Business of Law Track - How to Run a Modern Law Firm
The morning, all, right I'm so excited about this, today. Because. We're going to talk about like, my favorite things. Food. And. Lawyering. And business. So. As. She, said my name is Billie Taurasi oh I'm the owner of modern law which is a family law firm in Phoenix. A lot of my team is here I. Don't practice law anymore I stopped, at the at. The beginning of 2018. And. Really just focused now on building. And growing the business which is hard and. It's hard to do both access. Legal is modern laws sister, company, it's, a legal document prep. Company so paralegal, assisted divorce it's it's, our low. Cost low. Bono pro, bono arm so, we have resources for people, who can't afford attorneys and then, modern law practice. Is. All about taking the best practices, and lessons from, the industry, and across the industry to build an infrastructure. For your firm and today we're gonna talk about that we're going to talk about building an infrastructure for your law firm, so. Who. Likes pizza. Everybody. Loves pizza a. Couple, fun things about pizza October, is national, pizza month hearing, that say it's fun. Everyone. In America, eats about 46, slices a year, and, pizza. Accounts for 10% of. All food, sales in the entire nation this is a big deal I. Am. Proposing. That you think about your law firm the way you think about pizza and the. Dough the. Crust is your, foundation, it's. Your base values, that your vision values and culture and it really sets, up, your, law firm to grow it's, everything. That you build your pizza on top of the, sauce is, the, next most important, layer and that's your people that's, who you hire that's your, systems and your processes, and the way that your law firm works, makes, everything flow. Together it's the next layer cheese. Is getting clients. You. Need clients really, you need you, need to know what you're doing which is your crust you need the right people on, your team and you need cheese for an amazing pizza but after that comes toppings which is the really fun part that we'd like to spend a lot of time on and that's the data and the key performance indicators. And the technology, and the automation which I love but. If you, don't have the other layers it can be hard to really make those work for you as well as they could and then we have after, banks or the extras. Like, basil. Fresh. Basil on your pizza or. Parmesan. Or a glass of wine that just makes it better and for me those are things like subscription, services, alternative. Offerings, cool, flat fees or workshops, those, fun things that are maybe outside. Of what we do as our core function of the law firm but are pretty cool and make your law firm all that much better so. Let's, talk about your vision values and culture and why they're so important. Your. Vision value and culture should be your. Constitution, and if you think about the, Constitution, of the United States it, says, a lot about who we are as a country and, you, can read our Constitution, and know kind of what we're about. It's. So powerful that people from all over the world, can. Know, our Constitution, know our values and be drawn to us so, when your law firm culture, and, vision. And values are that locked down are that specific, you, have a cheat sheet you now have something that will tell you exactly who you are that will help you hire the right people that will help you build on top of now, how, many people. Have. One. Of these in, their, law firm stated, values right now integrity, knowledge compassion, professionalism, bridge and if one, of those is part of your law firm values, okay. Not as many as I thought I thought. There would be a lot more. But. This. Was this. These were our values, the first time we went through this exercise and. What. Does it say about my. Law firm, absolutely.
Nothing Absolutely. Nothing, my, law firm could be like any other law firm so it's not a constitution, it doesn't help you make decisions. But. It's hard to get this done right and I know that because I we did it wrong we, went. Through an exercise of trying to figure out who we were and the first time we did it just didn't go well and. It takes a long long time, so in my firm here's what happened we were falling. Apart we'd, started out as a low-cost. Pay-as-you-go. Law firm when, I first opened in Arizona so it was $99, now it was Paige ago there was no trust money like we knew exactly who we were we, got a thousand, clients in year one we. Knew everybody. We, knew exactly what we were doing but that meant that we were hiring contract, lawyers we we couldn't pay great salaries, like it was hard and it turned, out that that wasn't the law firm that I wanted. And we began to morph into something else that looked like a more traditional firm, we had trust accounts. We. We. Were now, not doing just limited scope as we were when I first opened and that. Was great we were making a lot of money we had more clients than ever it was going well but we didn't really know who we were I'd. Never taken the time to figure out okay we were really crystal clear that we were this low-cost, limited scope firm increasing, access to justice that's who we were and then. We had become something else which I think just happens, and we didn't know what that was and as a result everything was sort of falling apart everybody, was bickering, people were unhappy, lots. Of clients were unhappy and I ran around trying to put out fires everywhere, I went bring, me your problems I'll fix them I'll fix them I'll fix them that. Didn't really work but I kept trying until. It. Was clear that this, was gonna fall out like the bottom of this law firm was gonna fall out if I didn't do something and so I brought in a facilitator, and we. Did it a retreat, and she went through and she took us through communication. Exercises. And, we took some personality. Testing, and we really kind of learned more about who we were and we started. A structure. Of, agendas. And meetings, and things that real companies, do and it was great and part of that was are our, values. Work, where. We came up with. Where. We came up with integrity knowledge, compassion. Professionalism. And. It. Was really useful it, was really useful things got better we, became. More structured, then, I came to Clio in I. Think it was, 2015.
And Saw, Jules Millard talk on culture, and she. Talked about the difference between Facebook. Apple and Google. And the different. Constitutions. That they have their different, values, and we. All think Facebook Apple and Google are I mean they're all in the same area they're, all giant tech companies they're all they're pretty similar right no, they're not the way that they approach business, and their values and what drives them is not the same and she. Described. What that looked like and I realized, I had done it wrong. We. Didn't know who, we were really so. We, went back to the office I took Jules, sent me the presentation. We, did a all-day retreat, with the team and for. The first time I really started listening, to my. People, tell, me what, they thought was, important, in our firm what they valued, and I had never before. Really. Truly, listened, to my employees, in that way I'd listen to them complain. I mean. That in the nicest way guys I'd. Listen to them tell me what they didn't, like but I had never listened, to the things that that, truly. Made. Them want to work at modern law. And. So. I realized a couple things, serving. My employees. Was. Gonna be just as important, as serving, my clients I was always thinking, about my clients, right getting, them what they needed but, I can't do business without, employees, either I can't. Run my firm, without, great, employees, who, know what we're doing, and. So. We spent about a half a day writing, down on sticky notes all these things that they valued, and. All these things that I valued and then I took those away and I lived with them and they put them on my wall and, I lived them for about six weeks and, and. Went. Through this great, self-reflection. Exercise, and. Came. Up with three, values and these. Values are really. To my core Who I am, your. Values, your law firm values, belong. To the owner they're, shared, by your team but, if you as the owner don't. Find. Them, and it's not it's not you're not aspiring, to be them you're not deciding, who you want to be you're, uncovering. The. Magic, that you have what makes you great what makes you tick why should people come to you and the reason that's, is because, you're gonna use that for hiring and we're gonna get there but these are the three values that we came up with whole health growth. And then, creativity. Optimism, bravery, and empathy which stands we we turned that into Kobe, full. Acronym, for our made-up word Kobe.
And. Those. Are all well and good right, those, are pretty I love the pictures but. I. Took, each one of them and, wrote. Down what does this mean what is the contract, between, me. And my clients, what am i promising. Through my values that I'm going to do for my clients, and then. What, is the contract. That I am making with my employees what am i promising, my employees, and, I. Know this is a little long but we're gonna go through it because, it's. Hard to, understand. To ative but for clients it means that we serve our clients with long-term benefits and whole health and minds we communicate, in the ways that best suits the clients for some it's phone, others prefer email some prefer in-person meetings, we're looking for the best solution for you sometimes, this means going around, the legal process and not through it okay. The. Reason it's important to have this written down is because it tells clients, what to expect and. It's it's our commitment to, them it also dictates, the way that we practice law we're. Not gonna simply, March everyone, through a process, we're not we're going to look for creative solutions. We're going to try to go around the legal system we're making, a commitment. To keep in mind their long-term. Whole. Health. Similarly. Same. Thing for operations, every, person in my firm has different preferences styles limitations, we, have flexibility, and accountability, this was something I always struggled, with because I'm not a micromanager. I'm hands off I want, people to just do what they're supposed to do right we're, entrepreneurs a, lot from owners and entrepreneurs and. Mostly. What that means is we get, our stuff done and we kind of you know we don't need a whole lot of guidance but most. People. Are not the same way and if you have a team if everybody. Does their own thing you don't have an actual company so. Coming. Up with this, way. To articulate. The need to balance. No accountability. And ultimate, flexibility, was tough and we do that through data and we do that through KPIs, it also says here that we're going to invest in, everything. My, employees, physical, emotional and spiritual health not just jelly's that means we, in my firm pay for counseling for anybody who wants to get, counseling we. I. Recently, told, someone I would pay for a. Personal. Trainer if that was something that they wanted to do to meet their goals so this, is my commitment to them, at. The, same time they have to meet their obligations to, the company and to the claims. So. How. Does this get applied to, the firm you, need to make some decisions about who you are are. You call if I were crusts, are. You whole-wheat, are you thin are you deep-dish, nobody. Can be amazing. And be all of these things, so. You have to take some time and really think about this because then once, you know who you are once you really, live, with it and breathe it and write it down everything. Gets easier that's why this is the crust and that's the most important, first hack. Next. Comes sauce and, sauce this flavor, it's. It's. What makes everything stick, together, and, all the toppings and cheese stay on better you can have peace of that sauce but it's just not great this. Is your people your processes, hiring, is hard. Hiring. Is really hard and management, and training is probably harder at least for me and getting, the right people makes, this a whole lot easier people. Plus a structure. Makes. The management, work and anytime our management falls off we, suffer people, need ongoing support just. Like any other relationship so. Determining. If you have the right people is the first step this is, a tool from the book traction, attraction. Is probably. My, favorite. Most recommended. Business book if you haven't read traction read a this, thing is called the people analyzer and here's how it works you, take the, values. On the top and your, people's names on the, side, and then, you go through and, you evaluate. Does. Do, my employees. Possess. These values. All the, time which is a plus, sometimes. + / - or not really negative, and we, do this every single quarter because things. Change. We, hired a gentleman about. About. A year ago and we. Went through the people analyzer and I think, he really really wanted, to. Embody. These values, and we thought that he did but it's kind of clear over the year that it just wasn't working like, we had want a performance improvement plan clients, are complaining employees, are complaining like it wasn't going well so. And every quarter we do reviews, and so we sat down with my managing attorney and we went through this. Exercise and. When we got to that person's. Name it was, all negatives, and it.
Was Just in, two days he was he was got like it does it this is not personal it just cannot work like, if you don't share the values of the firm you will not work here's why when, people come to hire mater in law they want me it's, not just that they want me Billy they want the essence, of of. What. We are selling, what I'm selling to them which is creative. Solutions, empathy, it's it's, being, a supportive, friend who's on their journey that's. The energy they come to hire so, if, I try to hand off a client that hires me to a, lawyer. Who's grumpy. It. Doesn't, work and, I tried it I mean we so when we first went through this exercise I had this and gentlemen working for me who was fabulous just, really good I had done a great job hiring, him by all traditional. Methods. We. We. Had my. Facilitator, had helped me hire him I had talked to his bosses I talked to his co-worker I talked to his clients he was a solid, attorney but the dude was grumpy he, didn't want to be friends with anybody. We. Were out on a Christmas party and and, Caitlin, my office manager asked, him like are, we friends now and he's like we're friendly and, this was like two years so even. Though I really like this guy and he's awesome, he had to go like he just didn't it wasn't a good fit right. And that's why that's important so, how. Do you attract the right people I use, I think about, hiring like dating, like, you, can have that profile, like, my friend that I was just talking about who had to go who. Met all the boxes checked all, the boxes. But. You're really looking for kind of chemistry you're kind of looking for magic if you're, gonna work with these people for years and years 40, or more hours a week you, want to click so. One, of the things that I'm doing now is I'm making my team superstars in our branding, why, to attract the right people so. They. Told, me it was important to have a work/life balance, totally agree 100% we, now close early every Friday and do yoga for anybody who wants to so, this is Darrin who's over here. Doing. The crow and we. Put this stuff on social media we have a campaign about, modern, law so that people, who want that who, are attracted, to that now come to me for jobs it's.
Not Like it's foolproof, we also use the people analyzer we still do background checks but that sort of thing helps make, sure that you get the right people on board. So. Manager. Tools. Management. Has been the hardest thing for me to tackle and the most important, it's made. Arguably. One, of the biggest differences, in my firm and we. Do a lot of different experiments but this this particular one managing your people is just, critically. Important, so. Check out manager, tools which is a ton. Of online free, tools, one. On ones is the. The. Crux. Of any, employer, employee, relationship and. Not just employer employee but like report, management, and person, under you one-on-ones. Every, time I tell people to do this they kind of groan like. Oh really you want me to set aside a half an hour to meet with people and just listen to them yes I do these. People are working for you and they're making you money set. Aside a half an hour to listen to them make, it happen I promise, you'll be worth your time you'll end up spending less, time on, problems. And never, will your law firm fall apart on you how many people have heard horror stories of. Mass. Exodus from law firms. Right. At. Modeling practice we have a client right now who just experienced. That that, can never happen if you're doing one-on-ones, because people will tell you everything you'll. Know exactly what's going on in your firm and they wanted to you everything they want to be heard and they, want to solve problems that's, the other thing that this this, structure, has allowed us to do is because. We now have this transparency. And. We have the right people and we have the right team and we're doing management, we're doing one-on-ones, my. Team. Solves. Problems, now I don't. Run, around trying to solve everyone's problems and they don't look to me to solve problems, they come. To me with solutions, they come to me with hey I think this is wrong and I think here's what we should do to try to fix it it's incredible. And that, is what happens when you go to, relationship. Based management and you know who you are that's why this crust, and the sauce are the first two things that we're talking about radical. Candler is another book that I highly recommend you check out. It's. Really good and it's, the, radical. Candor, and the basic premise is, care, deeply and. Speak. Truth do. Not hold back, so. Working. At my firm is hard. We. Did a retreat, not long ago, where. The. First rich. The, first. Opening. Of this retreat, every. Single person in my firm told every other person in the office what, their greatest strengths, was to the organization, and their, greatest weakness to the organization.
Right. I, love that look cuz it's like you want me to do watch. But. That's radical. Candor, and it. Was crazy cool people, were crying, they're. Hugging like. They, love each other very very much and when people get off everybody. Else knows it they're here to support them I have a team that doesn't have turnover and that's why because, of radical, candor it's. Amazing. Hold, meetings, there's, a reason, that companies, real, companies, that operate, and make money and are profitable, and have, business models that are functioning, really well they have meetings so, do it have. Them weekly have them quarterly have them have them annually and when, you get off track and you still will it's not like everything's perfect we get off track all the time but when we get off track we just get back on a whole lot faster this. Is the sauce when, you got sauce everything, just works better. Next. Is cheese um. Cheese. Is clients this is marketing, intake. Consultations. And getting. Your clients actually in the door if you think about Jack's, life, cycle this, is everything, up until what. Clio used to do before they hired letter before they acquired lexico to make, sense on the continuum client, journey cool, and I love this so. Why. Do people choose you Jack, stole, my talk. Wulfric, no it's okay he didn't know. I'm. Miss Gibb ahead here's. A hack go, to your reviews, and, read. What, your clients are telling you they value and then. Take, those, words. And, use. Them in your marketing materials and make sure that you're delivering on, what it is that they value so I picked three from Oppo and. None. Of them talked about my experience, and none, of them talk, about where, went to law school none. Of them really even talked about whether or not I won. But. What they do is say there is a theme they, want to be informed they they. Want to know what's happening. Communication. Your. People your your employees want more feedback than you're giving them they, do they want more communication, than you're giving them your clients do to your clients will never complain about too much communication ever and. Feeling. Like you had a friend and being guided and being supported next, one same thing I was. Referred to believe by a close friend and I got what a sense of relief she. Seemed to understand where I was at emotionally, supportive. And encouraging. Timely. And responses, timely, and responses, answered my questions made me feel comfortable prepared, and knowledgeable and fun, to work with so. Use. This look. At your reviews study, them if you, don't have reviews look at other people look at the lawyers that you like and see, what clients are saying if we want to know what our clients, are thinking all we have to do is ask and then listen and incorporate. That idea, incorporate. What they want and your values, into. Every, single, marketing material, you have this. Is your hack now you know what to say have fun right. Now. What do you do with your leads it, takes a big deal intake, is probably, the number one opportunity that we all have to make more money immediately like today like go back to your law office and make more money today by, changing, intake. Think. About who you have answering, your phone and what, other jobs they have going and whatever what, other things, are, what. Other things are, you asking, them to do do, they have time to. Be present. On. The. Phone do they have time to answer it when it calls do they have time to be present are they. Sounding, disconnected. Or not. Because. Every. Single client in. My. Firm is worth. $6,500. That's our average client spend and. When you think about it that way. Every. Single time somebody calls you. Have the opportunity, to be making roughly $6,500, and, we'll break that down percentage-wise. But. If you don't have somebody who's there and who's present, you're, missing opportunities. Then. We've. Got the consultation. We. Break too consultations. Are not like lawyering consultations. As sales lawyers. Hate the word sales but it is this is sales and so, it's, really hard to do to, be present for, sales if you've got a million other things that you're doing right you're in the middle of drafting, it's really hard so, but. I need you to think about this as a separate, skill set and the way that we think about it we break down the constellation into three steps really your greeting, where you're bonding, and.
Connecting. Likability. Active. Listening which is a good forty or so minutes of the consultation, is just listening, to the client and asking, them questions, I'm not issue spotting I'm not, analyzing, what I'm doing is seeking to understand. Because, you can't it's. So easy for us to just jump to problem, solving. But. We. Usually don't have all the information to, solve the problem in the best way without, truly, listening, we usually, jump, to the legal solution, and sometimes that's awful one, example I had somebody come, in. And the. The notes were horrible like three people had turned her down. To. Work with her other lawyers were like no we're not gonna touch this this is awful. She okay so here's the quick fat pattern she had she. Was married but she. Had. Two, babies via, IVF, and the. Dad. The, husband, was not the dad and the. Husband also like biologically, wasn't the dad and had, not adopted the babies, and. He. Was bipolar and, like. Off the rails like. Abusive. I think. Suicide attempt, hospitalized, like we had an issue um. The. Legal process would have been tough for this but you know what we just orchestrated. An out-of-court, settlement, based, on all the facts we had and like wrapped that up but, it unless we really listened to our clients and like pull out all of the information well what did he do and you know really really understand, the, motivations, of people then we can't do a great job we can't solve their problems as well as we could and then closing, which is true sales how do you close the deal so, it's, important, to practice each of these steps and then we use a plain language fee agreement one, of the things that I really like that, I'm sort of obsessed with is. Psychology. Books and. Influence. Is one of the best ones that you can read people. Make decisions, based. On pre-programmed. Hacks. That we've developed as humans, over the years that are, universal. To all cultures. And. We. Can, and should be. Incorporating. These hacks, into. Our. Processes. To. Serve our clients and absolutely. To get business to close business deals. After. You get clients. Then. You get to really that now you have now, you have room right you have you, know the kind of dough that you're using you. Know the, kind of pizza that you're offering you've got the right people on your team, you've. Got clients. You. Know your process and now we get to do fun stuff like, automate. And use, tech, and use, data to, make hacks, and make your practice even better now. Have. You ever tried, pizza, before, with toppings that you hated. Yeah. You have did you like the pizza. No. So. One. Of the things that I think we often do is, we. Will. See, a really cool technology, we'll. Try to implement it in our law firm and then we'll write our processes. Around the technology how, many of us have tried that I, try. That. And. That's. Not it's, not the best way to do it the best way to do it is to figure out how you want something done and then, find technology that makes it easier to do it, one. Of the ways we did this was with Trello. So this is Trello how many people have used two Trello before, it's. Cool trelles, cool. John Grant was. He's. A big agile guy and I, was working with him and trying, to figure out processes. And workflows and, project management for cases because one of the ways that we can communicate proactively. With our clients, is by. Knowing. What's happening next and not being in reactive, mode we. Many. Of us wait. To deal with things. That need to be dealt with and when, we get an email or when we get a document in the door as opposed to knowing what we're doing with our cases so. What. We did with Trello was. We, took every. Friday morning for a little while for about three months we had a meeting every Friday morning and we, took a wall and we put each case name on sticky notes in columns, the. Onboarding. Column. The. Pretrial. Conferences. Column, the. Like. We, call this phase two which is like mediation, discovery. Third, party experts, trial, prep and trial, sorry, and. We. We took each, client. That we had we put them on a different color sticky note that, correspondent, with the attorney that was working on their case and then, had a little checklist in each race and you got to move the cards along the wall to, move your cases forward and that's how we learned project, management because none of us have been taught project management, it's, not that hard but at the same time it's not something that we've been taught it's not something that's ever been talked about and, once. We got the concept and we got it physically, and it worked for us and we perfected what we wanted to have on our checklist for the different phases then, we started using Trello, and, this.
Is My fun game, of Thrones board you. Have Sansa, Stark and Brienne, of Tarth on there, in. These different phases in their family law case. So. But using, doing. It. Manually. Before, doing, it technologically. Just made the process of implementation, within the firm that much easier. Why. Is data. Importance. We're. Instead, of telling you I'm going to show you. We're. Gonna walk through. Intake. Sales leads and what happens when you make tweaks and what that does to your bottom line so. Here's what we track in terms of sales. Key. Performance indicators, leads. How. Many of them scheduled how, many of them attend how, many of them become clients. How. Many new clients are we getting each month what. Is the average client, spend and therefore. How, much monthly, revenue are we bringing in. Here's. The baseline a. Hundred. Leads 50, of them scheduled 30, initial. Consultations, happen a month our conversion, rate is 50, percent so we're getting 15 new clients a month we. Know that the average spend is. $6,500. And so, our baseline, monthly. Revenue is roughly, $100,000. Okay, so, at the beginning of 2018. I. Started. Really, focusing, on tweaking, intake, and. Worked. With an outside, team to. Do to, take over intake, and, really. Study these numbers and try, different things and really figure out how to impact, these numbers, and what, happens when I brought in this outside team is. Now. I wasn't spending any more money on marketing but. The, number of leads stay, the same but, the number of people that scheduling, was now up to 65, and, 45. People were showing up now. We left our conversion. Rate exactly, the same that meant I was now getting 22, new clients, a month, I kept. The average, client spend exactly the same night didn't change but now my. Monthly revenue was. A hundred, and almost 150, thousand dollars only, by changing intake. This, is monthly, revenue. But. I stopped doing consultations and. None. Of these numbers always stay the same and. When. I stopped doing consultations our, conversion, rate dropped, so. We, had a hundred leads we had 65 people scheduled 45 people showed up for ICS but our conversion rate dropped from 50 to 40 doesn't, sound like a big deal right well, instead.
Of Having 20 to new clients we were only getting 18, new clients. Which. Meant our monthly, revenue was down at 117. Thousand because we track it we knew the SID fallen we knew this was an issue so, we, decided to do a workshop and. We did a workshop where for a couple of hours we, went. Through everything. That I talked about before about how I think that we should do consultations. What's our greeting look like how is someone greeted. When they come in I want them greeted by name I want you to smile I want my receptionist to find something, they like to compliment them on because. It's the nice thing to do and this is how humans work I want, you to offer them something and to give them something because when someone receives a gifts gift, it impacts, the way they feel and it makes them more likely to like you and then buy from you and it's, too easy give them something just give them a hot drink, and. Then. We walked through role. Playing and listening and this, was kind of cool because I, had. Done a podcast on Lorestan, intake and I talked about how important it is to listen to your clients and stop talking and how. Your clients think you're smarter, the less you say it's. Pretty crazy but it's true. And I. Was talking to one very experienced, lawyer who was like I don't know Billy that might work for you but I, just I don't know I. Tried. That and it didn't, work so. And, I. Get it you know but. Then we role-played and, she. Had a character, of a client. And another lawyer was being the lawyer and. In. In, the midst of role-playing. The, lawyer was explaining, lots of good information and. I watched, my my. I'm, sorry, the fake lawyer in the roleplay we're. Gonna call her Jane Jane. Was explaining, and Jill. Was listening and I watched Jill's eyes kind, of glaze over as as. Jane, was talking about. Dividing. Property and, I just, stopped her and I was like well how did that make you feel and she. She was like I guess I feel talk dad and it was just it was one of these aha, moments, and so each of us going through this workshop and role. Playing was, was crazy, positive, everybody. Walked out like we had learned something this was a sales skill that we'd never had and we don't get to practice but here's what's really cool. Our. Conversion, rates went, to 76, percent. Which. Meant. Which. Meant that our. Sixty-five. Scheduled, and 45 consultations. Ended. Up with 34, new clients, if. You don't change the average client spend our revenue. Now, is over, $200,000, and so in the midst of experimenting. For a few months, on, intake. Revenue. Doubled. That's. Why data matters. That's. Why we have key performance, indicators, that's, why we live and breathe. Data. And, we. Are accountable to one another now. If you don't know these numbers you. Don't know when to hire I know, every, time I'm getting five new clients a month I need a new lawyer I know. Based. On how many lawyers I have how many clients I need to be getting because, I know these, numbers I know the capacity of the lawyers I know the. Average client spend which is not an easy number to find you, have to dig, through Cleo, to get that it's, there, but it's not easy to get, but. It will predict your growth. So. To execute. What. I'm suggesting. You. Need your layers right your, foundation, the, right people managing. Those right people the. Way that you're communicating the, right clients, that's, the other thing that this does is now because we're really clear about who, we are and how we practice, if.
The. Wrong client comes to us we, just don't work with them like. We know that we are going, to practice, creativity. Creatively. Optimistically. Bravely. Which, means it's. Okay not to win all the time it's okay to take risks on behalf of our clients that they might want us to take that, we're going to keep their whole health in mind and the whole health of their family so we're not gonna do anything that's really nasty just, to inflict pain on the other side cuz it doesn't feel good and being, lawyers hard, and taking home other people's baggage is hard and being used as a weapon to hurt other families isn't what we're gonna do so, it, makes it really great because we can tell the clients. We. Can tell our potential, clients what it's like to work with us and what they can expect and what the deal is. The. Deal is here's how we're gonna practice and here's, what's expected from you and when. When, that balance, shifts, when we lose that we, simply tell them to go. Now. After, you do all of those fun, things you've, got your pizza made. Everything's. Working, then, we get to start experimenting with super fun other things and for us that's, access, legal where, we have paralegal, assisted divorce, we. Built. A technology, platform a few years ago I did that out of order so don't do that. Public. Facing documents, one of the things we're gonna start experimenting now, with, is workshops, the idea of letting, people who are representing, themselves come in and get legal. Help, from. A lawyer that's not a one-to-one ratio, so, now. We get to look at all of these other creative, fun opportunities. That are out there to serve our clients in different ways. Flat. Fees packages. All of these are great fun things, that you get to add to your pizza I. Went. Quickly. So. We, have time for questions or I can go back and fill ins and. Yes. Right. That's. A great question so he said how do you how. Do you hand. Off clients, who come to hire you, this, is this guy we spent a lot of time talking about this in our workshop, because. It's an issue and the, way that it works best, is, to. Think about other companies in other companies the salespeople do not do, what. It, is that whatever. It is like if they're, selling you a software they're not implementing, it and, the way that they do it is confidently, so, if. You listen, to your clients very carefully, and then. You say to them. You're. Gonna work with so-and-so so-and-so. Is the best person to work on your case because blank, blank blank you. Have this this and this going on and they're great at this this and this if you were my sister this is who I would have you work with why not within our firm then, they'd just do it you. You set up you. Set up a handoff meeting you bring the person in and then as long as they're being well served they won't have a problem. If. They're either a problem, client who's, just hell-bent, on being unhappy then, we get rid of them. And. We also make expectations, really clear like this is how it's going to be if you're not happy with this it's, probably not gonna work and. That. Usually. Works, yes. And. Yeah. So the question, is how. Do you know when it's time to break up with a client I translated. That but that's that's essentially what she's asking. Well. How, do you know what it's time to break up any relationship, right you're you're, listening, to, each other you're talking you're, setting boundaries you're trying to meet them where they're at you, know you're you're. Checked, into your role in their life which, is you, know to support, them through a process and, when, you're no longer helping, them when. They won't be helped by you they're, not listening you're not adding value that's, the conversation I have I don't feel like I'm adding any value here it, feels like you don't trust me radical, candor. It. Works really well just really, honest, it doesn't sound like you want doesn't, sound like this is getting, you where you want to go maybe we should get you to another attorney most, the time they're like no no no okay, you're right.
Okay. Hi. So how do you motivate. Your, team, with. Analyzing. The sales because obviously. Well. The sales to generate. More clients that's going to help the firm obviously. So do, you tie that into if. You help the firm develop. Business there is a bonus at the end of this for you or what, what's the buy-in for, your team to really create, more work for the office okay, so, great, question a. Couple. Questions actually, so, our team has a bonus structure that's a group, bonus, structure when. We. As a company hit, our target. Revenue and our target, Net Promoter Score in a quarter, everybody. Bonuses, a set amount that's. A non discretionary. Bonus people. Can get additional. Discretionary, bonuses, on top of that for individual performance, but, the group bonus, that's just how it is and we're. Meeting and talking about these numbers every week so everybody knows where we're at there's, buy-in because, of transparency. Because. We as a group talk about why, this is important, and what these numbers are and how we're trending, and. We. Go over every piece of client, feedback that we get also as part of these meetings so if we get a review or a Net Promoter Score that's part of our agenda on Fridays, when we're having our company meeting and we go over it that, coupled, with the numbers creates, buy-in, your, other question. Was, how do I incentivize. Them to create business, and I, really don't, or I haven't until, now. I've I've. That. Part, has always been, my, job and my, role we. Recently, created a marketing team though and I. Think I was doing this wrong because. I. Think. I was doing this wrong the same way that I had tried to kind of handle things myself and, tackle, problems myself I had always said don't worry about marketing I'll do it myself, well cuz, I liked it but nevertheless. We, started a marketing, committee and. One. Of our paralegals, had, a friend at the Teamsters, and now we're doing all their legal work and, what, somebody else is really great at BNI, networking, and now we're doing that and, so I think I. Think. I'm. On a journey just like every single one of you are but, learning. Together, what, we're trying to accomplish and then bring people in who want to be on that to help achieve those goals is is, the best way to do it I. Don't know what that will mean as, far as bonuses, or compensation but it's something that we'll talk about and if they have ideas they'll tell me they'll. Say here's what I think you should do. Yeah. Yes. Okay. So it. Was a great question so if you're growing, there's. So much to do one. Of the things that has. Really helped, is. So. We have these quarterly meetings and part of the quarter meetings are rocks. Which, is another term that came from traction, and these, are. Projects. Infrastructure. Projects, so I'm not doing it all myself, even, though I'm the only owner. Whatever. It is that we're working on checklists. Processes. Procedures right, now. Candace, one of my paralegals over here is championing. Uniform. Billing within, my law office and everybody. Takes a different piece. That's. How we can do it and still, take care of our children and sleep and go to yoga and all those things. Yeah. It is hard hi. Um so. I have actually a few questions I'm right here hi hi can you tell us how many people are in your team and then I'm also interested in how many people are involved in the intake, sales process, and, what software you use for the intake just to kind of figure out what, the funnel looks like sure I, think the team is 15.
15. People. And. That is, does. That count intake. No. No, it doesn't kind of intake so our intake team we. Actually have a partnership with a, company. That's. That's, that, we've created an, intake process with. So. They are executing. The intake, process that. I first, designed within the firm. Whitney. Over, here used to do intake within the firm and now. She's doing marketing, and other cool stuff, so. The. Software that I'm using now. Looks. Kind of like I don't know if you're at the launch code yesterday, but it's it's a two different pieces it's. A scheduling, software. It's a CRM, and email. Campaigns. But. I think a lot of us have a tendency to focus too much on the software the. Software isn't what makes you wait what, makes it magic, what makes it magic, is the, steps that. The people take, then. We the software, gives, us data the. Software, gives, us checklist, and prompts, on what the people need to do but, the real magic is, answering. The phone and being present, and asking, the right questions that are not how many kids do you have but. Oh my gosh when did this happen, tell. Me more about that. Do. You have family around supporting you like these are not legal questions, but, that. Magical. People. Are like oh my gosh this is who I want to work with these, people care about me they're gonna move me along in my journey that is who I want so. Does that answer your question, it does Thanks yes. How. Did you come up with that. Chart. The little sheet you had for your personnel, evaluations. And can you show that slide again yes. Yeah. Let's walk through that. Okay, so. The. Sorry. The. Worksheet. Is, from, the book traction. They. Have, what's called the entrepreneurial. Operating. System. And, a lot of what we do is based on, the. Infrastructure. That they suggest, and this is. A tool from that so. The. Values, on top are your values so before you can do this you, have to take that retreat.
And Really figure out who. Am i at my core, like, what is it that makes me unique. And, like, why, do people, hire me and what do I love about my job that. Will. Allow. You to figure out your values that go on top and then, your, people, go along the side and then you're just asking. Do. Does. Kylie, embody. A growth mindset, all. The time, sometimes. Or. Never, and, people. Go through phases like. Let's. Say somebody gets in a slump that's gonna happen it doesn't mean you fire them immediately, you, might have a talk about it you know you might say hey it feels like you're you've been down lately what's going on that sort of thing. What. Else. Yes. Geno. Wickham, is the, author of traction. Yes. Yeah, absolutely, yeah. You can't report. The numbers of the people tracking, time and have them not know your revenue you know, what I mean like it's we, we, have a an annual, goal and actually we've got a 10-year, goal which is ten million dollars and then, we're working backwards and so we've, got a number this year and that number changes and, everybody knows what it is and everybody knows if we're on track, that's. I don't, know why. People. Are. Uncomfortable talking about money that's, let's, just. Get out there you, know like talking about money feel, like talking about money with their clients, people don't like talking about money with their their staff. For their people it feels weird we, just like, unveil the curtain let's talk about it, and. We talk about it with our clients and our accounts receivable rates, 90. 95. It. Dropped. 92. We. We like it up at like 98, 99, above. 95, but we talk about money with them hey you, know you've got this thing coming up here's how much it's gonna cost is this in your budget does it make sense for us to do it this way kind. Of takes a lot of pressure off time. It takes the conflict away because. We're treating them like a friend or I was talking to a woman the other day and she's like well how am I gonna pay for this well, let's. Talk about that, yes. No. So. I. We. I. Try, to achieve a. Model. That is 50%. Of all of our revenue goes towards employee costs. That's. All employee costs, that's, salaries. Benefits. All. Of that, 30%. On. Marketing. Fixed, fees and 20%. For profits, we. Don't actually achieve. That all the time, and. That's okay a lot of times we'll be investing, a lot more in growth which means that 50% goes closer to 60 or 65%, that's, okay because it's intentional, but.
But. We're just really clear about it so one, of the other things that I asked, my, team. At the beginning of one of our retreats so we do them quarterly which gives you a real opportunity to listen. And check in well and I always do some sort of employee engagement survey, which. They write down and. One of the things I asked them was do you feel adequately, compensated, and. Somebody. Said, I don't know which. Totally. Fair answer she wrote down I don't know so we had a one-on-one and I was talking to her about it and like tell me more about this she's like well I just don't know if, I am like. Well here's how I got to the number and then we talked about it I looked. At the average thing, we're, looking at you know your percentage, of salary and costs. You. Know based on what your billing here's the percentage, you're at that's that, is a you. Know that's that looks to me like it's right but tell me how you're feeling it she's like oh I feel, really good about this now thanks for telling me that so. I think we we we lose conflict, if we're just honest, like, we're all trying to accomplish something together. And. And. As the firm grows everybody, gets to make more money yes. So. When I first started it was, all, low-cost, limited. Scope pay-as-you-go, so, that was an easy easy thing to sell I was competing on price. That's. Not a good long-term strategy so. We don't we don't do that anymore now. We're. Communicating, value. We're. Communicating, outcomes. We're telling stories, that make it clear that we understand, them and we're using a lot of hacks like. You. Know like the book that I give away that, is, about Arizona divorce that just immediately kind of increases, your your, apparent. Authority, is the match core of influence. We're. Stepping up, the. Networking. Because. I haven't done it in years and, referrals. Are still magical. Reviews. I think are critical. So part of our business process, we, are collecting, that promoter, score, every. Time a case closes, by, having our intake people call so. We get Net Promoter scores, regularly. And in, the same way for every single, person that closes because that's the only way that the score. Movement. Is. Controlled. The. Way that we ask the question on a scale, of 0, to 10 how likely would you to rate us your family friends changes, depending on when we ask the question in the case and who asks, so. We do it uniformly and. Then. We're getting feedback and and part of that is let's. Say they say yeah they were great blah blah blah blah blah the team writes down exactly what they said and then. We. Say thank you so much would you mind leaving a review they say yes we will fabulous. Then we send them an amazon gift card to thanking them so much for their time in advance because. We're not paying people for reviews but we are incentivizing them to do it and then. They leave reviews and then we take those reviews and we, incorporate, them into our advertising. How. Would we plan and execute, our first. Retreat, if we've never done that question, and do you use a consultant. What you do how, do you plan it I love. That question so much um. So. We. Have some time but. For anybody who's interested in, continuing the conversation, modern, law practice is having a networking event at 2:05. And we, can totally dive into any more of these details one of the things that company, does is, retreats. For. Business, planning, so. There's. One in December where we're planning, out for. Law firms what, is your next year look like what's your budget what's your retreat what's your agendas, you, can hire a facilitator. Or you. Can do it yourself, we had a facilitator, do it I think only once in, the. Three. Years or so that we've been doing this so, most the time we do it ourselves, there's agendas, in traction that you can use sample agendas.
But. We usually mix it up each time it's always off-site, and. We. Are going into that with numbers, right, everybody knows before, we go in like we just finished q3, we're, going into q4 everybody knows where we ended. Where we need to be kind of thinking about okay what are the things we might want to tackle we, ruminate on it for a few weeks before we do the retreat and then, everybody just dives in. Yes. Salaries. I. Think. I think she said would you consider having an open, book. Practice. So. Salaries. Are interesting. Some. People prefer some. People have compensation, models where they are paid a percentage and, some firms do that uniformly, across the board and that, seems. It's. Very transparent and. Probably. Pretty fair, the, downside. Is that my. Team does a whole lot more than just, bills. Hours like they're, working on building an infrastructure, and a company and it, feels like you're not getting compensated for, that if you're only getting paid a percentage. So. I don't, know how to answer that. Yes. I would consider that. Yeah. So. I think. About. Our role, we're, not really, best friends. You're. Paying, me it to be a great friend and I'm checked, in and I'm gonna be a great, friend when we're talking. Really. Even a better friend than I would be to another friend cuz another friend I would expect to like be able to talk sometimes but I don't expect that at all like they don't have to listen to me I'm, I'm a friend for hire you, know like, you're the support, and best friend for hire that just is like right, there that's that's my role but um but, I have a life and other. Things to do and I'm just really clear that. Here's. Here's where my role ends so. You. Have, to decide and different clients require I think different boundaries but I think checking in and taking care of yourself and, knowing when someone's crossed your boundary is probably. The key. No. I'm. Not, when, when. I when. I practiced. I. I. Had. Few clients that paid lots of dollars and was very available and that works if you have few clients and it doesn't work if you have more than more, than a few clients and at that point I think that the boundaries have to be different and each attorney draws, different, boundaries with their clients like I have one attorney who simply does not work on weekends or evenings really. And, then. I have other attorneys, who do and they're fine with that and that's okay like part of our values is allowing, the, lawyers to. Work in the way that works for them and one. Of my paralegals, is like the most, amazing. Support. Of human in the world who, sometimes doesn't take care of herself and so, part, of our job as, a company. And management. Is to support her and drawing those boundaries. Yes. Sorry. Guys. Sorry. Sorry. I'm a younger, solo. And looking at acquiring the practice, of an older solo. Your. Presentation. Was about you building the firm as the owner what. About when you need to interact with another lawyer in a setting like that modernizing. A practice, that you would be acquiring any, advice. On that lawyer. To lawyer discussion. I. Don't. Think that that's terribly. Different from, bringing. On a lawyer who has a lot of experience, and a practice, and a reputation maybe. So. The most important thing is is there a good culture, fit because if there isn't then. The. Clients, of the person, that you're acquiring won't. Be happy because. They bought Bob and if, you don't feel like Bob, it. May be an issue something. To look out for for sure. All. Right that's it we're out of time thanks, guys Thanks. You.