Join Seth and Jay as they discuss identifying what truly is market rate for your employees, how to market OFFline and if your team should do it or you should hire someone for that purpose, as well as a big change coming to the show.
Hello, and welcome to the show. I'm directing your host, along with Seth Price over there. I'm from firm flex social media marketing funnels for lawyers, as well as roommate attorneys, a civil rights and criminal defense firm in Connecticut. Seth is with BluShark Digital premier SEO for law firms, as well as your Capitol area. Powerhouse Law Firm Price. Benowitz. Seth, I want to check in with you. How's your week going so far? Well, it like
it's the roller coaster, there are pieces that are freaking awesome. And there are moments where I'm like, What am I kidding myself about a specifically I feel like Price Benowitz getting our exec team, piece by piece stepping up different areas. For me personally, it's, I've always gone without a senior CMO or director of marketing, it's been me and I've worked with with BluShark. And at this point, I really want somebody who can take it beyond. They're all these ideas that come back from masterminds with VIP clubs, additional points of contact, and that I've not been able to execute, because I've sort of taken on that role on myself.
You know, it's interesting that you bring this up. And this wasn't even something in our in our prep for the show. But I've made a decision that my next hire, and we're going to talk about hiring, coming up in the show, but my next hire is going to be you know, the quote unquote, integrator, the person who actually can execute on my ideas, because I've done a million ideas. And I was talking to a friend of the show Ryan McKean, who's brought somebody in, actually his wife, who was an attorney, she transitioned to the role of integrator based on her personality type. And they've really blossom with that. And that is going to be my next hire, once I sell.
And I end up back to English, though one is a really strong starts office manager, eventually, head of operations and or a clo, that's the dream, most people in our world, you know, aren't at the economic level for the true CEO, just like CFOs, a true CFOs to Purdue 300. Most of us have a fractional CFO or controller at best. But you know, what I see is, you know, I have, I have found that a strong ops person is the first step in that. And I have that. And now that that's been in place, and intake is in decent shape. It's I again, this should be obvious if you're not me with an entire agency behind me, as far as a firm, the head of marketing is a must. I have finally, I've tried multiple times, to bring in a more junior person to be a coordinator to my right hand side, haven't loved how that work. I've spun off individual jobs, like cultivating reviews, and or happy client follow up. But the idea that there's somebody overseeing all of these different pieces. Let me throw something at you though, which I struggle with, because I go to a lot of a lot of different events. And there are a lot of people doing really cool community projects, backpack giveaways, chalkboards, bikes, some people go to state fairs and have a tent out and give out stuff. I have a I have an issue that my team doesn't seem like they're not the people that are take their weekend, Saturday morning and go and give out koozies in a tent. Is that something that can be outsourced? Am I kidding myself? Should I stay with what strong digital? Or is this right for a street team community involvement? Or am I just passing away?
So this is something that, you know, I, I 20 years ago, I had a street team, right? I had a bunch of kids, my kids young 20s That I would hire, they go out into bars, giveaway keychains and stuff. And it got some bugs. So I think there's some value to being on the street, right? I think you have to pick your pick your pleasure, or pick your poison, I guess is the way to say it. Because I do see a lot of people who you know, do the bikes for kids, they do the backpacks, the helmets, do all those things. But they're not necessarily getting the best bang for their buck out of it because they're, you know, they're doing it about the firm rather than about the target audience. And so, I think expecting a lawyer who you've hired to grind out trust in the state's work or PII work, you know, they're they're not necessarily the outgoing extrovert that is going to want to go to a affair or go to a park and hand out things. So I think if you're going to have that you need to recruit for it. You got to get extroverts you got to get people in Um, that that know, that are teachable, that know enough about the firm that they can have conversations. But I don't think you're going to, you know, get lawyers to be able to do it. Number one, because you know, part of the balance is you're giving them a quality of life where they don't have to work weekends. And imagine being a person who hates doing that stuff. You're a lawyer, so you don't really have a personality. I would I would do it.
Well, that's yes. And no, you say that, but you gotta baseball field to be...
...successful. Remember, I set up a booth at a bar association five years ago to meet as many lawyers as I could.
That was a one off at one comment that there wasn't great, but was weekday, I assume. Right? And it was so which goes to my theory that we do what we like, if you'd like to write, you know, a dance shorts, you're gonna have an amazing blog, my partner started a blog, a video blog, or podcast, three episodes. You know, nothing says here, You like being around other lawyers, you went out and not that you don't like being around people on the weekend, but you'd rather be with your kids. So it was a weekday thing, the opportunity cost for you is less gets you out of the office, you're there with those lawyers fine. But it's sort of figuring out that balance. And if you're not like you have been true to yourself, yes. But if you don't get jazzed by it, and then the question is, street teams are great. But how much value is Jay isn't there if you're there, you can pull stuff out of people, like a big case you run in for that you're you're working on right now we run or the you extract it? If somebody else was there hosting people, that might not happen, you know? So it's that what resources anyway, headlines.
I think a lot of people who want to grow their firm, they want to do something for the community, because they appreciate the giving back. You know, here's a perfect example. Right? Perfect example, I was talking to a friend of mine, like four or five, well, actually, it's pre COVID. So it's probably six or seven years ago. And I was talking to him, and he's into golfing. Right. So I said to him, I said, Well, so what do you you know, I said, How often do you get to golf? He was like, Well, I golf every week, I said, that's great. You know, that's your thing. And he goes, Yeah, he's like, I actually golf every week now. Because Because I quit my country club. And I said, really, because, you know, I thought lawyers get a lot of bids. And he's like, Nah, he's like, I'm, I go to the country club, I would talk to other lawyers. He's like, so what I did is I took the 30 grand a year I was spending at my country club. And now I play a different charity tournament every week. And I go as a solo, and they pair me up with three other people that are supporting the charity. And I'm getting I'm golfing with three new people every week at different clubs. So I'm playing a new course every week, I never get bored. And I am using my money and my time that I would otherwise be, you know, at my own club, talking to the same people over and over. And I'm using it to actually get out there, meet new people make new connections, he's like, it has exploded my business, because I'm meeting at least three people every week, that that now know who I am. So over the course of the year, you know, 20 different tournaments, I play that 60 new people, I've done it for a couple of years. I keep up with them, they golf with me more, they invite me into their clubs. I'm in a gorgeous situation.
He loves what you're with. First of all, you love it second, what's your religion? Right, because there are different types of widgets where you need the most people out Burgoyne 40 John Fisher, there's not a lot of competition in New York for med mal compared to other things because of the financial incentives. So there, the more people that know about him, the better. When you're competitive market, we're looking for auto wrecks. There a lot of options. And it was just a study that I was reading about. So it headlines, several 100 hours becomes a true friend, like friends or not somebody that you spend, and then the question is are less friends better? Once you spend a certain amount of time and we've seen that over the years, right? We've been in a lot of different legal groups, there are groups where once you spend time and you get to know somebody on a deeper level, that friendship turns to a different and the question there is, you know, there are I have seen...
Okay, we fix the technical glitch, we're back with set sets, where are we talking about? Frank was?
Well, you know, hundreds of friends and there's a study recently talked about the true friends take several 100 hours of time with people to build that friendship. And that less than that, you know, is that a friend? And the question is, is less friends better? All of that. So one of the things that I look at is what type of connection are you looking for? If you're an insurance salesman to a certain extent, you just want to keep hitting people and hoping that a few stick if you're a federal criminal defense lawyer, where you need cross referrals from other people, spending deep amounts of time where people get to know like and trust you in depth would probably be more meaningful. So depending on what your goal is, and what you like, those two things, so I think it's a brilliant move, depending on the type of Practice, like most things depends.
It always depends. It always depends. Okay, so I want to talk a little bit about hiring today. And retaining because as you know, because I called you, outside of the show, I had one of my more senior attorneys who was making decent money, come to me, give us notice gonna be leaving in three weeks because he's taken a job for a 20% pay cut with the state as a public defender. And I'm wondering, I mean, he at the time, he's paid market, like, I mean, he wasn't paid above market, but he was paid market for his time and experience. And so I'm wondering, you know, should I try to retain?
Well, respectfully, what we think is market three weeks ago, is not today, there's a crazy, you know, velocity in the market inflation. And that in this tight job market, things that we thought I talked about all the time with you on the show, you know, the first year, to me, I questioned whether you really are at Marquette personally on that particular person. That's, you know, meaning, if that number, you're seeing a drop, and they're going, but when you get a book, when there's a delta, large enough above public service, that that disappears, the golden handcuffs are there.
So, so how do you find out what market is? Because, you know, I'm looking at other job postings, I know what my colleagues are basically paying, you know, as much as we discuss it, you know, I know what people are willing to take when we put the offers out there. But how do you really get a true sense of what the market is short of doing something like Al's windows down in Atlanta and said, says these people go out to interview and get an offer, bring it back to me, and then I'll decide if you're worth that or more. I mean, that's, that's one way to do it. But there's some risk.
Is worth more than that. It's not such a great anecdotal thing. I'm not sure how seriously that that is done. You know, a lot of things that sound great, and you know, you're you're not going to have your key people go out there and for a bunch of reasons. But that said, A the markets moving forth. The look, I always believed that a percentage of revenue gets you rowing in the same direction. And whether it's a flat salary plus a bonus, or what, however you do it, that my gut is that again, first, if somebody's taking less money to do something else, there may be, hey, they really don't want to be doing what you're doing. And there may be other stuff when you dig deeper. But, you know, to me, my first reaction when you gave me this was what does a $20,000 Raise, do if you hired a recruiter, which we have to do now I stayed first 15 years of my firm, hardly any recruiters last year, I'm paying more recruiters to find people, I'm still doing my own searches to keep them honest and see what we can get in. But a third of our people are now coming through recruiters that they never were before. And that adds extreme expense. And as that happens, it almost makes your current people that much more valuable. In that, you know that. And I gotta hand it to, you know, the Michael Mulgoa. And Chris, they have a really interesting chart that shows what the cost of an employee is, based on the value they have to your firm the defects and as you've probably spoken, your team, you're finding the good and the bad, you subtract out the change costs, and whether or not it's worth to keep somebody again, it's one it's one exercise, but to me, that's part of what you're sort of looking at, which is, you know, let's does money solve that problem? I always talk about that, well, money solve your problem is $20,000 a year, right? You know, somewhere between one and $2,000 a month that stabilizes your situation? Money well spent? If if you're like, hey, I think I can do better without that's a different story. But to me, stability, and the ability to keep growing is worth the is worth potentially.
Yeah, I mean, it's a real challenge, because, you know, and one of the other things is how do you how do you set what your starting rate is? I know, there are other people who listen to the show that I've had trouble finding, finding Associates, and they're saying, Well, this is what I was offered when I started. And what you have to realize is that you might be paying off, you know, 200% of what you've got as a starting salary. Because that's what the market can command right now.
Let me ask you one I just got recently to somebody came in, and they made interviewed, we like them for a position of price benefits. And the the thing that I noticed was that their ask was above market, I thought for their experience. And it appeared to me that their prior job had probably been for less, but at some point, the prior job was trying to shore them up and did a bump like what we're talking about. So let's take this lawyer you have to essentially what I was faced with This lawyer was, let's say, at x and you raised it by $20,000, which wouldn't be insane in that market. I'm just saying like, I could bet if you so chose, let's say that person that interviewed somewhere else, you bumped them to the top of their world. And it makes the next place really tough. It's a rockstar, it'll work. But I think their timetable is price yourself out of the market, we've turned down a lot of hires recently, because numbers came in, especially when I was doing this marketing person search that people would not the goods, but just in DC, institutional organizations, you know, AARP is here, nonprofits, org labor, you all these people are here, and they create crazy dollars for not a lot of work. Now they're capped. They're never going beyond that. But it's a very touchy space, where you're seeing stuff and I'm like, it's a non starter to me, I'm going to add in the final piece, I'll throw it apart, and we give you all this to back to, we can sort of sort through it is when you get somebody, and let's say you're interviewing, and they push you to your max, and then they push it slightly more, is there a moment where you have to go back to the drawing boards, let's say you're looking to hire a new lawyer to replace this person. And I'm using round numbers. But let's say you think the right number of hire, somebody has 100. And somebody comes in, you're like you think you can get him for 110 115. And they push you to I'm not coming for $1 less than 120. The issue that I see I equate this to house hunting, and we've talked about this before, which is when you're looking for a house, and you have a price range, you see everything in that range is on the market. And what the agent says, You know what, let me show you this thing. It's $200,000 More, you walk in, you're like, Oh, my God, this is perfect. I had this happen to me this happened with the first house that I bought, we went to 1000 over our number, we found the perfect test. What I've always wanted to know is if I had gone out to market with that new hire number, would I have seen a bunch of stuff that I liked more? And there would have been that decision? And I think you have to do that in here. I have somebody who's pushing on a number. If that number goes and I hate to throw a line in the sand 5000 more, I could rationalize it to him recruiter would bring me up to that. Or you'd be like, Look, once I'm at that higher number, I should be doing a search at that number, not where I had started a search before.
Yeah, that I mean, that's a lot to unpack. And I think one of the things that I think all of us as law firm owners, as we start to think about the future, we also have to I mean, for the longest time, I did not think about the growth of the available workforce in my local area. But let me tell you this. This year, the February bar had just had their admission ceremony. And in the state of Connecticut, there were 25 lawyers admitted from passing the February bar. What's that? Is it 25 admission.
Any of that they're pushing people through February is generally for people who didn't pass.
Right. So I'm curious to see how many people pass, I gotta go back and look at some of the historic numbers. But I can remember 10 years ago, where they were doing admissions of, you know, five hundreds of 750 lawyers in a day. And I am thinking and I reached out to my local law schools to check on their numbers. And they all said that student body sizes are trending downward. And admissions are percentage points below where they used to be. Which means that fewer people are going to law school, fewer people are passing the bar. You know, if you look at our state, our state, like something like 75% of the lawyers are above 60 In my state. And so the the competition for young lawyers that can do the work is going to ever increase. So the goal is to is to get people to keep people and maybe give them you know, golden handcuffs or at least
For what it's worth, my 25, 25-50 deal has retained, you know, dozens of people for you know, 8, 10, 12 years it's worked well. Final thing before we have to wrap up. Somebody I it comes to me and we could do a longer segment on this if you want but one of the things I get from listeners of the show is a challenge. I'm going to take out my law firm hat BluShark Digital hat, which is starting a digital campaign to For my modest, burgeoning firm, and some of the obstacles that are there, and some of them may seem obvious, I've talked on the show that really hardcore SEO with Link Building shouldn't be cheap. Cut shouldn't be tackled, till 350 and revenue, annualized, unless you have outside money coming in that month number may go to need to go to four. But what I'm seeing that's really interesting, and I feel like the longer I work with BluShark, you see trends over and over again, is that time, a solid plan, and executing on that plan will generally get organic reach. But that the thing that you know, and I'm curious to sort of get your thoughts because a lot of people come to you for advice, that it is not a rite of check situation, I think this is true, whether it's intake or anything else, that the idea that a firm is involved in review generations, have been making sure that your intake has a closed loop, that each of these pieces, and I see this much for conversations I've had over the last month, making sure that there's not a hole in the bucket. Sometimes that's severe, I just had that where my intake was fucking up, and I was not doing great, but that it's that the marketing is great. But if somebody looks at it as fairy dust, it likely will not, you know, but if somebody sees this as a piece of something larger, it is it is something I just want to get your thoughts as you speak to people and stuff. You know, obviously, a lot of people call you up and say, Hey, I love what you're doing, how do you do it? What are your some of your thoughts, as people sort of face that challenge of building with all those different things that have to happen before it becomes successful?
Well, I think part of the problem is that number one, whenever you're starting out, everything is new, and everything is exciting. And so you're like, I'm going to do SEO, I'm going to do pay per click, I'm going to do social, I'm going to do all these things. But one thing that, you know, ideas are infinite money and time are not. And I think what you need to do in these situations is identify really, your your priorities, and for the most part, people who are who are, you know, under $500,000 worth of revenue annually, their focus should be on hot leads, and intake to convert those leads, and, you know, the hot leads in those situations are going to be pay per click, you know, I think you need to, you need to recognize that, you know, an investment is SEO, I like to explain it this way. You know, pay per click is the hotel you need today, because you need a roof over your head. But SEO is your forever home. And so it may take you six months, nine months, 18 months to get an effective SEO, you know, return. But you know, once you have that forever home with a quality SEO of your of your website, it's gonna let you sleep soundly every night.
And questions that starter home when you start, right, whether it's 612 18 months, you know, it's not an amazing house, it's, it's terrible. It's gonna get in as long as you know, trying too hard to follow the analogy, but like, as long as it's allowing you to cashflow your life that you that your new mortgage payments low enough, you should be able to get enough money in that you're able to live. The question is, can you continue to build and grow it and live through those lean years in the tighter home in order to build that larger home? I think
that's one of the things that happens as people try to build Pei practices. You know, they build a Pei practice, but when you start a Pei practice, you have to recognize that it's, it's a 24 to 30 month, lead time before checks start coming in, you know, in the most part, the end, you might get some smaller things settle. But you know, you're gonna have to go to trial on a few cases you're you know, and so it's not something that you can just hang a shingle and say, I'm going to be cashflow positive day one. SEO is something that you need to start and you need to start doing day one, but you can't rely on that to generate your leads at the end of month one. You know, it can and then be great if it does, but it's something that you know, it's it's, you know, it's it's a it's a long time, but we are also in a long profession, you know, we're not, for right now, we're not looking for someone from you know, overseas to rip off our widget and sell it at half price. We still have, you know, exclusivity with our marketing, you know, keeping other people out that aren't lawyers. You know, if you're willing to put in the work, you're gonna you're going to be able to succeed. I see on the flip side, I see people who are like, I want to invest heavily in social, but they don't have the revenue to do SEO first.
We got to wrap up today but I I want to make that the next topic, right? You know, we both see fundamentals of SEO strong talking about the house PPC or LSAs, more than PPC, and really being a game changer, particularly the PII space, but I want to spend some time talking about social, because to me, it's more from a check the box for paid social for mass tort leads and things like that. Are we at a moment? Where the different video platforms are allowing for? Is it just visibility? And brand? Or can it be something more? That's my question for next week?
Okay, that's good. Well, yeah, and that, and that leads me to our final topic, we're just going to spend a little time on it today is that, you know, as we, you know, we started this show, you know, in the middle of COVID, when people were desperate for content, people were looking for things to go. And it's really sort of more if we, you know, we started off doing a lot of interviews, we still do interviews. Now, a lot of you and I talking through some of the challenges that we're facing with our firms as they grow in scale, providing solutions, that type of thing. So what I think we are probably due for is sort of like a refresher of our brand, bringing everything under one under one umbrella. And so I you know, I think that's something that maybe we could take my systems group, your knowledge from blue shark, this show the podcast and sort of repackage it as as a single entity, to give everybody sort of a better picture of what we do here, across all the platforms. So that's something that we're gonna be talking about in the coming weeks. And I invite you to stay tuned as you see how we are able to grow this. But for now, he is Seth price. I am J. Ruane. We're live every Thursday here. 3pm Eastern 12pm Pacific. You can catch our podcasts wherever podcasts are available. And please have a great day set final words.
Keep going keep chugging. I look forward to next week.
Looking forward to see you next week, folks. Bye for now.