When you start a law firm, the hurdles and challenges of running a business and surrounding yourself with a team that can support you can be overwhelming. Sometimes the most important step you can take is asking for help and investing in your business. I am joined by Nicole Hull, Esq., a former Law Firm Mentor client, who applied a few basic steps to her business to create more money and more free time in a relatively short period of time.
In this episode, Nicole and I discuss how this act of investing in yourself and your business can make all the difference in your firm and in your life.
In this episode we discuss:
- Some of the common hurdles faced when starting up a law firm business
- Finding clients when you are the new attorney
- The importance of finding resources and people for support and guidance
- Surrounding yourself with smarter and more successful people than yourself
- Being open to listen to honest feedback and the willingness to take action
- The challenges of working with a partner or spouse
- How developing systems can change everything
- The importance of having a ‘Why’
- How learning to let go and delegate can empower your team to excel
- Investing in your new hires expecting a positive return
- Losing the fear of letting a bad fit employee go to excel elsewhere
- Finding and keeping the best employees to grow your team and maintain your company culture
- The power and benefits of being coached
Allison Williams: [00:00:01] Hi everybody it's Allison Williams your Law Firm Mentor. I want to welcome you to yet another edition. This is a special edition of creating momentum. And I have with me one of my favorite people who is also a former client of Law Firm Mentor, Nicole Hull. So hi Nicole! It's so great to see you. So I'm excited to have Nicole on the show because Nicole is one of us. Meaning she is a lawyer who started a law firm, had to figure out what to do with it with all of that agita of I want more than I have but I'm not sure how to get there and she's done a lot of things to get there. So I wanted to actually bring you guys kind of beats from the street of somebody who knows what it takes to grow a law firm and has started down that journey and is still on that journey, the same way that I am, the same way that you are, the same way that all of us are. So about Nicole. Nicole is currently the managing partner of the Hull Law Firm in Athens Georgia and she is also the director of the Academy of Dispute Resolution. Nicole serves on the Georgia Supreme Court commission on dispute resolution and is an IEP meeting facilitator through the Georgia Department of Education. She is also an adjunct professor for the Reno University Conflict Resolution and Legal Studies Program. So that is a very small bit of Nicole and her bio and all that stuff because we all like to hear all that stuff. But now we're going to get into the sexy stuff about the business of law.
Allison Williams: [00:01:26] So Nicole I want to just kick it off right away with your start. OK so tell us about what prompted you to, first of all when did you start your firm and then what ultimately prompted you to start your law firm?
Nicole Hull: [00:01:37] So we didn't have a very sexy start. We started in July 2014 before my husband and I passed the bar. We were with a firm that we thought we would grow with and later take over. But that did not work out. So we found ourselves out and we decided to walk out and we literally had a bar license that had been out there for about four weeks at that point.
Nicole Hull: [00:02:03] And we decided to grow a firm. And because we learned how to practice law somewhat at law school, we had no idea how to manage a firm, and really didn't have any understanding or mentorship of where to get that from. So we kind of did what we saw some other people do and went to Google and started to figure some stuff out.
Allison Williams: [00:02:27] University of Google!
Nicole Hull: [00:02:30] Yes. So it's not giving great degrees on how to manage law firms. So we figured that we needed some help.
Allison Williams: [00:02:37] Ok. So first of all I love that you said we. And I did not introduce this in the intro but you actually practice law with your husband and so you have an additional dynamic to law firm business which can make things a little bit interesting in the course of life. So we're going to talk about that a little bit later OK. But since you told us how you got started why don't you talk to us about some of those challenges, because I know that you know where you start, you have different issues than where you evolve to. But we all have challenges at every step of the progress.
Nicole Hull: [00:03:06] Right. So Georgia does a great job of giving us like a how to hang your shingle book. We have to go through a mentorship program that teaches you the basics of the law practice as far as how to open a trust account and those types of things but that's kind of where it starts. So figuring out how to organize cases, how we're going to do case management, how we're gonna get a phone number and make sure that we are doing things ethically. How we're going to get help, how we're going to market. What are we supposed to do for a website? And then we need help. So how do we get help? Competent help. How do we pay help all of those different things and just figuring out how to keep the lights on and how to keep people coming to our firm were some of the biggest obstacles that we had. You can imagine.
Allison Williams: [00:03:57] So it's interesting. And I keep hearing a feedback. So as I'm speaking you guys please let me know if you guys hear a feedback as I want to make sure the sound quality is good for this. We have several people that have come onto the live that are kind of shooting their shout outs to you. So we have Felicia Williams. She's saying hi,we have Teda Page and of course Miss Elsa Smith, and head cheerleader in charge. We have Kamau here. So thank you guys for posting comments please do post comments throughout. I will try to acknowledge them and get them into our conversation.
Allison Williams: [00:04:29] So I love that Georgia has this program to get you started. And you know that's, I think, one of the things that a lot of people hesitate on is like where to start the firm and you actually have a resource in your state which I think is wonderful. But even having that resource I'm sure that you encountered some challenges to, you know, even having that database of knowledge and what do we do like you know how do we go out and get clients, where do we get money from and and how do we keep ourselves going in business? So talk to me a little bit about those initial challenges. What was like the biggest hurdle for you actually to kind of launch pad from, once you opened your shingle.
Nicole Hull: [00:05:04] Right. Because we didn't prepare to start a law firm right after being barred. So we had this great information about what banks we can go to and we had resources about what hosts we can have for websites but who's going to do it? How we gonna pay for these things if we don't want to go out and get a mortgage. And I didn't add that we had a new baby. We bought a home and like we didn't have a nest egg And so having to figure out OK what's the most cost effective way to have a high quality presence, something that looks very nice on a shoestring budget and to do it in a way that would attract a client base.
Allison Williams: [00:05:48] Ok. So shoestring budget is like a serious, serious issue. (Right.) Because I know a lot of us have that when we start out. We don't have clients. We don't have a big, we don't have a book of business. So we're kind of like well I've got to either take it out of my own mouth or I've got to go get debt. So what did you guys decide to do in terms of being able to hustle up those first few clients without having that pool of resources handy?
Nicole Hull: [00:06:11] So we fell into the court appointed world and because we already had some familiarity with juvenile court where we were able to get on the court appointed list fairly quickly and that started to give us the income that was pretty consistent and it allowed us to explore other things that kind of crossed over into family law. And because we were on the court appointed list we were able to start very small with our actual office space so we started renting a one room with a shared conference room so that we could have a physical address and somewhere to meet clients but it wasn't very sexy at all. But it was cost effective and it got us a start.
Allison Williams: [00:06:52] Ok. So I've still got this feedback thing going on here. Hopefully it stays at bay. So I love that you mentioned the court appointed list because a lot of times a lot of coaches and a lot of the industry talks about the court appointed list as if it's a negative thing. But you know when you're first starting out it's a wonderful way to not only serve your profession but also get a lot of valuable experience and to learn the practice area because they will they load you with cases and you'll all of a sudden be choking on cases. So it's a really good place to start to actually get yourself some seed money and I want people to hear that and to hear a lawyer that started there so that you don't put yourself into a place of shame when you have to start there when you perceive that you want to start there.
Allison Williams: [00:07:36] So yeah let's kind of transition now into kind of talking about once you realize that things were not going at the pace that you wanted. So you're getting to the point of consistent income. You've got that stream of money coming in from the court appointed list. What made you decide that you wanted to step into getting more.
Nicole Hull: [00:07:56] So I have to give a shout out to Candace Hill Duvernay because she has been one of the girlfriends who has said, 'Come on let's go get coins together'.
Nicole Hull: [00:08:07] So she told me about a couple of Facebook groups and I was just amazed to get in there and hear different law firm owners talk about the successes that they were having and some of the things that they were doing. And I wanted more for my firm working with my husband. We do dual sacrifices. We're sacrificing for our family but we're also sacrificing to make sure we can keep the lights on and the payroll going. So getting us that group, finding out that there are other people with similar stories but a lot more success has made me hungry to want to do more.
Allison Williams: [00:08:43] So you were influenced by the people around you.
Nicole Hull: [00:08:48] Absolutely.
Allison Williams: [00:08:48] Yes. So we have some more members of the community coming in. We've got Dina Eisenberg. Hey Dina. And we also have Miss Regina Taylor who is stopping by.
Allison Williams: [00:08:57] Kamau is being silly saying hey boo. So we're not going to have quite too many Hey Boo comments in this thread because it is about the serious. But I love that you have been exposed to other people and that you were stepping yourself into the atmosphere and experience of being around other people who are more successful than you were at the current time, gave you the exposure of really moving forward in business. Because I think a lot of times you know we kind of circle ourselves with people that are like us whether it's people we know, people that we're familiar with, people that are in our same area and sometimes that's because we feel uncomfortable as a result of saying we don't have what that other person has. So just kind of allowing yourself the freedom and the maturity to step into a place where you weren't necessarily there yet but you were willing to grow and learn. I think really it's very commendable. You deserve a round of applause for that. So you know you kind of got into these groups and you started talking to people and they started giving you that desire.
Allison Williams: [00:09:59] That first hungry. So that first step of actually feeding your hunger. So what was the first step that you took to actually start down the path of doing something? Not just hearing about it or reading about it on Facebook or different groups but actually doing something to improve your law firm?
Nicole Hull: [00:10:15] Well as luck would have it. This is not a scripted plug. But once I started to ask questions in these particular groups you were always very knowledgeable in your answers. And you were very open and very generous with it. So once Law Firm Mentor got going and you had a webinar series it was something that I wanted to take a part of. I wanted to get that information. I wanted more because I always had information provided in the group that had been beneficial.
Allison Williams: [00:10:48] Well thank you for saying that. I know that the More Money More Free Time webinar series actually was something that you invested in. Here, Candace has finally popped in. Hey Candace!
Nicole Hull: [00:11:00] You got a shout out earlier.
Allison Williams: [00:11:01] I know you guys have missed your shout outs. You've gotta watch the recording. Yeah. You know, but I will be honest with people about this because I try to always be honest and authentic with people about what I offer and what I don't offer. You know the very first thing I ever sold as a business coach was the course and part of it was that I was afraid to launch. You know. So I kind of put it out there and then I was like, oh shit! I put it out there I gotta go sell something now. What do I sell? And I decided I was going to create this course that would give me time to, you know, make sure that I knew what I was teaching and that I could teach it in a way that people could absorb it and then offered it so that it was on a month to month module. Now anybody that buys the webinar course they can get all the modules at once but you actually took it as it was being developed month by month. So talk to us about that experience. Like how were you absorbing the information? Were you coming live? Were you watching the recordings?
Nicole Hull: [00:11:48] So full transparency I didn't take advantage of it like I should have. I watched the marketing webinar and I watched the sales webinar. But I was not really jumping into it like I should have because I had so much on my plate, so much going on and there was this thought, of well OK. I had the I'll get to it one day, I'll get to it one day. So the things that I actually implemented we saw growth in. But I didn't take advantage of it like I should.
Nicole Hull: [00:12:20] It was actually, you had an event in Georgia that we attended and won coaching calls and my question during that time was how do you make money and still give back to the community? And that was a popular question that got us the coaching call, but it was actually during those coaching calls where we had an awakening. An aha moment that really made us decide that we had to do something different, and really change the duration of our firm.
Allison Williams: [00:12:50] So Nicole is like so many like minded. I want to help. I want to give back. I want to serve the people that are near me, the people that are near and dear to my heart. And unfortunately I think a lot of people start with this mindset that very much was your mindset, if you don't mind my saying this... Which was you know, I don't want to be one of those people who is selfish and all about myself and not giving to others, right. And I always say I used the analogy we've all heard it before you know, you have to put your mask on first. You know there's nothing wrong with giving back and building that into the model and you can actually build into your financial plan how much pro bono service you're going to give or low bono service you're going to give or how many cases you're going to take that are sensitive in nature where you're going to maybe cut your fees. But if you don't start from a place of having prosperity so that you, when you're giving, you're not taking from yourself, then ultimately you're not doing either you or your client a service because your client is going to be taking away from you and you're going to feel that at some point. And your client is going to feel that you're resentful because of that.
Allison Williams: [00:13:58] Yeah. So I love that Nicole won the coaching calls. What she's talking about is I had a networking event in Georgia. We gave away some door prizes and one of them was a free coaching call. Actually two free coaching calls. And so Nicole and Kamau came. I got to meet and share a little bit with them about what coaching can accomplish for them. So once you decided that you were going to invest and you decided I'm going to get the webinars and you said you didn't take advantage of them on full steam but you did see some progress. Let's talk about what progress you actually saw from just what you did on a kind of on your own pathway.
Nicole Hull: [00:14:33] Sure. So with the sales webinar, when we actually implemented the strategy that you told us to. We saw higher conversion rates. We closed on every consultation that we did.
Nicole Hull: [00:14:45] But we would get comfortable and step back into what we knew, and we would see it not work so well. Another one was the marketing. Making sure that we were very intentional about everything that we did. And we used different touch points for everything that we produced, was something that we saw benefits from when we did it. But when we didn't do it consistently, we would kinda see it trail off. And we kind of did that ebb and flow for a while. Actually up until we started the coaching calls and got serious about really investing in the firm and honestly that never ends.
Allison Williams: [00:15:21] It really doesn't. You know I have a multi-million dollar law firm.
Nicole Hull: [00:15:29] I can't hear you.
Allison Williams: [00:15:32] Can you hear me now? (Yes.) Great. OK. Sorry about that. So what I was saying was I go to conferences all the time and I love, I love the atmosphere, I love the learning. But if I don't really have a powerful experience, then what ends up happening is you take that information, you take great notes and then you go back to life as usual and you don't implement. So, that is a very big part of what we try to accomplish with Law Firm Mentor; we really want to bring people to have an experience and then take a ways that they can actually use it. That's the reason why we have free event as well as post-event calls to kind of guide you through a process so that you ensure that you're still on it after you leave the building.
Allison Williams: [00:16:10] So I want to talk to you about that. So you said you started to implement and then you know that kind of life went back to normal. Right. We all do that and then you decided that you were going to come to something live. So the first thing that I offered you was actually in the webinar course and we had Marketing for the Masters in November of last year. And you were not among the crowd so. (Right.) Did you consider coming to Marketing for the Masters?
Nicole Hull: [00:16:34] I thought we can't afford that. That's a luxury that we can't afford. It's either payroll and the mortgage on the building and my mortgage on my house or we do something. And we didn't think that we could afford it we thought it was a luxury but something happened during those calls and cause we had to really face, to face ourselves. During the coaching calls Allison, you made us really examine why we were doing what we were doing, which is basically sacrificing ourselves for the world, for the community. And there was a point where we couldn't articulate why we were doing all of these things that we thought made sense previously and that's why you called us out on our bullshit a little bit because I think we're operating in a space of fear. I think once we sat down and really had those discussions we realized we were afraid to make money. We were afraid to get off of the court appointed list. We were afraid to really invest money in the firm because we didn't never want to miss payroll. And so we had to really sit down and decide what our values were and take a hard look at why some of our stagnation was really based in my lap as the managing partner and do something different about it. That was a very difficult process for us to sit down and stomach.
Allison Williams: [00:18:00] Wow. Yeah. So I could take this in so many different directions because you gave us so much valuable information there. So I guess the first thing I want to ask you about is those coaching calls because when you say you know you called me on my bullshit I think a lot of people are afraid of having someone see them. (Yeah.) And you know one thing that I don't do is I don't mince words. And you know I don't hold my tongue but I try my hardest to always be authentic and caring in approaching someone. So I just want you to kind of talk a little bit about the experience of having, and not just me. But having a coach in general, see you and what that experience is like out of being in the space where someone can actually confront you with what you're saying so that you can look at it from a different perspective.
Nicole Hull: [00:18:47] Absolutely. So I don't want to make it sound like you were just beating us up. Because you weren't. You were very gracious. But you did give silence for me to answer certain questions. And I had to sit and say my feelings and really let it resonate with what was going on. The fact that I was really afraid and it had become easy to stay on those lists. That it had become easy to say I'm not you know, a really old seasoned attorney so I can't really command the fees that my counterparts are commanding. I really had to look at that and see that I had given away so much for free or not really commanded my value. I was hard on myself. I was hard on my family. And that hurt. That, that was a wake-up call for both me and Kamau.
Allison Williams: [00:19:39] Yeah so Elsa Smith thanks you for your transparency. And honestly Nicole I do too because it takes a lot to come into a space of other people who have probably very much of the same mindset that you once had. The idea that you know this is a profession and I shouldn't be out chasing dollars and I don't want to reduce myself to being all about the money. But you know there's so much more that you can accomplish with money than just taking care of yourself but taking care of yourself is an absolute necessity as well as your right.
Allison Williams: [00:20:10] You know, it takes a lot to be a law firm owner. You know we go through a lot of stuff and I think we oftentimes do deprive ourselves. So I want to thank you again for sharing that. So now let's talk a little bit about the difference. Right. You've kind of talked a little bit about having a coaching call and what that's like but I want to talk to you about the difference when you have something live versus having the course. Because you know all the content and I'm very clear about this with people. All the content that I chose to put in the course is content that I know intimately well. It's content that I studied. It's content that I studied in school, studied as I was growing my own business and I continue to study it so I can be great for my clients but there is a difference between having that content you know, pre-recorded or having the ability to hear it in a 90 minute segment and then actually work with it versus coming to an experience where you're going to meet other people who are learning it with you in a room where it's being presented to you live and you can ask questions in that space. So talk to me about what you perceive was the difference in having the course versus coming to the retreat.
Nicole Hull: [00:21:11] I left the course with a road map and some direction. So the coaching calls where the awakening, we had then do the reprogramming of how we thought and what we wanted to accomplish and being able to come to the live event, I got to pick your brain. I got to ask very firm specific questions but I also got to hear what other law firm owners were going through, what their struggles were, what their successes were and how to build a network. Since we have come back from the systematize your business retreat, we've had some really good connections with other law firm owners and we share resources amongst ourselves. So being able to get that one on one, because it was a very small group feel, and be able to ask specific, 'I'm struggling with this issue Allison, how do you help me?' type of questions and get that one on one feedback was very important. And then the follow up coaching call to kind of have some accountability asked you, OK. What did you say you were going to do and what have you done? It was something that we needed.
Allison Williams: [00:22:17] Yeah. Making a commitment to come I know is a big scary step for a lot of people because the first time, that first time that you as a law firm owner... And I won't ask you your revenue because a lot of people don't feel comfortable disclosing that but you know, you were not at the place where you had hundreds of thousands of dollars in excess of what you needed. So that ultimately you could take from one place and give to another. So how did you come to the conclusion? I'll be very candid. The retreat was thirty five hundred dollars. How did you come to the conclusion that that was an investment that you were willing to either hustle up or you know take from some other place in your business that might need it so that you could actually have this experience?
Nicole Hull: [00:22:57] Once we figured out that we had to do something different, it wasn't... It was a necessity. We didn't have a choice. It was a we have got to do this or we're drowning. I am sick as a mom of having to work at the firm all day and then I'm coming home and my laptop is on my lap because I'm having to do administrative work because we're not efficient. We don't have systems in place. We have chaos in place. That was our system.
Allison Williams: [00:23:24] Amen. Amen to the system.
Nicole Hull: [00:23:26] And so it became a, we are going to have to do whatever is necessary. Payroll is going to come each month. The mortgage is going to come each month. And now we're gonna add this as a must have to go and get something to invest for our business.
Allison Williams: [00:23:41] So it sounds like you've already made a decision first and then you came up with the plan to actually get there. (Yes.) So from the time you made the decision to when you actually made the plan or actually came. How. What period of time was that are we talking about? Weeks? Are we talking about months? Are we talking about quarters?
Nicole Hull: [00:23:57] Allison, I don't even know exactly how we did it. It was a HEY! She's offering this. This is on the calendar. Put in a label for it and we're going to do it and just figure it out later. So I think we may have brown bagged lunch. Skimped on lots of other stuff instead of eating what we wanted to eat. Maybe ate a little bit more hamburger helper. But it was more of a we have to do this by all means necessary because we're at that point where we are going to drown. And because we work together, because we're a married couple working together, business does affect home. So we had to save that and do that for our business, but also to make sure that we continue to have a healthy marriage.
Allison Williams: [00:24:42] So I think it's important that you say that because the interconnection between business and home is something that I think a lot of people resist and they say you know there's a business life and there's a home life. And I don't want the two overlapping, but I think as business owners, I don't know any business owner especially that's under the million dollar mark that doesn't have an overlap between the two. And there's there's an idea of resisting what is that will stop you from working with what is to create more of what you want. So you you were able to step into the space of creating more of what you wanted simply by putting something on the calendar and saying I've got to pace to this. I've got to get this done. So once you made that decision and you kind of started feeling maybe a little discomfort you know we're not eating out at the restaurants or we're not ordering in. We're brown bagging it or you know we're not we're not going out to the movies this weekend because we have this expense like, What did that feel like? Did you feel yourself in this state of deprivation and frustration as you were trying to get to the place where you wanted to be to come here.
Nicole Hull: [00:25:40] I didn't because at that point any time I would get frustrated, I could go back to the coaching calls because they were recorded. Or I could go back to our homework and realize that we are investing something. And so we were actually very excited to get there and we didn't miss it. I mean again we had to save and cut some corners but once we determined that it was something that we had to do for the growth of our firm we were ready to do it.
Allison Williams: [00:26:09] All right. So you said earlier that one of the questions that one of the things that you got the benefit of was the ability to hear other people's responses you know and I think that's an important key because a lot of people when they, when they offer up a program the first thing they talk about is how great they are and how much they're gonna offer. But you know I really think that one of the things that makes Law Firm Mentor special is the fact that you have great people that come into a space and everybody is contributing. So even though I'm the facilitator and I'm guiding and I have the content, everybody has experienced something in business and they have something to offer in that regard. So you know talk to me about some of those aha moments like what did you really get out of hearing the stories of other people having other people disclose to you what they were going through, how they were experiencing things, the frustrations that may have been like or different than your own frustrations.
Nicole Hull: [00:26:59] So it was great to know that I wasn't the only one struggling with some of these things because we're in this... We're in a culture now where we just see all the great stuff that's always posted. All of the case settlings, the big settlement awards and all the nice sexy stuff is what we see. We don't really get to post the transparent moments where we're struggling. And so to be in a group and hear some of those war stories made it more human, made me feel more human and not alone.
Nicole Hull: [00:27:29] But we also got a trade off on just knowledge base so being able to say, well I've struggled with keeping up with client communications and emails and they're e-mailing all the time and I hear Melanie say, we have a no e-mail policy. And I'm like what? How do you do that? Or see here, that for flat fee cases you can, you can predetermine how many phone calls a client will make. I'm like, I would have never thought of that. So just being able to hear different things that are working from different firm owners and customize so that it works for our firm was very beneficial.
Allison Williams: [00:28:07] So you had great people giving you great ideas and what was working for them. How is that different than let's say going into a Facebook group and kind of asking people you know hey what do you do about X. Like don't you get the same data if you ask online versus asking in person.
Nicole Hull: [00:28:23] You doubt because I have done that with some of the groups and it depends on who's logging on that night to be able to see whether or not they want to share with you. And while it's great to get a template document. It's even better to be able to sit down with that person to ask follow up questions and we've done that. Going through the program helped us build relationships with different law firm owners both in Georgia and out of Georgia. Throughout the country, so that's been very beneficial. Kinda form friendships. And pick each others' brains and share each others' victories. That's something that's been very special.
Allison Williams: [00:29:03] So I love that the connection has come for you with other people because I think a lot of times as law firm owners it's a very isolated feeling. You know, and a lot of it is I think the fear of what you gave to us earlier which was the gift of transparency. You know. We don't always want to say I don't know how to do this or I don't know how I'm going to make payroll next week or you know I don't know how I'm going to fire this person. This person has been here forever. A lot of those things that we all struggle with are very human problems. They're not just business problems, and hearing somebody who does not look like you, who does not practice in the same practice area, who does not live in the same neighborhood, who is not your direct competitor, if you believe in the concept of competition, which I don't, but many people do, you know having that that based there I think is a very beneficial experience.
Allison Williams: [00:29:53] I'm glad that you brought that out as one of the things that you took away. So I want to ask you about, you know, Kamau. Because you know one of the things that I love is that you are working with your spouse. And I love that for the from the perspective of so many of my clients have a partner that doesn't understand what they go through and you can tell somebody until you're blue in the face. I got to come up with sixty thousand dollars next Friday for payroll. If they're not living that life they don't get that life, right? You just don't get it, right. And you have your partner there with you who's mentally your life partner and your partner in love and law but also your partner in life who's your partner in business, and so you have the ability to say we have to do X in our business. And he can see it because he's going through it with you. But I'm sure that that also does create some friction because just as a sole owner I have the freedom of saying I want to do this and nobody can really say no to me. They can voice an opinion but at the end of the day it's my call. You don't necessarily have that same freedom. So talk to us about what that is like.
Nicole Hull: [00:30:56] Oh yes. Being married to your law partner. So we do have some strong conversations and put up boundaries, and have a lot of respect for those boundaries. Now, we in our home. He is the husband and he is the head and that's how we choose to live our lives. But here in these four walls at the law farm, I'm the managing partner. And so we have discussions. I want input and I definitely value his contributions. But at the end of the day I make the decisions. And he is very supportive in that. So no dictatorship. But we have had to be very good about establishing boundaries so that if work is not great, then we don't take that home with us. And if he leaves a plate on the counter or shoes in the middle of the floor and I'm nagging him about that, then I don't bring that to work, because we have to have some separation. I can't hear you again.
Allison Williams: [00:31:59] There we go. So I said I know that you and Kamau don't have the same practice areas. You practice in different areas. Has that in any way helped with the lines of separation? Like if you, because you know it's not like you can take a file over from you because you disagree about strategy or how you're handling it. You really do two separate things. Does that help you have some degree of separation in your law firm?
Nicole Hull: [00:32:21] I think so because we're always in different places or in different courts. It definitely keeps us not in a space where we're always seeing each other and getting tired of each other so that helps some. But we have one cross-over practice area where we both do juvenile dependency so that's also helpful because we can think together on some cases and I think because we're also very different. I don't know his personal injury cases but I know how I would feel if I were a victim or I can kind of play the opposing counsel for him for different arguments and vice versa with domestic law and special education. I do think that there are some benefits to it and we definitely play up on those benefits.
Allison Williams: [00:33:03] Yeah. You and Kamau are definitely different people but one thing that I really admire about you is that, you know, in having the coaching calls we do them by Zoom and so I got to see you side by side and I got to hear you both kind of speak your truth about what mattered to you. And you know, with partners I'm sure people that are that are watching this that you know are married you know that you've experienced this where you and your partner are together so much that you kind of have a symbiosis. And so when you speak you speak we we we we we we we. And I had to really break you and kind of stop you from that and say what does Nicole want? What does Kamau want and how do we accomplish that for both of you? So how do you do that on a day to day like how do you make sure that both partners that are in the business are able to have what they both want? I mean collectively you have created a goal for your business but as both individuals how do you make sure that both of you are self actualized both in the practice and in the business of law?
Nicole Hull: [00:33:57] So we kind of have to call each other out a little bit and we give permission for the other one to make us say ouch. And so I have to be very vocal about what I desire to see for the firm. I have to be very honest about the things that I don't like and I think he gives me information to do that. He may say ouch. You know something hurts but we have to have that freedom to be able to do that. He does the same thing. He's very open about where he wants to see the firm within the next couple of years. He has some autonomy over his practice areas and some of the things that he lets me know, I don't really like it. It makes me say ouch but we have committed to be honest with each other so that we can accomplish our values and mission of our firm.
Allison Williams: [00:34:41] All right. So we've got marriage 101 and business 101 with the Nicole Hull. I absolutely love this conversation. This is like kind of going in a direction I hadn't planned. But you know that's what the conversations are about. So I want to talk to you about that post event call because you shared with me so much. I actually, I put it on Facebook and so I kind of apologized to you with flowers after the fact. But I love...
Nicole Hull: [00:35:05] Thank you for the flowers. They were beautiful. Thank you.
Allison Williams: [00:35:07] You're welcome. You're welcome. I love those calls because those calls tell me what was effective and what helped people and what can be even more effective in helping people in the future. So you shared with me a lot of great tidbits. So I just want to summarize them and then I want you to talk to us about that. So from the call of course I'm not gonna share anything personal that's always a commitment that I make to my clients. But you shared with me that you had an accountability meeting in your firm. You shared with me that you and your team members the lawyers on your team are doing marketing videos. You shared with me that you altered your pricing and fees and of course you said, you already shared with us, everybody and me the great impact that it had on your relationship. So let's start with the accountability meeting like what was that like? Why did you decide to have that meeting and how were you informed by what you learned at the systems retreat about what to do at this meeting?
Nicole Hull: [00:36:01] So I actually learned the importance of having a why. It's important to have a system. But it's also important to let your team know why that is. Why you're asking them to do a specific thing, so you kind of have a shared understanding of what's going on. And so in that particular instance, we didn't have a system for consultation intake. And so we went through the process of developing the system and writing down the system. And then when it wasn't followed we had to have some accountability. Something that was happening because we didn't have our legal assistant coming in every day at that point, is a consultation would be scheduled and maybe the person would pay and maybe the person wouldn't pay. They would pay once they get there for that morning.
Nicole Hull: [00:36:49] Well if we didn't have a record of that, as the attorney didn't know whether or not they paid or not, because I was walking into the conference room. So we had to develop a system that alleviated that. You don't get on the calendar until after you pay your consult fee. And that did not happen a couple of times. And helping them to understand why we were so adamant about it and actually held the accountability meeting for, got us all on the same page. And even further than that, we've empowered our team members, our staff to make us accountable to something. Because we've developed policies that we have not followed. Especially when it comes to calendaring and them having the freedom to say 'Hey remember that X policy says you'll do it like this. Can you do this as the task', has been beneficial.
Allison Williams: [00:37:37] Yeah absolutely. So we have Kemlia Sherman here and she's making a comment that the risk with those Facebook groups is not knowing who you're getting information from and then being able to trust the advice. That is very true. One thing I love to see is people who have been out in business for all of three weeks who are answering questions about what you should do about multiple members of your team or what you should do about changing your finance structure. So very good point Kemlia. Thank you for sharing that. So you know this accountability meeting sounds like it was powerful because it gave people the ability as you said to feel empowered to be able to do things in your firm. But I'm sure that that is a scary feeling the first time that you say I'm not going to be the one who writes this out. You are. I'm not going to be the one who's responsible for this task. You are. And I'm going to have to oversee that. So what was that shift like?
Nicole Hull: [00:38:31] I think at first it was very scary for me because I was so hands on. I didn't really do good with delegation and I kind of caught my team up in this very vicious cycle. I would naturally communicate what I expected to have happen. I would try to delegate it. They would plug in the gas with what they thought I wanted. It wasn't what I wanted. I would get upset and then I wouldn't go on to delegate anymore. So we were in this very vicious cycle. So we got through actually writing the systems down and going through them at staff meeting and taking the time to cast it up on a big screen to make sure that everyone was comfortable with the steps and then delegated now. They felt empowered to actually do some things and it wasn't long before I would get an email to say 'Hey I just developed a system for X Y Z. Look on the firm drive. It's there and I thought that was amazing because it allowed me not to have to be the one creating everything for everybody. So it was pretty cool.
Allison Williams: [00:39:33] Well there you go because I think most of us have that problem. I don't know, I haven't worked with a single law firm owner that doesn't have that great fear of God in them that if they were to, God forbid give something to another person then that person screws it up, oh my God that's my license. That's my business. That's my money. And so we hold on to things a lot and it takes a lot of courage to first give over to a person and yes they're going to screw things up but part of knowing... Yes they are gonna screw it up frequently. They are going to mess up and the great thing about that though is that as soon as you realize that they're screwing something up you can alter the way in which you give it to them. You can alter the things that you say to them about it. You can ask them where we had a disconnect and you grow in the process and they grow in the process and then they're more valuable to you.
Nicole Hull: [00:40:22] Yes and it's so freeing. I mean going from a situation where I felt like I had to practice law Monday through Friday from eight to five, and then go home and do administrative tasks with the computer in my lap or on the Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays. There was a lot. It strained me. I felt a tremendous amount of mommy guilt because I wasn't fully attentive to my kids. I felt like I had all of these meetings, all of these things to do all of the time and so just simply empowering them to, here. Here's a task. You are smart. You are so incredibly smart. That's why you're here. And if you see a system, write it down so you can teach it to the next person. And once they took ownership of that, I got free time. I got like time to live and breathe and to set up boundaries so that I don't have to have my laptop in my lap after dinner and I can go to a movie with my husband. I joined the gym. I dropped 15 pounds...
Allison Williams: [00:41:26] Doing less and revenue is up.
Nicole Hull: [00:41:34] Yes.
Allison Williams: [00:41:34] Let's make sure those two go hand in hand. Doing less... And revenue is up.
Nicole Hull: [00:41:39] Revenue was up!
Allison Williams: [00:41:41] All right!
Nicole Hull: [00:41:41] It's Awesome. It is awesome. So that has probably been the most beneficial thing that I've received. Just the ability to see where my firm was lagging and to have the coaching to get through to take it to the next level. I have somebody cheering with you, helping me develop these ideas and get those next steps in order have been tremendous. And it's only been the first couple of months since the intensive, so we have so much more to do.
Allison Williams: [00:42:17] Yeah I know. So like this is a lifestyle right. This has now become the way that you do business in your firm. Yes. And the beautiful thing about that is that the more you have of that the more you give over to people and the more that they do for you, the more free time you create and the more money you create and you do that at the same time. Yes I think people just don't buy the idea that I can do less work and make more money. Like they think I have to... Hours for dollars, right? I'm a lawyer. I trade my hours for dollars so if I'm not working more I'm not making more and that just is not true.
Nicole Hull: [00:42:47] It's not. And I think that I was one of the naysayers at the very beginning. It didn't make sense to me because I saw a lot of different people around me doing the same different things that, I mean same things that I was doing and it didn't make sense. But once I bought in and had that mind shift, it actually works. I have more free time. I'm happier. I can go and enjoy my family. We're going on trips and things. My revenue is up and I don't have that constant worry about, oh God. Payroll is coming. What's gonna happen when payroll comes? It's done. It's not an issue.
Allison Williams: [00:43:24] Yes. The journey of chasing checks. That is not a journey that any of us want to be on and getting out of that zone makes us a lot happier doing what we do. Whether you're making what you want to make or not. Just getting out of that hectic. Oh my God. What's next, what's next. I can't take another bill. That's an awful feeling. So I'm glad that you're moving away from that. You've gotten away from that fear of payroll. (Yeah yeah.) So since we're talking about money this is one thing that we actually have to cover because one of the things that you said during our call that just like brought tears to my eyes was the fact that you changed your pricing structure and tripled your income.
Nicole Hull: [00:43:58] Triple.
Allison Williams: [00:43:59] So talk to me about that. What did you change?
Nicole Hull: [00:44:02] So we had started. Well first, we were mainly like court appointed cases, so most of my case load was a court appointed case where I would make at most sixty dollars an hour, while my private fees were set at two hundred dollars an hour. Again, I was very afraid that I was capable of making that much. I got very comfortable being able to do the court appointed cases. But one of the exercises that you made us do was to draft down why we were worth even more than the two hundred and so, going through the exercise was like, huh. Well I do have a very impressive resume and I do know a lot and have a lot of experience.
Nicole Hull: [00:44:46] So we actually increased our hourly fees and got off of the court appointed list. So immediately I went from 60 dollars an hour to two hundred and fifty dollars an hour and then even with some of the networking with some of the people that were also at the intensive, we learned about flat feeing cases and phasing and different payment structures. So I was able to make five thousand dollars in the span of three weeks vs. me trying to take a domestic case for a retainer and make that five thousand dollars over the course of a year. And so just the increase in what we were able to do as far as commanding more per hour, commanding more per case. And then streamlining things so I was spending less time dragging these things and doing these things and I had systems in place and delegation was now part of our firm. It just helped tremendously.
Allison Williams: [00:45:47] Wow. Wow. So let's make sure that that lands. I want everybody to hear that, you know. So instead of five thousand made over the course of a year handling a case we got that in three weeks.
Nicole Hull: [00:45:57] Three weeks.
Allison Williams: [00:45:58] Three weeks and we were able to go up from sixty dollars an hour to two hundred and fifty dollars an hour. (Yeah.)
Allison Williams: [00:46:06] I didn't even ask for 250, ok. So obviously I created a monster. Next time I talk to Nicole she's going to be at 500 bucks an hour.
Nicole Hull: [00:46:15] My coach tells me. But yes once getting over that fear. I'm saying. OK you are a young attorney. You don't look like your other counterparts. You've been, you know a quick glance you know they've been doing this for 30 years. I do command some things you know. I'm very knowledgeable and have a lot of experience. And it became OK to be empowered by that and to let potential clients know that and instead of running away from our fees, they flocked to us because they have a higher caliber of representation with our firm because I'm not chasing case per case per case and I'm overwhelmed. I can give them the one on one attention that they need to move their case forward. So it's been a very different turn around for our firm.
Allison Williams: [00:47:02] So it's sounds like you're not just making, you're not just doing better in business. You're actually doing better in law as well. It's a better quality of your lawyering.
Nicole Hull: [00:47:10] Well absolutely because I don't have to worry about a case load that requires me to have a high volume of work of cases to be able to make the same amount of money. They had better quality cases. My staff is better trained because now we have additional time and resources to really train them so they are confident in their skills. We have money to actually buy the systems and buy the tools that we need to help everybody become more competent in their different tasks. So we've been a better firm because of it. So higher revenue and better quality of practice.
Allison Williams: [00:47:47] So there's so much that's steeped in that comment there. That the fact that you are creating a better business is also giving you better lawyering.
Allison Williams: [00:47:57] And I think there's so much to be said for that because there are a lot of proponents of the old way of doing things that are very much sticklers for the idea that we are professionals. Our goal is to give good service and the quality of law. So all these people that are out here chasing checks are bringing down the quality of the law because, we people that have been doing it for 30 years can really be the the people who set the tone for what law should be and everybody else is supposed to be coming in as an apprentice. Being poor for the first decade and a half of their practice and then they get around to making money after a while and that clearly is not the case.
Nicole Hull: [00:48:30] Right. It is not the case and there is a certain level of comfort in knowing that I am who I am. I'm a very knowledgeable attorney but I also have the freedom to do things the way that I want to. I don't have to not have a nose ring. I have one because I am good enough with or without this nose ring. We don't have to do things the old way. Our client base is between twenty five and fifty five but we are a high tech firm. And so we are near paperless. We do a lot of things over the computer and that's foreign to a lot of the firms here and that's OK with us. Our clientele likes it and it works for our firm and we're comfortable and know that it's OK to be different.
Allison Williams: [00:49:13] And that's a competitive advantage. You know I think you said that, you said a mouthful when you said you know people that they're happy to tell me they've been practicing for 30 years but you know I also have something to offer. You don't just have to offer your years of experience. I think a lot of lawyers you really need to hear that you know it really is about the idea of who you are, how you are, what life experiences, that you've had. And I'll just be candid as a black female in her earlier part of career, you're not the same as a white male in his 60's. And that is perfectly fine. There's a tenaciousness that comes with being earlier in the practice that you lose at some point, that many people lose, not everyone, but many people lose it. And you know you can offer whatever it is that you have to offer. Just don't be afraid of it and own it and embrace it.
Nicole Hull: [00:50:01] Yes. And that's something that we were able to learn just by going through this journey of trying to realize what is it that we want to accomplish with this firm. What are we comfortable with that helped us in that area.
Allison Williams: [00:50:14] So we have a question here from Kemlia Sherman asking what was the experience with growing your team.
Nicole Hull: [00:50:21] Oh so that was, that was interesting.
Allison Williams: [00:50:27] Interesting is an interesting word.
Nicole Hull: [00:50:30] We got to a point where there was no way that we could keep up or grow without growing our team because we had so many cases on our caseload. We would find ourselves in court and not really able to schedule client visits or drafting things. We were always on a go. So it came out of necessity and we started very low. Again, we went to that shoestring budget. So we actually started with an intern who was a paralegal student. That was OK. It was, it was all right. We graduated to a part time person and that was also very good. But when we got to the point where we needed help and we wanted to invest, we actually went after the best and it was a very bold move. We found the paralegal who we felt like, will complement our personalities that will work with us. And we went to a big firm and approached him about interviewing with our small two attorney firm. And he did. And we have since developed a family relationship with Cedric. He runs us. Hopefully he's watching right now. He will watch the recording.
Nicole Hull: [00:51:45] But Cedric is awesome and it was very much of a, we had to make sure that we have him. He became a necessity. So like many firm owners, Cedric's salary got paid before our salary got paid. Because we need to make sure that he stayed and he was happy and fortunately we're beyond having to make those sacrifices. He gets the salary and we get to eat too. But it was very much a progression and the quality of our support and our team. And we could see the investment and how it paid off when we got the right person and the right fit for our firm.
Allison Williams: [00:52:26] So leveling up team is one of those things that you absolutely have to do if you are going to have a successful thriving business. And I love the fact that you realized, you know, and this is this predates me. I have, I take no ownership of this whatsoever. Cedric was on the team and I was hearing about how fabulous he was even as I first met Nicole and Kamau. But I remember talking to you about team and you told me about Cedric and I thought wow this is somebody who really gets it because we all start with that mindset of what can I afford, right. So we go for the volunteer who will work for the experience and then we get like that, the just over minimum wage person. Right. And you know the reality is there is a lot of compensation. You don't get quality unless you pay for it. And even if you think you were doing something advantageous by paying as little as possible or maybe offering a salary that somebody you think is great, takes. I want you to really think about this. If the person is not going to demand the highest amount that they are worth for themselves, what are they going to do to your clients when they are resistant to paying your fees? What are they going to do for your business? When someone that's a vendor is resistant to paying for or providing you the service that you pay for like you know the mindset doesn't turn on and turn off when we're dealing with ourself or someone else. We are is who we are and we show up that way regardless. So having quality team members is absolutely something essential. And treating them well and paying them well is also very much part of the process.
Nicole Hull: [00:53:52] And he is. And making sure that you just, you are aware of the personalities coming into your firm because Kamau and I have small children, it was very important to us that we set boundaries where we're not working 60 hours a week. We work 40 hour weeks and we don't work on the weekends and we don't expect for our team to do so either. So Cedric is married with children and it's important that he go home. And sometimes we have to get on to Cedric to say hey why are you still here? But we can appreciate that he's wanting to get the task done because he has ownership and this firm and he shares our values and the commitment to what it is that we want to do. So having the right people on your team is essential. And we've learned that from experience. We've had some that made it and a lot more that didn't. But we have a good fit, and we're still growing in that respect.
Allison Williams: [00:54:43] That's OK. My law firm's alumni association is probably bigger than the firm. And that's OK. You know that's another area that I think a lot of people struggle with is deciding when to let go and you have posted some things in the Facebook group about some struggles that you've had with team and I think the fact that you are growing through those and recognize that you have to continue to evolve is going to keep you moving in the right direction. Yes.
Nicole Hull: [00:55:10] Well, yeah, it's definitely beneficial to again have that network to be able to vent and share some of those things with, to get some different perspectives from people who are sitting in the same seats that you are, and to get some coaching. You were also very beneficial in helping walk through that process and making sure that we had the right support. And that means a lot. And growing and just trying to figure out how to actually run a law firm to expand it and that support system and that guidance is very very important.
Allison Williams: [00:55:44] I could not agree more. And I also could not agree more that like getting the right members on the team is also very much a product of letting go of what does not serve you anymore. So I want to ask you about that. Let's just take it, take it all the way back to your very first termination. OK. Tell me what that experience was like and we don't have to use names or titles but just think about... I really want you to share with the group what it was like for you to make the decision that someone was not serving their role in your firm, to decide that you were going to let them go, and to actually step into letting them go and all the feelings that, that were brought up by that.
Nicole Hull: [00:56:22] So in true transparency that in itself has been a journey. So I think we first started with the first two employees that we had to part ways with which was just kinda praying that they leave. Just waiting until we get to that point to make sure that they parted ways and we didn't offer them any follow up or around back into the fire because we weren't comfortable with it. Oh.
Allison Williams: [00:56:49] Praying that they leave. How many of us have done that? We've done it, right? It'll be so great. Maybe this person will just like not come to work. Maybe they'll leave. Maybe they'll get another job. Maybe they'll leave me.
Nicole Hull: [00:57:02] Let's put all the things out there to make them try to get another job. And it is awful because it affected the environment of coming into work and not wanting to come to work because it was just this overarching hanging gray sky. So we evolved from that to I think the next couple of employees it very quick. It was OK. This is a not working out situation. It's not working for me. It's not working for you, so you know here's their stuff that you came with and we wish you the very best. And there was no involvement in it because it was a very short process and there were no feelings attached. It was all business. But we have had a lot of employees that we actually cared about and had been with us for a while and we did have that sense of family and that was hard. And it was a roller coaster of emotions from being hurt to being upset to being I think even fearful about what the next steps will look like. And it's just a hodgepodge of emotions but there is some solace and peace in knowing that that's the decision that needed to be made for the firm, for the growth and for the overall mission.
Allison Williams: [00:58:20] So we have some more comments. Elsa Smith notes that I taught the concept of giving team members ownership in the firm, however that manifests itself. And I absolutely agree with that. Also that you know letting people have their peace gives them more buy in. It gives them more of a sense of I want the firm to be successful, right. This is something that I'm passionate about. That's why Cedric has to be told to leave because he believes in what you do and he's committed to helping it thrive. And I think that that's just, that's so critically important.
Nicole Hull: [00:58:53] Yes. I can't say enough good things about Cedric but in some of our employee conversations with Cedric and with our other staff we've heard comments like they felt like they were at the 'help' at their offices and other firms and that's what we strive to make sure we're not doing. We don't say you work for me. We are a team we work together. We all have critical roles. Here's your role and your space and we give them the autonomy to say if you want to go after something, let us know so we as a team can rally around you. If you want us to support a cause, we'll show up with firm t-shirts on and we'll rally around your cause. But those things are important. I think it's made a very happy culture to come into our firm. If you were to walk into our firm unannounced or go into an attorney's office you may hear an attorney draft a motion to Tupac on some days and Kirk Franklin the other days. We are ok with that because that is who we are and how we are. And we have the right, the right culture for that to work in. I think it's definitely a product of our employees being happy, our team members being happy and us being happy to have them here as well.
Allison Williams: [01:00:08] So happy team members will make a happier office and happy owners will make a happier office. So I want to just wind this down with one more point that I think is just phenomenal about you Nicole. So I decided that I was going to create this series where I was going to intersperse some of the clients that I've worked with in the past and kind of seeing how they have evolved. And I chose you first really because I remember the first conversation that we had and there was just a timidity to the way that you would talk about your business. Kind of like I've got this thing over here. This big hairy monster that I've got to, that I'm forced to take care of. And I remember when we had our post event call from the systems retreat, I was actually crying when we got off the phone because there was just so much that had evolved. I mean like, you just kind of, you just kind of took it and ran with it. And you know both you and Kamau I think really absorbed the idea of creating more for yourself. So I want you to give to everyone that's listening and everyone that's going to watch this on the replay. And if you are watching on the replay please do hashtag replay so we know that you saw it. For everybody that's going to get this, what would be the one piece of advice that you would give to anyone who is struggling with the idea of... Can I afford? Should I do? Should I move? Is it the right time? Is it something that I can do without? What do you say to them?
Nicole Hull: [01:01:28] Invest in yourself. Invest in your business. You did not happen upon a law firm or decide to go out on your own for whatever reason. You believed in it. You've sacrificed blood sweat and tears. You have been the one to take all of the risk. Now is the time to invest so you can take some of the rewards. Now is not a foreign concept that you don't learn how to manage and run a law practice in law school. Those courses just weren't there for me and haven't been there for a lot of other attorneys. So get the help that you need. Invest in yourself. Make the time whether it's brown bagging your lunch, cutting out all eating out or making this a Christmas or a birthday present to yourself. But invest because you will see a return, on not just your revenue and your investment but your happiness. Being able to be in a profession where you are helping others with their problems can be very daunting. We have in our profession alcoholism, and higher rates of suicide and it's because we are dealing with all of these problems. Self care is important and you can get that ability to self care and go on your vacations, enjoying your jam by creating more free time and investing in your company so take the time and make it a necessity so you can actually pour into your business and pour into yourself.
Allison Williams: [01:02:56] Wow. So Nicole I just cannot thank you enough for being here and taking the time and and really sharing authentically and in a very transparent way, what you've gone through, what you and Kamau are creating together and all the progress that you've made.
[01:03:11] And so for those of you that are watching this I want to offer you something special. So you know Nicole actually attended the systematized your law business retreat. It is one of our four signature retreats. We offer retreats throughout the year. Our next systems retreat is coming up on June 15th and 16th. And one of the things that I know a lot of people struggle with is that first investment the first investment is always the scariest. It's always the worst. It's always one of those things that people say I don't know if I can. And so for those of you that are in a place where you say I don't know if you can I want to help you get there. So what I decided I was going to do was that for anybody that wants to attend the systematized your law business retreat we have four seats left for anyone that would like to attend this retreat. I'm going to offer it to you or the same price. I do not cut my prices just like I stand by that for my clients. I stand by that for myself but I am going to let you pay a deposit of fifteen hundred dollars to come to the retreat. The balance of the payments will be paid in three segments after that. So even after you come you'll still be making payments but they will be smaller and they will get smaller each time. So it's going to be an investment of fifteen hundred to come to the retreat and then once you.
[01:04:21] Ok. So I didn't plan that. OK.
[01:04:23] I just decided to do but it'll be fifteen hundred hours to get butts in seats. And then from there you will pay nine hundred eight hundred and eight hundred over the succeeding months. And I am doing this because I really truly believe that these retreats are transformational. There were lots of different ways that I could have chosen to formulate a coaching business. I could have sold a bunch of courses. You got a whole bunch of people and you sell them a whole bunch of something that's inexpensive and it gets people in the door. But it's about making money. And I didn't want to do that. I really wanted to serve people where I think I am best where I think my clients are best and where I think people get the greatest transformation. So Nicole is kind of proof of concept for me and I'm really proud of her and all that she's accomplished. But I want to be proud of all of you and I want everybody to have that opportunity. So if you're interested I am going to drop a scheduling link. You can always get on the call with me. We can talk about what's going on in your business if this is the right choice for you. You have a way to get in without having the upfront investment that would normally be required. So there is a gift. I'm also going to drop for you guys an article that I wrote about crushing chaos in business.
[01:05:28] Those of you that know me know the law firm mentor is all about growing revenue crushing chaos and business and helping you make more money. So to crush chaos we have to have systems. Now I'm going to give you the template that we created actually at the end of night one on the systematized your business. And always creating people said that they really would like a form. So I said you know let me create one. And I actually have found that it is very effective for how to create systems and business. We actually started using it in my law firm. So I'm gonna share that with you guys. I will drop the link. It is my Web site law firm mentor dot net forwards last crushing dash chaos. OK so you'll have that you can always hop in there and get an opportunity to just see what they wanted to be like when you're going to be able to create a systematized business. I want to thank Nicole again for being here. Thank you my you for being the great cheerleader that you are. At some point I would like to have you on as well. I did not want to have you two together very specifically because I think you both are amazing individuals on your own as well as together. And I wanted you to have that spotlight so everyone thank you so much for being here. Have a great afternoon.
[01:06:34] Thank you.
Nicole Hull, Esq. is currently the managing partner at The Hull Firm in Athens, Georgia, and the Director of The Academy of Dispute Resolution. Nicole also serves on the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution, is an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Meeting Facilitator through the Georgia Department of Education and is an Adjunct Professor for Brenau University’s Conflict Resolution & Legal Studies Program.
Allison C. Williams, Esq., is The Law Firm Mentor. Law Firm Mentor is a Business Coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. It helps lawyers to grow their revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money. Law Firm Mentor was born out of Allison’s experience starting a law firm and scaling its revenues into a multi-million dollar business in only three years. She shares her extensive knowledge of business, mindset coaching and entrepreneurship alongside her team in Law Firm Mentor.
Allison is also Founder and Owner of the Williams Law Group, LLC, with offices in Short Hills and Freehold, New Jersey. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney, and is the first attorney in New Jersey to become Board-Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in the field of Family Law. Allison is a member of the New Jersey Board on Attorney Certification (NJBAC) – Matrimonial Committee, a New Jersey Supreme Court committee that determines eligibility of candidates to be certified as a recognized practitioner in the field of matrimonial law.
Allison has been named a Rising Star Attorney by the New Jersey Super Lawyers franchise continuously from 2008 – 2013, and has been named a Super Lawyer by that organization for 2014 – present. In 2016, she was featured in the Super Lawyers publication (Williams v. The Rubber Stamp), she has been named one of the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in New Jersey from 2017-2020 and in 2019-2020, was voted in the Top 100 Super Lawyers and Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in the State of New Jersey.
Allison is an accomplished businesswoman. In 2017, the Williams Law Group won the LawFirm500 award, ranking 14th of the fastest growing law firms in the nation, as Ms. Williams grew the firm 581% in three years. She won the Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017. In 2018, Allison was voted as NJBIZ’s Top 50 Women in Business and was designated one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners. In 2019, Allison won the Seminole 100 Award for founding one of the fastest growing companies among graduates of Florida State University.
In 2018, Allison created Law Firm Mentor, a business coaching service for lawyers. Through multi-day intensive business retreats, group and one-to-one coaching, and strategic planning sessions, Ms. Williams advises lawyers on all aspects of creating, sustaining and scaling a law firm business – and specifically, she teaches them the core foundational principles of marketing, sales, personnel management, communications and money management in law firms.
She received her B.S., magna cum laude, and her M.S., summa cum laude, from Florida State University. She received her J.D., cum laude, from Syracuse University College of Law.
To contact Allison:
Website – https://lawfirmmentor.net/
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Instagram – https://instagram.com/Law_Firm_Mentor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Law_Firm_Mentor
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org