Business Development

EP 89 – Nicole Clark – Utilizing Data Analytics to Make Credible Decisions for Your Firm

Nicole Clark is the Founder and CEO of Trellis Research Inc. Nicole is a Litigator and practiced a lot at the state court level doing employment and class action work. She couldn’t believe how difficult it was to get information at the state court level. Often, Nicole was an associate tasked with anecdotes and making strategic decisions – it blew her away that they were making strategic recommendations based on anecdata when there is a ton of data on the judges. She talked about the gap-in-data with some software developer friends to start mining data from the courts she appeared in most often. It was a game-changer in her practice and was so valuable to her. It gave her the courage to jump from practicing to bring Trellis to other litigators because having that data was a huge competitive advantage as a state court practitioner.

Check out Trellis at www.tellis.law or reach out to Nicole directly at nicole@trellis.law or find her on Twitter at @nicole_a_clark.

On This Episode, We Discuss …

• Most Common Ways People Use Technology When They are Not Necessarily Tech-Savvy
• Other Sources and Variables of Data that are Consequential in Making Decisions
• Giving Insight to Attorneys to Understand Some of the Judges’ Niche Things
• Where is the ‘Gray Area’ Line Drawn for Public Data?
• The Ethics for What Attorneys are Required to Do

EP 87 – Ryan Klein and Chase Williams – How Law Firms Will Win in 2021 PT 2

Ryan and Chase are back to discuss what your law firm needs to be doing in 2021 to be set up for success. On part 2 of this 2-part podcast episode, the topics include:

• Perfecting Your Intake and Follow-Up Process
• Having a Plan in Place for Reviews
• Optimizing Local SEO
• Finding Where You Fit in Social Media
• Staying on Top of Website Trends
• Continuing to Educate Yourself

If you missed PT 1, check out EP 85 – RYAN KLEIN AND CHASE WILLIAMS – HOW LAW FIRMS WILL WIN IN 2021 PT 1

EP 83 – Lauren Osborne – Utilizing SEO to Build Up Website Authority and Content

Lauren Osborne is the Business Development Officer at TLD Law and has been with the company for about 2 years now. TLD Law is a full-service firm that will be celebrating its 60th year in business in 2021. Lauren works with the partners individually to develop their specific practice areas – they have a few different areas that they cover. Previously, Lauren worked with a CPA Firm for about 11 years before joining TLD Law. If you are interested in getting in contact with Lauren, you can email her at losborne@tldlaw.com

Different Strategies for Approaching B2B and B2C Content

In terms of B2B and B2C practice areas, there are definitely different strategies for the consumer side versus the business side. On the consumer side, they have to be more specific to make sure that people know what they are working on. On the business side of things, you want to target the client who is looking for the specific services that you are offering. Lauren tries to get very specific with her partners in this area to write specific content and make it clear what areas of specialty are offered. 

Lauren uses SpyFu as an inexpensive way to search their website URL and see what keywords people are searching for and maybe finding your site. That is one way to cater to content development, but another thing that she does is go to Google Analytics and find out the top page that people are visiting on your website. She went into the blog post and linked to some newer material on their website and now the traffic has picked up even more.

Should Attorneys Be Writing Content on Their Website?

Lauren has found that her specialty is not in writing content, so she has found that it is helpful to get the attorneys that are writers or may be more inclined to business development activities. For those that may not be writing, she will work with a writer that will then give that attorney a call or interview him on a topic that he has selected or is interested in and they will have that article done in a day in some cases. It is a combination of attorneys writing articles and an outside writer. Outside writers bill at a much lower rate than attorneys do and they are much more reliable in getting the content out. 

If clients are asking questions, then other people have those same questions as well. In-house professionals wear a lot of hats, so she did get a lot of pushback. When they saw how easy the process was to work with a writer and how cost-effective it was, that changed the conversation. The accountability factor is key. 

Metrics to Measure Content Effectiveness

Lauren has noticed that when new content is being posted, numbers on Google Analytics sky-rocket. Obviously, it will send a lot of traffic to the website. She is just looking at how many people are landing on specific parts of the website and trying to focus on those pages and practice areas that are getting a lot of hits. If she is getting results in one specific practice area, she might go back and just focus on creating more content in that area because it is working. 

Another thing that Lauren does when she is searching for topics to write about is going to Google and begin typing in questions and it will populate the rest of the question and give you examples of questions that other people are asking. Oftentimes they will answer those questions in a blog article and you are helping people that have those questions and may not have found the answer they were looking for. One resource that Lauren uses quite a bit is Neal Patel. She watches all the videos that he sends out regularly and has found a lot of value in his information. Whenever he sends out a new tip or trick to try out, she puts it to work on their website.

EP 82 – Amy Adams – Making High-Level Decisions by Capturing and Analyzing the Data Your Firm Gets Everyday

Amy Adams is the Director of Business Development at Loeb Law Firm. She previously had an online business as an original Etsy shop founder. The past 5 years she has brought that entrepreneurial DNA to where she is at now and helps her team grow the business. She has come from a family of entrepreneurs and that is what she enjoys the most. If you are interested in reaching out to Amy, email her directly at aadams@loeb-law/com or connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/adams-amy/

Tools and Guides to Help You Maneuver Data

The way that it is organized is they have a firm overview and then they hone in on each of the individual clients. They are able to translate the data in between those two buckets. You want to be able to know where you are most efficient so that you can quickly triage any inefficiencies and also show your clients how you are saving time. Realization rate has been incredibly important across all of the metrics. 

It has been an evolving process. Amy has reached out to several people on LinkedIn and has gone through presentations that her partners have attended. She offers herself as a resource to anybody if they are interested in reaching out to her. Training on Excel is incredibly important and YouTube can teach you anything. You also really need to know what your client wants. You first need to start there and understand what you are measuring before you start implementing systems. If you have a certain amount of resources, it requires a team effort with your office manager, bookkeeper, as well as the attorney or attorneys. For Amy, it was a team effort in putting it all together. Everyone had the same mission in mind and the same objective. 

How Amy Got Started by Understanding Metrics

What sparked it was Amy’s partners were actively involved in the CLM and at their conference. Amy is someone that very much wants to absorb all of the information. When they came back, she went through all of the powerpoint slides to see where the industry is headed and what the presentations were discussing as far as trends. The one common thread through all of it in the insurance industry was data and understanding metrics and then moving on to predictive metrics and analytics  as well. 

You need to partition data off into different categories. For someone in B2C and marketing to a family law client or an estate planning client, you are going to want to look at the metrics of your social media performance or your website traffic. In the aspect where you are talking about corporate clients and the insurance industry, they are really narrowed on other metrics of performance. For B2B in their measurements, what they are looking at is cost per case, dollars saved per case, and budgeting accuracy. They are directly able to coordinate efficiencies with dollars, so by improving those efficiencies through billable hours, the way in which they are billing, and the way in which they are dedicating their time, you are able to translate that to dollars and dollars to revenue. 

One of the number one objectives in implementing the system is to be able to capture live data on a monthly basis and to quickly pinpoint any inefficiencies or successes and then to replicate those. Look at what your wins were and where you could improve. If you are able to do that quickly and efficiently, then ultimately, you are able to grow your business, even on a small scale. When you are voluntarily reporting performance to your client, it shows you in a different light and it shows that you are eager and willing to invest in their success as well as your own. That is the number one takeaway that they have seen with their clients in which they have issued the reports. They are able to jump over the misconception that they are just chasing clients and work, but that they are actually showing them numbers in black and white and they are invested in their growth as much as their own. 

Recommendations for Firms and Next Steps

The reason why the industry lags in data management is because we are naturally risk averse and any time spent on marketing efforts or business development is time less billed. Ultimately, your time is money. Amy’s first recommendation would be to reach out to your community members and the number one piece of advice that she would give is to not be afraid to ask. If you reach out, there are people in the community that are willing to help. Sit down and write down where you can offer that give and take. What are you willing to give up for maybe one hour a week or a few hours a week to set aside your goals and your business plan? What tools do you need to get there? In the end, you will see exponential growth if you implement it and you follow through. 

The next step that Amy and her team are looking to take is creating individual profiles for each of their clients as well. She would recommend other firms do the same, because at the end of the day, you need to understand what your clients priorities are and you need to build a custom profile for each of your clients’ needs. You need to understand what metrics matter the most to them and how it speaks to them and the way in which you are going to translate the data. 

Now is a great opportunity for a fresh start. Take a look at what your priorities are and where you want to go.

EP 81 – Frank Ramos – How To Take Your LinkedIn Conversations Offline

Frank Ramos is the Managing Partner at Clarke Silverglate in Miami, Florida. There are about ten attorneys at the firm who do a mix of litigation, commercial products, and employment. Feel free to connect with Frank on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/frankramosylt. If you scroll down to the bottom of his profile and find publications, he has several free books mostly geared towards lawyers regarding leadership, marketing, and other topics as well. 

If you have not been on LinkedIn, get on LinkedIn. Once you are on, try it for a month. Give it a shot, it’s not for everybody, but you may find that you enjoy it and that it creates another avenue to market your company and creates another revenue stream by gaining referral sources. However, if you are going to be on a platform, you need to use it properly. Each platform has its own way of working and its own expectations of what appropriate content is. 

Reaching Out to Connections You Want to Create a Relationship With

Frank sees people that are interested in his posts – they are liking his posts, sharing them, or commenting on them – and he will generally send them a message thanking them for their interest and ask them if they want to meet for coffee. Before COVID, Frank would meet with LinkedIn connections about twice a week, but has since not been able to have as many coffee meet-ups. Most people online, if you are engaging with them and providing content to them, are happy to meet with you. 

A long time ago, Frank decided to start posting on LinkedIn daily. In 2016, he committed to posting every day, including weekends and holidays. What he posts about generally is advice and practice tips for younger lawyers, but a lot of experienced lawyers also enjoy his content. He is not specific to a certain practice area, he is posting generally about soft skills. If he is traveling, he will make it a point to reach out to the people in those cities in which he is traveling to grab coffee or meet up with them. 

Producing Content on LinkedIn and Engaging in Others’ Content

Frank had first started posting to promote a free book called The Associates Handbook for the Defense Research Institute. The first few weeks he posted a few excerpts from the book, a few sentences here and there. You are limited to 1,300 characters in a post on LinkedIn, which is not very much. If you can come up with a general topic or idea, something that emphasizes your brand, you would be surprised how much that you could write on that topic. You need to make posting a habit and it takes about a month to get used to it. If you can commit to doing it for one month, at the end of the month it will become second nature and you will not have to purposefully set aside time. It doesn’t take long once you get used to posting to post 1,300 characters or less and less is more. Try to see life through the lens of having something to say. 

A good thing to do before you jump in is to write an article on a topic you want to talk about – top 10, top 15, life advice, 20 things every lawyer should know or every client should know, etc. It is just coming up with a broad strategy. You can see lawyers writing about non-lawyer things and non-lawyers writing about lawyer things, so you just need to keep it professional. Find something that you feel comfortable with or that you may have some expertise in or that you are willing to develop some expertise in and be willing to share it. People are not always going to like what you have to say, and you might not get a lot of likes, shares, or reviews, but it takes time. You do it consistently, and people will come. 

Frank will try to comment or send messages to individuals whose content strikes a particular chord with him. The first thing you have to do before jumping in is decide what you are going to post about – “Is this topic broad enough to continue posting on it for that period of time?” Just because you are saying something and doing it daily does not mean necessarily that it is good content. Pick your main practice area that you are working on and post about that. People will come to see you as an expert in that area. If there is someone specific that you want to reach out to, make it a point to read their feed and what they are posting. If they post articles, or something they have shared, if they have been featured somewhere, make it a little bit more personal and mention those things.

The End-Goal with Networking

As you build out your network, things start happening for you. It takes time, but eventually it pays off and you start getting calls for referrals and you start getting asked to speak or to volunteer or write, and it grows your footprint online. The more you do, the more you reach out and the more that you pay forward on platforms like LinkedIn, eventually it is going to come around and benefit you. 

When it comes to your personal cases, try not to share or over-share facts about your cases. When Frank speaks about matters, he speaks about them generically and does not reference specific cases or clients. When he is trying to reach out to people who may be a potential referral source, he does not pester or annoy them. Each state has their own rules regarding professional conduct. The best thing to do is try to find other lawyers and other professionals that may become future referral sources. LinkedIn also allows you to create groups so another option is to create a group of like-minded lawyers and professionals or you can take it offline and create a monthly networking group. There are a lot of different ways of using LinkedIn as a platform and jumping off of the platform to do other things as well. 

EP 79 – Emily Baker – Building the Business You Want Around the Life You Want

Emily Baker, also known as The Badass Lawyer, is the Host of Get Legit Law and Sh!t Podcast and helps online businesses with all of their legal aspects. She made the jump to starting her own business in 2017 after 10 years working as a District Attorney in Long Beach, California. She loved the work as a DA, but sometimes the job was a little bit tough, especially health-wise. 

If you are looking to get more involved with Emily, you can reach out to her through Direct Message on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/theemilydbaker/ or find her at https://emilydbaker.com 

Focusing to Avoid Burnout

Emily now finds a lot more freedom of choice. Her clients tend to appreciate that she is blunt and that she values her time as well as theirs. She encourages people to come to her to plan and to set a foundation, not to handle their emergencies. She now sets very clear boundaries for herself with her clients and if they do not respect those boundaries, they are no longer clients. Helping entrepreneurs step away from the stress of everything – your job is never done in entrepreneurship, there is always going to be something new, but it is likely not life and death. Bringing in that perspective, along with her previous experiences, for her and her clients to set those boundaries has been the greatest thing for her. Attorneys that are in supportive work environments who have choice and control are not the ones that are burnt out, and it is the same with entrepreneurs. When you feel like you have choice and control over what you are doing and you are not trying to get to the next thing – when you are focused, you are not burnt out and stressed out. 

Setting Boundaries and Enforcing Them

Starting to evaluate boundaries, and law pushes us to have no boundaries, but starting to enforce your own boundaries is going to save you the headache and it is something that you are going to have to do if you are choosing to leave a job, if you are going to start your own thing. To do that successfully without burning yourself out again, you have to set and enforce your boundaries. 

When Emily started her business, she has been online the entire time that she has been providing consulting and legal services. The more than she was in online circles, the more people worked all over the place and just wanted to ask questions, so getting on a Zoom call was just as easy. She did not want to pay for an office space or take on a lot of overhead. Emily wanted the freedom to be able to work from her computer between the times that her children were at school. Why pay the rents for an office space when you can get a pretty fast internet connection, Zoom and some headphones, and make it work. That kind of choice gives you an opportunity to fill back in your life a little bit so that you get to do more than just work. It is really a valuable pursuit. 

Contributing to Spaces in a Positive Way

Emily started her podcast for entrepreneurs and then found very quickly that her audience was much more general than that. A lot of what she talks about is news specific because she has found that we are missing and what people do not understand are the laws that are impacting the decisions. People see the news story, but there is no explanation of what the rules are. Her goal is to help give people the information that they need to make informed decisions whether that is in their business or in their life. Emily enjoys continuing to learn and grow and look at new laws and evaluate stories the way that she wants to evaluate them. It has really pushed her business forward, but it has also allowed the conversation to continue in a positive way in online spaces which is something she found to be lacking a little bit. She just tries to contribute to that space in a positive way. She really loves technology and finding a way to bring technology into her online business. 

EP 77 – Michael Bond – Embracing Social Media and Gauging Your Share of Media Across the Internet

Michael Bond is the Senior Media Director at Blattel Communications. Michael has been involved in legal marketing now for 15+ years. He has held several in-house positions in New Jersey as well as California and transitioned to Blattel Communications about 10 years ago. Blattel Communications meshed well with what Michael loves in life, which is media. He enjoys pairing what he loves doing with his job. 

If you are interested in learning more from Michael, visit his website https://blattel.com and find him on social media or reach out to him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelabond/ 

Getting In Front of Your Clients Through Social Media

The professional services realm is one of the slower realms to adapt to changes in the marketplace – particularly media trends. In the B2B world, finding content and finding value can be challenging. It is finding the right ways to package thought leadership on the right channels. We are in a universe now where you have a viewer and multiple channels in front of them. There are normally several channels going on at the same time. For law firms, it is important to find that visibility. When the pandemic happened, specifically the shut downs, screen time use went way up. The reason is simple – we did not have a physical connection, so humans were looking for more connections and social media is one venue to do that. There is real value for the law firm, for that professional services firm, to be in your feed as you are going through it. It is a way to inject some personality, keep the law firm’s brand relevant, and to appear in the feed when followers are scrolling through for new pictures and new stories.

There is a lot of information that needs to be brought to clients quickly – a lot of it was about getting critical knowledge out there to a wide range of individuals from small business owners to very large businesses. You need to tailor your content so that it remains relevant while also keeping it visible using those social media channels. The world is different and it is changing every single day and sometimes that poses a challenge. That challenge, though, was met by the advantage and the immediacy of social media because you are constantly getting that new wave of content up to the top and these channels are optimized to keep the eyes on them and that’s why you are seeing that screen-time increase. So, it’s a good way to get in front of people, it’s a good way to ensure that your clients and your potential clients are getting the right information at the right time.

Gauging How You Are Doing Relative to Other Firms

All metrics are not precise. They are subject to interpretation. If you don’t have the tools to put that together, you can use just a rudimentary Google search to search for your competitors and go under the Google News tab to see where things are showing up. Another thing that is important to consider here is to be able to parse the quality of what you are getting. You should be able to look back at how many hits you had, the ad equivalency, how many people read those articles, etc. Aside from specific issue campaigns, there is also a block-and-tackle which is still very important. You need to have a comprehensive strategy in place. 

Understanding What Metrics You Need to be Looking At

With each client being different and each attorney or professional being different, one of the keys is that we do not want to fall into the trap of seeing something that has an issue of a lot of media potential but no business development behind it. One of the ways to overcome that is by really having those conversations one-on-one, in-depth with marketing departments and also with the professionals that they are working with. What is the shared definition of success that you are going for? There are so many aspects. They can leverage the content in a way that will be very beneficial. It is a formula that is proven, but it is more qualitative than quantitative. Michael and his team try to coach people to become well-rounded individuals who are self-promoters, that are trying to make sure that the things they are writing are reaching a wide audience. You are reaching your shared definition of success, but you are also reaching that level of a business development success and that’s really what we’re all after here. At the end of the day, the efforts are really focused on business development. There is a level of brand stability that you need to be thinking about, especially during a challenging time in terms of the economy and visibility overall.

EP 76 – Paul Samakow – How Your Firm Can Dominate in the Hispanic Market

Paul Samakow is a Personal Injury Lawyer and Author. He has been working in the Washington DC area for the past 40 years and got into personal injury around the 5-year mark. The local hispanic community in DC did not really have anyone talking to them, so he started running some small ads in newspapers and the phone started ringing. Paul is bilingual, but not completely, so he needed to hire someone in his office that was bilingual and could have those conversations. He is now the #1 guy in the hispanic community in DC. He recognized about 3 years ago that what he is doing can be reproduced – he can teach it. So, he opened a consulting business to help other attorneys around the country to do the same thing he is doing in their markets. 

The best way to reach out to Paul is to give him a call at 301-500-0000. For a copy of Paul’s book, visit https://www.hispanic.thebusinessanswer.com/order-form

Recognizing an Under-Served Community and What Cases Work Better

Paul took basic Spanish in high school and became somewhat familiar with the language. He wanted to do personal injury and he was doing it and it was enjoyable, but he did not have the money to go on television and that was really the best way to get clients as a PI lawyer at the time. He thought about Spanish-speaking people and their accidents and wondered if anyone was reaching them. Paul ran a small ad in a hispanic newspaper that cost him probably less than $100 a month back then and the phone just started ringing. 

If you advertise that you help people who have been injured and then show them a car crash, they will call you if they fall down. One of the things that Paul has fancied himself over the years is that he is not a marketing guru, but he is a marketing junkie. To take it to the next level is what he did about 7 years ago and that was to write the book. It is so heartwarming for him to know that what he is doing is working. His intake has since tripled. 

Paul’s Favorite Business Book Finds to Develop the Business Side of Your Firm

The most prolific writer in the business genre of books now is Dan Kennedy. He has coupled with several other individuals that he has come into contact with and has since written a lot of books. The title of all of his books begin with “No B.S.” and then the title. He has books about hiring and firing employees, marketing, sales, etc. There are a lot of books on marketing and in the psychology world that will teach you how people think and how to address that. One of the most incredible books that Paul has read recently is called Impossible to Ignore by Carmen Simon. The premise of her book is memory – everything that we do in our life has to do with memory, even if it is an old memory stored way back. When you get ready to take an action or refrain from doing something, you have to have a basis upon which to make that decision – Carmen’s theory is that it is about memory. He likes to read books of people that have different angles. 

Lawyers were not trained as business people – they go into a practice and maybe they get a job and that defines them early on. You have to know how to market no matter how good you are at your trade. Paul developed his firm with an eye towards a niche market and it has done well for him. He can teach and he has taught in doing well in other markets and for other lawyers. Paul’s number one choice for delivery method is television. A lot of lawyers are successful on social media, on radio, but if you want the hispanic market, you have got to be on tv. The classic marketing strategy of tv is that you have to impress somebody 6, 7, 8, 9 times – they need to see the ad that many times before you are even a twinkle in their eye. 

Suggestions for Someone Who is Not a Native Spanish Speaker and Top Book Points

If you are planning to go on television, we are talking about a 30-second ad and we have a teleprompter. Paul does not know too many lawyers that can’t budget for maybe 17 seconds out of the 30 and learn to speak those bits and phrases. The hispanic community does not care that you do not speak the language or that you try and you may butcher some of the phrases or words, they are looking into your heart and into your soul and if they believe that you are being honest with them and that you have integrity, they are the most loyal group of people that he has ever found. It is a delight working with hispanics. 

Paul’s book is comprehensive and talks about all measures of marketing strategies and schemes that he is using. At the end of the day, if you want to talk to hispanics, you need to be an attorney that gets up out of their chair and goes over and shakes hands. You can’t sit in the back office and not answer the phone and not be involved – you have to be an active participant in the process. He treats them like they are people because they are people. He does not shake hands, he gives hugs and jokes with them to make them laugh. You have to connect with hispanics and when you do, after and during, they are sending everybody that they know to you. 

EP 75 – Ben Walker – How to Save Money and Increase Efficiency Through Transcription

Intro[Ben]:  So, it saves the law firm a ton of time and hassle because some of them have their legal assistants or paralegals transcribing when they should be doing other stuff, or it’s 4:00 in the afternoon and they’re like, “oh man, I need this hour-and-a-half hearing transcribed in the next day.” The paralegal can’t get that done.

Announcer:  You’re listening to the Legal Mastermind Podcast with your hosts, Ryan Klein and Chase Williams, the go-to podcast for learning from the experts in the legal community about effective ways to grow and manage your law firm.  

Chase:  Today on the Legal Mastermind Podcast, we have Ben Walker, the founder of Transcription Outsourcing.  He helps law firms, courthouses, universities, medical practices, and a bunch of other businesses help with their transcription services.  And today, we’re going to be talking about how to save money and increase efficiency through transcription, real-time editing of documents, and also outsourcing your legal research.  Welcome to the podcast. 

Ben:  Thanks, Chase and Ryan, for having me.  

Chase:  So, I guess starting out, if you can tell us a little more about your background and how you came to find Transcription Outsourcing. 

Ben:  Yeah.  I actually started with another transcription company specializing in medical transcription 14 years ago based out of Omaha.  And after three to four years, I figured out how to do the marketing myself and that we needed to diversify into other industries because there were major technological things happening in the healthcare industry that was allowing doctors to not have to dictate anymore.  They can point and click, so we were losing medical clients.  I started researching other industries that use transcription.  Found legal and law enforcement, and then ran with it.  Broke off, and started my own company and haven’t looked back. 

Chase:  Awesome.  And I think for those that aren’t familiar with how transcription works, can you give us a little background on that?

Ben:  Yeah.  So, like a typical transcript we’ll do for a law firm would be a court hearing that happened yesterday, maybe even today, sometimes last month or a few months ago, that they didn’t have transcribed by a court reporter because at the time, they didn’t know they were going to need it.  And then as the case has evolved, they say, aw man, now I need this transcript because we have another hearing in two days or next week.  And in order to prepare properly, they’ll have a legal assistant or they’ll go get it themselves, the audio file from the previous court hearing.  They’ll upload it through our web platform.  Our people will get it and assign it out to the right person, who will transcribe it within a day or two.  Then we email it back as a certified legal transcript in a PDF.  And they can run with it and submitted to court, use it for research, do whatever they need to do with it.  

Chase:  And the real benefit of, essentially, outsourcing this is saving time and also efficiency.  I know that you mentioned previously when we were, you know, kind of prepping for this podcast that sometimes you’ll receive a document and then you’ll be done with your job for the day and you’ll have your transcribers work overnight.  And then by the time you come back to your computer in the morning, it’s completed.

Ben:  Yeah.  So, it saves the law firm a ton of time and hassle because some of them have their legal assistants or paralegals transcribing when they should be doing other stuff, or it’s 4:00 in the afternoon and they’re like, oh man, I need this hour-and-a-half hearing transcribed in the next day.  The paralegal can’t get that done.  It’s gonna take the paralegal at least – a 90-minute file would take six hours probably to transcribe.  They don’t have six hours unless they stay up all night and get overtime.  And a court reporter is already booked out because they’re the people that show up in person with the stenography machine.  They can’t get it done overnight or in the next couple of days because they’re literally already booked out.  They get booked out months in advance.  So, using us is much more efficient.  And when it comes down to it, we’re cheaper per hour on average than any paralegal is.  

Ryan:  I remember when I used to work inhouse for a criminal law firm, I guess about seven or eight years ago, I remember one of the lawyers came to me.  He had this great app on his phone and he’s like, “I can’t believe it.  All I have to do is have to talk into this and transcribes it.  It’s called Dragon Diction.”  And I remember back then reading the transcripts and I’m like, “Have you read this?  This isn’t even, like, remotely close to what you said.”  I’m sure that it’s evolved a lot in the past seven or eight years, but it’s obviously not where it needs to be or else that’s what everyone’s been doing.  So, are people in situations where they’re, like, trying to have auto-transcription, they’re kind of editing it, or is that just really a waste of time and you’d have to figure out another solution?

Ben:  Yeah.  The editing of the artificial intelligence is still not even close to where it needs to be.  In order for it to be more efficient for artificial intelligence, it needs to be at 92 percent or above accuracy.  And right now, voice recognition is maybe – when you’re talking multiple speakers like the three of us on a podcast or a court room or in a conference room doing a deposition – let’s say there’s three people when know there’s usually more.  It might be 50 percent accurate and it can’t tell the difference between a man and a woman.  So, our people can type it faster than fixing 50 percent error rate.  The error rate needs to be 8 percent or accuracy needs to be 92 or above.  

Ryan:  I mean, forget about cross talk.  It’s over if that happens.  And then also a lot of these times when you’re doing these official transcripts, it’s probably very important to establish who’s speaking when.  Like, here’s a person when they’re speaking, this person’s speaking, I mean, how could, you know, those auto-transcription software differentiate properly?  I can’t see it. 

Ben:  And it’s not here yet.  I’m sure one day it might, but it, today, you’re right.  It’s not even close.  

Chase:  Cool.  So, I guess while we’re on the topic of software and, I guess, collaboration, one thing we also talked about before this call was one of clients is a law firm, I believe, and you were telling us they were on a road trip.  And they’re able to, basically, run their firm remotely due to third-party services such as like a V.A. transcription and then also a shared Google doc.  And we thought that was pretty interesting before the call, the idea of a shared Google doc.  We know what it is, most people, but can you give us the use case of how that’s actually being used?  ‘Cause I think something that’s probably overlooked and a lot of people aren’t utilizing it when everybody has access to this. 

Ben:  Yeah.  So, the attorney that I’m talking about is a client of ours and has been for six years probably, and recently he and his wife have been traveling via RV all over the country.  While doing that, he’s literally sitting in the back of the RV working and vice versa, and they trade off driving.  He’s ordering transcripts from us.  He’s emailing back and forth and texting with a virtual assistant on his calendar.  They’re also fixing letters that are going out.  He’s sharing Google docs with paralegals for briefs that need to be filed.  He’s also sharing his calendar with his paralegals, setting up conference calls, and this is all on the Google doc, back and forth, a Google sheet as well to make sure that they’re staying in alignment with each other now that they’re in multiple time zones and still having to do everything as if they were in the office down the hall from each other, and it’s working seamlessly for them right now.  I have haven’t seen any issues at least with our communication with him and his firm. 

Ryan:  And you also mentioned V.A.’s in particular.  We’ve talked about V.A.’s in previous podcasts.  We talk about it amongst ourselves in our agency and a lot of perceive a virtual assistant as being able to really only be capable of some basic level things.  Like, when people think of V.A.’s, they’re thinking about call follow-ups, scheduling appointments, really doing some menial tasks here and there.  In one instance, we did talk about it, you know, a little more involved arrangement with the V.A. to where it’s maybe drafting some sort of legal documents.  But you mentioned something I haven’t heard before and I haven’t really talked to any lawyers that may do this, but you were saying even as going as far as doing some legal research.  And I wasn’t really aware that that could be a thing that virtual assistants do some situations.  So, are you able to give a few examples of how a V.A. has been able to provide that kind of help that law firms may be looking for? 

Ben:  Yeah.   And again, I’m gonna use the same attorney that is travelling via RV.  He happens to specialize in wildlife law.  And when new cases come up – ‘cause wildlife law can be different in every state, there are different animals, there’s different rules, he hooks up with a virtual assistant that does legal research out of the Philippines.  And overnight, they will get him all the research he needs for that specific case that may be in Pennsylvania, it could be Texas, Arizona, even Colorado where he lives normally, but he may not have come across this specific kind of case.  And it’s also on a case-by-case basis.  He doesn’t pay the virtual assistant to sit around and wait around for him.  He uses them when he needs them.  And then they go get the research and email it to him, and then it’s done.  They keep track of their hours.  He pays them based on the work they send, and now he’s ready to go.  And he can continue his day when he wakes up as if he did all the research himself the night before, but he didn’t.  He paid someone – man, it’s way less than what we pay here per hour.  It’s between $4.00 and $8.00 an hour.  That same person in the states is gonna be 20, 25?

Ryan:  And then, as far as their qualifications, the biggest thing that I would think is, you know, where am I going to find this V.A.?  And if I do find them, how am I gonna – do I have to train them?  Do I have to spend time to show them how to do the proper research, or are there other vendors or agencies that are providing this V.A. that already comes trained and is going to know how to work with you in an efficient manner? 

Ben:  Yeah.  If you use the overseas companies, normally, they’ll give you a free trial so that you can give them a go.  And you can also have someone in your office do the same research to compare during the free trial or check their work to make sure.  It’s like anything, you hire anyone, you’re gonna have to check their work ‘til you get used to them.  But a lot of these companies in the U.S. and overseas, they specialize in this stuff.  And they have good reviews.  They’ll have references.  It’s like us, we have reviews online.  People read them all the time or they call us, and they’re in Ohio and they’re like, well, we want to talk other four other law firms you’ve worked with around the country.  So, I give them four other law firms to call and ask them anything they want about us.  Trust, but verify. 

Chase:  So, accounting – is that like your bookkeeping you’re outsourcing, or does it go beyond that, like, sending invoices? 

Ben:  It’s a little of both.  I send invoices.  They send invoices.  They do a lot of bookkeeping in and around a government contract we have though.  It takes – I don’t know – eight hours a month that I don’t want to do.  ‘Cause I know what I’m good at.  Well, I’m good at accounting, but I don’t like accounting.  

Ryan:  Well, I have a question because here, we kind of have momentum from, you know, the outsourcing the V.A., do you find people, like maybe yourself ‘cause in you’re in this so much.  And the people that you work with, do they kind of get, like, an outsourcing bug where they’re just like wait a second, I’m doing A, B, and C and just, like, this is going really well.  Do you seem them, like, taking a step back and just looking at the whole picture and saying what else can I do, even if it’s like you said, for, again, maybe only eight hours a month?   Those are eight hours you do not want, and eight hours is an entire working day.  So is it just build momentum and kind of snowballs into looking at everything for how it can be outsourced? 

Ben:  Oh, that’s totally 100 percent true ‘cause I’ve done that.  I used to have an office manager that did a bunch of different things for us and she resigned, and I broke it up and split it out into a whole bunch of pieces.  Now it’s piecemealed together with six people and it’s cheaper.  

 Chase:  Let’s go, let’s keep going on that.  I’m very interested to know how you siloed, I guess, the tasks into six specific people to take over. 

Ben:   Yeah.  So, it was outreach.  We’ve now outsourced our outreach for guest blog posts.  We’ve outsourced our ghost writing for guest blog posts and our own blog posts.  I’ve outsourced the bookkeeping for our NASPO transcription services contract.  It’s a pseudo-government entity that requires a lot of paperwork and it’s time consuming.  It’s eight hours a month for 10 different states and the overall parent that oversees all 50 states.  It’s busy work I can do, I don’t necessarily like doing.  

Ryan:  Yeah.  And I hear you because – people that think, well, it’s only eight hours a month.  I might as well just deal with it.  It’s just that one day of the month that I hate doing it.  And it’s just like you’re saying, like, why even do it at all?  You don’t have to have that one day of the month that you hate.  Just don’t do it, just, like, find the person that will take care of that on a monthly basis ‘cause you’re always going to dread that day.  I know how it is for me, too, when I had to do some monthly SEO tasks I don’t want to do. 

Ben:  Yeah, totally.  It’s the same for anything that will take you a long time that you have to be in the zone for to do properly.  ‘Cause you can’t half ass it.  It has to be perfect or one of the 10 states or the parent organization is going to reach back out to us and say these numbers don’t match.  That this isn’t right, you need to redo it.  And every time you do that with them, it gives them that little seed of doubt.  And then, yeah, are we gonna re-up this contract with them?  Are we not?  They kept turning in the wrong paperwork.   And the quarter ends – let’s see – September 30th, and I know I have until October 31st to turn in the numbers.  So, if I were doing it myself, I’d be waiting ‘till, like, October 25th and then split it into three days, and lose track of what I was doing on day two and day one.  And I’m on the third day trying to finish it.  Yeah, it’s no fun.  

Chase:  That’s fine.  I can totally relate. 

Ryan:  Kind of going back to transcription for a bit, I’m sure that there are situations where law firms, depending on what they practice or if they’re, like, you know, frankly, not sure about every instance of having to transcribe anything or document.  But what are some instances where anyone that’s listening doesn’t currently transcribe, a situation where it would very beneficial for them long-term?  Like, for example, depositions oftentimes, like, transcribed and has the law firm taken care of that among other things?

Ben:  Yeah.  Some of the law firms that we work with that do a ton of depositions will have a court reporter onsite.  They don’t have to order the transcript though.  They can tell the court reporter not to do the transcripts because that’s another additional cost.  So, they can sit there and do their live thing and swear people in and be one of the witnesses.  By not ordering the transcripts then and there, they can wait to see if they even need it.  And then if they do need it down the road, they have the audio and they can send it to us.  And we can get it done really quickly.  The court reporter can also get it done ‘cause they their first copy, but they’re gonna have to go back through it, like they normally do anyway, and finish the transcript up.  Court reporters cost 50 percent more than us, though, so that’s another factor, you know, that goes into this, that law firms are starting to become more aware of is that they have an option.  They don’t have to use a court reporter.  And then, we have some law firms that do bunch of employment law.  So, they’re in and out of these short hearings all day.  They might have 10, 12, 15 hearings in a day.  They go outside the first hearing or fourth hearing and they dictate really quickly what happened.  And they use our iPhone app.  And then our people get it and transcribe what ends up being a letter based on what happened in that hearing and when the next hearing is that they were having their paralegals do.  Paralegals retire.  Paralegal quit.  Your law firm gets bigger.  They don’t want to hire more people ‘cause it’s not necessarily a full-time job.  It’s also a job that if you’re not trained at, it takes you a long time to get good at.  So, we’re doing it for them and it’s all online.  These employment law firms are in the north-east.  We’ve never met them in person.  We’ve talked to them on the phones many times.  We’ve never met them.  They use our iPhone app.  Their paralegals log on to our web platform and they pull everything down on their own. 

Ryan:  That’s a great point.  And you have an app that kind of directly goes into it.  It’s almost as if they’re out of the office.  They’re not in front of a computer or a note pad and they’re doing voice memos, and it’s going to be accurate.  They’re not gonna, like, look back and be like why did I say there’s a banana in my pocket.  They’re going to say like, oh, yeah, now I know what I said.  So, it’s just, like, ensuring that your thoughts and what is top of the mind in that moment is going to be as you said it, nothing better. 

Ben:  Oh, yeah.  You’re 100 percent right.  And the more familiar we become with our clients and individual attorneys, the smoother it goes because we get used to them and we know what they’re saying.  We know what they’re gonna say.  We know who they’re referring to because we have their old transcripts, their old letters, we have all of that.  Our transcriptionists are all college educated.  They’re legitimately intelligent people that know what they’re doing.  So they get back letters that are ready to go out to another attorney, to a court.  Yeah. 

Chase:  So, Ben, I guess if you can leave our listeners with one or two more takeaways, what would you see?

Ben:  Give virtual assistants a try.  They can help tremendously.  There are ones out there that are really good at what they do too and they can be highly specific.  So, if you’re a patent attorney you can find a virtual assistant that specializes in patent law research and they really know what they’re doing.  And kind of getting use to the fact that you don’t have to have everything under your roof.  They don’t have to be down the hall from you to turn in good work.  We act as an extension of our client’s offices.  And when it runs well, we never hear from them ‘cause they’re not pissed off.  And we haven’t heard from our law firm clients in ages, but they still pay us on time, all the time because we’re doing a good job for them.  So, yeah, it’s the whole comfort factor with they’re not down the hall from me.  I don’t employ this person.  They are not W2.  Getting over that hurdle, yeah, that will help open a lot more doors to efficiency within a law firm.  

Chase:  And if people want to reach out and possibly work with you or Transcription Outsourcing, what’s the best way to get in contact?

Ben:  They can go to our website and fill out the little Contact Us form at TranscriptionOutsourcing.net.  

Sign-Off:  Thanks for listening to the Legal Mastermind podcast.  If you’re interested in working with Ryan and Chase, please email Mastermind@marketmymarket.com.  Make sure to join the free Mastermind group for growing and managing your firm at LawfirmMastermind.com.  Ryan Klein and Chase Williams are the managing partners at Market My Market, one of the top legal marketing companies in the United States.    

This Episode Transcribed By: Transcription Outsourcing, LLC

EP 73 – Mike Morse – The Roadmap to Taking Your Firm from Unpredictability to Profitability

Mike Morse is the Author of Fireproof and Founder of Mike Morse Law Firm, the largest personal injury firm in Michigan. Mike has been practicing law for the past 28 years. In 2011, he lost all of his business and decided to take everything that he had learned to television. With all of the things that he has learned along the way, he wanted to draw out a road map for young lawyers, or lawyers who may be struggling, to go from unpredictability to profitability. 

If you would like to learn more or reach out to Mike personally, email him at mike@855mikewins.com. You can also find him on social media by visiting any of the following links below.

Mike’s New Book – Fireproof : https://geni.us/fireproof
Instagram : www.instagram.com/855mikewins
Facebook : www.facebook.com/mikemorselawfirm
Twitter : https://twitter.com/855mikewins
LinkedIn : www.linkedin.com/company/mikemorselawfirm
YouTube : www.youtube.com/mikemorselawfirm

Perception of the Law Firm Being a Business

Business is business. A good business coach does not need to know your particular business. Mike could take the skills that he has learned and go teach a dental practice or a digital marketing practice or a manufacturing firm because it really is all the same. You may care about your business, want to bring in more business, and have great ideas, but those ideas do not mean anything if they don’t get traction and you don’t have anybody to get them done. Until lawyers figure out that they need an Integrator, or a COO, or an Office Manager, they will just be stuck. 

Finding the Most Success in Finding the Right Hire

Mike has found the most success in finding those hires through word of mouth, networking, social media, and offering incentives to current employees to bring in other great employees. You just have to look around – they still do the traditional sources as well, such as Indeed. They test every employee in the HR department and he lays everything out in his book, Fireproof, of how they test, what tests they give, why they test, the importance of tests, how to ask good questions, why to ask questions, etc. Hiring the best people – surrounding yourself with the best people – is obviously a large part of the process.

Resources, Systems, or References to Consider

EOS will structure your business, but it does not give you any support other than the 5 meetings that you will have per year. Mike encourages people to find a more regular consultant or coach, which can be difficult to find. People do not necessarily need hand-holding, but if you are looking for more assistance, you can email Mike personally. He and his team use CasePacer as their case management system, Lead Docket to manage their intake, and have proprietary accounting software that they use as well. Mike is happy to answer any specific questions that you may have if you would like to reach out to him personally.

Everybody has a different pain-point. If you collect your data, and you organize that data and look at it daily, when a question or a problem comes up, you will be able to answer it and make really good decisions. Mike sees how successful several lawyers are without this stuff, but imagine how successful they could be with all of this stuff as well. A lot of law firms are already successful, so it is hard for them to make adjustments. They are more resistant to change because the perception of success is already there. You cannot do it without a set structure and you cannot do it alone. Even if they are the greatest lawyers in the world, they don’t know how to take it to the next level because they are so busy working in the business.