S5:E29: Hiring the Right People and Jay’s Firm Exit Plan

On this edition of The Law Firm Blueprint, Seth Price and Jay Ruane discuss Ruane Attorney’s potential search for a second Sales Attorney as a contingency plan to take the burden off of one of his longtime employees. They go over the best ways to vet potential employees, and how to hire as a business owner with the intent of expanding a department rather than firing and replacing an employee. 

Jay expresses how he wants to build up his team for a potential firm exit down the line, and Seth gives him advice on how he would conduct such an exit. Seth tells Jay that he may be sitting on a beach in “retirement” for the majority of the time, while still having a certain amount of involvement at the firm.

Seth and Jay also discuss international employees, how they have been beneficial for Seth at both Price Benowitz in terms of intake, and how to handle the cultural differences that come with hiring across the globe. Finally, the pair discuss benefits and salaries in relation to hiring mid-level and junior employees in the current economy.

Check out the podcast on The Law Firm Blueprint Facebook group, the BluShark Digital website, or stream it wherever you get your podcasts!

#hiring #sales #atttorney #lawfirmgrowth #salaries #benefits #internationalemployees



Jay Ruane 0:07

Hello and welcome to another edition of The Law Firm Blueprint and I am one of your hosts Ray Ruane, CEO of The Mastermind, the Criminal Mastermind, as well as Ruane Attorneys, a criminal defense firm in Connecticut. With me, as always, my man Seth Price down there DC, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina as well as Grand Poobah of all things BluShark Digital. Thank you for being with us this week, and Seth, I got a lot on my mind, I know you got a lot on your mind, let’s jump right into it, how’s your week going?

Seth Price 0:32

It’s going good. We made made a nice C level hire, which finally means that I feel like my whole team is in place. Now it’s tweaking. We had a lawyer who was not performing at like ideal standards, where you’re like upgrading things now, which is a nice, like you know, as you know, we very often wait for either something so bad that we have to fire, or are waiting just for somebody to break and leave on their own.

Jay Ruane 1:02


Seth Price 1:02

And you know, when again, in law firm growth, we’ve all been there, we’ve all kept people longer than we should have, because we can’t live without them. And that knowing that when you, you know, one of the things I think you strive to get to is the point where somebody would be better off in another place for themselves and for you and making sure that you identify that rather than waiting for that to break.

Jay Ruane 1:24

Yeah, for sure. You know, speaking of that topic of having the right person in the right seat and that type of thing, I want to talk to you a little bit about bandwidth, and actually filling that seat. You know, I’ve discussed this frequently, that, you know, I have a lawyer salesperson, an intake lawyer who closes all of our business, I think in the context of criminal work, it’s very helpful to have somebody who can answer those questions. You know, we’re not doing PI, we’re not doing you know, immigration, other areas of law that seem better suited to non attorney sales.

Seth Price 2:00

Look, and we just full disclosure, we’ve talked about it a lot, we have never had, that we’re actually trying to figure out how to bring a lawyer into that fold. So I think it’s genius.

Jay Ruane 2:07

Well, I mean, think about it, though, you but you have your lawyers close their own business.

Seth Price 2:12

Correct. But if I have 22 criminal lawyers, that means I have a 22nd worst closer.

Jay Ruane 2:19

Oh, absolutely I agree with you on that.

Seth Price 2:21

So like meaning, my first five, I’m loving it, because they’re doing seven figures, my 22nd is leaving how much on the table?

Jay Ruane 2:29

Right. And one of the things, one of the issues that you have, in all law firms, I think where you are doing fee for service is that if you have lawyers doing the selling for you, like for example, if you break down people geographically or by, you know, by subject matter, and they are getting a straight salary, you know, you’re asking them to close business –

Seth Price 2:50

[inaudible] Right, so assuming that you’re fully incentivizing the person to do it.

Jay Ruane 2:54

Right. But my question then becomes, I have a sales lawyer now. That sales lawyer, you know, has a solid week, where they are able to do the work, but they are not overworked. But they, that, that’s their job, right? And they make great money doing the sales lawyer. I don’t really think I can afford another sales lawyer. And I don’t need it, because I’m not at a point where I have the need for two full time sales lawyers. So how do you fill that role when the sales lawyer says, hey, man, I want to take a two week vacation. So right now, it’s falling into my lap where I’m stepping up or, like this weekend, where my kids got me sick. And now I’m home and I’m throwing up. And I can’t answer those calls on a Monday and be the person. What do you do in that situation?

Seth Price 3:39

So, look, I there are two things going on. We’re going to talk about them both right, since we should lay it out so it force us to come back to it. The first is the question of what do you do as a growing law firm? Whether you’re a solo, 3 people, 20 people, 100 people? How do you deal with the idea that there’s a person doing one job one widget that if they’re not there, what happens? Or they quit? Or what have you, that risk, right this person? And the second is should you be at your size, adding additional bandwidth for that? And that I know, I went from pre COVID, 12 people in office, to 24, 25, including diversified international/ domestic, I know that every time I’ve added a person in intake, and that’s not even closing people, I make more money. Right? So that it’s one of those areas that if you know how to do this and could replicate it to me, like, okay, you say, let’s say that you’d be paying a new person, let’s just use that number 100,000 over under, right, 80, whatever it is, 80-100,000. With incentives, let’s say it’s 100. So if you say oh my god, that’s so much money. Okay, what if you did three months at $25,000? Could you tell in three months if you’re making more money, and hypothetically, if you’re to- if your top line, gross revenue went up at least 75,000 in that three month period, that, which is not crazy, right? You’re basically saying, can this person raise me 25,000 a month, you know, if they can great and if they can’t, but let’s say they get close, I’m making this up. So it’s not like a homerun. It’s like, just shy of three to one. But it buys you insulation. If that person quits, if they’re on vacation, right now, History is written by the victor, you’ve had this person, how long? 10 years?

Jay Ruane 4:15


Seth Price 4:51

20 years. That’s your secret. If that’s your unicorn, and your secret sauce, God bless you. I’m thankful for it. But history is written by the victor. If she had left you seven years ago, and you were spinning through people, you’d be less set. So I think that, and it goes, wants to go back to the other piece, which we talked about with people, because we’ve both been there. We’re still there. There are times when you have one. We’ve talked years ago, like about should you have an attorney first or paralegal first and all of that. The question is, if you don’t have some redundancy, then you’re just waiting for something to break. And it’s you. You are that extra piece. You always talk about being out of the business. You’re not if you have a one person department for the time being, and you know what? Plan B may be this lawyer would step in, if they’re not in court, and you could have a plan B, but at the end of the day, for the foreseeable future, you’re the backstop unless you staff appropriately.

Jay Ruane 6:34

Right. And that’s, and that’s one of the things I mean, I think to hire. I don’t know, I mean, I think finding the talent for the sales lawyer position is also extremely difficult, extremely difficult, because it’s not something that comes naturally to most lawyers.

Seth Price 6:51

Right, and, so we have one, our first one full disclosure, talking about it, have somebody in training, I talk about the rule of threes, let’s God willing, it’s not this one, right? Because you sort, you don’t you don’t know what you don’t know, you’re trying to figure this out? How do you make it happen? All of that said, you know, when I think about this, and it’s the idea that you’ve, take the Giants, I know you’re a Jets fan, but the Giants historically have had best player on the board. It’s who you take, right? Whether you need it or not within reason, right. And so if you find somebody should you be grabbing it because with those salespeople, not only do you have to find somebody who’s theoretically a lawyer, if you’re going the lawyer route, but you have to have somebody that you can live with sales, as I know, from both BluShark, and from this new position, there are a lot of people that can sell but you may not love hanging around them, salespeople are a different ethos to everything else. I interviewed a guy who was amazing, you would say, oh, my God, this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. But if there’s other things in their, their persona or their background that don’t align, you know, it’s such a, it’s such a unicorn that you could find that would hit that particular thing. So that, to me, that’s one of the reasons why I love recruiting in the sense that if I can find that person, I know that if you had another Rockstar, you’d make more money.

Jay Ruane 8:09

Yeah, I probably would. I mean, and then that that leads to the next question, where do you go to find that sales lawyer? Because if you put that out, you know, you can say, are you you know, do you have a background in sales and thought law was for you, but really are now 10 years into it and you hate it? Do you look for I mean, I mean, unfortunately, in my world, I know, I know, a good dozen disbarred lawyers who are now sitting at home with nothing to do and I can make them salesperson they have the knowledge.

Seth Price 8:40

That’s non attorney salespeople, again, nothing wrong with it, but-

Jay Ruane 8:42

Right, is that something that I should investigate?

Seth Price 8:45

There are people that do that in all necks of the world. we had a guy for years, who was sort of like a doctor that would vet medical cases for us instantaneously, Med Mal, cases. Yeah, he had a run in with the bar of medicine. And, you know, they’re all those pieces. So, look, I’ve been through it, like I’m like, you want to know, you put your stuff on LinkedIn, you put on the list, local listservs. And what I was seeing is two out of three, were essentially people who wanted to stop working. That’s the problem.

Jay Ruane 9:19

Yeah, because if they don’t want to work, they want a change, but they don’t necessarily want to work.

Seth Price 9:25

Correct. And like, I, one guy was great. He came from a local I don’t wanna call competitor but somebody in the same space in Virginia, and would have been awesome, and then ghosted us. My point is like, it is like so it’s like, meaning, the people, it’s sort of like dating the girls that I wanted didn’t want me and vice versa, Woody Allen Groucho Marx, why’d you ever member of a club that, if he was a member? I would say that if the fundamentals you know what it is like, nobody’s better, not in a bad way, in a good way, a self promoter than you, you go to freakin Bar Association events, you know, in garb with a booth, and not just a booth but like, you know, you know,

Jay Ruane 9:40

A trade show display at a bar association.

Seth Price 9:45

You know how to attract attention. So it’s really a question of have you raised your hand to the world? First, let your person know that you are looking for an additional not a replacement. I say that because my tennis club just had a whole brouhaha, first world issue.

Jay Ruane 9:55

Yeah I mean, seriously, c’mon.

Seth Price 9:58

Understood. It’s my middle aged sport, the only reason I’m still ticking, keeping my weight down as best I can.

Jay Ruane 10:10

You’re not a pickleballer?

Seth Price 10:29

Not yet, I, my tennis is so marginal. And I’m told that when you play pickleball, it hurts your tennis game, I have nothing to give.

Jay Ruane 10:36

Right. So now it’s time to switch.

Seth Price 10:38

Well, I will save that for Florida, I do enjoy the pickleball. But tennis really burns a sweat and gets my you know, I need to keep it as long as I can. But the board hire recruiter to hire a general manager, and there have been a director there for like 20 years, you know, who’s beloved, and the recruiter used the club name in the ad. So a note to everybody out there anything you post, even when it doesn’t say the name of your firm can be traced back. So first thing is given that you want additional bandwidth, you say, hey, I want you to be able to take vacation, I want to expand the department, give you somebody to supervise, first disclose, right when you can. And then secondly, like, like the answer is there’s not a you know, you can’t go to the the attorney intake lawyer farm and like grab, you know-

Jay Ruane 11:26

And that’s and that’s one of the things that most of the people in our audience are not in major metropolitan areas where people relocate to I mean, you’re, you know, DC, Maryland, Virginia, there are people in Dallas and in, you know, in Austin, or Atlanta, or Chicago or New York City, I’m talking about suburban Connecticut. I mean, we’re talking maybe 300 criminal defense lawyers in the state that know what they’re talking about.

Seth Price 11:53

You theoretically, how long does it take to wave into Connecticut?

Jay Ruane 11:57

I mean, fewer than six months, I think I mean, it’s,

Seth Price 12:00

So maybe that, you make the hire and you wave them in, you know.

Jay Ruane 12:04

Yeah but then at that point, they don’t have the knowledge of the courthouses and stuff that that’s what it seems people are asking about on the call.

Seth Price 12:13


Jay Ruane 12:14

I mean, if I need to train somebody, why wouldn’t I train a non attorney salesperson? In all of that information?

Seth Price 12:19

Well yes, because you have the bar and they can actually do, they can go a step further. And I think there is something to saying I’m a barred attorney, but put that aside for a second. Yes, good question. You can get 90% of it potentially. But I think the same issue is there, when somebody starts, they’re not going to price a homicide for you, not that you do that, but I’m making that up, a serious felony, right. Anything with hair on it isn’t going to be done by that person, they’re coming to, your attorney, even your senior attorney comes to you, right, and talks it through. So what you’re talking about is your speeding tickets, your misdemeanors, your DUIs, all of that. If the person is with it, you’re going to be able to get them up to speed in a matter of weeks. If not days, you know it just-

Jay Ruane 13:03

So then here comes my next throw a curveball, at you, it’s something that we didn’t talk pre show. But like, you know, I’m seeing, you know, exit signs on the ramp, you know, coming up, down the line, I’d like to get out, you know, nine more years and be able to exit this business. And one of the things that I’m thinking of is, you know, I need to train my lawyers here to essentially buy the firm for me, I don’t think it’s going to be able to be sold on the open market, but I would be able to sell it to some extent to my existing attorneys, if they want to continue their income, and you know, they’ve got the marketing in its place, and all that fine, funky stuff, and the staff to be able to support it. So should I start looking at my lawyers and say, hey, look, I’ve got a half a dozen more than that of you guys. Why don’t I teach you guys, you know, do a year on intake and sales, do a year on marketing, do a year on administration so that after three or four years, you’re in a position where you can help run this firm? And, and you may be interested in buying it and I can give you a nice price and and exit? Should I be looking to? Or should I just be having those lawyers grind?

Seth Price 14:10

Well, look, I don’t either or let’s divide it again. Right. So on the one hand, I’m all for having the attorneys part of these different pieces. I think it’d be more essential. I can tell you, I know the PIs firm’s sell. They say 2-4x. And I know extraordinary FU firms in the market may go 4 maybe even, the average firm. If you’re lucky. You’re getting three times EBITA. Right.

Jay Ruane 14:35


Seth Price 14:36

Right, if you’re lucky. And given that we’re not in PI, if you get 2, that’s probably the over/under nobody talks about it. But I don’t know. I know there’s some that’s something

Jay Ruane 14:46

That’s you know, it’d be interesting, but in this age of boomers, people leaving, you know how, how firms are valuing themselves for sale or if people are just walking away and letting the people behind-

Seth Price 14:56

There was a guy in one our masterminds, has a modest sized PI practice. And he told me about it, this a great deal, he had his associate lined up to do it, I was like, that deal is way too good to be true the moment somebody looks at this deal, nobody’s doing your deal. So it’s sad. And one of the realities of this world might from my take right now, non attorney ownership may change that. But what I see right now, is you just need to set something up where you can be on the beach nine months out of the year, and check in for this or that you’re not like the odds of you, the amount of work it would take, and the luck and the timing, and you’re gonna give it to four people, the odds of them getting along and nine years, the odds of them being there, like, build something, build something to last right, build the right business, and you’ll either be able to extract yourself mostly, right, that’s not crazy. But the idea that you’re gonna, like sit there, and like you do all this work, because you are hoping and look, history is written by the victor, one out of seven, yes, somebody sits there and writes a [inaudible], gets a loan from a bank, like, the truth is, you’re getting some percentage on revenue for a period of time, you’re not nobody’s going to a bank to buy your thing.

Jay Ruane 16:02

No, I don’t think they are. I mean, I mean, shit, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe the best thing to do is just structure this thing for non attorney ownership. And when I truly exit, you know, my kids can take over as non attorneys, and when

Seth Price 16:14

Maybe they’ll want to be an attorney, God forbid.

Jay Ruane 16:15

They want to be an attorney, God forbid, but I try to talk them out of that, that’s for sure.

Seth Price 16:18

Or just have at least the JD, so. But like that, all of that is, or as long as you’re alive, you’ll, you know, you’re there as the conduit to them running it. And look, that’s not uncommon. That is, you know, somebody runs it as a business and

Jay Ruane 16:37

Then you hire COO and, and you have all the people in place. And so you don’t really have to be involved that much. I mean, shit-

Seth Price 16:43

That’s what I’m seeing is that as we add a real executive team, as that org chart fills out, you’re able to and again, it’s fine until it’s not fine. But with a real executive team, you can do some serious damage, and create some breathing room between you and you know, but the idea that you’re doing all this for a potential sale, and nine years of people that may or may not be willing, I hope they’re all with you. I think you should, I think you should, on the other hand, continue to invest in them and teach them these things. And if you want to put profit sharing in place and do things like that great, but this idea that you’re, that right now, out of know all the people we know, outside of some mega firms, how many have had a successful sale?

Jay Ruane 16:43

I don’t know. That’s the, that’s the really big question. Because it’s not something that people talk about in our industry.

Seth Price 17:39

They don’t. And we’ve, had we had a guest on it was a broker of them. And there’s like one guy out there, you would think if there was a lot of businesses in this space, there’d be a bunch of them. I just met somebody at legal tech, she’s starting to do something in this space. And look, does something sell every once in awh-, I’m sure it does. Is it is it pretty modest? Because think about it. If somebody comes along, like I’ve looked at this, should I buy somebody’s practice? What’s it worth? And at the end of the day, all I’m buying is a digital marketing asset for me if I can build it cheaper myself, why should I do that? Or-

Jay Ruane 18:14

Yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s the, that’s the thing. I mean, you gotta look to see what they’re actually selling. I know with me, you know, my mailing list has value, I’m just getting cases from it. My, my digital footprint has value to people, I’d hate for that stuff to just disappear. But I guess you know, hey, you-

Seth Price 18:29

No, it won’t-

Jay Ruane 18:31

I know, Blockbuster went out of business too, like, I mean,

Seth Price 18:33

I’m not saying you’re going to go out business, but like, look first, as long as you are ticking. You could have somebody else, you could minimize your involvement.

Jay Ruane 18:41


Seth Price 18:42

Right, assuming [inaudible]. So that I think is your retirement, you don’t want to acknowledge it, but your retirement is, you figure out a way, you invest in enough sea level people, that there’s an ops person, the accounting, the marketing, the fin-, whatever it is, that all of those things are being done by people that share your sensibility. You know, for you’re on a, you could do a weekly call with them, to do an L10, if you’re using EOS, but the idea that you’re going to just, you know, to me, that’s a longer tale.

Jay Ruane 19:17

I mean, think about it. I mean, really what stopping me from doing that and putting that into place. February 27 2024.

Seth Price 19:24

Partially, will you make the right investments, to do that, A). Are you willing to step out for years you weren’t willing to get out of the courtroom, right? You know, is it something that is stable enough that you could do it or how much Jay Ruane spit and glue is holding the pieces together? As opposed to if it’s arm’s length and you’re not there? You know, what happens when somebody quits, does your life stop? Or do you have people that know how to do this and if you haven’t invested in that extra bandwidth, that’s a pretty telltale sign that you’re levere- that your salary, or your take home includes the fact there’s not a second backup intake person.

Jay Ruane 20:06

Yeah, I mean, this is a long way to get to this, the conversation that we started with.

Seth Price 20:12

We landed the plane,

Jay Ruane 20:13

We landed the plane. So what do you got going on? What’s What’s your issue?

Seth Price 20:16

What’s all, the limited time we have left, I would say what I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about is, you know, we look back and it was done on the show January 21, we diversify with international labor. It’s been a game changer for our intake. Right now, our intake is in a golden period, I shouldn’t even say aloud. Our director is great , and we have a lawyer, and we just, stuff is going really well. It’s glass, but I’m knocking on it. That said, what we always see is you want to keep and retain great people. And the people at the top, like once you have a sea team, you know, they come in at one number. But if you’re, if they’re jamming, and they see the success and everything else, you have to make sure they continue to be incentivized top of the game, you want to take money out of it as best you can.

Jay Ruane 21:04

Yeah, for sure.

Seth Price 21:05

And, one of the things that I’ve been looking at, as we’ve added new people is looking at each department, and making sure that what needs to be done locally is done locally, what could be done domestically, is done domestically, and what could be done internationally is done internationally. And it’s an ugly discussion. Because I don’t want to be like, hey, I’m outsourcing jobs. But what I would like to do is have a reasonable number of really well paid jobs locally. But knowing the piece that I struggle with, in the account, our accounting department is a great example, that we had a lot of turnover at the at the mid level, the junior level, because in our market 40 to $65,000, for a not, established person who has a family is not really above water. Let’s say we we were paying people 50, 55, 60 in jobs that they come, but there was no longevity. There was, I mean, it wasn’t even enough to get to a raise point, it was just that the salary that they asked for, and were getting before they came to us was one that was not sustainable for life here. And that whatever it was, like, it’s not like it’s below the poverty line. But it’s not going to allow for a state, what your one medical issue away from being thrown off your one, you know, divorce, whatever it is, there’s always whatever happens throws that off, and that we were. And so that’s what I’m trying to figure out is how, which, do, I think we’re doing a pretty good job of is bait making sure and being diligent that the people I want to pay six figures aren’t sitting on tasks they shouldn’t be doing. And that, to me, has been one of the bigger breakthroughs. So it’s not just like, hey, I’m a firm of all VAs, that’s complete shit. But it’s a team that is layering what needs to be done. And part of it takes time and comfort is that as you find some of the rockstars that you keep them retain them and pay them, internationally numbers. Because when you get to the point where there’s somebody where you can’t tell where they are across border, that’s when you can really start to jam where you’re paying a very high salary for that country, not just an okay one, but a FU, salary there, which is substantially less than here. And that intersection is what I you know, you strive for and push for?

Jay Ruane 23:30

Well you know, you talk about that. I mean, right now, the dollar versus the Argentinian peso is like, amazing, because the country is going through like tremendous financial problems. And I’ve talked to, you know, some of my people who there, are there, and they’re like, we’re the richest people on the planet right now. Because we, you know, we’re getting paid,

Seth Price 23:50

In dollars.

Jay Ruane 23:50

And we worked, in American dollars. And even though it’s, you know, below minimum wage here in the US, you know, in my state, for them, I mean, like, one of my guys is like, I take a flight every weekend and go on vacation. He’s like, I’m going, I’m staying in five star hotels every weekend, because I can afford it. And I love this job because it allows me to do that. He’s like, everybody’s jealous of me. And they want to know where I work. I won’t tell them and I, because I don’t want other people sending in a resume and trying to undercut me.

Seth Price 24:20

Well, it’s, time out, time out, that I want to see, I want that flipped. I don’t like that. So I love the fact he’s happy. But our best recruiting source are our people.

Jay Ruane 24:29

Oh, this is this is one kid. He’s 22.

Seth Price 24:33

So okay, give him $500 For each rockstar he brings in, it’s $250 for a hire. And if they stay a year, I give him a reason to do more. Because what you want is more of that and he likely hangs out with those people.

Jay Ruane 24:46


Seth Price 24:47

I flipped that all on its head, to me. I want the opposite. I want people saying how do I get more of you? Our best, some of our best hires come from internal referrals.

Jay Ruane 24:55

Oh, yeah. I mean, really all of my internal, international hires now Are referrals. I mean, we’re not even putting out ads.

Seth Price 25:03

If you could take if you go first class on that weekend flight because of you, then you’ll have him. That’s awesome.

Jay Ruane 25:08

So let me ask you this. How do you deal with when you when you have direct international people working for you? How do you deal with things like maternity leave?

Seth Price 25:16

You know, at this point, it’s all feeling out. And I literally today was crowdsourcing how BluShark was dealing with it versus Price Benowitz. Because there are things that we started with, we’re like, hey, we’ll just pay above market, and we’ll be good. And then stuff came, we recently had the issue, which we’re starting, currently trying to figure out is, we don’t love the idea that the our office is closed, and somebody else can’t make a paycheck that day. It’s not a great ethos. So one of the things that they’ve heard is, you know, making sure you know, Christmas, New Year’s, paid. And then other things along those lines, that we sort of, is with time adding flex days, and eventually, you know, full full, full paid time off. It’s interesting, because we’ve talked about this way, way back on the show, which is, do you push your benefits up? Or do you put every dollar you have into salary? And with each time I say, hey, you want to add this to the mix? Way back when when when I started, we didn’t have health care, it was pre Obamacare. And we would just tell people, hey, you’re healthy, go take, take a few $100 cash and go buy whatever you want. We’ll pay for 100%, no copay. Just buy, because our people were young, and they could get cheap insurance, Obamacare made it so that you could get it for everybody with pre existing conditions, etc. So what I would say is, I think with each of these, are you, are they contractors, which is what they are, right? So if they’re contractors, in theory, here’s your dollar, if you’re not working, you’re not getting something versus, hey, you’ve been with us for a while, we don’t want you to feel like second class citizens. And that’s the pull and tug. Because I’m convinced and but there was an issue. And I’ll try to sort of put it out there where people were asking for something, not, my team was asking on behalf of our contractors. And I was like, what, what does that cost? And the truth was, let’s say, I’m making this up, let’s say it was 30 cents an hour. Right? Not a tremendous amount, but not nothing across the board. Everyone’s 35, 40 People now. And so my attitude is, if you think the 30, a 30 cent an hour raise is, you know, that you get, if it’s 30 cents, who cares? But like, when it gets to 50 cents to $1 Would something let’s say it’s a 50 cents or $1 hour raise, which would you rather have? I’m asking that rhetorically. And so I think that as business owners, we’re always trying to figure that out. Will somebody leave you for defective benefits? Versus salary? How often that when you’ve lost people? How often is it because they got a higher paycheck somewhere else? Versus better? They get long term disability, or life insurance or burial, whatever it is, how often do you lose somebody because of that?

Jay Ruane 25:36

That’s interesting, because we tried to give like Mercedes Benz Gold Level benefits, we give them 401k, life insurance, long term disability, short term disability, we give them long term care insurance, we have a group policy that they get, and then when they leave, they can spin that off into their own long term care insurance. It’s amazing.

Seth Price 28:24

That’s a big deal.

Jay Ruane 28:25

It’s a huge deal. And the reason why we got it was because my father was older, and I could package him into a group with a bunch of young employees. And it made it financially possible for him to be able to get long term care insurance for him and my mother through that, through a spousal program that we weren’t otherwise able to get just on the open market at a reasonable price. And you know, what’s crazy is that only one person has kept the long term care insurance when they left me. Everybody else is just forgone that that benefit. One of the smartest lawyers I’ve ever had worked for me, is the one who kept it. Even though she works for the state government.

Seth Price 29:05

I’ll tell you, total aside, we gotta get out of this. But um, I actually got the opportunity to buy, my law partner made fun of me. I asked when I turned 30 his dad’s, brothers are in the insurance business, how do I get long term care, and they sort of laughed because they don’t even write it till you’re 40, you know, for personal I’m sure what the group was different. And there was a company Transamerica or something was going out of, it was not going out of business. They were writing one time pay. So at age 40, I was able to get insurance that’s done whereas like my parents are still paying, they doubling the premiums, they’re 88, like they’re barely holding on to keep those premiums going, like is it worth it or not? And it’s the one thing assuming Transamerica doesn’t go out of business. That you know, the one great investment sort of like buying like, you know, you know, buying Amazon early on was like, locking in that thing before they took got rid of the one time pay.

Jay Ruane 29:58

Yeah, Transamerica is Out of the long term care insurance business now for new policies, they ended about a decade ago because

Seth Price 30:05

that was what I got. They they were the last ones that had that piece there.

Jay Ruane 30:09

Yeah, I mean, that’s the thing. Those are the types of things that you can do to actually insulate yourself as a small business, small law firm owner, take advantage of opportunities like that-

Seth Price 30:18

But, we’ll kick this to another episode, but how do you balance the benefits? I know you love having that. Do you talk about, I’m sure you do. But do you talk about that at every raise and discussion of salary, saying, Here’s your dollar salary, here’s your benefits package value? And, you know, is there a situation where, I’m making this up, let’s say somebody’s benefits packages, $15,000. And they’re making 65? And they’re like, Yeah, this is, this is great. But I can get 72 with adequate insurance. And, you know, I and so, are there situations where you, you’re going to basically benefit yourself out of an employee.

Jay Ruane 31:00

Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s really a challenge. And the problem is, is that there’s no playbook for this. Like, I mean, I guess corporate America has a playbook for it. Here’s our policies, here’s what we do, you get it, and there’s no wiggle room, that type of thing. But once you get into the once you get into the small business area, you know, you know, and the people that are leaving you or staying with you, if they left you are probably going to another small business, because small businesses, small law firms, we’re the people that we employ, you know, 60, 70% of Americans. So it’s it’s it’s a challenge. I have had lawyers leave me for less money, but you know, state, golden plan, health insurance, you know, with no deductibles-

Seth Price 31:45

But how much of it is insurance and how much of it is they could sit at their desk and waste away till retirement?

Jay Ruane 31:50

Well, that too. Could you imagine taking a job at 27, and knowing that you’re going to retire at 70. And that’s your, that, you know, you’ve got to you’ve got a roadmap from 27 to 70.

Seth Price 32:03

I look I have a, my mom’s cousin, first cousin once removed, who literally sat at a federal agency, with a calendar clock on his desk to retirement.

Jay Ruane 32:15

Not for life for us.

Seth Price 32:16

Exactly. Well, on that note, let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s take it, let’s take him home.

Jay Ruane 32:23

So Alright, folks, so thanks for being with us today. If if you ever want to follow along with us, you can do so by subscribing to The Law Firm Blueprint podcast you can catch up with us in our Facebook group, The Law Firm Blueprint, for this week. I am Jay Ruane. He is Seth Price. Thank you for being with us. Be sure to catch us and give us a five star review. And whatever podcast player you listen to stay tuned for us next week when you get another live episode of The Law Firm Blueprint. Bye for now.

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