REPLAY- Best Practices For A Small Law Firm (Feat. Elizabeth Miller)

In this episode, we speak with Elizabeth Miller, MBA, Independent Law Firm Administrator and Best Selling Author of “From Lawyer to Law Firm-How to Manage a Successful Law Business”. Liz is the Owner and Founder of Managing the Business of Practicing Law(R), which helps solo, small and mid-size law firms handle administrative matters, including billing time, collection procedures and a host of other business functions.


In this episode we discuss:

  • How delay in billing creates calamity
  • Ways to structure effective retainer agreements
  • Smoothing out the “billing edges”
  • Automating retainer replenishments in software
  • Flexibility in client billing
  • Ethical and expedient ways to raise hourly rates
  • Testing the waters to ensure clients have the ability to pay
  • Running interference between clients and attorneys when collecting fees
  • Extracting lawyers from billing to improve the collections process

and much, MUCH more!



Allison Williams: [00:00:12] Hello 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 to crush chaos in business and make more money.


Allison Williams: [00:00:27] Elizabeth Miller MBA is an independent law firm administrator and best selling co-author of From Lawyer to Law Firm: How to Manage a Successful Law Business. Her book was published on May 11th, 2017 and was number four on the bestseller list by May 23rd, 2017. Elizabeth has been working in the legal profession for over 40 years. She started as a paralegal, transitioned into law firm administration and now since 2015 has been working as an independent law firm administrator. Her clients are solo, small and a few medium sized law firms. She works on retainer basis, providing them with administrative services that they need but can’t afford to pay a full time on staff administrator to handle. Liz believes that lawyers need to understand the administrative and business aspects of their firms, but need to spend their billable hours doing client work and actually capturing time.


Allison Williams: [00:01:20] All right, Elizabeth Miller, thank you so much for joining us on the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. How are you doing today?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:01:27] I’m doing terrific, Allison. Thank you for asking me to be here.


Allison Williams: [00:01:31] Great. I can’t wait to dive into your topic because you and I have had the opportunity to discuss this before. And your company, From Lawyer to Law Firm CEO, helps lawyers with this, amongst various other topics. But this is probably one of the sexiest ones, which is talking about money. Getting more money in. So, let’s talk about client billing. Client billing is one of those banes of the existence of many lawyers and they are perpetually bad at it, but they know it has to be done. So if you were talking to a lawyer right now who was struggling with client billing, what would you say would be the most important thing that they need to know about client billing?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:02:11] I think that probably I would ask him how long he plans to sustain his law practice out of his own pocket before the practice is going to go bust. Well, you know, money is really important. And it’s like the number one thing. If you don’t have money, you don’t have anything. I mean, you can keep people on for a while. You can feed them out of your pocket. You can do whatever. But eventually, what’s going to happen? There’s no more money. You can’t run the firm. How can you run the firm with no money?


Allison Williams: [00:02:50] Yeah, well, that’s very true. And, you know, obviously, people do need to recognize that they have to stay on top of their billing in order to drive it in so that they have money available to meet their expenses. So what do you think is the biggest problem that you see of your clients that that really struggle with billing? Like what’s the what’s kind of the thing that’s holding them back?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:03:13] I think and especially the last few months that I, you know, worked with more clients doing billing. They don’t see it as a priority. It’s always it’s always something that goes to the backburner. Oh, I need to do this. I need to do that. I need to see the clock. But it’s never the billing. I just met with somebody the other day who has not build a client in about a year.


Allison Williams: [00:03:47] Wow. Yeah.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:03:48] Now imagine when those clients get bills for the past year. OK, what are they gonna do? I mean, you know that all that client money is gone. (Yeah.) Right? So what’s going to. I mean, I. I warned him. The phone’s going to start ringing the minute these bills hit out there. People are going to say, how how could you not let me know? How could you… know what happened to my money? What? You know, so.


Allison Williams: [00:04:23] And, you know, it’s a major problem, too, because, you know, I think what happens with a lot of law firm owners is that they’re not stupid. They know that if they get if they had gotten a bill for eight months worth of service and all of a sudden we’re expected to pay fifteen twenty thousand dollars, that they wouldn’t be able to write a check for that and feel good about it. And so they oftentimes will just not bill a person or opt not to bill the person or, the cardinal sin, issue a bill for 100 percent appropriate services and then cut the bill by some outrageous amount because they feel guilty, because they didn’t bill them. Right?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:04:58] Yeah. Of course they do. But you know, the thing is that at what point does it get better? Going forward and not doing the bill? It’s never going to get better. It’s going to get worse. You know, I have a client that you know, I mean, the last two months, I had to ride him. I mean, down to the point where I went down there and I was like, listen, you’re going to do these bills and you’re going to do them now. You know, it’s not going to get any better. It’s going to get worse.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:05:31] So, you know what? What what are the. The client. It’s not the client’s fault. You know, they could’ve paid all along. So what do the attorneys can do?


Allison Williams: [00:05:42] Yeah. So, you know, a lot of these problems that kind of happened as a result of a lawyer not billing consistently and frequently enough are oftentimes averted when people comply with what’s in their retainer agreement. So let me talk a little bit about retainer agreements and letters of engagement. How important are those to the process of billing?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:06:05] Well, I think the retainer agreement is very important. I think. And I think that attorneys need to get more specific in their retainer agreements of exactly, you know, what is going to be included? What is not going to be included?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:06:23] You know, clients these days are wising up and they’re paying attention and they’re kind of like, oh, well, that wasn’t excluded and that wasn’t excluded. And you know what I mean? So they’re wising up. So you have to say, you know, for example, in a family law case, this retainer is going to take you through mediation. Okay? So that means a day that mediation is over, either they’re going to resign with you or whatever they’re going to do. But it’s over. If you keep working. If you keep… you know, what does that say to the client, you know, you’re going to keep working and in eight months you’re going to get a bill. You know, I mean, it doesn’t you know, and I told the client just the other day, you know, you need to break down your case. You know, this this takes me to mediation. This takes me to pretrial. I told the client, I said, have you done a trial retake, you know, ever done a trial retainer? Like when the case is going to go to trial that the client signs a new trial retainer? And how many days is it going to be, so that if it runs over that… And they looked at me like, what? I’d never heard of that before, you know? So you gotta go. You’ve got to get real specific with them.


Allison Williams: [00:07:49] Well, I think that’s a very good point, because the specificity doesn’t just get the client, you know, the lawyer client money, but it also avoids the problem where you can have your fee, either disgorged, or your client can say you don’t have a contractual right to charge me because I paid a retainer through date X or activity X. And now that time has passed. So, you know, you don’t get to bill me or you get to bill me all you want to. You don’t have a contractual right to sue me. So you go right ahead and work for me for free.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:08:19] Yeah, exactly. Of course. I mean, you know, the client will take whatever they can get. I mean, let’s face it, you know, but in the meantime, what is a law firm doing the law? You know, I have this thing. It’s called, I would either work for a client and get paid or if I’m gonna not gonna make any money that I’m going to sit on the beach. Because you might as well then sit on the beach and not make any money, because why make money and not get paid? That doesn’t make any sense.


Allison Williams: [00:08:50] You mean, why do the work and not get paid? I knew what you meant, but, you know, sometimes it’s like, you know, why do the work and then and then have that expectation. I think. (Yeah.) Sometimes that’s where a lot of lawyers start to develop resentment of their clients and it harms the attorney client relationship. Even if you do ultimately get paid, you’re going to ultimately lose the opportunity to have a perpetual client because the client’s gonna be frustrated. You’re gonna be frustrated. No one’s going to be happy.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:09:21] And let’s not forget about the client referral and writing the ref. You know what it takes to get a bad reference off Yelp or somewhere like that? I mean, it’s next to impossible. And I know because I’ve had attorneys that, you know, have collected money or done whatever and they get these blistering reviews. So what are they gonna do, you know?


Allison Williams: [00:09:49] Yeah. So a lot of these problems deal with, from what I see, the mindset of the lawyer and how they approach their business. And one of the things that can oftentimes aid in this area is by creating a smoother process for how billing gets done. So let’s talk about what some of the billing procedures are that you think every lawyer in law firm should really implement in order to smooth out that process of billing clients.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:10:16] Well, Allison, I have a procedure that I follow and it’s the procedure that I make everybody follow. On the last day of the month at five o’clock. Time is cut off. They need the attorneys and associates need to put their time in contemporaneously. They cannot tell me that they’re going to remember a week ago what they talked to somebody about what they wrote to say. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. I certainly cannot remember what I did last week. So unless there’s a trial or something like that all the time needs to be in the last day of the month period. I run the pre bills, take them to the attorney, have him just, you know, go over them. I changed the gra… You know, attorneys don’t always write great sentence structure when they’re whatever. So I go through for grammar and spelling and stuff like that. We make any changes by the fifth of the month and I mean by the 5th of the month, the bills need to go out to the clients. Period. There’s just no ifs ands or buts.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:11:31] Why? Why do you think they pay their mortgage on time? Why do you think they pay their car payment on time? Because they know when that is due. So guess what? They know when their bills are due. At least you’re halfway to getting them paid, right? Send out the bills by the 5th of the month. Five days later, if people aren’t paying, it’s time to get on the phone and find out where the money is because there’s no point in continuing on when people aren’t paying you.


Allison Williams: [00:12:04] Yeah, well, and I think that a lot of jurisdictions will require that there be some level of activity until you are phased out of the case. But I think a lot of lawyers do make assumptions that, well, I can’t just stop working. And many, many times that’s not true. Many times you have a lot more power than you as the lawyer are choosing to exercise. So let’s talk a little bit about billing procedures, where a client where we want to get the client not just paying the bill, but we want to increase the likelihood that they’re going to pay timely. That they’re going to pay the bill in full or that they’re going to pay most of it and keep us in an evergreen situation, meaning that we’re always going to have money on account for that client. So what are some of the things that you would help lawyers to do and advise them to do in order to increase the likelihood that there’s consistency of payments between the clients?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:12:56] Well, first of all, you need to. And most of the billing programs these days have where you can set like, okay, a thousand. If it falls below a thousand dollars, it’s going to let you know kind of thing. That’s the time to ask for a replenishment. When there’s still some money in the bucket, go to the client. Tell them, you know, this is going to be used up in another 30 days. Whatever you need to replenish. You need to, you know, whatever. You can work something out with them. They can whatever whatever it is.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:13:33] But they need to know that the money is getting ready to disappear. You know, again, you know. Paying the bills on time, letting them know that it’s coming, you can work things out with them and you know, clients don’t realize that if they were to call and say to the attorney, OK, you know, I need to come up with thirty five hundred dollars. I don’t have it. Can I give you seventeen fifty this month and seventeen fifty the next month? The attorney is, of course, going to say, OK. Right? Because money now is very better than money never. Right? So, you know, you’ll take that.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:14:11] So those are the kind of things that you have to be willing to work with your client. You have to be understanding of maybe pay dates. Maybe they get paid on the 10th and the 20th. Or maybe they get paid on the 15th and the 30th. So you send out the bill on the 5th. You’re not going to get paid on the 10th. You’re gonna get paid on the 15th, but you’re gonna get paid, you know. So those so like all the little things that you need to work with with your clients to make sure that you get paid and that the client attorney relationship, you know, is a good one. Yeah.


Allison Williams: [00:14:46] Well, you know, and I think it’s a very important point there, because I think a lot of people and I know lawyers that have engaged in this behavior as well. You know, when they can’t pay a bill in its entirety or if the credit card declines. They oftentimes feel shame. And so they they kind of stick their head in sand. They don’t immediately reach out. And then you’re chasing them and then they feel bad about the fact that you’re chasing them. So then they’re disengaging from your service, even though it may be at a critical time. In their case, where not having that ongoing relationship is going to harm their interests and make it harder for you to prevail for them. So when you have a client who says, I can’t pay in full, but I know I owe you this money, how how much do you advise or is it advisable in your view that lawyers be flexible with their clients in terms of getting money in the door?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:15:39] I think that as long as the client is willing to put it in writing, you know, be it a promissory note or something where, you know, something that you can is tangible, you know. I see no reason. I mean, what is the client going to do? They’re gonna fire you and go hire somebody else and then that attorney’s gonna get the money. So, like, does that make any sense? I mean, you’re already involved in the case. You know the facts, you know everything. You know, if the client comes to and says, hey, I’m going to pay thirty three thousand dollars over the next three months or something, great. Get them to sign a promissory note and make the payments, you know, whatever it takes. You know, but some people borrow money from their parents. Some people will take the money against a credit card.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:16:30] And I know now there are firms out there that will finance legal fees. And I don’t know all the ins and outs of it because I’m not really that involved in it. Most of my clients don’t, you know. But some people are interested in that, you know. But you got to find a way to work with these people because they’re going gonna get somebody to represent them anyway.


Allison Williams: [00:16:52] Yeah, well, it’s a good point that you raise this idea of the the litigation financing, because once upon a time that was really reserved for only personal injury attorneys, if they were expecting a settlement and could represent that a settlement was coming, a client could borrow against it. But now they have straight loan programs where people can borrow money and better that it be someone like E-Financing or I-Qualify that loans the client money than the law firm, especially a small law firm where, you know, on the backs of your hard work comes the financing arrangement that you didn’t really agree to. You just kind of got stuck with. Right?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:17:27] Yeah. Well, and don’t forget, though, too, you know. Doing that, if it’s a choice between getting another attorney that, and I don’t want to say inferior quality, but you know what I mean. Or keeping the attorney that is familiar with their case that you know what I’m saying? To me, that that’s more important, more worth it, more whatever, you know. So it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. But if you’re willing to work with the clients, you know, then why not?


Allison Williams: [00:18:00] Yeah.All right. So now I want to talk about a topic that I think is an often overlooked area to grow revenue, which is increasing your hourly rate. So if a lawyer wants to increase their hourly rate, how do you recommend that they would notify your client about that to make sure that that’s a smooth process?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:18:19] Well, first of all, if they’re going to raise their rates, I recommend that it be done at the beginning of the year, because, you know, you just don’t wake up one day in the middle of August and think, wow, I ought to raise my rate. So you know it comes at the end of the year when you’ve gone through whatever. And so you’re gonna raise your rates. Send a letter to every client, 30 days notice. We’re raising our rates in 30 days. It’s going to be X number or whatever, you know. Twenty five, fifty or hundred. I don’t recommend you do one hundred. I recommend you do 50. Maybe for you and twenty five for the associates or something like that. You know, they need to have 30 days notice. You can’t just, you know, go from one month to the next and raise the fees and everybody’s, of course this is going to start the barrage of phone calls. Right? Because nobody knows anything about it. You haven’t told anybody and suddenly they’re looking at their balance, instead of getting charged three fifty an hour, they’re getting charged four hundred an hour. So I would suggest that like at the beginning of January, you send out a notice February 1st whenever you’re gonna raise your fees, how much it’s going to be. It’s really negligible when you talk about, you know, yeah, $50 an hour’s a lot, but, you know, it’s not worth it to change attorneys, whatever. They just want to be notified. They just want to know that it’s coming.


Allison Williams: [00:19:50] Yeah, that’s a very good point. And I also think that how you handle it is very important. So, you know, you do need to give your client notice. And most jurisdictions either have a requirement that it be in writing that you tell them you have a right to raise the rate and that you’re going to give them ample notice. In some places you could just do it. But certainly, however, if handled, is always a customer service issue. Nobody wants to suddenly start receiving a bill that is higher than it otherwise would have been because they’re going to start doing that math, whether they tell you or not.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:20:22] Oh, yeah, absolutely. And to be honest with you, even in the jurisdictions, you know, where it’s not required to give notice. I still would feel like I needed to give everyone written notice 30 days, you know, that it’s coming and whatever. You know, it just makes the transition a lot smoother.


Allison Williams: [00:20:42] Yeah. So, you know, we know that raising hourly rates is a way to get more out of your existing client base, but there is also the concern about what you do in order to prevent an A/R problem in the first place. And so a lot of that is choosing wisely. Right? Don’t get into bed with every person that offers themselves to you. ie. Don’t take every client that offers himself at the door. So when you’re working with your lawyer clients, how do you get them to, what sorts of things should they be looking out for to make sure that the person that they’re bringing in as a new client is actually going to pay the bill?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:21:16] Well, it’s really funny because my philosophy might sound a little bit backwards, but when I have a client that comes in and has concern about the retainer or whatever and says, oh, you know, that’s kind of that’s kind of high. And I don’t know, you know, to me that person is more going to pay their bill than a client that you tell them you want five thousand dollars. And they go, oh, I don’t care. I don’t care how much it costs. Doesn’t matter, whatever. It doesn’t matter.


Allison Williams: [00:21:51] Right.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:21:52] Yeah. Yeah. Doesn’t matter. But you know what? Guess what? It doesn’t matter because you’re not going to get the money anyway. That’s the reason that it doesn’t matter. You know, so that is definitely something that I’m on the lookout for when somebody just ‘doesn’t matter’. Yeah. That’s a big problem. You know, and then, of course, you know, collecting money, sending people replenishments, they take a long time to pay, you know, whatever. Then I’m you know, I have kind of gotten the attitude that, you know, if they’re not going to pay, cut them loose. That’s just, you know, let them go down the road to somebody that charges two hundred dollars an hour, whatever the case may be, you just don’t need to be bothered with that.


Allison Williams: [00:22:40] Well, I think that’s a, I love that you have kind of a differential approach to the idea of when a person is a red flag. Right? The person who kind of brushes it off like, yeah, no problem whatever, might not necessarily be cognizant about money as you would want them to be to be your client because, you’ve got a process here. The idea of longtime payers, though, right. Those people that are kind of trudging along, you know, you say cut bait with them. But I want to ask you a little bit about conversations around money. So one of the things that in the free training on collections that I did quite a while ago in Law Firm Mentor, I’ll actually I’ll drop the link to that in the show notes. You know, we talk about how to have money conversations with people. So you don’t, you don’t accost them with the money conversation when they are having a sensitive moment in their litigation. Instead, you’re having persistent, consistent conversations with them so that they know this is an obligation that they have to honor. They’re going to have to come up with it. And it doesn’t feel like they’re being betrayed by you to ask about that. So when you work with lawyers and you work with lawyers on increasing and improving their billing practices as well as collection practices, how do you help them bridge that gap between, I’ve charged the person once and now, Oh, God. I don’t want to have the conversation again. I really just I want them to just pay the bill when I send them the bill. And if I have to deal with the bill, I’m frustrated. How do you help them get over that hump?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:24:11] Actually, I run interference for that problem by dealing with the client. See, I don’t believe that attorneys should be asking for fees, asking for replenishments or anything like that. There needs to be some separation and they will try and, you know, suppose that they’re trying to call you Allison, you know, and so that I want to talk to Allison. OK, well, you can talk to Allison, but let’s talk about your bill. No, I want to talk to Allison about my bill. Why? Because they’re going to, you’re gonna be a pushover and they’re going to come up with some sob story. And now don’t get me wrong, I will have sympathy for them. I will work with them. I will do whatever. But they’re gonna have to come to some kind of concrete plan of how they’re gonna take care of this.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:25:07] And so they that’s what they try to do. You know, they get the attorney on the phone and they whatever. And the attorney gets off the phone and says, well, you know, I agreed to accept a dollar down and a dollar a week for the rest of my life. I’m ready. You know, I be like, why is that? So, you know, it’s it’s very hard. You know, you guys aren’t supposed to be collectors. You’re not, you’re supposed to be practicing law. And everybody else is supposed to take care of everything else, including collecting the money. So why would I put you in that position?


Allison Williams: [00:25:49] Well, there’s definitely something to be said for freeing lawyers from the idea of having to collect, and I know a lot of lawyers will appreciate the freedom that comes with having somebody else do that work for them. That heavy lifting.


Elizabeth Miller: [00:26:03] Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, they don’t have to worry about it. They don’t have to, you know, hey, it’s a billing problem, an accounting problem. Talk to my person that does the billing. You know, you want to talk about the case. Talk to the lawyer.


Allison Williams: [00:26:18] Yeah. So Liz, were actually together in an efficiency webinar that I put together for the Law Firm Mentor Movement Facebook group where we talked about three different platforms of software, Clio, My Case and Practice Panther. Right? And I’m agnostic to all of them. I think there are pluses and minuses to every legal tech solution out there. But in that particular program, you demonstrated document automation in Practice Panther. (Right.) So when you are working with law firm clients and they are struggling with billing, how do you integrate a software solution to help take some of the residual frustration out of the process to make it faster and easier for the law firm to collect money?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:27:02] Well, first of all, I try to extract the lawyer from the program altogether because they just have a mental block or something. You know, every one of these programs has a great billing program and you just need to sit down and learn it and whatever. And when somebody knows that program or, you know, if I spend time with them or whatever, you know, they have it. It’s humming along. It’s doing what it’s supposed to do. Keep the lawyer out of it. Let the people do what they do. You know, everything like Clio, for example. You know, that’s a great that’s a great billing program. You know, take payments in, do the bills, subtract the payments, you know, whatever. So I think that as far as a billing part goes, they’re all great. They all have their own little whatever. But definitely one of the things you need to do is keep them lawyer out of the billing program.


Allison Williams: [00:28:05] So you heard it here first, lawyers, if we want to start collecting more money, we got to get the hell out of the way, right?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:28:10] That’s right.


Allison Williams: [00:28:13] All right. Well, as we are coming to the end of our time together, and I just wanted to ask you really kind of a catchall, which is what’s the best advice you can give to a law firm owner who wants to improve their billing and collection overall?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:28:31] Hmmm. Well, the best advice that I can give is for them to get out of the way and let the people do what they need to do. Let the program work the way that it’s supposed to. Don’t make excuses. Don’t put other stuff in front of it. Don’t you know I have a client saying that every month our billing gets a few more days behind. You know, this month it’s gonna be the 15th. Next month it’s gonna be the 20th. Then it’s, you know, and. It just it doesn’t catch up with you. And before you know it, you end up in a six or eight month, you know, no bills have gone out. So really and truly, the thing is, one, for the lawyers to stay out of it and two, don’t try to distract the people in your office when they’re trying to do the billing because it really is important. If the billing isn’t done, you’re not having any money. I mean, it’s just not.


Allison Williams: [00:29:38] Yeah, great point there. We definitely know that billing is one of those critical functions in a law firm. It’s how we get paid. It’s how we keep things moving. And honestly, it’s how we have and sustain great relationships with our clients. So Elizabeth Miller, I want to thank you so much for coming in. As always, you’ve been a great resource and a great wealth of knowledge. So if somebody wants to learn more about your company from Lawyer to Law Firm CEO, how would they be able to do that and how would they be able to get a hold of you?


Elizabeth Miller: [00:30:08] They can check out my website at from lawyer to law firm dot com. And they can call me at 8 1 3 3 4 0 9 5 6 9. My book, From Lawyer to Law Firm: How to Manage a Successful Law Business is also on my website. If anybody wants to buy the book, I suggest they buy it there because it’s 100 dollars cheaper than what the publisher is selling it. So and that’s that’s how they can get in touch with me. I’m on Facebook. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m everywhere.


Allison Williams: [00:30:47] All right. You guys heard it here. If you want to learn more about From Lawyer to Law Firm, please check out the various resources that Elizabeth Miller listed. They will be available for you in our show notes. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. You’ve been listening to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor Podcast. Everyone, have a great day.


Allison Williams: [00:31:18] Thank you for tuning into 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 it 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 firms and make more money. I’m Allison Williams your Law Firm Mentor. Have a great day.


Allison Williams: [00:47:34] Thank you for tuning in to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. To learn more about today’s show and take advantage of the resources mentioned, check out our show notes. And if you enjoy today’s episode, take a moment to follow the podcast wherever you get your podcast and leave us a rating and review. This helps us to reach even more law firm owners from around the country who want to crush chaos in business and make more money. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor everyone. Have a great day.


Guest Bio:

Elizabeth Miller. MBA is an independent law firm administrator and best-selling co-author of “From Lawyer to Law Firm – How to Manage a Successful Law Business”.  Her book was published on May 11, 2017 and was #4 on the best seller list by May 23, 2017. 


Elizabeth Miller has been working with the legal profession for over 40 years.  She started her career in NYC as a paralegal and relocated to Tampa, Florida with her husband in 1985.  After working a few years as a paralegal, she opened a paralegal business contracting paralegal work with attorneys, especially trial attorneys.


In 1994 she transitioned her career into law office administration when one of her clients from her paralegal business needed an on-staff office manager.  She subsequently earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Eckerd College in 2007, with a major in business administration and a minor in finance.  She earned her 4 year degree in 2 years and 4 months with no prior college credit while working full-time and taking care of her disabled husband.  She immediately pursued in an MBA with a specialty in finance which she earned in June 2009. 


She continued working as a law firm administrator for several years, before opening her business named after her bestseller – From Lawyer to Law Firm.  Since December 2015, Liz has been working as an independent law firm administrator for solo, small and a few medium-sized firms on a retainer basis providing them with the administrative services they need but cannot afford to pay a full-time on-staff administrator to handle. This includes everything from vetting, hiring, staff management, performance reviews, systematizing processes, billing, collections, trust account management and reconciliation in accordance with Bar guidelines, financial analysis, and management of cash flow, including annual and monthly budgeting, client development and marketing among other duties. 


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Telephone – 813-340-9569


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Allison Bio:

Allison C. Williams, Esq., is the 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 by 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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To check out the FREE training on law firm collections hosted by Law Firm Mentor, download the video training here: