In this episode, Stephanie talks with serial legal entrepreneur Jay Ruane about integrating law firm systems and getting your team on board. In addition to integrating systems, learn how systems have changed his life.
Contact us on:
If today's podcast resonates with you and you haven't read The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited yet, get the first chapter right now for free! Looking for help beyond the book? Check out our coaching community to see if it's right for you.
- . How can systems can be beneficial to your firm
- . Where to start with systems?
- . How to get your team involved in using systems
Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts
Hi, I’m Jennifer Whigham
And I’m Zach Glaser. And this is episode 387 of the Lawyerist podcast. Part of the Legal Talk Network today, Stephanie is talking with Jay Ruane about lawyers using systems to build their firms.
Today’s podcast is brought to you by POSH Virtual Receptionists, LawPay and MyCase we wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support stay tuned. We’ll tell you a little bit more about them later on.
So Jennifer Lawyerist is about, I think community of, I don’t wanna say users, but it’s a community
<laugh> of people,
Of people who listen to the podcast who read the reviews, who are in Lawyerist lab, who are in our Facebook insiders group. We really, I think pride ourselves on, on trying to be connected with the community.
Yeah, I am the community director. So I feel especially engaged in that concept. And for me, I think knowing that we have people who interact with us on, in a variety of ways, whether it’s listening to the podcast, that Facebook group, like you said, through email, I mean, one of our things is client centered service. And to me, everybody, we talk to whether they’re paying us or not as a client, and right, that really builds the community for us. It’s really, really important to me and to all of us.
I think that’s one of the things I kind of wanted to, to highlight is, you know, you are the community director. And sometimes that feels like the person who is making sure that lab, you know, sometimes I limit that in my own mind to just lawyers lab, but it is, and has always been people that read the book, it’s the broader network. Yeah. And I kind of wanted to take today to make sure people knew that we like to weigh conversation. Yes. We appreciate feedback. We like when people talk about what we’re talking about, whether it’s in the, the insider group, we have, we post a lot of questions there and get a lot of good discussions or, you know, we post a lot of things on Twitter. And if people read the article that we post on Twitter or, or listen to the podcast that we have specifically, let’s say this podcast, if you have something to say about it, if it speaks to you, we’d love to hear feedback on that.
Yeah. I know Stephanie will often say this in the different workshops that she hosts is that she doesn’t like to just stand in front of the room and just talk mm-hmm <affirmative> with no feedback. There is no part of lawyers that are standing at the top of the room and just yacking your ear off. And the audience is sitting quietly. And I think that extends to all the other places that we post content. We don’t want people to stand quietly. None of us like to just talk and talk and talk, well, I can’t speak for myself, but <laugh>, but without any feedback, it is so important to us. And that’s why the word community, we mean it mm-hmm, <affirmative> like we make changes based on feedback. We bring things back to our team meetings based on things we’ve heard people say in that Facebook group or on Twitter or in our lab community, we are always keeping in mind what everybody is saying, because there’s only, I think 10 of us on the team right now, and we cannot possibly encompass all the knowledge that we need to run our jobs.
And so we mean it when we want to hear from you. I, you know, for example, in the, the insider’s Facebook group, if you Facebook lawyers insiders, you’ll find it and you can join. If you’re a solo small firm attorney, you know, we asked people yesterday, what are, what’s your one tip for having a hard conversation with the clients? Mm, we got so many good answers and I was think good answers. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And I was thinking if I was an attorney and I had that question and I was able to go and see all these great answers, and I was able to interact with people, man, that would really change maybe something that was difficult for me. So we wanna hear what you think about these topics. It’s really important to us.
Absolutely. And, and I think we like to think of ourselves as facilitating discussion. Yes. I had a professor in, in college who called himself the facilitator scholar. He didn’t like to lecture. He liked to get everybody to talk to each other. And I think that’s how lawyers work a lot of times, or a lot of lawyers are comfortable that way. And so we too, we, we like that. We like getting feedback on these things. One of the places though, that it’s difficult to have a two-way conversation is with our book, the small firm roadmap, but we still like to have <laugh> two-way conversation.
This is a very obvious you’re like you, we can’t hear you when you’re reading the book. It is just to be clear. Zach wants you to know that don’t talk to the book. We will not hear it.
I’m trying to solve that problem. <laugh> but I have been unsuccessful, but we, we do want to hear how the small firm roadmap has affected you, what you took away from it, how it affected your practice, what you might have changed in your own practice, or, you know, I know there are people out there that read the small firm roadmap and thought I can do this. I’m gonna go ahead and go out. Like, I’m gonna go out on my own. And we love that. Yeah. We love to hear how people are affecting their lives positively with these things. And we, and we like to hear the feedback so you can find us in a lot of places. <laugh> obviously, obviously you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find us on Twitter. You can find us on LinkedIn. You can find us on Facebook group with the Lawyerist insiders. Yeah. Any one of those methods we’d love to hear, but we’d particularly love to hear right now, some feedback on how the book affected you, maybe stories on how it affected your, your practice or something like that.
And a fun part is, is we’re working on the second edition right now. And if you’re into it and the story is great, you could be in our second edition, which is cool. A published person.
That’s fantastic. Okay. So yeah, we have a purpose for this. It’s not just me too. It’s not just me.
I’m just throwing it out there.
I’m not just hanging these on my wall or anything like that
On your vision board.
My vision board, I, I too would like my practice to, to turn out like Kevin from Denver’s.
Yeah. So shout out to Kevin from Denver.
Anyway. Now here is Stephanie’s conversation with Jay.
Hi, I’m Jay Ruane. And I guess you would call me a serial legal entrepreneur. At least that’s what I’m telling people. I am, because I’ve gotten to the point where I’m sort of out of my practice and, uh, I’m trying to do some new things which have been really fun, but all of them are tied into law and the legal community. So that’s really, I think what I am now at this point is just a serial legal entrepreneur.
I love it. Welcome to the show, Jay. I’m so excited to talk with you today. So I think too, though, as part of that, you didn’t say this, but one of the things that you love is it fair to say, love, I’m gonna use the word love is systems.
So I do love systems <laugh> uh, and that’s actually one of the things that I’m an entrepreneur about is, you know, I’ve got, I’ve got a group of people and you know, we’re at like 1400 strong of people who share and talk systems all the time. And that’s been my thing for the last, I don’t know, decade or so, going around to legal conferences and, and just, you know, spreading the gospel of how systems can save your firm, especially, you know, during COVID. It was a great thing for a lot of people that to actually take the time to spend building systems. And, and I love systems. I know other dads in my neighborhood will go to a home Depot or Lowe’s every weekend and buy a new tool. I don’t need those tools cause I’m not a home improvement guy, but I’ll build a new system for my law firm and I’ll, and I’ll love it and I’ll look at it. And it’ll I’ll, and maybe I’m the only one who ever looks at it, you know, cuz we have 1500 or so systems, but it’s a shiny system and it makes me smile.
I love it. I know I love systems too. So maybe kind of take us back, like this is gonna sound silly, but like how did you come to love systems? Like when did you realize how helpful they could be for your business?
So it really came down to, so I started my practice as a J with my father as a general criminal practice. And we had, you know, a little bit of everything come through the door in terms of criminal cases. So DUIs assaults, a lot of drug dealing. It was the late nineties. So I had a number of drug crews that I represented, but there came a time when I decided to focus on DUI practice. And I, I was quick to put up a website that generated business that was coming in. But what I realized is that I don’t really like the practice of law, like 99% of it I’d throw out the window. I love cross examining police officers in a trial, but to get to that point, there’s a lot of crap you gotta Wade through to get there. And so what I found was if I could apply systems to it, it allowed me to let others do the parts that I didn’t like or minimize the amount of effort I had to do into the things that I didn’t like.
Uh, and so systems became a tool that I could use to marshal my cases from beginning to end, without having to expend, you know, energy and bandwidth on the stuff that I just absolutely hated, hated, hated doing. Yeah. Um, and so it all started really with, uh, a series of form letters. I was sick of taking the phone calls from the clients and having to explain the same thing over and over and over again. Uh, and so I said, you know what, after we open a file every other day, we’re gonna send a form letter and it’s gonna explain the whole process. They’re gonna get overwhelmed by mail, but we need a way to do that. So we literally, I got in our folder, I went out and I bought a, you know, a one foot by one foot stamp and my, my assistant would open up the file folder and stamp it. And that would have we fill out the dates. Each letter was sent. And this is back before, you know, Cleo existed back before any of those things. And so I just got my whole office working on systems, uh, and that paralegal is Christa. You’ve met her. She’s been with me ride or die for 23 years now. Uh, and I’m actually thinking about what can I do with her next? You know, because she is a systems lover just like you and just like me
<laugh> yeah. I think sometimes when people hear like they hear it and they’re listening to you right now and they’re nodding their heads saying, I know, I know I should do this, but I’m so busy and I have all the other things going on. And I think sometimes it’s that getting started. So I know you, you have some, probably some good thoughts and advice for that person who just needs to get going, like where do they even start?
So what I tell people is when you, when you own a law firm, you really have two jobs. And your first job is to be the lawyer that your clients needs. Because obviously if you aren’t that you’re gonna lose your license and then everything goes away. But you need to think of owning your business as your side hustle. Uh, your second job. And I tell people, look, pick a 5, 6, 8 hour window, and maybe it’s two, four hour windows over the course of the week, block those things out. Uh, for me, it was always Friday night. You know, I am naturally an introvert. I, I, I don’t mind being around people, but they drain me conversations drain me. And so I can remember being younger, starting off my practice and after a, a, a normal Monday through Friday, the last thing I wanted to do was talk to me.
I didn’t wanna go to a bar. I didn’t wanna go to a park. I didn’t, I just wanted to be alone, leave me alone and let me, but I wanted to U make use of that time. I wasn’t gonna sit in front of the TV and do nothing. So I spent Friday nights was my working on the business night. And I would use that to build my systems and what I found early on and what I found over the years really is that the parade principle really does apply even to systems 20% of the systems that you write control, 80% of the things that you do in your office. So if you can find that 20% of systems, you’re gonna tremendously move the needle on your productivity, your quality of, and all of those things and not have to kill yourself for the other 80%.
Now, like me, I get obsessive. I wanna get into what I wanna have a million systems. I mean, I’m at a point now where I’ve hired one of our overseas workers. We’re translating every system into Spanish with corresponding loom videos in Spanish. So I can, you know, bring somebody in no problem, but that’s just me being crazy, right. That, you know, that’s just who I am, uh, when it comes to systems. But if you just take a moment, figure out the, what is it, why we’re doing it and how we do it. And the why is probably the most important, uh, and just walk through those things. You’re gonna really set yourself up for success. If you just find the 20% that you’re repeating, repeating, repeating, make that systemized and, and things, lovely things happen.
Yeah. I think that helps. And I like the idea of the 20%, because I do think it, people, we get ourselves overwhelmed thinking I have to do all the things and you’re like, no, let’s just focus on the most, the next, most important thing, systematize that. And then you’ll be, you’ll free yourself up and you’ll create that energy and that time where you can then go to the next one. And the next one.
Absolutely. I mean, the, the problem is, is I, I, when I go out and I, and I give speeches and, and I talk to people and they’re like, you have 1500 systems. Can I just buy all 1500 of them? And I’m like, yeah, but you won’t do anything with them. Right. You’ll buy them. They’ll sit down a folder on your server. No one will use ’em, what’s better take 10 minutes and write one system that you’re gonna use. Now. I think, you know, your intake system is probably the best thing that you can do, because that is the, the, you know, the water that keeps the wheel turning, but just pick one and go with it and then get that. And then that’s, you’re gonna see success and you’re gonna wanna do another one. Don’t try to buy these, you know, there there’s a time and a place for buying aftermarket systems that you can bolt onto your practice.
In fact, I just hired a lawyer to work with my systems person. Cause I’m at a point now where I have a person in my office whose job is our systems. Uh, and she’s worked with me for 10 years. She’s done intake, she’s done paralegal duties. And so I’ve made her and our systems go group. Uh, and I hired a lawyer to say, Hey, if we wanna get into this practice area, we’re gonna need the systems for it. Let’s hire you to work with them. We’ll put this thing together and then we’ll make the decision whether or not we’re gonna buy, we’re gonna get into this practice area. But if we do, we’ve got the systems ready to go.
Yeah. That makes sense. That’s that resonates, but you bring up another good point, which is if I, the owner, like I can be involved, I can be in love with systems. And I’m like all in sometimes what we’re, where we struggle is getting the buy in from other team members. Like you even alluded to this yourself a little bit, like maybe there’s some people on the team that are like, ah, Jay has 1500 systems. That’s just a waste of waste of time. Maybe it’s. Yeah. So how do you get other team members involved and bought in and using the systems once you create ’em?
So I think it starts, you know, before you even onboard your staff, where you start talking about how you’re a systems based firm before you hire. So everybody comes in knowing that, but there’s a transition point and an inflection point, I guess, when you have existing people. And I think you need to sit, have a sit down and talk to them and say, look, a lot of people are nervous if they are in a support position that if you systemize something, they’re gonna lose their job because well, then you could hire somebody cheaper. Who’s gonna do it. Yes, yes I can. I can. Hopefully you are so valuable to me that we can find a better position for you. Perfect example, my systems person now in my office, I have found her to be the systems person, because I don’t need her on intake anymore.
I don’t need her as a paralegal anymore. I can get people who are overseas doing her job cheaper, but she has that value to me to keep her around because of that, she was initially very skeptical about any of our remote workers. She was nasty to them when we started, because she thought they were foreigners who were coming in to take her job. Now, I think she’s realizing they took off a lot of a burden off of her and allows her to get deeper with the clients, focus on things that are gonna move the needle for job satisfaction for her and her team move job satisfaction in terms of our clients having satisfaction with our services. And so I think, um, you know, it takes a while and then there are those people who are not gonna be systems oriented. And if you wanna be a systems oriented firm and they don’t want to be while it’s nice that you can retain a professional working relationship, it’s not the place for you anymore.
And I, and I, I don’t wanna monopolize the conversation, but there’s a story about Elon Musk. And he, I know a lot of people have a lot of opinions about him, but he had a secretary assistant, whatever you wanna call it for a number of years. And, uh, she wanted a raise and went to him and said, Hey, look, I’m interested in a raise. And he said, you know what, why don’t you take a two week vacation? I’m gonna think about it. And then we’re gonna move on. And when he came back, he said, you know what, it’s time for you to leave. I don’t need you doing one. This, I need a per I need three people feeling what you did in each one of these worlds. I need a calendar person. I need a, you know, a personal life, uh, assistant. I need a professional networking assistant, and I need three different people to do the one job that you’ve been doing well.
But those people have skill sets that are above yours and you let her go. And that’s the life cycle of a law firm or any business. There are people who are meant to be with you for two years, 10 years, 20 years, maybe your lifetime, or maybe somebody comes in for six months and that’s okay. We’re not getting married here. We’re working together. And, and even some marriages break down and they say, you know, you were great for me in my twenties, but I’m in my forties now. And I have a different outlook on life. I need to change who I’m married to, uh, you know, to have life satisfaction, same thing with the firm. People aren’t necessarily meant to be with you the entire time. You have a firm. Yeah. If you get ’em, you know,
No, that resonates. And, and I agree, like if, you know, you’re a systems space firm, it has to be part of your hiring process. You have to ask those questions and you have to figure that out because not everyone is, you know, built that way and you need to find what’s gonna work for your team. So that makes a lot of sense.
All right. Any other kind of improvements you’ve seen or tangible results as a result of you having all these systems? I mean, I guess I know some, but I’d love for you to share a few with the listeners, cuz I don’t think probably they appreciate just how much your firm has changed because of the systems you’ve implemented.
Well, I mean the, the reality was, is back before we had systems, my full time job was, was a fireman. I was, how are we gonna solve this problem? Oh, the paychecks didn’t come this week. The internet went down. I mean, you know, it’s interesting today at the office, the internet went down, we had Comcast in here to upgrade our modem, the guy left and nobody’s got internet. Well, we have a system for if, you know, in case of emergency. And literally we have, you know, everything from a lawyer gets injured on the way to court, to there’s an active shooter on campus. How, how do you respond to all of these things? Uh, and one of the systems we have is what to do when the internet goes down. And so I didn’t have to get involved. My office lead took over, followed the instructions and you know, 10, 15 minutes later we’re back online.
Uh, and everything is a okay. Uh, you know, so I, I don’t wanna be the, the, the fire person putting out the fires because that taxes my bandwidth. It doesn’t allow me to think bigger things, uh, about where the firm is going and what we can do. I can do it. You know, I can jump in and solve problems. If somebody is stuck, my people don’t have a problem coming to me and say, Hey, Jay, I really need your help with this. But overall, if we can anticipate or document how we dealt with a crisis, then everyone’s got a solution in, you know, at the end, uh, everybody wins. And from an employee perspective that gives them faith that this thing isn’t just a ship bobbing in the sea, but we have a course that we’ve charted, we’re heading there and they can feel comfortable that they are not gonna walk into a fire, breaking out that nobody else can solve because that’s stressful.
Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, that’s very stressful for a frontline employee. If they have to anticipate, oh God, I don’t know what’s gonna happen tomorrow. I guess some people thrive on it. But I think from an employee’s perspective, if you can take out like as perfect example, we’re updating our CRM. And, uh, I pushed live with our developer, a new category categorization thing that we wanna do. My, my wife got four slack messages saying, I see this new thing what’s going on. And I said, ah, you know, I told ’em to push that live, but we haven’t integrated fully yet. Just tell them we’re gonna have a firm line meeting. I’ll explain everything when we get there. Uh, I probably should not have pushed that live because employees rightfully so. When things change, they get anxious, they get nervous. They don’t know, you know, Jay could wanna wanna be a judge. What happens to my job if Jay decides to become a judge and tomorrow everything is shut down. Oh my like their whole lives change. They want stability systems bring stability.
Yeah, love it. All right. We gotta take a quick break and hear from our sponsors. When we come back, I wanna shift the conversation slightly to what you’re doing on this sales side, cuz I it’s another opportunity. I think for us to learn something different.
The Lawyerist Podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionist. As an attorney. Do you ever wish you could be in two places at once? You could take a call while you’re in court, capture a lead during a meeting or schedule an appointment with a client while you’re elbow deep in an important case? Well, that’s where Posh comes in. Posh is a team of professional US-Based live virtual receptionists who are available 24/7/365, they answer and transfer your calls. So you never miss an opportunity. With posh handling your calls. You can devote more time to billable hours in building your law firm. And the convenient Posh app puts you in total control of when your receptionist steps in. So if you can’t answer, POSH can, and if you’ve got it, Posh is always just to tap away. With posh. You can save as much as 40% off your current service providers rates.
Even better, POSH is extending a special offer to Lawyerist listeners, visit posh.com/lawyerist to learn more and start your free trial of Posh Live Virtual Receptionist Services. That’s posh.com/lawyerist. And from LawPay the gold standard in payments for the legal industry. For more than 15 years, our partners at LawPay have been helping lawyers get paid faster. In fact, 62% of bills sent by LawPay are paid the same day to learn how you can enjoy faster and more reliable payments. Schedule your demo at lawpay.com/lawyerist. And from MyCase, Tired of wasting time on administrative tasks? Want to bill more hours, get paid faster, and ensure the success of your team? With MyCase law practice management software, your firm will have access to all the tools needed to run more efficiently. Digitize your client intake, manage documents in one place, and track every billable hour so you can focus on what matters most to your firm. MyCase is an affordable all-in-one solution that gets your business up and running quickly. .
New Speaker (24:05):
Hundreds of lawyers have rated MyCase the number one legal case management software. After making the switch to MyCase, one law firm saved over 100 hours per month–time that would have otherwise been spent on tedious administrative tasks. It’s time to choose a case management software that works for you. If you’re looking to supercharge the growth of your firm, go to mycase.com/lawyerist and sign up for a free trial. Right now, Lawyerist listeners get three months at no cost on a new annual plan! (Offer cannot be combined with other discounts). Visit mycase.com/lawyerist to get started.
New Speaker (24:05):
All right, I’m back with Jay and Jay. One of the things that I think is probably a natural progression from all your systems is how you’ve thought about your sales and marketing team at your firm. And I would love for you to share a little bit about that and what you do, cuz I think it’s different than how a lot of firms maybe approach this part of the process.
Sure. So we are in the, the B2C space, right? We sell legal services to the consumer. Ours is criminal, but it could be trusted estates. It could be divorced. So what we need to do is we actually need to get paid. You know, we get paid upfront, uh, and that’s a major component of our process is making sure that we get paid, but it also requires our people to have some ability to sell. And I’m not talking just the person whose job it is to be on the phone or in the consult to close the potential client. And I know there’s some negative connotation to that, but I don’t think there should be because our job is to provide legal services and make people’s lives better by charging them for what we do. I mean that, you know, in a perfect world, we’d all have to be billionaires and, and not need to charge for anything, but that’s not the real world.
So the better my firm operates, the more people I can serve, that’s my philosophy. But you know, we have taken the process away from the lawyer. Who’s doing the work, having to interact with the lead because quite frankly, that lawyer doesn’t need to know anything about the case until they have the case until it’s assigned client. And think about it from a, an employee, uh, from a, a client perspective, you know, I’ve given you 10 or $20,000 to do a job. I want your attention on my job. I don’t want you taking an hour or three hours out of the day that you could be focusing on my legal problems and having to go fishing to find new clients because my problems are important problems and they need and should be settled and resolved as quickly as legally possible. And so we split down sort of down the middle, you know, to our intake, our sales and intake team and our legal ops team.
And so what we do is, you know, a person comes in, we are selling in that term. Uh, as soon as the phone gets answered, by having cheery people on the phone, they pass it to an intake person who begins the calling of information then goes to a sales lawyer, uh, who talks a little bit more because in the criminal space, people wanna talk to a lawyer right away. You know, they’re, they’re expecting to talk to the lawyer or at least a lawyer right away. And, and there’s some gravitas that goes with that. So I have a partner who, um, had a child right before COVID and stayed home, uh, with the baby. And then she was able to continue with, uh, being our sales lawyer. Then, uh, her wife had another child at the, uh, at the real end of COVID, uh, who was a premie couldn’t get any vaccines.
So they locked themselves in the house and, and she’s been doing sales almost exclusively now for, for three years and is loving it because she can run that whole division and really stay abreast as to what’s going on. But, um, even after you talk to the sales lawyer, you go back to the original intake person. If you’re ready to pay, you’d go to the finance person, they could take your payment. So you’re having number of touchpoints and I came to that sort of in a weird way, but, uh, it seems to really work for, for our office.
Yeah. So tell us a little bit, because as I understand it, some of this came from a, a book that you read and so yes, what happened?
So I don’t know if, uh, listeners, uh, remember, but there was this really freaky dude who had a VH one show. I think it was the pickup artist. I mean, I know that was the Robert Downey Jr thing. Um, but he was a guy named mystery and mystery was gonna teach loser nerds, how to pick up women. And I was a loser nerd at the time, but I, you know, I also read a lot of magazines. I, I, I can’t read a full book. I, I don’t know. I used to law school ruined reading for me. I can’t read books anymore, but I, I still like to read, so I would devour magazines and I used to read rolling stone. Neil Straus was an author on the payroll at rolling stone. And you would write articles. And I really liked him as an, as an author.
So I saw that their book came out, that he wrote called the game and it was Neil’s time living in Los Angeles with this guy mystery and a whole bunch of people that he was teaching how to pick women up. And it’s a really, I mean, it’s a terrible book in, in, uh, how they, you know, it’s about conquest. It’s not about relationships, right? But as, as I’m reading it, I’m thinking, you know, there are corollaries to the sales process here. And if a person could meet somebody, pick them up and get them to go home with them that night, I can use some of the lessons learned from that book. In my sales process, I was more concerned about my sales process than using these skills to go out, cuz I wasn’t about to insult somebody or wear a crazy hat, you know, like they wanted people to do at bars.
And I just didn’t wanna go to bars and meet people that way. It’s just not my style. I mean, I met my wife at the courthouse, but I took from the book. The concept that they use is that when you first meet somebody in a, an establishment, if you get them to quickly go with you to a second place and then a third place, you are creating three distinct memories in their brain about them interacting with you. So you immediately sort of create, oh, we’ve been, we’ve been friends a long time in their mind because I can remember going to bar studio C and, and then, uh, you know, club D. And so in the back of their head of the conquest, I guess they’ve got all of these shared experiences with you and the barriers come down because they’ve experienced four different things with you over the course of one night.
It’s not just, oh, we met at a bar, but I’d never go home with a person I’d met at a bar. And only that bar, but, we’ve been to four places. We’ve got a deeper relationship. And I said to myself, what if instead of them calling in talking to one person and then hanging up the phone, I had them talk to multiple people in my office and develop those relationships. So we could talk about the fact that, oh, you have a, you have a French bulldog. Well, I have an English bulldog, uh, you know, that type of thing and develop rapport. And if you’ve got rapport with three people in an office, or you’ve got a lawyer that they called, who says, bring me $2,500 and meet me at the courthouse, naturally, most people are gonna go with the relationship that they have more rapport with.
So we have a, a defined intake process where it’s a number of steps that you’re gonna talk to a number of people. And even if you’re not ready to pay today, you’re gonna talk to the person who’s gonna take your payment. Hey, you know, I’m so, and so I take the payments here. If you have any questions about your payments, you can always call and ask for me. I’m happy to talk to you. I know you’re not ready to retain right now, but I’m here for you. If you have any questions, if you need to structure a different way, just let me know. I’m gonna pass you back now to your intake coordinator. Who’s been the one who’s been shepherding. This call have a great debt, takes own moment. It’s a script under a minute. And the person says, oh, okay, great thing is now they know who Michelle is. And so when they need to make a payment, they call up and say, can I talk to Michelle? So it’s not, oh, I need to make a payment. Who do I talk to? They wanna talk to Michelle. And then when Michelle calls and says, Hey, your credit card needs to be updated. They know that’s why Michelle’s calling cuz it’s a finance thing. So those are the types of things that we do, um, in our intake process. And it is somewhat laborious. It takes a, a, a little longer, but we’ve found great success with it.
I love that you read somewhat of a creepy book <laugh> but
It’s very creepy. I mean, you can still read it that’s out there.
Yes. Not that we wanna promote the book, but <laugh> that there was a lesson to be learned about and that you could apply it to your sales process is probably the better takeaway for us to remember.
Yes, for sure. For sure. My wife would be embarrassed that I read that book. Uh, but I swear it was, I was, I liked the author. I said, let me give the book. It’s, it’s a, it’s a fun read. It’s a quick read. But, uh, it is kind of creepy that they were using these and it was neurotic programming, uh, and neurolinguistic programming and all that stuff. Um, I don’t get into that, but, but boy, you know, the stages of an intake where you’re talking to multiple people has really done wonders for my practice and, and anybody can implement that, uh, in theirs.
Yeah. I think that’s the takeaway for us and, and the, the rapport that you have your team building. And quite frankly, the fact that you have a team, cuz I think a lot of lawyers are still are doing all those sales calls themselves. And the fact that you can write the scripts and have the process, which means that you don’t have to be involved in the sales process. And we talked about this when I was visiting you a couple months ago, there are still people who call and want to talk to Jay, but I wanna hire Jay, but your team is trained on how to handle that. And they, they know how to answer those questions and how to get that person comfortable. That it’s a team and it’s not just Jay.
Right? It’s a team. And, and they usually start with, oh no, you don’t want you a <laugh> oh, you definitely don’t want Jay Jay gets involved when somebody has run over like a busload of nuns and they were drunk and high. So if you get seen walking into the courthouse with Jay, that’s not gonna, you want somebody else here and we’ve got the perfect person for you. Let me tell you a little bit about Dan or, or, or you know, whomever Rob. Right. Well, you’re gonna love Rob. You know, he, they start selling my lawyers immediately. Oh I know the lawyer who handles that courthouse. Oh, she’s great. Uh, she’s so friendly. She’s so reassuring. I love when I’m able to get her a new client. Yeah. It just, it all works out. We’re all in this together.
Perfect. Well, there’s so much more we could talk about we’ll have to have you back, but this has been great. I know we’ve given everyone, who’s listening. A lot of things that they should be thinking about for changes in their practice. So thank you for being on
<laugh>. Thanks for having me. This has been great.
The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at lawyeristbackup.kinsta.cloud/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, right for you. Head to lawyeristbackup.kinsta.cloud/community/lab to schedule a 10 minute call with our team to learn more. 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.
Jennifer Whigham is the Community Director at Lawyerist where she coordinates Lawyerist Lab. She’s the behind-the-scenes stage manager of the program, where she facilitates Lab content, coaching staff, and events (including the annual LabCon conference). She is our team's Animal Ambassador and outside of Lawyerist, she’s the co-owner of a nonprofit music lesson studio.
Zack Glaser is the Legal Tech Advisor at Lawyerist, where he assists the Lawyerist community in understanding and selecting appropriate technologies for their practices. He also writes product reviews and develops legal technology content helpful to lawyers and law firms. Zack is focused on helping Modern Lawyers find and create solutions to help assist their clients more effectively.
Last updated March 21st, 2023