I’m a lawyer practicing in the fields of consumer bankruptcy, student loan law, and related consumer protection matters. Everything I know about marketing and managing a law firm comes from my firsthand experience, nothing more.
This used to be a fairly standard “About Me” page, filled with some humblebrag stuff that didn’t sound like me. I got sick of it, so I changed it.
That’s pretty much how I operate my law firm – if I don’t like something, I blow it up and start from scratch. It doesn’t always work out, but every time I do it I end up learning a lot.
For example, there was the time I changed my phone system over to some expensive technology and it ended up costing my thousands of dollars.
Or the phase of my life when I thought I was going to build an empire, so I hired a dozen staffers to help me run a practice area that I hated with a venom so dark and deep that it nearly drove me out of the practice of law entirely.
Maybe you’ve made some mistakes too. Or perhaps you’re neck-deep in a system that doesn’t work too well but are in the throes of analysis paralysis.
We’re all just trying to do the best work we can do, and do what we can to provide for ourselves and our families.
Over the past 19 years of practicing law, I’ve learned that there are a few rules for minimizing the downside of bad decisions. They are as follows:
- Watch successful businesses outside of the field of law to study what works best;
- Take the time to learn why something works – and what other things don’t work at all;
- Commit to make a change modeled on the success of other businesses;
- Track the profitability of each change you make to your practice; and
- Be willing to unwind the changes quickly if they don’t work as planned.
Want to know more about me? OK, here are the educational details:
B.A., Economics, Binghamton University 1991;
J.D., cum laude, Buffalo Law School 1994;
Note & Comment Editor, Buffalo Law Review 1992-1994;
President, Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Board 1993-1994.
And here are the professional details:
New York State Bar Admission 1995-present;
California Bar Admission 2012-present;
Partner, Shaev & Fleischman LLP 2010-present;
State Chair, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys 2005-2012;
Co-Founder and President, Bankruptcy Law Network, 2008-2010 and 2011-2012.
I don’t have an MBA, and I don’t want to waste your time. We’ve both got clients to attend to, court appearances to make, and payroll to meet. We’re looking to do good work and make a profit in a profession that, quite frankly, isn’t what it used to be.
We connect online, share information, educate ourselves, and do an unholy amount of research when we’ve got a problem in our lives. There are millions of lawyers in the United States, and we need to stand out of we’ll get lost in the shuffle.
But that didn’t make me very happy.
My marketing was a mess. You name it, I was there. Yellow Pages, FindLaw, lawyers.com, newspapers, television, radio – I was spending thousands of dollars each month and crossing my fingers the the phone would ring each day.
My clients were a mess. Clients didn’t show up for appointments, haggled over fees, and didn’t cooperate. I was chasing people down and losing them in droves. Every day it seemed like I’d have a full schedule and end up sitting around waiting for no-shows. I was bitter, and my clients knew it.
My office was a mess. I was using expensive office equipment, writing myself notes on scraps of paper that would promptly get lost, and always running to catch the next piece of china before it fell to the ground.
In other words – everything about my life sucked.
So I did what most people do when confronted with a conundrum – I threw it all up in the air in frustration.
My practice was running on fumes, and so was I. I went to the office every day to feed the advertising monster and pay my staff. By the time I got home I was exhausted and beaten down from dealing with clients and putting out fires all day.
One day I sat in my office staring at a pile of bills and ignoring the phones, wondering why I was spending 12 hours a day working like a dog and barely scraping by.
I was a victim of my own business, slaving away each day keeping all the balls in the air. There wasn’t enough time in the day, not enough days in the week, and not enough money staying in my pocket to make me remotely happy.
I contemplated my own bankruptcy, shuttering the place and moving on. But I started asking questions – of myself, and of my clients. I wondered why I wasn’t getting good clients, why I was chasing a mythical pot of gold at the end of a mythical rainbow, and how I could make things better.
My answers forced me to break the cycle of marketing and client service that had been ingrained in me by the legal profession.
Though the basics were out there for all to see, nobody had adapted them to consumer bankruptcy lawyers. Our reality is a unique one, filled with ethical concerns as well as client realities. Undeterred, I set about creating the roadmap needed to make my practice a successful, profitable and powerful one that gave me a better life and created value for my clients.
Out of that knowledge grew this site.
Now I help lawyers around the country create better businesses – ones they can be proud of, ones that let them have the quality of life they deserve.
Check out the site, sign up for the newsletter, and hang out here. We’re going to have a long talk, and I’m going to help you.
Just to be clear, I do sell stuff here – products and services that I create to help you do things better and more productively. I also sell things other people create. From time to time we’ll talk about those products and services, and you should buy if it’s right for you. Some things will appeal to you, others not so much. No worries – I’m never going to turn the screws on you to get something that sucks or doesn’t work.
Because we’re in this together, you and I.