[00:00:00] Today I'm going to talk about probably what is one of the more important topics that I will be presenting over the next several months because a lot of attorneys want to make a lot of money practicing law and. What making money, practicing law is really also a function of your employability.
[00:00:17] So both of these things work hand in hand and I'm going to. Outlined for you the rules of how people are able to make very good livings, practicing law, meaning, multimillion dollars. It that's really what you want to do, or, even tens of millions of dollars per year and how they do it.
[00:00:34] And so this is available to anyone and the knowledge I'm going to teach you today is something that very few attorneys know and very few law students know and can help you. Really trapped your career in a, in an amazing direction. If you understand the things that I'm talking about today a lot of people go into practice in law with the idea that they want to make a lot of money and [00:01:00] and it doesn't really matter.
[00:01:01] It's important to understand it doesn't matter where you went to law. Cool. How well you did in law school or, even you don't even have to be an attorney to make a lot of money in the legal practice. I'm going to tell you about that with a law firm. Let's talk about that in a minute. And the idea is, if you want to make a lot of money practicing law you can't.
[00:01:17]It's not. It's it, there's just simple rules that you need to follow, and I'm going to tell you them right now. And and they involve things that you may or may not be doing. And you're probably not doing all of them. And again, very few attorneys understand these rules one of the things that's important is, that I remember that I used to think that attorneys made a lot of money and I remember.
[00:01:40]When I started law school to have been so long ago, but the starting salary is for about $60,000 a year. And before long, by my third year, they went up to 80,000 and I think 83,000 and, everybody knows what they are now and they just continue to go up. One of the things that I heard very early in law school was a contract [00:02:00] professor.
[00:02:00]It was by the way, not an attorney which is kinda funny. He said, if you're in law school you're becoming an attorney to try to make a lot of money, you're in the wrong profession. And I would actually say that based on what I've seen I disagree if you do want to make money, practicing law you can it's very difficult for most attorneys to make a lot of money practicing law because they don't really understand the rules I'm telling you about right now.
[00:02:25] And and you need to have something very special because. A lot of attorneys, especially people that are in law school and so forth are crowded legal profession. People are fighting over the same clients, the same work and the same opportunities to get ahead. And then even with trying to get jobs there's multiple, lots and lots of applicants for the same job openings.
[00:02:46] And. For example, when there's a recession, large law firms get so many applicants that, it's they pretty much, are overwhelmed in Kenya. It's very difficult for them to even respond because there are so many people. And so everyone's fighting over the [00:03:00] same high paying job openings and.
[00:03:02] That's a sign that, if you're doing that you know, that, that it's not necessarily the best idea. Th the thing is though even if you are an attorney with your own practice, bringing in work and it, depending on the size market, you're in it, it's still very difficult to get paid.
[00:03:18]I know. Some very successful lawyers that were run, ran or are running, smaller practices around the country. And they're happy to get, 70, 80% of what they bill and generally a lot of times it's 60. People will negotiate with them.
[00:03:32] So it's a very difficult profession. It's hostile and only the fittest hungriest and best prepared survive. And. Frankly. The people that do the best are due to things that I'm going to talk to you about today, and they have a way of approaching the market and approaching opportunities that that you may not necessarily be seeing right now.
[00:03:52] And I'm going to talk to you about I want to be very clear with you that the people that make the most money practicing law do not always go to the best law [00:04:00] schools. It doesn't matter. Where are you went to law school? It doesn't really matter how you did there. It doesn't even matter really what you're doing right now making money as a, as an attorney there's different ways to make money and certainly, with a major law firm that's one way, but th in terms of the people that make the most money practicing law a lot of it doesn't have anything to do with your law school or how you did, or even what you're doing right now.
[00:04:25]And I've been doing this for a long time. I've been in this profession that. Legal replacement profession for over two decades. And I talked to countless attorneys each week and review, hundreds of resumes a week. And and one thing I will say is that, once you do start making money but you will, should be able to do, if you understand what I'm going to talk to you about today.
[00:04:46]You're going to run into a lot of problems. It's you certainly do not want to base your life and career around making money and you need to have balance and so forth. But and a lot of attorneys are able to do it, but it's very difficult for them. [00:05:00] And if making money is what you want, I'm going to tell you right now what you need to do.
[00:05:05]Okay. So the first thing you need to do is you need to think business person, and this is going to be I'm going to talk a lot about this right now. But business people understand opportunity and they're able to market opportunity and there, they see where there's opportunities.
[00:05:20] So years ago I had a, what I consider a very unusual experience I was in the process of purchasing a domain name called la.net. I wasn't even sure what I wanted to use it for, but I thought it seemed like a good thing. And all of a sudden during the middle of purchasing it when I'd already spent $150,000 on it, the domains value plummeted, it went down from, being worth a couple hundred thousand dollars to, I don't even know what else.
[00:05:48] Became more, but certainly not as much. And the reason why is this? There's an organization that issues domain names. They released a bunch of new extensions for the market. But that biz.info and that sort [00:06:00] of thing, and all of a sudden. Instead of having three extensions, there were tons of them and there's even more now.
[00:06:06] Before that time there, there was a domain, which I'm sure you've heard of a lot of com. The estimate of that value was a couple of million dollars without a business behind it. And and so I figured a lot out of that was probably worth a couple hundred thousand, and that was how people evaluated domain names back then.
[00:06:21]So the domain was worth a lot less. I'd already paid $150,000 a domain broker. So that to me the seller wanted more money to complete the sale. And I was invested. And so the seller actually put me in touch with someone named Brandon Polak and and he was a guide that he actually basically ran and I owned a law firm, but and, but he wasn't an attorney and his job was purchasing leads for legal services.
[00:06:49] So what he would do was he would purchase leads from a bunch of different sources of people. That ne that that we're able to generate leads and then he would either work [00:07:00] on the cases themselves or have us from work and then sell them. So I got I started learning about this whole business of generating leads for law firms and and saw that I could basically use this domain to generate leads for employment work, personal injury.
[00:07:17] And other cases for he and his law firm he had a bunch of people out doing this for him and had built up this law firm. Himself by hiring a bunch of people to work there as attorneys, even though he wasn't an attorney and very successful running a law firm basically just purchasing leads.
[00:07:34]And he told me that he would, if I wanted to, I, he would buy leads for me and then work on the best cases himself. And I realized right then that a lot of what people are doing in the legal profession, this is. Someone that wasn't even an attorney that is making an exceptional living running a law firm and he was very careful not to do it in an illegal way.
[00:07:55] Of course, he's, I'm sure he's not advising clients and doing all that sort of stuff. And [00:08:00] he's not a bad person, but at the same time I realized that, you could run a, a law firm, grossing, tens of millions of dollars a year. Without even being an attorney which is absolutely astonishing to me.
[00:08:11] And and I started and I realized that, and it wasn't something that I was interested in doing. I. Figured out, a settlement with with domain name and and so I didn't have to worry about that. And I certainly didn't go into business with him and, didn't do anything with that because it's not what I do.
[00:08:28]This is what I do. I work with attorneys looking for jobs, I think, advice and so forth. And as a business rule that the most important, one of the most important lessons I can teach you is. The importance of focusing on something and getting better better at it. And, I review resumes all day.
[00:08:44]And one of the things I noticed is, if you're gonna, if you're someone and you're flitting around and doing all these different things, you're not focused on anything. The most important thing you can do is be focused wherever you are, and not worry about what's going [00:09:00] on with other people.
[00:09:00] You need to focus on a practice here. It doesn't matter what it is. It could be personal injury consumer bankruptcy, but you need to focus on it and get better and better and better and better. And and over time you'll be invincible. What a lot of people do is I think that there are a lot of GRI are there.
[00:09:16]They're special and they can do other things and they never focused on anything. And those types of attorneys indeed do not get a good reception from the market and they don't get a good reception from clients. Would you want someone representing you that wasn't focused on something?
[00:09:29] So I certainly did not get involved with this brand and selling leads, but I was very interested in it from a business standpoint because it showed me what someone can do. That's not even an attorney to start and run a very successful law firm. Just purchasing leads from other people and giving them to there.
[00:09:46]And that's a very simple thing. You don't need to have the most expensive attorneys working for you. You don't need to. Really know anything about practicing law. You just need to have people working for you to do, and as a [00:10:00] rule, you need to understand the Alarmy folks on something the better you get.
[00:10:04]As I said what made this case so interesting was that. He was operating and running a good size law firm without even being an attorney chose cases. He hired attorneys promoted the firm with his great marketing skills. He knew how a law firm worked. And he understood the business of law, even though he wasn't practicing law.
[00:10:24] So just think about that for a moment. The laws of business, like people get these blinders on and they think that, that it's just about working on these cases and so forth, and it is, but or working on these matters and doing transactions and so forth, but, think about it like a business.
[00:10:40] If you can step back from that and realize that in a business there's people that you work and there's people that, manage the people that are doing the work and recruit to people to do the work and that. Brand the people that doing the work and that's what he was doing and think about that.
[00:10:55] So step aside from the idea of practicing off to the idea of being a business [00:11:00] person and thinking about the law, because, if you're concentrating on doing business you're not concentrating. For concentrating and just doing the work, you're not really thinking about it like a business and you're going to be limited by yourself and what he was doing as he was able to.
[00:11:15]By all these leads and basically have this law firm and continually grow the law firm with more and more leads and more and more money. And it's just, and knowing how to hire the right people to do the work. It's very smart and. I was very impressed with that. And I'm going to tell you that there's a background story to it in a moment, but just think about that, it's like in there's a sane that Michael Gerber has, who's written a lot of business books and it's, most people are too busy working in the business to work on the business.
[00:11:47] And working on your business of practicing law means, thinking how do you bring in more work? How do you scale it? Idea of other people do the work, how do you. Run a business. How do you brand the business? And those are all [00:12:00] things that, can make a major difference in your success.
[00:12:02] And so just that mindset that he had just think about that and think about it very seriously. So what he did is he looked for profitable cases. He promoted his firm and attorneys, meaning, create a testimonials, talked about how great the firm was, had other people do the work. And it didn't matter that he wasn't an attorney.
[00:12:20] What mattered was he understood the business of law. So without ever having to write a brief without ever having to do all this work, he was able to, earn a great living basically operating a law firm, not being an attorney and he was good at it. You need to understand what he did and you need to start thinking like that in terms of your career, like, how can you.
[00:12:41]Maximize the amount of business you're bringing in, how can you match? How can you work as someone running something and expanding your efforts as opposed to, burying your head in the weeds and think about what the business of law is. And you can certainly.
[00:12:56]Earn a great living, just being in it attorney. But if you're [00:13:00] able to brand yourself or brand another attorney that you're working with or affirm that you have, if you're able to bring in leads bringing in leads is one thing, but converting those leads into clients is another. You need to understand how to bring in the work which he was doing, but by buying leads from online and other places, but you also need to understand how to convert those leads, which is the whole.
[00:13:19] Separate study. And we're going to talk all about this business today. We need to understand how to recruit the right people to do the work and the people that are, most likely to stick around and so forth. And you're going to get the mindset right now of the way law firms think about you.
[00:13:36]You're going to need to understand how to manage the people that are doing the work. And then you're going to need to be able to profit off the people and systems that you start doing the work. And then you're just going to need to keep doing that over and over again. So today I'm going to talk about all these different things, cause they're all very important.
[00:13:51]And they're the way that business people think about the practice a lot. They're the way that people. That run firms. You've worked in think about the practice of [00:14:00] law, but there are also things that at each step of the way, someone is doing something wrong. So if you understand each of these things and you become a lifelong student, And this, these things you're going to be like invincible as an attorney.
[00:14:14]No one that practices these things and is able to do them on a consistent basis is not invincible. You will be invincible but you need to learn them. And that's what makes him so effective. Someone like Brandon it's also what the attorneys start firms fail or fail to grow, do wrong.
[00:14:30]They mess up on some of these steps and it's what firms stay of specific size. Do wrong. They never address those things that are holding them back and you really can't make a lot of money ever practicing law unless you understand these lessons and how to be very good at each of them.
[00:14:48] So the first thing is when you're thinking about laws of business, the attorneys who make the most money, practicing law, get the most jobs have the best careers are the happiest for the most part [00:15:00] are the ones that, are, develop and promote their brand. And so you want to think about what that means, but, th the most successful attorneys are experts in promoting themselves and they either appeal to companies.
[00:15:12] Consumers are a combination of these, but they have a way of like looking like the best option or the only option. They may appeal to attorneys that have power in their own firms that can advance their careers. And, regardless of where you're working you really need to.
[00:15:29]Or what stage of your career are, you need to understand how to promote your brand and how to grow a brand. And you need to have a brand. Every attorney needs to have a brand and the better your brand is the better off you're going to be. It doesn't matter. What your brand is, but every atmosphere has a certain type of brand.
[00:15:46] Every firm has a certain type of brand. So some firms want you to blend in and that's their brand other firms. But you need to understand how to promote your brand. And what that means is, when you're young, for example at a large law firm, most young [00:16:00] attorneys in order to really promote your brand.
[00:16:02]You're going to need to, you basically need to keep. A low profile and be indispensable. It's not about making money. It's about learning. It's about nipping, the only person that the best attorneys rely on and, it's not about trying to make as much money and get ahead as quickly as possible because you have a long career.
[00:16:19] It's about, impressing the right people and it's just, important. And if you're young, like a lot of times people get very impatient. Like I noticed this of attorneys all the time. They expect to get advanced immediately. They want to. They're impatient for success and rewards.
[00:16:37] And honestly, the best client, if you want to work for the best clients and bringing the best firms, or, the best the best clients and bringing the best clients you're going to need to have. Very long apprenticeships, several years under the best attorneys and attorneys that, break off of a law firm after four or five years to start their own firm rarely are able to do anything that's significant because they haven't have [00:17:00] had that training.
[00:17:01] So if you do want to work for other people and you should to the extent you can, when you start your brand's basically going to be about these things, it's going to be about the quality of your work, how good your work is, how hard you work things like deadlines enthusiasm for the practice of law, which is extremely important.
[00:17:18] One of the reasons that older attorneys have a much harder time getting hired a lot of times is they're just not enthusiastic. They lose their drive and so you need to have that enthusiasm. You need to be able to get along with clients. You need to find extra work to do for clients.
[00:17:32]The game is when when a file comes in to a law firm most law firms never want that file to go away. They want to keep working on it and do work and find extra work to do for the client. That's reasonable and has a. Hopefully can advance the client is a cost benefit analysis, meaning they're spending the money and they're getting.
[00:17:53]More of a return in whatever way you measure that understanding. So you need to always find extra [00:18:00] work and you need to focus on the needs of the client. These are all important things and a lot of people do not do these things well, if you're not going to get an apprentice, if you do bad work long apprenticeship, if you do bad work, you're not going to get one.
[00:18:11] If you don't work the hardest, if you don't meet deadlines and you're not enthusiastic and so forth. So in order to be in a position to bring in large clients and make money in the future, if that's what you want to do in terms of working for other people you do need to have a long apprenticeship.
[00:18:27]The other thing if you do a good job with all those things, new liner stuff with the right people, and the people that have power over your career, which you need to find, figure out who those people are and whatever, from your end. Then you're going to make a lot of money and you can certainly make a lot of money working for other attorneys in the law firm.
[00:18:45] It's definitely possible, you don't need to have your own law firm or even your own clients to make a lot of money, but but you need to do, those are the rules you need to follow. And the biggest thing here is aligning yourself with the right people. So you need to be various too [00:19:00] politically.
[00:19:00]He need to understand who has the most business, this where you're working. And then you need to align yourself with them and you can do very well. The other thing is you're going to be better off if you're at a large law firm and you have significant clients, meaning, large clients they're helping public companies and things like that.
[00:19:20]That that you can bring in or that the firm has anytime a firm has, major clients what that typically means is those clients are willing to continually write checks and have work done. And and the, if you're a major company, spending.
[00:19:36]A couple of hundred thousand dollars a month, you're your law firm and legal bills. It's not a real concern. And so you need to align yourself with either attorneys that have that or do that yourself. And when you're at a firm that has a lot of people are companies that are doing that. There's obviously a lot more wealth created.
[00:19:53] So that's one of the secrets. And one of the reasons people want to go to large law firms and be partners areas because the [00:20:00] law firms are the farther you get away from consumers. Meaning individuals and the close you get to people that are automatically writing checks all the time and are not as cost sensitive the more money you can make.
[00:20:12] And that's why, you care about these giant salaries with big law firms and so forth, but those partners, most of them in this market, do you have to have business? It didn't used to be that way. So with all that in mind though if you really want to make the most money. You need to break free from working with others and you can't be dependent on others for the work that comes in.
[00:20:33] And and that's really if you know anything about the practice of law and I learned this very early on, I understood. Anytime you're relying on others to give you work they're going to have a lot of power over you and you're not going to know. You're, if you're working for someone else, they could lose their clients.
[00:20:51] Or if you're working for a firm, you can get laid off if they don't have clients. So your long-term career objective wherever you are and whatever set part of your career [00:21:00] needs to be. If you're going to work in a law firm you need to understand that you need to have. Clients and that's, one of the biggest rules of people that do well versus those that don't, yes.
[00:21:10] You can make a lot of money in a law firm. Not having clients I know associates making, half a million dollars a year. They're. 1214 years out of law school in big cities but and certainly as a partner in a law firm where that business, you can make, even into the seven figures at some firms, but you don't have security.
[00:21:30] And you don't have long-term security. I was on pins and needles or worried. So your mindset needs to really shift. If you want to make a lot of money, this is one of the most important things you can ever learn. Their mindset needs to shift. To be someone that is really working more, excuse me, working more on generating clients and not working for others and having a brand that attracts clients in a way of attracting clients.
[00:21:56] So you need to really understand this because people that get laid off [00:22:00] are dependent on others for clients. Senior attorneys have to go in house because they don't have clients like, all these people without clients, that's the problem. So you need to have a brand that attracts clients and.
[00:22:13]I'm going to talk a lot about that today. It doesn't matter what you do. I know some very successful attorneys that were. Litigators and major firms, they decided they wanted to do divorce law or, family lobby because they can make more money. But, and they had a brand that was like, Oh, I went to these top law schools.
[00:22:29] I go to this top stuff and worked in these top law firms and, and that works so, but you have to have a brand that works. And so I'm going to talk to you about that today, but clients are attracted to a certain type of thing they're attracted to experts. You really, if you're going to be in a position where you're relying on affirm to give you work or you're relying on other attorneys to give you work.
[00:22:50] Your career is going to be a lot of trouble in the long run. You're not going to by any means, reach your full potential. You may have periods of [00:23:00] unemployment. You may choose the wrong person to work for. You're always going to be a little bit nervous and you certainly can make a lot of money.
[00:23:07] But you're never going to really reach your full potential if you're working in a major law firm and, as an associate, you do need that, or even longer sometimes. You need that apprentice period working for other people and getting your skills better because that makes you more attractive to to clients.
[00:23:24] But at the same time, you need to learn how to break free of that, because it's just, it almost, it never It doesn't lead anywhere if you're just doing work for other people. The other thing I would say too, and then a lot of cases, major law firms, they only want major clients. So attorneys that are working, there are some extent, front-loading their compensation.
[00:23:45] They're getting a lot of compensation earlier in their career as a to compensate them for the lack of. The fact that they're not going to be generating business and the law firm who will have no interest in their business. And then when they get out their compensation takes a huge hit.
[00:24:00] [00:23:59] So you may think you're doing very well. Joining a big law firm, when you're young or working there, but that's not always the case. So the big thing to understand as attorneys that have business massive control over their careers and without business, you're going to risk losing your job that from hiring someone to do work cheaper, which happens all the time.
[00:24:18]Law firms will hire staff attorneys to do certain types of work. They will and all sorts of things that they can save money on and get the work done cheaper. It's just, there's a process of, creative construct, things are being done, Destroyed and renewed and and and there's lots of ways to build your own business.
[00:24:35] Like sometimes attorneys in large law firms will try to build their brand internally with the law firm clients that typically and then they think they have this fantasy that they can leave and take that client with them. That rarely works. Most of the time the clients are there because of a relationship or someone owes something, some, someone has a connection somewhere with the client.
[00:24:57] And so even if you think that you're, very [00:25:00] close to the client the client may want to be with the firm, the big brand name, and you just have no idea. Building your brand with an existing client may get you referrals, which is good, but I, you should never think about it.
[00:25:11] In terms of something that's, if you're at a big firm that's really realistic. Take that client with you because the clients if it's not client will almost always not go and you get in trouble. Okay. As I'm talent and just telling you a lot of times attorneys and large law firms and so forth, we'll try to get close to another attorney's clients.
[00:25:29] And then show the client, they get better results that they'll do things like they won't fill all their time. And they'll tell the attorney, the client that they'll give them more attention. They'll try to one up the people the clients belong to by saying, I don't know where the person is and that those kinds of things and th their goal is obviously to steal the client when they leave the firm.
[00:25:49]It's a very common thing. It's just, and certainly. Partners that they do that are aware that's happening. I work with senior associates and stuff all the time and they telling me [00:26:00] that, Oh, if I have this client I'm really close to, it's not my client, but if they leave, they'll go with me and almost never does a client go.
[00:26:06] So it's just, that's not a good strategy for you. I just, I, that's the most low hanging fruit and a lot of times attorneys and big firms will think. Because they know how important clients are and they listened to the things that I'm saying right now, but that is not really always the best way because clients are smart.
[00:26:23]Long-term clients almost always stay with a firm. And it's just, but it does happen enough. And it is a fantasy that a lot of people have and. You may find inefficiencies and and how the plants clean service. And it can work.
[00:26:37] I'm not saying it doesn't work. And if it didn't work people wouldn't be, it wouldn't be something that people were thinking about all the time, but it's a very difficult way to, to develop clients. Your best way to develop clients really is to learn how to do that.
[00:26:50]On your own and even the new firms, by the way when they start they always start with the idea that they're going to do things in a new way. They're [00:27:00] going to build clients in a new way and they're going to save the clients certain money. And they and every law firm kind of, always drifts towards a mean where, the rates are, if they S they're successful where the rates are high and everything like that.
[00:27:13]And they, and a lot of them ended up going out of business. When new firms start, when they break off and I just, I'm trying to teach you this stuff because I want you to see cause I know how your mind is probably working in your thinking in a forward way about, how you would start a firm and so forth.
[00:27:29] And, in, in firms will fail a lot of firms fail because they grow too greedy. They break off of the idea that they're going to do these great things for the clients. And then. They actually become dangerous to their clients because they overbuild them. They they don't know how to run a business and they become inefficient and and these lower billing rates never materialize clients end up spending more.
[00:27:48] And it's just, it's what happens all the time. But anyway, the partners are aware of this kind of game that people play. They always try to protect against it and there's a better way of developing a brand. [00:28:00] You need to decide what your brand is going to be, and then you need to go after it hard and you need to develop a what's called a unique selling proposition which is something that makes you unique in the eyes of potential clients.
[00:28:13] So one of the things that Brandon Polack did is his wife is Lisa bloom who went to Yale law school and is very well known. She's on news programs and all that sort of thing. And and then she's also the daughter of Golar outrun. So all over at this law firms, website, a pictures of Lisa and Gloria and and the fact that they stand up for victim's rights and.
[00:28:35]And this association with Gloria Allred, one of the most famous attorneys in the country that's probably done, no, one's done more to, insert herself into every, women's type controversial. And Gloria Allred is great. Having a, a celebrity and brand and B really portraying yourself as a victim's advocate and they do it in divorce, they do it in employment law.
[00:28:55] They do it in personal injury. It was brilliant. It's very good. And your ideas, like I [00:29:00] still stand up for victims and I, and just, and I think pictures all over the website and so forth, it does that. And but the thing is, and so that works and that's one of the things that he was able to use to create such a successful law firm.
[00:29:13]But most attorneys, obviously, you're not, you don't know you don't have an association with Gloria Allred, you don't have. That sort of thing, or, the kind of all the publicity on TV and, so you, you need to develop attributes that make you unique to clients and you need to look like someone that is going to really help clients.
[00:29:32] And this is unique and that the person wants to use. Now, if I was a, someone that was in a position of needing an attorney, And I saw Lisa bloom and all these people and Gloria, I'll write it on this website. And I realized that if you're represented by these famous people, I would probably be pretty excited.
[00:29:50]If I, and especially I had a woman's rights case or something so that, that works. But most attorneys you're not that lucky you need to have. I'm a brand, and this is really the [00:30:00] first component that I'm going to talk about in terms of how you can get business and so forth.
[00:30:06] And I want to be clear that, a brand in, and this is very important to understand because a lot of people that I talk to believe that the fact that they got into a really good law school when they were 22 years old. And got a job with a great law firm when they were 23 is the brand, and that's not your brand.
[00:30:25]You can certainly Costan the fact that, you did really well in the classics and your LS Haiti, or yeah. LSVT is for awhile for a couple of years, but it's really not. Your brand, you have to have a brand of something. And, I realized the power of a brand for example, when I worked for when I was at a firm called Dewey Ballantine and.
[00:30:44]They hired John van de camp to work there. And I, and he was breaking a couple offices down from me and I worked for him and he was a former attorney, general, California, very well known and had been in public service and he had a brand. And and because of that all sorts of clients came to him and I was able [00:31:00] to work for him, which was nice.
[00:31:01] But. You need to have a brand and he had a brand the best attorneys have a brand, but your brand is typically not about where you've worked or where you went to law school. It needs to be related to your practice area or something you stand for. And very few people ever understand this, that distinction.
[00:31:19] They believe that their brand may be that they work for someone inside their law firm, or they do this and you need to have a public brand that stands for something. John van de camp had a certain take on issues that was attractive to clients and and that's important.
[00:31:33] And you can have a brand in criminal defense, you can have a brand and family law and, litigation and everything, but you need to stand for something. And and if you don't stand for something, then. Then, then you're just going to be part of this, group of attorneys out there that have nothing that makes them special.
[00:31:50]Great that you were one of, 550 students in Harvard law school, or, it doesn't, in your graduating class, that's a good thing, but it's not. It can't be your brand needs to mean you stand for [00:32:00] something and you are someone in the market. When someone with a specific problem needs someone, they come to you.
[00:32:05] I know a woman that's a criminal defense attorney in a small area of. California does exceptionally well and she's done a very good job of promoting her brand and and there's just, there's all sorts of ways you can promote your brand, but you need to stand for something.
[00:32:19] And if you think about the attorneys that are household names and that, most of them didn't go to great law schools, they didn't. None of that matters. They have a brand though for sure, the public and they stand for something and you need to look like the best solution to potential clients when they have legal problem.
[00:32:34] And that can be about anything. If you're in a law firm and you're doing something specific, you can look like the best solution. But you need to look like the best solution to clients when they have a legal problem. It was interesting. I'll tell you, I have a lot of stories like this and.
[00:32:47]I don't want to take too much. I'm telling her all these stories, but I was in the thrift store and my girlfriend not too long ago. And I was looking for a used couch for my basement. And I went in to buy this thing called the cloud couch, which [00:33:00] is, I think at restoration hardware, it was, but they're expensive and it's just a fabric couch and it's $15,000.
[00:33:05] And it's this doesn't make any sense, you don't have to spend more than a thousand dollars or so for a couch. And so I was in a thrift store that sold was a consignment store that sells, used furniture close by me. And I don't know, Gora Hills, California thousand Oaks or something.
[00:33:19] And anyway, so I was pointing out the virtues of a cheaper catch to her that she did wasn't impressed with. And I heard someone behind me say, you don't want that couch, like in kind of a funny voice. And I turned around and it was an old friend of mine. Who's in his mid forties. He went to NYU for law school and.
[00:33:36] I don't think he's ever practiced. He's never practiced law. And when he was in law school, he had started a software company actually for law students called ExamSoft. And and that, allowed you to type exams online and instead of having to write them and then he, ran that for several years and then he started selling the life insurance and then.
[00:33:58] And then he went to [00:34:00] school to become an Oriental medicine doctor, which was the last I'd heard of him a couple of years ago. Some Oriental medical school and where we practiced Oriental medicine, not like traditional medicine. And then I started talking and I realized he recently started a law firm and it was a children's rights law firm where he Sue school districts to get special accommodations for children who need them.
[00:34:20] And it was so funny. He hadn't Like a sweater vest and a coat and with a watch or something, and you look like a professor, it was just, and and because he'd always, this guy had always managed to do very well financially. When he sold life insurance, he did very well, like you certain kind of life insurance and.
[00:34:38]And then when he, did this software company, he did well. And he lived in a very nice neighborhood and it was gated area and, so he'd always done very well. And the more I looked into what he was doing the more, a great idea I realized it was it, and when you search for someone to help you with getting special accommodations for your student, for students that may have learning [00:35:00] disabilities and so forth.
[00:35:00] He was the PR person that came up and and it was a relatively new law firm. And the whole idea is, I guess what happens is if you represent someone and they're not getting the kind of accommodations they want in a in a loss, the school, like for their learning disabilities or whatever disabilities they may have.
[00:35:20] Then he can step in and, write letters and if I lawsuits and appeals and so forth and get the child, those accommodations, and then I think the way the practice area works and don't quote me on it. But as part of getting those accommodations, the by statute or something, the school district has to reimburse him for his time.
[00:35:37] So he's just doing all this work and pulling in all these legal fees smart guy, and you just found a very interesting way to use his law degree. And I don't know how he came up with the idea, but he's always been. Able to, to figure out ways to make money. And that was a great idea.
[00:35:52] And we had strong credentials. I think he had a story about one of his children or some child. He helped, I don't remember about [00:36:00] why he was doing it. And And that's a great idea for a great business. And it's very easy. You just, you pick something and you figure out what works, where the the strength is.
[00:36:09] And you can start a practice at the age of 45, doing something like that. And there's practices like that. You can start up all over the country. One of the things I will tell you, by the way, any business you get into where the government is paying your legal fees. Our government bodies are always great practice areas.
[00:36:25]Some of the wealthiest people I know somehow have aligned themselves with government programs and so forth to for their business. And and if people are paying your legal fees that aren't looking as closely as other people made it the money. That's good. Like I said earlier, if the companies, large companies paying legal fees, they can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.
[00:36:44]Co cities, governments have tax dollars. They tend not to and it's not, it's their taxpayer money. They don't look at it as closely. So anyway, it's just, you get behind money like that. And just think about, the closer you get to an individual [00:37:00] consumer writing a check. The harder it is to make money, the farther away you get from that.
[00:37:04] And the more, there's just kind of people signing checks inside of a giant company or giant government office, the more money you can make. And so that's what he had done. But also providing a service that he was interested in. So if I were to, he trying to promote a brand doing that, I would.
[00:37:19]Help kids and groups and so forth. I would start a group for parents who are disabled kids. I would hold lunches. And I'm going to talk shows and talk about the, I would write books. I would, all those sorts of things. And then I would, file lawsuits and alert the local media about perceived injustices.
[00:37:36] And I would use that to attract other clients. And you can do this with any practice area and think about that. Who decides they want to represent. Children looking for disability help that early, you know, that late in their career. It's just, it's amazing. But the thing is he built a brand for himself and without even having any practice or training, practicing law.
[00:37:55]And it hasn't even been doing it very long. And it looks like it's a thriving practice, so [00:38:00] you need to stand for something and people need to see you at someone different that, that has a certain skill. If you had a child that was had a disability. That would be someone that you would find and go to right away, because it's the only person, the only solution out there.
[00:38:14] And then you would see as law school and these other things that would help you. But you need to look like an expert that can solve certain problems of your clients and look like the absolute best market expert for whatever that problem is. When I was practicing law, I was unhappy working in a law firm and I went through this process of thinking, are there any practice areas or anything that I can do.
[00:38:35] And it was the funniest thing. There was this attorney in Los Angeles. And he was allegedly making millions of dollars and all he would do is he would go into a store or, and he would say, can I buy a pack of cigarettes? And if they sold an up cigarettes or a cigar or something, and there wasn't a giant plaque behind the counter saying that cigarettes cause cancer, he would Sue them because there was something called proposition 65, which allowed.
[00:38:59][00:39:00] Private attorney general suits and and then he would extract a settlement out of him and he was filing, and I don't know, he wasn't the one he would send in someone else to buy the cigarettes for him. But there were th there was huge amounts of opportunities for this. This guy was.
[00:39:14]Settling, assuming every, mom and pop store and chain hotel, and every, everybody he possibly could around Los Angeles in, in extracting fees from them, you could see hotels with metal pipes. You could Sue, anybody, metal pipes, because the LAR the lead pipes caused cancer.
[00:39:31]You just had all this potential. So I thought about this. It just seemed. Like an incredible business because he was settling these at the rate of, several per day. You get 10,000, 30,000. It was unbelievable. And and all they would have to do would be to post a sign behind the counter.
[00:39:49] And, didn't like this. What I saw as an opportunity I brought it up and talked to my mom about it for about 10 seconds and she, it was very, quick to tell me, it's not really, it's a bottom [00:40:00] feeder type of thing. It wasn't something that appealed to me, but there was only one guy doing it and he was the only person doing it for years.
[00:40:06]And what an easy business and practicing law, easy way to use your law degree. I don't think Maurice went to, he might've gone to an unaccredited counselor for new law school and passed the bar. Yeah, the funny thing was, is, he was up against every single major law firm in Los Angeles, every single.
[00:40:22] Like an LA law firm, you can think of that had a chain. If their chain or this big hotel group got sued, they would bring them on right there, liars. And here was someone that was in there, I don't know, late twenties making more money than most of the partners in the law firm and doing some booth law firms, he was up against, and not in particularly town, a litigator and just, making all this money.
[00:40:44]If I wanted to do something like that, I could have. So there's all these sort of opportunities all around you. There's. This opportunity, that opportunity, and you have to be someone that's alert. And you have to choose a practice here. And by the way, this guy still going I don't, this was, [00:41:00] I was practicing law over 20 years ago.
[00:41:02] This guy is still going, doing this stuff. It's absolutely hilarious. And if you have all sorts of ways, you can promote your brand, you can. You can have a specialty. You can choose something. You can be a plaintiff's attorney, but you have to have something.
[00:41:15] And this guy developed that specialty and think about what happens if you develop a specialty, assuming people for selling cigars and cigarettes and having bad pipes the longer you do it, the longer you learn how to extract higher settlements, you learn how to. Overcome objections. You learn, you just learn the ropes.
[00:41:33]You learn and pretty soon you're so proficient. You can see around corners and you know exactly what's going on. And you can win and you're you improve. You need a brand and you need to do something and and you need to know what you're doing and the thing that's important is once you get a brand.
[00:41:50]You need to do whatever you can to be seen by potential clients. And I can't tell you what you should do. I can't tell you if you should be someone that's buying weeds. I can't tell you if you should be [00:42:00] someone that's suing people for, proposition 65 warnings in California. I can't tell you.
[00:42:05] If you should become a children's advocate, but the thing is people that are smart and want to earn a lot of money and have this independence and bringing in clients. And, they develop a specialty and you have to develop a specialty and you can do it within your own law firm.
[00:42:22]I know people inside of law firms that have carved out their own specialties. Even as litigators or as his corporate attorneys or whatever, and and then they promote it, so the way you promote this is, I'm not, this isn't necessarily talk about how to develop business, which I'll do those, soon for people, you need to do things like join organizations give talks I'm an advertise, and if you look at the news, people that are smart, even I was, walking in here and I noticed that bill Gates was going to be on a television show today.
[00:42:53] And, and talking to all these people, no matter how successful they get they become successful by in, in [00:43:00] big names by allowing people to promote their brand. All the time, so you advertise where people are conceived. You join organizations where people can see you, you take every opportunity you possibly can to get interviewed by the media.
[00:43:14]You have information about your stuff on a website. You get testimonials from clients you post articles and so forth in different locations where clients are likely to see them I've hired attorneys before, because they were the only person that had an article or wrote something about a matter.
[00:43:30]That I needed an attorney for, yeah, it could be something as simple as a, there's a clause of a real estate contract. One time, a very quick clause of three or four lions. I hired an attorney because he'd written a 500 word article about it and was the only person who seemed to know anything about it, this clause, so those are just a few ways of promoting your brand, but you need to think about, what it is.
[00:43:51] And then when you do that you need to start rolling it out and, people that roll their brand out and get a tensor from a lot of people do well. And, [00:44:00] but you need to stand for something. It can be, that you need cancer warnings on cigarettes. I don't know, but it's gotta be something.
[00:44:06] And and it's important, so there, there was a years ago. I just, I was thinking about this was working with a very ineffective attorney that really has had a a very smart guy the kind of person that, got close to a perfect score and their ALS hats and so forth.
[00:44:22] And he wasn't at a good firm. He had between. Maybe two to $400,000 in business, but never moved beyond that. And he wanted to work at a large firm and, I made it clear that he needed actually more than a million dollars in business for the best firms. You need several million, a bigger firm than he was at, he would need a million dollars in business and.
[00:44:42] The problem with him was, is the reason he only had 200, $400,000 a year. It had been practicing for a long time, not a long time, but 15 plus years or something, it was because he did what a lot of attorneys do. They bring in clients they overbuild them they get [00:45:00] clients because they're lucky because somewhere along the line, someone refers someone to them.
[00:45:04]He puts on a friendly face and leads people along and tries to get as much money as he possibly can. And was an expert only in looking out for his interest. And as a consequence he never got referrals, not only that but he didn't really stand for anything. And the way he got his cases was he made a big deal.
[00:45:24] I've an affiliation. And I'm not going to say what the affiliation was because a lot of attorneys do this. I'm not going to say if it was a sexual orientation, his race nationality, his religion, I don't know what other orientations there would be, but that's how we got cases. And so people would come in from.
[00:45:39] This group and trust him. And he would promote the fact that he was a part of this group, and then he would proceed to couch people. And then other people would find someone that had that affiliation and Hema Cousens. And his business never grew. He never did while I was an attorney.
[00:45:54]A better brand is, if you stand for children's rights and then, and you say you're standing for [00:46:00] Stanford, that group, regardless of their issues and you deliver and get a lot of Referrals and then you believe in something and you really believe it, and you talk about it and promote it and so forth.
[00:46:11]That's important. And that's something that this guy didn't do when he came at it from the wrong angle. Like you're never going to make money by the way, if you're just trying to help yourself. And so this guy's problem was he was trying to help himself. And then he was doing something that a lot of people do.
[00:46:28] Like they decided that. Just because he was part of helping, trying to help people from this particular group people should help him. And but he really was coming at it from the wrong way. So you need to come at all this from a pure heart and you need to be a good person and you need to want to help your clients.
[00:46:45] And if you are then you're definitely going to be able. To make a good living, it's important though, to understand your brand is not that you're an attorney. That's like ridiculous. That's, and that's what a lot of people think. If you look at a lot of these kind of puffy [00:47:00] or, not puffy, but stuffy, attorneys and in different firms and they talk down to clients and think they're a big deal.
[00:47:06] That's not a brand, that's not a good brand. Your brand is not that you went to a good law school just because you're a good law school. It's really fairly meaningless. And I certainly at one point in my career thought that I would go into a good law school was a big deal.
[00:47:20] And no one really cares. After a while, the clients may like it. If you say you went to a good law school and they've heard of it but it doesn't really matter. The brand is not the once worked in a big law firm and a brand is really not the you're a member of a particular group.
[00:47:36]These are all part of your brand, but a brand they don't make that, you have to stand for something and it has to be something beyond. Schools where you've worked in your affiliation, it has to be something that makes you special. Like John bandy camp had a certain take on politics and his approach to the law.
[00:47:54] And, you have to be something that's different that appeals to certain types of people. Children's [00:48:00] rights is an example. But you can't just be like someone that's just an attorney. And I call it like an also ran attorney. It, it's basically like I'm an attorney, therefore you should use me.
[00:48:10] And if you promote yourself like that, you're going to be like almost everyone out there. And I'm not saying this to me mean but you're never going to reach your full potential. You're going to have an average life, an average career as an attorney. And you're typically going to be dependent on others for handouts and lucky.
[00:48:30]To get what you want. And a lot of times, there's it's, being an attorney and I've said this, , it's not necessarily a nice thing or a bad thing, but it's a middle-class profession. And because of some middle-class professional people, don't in the middle class are afraid of looking.
[00:48:44]The, of standing out a lot of times you want to do things the way other people are doing them. And the bigger the firm is, the more crusher there is a lot of times not to stand out or the more conservative the market you're in the more pressure you feel to stand out, you don't think it's dignified to put your name on a billboard. [00:49:00]
[00:49:00] And, or a bus and say, call me for, personal injury help you don't think and that's how middle-class people are. And it's the idea is you don't want to get, you don't want to stand out. And the people in the lower classes and upper classes typically aren't afraid of standing out and act differently.
[00:49:14]When you see, drug problems, a lot of times we'll start on the upper-class and move to the lower class and the middle-class doesn't have them because they're. Don't want to be seen as different or problematical and they're working. It's just, it's a whole kind of study of the way the American culture works.
[00:49:29] But the point I'm making that's important is you don't want to be seen as if you're concerned about what others think about you and you're trying to be like everyone else, and you're trying not to stick out and you're just concerned about money. And what other people can do for you.
[00:49:44] You're not gonna, you're not going to have a good life and career. You need to actually stand up and stick out. And despite that pressure you need to be someone that's there. Because if others regard you as unique and special and you stand for something, you're going to have a brand an example [00:50:00] would be like Johnny Cochran.
[00:50:01]Who actually was a, I know someone that knows him very well. Or knew him I'm pretty good attorney. He was very engaged in the work he did. He used to carry around all these like little small notebook cards and write down ideas cause his mind was going so crazy with the new ideas of how to do things.
[00:50:17] But, if you thought about him after his getting an OJ Simpson off Pete, his brand, he used to open offices. It's still exists. In, in cities all over the country and and he stood out as someone that would defend, the underdog or people wrongfully injured or accused.
[00:50:33] And and also from, definitely grew up, which was a great thing. And people, what would say, I'm going to call it, John, you're talking to them. They did it. He had a brand and and it doesn't matter. That you've learned, I think he went to Loyola law school.
[00:50:44] It doesn't matter. He went to Loyola law school, didn't go to Berkeley or. Wherever. He had a brand, it was a big brand and it worked and and he wasn't afraid to be seen, stand up. Gloria Allred has a brand. You can think about her she's stands out as a woman's advocate. [00:51:00]
[00:51:00]Geoffrey Feiger in Detroit represented Jack for Bokan and he developed a huge brand. And the way he stood out was he had actually, it's kinda funny the way it. Co-working in college and coworking, by the way, was the doctor that would put people to death that were dying. And there was I think it might've even gone to the Supreme court and five-year represented him, but five-year was just the scrappy personal injury attorney.
[00:51:21] And he had gotten a judgment against the hospital, which a hospital didn't pay. And so he was Kevorkian saw him on television ordering, to collect on the judgment, taking all of the furniture. Out of a hospital, which is pretty funny working with I want an attorney like that.
[00:51:36] So Pfizer had this very aggressive brand and and became a very famous attorney around Detroit and actually nationally. And then we're not television shows and so forth and developed it into a huge brand. Other examples there's. There's, even Avin Nettie that was representing the woman that was you know involved the Trump.
[00:51:56]It's obvious people are able to get themselves into