legalpodcast

EP 52 – William Umansky – Growing Your Practice Through Being a Leader in Your Community

William Umansky is the Managing Partner of Umansky Law Firm. William became a lawyer over 28 years ago and started as a prosecutor – he then did some defense work at a personal injury firm and has since started his own firm. He handles personal injury cases including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall and premise liability cases, negligent security and sex abuse. William is also an author to the Amazon Best-Selling book “Power Principles of Success”.

Finding Your Driver for Success

William used to be very intent on not giving anything back. He was always thinking about getting the next case and driving to build his business, in which he did become successful very quickly. However, at the end of the day, he still felt empty inside and wondered what he was doing all of this work for. William did not understand his ‘why’ until he realized that everything he was doing was not only to support his family but also to help his clients empower themselves. When he figured this out, it became more clear what the purpose behind his practice was.

It is a privilege to practice law and you have to earn that privilege, but it is also a privilege to make money by helping others. William realized that there was so much more that he could do for other people when he joined some local committees. The Orange County Bar Association was where he helped other lawyers build their businesses, helped them get education for their practices, and helped them to understand that there is a community of lawyers that can help each other. The Rotary Club is another organization that William became heavily involved with which is where they believe in service over self.

Giving Back to Your Community

To empower other people is not to think about yourself, but to give. William feels that giving is way better than receiving and especially so during this time where there is so much crisis and negativity – you just have to keep giving. He found that it is a lot more fun to give – whether that be by doing charity work, building others up rather than tearing them down, and he even found that it is more fun when dealing with your competitors to simply not hate them. There are three important factors or areas in which you can give – time, money, and leadership.

One of the things that William realized after being on the board of several associations was that a lot goes into running a board and a lot of time goes into doing the activities that are required to serve your members. He found that giving money was not as fulfilling for him, but it is still very important. You can find ways to give money in your community like giving money towards scholarships, raising money for other people, or giving money to charitable causes. Leadership is an area that not many people associate when they think of giving. Leadership can be given in inspiring others to do good work, spreading messages of value, and inspiring people that may be more equipped than you to give to others.

Prioritizing Your Passions … Including Your Business

One of the most important lessons that William learned growing up that he still carries with him to this day is to follow your passion and then the money will follow. If you follow your passion, everything else kind of works itself out around that. The things that you find yourself to be passionate about, you will make time for. People will see that you are passionate about what you are doing and they will see that you love what you do and you are authentic. Others will see that what you are doing is out of love and not any other reason. Eventually, those people will cling to you and join you and they will want to give you business and help you.

It is hard to balance everything and that is why it is so important to be passionate about what you do decide to join and be a part of and then get rid of all of the things that you are not passionate about. It is so easy for us to say yes to a lot of things and then our balance gets thrown off. Priority depends upon passion, so prioritize your passions. Find the things that you like to do and then find a way to involve yourself in activities that connect you with those things and with yourself. There is never an excuse to get into one thing that doesn’t have a connection to something else – there are always things that tie to each other that you can find. No one person can do it all on their own either, you do need a team. Leveraging everything is to find people that love what they are doing and they will shine because of their motivation.

EP 51 – Ken Hardison – Catching Up and Cleaning Up to Prepare for When Everything Lifts After COVID-19

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Ken Hardison is the Founder and President of PILMMA, the Personal injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association. Ken and the PILMMA Team use marketing and management resources dedicated to attorneys – they put out great information and host webinars, conferences, and mastermind groups. Ken is also an author on several books as well as a very sought after speaker, both on marketing and managing law firms.

 

Secrets of Successful People

Ken Hardison always learned with what worked and what didn’t work – with every success of his came about five failures. He has learned after hosting several conferences, webinars, and mastermind groups that about 90-95% of people who attend will never follow through because they are too busy, not fully committed, or not focused or disciplined enough. He has also found that the most successful people are the ones that have grit and perseverance; they never give up. Most successful people are committed, they are focused, and they do not accept defeat and take no for an answer. 

Another big key to being successful is being a continual learner. You can never think that you know it all or that you have it all figured out. Continued learning is very important to your success and you may find yourself in trouble if you think you have figured it out because you never figure it out completely – everything is constantly changing. 

 

Using Zoom and Other Virtual Meeting Spaces

Ken saw an opportunity when COVID-19 hit and wanted to help lawyers by offering a free webinar series anyone could access. He discussed during the webinar how to manage employees remotely, keeping communication using the Rockefeller habits with daily huddles, weekly meetings, and how to use Zoom. He is continuing this webinar and hosting different topics each week – one coming up on the PPP Loan and applying for forgiveness and another one about how to come back into the office when everything with the pandemic has ended. 

Another resource that Ken has found incredibly helpful during this time is hosting Mastermind Groups for different levels of lawyers across the country. Since lawyers have mostly been stuck at home isolated, they are welcoming the opportunity to talk to other lawyers and ask each other what is going well and what is going not so well. Now is the time to catch up and clean up. Some have begun writing books, doing videos, working on different things that they may not have had time to work on previously. 

 

Giving Value in What You Do

You have to give value in everything that you offer. If you are not giving 10 times the value at a conference of what your guests have paid, then you are not doing your job. People want value. Ken attends a conference on how to retain members, and everyone has the same issue with retaining members, whether large or small. There is enough business out there for everyone, so now is the time to start pivoting – catch up and clean up. You need to really start working on everything to get ready for when COVID-19 restrictions lift completely. 

EP 50 – Brian Basinger – Understanding the PPP Loan and What It Can Do For Your Firm

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Brian Basinger is the Founder and Principal of Basinger CPA. Brian is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Tax Coach and helps small business owners navigate accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation. Basinger CPA is a strategic advisory firm that tries to go in-depth and be proactive in helping their clients on tax planning, accounting, and cash flow forecasting.

What is the PPP Loan vs Other Options

The PPP Loan (Paycheck Protection Program) came about earlier this year amid the COVID-19 Pandemic to give relief to businesses, specifically small businesses and is designed to cover at least 2 months worth of payroll, as well as rent, utility, and other expenses you may need assistance in covering. The PPP Loan is still in the 2nd round, although most people who have applied for it have received it at this point.

There are 3 other options you may want to consider instead of, or in addition to, a PPP Loan. The first of these options is a Payroll Tax Deferral. This allows employers to take the tax from 2020 and defer the employer portion of taxes, which is about 6.2%. In this situation, businesses would be required to pay half in 2021 and the remaining half in 2022 with a 0% interest rate. The next option was an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and provides financial assistance to small businesses that may have suffered economic injury as a result of a disaster. These applications have now closed, but applications that were previously submitted are now being processed and approvals will span over the next few weeks. Although this option is not free money, it is money on really good terms. The final option is for a payroll tax credit which applies to people, or family members, that may have been affected by COVID-19 and needed to miss time from their jobs.

Recent Changes and Updates Made to the PPP Loan

When the PPP Loan first came about in early 2020, it was intended to be used over 8 weeks to cover those 2 months of expenses. Most people who have already applied for the loan have received it at this point, but if you have not, then you may not be going through the right bank. The loan has since been extended from the previous 8 weeks and can now be used over 24 weeks. Now that it is 24 weeks, there is more than enough cost to cover the loans – the loan is calculated based on a 2 and a half multiplier of the previous year’s payroll.

Brian also presented two different scenarios in the case of having to lay-off an employee or employees. Previously, employers had until June 30th to hire everyone back or to make an equivalent job offer to somebody else. This date has since been changed to December 31st that you can hire back employees who may have been furloughed or laid-off. Businesses also have until December 31st to restore wage rates that may have been reduced due to COVID-19. If you are needing to lay an employee off and concerned about the forgiveness of the loan, an option is to apply for the 8 weeks of forgiveness (which is still available) and wrap of the forgiveness of that loan and then you can proceed with the lay-off. If you are letting an employee go with cause, you can do that if they have been deemed an appropriate exclusion to the head-count rule.

An additional factor to consider in the PPP Loan is that this loan is intended for employees who receive a W2, it is not for contractors or 1099 employees. Contractors are eligible to apply to receive their own PPP Loan, so they are not allowing businesses to stack them. It is one of those scenarios now where people who are hiring traditional employees (W2) and paying payroll taxes are being rewarded by being able to take advantage of the PPP Loan.

Guidelines to Forgiveness of PPP Loan

Although definitive guidelines for the PPP Loan have not been released, the ESBA, or Employer-Sponsored Brokerage Account, has continuously released a series of FAQ documents and this is currently the most authoritative interpretation of the bill and the legalities. There are still many unanswered questions, but it is expected that they will release an additional FAQ document to answer some of those. Banks have also received an additional forgiveness application so if businesses are looking to apply for loan forgiveness already, they will apply through the bank that issued their PPP Loan and the bank should have a modified forgiveness template based on the SBA or Small Business Administration. The template requires businesses to put together the application with all supporting documentation.

The main cause of lack of forgiveness has been not enough payroll, and some businesses do not have enough payroll to justify forgiveness. The new 24-week period is crucial because it allows extra time and also has moved from previously being 75% made up of payroll cost to now only requiring 60% of payroll costs. This has opened up more of a possibility to get forgiveness for other expenses such as rent, utilities, or mortgage interest if that is making up a substantial part of expenditures.

Most payroll providers have paycheck protection reports that employers can run and get their numbers back – employers must enter appropriate dates and it should give you payroll costs, state and local taxes, retirement contribution costs, and group health insurance costs. Once employers run and receive that report, they can plug those numbers into the application form and turn into their bank. It is encouraged to have your application ready to return to the bank along with any supporting documents you may have included so that everything is ready to go when you are ready to apply for PPP Loan forgiveness.

EP 49 – Catherine MacDonagh – Using Lean and Six Sigma to Improve Project Efficiency Within Your Firm

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Catherine MacDonagh is the founder of Legal Lean Sigma Institute and the developer of Legal Lean Sigma and the award-winning Legal Workout. She teaches and provides training and consulting services with a focus in project improvement, project management, operational and process excellence, organizational development, and strategy. Visit http://legalleansigma.com to learn more about the services Catherine and her team provide.

On This Episode, We Discuss…

• Understanding Lean and Six Sigma in Addition to Project Management
• What the Process Improvement Framework Is & How to Apply It
• Reducing or Eliminating Wasteful Tasks in Projects

EP 48 – Chase Williams & Ryan Klein – Optimizing Your Tech Stack & Creating the Best Experience for Your Customers When They Visit Your Site

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Digital marketing is always evolving and there is always a new piece of software that you could be implementing in your site to make it run faster, have a better customer experience, or just to one-up your marketing game. Software is likely a solution to some of the issues or gaps that you may be struggling with.

Reviewing Website Speed and Ways to Make Your Website Load Faster

When thinking from the customer experiences, you want customers to have the best experience possible. Some of the most important things that you should look out for when thinking about this are server speed, whether or not there is a CDN set up, if images are compressed, and if the code is optimized correctly. A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, replicates and protects your website and allows pages, images, and other site content to compress greatly for data to travel quickly. 

Another important thing to consider while looking at website speed is having a plugin to compress images to place on the CDN. Having too many plugins that do too many specific things can leave your website susceptible to further update error, conflicting plugins within the site, or other vulnerabilities such as website hacks. If you have a proper CDN when someone attempts to hack your website, they are attacking the CDN and your website is being secured. Also, using photos that are not compressed on your pages will kill load time, rankings, and overall the user experience.

Chase and Ryan’s Go-To Marketing Tools to Implement in Your Website

Zapier – Zapier is a tool that Chase and Ryan use for every single one of their clients at Market My Market and is also used for every piece of software that they work with. Zapier lets the software talk to each other, allows leads to come in and go where directed.

Yoast – Yoast is a great plugin to use for optimizing SEO and creating an index for your website. It has a feature called Focus Keyword which will tell you if there are any internal or external links, how many times the keyword is mentioned, the keyword density, whether or not H (header) tags were used, and several other features.

Defender – Defender is a tool used to block out people who have an incorrect login on the backend of your admin, IP’s, or third-party bots trying to hack into your website to try to steal data and inject malicious codes. 

  • A lot of times, websites are hacked on shared hosting, not because they did anything wrong, but because they may be on a server with other websites. If one of those websites gets hacked, then they have access to the server and every website shared is vulnerable to hacks as well. 

Google Tag Manager – Google Tag Manager is a tool that allows you to manage and install marketing tags on your website without having to alter any codes, so it cuts out the need to have a developer help you with implementing new pieces of software into your site. 

  • In addition to editing and updating, Google also gives you the green light, or green smiley face, to let you know that everything is functioning properly through Google Tag Assistant.

Hotjar – Hotjar is a tool that analyzes the online behavior of your users. While Google Analytics can tell you what page someone is on, Hotjar can show you exactly where someone’s eyes are going on your website – what they are doing, where they are scrolling, and what they are reading. 

Mailchimp – Mailchimp is a simple and easy to use automation tool and email marketing service. If you do not have a drip campaign going on or a newsletter updating past, current, and future clients what is going on at your firm, then this tool is a no-brainer for you. It is easy to import contacts, easy to keep them organized, easy to use a template while modifying it to make it unique to what you are trying to do, you can do tags, you can group people and segment them, and there are nurture campaigns. There is also automation involved for birthdays, client anniversaries, or any other reason you may be looking to reach out.

What Things You Can Be Testing on Your Website and Content Refreshes

Examples of things that you can and should be testing on your website to check for user experience are the following: 

  • Sign Up Forms
  • Call to Action Buttons
  • Social Sharing
  • Searching the Website
  • Navigation
  • Colors and Design
  • What You Are Saying vs What You Are Offering

You always want to be testing these elements, but you do not want to be making too many changes too often. Content refreshes, however, are something that Search Engine Optimizers strongly believe in. Most of these refreshes will not involve removing content, but rather adding additional content. A majority of SEO changes typically take place as tweaks to site optimization, to backlinks and building authority, and content on established pages. When you are running a paid campaign, that is when you should really be testing and making sure that you are stretching your dollars. 

EP 47 – Kwasi Bowman – Forming Litigation Strategies and Utilizing AI to Make Data Driven Decisions and Win Cases

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Kwasi Bowman is the Director of Account Management at Gavelytics. Gavelytics is a company that goes through records within state courts and extracts information on judge behavior to give litigators. Kwasi’s role within the company is to take care of current clients and make sure that they are aware of how to use the technology. He ensures everyone is maximizing use of the product as well.

On This Episode, We Discuss …

• Structuring Your Strategy as a Result of Analytic Predictions
 Value AI Brings in Ability to Adjust Predictions and Anticipations
• Future of AI and How That Affects Lawyers

EP 46 – Kwame Christian – Having Conversations with Clients, Employees, and Your Community About Race and Injustice

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Kwame Christian is the Director of the American Negotiation Institute where he conducts negotiation and conflict management workshops around the country. He is also author of the Amazon best seller – Nobody Will Play With Me: How to Use Compassionate Curiosity to Find Confidence in Conflict and host of the word’s most popular negotiation podcast – Negotiate Anything.

On This Episode, We Discuss …

• Recognizing Social Injustice and What Constitutes Action

• Steps of the Compassionate Curiosity Framework

• What is a Lawyer’s Role as a Defender of Justice?


Webinar Information: June 5th, 2020 at 12 PM EST – americannegotiationinstitute.com/justice

EP 45 – Ted DeBettencourt – Increasing Your Law Firm’s Total Leads by Introducing Chat on Your Website

Ted DeBettencourt is the Co-Founder of Juvo Leads. Ted has been working in the legal marketing industry for over 11 years now and began Juvo Leads with his partner about 3 years ago after running a small legal marketing agency himself. Juvo Leads is a complete lead capture and tracking company for law firms and other legal marketing agencies; they help law firms get more leads through website chat, as well as track leads that come through via phone call and form submission. If you are interested in speaking with Ted or learning more about his company, visit their website here – https://juvoleads.com

On This Episode, We Discuss …

• Tracking the Source of Leads vs Tracking the Source of New Clients and Signed Cases
• What is Speed to Lead and Why Is It So Crucial?
• Website Mobile Experience and Tracking Leads via SMS

EP 44 – James Moorhouse – Looking Beyond Your Backyard for Law Firm Growth Opportunities

James Moorhouse has been in the legal marketing industry for over 20 years now, after beginning in 1999. James learned many tricks of the trade from his mentor in his time at Wallin and Klarich. He has since ventured into different roles and is currently consulting with attorneys at JPM 4 Marketing.

On This Episode, We Discuss …

• What You Should Be Considering for a Marketing Budget
• How to Market in High Yield but Less Competitive Markets
• Different Ways to Utilize Google My Business for Marketing Your Firm

EP 43 – Paul Faust – One Tool You May Be Overlooking in Your Current Marketing Plan That Could Help Grow Your Business

Paul Faust is the President and Co-Founder of Ringboost. Ringboost has a passion for helping business owners grow any way they can and they are all about providing companies and firms with numbers that they can use in their marketing to drive more voice interaction. Paul oversees the sales and marketing functions of Ringboost, working with clients of all sizes to find memorable numbers that will be game changing for their businesses.

On This Episode, We Discuss …

• The Importance and Benefits of Voice Communication
• What is Number Sharing and How Does it Work?
• Toll-Free Number vs. Local Number