Join Seth live from ABA Techshow and Jay back at home (of course) to talk the latest tech at the show and more!
Hello, hello and welcome to this edition of the law firm blueprint. I’m your host, Jay Ruane, CEO of the criminal mastermind, as well as managing partner overweight attorneys with me as always, my man Seth price set on the road this week. He’s all over the USA. So how are you doing? I’m doing great. It’s
where were you this week? This week. I started the week in Austin, Texas. Great life moment. You know, I’ve been you and I both in junkies at PubCon. For a long time. It’s where you go to drink from a firehose and during COVID started presenting online, first time in person with the cool kids. really surreal experience awesome. Energy was, I can’t say it was back to the full force of Vegas, but it was the same great, sort of like legendary speakers that I was able to sort of, you know, learn great stuff from and actually was now part of the local track, which is just awesome life moment. That’s so so cool. But you didn’t stop there. You left Austin. And now you’re someplace else. Where are you now? Correct. I am in the basement of the Hyatt Regency Chicago and Wacker Drive at the ABA Tech Show, which I always love to just come through for a day. That’s been my sort of, you know, it’s not a, you know, we, we know what sophomores are out there. But seeing what’s coming next, right over to my side is startup alley. So the format of the show is they do 15 pitches, three minutes each and all these new emerging technologies, a lot of AI focused, a lot of different automations, you know, each one of those present, and then they have booths at the show as well as the stalwarts that have been around forever. So that’s very, very cool. So next week, after you’ve run through startup alley, you’ll have to give us you know, a few ideas of what you think is the stuff to pay attention to down the line. Because, you know, I always want to eat I mean, startup Valley, I can remember a couple of years ago and tech show, it was all about sending text messages to your client. And now that’s seen as if you’re not doing it, you are well behind the times. I can remember seeing zip whip there. Now zip whip was bought out by Twilio, Twilio has been a giant in the space, you know, so it’s one of these things where it’s like, you know, you can see what’s going to be happening in 2025 2030, by paying attention at some of these booths may not be the same vendors, but it’s going to be the same concepts. Yeah. And I’ll backtrack, because it’s tech, but it’s not here. You know, it was a tale of two cities at pump on pump on jets, you know, usually Google and Yahoo bring people to speak. And the Google guy came and literally said nothing. During the entire keynote. It was crazy. He’s basically afterwards, I’m sorry, I brought it to legal, they wouldn’t let me say anything. Whereas Microsoft brought their person. And if you go to bing.com, backslash new, they have their they used to get on a waitlist, it’ll only be very long. But they are rolling out their you search, obviously with AI in it. It was a chat TBT in it. And I think that one of the things that every SEO was doing there was dusting off Yahoo best practices, you know, see what what does being want now, and making sure that what was ignored before to a large extent is only my parents who didn’t switch their browser when they bought their computer, were using it.
You know, all of a sudden, I was going back and saying, Hey, do we have everything in order there? Because it’s there’s no doubt that it will be the shiny object doesn’t stick? Where does it play out? No, no, too early to tell. But I think for the first time, I’ve seen a reason that people and J particularly are gonna be messing around with things search, particularly with their new their new format that’s being launched. Well, and the thing that I think you need to pay attention to as well is, you know, their paid search stuff. You know, you know, for years, I mean, I’m going back to overture days, you know, overture, before it became Yahoo marketing before it became intertwined thing, and then thing did their own thing. We were talking history, right.
You know, now it’s very easy to export your Google stuff and import it right into, right into Bing. And it may be worth taking some time, if especially if you’re, you know, one of those solos or small firms that actually never set up, Bing marketing. It may be time to look at that, because they’re gonna start pulling some people. You know, there’s a lot of people that are disgruntled with Google for, you know, a million reasons and are just looking for an alternative. So that may be something worthwhile is putting some money behind those positions, because you’re going to be getting eyeballs. Yeah, I know. There was always like a good stump speech to hear at conferences from stage. It’s like, hey, put put some money into Yahoo because the clicks are a lot cheaper. There was a reason there were a lot cheaper, right? They were not right. But I think you
exactly right that right now. You know, we are at a point where I think that they this could be, you know, again, are they going to be taking down Google I think is way, way, way, way too premature, but I think that you’re gonna see some more smart traffic playing around with it and potentially, you know, a game changer in the sense that we’ve haven’t had a reason to do anything like Google for a long time. Yeah. You know, that brings up an interesting question for me, and you’re the right person to answer it. So Yandex, which was a, which is a search engine that’s used in Asia and China was recently hacked, and the hackers released the 2000 different ranking factors that Yandex would use to position a website. And I’m wondering, you know, if, you know, we now know what those ranking factors are that that, and you got to assume that Google and Bing probably have even more, because, you know, the, you know, in the United States, where Google has market dominance and biggest trying to get along with them,
you know, the, I don’t want to say the aggressiveness of some marketers in our market and the dollars amount that they can charge versus people, you know, suburban, suburban United States spends a lot more money on internet purchases than people in suburban China just because of available capital. You know, so, I’m thinking that, you know, Google probably has, you know, to 20,000, search, you know, ranking factors and that type of thing. And it starts to, you know, I’m wondering, what’s the difference between Google and Bing? Because that’s gonna make a big role in the people and say, hey, you know, what, maybe with a chat, GBT, they may becomes my preferred search engine of choice.
Right here, you’re following my point, which is, right now people are going to be giving it a fresh look at it, you know, I think it’ll be how does it perform? I think in general, I have never loved the search results there as much that Google seems to have invested and done stuff that gets gets your search intent. Plus, we spent so much time on it with Gmail, it knows us so frequent well, but I it’s the chat chat TBT, which was a thread throughout PubCon. Each speaker was integrating it into their speeches. And on the side. You know, I love at these conferences, they’re different tracks paid track, organic, local, organic, and popery, but one of you know, different things going on. But I went to a LinkedIn talk by one of the older legends in the space. And he was using AI tools. This isn’t just theory, this is like off the shelf pay per month per month, integrating with Salesforce navigator that were so impressive. So I’m in Salesforce is a piece of my life, we use it for recruiting, I use it for networking and talking to people. But this guy was scaling it with AI to be able to have interactions in scale. You know, these pieces. So let’s say, jays goal was to sort of have conversations with all the lawyers in Connecticut, not because you’re saying hire me for a DUI, but just if you’re out there, and you’re known as the J, the DUI guy, that this thing was going in, it could friend people, it could send messages, innocuous ones, you’re not trying again, this is not, you know, Vijay, now with the idea that you could scale for a guy who wants to be on the pitcher’s mound with his kids and not sitting behind his desk for hours and hours connecting with people on LinkedIn, it is a multi touch ability that was was blowing my mind. I think one of the best presentations in a long time, where the AI is randomizing how often it makes touches within within LinkedIn, so it doesn’t get kicked off. So everything is randomized, and you’re constantly and it just essentially takes the digital networking as possible. And does it 100 Actually, it was just, it was the potential that I saw watching this live was just unbelievable.
So that really interests me because one of the things that I’m working on in 2023 is really reestablishing myself as a referral source not only for inbound referrals to us as a firm, but also developing my ability to send lawyers the kind of work that they want to do. I mean, we’re getting, you know, we’re getting 5000 incoming calls a month into my firm. And, you know, we can’t service all of those people. A lot of them are calling us because they know the brand name but not necessarily what we do. And so we you know, we have to we have to push those people out on to other lawyers. So I’ve developed a list of 150 lawyers that I’ve had referral relationships over the last 20 Many years, and I’m starting to do more outreach to them, sending them a note card, following up with an email, you know, starting to do networking events with them one on one, rather than, you know, you know, seeing them at a bar association event, I was talking to a good friend of mine, you know, who’s 35 minutes away, and I said, Hey, you know what, I got Yankee tickets, I can remember 1520 years ago, when we were young lawyers, we used to go to the Yankees Red Sox game and sit at the top. Well, this year, I’m going to take you to a Yankees Red Sox game, we’ll sit down, you know, down in the in the good seats. And you know, he was all exclamation points in his text message back to me, this is the best thing I’ve heard all day. I’m so excited. It’ll be great to catch up. You know what, I think it’s really establishing those relationships. Now it’s gonna help me.
I’ll play devil’s advocate. So you do one great thing. I’m not saying that to do it. Right. This isn’t what you know, when you look at the cost of several $1,000. And there’s nothing better than that. But I feel like, the idea about Jay is, you know, it’s, I got a DUI, who’s that guy just DUIs again, and that there’s the idea for you, of almost mass marketing, to fellow Connecticut lawyers.
That’s why I love this idea. Because I gotta get in on that, because I can, I can really sort of accelerate and scale, you know, by using my touch points. And then, you know, the people that I’m having touches with, are also connected to people that I don’t have relationships with, but I can start them and really sort of build that out. That’s genius.
Right, so we have a product of blue shark, that’s about two years old. Now. That is sort of the 1.0 version of this, which it works, which is the fundamentals, right, which is for people in the b2b space. In one sense, this is the J b2b component of your marketing, right? It’s that’s the consumer to the other lawyers, you know, we have a thing that rolls out, which connects with people on LinkedIn, and sends them thought leadership pieces or information that could be useful for whatever they’re doing. The idea is not like buy something now. But just creating that conversation. What I love about the next generation is that it will take the connections you make, and we can do so much you get on a kick, and you new to the Yankee ticket thing, you call three friends, and then your kid starts screaming and you’re off, or the firm somebody quits in Europe. And the idea is one of the things we could do that don’t take our labor, per se, not as good as a game, let that continue to make those touch points.
So I gotta I gotta, that’s great. And that’s what I want to do. I want to follow up with you on something, and and get your input on it. We are, we are once again losing another attorney. right on the heels of one leaving us yesterday, or two days ago, leaving for the first of the month, we got noticed that another lawyer is leaving. Now both of these lawyers are leaving us for government jobs, because they have over $200,000 in law school debt. And they figure Hey, I worked this for 10 years and it gets forgiven. How do you compete, I could never say in 10 years, I’m gonna stroke you a check for three, you know, $300,000 or $200,000. Like, you know, from a from a from a young lawyers perspective, it’s a guaranteed job guarantee benefits. Basically, you need a pulse to stay in it. And at the end of a decade, and when you’re 25, you know, saying I’m going to start my career at 35 and hang a shingle at that point or start to do it, but I’ll have no zero dead shit. I know.
And you’re gonna be great. No, I referenced this on an earlier one. I haven’t seen those higher numbers I have been seeing. For me, it’s been the recruiting of people in where they’re six figures in debt, you know, high five or low six. And, ya know, it’s a beast. And I think it dovetails to what you’ve been bringing up historically, which is the number of people going to law schools, not just contracted, but the talent level. You know, the best and brightest aren’t going to law school. That means the person who was blahs now going to Columbia Law, you know, the guy who might have been stuffing it down Columbia, the guy who wasn’t going to law schools now in Suffolk. And so your talent pool is strong. Now this massive debt one way or the other, right? No, it’s a real piece and it’s almost like just like in the old days geography or the are allowed to discriminate based on geography. If somebody was more than an hour from my office. I know they won’t be with me in a year, likely six months. And and you won’t just sorry knows, generally most most laws, inquire you can ask once Are you sure you’re going to the community then you can’t ask anything else? I know. And I don’t want to discriminate based on a neighborhood. This isn’t like hey, if you live on this side of town or that side of town, this is like if you live out of town. It is it is a really difficult thing to get over. I wish I had some fairy dust a sparkling edge I think it’s just just one more tax on the practice. And that when we look for people, it means that you now need that unicorn that is either that dot, you know, that lives close enough, you know, passes your personality tests, does all these things. Oh, they are great. And there’s debt issues. And I’m, you know, I feel it, I don’t have it great. I sort of similarly feel like there’s something in the water of the last few months, where we’re seeing turnover that we had not seen that crazy. But after zero turnover for lawyers during COVID, we’re now seeing people sort of like, Okay, what’s next? Yeah, I had an old Council, you know, who was we got an angry call from a client. And, you know, we checked with the council, and she said, Oh, I can’t do anything for that client. And I’m like, Okay, did you talk to the client clients? Up counsel, stop being communicative, and eventually just literally resigned, rather than communicating? You’re just like, What world are we in? It was a small little throwaway relationship. But I’m like, This is crazy that rather than confront something, where a client is saying you didn’t do right, by me, and according to her, there was nothing to do. But you have money sitting in escrow. And there’s an expectation. So my point is, I’m seeing that, again, we’ve seen different stages of COVID. And I, we may be whatever our new normal is, but now people are saying, Okay, I’m not thinking one day at a time when they when they went to you, but okay, when I’m 35, I don’t want to be 35 with children $50,000 With a debt, because I was spending money on stuff and not paying my debt service for the student loans.
Right. And like, I sat down, and I ran the numbers. And I said, you know, I could probably, you know, set aside 15 or $20,000, a year, for the next 10 years, build up a slush fund, so that I could offer them, hey, I’ll pay off your loans, I’ll pay off the $200,000 in 10 years, but then I realized that’s a taxable event to them. And so they would get slammed with 200,000, which they don’t get with government, you know, with with a government job. So, you’re telling
me that first up $325,000 Bonus, the answer is you don’t and look, we both might you know me, the answer is going to make you better off better with with me, they will tell you the answer there is no,
right. I got it, I gotta have a conversation with this associate later today. And just be like, I’d love for you to stay, but I can’t, I can’t match this anywhere near it. You gotta go. Like I get it. I you know, I think your hearts in this line of work. She’s going to become an HR generalist for a State Department. But I can’t come.
But like, and again, everybody’s gonna make their own decisions. I’ve had these heart to hearts, especially for a female attorney. I’m going to difficult ground now. But I say this with love, and I hope it comes up the right way, is that when you know, being a mom, and a criminal defense attorney, in those early years with a young kid is not easy. Not easy for dad with the young kid either. But it’s particularly and we’ve had a lot of lawyers who have done it. But it is not tough. So not only do they not get their debt paid off, but they’re getting into a track where they’re learning years, or it may also be the year they want to and that combination. Again, it’s choice, I would say we’re both sitting here from the perspective of we want these people at our firm, but I’m also looking at it from you try and put on the hat for a second for them. And it’s the special individual says no, I’m going to be a criminal defense attorney. I want to be here I’m gonna get my experience. Great. But for anybody where they’re not like 1,000% bought in, what do you do when you can actually so it is a and that is part of the reason we see less resumes? Yeah,
yeah. I mean, I was talking, I was talking to somebody who said that they, they actually had a bunch of summer interns submit resumes, and then withdraw them when they realized that it wouldn’t be a remote position. And the law school is two miles from the office. And they’re like, you know, they they’re like, No, I want to be home all summer. I don’t want to have to come into an office. I think it’s just, you know, perspectives have changed on a lot of desires. And what I’m not saying it as a critical thing, like, there are certain people that say, you know, remote work is my future, I’ll find the area of law that allows it and I think from a from a, you know, criminal law really can’t be done remotely. You know, trials in personal injury can’t be done remotely, maybe you can do the depositions. There are some hands on areas of law, that really make it challenging to do remote work. And so what I see is a lot of young lawyers saying, well, then I’m going to pivot to trust in the states that I can do remotely because it’s more about life, so because they’ve heard the horror stories of you go into this job. And you know, I mean, think about it, you got these people that are young associates and some big law. And if they’re able to work remotely, it’s a lot more palatable to build 3000 3000 hours a year, if you’re doing it from your home office, and you’re wearing sweats every day, and you’re doing document review for, you know, litigation, you know, so
that’s the document review piece, particularly that like pure document review is not a free lunch, you know, in the sense that I it’s something we haven’t talked about in a long time. So when we started our firm, and the economy was really down like the oh, 60708 period, there was a whole world that went for doc review in the big cities, right? DC, New York, I’m sure LA, there were now a lot of stuff, frankly, is now AI and overseas labor, right? So what then it paid decently it was 35 to $45 an hour, more than you were going to pay them as a junior associate, right. And I had a rule of thumb, which is if somebody did that job, for more, I’m being kind for more than 18 months, they were almost unemployable. Really, it was a combination of the fact that they were sort of so used to being somebody’s, I have b word, like, they were just saying they also hadn’t found a way to get out, he wants to move gumption was like, Look, great, great chance, good. But I’m gonna get out and find my passion and do it. But anybody who stayed there, whenever a bunch of different reasons that they were almost not somebody who is going to be sustainable in the practice of law, outside of like, in our world, meaning working within an organization, I’m sure many things onto very successful careers. But the idea that Jay was going to plug this person into his machine was much less likely. I don’t know if it’s cause or effect, but that was what I was seeing.
Gotcha, gotcha. Yeah. I mean, it’s just, you know, there’s so many challenges when trying to staff a firm and and trying to figure out where you’re going. Here’s the last question I want to talk to you about, because it came up in a printed prior week shows? And we were talking about a players and, you know, do you want to have all A players, and we kind of came to the you know, the conclusion that, you know, having a players is great, but trying to staff every position as a, as an A player is just untenable. Here’s the question I have for you, what’s more important? Well, where is more important to have your A players? Is it on intake? Is it on marketing? Is it on your operational stuff? Is it in your identifying an A player for a role? Where’s it going to be? What’s the best visit? Where do you get the best bang for your buck on
the insurance? Maybe I had to process the question, but to me, I want them everywhere. The question is, I’d almost go to the negative side of it, where if you don’t have an eight player is it it’d be most harmful? Right? And a lot of that and you’re hated? You hate my depends answer. But anyways, Wayne is there to back up marketing. And your marketing person is not an A player, you’re probably video cake as Jay is there to pick up some of that slack was intake. If you have your systems dialed in so much that you can go through scripts and push people along. Even if it’s not an A player to Jay Wayne, genius of systems may allow for somebody who’s not an A player, they allow for somebody from overseas if by comparison to a US, well educated, Americanized person. So I’m looking at each of those factors. And I think the question isn’t so much where can you stand to not have an A player? What are the assets you have, that you can build to prop up and on a player to get done and get you through the day?
Yeah, I mean, my in my in my world, you know, systems take a a b player to a B plus. But systems can’t take as a C player to an a,
you know, but I think you’d give yourself enough credit, I think you take B minuses and turn them into a minuses like, you can go up a whole raid if you have it, right. But it’s also not a free lunch, because that means j needs to sit there and work on these systems, the system that works today may need to be upgraded in six months. And that b minus guy who propped up is likely not the person who’s going to have the intuition to get that. So when I say that a free lunch, if j is let’s say J takes six months off, and those systems aren’t updated, they’re updated, but not by the higher level person, then you likely will have issues in my estimation, because that person is propped up by something that will no longer be as relevant.
Well, the other problem that I’m running into is that I’m getting some of my staff poached, because they do well in my systems. And so they present like they’re crushing it, and they know what they’re doing. And then they go to another firm and the firm’s like, I thought this person was crushing it with you. I’m like, well, they were but they were crushing a systemize job where they didn’t have to think now you’re asking them to think, and they can’t think. And and so, I’ve seen I’ve gotten a couple of feedback saying, you know, the reviews were glowing. And I’m like, Well, you have to know we were reviewing what they did for us. What they do for you
for a second, Mofo, you just poached by person, God bless.
So that’s the story. Okay. So you are at pub Tiger, you are at PubCon, you’re at ABA tech show, you’re going to do a recap of some of the exciting things that you see there. In the boons, maybe you can take a video and walk you down the row that directly and and we can tack it on to the show next week. So people can see it, what other things are on your plate right now so that we we can make sure that we’re covering everything this week.
You know, I right now we have that. I think that one of the we had Bill Biggs came in, and he’s a consultant for price battle Winston, he gave the keynote address at the blue shark, semi annual meeting, everybody flies in. And he was going through and his presentations for a law firm was giving to the marketing. It’s true for any organization. And he talked you know about the fundamentals of community and communication. But he talked about drama. And, you know, and how harmful it is to an organization. And I you know, what, they’re things like things raise their head, there was a point a number of years ago, when I some drama blue shark that seems to have faded and the quality and a spree decor is awesome. But even within price, Bedouins, there are elements where drama raises his head. And it’s humans, right, we’ve got 100 humans working together. But that keeping an eye on that, that’s what I’ve been focused on this week. And I’m gonna do sort of us our weekly EOS call, or a meeting rather to sort of try to see what we could do on that specifically, because it’s one of those moments when you have your executive team, that every element of drama that’s allowed in, in whatever membership is preventing you from making money, have to be very just mercenary about it. And so that the more that you can cut out any of that nonsense, and when you see, it just breaks my heart because it’s not making us money. It’s not doing anything positive. And what can you do to alleviate that, like, human interactions are fraught with peril. But what can we do as a business to try to limit that toxic piece to make sure, and this isn’t like, some of its below the surface on what’s above the surface, but making right for myself, trying to take that as almost a segment to review and see, what can we do to be better that reducing it?
Yeah, I mean, one of the things that you have to realize as you grow and your scale your firm is, you know, when it’s you plus one other person, there’s two relationships there, then you add a third, and then there’s six relationships, and it grows exponentially. And then as you get to a point where you’ve got 15, or 30, you’ve got a lot of different permutations of relationships there. And if you don’t have a strong culture, it’s going to it could pose problems, because they need that gut, you know, sniping back and forth. And you really have to be conscious about working on your culture. That’s something that we’re, we’re not struggling with. But we’re trying to make sure that because if you don’t define your culture, the it’ll get defined, and you won’t have control over it.
No, I didn’t even drink Bill Biggs on to talk about this. Because to me, this is read, I’m sitting there watching as a life moment, we’re saying this is super harmful. We talked about PII firms were one of his topics was were any firm, where people don’t like the clients, then you promise you not the client, you know. And the idea that I’m looking at this issue of an issue with you or one of our other friends that an issue with one of the Rockstar staff members was having issues with everybody. And you had this issue where you have like, quote, unquote, in isolation in a player on production of work, what was harming all of these other players. And I’ve seen, I’ve seen these these pieces, you know, historically, and I’ve done some creative stuff when I’ve had a lawyer that doesn’t hit culture, where I put them in the satellite office away from everybody. And I’ve had some modest success with that. It’s not the right answer. But what do you do if you have a unit that’s making money and you don’t want to touching people? I have one specific instance of this right now where it doesn’t, somebody does not play in the sandbox as well as others. And we just have them completely with their own team. And there’s a cost because the people that do have to deal with them accounting or management, it’s not ideal, but at least it’s not infecting the other members of that team. And that concludes one thing apologize but one final thought about But you said to start that eight players, I would caution we have a lot of people watching the show that that may have an employee or hiring their first employee, etc. And that we don’t, we don’t know what we don’t know, in one respect, but that we, when you make those hires, there are times when you take a hire, and you won’t even understand how that plays in until the person’s at your office. And that overtime, I took it the rule of threes. Don’t be afraid that if you make a hire, and it’s not right, that is not always a bad thing. It’s not a good thing. I’m not advocating for doing it, but that you need to get there if you know you need staff and you’re understaffed. And I’m not saying to make a rash decision. Get somebody in you learn a lot when something doesn’t work with costs. But that gets you closer to figuring out what you actually mean. And not to make those mistakes again. So learn as much as you can, so you don’t make unnecessary mistakes. But don’t be afraid to make a hire because I believe that over time, that that will get you to a point that you couldn’t go if you just net like, you know, you never know. You don’t take any swings of the bat. You’re not getting anywhere that type of a concept. Cool. Transcribed by https://otter.ai