S6:E6: Scale as a Solution or as a Sword?

In the episode, Jay, Seth, and John Fisher highlight the challenges of scaling, including predicting staffing needs, maintaining company culture, and implementing efficient systems and processes. They stress the importance of being prepared for potential pivots in career goals and building a law firm that is attractive to potential buyers, should the need arise.

Ultimately, the conversation underscores the importance of introspection, aligning business decisions with personal values, and recognizing that scaling may not be the right path for every law firm. Jay and Seth express their skepticism towards the prevailing notion that scaling is the ultimate solution to all law firm problems. John, with his intentional decision to keep his operation on the smaller side, provides a refreshing perspective. John also emphasizes the significance of hiring exceptional talent and maintaining high standards, drawing parallels with successful companies like Amazon.

Tune in as Jay, Seth, and John share their insights and experiences, particularly around firm growth.

Links Mentioned

The Mastermind Experience


Jay Ruane 0:07

Hello, hello, and welcome to this edition of The Law Firm Blueprint. I’m one of your hosts, Jay Ruane. And with me, as always is my man Seth Price, who’s down there, DC, Maryland, Virginia, all things BluShark, Price Benowitz. I’m sure there’s other businesses that we don’t even know about, Seth, but we have a very special guest today, a good friend of yours and mine. And I don’t want to waste any time. Welcome here. John Fisher, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in, in personal contact with you, I haven’t been able, to make the last couple of masterminds. But it is so good to see you and see your smiling face. John, thanks for being on the show with us.

John Fisher 0:43

Hey, thank you, I appreciate, what you guys do is so cool. And I love it. And I love spending time with both of you. So it’s a privilege for me to see this. And it’s a joy. So whatever I can do.

Jay Ruane 0:56

Now, John, let me ask you, I noticed something on Facebook recently, you’ve actually expanded your office to be down closer to the city, from upstate New York. So you’re actually really expanding your footprint and actually going to lead me to a question that I want to talk about today. And I thought you’d be a perfect person for this. And, and really, the topic Seth, I hope you don’t mind, I’m going to jump in and sort of frame it for everybody-

Seth Price 1:20

Go for it!

Jay Ruane 1:22

Is the question of scale. And I’ve been seeing a lot, a real lot of people across the board, in law, and in other businesses on social media promising that scale is the solution to all your problems, that it’s so much easier to run a 10 figure law firm than it is to run a six figure law firm, that it’s, that you know, you can solve all your problems, if you just, just scale more, and have more people working for you and more people solving your problems. And I think to myself, you know, there’s something appealing about me going back to when it was me, and my father, one associate two paralegals. Yeah, our revenues didn’t match, our gross revenues didn’t match. But our lifestyle was a little bit different. And we were still living comfortably. And you’ve really done something remarkable, John, you know, you’ve been exposed to all of these people. I wouldn’t call them charlatans. But all of these people who promise scale is the solution to everything. And you’ve made an intentional decision to keep your operation on the smaller side. And I think that comes with a lot of, I, getting to know you over these years. I think that comes with some introspection, with some knowing who you are versus what you, what other problems you want to take on you are committed to your clients, you want to be a lawyer, you don’t want to necessarily be that CEO, you know, that’s separated from the actual practice of law, because that stuff really does sing to you, it makes you part of it. So can we talk about it, Seth and John, can we talk about, you know, scale as a solution or scale as a sword maybe. Because it seems to me that scale, it may not necessarily be all you’re cracked up. And I say this, as I just approved next weeks, you know, $75,000 payroll for a week of work. You know, not everybody wants that.

John Fisher 3:17

Hey Jay, I came from a firm, like I worked in a big firm, for 14 years of my career, that’s where I basically started. So I was the guy doing trials, depositions, and all of that stuff. And, but as a non equity partner, I, they would give me the financials, and I would see the financials, I’d be like, holy cow, this is freaking crazy. Because the overhead of the firm, everyone made at least 100,000. I mean, except for maybe a receptionist, basically paralegals made 125 to 150. And this is going back quite a ways. Everybody was highly compensated, the attorneys were highly compensated. And it was like two people bringing in the work at this firm. And I was like, this is crazy, because the massive overhead of non revenue producing people was something that in my mind was really scary. So there’s two little caveats I would give to somebody who’s kind of just starting out, number one, if you haven’t mastered the fundamentals of running a firm case management, intake, marketing, don’t scale, please don’t do that. Because until you master the fundamentals, your operation is not set to scale at that point. You have to be at a point where we have absolutely kicked ass in every aspect, marketing, management, case management, every aspect of your case, only then should you scale in my opinion, because you’re not ready to take on more clients until you actually master that. And so the other part of this would be, this has to be a conscious decision that you’ve made that you want to scale. Like for example, I’ll give you a little bit inside baseball here. The firm that we have we, I have nine employees, I’m the only attorney, the nine employees. I think eight of the nine are Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are phenomenal people. They are just amazing people. And every day, they come in and they say, John, it’s so great to see you today. Like, are you sure you mean me? These people are incredible. They never show up late, they always stay, they never like cut corners. They are the most honest people I have ever met in my life. And it’s a joy to be around them. Our lead paralegal is in Tennessee, we outsource a lot with remote workers. That was the beauty of the pandemic. And we outsource essentially everything, medical record retrieval, lien resolution, the stuff that we suck at, we outsource, and these companies do it 10 times better than we can. Because Jay, my goal is really is, I don’t want to be involved in administrative stuff. I’m a small firm. So I don’t really do stuff like that. I don’t do motions. We have an attorney who does motions. I don’t do probate. I don’t do appeals. We have attorneys who do that stuff. They’re not employees of the firm. Well, a couple of them are, but we outsource it all to these different people. So I’m just doing what I love to do. Because ultimately, Jay, it’s not whether you’re big or small, it’s are you having the, is your law firm serving your ideal lifestyle. So if Seth contacts me and says, let’s go to Yankee game tonight, I can say let’s go, no problem. And I can just sort of pick up and go when I want to. So that’s basically the lifestyle choice that I’ve made. And, Jay, if you think well, what about bringing in a young associate? What would a young associate do that could benefit our law firm, I don’t see any value of that, really. Now, it would be different if it was a senior attorney, but I already have those relationships with other attorneys, where if I’m double or triple booked with trials, I’ve got other attorneys who are just as good if not better than I am, who can do the trial for me. And so I feel good about that, you know, I feel good about the way things are. All of that said, what my goal is to keep the overhead low and try to maximize the income, not maximize revenue. I don’t know that revenue matters to me, what matters to me is the net income of the firm. And the truth of the matter is we have ups and downs. I mean, there’s good years, there’s bad years, and our firm is not predictable. And I see other attorneys like we make, you know, $100,000 a week or something like this. And I’m like, man, I don’t have that at all. So I have lots of peaks and valleys. But ultimately, Jay, I do what I love, and this is what I love to do. And if I can represent someone in a courtroom, who’s got a really valid cause, man, I can get behind that. And I’m not thinking about revenue or net income. I’m just thinking about doing what I love to do. And ultimately, that’s what every lawyer should be focused on. What is this stuff that you absolutely love doing? And you want to do it all the time? Because do I do that? No. I mean, there’s stuff where like, over the weekend, I had to do administrative crap, and it was driving me crazy. I said to our, we just hired a Chief Operating Officer about two months ago, I said, I’m going out of my mind doing this. It’s mind numbing. But the reality is, I mean, sometimes you just got to do stuff to get it done. And so even though I should not have been doing that work, I’m very mindful of things that I should not be doing. Still, I said, You know what, suck it up. I just have to do it, get it done, because it has to get done. So, you know, I think the beauty of our Mastermind and Craig Goldenfarb really articulates this better than anyone else is, what do you want to be in life? Do you want to be a CEO? Because Jay, I don’t know about you. But if somebody said to me, you’re gonna have to look at graphs and charts all day, you’ll never meet with a client, you’ll never do another trial, you’ll never do another deposition. I said, I’m done. I give up the practice.

Seth Price 3:17

Well, look, I’ll play the foil the other way, which is to me, I knew that I wasn’t best suited in the courtroom, I had fun with it, it was okay at it. But I was a terrible associate. And to me, I love that other piece. And then it goes to Jay’s point, which is figuring out, because you see this with employees all the time, people do what they like to do. And when you give them stuff, if they’re they have a choice of what to do, they’re gonna do the stuff they like first. And I think at some level, we’re all guilty of that as well. There was a period where Jay really wanted to be in the courtroom, great, stay in the courtroom, trying to get him to get out of it was not going to happen. But as he’s aged, he’s got kids that are grown. He’s like, look, that takes a toll, stress, you may get to that point, some point where you’re like, yeah, this is just very stressful. And I’d rather have somebody else deal with it. I’ll coach the junior people, you know, if the economics in New York allowed you to do that. Great. And I think that that’s really what it comes down to. But that the piece that I think that Jay is also talking about is that if you choose to follow a program that is all about X-ing your firm, there’s a period where you go like you would be, as Jay said, at the beginning, more profitable the way you start than the intermediate steps. So you’re either all in, but to sort of go a little bit of scale, to be a little bit pregnant, is tough, because you’re adding expense. And figuring out how to balance the expense in a way that your net is better is, means, you can’t just dabble. But really take it a couple steps further.

John Fisher 8:47

Yeah, no, absolutely, we have definitely outgrown what I envisioned, like our ideal case, inventory is about 8 to 12 cases. Right now we’re at 42. It’s way beyond our capacity to handle, that’s the truth. And so we just keep saying we just have to keep hiring people to bring them in to get this work done. But the reality is, and this was something in our mastermind that came up by Adam Rossen said it. If an A player is worth three B players, and one B players were three C players. He’s so right about that. And I can tell you, whenever we’re in a mastermind, and I hear someone saying, I’ve got a paralegal, she’s just okay, she’s doing all right. I’m like, What the hell’s she doing in your firm man? You can’t accept mediocrity and your law firm.

Seth Price 11:03

Yeah, but its a lot easier said than done John, we both know that, there are moments where you, I mean, the process of getting that next person, a lot of people, if you don’t have a recruiter, and you’re not set up for it, just getting somebody in the door, and you don’t want to be a revolving door. So there’s, you know, again, I’m not advocating for mediocrity at all, I believe you should be. But there are moments where we beat ourselves up for holding people much longer, we’re going to mediocrity, we’ve been people that are the low side, the negative, like below the C, the C side of mediocrity. And like, we always find a disaster later. But it is not like you always have the ability to sort of say goodbye, unless you’re gonna go pick up all those pieces yourself and handle them.

Jay Ruane 11:43

And that gets the part of it, there is some benefits of scaling, when you have 40, or 60 or 100 employees, I can pretty much guarantee not all, if you have 50 employees, you’re not going to have 50 A players,

Seth Price 11:58

You’ll have a 50 worst, worst player then.

Jay Ruane 12:00

Right? Exactly. And when you have something at the size of 50, it’s easier maybe to cut that terrible person, because you’ve got something the size that can absorb the extra work, and get by while you’re recruiting, but many of us, you know, geographically are limited in the type of applicants that are out there. And so if you’re trying to, you know, you can have 12 people and have really like a strong 12. But if you try to get to 24, you’re gonna have some weak players that are just-

Seth Price 12:33

And you know what, and something I learned look, John can speak to this, because he’s at the other end of the spectrum. But I found that when we started, we got people because it was spread to core, they were in the game with us, they knew us, even John at nine people is not the same as when he was four. Right? He, there’s, you know, you don’t know everybody as well as you once did. But what I would say that I found sort of fascinating is that once, I just came back from an amazing lunch, we have three paralegals that have come from different firms in the area. And they’re all business development centric, and they’re great people. And I took these guys out for a lunch together. And it was awesome. And I thought to myself, why couldn’t I have these guys, year four and five. And to a certain extent, you get a person here or there. But now when you have people that are saying, Hey, this is a destination to come to, that you, it is easier if you want 50 people, if you want 50 people day one with no reputation, I think it is very tough. But that as you build a brand and not just a brand to the client centric, but to the employee centric, that that allows you to scale, because you’re getting people you couldn’t have gotten before.

John Fisher 13:42

Well, you know, and I think that part of this is, is it, that is a difference between a smaller firm and a bigger firm is that when you’re smaller then, your, you can have, you can, you basically know everyone, you know everything that’s going on in your firm. And if there’s somebody in our firm that you love, and you think this is just a great person, she’s honest, she shows up on time, but the quality of the work is just not cutting it. And that’s something where ultimately your A players will resent somebody who’s a B or C player, they just do, and they don’t, like, what’s wrong with you, Fisher, if you’re allowing people who are not getting the job done in our firm, and they’re right, as much as I love that person, I can’t allow them to stay in that position. It’s just the way it is. So I feel like Amazon is just a compelling story to me, because Jeff Bezos, when he started that business, just said, look, we’re going to continually raise the bar in terms of who we hire. They gutted the Ivy Leagues, they went to MIT, CalTech, all these places, they got the best of the best, and they kept raising the bar. And look, that’s one of the biggest companies in the world. So I think that that, raising the bar on hiring was always their, their procedure at Amazon and it built incredible success. And so the way I look at it as a small firm, why shouldn’t I have those same standards? Why shouldn’t I demand on excellence? Why should I work with mediocre people, and now, just someone can be excellent at intake, but suck at other things. And if somebody sucks at other things, maybe they can be good at reception.

Seth Price 15:17

But, John, but it’s not, part of the issue. And I’m not making a case, this is, this is this, is just for, for that banter. But like, one of the things I found most challenging when you have a smaller firm is that there is crossover and cross train. And that the the more that you get away from that, the more you can find somebody who’s great at one thing. And then one of the things that I don’t miss about the smaller firm, a lot of things I miss, I love knowing everybody and things like that. But I don’t miss having to hope that somebody has multiple skill sets, and that they’re all going to work for those different areas. And that the idea that somebody was hired for something they want to do, they’re good at and can row in that direction, versus hey, I’m hiring you for this, and this and this. And you know what, in two months, I’ll probably need you for something else. And then one of my, I have, I can still hear the words, oh, that wasn’t what I was hired for. And those are some of the challenges, I think, as you scale that things are developing, and it’s a moving target. And the person that you hired when you were four people might not cut it at nine, or might not cut it in Jay’s shop now, as you grow and have those different needs.

John Fisher 16:20

Right, yeah.

Jay Ruane 16:21

Yeah, it’s very difficult to predict what your, what your staffing needs are going to be as you are scaling, you may find that, wow, I need more people on intake, because the calls are coming in. But I don’t necessarily need more people in, in this paralegal role, because we can outsource it, and get as good services. You know, and that’s, I think that’s something else that people need to really consider is that, you know, the world has changed, really, I mean, in a decade, I can go back in my mind to 2014. And we were a much different firm, you know, we were, just I think moved over to the cloud. Our CRM was, was, you know, our home baked one that was working just fine. But we were not ready for this international explosion, the remote work, even though we had the facilities to do that. And, you know, that was a decade ago, where we’re going to be in the next decade. Who knows, especially with AI, especially with changes in the demographics, I mean, with the the aging Boomer population, you know, 10 years from now you’re going to have most boomers, you know, are going to be above 80. And that’s going to impact a lot of things, especially with Gen X being a much smaller cohort, cohort. And I’m just, you know, what the whole purpose is that, you know, the whole purpose of this conversation today is trying to get that message out there that you don’t necessarily need to scale because everybody else you see is doing it. And, and that’s really the message that I think people should take away from this is that you have to figure out who you want to be John, you have, and you’re able to do that. And I think that’s a wonderful thing. And I think part of the problem is, is that people see what other people are doing and say, well, I should be doing that too. Because they don’t have the time to do introspection. They don’t have the confidence to do introspection. I mean, I know some lawyers that are in our, in our orbits, and I’m thinking to myself, why are you even an entrepreneur? Why are you? Why are you doing this? You seem to hate every part of running a practice, your life, but you love doing the client work or you love doing the trials? Why not just let somebody else take care of all of that stuff and be happy? Because there’s a lot of misery in being an entrepreneur. But I couldn’t do

Yeah but there is a lot of misery in law too. So pick your poison.

John Fisher 18:44

Yeah, one of the things that I saw, and I’m so grateful for Seth for bringing them into our orbit is Bill Biggs. Because when I hear him speak about culture, it’s like that’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone really define it well, and what it means because it’s such an overused term. And so one of the things that I so much agree with him on is you have to have people who have the same values and beliefs that you have. So for example, we had a trial in a remote region of upstate New York, lost the trial devastating case, woman was paralyzed and brain damaged. And we’re in like, we’re like in an area where there’s more bears and people basically and put on the the best trial we could, felt confident about it. And then we lost, and so early that morning, the verdict comes out. And I’m driving back to work and my, my paralegal, one, my paralegal didn’t come back. And I said to her, what, later that day, I said, where were you the rest of the day? And she said, I was on the side of a road crying, you know, I just, I just couldn’t believe what had happened. And when you have somebody like that, who gives their heart and soul to your clients, nothing else matters, because the alignment of values and beliefs among that person with you is so incredible. It goes beyond money. It’s not about compensation at that point is just simply trying to achieve a result for somebody. And that’s a beautiful thing. So, when I, when I am in the mastermind, if there if there comes to like discussions about revenue with big firms and small firms, I’m kinda like shrinking in the corner sometimes. So I’m like, oh, I hope they don’t get to me. But the reality is, I do what I love, you know, and that’s a good thing. Like, you know, Craig Goldenfarb, as successful as he is, I wouldn’t want that for my life, because I love what I do. And when I see, Jay and Seth, when I see somebody who’s severely brain damaged, and partially paralyzed, and I see him on the street, and they come up to me and give me a big bear hug, that that means everything to me. That’s the reason I practice. And when I started out in this area of law, I never would have imagined that I would be doing what I’m doing right now. But it is so much fun. And it is, it’s great. And I think that I still do stuff that I hate, and that’s bad. But it’s a continual evolution where you’re offs-, you’re just giving other people the work that you don’t want to do. So the Chief Operating Officer, the only feedback I got from no, I got no feedback from anyone except for Seth. And Seth’s only words to me when I hired the COO is I’m proud of you. Like, okay, that’s awesome. Right? So and you know, because I listened to everything that Seth says, And when he tells me to do something, I just try to do it. And that was long overdue. The Bronx office, who would ever guess that the Bronx is actually pretty. Well, Riverdale, New York in the Northern Bronx is gorgeous.

Jay Ruane 21:43

I have some great nights in the bars of Riverdale. I’ll tell you that.

Seth Price 21:45

I went to high school there, and as Tom Wolfe and Bonfire of the Vanities said, it’s really a piece of Scarsdale that was cut out and plopped in the Bronx, but-

John Fisher 21:46

Like, it’s beautiful. And Riverdale is a gorgeous spot. And you know, the people are nice, everything’s good about it. And so you know, it’s a small office, it’s nothing to brag about.

Seth Price 22:02

But look, I look at it. To me, it’s your, the office is irrelevant. I’m glad you got it. But to me, it’s a checkbox. It’s can you find a way? And if that office, is it, to broaden your scope so that you get more good cases in?

John Fisher 22:18


Seth Price 22:19

Some people look at you, as good as you are and say, hey, this guy’s not in the five boroughs. I’m not hiring him. And if you could become in play for people in the five boroughs who look at Albany as being like-

John Fisher 22:33

The farm, yeah. Beyond the farm, they think I’m a farmer, basically,

Seth Price 22:37

If somebody said, hey, do you want to go to Albany for the weekend or Paris, you would get more people that think it’s easier to get to Paris than it is Albany.

John Fisher 22:46

No you’re right.

Seth Price 22:47

So my point is that, as you’re doing that, as you take these different steps, it’s figuring it out. But with each thing, it takes, you know, physically, just getting an office verified today takes an act of God, which means you need staff to help you get pictures and video or whatever the hell they need at that moment. So, you know, and I, Jay, the piece that I’d like to come back to, before we wrap up is the craziest part, I think you’re probably emblematic of it. And my law partner, Dave Benowitz is, you know, people who said at one point, I only want to be in the courtroom. That’s all I want. There are points in life where that snaps. And that changes. And the question is, do you have the groundwork laid so that you can pivot because the other issue is, if you, let’s say, you say, I just want to be in the courtroom. I can’t imagine ever wanting anything else. Take John as a case in point. If someday you walk in and you say, you know what, I’m done, like something snaps? Can you set yourself up for success? Or have you forced yourself to stay this path? And are there things you could do, I’m asking rhetori-, you know, sort of as an open ended question, are there things you could do to hedge so that if you said, you know, what, I don’t want a junior associate, you know, what, I need a mid level associate, because I want him to do most of the work, I’ll take a little bit less, I’ll go work on the relationships, bring in more work, then maybe hire a second mid level person, not advocating for it, but are there things we should be doing Jay, so that you have the ability to pivot if you’re, if your wishes change throughout life?

Jay Ruane 24:18

Well, I mean, I think from my perspective, you know, and certainly, you know, knowing John for years now, I mean, I think the two of us will tell you, you know, having those systems in place, so that when you do bring somebody in to help you, whether it’s hey, I want to take three months off, and or I need to take three months off because a family member is ill, or I want to, you know, take a cruise around the world while we’re still young enough to enjoy it. You know, having those systems in place allows you to trust that the guidelines are there for somebody else who’s got the degree who’s got a little bit of skills and you know, to do that, so you really need to start building your systems? If you ever plan on getting out, you know, starting day one, I mean, I, it’s funny, I had a conversation with a criminal lawyer who’s older than I am. And he’s approaching 60. And he says, you know, you know, I’ve really done really well for myself. Tell me about the CRM things that everyone seems to be talking about. I’m like, Dude, you’re approaching 60, you have no digital records of anything in your office? And he’s like, no, I think I should probably get one because I want to sell my practice in like five years. And I think I need one of those things to be able to sell my practice. I said, well, what have you thought about? Like, who are you selling this practice to? Like, have done any of these calculations? And he was like, no, I just figured, I’d list it one day, I gotta figure out where you list your law firm for sale. And I’m like, Dude, you haven’t tried, you haven’t done, you have no systems documented, you have no operating system for your law firm. You know, like, you’re, basically, you’re a one man show. And-

Seth Price 25:59

That, you know, the irony that most lawyers at best, I know, there are people out there that can sell theoretically, for maybe if you’re lucky, three times EBITA, or one year of gross, maybe, maybe, but that, as you look at this, one of the things that I remember, Andrew Finkelstein, a friend of the both podcast ans the mastermind always talks about is that, besides getting used to mediocrity if you want to scale, but the idea that if you take on a firm without systems, without all those things, even with them, the cost of integration is probably the profit of the existing cases you have. So whereas most people take those cases, as their tail, in essence, a rational player is probably not going to value them for much at all. It’s the future value of cases that have not come into the door today and are going to be processed. And so that, it that goes back to your point, which is, the more that you can make the argument that there’s some value to your current operation, versus this is a hot mess, that will have to be untangled with senior management, if not ownership labor to get untangled that the only way you’re going to have a shot is if you set yourself up to be easy and turnkey for somebody else.

Jay Ruane 27:13

I agree with that. 100%. You know, I mean, the reality is, is that, you know, what I’ve wanted to do with my career has really spanned the spectrum, right? I started off, I was going to be a murder defense lawyer, that was going to be my thing, then I started to realize those guys ain’t got no money. And, and so I got away from it. Well, I, I started doing my murder cases, because they were the Hitmen for some of the drug gangs that I also was repping at the time. And then I got big into drug gangs. And I was you know, and working with those guys. I learned a lot about the, about business, in and of itself in the in the late 90s. On the streets, just learning and getting to understand that, then I got into DUI, and then I got into doing the, running the business because I could see that DUI was able to be scaled. And I could, and really it was, we were a first mover in the internet. So we were getting more calls than we can handle at our size. So I had to scale because I wanted to help as many people as possible. And that’s really the reason why we scaled and then I got into doing post conviction work. And that’s really helped me sort of find a path. And now I’m at a point where at my age, I’m thinking I want to, I want to be able to turn this firm over because I value my staff, and I may not necessarily want to work another you know, 20 years, maybe I only want to work another 9 or 10. But you know, I have staff that you know, at that point will be, you know, with me for 20 years, but only be 40. And so they want to have a better career that they can bank on. So my whole goal now is to have this operation running in a way that somebody else either I retain ownership and there’s just a manager that runs the firm, and they get to do that thing, or I sell to somebody else, or my thought is to turn this over to my employees in some capacity. But I’m trying to think about where I’m going. So I can grow consciously, and not just add people because we need to add people. I said to my intake team, guess what, you know, there’s a question actually posted in our Facebook group is, about how many people on intake do you need to have. And so, and its because they’re, you know, we’re running up against our intakes being, we’re gonna need a new intake member, I said, why not, not hire a new intake person, let’s just raise our rates. And that’s a better use of our time. We don’t need to add another body just to add a body. If we increase our rates and we get retained by fewer people at a higher price point. We can do more things for them and have, still have less people with they’re, helping me in this kitchen. And so those are the decisions that I’m able to make now, but only because I’ve thought about it. So many people, you know, they hang a shingle and they say I’m gonna gonna be the next X, I’m going to be the next Y, I’m going to be the next Z, what I really want you to do is say I’m going to be the next me and consciously create that. And I love what, John what you have done, because I think you are a role model for so many lawyers out there. And and you don’t get the credit that you are due. Because you have made a a profitable, manageable lifestyle practice to allow you to do what you want to do. Because you were conscious about it. And too many people just say, I must, if I can scale, I’m gonna make more money. And that’s what I need to do, because everybody else is doing it. And just because other people are doing it doesn’t mean you should do it too.

John Fisher 30:39

Yeah, but Jay, you know, the reality is, if anyone saw my life, they’d be like, holy shit, I don’t want that. You know, I don’t want this life. It’s crazy. And you know, like, I’ve had people come up to me in the past and say, you know, no one would ever want your life. I mean, are you crazy, you’re gone from your family, like a month at a time, you don’t see your kids or your wife. And you’re you’re not at home, my mother in law can’t stand me because I’m, I’m not at home that often, real. So most people would look at my life and say, that guy is insane. And we don’t want what Fisher’s got, but I’m doing what I love. And here’s the thing, 98% of society are counting the minutes to five o’clock so they can go home. I mean, how great is it that we can go to work and say, I can’t wait to get there. I’m having way too much fun doing this. And so the reality is, if you love what you’re doing, then your life becomes a joy and talking about that asset that your business is, Seth taught me, hey, treat it as an asset, something that if you wanted it to walk away the F-U price, you can say, here it is, buy it, whatever that price may be, I changed our firm. Why should I have a firm named after me? No one’s gonna want to buy that. So it’s the New York Injury Malpractice Law Firm PC. I mean, hell, there’s only one of the law firm in New York State that is adopted the use of a trade nme. That’s crazy. They’ve allowed trade names for five years in New York State, and no one is doing it. And the magic of Seth Price, he told me, do this, instantaneously, I saw the results on Google just changed immediately. I, how come Google hasn’t figured this out? I don’t get it. It should be an easy fix, for Google.

Seth Price 32:20

Well they have. That’s the irony of my geeky world is that it started as a spam technique that people were using. Right, right. But then I was like, Well, you know, like many things in life, I used to go to all these Blackhat conferences. These arw like bad things to do with Google. And it’d be like, okay, they’re doing these things for bad. But could you do it correctly, like guest blogging, they do all these bullshit guest blogs. But if you actually do a thoughtful blog, on a relevant place, about a subject matter you’re expert in, that is a good experience. And that those are, those are good things. And I think similarly, the fact is, you’ve legally changed the name, it’s the name of your brand. And if it happens to comport with the Google algorithm, God bless.

John Fisher 33:03

Yeah, you know, and I’ve always thought that the best thing that you have right here is that the people listening to this, listen to what Seth and Jay say and do what they say. Because frankly, I mean, there’s no one in the digital marketing world that’s actually built a law firm other than BluShark. That’s it. I’m not aware of anyone else who’s done that. Everyone else is like, you know, digital marketers, but they’re not lawyers. They’re not business people. They’re, they built a business. Nothing wrong with that. It’s all good. But Seth has built a law firm on SEO and stuff like that. And so when I hear Seth, say, oh, you should use a trade name. I’m like, ok, do it. And it just gets done. And Jay once said to me, like we’re in our mastermind, he said, I’m not sure this is the right mastermind, I said, Jay, I know this is not the right mastermind for you, because you are the smartest person in this room. And I always feel, always when I’m in the mastermind, always very much in awe sometimes of how bright people are. But also sometimes the younger attorneys frank-, honestly, full disclosure, how how low they are in terms of their development and progress. And I’m like, holy cow, you are doing things you should never be doing. But that’s the beauty of a mastermind, is helping young attorneys grow. So someone like Ryan McKeen can start out at a very early stage and build into a phase where he can go to trial and get $100 million verdict and not be worried about his business. You know, are we going to make payroll, what’s going to happen in the office, he developed the business fundamentals so that he could handle the 100 million dollar case, and a kudos to him and his partner. Because, I mean, they certainly were nowhere near that when I first met them, but they’ve just built and grown. And it’s a joy, the mas- the joy of the mastermind is seeing as young attorneys thrive more than anything else.

Jay Ruane 34:49

Yeah. So John, I’m going to put something out there for you. And I know I’ve been remiss in attending, I happened to be on spring break with my kids when you had your event in Boston, and I was dying, that I couldn’t be there. I think you need to do a mastermind experience homecoming, where you invite everybody who’s ever been to any one of your events to one location, and really try to do it because there’s so many good friends that I’ve made in that group that I retain today. And so much good stuff there, that I really think that you should do it like a blowout and just try to have, I don’t know how many people you have, you’ve probably had 250 attendees over the years.

John Fisher 35:27

Yeah 262, Jay, people come to our mastermind, sometimes just to meet other people not to like do the mastermind. It’s like, we just want to hang out and just connect with everybody. And that’s really cool. Like Rich Grungo, Greg Ward was at our last one, and just seeing people are, its just so cool. It’s invaluable. And the way I describe it, because locally, in my community in the Hudson Valley of New York, nobody gets what a mastermind is, they’re like, they have no idea. And I say, look, it’s like if you’re in the room with Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates, and they’re going to give you their best advice. And they’re going to like steer you in the right direction. Well, that’s what a mastermind is. And we call it the experience because people need to experience it for themselves and see if it has value. So I know that this has been easily the best thing, and it would not be nearly the same without both of you. So I do appreciate everything that you’ve done.

Jay Ruane 36:24

Well, thank you so much. And I tell you, John, I stole your idea. And I created my own criminal mastermind. And it, it has been so positive for two years now, meeting with my people. And I still tell them that they got to get to one of your events, even if they don’t do Injury Law, because there’s just something about sitting around and and identifying the issues that other firms are having. But, but I think one of the great things that you talk about is, the, you know, there’s open lines of communication and people who are at different levels who have done different things. It’s very easy for me to pick up my phone and talk to somebody when they are scaling, when they’ve gotten to a certain level and say, hey, what challenges did you face, because even though we may not be in the same vertical, we’re still lawyers, scaling our firms, and they can help me get through some of the troubles that I’ve had. And that’s one of the wonderful things about your organization, a lot of these conferences, you go, you see people and then you scatter, but yours is really a family. And it’s a wonderful thing. And so thank you for-

John Fisher 37:23

Well it’s amazing, Jay, because like, you know, we were in Maui, just before the pandemic, and like the night before, the mastermind Seth says to me, I’m having drinks with John Morgan, do you want him to show up? I’m like, yes, please. So so he comes there. He’s like, accompanied by some people. He spends about two hours with us, and it was just unbelievably good. And, and like, that’s the beauty of a mastermind. You realize we all have the same problems and the struggles and you think everyone’s got it easier than you but they don’t, they have these problems. And Morgan and Morgan has 900 lawyers and when the pandemic hit, they had $60 million in monthly overhead. I’m like, holy cow, but when he shares his problems and struggles, it’s like, okay, I’m not doing that bad, you know, and it just, it’s a camaraderie and the bond builds. And so I appreciate that. But, you know, incredible people that Seth has brought and that others have brought into her mastermind it’s just been unbelievable, and it’s if people ask me, What’s my end game with the mastermind, death, basically, that’s my endgame.

Jay Ruane 38:26

I love it. Seth what do you got?

Seth Price 38:28

Sicily or bust!

John Fisher 38:29

Yeah exactly.

Jay Ruane 38:30

When, while we’re on that topic, you’ve got Sicily coming up for your next mastermind. When’s that going to be?

John Fisher 38:37

Saturday, July 6th, it is in mass- It’s going to be incredible. It’s at Syracuse, which is about about an hour drive from Taormina two of the prettiest places you’ll ever be. Taormina, it’s just unbelievable.

Jay Ruane 38:51

We get you out of mid state. In New York, in New York State. You go from one place near Syracuse to Syracuse.

John Fisher 38:59

Well, yeah, we’re not actually that close to Syracuse. But, that’s alright. But uh, but you know, yeah, you’re right. And we’re gonna go there. We’re gonna do a little bit of a tour around Sicily, we got new and returning members. So that’s kind of cool. And then what we’re, we are planning to we usually go to DC or Chicago in the fall. So we’re trying to pick a date for that. And we really want to hit the west coast in 2025. Nancy Katie has a winery in Napa Valley. So she’s offered that to us and I think we’ll take her up on it. So that’s kind of the plan for now, but we try to have one exotic mastermind a year and it’s it’s always just a lot of fun and, and to be around people like Michael McCready, who you had on last week. It’s just so cool because he’s sharing like a much higher level of management efficiency than, than, like I would never even think of the stuff that he does routinely. And it was so cool. When we were in Hawaii the last time Michael said, I said how long you sticking around after the mastermind? He said a month. I’ve rented like, you know, a place and, on the beach. And I’m like, what, what a cool thing that a business owner can leave for a month and not be worried about his business. And that’s something that we should all strive for.

Jay Ruane 40:09

I love it. I love it. Seth, any final words?

Seth Price 40:11

No, this is awesome. And the, I gotta say, what John first said, hey, we’re gonna like, now I’m like, what are we doing? We have masterminds locally, we learn stuff, we travel, and the idea that you can mix the two together, it’s become really a fraternity and sorority where we are with people that you, that you enjoy spending time with. And as someone who has a hard time turning it off, if I need a little bit of fix, it’s there. But it doesn’t really interfere with the fact that you’re in a beautiful place enjoying some of the nicest spots on the planet.

John Fisher 40:43

Yeah, no, I remember Seth, we took a cruise one day Jay, on a catamaran in Curacao. And it was gorgeous. It was like spectacular. Everything was beautiful. And I could sense that Seth was a little bit like okay, I’ve seen enough, when are we done here.

Seth Price 41:02

That was that was really, really special, sort of like coming out of COVID. Again, and I feel that for those that buy in, there are times, I look at like a timeshare, and I say this with all the positives of the timeshare. Timeshares may not make economic sense. But the fact is, it gets you to go on vacation every time. And here, not only are we learning something, right, but you could learn a lot more efficiently with a day in the states, but it forces you to do something extraordinary. And I really appreciated the whole journey put together.

Jay Ruane 41:34

Well, you know, I’ll add this one thing. I have always found that when I’m taken out of my normal element, and I’m put into a unique hotel, different restaurants, my schedule isn’t my same schedule. It opens up those neurons in my brain to think differently about things. And then you couple that with conversations with other lawyers who tackle the same problem differently. And I think you really, it’s synergistic. You get more out of it than the sum of its parts.

John Fisher 42:02

Hey Jay, one one quick thing when we had Curacao, Seth was calling me and he was very apologetic. He’s like, I just can’t make it. I’m just too busy. I can’t do it. I said, don’t worry about it Seth, its okay. And then about three days before the mastermind, he says I’ve been to every one, I can’t stop that. I’m coming. So I posted it on our private Facebook group. And then The Law Man calls me, he goes, if Seth’s coming, then so am I.

Jay Ruane 42:27

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. You’ve got a great community, John, and I’m happy to be part of it. But folks, that’s gonna do it for us this week on The Law Firm Blueprint. Thank you for joining this journey with us. Of course you can take us anywhere you want to do go by subscribing to The Law Firm Blueprint podcast wherever you get your podcasts, and you can catch this show live every Thursday at 3pm Eastern, 12pm Pacific in the Facebook group, The Law Firm Blueprint. For myself for Seth Price and for our wonderful guest John Fisher. Thank you for being with us today. Bye for now.

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