandwidth enough, you know, the base, that you’re getting enough information out to enough people reaching the the amount of people and especially with lawyers, you know, it’s not like, you go on TV, or you go on some kind of mass media, you’re, you’re looking at a very narrow universe. And, and our universe is even a little narrower, because we’re strictly working with plaintiff’s personal injury law firms. So figuring out the best way to reach that audience really was the biggest challenge and still remains a challenge. You know, I mean, we, we’ve built our database, we, you know, have built this pretty proficient thought leadership machine. But the question still is, is, you know, how many people does it reach? Is it is it generating enough ROI? And you know, that that’s always always a question that I continually try to get better answers from our marketing team is, okay, are is this really moving the needle? It seems to be, you know, but it is a bit of a, you know, tough thing to really quantify, ultimately,

Matthew Laurin

yeah. And it can be from time to time, what were some of the tools or strategies you use to figure out what that audience was like, who you should be talking to, or marketing to?

Jason Lazarus

I mean, really, for us, it was it was going to the trial lawyer associations, and developing relationships with them both at the local level, and state level, and then national level. So, you know, for us it, most lawyers are going to be part of either their state Trial Lawyers Association, or nationally, like AJ, and then it’s developing, you know, marketing relationships with those groups. And, obviously, you get opportunities, used to have meetings where people add, you know, booths now now it’s all virtual. But you know, that having the ability to mark it in person electronically, and be recognized as part of those groups is really how we honed in on on our audience.

Matthew Laurin

Gotcha. Yeah, that’s, that’s great. I, like I said, building relationships. I think that’s a something that a lot of attorneys and just regular business owners Miss, when they’re trying to figure out how to market to an audience, they first they’re thinking about, like, tricky tactics, or neat tools or software or whatever, that’s going to help them get there, but it’s really about just kind of connecting with the people you think is think are gonna buy your product or buy your service and, and reaching out to those people, interviewing them, calling them on the phone, doing surveys and things like that, to try to figure out, you know, what it what it what are their needs, what are their pain points, what is it that they need from you?

Jason Lazarus

And it’s, you know, we we’ve been evolving now, all of that, how we go about sort of gathering the data, and, and trying to ultimately get to a point where we’ve created that that feel of community with all of those people, because that really is is what the angle is community engagement, helping them you know, I mean, that’s part of why we, we do all of our thought leadership is it helps them in their practices, and in turn, they know they’ve got experts they can turn to when they can’t deal with those issues.

Matthew Laurin

I know what back when I worked with Rankings.io, we did an exercise where we were trying to figure out how we position the copy on the website. And we hired a really brilliant copywriter by the name of Joel Klettke. And he did a ton of research ton of surveys, talk to our audience and develop copy for the site. And in a lot of that data, it was so eye opening. I mean, nobody cared really about results, or first page rankings or getting leads, I mean, those were important, but the things they cared most about the things that caused them to go to other agencies or cause them not to buy were the fact that like, they didn’t trust SEO agencies, they wanted clear and transparent communication. They wanted someone to they don’t wanna have to chase somebody down for an answer and things like that. And it was so simple. When you really dug into it, so.

Jason Lazarus

Yeah, exactly. And, you know, I mean, really knowing your audience and understanding how to talk their language and reach them is, I mean, it’s, it’s a challenge, you know, from the marketing side, you know, we were lucky, I think the agency, we work with his really dug in and gotten to know what we do our audience. And without that, in the past week, we didn’t have that previously. And now, we do have that we have a team that understands exactly the messaging and trying to make sure that, that you’re working with people that understand your market is so it’s so important.

Matthew Laurin

Otherwise, you’re shooting in the dark. Yeah. Um, Jason, what is a piece of advice you’d give to an attorney just starting out, wanting to kind of go off on their own their own law firm? What’s one piece of advice you’d give them?

Jason Lazarus

I mean, I think it’s, it’s fine a niche, you know, I mean, it’s so there’s so many lawyers out there, right. And I’ve got this crazy, small niche, and, you know, I don’t want anyone else in it. But I mean, finding, finding something that one you like and interests you, you know, intellectually, and then an area that that you can excel in, and be the expert, be the authority. You know, there’s so many different aspects of personal injury. I worked with a lawyer out of Philadelphia, who specializes in just this one type of genetic malpractice case where it’s, it’s a misdiagnosis of a genetic fault. And these are, these are big cases, because they just are big damages cases. So you know, if you can become that lawyer that knows just that specific area, then you’ve got, you know, unlimited potential, you know, he was working with a Florida lawyer, who was working with me to deal with a Medicaid lien. So you know, I mean, this is, this is a guy who’s in Philadelphia, who’s getting referrals from, you know, Miami because he is the guy in regards to that type of litigation.

Matthew Laurin

That’s sweet. It’s great advice, too. I mean, I’ve seen businesses do that. And it’s, it’s scary at first, because you’re like, I don’t want to turn away business, like, the weather what you do, like if you’re, if you’re telling people, I can’t do that for you, I’m only going to work on this. And logically you think, Well, I’m not going to make as much money if I don’t open myself to everything. But in reality, when you niche down, your efficiencies improve, you become the thought, or the knowledge expert on that particular area. And and yeah, I mean, you become known as the person who knows all about that the expert, the leader in the field.

Jason Lazarus

Yep. That’s, that’s certainly the recipe we’ve used. And I think, you know, in law, it’s, it’s, it’s ripe for that, because you’ve got so many little niches and great areas of practice, if if you learn, you know, to be the go to person in that particular area.

Matthew Laurin

That’s great advice. All right. You have been listening to Jason Lazarus, Founder and CEO of Synergy Settlement Services. Jason, where can people go to learn more about you more about the book more about your company?

Jason Lazarus

So the book is ArtofSettlement.com, so really easy to get? Yep. And it’s available on Amazon. To learn more about Synergy at SynergySettlements.com. And my email is Jason@synergysettlements.com. I do a lot of consulting with Trial Lawyers all across the country. So always happy to to chat about issues related to Settlement. That’s great.

Matthew Laurin

Jason, thanks for being on the show with me.

Jason Lazarus

Thanks, my pleasure.

Conclusion

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.

How to Smoothly Migrate Your Law Firm’s Website and Keep Your SEO Gains

October 21, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

Matthew Laurin is the President of Esq.Marketing, a company that helps law firms generate more clients and cases using search engine marketing.

Matthew has been in the SEO business for over ten years. He possesses a long track record of repeatable success, achieving maximum ROI for SEO campaigns and leading teams to execute simple yet effective campaign strategies.

 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • Matthew Laurin talks about why you need to migrate your website from legal directories and third-party platforms to a self-hosting platform.
  • The cost-saving benefits of self-hosting your law firm’s website.
  • Why do some avoid migrating their website from legal directories?
  • Matthew describes the migration process.
  • Dealing with duplicate content.
  • The differences between self-hosted and directory-hosted law firm websites.
  • What you can and cannot migrate from proprietary law firm directory hosting.
  • Things to consider when migrating your law firm’s website.

In this episode…

If you own a law firm and your website is hosted by third-party directory platforms like FindLaw, you might find yourself wanting to get more out of your website. But, like many, you’re afraid of losing all the advances you’ve made in your SEO strategy.

What if there was a way to migrate your website without losing your SEO rankings, branding, and functionality? Law firm SEO expert Matthew Laurin says it’s possible—but, there are few things to consider to make the process smooth.

Tune in to this episode of the Esq.Marketing Podcast with Matthew Laurin to find out more about migrating your law firm’s website. He talks about why you should migrate your firm’s website from platforms like FindLaw and Justia, how to go about it, and some things to consider for a trouble-free process.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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.

 

Episode Transcript

Intro

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

Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing. And you’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast where I feature successful and solo SMB law firms from all over the United States. I have Jeremy Weisz here who has done thousands of interviews with successful leaders and CEOs. And we have flipped the script today. And he will be interviewing me, Matt, welcome to the show.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. Thanks for having me. And I’m excited about today’s episode. Because Listen, I have actually thought about this many, many times, even though I’m not a lawyer, because you’re talking about, we’re going to be talking about when you migrate a site from one place to your own site, how do you keep all the stuff that you’ve built up all the backlinks, all the good stuff you built up? So we will talk be talking about that. But before we do, this episode is brought to you by Esq.Marketing, and they help law firms generate more clients and cases using search marketing. And so basically, Matt, what you do is you help people show up on the first page of Google so they get more clients and clients can find, find them, and people can go to Esq.Marketing. So thanks for having me. The question is, are you if you’re thinking of migrating your site from a Justia or FindLaw? How does that work? Should they do it? Why should they do it?

Matthew Laurin

Great question. Um, yeah, so Justia, FindLaw and even Scorpion are popular website platforms for attorneys, they offer legal marketing, they offer website hosting and design. And so there’s a lot of law firms that use the services, they’re turnkey. And they offer some marketing services and things like that. So but after some time, law firms start to grow and scale, they want to change the look of their sight, or they want to do something different from a marketing perspective. And they often find themselves running into roadblocks with these platforms, because they’re proprietary. They’re, they’re meant to be a turnkey business that these companies can use. And they sort of lock attorneys into using the structure that was designed for the site using, you know, their, their method for for website hosting and website design. And they find themselves in a position where they need to get away from it. But how do you do that?

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. So a quick question, man, that so obviously, a positive size, when you’re first starting out? It’s just an easy way to get something up there. Right? Of course, yeah. And what are people worried about? So once you we’ve talked a little bit about, once you’re more established, there’s many reasons to not have your site beyond there. Um, and so what are some of the reasons why people should migrate off.

Matthew Laurin

So without going into specifics about what these platforms like how they’re structured, or, or what roadblocks there are, because I’m not really sure off the top of my head what, what you can and can’t do with them. But I know that some clients have run into problems with being able to customize code to a certain extent, or, you know, having the flexibility to install third party tracking scripts or additional functionality on their website, for example, maybe you want to, you know, link your, your website with a case intake intake program, or certain type of chat. And maybe you run into roadblocks because, you know, a find large justia or Scorpion websites just not conducive to to using those. I’ve had clients that, you know, want to change their permalink structure, but there’s some restrictions in the platform that will allow them to do that. Maybe they want to add you know, they want to change the overall look and feel their website and and the platform doesn’t allow for it as a coder or designer to go in and make any kind of changes because it’s just not flexible enough. Yeah, so those are all good reasons to, um, at that point, say, hey, maybe I’ve outgrown this platform, maybe I need to migrate to a WordPress site, which that’s, you know, we work in WordPress constantly. It’s extremely flexible platform, you own it, it’s you can do a self hosted version. And you can do pretty much anything you want to do if you can migrate your site off of there under WordPress.

Jeremy Weisz

So some of the benefits would be, you know, when you mentioned the permalink it’s those things when you control them. are better for SEO in general? That’s right. Yeah. And,

Matthew Laurin

you know, add keyword phrases into your permalink structure or change how Google sees the structure of your site. Yeah, those are all beneficial things for SEO.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. And then adding functionality is big if, you know, sometimes it’s like a process, you know, like certain chats or certain things that allow you to be in touch with your potential client, which could mean business like real business and dollars.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, and maybe you want to install like a third party script that changes the phone number based on how somebody visits your site. And so you know, that’s some tracking functionality you might want to add, you might want to put in a contact form from some other third party platform that allows you to, you know, move your data or your leads around. And sometimes you can’t always do that with a with a proprietary platform, because they won’t allow you to paste code in certain places, or you may be restricted as to how it can be built. And, yeah, so overall, you’re kind of when you’re on one of these platforms, you’re kind of pigeon holed into doing things a certain way.

Jeremy Weisz

And then the other thing is probably the self hosting costs, like actually having control of the platform and probably smaller hosting costs. Yeah, that’s

Matthew Laurin

a big one. So the hosting website is nothing. I mean, if you’re hosting a website, on GoDaddy, or WP Engine, or Bluehost, or wherever you go, the cost is usually nominal, I mean, a couple hundred bucks a year. And for most attorney websites, that’s all you need. I mean, you don’t, they’re not doing any commerce, they’re not doing anything that’s really resource intensive for a server. So you’re talking a couple hundred bucks a year max. Whereas if you have your site on, you know, just dia or Scorpion or fine law, I’m not sure what their fees are off top of my head. But I know that it’s probably going to be more than just the general hosting package, because you may be tied into other marketing services, you may be tied into other technical services to keep the site up and running, where you’re paying on a monthly basis. And it may be more cost effective to just go with a traditional hosting and control the site yourself.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. I want to talk a little bit about what we’ll actually show some specific examples in a second, but what are people worried about? Matt from your experience, what’s holding them back from actually migrating?

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, the clients that come to us that want to do migrations, it, it’s either something to do with SEO, or something to do with the way the site function looks. So some clients have been really happy with the way their site looks, they, they like the colors and the menu and the structure and everything about it, they just don’t want to be on the platform anymore. They want to be able to control things themselves. They don’t want to pay fees, or whatever it is. And they just want to move the site off. And so we’ve had a lot of success in cloning, cloning sites, making them look just like they do on the you know, whatever service they’re with, and then moving into a WordPress installation. So they can still have the same look and feel but be able to control everything themselves. And then on the SEO side, maybe they want to redesign the site and move it off the platform. But they are worried about losing rankings, because over time, links are built to sites, certain pages. And if you change the URL structure of a website, when you move it, you can lose those links, which will eventually impact your rankings if it’s not fixed right away. Sites like just the sites, I know use dot html and HTML extensions on the end of the URL. So when you move something like that to WordPress, you don’t have those extensions anymore, and the page will break. So we do a pretty extensive process where we comb through the site and we take out all the URLs and make sure we have everything organized. And then we do a page to page redirect. So redirecting home to home redirecting, you know, Car Accident Lawyer in a car accident lawyer on the new site, making sure that the experience for users is seamless, where if they click on the link that went to a car accident page, they’re still going to land on their car accident page, even though it’s a different URL. And that’s those are the things that people most often worry about is just how is my site going to behave the same way Is everything going to be the same as it is now? It’ll just be away from, you know, one of these platforms.

Jeremy Weisz

And basically you go in link for link and actually just make sure they’re they’re all going to be because that’s probably a big concerns like, well, I built up this page over many years. I don’t want to lose this and there could be 2050 100 of these.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, yeah. In some cases, so when you’re talking about backlinks individually, there could be thousands. When you’re talking about referring domains, which are like unique referring domains, it’s usually I think we’ve seen some with just, you know, maybe a couple hundred, and then we’ve seen some with well over 1000. And, yeah, I mean, when you when you have a link built to a car accident page, or a truck accident page, for example, sometimes in some cases, you’ve worked really hard to get those links that may be on really high authority sites, and you don’t want to lose them. But you also want to make sure that the length is going to point to the page was pointing at before and not just redirect everything to the home page, which is a major, major No, no. So yeah, we go through page by page link by link and making sure everything redirects to the place it’s supposed to go.

Jeremy Weisz

Now, there there any other big concerns or worries people have on migrating?

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, I mean, some of these platforms, that the content can be proprietary in some cases. And we always make sure to communicate with the client and the platform to make sure that we aren’t taking anything proprietary like images, sometimes stock images are not owned by the client. In some cases, we’ve seen that where content is not owned by the client. And so we just have to make sure that you know, everything that we’re copying over to another server is something your client is allowed to take with them. In most cases it is, especially with blog content or page data is but you know, images are pretty easy to replace. But that’s also a concern, we see

Jeremy Weisz

a lot. Is there a concern Matt with I know some of the ones in different industries? I know, sometimes there’s duplicate content across different sites, just to you know, the site will have duplicate content to put across all of the their websites. Can that hurt someone who’s on one of these platforms?

Matthew Laurin

Are you talking about like if we were cloned it and migrated it?

Jeremy Weisz

No, I mean, like, like, I know, there’s chiropractic. You know, once you’re talking about the lawful, the legal field, there’s chiropractic ones, and they go, Oh, they have this article on back pain, and they put it across all of their hosted websites. And it’s on all of the websites, no matter if you’re in, you know, San Francisco or Chicago or LA or New York, and sometimes the people don’t realize that’s all duplicate content. And all these other, it’s the same, all these other their chiropractic websites.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, I haven’t seen that on any of these ones. Not to say it doesn’t happen. But yeah, I haven’t seen the prevalence of duplicate content on any of the legal platforms. But that is a concern, you know, if you were if you were migrating from, from a proprietary platform to your own website, if they had content that that they used on other pages, you know, you’d want to scan for it and make sure there isn’t anything being used on other sites. I mean, it would be a concern, even just staying on the platform. Because what happens is, if there are multiple pages with the with substantially the same amount of content, like multiple paragraphs, it’s exactly the same. What happens is, Google doesn’t really know which one is the original or the most authoritative. And so they are left in the lurch trying to guess which one is is the correct one, or which one is the most relevant for the searcher. And what often happens with duplicate content issues is that pages just struggle to rank well. So if you have a page that or if you have a web page that could be on the first page of Google, maybe even at the top, it might struggle to get there and be like it right at the cusp of the first and second page and struggle to get any further or lower, because of duplicate content issues. And that would be a concern whether whether you move the site or not.

Jeremy Weisz

Matt take a look at some examples. So you know, I have Justia, I have FindLaw. And we just took an example of a site that we found that, you know, because verify that it says Justia law firm website design at the bottom,

Matthew Laurin

this was a review on their homepage,

Jeremy Weisz

versus one that is not you can find this. This was a migrated one. This Yeah. Yeah. So talk about some of the differences. So we have this one. And then this one, obviously, it’s not the same one, but this one has was on one of the other ones as been

Matthew Laurin

migrated over. Yeah, this one was on FindLaw. And this was a case where this firm liked the way the site looked. But they wanted to move off of the Find Law platform. So we made a clone of the site and built it on a staging server. And then once we were finished, doing all the development and watch the ones the client had reviewed, Did and was happy with the way everything looked, we flipped the switch and pointed their domain at at WP Engine, which is where the site is hosted now. So a couple of things like they didn’t have, they had a proprietary chat feature, they use dot bind law. And they were, that was one of their concerns, they wanted to still be able to do chat on the site. So we went with a third party engaged chat, which is popular in the legal industry, um, images on the site, they wanted to swap out some images on the practice area pages to be more relevant to the content there. So we did that for him. But otherwise, it’s an exact replica of what was there came over pretty nicely.

Jeremy Weisz

And then some of those same concerns were like, making sure to maintain the SEO value and all that any other things to point out with the migration process.

Matthew Laurin

So they the URL structure was a big one, if you go to the practice area pages, scroll down and just click on one of the links on this page, right there is fine. At the end of each one of these URLs, instead of a backslash, and in the URL, it was.sh tml. And that was across the board on every every single page. So um, and you can’t see this either. But in all the images, those images were stored in specific folders, that all ended in, you know, the file name all ended in s HTML. So all those specific files are Yeah, for the pages, and then all the images and JavaScript and CSS and all those different files all had to be redirected to different locations into different file file extension. So you know, going through and doing that was a pretty tedious process and getting all the pages to resolve to their correct locations without losing rankings, because we didn’t, you know, this, this firm, it built links to hundreds of different websites, or I’m sorry, hundreds of different websites that build links to the firm’s website over time. You know, if they were to lose that, they would have probably lost a significant amount of traffic in business, you know.

Jeremy Weisz

So the permalink structure, you could see here, the top would have some weird like, sh on the other side,

Matthew Laurin

on the on the very end of it, it would have been so right after that word death, instead of a slash, it would be dot s, HTML gotchas, you know, it’s not bad for SEO, it’s just that it was a different, you know, it was a file an HTML file, as opposed to WordPress, which behaves a little bit differently, this whole page is constructed using a bunch of different parts on the back end. And to get it’s the predominant the predominant programming language in WordPress is PHP. So all this is constructed on the fly as it gets loaded, whereas HTML is a little bit different. But anyway, we’d have to redirect those URLs, so they go to the right place, otherwise, you would just hit an error page. And eventually, if that happens, over time, with link building, you know, links can fall off and be deleted, you know, website owners that link to this site, if they all of a sudden have had an error page, they might delete the link or delete the page, the link is on. And then obviously, that link won’t pass authority to the new site, because it’s just hitting an error page.

Jeremy Weisz

Um, and in your what you’re saying is also you can maintain If you liked the design, and you like the functionality, you could still maintain that design functionality, there just added functionality and other other features you can do.

Matthew Laurin

Some things can’t be carried over like, like, obviously, the proprietary chat, FindLaw has a proprietary chat that they use for their clients, we can’t use that, obviously, since there’s so but there’s a lot of other similar things to do to the job. So there’s always there’s always a workaround.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, I can see there’s a chat right here on this one. So this is obviously fine. Um, what else so when people should realize when migrating a website

Matthew Laurin

I would say just have a plan for for maintaining updates and things like that. This particular law firm had someone internally that was already pretty savvy with a website updates and WordPress in general. So they had a plan moving forward, who is gonna you know, who’s going to update content, who is going to keep an eye on things, some attorneys, you know, if you don’t have an agency, or if you don’t have an internal person or somebody that you’re working with that can help you out with website updates, or, or just managing the whole process and then managing the site after the process is over. It might you might want to get that in place first before you migrate the site away from by law because by law, or you know any of the other platforms they do, they do that service for you.

Jeremy Weisz

have anything else to consider when migrating your site and overall your overall stance and people because you’re basically helping people with their SEO and getting the top of Google so I’m wondering your stance on migrating versus not migrating in general.

Matthew Laurin

I mean, I think I think everybody should just be on on WordPress or something that they can manage on their own. I think you have more flexibility with SEO and installing things like schema and third party scripts and more flexibility over managing your content you know, improving PageSpeed you’re not you’re not sort of you know beholden to a company to make sure that all the technical aspects are worked out you can you can choose your hosting platform you can choose a high quality host that’s got good uptime has efficient efficient servers efficient technology and you don’t have you’re not you know, resigned to using one one particular platform that may you know, they may have their ducks in a row and they may not if if you know something’s going on and FindLaw or one of these other places we Justia and and their sites aren’t performing well or their servers are down and there’s not much you can do you know, you just gotta wait way to let it be fixed. Whereas you get if you are, if you have a site hosted somewhere else on your own, you can you can shop around and get get the best you know, choose the best provider for that particular thing. WP engines a great one, they’re extremely reliable, they have amazing support services. And they’re made for WordPress sites that hosting is made for WordPress sites. It’s really easy to migrate things it’s really easy to you know, do any kind of technical updates so now you would definitely if you’re if you’re a law firm thinking of you know, getting more out of your site and being more flexible and maybe scaling and doing more with it. I would definitely think about migrating off of these platforms if you’re on

Jeremy Weisz

Matt as always, thank you everyone could check out Esq.Marketing. I appreciate you having me.

Conclusion

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.

The Content Marketing Playbook for New Law Firms

October 14, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

John Brocas is the CEO of Help Lawyer, a legal content marketing suite created to help small law firms and lawyers compete in an overly-saturated and inflated market place. With Help Lawyer, lawyers can expand their online reach and market to a greater audience—increasing their law firm’s legal branding.

John is also a globally-recognized spiritual coach and has blended his expertise in marketing and spiritual practice to help entrepreneurs and business owners achieve their goals with JB Spirit Media.

 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Who is John Brocas?
  • Why John developed Help Lawyer.
  • John shares how Help Lawyer is different from lawyer directories.
  • The tools available on Help Lawyer that you should be using today.
  • Why you should consider video when marketing your law firm.
  • New features to expect on Help Lawyer.
  • Who should use Help Lawyer?
  • John’s advice to people who are starting their law firm.

In this episode…

Signing up for lawyer directories is an excellent way to give you some exposure and quality backlinks. But after that, what’s next? How do you build your authority and amplify your firm’s reach?

According to John Brocas, that’s where content marketing makes all the difference. And to do content marketing right, you need all the tools, support, and reach you can find.

Listen to this episode of the Esq.Marketing Podcast with Matthew Laurin to hear from John Brocas of Help Lawyer. He talks about how content marketing is the perfect strategy for new law firms and how they can leverage it using Help Lawyer, a content marketing suite and lawyer directory.

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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.

 

Episode Transcript

Intro

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.

John Brocas

I listen, I’m so used to doing podcasts, I’ve literally done hundreds and hundreds of them. Not that not so much for the legal side. But for other stuff that I do. Because I I actually coach lawyers, his lawyers and but not in business, I coached them we stress in life and stuff.

Matthew Laurin

Okay.

John Brocas

So I do a lot for legal professionals that are needing maybe around crisis, you know, there may be big cases and stuff like that. And, you know, a lot of them are stressed on the way the tongue and so the business aspect, a small part. So for me, help lawyer was a passion because I was interested in only doing this being an immigrant that came over to America, and not having all the tools at my disposal. Yeah. And then realize in the legal industry was absolutely crazy. And, you know, years ago, when I was I was a bouncer in a nightclub in Scotland. Yeah, and my partner was a lass called Allison. And she was going through a law degree, as she used to do in the say that she was doing what degree so I would kind of sit and I’d be fascinated by all this stuff. And I would reset things weather as well. And she talked about the the cases that she had to do and all the all the different things that she had to do become a solicitor and all that different. And then I started looking into and I was fascinated. And I was pretty good at it. And she said, you should you should, you know, do a degree in law something up, probably he said no problem, you know, I can take, put my hat on anthem and deal with anything, you know, yeah. I just got it, you know. And so when I was when I was emigrating, I looked at all the immigration laws and stuff like that, and then other people that were getting divorced. And then I started looking at in laws, and then there was a business that I was helping out with marketing had some legal issues, and they couldn’t afford the lawyer. So I started looking at new things and started writing some content stuff for them. And then I bought Help Lawyer as an old Rhett domain

Matthew Laurin

Oh, really? What was wrong with it? Was it all spam?

John Brocas

listed by Google? I bought it for like five frickin books. I got not so long ago, it was years and years and years and years ago. And it just spoke to me and I’m like, No, I’m gonna do something and then my immigration attorney was an ex military guy, I’m ex military. And he was talking through things and he says, you know, some you know, I’m sick fed up with being I’m not I don’t know, version mentioned unbound, sick, fed up and on abhor and everything else. I’m building websites and things, just you know, and I see so I can probably do something, I could probably build a solution for that, just for the hell of it. You know, ask them did you want to be a partner remain is like, Nah, I’m too busy enough finances, you know, on, I’m gonna, I’m gonna build it. And so I did. And then just, it just became a passion. I mean, I have this king of strategy. I like playing chess.

Matthew Laurin

So what was that, like? David is for building it. But the, um, so you said you said Avo. And like, there’s a lot of directories out there, right. Find Law, just tons. Was there something missing from from those ones that helped you kind of just

John Brocas

missing? What is? It’s the personal touch that’s missing? Yeah. It’s the personal touch from someone with me that has a passion for the like, I’m like an attorney. Like an old woman. I’m like, dude, I mean, you know, where’s your content? Your Where’s your video? You know, you could be doing this. You could be putting a banner up here. We could promote this for you, we could do this. And it’s like, just so friggin lazy. And then so then I decided, right, I’m going to start attacking the SEO companies are you? Sure did, you know and I would like, you know, I would, I would basically attack them and see, come on gauges are supposed to know what the heck he’s doing. This is just ridiculous. So I push I push a lot. And I’ve got up to I think at last count was just over 700 law firms that you didn’t

Matthew Laurin

really, I didn’t realize it was that big.

John Brocas

Yeah. And it’s well respected. Now. There’s over there’s nearly 700 law firms on it.

Matthew Laurin

And there’s a and those are yet 700 paid subscribers.

John Brocas

oh no some of them are like, for instance, I have agency accounts or one of the one of the big legal marketing companies has got like a fat. I think a fat got a 40 account limit, they pay like 450 a month and they get 50 accounts, or 40 accounts, whatever it is. And they add people in thick because they’ve got an agency dashboard. Then there’s a lot of smaller, there’s a lot of smaller ones that are paying, you know, so I mean, it there’s, there’s a lot that’s paying and there’s a lot you know that many punch that I got in free because I needed lawyers on now. I just, I’ve just left them.

Matthew Laurin

It’s cool that you got so many so many subscribers, whether they’re paid or not. I mean, I remember working with you a few years ago and and you’re still kind of working on building it up. So it’s neat to see that it’s authoritative now,

John Brocas

yes, it’s definitely got some authority. And I think the biggest thing I think is like, I noticed it to me know the directory, I didn’t even like cola directory, I like to call it a content marketing legal marketing suite for it’s interesting, because so many different tools that I have in there. And then of course, I have my own personal touches and stuff. And I did I set up things like doing and autonomy interviews. So I would send out a form fill in the interview, my team will Tom and your real nice piece of content, I’ll put it on every promotion for you. I mean, doing that some of them are so easy. And that’s the problem with the legal industry. They want results, but they’re not prepared to work. And they use the same, they use the same excuse, I don’t have time. Yeah, I’m like, good, a few of you can spend even 30 minutes a week doing something, your return on investment is going to be tenfold. And then I have leads that come in all the time and they don’t answer the leads.

Matthew Laurin

That’s cool. He said, it’s a suite of marketing tools, what I like how you differentiate it from a directory because we got directory, yeah, just like you, you create a profile, you upload some images, a video, maybe a link to your website. And that’s it. But what kind of tools are available in there?

John Brocas

So there’s video marketing on there, there’s audio that you can use, as well as written content. So for articles that get distributed, as well. And then so there’s a whole plethora of different things that we can utilize, then they’ve got the review section, and then you’ve got the they’ve got, like, you know, where they can put the testimonials up and stuff like that. And then we have services that can put separate services up, they could even have a service structure on there, where they could say, for this service, it’s going to be, you know, a $200 consultation on a $500 consultation, there’s so much it is a no, we’re doing a free, you know, it’s got what we can edition features on it as well. But the beauty of it is, is that because it’s really good quality links that I get from it as well. I have other assets that I own. So I have lawsuit information.org, which is a bit of domain authority, but 20 or 25, or something. And it’s just a blog, it’s just a news blog, and I’m like, write, write an article, get it on there, link it back to your profile and get to your website. So you’re getting a bit of a silo going, you’re getting the good structured one, and you’re getting a thought of it, and you’re getting relevancy. And then sort of so many different ways that I look at it, and then your video library, your own video library there and everything somebody puts a video and actually, you know, take some time and rates if you hundred words, no unique content when combined, or system, we’ll take it and I’ll put that into my social media management system. I’ll pull it in on an RSS feed and I start to spread it out. So your social signals are getting okay.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, that’s that’s different. So do you see a big difference between

John Brocas

things is different and mood is avorn? Everybody else? Is that a directory that you want? And people are just looking for links? I’m looking to serve them in a better way. And really be more proactive in giving them a good service?

Matthew Laurin

Do you see a big difference in the attorneys that are using video? versus ones that aren’t I get that question a lot like if they should be doing video, what types of video they should be doing? and What kinds of things do you see

John Brocas

those informational educational videos but here’s the biggest thing that attorneys are not recognizing the videos. It’s all about building trust and building an emotional connection with that person who might have an issue. The problem I seen a lot of a ton the videos is like have you been putting you in court in an accident? Have you been done this? If you’ve been doing this call us because we just got a $2 million claim. It’s like a commercial spin Autonomy’s at the moment nobody friggin trusts them, right? It’s all anybody see, psychologically, is it’s an autonomy, it’s gonna cost me 400 $500 a month. If you get an attorney or a lawyer to be raw and upfront and be like the common mind. And the common people ensure that say to them, as well as the professional side, the amount of authority and the amount of trust that they generate is phenomenal, because it sticks in the mind of the person is watching. I would like to see a ton news coming away from the whole just, let’s do an introduction video of all our services. And let’s you know, like test that one with one of these and he wants to pay 1020 30,000 foot and I remember it and it was Matt Bowman. Right. Yeah, like doormen because he was one of the firstborn and I’ve kept him on there forever. He’s been on it for Yeah, he’s a good guy. Yeah. And he was I actually sent him some businesses. So Matt was my first video was everything. I’m like, Man, that’s awesome. But it’s every sense the same as every other video that you know, I’d like to see my frickin Going on a barbecue. And seeing you know, And oh, by the way, this case in that case something is wrong, something that’s, that’s natural, that’s not put on not as not as a short. Because even if we look at the way the algorithms are changing, for instance, and Instagram, and all these different social media platforms, the app choosing raw content, raw real content than something that is so intelligent, that I’m going to pick up, whether it’s something that’s made up, or whether it’s, you know, so there’s a place for both. But I’d like to see more natural

Matthew Laurin

The metrics probably show that too, when people interact with that content. So if you see something that’s obviously staged or not genuine, you’re probably not going to engage with it much, you’re not going to comment on it, like it or watch it for very long. But when you see the stuff that is raw in real life, I feel like that’s the kind of stuff everybody wants to watch.

John Brocas

Everybody wants to do it. They want to hear your stories, they want to hear about the struggles they want to hit, they want to be able to communicate, like I communicate with my immigration lawyer. I’ll communicate with him, Matt, and I’m chatting away. Yeah, it was up the range of other beer. I was just, you know, he then I was taking my private jet. I’m like, yeah, yeah, yeah. But he’s an ex military guy. And he’s really, you know, he’s really good that you’re on, you’re saying the picture to me. And when I was at my daughter’s graduation, and this is awesome, and then you maybe put something together for them. But inherently in the legal industry, there’s a massive amount of lazy laziness versus high expectations, high expectation, but they don’t want to do anything about it.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah. So there’s a you said, there’s a dashboard on the back end of help-lawyer.com. Does everyone get access to that? Or is that only on the agency side?

John Brocas

No, everybody’s got their own profile dashboard. But the agency side, you have a sub account profile dashboard, where you can control all your clients. Okay, and then for your clients, on the other end, you can just log into each and every one of those systems.

Matthew Laurin

For an individual attorney, though, can they log in and see stats on their profile? and things like that? Or?

John Brocas

We never do? Because they’ll say, I only want your buttons. I’m not interested. I’m like, did you put some content? Yeah, it’s all about eyeballs, senior content and making a raw emotional connection. If all you Yes, I can give you a great backlink in the XML. But Mike, just wasting what you have at your disposal.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, I wonder if there’s something you can do in terms of education, on tracking of referrals coming from help-lawyer.com or leads coming from there, and might be the next step. So they

John Brocas

can I suggest I suggested to another kind of man who was in attendance, get yourself like a search IO account. You know, just have an account shortener put your content out there and have it you know, have that link used and your content, your videos and stuff. And then you track it, where it’s coming from. But we also track in the dashboard, you’ve gotten like a profile section. And you’ll have an analytics section on the dashboard. And you can go in and see how many people went to your profile? How many people clicked on to your website? How many people clicked on your call your office? How many people sent you a message? What social media channels they jumped on and from your profile?

Matthew Laurin

It’s pretty good. That’s cool. Yeah. So what’s what’s what’s in the works right now you got something new coming out for the platform? Are you guys always working on something?

John Brocas

I have been development. So here’s the thing, I am actually going to be redeveloping the whole platform, I’ve been working on a SaaS application in the publishing and media industry for two and a half years, and has got to the point where we’re getting, we’re getting into the beta stage. And what we’re going to do after that launch, in the publishing side of things is take that, that software, and that that will be developed is moving over to Help Lawyer. So we’ll have hopefully, we’re going to have the ability where they can, they’ll be able to connect and make a video call, we can actually connect to the customer live on them, you know, the cell phones and stuff like that. We’re going to try and take it to the next level and offer them far more in the way of, you know, also bringing in we can when can we clean your and stuff like that and Poncho and all that kind of thing. So we’ve been developing that system for the last two and a half years and it’s getting to the point now where once we roll out on it, we’ll just roll it, roll it to help lawyers around we’ll change the whole the whole stage you hold that action.

Matthew Laurin

Does integration sound cool? I spoke with an attorney the other day who that was One thing she really liked about her current provider was they integrated with Clio. And like, anytime somebody called the firm, the contact information showed up and they’re in their CMS and, or their, whatever their their sales management system, and it was really handy.

John Brocas

That’s what we’re going to try and do, we’re gonna try and take it to more on media content more on video and audio, like, my new system is hopefully going to integrate with a lot more audio podcasts and stuff like that. And draw them in and start to, you know, promote them and hopefully have the count of one stop marketing platform for the autonomy where they can share direct from their profile, as well as connect their website, share the stuff in or publish their articles to their website, as well as on the hate using the directive and want to Help Lawyer on the content platform. So that’s my plans for the future. Of course, that takes that takes a lot of finances and a lot of a lot of work. And the good thing is, is that I’m doing it and based on another SAS application, I’m building for the media industry, which then will which it will already be built. So the investment will be negligible in rebuttal.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, that sounds cool. Um, so is that you think that’s really gonna put some juice behind the marketing aspect of it?

John Brocas

It’s going to be it’s going to be totally unique to the likes of Avo and everything else is taught. I’m trying we really take it thinking outside of the box, you know? Yeah. So that it really, here’s the thing, I want it to benefit small and law firms who are on both, you know, that I’m a big pond for sharks, and got nowhere else to go. But that point is there’s a lot of there’s a lot of bad lawyers, there was a lot of good lawyers, or there was a lot of good lawyers that don’t know nothing about marketing don’t know nothing about content, wet behind the ears, and they just can’t compete with a big one with a big agency. And I’ve moved away from the whole idea of, you know, pay per click or even an agreement. Nothing because the lawyers these wires cannot afford.

Matthew Laurin

It’s expensive. Yeah. Yeah, if you’re a brand new pa attorney, and you’re trying to bid on terms, even in a moderate sized, geographic location, I mean, it’s like 70 130 $180, a click for I look at the amount of click fraud. Yeah, there’s a to

John Brocas

quote. And I mean, as much as Google’s trying to do a battle, it’s a continual battle. I mean, I do content marketing and the pest control industry. So I don’t do marketing in the legal industry. So it’s but I have Pest Control clients that I run an agency for a media marketing agency, and I have a problem with with click fraud and all that kind of stuff, you know, so I try to streamline as much as possible through just complete content and media. How do you win the age vac industry? So for instance, in the edge vac industry last year, one of my clients in Florida, I generated like 274, real hot leads for a bank, and a month, nice. You know, that’s 3000 $4,000 worth of system. And maybe, you know, that’s what I’m wanting for them.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, I’m gonna click on the click fraud. How do you know Google Miss tries to refund invalid click activity or whatever, but I don’t think they do. Not big portion of it. I mean, how do you how do you avoid that, as I

John Brocas

tried to get as punchy as possible through phone conversion,

Matthew Laurin

foreign wigs and photos version, okay, instead of away from the tech stance, instead of you’re saying instead of like form fills instead of form fills on a website?

John Brocas

Yeah, yeah. Because there’s so much even for the form files. And the other thing that I’ll do is pre qualifying them to go through and fill in a form to make an appointment, that kind of thing. You know, okay, um, but I think it’s what’s in the legal industry, because the click fraud is so high I see. And this is where they see that the lawyers, the legal industry are not wholly tongue into more than media, I don’t see them, you know, doing as much in video as they should be doing.

Matthew Laurin

You know. It’s really the bigger firms that I see doing video doing commercials, billboards, and more so because they have the funds and they’re at that level where they can have weight in the market as opposed to, you know, having to track every dollar to make sure it’s returning. Return on Investment, but yeah, I mean, I think video is important. I think there’s a place for PPC

John Brocas

it’s getting less

Unknown Speaker

Yeah, a

John Brocas

lot of people have ception. You know, the other thing for I think lawyers need to think about as good quality content. I asked him get not answering question. It’d be answered. So will we get that to get them, you know, FAQ snippets and things like that and, and utilize that. And then what I don’t see that doesn’t seem to happen, you know, I can take, I can take a piece of content, see on help lawyer and write a really good piece of content on there maybe 2000 words or so I can develop maybe 30 pieces of unique content just from that one article. And that kind of strategy, I don’t see why I was using much I mean, they could ton they could read that article themselves into a podcast, or an audio file, bam, we’ve got an audio. And at the end of the day, we’ve also got the voice outs, I think voice apps is huge. And not a lot of people are catching on it. Not a lot. So you can utilize your content, even in the voice app. And then you know, you have you can make videos that you can short snippet, snackable videos, you know, micro content that leads them to a bigger the website or the landing page or something like that, you know, I don’t see a one on one content, I see even some of the other agencies that are there. In utilizing my system doesn’t as I said before, there’s an inherent laziness. And you’ll put a piece of content or an asset, and it’s just to get the link. And sort of sad, because I think I said, That’s quite a good piece of content. I could turn that into a video, I could turn it on audio, I can really get some good exposure for that little lot from but they don’t do it.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, there’s a lot to be said for that. I mean, excellence is much harder to achieve and mediocrity. So your your core audience, smaller law firms,

John Brocas

rather than I don’t think for help lawyer, yeah, we’ve got a couple of big players that utilizes but I don’t have the passion for the big players, I have the passion for the small lawyers, the ones that are trying to make the mark trying to make the the one. I don’t, they don’t mark in the industry, if you’re way down the chain, I once knew a lawyer couldn’t afford to come on the platform. And it’s not it’s not expensive. But he said he couldn’t even afford to eat. He wasn’t he wasn’t Amman, the money was he couldn’t even afford to buy some shopping. Oh, that’s rough. And you know, and he had a partner and she couldn’t live together China and build up the practice, and couldn’t even pay the rent really, and get short and stuff like that. So I mean, I just give them a freebie.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, I spoke. I spoke to one of our clients the other day, and one of my questions for him on the podcast was, you know, what was one piece of advice for new attorneys and more or less it was, you know, get ready to work hard. And he told me this story about when he started and, you know, he was working crazy hours, you know, 1216 hour days not making any money sleeping in the building that he had his office in. So yeah, I mean, you don’t really realize that way behind the prestige. And you know, that just the air that the legal industry has to outsiders, you don’t really realize that they’re starting a business like any other entrepreneur, a lot of them are broke, you know,

John Brocas

any. we all struggle with our businesses in the beginning and things that especially No, we want to see post Cobo because we’re not post cool, but we’re still in it. It’s harder and harder for entrepreneurs to actually break out and Nicola are one of the coaching that I’m doing. I pray Molly, my mining thing is coaching people, coaching entrepreneurs and coaching executives and leaders and lawyers and things. And what I see is, if the have a different mindset, and they take the tackle things in a different way, they can thrive and not survive. But the unfortunate thing is that you then have this whole it’s like mass consciousness about how everything is harmed. And even for a small law firm. It’s really hard to get by and all these stories, but really all it needs a change of mindset, a change in mindset and and hard work because nothing comes easy. Listen, I can’t remember who was at fault or what was the biggest bill that I have. But when everybody was leaving the footnote, the author who’s there I’m sorry, I’m not attacking your book and let’s face it, there is such a thing as a 401k it just doesn’t happen. You actually get your hands dirty and do the work.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, yeah, for sure. So So what would be your answer to that question? What’s one thing that a new attorney or somebody starting their firm out would it What’s the first thing you should be focused on?

John Brocas

Think emotional connection first and content Second. Okay. The reason being is because Everybody has got this whole bio Dyson dealer, buy my product by myself is buy this, I can get you this, I can get you this money this fee, you know, but think about really emotionally connect. And because it’s a long term business, not a short term cash, yes, you do need some short term jobs and you can take that, you know, can support a lot of families. But I would see is whatever niche you’re in, let’s say it’s immigration, or even Divorce Law, something like that, is look at the biggest problems and not not the biggest questions that ask him. But look at the emotional problems that people are having, and become empathetic with those problems, and then offer them solutions to those problems. Nine times out of 10 when you make that emotional connection, and you make that that, that build that trust with them, you’re going to develop a long term relationship that’s going to it’s going to develop in business, there’s no there’s no way about it. business is all about relationships, no matter what business you’re in, whether you sell carpets on the side of the road, or you sell oranges in Florida, on the side of the road, you know, cops, etc. You know, it’s all about relationships, people remember, kindness, they remember you being empathetic and listening. So if you can listen to problems, and I identify the issues in your niche, and start to generate the content around seven issues, do not generate the content to sell doesn’t work, generate the content and form and educate and be empathetic and make a connection.

Matthew Laurin

That’s great advice. We’ve been listening to John Brocas Founder of help-lawyer.com John, where can people go to learn more about help-lawyer.com?

John Brocas

Let’s just go to help work help-lawyer.com. If you need to ask any questions, you can just go to the little chat button. I have to see I thought we were chatting and this was awesome. We’d like to record. Yeah. We’ll just go to help one. If you’ve got any questions, then jump in. If you really need, you know, advices for maybe when I bought you as a lawyer basis, not free. But if you come to me that I’m going to give you advice on how to do things. So Help Lawyer is a great platform for new lawyers starting small lawyers, small businesses, and there’s a lot of features that you can use. The any feature on any website is great. It’s only the power behind that makes a difference. And that’s where I think it’s a little box for my for my members.

Matthew Laurin

Well said Well said. Thanks, John, I appreciate you for taking the time today.

John Brocas

No problem, brother was good.

Conclusion

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.

The Winning Strategy that Built My Practice

October 7, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

Frank Vendt is the Owner and Founder of The Vendt Law Firm. He is a high net worth divorce attorney and knows firsthand how difficult the divorce process can be. Frank has been practicing law for almost 20 years, venturing out to start his own successful law firm back in 2012. He’s currently the President-Elect of the Fort Bend County Bar Association.

 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Who’s Frank Vendt?
  • Why Frank started his law firm, The Vendt Law Firm.
  • Frank talks about his struggle to find clients during the early days of the firm.
  • How Frank attracted clients and referrals for his firm.
  • Frank talks about his mentors.
  • What Frank thinks every new lawyer should do to start and run their firm successfully.

In this episode…

Imagine this: you spend over $150,000 on an office setup and different kinds of ads, but weeks pass and not a single client phone call. You know you’re a good lawyer, but you don’t have the clients to prove it. What do you do?

For Frank Vendt, quitting was never an option. So instead, he figured out the marketing strategy that helped him grow his law firm.

Tune in to this episode of the Esq.Marketing Podcast with Matthew Laurin to hear from Frank Vendt of The Vendt Law Firm. They talk about what it’s like starting a new law firm, the struggle to acquire clients, and how to add to your client roster.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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.

 

Episode Transcript

Intro

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

Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing. And you’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast where I feature successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States. This episode is brought to you by Esq.Marketing, we help law firms generate more clients in cases from Google search. And speaking of successful law firms today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Frank Vendt. Frank is the Owner and Founder of The Vend Law Firm, and he’s been practicing law for almost 20 years and started his own successful law firm back in 2012. And he’s currently the President of the Fort Bend County Bar Association. Frank Vendt, welcome to the show.

Frank Vendt

Good to see you. Matt.

Matthew Laurin

Did I get that right in the 20 years? I should ask you about that before.

Frank Vendt

Yeah. SoWell, obviously, I was in law school. I’ll say 2001 started clerking for a firm so I worked for firms and legal contract negotiation, a lot of different things.

Frank Vendt

Prior to starting the farm,

Matthew Laurin

okay, cool. Cool. So yeah, take me back to the beginning. Why did you? Why did you decide in 2012? Why’d you start? Or why did you decide to start your own law firm?

Frank Vendt

Why you see that little girl right there.

Frank Vendt

Duty men to feed them. So here’s the thing. When I came to Texas, I was working for a big corporation. We did contract negotiation, I want to get back into doing private type stuff, the litigation work. And when I not being not being from Texas, I had. My view was when I came here, I was going apply for jobs like everybody else. So I really end up starting my firm out of necessity. Now, I’ll tell you a funny story. I was with my father. And we were sitting there and I was telling them how I was having trouble getting my foot in the door. To a law firm, I didn’t find anyone that would hire me. And I was number seven. In my class, I passed two bar exams that I thought surely I could get someone to hire me. Now that I’ve been in business long, I realized why that’s not that easy. Because firms are trying to make money and they’re trying to be able to support their own families. And most of your litigation firms just aren’t really, really big unless their personal injury or something like that, where they’re turning clients. But the kind of work we do in family law, and at the time was doing some criminal. It’s more that attorneys more focused on the client. The client wants that attorney, they don’t want a big conglomerate of people, they want to know who’s working for them. So anyway, so what I was sitting there talking to my father, and I said, you know, I’m having trouble getting bigger job. I don’t know if this was a good decision to be caught out like this. And he says, well, let’s just start a farm. And my father is a plant worker. He didn’t come we didn’t come from money. He says I’ll get some of my 401k and I begged and begged do not take any money out of your 401k so no robot robot builder, robot builder, I put you in it you’ll be fine. I’m literally like begging him do not do that. And he’s going we’re doing it Come on let’s go get a real job we’re gonna find a builder. So we go out there and find the biggest dump of a place you can find and he says I said how much you think it would cost me file account knows about you? And I said How much do you think it costs to redo this thing reminded about 35,000 Well, that sounds safe. So we go and buy this piece of property have no idea because I’ve moved to Texas like a year earlier have no idea really what we’re doing. We’re just

Frank Vendt

guessing. Yeah. And he

Frank Vendt

we buy the place we start getting quotes the first quote, we get to redo this building. And not even really do it right. was like $90,000 Hmm. And I went that’s exactly what I did. You know that feeling like oh my god. Look, here’s the deal, we’ll fix it up. When this doesn’t work. I can sell it. I probably won’t get as much as I can. But I can go back to work in and sales or something and I’ll just give you the money back. I mean, you’re not to lose your 401k Yeah. And he’s like looking at me like I’m stupid cuz you know, a parent thinks their kid can do anything in the world. And I’m thinking you think that because you’re my father and you’re about to see me crash and burn, buddy, this is gonna go bad. So we ended up putting about 150,000 into this, don’t have a building that I should have torn totally down and just built from the whole slab But hindsight is 2020 Yeah, needless to say, we went about 120,000 over budget. And at this point, I’m just kind of giggling like, Okay, this is gonna be hilarious. I’m thinking in the back of my mind, good thing I learned about bankruptcy won’t get rid of the student loans, but at least I can bankrupt. So, you know, we go and my father comes up with this idea is like, oh, there’s a lawyer, they put the sign in the front with this LED. And I’m like, Man, that is not the image I’m wanting to portray. I want to be looked at seriously. And he’s like, Listen, son, you have to get somebody in this door. He’s like, you can be a great lawyer. But first, you’ve got somebody in this door. So he talks me into this. Really just it the signs, not, it doesn’t really fit what I was trying to portray. It’s, yeah, totally sign out in the front. So am I gonna put the sign on? I’m gonna change tires, basically, you know, I don’t think it’s gonna be hard. But it’s not as professional and prestigious as you kind of want to be portrayed because you’re trying to make this image, especially as a young lawyer. Yeah,

Matthew Laurin

very common and leave industry.

Frank Vendt

Yeah, you don’t believe in yourself that much as it is. So you just kind of want to at least look what you’ve seen. So I had been working in law firms before, so I kind of, I believed in I knew what to do. But it was more about what other people believed in. Yeah. So I go in there, and I put the sign on. And it’s January first, we lit it up. January 1,

Matthew Laurin

January, January 1 2012.

Frank Vendt

Ah, so I was working 2012. But the farm was open. But that build was done, I guess, was 2014 and 14. Okay, so I was like working remotely satellite that’s for nothing and trying to find a job because that wasn’t working. Right. So we opened this farm. And I, I sat there for three weeks, and my father would call me every single day. Anybody call? Anybody call you? And I’m at my desk like, no. Good. Got one call. Not a call dad. thing that son should be getting them there. I’m going, Yeah. Yeah, I know, I’m thinking about going out there one of those signs of spinning it around, you know, we’re open. So I sat there and did that deal. And about three weeks go by. And finally someone calls and, and I’m so cheap at this time, like my car I had, the copy machine was like a I don’t know how to use copy machine. I had a scanner. That was I bought one of the scanners in one night, I had to scan something like 50 pages took like three hours to put it because they weren’t doing electronic file and at that time, so I’m like scan that keeps getting pages stuck. I’m like, Oh my god, you know, but I was so committed. I’d stay there till one o’clock in the morning scanning it because I had to electron because they just started this electronic filing, but they weren’t you at the time you didn’t have to do so. just ridiculous. But I remember getting a call and bought a little cell phone. And I answered the offer. It’s like nine in the afternoon, you know, 9pm and they’re like, Hey, I got your number from my father. He knew your father worked at this company. And we knew him and we’d heard his son came here from law. This is what happened. They could have said anything it wouldn’t matter what they said the law what kind of case it was, I would have taken it. Yeah. And it happened to be a criminal case because at the time I wanted to do criminal I later found out that I really didn’t like defending from Yeah, just reality that is

Matthew Laurin

that was it. That was the first one that came in, etc.

Frank Vendt

that came in one from the side one from anything. And, um, I took that case and then someone came off the street on the sign I took a DWI. So underprice To this day, that guy got a steel rod prepare for a jury trial for each house. He paid me 1500 dollars in total.

Frank Vendt

But long story short,

Frank Vendt

I went to see a friend of mine in town, who was the only lawyer I knew in Texas at the time other than I got to live in Austin I didn’t really talk to and I knew as a lawyer, but I don’t like that. But this guy had met. And I went to him and I was like, Man, I’m really trouble getting busy today. You know, I get a lot of my business off the internet. I went, Oh, the internet. Okay, because that was something I we didn’t really do in the past firm. I was

Matthew Laurin

worried. That was gonna be my next question. Like, what what were you going to do to get cases in the door? So

Frank Vendt

that was what it was. So he said that and I said, Okay, so I caught up a buddy of mine. He’s like, I know how to make websites. So he gets on GoDaddy and makes me a $250 website. And it looks really pretty good. I was impressed with his work. Yeah. Only problem was no one ever saw it ever, because we didn’t know how to optimize it. So we had a website but no one ever knew it was there unless it was on your business course. My best score looked at my website, right? Yeah. And so nothing was happening. I was like, I gotta get people. So I’m like googling, how did you get your stuff up? Because I mean, I haven’t really focused on I had a marketing degree. But it was from 1990. We The Internet was kind of new around that time. Yeah, brand. And then the Yellow Pages was the king of advertising for lawyers in 2001 2003. When I came out, you wanted that double page? Yeah,

Matthew Laurin

the double truck, right, double.

Frank Vendt

Yeah, so that was a big deal. And you couldn’t get them because the person who had them first got them all the time until they, they wanted like, 20,000 a month for him. So I’m sitting there going, Okay, I remember the Yellow Page, you guys came to me. So the first year so I work two jobs. They say, and I work two jobs. And that’s what I did. I committed my job was for bills. And every dollar I made from my farm would go back into advertising. If you were an advertiser, and you stopped at the vet law firm, you got a sale. I didn’t care what it was. If they stopped by with pins, if they you know, the high schools. Were you sponsoring our magazine? Yeah, what ever it was, I was that guy that they walked out with? Wow, I really sold him. They don’t have a clue. I didn’t know what I was doing. I’d already committed every dollar was going to advertising so that I could figure out what worked. I put it. My when I tell you I was on the radio. I was on weather apps. If they called me and said, Are you interested? Sign me up. I didn’t

Matthew Laurin

care. That was going to be one of my questions like What was your biggest professional challenge? And it sounds like just getting things going was like getting it going.

Frank Vendt

If I remember sitting there. I’m Christian. And I would pray and say, God, I know I can do the job. Will you please get me somebody to do it for? I mean, I would have done it free almost, you know? Yeah. So I went around and I tried every single advert. I’m not lying to you name that I did commercial. I didn’t do TV. But I did commercials, where I do like a little commercial and run it things. Yeah. Anything you can think of I sponsored shares calendars I was my card was every single put, if you talk to me, you were thinking I was boasting. I was a lawyer. I wasn’t boasting. I was a lawyer. I was trying to let someone know I was a lawyer. So they would call me like I go to a frickin snowball. Stan, Here’s my card. I’m an attorney that you know, like, what is this guy doing? So I’m sitting there, and I’m just doing anything I can. And I had decided that the law firm, so I called up some people and I was like, Look, I’m trying to start a nice I’m gonna build me a website, and then get it where I’m on Google first page and all you know, yeah, no, I yeah. What are you looking to spend on like 500 bucks or something new. That kind of giggled. They were like, man, if you’re gonna do pay per click all you’re looking at like, you could be talking 10,000 a month if you these big firms to compete with them. Yeah, I went 10,000 a month. I said, Oh, my God, I have a good friend of mine. Let’s talk a bit kind of caught him. I was like, man, I think I really I’m not gonna get this building up for sale. This is not good. Yeah. So I found a company that would make a website for like, I forgot how much I think was $3,000. And then they would try to optimize me for it wasn’t much I know they even do optimization. They would just move me on pay per click. Yeah, they they went ahead, and they they made the worst website you’ve ever seen. It looked like something out of a cartoon? It was horrible. I don’t know what they were thinking. It truly looked like something like from we should have astroworld here. But you’ve heard of Six Flags, or does it look like a cartoon lawyer website? Oh, my

Matthew Laurin

God. Was that on The Vendt Law Firm.com that domain. It was a long time. I’m gonna have to look that

Frank Vendt

It was so bad. It was so but so they were the first one with that domain. Then this other guy comes to me I go to one of these because I’m doing everything I can I go to one of these groups that you meet. What do they call like a referral working a network networking group? Yeah. Those were horrible. Totally not my personality. You know, I’m not gonna trade. I’m not. You’re not even. I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna give something of value though. Like, you got to pay this fine. I’m like, No, I can’t. I’m like, that’s paying for clients. I can’t do that. And so I did. I went to that little meeting, heard what it was never got in the group. But a guy was like, I do websites and I’m like, we gotta be better than these cartoon characters I have. So he gets it. He’s like, oh, mine’s overseas. I’ve got some people in India that knew everything went great. And the website like was better but it never worked on his phone like I put up my closet look when it’s on the far side. Yeah, but you you got to flip your phone over. Most people flip their phone over. I’m like, What? Might you kidding me? Because I kept trying to go as cheap as I could. Yeah. Finally,

Frank Vendt

finally I

Frank Vendt

I went with you guys, which used to be the other company. rankings Esquire ranking right Rankings.io. Yep. And I remember the price and all and kind of gone. I don’t care, whatever it is, this is it. It either works, I’m done. Because all the other advertising, I used to say you got to get this many dollars per dollar you spend. And I still I still look at is about a one to five, or five to one, you got to get about $5 for every dollar you spend over advertising or it’s a waste, you’re working for them. So I started kind of looking at what was working. And I realized what was working was only the internet. Nothing else was working like calendars. commercials. site, nothing was working. But the internet. So I went all in. You guys were really good. But we were having trouble at that time getting me on the first page and sugar lamb

Matthew Laurin

in those Oh, yeah, those key markets.

Frank Vendt

Yeah, the key markets that I’ve talked to you about. So I firmly believe without a doubt that Chris and you without y’all I’m gonna tell you right now, we would not be the firm that we are. Now. We we get more from referral today because we got the opportunity to go out there and do our job. And people start referring you cases. But we still rely on you guys to give us that one or two cases a month that’s going to generate cases down the road.

Matthew Laurin

Because shake them and that’s awesome to hear.

Frank Vendt

We kind of look at the marking, I always tell my staff, the internet is to get us a person that we do a job for. So they can go out until three people to come see us.

Frank Vendt

That’s a great way to look at it.

Frank Vendt

That’s how we look at it. Now we still need to make money off for you guys. And when it’s slow, you know me, I can tell you, when we fall on the page, I can tell you when we fall on the page. We’re not running PPC right now as you know, we’re just we don’t have the staff to handle everything. Which is a great thing to say. Right? Yeah, I mean, versus I’m waiting on the call. But when we run PPC we definitely see that I can tell you when Pay Per Click is on. I can tell you when it’s on. I can tell you when we’re on the tops of the first pages and and what Eric I can see where the clients are coming from. And I can see how many calls we’re getting.

Matthew Laurin

That’s so cool to hear, man. Hey, um, when you talk when you look at a pay per click advertising versus organic search, even in your experience with other agencies, where do you feel like you’ve you’ve gotten the biggest bang for your buck.

Frank Vendt

So used to I always used to think it was SEO, I thought SEO was definitely the biggest bang for the buck. When Google changed the way they do their list of people. So there was a time when you saw like a couple here, a couple up there. And then you saw the SEO back then this was probably four or five years ago. Yeah, I felt like SEO was really where it was. today. I really think you generate just as much if not more from pay per click.

Matthew Laurin

Now I feel like I feel like that’s probably pretty true statement that there was a lot of activity going on

Frank Vendt

and on. And for a while there I had a stigma that and I think I was right when it was transitioning us to people looked at SEO was the real people. Everybody else was an advertiser. It was like whoever was the first one on the list from search engine optimization, like number one on the page from advertising. That was the real company, that that’s how it kind of was like that was established. So you wanted to be there. But I don’t. And it’s almost like it’s now it’s not like that used to even I used to go to Google, if I saw an advertisement, skip them and go to the real stuff.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, I know some people that are so so like that for sure. Mm hmm. And so you’ve got

Frank Vendt

to have both if you want to, but

Frank Vendt

that stigma is going away. And you’re seeing, you’ll go to the top of the page on advertising and go to the first one on the list. It’s the same as the advertiser now, right? So a lot of times it’s like, I don’t I don’t I think the maps are good. maps are good. People coughed a mouse. But you get the and this is for lawyers only that I can talk about. I find that people get caught off the map or doing the quick Hey, do you handle this? How much are you? Okay? Yeah, the people that go into the website are reading about you. They’re reading and they’re looking at things that matter to them. Um, you’ve seen my website have a quote about me. Being married prior, and I’ve made a comment to someone before we got divorced. So yeah, no, I read it on your thing. I liked it. She said that. So they do look at your content. Yeah.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, yeah, you’re right. I mean, when you, when you can get the cycle, higher quality leads, it’s so much more beneficial than just the people that are kind of pre shopping and in in your career. Frank, I wanted to ask you, and maybe you already touched on this a little bit, who’s been like a really influential person or kind of like a mentor that’s helped you kind of get where you are today?

Frank Vendt

Well, I mean, obviously my father because he was, but he’s not in the professional tailors. Two people might not well, three, the lawyer I work with first who’s now deceased, really showed me how to be a lawyer. I was young, I was 20, something, he would show me how to go. He was big on how you dressed. He said these people pay you a lot of money. Do not show up. Not looking the part. Yeah, there’s an element, they don’t pay you just for what you say. So they’re paying you for every single thing down to when you show up. When I mediate on zoom, I wear a suit and tie every single time. He said they’re paying you for every bit of it, not just what you say not just the result, the entire piece of it, which is why I get frustrated with my staff. When we make any little, even on an email, they’ll say something and they’ll use the wrong word or something like that is grammatical. It bothers me. And I do it too. But it bothered me because people are paying. So he taught me about what you need to do as a lawyer. My father, of course, was my backbone. He thought I could do anything you want a personal

Matthew Laurin

story, by the way?

Frank Vendt

Yeah, well, you just you, it’s like, I had to pay him back. But he also believed in me so much, and I didn’t believe in myself near as much as he did make. And to this day, you know, you kind of seem like, names, and it was a no brainer. And I’m still going you don’t understand. Yeah.

Matthew Laurin

We got lucky. Oh, so cool that you had someone to be like that in the belief in you. And then there’s an

Frank Vendt

attorney in town, Scott, Bruce, or who, when I went into Family Law, I went into family because I was kind of like in divorce. And Scott was a family lawyer, the only person literally the only person I knew in town, or in Texas, that was a lawyer. And the reason I knew him is he had handled my divorce when I got here, and I would text him or call him very cat like very light, like, hey, do you mind answering? I will I would look in the book before I call him for hours, because I didn’t want to bother him. And he and I’d say, Graham, thanks for asking. I’ve been looking for four hours for that. And he’s like, you research for four hours, you could text me that. So him open his door? Which is why if a young lawyer calls me or text me, they’re getting an answer. And I tell every one of them. Don’t even but see lawyers just have this thing where we don’t want to ask, or we’re not good enough or something. Look, they can ask me anything, I will tell them anything because I have been where I had no one to go to. And something that took four hours was like literally all you do is put a line on the end of the page with the person’s name and let them sign. That was

Matthew Laurin

actually one of my one of my final questions was about if you had a piece of advice for a new attorney, what would it what would it be? A young attorney calls you up? And he’s like, I’m new to the area. I’m starting my own firm, what would be the first thing you tell them?

Frank Vendt

Everybody talks about networking on my wife says it best as you know, networking, no, that’s good. But let’s be honest, they’re trying to get business for themselves and not really gonna do it for you. That the first thing I like to tell them is be ready to put in the time. You know, when I told you I didn’t have the copy machine, and all that was just me, I answered the phone, I did a type and I did the filing, I did everything. I would sit in my office till 1230 or one in the morning putting papers in a file. My back was killing me because I was sitting on the floor. Um, and I gone through a divorce actually lived in the back of that office for a time, it was services tough. You’ve got to be able to say Listen, I can’t I’m not gonna worry about you know, you’re watching your friends make money and you’re sitting there that you got to pay the dues. And then the other thing is, you got to be willing to put in the work. But outside of that you need to figure out a marketing campaign. Because there’s a bunch of you out there. There’s a bunch of kids coming out of law school that know how to do law. There’s a bunch of kids that look like you you what’s gonna do it is you luckily I had a marketing degree and I always knew it was important to a business. But you got to look at your marketing you you need to be low on overhead as possible, as low as you can on overhead as possible. But if there’s somewhere you’re going to spend it It better be in marketing. Because if you don’t have business, I don’t care how good a lawyer you are. You go you can go out and recite law day long. You’re not gonna make $1 on it unless you have someone paying you to do it. So That’s great advice. Very good advice. I mean, it’s just a reality. It’s a real I mean, like I told you, I kept saying, I know I can do this job, I don’t have a business. If you don’t, you have to first get the clients, then you can do the rest. That’s the number one thing. So yeah, you might start getting referrals down the road when you get known, but how you gonna do it must get business. So the way I looked at it was, overheads got to be low. But if there’s something you’re going to spend it on, it’s going to be marked. Remember, I told you put all the money back into it, I was working two jobs. I put all the money back into it. And the marketing is still to this day, when I look at our stuff. I’ll tell my paralegals, and I say look, this much we’ve got always have available in case we’re slowing down to dump and you know how I kind of work the PPC. Yeah. So but um, yeah, that that that’s the only thing and then if they don’t know anybody, and they don’t know the law, I mean, yeah, they need to try to find somebody kind enough to that you can call and don’t be scared to call them because believe it or not, a lot of us really enjoy telling you the answer. Yeah, we like talking about it. I get a lot younger call me up sometimes I don’t even know to ask my man. Think about that. Let me look into this and find it out. And I’ll tell you, because there’s there’s some things that come up that we just don’t know right off the bat. Yeah, you enjoy answering it.

Matthew Laurin

That’s super cool, man. Yeah, straight from the from the guy who’s done it. Guys, you’ve been listening to Frank Vendt, Owner of The Vendt Law Firm in Richmond, Texas. Frank, where can people go to learn more about your law firm?

Frank Vendt

But www.TheVendt. Vendt is like an air vent. But with a D before the T The Vendt Law Firm.com I think we’re also www.divorcelawyerintx.com in TX for Texas divorce while you’re in Texas, com?

Matthew Laurin

Yes, sir. Frank, thanks for being on the show, man.

Frank Vendt

Hi, Matthew. Good seeing you

Conclusion

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.

How to Prepare Your Solo Law Firm to Scale

September 30, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

Daniel Ramsey is the CEO and Founder of MyOutDesk. MyOutDesk is a company that provides virtual professionals to help business owners regain valuable time and freedom. Founded in California in 2008, MyOutDesk virtual professionals work from their fully-equipped home offices and offer significant cost savings compared to similar USA-based service providers. Over the last 13 years that they’ve been in business, MyOutDesk has helped attorneys, law firms, and other entrepreneurs hire 6,000 virtual assistants.

 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Who is Daniel Ramsey?
  • Why Daniel founded MyOutDesk
  • What MyOutDesk is all about
  • Daniel talks about who you need to hire first to scale your law firm and when to do it
  • How to hire virtually for your law firm
  • Daniel talks about how MyOutDesk is different from freelancer sites
  • How the virtual employee relationship works

In this episode…

If you’ve taken the bold step to start your law firm: congratulations!

As you market your firm and grow your client list on your own, you’ll inevitably get to a point where you become inundated with work that is anything but the real legal work you love doing. What happens then?

This is when your law firm starts to own you. This is also why you’ll struggle to scale. Luckily, Daniel Ramsey of MyOutDesk is here to show you how to avoid that situation altogether.

Listen to this episode of the Esq.Marketing Podcast with Matthew Laurin and hear from Daniel Ramsey, CEO of MyOutDesk. He talks about preparing your law firm to scale without having to give up any more of your time, when is the best time to scale, and how a virtual hire can help your firm.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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.

 

Episode Transcript

Intro

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

Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq.Marketing and you’re listening to the Esq.Marketing Podcast where I feature successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States. This episode is brought to you by Esq.Marketing, we help law firms generate more clients in cases using search marketing. And today, I do not have a successful law firm but a successful entrepreneur Daniel Ramsey. He is the CEO and Founder of MyOutDesk, a company that provides Virtual Professionals to help business owners regain valuable time and freedom. Daniel, welcome to the show.

Daniel Ramsey

Matthew. Thanks for having me, man. I’m excited to be here.

Matthew Laurin

That’s awesome. And yeah, I appreciate you coming on. So usually we have lawyers, law firms on the show. And we have had, we’ve done a few thought leadership episodes, and we’ve had some other business owners on so it’s super cool to to get another entrepreneur or like minded person on the show that can kind of give their their take on what it’s like to start a business and grow it which a lot of law firms are doing too. So.

Daniel Ramsey

Yeah, love it. In fact, you know, the good news is I have attorneys, I’ve been to court. I know, I know that world. In fact, I have attorneys on in four different countries. So that’s a wild thing to be able to say on a on a podcast, but yeah, Ben decor in a good way, I hope? Well, both good, both good and bad. I mean, I kind of think any entrepreneur who owns a business at some, at some stage within that business, you’ll have a dispute. And so, you know, I think it’s just part of being smart. And we made a lot of mistakes. And, you know, we’ve been in business 13 years, and I’ve screwed every single thing up, you can imagine, in 13 years. And, you know, we’ve hired and helped attorneys and law firms and, and other entrepreneurs, we’ve helped them hire over 6000 virtual assistants. So you can imagine with 6000 people there, of course, there’s been disputes. Of course, there’s been challenges. Yes, that’s just kind of the normal, I like to say, people are messy. And, and that’s just the truth of our business. And we’re, we’re a support mechanism for entrepreneurs to get leverage. So we help, you know, marketing, admin, sales and customer support. Those are kind of the four areas that we serve our clients. But yeah, I’m excited to be here and share with your audience.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, life is messy. And it sounds like you got a ton of experience. So yeah, tell me a little bit more about MyOutDesk. What do you guys all about?

Daniel Ramsey

Yeah, so MyOutDesk. So here, here’s a stand if you’re listening right now, and even in the attorney world, this is norm. I’m, I’m it’s 2009. I’m in Guatemala, and I’m on my honeymoon. And it’s one of those amazing places like it’s a Francis Ford Coppola resort. You’re we’re in the rain forest, there bungalows in the trees, and monkeys, like literally monkeys swinging around, and you had to watch out when you’re eating at the bar, because it was an outside bar. And monkeys would swing in. And if you weren’t paying attention, they grab your bread or something, you know, it’s what and this is gorgeous Lake, you know, we’re seeing this gorgeous Lake, from our bungalow where we were staying, my wife and I, and I found myself at the bar at one in the morning working. Literally, I’m closing a transaction, I’m doing a deal, like I’m on my honeymoon, and I’m doing a deal. I’m in and the bartender takes my phone, bartender takes my phone. And then he starts taking pictures of me. And then he starts making fun of me in Spanish, like stupid white guy, you know, beautiful bride back in the bungalow? What’s wrong with these dumb Americans? And, you know, in that moment, you know, looking back in that moment, I was just frustrated, angry because I owned a business, but the business really owned me. And I had this dream of, you know, being an entrepreneur since I was a kid. And I didn’t quite know what that meant. I went to business school and you know, worked for a lot of successful entrepreneurs, but didn’t really quite know what it meant to build a business. And so, at that moment, I was like, I want to stay married. I’d like to someday have kids, I don’t want to work on my vacations. I don’t want to work seven days a week, 24 hours all the time. And so I really, I came back from that moment and, you know, worked really hard to create a business that I own and vice versa, not the business owning me.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, that’s when you say that it reminds me of that book, The E-myth Revisited. And in that He talks about the author talks about owning a job, not a business because you you can’t leave it right I mean, technicians they start a business and and they’re the only ones that have the talent, the only ones that run it and and when they leave work doesn’t get done. So I totally hear you. I mean, it’s, it’s not a true business until you can walk away from it and, and and it runs itself pretty much for the most part. And so so MyOutDesk that’s what that’s where the idea came from is when you’re on your honeymoon you’re working and

Daniel Ramsey

well what happened and kind of like Michael Gerber’s book, The E-myth, you know, what happened was like, Okay, well, why can’t the people do my employees? Why can’t they do it? The way I want it done, like, what what was missing? What? Well, and, and in that moment, I had no standard operating procedures, no training program, no, no way of hiring somebody pulling everything, we call it tribal knowledge, you know, because most businesses they own all of their IP is in their brain, in the brain of their employees, or the value of their business walks in and out of the door every single day. And so, Michael Gerber said in his book, you know, you got to document you write, create systems and process and then, you know, delegate those systems and processes, you know, to employees and pay them well and love on them. And hopefully, they stay and they help you build more systems and processes. So, you know, when, after the honeymoon, I came back to California when we’re in Sacramento, California. And I really specifically focused on documenting my systems and upgrading them and really finding ways to hire people and give the non dollar productive stuff away. So in the attorney world, I mean, you know, it’s all about how many cases you got, like, how, how many clients do I have the sign that a retainer, and they are paying me to do work on my my behalf. But there’s a whole bunch of other stuff in the background that has to happen, you know, you’ve got to be you have to keep the lights on, you got to have a website, you got to create content, like you guys do for attorneys. When somebody calls, somebody has to answer the phone, somebody has to invoice somebody has to keep track of, you know, you know what’s going on, you know, what’s going on in your calendar, what’s going on to your day, you know, there’s a whole host of things that isn’t practicing law. And so as you’re growing and scaling a law firm, what you realize is, well, if I’m billing, if I’m billing a customer, or if I’m doing an intake meeting, I’m I’m talking to somebody who needs to hire an attorney. Well, those are the two highest and best uses of my time, just like real estate, employees have highest and best use. And this is part of what I came back after my honeymoon and focused on is like, what in my business? Only I can do? What are the things that like, as a founder, as the licensee as the person who understands, you know, in your guyses case, the law, what are the things that only I can do? And what are the things that I can give away, and put into a system and process and give away to someone else? And so that’s really the entire conversation that we’re having today is like, how do you grow and scale? It’s through other people.

Matthew Laurin

That’s so true. It’s so true. And so I talked to a ton of attorneys that are on their own, and, or maybe they have like one other person in the office. And they’re getting to a point where they’re just so inundated with their own legal work, and then all the other back office stuff that you talked about before. Yep. What is? What should they be thinking about when they’re when they’re thinking I gotta hire an employee? Number one, I need someone to help me do all this stuff. What’s like a red flag like, Hey, you need to think about this first.

Daniel Ramsey

Yeah, I love it. You’re like, what’s the trigger point for considering a virtual assistant in your world? I love it. Well, first, you know, your first hire is always a CRM, right? And most attorneys are referral based. But as you start building a business, those referrals, and they have your cell phone or they have your email, but as you start building a business, what you realize is you’re getting referrals from people you don’t know and you’re maybe you’re doing advertising, maybe you’re you’re building, you know, you had a firm like yours, build a website and start driving traffic. So your first hire is always, always always a CRM, get the client’s information in there, make sure you have their contact, what they do, how you serve them, and then you just kind of keep those that that database of clients growing and growing over time. Your second hire is an administrative person, hundred percent. Scheduling calls for me doing my billing, making sure I mean, shoot. The other day, you’ll laugh at this. One of my clients who owns a bunch of franchises in on the East Coast calls me and he sends me a text while we’re talking. And he’s like, dude, I finally got the barn door fixed. I’m like, What are you talking about? He had our virtual assistant order barn doors, that for six months his his wife had been bugging him, because the barn door broke. And in winter’s coming, you know winter’s coming It just sat there. And you know, and so but it’s a time consuming thing, because he had to measure it, then he had to find a manufacturer, then he had to talk to the manufacturer, make sure you know fit in, and then they had to find somebody to install it. Like, even that small, fixing the barn door. So my wife or my husband doesn’t kill me, that’s a task

Matthew Laurin

into it, sign me up. I mean, I can’t, I can’t count the number of times there’s something around the house or something in the office that I should have been doing that I just, it comes into my mind, and I don’t have time to do it. Yeah, and having someone to like reach out to virtually to say, hey, this would be sweet.

Daniel Ramsey

Well, and, and, and the way our virtual assistants work, is we tend to hire very specific things like in this, he’s a CEO is 14 different franchises. And he needed an administrative person, somebody to help him with paperwork reporting, you know, just moving the business forward, right. Other clients call us and they’re like, they need help with marketing. Other clients call us and they’re like, Look, somebody needs to answer the phone, and just be a customer support. So director of traffic is what I call those guys. Okay. Um, and then other people are like, Look, we’re generating a ton of leads, and I don’t have anybody to call them and screen them and schedule. So those are kind of the four primary areas. But look, leverage is leverage. It’s like any other tool, we, you know, we all went, I went to college, as a business student, I got out of college, as a business student, and I didn’t know anything about business. Isn’t that isn’t that ironic? You know, I think it’s even harder for attorneys because you go to law school, and you learn the basic foundational stuff of law. But nobody teaches you how to be a lawyer.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, I had a conversation just like that with with someone before. And they were, you know, going online, trying to read articles, trying to watch videos figuring out how to promote themselves. And I brought that up during a conversation, I was like, they probably teach you all about, you know, anything that has to do with the law in school, but nothing about how to run your business. I mean, it’s just like, it’s just like in elementary school, they don’t teach you anything about everyday life, building a credit score, or investing or doing things to help you in your financial life. You learn all about the Pythagorean Theorem, though, and, you know, all this other stuff that you know, you really don’t use it on a daily basis. And it’s the same for attorneys for sure.

Daniel Ramsey

Yeah, well, and I think attorneys have a harder because, you know, you learn, and, and all the professions really do because you learn the basics of law, but nobody really teaches you how to be a lawyer, you have to learn that through experience, right. And it’s just falling down and fighting in court and fight and other sides. And then the third thing is you have to also learn how to be a business person, like, and so they have, like, they’re learning simultaneously how to serve their customers, how to how to, you know, win in court, or when you’re opposing another person. And then they also have to figure out, well, how do I drive revenue? How do I leverage my business? What systems and tools do I need in order to grow and scale? Like, how do you hire somebody, and make sure that our culture fit, like, there’s just so many lessons inside of business that nobody really perfect prepares you for. And so one thing that we’ve done really, really, really well is we’ll help people get assistance, like, period, end of story, we’ve done it 6000 times, where the highest rated virtual assistant company in the marketplace, we have 600 5 star reviews, and they’re all transparent on our website. And so, if you’re an attorney, or you’re in law, or you’re practicing, and you’re like, here’s, here’s the trigger point. I’m dropping balls, I’m not seeing my family, I’m not going to the gym. I’m working weekends and evenings and nights. That’s when you know, you need help. And I would just, I’d love your audience to come to our website, sign up for a consultation. We walk through the process and you know, we walk through the process of like, what tools do you need? What does your office need to look like? What’s your CRM, you know? How do you communicate with somebody who’s not physically in your office, like all those kind of, you know, they’re important, they feel small, but we’ll help you set up a virtual platform, so you can grow and do what you do and what you love, which hopefully, is practicing law.

Matthew Laurin

I like how you pointed out those trigger points, because I think a lot of attorneys, they don’t don’t even think about that. Like when do I know? And yeah, I mean, that’s so obvious when you talk about it that any I mean, you should be you should have time for all those other things in your life. And you should have time to practice law because that’s what you’re supposed to be doing. And when you find yourself not being able to do that, that’s when you know, right. I do have one question for you, though. So there’s a lot of stuff out there. freelancers, freelance websites? Yep. You know, part time hires where maybe you don’t have to offer benefits and things like that. How do you know what the benefits are between having a virtual assistant and then maybe some of those other options?

Daniel Ramsey

Yeah, so there’s three types of outsourcing you know, I want to you know, I probably want to maybe even four I’ll talk about the fourth. It’s not typical for medium sized businesses, small and medium SMB markets. But here’s the thing. There’s a lot of dating sites out there. So I have a project, I need a little project. And I got a little flyer, I want to make a flyer, I’m going to this meeting. I need a one pager, you know, we call that a dating site fiber up work. You know, there’s a lot of great project based websites. analogy, yeah, where it’s a marketplace, right? Then you have low cost providers, I’ve got 5000 pieces of data, and I need them shoved into this system over here. And it’s going to take six months, if I do it, you go to a low cost provider, India is a great place China, there’s a bunch of those out there right now, where for 678 bucks, you can have some data manually entered into something and we just we call those low cost competitors, they’re not necessarily going to be strategic, they’re not going to have expertise, they’re typically not going to have a lot of experience. But if you need crunching of data, that’s where you go. And then you have a, you know, these huge companies like Accenture, where they they service, you know, Uber and Amazon. And they’re a BPO company, what’s what’s called business process outsourcing. So, and they typically service the s&p 500, the largest, you know, the largest companies around the globe, right? Then you have us, we, we consider ourselves a marriage site. So when somebody says, I’m running out of time, I need support in this area, this functional area, they call us, and then we help them find a long term employee who has experience who has a track record who, you know, if you need a marketing person or an admin, you know, you you get somebody who has that background, right. And so they could have up to five, some of them have 10 years of experience, they went to school for this stuff. They’ve got, you know, they’ve got a proven track record of helping entrepreneurs grow and scale. And so that’s, that’s us, we’re a marriage site for leverage.

Matthew Laurin

I like that I like those analogies in it. I wasn’t expecting that answer. And it really kind of highlights my ignorance to what it is you do, because, in my mind, I’m thinking, Well, why don’t we just go to like Fiverr, or Upwork. And I used those sites a lot. But you’re right, it’s like a dating site. Because when I try to make any kind of process or get any kind of workflow, using those sites, it’s really hard because, you know, you put in your project, it’s done, it’s closed, you got to start a new one, you don’t always have contact with the same people, you always have to re explain how to do your process, things like that. And I can totally see why it’s better to have someone who knows your business knows, knows how you want to operate. It’s, it’s for the long term it’s for, it’s for growth, and I can totally see how that’s better than, than doing the project by project.

Daniel Ramsey

But what we, what we would help our clients understand is like, Okay, if you got 10 more customers, customers that you didn’t plan for next year, let’s say 2021, you you’re you’re rockin through your business, and you realize, you know, you’re gonna do 20. But because you hired leverage from us, you were able to actually sign 30 contracts, and instead of doing your billing, or answering the phone, or scheduling appointments, or buying a barn door, whatever it is, you’re able to just practice law and serve your customers. And that cost that cost differential, that’s exactly what how you create scale, you give away 50% of your day of the not important stuff, the stuff that takes time has to get done, but it’s not important. Then you take that 50% you got back and you focus it on growing your business, getting new customers loving on your existing things, and fighting, right. That’s what attorneys we’re fighting for our customers left every single day. That’s what that’s what my attorney does is fight for us. Right? And so, if you do that, you’re gonna go, you’re gonna grow, there’s just no question. And that’s what we help people realize is what should I get off my plate? What should I focus on as an entrepreneur, as an attorney? And that’s really what our secret sauces

Matthew Laurin

Daniel when when someone hires a virtual assistant. How does that relationship work? I mean, is it like having an actual employee you can do weekly meetings with them to do they does that virtual assistant understand their business? even maybe have an email at that business? Things like that?

Daniel Ramsey

Yeah, in fact, we help. I mean, we help our customers create a launch plan. And inside that launch plan, it’s like, Hey, give them access to your phone system, give them access to your CRM, teach them about, you know why you went to school to be an attorney, why you love the law, what you’re, you know, what your challenges are as a business. Sooner introduce them to the different team members. I mean, the more time you integrate this person into your your business, the more likely they’re going to adopt your growth mindset, they’re more likely they’re going to adopt your core values and your, your company motto and like really, what you’re trying to accomplish in the world. So for us, hundred percent, get in there, work really hard to integrate your virtual assistant into your business. Because if you do, it’ll, it’ll change your world.

Matthew Laurin

That’s great. Great advice. Guys. We’ve been listening to Daniel Ramsey, Founder and CEO of MyOutDesk, Daniel, where can people go to learn more about the firm?

Daniel Ramsey

Well, I actually want to give away a book. So if you’re listening right now and your attorney I, first of all, they want the details, and they want to know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. That’s what I love about our attorney. And so I always like to give away a copy of our book, I wrote a book, it’s called Scaling Your Business with Virtual Professionals. And it’s basically an outline of everything, you can get rid of everything in your world that you could give to a virtual assistant, exactly how to launch them what the virtual playbook looks like, like, how do I train somebody who’s not in my office? How do I train somebody who’s an admin, or who’s a marketing person or a salesperson who isn’t a lawyer, like, there’s a whole, every single specialty that we kind of specialize in, there’s a whole chapter that says, hey, this is how you do it. These are the things you have to have in place. And so it’s really a guide for our customers to be successful. And if you’re listening right now, and you wanted to explore a little bit more, you can just simply text SVP. So it’s Sam Victor Paul to 31996, the number that you text is 31996. And the message is S as in SAM V as in Victor, P as in Paul at scale with virtual professionals. And you’ll get a free copy of our best selling book wildly enough. The best seller in Japan, I don’t know how or why that happened, but it’s a best seller in Japan and in the US, and so I hope your audience will enjoy it and appreciate our free gift to them.

Matthew Laurin

Nice. Thanks, Daniel. That’s really generous of you. I appreciate you being on the show.

Daniel Ramsey

It’s been my pleasure.

Conclusion

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.

Practical Steps to Keep Your Solo Practice Startup Cost Low

September 5, 2020
By: Matthew Laurin

Brian Zeiger is the Founder of The Zeiger Firm, which specializes in criminal defense and civil rights litigation. He’s a trial lawyer through and through, with a passion for jury trials and protecting people’s individual rights. When he’s not in the middle of a trial, he also excels in record clearing, expungements, government pardons, and federal pardons.

 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Who is Brian Zeiger?
  • What it was like in the early days of Brian’s firm and his initial marketing strategies.
  • Brian shares why he chose to become a trial lawyer.
  • The biggest challenge Brian had to overcome when growing his firm.
  • Tools Brian uses to efficiently communicate with clients.
  • Has civil unrest impacted Brian’s civil rights litigation cases?
  • Brian’s advice for attorneys who want to go solo.

In this episode…

Starting your solo practice is a significant and expensive decision. You want to rent an office, buy office furniture, hire an assistant, and set aside a monthly budget to run your marketing. But what many don’t mention is that you might not have a lot of incoming cash flow for those first six to eighteen months. So how do you start your solo practice with all you need in place while keeping your cost down?

Catch all the details of keeping your solo practice startup cost down on this episode of the Esq.Marketing Podcast as Founder of The Zeiger Firm, Brian Zeiger, chats with host Matthew Laurin. They talk about Brian’s initial strategies when growing and marketing his practice, why he chose to go this route, and his preferred tools for keeping consistent communication with his clients. Keep listening.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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.

 

Episode Transcript

Intro

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

Hey, I’m Matthew Laurin, President of Esq Marketing and you’re listening to the Esq Marketing Podcast where I feature successful solo and SMB law firms from all over the United States. This episode is brought to you by Esq Marketing, we help law firms generate more clients in cases using search marketing. And speaking of successful lawyers today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Brian zeiger. Brian is the founder of the zeiger firm and specializes in criminal defense and civil rights litigation. He’s a trial lawyer through and through in the trenches every day fighting aggressively to get justice for his clients. Brian, welcome to the show.

Brian Zeiger

Hey, Matt, thanks so much for having me.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, no problem. Thank you for participating and we’ve, we’ve had a lot of different attorneys on the show, some criminal defense, but I don’t think anyone’s been as involved in trial litigation as you. I mean, I know a lot of attorneys do that. But you seem to really relish that.

Brian Zeiger

Yeah, I, when I get a case and I meet the people, I’m instantly from the minute I meet with them, I start thinking about what we’re going to do at trial. I appreciate that a lot of things don’t go to trial. But I prep and think about cases as if I have to try it from from the very beginning, both with criminal and with civil rights. I probably done approximately about 120 jury trials as lead counsel. And so I’m constantly thinking, you know, well, let’s try this one. So let’s prep it like we’re gonna

Matthew Laurin

chance prepared, right? Yeah. So Brian, take me back to the beginning. When you started your firm, what was what was that like?

Brian Zeiger

Well, at that time, there were three of us and we we were rented this really, really tiny office in a very middle of the road kind of building. And we were able to, you know, sort of sort of get started there. And about, you know, we didn’t, we had almost no cases. And then about maybe nine months later, there was a tenant next door to water down the hall that moved out. And we sort of made a deal with the landlord to take over that space as is. And that was kind of a mess as well. But that was like a real office. So we were able to have a real a real office setup at that spot.

Matthew Laurin

And were you guys were you guys doing the same types of cases back then criminal defense, civil litigation,

Brian Zeiger

uh, back back then we were basically focused on criminal defense. Okay. Um, we were basically focused on criminal defense and we did a lot of criminal cases. Of course, when you’re on your own like that the beginning you’re hungry. If and you know you’re lean, and so you’re doing what you can do in order to overcome that hunger and no longer between. and and, you know, use your time in order to attempt to justify your living, and doing that to your family and your spouse and your friends and all that. So, other cases do come in, but we attempted to hone our skills on criminal defense. Yes,

Matthew Laurin

gotcha. Gotcha. And so like, when you’re starting that off, and it’s the three of you, and you’re looking for cases, was it a referral network? Or were you doing your own marketing or how were you? What was the plan to generate business? So, so it’s really interesting question. Um, so at my age,

Brian Zeiger

I am on the cusp of people who grew up with and embrace computers.

Matthew Laurin

Me too,

Brian Zeiger

in childhood, and people who did not embrace and use computers in childhood. I remember in you know, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade getting a home computer. I remember having a computer in a classroom at school in maybe fifth grade. I remember those things I remember working you know, earlier in life where everyone did not have a computer on their desk. Right and then I remember later earlier and work work everyone had a computer on the desk and there were no longer shared computers. So I remember Daisy wheel printers. That everyone for me, I remember the sounds of the daisy wheel printer and I remember tearing the sides, the dotted sides off the sides of the paper. I remember having a laser printer at home was a big deal. Yeah, it was when at home color printers came out and and not getting one because of laser printer was a better thing to present at work or school. And I say that to you because when we started There was a thing called the Yellow Pages. That was it was a thing, especially for personal injury lawyers in the Philadelphia area. And there was a thing inside the Yellow Pages called a double truck. That was when you opened the the book, if you will, if someone had an ad that ran the entire page from left to right across the entire page, that was called double truck, they had had the entire opening. And that was somehow some symbol of success, I guess in the community was that well, they have a double truck. So they therefore must be a real law firm and or that there was sort of the back cover of the yellow pages or on the front there was like a magnet that they stuck on to the front of the Yellow Pages. And these things were all sort of a very big deal and you can only get in once a year because they only publish the Yellow Pages. What One time. Yeah. A year. So. So we started, right, I believe, when that form of advertising was falling off a cliff. And people started using the Yellow Pages for like coasters.

Matthew Laurin

Yeah, mine was a doorstop. So,

Brian Zeiger

yes, exactly. So, um, so we so we were on the border for that. And so at the same time we we were of the age of, well, it seems like we should be using the internet to advertise instead of the Yellow Pages. This is wrong. So we did both more so in the yellow pages, and that took about two or three years to get out of our system. And then we dove in at the deep end on internet advertising.

Matthew Laurin

Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah, I remember all that stuff, too. You know, I had a very basic computer in the home growing up and it wasn’t until in my teen years when, you know, we had you know, the dial up AOL, you know, you got the disc in the mail. And yeah, it wasn’t really prevalent in my life either. And then now, I’m They’re everywhere, right? I mean, people have supercomputers in their pockets. And it doesn’t seem like you can do anything, you know, get a job or do a job without a computer. So it’s amazing how much how far it’s come. Another question I had for you was about the trial work itself. So I was reading on your website, and it is trial to work something that all attorneys have to get into, or is it just something that you kind of consciously chose?

Brian Zeiger

I get very small amount of lawyers that actually go go to trial. Okay. So I think there is a much larger group that have tried cases. I think, I think they’re I think there’s a distinction between people that have have tried a couple jury trials in their career. Right, and people who actually, their focus is on trying cases. I don’t think it’s the same thing. I think there are many lawyers, for example, who maybe have done, you know, eight to 10 jury trials as either sec. Chair lead counsel, and they’re prepping all their cases like they’re going to go to trial. But I think that’s different than having tried the amount of cases I’ve tried. Maybe I get to maybe I did not answer your question.

Matthew Laurin

No, no, that’s fine. I had a cousin once, who was a prosecutor in another state, and there was one thing she didn’t enjoy about the job was being in in trial. And, and I was wondering, like, how, you know, does an attorney have to get really good at that in order to run a successful practice?

Brian Zeiger

I think, um, that there’s that there’s two requisites or prerequisites for being a trial lawyer. I think you have to sort of naturally enjoy public speaking, and being quick on your feet, and having a sense of humility about yourself. Um, like, like self humility. And then I think the second part is that knowing the, you know, self, acknowledging that you have the first part, and that you’re interested in doing this. The second part is you have to work on it. You have to hone your craft. Right, you can’t, you constantly have to work on sin no matter you know, everyone who does a lot of trial work is naturally a good public speaker in my opinion, I very rarely find people that try a ton of cases that are terrible public speakers. It seems

Matthew Laurin

like there’s an error of salesmanship to it as well,

Brian Zeiger

I guess. But but the but you know, so that to those people, then you have to take it and go sort of to the next level, and really hone hone your skills. Um, so, you know, I think that that’s that those two things need to be there. Okay.

Matthew Laurin

Okay. What’s up, Brian, what’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome and growing your law firm? So you started off in the beginning and you’re trying to get cases you’re hungry when did you kind of notice a tipping point and, you know, I got to do this to get you know, grow the business.

Brian Zeiger

It’s really hard to say I so we’re in Philadelphia County, is where our offices and we serve, you know, anywhere in Pennsylvania that people want us to go and, you know, federal court, state court and in Philadelphia County. There A lot of other lawyers. Yeah. So I think a lot of good lawyers who I like and I respect and I’m friends with, and and being friendly with them, you know, I think the biggest struggle is, is that if I were somewhere much smaller than this community, I think I would be far more prevalent. I thought that all the time so I think that’s the biggest struggle in growing the firm. Being in Philadelphia County, is that you really have to do even better than your best. You have to you have to set yourself apart like a story about there was a championship game where LeBron James in the first half was having just this this spectacular first half. And it halftime apparently, I get like an all world’s first half like a career first half. But the Cavs were not winning. They weren’t They weren’t there. Cavaliers weren’t winning. And apparently Tyrone Lou and halftime called him out and said, You know, you’re doing a horrible job. And and he the team was like, why this is our leader. He said, He’s having a career night. And Lou said, it’s just not good enough, you have to do better than your best. And so I think I think that resonates with me and that being in Philadelphia County, I think that there’s so many great criminal defense attorneys here that you have to do better than your best. You have to remember that speech and you have to try to elevate your game and realize you know, where you are and what you’re trying to do with your practice. I think the hardest part of growth,

Matthew Laurin

that’s great advice. Yeah, I mean, yeah, sometimes you just have to dig a little bit deeper. When you think you’re doing doing great and it’s always hard to hear right? If you’re if you feel like you’re working as hard as you can, and then someone says, you just you got to do it better. Yeah, totally agree. Um, Brian, what’s a piece of software Or a tool that you use daily in your practice that has kind of been a game changer for you. There’s something that like improves the efficiency of your practice or helps you work

Brian Zeiger

better. I would say, um, Google Voice, okay. It’s probably one. Probably the best tool now today, currently, um, I would say WordPress, maybe 10 years ago. Okay, was the best one. And the reason for that is, so I grew up in a very middle class area. And the feedback I heard from my neighbors, and the community and the people where I live, who dealt with lawyers was that the lawyer never called them back.

Matthew Laurin

Okay, I hear that a lot, too. And

Brian Zeiger

yeah, and so I, from the time we opened, make sure that before I went to sleep at night, I returned to every phone call that I received, or I returned every email that I received from everyone, because I remember growing up there were no lawyers I knew there were no one I grew up with was an attorney and I, I heard that constantly from from folks in the neighborhood. So I make sure I do the best I can to call everyone back. And what what Google Voice allows me to do now is to give everyone my cell phone number, and have it on my computer screen in a separate window, or have a separate monitor setup next to my computer, just with Google Voice, and have it’s on my business card and have all my clients feel free to text me call me, contact me for any reason they want 24 hours a day, and be able to immediately type a response back

Matthew Laurin

and you could just do it on the computer and say, right, I’m gonna take my cell phone

Brian Zeiger

out. I don’t have to. I don’t have to use those tiny buttons with old man fingers. I don’t have to do any of that. I can sit down. I type very fast and I Sit there, and I can just type immediate responses to clients. And I think that being in constant communication with clients and their families is such an overwhelming thing and to be able to streamline that process and do it so much more efficiently. I would say that by far Google Voice is the best platform for that. Now, years ago, I would say it was WordPress. And the reason for that is because I have no problem. Again, as we discussed earlier, engaging in the computer stuff that we have to do, right and what WordPress did for me years ago, not any more was give me the ability to go on and quickly create content for page quickly blog. quickly check some SEO stats, very quickly, very user friendly, very hands on and also when I was purchasing, SEO or PPC services, I was so well educated in what was going on that I knew when I was getting Shinola from the other side that I was able to say you actually have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re just a salesperson. You’re not actually an SEO or PPC guy or gal. So yeah, thank you, but I’m not interested in your product. So WordPress allowed me to be super educated in you know, what’s, what’s going on?

Matthew Laurin

That’s cool to hear you say that? Yeah. They have tons of documentation online. It’s neat how imbedded they are in the SEO community. I mean, there’s so many plugins for WordPress, there’s so many blog posts about how to use plugins effectively. And not just from WordPress, like it’s a whole developer community, a whole marketing community that are publishing this content that is super helpful. I mean, what I do is not hard by any means and there’s so much information on the internet to go out and learn how to do it. And even you know if you don’t have the time to do it to learn a little bit about it like you said yourself. So you know when you’re getting taken for a ride I had one question that has been bugging me. So you do a lot of civil rights litigation, how is what’s going on in the world right now impacted your practice, you’ve been seeing a lot more volume, case volume because of all the, you know, the social unrest and things going on in the world. I think it’s really hard to say.

Brian Zeiger

I think it’s really a tough thing to answer. I think that, um, in life, I always think about a pendulum that that swings and it sort of makes you know, like a figure eight or like a circle and it keeps going back and forth. And there’s there’s ebb and flow in life. And you know, we as people try to find center to find common peace in like in like meditation for ourselves, but It’s very difficult to answer your question, because I think that I’m now I would imagine we would have a slow time in civil rights in new business, period, slow time and new business. Because I would think that if I worked in law enforcement, I would be super sensitive and be hypersensitive to these issues. Yeah. And so I would be much more cautious and using force, then then then then perhaps I had previously been in my in my career makes sense. On the other hand, I would think that perhaps there’s more going on out there. And so it might require police to be somewhat more hands on than they had been previously, because there’s more civil unrest. Third, I would think that the certain areas of law enforcement or would have a far greater need and request for body cams and dash cams. Even though we’ve really seen that come on in the last five years or so, I think that now there would be sort of a request to say, well, we’re just doing our job. And, you know, let’s mount off with this technology to show everyone what we do at work. And so once they have the body cam on, I would think that then we might swing back the other way to where we were before all this started with just all of these sort of random events that wind up being cases. Yeah. So it’s, it’s very hard to say Think about it. Like, when you do SEO for Google, based on Google, right? You’re doing a site and SEO you’re doing is 100% geared towards Google organic, okay? You’re not considering any other stuff. But then Google changes their algorithm. Right? So there’s this constant, sort of sort of flow or changing things. As to the core terms of relevancy, and how Google will will, you know, judge that and put you number one, on the on the on the top of their page. So again, it’s just like a figure eight or a circle where there’s just a pendulum swinging in like that, you know, in society, we have changes as

Matthew Laurin

well. Yeah, that’s, that’s a great answer. And good analogy too. Yeah, it’s, I have always sort of wondered how, you know, social undercurrents, like that affect business at different law firms. And I know that was relevant to you. So

Brian Zeiger

the cases we do, and we’ve discussed this with you are sort of halfway between Medical Malpractice and medical deprivation cases at prisons, or community corrections centers. So those cases are not affected by right. Yeah, I opinion. And so, you know, we’ve signed up two of those very recently. So so I don’t I don’t think there’s any effect on those based on what your your question was. So again, it’s it’s case by case.

Matthew Laurin

Gotcha, gotcha. So on your website, Brian, um, you talk about one piece of advice that you’d give to clients, when they get, you know, arrested or when they’re detained or whatever, and it was to keep your mouth shut. What is a piece of advice you’d give to attorneys starting off a law firm? Like they’re thinking about going off on their own? What, what would be one thing you tell them before they go start doing that?

Brian Zeiger

Um, I have two pieces of advice, but they are they are they are countered to each other. Okay. Okay. The first piece of advice would be to keep your costs as low as possible. Right, so, you know, maybe rent space from someone else as opposed to your own space. Right, rent an office in someone else’s office first. Um, you know, don’t, don’t spend a lot of money on office furniture. don’t hire an assistant. You know, Don’t Don’t you know, don’t spend a lot of money on on things. Try to keep your monthly costs down because the first six to 18 months, you might not have a lot of cash flow coming in. Right? So if your costs are low, you can sort of tread water. Okay. On the other hand, the second piece of advice is, if you’re going to advertise, you know, we talked about the piece of marketing, I was talking about the piece, product placement, people promotion price, okay, there’s a basic piece that I analyze in marketing. So when someone comes to me and they say, will you buy this product from me, I do an analysis of all five of those PS, and see and see where it is, you know, how does that how does the end user get to my ad, you know, promotion Anyway, I’m on advertising. I believe that after you do your five p analysis for whatever product it is that you’re going to purchase at That point, you must jump into the deep end. So with advertising, if you go into the shallow end of the pool, and you put your foot in like up to your ankle, you might as well not spend that money because in my experience, you don’t get anything out of that kind of spend. You need to go on the diving board and dive in headfirst to the nine foot and spend a lot of money and crush that that medium with your advertising in order to get a return on your money. So your show so the advice is not same. first piece of advice is don’t spend any money. Do it as cheap as you can. And the second piece of advice is if you’re going to do paid advertising, do it. Don’t Don’t test the waters because you’re wasting your money. I can’t tell you how many people I see have. They want to get a website. It’s like that doesn’t work. They they want to have a sign on a bus. That doesn’t work. None None of that works. You can’t do any of that stuff. You have to do an entire full force nine foot deep end advertising campaign.

Matthew Laurin

That’s good. That’s great advice. And you’re right. Yeah, if you I mean, if you just dabble in here and there and you don’t fully commit, then yeah, I mean, you’ll see lackluster results. I’ve seen that a lot, too. Right? I’m even listening to Brian Zeiger, Founder at the Zeiger Firm. Brian, where can people go to learn more about your law firm?

Brian Zeiger

Well, because I’m your client. They can go to Google or any search engine. And they’ll see me come up. Hopefully on the top of the fold them first.

Matthew Laurin

Yes, they will. Yes, they will.

Conclusion

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