Episode Notes

Sara joins Labster Patricia Mancabelli in a conversation about how an in-person, Lawyerist-facilitated retreat sparked a firm rebranding and enabled her team to hone in on their ideal clients.  

Patricia discusses the challenges and benefits of her rebrand and reveals how their new subscription model for female business owners has been a game-changer.  

Discover how this approach has allowed the firm to provide more purposeful and impactful support, benefiting both the firm and the women entrepreneurs they serve with accessible, top-notch legal services. 

Links from the episode:

Mention Lawyerist when your visit Posh and get a free 2 week trial!  

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.

  • 6:03. Posh Virtual Receptionists
  • 17:55. Rebranding a firm
  • 26:27. Tangential conversations



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 

Zack Glaser (00:35): 

Hi, I’m Zack. 


Sara Muender (00:36): 

And I’m Sara Muender. And this is episode 508 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today I get to interview the amazing Patti Mancabelli one of our Labster in our lab coaching program about how she has recently rebranded her business and she is really gone after her ideal client. Lots of great things coming out of that episode. 


Zack Glaser (01:03): 

Awesome. Well, today’s podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionist. Stick around and you’ll hear my conversation with them shortly. So Sara, you’ve been working with Patti a lot and Patti’s been one of our labsters for a little while now. Last year you and Stephanie went and facilitated a retreat with them and I have to admit, I still have no idea what that is. 


Sara Muender (01:31): 

Yeah, we did. So they are in Buffalo, New York. Stephanie and I flew out there for a two day retreat and that’s really special. It’s the first one that I’ve gotten to go out and facilitate with Stephanie and what a just powerful, inspiring couple of days. So Patti and Anne run this firm together and Anne Romanello, her kind of right hand, has been on the podcast before and talked about how they’ve come a long way in developing systems and delegating and all that. So today I get to talk to Patti, the owner, about what came out of that retreat. So we spent two days kind of leading them through doing some high level strategic thinking, vision work, core values, financial strategy, marketing strategy and all that. But what they really wanted to get out of that was they wanted to rebrand and they wanted to kind of rethink their entire business model altogether and build something and launch something that allowed them to serve women owned businesses. 



They do business law and in a way that’s maybe they weren’t really quite sure what it would look like when we were at the retreat, but what came out of it was this awesome subscription model with some awesome financial projections that came out of it. And what was really cool about the retreat was, so it was Stephanie and I who are very different and we’re kind of passionate about different things and so are Patti and Anne and their dynamic fit perfectly with me and Stephanie’s dynamic. So Patti and Stephanie spent a lot of time working on some of the higher level strategic thinking and financial planning, and then Anne and I would break off and we would do some of the more creative work and we would work on the marketing messaging and things like that. And it was just such a cool dynamic and they essentially launched a new business in two days. I mean, it was unbelievable. 


Zack Glaser (03:33): 

Yeah, that is. But those two are impressive. My question though is do I need to have that big of a project, have a rebrand on my mind in order to do a retreat in order for that sort of thing? Is that what that’s for the big swings, or do I just need to be wanting to run my company? Just tighten things up? 


Sara Muender (03:57): 

Yeah, great question. I guess short answer is no, you don’t have to have some big project or launch a new business or change your business model or anything like that. We encourage all firm owners to take a leadership retreat once a year and then have smaller ones every quarter, which we actually facilitate for our Labster in our lab coaching program. We do a remote virtual quarterly planning retreat for them. But this in-person retreat is unique because there’s something that happens when you get in the presence of other humans and coaches. And for Stephanie and I to be able to lead the discussion and take them through the pieces that you should be thinking about every year, you should be revising your business vision every year and asking yourself, are we on track for our original goals? Is this still our vision? Is this still the direction we want to take things? 



Reviewing core values here at Lawyerist and Affinity, our leadership team does that every year. And core values change over time as things evolve and then setting some strategic goals, some strategic financial planning, marketing initiatives, and overall all the things that you really should be thinking about every year. But most people just don’t take the time to do that. And so a lot of our Labster have find it really valuable. We’ve done many, many of these retreats in person at this point, and I know what I can say about that. If someone’s interested, get in touch with us. Email stephanie at Lawyerist dot com, that’s Stephanie with ie. And she can talk through what that looks like and everything. But if you’re in lab, get a discount and it’s quite possibly the most powerful thing you could do for your business. That’s my little pitch. I had to get that in there. 


Zack Glaser (05:46): 

You’ve got me speechless. I don’t have anything to add to that. 


Sara Muender (05:50): 

But take it from here. 


Zack Glaser (05:51): 

Yeah, here’s my conversation with Posh virtual receptionists and then we’ll be back with Sara and Patti stay tuned. 



Hey y’all, it’s Zack, the legal tech advisor here at Lawyerist. Today. I’ve got Nate Stallings and Serena Perez with me from Posh Virtual Receptionist, and we are talking you guested virtual receptionist. Serena, thanks for being with me today. 


Serena Perez (06:16): 

Thank you, Zack for having us. It’s a pleasure. 


Zack Glaser (06:18): 

So Serena, tell me about Posh Virtual Receptionists. What makes them special, what makes them great? 


Serena Perez (06:25): 

I’d love to really, we are a twenty four seven, three hundred and sixty five day a year receptionist service available to our clients. We are customizable in the sense that we want to make sure that we are not only handling your calls proficiently, but we are handling it in a sense that it is always going to be professional. You are getting your messages and your call sent to you in a timely manner, and it is being handled in the way that you prefer. We do not fit a company into a box. It is not something that is planned. It is done based off of what are the pain points that you’re currently struggling with, why do you need a virtual receptionist and what is the best way for us to fit within your day-to-day operations of your business? 


Zack Glaser (07:16): 

And so by something that’s not particularly planned, you mean that it’s not a kind of one size fits all thing, you guys connect with the attorney and cater to more what they need specifically? 


Serena Perez (07:28): 

Correct? Correct. There is an introduction call that you would typically have with a sales consultant where you would discuss what exactly you’re looking for or what you’re trying to achieve with utilizing our services. And with that, your consultant will be able to gather what exactly is going to be the best fit for you, the way that your script needs to be designed, and they will actually provide that to you for a visual. So it’s something that you actually get to see and approve for your accountant, for your business. 


Zack Glaser (07:58): 

So I don’t necessarily need to know exactly what I want said when I consult with Posh. What’s the spin up time from start to answering calls? 


Serena Perez (08:09): 

Turnaround time, we can have you up and running within 24 to 48 hours. 


Zack Glaser (08:14): 

Okay. That’s pretty quick. So what kind of lawyers attorneys are y’all sweet spot? Who are y’all helping the best? Who do y’all like to kind of assist? 


Serena Perez (08:24): 

Well, I would say there isn’t a top even five. We assist solo practitioners, we assist bigger law firms with 20 plus attorneys. It really depends on that practice areas. We do not have a certain type that we prefer, nor that we would turn away. Like I said, it’s not a one size fits all, so it’s really dependent on, Hey, how can we best help with assisting in handling those calls or scheduling those appointments or connecting those calls to you or another member of that team? 


Zack Glaser (08:58): 

Okay. Well, so for the attorney, for the law firm that is using Posh, how difficult or Easy, and I’m hoping easy is it to connect with their account and get things changed if they need to or to see their messages and all that stuff? 


Serena Perez (09:14): 

Well, as far as their messages and their activity, maybe even billing on their account, we give them access to your posh app and to a client portal where all of that information is updated and delivered to you in real time. So anything to invoices to the message you received five minutes ago that can all be located through those platforms. As far as any additional adjustments or maybe you want to change some business hours or update an FAQ, that information can be given to your sales consultant or our posh customer service team. 


Zack Glaser (09:51): 

Okay, so the mobile app, can I get a business telephone number? Can I make calls from that as a lawyer? 


Serena Perez (09:58): 

Yes, of course. Anytime we set up an account here, we’re going to provide you with a posh service number. That’s essentially how it’s technically set up. You would forward your business line or preexisting phone numbers to the posh service number we will provide you. Now the posh service number is what’s going to reside within the posh app and the client portal. That brings us to our masking feature in the posh app, making those outbound calls or texting your clients the posh service number for your account here is what will be displayed. You can also register any number of your choice if you would like the caller ID to be displayed differently. 


Zack Glaser (10:37): 

Oh, fantastic. So I don’t just have to make phone calls or texts from my phone and have clients or opposing counsel or somebody like that sending me things directly to my phone. 


Serena Perez (10:47): 

The privacy is still there and that is the number one thing that we thought about, especially with marketing towards our attorneys. 


Zack Glaser (10:54): 

Right. Love it. Love the app. Well, so thank you Serena. We’ve also got Nate here. Tell me a little bit more about the app that we were just talking about. 


Nate Stallings (11:03): 

Sure. So the app is a great place for you to get your messages and allowing you to be on the go and receive those versus having to be sitting at a computer to look at the messages via email or looking at it through our portal. And that allows someone to not only see their messages, but they can actually change their status and let the receptionist know, are they available for us to transfer that call to them, or, Hey, can you call that person back for me and let them know I’m running late for my meeting or let ’em know that all I need is this one piece of information. If they can just email it over So it gives the attorney any ability to respond back to us as well as see all of their information that we’ve taken on their behalf. 


Zack Glaser (11:42): 

Fantastic. Well, so attorneys obviously use other apps, other platforms. How well does Posh work and play with some of the other platforms that attorneys are using? 


Nate Stallings (11:54): 

Zack, that’s a great question. So I’m going to start with saying that the first part of having a service like ours is to answer those calls. But then what do you do to get that information into your case management software or how do you get that into your database? And that’s where the posh system is very easily built to work with Zapier, and therefore we can kick all of that information into various case management softwares. There’s over 6,000 that it can interact with, but we’ve done Clio, we’ve done Rocket Matter. My case is one that we recently just did. We’re actually working on one right now with my case with a local firm where we’re actually doing their entire intake. And then all of the information that the receptionist takes is going to get put into their system that way that they’re not having to have their receptionist work on that. We can also push information into Zoho or into Salesforce. Some attorneys are using non-traditional case management softwares and they’re still using CRMs and things like that. So the ability is endless there. We’re able to take any information that the receptionist has taken and push it into a database that they have on their end. 


Zack Glaser (12:59): 

And to be clear, the Clio Rocket Matter, my case, HubSpot, Salesforce, soho, those are direct integrations into those, but the Zapier integration can get people, they can move information into Google Sheets or anything that has a touchpoint in Zapier itself. So there are some specific direct law practice management CRMs that are connected, but also that added ability of Zapier as well. 


Nate Stallings (13:27): 



Zack Glaser (13:28): 

So what’s the pricing on this then? How do people get connected to this? 


Nate Stallings (13:32): 

So that’s all included in our pricing. We don’t charge anything extra to get you set up with integrations. We don’t charge anything extra for those Zaps. We look at it as an added value. You’re signing up for the service, we’re taking your calls. What can we do to help further your practice and take less of that extra time that someone has to spend to either enter that information or for someone that would’ve been taking that call. So it’s an added value for us. We bear the cost of the Zapier side of things, so there’s no requirement for a Zapier account. Ultimately, we just need to have a brief conversation on how we want that information to get into your system, and then we work with you to make sure that it’s populating correctly, tested it, and make sure that it’s looking exactly how you’re expecting it to look. 


Zack Glaser (14:15): 

Okay. Well, so what is broadly, I guess, the pricing of P’S services? 


Nate Stallings (14:20): 

Sure. So there’s a couple different options, but our probably most popular are our Vogue or elegant plan. So that’s either our 50 minute plan or our a hundred minute plan, and that’s probably our most popular. But there are clients that are obviously larger and need a larger plan. So we do have pricing for that. But for someone that wants to start on the Vogue plan, which is 50 minutes is $119, and that is going to get you 50 minutes of receptionist time, and then if you were to go over that 50 minutes, you’re just going to pay $2 and 10 cents for every minute over. So you don’t have to be worried about, do I need to switch to the next plan? You don’t have to be worried about, Hey, we’re going to stop answering your calls. Your calls will still be answered, and you’re just going to pay a little bit more for anything that goes over that. You’re not locked into a specific contract where you have to be on this plan forever. So if your volume changes or as you’re ramping up and you’re bringing on more cases and you need us to do more for you, you can always switch to that. We typically operate on a 30 day cycle, and you just switch at the end of that cycle into whatever plan you need, whether it’s up or down. 


Zack Glaser (15:19): 

I like that. I like that about virtual receptionists, is that if you’re not hiring one person or two people at your office, you can ramp up and scale down and back up as you see fit as your clientele increases or decreases, frankly. 


Nate Stallings (15:33): 

Yeah, and Zack, there’s a huge cost benefit there. You don’t have to pay us when we’re going on vacation. You don’t have to pay us if we’re sick. You don’t have to worry about, Hey, did we go to the bathroom? Do we have an appointment? Anything like that, we’re always on. So there’s no worry about am I going to miss a call? Because we know at the end of the day these are leads. That’s money, right? So if you’re missing that, you’re missing money, 


Zack Glaser (15:54): 

Right? Absolutely. Well, so talking about that, how do people connect with Posh? How do people learn more? 


Nate Stallings (16:01): 

Sure. So they could start by visiting our website, www posh.com. They can learn more about our app, they can learn more about who we are, and they can fill out a web form to ask for a free trial or just to get in contact with us. Or if they prefer, they can dial 8, 3 3, get posh. That’s 8 3 3 4 3 8 7 6 7 4. 


Zack Glaser (16:22): 

Awesome. Well, and we will have the posh.com and all these links in the show notes as well. Nate, Serena, thank you guys for being with me. I really appreciate your time. 


Nate Stallings (16:31): 

Absolutely. Thanks for having us, Zack. 


Serena Perez (16:33): 

And Zack, before you go, mentioning our free trial, if you mention that you came from Lawyerist, we will give you a two week 14 day free trial with Posh. 


Zack Glaser (16:44): 

Awesome. Well thank you. I appreciate your time. Serena, 


Serena Perez (16:47): 

Thank you for having us. Zack. 


Patricia Mancabelli (16:52): 

Hi, I’m Patti Mancabelli I own my own law firm. It’s been 11 years since day one, and I practice outside of Buffalo, New York in my home. I’m remote, completely virtual. I help women, business owners do good things, make transformations, give them a voice, help them flex their legal muscles, love doing what I’m doing, and super happy that you guys want to talk about it. 


Sara Muender (17:20): 

Well, I’m super happy that you wanted to come on and talk about it, and I absolutely love what you’re doing, and I know that the audience is going to take away a lot from your story today of how you’ve taken your business and it’s really shifted into a really defined business model. Let’s get right into it. So you just said what you’re doing. It sounds like there’s been some rebranding in the works, some kind of honing in on your service offering and things like that. So tell us about that journey, what it was and how you got here. 


Patricia Mancabelli (17:55): 

Sure. I started my firm 11 years ago, left a pretty big size practice to go out on my own and wanted at the time to service women owned businesses in particular. And feedback I got from people I trusted, gee whiz, don’t do that. You’ll alienate half of the potential client base, not a smart move for someone going out on their own, not taking any clients with them. And I listened and after number of years I really wanted to do this. I used as a stepping back point to think about where I was and where I was going. And finally, really it was getting into Lawyerist lab and working in particular with Stephanie as my coach. She helps me get things done. She asks the questions, she listens to me when I talk to her, and it’s not as though she’s telling me what to do, she’s listening to me and helping me see where the next steps are. 


Sara Muender (18:58): 

So let’s go into a little bit deeper. When you took a step back during Covid to really put some thought into where your business was heading, I’m sure that there were some feelings coming up, some thoughts, some fears, some doubts. What were those thoughts, fears, and doubts, if you don’t mind me asking and kind, what made you ultimately decide to go in the direction you wanted to? 


Patricia Mancabelli (19:23): 

Sure. I had at the time a pretty big office space, and I can remember distinctly my right hand and my coworker, she and I were sitting in this beautiful space. No clients wanted to see us, hire us, pay us because they didn’t have any money and they were nervous and we were nervous too, but we thought we have this time, what are we going to do with it? So we thought about what makes us the happiest and what makes us the happiest is working with people with whom we share value systems. And to be honest, it wasn’t litigating on behalf of men who thought they knew more than me. So it was okay if that’s not what makes us happy, what does make us happy? It’s helping women-owned businesses move forward, move from where they are to where they want to be and not through litigation. 



So that’s another piece of our change. We have a couple, a big piece of litigation, a few small we’re not taking on anymore because we want to keep people out of litigation, not taking in. So that was a big part of it, really honing in on what makes us happy and the fears owning your own business in Covid was not a fun thing and the benefit of it was the time to think. So we use that to our advantage. I had been a Lawyerist lab watcher for many years listening to the podcast and then moved into that arena and it’s been super, super helpful. 


Sara Muender (21:00): 

Well, we love our stalkers. You guys just need to get in touch and connect with us. I’m so glad that you did. Yeah. So Anne Ella has been on the podcast, your right hand, you mentioned, and so y’all got to go back and listen to that episode with Anne because it was just amazing. She’s full of spirit and energy and I love the dynamic that you two have in what you do, but I’m curious about that point of asking that question, what makes us happy? That’s a question that honestly, not a lot of people who own a business ask themselves too often. It’s almost like they’re too afraid because the answer is a little too scary. It’s a little too far from where they’re actually at, but have you always been that way? Have you always prioritized your happiness over other things? 


Patricia Mancabelli (21:46): 

No way. I’m a mom of four boys tend to get ourselves a little lower on the priority list, but we had time and you don’t often have that. And so I recognize that that clarity that you get with stepping away, that has to happen regularly. Yeah, it was a turning point for me. It took me a bit to actually get in shape and do it, but let’s see, what month are we in? Yeah, a month ago today we rebranded as her corporate counsel. I always wanted to do it. I had contemplated women’s corporate council, but Ann, who’s got this creative sense about her said, you know what? Let’s do something a little, let’s step away from exactly telling people what we are and making them think just a little bit. And her corporate council was born in the conference room when you and Stephanie and Anne and I spent a couple of days together last summer. 


Sara Muender (22:45): 

Yeah, I remember that retreat, if you will. So clearly, and I remember when we were talking about the branding aspect of it and throwing out some names, and I don’t know who was it that came up with her corporate council, but I loved it. Then for those that are listening, you can’t see my face when she said what they decided on, but I am just so thrilled to hear that you settled on that. I think it’s beautiful, it’s powerful, and I love that you are working with people in a way that is so meaningful to you because that’s going to have a ripple effect on everything else about how the business goes. So what else came from that rebranding project and in terms of how you do work and what you offer and everything else. 


Patricia Mancabelli (23:32): 

So anyone can rebrand and that’s got meaning and there’s passion, but it was also the way that we introduced our new business model about 18 months, months ago. We started offering clients a flat rate to talk to us. Other things we would scope, and that’s great, and that works for a lot of people. We’d scope out and we’d provide fees for particular projects, and that really helped clients get comfortable with us. They didn’t have the ticking clock so we could really get into their issues. But I don’t like scoping projects. I don’t like measuring, trying to figure out how much effort I’m going to put into it. I read a book, Stephanie recommended it Time’s Up by Paul Dunn and Ron Baker, and I know we’ve had Ron Weave as if I’m the host. We’ve had Ron on the show a few times, 


Sara Muender (24:30): 

Just come join our team already. 


Patricia Mancabelli (24:32): 

Exactly, exactly. I really liked what he had to say. His book is all marked up, and he helped me think about what do I really want in those compliance with whom I really want to do business, and it’s the women business owner and I want to transform them. I want to figure out, a lot of clients are happy. They don’t need a transformation, and that’s cool what the ones who are in growth mode or for some reason their business is in a place where their voice isn’t being heard. We take them through a journey and the journey for them is A to B for us is bringing a client on at a true flat monthly rate for everything they need from us that we do. Now, I’m not an environmental attorney, I’m not a tax attorney. I’m a contract attorney. I know contracts really well, and contracts are really what businesses need to thrive and at the same time protect themselves. Every business relationship, perhaps in the old days, it was a handshake, but every business relationship is a contract, and so we understand what they need. We find contracts that meet the needs that they have and help them thrive through favorable contracts. 


Sara Muender (25:54): 

Love it. One of the best things to think about in creating a business model these days is that recurring revenue source. It’s predictable. It’s predictable for both sides, the business and the clients. Everybody likes to say, let me call my attorney without worrying what those few minutes on the phone or emails are going to cost them. So there’s a lot of benefits. Tell me about that. From your perspective. Why is it that you chose that route other than the benefits for the clients? 


Patricia Mancabelli (26:27): 

Yeah, the magic happens in the tangential conversation. We get on the phone to discuss a negotiation about other things that are going on that they probably wouldn’t bring up. They weren’t on an agenda. They’re just things that are going through their mind as we’re sitting there talking. And so they bring up a potential issue and we talk about how to solve it right now, not six months from now when it’s close to crisis, but right now the first time they’re really giving it some thought and you just don’t get that when the clock is ticking on how long you’re on the phone together. So I love it. It allows me to use the coaching persona that I have and really work with a client on their whole business, not just the tiny piece of it that we’re talking about, but the whole thing. I really love it. I have a particular client and she talks to me about how she can’t believe how much of myself I put into the relationship. That’s exactly how I want it to be, and this music to my ears that clients are seeing the benefit, the value of having me in their boardroom virtually by phone in their minds when they’re making decisions so that we work on it together. I’m not an afterthought. Can we get legal to agree to this? No. I’m helping them understand the pros and cons of the next step before they actually make it. 


Sara Muender (28:10): 

Yeah, that’s beautiful. And the fact that you are building these deep relationships with your female clients, there’s something so human about that, and there’s something so primal about women coming together supporting each other, and you’re acting as their lawyer, you’re acting as their counselor. I’m sure that you bring so much peace to their lives and what they’re trying to do in their businesses. First of all, is your subscription model the only service offering that your business now offers, or do you kind of have a blend going on? 


Patricia Mancabelli (28:45): 

We have a blend as we are bringing more clients into the fold of the subscription model. We still have project based work that we’re doing. We’re trying to bring everyone in there, but sometimes there’s a little pushback and there’s a certain size client who can handle the dollars that we attach to the subscription. That is our target goal and we’re working as we go. It’s trial and error. We pitched a particular client at a price point, they pushed back, we pulled some things out of the offering, and it’s working out on Friday. We’re doing a leadership summit, we’re presenting and we’re vendoring there, and we’re coming up with a package for startups. Startups aren’t necessarily the kind of clients who can pay a flat rate every month for a year per se, but we’re working towards how do we get them what they need and get their foot in the door to what this relationship looks like so that they can endeavor to work with us on everything you need basis in the future, but give them something now so that they see what we offer. So we’re working on trying to make it work for the smaller client as well as the very large. 


Sara Muender (30:12): 

Yeah, and see when you think about it that way, that point that you made at the beginning when you heard that criticism of don’t alienate half of your potential client base by only working with women, that’s still a huge client base. That’s still huge pool, and it’s sort of similar in every business I can think of in lab, what the models that we offer to certain size law firms, we specialize in small to medium size firm or solo, I would say solo to smaller firms, and that still ranges from all kinds of revenue points. We’ve got firms that are in lab that are doing less than a hundred thousand in revenue. We’ve got firms that are like 500,000 in revenue. We’ve got firms that are up in a million beyond, and so the investment level might make sense at those different milestones in revenue, but we did the same thing. We thought through how can we serve those firms that are just starting out or they’re just focused on getting their revenue up and getting more work. And so we’ve created different offers for those different revenue levels that make sense because at the end of the day, I assume that your clients who are just getting started in their businesses have different needs than clients. It’s like they say new levels and new devils. There’s probably some different needs than they have your clients that have been around a while. 


Patricia Mancabelli (31:43): 

For sure. For sure. The brand new business owners are nervous about everything. They’ve never done most of what they’re about to do, and they need some handholding, whereas the bigger clients, they understand the basics and they need help with more intricate transactions and guiding them through difficult relationships. So it is a very different skillset. I definitely have, I love helping the brand new companies because I was that myself 11 years ago, and just figuring out how to make it work at each place. And again, just like lab and you guys always say, we constantly change things as we learn. And so a big part of my perfectionist self was, oh gee, I can’t launch this until I have it all thought through nonsense. I’ve launched it and we’re working through it as we go. 


Sara Muender (32:37): 

Hell yeah, you are. You’re doing the thing and you’ve got to start before you can. Perfect. A lot of people struggle with that perfectionism, that stalling. I’ve got to have all the pieces in place. I got to have it all figured out before I do it. And I love the model that you’re setting for other business owners, other law firm owners that you just, let’s throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. And that’s why we call this lab. We encourage y’all to experiment, and yes, we make educated decisions and yes, we do our research and we think through every decision that we make, but ultimately at the end of the day, we don’t know if it’s going to work till we try it. 


Patricia Mancabelli (33:18): 

Sure. And then you respond to the market. I think talk to us as much as you want for a set. Price is a good entry. If there’s a client who’s just not ready to pull that trigger, we’ll give them a number of months at that type of relationship and then they can swim or hop off the trail. So yeah, it’s exciting. It’s fun. We had a great launch party and is amazing. Just everything you could have wanted. I didn’t know much about it. I walked in the door and there was just exactly as everything I would’ve hoped for she came through. 


Sara Muender (33:56): 

One thing I know for sure is there’s a lot of unknowns in businesses and the decisions we make in businesses. One thing I know for sure is you and Anne are going to kill it. You’re going to continue to kill it because you have what a lot of people don’t have, and that’s the courage to put yourself in a vulnerable place and try something new and then you go from there. I mean, that really at the end of the day, that willingness to fail as many times as it takes to get it right, what’s the willingness to stick with it through the hard days? No one to cut your losses. That’s it. That’s the key to success right there. There’s no magic formula. Other than that. 


Patricia Mancabelli (34:33): 

I have a sticky note on my monitor, and I have two things that I said once to Stephanie and she repeated them back at the end of the conversation, and I like them. I’m the safety net. I have everything I need to succeed. It’s all just have to actually do it. Whatcha willing to do that. Others, how you succeed. 


Sara Muender (34:56): 

The other aspect of what you’ve been doing that I really respect and appreciate and admire is your willingness to invest in yourself and in your business. You had Stephanie and I come out to Buffalo to have a two day retreat with you and Anne, and it seems like that was valuable. I mean, I’d say I hope so. 


Patricia Mancabelli (35:15): 

Absolutely. I knew in my heart that if I took the time, I stepped away. Just like with Covid, take time, step away from what’s going on on a daily basis to really think. And I think the world of Stephanie and having you along with her was so awesome because and connected so well, so you could kind of go off and do some of the creative stuff while Stephanie and I focused on the dollars of what the subscription plan could look like, it was really special. 


Sara Muender (35:48): 

That was a good combination and a good dynamic. I’m curious, so that was a, I don’t know, something like a two day retreat and that was what, about a year ago or so over the past year? What else has come from that or how did that ultimately shift things for you? Other than the rebrand and everything? 


Patricia Mancabelli (36:09): 

Yeah, so the spreadsheet, I think it was Stephanie created, but she introduced it to everybody through a particular lab session. It might’ve been a quarterly retreat, and Ann and I used that document to help us see where we are and where we’re going. So that in and of itself, that was really, really valuable and she and I worked through that and put numbers in and ran some models through it. So that was awesome. I think the things that stick out for me are the new business model, the rebranding and the spreadsheet, and not just the rebranding, but the steps, how to get from here to where I want to be. We had to delay it a little bit because of some stuff going on in my world, but stayed true to our desire and used a party, an actual date of a party where we were inviting people to make us accountable to keep that date going. Yeah, so I think those are the three pieces that I see as coming out of our time together. It’s just more confidence, closer relationship with Stephanie as my coach, which I really, when I get off the call with her, I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do every session that we have. So it helped that bond grow even more and yeah, couldn’t be happier. 


Sara Muender (37:35): 

I’ll say something that I heard someone say one time, and it’s probably highly inappropriate for the podcast, but I’m going to say it anyways. They said that coming to meetings like that are like a brain enema. You come in with all this shit in your head just swimming around and when you leave, it’s clean and clear and you know exactly what your next step is. And I mean, it sounds like that came out of the retreat in a very lasting way for you, but you’ve also continued to invest, you’ve continued to work with your coach and I mean, can you speak to that for a second, just how valuable that is and the importance of an ongoing check-in like that? 


Patricia Mancabelli (38:21): 

Right, right. Well, I’ll take it back to the beginning if you don’t mind. The first time I had interaction with Lab at that time was doing the intro calls and she asked, I gave a response that was all over the place, the enema, so to speak, response, and she cut through the crap. I couldn’t believe I was in awe. And from that moment through the coaching calls that we have, even stronger because of the retreat, I can bring something to the conversation or sometimes I even get a little dread maybe before a coaching call because maybe I haven’t done all the things that I needed to do, or there’s something that I need her guidance with that even working through can give me a hard time, but with grace and ease, she hears what I have to say and provides guidance. So I dunno. It’s remarkable. I mentioned there’s a group of solos locally that get together and they ask people, go around and share advice. I said, well, if you’re not listening to the Lawyer podcast, you really got to get your act together. I mentioned that Stephanie was my coach, and Jaws dropped. She’s famous in the podcast world and they Stephanie’s your coach. Oh my gosh, how did you get that? So I do feel very special that I’m one of the few that still coaches and she ain’t sharing, so don’t ask. 



But yeah, it’s truly a remarkable relationship that continues to encourage me and help me see what’s next and how to get there. 


Sara Muender (40:14): 

Well, the benefits of taking this journey when you did is that, yeah, you now are at a point where you have the special benefit of being able to work with Stephanie. I mean, all of our coaches are great. We’ve just grown our coaching team and we’ve brought on some incredibly skilled coaches and experts in different things. But you were courageous in taking that bold leap of investing in something, not knowing what it was going to be like or whether it would pay off, even though you were a fan of Lawyerist for a long time and now today you are seeing benefits from that early investment. So I just applaud you, I applaud you and Anne for all the work you do on your business, for your clients, for the world, for women, business owners, and for lab. Honestly. Thank you, Patti, for you and Anne showing up and just giving so much value back to your fellow small firm owners. I got to hand it to you. You’re a favorite around here. 


Patricia Mancabelli (41:10): 

Oh, thank you. That’s nice to hear. Nice to hear. I forgot also, Stephanie told me, get yourself a virtual assistant. And that has been really a big change. I believe we were talking about it last summer because I finally did it in October when we were all together. So that’s another benefit of our time together that I didn’t mention, but a huge one at that. 


Sara Muender (41:34): 

I’ll second that. I think that it’s my personal opinion that every firm owner, regardless of size, whether they are just starting out and it’s day one, or they have grown needs to have a VA for so many reasons, if not to just help you see where there is some inefficiencies in email management and things like that. Surprisingly, lawyers are smart people, but there are surprisingly a lot of ways in which skilled VAs can be just like change the game, change the game, and allow you to do more of what you do best. 


Patricia Mancabelli (42:12): 

For sure, for sure. And for me, the point when I know I need a change is when I swear it means sometimes I swear because it’s funny and it’s time appropriate, but when I get really frustrated that I’m doing something asinine, that’s when I know there needs to be a change. And that was happening enough, and Stephanie heard me and she said, okay, enough. Oh, read this other book. Buy Back Your Time by Dan. You’ve had him on the show too. By Dan Martel. 


Sara Muender (42:41): 

You mean we’ve had him on the show, Patti. 


Patricia Mancabelli (42:44): 

Yeah. Yeah. You guys have had my show, not us. 


Sara Muender (42:48): 

You too. 


Patricia Mancabelli (42:49): 

Right? Right. Getting that book was, yeah, it’s true. You’re absolutely right. That’s what I need to do. So another big change with Lawyerist guidance. 


Sara Muender (42:58): 

Yeah, awesome. And I’ll challenge that a tiny little bit in the most loving way for people listening. You don’t have to wait until things are bad 



To take those proactive preventative steps. That’s what I wish. Ideally, I wish that everyone would get coaching before they even launch their firm to make sure that we put a solid foundation and strategy in place. Because all too often I see people come into lab that are years down the road and they’ve just completely lost sight of their original vision, and they’ve let things get out of hand way too long. And if that’s the case, it’s never too late to change things. But I’m just so excited for what the changes that you’ve made over the past year are going to do for the future of your business. What are you most excited about 


Patricia Mancabelli (43:46): 

Mental health? It’s just when you’re spread too thin and you’re stressed out, that is just not a place to be. So I’m taking back my time and it feels really good to have more time to myself, and that’s a product of these big steps. 


Sara Muender (44:08): 

Yeah, I’d argue that that’s one of the most important things. Me personally, my deep, deep purpose in fulfillment in being a coach in lab is valuing these firm owners as they are humans. And your business is there to serve your life just as it is to serve your clients. And if it’s not, ooh, we got to change things. And you have been just an excellent demonstration that you can have it all. You can build a healthy, profitable business that makes the world a better place, changes your client’s worlds and serves your life and allows you to do more of what you love. 


Patricia Mancabelli (44:49): 

Amen, sister. 


Sara Muender (44:50): 

Well, thanks for coming on again. We can’t wait to have you in future episodes of our Lawyerist podcast. This really is our podcast. It’s our guests that make up the show. You’re a part of our family and you always will be, and we’ll be there to support you along the way. 


Patricia Mancabelli (45:06): 

Awesome. Looking forward to it.  



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 Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, are right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/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. 

Your Hosts

Sara Muender

As a Lab Coach, Sara works with lawyers to build healthier law firms through workshops and 1:1 coaching. She makes sure lawyers have the guidance and tools to implement their ideas and grow their businesses.

Featured Guests

From Retreat to Rebrand: How a Retreat Led to a Transformation, with Patricia Mancabelli

Share Episode

Last updated June 20th, 2024