Episode Notes

Believe it or not, securing a $100 million dollar verdict is not an overnight project. Today Stephanie talks with Lawyerist Lab coach Ryan McKeen about how he built his personal injury firm to support and win a $100M case. He pulls back the curtain and details the work it took and offers advice to other attorneys wanting to do the same.  

Links from the episode:  

Verdict News Article 

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  • 22:43. Building a firm to support a $100M verdict.
  • 25:00. Advice for other attorneys.
  • 29:54. Invest and believe in yourself.



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 


Today’s podcast is brought to you by  Posh Virtual Receptionists, Clio, & Documate  


Zack Glaser: 

The Lawyerist Podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists. 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. They’re a team of professional, US-Based, live virtual receptionists available 24/7/365. They answer and transfer your calls, so you never miss an opportunity and you can devote more time to building your law firm. And with the Posh app you’re in total control of when your receptionist steps in. You can save as much as 40% off your current service provider’s 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.  


And by Clio. What do solo and small firm lawyers with great client relationships all have in common? They use cloud-based legal practice management software to run their law firms. This is just one finding from Clio’s latest Legal Trends Report. There’s no getting around it… the fact is… when it comes to client expectations—standards are higher than ever for lawyers. Proof is in the numbers: 88% of lawyers using cloud-based software report good relationships with clients. For firms not in the cloud, barely half can say the same. That gap is significant.For more information on how cloud software creates better client relationships, download Clio’s Legal Trends Report for free at clio.com/trends. That’s Clio spelled C-L-I-O dot com / trends. 


And by Documate. 90% of legal services will be delivered online by lawyers in the next 10 years. Documate is a software platform for lawyers to build client-facing legal apps. With Documate, do client intake, feed that data into robust document automation flows, and collect payments. Companies like Landlord Legal, JusTech and Hello Divorce are built on Documate. Sign up for a free trial now at documate/lawyerist and get $100 off your subscription. You can also book a time at documate/lawyerist to get a free consultation on incorporating automation into your practice.  


Speaker 1 (00:03): 

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. 


Jennifer Whigham (00:36): 

And I’m Jennifer Whigham, and this is episode 428 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, our Stephanie Everett interviews lab coach Ryan McKeean about his record setting verdict in 2022. 


Zack Glaser (00:49): 

Today’s podcast is brought to you by posh virtual receptionist document, and Clio, we wouldn’t be able to do this show with other support, so stay tuned and we’ll tell you more about them later on. 


Jennifer Whigham (00:59): 

Zach, does everybody on this podcast know that you’re a lawyer? 


Zack Glaser (01:03): 

Probably not. Probably not, 


Jennifer Whigham (01:05): 

No. Well, there’s a surprise for everybody in 2023. Zach is a lawyer, even though he works for Lawyerist and isn’t necessarily practicing all the time, but you are practicing sometimes in your dad’s firm, correct? 


Zack Glaser (01:15): 

Well, we had an episode about that recently, right? We’re transitioning and shutting that down at this point and kind of getting all the files to other attorneys. So mainly how I practice now is by transitioning a firm to another, multiple other attorneys. But yeah, I’m still licensed. I still take CLEs. I still give CLEs and can technically give legal advice in Tennessee, which to be clear, none of this is 


Jennifer Whigham (01:43): 

Not legal advice. That’s true. The reason I ask you that is because in this podcast, Stephanie talks with Ryan, he got a 100 million verdict with his PI firm, a case within his PI firm, and that blows my mind. And you as a lawyer, what does it take for a firm to reach a verdict like that? That seems wild. 


Zack Glaser (02:07): 



Jennifer Whigham (02:08): 

Time, yes. In what way? 


Zack Glaser (02:10): 

It’s an investment, and I’m sure that Ryan and Stephanie are going to get into this, but I think for our purposes here, this is not something that just happens overnight, and I think people know that, but you look at PI firms and you look at these big judgements. He could have settled it at previous places or his client could have settled the previous places, but you think, wow, I’d love to do that. I think that’s the first thing people think <laugh> kind of like. Yeah, but a lot of people think that that just kind of comes around very easily, or you just start a PI firm and that’s what happens. But Ryan has been building this. Ryan and his team, to be clear, have been building this firm around being able to do this for a long time. So you don’t just wake up and say, oh, the perfect case fell into my lap. 



You have to go find the right case. You have to make this case doable in your firm. You have to be able to run your firm while you’re literally spending money, you’re bleeding money on this case in the PI instance, and I think this is just a really good example for our purposes of somebody sitting down and saying, what do I want to do with my firm and how do I make that happen? I think, again, for Lawyerist purposes, it’s not, Hey, look at this 100 million verdict. Go do that everybody, right? Hey, not everybody can do that. B, not everybody wants to do that. I think that’s the bigger thing, but what is your goal? Ryan’s goal was to do something like this, and so he built his firm in a way that allowed him to do this, and it is paid off with, again, I just want to say this. The biggest, as far as I know, the biggest verdict in Connecticut, the state of Connecticut’s history, this is phenomenal, but he had the case for it. He had the facts for it, he had the client for it, and he built the firm for it. 


Jennifer Whigham (04:04): 

And then so we don’t make this intro along, but I really want to hear your take on this. When you say build the firm for it, what do you mean? 


Zack Glaser (04:12): 

So you have to be able to keep the lights on, obviously while you’re doing this, A PI case, for those that don’t know, and I’m sure that many people listening to this do it requires a monetary investment. You take that case, you have to put on expert witnesses. At the very least, you have to pay your overhead, you have to keep your lights on while you’re taking this case to trial. A lot of times the businesses or the people on the other side of a PI case, they recognize that and they’re trying to make this as expensive as possible at times, and that’s just part of this give and take, but you need to be able to pay your people your assistance. You have to be able to pay yourself, because again, we want to make sure that we’re not just running firms into the ground. 



So you have to be able to pay yourself, so you have to go out and get cases that can deal with that too. You have to manage your cases, probably in this case, small personal injury cases that are paying out on a consistent basis, or you can make sure that you’re doing something else. You can do large scale PI or something like that and have estate planning business on the side that has recurring income, but you have to have some sort of income stream coming in in order to be able to manage. There’s no other real way of saying it. This is an investment. This is a firm investment because you are putting money into it. So translate that into, let’s use the estate planning thing again. If you want to do high volume estate planning, let’s say you’re not worried about the amount in each estate, but you want to do high volume estate planning, you need to set up your company in a way that you can do high volume estate planning, where you have a lot of automation where you can bring your costs down and have tight margins. 



In collections, what I did, we wanted to be able to have really, really tight margins because that’s what allowed us to compete against the other firms that did this. You can’t go into estate planning or collections or bankruptcy or anything like that and say, well, I’m just going to do this and dabble in it. I mean, I guess you can but you’re not going to be as successful if you don’t build the firm for the way that you want to practice the style of practice, the area of practice. If you do criminal law, you’re going to build your firm in a completely different way than I would build my firm. So it is important to have a goal for what you want to do with this business. 


Jennifer Whigham (06:46): 

So it’s not like the movies where there’s a scrappy attorney in a attic in a small town working on this case by themselves with maybe one overworked paralegal, and it’s just the two of them through luck and sheer grit getting this done. 


Zack Glaser (07:01): 

I mean, it could be, I 


Jennifer Whigham (07:03): 

Guess because Hollywood lied to me 


Zack Glaser (07:04): 

If that’s what you want it to be. If you want, there you go to be Matt Damon and Danny DeVito. 


Jennifer Whigham (07:09): 

There you go. Yes, 


Zack Glaser (07:10): 

That’s a Memphis connection right there that was filmed down here in Memphis. But if you want to be Matt Damon and Danny DeVito just kind of grinding out, but look at the financial issues that they had. 


Jennifer Whigham (07:20): 

Yeah, what movie are you talking about? So people 


Zack Glaser (07:23): 

Know, so this is Rainmaker, 


Jennifer Whigham (07:25): 



Zack Glaser (07:26): 

But you look at the financial issues that they had in Rainmaker, and I mean, I think it’s an okay example because yeah, if that’s what you want to do, then build your company to do that. But really it’s probably smarter. It’s definitely healthier to see this goal and recognize what your income streams are going to be and go and build those instead of just driving directly after this specific case. And I think that’s the case when you talk about if you want to make a difference, if you want to do a lot of pro bono cases, again, you still have to be able to keep the lights on. You can do things other than literally taking cases. We had an episode with Satit Nori, the executive director of Just Fix recently, and he’s doing a lot of really good work. He and his team and all the people at Just Fix are doing a lot of really good work in the New York housing area, but they’ve built the company. It’s not a firm, it’s they’re not actually practicing on, but they built the company knowing how to do that and knowing how to fund that, 


Jennifer Whigham (08:34): 

As Matt Damon would say. How do you like them apples? And now we have Stephanie’s conversation with Ryan McKeen. 


Ryan McKeen (08:44): 

I’m Ryan McKeen. I am a CEO and attorney at Connecticut Trial firm. I also help Lawyerist and coach in the Lawyerist community. 


Stephanie Everett (08:52): 

Hey, Ryan, welcome back to the show. Happy new year. 


Ryan McKeen (08:55): 

Happy New Year. Stephanie, 


Stephanie Everett (08:57): 

I think it’s fair to say 2022 was a record year for you and for your firm, and so let’s make it podcast official. Tell us about what happened. 


Ryan McKeen (09:08): 

We had been fighting a case or litigating a case for over five years on behalf of a client who was paralyzed in a horrific workplace accident where a unsecured pallet of lamps, not the pallet itself, but the load of lamps of light bulbs fell on our client 1300 pounds from about 20 feet high, and it rendered him paraplegic. And so we brought claims against the manufacturer of the lights for failing to secure the product against a temporary company whose worker had lifted a pallet on an adjacent aisle. And ultimately the case headed to trial in September, October of 2022, which culminated in a record setting verdict for our state of a hundred million for our client who couldn’t be more deserving of such a thing. 


Stephanie Everett (09:56): 

Yeah, congratulations. It’s a tremendous verdict in the amount. It certainly shows the severity of the injuries, and I know you are so proud as you should be of the work you and your team did to get to that point. I think what’s missed a lot is all the things you have to do to get to that point, right? It’s easy to see the headline, a hundred million verdict and think, holy shit, that’s a lot of money here. I should be doing contingency fee work. I think let’s start there because I think there’s a perception out there among some in the bar that contingency fee work is the get rich quick path that everybody should be taking. So what do you say to those folks? 


Ryan McKeen (10:40): 

You can definitely get rich with contingency fee work, however it is not get rich quick. There is no easy money in this. In fact, this morning I was talking, we have two Lawyers. They come from the defense side of things. We brought a board and one of which has 30 years experience like running Allstate for Connecticut. And she’s like the plaintiff’s side of things. It’s really hard, <laugh>. I never realized how hard it is, even though I know the process and I know the law, and it’s true. It’s like there is very rarely easy money. And certainly when you’re doing litigation at a very high level and you’re doing trial work at a very high level, you’re going up against well-funded, great Lawyers lots of experts. They’re going to put you through everything, and it’s a years long battle. Part of that is actually just staying on the field long enough to fight the fight because they’re going to do everything they can to make it hard for you to do that. 



So it’s hard work. I think the thing that when I talk to a lot of Lawyerist that they don’t get is that every time in a contingency fee practice, I sign up a case I’m taking on debt. So if you’re doing family law, somebody comes in, they hire you, they give you a retainer, they do flat fee, whatever it is that you’re doing, you’re getting money. But when somebody comes in and I sign them up, I’m saying, look, I’m going to work for you for 12, 18 months, 12 months, 18 months, five months, whatever it is I’m going to be doing, and I’m going to be advancing payroll and I’m going to be advancing expenses, I’m going to doing this. And then if I’m right about this, then I get paid. So every time you take on case you’re taking on debt. 


Stephanie Everett (12:17): 

Yeah. That’s interesting. I like that framework for people to think about. So let’s go back to five years ago. Tell me about what the firm looked like at that point. It was you and you had a partner. 


Ryan McKeen (12:30): 

Yeah, my partner Andrew, and actually we sort of bonded and came together about wanting to do rate trial work. That’s what it is that we wanted to do. And we were both solos and we would co-try cases, and we got really into trial theory and how to become a really great trial lawyer and learn from some of the best. And we invested lots of money in traveling to workshops in reading and just trying to become better trial lawyers. And ultimately in 2016, we formed Connecticut trial firm. And at first that was audacious. In fact, I had other Lawyerist say to me, well, who are you trial firm? You guys don’t, not known for huge jury verdicts and to sort of do that. But it wasn’t about where we were. It was about where we wanted to go. And so we were willing to take that criticism and say like, no, no, we’re going to be very clear about who we are and what we do and our reputation will catch up to our name at some point. And so we were intentional about wanting to do this very specific kind of work. 


Stephanie Everett (13:36): 

And so at that point, when you first got this case, your business was still pretty small. Is that fair to say? I mean now you have 28 people on your team, but back then it didn’t look like that. 


Ryan McKeen (13:47): 

Yeah, it was actually me and Andrew who were at that point, we were sharing expenses and that was sort of our arrangement. And again, we would co-counsel cases and split up fees where we would help each other. But it was a sort of loose arrangement at that point in 2017 where we met Nike Cruz, but we were growing and we decided to really make a firm at that point. Allison had joined us that fall as well and was helping specifically me try to resolve cases. She sort of then becomes our chief operating officer because we know that when we get this case in, well, we need paralegal support. And that’s when we started hiring people and it, it’s sort of like the book, if you give a mouse a cookie, if you give an entrepreneur an employee, it just, oh, we need a paralegal. Well, we also need an intake specialist. And then it’s like, we need another paralegal and then we need a lawyer. And so that’s really how we started growing. And in about three months after meeting Mikey Cruz, our first two full-time employees joined us. 


Stephanie Everett (14:49): 

And so when you first took the case, did you have a sense of the size and scope and potential for the case? Did you have any idea what you were up against? 


Ryan McKeen (14:58): 

Yeah, I mean, when you know do injury work, I mean the size of the injuries always are the first thing. And we get cases in all the time, Stephanie, where it’s like, I don’t know what the case is going to be because sometimes people have very big injuries and there’s no insurance or there’s no liability. When you do injury work, I call it trifecta. There’s got to be three things. There’s got to be liability damages and insurance. And oftentimes you’re lucky if you get two of the three. And in this case, we knew we had the damages component, our client was paralyzed. That’s as bad as it gets. We knew that there was going to be a lot of insurance because these were corporate defendants. This is Phillips North America, the light bulb top. This is a temp agency that is quite large or has a national presence. 



So you’re like, okay, I have insurance. But then you’re like, well, what is the liability picture going to be? And that required us to do a lot of investigation that required us to wait for OSHA reports. But initially it’s like when this case came in, we knew that this was catastrophic. We knew that this was different. And obviously when you get a case, your client tells you something and then you have to see how that played out. And what our client told us in the initial meeting was exactly correct. Five and a half years later, it’s exactly what played out at trial. But that that’s not always the case. Sometimes people are mistaken, but he was right on and we used what he was telling us as leads for how we were going to investigate and really build our case. 


Stephanie Everett (16:28): 

And I think what’s interesting, and from me knowing you and working with you, I kind of know some of the things that were happening behind the scenes for the last year and people may not appreciate, but your partner, Andrew, pretty much worked on this one case for the last year was, I mean, they were throwing so much stuff at you guys, motions and experts and depositions. I mean, when we think about a business and you said business taking on debt, I think it’s important to understand too that you guys had to have a business that could support litigating this case at this level, which was pretty intense. Is that fair to say? 


Ryan McKeen (17:06): 

Yes. Because it in any business, and this becomes a problem, it’s like you have to identify what are actually the most important things that the business does, and then you have to give space to those things. And what we knew from being solos was that sometimes we weren’t working our biggest cases because we had motions on other cases and we had smaller cases, we had all sorts of urgent problems, but we were sort of neglecting the important, not neglecting in a bad way, but just in a, there’s only so many hours in the day. So we knew in this case it was different. We knew that the severity of it was different. And so what we did is we were like, okay, we’re going to isolate pre-litigation from litigation. And so that’s where I became in charge of pre-litigation, Andrew managed litigation. We separated intakes so that way the case could be litigated. 



Andrew wasn’t dealing with intakes for five years. Andrew wasn’t dealing with pre-litigation for five years. Andrew wasn’t dealing with marketing. And then when it became clear this year in or 2022 that the case was not going to settle or we didn’t think it was going to settle, it was all hands on deck. We threw all of our lawyers on this case. We threw all the support at this case, but we had done enough things that was possible. I mean, we were definitely pushing the pedal to the floor, but we at least had the capacity to do that. 


Stephanie Everett (18:30): 

Yeah, because I think it’s fascinating that when you got the case, there’s two lawyers. By the time the case goes to trial, you have a team of, I mean over 25, 28 people on the team at that point. So the firm really grew, but that growth also is what supported this case and allowed you to get to where you got. 


Ryan McKeen (18:50): 

Yeah, because I mean, we ended up investing, I think close to $350,000 in expenses on this case. That’s not our time. That is like we’re cutting $50,000 checks to experts and animation companies and all of the like. And so neither and I are independently wealthy or come from money in any which way, <laugh> like, we need to pay our mortgage and we need to pay our people. So we needed to be able to handle other cases in a way that gave us cash flow to dedicate the time and resources to advance this case. So it became a massive opportunity to make our business better. It made us better because it was so hard. 


Stephanie Everett (19:33): 

Yeah. Well, let’s take a quick break and hear from our sponsors and when we come back, let’s dig in a little bit more. 


Speaker 1 (19:44): 

The Lawyer’s 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 provider’s 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 by Clio, what does solo and small firm Lawyerist with great client relationships have in common? They use cloud-based legal practice management software to run their law firms. This is just one finding from Clio’s latest legal trends report. There’s no getting around it. The fact is, when it comes to client expectations, standards are higher than ever before. For Lawyerist, proof is in the numbers. 88% of Lawyerist using cloud-based software report good relationships with clients. Firms not in the cloud, barely half can say that that gap is significant. For more information on how cloud software creates better client relationships, download Clio’s Legal Trends report for free at Clio.com/trends. That’s Clio spelled C L I o.com/trends. And by document, 90% of legal services will be delivered online by Lawyerist in the next 10 years. Document is a software platform for Lawyerist to build client-facing legal apps with document do client intake, feed that data into robust document automation flows and collect payments. Companies like Landlord Legal, just Tech and Hello Divorce are built on document. Sign up for a free trial now at document.com/ Lawyerist and get $100 off your subscription. You can also book a time@document.com slash Lawyerist to get a free consultation on incorporating automation into your practice. Once again, that’s document.com/ Lawyerist 


Stephanie Everett (22:17): 

Back with Ryan, one of our lab coaches who also has his own personal injury firm and secured a 100 million verdict this year, which is amazing. And what I was excited to talk to you about is just all the work you had to do to build your business to make this thing happen. It wasn’t an overnight thing, it was a five year, I mean war in a lot of respects. Just to get there. 


Ryan McKeen (22:43): 

I think one of the most critical things that we did was, I mean we did traction when it was just two of us, and maybe not perfectly, but we sat down and did the Vision traction worksheet, and if this was March of 2017, it was before we met our client and we’re like, but what is our big hairy audacious goal? What is the thing in 10 years that we wanted to accomplish? And I mean, you have challenged us on this when you’ve facilitated things for us, we’re like, we want to be the best firm. We want to be the best injury firm. And it’s like, well, what is that? Right? How do we quantify that? What does that actually look like? And we’re like, what a 10 million verdict? That sets us into a very elite class. There’s basically only one other firm in Connecticut that’s ever gotten a 10 million verdict, and if we get a 10 million jury verdict, we will be Connecticut trial. 



That was our thing. So we wrote down 10 million jury verdict and it wasn’t a settlement, it wasn’t anything else. It was like we want a jury to come back with $10 million on a verdict form. And that informed a whole host of other choices that we made including the choice because as an injury firm, we always have the option to refer out cases. A lot of firms that’s could have come into and we could have said, you know what? We’re going to pass this. And we said, no, we’re not going to pass this. This is why we’re here and we’re going to get better at what we do. We’re going to learn from the best. We’re going to do the work. We’re going to do the thing because that’s our goal and this is our vehicle to achieve that goal. And I say this, I mean we’re a lawyer. 



If they had offered us 20 million to settle this case, we would’ve taken the 20 million and resolved the case. That was our demand, but they only ever offered 1.5, but it was apparent that we weren’t going to refer it out, and it gave us the not courage, but it was like we told them like, you are going to pay us 20 million or we are going to take a jury verdict. These are your two options. We are not negotiating with you. We’re not going up down 500,000 here or there. This is your choice and we meant it. 


Stephanie Everett (24:48): 

Yeah. And kudos because you got it. What advice would you give the newer attorneys that are out there listening to this and thinking, this is what I want to do? What would you tell those folks? 


Ryan McKeen (25:00): 

What I would tell them is that you first of all have to get really, really good at your craft. This would not be possible without us learning from some of the best Lawyerist in the country and with assist from some of the best lawyers in this country. So pay, go to those workshops, go to those seminars, and also you have to become a great business to do this. So invest in your business skill, invest in your trial skill, invest in your business skill. Because I mean, it was things like mastering the financial component of this. When I started my firm, I started with 2,500. I think when we started Connecticut trial firm, Andrew and I each put in $10,000, so it was like 20,000 into a bank account. It was not a ton of money, but what we did is we realized, well, we need to get financing for our case expenses. 



And so we got a line, we went with a company and they do financing for case expenses for injury lawyers. And we’re like, great. And that gave us the ability to pay the experts that made the difference because these insurance companies and Lawyerist like, you can’t do something like this on the cheap. You have to play all in, and if you don’t have the experts, you’re not going to win. And they know that. I guarantee you, we spent more than Phillips signify into this case and the results show, but you have to be willing to invest and double down and have access to that money than if you don’t want to go through a financing company. You really need to partner with a firm that has the resources to really invest in that money. Because if we didn’t win, I owe $350,000 or half of that really, but we owe that money back. So you’ve got to get your financial house in order to do it. 


Stephanie Everett (26:37): 

Yeah, I think one thing I also have heard you talk to attorneys about that do this kind of work is understanding your case pipeline and being able to manage cash. And I wonder if you would just speak to that because it seems obvious to me. I never did that line of work. And I’m always curious when I hear lawyers that are kind of new to that concept and don’t understand how important that is when you have this kind of firm. 


Ryan McKeen (27:02): 

It’s very important, especially early on, if you don’t have volume, your income is so volatile because it’s like, okay, we have a 30,000 fee and then we have five weeks of nothing, and then we have a 20,000 fee and it, it’s volatile. So if you want your income to stabilize in a contingency fee practice, you need to build volume, right? Because volume sort of levels out those financial up and downs because there’s just more irons in those fires. What you need to do is you need to understand your intake metrics a lot. I know a motor vehicle case that comes in is going to be worth about X, and I know it’s going to settle on average in X amount. I have a dashboard for this information. So it’s like, okay, I sign up a case and I’m like, this is a $10,000 fee. I can expect it to be paid in eight months. 



And here’s what this is. So you can start understanding the predictability of the revenue in the future and also setting goals for your employees. Because basically we should be turning over a certain percentage of cases every single week or every single month, every quarter, and it’s making sure that the team has the technology, the capacity, the bandwidth, the support to achieve those goals and close those cases. Because we didn’t even have our case management software at that point. We decided go, well go all in on personal injury because we knew we needed to be efficient in that way. Because in personal injury and contingency fee practices, cashflow is directly one-to-one impacted by case velocity. The faster you’re able to move cases, the fewer cashflow problems that you have, which makes sense, like $10,000 today is worth more than $10,000, 18 months from now. So you need to be shortening the distance between those things. 


Stephanie Everett (28:46): 

Yeah, all that makes sense to me. What do you wish you knew five years ago that now 


Ryan McKeen (28:53): 

What I wish I knew? The hardest thing is the confidence. You can say like, look, I’m going to do everything and I’m going to do these things and it’s going to work out. If you’re doing something like this, there’s a ton of doubt that’s going to go through your mind. And we love our client. I mean, we love him, and there’s nothing more I wanted in the world for him to be taken care of, and the sort of anxiety that comes from that burden is immense. So I think I wish I knew the result. I think that would’ve made, that would’ve life a lot easier. But I mean, I think, look, if you’re really learning from really smart people who know what they’re doing, it does work so really deeply invest in your skills, 


Stephanie Everett (29:39): 

Which is a great place to wrap up. One of our values around here is grow as people. And so I’m curious, what are you working on right now? What are you doing to grow personally or professionally that you might be willing to share with everyone? 


Ryan McKeen (29:54): 

I struggle with, one of my things is I always have a high health tension index, which means anxiety affects me physically with muscle pain and different things. So I have one of these shocky mats, which is acupressure, which feels like you’re laying on a cactus. And I’ve been doing for the past few weeks, 30 minutes of meditation just on my back, and it brings me so into the present and so into the breath. So I think it’s not necessarily always feasible to take a vacation or take a break or do something, but it’s like I can lay on my floor, on my Shakti mat, put on my meditation app, and I have 30 minutes of physical and mental relief, and I think that that’s been really good. That’s what I’m doing right now. 


Stephanie Everett (30:39): 

I love it. Lou. I mean, one of the great things about Ryan is he is on our team. He’s one of our coaches in the lab program, and as you can tell, he’s just so giving. You always are on the podcast. It’s always fun to talk to you, and I always appreciate just how much you’re willing to share about what you’re struggling with and what you’re learning along the way. So he’s great to follow on LinkedIn. If you’re on LinkedIn, you should definitely check out Ryan, because he’s always posting insightful messages that I appreciate every day, and if you want to work with him, you know can through the lab program, he’s so giving there on a , well deserved victory for your team and your client. It was just delightful to watch and to see that result. 


Ryan McKeen (31:27): 

Thank you, Stephanie. If anybody’s out there listening, if you have a goal like this, believe in yourself, believe in yourself. 


Speaker 1 (31:35): 

The Lawyerist podcast is edited by Britney. 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 dot com slash book, looking for help beyond the book. Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities are right for you. Head to Lawyerist dot com slash community slash 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. 




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

Stephanie Everett

Stephanie Everett is the Chief Growth Officer and Lead Business Coach of Lawyerist. She is the co-author of the bestselling book The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited and co-host of the weekly Lawyerist Podcast.

Featured Guests

Ryan McKeen

Ryan McKeen is a Strategy Coach at Lawyerist. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Connecticut Trial Firm. His leadership has not only led the firm to secure a record-setting $100 million jury verdict for a workplace injury, but has also earned it a spot on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in the nation. Recognized for its exceptional work environment and culture, Connecticut Trial Firm has been honored as one of the Best Workplaces in CT. Ryan’s individual prowess as a lawyer is underscored by his membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum, an accolade reserved for attorneys who have won multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. As an author, Ryan has contributed significantly to the legal literature with books like “Tiger Tactics” and “Tiger Tactics 2: CEO Edition.”  

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Last updated June 18th, 2024