S6:E14: Law Firm Mastery with Expert Stephanie Everett | LFB Summer Series

Welcome to another episode of The Law Firm Blueprint #summerseries! In this episode, Seth Price sits down with Stephanie Everett, the Chief Lab Coach and CEO of Lawyerist, to discuss law firm mastery and the fundamentals of building a healthy law firm. Lawyerist, known for its emphasis on sustainability and comprehensive growth strategies, offers invaluable insights for law firm owners at every stage of their journey. Stephanie shares the core philosophy of Lawyerist, emphasizing the importance of a healthy firm — not just in terms of profits but also strategy, team, systems, processes, and the well-being of the owner. 

The discussion covers various aspects of their Lawyerist Lab program, designed to cater to law firms from startup phases to legacy planning, ensuring a robust framework for growth and sustainability. Tune in to learn about the importance of mindset shifts for law firm owners, the critical role of non-lawyer administrators, and innovative succession planning strategies. Discover how Lawyerist is helping lawyers build successful, forward-thinking practices that adapt to modern challenges and opportunities. Don’t miss this insightful conversation packed with practical advice for law firm mastery!

#LawFirm #LawFirmGrowth #LegalMarketing #Lawyerist #SummerSeries


Seth Price 0:07

Welcome, everybody, we’re so excited to have you here on The Law Firm Blueprint, we are here with Stephanie Everett, The head lab coach- Chief Lab Caoch and CEO of Lawyerist, welcome.

Stephanie Everett 0:18

Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Seth Price 0:21

You know, you guys have been in this game for quite a while, and I now, you know, have different sort of corporate, you know, machinations. But at the end of the day, one of the things Lawyerist has sort of always stood for is sort of fundamentals and building blocks for law firms. Tell me a little bit about like, where you guys are? And what what’s going on with Lawyerist?

Stephanie Everett 0:41

Yeah, I mean, we are continuing on, we really love helping lawyers build healthy law firms. And you know, we use that term healthy on purpose, because I think a lot of people out there are kind of saying, like, grow your firm or make more money, or I don’t know, whatever they say. And that’s cool. But a lot of people that we work with, we really think about what is a healthy firm, both in terms of healthy profits, but also having a healthy strategy and a team, and systems and processes and technology? Oh, and by the way, a healthy owner? Because that’s a big piece of what we talk about, right? Like if if your business doesn’t exist to serve you, especially as a small business owner, like what, what are we doing here? So. So we’re still very much focused on that. And that really touches everything that we do.

Seth Price 1:32

And you know, there’s a website, which is where a lot of people sort of may first learn about you, but you have an entire program, running, share a little bit about what you’ve done, because it’s, this is not your first day at the rodeo. I mean, you’ve been, you’ve been at this for a while.

Stephanie Everett 1:45

Yeah, I mean, this program has existed for now over six years. So the website lawyerist.com is a great place to go to just learn about running your business. And we started there, but then we realized some people wanted more help, they wanted more hand holding or more of all the things. And so that’s when we launched Lawyerist Lab, which is our official coaching, slash consulting program. And, you know, people sometimes ask me, why lab, and I always say, you know, the lecture hall at school is where you go to listen and just hear people talk at you. The lab is where you go to experiment and pull levers and figure out what’s working and what’s not, and what do we need to adjust? And to me, that’s how we approach our business. So lab is really a place where people can go learn some content and some information about best business practices. But then, ideally, we’re really helping them implement those ideas, how do we put them into practice and see what works and what doesn’t and what [inaudible]?

Seth Price 2:44

You know, one of the things that I think that I have been humbled by, you know, we’re, my law firm Price Benowitz now, it’s 44 lawyers, and I’ve seen countless law firms through BlueShark 250 current clients, and a number of past ones, is, when we’re looking at law firms, there are different stages of growth, and each one has such different challenges. So the question is, talk to me a little bit about how you guys philosophically break that up. Because if you bring somebody who’s at, you know, 1.5 million with a bunch of staff compared to a guy who’s trying to get to 400,000, very different issues they’re dealing with.

Stephanie Everett 3:20

Absolutely, we deal with in a couple of ways, sometimes the program itself, so we have a couple of levels within the program, and based on where you are, we’ll make a suggestion. If you’re at that stage one, just startup stage. I mean, let’s face it, you’re really focused on getting clients, getting cash in the door. And so we have, so one of the levels of lab is more focused on that, once you start ready, getting ready to scale, right, and then you got work coming in the door. Most people, then they’re like, now what do I do? Now I need to hire people, I need systems and processes, I need a way to get all this work done. That’s really probably the sweet spot and the heart of our main lab program, where we really help people come in and build those systems and processes and hire people and all the things that you’re then struggling with. And then we have a final level of lab, we call it legacy. It’s like for that level, that they’re really they have built this business. And now they are thinking about their legacy. What are they going to do next? Where, where do they want this thing to take them? And so I’d say we address it that way. Does that help?

Seth Price 4:28

It does, let me ask about the legacy piece because you know, we’ve had people on that broker law firms, and there seems to be a lot of talk about it, but less sort of actual success stories. You know, my dad’s 89, and he’s a rational player. He’s actually still practicing, still with it. And I’m always like, you know what, you know, what’s the plan? He’s 89 and still practicing. And he’s at a firm where somebody will take those cases, but there’s no thought. He’s old school, old school never marketed a day in his life other than Bar Association events and things like that, but he’s very much, you know, there’s not a thought towards that. Are you seeing people that are legacy like, we want to get our kids involved? We want to find a way to have a, you know, a 1x earnings buy out like, what is it that people are like? What is a success for your, for your clients?

Stephanie Everett 5:18

For sure we see those and we help people with succession planning, know, and we know people that are maybe going on what I called more that traditional route of like, am I going to sell my practice, either to someone who already works here, or to a third party, that’s for sure happening. Interesting enough. I don’t know if it’s just where we are right now, or the kind of people that tend to work with us. A lot of people that are in that, in the current legacy group, they are very much like they are they’re actually, I don’t know, relatively young, like my age, maybe I feel like I’m still pretty young. And they’ve been practicing for a while. And they’re intrigued by being an entrepreneur, like several of them are now sort of what ,starting what I’d call second, you know, another business that has nothing to do with law. And they’re intrigued by that. And like, how do I do this? And so it’s kind of an interesting group, because for sure, there’s people who are thinking about that traditional sell, but there’s a lot of people who are like, okay, I have this business where I want it, and it’s running. But now maybe I’m interested in doing something else, maybe my entire life. I mean, like, some people their whole life is defined by being a lawyer. And I think in today’s world, we’re starting to see new opportunities where people are like, this is cool, but maybe I also want to go try my hand at something else.

Seth Price 6:39

Right. And I think that, you know, it is, you’ve said a bunch of things. And I’m just curious, I know, this not probably where we tend to be, but I’m, would love, you know, it struck me that, and I see this across the boards, higher level firms and sort of more basic firms, where the dance of selling to existing employees, when it works, it’s awesome. But there’s so much there, where there’s talk and talk and talk, and for whatever reason, it doesn’t work, you know, and want to get your thoughts when you see that work. Like what are some of the things that when people do want to have a succession plan where somebody else is taking over? Do you see people getting bank loans, like they might in a dental practice, or these people that are more giving a percent- a tail for a number of years, what I mean, people talk about a lot, but which are the deals you actually seeing come to fruition and succeed.

Stephanie Everett 7:34

For sure we’re still seeing like self financing, like you said, where there’s some kind of, going to be some buy out over time, and that hopefully the company is going to be able to pay that out. I am excited by the fact that there’s now a couple of lenders in the space, that have people who are solely focused on making loans to law firms for these kind of transactions. I think that’s a signal that like that’s good that banks are thinking about that because I think, traditionally we’ve sort of thought that maybe that option wasn’t available to us. And so I see that becoming more popular for sure.

Seth Price 8:14

And it’s also, it’s a double edged sword, because as you, going back to the lab and your coaching practice, practice world, a certain percentage of people come to you who have referral based practices. And that’s great. But it’s sometimes harder to pass that on. Yes, it’s a phone number, so the phone might ring. But if somebody hears that you’re not with us anymore, then it’s it’s harder to keep those relationships that were relationship based, where sometimes a marketed in practice when there is a brand, and you’re not essential, seems to have greater legs, especially if a the bank was interested, because they know that each month or each year, you’re expected if you keep beating the marketing funnel to see a certain percentage of cases coming, a certain number of cases come in.

Stephanie Everett 8:56

For sure. One of the exercises we do, we’ve done it the past couple of years, we host a conference for the people in our coaching community where we get together in person. And one of the first exercises we do is, is we call it practice your pitch, where we say pick a point of time in the future, whatever point you want, and we give them an outline, we give them the framework, but we’re going to pair you up and you’re going to practice pitching your law practice to another person, you’re, here’s the buyer, and now what are you selling? What is the value of what you’re selling? And it’s a great exercise, everybody should do this by the way because all of a sudden immediately you start thinking about the you know, especially we give you the questions to kind of think through and it’s like wow, if I want to have an asset, if I want my business to be a little bit more marketable, like you just explained, then I need to take myself out of the picture more. The more I’m not, It’s not tied to me. Obviously the easier it is to sell and more valuable it is.

Seth Price 9:57

And that’s the epiphany that I think people are finally having you’re seeing with trade names, it’s good for SEO, my world, right? I love trade names because you know, having that name, location, type of law, boom. But I also see that that’s becoming a big deal like buying somebody’s branded firm seems less desirous than a machine that just brings in cases for that type of law.

Stephanie Everett 10:17

Yeah. So I think we’re getting there. And I think, I think the people that we’re working with right now, they’ve had that epiphany they’re, and they’re like, okay, now I get it, how do I get my firm to where I need it to be? How do I now, in a way, in a way we’re sort of rebuilding their business. Because maybe they’ve started it. I mean, I’ve had businesses like as you know, firms say, I’m gonna change my name, and I need to go with it, you know, I got to rebuild this thing. Now, with a new goal. So that’s kind of fun.

Seth Price 10:57

I um, wanted to hear more about the lab itself, you know, they, everybody has different ways of getting the knowledge into the noggin. But this sounds truly unique. So tell me a little bit about how you guys have set up your, your learning process?

Stephanie Everett 11:11

Yeah, it’s, it’s probably very similar to other programs. There’s an online portal, loaded with content, right? Like we have videos, we have transcripts of the videos, so if you don’t want to watch, however you like to consume information, for sure, there’s a ton of information on there. It’s also got a ton of worksheets and templates and everything we can do so that you’re not starting from blank pieces of paper, like, how do we get you started in that, now that you understand the concepts, how do we get you started in taking those first steps? But then we’re going to build it in you’re gonna get assigned a business coach. So you, everybody at the, at our main level has an assigned business coach that they’re going to meet with on a regular cadence. We also have our subject matter experts. So we have a financial coach who’s a CPA forensic accountant, we have, you know, we have different people who have kind of different specialties. We have our legal tech advisors, so they can also connect with you on very specific issues, as well. And then we have weekly group calls, workshops, usually based on different topics, we try to listen to the community, it’s a great chance to connect with different expertise, but also with each other. Because we know a lot of the value of what people get, I mean, people get a ton of value working with our coach, obviously. But what lawyers love hearing, like what are other people doing and how did you unlock that? I was on a call. I was leading a call yesterday with a group and someone just said, I’m so glad you just said that, because I thought I was the only one dealing with that problem, right? Like, oh

Seth Price 12:52

Well, that’s the one of the best poach- pieces of these affinity groups is you realize you’re not alone.

Stephanie Everett 12:57


Seth Price 12:57

That goes a long, long way. And I see it in the masterminds, you know, you get there. And I love like the John Fisher one where it’s like a lot of people who are sort of in different stages. And it’s amazing. I’ll give you one example that I saw recently that I mean, not anything new, but like the non lawyer, administrator, whether it’s an admin, a law firm, you know, you know, office manager-

Stephanie Everett 13:22


Seth Price 13:22

Administrator, COO, whole continuum, but until that piece is solidified, that’s sort of what turns it into a business from a practice from where I sit, and the piece that I think a lot of people struggle with, because they’re like, I waited, way too long to add that into my practice. Well, I was unique in that I was divide and conquer with my partner. So there was bandwidth for nonlawyer activity. But unless you have somebody that can help with those different pieces, and either allow you to build more, do more things to get your revenue up, so you can spend more on other things like marketing, until you can sort of divide and conquer with a paid person to carry some of that water. It’s a really tough slog to get yourself where you want to be.

Stephanie Everett 14:07

Absolutely, yeah, for sure. We even have an affinity group for those firm administrators. So we because you know so-

Seth Price 14:14

I get it, it’s like like that’s0

Stephanie Everett 14:16


Seth Price 14:16

Everything I mean people are starting to create COO groups. It’s, there’s so much power in that, and it’s so not talked about, the lawyers go to these masterminds, present company included, you come back with these ideas. They’re like, what the hell’s going on? And it’s almost like a lack of buy in. Because if they’re part of it and say, wow, when the light bulb goes off, it says all these firms are dealing with the same issue. And this is, these are the things that have never worked for me, these are the- at least you start to get to sort of a place with your administrator where they can build and grow rather than just take the new shiny object you found at the last seminar.

Stephanie Everett 14:49

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So, so we love doing that. And then like I mentioned, we have our conference once a year. So we have a healthy mix of virtual things and some in person opportunities. And we’re you know, the other, the other reason we call it lab is it gives us room to experiment. So I mean, if I’m being honest, the program’s changed over the years, we continuously listen to our community, you know, what do people need? And we try to be really responsive to that. Because, because we can be.

Seth Price 15:18

Right. When you do this, you get to look, you have the benefit, I sort of feel special, because at BluShark similarly, you get to look under the hood of a lot of different law firms. One of the things that you sort of, over the years sort of been like, yeah, you know, it may surprised you day one, but like, at this point, you’re like, these are the, you know, they have the book about the dysfunctions of a team, what are the major one or two dysfunctions of the firm, that are sort of the lowest hanging fruit when you first, you know, approach firms to work with them?

Stephanie Everett 15:47

Um, usually, I mean, there’s good work to be done around our mindset, right? You know, this as a business owner too, there’s a big shift that has to happen, as you, as your business scales from, from you being the one delivering all the client services, being the lawyer, going into court, doing I mean, like, you just can’t do all the things, and you have to shift your focus and realize that your time is, is best served, mentoring, training your people building the systems and the processes, that I know you and Jay, you know, love talking about to like that is and sometimes people come to me, and they’re like, I feel like I’m not working, or, you know, I’m just in meeting, I’m in these meetings with my team all day. And I’m like, That is your job now. So really clarifying for people, what your job role is, and how it has shifted from what it used to be, I think can be really powerful for people because they, they need a change. And I love working with our owners and seeing that epiphany. And then really, for them recognizing what they need to be effective leaders, because nobody taught us this stuff. You know, we all you know, a lot of us learned by who we, you know, worked for, in some form or another, and maybe we picked up some good habits, but maybe we picked up some bad ones, too. So I think there’s a lot of room for improvement there.

Seth Price 17:12

Right, no, it’s funny, and coming from the marketing perspective. To me, I don’t, not trying to minimize mindset at all. Some of it’s the tactile stuff, like, are you answering your effing phone, it sounds so obvious. And it’s such an easy thing to harp on. At the same time, it is shocking, just how dysfunctional and the fact, and part of it is out of sight out of mind, we do what we can touch. And very often, that’s a piece that as you get a little bit bigger, you’re not actually touching. And I think one of the downsides of the remote office for many people is they don’t see and feel it. And they don’t hear, like old school, you’d hear a phone ringing and not getting answered, that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s all voiceover IP, that person may be in another part of the country or another part of the world. And so that quality control, it’s a piece that wasn’t even on our radar. Like, I mean best practices now are like, oh, of course, you listen to recorded calls. But that was something that like, five years ago wasn’t even a thing, partly, you might you might have somebody listening in, oh, I can hear them. They sound like they’re doing well. And that the good thing about technology is it allowed us to do things, but if you don’t use the tools, it’s not going to move the needle.

Stephanie Everett 18:22

Yeah, for sure.

Seth Price 18:23

Awesome. Anything you want to sort of leave, leave our listeners with as far as you know, I, I’ve always thought of you guys as fi-, you know, not as bright and shiny. And like, you know, jumping up and down, it seems like you have focused on the fundamentals, which I appreciate. But I also know, it’s, in one sense, it’s less sexy. But in one sense, I know it’s what’s, that, you know, once mindset is achieved at whatever level that’s going to be, it is the hard work of, you know, putting in, in the hours and the dues to get things where you want them to be because they’re not going to get there by themselves, mindset or not?

Stephanie Everett 19:04

Yeah for sure. I mean, I guess what I would tell people, if they’re thinking about getting help, and I know you’re talking to all the different kind of coaches in the community right now. You know, take your time and figure out what, what seems like a good fit for you and the way you work. You know, not everybody is everybody’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. We very much. You know, I think I’m proud of our community. It’s a community of really real people. People are surprised when they first come to our conference. And they come up to me and say, This is the first time I’ve been in a room of lawyers where it didn’t feel like everybody was trying to one up each other, like the- they’re just going to be human and vulnerable. And this is what’s working and this is what’s not and how do we help each other and that’s a really cool and very powerful thing to see. And, you know, I’ve got people who are like, they’re just interested in different things. A lot of them are interested in using technology and being forward thinking and building things differently. And a lot of people even in our program are like, you know, I make good money. What I want, is to live in Costa Rica half the year, or I, you know, I want to I’ve got a lawyer right now living in Amsterdam, living her best life running her firm from Amsterdam. And she’s sending me pictures.

Seth Price 20:17

I love Amsterdam. It is,

Stephanie Everett 20:18


Seth Price 20:19

This summer, I’m gonna be, be be in Europe. And we’re like, where do we want to fly back from so we could spend an extra day or two and that’s top of the list.

Stephanie Everett 20:25

Well, you can hit up Carol and say hello, because that’s where she is. And, and I love that I love it. We’re helping lawyers create what never seemed possible before. I mean, I think even a short number of years ago, the idea that we’d have lawyers living and working in other countries for part of the year and running their business, you would have said like, that’s crazy, you can’t do that. But you absolutely can do that plus so many other cool things. And I just think it’s fun helping people build that.

Seth Price 20:27

That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time. This has been awesome. And I can’t wait to continue the conversation. I know I always enjoy our, our catch ups at Tech Show, which is just sort of like, you know, you’re talking about a place where it’s not about the practice of law. It’s really about like what’s going to allow you to scale or, or build your firm with technology. So I kind of find that as a bubble away from all the other pieces of running a law firm, not so much marketing centric, but just really, you know, operations-technology intersection. So it’s always good. And I know you always have a great forum there to share the wealth.

Stephanie Everett 21:33

Cool. Thanks for having me.

Seth Price 21:34

Thanks so much. Guys, thank you so much for joining. I hope you’re enjoying our summer series, and we’ll see you next week. Bye for now

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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