Lawyerist Insider Profile: Todd Murray

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Name and law firm

Todd Murray of Todd M. Murray and Associates, PLLC.

Describe your law practice

I help people and small businesses struggling with debt collection by defending them when they are served with a collection lawsuit and by negotiating settlements and payment plans with their creditors. I also sue debt collectors that harass and abuse people under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Describe your ideal client

I have two, actually. The first is an individual that has just been served with a debt collection lawsuit by a third party debt-buyer such as Asset Acceptance, Unifund CCR Partners, or LVNV Funding and needs help defending themselves. The second is a person that has received debt collection phone calls at work after they’ve told the debt collector that they cannot receive calls there.

How do you attract your clients? If you use multiple methods, which have proven most effective?

I have a two-pronged approach. First, I’ve tried to create a significant online presence to drive clients to my web page, and ultimately to my office. Second, I’ve joined a business networking group in an effort to generate strong referral partnerships. My online marketing has been more successful, but I’ve also put more time into it.

How have you integrated blogging and/or online social networking into your marketing plan? If you have not, why not?

I started blogging about debt collection and other consumer issues when I created my webpage. In addition to a steady stream of clients, it has resulted in some media exposure and contacts. And I’ve also been approached by the employee that administers Minnesota’s energy assistance program and asked if she could use some of my blog posts in her training materials.

If you use online social networks, which do you prefer?

I love Facebook, but try to keep my business promotion minimal because I believe it is primarily a social networking tool for friends. You can also find me on Twitter (@toddmmurray).

What blogs or websites do you visit most?

Lawyerist (of course!). I find Jay Fleischman’s Legal Practice Pro to be loaded with helpful practice management and marketing information. Consumerist, in addition to being hilarious, is a great website for consumer news and information. And as a big Minnesota Twins baseball fan, I love AaronGleeman.com.

What hardware and software do you use for the following aspects of your practice: email, contacts, calendar, tasks, timekeeping & billing, phone, word processing & document creation, and PDF creation & editing

I use Google for email, contacts, and calendar. I use Remember the Milk with Google calendar for tasks. Quickbooks for timekeeping and billing, though I’m thinking of switching because I’ve found it to be too complicated for my needs. I have a good ol’ landline from Qwest for my office phone in addition to my Blackberry. And I love NeoOffice.org for word processing and Adobe Acrobat Pro for PDF creation and editing.

What do you anticipate will change in the practice of law–or your practice, specifically–over the next five years

Tough to predict the future, especially 5 years from now. I would love to see the the billable hour die a painful death and the practice of law shift to a more value-driven service model and the current economic climate just may be the needed catalyst.

Tell us something interesting about yourself

I used to work for one of the largest debt collection law firms in Minnesota. I grew tired of railroading people through the judicial system and could no longer tolerate the knot in my stomach every time I tried to squeeze a few bucks out of a financially strapped consumer. I now use my inside knowledge of debt collection to help my clients defend themselves against flimsy debt buyer lawsuits and use the FDCPA to fight back against debt collection harassment. That knot in my stomach has been replaced by a warm, fuzzy feeling. On the personal side, I have a terrible weakness for any kind of ice cream, love 80’s hair metal, and wore the same pair of sweatpants nearly every day for a year when I was in college.

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