Taking Prospect Calls After Hours

In this episode, we cover a topic fueled by a question posed to me recently by one of our clients here at Law Firm Mentor. The question was, should I be taking calls from prospective new clients on nights and weekends? I always love when this topic comes up because there are a lot of strong opinions out there about the right way to build a law firm and whether or not you should be taking calls during hours that are not your typical business hours. I want to give you both of the competing views on it and then a framework for making that decision for yourself.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The virtual law firm movement and how to create the lifestyle you choose.
  • How quality of life is determined by your season in life, and how to make the decision that fits your life about after-hours prospect calls.
  • Ways to assess your financial situation before deciding on after-hours prospecting


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.

[00:00:04] Welcome to another episode of the crushing chaos with law firm mentor podcast, where this week we’re going to talk about choices and priorities. So this is a topic that is fueled by a question that was posed to me recently by one of our clients here at law firm mentor. And the question was, should I be taking calls from prospective new clients on nights and weekends? Should I take them in intake? Should I take them in sales conversations? So I always love when this topic comes up, because there’s a lot of strong opinions out there about what is the right way to build a law firm and whether or not you should be taking calls on hours that are not your normal business hours. So I want to give you both of the competing views on it, and then give you a framework for actually making that decision for yourself. So the first thing that people will always go to when we talk about should I be taking calls after hours and on the weekends, is, what is the kind of business that you want to create, right? There’s, there’s kind of become a movement, if you
will, of lawyers that are building a lifestyle law firm, they want to be able to travel extensively,
they want to be able to freely move in and out of doing work as they desire. And they don’t
want to be tethered to a desk, or a brick and mortar business. So the advent of the virtual law
firm, which by the way, predated the pandemic, but we really started talking about it a lot
during the pandemic, because a lot of people whether they wanted a virtual law firm or not had
to build one in order to keep practicing. So the virtual law firm lifestyle law firm zealots, if you
will, are out and about saying under no circumstances, should you ever take a call in an hour
that you don’t want to be working. Because you don’t want to educate the public that you are
not going to be available, or harmony that you will be available to them 24 hours a day, seven
days a week, right, you don’t want to put out that message. You don’t want to start training
people to expect that you are at their beck and call. And frankly, you’re the boss. So you have a
right to create the law firm the way you want. And you should only do what you truly desire to
do it your business. Then, on the flip side is the more traditional view, even though I know
plenty of law firms that were never available after hours, on nights and weekends, separate
and apart from kind of the the hustle and bustle and competitiveness of law firm practice that
was just simply not done in the industry. But if you take it back to the the traditional line of
thought that says if you want to build something, you have to do any and everything that you
can in order to get the most business in order to to reach your income goals. So those
proponents would say, take the calls when other lawyers won’t, so that you can advertise,
we’re available when other lawyers aren’t you should come here. Right? You kind of create
yourself a little competitive advantage by virtue of being available

when other lawyers won’t. So when this question in this debate came up, I saw a flurry of
different responses to the question. We have our own little private community here for our
clients at law firm mentoring, lots of people expressed a view. And then ultimately, the
question was posed to me how do you see the answer to this? And I said, the lawyers answer
that everyone hates, it depends. Now, it does not depend on what you desire to do, right at the
at the heart of it, you as the business owner can always decide what kind of business you want
to create, right? That’s always going to be what I tell people should be a consideration for what
you want to do, ie, you want to create a certain type of business, making the decisions today
from the place of that business owner is going to get you there faster. But there are some
considerations that I think you have to go through analytically, to decide this issue, not from a
place of trying to appease people that are telling you, you should have a lifestyle law firm, not
from the place of people that want to scale and Uber large law firm and say anything goes as
long as a prospect wants it because that’s how you make the most money, but from a place of
what is going to make the most sense for you, based on the business that you are creating. So
here are those criteria, there’s only three. Okay, so the first one is you have to think about your
season of hustle. Okay. No one should ever tell you that building a law firm is going to be easy
peasy casual light work light duty, you can do it 10 hours a week and make a million dollars in
a year. Okay. That is not the experience for the statistical majority of lawyers that build law
firms. Building a law firm is challenging, because practicing law is challenging. And putting
infrastructure rules, systems and profit processes in place in a law firm is going to be that much
more challenging. So I’m never going to disabuse you of The fact that building a business is
work. Now, when we say that it’s work, it doesn’t have to be drudgery, okay. And a lot of times
lawyers will create drudgery, when they don’t consider the fact that there’s going to be a time
where you’re doing things that you don’t enjoy, because it serves the ultimate goal of getting
you where you want to be, ie, your season of hustle, right? So think about it this way. Kind of a
hard and fast rule. If your personal income is not at least six figures, you are in a season of
hustle, okay, you should not be having a nine to five Monday through Friday experience,
spending your time on doing the things that are minimally required to serve your clients and
little else, if you have a five figure income. And by the way, I find that rule to be universal,
whether you have an affluent spouse at home, who’s paying all the bills, and you don’t really
have to make money, or you’re an heiress or an heir, and you’re going to take money from
family members who have passed it down. And thus you’re not financially hurting, making
$100,000 in your income, your personal income from your law firm. So that means your your
law firm revenue has to be higher, is not simply something that you should aspire to do,
because it’s some arbitrary number. It really is a litmus test, right? Once you get to the point
where you have a six figure income, the light goes on, right. So there’s a season where a lot of
business owners, typically it’s going to be revenue around 200,000, right? Think of that 50%
marker for a lower income company. When you’re at that place where you have less than six
figures, oftentimes, the work that goes into getting the next client, creating the next system,
turning on the marketing, often is so much additional work for you, that you can have in your
mindset that it’s just not worth it. Right, you can very easily become d limited by your status.
So it’s important that you get to that first six figures because that ultimately is where a lot of
people will start to allow themselves to be hungry for more. Now,

there are there are certainly some of you that were hungry from the very first dollar you made,
and you stayed hungry all the way up until you had personal income of half a million dollars,
right? So I’m not suggesting to you that only those that are at five, or me that are six figures or
right? So I’m not suggesting to you that only those that are at five, or me that are six figures or
more are going to be hungry for more ambition is very personal. But generally speaking, if you
are working hard and you have not yet achieved a personal income of 100k, you are still in that
season of hustle, and you need to remember that Okay, now the season of hustle is not
perpetual. Okay? You don’t have to be all day hustling every single day to have a successful
law firm. Many of you know I own the Williams Law Group in Short Hills, New Jersey, many of
you also know it is a multiple six figure income. And I spend approximately five hours now a
month on my law firm. Okay. So I don’t, I’m not required to still be hustling. Because I built the
systems that do the hustle for me, right? I get to transition the hustle. But in my season of
hustle when I first started my law firm, and I had very definitive income goals, and very
definitive career objectives that could only be met, if I achieved my income goals. I was in a
season of hustle. And that meant taking calls at the time that made the most sense for me to
get the greatest opportunity to convert the most clients. And that included times that were
convenient to those people, including nights and weekends, I actually began to prefer to meet
people on the weekend, largely because no one else was going to be in the office. And so I was
going to have that quiet time to really think through their case, I was going to be able to give
them that that personal touch that personal attention. And I was going to be able to structure a
relationship with my future client that was going to be advantageous for my goals. Now, of
course, that was where I was at that stage of my development. As I grew more capable. As my
law firm scaled in size, I realized I didn’t need to have that same season that season
transitioned into a season of evolution, right? My season of evolution was no longer hustling, it
was taking what I had hustled up and evolving it into its own sustainable continuing recurring
revenue. Okay, the second thing to consider when you’re thinking about should I take calls on
nights and weekends is your quality of life, okay, quality, quality of life is going to matter at all
times as a business owner. Now quality of life does not mean I either refuse to take calls on
nights and weekends or I have quality of life. Okay. A lot of us have binary thinking, binary
thinking is rarely going to serve your interests. Right. We are in a very nuanced profession. It
depends is the lawyers answer for a host of reasons and it’s almost always the business owners
answer. So you have to think about quality of life but not from the perspective of either Get it
or I don’t. But think about it as a continuum. Where are you on the spectrum of your quality of
life, you could be at the place on your spectrum where quality of life is your highest priority
right now, right? You could be in a season in your life, where you have a lot of life stressors that
are pulling on you. And your emotional and mental wherewithal is such that if you don’t give
yourself the consideration of your quality of life over everything else in your business, your
goals, your dreams, your income, etc, you are going to break yourself, right? Someone that I
know very personally, I won’t identify how I know this person, because I don’t want to out them.
All right. But someone that I know very personally told me that at one point in time, he was
going through a lot. So his wife had taken on a much more demanding job. So he was much
more required to be available to his children, they have three children together. So he was
doing the morning pickup and drop off. He was responsible for after school, he was also taking
on some sporting activities. One of the children had had mom very active in her cheerleading
and some other areas of her life, Dad was now stepping into the area where mom couldn’t
because of mom’s job. So a lot of that was taking on an emotional toll and a physical toll right,

was only so many hours available. There was also the consideration that his father was dying,
his father had dementia. It’s father’s now deceased, but his father had to mention dementia.
And he was starting to want to not just spend more time with him, because of course, he knew
he was ailing. But he also had questions and concerns about the characters. All this to say
there was a lot of life going on. But this person also wanted to build a business and needed to
build a business because his income was going to be necessary for his children, and in
particular, educating his children. That was something that was a high priority for him, he very
much wanted to make sure that his children could afford to go to college. So he had to make a
choice, right? He had to choose between am I going to forfeit my quality of life? Am I going to
take away from the things that are fueling my energy that are giving me emotional support and
nurturance that are making me a successful father and husband? Or am I going to focus solely
on doing everything that’s possible to grow the business, right. And these could have been
seen as competing objectives, I get one or the other, what we helped him to see is that it really
was a combination, right? That means some of what you have to do and deciding is shifting,
sometimes you’re going to be in full on work mode, hustle, hustle, hustle. And sometimes
you’re going to pull back from that you’re going to create policies and procedures that will allow
for you to decide, right? So you announced your policies as to when you’re going to be
available on nights and some weekends for your prospects? And other times the answer is
simply no. Right? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Okay, third and final criteria that you have
to consider when you are thinking about should I take calls on nights and weekends? The
answer? The third criteria really deals about the footing that you want to establish in your
business, right. So what I mean by that is, you have to have a strong enough footing in your
business, that a decision to turn down a client or a prospect is not a financial make it or break
it. Okay? So anytime you get to a state in your business, whether it is by sheer volume of
revenue, or by sheer volume of expenses, right, because you can have a million dollar business
and have $999,099 of expenses, right? So we don’t necessarily want to just focus on your top
line revenue, you also want to focus on your profit. But when you think about the distance
between your revenue and your profit, you have to ask yourself the question that space in
between there, if I say no to a person by saying no to taking this call after hours, or seeing this
person on the weekend, is that a make it or break it? Okay? If more often than not over the
course of a 30 day period, you would say yes, it is going to harm my finances. If I say no to this
person, then you’re in a season where you don’t have a strong enough footing to have a policy
that’s universally no nights and weekends. Okay? At least not without having a consequence to
that, right. So everything that you decide is always going to be driven by what you ultimately
desire because you own the business. But there are times where you can make decisions that
are best for you as an individual that are not necessarily the best for the business. But you
decided anyway because it’s what you want, right? It feels you up. It takes you to a new level of
happiness. This could be something like I’m choosing to take on a particular practice area
because I love it so much, even though it’s not my most profitable practice area.

I made the decision years ago So, when I decided to focus my practice on representing people
accused of child abuse and neglect, for a whole lot of reasons that are very personal to me, I
wanted to work in this area of the law. However, as a matrimonial attorney, I had previously
represented celebrities, I had represented politicians, I’ve represented very rich people, I had
the ability to make a lot more money, a lot faster serving as a matrimonial attorney. But I didn’t
make that choice, because ultimately, my heart was over here in a different practice area.
Right. So every decision that you make has a consequence. Now, that does not mean that you
have to choose the negative ramifications of your choices, you simply have to find a way to
make your choice into the profitable choice. And that’s why I was able to build a multimillion
dollar law firm, even though I was helping people accused of child abuse people that are
economically least successful of all of the Family Law litigants that you would typically
encounter in my state. I chose them. And I found a way to make it profitable, right. So think
about it the same way when you are evaluating this particular issue, right? When you’re
deciding, should I have a policy that says, I’m all in for nights and weekends, or I’m never doing
nights and weekends, or I’m going to do something in between some nights and weekends,
some months? Some months not? Or some weeks, some weeks, not, etc. When you’re making
that choice, you have to say, what is it that is most important to me as a value proposition, if
what’s most important to you is your goal. Whatever your goal is, right? Your goal could be to
have a $5 million law firm in five years, your goal could be to have $200,000 of personal
income, your goal could be to set up a savings plan that afford you to save a certain amount of
money for your children’s education. And once you have that, all of your other needs are met. Whatever your goal is, the goal is not to judge your goal. But you do need to be clear on what
that goal is. And then think about the timeframe that you’re going to want to achieve that goal.
Right? If you don’t have the footing right now, to be able to say no to nights and weekends, in
order that you ultimately can achieve that goal in the time that’s defined for you, then I would
recommend that you make that choice and say, I’m going to make this sacrifice in order to get
what I desire. It really is that simple. It is never going to be the right thing or the wrong thing
for you to take calls on nights and weekends. One day, you might ultimately get to a life like
me, where I decide I might not work on Wednesday or Thursday, or I decide I might not work at
all on Sundays. But I might love to work on Saturdays based on the needs of my life, the needs
of my family, the needs of my other pursuits, my multiple businesses, I have to make those
choices, right? You get to make those choices when you create a life that ultimately feeds your
soul. And your business has to feed that life in order that you can have ultimately what makes
you most happy.

All right, everyone. I’m Allison Williams, from mentor, you’ve been listening to
the crushing chaos with law firm into podcasts. Now, I am going to ask my marketing team to
leave in the background, that lovely little trip that you just heard. That was my burger, Sachi.
She always sits in here when I’m recording podcasts, and my editing team has in the past, cut
her out. Because of course, a bird all of a sudden coming out of nowhere, doesn’t necessarily fit
with what we’re talking about. But she does fit with the brand. And one of the things that I’ve
created is a beautiful workplace where I get to have my pets here with me at the office. And so
she said goodbye to you. And now I’m going to do the same. I’ll see you next week.



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.


Contact Info:



My favorite excerpt from the episode:
TIME: 00:16:02 (30 Seconds)
When making that choice, you have to say what is most important to me as a value proposition if what’s most important to you is your goal. Whatever your goal is, right? Your goal could be to have a $5 million law firm in five years; your goal could be to have $200,000 of personal income; your goal could be to set up a savings plan that affords you to save a certain amount of money for your children’s education. Whatever your goal is, the goal is not to judge your goal. But you do need to be clear on what that goal is. And then think about the timeframe that you’re going to want to achieve that goal.