In today’s episode I’m asking you all “who are your clients”?
I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about how to serve clients, take care of oneself and family, while creating financial wealth? It’s almost like the idea of helping people who are poor is so foreign to the legal profession that people who want to do that work also assume that what comes along with the legal profession is affluence, abundance, financial success. It’s not true, but that’s the perception.
This leads to the thought that, “if I do anything outside of what’s customarily done in the legal profession, if I go outside of serving the rich, I really can’t make myself money,” and that is absolutely false.
Tune in and I’ll explain why.
In this episode we discuss:
- Differences selling to the affluent versus those that on the face of it can’t afford your services.
- Strategies to be financially successful while still giving back to your community.
- Putting your mask on first while building your success.
- How the obligation to give as a condition of your receiving, is emotional manipulation.
- The Universal Law of Reciprocity and having expectations for something in return when giving to others.
- Systematizing your business to be more efficient to be able to reach your financial goals.
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] Hi, everyone, it’s Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor. On this week’s episode of The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast, we’re going to be talking about who are your clients? Now I know that I introduced you on many occasions to the ideal client avatar. And if you want to get some, some detailed step-by-step help with creating your own ideal client avatar, you have not gone through that exercise, you can get a copy of that at LawFirmMentor.net/Avatar, and you can always text us to get a copy of it as well any time that you want to get any of the resources that we create on the show here, you can text us to nine zero eight, two nine two, three five two four to get a copy of the Avatar Ideal Client Avatar worksheet. But when I ask you about who are your clients, we’re actually not going to be talking about avatars today, as much as one very important consideration is that a lot of the Law Firm Mentor community are person to person B to C service providers and they work with what I consider to be the disenfranchised or the less successful, less financially well-to-do members of our society.
Allison Williams: [00:01:41] And so I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about how do I serve that population and take care of myself, take care of my family, create financial wealth, it’s almost like the idea of helping people who are poor is so foreign to the legal profession that people who want to do that work also assume that what comes along with the legal profession is affluence, abundance, financial success. It’s not true, but that’s what the perception is. And so the thought then becomes, if I do anything outside of what’s customarily done in the legal profession, right? If I go outside of serving the rich, I really can’t make myself money, and that is absolutely not true. That is absolutely false. And that’s one of the things that I love to do when I tell my story about law firms success is to talk about the fact that I served the poorest segment of family law litigants in the state of New Jersey and really across the country, which is people who are accused of child abuse and neglect. And I remember when I first started doing that work, people assume that I did that work through the public defender’s office. In our state, and in many states, if you represent indigent clients through the public defender’s office, you get some type of designated status where essentially you’re an independent contractor for that agency and you’ll be paid some low hourly rate, typically at the end of a case. So you work for months, if not years, without being paid. And then when you are paid, you’re paid a very small percentage of what you would normally charge on the open market. So you would be paid 50 dollars an hour or thirty dollars an hour or seventy dollars an hour. It varies from place to place, but it still is nowhere near what customary lawyer rates are.
Allison Williams: [00:03:36] And I’ve actually never done work through the public defender’s office. I’ve always sourced my own private clients and I’ve also always gone, always charged my full hourly rate for that work. So what’s interesting about that situation is that people will ask, especially people that do dependency work in other states, they’ll ask me, well, how do you make money at it? Because these are people who typically can’t afford, you know, $500 an hour, $300 an hour, $400 an hour, whatever it is. And what I tell people is that people have a motivation to find the money when they truly desire what it is you’re offering. So that story that we have that, well, our clients don’t find the money or don’t have the money for this is really much more of a mindset issue than a true reality. But even when you’re talking about people on Section Eight housing or people who are welfare recipients or people who are unable to afford their own place and are living with a parent or relative and they’re not working or they’re disabled, these people, even though they have economic constraints, they can be sold to. And I had to learn and become very good at selling in order to sell to them. It is much harder to sell to someone who on the face of it, can’t afford to write you a check for what you’re asking for than it is to sell to someone who may have resistance around spending their money, but they actually have the money to spend.
Allison Williams: [00:05:04] But even aside from that, like once we get past the, can the person afford this or not? And this is not a conversation today about sales, right? But there is something that you have to consider. There are differences to selling a lower-income population that you don’t have when you are selling to the middle class or the affluent. So I wanted to bring out some of those considerations because I don’t want anyone who listens to this podcast. Anyone who knows that I am a true capitalist, I love making a lot of money, I love being financially successful and bringing that success to other people that work with me. But I also have an appreciation of giving back and I hear a lot of people that follow us talking about the importance of giving back and that they don’t want to pursue creating wealth and abundance and financial success for themselves because they associated in their mind the idea that they cannot be financially successful if they are helping poor people. They cannot be financially successful if they’re giving back to their communities, and that is absolutely not true. So today I’m going to talk about how you can make that a reality.
Allison Williams: [00:06:11] If you want to serve a population of people who are less financially successful or financially unsuccessful, however, you want to characterize it right, you can say they’re dirt poor or whatever, whatever phrase you want to use. These are not the people with money, if you’re going after those people, there are considerations that you have to have in your mind in order to be successful at it in order to get to a place where you can have financial abundance and you can’t look at your financial abundance in creating that type of business the same way that you might look at creating financial abundance from serving wealthy people.
Allison Williams: [00:06:45] All right. So today we’re going to talk about three primary considerations, and the first one is that you have to put your mask on first. Now it is quite fortuitous that we’re talking about masks because I just got off a plane literally this morning as I’m recording this show. And as I was on the plane, of course, you have to listen to the little intro speech, and of course, by now, I’ve flown so much that I know the speech by heart, no matter which airline, I think the speech was always the same. But you put your mask on first, right? If something, if the air pressure, air pressure drops in the cabin and we’re going down, you put your mask on first and you breathe from that before you even consider touching someone else because you are no good to anyone if you are not breathing.
Allison Williams: [00:07:33] And the same very much holds true in your business, right? You are not your best self if you are broke. There is an unfortunate deification that we have with poverty, that we believe that people with money are bad people and people without money are good people who are oppressed by the people with money, right? That’s the, that’s the American narrative, and there almost seems to be this mindset that says not only is it righteous to be poor, but it is negative and detrimental to be rich because then you can’t be a good person like the poor people. So most lawyers I meet have a fundamental desire to not be poor, right? There’s many that don’t own the fact that they would love to be rich, they, they have a visceral objection to that which we’re going to talk about a little bit later. But for the most part, they will at least say, I don’t want to be poor, I don’t need to be rich, but I don’t want to be poor, right? They don’t want to be poor, but in their mind, they are really blocking the blessings of affluence and abundance that come with simply saying, I want that, in which case they now are somewhere above their clients. They have more status, more money, more resources, more comforts than their clients but they’re not living their best lives and they’re not creating what they actually desire, they’re creating what they think they can have.
Allison Williams: [00:08:50] So I just want you to put into your mind that the first thing that you always have to do when you are building success and you have a desire to give back when you want to do pro bono or low bono services, when you want to contribute a certain amount of your time to a certain portion of the community that is a lower-income echelon of the community, you have to take care of yourself first. You starving, you struggling, you being in debt, you wondering where your next meals that I come from is not going to benefit you when you’re trying to help someone who is in that status, in order to help lift someone up, you have to be above that. That does not mean that you’re better than them, quote-unquote, it means that you have to be above them to have a resource that you can share to assist them. So I want to just give you an example of this, I actually, as I said earlier, I just got off a plane earlier today and I was coming back from the lovely land of Ohio shout out to Ohio. I had a great time when I was there and I was visiting a very good friend of mine and this friend I learned last Tuesday was in the hospital and we use this messaging app called Marco Polo, and she recorded a video of herself in the hospital bed telling me and our another very good friend of ours, that she was diagnosed with a medical condition and she was very scared and she was likely headed to an emergency surgery.
Allison Williams: [00:10:18] So of course, we got a hold of her. We found out what the nature of the problem was and from Tuesday, it got progressively worse, I actually found out about this on Wednesday, she went to the hospital on Tuesday I found out Wednesday it got progressively worse on Thursday, and Thursday my other friend and I decided that we were going to drop everything and on Saturday, go see her. So we, of course, wanted to give her a heads up, you don’t want to just like, show up and perhaps stop someone’s heart by the surprise of, Hey, they’re my friends and you’re here, right? And then, of course, there’s COVID protocols in hospitals, so we didn’t even know if we’d be able to see her, but we told her we were coming. And then ultimately, we ended up going up to see her. And so I remember I had the pleasure of meeting her parents and her mother, and she and I played word games, if you will like a Scrabble word game, they introduced me to a whole bunch of new word games and whipped my ass I will acknowledge, as hard as it was for my ego. I lost repeatedly, but I had fun, right? So I had fun with my friend and her mom. And her mom, just in the middle of our conversation just turned to me and said, you know, you live a blessed life. And I thought, Yeah, that’s easier for you to say because you’re winning, right? I’m thinking she’s going to say something about the game and she said, no, no no, I mean, you really live a blessed life, I mean, not too many people I know can just drop life, hop on a plane, you know, rent a car and stay in a nice hotel and plan to eat out for, you know, a full weekend and just go right? And I know a lot of people that are in that situation, but in addition to that being a financial benefit blessing, if you will. There’s also the fact that I don’t have the same traditional constraints that a lot of people have. So I don’t have to ask my spouse’s permission, even though many people would say they don’t ask permission, they just kind of talk it over with their spouse but whether it’s asking permission or notifying them or involving them, there’s somebody else that has either veto power or at least the ability to say, Hey, here’s what I would rather be doing right rather than be here or what have you, I didn’t have that pressure. I didn’t have children. I don’t have that consideration, so I didn’t have to think, OK, child, is that a special game this weekend or a recital? And I couldn’t possibly miss my child’s, blah blah blah.
Allison Williams: [00:12:44] And initially, that was how I was thinking about the blessings because she told me she sees me having a blessed life and then she refers to some of the more obvious extrinsic financial benefits. And then I thought, well, it’s even a little bit more than that. I have freedom of my time in my space because of how I’ve structured my life. But then I was on the plane flying back, and it occurred to me that it really isn’t any of those things that leads me to have a blessed life. It is merely the facts. And I shouldn’t say merely because it’s not a small thing at all, so it’s actually a very beautiful, wonderful part of life. But it’s the fact that I have such a friend and such a close tie to this friend that it never occurred to me at all to think about what is it going to cost? How am I going to get there? What am I going to do when I’m not going to have a full weekend to bang out whatever projects I had going on right? Those things didn’t occur to me at all because my love for my friend is what immediately impacted me when I found out that she may not be OK and just wanting to hug her, in and of itself was sufficient for me to drop my life, get on a plane and go.
Allison Williams: [00:13:53] And I don’t say that because I want any type of kudos for that, I know that I’m not in the minority, I know a lot of you would drop and drop your life in a heartbeat and go flying off, no matter what, what else you had going on. But the very fact that I had someone else in my life that I cared that strongly for was the blessing. But here’s the thing the reason why I didn’t have to and didn’t instinctually go to thinking about, can I afford this? And I like to fly first class. What is that cost going to be on short notice on a holiday weekend? And oh my goodness, what happens? I’ve got to rent a car and the cost of rental cars is now through the roof because of a lot of rental car places sold off their inventory during quarantine, so now there’s very, very limited supplies or worse with demand up because of increased travel and supply down, you know, you’ve got a pricing issue, right? So I’m thinking about all of these little things on the plane and I’m like, Yeah, it never occurred to me now to think about how much my food is going to cost or how much my transportation is going to cost, or what’s it going to cost me to get there, if I want to stay in a $300, $500, $700 room per night room, I’ll do that.
Allison Williams: [00:15:05] And it’s not a thought and the beauty of that was because the only reason we’re here now, frankly, because I wasn’t always here, right? I certainly was not independently wealthy, I started a law firm with zero dollars, and even once it was a multimillion dollar law firm, I still was not making what I wanted to make, and I had to do a lot of things to get myself to a place of consistent financial abundance. But I still got here because at some point I decided to put my mask on first. At some point I said, you know? I love helping people, I love that I can employ people that are on the journey upward in their careers, I love that I can take on clients who are struggling in life and we are their one, their one ray of hope. You know, I love being of service to people, but here’s the thing. If I’m serving everybody else and not myself, I’ll start to resent them, I’ll start to feel frustrated, I’ll start to come in and look at people who are earning more than me and say, How the hell did I create this? But you’re earning more than me, right? I’ll start to look at clients who have nothing in the world other than their problem on their mind and I’ll start to think, why are you so foolish to not want to do X, Y and Z to settle your case? And I’ll have that feeling, not just because analytically, I know that the settlement on the table is a good one. I’ll have that feeling because I’m working for you for less than what I feel I deserve, right?
Allison Williams: [00:16:34] So a lot of things that we do that are in service to other people ultimately end up harming those other people as we are harming ourselves in the process of giving to others. It is an inherently selfish act because it’s taking from the one place that is the source of supply for everyone that we’re helping, which is from us. So very much I’m a big proponent of put your mask on first, and I tell people that any time you’re thinking about creating a structure in your business, and if you’re going to have a structure of helping people who have less, you cannot do that to your own detriment. You can’t be your own sacrificial lamb that is not healthy for you. That is not healthy for your clients.
Allison Williams: [00:17:15] OK, idea number two. Concept that we really have to wrap our minds around and we’re going to serve a lower echelon of economic clients. The obligation to give to others, whether it’s give to the poor, give to your community, give back to family. The obligation to give to others, if it is a condition of your receiving, is emotional manipulation. I’ll say that again, the obligation to give to others as a condition of your receiving is emotional manipulation.
Allison Williams: [00:17:58] So this, this premise actually comes from a recent conversation that I had with a lawyer, and the lawyer was explaining to me that she’s a heartfelt individual big, big, big heart wants to give back to her community, wants to give back to her, her faith community of origin, wants to save the world. Right? Whole host of reasons why that savior complex develops but ultimately, this person explained to me that she wants to be able to give back, and she also wants some for herself, and she kind of made herself a footnote in her story, whole lot of people do that, so this person is not alone. But I remember in talking to her, just asking her where this concept of wanting to give back came from. And at some point, obligation came out of her, right? I feel obligated to give back. Obligated, required, expected, demanding, it is my responsibility to take care of and give to other people. And when I asked her, well what would be the consequence if you did not give back to other people? Number of iterations came out. Things like, I’m a bad person or I’m not deserving and then we went one step further and the faith discussion came up and the faith discussion was about how this person learned in her faith community that, she owes it to God to give everything that she has to other people.
Allison Williams: [00:19:41] Because God took care of her and got her out of a bad situation. So this is a highly successful, highly accomplished person who had to really work hard to get out of a poverty, an impoverished environment and now feels that, well, God gave that to me, so now I owe it back to someone else. And I said to her, so basically, you believe that God is selfish and he doesn’t give to you because he cares about you. You believe he’s giving to you for the cosmic payback. So in other words, he wouldn’t be inclined to give to you if you had said, I’ll take whatever you’re willing to give, but I’m not willing to turn around and give it to someone else, and the person just kind of sat and took in that question, because it really was a question at that point was not being rhetorical. It was very much a real question like you actually believe that God is keeping track. Like, there’s a big scoreboard in the sky. And by the way, when I talk about God here I’m only using that language and that nomenclature because this person believes in God. I personally believe in God, but I know a lot of you don’t. And you don’t have to believe in God. You can believe in the universe, you know. If you don’t believe in God or the universe, you’re probably listening to the wrong podcast. But even though I want you to just contemplate this for a moment like if you believe that there is a deity, that is as supreme spirits that governs life. And that this is a being that is filled with goodness and takes care of, I’m going to use the, the classic pronoun His, but it could be His/Her/They. You know, if you believe that God is good. Do you really believe that God would say, I’m not going to give you anything if you don’t turn around and give it all to someone else? Then what would be the point of that? If God really wanted to give it to someone else, he would just give it to someone else. Why would he give it to you so that you can turn around and give it to someone else? Right? And so we had this conversation, and I don’t really want to go too far down the philosophical radical because I know there are different faith beliefs in our community and I want to be respectful of everyone’s faith. This is certainly not an opportunity for me to mock religion, but I just didn’t quite understand this person’s belief system. Or rather, I understood it, but I didn’t understand… I wanted the person to see how the belief system was not a healthy one. Right. So we talked about self-interest in the fact that all people are driven to help other people out of self-motivation, right? Even when you are genuinely thinking about other people as you are standing at the soup kitchen or as you are leaving an extra-generous tip, or as you are dropping off clothes to the Goodwill right, you’re doing that for someone else, but do not believe that you are not also doing it for yourself.
Allison Williams: [00:22:40] Right, there is very instinctually a drive in all of us to do things that will help us achieve pleasure and help us alleviate pain. And so when you are giving to another person, however you’re doing that, whether it is, you know, you’re taking cash out of your pocket or you’re in service to another person, whatever you’re doing, even when you are working for free in your law firm, right. You’re doing that for another person but you get something out of it. You get out of it the fact that you believe you are a better person for having done that and not doing it at all. Or because you believe you will enjoy the process of giving to another person. Some people, frankly do it for the applause, right? I can post this somewhere, I can reward myself by telling everyone how great I am because I did such and such. And all of these latent unexpressed rationalizations for why we do what we do, still carry with it some expectation of some reciprocal behavior, and that reciprocal behavior oftentimes comes from the person that you’re giving to. If you’re at the soup kitchen and you give out food to a homeless person, you might expect that that person is going to have the courtesy of eating the food. Or maybe you will expect that that person will say thank you.
Allison Williams: [00:24:08] You might have your own expectations or your, your own goals right? You might have your thoughts or maybe the person will speak, maybe not. But if they say thank you, that wouldn’t be outside of the ordinary. It wouldn’t be outside of the projected course. But what would be is for you to give to that person and say, I just gave this to you. Now, let’s say that the meal that I gave you in the homeless shelter gave you the strength and stamina to go out and panhandle for work, and by some miracle you go out and secure employment, you get yourself a job, eventually you save up to get yourself an apartment. Now I want you to feel obligated, obligated to turn around and give everything that you create to someone else or more of what you create than not to someone else. What type of bribery is that? That as soon as a person receives something for themselves, they did not have that they are expected to give to another person. And if you really think about where that belief comes from, it really is the idea that there’s value in other people so I’m going to give what I have to other people because I want to help other people.
Allison Williams: [00:25:19] Here’s a question. What about you? Right? You’re the source through which that person is going to be benefited, and you really believe that you should not receive for yourself? And here’s the thing. There is a universal law of reciprocity, right? We know that people are triggered to give when they receive, right? So I’m sure many if you are familiar with the Harikrishna, right? This is, the Hindu sect that used to go around, and they would raise money by asking people to donate, to help a religious order. And what’s interesting is that Harikrishnas quickly learned that when they would just come up to people and say, Hey, can you give me some cash to help my religious school, they were turned away. People would be rude to them, people would close doors in their face, people were really not having it. But at some point they picked up on this idea, this universal law of reciprocity, and they said, Hey, let me give you a rose first, right? So whatever the cost of those roses were they would give you a rose and say something sweet to you on behalf of their religious order, and then asked if you would be inclined to donate. And I want to say I don’t remember what exactly that was, but it was pretty overwhelming, like it went from, you know, maybe like 10 percent of people to 70 percent of people when they got that rose first would be inclined to contribute.
Allison Williams: [00:26:43] So I just want you to think about that, right? There is a universal law of reciprocity, there is a quid pro quo that you can trigger in people. But that doesn’t mean that it is inherently righteous that you trigger in people that universal law of reciprocity. There’s also something to be said for the idea that giving prompts receiving but I think the real challenge for us is to understand that giving is a universal premise and receiving is a universal promise. But you don’t necessarily receive from the source to whom you give. So in other words, you could go out and drop a quarter in a cup of a homeless person, do you really expect that that person is going to turn around and give you the quarter back? Because if that was the case, it would be stupid for you to ever give, because all you would need to do is just get back what you’ve given, you would just keep what you have for yourself or if you’re thinking that you’re going to receive incomparable value, then every time I need something of high value, I would have to give something of high value. But you know, when we talk about sales training, one of the things I always, I always share with you guys is the idea that that reciprocal give and take, that quid pro quo, that exchange of value, it’s always that the person who is giving, is giving something that he or she can part with in exchange for something that they desire instead, right? I’m going to receive from you legal services to keep me out of jail, and I’m going to give to you $10,000 because I value my freedom more than I value my money, right? And that’s a situation where you are with another person engaged in what is clearly designed to be a moment-to-moment transactional exchange of value and we have that understanding going in.
Allison Williams: [00:28:34] That’s very different in my view, than having a belief system that says that people in positions of authority give to you, but only because you are then obligated to give to someone else, right? And to some degree, you may say, well, maybe the belief is not that I have to give everything to someone else, but I do have to give something, right? Because of that universal law of giving. And if your, if your beliefs align with the idea that we’re going to give in exchange for feeling good about ourselves in exchange for feeling that we’re living out our purpose in exchange for doing what our religious call, our religion calls upon us to do, that’s one thing. But to now hold that over the person to whom you’ve given to say it is now your expectation obligation for you to be a good person for you to turn around and give what you have to another person is simply not fair.
Allison Williams: [00:29:30] And what it really does is it takes the person’s giving, whoever gave in the first instance and it really bastardized it and turns it into something dirty because really it’s been a blackmail, right? I give you this in exchange for that. And I want you to think about relationships where that is, the way they work, right? How would you feel if you came home and your spouse that cooked dinner, and you ate dinner, and then as soon as dinner is over, your spouse says to you, Well, since I cooked dinner, you owe me sex tonight. Now, that might very well be how your relationship works, right? Far, be it for me to judge your relationship, but I would, I would surmise that most people would say, well, that’s pretty shitty, right? I should want to give that to you because I want to give it to you, not because I owe it to you, right? I’m not a piece of property that you can just command because you gave it to me, I give to you and now we’re in some type of dual exchange, right? Or even with employer, employee right? How would you feel if you walked in as the boss, or how do you think your employees would feel if you walked in as the boss and said, All right, Stacey, well, you know, I paid your salary this week, so therefore you have to go pick up my laundry.
Allison Williams: [00:30:43] Now, you might say, well, in an employer situation, you get to define what the terms are that the person’s going to do. Their job description could include that. But that’s not exactly what we’re talking about here. Is it right? Because there is no job description that I’m aware of that says that if you receive benefits, economic generosity, kindness from people when you are poor, that you have an obligation to go back and turn over all of your riches to the poor so that you can put them in the position that you are now in by virtue of someone having given to you, right? Now, there is this idea of continuing to pay it forward by continuing to contribute, but that’s very different than guilting someone, changing someone, and saying I give to you, and therefore you must give to me, right? Because really, when a person says I have to give back to my community, they’re doing that on behalf of someone. They’re doing that because of the voice in their head, that saying, this is the good thing that I have to do, right? I’m required, I’m obligated to do this, and my obligation comes from church or comes from mom and dad or comes from grandma or whomever it is, right? So it is that person who put that seed in your mind that you are serving when you are giving to that other person and you’re not doing it with a clean heart.
Allison Williams: [00:31:59] And so I just want you to think about that because that form of manipulation that keeps people in the bondage of staying poor in service to the people who gave to them in the first place, is not going to help you to be of the greatest service to the most people, right? I can do a heck of a lot more for people now that I can write a ten or fifteen or twenty-five thousand dollar check without feeling it than I could when I was one step above food stamps and trying to take what little I had and give it to the person who is right at food stamps, right? That is not beneficial, but I am now going to starve myself and give myself less of a supply than it would have been had I said, Let me get to where I need to go, and then I will build in the process of giving to others, and I will do that out of a clean heart, not out of a sense of obligation. I will do that because it feels good to do that, I will do that because I feel that’s a value in our society, not because someone is making me feel like a bad person unless I do that.
Allison Williams: [00:33:06] OK, third and final premise, when we are talking about how to, I wanted the person to see how the belief system was not a healthy one. Right. So we talked about self-interest in the fact that all people are driven to help other people out of self-motivation, right? Even when you are genuinely thinking about other people as you are standing at the soup kitchen or as you are leaving an extra-generous tip or as you are dropping off clothes to the Goodwill right. You’re doing that for someone else, but do not believe that you are not also doing it for yourself.
Allison Williams: [00:33:22] And the final and third premise is that when you serve at a lower price point, you have to have a greater sense of awareness. You have to be aware that a lower price point requires more volume to meet your financial goals. That’s kind of common sense, but common sense is always not common, right? Not always common. So I want you to really think about that, you have to serve more people when you have a lower price point in order to reach your financial goal. And the challenge there is that when you are creating more volume, you are required to have more efficiency because if you don’t, if you add more volume and you’re in chaos and you don’t have a highly systematized, well functioning, well-oiled machine of a business, then all of those people are going to multiply the work and not just the work that’s actually the legal work, whatever service you’re offering, but the work around the work. Right? The workaround the work is opening the file and communicating with the person and sending out notices to the person and checking in to make sure the person is prepared for your next proceeding or your next negotiation or is available to accept your next settlement discussion, right? There’s work to be done and there’s a big difference between serving 10 people over a 40-hour workweek, then serving 50 people over a 40-hour workweek. Right? Don’t think that it’s the same number of billable hours or the same number of working hours, so it’s all the same, right? The more people you have to interact with, the more names you have to remember, the more spouses names you have to remember, the more children’s names you have to remember, the more legal issues, the more preferences, the more settlement demands, the more things that flow from that individual in the function of your business.
Allison Williams: [00:35:16] So efficiency here is super important, you have to have the right people and you have to have the right efficiency. And when you have more clients, you also have to have tighter boundaries and expectations. And this means that you have to have a system for everything, in particular your communications, and you have to have a communication process for educating your client about expectations. Now some people do this in a one-off, right? Every time I have a conversation with the client, I’m reorienting them to reasonable expectations. But even aside from that, I’m talking about something at a greater scale, right? I’m talking about Systematizing these communications, building up email direct sequences where your clients are getting those messages. If your clients are not on email, building out newsletters so that your clients can read these systems, giving them something that they can hold on to hold her to and refer back to, so that they don’t run you over with the sheer volume of people that you have to serve as you serve people at a lower price point.
Allison Williams: [00:36:23] And this all derives from the idea of having a system, right? So you guys know here at Law Firm Mentor I’m a big proponent of systems, I talk systems all day, every day because I love it and it’s really important. And for those of you that have not already been through or even some of you that have been through and want to go through it again, we have our Crushing Chaos Masterclass coming up in October. So I’m going to drop the link so you can get information about that, but it’s very easy, the link will always be the same. It is LawFirmMentor.net/masterclass, and our masterclass is a free experience where we walk you through the step-by-step process in order to help you learn how to systematize your law business.
Allison Williams: [00:37:03] So I am Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. We have been on this episode of The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast talking about our clients and who are your clients, right? The more economic constraint there is in the community of people you serve, the more you’re going to have to define and create beautifully airtight systems in order to serve those people efficiently while also making yourself financially successful. All right, everyone, I’m Allison Williams your Law Firm Mentor, and I will see you on our next episode.
Allison Williams: [00:37:51] Thank you for tuning in to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. To learn more about today’s guest 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 at their law firm and make more money. I’m Allison Williams. Your Law Firm Mentor. Have a great day.
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.
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00: 22: 02 (36 Seconds)
I wanted the person to see how the belief system was not a healthy one. Right. So we talked about self-interest in the fact that all people are driven to help other people out of self-motivation, right? Even when you are genuinely thinking about other people as you are standing at the soup kitchen or as you are leaving an extra-generous tip or as you are dropping off clothes to the Goodwill right. You’re doing that for someone else, but do not believe that you are not also doing it for yourself.