[00:00:00] today's presentation is a pretty important one. And, a lot of people that have, seen this. presentation have, and that I've given this talk to, I've actually gone on to be extremely successful attorneys and, have said that this particular, talk, is, has changed their careers.
[00:00:17] And, it may do the same for you. And I hope it does. I hope that a minimum, that you, listen to the presentation. very closely. And, let me just fix something here quickly and understand, the things that it's about and, and really absorb it because, there's so many lessons in here.
[00:00:36] They're lessons from attorneys, big firms from small firms. from wherever you are and it's those unwritten rules here that, that many attorneys just never fixed this year. understand. With that, I'll get started. And the presentation is called, seven steps attorneys with five plus years of experienced me to save their careers.
[00:00:56] So I'm going to talk to you today about [00:01:00] why businesses important for attorneys and, and the reasons that it's important and why. just fix this here and why nothing really is more important than the amount of business that you're able to, generate it's. It actually is something that, in many aspects is more important than, than the quality of your work.
[00:01:18]I hate to say that, but it's true. I'm going to talk to you, about, things wiped businesses important, and I'm also going to talk to you about, what to do. If you don't have any business and, and the steps you need to take. And, and there are lots of steps and there are lots of things you need to do, but yeah, even as a first year attorney, or even as a law student, it's important to understand these rules and how things are operating in the background.
[00:01:44]if you're an attorney and what. what you need to do in order to, make sure that you position yourself, in your career properly. if you don't have any business, there's several, choices that you need to, that, you'll face.
[00:01:57]the first is you can go in house. [00:02:00] the second is you can get more business or get business. the third is you can find a healthy law firm. It doesn't require you to have business, which is what a lot of people try to do. And I certainly, this is part of my career is helping people do that. the other one is to find an advocate inside the law firm with a lot of business that will give you business.
[00:02:16]the other is to wait for a better economic environment, which I can talk about as well. And, the six has to, downgrade the quality of the firm. You worked out, you're working at, where business is not important and where you can, get work. And, the seventh is to stop practicing law completely.
[00:02:31]as attorneys get more senior, they always look at their options and they will choose one of these and the most popular one. I think that people choose is to, initially, maybe finding another law firm that's healthy or to go house. and then others will downgrade the quality of the law firm.
[00:02:48] And others will try to get close to other attorneys inside their law firms with business. but the most common is typically to, probably go in house or find a law firm that does have the work. [00:03:00] So these seven choices are really, among the most important choices that attorneys in their career, face and all of them.
[00:03:09]at some point we'll face these, and if you have business, you're not facing it, but. what I try to do in my career and what I do on a daily basis is, related to helping, attorneys make choices. And a lot of the people I talk to, I spend my days talking to partners and associates and others.
[00:03:25] And when I talk to partners, a substantial number of them don't have any business and are looking for other options. And the ones that do have business always do have a lot of options. And. It's a preliminary matter. I just want to give you guys a and everybody here and an idea of how important business, is in a law firm, because people don't really think about this and, they don't understand, many times how important it is and how you know, why it matters so much.
[00:03:53] So one of the stories that, that I've told in this presentation for a while is about an attorney that I've known. He's been [00:04:00] practicing at least 20 years, maybe even more than that now. And since he was about six or seven years out of law school, he's always had, I would say between one and $3 million in business.
[00:04:10]sometimes it's, a little bit more, but generally that's around the number that he comes in and. He, has a lot of problems. he's got major substance abuse problems. He, gets drunk and ex crazy. I've seen with people that are inappropriate. he makes enemies, with law firms, he's got a.
[00:04:30]a bad reputation, and a lot of respects. He's got so many law firms on his resume that, he just, when he, instead of listing all the law firms and the employment dates, he just has a section where he lists his current employer. And then he'll say, from. the year, I don't know, whatever, the year he got out of law school until the present, he's been an associate at partners in various law firms, including, and that's what it says.
[00:04:56] And, but incredibly, no one cares about any of this, [00:05:00] apparently because he keeps getting jobs and he keeps getting jobs. And one top law firm after another, now there's certain law firms, that certainly won't have anything to do with him that are, that have, are very careful about who they hire, but for the most part, law firms want his business.
[00:05:14] And so he does get into good law firms. His. Reputation, in the legal community, the fact that he, starts his, drinking, usually in the morning, before noon and, none of this stuff matters, no one cares. It's just, all these things that. an associate thinks, you need to behave and act a certain way.
[00:05:32]don't matter because he has business and, people know about his behaviors and he just keeps getting away with it and it's been going on for decades. and he's good with people. There's a lot of very positive things. He's an extremely smart person. he's got good business insights.
[00:05:48] He sticks up for his clients. He does a lot of things. very well. But what I'm telling you is that. you can be, a complete wreck. And if you have business, law firms will take you seriously because they need it. a [00:06:00] law firm cannot survive without business, and it's what keeps the lights on.
[00:06:03] It's what gives, associates jobs. It's what gives partners without business jobs, which gives secretaries. It's what keeps everybody employed are people that are bringing in business and work, and it's just extremely important. And the idea that someone can, be a complete train wreck, hardly keeping it together, Not making it into work.
[00:06:22]this guy, I could tell you stories cause it's actually pretty funny, but, he's, I remember one time he, that he missed, a hearing because he'd fallen asleep in his garage after he drove home drunk one night and, and was sleeping in his garage when he woke up.
[00:06:38]and got a call from an associate about, the fact he was missing a hearing, so this is the kind of stuff that you know, is crazy. Another time. the guy, took a bunch of pain pills to deal with the hangover when he was at work and it made him groggy that he couldn't get out of his chair and his wife had to come and wheel him.
[00:06:56]Down to the escalator on his chair. this is true. These are true [00:07:00] stories. this is actually very funny, the point is like, if you're, if you're a, an attorney with business, like you can get away with a lot and law firms need you. And that's, the power dynamic here.
[00:07:11] Is such that, the attorneys with business, you should never aspire to this kind of behavior by the way, because he's obviously very unhappy and there's a lot of problems and, he's gotten cancer and all sorts, but the problem is, like you, you have to, realize how important businesses, let me tell you another quick story.
[00:07:28]I have no partners. I get called all the time from major law firms, Skadden. Gibson, Dunn, not so much Gibson Dunn, but whatever the firm, just, lots of major firms. and if one of these partners calls me and you would think that, and these firms are they're the very top.
[00:07:44]Or the legal profession, the best they are. if one of these firms, wants to move firms, the first question these firms will ask is how much business do they have? They won't, they don't even, most of the time, they don't care. They don't care that the person may have gone through the ranks and risen to the great Heights of these [00:08:00] firms that are impossible.
[00:08:02]you have to be incredibly talented to get, to become a partner there. A lot of times the firms don't care. they just, they want to know how much business the firm has. And if the answer is zero. Th the conversation almost always stops. It doesn't matter. I've seen partners from, all these major firms, that, if a firm decides that they don't want to have them around anymore.
[00:08:22] And sometimes they do, if the firm partner doesn't have any business than the law firm can basically tell them to leave whenever they want. And they do. they don't all do that. many of the firms, there's some very nice firms out there and actually, I would say. some of these firms like Sidley and Austin can actually be very nice to its partners.
[00:08:40] And so can, but other, soaking Jones day and Sherman Sterling, Scott and these are not bad places, but the point is they're their businesses and, they can decide at any time to let someone go and, and if they don't have any business and it's really no skin off the firm's back many times.
[00:08:54]the firm, just doesn't care, about if the person doesn't have any business, the many times, the [00:09:00] partner without any business, it's just very, no matter how great their legal skills are, it's always going to be in danger of losing their job. It just doesn't matter.
[00:09:08] Law firms restructure, they change their compensation mechanism, older partners come in. I consult with a lot of law firms and, one of the things that's always happening in law firms is. There are always, there's always younger talent rising that has a lot of business, and then older people that are losing business and not as hungry anymore.
[00:09:27] And don't have as much business. And those older people without business are always being pushed out as the younger people come in and want to make more money and the ones without any business tape, they try to get rid of completely so they can make more money. That's just how it works. That's how the business works.
[00:09:41] And they're all, every law firm, you can look at us almost like a. Like a little management, I don't know how to put it, but a a little, a little economic ecosystem and, and that economic ecosystem, functions to drive as much efficiency and so forth to the top as it can and businesses needed in order to do that. [00:10:00]
[00:10:00]So when these partners lose their jobs, what happens is. They always try like crazy, to get jobs in another firm. and, and I placed tons of people like that. that, and I can place partners from major firms without any business, but, for most partners without reset with business, there's.
[00:10:17] Th there's a very cold reception. it's just, it's not, that's just not, there's not a lot of interest in them. just the ability to do good work, is not, not welcome. in major markets that are very sophisticated, excuse me. like New York and so forth.
[00:10:32]it's even worse. a major market like New York city, they can afford to, be very discriminating and then the smaller markets, not as much, people want, people without with business and, and law firms and, partners, all, that don't have business and partners do have business know this.
[00:10:47]I've seen, federal judges give up, lifetime appointments in the judiciary and try to retire, from being a judge and returned to law firms and even they aren't welcomed without business. it's just absolutely crazy, [00:11:00] I've seen partners, with they've been partners in major law firms who major cities, with no business making.
[00:11:06]when I say 500,000, that's actually low, I've seen partners with no business making a million and a half dollars or $2 million a year. Actually more than that, I've seen them making over three in some cases. but. I've seen them, there'll be banging down my door, trying to get a job paying, 175,000 or even less, it could be in the middle of Texas, or, Midland, Texas working for an oil company or in the swamp.
[00:11:27] So Louisiana, they want these jobs because they feel like they're safer and they, and they're treated a lot of cases in their firms. Even if they're making a lot of money, they're always. they feel like they're treated like second class citizens without new business. So if you don't have any business inside a law firm, it's just very dangerous, when an attorney with a few million dollars in business wants to change firms, that there's really not a lot of discussion.
[00:11:49]there is a lot of discussion, but there's things that what they discuss is it's not once they get over the business hump, there's really not a lot more, it's really more about like how much. [00:12:00] Money, the partner's going to keep, they'll talk about things like conflicts and they'll talk about things like, the culture and all these things, but it's really more to some extent, it's the partner with the businesses interviewing the firm.
[00:12:13] It really there's a power dynamic. And the more business there is, it's almost like the more that exists now, the very prestigious firms do have a lot of, I always have the power. I would say they really don't give that away, but for the most part, the partner's the one that's in charge of almost all firms, not the very, not the most prestigious firms, but most of the firms are partners driving the conversation and, and the discussion really is around.
[00:12:39] How much work he's going to get to keep. how much of his business and revenue is going to get to keep? So if the partner say has a, $3 million in business, one law firm may let them keep 30% of that work. 30 million or $30 million, another ma let them keep, half of that 500,000, it just depends.
[00:12:57] But, different law firms, will [00:13:00] allow partners to, keep different amounts of money. And that's just really what the discussions tend to be about. And, the point you need to understand is that, when a partner's working, for a law firm, the main discussion is going to be how much money that partner's going to get, get the cake and it's just such a fundamental, issue.
[00:13:21] And that's what those discussions are about. So it's just something you need to understand. So let me give you, a little bit of discussion a little bit. A bit of illustration about how business kind of matters for, senior associates and so forth in a firm. So a lot of, firms may have a, this is just an example.
[00:13:40] There's. So many different law firm compensation models for partner partners. But just imagine the firm's compensation model is you get to get 30% of the revenue of the things that you work on, and 15% of your business. So if you get, and then you get 15% of what others do. So if you have a million dollars in business and you do all your own work, [00:14:00] you'll make a $300,000.
[00:14:02] So if you work on all your own clients, if you do none of her own work and you give all your work to other people, you'll make $150,000 and that's just the model and that's how that works someplace. So that's very simplistic. But I hope you can understand from this example that partners always want to do their own work.
[00:14:20]it's in their interest to do their own work because they make more money when they do it. And if they give it to other people and the law firm has to pay other people to do it, then they don't make as much money. And the other thing that goes on is partners need to present bills in a way that makes clients happy.
[00:14:35] So one of the reasons that junior associates and so forth are so popular in law firms, and I love it. The one to five-year associate is because they're cheaper and, the work hard. They won't complain most of the time because they want to advance and, and they're there. They can charge them out at lower rates and they're not taking a percentage of the partner for business and so forth.
[00:14:55]the firm's profits and it will keep the bill stout. it looks much better to have an [00:15:00] associate billing, a hundred hours on something, then to have a partner doing it at a higher billing rate. It's just how it works. The problem is as associates become much more senior, their billing rates will become much closer to what partners charge per hour.
[00:15:13] And this just doesn't look good to the client partner. so the partner would rather be billed out at higher rates himself. So the client would prefer to have, the partner doing the work and. not, a high paid associate because the partner, presumably understands the client better is a better attorney and so forth.
[00:15:29]and the partner has, the relationship with a law firm. So that's just. the way that law firms, to do it. And the other problem is senior associates and, UpCounsel attorneys, is very, straightforward, just as young associates are judged by the number of hours they build.
[00:15:45]how much generate revenue that they're generating more than their salary and on how good they look on paper, partners are judged just by how much business they have. you can get into a law firm when you're young, based on your qualifications, but the only way to really stay [00:16:00] there, is to have a lot of business.
[00:16:02] And, the more business you have, and the more, of your own work, you do, the more money you'll make. business really is what it's all about. and it really, nothing is more important. for the attorney and the reason for the presentation.
[00:16:15] So you can, and then I want you to understand the big point here is as your billing rate becomes, as you become more senior, the law firm embraces your billing rate every year. your billing rate is a first year attorney. maybe half of what it's going to be as a six year attorney or seventh year attorney.
[00:16:31] And as that billing rate increases. you're becoming much closer to the partners and the client would prefer to have a partner doing the work, as well as the partner would prefer in most cases to do the work because they will make more money that way. And, so that's just very, straightforward, I hope, and I hope all that makes.
[00:16:50]a lot of sense. Okay. So these are the choices that you face. If you're a partner senior associate with little or no business, and, and you may feel your job is in [00:17:00] danger. It often isn't, I would just want to be clear. I know. Lots of partners and, major law firms with no business that make, very good incomes, that don't have business.
[00:17:09] But, we'll talk a little bit about that in the future, but these are generally, in most law firms, the choices that you have, the first choice you have is to go in house. And, this is something that, all law, all attorneys. Start talking about is something that they want to do pretty soon, just almost as soon as they step in the door in many major law firms.
[00:17:29]but in reality, while it's romanticized as a great thing for attorneys to do and so forth, a lot of times the reasons that attorneys do it is because, they're having a lot of difficulty playing the law firm game and. they know their jobs are in danger. So the idea becomes in many law firms that, you're, everyone wants to go on house and so forth.
[00:17:48] They don't want the billable hours. They want this and that, but really what they're saying is they don't, they're not, able to play the law firm game. And the law firm is a game. you played a lot of games to become an attorney, getting good [00:18:00] grades in college, and working hard. So you can go to a good law.
[00:18:03] School is a game getting, into the best law school you can go to as a game doing, doing well in law school. So you can get a job as a game, choosing where to work as a game. All this stuff is a game. And so you're just playing a new game when you get into a law firm and, and you have to decide if that's really.
[00:18:20]if you're going to the best person to play that game and the people that honestly that go in house most of the time, they tend to be, of a variety of different types of people. And I'm not saying that any of this is negative, but most of them are, a lot of them are, women. they want to start a family or spend more time with their children, which is perfectly understandable.
[00:18:40]there are people that are sick of the long hours. Again, perfectly understandable. are attorneys without business and no future their law firm that may have been working on institutional clients? No one's ever taught them how to get business. they've always been taught, treated as a.
[00:18:54] The tool in the machine. Again, wanted to leave us perfectly over understandable. All these people have reasons [00:19:00] for wanting to leave and go on house. but what in-house means is it really means you have to have a very high level commitment. what working in a law firm means to practice law at a high level.
[00:19:08]and there's nothing wrong with any of these reasons, but, you have to, ask yourself, why you're not playing the game because in some cases playing the game and, New York city or, Los Angeles or Chicago and a major firm is much different than playing in a smaller firm.
[00:19:21] We're playing in a smaller market. And, just because you can't. play the game and, and just because you can't play, a game in the Olympics doesn't mean that, you should stop playing. lots of people, play in smaller markets and do very well. It doesn't, or don't have to play in an Olympic team.
[00:19:37]this is, the insanity of people giving up and so forth because they don't like competing on these Olympic level firms. This is crazy. But anyway, so many people can have a much better, life working in house than they can work in a law firm. and the other thing is, when you go in-house and some of these in-house jobs are absolutely exceptional.
[00:19:56]they're better than working in a law firm. I've seen [00:20:00] many attorneys go to work at hedge funds and make millions and millions of dollars. I've seen, people that became general councils of major corporations and made tens of millions of dollars. And I've seen people become, go into in-house jobs and go back to law firms, after having incredibly successful careers there.
[00:20:16] But it's just, it's rare. It's not, just as. becoming a partner in a major law firm, is very difficult and rare. It's also rare to, for people to have major success going. In-house more than often than not. and I don't want to get too far, into this, right now, when you go in house there's major problems.
[00:20:35]one of the major problems is. loft in-house companies change, management leadership all the time. And when they do, they typically want to be, bring in a new legal departments that support the way of thinking and legal departments or something that, typically will, go through a lot of changes.
[00:20:53]the people in the legal department are expected to support the management. They don't always, they're they're cost center. They're not a profit center, like [00:21:00] in a law firm, so there's all sorts of problems and I've read about it. But the resumes that I see typically have people that go in house and I, and again, I don't want to be alarmist because, but most of them.
[00:21:10]our, someone that was working in a major firm that go in house, and then all of a sudden, there's, one year here, two years here, six months here, two years here, like all these in-house different in-house jobs with periods of unemployment and so forth. And they can't go back to a law firm and it's not in, in a law firm, whether it's just law firms on every corner, if you want to work inside of a legal department side of a company, there's not as many of them.
[00:21:32] So it's just a very difficult thing for many people. but I talked to, attorneys and that's not to say that it's always bad cause it's not. But a lot of times it is, one of the attorneys that was my mentor, when in house, he's one of the, he's a famous attorney, a very famous attorney winning house got fired.
[00:21:49] Now he's being sued for malpractice and all this stuff because he had a relationship problem. Not because he did anything wrong with someone that worked there. And if this is a famous attorney, very well known attorney [00:22:00] and, the last time I spoke to him, in the afternoon he was drunk, so it's I just don't even, it can hurt you.
[00:22:07]it can really do a lot of damage to some people, but it's not always the case. The point is though, is I, I talked to lots of attorneys that want to go in house, even attorneys that, have a lot of business. I was working on not too long ago with a fifth year attorney and he had, over a million dollars in business.
[00:22:23] He brought in, a couple of major Las Vegas casinos his clients. I don't even know how he did it, but he did. And he wanted to go in house, for a much easier job. it's just because he was with a major firm and it was romanticized. And I asked him, I said, why would you possibly want to do that?
[00:22:39] And, and it just didn't make any sense to me why he would want to, have me find him an in-house job when he had all this business. And he was in control of his career. He was in a position where he wasn't really getting orders from. Partners and so forth to do certain things anymore.
[00:22:52] He was giving work out to other associates. So I told him what I'm going to tell you right now. And I just, I want you to understand this [00:23:00] and I'm not, I don't think in house is horrible for everyone, but for the most part, going in house can be like going to medical school and getting a job with one of the best hospitals in the country as a brain surgeon.
[00:23:11]if you get a job in a law firm and then deciding to give it up to become a nurse at a small clinic, and the reason for that statement. Is, when you're in house, you don't have any pressure, to generate any business. you're not going to be doing the most sophisticated legal work.
[00:23:26] Most of the time, law firms, are going to be hired by the company. You're going to be doing the most sophisticated work. you're not going to be surrounded by, the best attorneys. you're surrounded by people in the legal department that also are there because, they didn't like the law firm environment.
[00:23:42]th the work is just not going to be as high level or demanding. It's just not what it is. it's just not the same thing, And the other thing that I don't like to say, and I see this all the time, I get these resumes that come across my desk and it's, not.
[00:23:58] Daily, quite a bit, from people that [00:24:00] are major, attorneys and legal departments, it could be Apple, Google, general motors, like companies that, are household names. And, I might get the desk of someone that's one of the top people in the legal department could be the number two peer person, even the number one person.
[00:24:14] And, when I first started seeing this, I don't know, 15 years ago or something, I always thought, wow, this is amazing. Like I'm dealing with, the number two person from, general motors. I can't believe what this is amazing. This is going to be, this is a great candidate.
[00:24:27] I'm so excited and, But the law firms just wouldn't be interested in, they, no one would care. they would, they would say, the person, has been in house for three years. Why would we be interested in that? they don't have any business or, there's just, if someone goes in house from their perception, as they've given up on what being in a law firm is about, and that's the problem.
[00:24:45]And, law firms by the way are incredibly competitive. I remember earlier in my legal career legal placement career, I sent a partner, that had $4 million in business to Gibson Dunn, which is a great firm and that, but they were from a [00:25:00] smaller firm and, And Gibson Dunn called me up and said, what's his billing rate?
[00:25:04] And I said, it was $785 an hour, which I thought was pretty good. And the firm acted like, I was, like what was I thinking? And, got off the phone because the billing rate wasn't high enough. And this was, this was, a long time ago. So right now it'd probably be like, saying the billing rate was $1,100 an hour.
[00:25:22] I don't know. the point is, practicing law is very serious and it's in a law firm and, if you step off the track, the fast track, it's going to be very difficult to ever get back on and does happen. I've seen, patent attorneys and real estate attorneys and so forth, go in house and come back.
[00:25:37]But going in house is something you think about very carefully. and if you don't have any business, it may be a good option, but it's just, I just want you to understand that this is a decision. A lot of people make, it's not always the best one. and that's my point here today is you just need to be very careful about this decision, because it's not always the best decision for you.
[00:25:56] And, there's a lot of drawbacks that people don't talk about. when I [00:26:00] bring this stuff up to people that tell me they're going in house, they just assume I'm bias. Cause I, I'm trying to place him in a law firm and, and is that a bias? No, it's not a bias. It's just from what I've seen.
[00:26:10]and I actually have a lot of respect for the business model of law firms. And that's why, I believe that the most option, the most logical thing to do, if you don't have any business in your seniors to get more business, this is a. This is the most logical action or give business to begin with that anyone can take, if you're going to lose your job eventually, or you're going to lose your job without business, why don't you learn how to get business and get business?
[00:26:34] That, to me seems, just completely illogical. all these other things going in house, finding mentors, all this stuff is you can do, but the most logical thing would be to get business. cause that's really all you need to do. Once you have business, you're going to be in control of your career.
[00:26:49] You're going to be. you could decide you want to, take five Oxycontin, have your wife come pick you up at the office and roll you out of the elevator in front of everybody. Cause you can't move because you took the Oxicon [00:27:00] because you're too hung over to work without. this is how much important businesses and get away with it.
[00:27:05]you should, hopefully we'll never get to that point, but if you have business, like you're just in control, you can move law firm when you want to, you're going to be. Really the one controlling conversations with law firms and you'll have your own business. a lot degree and a bar license really is, opera is a licensed to operate your own business.
[00:27:25] That's what people don't understand. This it's a very difficult license. It's before the age of Uber and stuff. a taxi cab medallion in New York city or a big city used to be worth a lot of money because you were one of the few people that had a license to do this. And that's what, a bar, passing the bar exam is it gives you the right to operate a business.
[00:27:42] And, so you want to have a business and a business. In a law firm, by the way, is you bring in the work and they help you service it. And they provide a service for you in exchange for a percentage of all your billable work. And, when you have your own business, you're servicing your clients.
[00:27:58] You're the only not work to other [00:28:00] partners and associates. So get your own business. it's the whole point, by the way. an attorney. It's just what it is. you're supposed to learn your craft. you apprentice for other people, you apprentice at the best people you can. So you work at the best law firm.
[00:28:12] You can, you learn, practice area. You get good at it. And then, clients come used to have to come to you. attorneys didn't even used to be allowed to advertise for God's sake, but you have to learn how to go and get clients. This is what you need to do, and you don't need to be like outgoing.
[00:28:27] You don't need to be like, super. suave and handsome or, you don't, anybody can get business. It doesn't matter who you are. there's attorneys with business that, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. You just have to like, make this something you want.
[00:28:41]if it doesn't, if a person does not have any business, it basically says, it says a lot, I talked to partners all day that don't have business. And I talked to senior associates that don't have business, and I asked them if they have any business and they all say something similar to, we only work with institutional clients and so forth and [00:29:00] fine.
[00:29:00] That's true. But you know what? Somebody brought in those institutional clients at some point and people do it all the time. I know attorneys that are in there that were brought in. many major corporations when they were in their thirties. it's just, you can bring in bigger clients, the assumption is that if you're really good and if you figure out the business of practicing law, which is, having a specialty, being good with people, getting out there, lots of dinners and, Networking and, whatever you can do, then you'll get business and, I'm just, I'm going to be Frank with you.
[00:29:29] And I'm not, I don't like bragging on these because if I talk about myself, it makes me look like a, bragging and then, you won't like me and take my advice, but, I. but, but the point is I can, so everyone always has to be careful, bragging around clients by the way.
[00:29:42] So I'm just trying to teach you some clients skills, you can certainly brag about your legal abilities. But when I was a second year associate, I had plenty of business. I had much more business than my salary. and the reason I had business is because. I've always taken stuff seriously.
[00:29:56]whenever I, even, when I was in, elementary school, I took things seriously. I [00:30:00] take whatever I do very seriously and people around me know it. the first comp clients I got busy. I got clients from, from people contacting me that I knew in high school that had businesses I had, People contact me from previous law firms that I worked at, even given me a good offer me a business, if you can believe it, that they couldn't take, I had, people, if you take stuff seriously and you're really serious about it, and they know you're ethical, people are going to always want to give you a business.
[00:30:25]I'm hosting this webinar. I take the syrup, I, the recruiting, seriously. I take everything I do seriously, and I do the best I can. And I don't give up on people. I don't give up, clients and, so if you come across as that type of person and whatever you do, then people, every clients are gonna, Not want to work with you.
[00:30:41]who wouldn't want to work with someone that's going to take it seriously and be their advocate. Very few people do that. Most people are just like going with the flow and they're doing following other people and they don't really get behind their clients and people. And so they don't get business and I'm not disappointed.
[00:30:56]not to tell you that I'm special or anything, but [00:31:00] I'm trying to tell you what good attorneys do. What kind of attorney would you want represented you? Would you want someone like in your law firm, who's a follower and talks negatively about others and is, cuts corners and it doesn't work hard.
[00:31:12] And, or would you want someone that, you were like the most important thing in the world to them? Because I'm talking to you right now, and this is the most important thing in the world to me is making sure you understand this. Would you want a client that's a PR partner, representing you that did that an attorney representing you.
[00:31:26] If they said that, if someone is hardworking and driven, gets out there, socially, to meet people, has a work ethic and so forth. And she's then here, she's going to get business. People will always give work to people that they believe are going to take their case and their work incredibly seriously.
[00:31:43] You need to get out there and write about it, talk about it and be enthusiastic. This is how attorneys get business. I was hiring an attorney for something not too long ago. I remember a couple of years ago and one of the attorneys that I. Hired, that I was trying to talk to, thought they were so important that they literally would not, they [00:32:00] had a, I don't know, like a junior partner, someone talking to me and that partner that I was trying to hire, wouldn't talk to me because they were just too important.
[00:32:06] So I didn't hire that attorney. And it ended up being, a fairly large, Transaction. So the point is you know that, you have to be hungry and you have to want to get business and you have to, people need to believe in you. I know one of the things I thought that was really interesting.
[00:32:21]when I started out at, my first firm, which was Quinn Emanuel, John Quinn used to meet with clients. And they would say something like, why should I hire you? And he would say, because if you hire me, I will eat, drink and sleep this case and do whatever I can, and not give up.
[00:32:34] And that's true that he actually meant that. And that's the kind of attorney most people want representative. They don't want someone who should talk, wants to go talk about where they went to law school in their clerkship or whatever they want someone who's invested in that.
[00:32:47] when I started at Quinn, the firm had so much work. It was unbelievable. I had, I don't know, something like, I was a lead associate, as a, second year attorney on over 30 cases. it was dangerous. I had, my office, like [00:33:00] double stacked file cabinets that, could have fallen and killed me.
[00:33:02]they just had some very good business generators and, but this firm didn't need business generators. They, they needed soldiers. And so there's a difference, most law firms. Do you know, soldiers doing the work, but they're just not a lot of law firms like that. and because it had so much work, the way people would made partner there was to work a lot of hours.
[00:33:20]and, for me, that, wasn't what I saw as my skill would be to offer my work. I thought my skill would be to try to bring in business. I felt like that was a better long-term, strategic choice. You need to think strategically about your career, is it, are your, are you better off? Having this weakness and being exposed for not having any business because, I knew that if I stayed at that firm back then, it's a different firm now.
[00:33:42]but if I stayed at that firm that the long-term survival prospects for me, weren't going to be good. because I wouldn't necessarily be in a position to stand out by generating a lot of business and this way I was, and it's really the most important thing, in, by the way, at the, from the people, there are lots of people [00:34:00] there did make partner and so forth, working 3000 hours a year, but the majority of them now are gone and they never generated any clients.
[00:34:06] And then as the management change in the firm grew, that didn't. Help them. And, so lots of firms will say, we don't need any business. And they'll say, if they do say that you should run for your life because you need business at every firm, there's no firm where you don't need business.
[00:34:20] If you don't have business, the only thing you're doing is giving up control of your career in life to someone else, and anything can happen to you. the firm can go out of business. the management can change. All sorts of things can happen. And if you don't have business, you're gonna.
[00:34:34] Really suffer from it. you're going to have all sorts of problems and, the only thing that's going to happen, if you don't have any businesses, you're going to be at the mercy of others. And I'm sorry, but going in house is basically, you're also dependent on them for business too. you need to get businesses, the whole point of being an attorney and so many people don't understand that's the only thing you need to do.
[00:34:54] There's so many forces around you that are trying to. Convince you not to get business, which are [00:35:00] often the firm you're working at because I need soldiers. They don't need business generators. They need soldiers. even, even though it may seem counterproductive for them not to come out, want you to get business, they can always recruit people that have business to come over there, but they don't, but they need to get work done.
[00:35:15]in house companies need soldiers to do the work. They don't need people to bring in business and so forth. As I said, most of the partners that I knew when I was at Quinn that were partners without work are no longer there. most of them went to smaller firms, where they're trying to make a living with no business.
[00:35:30] And most, many of them worked for, 3000 hours a year. that's on the high end, honestly, many of them did work that many hours, for years, with no business. when management changed, then you know, the compensation change and that's just how it works at every firm.
[00:35:43]and that's how firms survive. It's just how the legal industry works. It's not they're bad people over there. They're just following the, the way that every firm works and, firms are gonna allow you to, kill yourself and do as much work as you can for as long as it's.
[00:35:56] So some you could go, you could get a job at path, out of law [00:36:00] school and you could be. the best, person in your practice here that ever existed, but, they're just, they'll allow you to work there for seven or eight years, but then they're going to say, Hey, this is, time's up and you're going to have to leave and they'll let you work there.
[00:36:13]it's, if you don't have business, you're, you're in real, it's a real problem. And I hate, if I was on this call right now and I was, Like you and I, it was a senior attorney. I would be angry if I was a junior attorney, I would be angry.
[00:36:27] Most people don't want to hear this stuff. Most people tune it out because it's very difficult. it's the stuff I'm telling you right now is, it's hard to hear. when people tell me, my weaknesses, it's hard to hear just because it makes me like, not feel secure and, makes me need to work harder and stuff.
[00:36:41] And this is what it's about, and this is what coaching is about. It's about learning the stuff, and it's hard. It's not easy to learn. I received phone calls from partners at major am law, 100 law firms making. $120,000 a year. less than junior associates that are hired right out of law school.
[00:36:58]and it's astonishing [00:37:00] and the law firms pay them this because they can't, the person has no other option. So they just keep chipping away at their compensation year after year and paying them less and less, and the person doesn't leave. And, I remember when I started my career, I couldn't believe it.
[00:37:13] I was T I was talking to a guy that was a partner at a. major, I don't know how big the firm was probably like one of the 15 largest firms in the country, and, And I, went over to his house to drop off some documents or get some documents or something.
[00:37:27]and of course a place in him and, in the grass was all overgrown. The paint was chipping and, the guy didn't even have money to keep up his house and, and it's just, this is what happens. with that way, if you don't have any business, I once saw a major law firm, there was a partner that there was a.
[00:37:43] And early in my career, there was a, the real estate market was horrible. I don't remember when it was like 2000, maybe or 2000, maybe 2000. I don't remember the year, interest rates were higher and there wasn't a lot of real estate work. And I saw a major law firm in Los Angeles offer a real estate part and didn't have a [00:38:00] job $60,000 a year.
[00:38:02]and even back then, that was extremely low. that was, I don't remember what the associate salaries were, but it was much less than associate salaries. And, I couldn't believe it. I was astonished. I was like, why would they do this? And, and they were just very arrogant about this.
[00:38:15] They were the only firm with any work and we can pay them whatever we want. And, I was like, wow. so that was one of the first things that taught me how important businesses, if you don't have any business, you don't have any power. Even if you a law firm, many law firms will, and this is another kind of secret of legal profession.
[00:38:34] Many law firms will. if you don't have any business, some of them will make you like council or something, or, and, but if you don't bring any business council, they'll keep reducing your compensation year after year. So you may start out at a really high number, I don't know, five, $600,000 a year, but maybe the next year will pay you.
[00:38:51]four 75 and then maybe the next, they'll just keep reducing your salaries because they know you don't have any power and you can't move firms. and you can't re lively [00:39:00] forecast, a future compensation request around this is serious stuff. It's how the legal professional works.
[00:39:05] You don't have any business. So logically, why wouldn't you get business? it just, it doesn't seem to make any, Sense. So when I was like a third year associate and I was at, Dewey Ballantine, there was a guy in an office next to me. he was making a very good lemon.
[00:39:20]he, I, he was, at least $200,000 a year, but he was living in a studio apartment with his wife across the street from the office. And his wife used to bring in these, these noodles that you boil on a package and probably buy for 20 cents at the grocery store.
[00:39:35]I don't know these ramen or whatever they're called. And, and he does. Nope water and, save me to eat them, make them the stuff for lunch and stuff, when he was working during the week and on the weekends and, which is very nice of her, but, one day I was like, why, cause I stopped by his office and chat with them.
[00:39:51] Like, why do live in this little apartment and, and, here eating this lunch for 20 cents and, you'd be like, I've been doing this long enough to know that, lose my job any [00:40:00] day and not be able to find a new one because I don't have any bills. Yes. he was working for some partners, the business.
[00:40:05] And the idea is that the only security you're ever going to really find, is from, getting business and, you need to do whatever you can. to get as much business. So you just, there's, nothing's more important and I'm not teaching going to teach you today, how to get business, of course, but the like anything, I believe, I could teach you all sorts of techniques and things about how to get business, but the most important thing is to want business.
[00:40:31]once you want business or want something, you find. Opportunities to get it. if you want to meet someone, you find ways to meet them and and then you meet them. If you want to, if you want anything, you need to want it. And, and hopefully today I've given you some reasons to want to get business.
[00:40:46]which is if you get nothing out of this, that's the most important thing. but if you really want to be business, you want to, you should want to, think about it this way. Do you want to be an attorney? Because if you wanted to be an attorney, the only way to have security in your careers to [00:41:00] have.
[00:41:00] Business, otherwise, you're going to be at the mercy of other people, telling you when you can be an attorney when you cannot. And and if you really want to be an attorney should be the best attorney you can be. And, and the only way to be an attorney, the best attorney can be is to have work.
[00:41:13] And it's just true. And. the people that, want something the most are the ones that get it. presumably at some point, you wanted to be an attorney and go to law school and and then you want her to get a job out of law school and you wanted to, do well in college or law.
[00:41:28]all these things are things that you want in the past, and there's probably lots of other things you want and whether it was. your significant other or the friends you have, or the, other accomplishments you've have, or cars you bought or, people that you've met and, and all this is true.
[00:41:41]if you want something, you get it. I've I thought about this, before, and it's interesting. So I've taught classes before to attorneys, not in awhile. I don't know how many years to spend, but about how to get business. And, and the thing is that, classes are good classes.
[00:41:57]I charge a few thousand dollars for them and, and the [00:42:00] people that took them, Went on to give business, not all of them, most of them, got business, in fairly short order. and I taught her about things about how to network, how to be seen as a giver and not a taker.
[00:42:10]how to be found when people are looking for you and these are all things by the way that you should be doing. you should learn to network. You should learn to give advice for free and to be seen as someone that's helping and you should learn to be fine. Found for what you want to be found, the reason that these people got business wasn't really due to me, by the way, it had nothing to do with me.
[00:42:28]the reason these people got business and a lot of them, and so the ones. that were interested in getting business. They wanted to get business and, and and so they were willing to pay for a course and they thought about it. And, but they, people are preselected. anybody that wants to take a course to get business, and I'm not selling a course on this webinar, by the way, to get business, because this is, you can read other things I've written, but the point is people that really want something.
[00:42:53] They get it. So you need to just get yourself fired up about, you need to have goals where you're reminding yourself, you want to get business and [00:43:00] so forth. and people that you know, are willing to pay for a course and study all these things, networking, being a giver, how to be found, read books and so forth.
[00:43:07] The other ones that get business. that's, it's as simple as that, one of the things that's interesting is, people. Are so competitive about wanting to go to great schools. they want to get into all these good schools and they want to get into these good law schools and, and why do you think people from those schools are so successful?
[00:43:23] I think there's a, I think there's a couple reasons that the schools help make them successful, meaning the people that they spend their time around with and the goals, but that really the. Thing that makes the most successful is most of them were already destined to be very successful before they even got into the schools and went there.
[00:43:38]people like Mark Zuckerberg and bill Gates are both Harvard drop-outs. they were on such a fast upper projectory that. The, the school had more to gain probably from them. Then they had to gain from going there. they dropped out because they, they were constrained, but they were like that, before they even went there.
[00:43:55]they were the kind of people, that were going to do very well. And, [00:44:00] so it's just like that with business. Like you have to really want something and be on a fast upward trajectory and it's not, successful in business because you take the course, you get successful because you really want it.
[00:44:11]Okay, I'm going to take a one, a quick break and I'll come back. I just have to grab something and, and I will get, and then we'll come back and do the rest of these.
[00:44:21]strangest thing. I was, at my coffee here now. I don't know where it is. I couldn't. Anyway. It's okay. All right, so let's move on. so the next one is, if you don't have any business is, the option that people do is they try to find a healthy law firm. And, and this is actually a large portion of what I do for a living.
[00:44:39]if you don't have a lot of business, there are, all over. there's lots of very healthy law firms, that have, that you can go to work in and, and they have, work for us, associates and partners without business. And. and it's actually very possible to find these law firms.
[00:44:53] I, regardless of who the partner is, regardless of who the associate is, if someone alive, [00:45:00] if I work with someone and I want to work with someone, I can always find people a job. It's not. Impossible. It's just not easy. And most recruiters and people in my profession don't want to do it because it's just so much work, but I'm happy to do it.
[00:45:13] And, I've been doing it since the start of my career and have been very successful in it because I know that. Different types of people appeal to different types of people. there's plenty of people that need senior attorneys to do work and can't do it all themselves. It's just the way it is.
[00:45:28]one of my first placements when I started my career was a securities department partner. He had no business, he had no business and I placed him at, the predecessor firm of KNL Gates. And, and he had no business and he, I got him a job in Seattle. where he became, where someone had left the firm to become the personal, Securities attorney for bill Gates and which is funny.
[00:45:51] And, and he, replaced that partner in the firm and, the law firm had a longstanding relationship with them and I found that firm and he couldn't believe it, because he [00:46:00] wasn't even from Seattle, he was, I think he was actually living in. Russia at the time, the point is like anybody can, anybody can be placed and, and, I've had, not too long ago, had a lot of luck and markets where people were doing oil fracking, where they just need a very senior people because that those things in North Dakota and so forth were doing well.
[00:46:18]I've placed, lots of solo practitioners and major firms, and it's not difficult. if they're in the right practice area, I told this particular partner when I call them that the real estate market was exploding and doing well.
[00:46:29] And, and I told him that, he didn't think there were people would hire him, because he didn't have a lot of business and so forth. And when I told them about major law firms and he could get jobs and he didn't believe it and, and he refused to hear any of it. And, and he was afraid to put himself out there and, and I was a hundred percent.
[00:46:46]I was speaking to literally, probably the most prestigious, there's a lot of verification law firms in Detroit, but I, one of the top ones and he was, they needed someone, just like him and, and he wouldn't, he refused to apply it because he didn't believe that not having [00:47:00] any business.
[00:47:00] And he wouldn't be able to get a job in a few weeks later. the firm hired someone just like him, for a salary of $290,000 a year, which by the way is very good in Detroit. it's not, the greatest salary, I mean in big markets, but it's a good sour in Detroit, So the point is this is what I do for a living.
[00:47:18] So as much as I talk about having business. And as much as other recruiters talk about how important it is, you have to have business, most people that don't, and again, I'm just not bragging, but if you're looking for a job and you work with the wrong recruiter, you're screwed. Because what that means is, they're not going to know how to market you to a lot of places or the right places, or they're not gonna, they're only gonna know that, the demand, if it is primarily for attorneys, To have a lot of business, which is how it works, but there's always going to be work in certain practice areas.
[00:47:52] There's always going to be work in certain markets, and at some points, many law firms will have work and others won't have it. Miami's interesting example, [00:48:00] there's always. a market for attorneys to do certain types of corporate work there, regardless of how senior they are, because there's a lot of very small law firms.
[00:48:08] So for it. So there's just, there's a lot of healthy firms all over, that need people, you just need to find them, the thing to understand is, at some point some firms are busy and other firms aren't busy. So work is just moving around to different firms. And the job of a good legal placement person is to find where that work is.
[00:48:25] And it's also to understand, where the markets are, what markets are active, so like patent prosecution for people with double E's and computer scientist is always pretty active in the Bay area. and even if you want to, move there from another area of the country, it's always, an option.
[00:48:40]there's a lot of smaller markets that it's very difficult for them to find. attorneys all the time, that to do Pat work. And the same thing goes for most practice areas. even, like New York city is another example, and this isn't about patent, but in New York city, it's very difficult for.
[00:48:55] People that are senior litigators to find jobs. They're just very difficult, but it becomes much [00:49:00] easier when they start moving out to long Island and, various suburbs and so forth. Then there's actually a lot of demand for, senior litigators here. But most people are too hung up on, I live in New York city or whatever, you just, you have to know the markets, over the past several months, that we're.
[00:49:16] A lot of openings for patent attorneys with life science backgrounds in New York city. because there was some cancer drugs, under development, but, historically the openings for these attorneys have been strong and, San Diego, orange County, and, also in Boston, but now even then the market was, strong in New York.
[00:49:32] So you just, you have to be able to find, healthy markets and you have to understand how that works. And One of the things that I push are, legal place when people in my company do is to always try to get people interested in other markets. your law school may be really important and some, an a major market and at a big firm, but, in other markets is not going to be as important.
[00:49:51]and, and so you just have to, you have to find healthy law firms and you have to many cases, like the example I gave you, the fracking, getting busy in [00:50:00] different markets, you have to know, what are the busy markets? when energy prices are down, Texas can be a bad market, but Texas is actually.
[00:50:07]a booming market now for other reasons. So there's just, you have to know where the work is. And, in many times and recessions, anytime, there's an economic recession or something work tends to also move to smaller markets, companies, instead of sending work out to the most expensive firms will start using, law firms in smaller markets.
[00:50:25] And so the work actually many times gets busier and smaller markets because illegal works cheaper there. so they'll send it to smaller firms. and so I, we've had years where, in the middle of the worst recessions and the worst events, we've actually made more placements and brought in more revenue, because, other recruiters are trying to send people to nothing but big firms and big markets and other recruiting firms are going out of business and people are leaving the profession and going into other things, in some cases going back to practicing law, if there were attorneys and it's just very simple, the work.
[00:50:57] Al is always moving around in bad [00:51:00] markets. It's moving to smaller. it's just, you have to know where the work is. And so that's one of the reasons, I wish there was like certifications and stuff that do what I do for a living, because most people don't understand it. And this is very easy to understand as far as I'm concern