In this episode, Melissa Hall argues that lawyers can learn from healthcare, where a primary care doctor diagnoses and treats common health problems and sends patients to specialists as necessary. As with doctors, primary care lawyers could be the primary user interface for law. It’s the approach Melissa has taken with her own practice, Smol Law.
Melissa Hall is a general practice “primary care” attorney who helps clients navigate the legal system by solving legal problems, helping clients solve their legal problems, or helping them find someone who can.
You can follow Melissa on LinkedIn.
Listen & Subscribe
To listen to the podcast, just scroll up and hit the play button (or click the link to this post if you are reading this by email).
To make sure you don’t miss an episode of The Lawyerist Podcast, subscribe now in iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or find out about new episodes by subscribing to our email newsletter.
This transcript was prepared by Rev.com.
Voiceover: Welcome to the Lawyerist podcast with Sam Glover and Aaron Street. Each week Lawyerist brings you advice and interviews to help you build a more successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. And now, here are Sam and Aaron.
Sam Glover: Hey, I’m Sam Glover.
Aaron Street: And I’m Aaron Street and this episode 140 the Lawyerist podcast, part of the legal talk network. Today we are talking with Melissa Hall about the need for primary care lawyers to answer people’s general legal questions.
Sam Glover: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Clio legal practice management software. Clio makes running your law firm easier. Try it for free today at Clio.com.
Aaron Street: Today’s podcast is also sponsored by Ruby Receptionists and its smart, charming receptionists who are perfect for small firms. Visit call Ruby.com/Lawyerist to get a risk-free trial with Ruby.
So, last week in our episode with Jeff Skrysak, we talked a bit about how lawyers might want to think about their marketing in a way that it kind of moves them up what we kind of called the chain in the client journey, which is to say-
Sam Glover: I like the client journey metaphor, by the way.
Aaron Street: Yeah.
Sam Glover: So I’m good with that.
Aaron Street: The concept of a client’s journey being kind of them not yet being aware that they have a problem, and them then becoming aware of potential solutions, and then them shopping for lawyers. And that traditionally lawyers have marketed themselves at the point where people are shopping for a lawyer. And we were talking last week about how lawyers should step back a little bit and figure out ways to move up that chain more toward helping people identify problems and figure out what the solutions to them are before they actually are ready to hire a lawyer.
And I think today’s discussion with Melissa ties really well to that, which is she’s come up with a new business model that she’s just in kind of the front end of testing. So we’ll wait and see how it does. But where she’s trying to do that and so she has rebranded the concept of a general practice firm as primary care lawyer with the idea that she’s kind of trying to be the general practitioner, or general contractor, or general quarterbacker depending on which analogy you want use.
Sam Glover: Where she’s going to help the people in small chunks, solve their problems whatever they are, or find the resources whatever they need whatever they are. And we’ll hear more about kind of the details of how she’s building that practice. But it’s interesting because she’s basically building a new business model that flies in the face of her otherwise standard advice, which is whatever you do don’t fucking start a general practice small firm.
Aaron Street: Yeah. We’ve been telling people for years to have a niche and focus on it, and get better at it, and more efficient at it. And I think that’s really sound because the idea of the traditional general practitioner taking a trademark filing one day, or prosecuting trademark patents one day, and then a personal injury/wrongful death lawsuit the next day, and a divorce the next day … You can’t competently handle all of those extremely specialized practice areas, and maybe you just shouldn’t even try, but then again maybe you can do some real good by making those services brief and giving just the bit of advice on the front end.
Sam Glover: Yeah. And I think part of the issue in our kind of past general advice is it’s not even just that you probably can’t be competent to practice in a variety of different areas of law because certainly there are some people who can practice in multiple areas of law. There are plenty of lawyers you have been a little bit family law, a little bit real estate, a little bit estate planning. But I think the more important issue is going forward as you were trying to figure out what your brand, And reputation, and marketing can be. You need to have a story about what you do and I take anything that comes in the door is not a story that solves anyone’s problem. Except-
Aaron Street: I object.
Sam Glover: Except maybe in this case.
Aaron Street: Yeah, because I said this to Melissa, in a minute you’ll hear, but I think it actually solves other lawyers problems. The specialist lawyer is constantly getting phone calls from people who have other kinds of problems. And what do you do with them? And I always referred them to people I didn’t like very much because maybe the client wasn’t very good. And you kind of just don’t want to say you’re in a different practice area and I can’t help you so you don’t have a legal problem because you want to cover your butt on the liabilities end of things. See you refer them to somebody so that somebody else can tell them the bad news. But having a lawyer like Melissa who is like, “Yeah, yeah. I want all that stuff. I have a business model around it.” I would send them … I don’t know what kind of calls I’ve got or what kind of calls you get, but you probably get some of these calls and if you let all of your peers in the community know that you’ll take all of the flotsam and jetsam of the client intake, I bet you wouldn’t have a whole lot of trouble making your phone ring.
Sam Glover: Yeah. And I think the interesting part of Melissa’s experiment … And it’s one that’s largely been replicated in different ways by lots of legal clinics, drop in clinics, and [unclear], Q&A services is not the idea of reinforcing the concept of general practice. It’s the idea of short quick solutions. And so it’s not that Melissa’s business model is around her taking full engagements on five totally unrelated topics and being pulled in a million directions. It’s that if she can solve your problem in a short engagement, she has a business model to replicate that over, and over, and over again.
Aaron Street: So I do a legal clinic around the self help desk at the courthouse every other month. And it’s basically this, right, it’s people who have legal problems … It’s by definition general. Anything that can get done in a courthouse, you can come and sit down and talk to me if you’re in whatever income guidelines.
Sam Glover: And a lot of times people have legal problems, they don’t really know what kind of problems they have, they are forms that they’re not sure how to deal with. So sometimes I’m sitting in helping people figure out how to fill out a form, sometimes I’m referring them to another organization that can help them, sometimes I’m doing relationship counseling. There’s a woman recently who wanted to evict her daughter from her home and her daughter was claiming to have a contract for deed and it was really messy. We ended up talking a lot more about ways out of that problem that didn’t involve trying to actually file a lawsuit to evict her daughter.
So you get all kinds of crazy problems and it’s really satisfying because you can actually give people a little bit of closure after 15–20 minutes and there’s no confidence implications in most of the stuff. You’re just helping people sort out their problems that have a legal element to it. And there are a lot of them and who better to identify when you can’t solve it in a brief time than a lawyer who can figure it out. Okay, there’s a bigger thing here I need to refer it on.
So I feel like it’s pretty clear that there is a need for this and I think the success of Avo Answers and all the clinics and everything shows there’s a need for it. It will be interesting to see if Melissa can prove the concept as a business model though. So here’s my conversation with her. And you won’t find out by the end of it. She hasn’t proved it yet, but she’s testing it and she’s intrigued. And if you’re listening and you’re trying something similar, we’d love to hear from you and get your thoughts on whether it’s working for you. So here’s my conversation with Melissa.
Melissa Hall: My name is Melissa Hall. I am what I refer to as a primary care lawyer. My focus is on connecting people to legal resources, attorneys, and self help.
Sam Glover: Awesome. Thanks for being with us today, Melissa.
Melissa Hall: Thank you.
Sam Glover: So say more about primary care law. What does that mean and where did the idea come from?
Melissa Hall: Well, basically the idea comes from my grandfather. He had an attorney, it was just somebody he called up when he had a question, which seems to be something that has completely fallen out of culture. I don’t know anybody who has that kind of connection with an attorney. And I was thinking it would be really satisfying to be the person on the other end of that phone, too. So I had a couple of life changes and I have some room to experiment. I started sitting down and thinking about how that would work. The general practice attorney is kind of a thing of the past. We’ve all become really specialized and I think we’re at the point where, as a profession, generalism itself can become a discipline. And that’s kind of the analogy I’m trying to make to the primary care doctor who used to be the general practitioner but now the medical system is so complicated you need somebody to be that first point of contact and to help you sort out what’s just a cold and what needs a specialist.
Sam Glover: I guess I’ve heard people talk about it in sort of the construction metaphor ff the general contractor versus the subcontractor. But I like the primary care analogy a little bit better I think.
Melissa Hall: Well, let’s say I am not somebody who’s like a general contractor. I do not have the specialist knowledge of all of the field of law and I’m never going to.
Sam Glover: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melissa Hall: But I can have enough knowledge to know what’s a serious problem and what’s a minor issue that people can sort out themselves or get just a little bit of help with.
Sam Glover: I think what you’re getting with is something I tried and I don’t think that I ever successfully tapped into this, but in my practice I wanted to give back to that idea of letting people have a lawyer that they could say, “Call my lawyer.” People like to say that and they’re full of shit because nobody actually has a lawyer.
Melissa Hall: Yeah.
Sam Glover: Unless you’re very wealthy and you actually employ a lawyer on retainer, but lawyers work on one thing at a time and so you’re there lawyer for that issue. But very few people actually have a lawyer and can say, “Call my lawyer.”
Melissa Hall: Well, and also in this world with the internet people say, “Ask an attorney.” Like that’s a thing that you can just do. I mean, I am an attorney and if I wanted to ask an attorney I have to think about it and really work on getting that question answered. In a world where we need attorneys all the time it’s kind of scary that there’s not a methodology for that.
Sam Glover: Yeah. So we should put the disclaimer on here that you’re still in the early stages of testing this idea. But I’ve heard people talk about the need for something like this for a while. And you’re the first person I’ve met, I think, who is actually really trying to dig in and test it. I mean, from the client perspective, what’s the real benefit that you think you deliver?
Melissa Hall: I think what I deliver better than most of the other methods is that it’s really easy to ask me a question. That’s what I optimize for. I want to make it easy for somebody to contact me, schedule an appointment, get a question answered. That’s really all I’m trying to do.
Sam Glover: So how do you make that easy when contacting you sounds expensive?
Melissa Hall: Well, that’s why my price is right there on my website. It’s on all of my marketing material. I charge $50 for a 15 minute question. And frankly, most of my calls are 8 to 12 minutes.
Sam Glover: Yeah. And then do you actually represent people on an ongoing basis or is this purely you’re trying to get people in the door to answer those easy, upfront questions?
Melissa Hall: I do not represent people on an ongoing basis. I have one or two things that I took on like that and frankly it’s not what I enjoy. We are a profession full of people who like that kind of detailed work and I would much rather give that to somebody else. I love this seat-of-the-pants, I don’t know what they’re going to ask me, let me come up with a good answer in a short period of time kind of work. Generalist are kind of a different breed and I’ve always been one, I just haven’t had a way to practice.
Sam Glover: So what are the kinds of questions that people have brought to you so far?
Melissa Hall: I’ve had quite a range. Everything from a real estate closing where the current owner was going to hold over to questions where an experienced entrepreneur had just gone down the rabbit hole and was concerned about structuring corporations as a single member LLC, and sometimes it’s family law, sometimes it’s a simple how do I form a corporation is a question I’ve gotten. I need a waiver because I’m talking to people for a book. I have a landlord/tenant issue. And I think this is what’s going on, can you just check that for me. Not having lawyers available has really changed the power balance in our society.
Sam Glover: Yeah.
Melissa Hall: And is interesting because there’s some cases like landlord/tenant where I get involved where I can get really kind of feel like, oh, this is a different balance just because I’m in the situation.
Sam Glover: So when you take those calls, do you feel like you were able to address their problem in that time or are you usually making a referral to a service, or another lawyer, or something like that?
Melissa Hall: There are only a couple of situations where I felt like I needed to make a referral and there’s a really specific situations. Like closing on a co-op. That’s …
Sam Glover: Right.
Melissa Hall: Yeah. That’s serious real estate mojo. Basically a lot of people just want some reassurance and handholding. Wikipedia isn’t a very good [inaudible 00: 12: 49]. And, yeah, it’s very easy to confuse yourself with more resources. Every once in while people do you have a serious legal problem, but as anyone who’s done a legal clinic knows 80% of the problems I’m just needing to interface with a complicated bureaucracy and having somebody sort through it for you.
Sam Glover: Right. You mentioned legal clinics. I do the self-help desk at the courthouse every other month and people sit down with me and in about 80% of the cases I can solve their immediate problem right then and there. And because I’m a lawyer I can identify you’re going to need to come back in three months, or a week, or I need to make a referral for you to a specialist. As a Lawyer you are ideally situated to make that call on can I help you now or do I need to find somebody else who could help you?
Melissa Hall: And it’s one of those things where this is what people want from us. It’s something lawyers complain about, frankly. You hear cocktail party law talked about. Most people just want to have a relatively short conversation. There’s just not a good way to do that right now. We figured it out for legal clinics and a lot of people offer free intakes. It’s weird that in a profession that is so concerned with every last dollar this is business that people are asking us to do that we keep throwing away.
Sam Glover: It’s interesting to me that you mentioned free intakes because free intakes are just trying to get somebody in the door so I can sell them something more expensive. It’s like using Gmails, which is free so that they can sell you advertisement. The free intake is great because it gets people in the door but it’s not the thing. You’re actually just selling the thing people want, which is I want advice from a lawyer right now.
Melissa Hall: And it’s what I want to give them. I mean, that’s the other part. It’s a really satisfying practice for me.
Sam Glover: So pivoting off of that, we talked about the benefit for clients but my understanding is part of the reason that you want to do this is because you see a benefit in it for you.
Melissa Hall: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Let me go back just a little bit. A couple of years ago I was practicing a very specific type of bureaucratic law in Virginia. I moved to [inaudible 00: 14: 56] I had to retake the bar exam and then got started in this avenue. Because I have the good fortune of having a couple of peers [inaudible 00: 15: 06] necessarily have to make a steady income [inaudible 00: 15: 11] experiment. And what I want in a practice that I find satisfying but also where I can shape my practice around my life instead of vice versa.
Sam Glover: Yeah. So the idea is you can by doing this sort of brief services you aren’t getting tied up in month’s long litigation/representation. But what you need to do instead is you need to keep that phone ringing, basically, or keep the email inbox chiming.
Melissa Hall: Yeah. I mean, I have a six-month-old. My practice is designed to work with that. I can’t guarantee that I will be in court any specific day because babysitting falls through in life is just complicated when you have a young child.
Sam Glover: Sure.
Melissa Hall: This means that the time that I know that I have available for this work I can make available. People can schedule. Online scheduling is part of what makes us work. And I can just do my practice in the time that I have and do other things in the other time.
Sam Glover: Well, let’s talk about the tools that you use then because I’m curious about that. How do you make this all work? You talked about online scheduling that what is the technology or whatever systems that you’re using to bring people to you, to answer their questions, to schedule those calls, do you do follow-ups? Is there anything to it?
Melissa Hall: Online scheduling is one of the things that I found was absolutely essential. I use [Iquity 00: 16: 30], which integrates with Google Calendar. It’s very nice that way. So anything that it blocks off time that I have something else scheduled then in makes the other time available. It also handles client experience really well and it will even handle invoicing and payment for me.
Sam Glover: You make people pay in advance, I assume?
Melissa Hall: No.
Sam Glover: Oh?
Melissa Hall: I give people the option. Thus far, it’s been about 50/50 since I’ve had the pay-in-advance option. But, I’ll be honest, I haven’t had any collections issues. The only payment issue I’ve had is somebody wanted to give me more.
Sam Glover: That’s a nice problem to have.
Melissa Hall: Yeah. A lot of this idea, frankly, formed when I was working at a legal clinic. And I saw some people who had some resources for an attorney come in because they just had no idea where to get started. And that whole thing was intimidating to them. Giving them a service where they can pay for this kind of advice is actually something that a certain kind of person and, I’ll be honest, I live in Seattle. There’s a lot of tech money here. Is happy to be able to pay for because they don’t necessarily want to take up the resources of a legal clinic but there isn’t another good way to access this kind of I don’t know what kind of law I need but know I need law resource.
Sam Glover: That’s a great way of putting it. We assume everybody is shopping for a lawyer in a practice area that they already know all about and that’s just really not how it works.
Melissa Hall: Well, we have a great legal system for attorneys. We’ve kind of set up our legal market so it’s easy for attorneys to shop for other attorneys.
Sam Glover: But it’s absolutely not designed around what the clients or the potential clients want and need and how they think about their problems and how they go about trying to find some help for them. It’s really set up around hire me just saw this very specific problem and you’re on your own for the rest.
Melissa Hall: Well, at least for me, one of my personal breakthroughs was when I realized that every single person who calls me is scared.
Sam Glover: Yes.
Melissa Hall: Sometimes they’re scared because good things are happening in their lives. It’s a scary time when you’re talking to an attorney. It means there’s things that I don’t understand going on in my life.
Sam Glover: Yeah, definitely.
Melissa Hall: And when I see my role as helping people deal with the thing that they don’t understand that’s going on in their life, it makes my practice emotionally satisfying as well. And I think it makes a really big difference.
Sam Glover: So, we need to take a few minutes to hear from our sponsors. And when we come back I want to talk about kind of how you see yourself building out a network of referrals overtime because it sounds like that’s something you’ll need. So we’ll be right back.
Aaron Street: Imagine what you could do with an extra eight hours per week. You could invest in marketing your firm. You could spend more time helping clients in need, or you could catch your daughter’s soccer game. That’s how much time legal professionals save with Clio, the world’s leading practice management software. With Clio, tracking time, billing, and matter management are fast and easy, giving you more time to focus on what really matters. Clio is a complete practice management platform with plenty of tools and over 50 integrations to help you automate daily tasks such as document generation and court calendering. See how the right software can make it easier to manage your practice. Try Clio for free today at clio.com.
Sam Glover: This podcast is supported by Rudy Receptionists. As a matter of fact, Ruby answers our phones at Lawyerist, and my firm was a paying Ruby customer before that. Here’s what I love about Ruby. When I’m in the middle of something, I hate to be interrupted. When the phone rings, it annoys me, and that often carries over into the conversation I have after I pick up the phone, which is why I’m better off not answering my own phone. Instead, Ruby answers the phone. If the person on the other end asks for me, a friendly, cheerful receptionist from Ruby calls me and asks if I want them to put the call through. It’s a buffer that gives me a minute to let go of my annoyance and be a better human being during the call. If you want to be a better human being on the phone, give Ruby a try. Go to callruby.com/lawyerist to sign up, and Ruby will waive the $95 setup fee. If you aren’t happy with Ruby for any reason, you can get your money back during your first three weeks. I’m pretty sure you’ll stick around, but since there is no risk, you might as well try.
And we’re back. So, Melissa, you’ve said that so far you’ve been able to solve most of peoples problems on the phone, but you had to refer out one or two maybe. I’m curious, as this practice grows I assume that you’re going to be needing to seeing more and more things out for referral. Do you see yourself as kind of generating leads or taking a cut of those referrals? How do you see yourself doing that?
Melissa Hall: Well, basically my attitude towards referrals is there’s a trust gap when it comes to lawyers. We’re expected to be expensive and to bleed people for everything. As a result, I have a firm policy that I will never take money for a referral. I think that’s part of what people need to know in order to call me so that they don’t feel like they’re putting themselves on a slab. However, one of the things that I do want to eventually develop is a network that will repay my initial consultation fee to the client. And I’ve had a few people who are interested in that. So far, honestly, I’ve been using my solo and small practice lister as my referral source. One of my goals for the next year is to get much more sophisticated And deliberate about referrals, but it’s hard when you’re new to a market as I am. And there is a lot of sophisticated practice in Seattle where most of my clients are not necessarily looking for the person who has the most detailed [inaudible 00: 22: 12] level experience, they’re just looking for somebody that they could be comfortable with.
Sam Glover: Yeah, that makes sense. Well, and I suppose overtime you are going to be developing the knowledge I have are those people treating my referrals well, which is so important. One of the reasons I hire the contractor I hire when I need work done on my house is because I can go and hire the individual subs myself, I guess. I can hire the person to do the drywall, I can hire the person to do the landscaping or whatever, but if he hires them he brings them business over, and over, and over again. So they really want to make him happy. They’re not going to see me again. I’m only going to do a job like this once or twice.
Melissa Hall: And that’s an important part of the model is circling back to people I referred to be sure that the referrals work. The other part is, frankly, it’s hard to hire an attorney if you’re not an attorney. A lot of the phrases, a lot of what we market with, is frankly designed it to impress other attorneys.
Sam Glover: Totally. It strikes me that you’re doing this as a solo, but it strikes me is any firm of some size. I don’t know if it’s three or five where it starts becoming relevant, but it feels like when somebody walks in the door, or picks up the phone and calls, or pings your voicemail, or your email, or whatever it feels like firms might want to consider a roll like this where you kind of have an account manager, someone who’s responsible for getting the client what they need without respective practice areas. Because if feels like often somebody comes in for a real estate matter, they only ever talk to the real estate attorney. Almost a concierge or account manager or somebody who is responsible for taking that client and making sure that their problem gets solved, even if it overlaps different practice areas and things. I don’t know. It seems like it may be a good idea.
Melissa Hall: Yeah. Frankly, my role at big law firms is often handled by a receptionist. And that’s probably not actually who you want to be your client’s first experience with your law firm. Yes, they’re not an attorney but that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be associated with the advice that that person gets.
Sam Glover: I suppose if you’re at a big firm and you’re a big corporate client, you probably have the partner who you have a relationship with who sort of functions as that concierge, but there’s nobody like that for small companies and individual consumers.
Melissa Hall: Yeah. I mean, I would love to see it become a practice at firms. There is the problem that you do collect a lot of conflicts this way on very small matters. It’s not a big deal to me because I’m a solo and mostly I deal with people. So the fact that I have conflicts against corporations isn’t a big deal. It might be a bigger deal to other people.
Sam Glover: That brings up a good question. What do you use to keep track of the contacts that you make and the clients that call in? Because I can absolutely see a landlord calling you one week in a tenet calling you the next week on the same problem.
Melissa Hall: Yep. And it is right now, frankly, I use a spreadsheet because most of my … Every once in a while I do have something where it’s two sides, but a lot of what I have is just people who have questions for how best to order their own lives. I end up with a conflict in about half of my cases.
Sam Glover: Really?
Melissa Hall: Yeah. It’s part of my intake form and I don’t ever ask do you have a conflict, I say, “Is there anyone who could potentially oppose you in what you’re trying to do? Give me as many details as possible.” So I do try to screen before I talk to anybody and it’s been pretty effective so far. When you ask about a conflict question like that, it seems like most people are pretty able to answer it.
Sam Glover: Well, then that’s a very simple example of thinking about it from a glance perspective instead of using Like your words. So what do you feel like is working and not working about this in general?
Melissa Hall: I’m not sure it’s going to work financially, to be frank. Right now I’m making money, but my expense profile is very low and I’m not making the kind of money you can live off, especially in Seattle. But I’m nine months in and I spent three of those with a brand new baby so it’s really [inaudible 00: 26: 05]. What I can say is successful is I definitely have a law practice that I enjoy in a practice that works really well with the rest of my life.
Sam Glover: So at 50 bucks per 15 minutes you would need to bring in, what? 8 to 16, 20 people a day to really make this look like a full-time employment, huh?
Melissa Hall: Well, let’s back up a little bit.
Sam Glover: Yeah.
Melissa Hall: I used to work for the state as a bureaucrat. So my income expectations are very different from a lot of other attorneys.
Sam Glover: Fair enough.
Melissa Hall: Basically, if I’m bare bones on my costs I break even after three calls a month.
Sam Glover: Three calls a month?
Melissa Hall: Three calls a month.
Sam Glover: So that’s to break even and everything over that is gravy. Do you have a target for what you would like to be getting in a month?
Melissa Hall: Ultimately, I would like to do four calls a day and that would allow me to more than replace my previous income.
Sam Glover: Which is, I mean, it’s an hour of work a day. That would be awesome.
Melissa Hall: Exactly. And so far I have 100% collection rate so … Yeah. It isn’t where I am yet right now in leads. Part of the problem is telling people that this is an option. But it’s an achievable goal to get four calls a day.
Sam Glover: What are you doing to get that phone ringing? What’s working for marketing so far?
Melissa Hall: There’s a couple of paths that I’ve taken. Frankly, the best has been to get a couple of advocates who are willing to post on the local neighborhood/social media system in Seattle, NextDoor, when people have legal questions.
Sam Glover: Oh, okay.
Melissa Hall: Those advocates have been really game changers for me. As far as advertising, I have a really basic strategy. The only place I’ve advertised is roller derby programs.
Sam Glover: Cool.
Melissa Hall: Because it’s a community I’m affiliated with, it’s people who are willing to do something a little bit different, and it’s a broad spectrum. The other thing that I would really like to do, potentially, is get other attorneys to recommend me because I want to business they don’t.
Sam Glover: I mean, yeah, I’ve talked about this before. We all have the lawyer we sort of hate-refer to. Like this client walks into my office and they clearly got a goofy issue that nobody can ever make money off of and I sort of hate refer them to lawyers I don’t really like very much. But you actually want those and you have a business model around them so you would take all those.
Melissa Hall: Right. And I would be happy to develop where I send the ones who actually have something you want to deal with back to you.
Sam Glover: Very cool. So what’s next for you and for this thing? Are you working on this and trying to figure out how to make it grow in scale or are you already looking at … I realize you’ve got a six-month-old and you said you’ve got about a two-year window. So you got some time. But can you predict yet what you’re going to do?
Melissa Hall: I’ve got two projects in the works. Number one is, I am trying to make kind of a toolkit for people who want to go into primary care law, either with me or on their own. So that no one has to do the same kind of research I did as to basic tools, how to create a law practice that makes sense in this budget frame, which is really tight. So primary care law toolkit is the first one and the second is working on a monthly subscription service. The thing that I realized is that there is some people who do want to say, “Yeah, talk to my attorney.” I can easily charge some amount of money every month for people to be able to say that. And trying to figure out what that is is my next kind of task.
Sam Glover: Very cool. And so it sounds like if either lawyers are interested, A: you’re working on resources for them, should we just have them email you if they’re interested in knowing about that when it comes out? Or just connecting with you about the strategy?
Melissa Hall: Absolutely. I would love to talk to anyone who wants to practice primary care law. At this point, I feel like it’s one of those things where it’s going to be easier the more people who are in it together.
Sam Glover: Yeah. We will definitely stick that email address in the show notes. Did I neglect to ask you anything that I should have asked you about primary care why?
Melissa Hall: No. I will also send you my bare bones budget so people can look at some real numbers. I think that makes a difference.
Sam Glover: I think that will be really helpful.
Melissa Hall: And, yeah. I think that’s everything that I have written down except for one more thing, which is as lawyers we do have a disadvantage in trying to implement this kind of system, which is we don’t have systems forcing us to cooperate like medicine does. Which is why I’m trying to convince the attorneys that this is a good thing for our system as a whole. I don’t know an attorney that wouldn’t like somebody to do a little extra handholding for their clients.
Sam Glover: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being with us today and chatting about primary care law. I really appreciate it and we will include your email address and your bare bones budget in our show notes.
Melissa Hall: Thank you.
Aaron Street: Make sure to catch next week’s episode of the Lawyerist podcast by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast app. And please leave a rating to help other people find our show. You can find the notes for today’s episode on Lawyerist.com/podcast.
Sam Glover: The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.