S3 E1: A Brand New Growth For 2022

Welcome a brand new year with Seth and Jay as they talk about the changes to GMB/Google Business Profile, the anniversary of Jay’s Systems group and the # of systems he has given away in a year, what to do when systems are NOT followed, training a VA versus dropping them into a workload and having them sink or swim, and the purpose and value to an all hands on deck meeting.

What’s In This Episode?

  • What’s going on with the local algorithm update?
  • The radius of influence has shrunk in some cases dramatically. Will that expand?
  • There is a never-ending desire to reinvest in your business.
  • The one-year anniversary of the Law Firm for Growth Facebook Group.
  • The importance of having systems in place for clients.
  • How do you get people to stay in their lane?
  • How does the office work now?
  • How do you make sure your team is all heading in the same direction?

Transcript

Jay Ruane

Hello, hello, and welcome to another edition of Maximum Growth Live. I'm one of your hosts, Jay Ruane, CEO from Flex, your Social Media Marketing Agency for lawyers, as well as - CEO? Visionary? Used to say managing partner, but I can't say that anymore, Seth - of Ruane Attorneys, a criminal civil rights firm here in Connecticut. With me as always, my man down there in the snowstorm. Are you still snowed in, Seth? Because...

Seth Price

We are. We are on the right side of the beltway. Thank God. Nalini literally lives off 95, where all those people got stuck. So where as we got maybe four or five inches, I don't know. They got like 10 to 12. Quickly, no preparation, nothing pre-sanded on the highways. It just sounds like a complete shit show.

Jay Ruane

Yeah, it really does. Anyway, that guy over there, Seth Price. He is the managing partner of Price Benowitz, DC Maryland. Snowed in Virginia and South Carolina, as well as one of the founders of BluShark Digital SEO for law firms with clients all over this country. I would say, how are you doing this week, Seth? We heard a little bit about it. I have a feeling you're kind of cold.

Seth Price

You know, it's been a very surreal experience between COVID, school closures/snow. In one sense, I think it's kind of a blessing because as you know, the northeast completely, this Omicron is everywhere. And the fact that we just got two, and a slight delay today, but two days where the kids were not in a petri dish, not the end of the world.

Jay Ruane

Yeah, no, definitely not. And you know, the interesting thing about it is, you know, we started this show, we were coming off, or we're still in, whatever you want to call it, this, this pandemic. But the interesting thing about this snowstorm that you guys are going through, and something that we've prepared for on our side being up here in New England, is that there are still normal, emergency situations that are going to creep up in every business. We've got the COVID Plus going on, but you know, when COVID is gone, there's still going to be situations like hurricanes, earthquakes, you know, thunderstorms and that type of thing, or other things that impact your business. And obviously, one of the things that we do want to talk about in future shows is gonna be, how do you prepare for the worst? One of the things that we did, obviously, we've moved to the cloud years ago, everyone got issued a laptop and not a desktop, stuff like that. But there's other things that you can do to prepare for the worst.

Seth Price

You know, Jay, you know, in one sense, everything we've gone through over the last few years made the snow days kind of a non-factor, you know, government workers who have already sort of like, eked out as much work from home before COVID. Then, during COVID, nobody's downtown, it's desolate. You know, you don't really have an excuse not to work, because it's snowing, you may have kids at home, but that's really, so I feel like for the firm, it was empowering in a way that, you know, normally like, oh man, revenue's gonna drop, all this is terrible. But everybody was able to do their job as well or better than before and the fact that it was a snow day really was not that much of a factor.

Jay Ruane

Yeah, you know, obviously revenue drops for us when people are not out getting arrested or being in restaurants, but revenue on the other side, I can expect something, you know, 18 to 24 months down the line, because three of our existing clients were in car accidents because of the ice storm that we had last night, and so we're going to have those cases, they're gonna start up their treatment and...

Seth Price

Again, then people are stuck at home with their family, they get divorced, they get stuck with family, they go out and go drinking at a vendor. So, you know, pick, pick your poison to have a Monday, Tuesday snow, if you are trying, you know is about as good, you know, but when you see a restaurant and it's a cold, icy, rainstorm on a Friday, Saturday night, you like, you feel their pain, because you know how much of their revenue comes from that.

Jay Ruane

Oh, I can remember. I want to say it was seven or eight years ago now, but we had significant snow here in Connecticut, on Fridays and Saturdays, every weekend, from Thanksgiving until the second week of January. Oh, maybe it's like 10 years ago now, and every holiday party was getting canceled, the restaurants were, you know, were suffering. Of course, my business was suffering too. It was terrible. But speaking of suffering, there's a topic I want to talk to you today, you know, because I, you know, I tend to be an optimist. I want to be an optimist. And we talked early on in our show about the struggles I was having with Google My Business, now Google business Profile, as they changed the name. I don't know why they did, but they did. Anyway, we went through the saga of me being delisted for one of my brands, got it finally back. It's finally a thing, and it had been growing over the years, and then I look at my stats over the last 28 days and my views on search and on maps have been cut by like 50%. But my business is going okay.

Seth Price

Okay, so a couple questions. Just want to make sure. First, we're not talking about search, presumably we're talking about the three pack, the lower.

Jay Ruane

Yeah, we're talking about the three pack because the Google Business Profile views on search that they call it.

Seth Price

Not surprising. I'm thankful that the money search, and I think I may know why is down. So look, what happened was about three weeks ago, I should have the exact timing. But about three weeks ago, Google made its first local algorithm change in a very long time. It is a very compared to organic, where every time there's an algorithm update, people are being rewarded for high quality content, authoritative links, with the local algorithm update, the three pack right used to be seven, now it's three, they put an ad up there. But that all important three pack, they went from allowing somebody like Jay Ruane to own a region, there were people in Chicago that own Chicago, Price Benowitz could own DC, to restricting proximity on the search. So we went from a point where Jay Ruane was so powerful that he could have an entire kingdom out there. And then instead, what we have seen is that, you know how the people talked about searching near me, that's how some people do searches, ¨pizza near me¨, it's almost as if they added a near me to every search that you're doing. So the radius of influence that you have shrunk, in some cases dramatically. So bigger players, Price Benowitz was definitely hit. I'm sure you were hit on the local piece, because your local was so powerful, that it's giving you a smaller, smaller circumference. Now, will that expand slightly? Unclear, it's a very clunky algorithm, spam was working on a bunch of problems with it. So, I think they're trying to address that. And whether it stays with this, because do you really want right now, you may be 30 miles away from somebody, and there's some sort of, you know, some really mediocre talent between you and them. And they're giving them just the closest possible answer, not entirely needing to have some authority, but it's really putting emphasis on proximity, not good for the bigger players, I'll say that if you're a smaller player in a major market, it's tremendous, and that it's giving you a fighting chance against some of the bigger players by giving you your own radius of influence. Whereas before you weren't even getting visibility.

Jay Ruane

So, do you think the, not solution, but the future then would be for more local small offices? You know, one room to room, you know, that type of operation. Rather than having everybody centrally located in, you know, the downtown area with the big thing. Instead, you find like the local, not intersection, but the local downtown area that's in the suburbs, and you sprinkle offices around that so that you can have multiple touchpoints. Now, you got to build then you got to build GMB for it, you got to get reviews for it. I mean, it opens up a whole lot more work. Right, a lot more work on our side. But it sounds to me like that's what Google really wants.

Seth Price

Yes, yes and yes, that is where we've been seeing it go. That's what we're building out for our clients at BluShark.

Jay Ruane

Here's what I don't understand. Maybe, maybe you don't have an answer to this. But, you know, I'm here in Connecticut, and, you know, 20 minutes north of me, I've got Yale, and 35 minutes south of me, I have Columbia. And if I, you know, got diagnosed with something, I'd be consulting at both of those places, I would not be going to my local hospital.

Seth Price

Well, right. Google is figuring out is, what is the right radius. For pizza? You probably don't want to be at Columbia, right? But you may want to be at Yale if the great New Haven Pizza's there, right? We had a debate about that another day, but the point is, that's exactly what Google is struggling with, and they went from giving a very large radius to saying, you know what, we think that people want something closer. I don't I think that they like many things they do. It's a pendulum. They do something like oh, man, this is way too much, and it swings back. I think that, you know, I don't think it's going to remain like this forever. But that's exactly what's going on. They're saying ¨Hey, you know what, we're not getting letting you see that there's an option at Columbia, we're just going to show you Yale¨. But at the same time, you know, it's allowing for smaller operators to have a shot. And I think that the piece that's always in the back of my mind, two things I'm thinking about, right, they're protecting their money. One is, if you take stuff away from the larger operators, more likely to move money towards pay per click, more money for Google, and second, I think they're always in the back of their mind playing the anti-trust game. And so, this is just one more thing where you have, you know, you're being a, what I call it, a more egalitarian, spreading the love rather than saying, hey, Ruane's your answer, well, there's a guy 20 miles, somebody, you know, somebody's north of you, and there's a guy between you and them, they're going to give them some love. And it is frustrating as a larger player, but it's going to be a nice shot in the dark positively for the smaller players.

Jay Ruane

Well, I mean, and it's crazy, I look over the last three weeks, and I've spent $17,000 on pay per click, and you know, we're putting more money into pay per click, so that we show in more areas.

Seth Price

You just sort of proved the point, which is all the money.

Jay Ruane

Yeah, and as a bigger player, I guess I can afford that. Not that I like paying it.

Seth Price

I guess the issue, and again, this is a much longer conversation, but then like, we all go through this, this permutation, right? You know, I did this before this was happening when said, hey, we have this amazing injury team, let's make sure that we're fully, you know, we had a great year expecting a great year, next year, but let's make sure the pipeline stays full, we're experimenting with different lead gen and pay per click, but understanding that prices are no joke, and even in something that's not as competitive as PI, you know, a random criminal case for you, you know, for years, before it's gotten as sophisticated as now, three to one was considered a decent ROI for this pay per click. And it's just not that exciting. That's, you know, that's a significant business partner you're dealing with now?

Jay Ruane

Oh, absolutely, absolutely. And I have seen over the last month, my cost per lead or my cost per acquisition, growing...

Seth Price

Add to that some crappy intake, somebody falls off their meds over the holidays, add to that, somebody, you know, not having money because of the inflation that's going on, or somebody's out of work, restaurant workers, etc., having issues, all these different issues that are out there, you know, compound, which means that it may not be three to one, now you're two and a half to one, and a grain of salt. You know, I just got a BluShark client who's like, I saw your ad, I met you four years ago, I've been thinking that I should have gone with you, I cheaped out and did something else, and I saw that ad. So, I thought I should so didn't even click on the ad. So, there are benefits to having Ruane attorneys in that paid search area that don't come with the straight ROI of those cases that fly through, but it is expensive, an expensive, expensive game.

Jay Ruane

Yeah. Yeah, it is. And as you're growing your firm, you know, it's almost like there's, there is a never-ending requirement and a never-ending desire, just keep reinvesting in your business. Because, you know, for every dollar that you spend, you build more and more, and you start to wonder, you know, when am I going to start taking out, you know, but I think one of the things that people need to do is, yeah, you want to keep reinvesting in your business, but you should also be giving yourselves raises every year, you should be on a draw or a salary, that is the same, consistent, and that type of thing. And maybe the same thing applies to your marketing budget where, you know, you give yourself a 5% raise, raise your marketing budget 5% every year so that you can spend more to keep getting those cases coming in.

Seth Price

You know, I'll conclude the segment with I think there's something that's sort of a truism that, you know, looking at it from an SEO PPC point of view, we've always seen PPC as automatic, and even that the bad news is less so. We are now seeing, we talked about this before we'll talk about it again. That it less than $3,000. In many legal campaigns, Google is not getting you the monetizable clicks that you want. It wants to, they want to be able to run the show with their own technology, and then if they don't get enough budget, it doesn't get to the point where it's getting you that Primo, great traffic. So first, small budgets used to spend $500, and there are some companies out there that do like $500 a month, maybe $1,000 a month pay per click. And I'm seeing when you just see like crowdsource feedback in comments, have you tried this group, and it's horrific. And it's not like these people are bad people. It may have worked two, three years ago, but you can't use a $500 budget and expect real rewards at this point, especially now that we're looking at like personal injury space, where a single case, the cost per case may be $2,500 or more. So, $500, $1,000 isn't even statistically significant. Forget about the fact that Google is not learning that. In some of the lower dollar areas. Let's save some traffic stuff. I think you'll see the same thing that without a meaningful budget, you do have a meaningful budget now but without that meaningful budget, it will be harder for Google to see what makes sense for you and get those two to allow you to get your click-through rate up and hopefully better traffic.

Jay Ruane

Yeah, and, you know, if you don't have the budget that you need for that pay per click stuff, there are still things that you can do with $500 like YouTube, ads and that type of thing. You know, if you tightly, tightly, you know, set them in a particular geographic area, build your brand that way. You know, there's other ways of marketing other than marketing for the hot lead, and it may just take you longer. That's the God's honest truth.

Seth Price

It'll come out in the wash, meaning it may take you five months, so the point is there's no free lunch. Any way you look at it, it's competitive, and the final thought to bring that to a close was on SEO, we used to look at it like, oh, I'm paying a few $1,000 a month and everything is free, like meaning, and now I think that people are starting to look at it like, oh, the market is sophisticated. Everybody's doing SEO at some level or another, that the budget that you put into that with high level links and high level content, that you're looking at it now on a cost per lead basis there for a while, people just said, Oh, well, I spent this on SEO, and I get a bunch of leads in a bunch of cases, but now it's like, wow, I know, this is now something I need to AB test between paid and eviction, sort of the journey you came on, which was like, Yeah, who cares about this, versus, hey, I could put X amount of money here and see these cases, it's so expensive on the paid side, that, you know, if you look at a $17,000 budget, what can you do with allocating a portion of that towards SEO versus PPC? And that's the discussion I see happening over and over again.

Jay Ruane

Yeah, and these are the challenging questions that every business owner must face as they grow. You know, and it comes down to, you know, number one, your personal preference on how you want to invest your money in your business. But I wanted to talk about something else today, and speaking of time, and is that tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of my Systemizing Your Law Firm for Growth Facebook group, which is really sort of taking a life to itself over the last year. And, you know, we're I think I've posted about 180 or so, different systems, one of the systems that I'll be posting shortly, tomorrow, when we celebrate the anniversary is a system we developed here in our office over the last nine months, a year or so, may be over a year, is the interview questions that we give to people who are remote or overseas, and when I talk about remote overseas, they maybe you know, US base people that are working remotely or overseas in another country, either in this hemisphere or another. Because we've touched them all over the last year or so, and I just you know, I just wanted to talk a little bit about that. Because, you know, it's amazing to me how many people have joined the group, and are downloading those systems, and they're using them in their practice. And it really is something that I will go back and see systems that I posted a year ago and say, oh, we need to tweak this on the Facebook post because we've actually tweaked it within it. So, I know a lot of people like to talk systems. But one of the things I think it's important to know is that, you know, systems themselves are a living, breathing thing. And you always have to go back and check things out to make sure that your system is actually created the right way that business is done now, because the systems that we had pre COVID. We actually started five months ago with a full teardown and audit and everything, and we're building back all of our systems now with a post COVID mindset.

Seth Price

Well, let me ask you this, because this is sort of, I'd say one of the things that I feel guilty of. I'm hanging out with you so much; you feel very inferior when it comes to systems and...

Jay Ruane

I even have systems when I go gambling, right? So, I'm just...

Seth Price

I get it, and so my question to you is the following. We have our own systems with a lowercase s, they're not J. Ruane systems, but we run the firm we've built, you know, 40 lawyers and a bunch of staff, and there are systems there are what we call manuals, right that are updated, but the greatest frustration is the lack of ability to motivate people to make the changes or suggested changes. I find that until somebody gives notice. I'm not paying as much attention. Do you have systems to help make sure that the systems stay updated rather than just add a quote unquote, life event?

Jay Ruane

So, the way we do it is we are now, we now have one person who is the system's guru in the office, and they have run the gamut from being a receptionist to an intake person to an intake team leader to a paralegal and now sort of serves as special projects because her husband is deployed, and she needed some more time. So, what she's doing is, she is essentially our auditor, and it's a position that we've created, and her job is to go, and she's great at it. Her job is to go in and randomly audit files to make sure systems are being followed, both from the staffing side and from the attorney side.

Seth Price

She's looking at the system itself and auditing the system or is she auditing an actual real life following.

Jay Ruane

Both, both. So, what she'll do is she'll actually, you know, randomly, you know, every day, she'll pull a couple of files, and she'll say, "okay, where's this file in the process? Are the lawyers doing the notes that they're supposed to be doing?" Are they sending the letters in the, you know, the forms systemized letters that we have? Are they all being done, and she'll report back to us every week. Here's what I found. And what you'll find, unfortunately for us is it will find some people are outliers, and they don't follow the systems. And, you know...

Seth Price

Next question, what do you do with that? Because we all have that, right? You have the star employee, and I saw more of it, we started with people that were pure personality, our software is, so you know, it's so integrated, that it's hard to be too far off the reservation, but what do you do when somebody is a rockstar employee, but they're not really following systems?

Jay Ruane

Then they're not a rockstar.

Seth Price

Sorry, so, somebody who's...

Jay Ruane

Somebody who is solid? Yeah, I mean, you know, they're a solid employee, but they don't follow the systems. Unfortunately, we're at the position where we're actually making some tough staffing choices in the next two, three weeks. Because...

Seth Price

What you're saying is, they're not rockstars, if they're not within the system.

Jay Ruane

Right, they may give the outward appearance of being a rock star, because they have an outgoing personality.

Seth Price

Right, personality, clients love them, they get a lot, you know, there's their, their net promoter score is very high, but they're not...

Jay Ruane

And the problem is, is that unfortunately, for us, we found that if you're not following the system, you are leaving the firm open to exposure, and that's really what the systems are for. As we grow, I can't, you know, it's amazing to me, after all of these years, 20 years, you know, people say, oh, I was a client of your firm, I had no idea. I don't know, clients' names anymore. I'm just not in that world, and so, you know, if I have to be responsible for that, I can only go so far as to have the systems to know that the closeout letter was done a particular way, you know, the motions that we open at the beginning of a file are done, and if an attorney is telling a paralegal don't file these motions on a standard DUI first offender case, but my policy has been filed those motions. There's a reason why I decided to do that.

Seth Price

That's okay, and that's non-negotiable. I mean, there's certain, you know, documenting the, the notes in the file to the right extent, things like that, where-

Jay Ruane

Oh, I have, okay, he's a prime example, I have somebody in the office who we have a system for communicating offers. Now, for those who are listening, who are not criminal defense lawyers. When you get an offer from the court, there are a lot of things you need to communicate, it's not "okay, the insurance company is offering you $50,000 to settle your case", it is you're going to be losing certain rights, like your gun rights, like your rights a vote, like your ability to stay silent. If you can, you know, for some cases, you may have to take certain types of treatment, like sex offender treatment, and admit to being a sex offender, even if you plead no contest to a crime, and so, what we have created over 20+ years of doing this is I have a multipage, very involved with citations, the laws, offer an options letter that I want to send out to people, I have a lawyer who just wants to talk to them on the phone about that.

Seth Price

And while you don't, and I'll tell you because we've had bar complaints, what you, if you don't have that letter, you're just...

Jay Ruane

Exactly, and what I see is the phone call is an hour and a half, it's documented, oh I, I talked to, I talked to the client about the options for their case, and that's the note. And I say you got to write the options letter, and after an audit, it's not being done, I am not protected, the clients not protected.

Seth Price

May or may not be protected, but you can't prove that they were protected. Look, it's, so look, that almost dovetails one of our topics for later in the show, which is old school versus new school, you know, communicate with younger employees, where we, you know, much of how I built my businesses has been talking to things out whether it's for you and other friends and mentors. You know, I'm now faced with employees that love to only chat or text and don't, would really prefer to have every other day conversation if that, you know, or as needed, if there's a real, you know, real situation, and I feel like you're almost dealing with the difference between the old school guy who's like, I can talk my way through anything, versus, hey, we can't, you could do that. If it's your own name on the door, and you're gonna, you know, you can go in front of the bar and say I did this, but what happens when you're not here two years and the guy's filing complaint, and I have to prove that his rights were protected.

Jay Ruane

That's exactly my point, that's exactly my point. And, one of the problems and this is as you grow your firm as you scale your firm, you know, yeah, you have to set these things in place, that are non-negotiable, because it allows you to then turn around. And here's the thing, right? Here's the thing that is that I think you also have to think about as a business owner, if your standard of care for 90% of your lawyers is to send that, and that one doesn't send it. Well, you're deviating from your own standard of care, and so you're basically proving the case that this outlier is not giving the same quality level of service that that your firm gives, and that's a problem.

Seth Price

Well, it's funny this, this sort of dovetails to what I've been talking about offline, which is, you know, I'm beta testing this idea of a training program, particularly for overseas employees to be able to have them fit within firms. Now, once they get to a firm, you know, it is, it's, you know, you're only as good as what's being done within that firm, meaning if they're not following their own systems, but the idea, do you think there's something to the fact that as you know, as we look, globally, we used to have to say, hey, who can get to my office, but as we have the ability to look globally, that we can find people that would be outside the interpersonal "do whatever you feel like because it feels good", but somebody where it's more transactional, I need this job done. These are the things I need done, you know, that these are the things I've been playing around with my beta, which is what are those things to be trained and, sort of focused on so that when they get to an actual job in the United States that they would be actually the best space to be doing?

Jay Ruane

Yeah, you know, this is somewhat challenging, and I ran into problems early on, when I started hiring remote through an agency that we've talked about before and I have a lot of turnover, you know, a weekend, get rid of them, we want somebody new two weeks and get rid of them, we want somebody new, and what I found really was that we were doing a poor job of training, and expecting too much from people really quickly. And it was easy because they were an agency, they just say cut them, give me somebody new, and basically saying we hope a diamond falls on our lap, but as you can see from all the forms that we participate in, one of the biggest challenges are a lot of people are going from zero employees to one overseas person. And they're already drinking from a firehose, with the amount of work they have to do, and they're not able to commit to any sort of education. I mean, we're at a point now where when somebody joins our firm the first week, they're doing nothing but observing, and they're observing reception, and they're reserving, or observing the intake team.

Seth Price

How do you do that with? How do you do that with remote?

Jay Ruane

So, what they do is the team will open up a Google Meet and...

Seth Price

There's a shadowing for a week, which they're shadowing through, we do that through our interview process, but this is even the next step. What I am seeing though, and I think that look, you're Mr. Systems, and the people are coming into the two things that I've taken away as I've built up my own internal teams, right? Intake, huge, huge international component, which is okay, it's, if you can't, McDonald-ize is almost too strong of a term, but if you can't keep people in a lane with a repeatable, you know, system, a systematize-able action is much less likely to work. So, somebody who's hiring their first employee, where its due anything, which was the old school, hey, I need an assistant, this is probably not going to work for that, and you're going to have breakage, again, you might get lucky, you may get enough, or you may not be looking at what's actually being done to care until it's like a huge mess, but that the idea that you say, Hey, we have somebody who may work in intake, we may have somebody who works in accounting, we may somebody who does some social media, it's not a popery. These are lanes that people should stay in, which is easier to do as you expand and have it if it's not if you have one employee, but can you get people in? Because I think that the success that we have seen is people staying in a lane and not dabbling and following a system and a playbook much, much more likely, then, you know, hey, we want you to do something, we don't know what it is yet.

Jay Ruane

Yeah, I mean, the reality is, is that, you know, the more training you have, and what we have found is that, you know, if we're able to find people who had some, you know, remote law firm experience, they can train a little faster, because they're used to the lingo and that type of thing, but being able to have somebody who comes in having gone through a training program, where they're familiar with the things that an intake person for a law firm would need to know. I'm willing to pay a higher dollar for that.

Seth Price

And that's exactly what I've been sort of playing around with in my test kitchen, which is, I think that if we can figure out a way to get people so that when by the time where Ruane attorneys get somebody, it's not just talent, but talent that has, oh, you're on Clio, and you use law, Maddox, and those things are sort of in place and ready to sort of take you to the next level that, again, if you're not doing great training, and you're Jay, I shudder to think what the rest of the world is doing, and this would give everybody including Jay, a better shot, if there was some way to educate people before they show up, because you're saying you're doing a week before they do anything, that's a rather new iteration is my guess, and the old way was just like, Oh, you're starting today and jumping in, and these guys, you're speaking, and they're shaking their head as if they understand, and there's not that base of knowledge to go with.

Jay Ruane

Right, and that's why we're doing things the way we are. So, the way our office works now is you come in, you observe for the first week that you work here, then the second week, you get specific training on reception, you do that for a week, it usually takes you two or three or four days to get comfortable to be let go, and then you're a full time reception person, and then we pull you from reception, because we had our three receptionists, we'll pull you from reception for advanced intake training, and we'll move you down the process, but our intake training is now an eight-week program, that you're not allowed to talk to intakes until you've gone through the eight-week program, you've taken eight different tests. I mean, it is it because we want our intake people to thrive when they get into that process.

Seth Price

I hear you, I mean, we, you know, a staffed as we are, we didn't put the right number of people on the Monday after New Year's and there was a DUI case, still kills me this point, you know, we may, you know, we're significant eight figure firm and yet losing a DUI case, because they called at nine, overflow answering machine service picked it up, when they were all slammed, two hours later got back they had hired somebody, I know that kills me, and so the idea is, if we can get to the point where we're staffed, you know, really appropriately, and with the Great Resignation, it has been a greater challenge than ever.

Jay Ruane

It really has, it really has. So, the last thing I want to talk to you a little bit about was, you told me off before the show started, that you had an all hands meeting you brought your entire firm together. Tell me about that. Because I haven't done that in, you know, really, I don't think I've done that since March of 2020. When I said, hey, we got to do a zoom, hey, I'm shutting everything down, right? So, tell me a little bit about that.

Seth Price

It's funny. So, I came from big law, right? One of these big law firms that was growing and there were meetings, and there were speeches, and I said, when I do this, I don't want to be that, like I didn't want people over meeting, and I think to a fault. We've done that. We have now reading scaling up morning huddles, bringing these different things in, we've done all of that on a team-by-team basis, and that's worked really nice. I couldn't, you know, highly, highly encouraged the morning huddles, but we really weren't doing those pieces, and it sort of came out of this. I was supposed to speak at the holiday party, which was going to be inside where I thank everybody for a great year, and it turned out that, you know, COVID was smashing us that Friday, we move from two hours' notice from an indoor party to an outdoor party, my law partner, Dave's house went off great, but the sound wasn't good enough to be able to really make a meaningful talk, and I was thinking, you know, John Morgan doesn't see flies in his people from around the country and has his kick ass, you know, start the year meeting and our new firm administrator was like, we should do this all hands on deck meeting and with Zoom, actually, we did it, you know, with, with me, it was easy. We, everybody, got into it. I did a year-in review, we had a lot of highlights with a big trial rape case was a walk, I was walked out of the courtroom, you know, a whole bunch of high-profile ones from a partner gave on the white-collar size and CNN or New York Times every other week, it seemed like, and PI was crushing in numbers we had never seen before. All these were great, great things. So, we think everybody did an overview and then talked about what we were focused on, nothing surprising, right? All the stuff you think about communication, cross-selling, you know, all of those major touch points where you're like, hey, guys, if you're out making sure people know what you're doing, maybe sprinkled your social media, all those things. And then each department head gave a little talk from accounting about how we want to use this software differently to IT, hey, these are the things you shouldn't click on. If you do, this is what you do, you know, Seth's likely not asking you for gift cards, you know, when here and gave examples. So, anyway, each person we've got 45 minutes all in, but it was really well received, and it wasn't you know, I kicked it off, and we had our firm administrator do the sort of hosting of it, but it really brought everybody together, and each of the different department heads that spoke, it empowered them and what they got to do was the granule thank-yous to their teams. We have a woman who after six, seven years leading for the Federal Public Defender, she made a big mark on the firm and the truth is, I wouldn't have spent the time to thank her as I should, but I'm just saying like, when you're doing, when you have 40 lawyers who were still there, that's not your focus and by allowing each department to speak, it, you know, from intake to accounting to different states that we cover whatever it may be, it really gave each person the buy in what they had ownership of their, their section, and so I think we're going to try to do this twice a year going forward.

Jay Ruane

I like that, I like that. You know, and sometimes it could be just you and one other person, but you sort of take a step back, you say, look where we were, and look where we're going, but that makes sure that everyone's in the car heading in the right direction, you know, that we talked a little bit about this, how, you know, you can get anywhere you need to go, but if you don't know where you're going, it's hard to drive together, and that's really certainly something that every firm should be doing as they grow is making sure that they are all heading in the same direction and that way, you can get the best out of everybody. So, that's some really good stuff, that's some really good stuff.

Seth Price

Gonna tee this up for our next episode. What I talked about on the during this all-hands-on deck was, you know, soliciting reviews and cross-selling within the firm and upside cetera and I feel like that, that needs some time to breathe, and we could spend some time because I think for everybody listening to this, you know, we spent, we talked about how much how expensive Google was getting. Well, we have all these resources. I got 100 people, I pay every paycheck in paycheck out, why are we not getting more from that? And I know there's some people in the country that do a great job with that, people do VIP programs for former clients, let's spend, let's spend an episode and talk about what we can do with our existing raving fans internally to try to make sure that we are seeing, because you and I we attract stuff, our peers, listen to the show, you know, you can do it. Is it possible to scale staff to really be making meaningful difference in that world?

Jay Ruane

This is tough, and I could talk for hours of all the different iterations of things that I've tried to create, to get staff, especially attorney staff to generate and do the things that are necessary to build. So, that's going to be a great topic for next week for sure, for sure. Okay, so we've got over time, as usual, but I want to thank everybody for being with us. This is our first show of the new year, first show 2022 I want to thank you for being with us. As always, if you want to keep up with me, you can join my Systemising Your Law Firm for Growth Facebook group, where I post stuff every day and of course, tomorrow we'll be celebrating our first anniversary with some special posts. For Seth, you can keep up with him on the Law Firm Insider, which is his show, used to be the SEO Insider, but it is actually...

Seth Price

It's, this will be our 2022 show, it's just morphing it so that it's not just hardcore SEO, but trying to sort of bring more of a 360 perspective. We already had some guests like that, but hoping to have fun with it and more details to follow.

Jay Ruane

I think it's great, I think it's great, and of course you can always catch us wherever podcasts are available, and please tune into the show live every Thursday at 3pm Eastern 12pm Pacific, in our Facebook, and on our Facebook page as well as syndicated through many, many different groups online. We are happy to have your questions or comments as well as any feedback that you can give us, but for now, we're gonna sign off. I am Jay, he is Seth, we are Maximum Growth Live. Bye for now.

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