Are you Addicted to the Status Quo?

Today our special guest guest is Kathryn Burmeister, a personal injury lawyer with an interesting perspective. Kathryn started a virtual law firm before virtual law firms were a thing.


Kathryn never anticipated starting her own business, but after a number of tumultuous events and what she describes as “having the rug yanked out from underneath her for the third time”, she opened her own law firm in 2018 and has never stopped growing ever since. She focuses exclusively on personal injury by giving a voice to those who have been hurt by someone else and that’s something that she has personal experience with. 


Tune in to hear her unique insight and story, I know you’ll enjoy it.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The benefits of a virtual workplace on expenses and workforce.
  • What finally drove the decision to go virtual. 
  • Dealing with the stress of overwork, depression and addictions that are prevalent within the law profession.
  • The pressure and challenges of breaking away from the status quo.
  • Discovering what makes you happy and creating happiness for yourself.

Allison Williams: [00:00:11] Hi everybody, it’s Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor. Law Firm Mentor is a business coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. We help you grow your revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money. 


Allison Williams: [00:00:25] Welcome to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast, and I want to give a special intro to our guest coming up on today’s show, we have Kathryn Burmeister and she is a personal injury attorney, but she has a very interesting and unique perspective.


Allison Williams: [00:00:41] Her perspective is borne out of her own experience, which I’m going to share with you in just a moment and which we talk about on the on the podcast. But she started a virtual law firm before virtual law firms were a thing. And she talks a lot about how her personal circumstance led her into a journey of discovering her self-esteem, discovering her self worth and most importantly, learning how to care for and maintain her mental health. So here at Law Firm Mentor, we talk about mental health quite a bit, because not only am I somebody who went through my own personal mental health struggle and journey and overcoming, but I also counsel and counsel in the global sense, not the psychological sense, lawyers across the country periodically about different mental health issues that they may be going through. Especially when covid hit. A lot of lawyers were struggling for the first time, but a lot of lawyers were already in a state of struggle and they didn’t realize it. And for those that did realize that, they didn’t know that it was so severe that they needed to do something about it. So I’m particularly drawn to hearing the perspectives of lawyers who are now successful, and consultants, and who work in the legal space helping us as lawyers to grow professionally and personally, but also to overcome our mental health challenges.


Allison Williams: [00:02:02] So today, our special guest guest is Kathryn Burmeister. And Kathryn is a tireless advocate for her clients. She is a person who channels her passion into others and also into animal rescue charities and other causes. And Kathryn never anticipated starting her own business, like a lot of us who have a solo law firm. But after a number of tumultuous events and what she describes as being having the rug yanked out from underneath her for the third time, she finally opened her own law firm in October of twenty eighteen and has never stopped growing ever since. She focuses exclusively on personal injury by giving a voice to those who have been hurt by someone else. And that’s something that she has personal experience with. She also has written a book, Overcoming Addiction to the Status Quo, and her book was released in twenty twenty. And that’s when she began speaking about the health care business and law all at the same time. Her passion for helping others is a theme that crosses between her various presentations. And Kathryn has a particular passion for mental health, self-improvement and emotional intelligence, which she integrates into her legal practice, speaking and writing. So, without further ado, enjoy today’s episode.


Allison Williams: [00:03:21] Kathryn Burmeister, thank you so much for joining us on the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:03:26] Thanks for having me today. I appreciate it.


Allison Williams: [00:03:29] So I’m really excited to talk to you because I think that you have an interesting angle on a topic that we’ve talked about before, which is a virtual practice. But why don’t you start with telling our audience why you, as a successful personal injury attorney, owner of your own firm, why you decided to actually create a virtual law firm.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:03:46] So when I first started out on my own, I did have a full caseload, which obviously is huge. It’s a huge step in starting out on your own. But even though I had that, I didn’t have a lot of money coming in and my goal was to keep everything lean. Right. My operating budget and my overhead line. So to that end, I decided to not have dedicated office space. I decided not to hire people initially and I don’t have any children. So I was very fortunately able to work from home and then have access to a conference room when I needed it for depositions and things like that. On top of that, my clients as a personal injury lawyer frequently don’t come to meet with me. I usually go to meet them because they can’t get off work or they’re injured or quite frankly, a lot of people just talk to me on the phone and we build a rapport and they’re fine with that conversation.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:04:35] So I didn’t need the office space and even if I could have afforded it right. So I very quickly learned in the first week that I needed help. So I’ve done everything from legal secretary to an attorney. So I knew it was there and knew it was likely, but especially running my own practice and having to generate my own cases. I knew I couldn’t do it all. So I did look to hire people and I ended up going with independent contractors. Of course, the benefit of that is you don’t have the benefits that you have to pay to people and have them in there for 40 hours a week. Right. If there’s not enough work to support it. So I went on UpWork. I ended up finding paralegals on there and some legal assistance. And I’ve had the same three paralegals now for over two years and they actually all work out of state. So I have had the best experience with them. I couldn’t ask for anything better. And so non-traditional in that regard. Right. We’re always used to being in office nine to five even before covid, which is when I started my practice. So I started the fall of twenty eighteen. So before remote work was a mandatory thing. Right.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:05:44] So I’ve been working with them and it helps me delegate things that I can and keep the things that I have to keep to run my practice. So that’s how I’ve been operating. And I continue to operate that way through covid. There’s just still no reason for me to get dedicated office space. And people I think are, quite frankly, happier having their autonomy, not to say that I’m not managing them, but if they can be at home and set their own hours, it’s something that’s worked out for my people and myself. So that’s what we’ve done.


Allison Williams: [00:06:15] Yeah. So I love that you’re bringing up some of the, some of the benefits of being in a virtual practice, because when it first happened and a lot of people were for the first time having to work virtual, it was a real adjustment. And so you started out with that that model and were able to retain that model going forward. So I know your firm has grown quite a bit. How has it been since the work demands have increased on your law firm and having virtual team as opposed to having a team member right there that you can actually see as they’re doing the work?


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:06:45] It’s been great because these people that I hire, they’re used to working remotely. So there wasn’t a learning curve in terms of how to manage their time. How are they going to work at home if they had kids or family, whatever the case may be. They already knew how to manage themselves in that regard. So like I said, I had a full caseload. So, I mean, we hit the ground running. And once I realized that one paralegal wasn’t going to be able to do everything for me, I brought on a couple more. Now, that’s not to say that they all work full time or even close to full time. For me, they fill very specific roles. And I’ve worked in practices where paralegals would work X number of cases, but they do everything on the case. And then I’ve worked in places where you have paralegals that do one role for all the cases in the firm, and I generally (master… master and that kind of thing.)


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:07:37] Exactly. So I found that people enjoy doing certain things right. They enjoy. I have one paralegal that loves medical records. That’s her jam. Like she just will go through, which is great because that’s hugely time consuming. I can’t do it until I have to get to a point in the case where I really got to do that because I would just never get anything else done right. So I have her do that. And while she’s doing that, she also starts building out my demand packages to send off to the insurance companies. So because she likes it, it’s not hard for her to do and she is happy about doing her work. So I found other people that fill the roles I needed in the firm that did enjoy the tasks that I needed filled.


Allison Williams: [00:08:18] Yeah, so, Kathryn, I appreciate the fact that you’re talking about virtual practice, because I think a lot of freedom comes from being able to design a practice that fits your life instead of doing what you see everyone else doing and following suit. And I know that you’re a big proponent of not doing that. In fact, you have a book overcoming addiction to the status quo where you talk about that a little bit. So I want to I want to delve specifically into that angle of it. So as someone who decided to go out into practice twenty eighteen before covid, so we didn’t even know that virtual practice was going to be a thing. You decided to create a very different, very special type of law firm that doesn’t fit the mold of what most people think of when they think of a law firm. How did you come to that decision for yourself?


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:09:07] bSo, I, right at the fall of two thousand eighteen, before I started my practice, I had the rug jerked out from underneath me for the third time in a row. It was a very traumatic situation that happened about a year and a half before. And by the time I got to that point where I’d been jerked out from underneath me the rug, I decided I couldn’t go work for somebody again. I just, it hadn’t really provided the security I thought it was going to. And I had always been someone that wanted to grow with a firm to really invest in it and grow as an attorney. It just doesn’t seem to exist in a lot of places at all, if not at all anymore, I feel like these days in terms of a career or a business. So I decided what better time to go try and run my own practice. And I knew that it wasn’t going to be the standard, right, for running a virtual practice. But I at that point had a shift in my mindset and had gotten to the point where I just didn’t care what other people thought. I knew I wanted to get to that point my life.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:10:18] But after a very traumatic situation, I ended up believing that, and being OK with that and embracing that. So I set about the way that I wanted to and I tried to keep, like I said, my overhead low. And part of that is being remote, being paperless. I have been paperless at other firms up until that point. So that was very easy to do. In fact, like my little filing cabinet, it’s behind me right now. And it’s only two doors and I barely have anything in there. So it’s really nice to have that flexibility. But that’s really what shifted my perspective on being able to do it the way I wanted to was when I had that rock bottom for myself. And when I say rock bottom, I do mean a rock bottom that is with any other addiction. So addiction to the status quo, I think, can be just as detrimental to people as any other standard addiction. Sometimes I think worse. I mean, this is not a comparison between who has the worst situation. I only say it so far as I’m not being flippant when I say addiction. I think it’s a socially validated addiction, which is probably the biggest problem with it. Right.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:11:26] So I hit my rock bottom when I finally just had everything crush, crush me. Everything that happened up until that point, my previous partner had committed suicide. He’d been stealing from clients for years. The senior associate and myself went out on our own trying to salvage the firm, and I ran a practice of, gosh… It was 50 or 60 cases by myself, basically, during the aftermath of that. And I finally had proven to myself that I could do it and I had the capacity to do it. But the emotional impact of everything caught up with me and the desire to be a certain thing for so many people in a certain way, absolutely just caught up with me. And that’s when I hit my rock bottom. And that’s what shifted my perspective on how I wanted my life, my professional life and personal life to look and not only shift my perspective, but allow me to feel comfortable to embrace that and actually act on it.


Allison Williams: [00:12:27] Yeah. Wow. So that’s a very powerful story. Very powerful indeed. In fact, I can only imagine as somebody who who has dealt with a lot of lawyers and a lot of lawyers going through varying different forms of addiction, how you could very easily draw a parallel between being addicted to the way that things are. And because really, if you think about it, that’s what addiction is. It’s it’s kind of like a gradual increase of the way that things are. Right. You’re drinking too much, you’re eating too much, you’re spending too much, whatever it is. And then you arrive one day saying, I’m not going to change, I’m not going to change. And something happens. And you have no choice but to change. But you actually experienced that with with your work situation. So, of course, being thrown into the turmoil of how am I going to support myself and I’ve got to deal with all these problems. I’ve got these ethical ramifications of it. So, I mean, just talk to us a little bit about your your journey through positive mental health, because I know that that’s one of the passions that you have and one of the things you talk about in your book.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:13:27] Absolutely. So I think as a profession, the legal profession is very antiquated in so many ways. One of them is embracing self care. Right. We have so many professional obligations to our clients and those around us, which should not be minimized, but it frequently is at the expense of ourselves. And honestly, we can’t operate at our best if we don’t take care of ourselves. So I’ve always been a proponent of mental health even before everything happened that led me to having my own practice, but probably even more so afterwards. I was able to step out and say, you know, this is what happened to me. This is what I experience. I my my dark spot and my rock bottom was having to call my husband home from work because I didn’t know where I was going to be mentally. Like I was in a very, very dark place. I dealt with anxiety and depression and it’s been managed for a number of years and was managed then. But everything just caught up with me. And that’s not a way to live for anybody. Whether you’re a lawyer or not. It’s not a way to live. So the idea that we almost normalize stress and overworking ourselves and everything that falls into that status quo in our profession, it really takes away from who we can be as individuals, which not only is happier, right. But also better attorneys in the long run.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:14:52] So I am trying to normalize the conversation about mental health, particularly in the legal profession. But to show people not only does it make you happier, but it can help you be a better attorney. And I think the problem is a lot of times, too, people will think they’re happy and they’re really not. Right. They think that happiness is a million dollar home or a Mercedes or whatever. And don’t get me wrong, money makes things a lot easier, right? We’ve got to pay the bills. But I don’t think in and of itself it makes people happy. I think they’ve convinced themselves that inanimate objects make them happy. So really asking people to step back and first ask themselves where they are with their level of happiness and to be honest with themselves about that. And then if they aren’t, what can we do to change that and avoid having to hit rock bottom like I did. Because it shouldn’t be… Yes, I grew from it. And yes, a lot of good came out of it. But there’s no reason anybody has to do that or experience that to be able to make a change in their life.


Allison Williams: [00:15:55] Yeah. Wow. So that’s a lot that you’ve said there in terms of in terms of how we as a profession, unfortunately, do create an environment where we are statistically more likely to experience depression, to experience anxiety, suicidality, drug use, alcohol abuse. You know, these these very common human foibles are more present in us. And I think, you know, one of the things I’ve talked about mental health a lot because I personally have gone through a period of my life where I went through a very severe depression and I was suicidal and I’m a recovering alcoholic. So I kind of have like all the all of the self abuse that one can do to a person, because I couldn’t meet all of the expectations placed upon me in this in this very demanding profession. But one of the things that that I hear that’s kind of in the thread of what you just talked about,


[00:16:45] There is this tribalism, the fact that we we kind of as humans, we need to be like others around us. And so when you see everyone else overworking, overdrinking over overstressing, focus on being good enough, fighting to be good enough, and that kind of becomes the way that you are a good attorney, then there becomes almost a shame associated with not being that. How do you how do you suggest that someone deal with that particular aspect of it, that that kind of negative thought pattern that develops when they are not being that status quo attorney?


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:17:19] So first of all, I think we have to recognize that nobody is ever going to be perfect. Right. Which is what we’re really saying about being the best attorney or the fill in the blank attorney. Right. Is being perfect. Nobody is ever going to be because it’s impossible. It’s a scientific fact. Nothing is perfect. So what are we really trying to accomplish? Is it that we want to be the attorney that earns the most money? Do we want to be the attorney that helps the most people? How are we defining ourselves and what we want out of our profession? 


[00:17:49] And I think a lot of people don’t take the time to think about that. Or if they do, they are thinking about the money a lot of times, especially in personal injury. And I think, again, that goes back to the idea that inanimate objects are going to bring happiness. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:18:06] Happiness is different for everybody, but it is ultimately being the best version of yourself is happiness. Because when you look through all the other status quo out there and all the other ideas about what happiness can be or should be. It’s supposed to come from within, and that’s what really makes people happy that are in life. It doesn’t come from external validation, whether that be people or money or other things along those lines that are inanimate objects. So it really takes deciding that you want to be happy, recognizing that you’re not and learning what to do to help implement those things that can make you happy in the long run. I think one of the biggest things that helps people when I speak to them is, are you ever going to be on your deathbed wishing that you were doing more of what you were doing right now? And I love my job. I love my clients. I love working hard for them. But at the end of the day, if you didn’t have any more time left, what would you be doing? You’d be spending it with your family, with your friends, with yourself doing things that you enjoy. And that’s the real answer. That’s what you have to create for yourself, is that internal world that allows you to be happy while you’re doing the other things that are obligations in life.


Allison Williams: [00:19:20] Yeah, so finding your happy, I think, is a real challenge for a lot of people, because you’re right, some people, if you ask them what makes them happy, it is oftentimes the trigger of status, power, money that validates them on some level. So they they they convince themselves that they’ll be happy when they have those things because they’ll matter inside and they won’t fill up the hole that led them to not mattering or feeling that they don’t matter in the first place.


Allison Williams: [00:19:46] So how do you how would you suggest someone who’s really trying to find they’re happy if they’re if they’re going to reject the status quo and they’re going to reject the definition of lawyer that says overworking, you know, over over, obsessed with money and power, obsessed with things focused on external instead of internal validation, how would they start to approach the question of what makes me happy if they haven’t already defined that by the time they even become a lawyer?


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:20:14] Right. So I think, like you said, there’s a huge gap between happiness and where most people are right now. Like how do we get there? So if you don’t know what your happiness is, take a look at where you are right now. Is what you’re doing, working for you? Are you having to deal with other addictions to survive your addiction of the status quo? Right. Are you drinking more? Are you taking drugs? Are you doing any number of things to pacify your feelings? Is that really working? Right. And I think people, if they’re being genuinely honest with themselves and not just having a knee jerk reaction, would acknowledge that it’s not. So then your next step is, OK, what’s the worst that happens if I let go of these things? Really? I mean, at the end of the day, is anybody going to die? Like there’s a reason I’m not a surgeon, there’s a reason I’m not a pilot, OK? Like, I don’t need to be in those professions. And for us as lawyers, like, yes, there’s a lot on the line. But stepping back and saying that I’m going to set healthy boundaries is not going to be detrimental to other people. Right. It’s going to help you be a better person. So as soon as you can let go of checking off the boxes, because I’m a surviving box checker myself and acknowledge that what you’re doing is not working, then you can start backtracking.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:21:28] Right. So if I want to be happy and what I’m doing is not working, what does make me happy, genuinely? What what do I want out of life? Is it spending more time with your family? OK, how do we get to that? Start shifting your obligations off to other people, start cutting your caseload back. Because again, if people say, oh, well, you’re making less money, but does money really make you happy at the end of the day, or is it the experiences you have with people you care about that maybe money allows for sometimes? Right. So it’s all about honesty. And I think sitting in your feelings, which I know the vulnerability in feelings makes people kind of uurk, you know, that awkward feeling. But the reality is that’s where you’re going to find your answers. You have to figure out what matters to you before you can ever start the journey towards happiness, which is what I’m trying to help people do with consulting as well. And coaching is helping them take that first step towards realizing this is not working. What does make me happy and how do we get bridge the gap between the two?


Allison Williams: [00:22:29] Yeah, so I love that you referenced the fact that the first thought that a lot of people are going to have is that cutting back means less money. And I actually like to challenge that notion because there are you know, we talk about Pareto’s principle. We talk about certain financial principles like profit first and the idea that if I have a full plate, I’m going to I’m going to fill my full plate with all the food that the full plate can carry versus if I have a smaller plate, I will still fill the plate, but I will eat less inherently because there’s less on the plate. Right. So that’s kind of the same idea when you start talking about how you can cut back your practice and you can cut it back in a way that you are more effective and thus more likely to get better settlements and thus be more likely to generate more money when you’re actually doing less of the stuff that takes away your joy, your fun, your your your interests, your intellectual intrigue. So a lot of times that assumption is just not true. But it’s the first thought we go to. If I’m doing less, I’m making less, which of course, we know is a fallacy in a lot of practice areas.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:23:34] Yeah, I agree with you entirely and it’s hard to let go of. Right. Because we measure our worth and our value as professionals, I think by how much money we make, no matter what practice area we’re in. So really coming to terms with that. And I don’t know if so many people actually ever do, but yeah, it’s it’s hard to step away. First of all, it’s hard to say no to cases. Right. Especially when you’re a practice owner. You are just happy those cases are coming in the door. But I have learned in a very short amount of time that some of the cases that may be on paper look great, are not. They’re going to take the most time, the most effort. And if you did a cost benefit analysis, that you would be losing on it every single time. So in and of themselves, they’re problematic. Right. And then on top of it, if you have so many cases that you can’t really invest the time and effort that you need to to do quality work. You are. You’re settling for less than you could get in a case. In my case, I literally am a lot of times, for settlement cases and personal injury.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:24:35] But even beyond that, I think it takes recognizing again that money isn’t everything. I mean, you can have to think about it. People with millions of dollars, does that make them happy? Not really. I mean, there’s a book it’s Solving for Happiness, I believe is the title of the book. (Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat) And he’s a I think he’s an engineer, and he had moved into the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates, with his family. And I mean, they had multiple yachts, multiple homes across the world. And he thought he was happy. And his son, I think, was like seventeen, eighteen had a routine surgery and he died on the operating table. And he obviously came face to face with reality that what would he give up in his life to have his son back? Money didn’t matter at the end of the day, you know. Again, I’m not downplaying that it doesn’t make things easier. It absolutely does, and I understand that my my thoughts may come from a position of privilege as well, but I think there’s also a threshold, right? Once you have a certain amount of money to where you’re comfortable and secure. That’s really all you need to be able to shift and say, OK, now what makes me happy? Because millions of dollars just brings a lot more problems too. Right. I mean, you could have a million dollar car and it’s great. It’s nice. But you’re worrying about people hitting it. Right at that point. So, I mean, I think this perspective, that money and inanimate objects bring value. I think they bring a lot more problems at the end of the day.


Allison Williams: [00:26:08] Well, we can agree to disagree on that. I think money can if you if you don’t grow your mindset to be of of a place where you can release the money and the money doesn’t define you, I think money can create more problems. But a lot of a lot of the attitude toward money, I think oftentimes creates the problems that come along with the money because of how people feel about themselves once they have it.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:26:33] I agree. Yeah, no, I think that’s a fair statement, too. And I’m not saying it’s impossible to be happy with money, with a lot of money. What I am saying is that I don’t think you need money to be happy. Right. And I think that’s that’s really where you have to start, is can I be happy without a ton of money? And if the answer is no. You have to really be working on yourself before you can get to that point.


Allison Williams: [00:26:54] Yeah. So we know that not just kind of putting aside the conversation about money, work is for a lot of people where they derive their sense of value and purpose. And so if someone is going to try to balance the feeling of self validation, that comes from being a person of success, contributing in a meaningful manner, helping people’s lives through the law with creating a life that doesn’t run them over, and does it require them to work 90 hours a week? It doesn’t exhausting mentally, emotionally, physically, psychologically, spiritually, etc.. How do you suggest that someone balancing those to engage in a process of self care? And what would that look like?


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:27:34] Yeah, I think investing in yourself professionally and personally, so exposed and depending on where you are in your career and what autonomy you have or don’t have, you can still invest in your education. So you feel more confident in your position, your role, and expand your your mental capacity for what you’re doing. I, I have a ton of books that I’m trying to read, but I am always doing that. I’m always trying to learn more.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:28:00] I learned so much in a short amount of time because it was just an absolute crash course in practicing in handling situations that nobody, let alone an attorney, ever might encounter. But you can be very strategic about it, even if you don’t experience those things. So teaching yourself how to be a better professional and then also teach yourself how to be a better person, which is going to the sources that can provide that information the best. So reading other lawyers books that speak to practicing or being more effective in your techniques as a lawyer and then also going to certain books that talk about mental health. And I’m not saying it has to be always warm and fuzzy because I think a lot of us in the legal profession like more information based sources. Right. Because we deal with it every day, look to those to provide some guidance. And I find understanding why we are the way we are helps us to reframe and change what we do. So professionally and personally. I think doing that can start you on the course of shifting your perspective on what it takes to make you a good professional and how you value yourself as a whole.


Allison Williams: [00:29:10] Yeah. So if you were to if someone were to take that advice to heart and say, I really want to start working on myself, and one of the investments that they’re willing to make is working with someone who can really help them to get to that place. How would you want to and how would you go about the process of actually working with someone to help facilitate that process?


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:29:30] Yeah. So I am definitely not a therapist. I’ve been to therapy and continue therapy because it’s how I become a better person and maintain my quality of life. But I think everybody can benefit from that. Right. You don’t have to have a traumatic issue going on or a formal diagnoses to be able to benefit from therapy. But I think working with professionals like myself or somebody similar that can appreciate what you’re going through and have been there and understand the the demands on you as a professional can help. And it takes somebody though that’s very authentic in how they interact with people. It’s not a sales pitch. It’s somebody who’s really willing to sit with you and say, hey, I’ve been there, too, which is the biggest thing. Right. I think people being able to understand each other starts with that authenticity of saying, I can appreciate what you’ve been through. So whether it’s working with myself. Somebody like myself or even on your own, because I understand some people that’s too big of a leap to put those feelings out there to somebody else and actually say it to the world.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:30:35] I have some books that one book in particular that’s really been beneficial to me. And it’s Self-Esteem. And it’s written by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning. And the reason I like it so much is a couple of reasons. One is very it’s science based, but it’s not so much a science paper and it also has very practical resources in it to help guide you. And you can jump to different sections that are beneficial and Self-Esteem, the title of it is very misleading, right? I thought lack of self-esteem was somebody who maybe got steamrolled all the time or somebody who, if they got criticized, just would absolutely crumble. Right. It’s not that at all. There’s a lot of the things in here in particular the idea of shoulds. You know, I should be this or I should not be that. 


Allison Williams: [00:31:25] I say that all the time. Don’t should all over yourself.


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:31:27] Right. That’s a great way to say it. So shoulds are my, my down, my thing, my Achilles heel. And enough. Right. I’m not enough. I haven’t done enough. So those two are in here in particular. And so that’s those particular sections have really been beneficial, but also self-criticism. Your internal voice, how do you talk to yourself. So a lot of the resources in here I think are beneficial for anybody starting on their own to really start assessing and deciding if they are willing to take that next step, maybe working with somebody. And some people may not have the desire to do this on their own and want to work with somebody like me that can help walk them through the process of having these conversations and just bouncing ideas off of somebody. So I think it’s knowing yourself again, knowing what you need to operate at your best level, personally and professionally.


Allison Williams: [00:32:23] All right. So, Kathryn, if someone wants to consider having a conversation with you about whatever they may be struggling with, how would they get a hold of you?


Kathryn Burmeister: [00:32:30] Sure. They can go to Kathryn F Burmeister K A T H R Y N, F as in Frank Burmeister B as in boy. U R. M as a Mike. E I S T E R and I spell it out because obviously it’s unique in many ways and I’m sure you’ll link that somewhere. But that’s the best way to get in touch with me. Social media, reaching out to me to work with you. I am happy to have more conversations with people about it if they have any questions or concerns.


Allison Williams: [00:32:58] So we will absolutely put your website into the show notes for this episode. I want to thank our special guest, Kathryn F. Burmeister, and welcome her onto the show again. Thank you so much for being a great resource to all of our community, talking about issues that are really important, such as mental health care and her book in particular, overcoming addiction to the status quo. Kathryn, thank you for being with us. And for everyone listening, I am Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Everyone have a wonderful day.

Allison Williams: [00:33:44] Thank you for tuning in to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. To learn more about today’s guests and take advantage of the resources mentioned, check out our show notes. And if you own a solo or small law firm and are looking for guidance, advice or simply support on your journey to create a law firm that runs without you, join us in the Law Firm Mentor Movement free Facebook group. There, you can access our free trainings on improving collections in law firms, meeting billable hours, and join the movement of thousands of law firm owners across the country who want to crush chaos in their law firm and make more money. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Have a great day.

Guest Bio: 

As an attorney, Kathryn is a tireless advocate for her clients. As a human being, she channels her passion for others into animal rescue, charities, and other causes. Though she never anticipated having her own business, after a number of tumultuous events, Kathryn started her own law firm in October of 2018 and focuses exclusively on personal injury by giving a voice to those that have been hurt because of someone else. She wrote her first book, “Overcoming Addiction to the Status Quo,” in 2020 and began speaking about self-care, business, and law the same year. Her passion for helping others is a theme that crosses between her presentations. Kathryn has a particular passion for mental health, self-improvement, and emotional intelligence, which she integrates into her legal practice, speaking, and writing as well. 








Allison Bio:

Allison C. Williams, Esq., is 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. 


Ms. Williams 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. Ms. Williams won the Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.  In 2018, Ms. Williams 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, Ms. Williams won the Seminole 100 Award for founding one of the fastest growing companies among graduates of Florida State University.


In 2018, Ms. Williams created Law Firm Mentor, a business coaching service for lawyers.  She helps solo and small law firm attorneys grow their business revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money.  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. 


Contact Info:

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00:16:45 Allison Williams (1 Minute 4Seconds) There is this tribalism, the fact that we we kind of as humans, we need to be like others around us. And so when you see everyone else over-working, over-drinking, over-stressing, focus on being good enough, fighting to be good enough, and that kind of becomes the way that you are a good attorney, then there becomes almost a shame associated with not being that. How do you how do you suggest that someone deal with that particular aspect of it, that that kind of negative thought pattern that develops when they are not being that status quo attorney?

Kathryn Burmeister

So first of all, I think we have to recognize that nobody is ever going to be perfect. Right. Which is what we’re really saying about being the best attorney or the fill in the blank attorney. Right. Is being perfect. Nobody is ever going to be because it’s impossible. It’s a scientific fact. Nothing is perfect. So what are we really trying to accomplish? Is it that we want to be the attorney that earns the most money? Do we want to be the attorney that helps the most people? How are we defining ourselves and what we want out of our profession?