Patrick Palace is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer with an emphasis on workers’ compensation, personal injury, civil rights and social...
Jared D. Correia, Esq. is the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law firm business...
Lawyers need technology for more seamless delivery of their services; legal tech vendors have great tools to offer. How can the two connect? In this edition of Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia and Patrick Palace give tips on how lawyers and legal tech vendors can develop better working relationships. They discuss the steps lawyers should go through when vetting the scalability and efficiency of new legal tech for their firms. For those who want to create unique tools, Jared and Patrick share their thoughts on cultivating partnerships for collaborative tech development.
The Legal Toolkit
Better Together: Cultivating Partnerships with Legal Tech Vendors
Intro: Welcome to Legal Toolkit, bringing you the latest legal trends and business initiatives to help you manage your law firm, with your host Jared Correia. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.
Jared Correia: Welcome to another episode of the award-winning Legal Toolkit podcast, here on the Legal Talk Network. If you were looking for my mint-condition Rodimus Prime Action Figure, where that’s at, I will never tell.
If you are a returning listener, welcome back. If you’re a first-time listener, hopefully you’ll become a longtime listener, and if you are Thanos, your chance of beating the Avengers while objectively fantastic will probably follow the darkest timeline.
As always, I’m your show host Jared Correia, and in addition to casting this pod, I’m the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law practice management consulting services for law firms, bar associations and legal vendors. Check us out at redcavelegal.com.
I’m also the COO of Gideon Software, Inc., which offers chatbots, a first to market Chatbot Builder and predictive analytics created specifically for law firms. Find out more at www.gideon.legal.
And lastly, because I don’t have enough to do, you can listen to my other, other podcast, The Lobby List, a family travel show I host with my wife Jessica on iTunes. Subscribe, rate and comment.
But here, on The Legal Toolkit, which is why you are here, right, we provide you each month with a new tool to add to your own legal toolkit, so that your practices will become more and more like best practices.
In this episode, we’re going to talk about how law firms and legal technology vendors can work and better together. But before I introduce today’s guest, who I think is an expert in that area, let’s take a moment to thank our sponsors.
Answer 1 is a leading virtual receptionist and answering services provider for lawyers. You can find out more by giving them a call at 800-Answer-1 or online at www.answer1.com. That’s www.answer1.com.
Scorpion crushes the standard for law firm online marketing with proven campaign strategies to get attorneys better cases from the Internet. Partner with Scorpion to get an award-winning website and ROI positive marketing programs today. Visit scorpionlegal.com/podcast.
We would like to thank our sponsor Thomson Reuters Firm Central, cloud-based legal practice management that streamlines your day and automates non-billable administrative tasks, so you can accomplish more with less.
TimeSolv is the number one web-based time and billing software for lawyers. Providing solutions since 1999, TimeSolv provides the most comprehensive billing features for law firms, big and small, www.timesolv.com.
So my guest today is Patrick Palace, who is the Owner of Palace Law, a workers’ compensation and personal injury law firm in Washington State. Patrick is a former President of the Washington State Bar Association and is a current member of the National Council for Bar Presidents Executive Council.
Patrick is a regular speaker at National, State and local events for lawyers and lawyers groups, and he is also the owner of winery Sunken Cellars. Hey Patrick, welcome to the big show.
Patrick Palace: Hey man, thank you. Good to be here man.
Jared Correia: I can’t believe we haven’t had you on the show until this podcast. I am personally disappointed in myself.
Patrick Palace: Well, it’s an honor and I’m thankful and of the conversations we’ve had outside of any recording device, I can’t wait to see what happens when we actually have one of these babies in front of us.
Jared Correia: Let’s just hope those other conversations were not recorded. All right, let me start off with an icebreaker question which I like to do. Now, this is probably not going to help your business, let me warn you.
Patrick Palace: Okay.
Jared Correia: I hate wine.
Patrick Palace: All right, I am so warned.
Jared Correia: I like champagne, Baileys on the Rocks, it’s kind of my jam. So can you tell me, first of all, you’re my second favorite Washington wine cellar owner, after Drew Bledsoe.
Patrick Palace: Oh, I see where is this going.
Jared Correia: Yeah. So is there a wine I should drink that might convince me that wine is not all bad?
Patrick Palace: Yes, although you know for a guy like you, I start with this stomach right. We start with your food like I’m going to say a Midwest guy some big thick steak right, something you can throw on the barbecue. So what’s going to go with a guy who likes his potatoes and his big barbecued steak, I’m going to start you off with the cab.
So some great big fruit forward Cabernet to wash, to scour all the grease off your gums and tongue and help that steak become amazing, right, that’s how I get to guys like you.
Jared Correia: All right, oh that’s good, I’m a type, you had me down.
Patrick Palace: Am I wrong? Am I wrong?
Jared Correia: I’m scraping grease off myself, give me a second.
Patrick Palace: Baking a little pork, right, you are the guy who eats the 00:05:05 pizza, Cabernet is your thing.
Jared Correia: All right, all right, I’m going to try it and I’m going to get back to you. We’ll do another show and I’ll tell you what I think about it. So let’s do — I want to do some legal tech stuff.
Patrick Palace: Oh sure, sounds fun.
Jared Correia: Other than the fact that there are now rules or at least comments in place on this subject matter, like let me ask you generally, as an attorney who still practices, owns a law firm, manages that law firm, why is technology competence so important to modern lawyers?
Patrick Palace: Oh gosh, that was — was that the softball question?
Jared Correia: Yeah, or is it, maybe it’s not. I should ask another wine question.
Patrick Palace: Yeah, right. So I think that’s a really, really critical question and the challenge for being in this legal sphere of owning your own law firm and trying to practice law is that we many times are islands unto ourselves, and it’s hard for us when we sit in our silo to look out and see what’s happening in the rest of the world and see how we fit in.
But the reality is that the whole world is tech around us, the Amazons, the Netflix, the AI that’s out there, the abilities for seamless customer interactions for giving people exactly what they want, and somehow we live that in our everyday lives from all the cool stuff that’s inside of our cars to the way we order and get food through Uber Eats, right.
We ignore what that might look like when we turn our law firm in that direction and say, how do we make our law firm look more like the amazing rare products that are existing outside of law. And I think when we shine that kind of spotlight, we see the enormous gap that is opening up between the way we practice law and the way the rest of the world is functioning. And when you start to become more consumer-centric or client-centric and re-envision how your law firm can keep up with the times and the kind of customer services and opportunities that are outside of the law, then you start to see the advantages of what tech really means.
Tech is that bridge that helps us build a better consumer base, a better consumer experience, a more seamless opportunity to deliver legal services and see a legal system re-envisioned. And I think that’s why tech is important, because it helps us not just survive in law but thrive and indeed succeed when we start to put on the pair of glasses that goes from what’s best for me and instead what’s best for my client and tech is that bridge I think that helps build that out.
Jared Correia: Those are not Google Glasses, are they? That’s not what you’re talking about, right?
Patrick Palace: Not Google Glasses, they are not wine glasses but –
Jared Correia: Oh well played, how did you think about that? So yeah, I think that’s great answer, sort of beautiful in the way you spoke about building bridges, very nice. So I want to talk a little bit about like the lawyer persona and how they approach technology and not every lawyer approaches technology different — the same way rather.
I know lawyers who are very tech savvy, I know lawyers who are not tech savvy, and I don’t think the reputation that lawyers are not tech savvy applies across the board, the present company included. I know that like most lawyers I talked to want to do something else as well as practice law, you have a wine cellar.
I mean every lawyer is like that guy sitting at the bar in piano man, where Billy Joel is like, well, this person is doing this thing but they really want to do this. And a lot of lawyers have a secret desire to run software companies. So can you talk about how lawyers who still practice deal with that kind of existential crisis in terms of like how they work with technology companies?
Patrick Palace: Wow okay.
Jared Correia: How is that for a question? I know that was a long way there.
Patrick Palace: That’s a good question. I will start from the basic premise that most lawyers actually just want to practice law.
Jared Correia: Oh interesting.
Patrick Palace: Don’t make me market, don’t make me learn new tech, don’t — don’t, jeez, I just want to write pleadings and argue cases and meet with clients and don’t make me do anything else. I’m a lawyer, which is why I think so many lawyers really don’t like marketing. They don’t want to look at their books, they don’t want to manage money, they don’t want to do any of those things. They want to practice law.
And that’s where I think this all starts that it is really hard to step away from our pleadings, it’s really hard in a day when you’re trying just to make money and just to take care of your ethical duties, take care of clients, to step away and say oh, I need to invent a tech tool. Oh I need to do all these things to keep up with what the Joneses are doing.
The first step for any law firm is I think being able to step away and put down their practice of law and look at what it is you need to do and take time to do that. We tease in my office about it call it, navel-gazing, right, we need to take a few moments right to dream about what we want to do, to take a look at what we do, but you can’t do that when your face is so buried in your pleadings and you’re working on your arguments and discovery. You have to take that step back.
And for us in our office, we created a management team, put management meetings together, we get out of the office and have separate meetings, we can’t be distracted. I’ve stepped away from — I litigated for 25 years and now I’m stepping away from litigation and trial work, and even having clients, and it takes that I think to be able to envision what your law firm can be and to take time to change your law firm to be something that is new and to change the format or the way you practice for your workflows.
Jared Correia: All right, I just want to get a Billy Joel reference in there, honestly. I haven’t done it for a while. That’s great.
Jared Correia: Okay, yeah if you want to be a piano man, you got to stop playing piano once in a while.
Jared Correia: So in terms of way most lawyers then access software especially in the small firm environment, they’re buying like off-the-shelf software.
Patrick Palace: Right.
Jared Correia: How should law firms then choose software vendors that they want to work with, because I don’t think there’s enough focus on this for law firms? They don’t vet technology vendors probably as well as they should.
Patrick Palace: Yeah, I just finished doing a presentation with Andrew Elowitt, who is really an amazing consultant and we were talking kind of about change management, the human side of change, which includes bringing new software and how do you get the buy-in from your staff and how do you make these decisions.
And it’s a much longer conversation but I think at its base, I boil it down to two points, that if you’re thinking about new software or new tech or new anything, changing what you do inside your law firm for tech sake is a bad idea. Many times there are simple solutions that are personnel based, that are a workflow based, that have nothing to do with tech whatsoever.
If tech is a solution then it for us it has to pass two tests; is it scalable or does it have a real short dead end? You do it for — you create something and then you can’t expand to two other attorneys in your firm, right. So it has to be scalable far beyond your horizon.
And second, it has to be more efficient and save money, right. If you’re creating a tech tool or you want a tech tool and it’s not saving you money, it’s not significantly more efficient then just say no, don’t, don’t do it.
So if you’re choosing some technology out there, if it’s scalable and if it is efficient and you can afford it, it pays for itself with opportunity cost, with saved time, with decreased employee use, you should need to go through that vetting process.
Simple things, it’s nice to have a consultant, it’s nice to look at multiple vendors, it’s nice to bring it in to your staff and have your staff talk about it and see what problems they have. Everyone has a little different lens and with they evaluate things, make sure you understand what the needs of your staff are, not just your needs and don’t foist anything on your team. Do it as a group, get ownership from everybody, get buy-in, make sure everyone understands, be transparent and then bringing your new piece of tech if all of those things can be accomplished.
That’s really the shortest version. It’s a much longer story as you can imagine.
Jared Correia: No, but I think the idea of scale is not necessarily something that the law firms think about on a regular basis in terms of technology, it’s just kind of happens and then the cost efficiency thing is something they do think about, but bringing in all those other pieces I think is really useful. So that’s helpful.
Believe it or not, we’re already at the end of part one of the podcast, and my internal clock is telling me we need to take a break. Here are some things you should buy.
Do you feel like your marketing efforts aren’t getting you the high value cases your firm deserves? For over 15 years, Scorpion has helped thousands of law firms, just like yours, to attract new cases and to grow their practices. As a Google Premier Partner and winner of Google’s Platform Innovator Award, Scorpion has the right resources and technology to aggressively market your law firm and to generate better cases from the Internet. For more information, visit scorpionlegal.com/podcast today.
Imagine billing day being the happiest day of the month instead of the day you dread. Nobody went to law school because they love drafting invoices for clients. At TimeSolv, our attorneys save on average over eight hours a month in billing work. That means more billable time and turning billing day into happy day. Learn more about how to get to your time and billing happy place at timesolv.com. That’s www.timesolv.com. Remember, that’s timesolv.com.
Jared Correia: Hey everybody. Thanks for staying on. I started to make some blueberry muffins from scratch, but I’m back now and I’m here talking with Patrick Palace of Palace Law. We’re here podcasting about the way that law firms can work with technology vendors in a better fashion, more suitable fashion. I know I couldn’t think of a great adjective for that.
So we talked generally in the first half of the show Patrick, but let’s kind of think about a situation now where a law firm is a potential beta user for a technology product.
Patrick Palace: Okay.
Jared Correia: And in that case, it’s somewhat more of a partnership than anything else. This is not a full-scale saleable product at that point. How do you think law firms are advantaged by working with legal technology vendors, especially new legal technology vendors because, there are so many startups now; and conversely, how are legal technology vendors advantage by working with law firms?
Patrick Palace: Well there has to be a good fit. But let me start from like a 10,000 foot view.
Jared Correia: Yes, that’d be great.
Patrick Palace: I feel like sometimes there are law firms say gosh, I wish we had X, Y and Z, but I have absolutely no idea how to do that. And then there’s tech firms out there like God, we’ve created this amazing tool but what do we do with it, right, how do we — who wants this thing and it’s bringing the idea of fire and wheel together and somehow you create this car.
I love the idea of a chocolate and peanut butter bumping into each other, right.
Jared Correia: I enjoy that as well, yes.
Patrick Palace: So that’s often times where law firms are, and so the advantage is that law firms are full of ideas. They know what they want, they know what they need, they just have no idea how to get it. And tech companies are full of the ability to give us deliverables, but don’t know who wants it or how it can be used.
So when you bring those two together, it’s really a beautiful partnership. I mean it’s a love affair where a law firm says tech company please develop this tool for me and tech company develops that tool and both get to thrive from that, because they can beta test it together. The law firm knows exactly what it needs and exactly how it should work and the developing company can fine tune it, until it gets easier and easier and easier to use and delivers more and more value.
And at the end of that relationship, the law firm has a tool they can integrate into their workflow or into their communication system or their case management system or their chatbot or whatever else. And the tech company then has a tool, they say aha, if it works for this everyday law firm with everyday needs, maybe I can scale that out then and sell this to the other several hundred thousand law firms across the country.
And so there’s ways, I think there’s a win-win for both sides provided they find each other, right and with those ideas.
Jared Correia: Yeah, absolutely. Need Tinder for –
Patrick Palace: Absolutely, I mean I said that, that’s exactly what we did, right.
Jared Correia: Did I steal that from you? I might have subconsciously stolen that from you.
Patrick Palace: Yeah, no, we have created the idea of having this website to marketplace to bring in great ideas from law firms and great ideas from developed companies and letting them match.
Jared Correia: Yeah man, swipe right. All right, so let’s talk a little bit about how this works in larger law firms and see if that could work in smaller law firms. So my wife works for a larger law firm and I know whenever I talk to her about legal technology, she’s like oh we just build that in-house, which is fine, I accept that. But what I’ve seen some larger law firms doing now is inviting tech companies in through the essentially accelerator incubator programs and allowing them to essentially run a beta, close beta on their staff and kind of test out products.
And in some cases they are actually taking equity interests in companies. Do you think that smaller firms could do similar things or do you think it’s kind of like beyond the scope of what they can do given all the other concerns they have?
Patrick Palace: The short answer is any firm can do this. The longer answer is how risk-averse are most lawyers and small firms?
Jared Correia: Yes.
Patrick Palace: I think that there’s definitely an advantage for those firms who are willing to venture outward and to create tools and let me say this, I guess the starting point, there’s a lot of really cool tools that are coming to lawyers and are running around the tech show last week in Chicago and seeing just the hundreds of vendors.
Everybody with this really cool product, great ideas. It’s getting easier and easier to have and an out of the box turnkey tool you just plug into your law firm and go. I’ve come up and I know you come up through this era where we’ve had to create and envision and dream our own products, because there was nobody out there who was creating what we needed.
And these days the out-of-the-box products were getting faster and faster and more and more of them. So the idea that we have to now create a customized tool to satisfy our legal needs within our firm is I think diminishing, it gets a little bit easier these days to go out and find a tool that’s out there.
Jared Correia: Yeah.
Patrick Palace: But if you want to create that tool, I think the opportunities are out there because developers are hungry and there’s lots of people who see that this — what’s called a 300 billion to trillion dollar untapped legal market that lawyers are not able to access.
Because we cost too much and we don’t have consumer-centric tools to access it, is a really big motivator for law firms to say if I could double, quadruple or take over my entire state as monopoly, and give legal service to all these people that need me simply by finding a tech tool that leverages what I do, use AI to recreate myself a thousand times over and be available online for all of my potential clients 24/7 while I sleep and the money gets churned, some excitement happens.
People get thrilled about this idea and they think, I can do this and that’s when these tech startups begin or these tech relationships begin when people begin to envision outside of their everyday box where they do all of their work with their pleadings and paper and all of that. I start to see a very different world that looks again more like the Amazon or the Netflix world of legal.
Jared Correia: Yeah, literally thinking outside of the box. So we talked a little bit about the scenario where a law firm engages a tech company during a beta period either in-house or out-of-house. What happens when the beta period ends? How should a law firm continue to engage technology and potentially the vendor as well, because I think that a lot of people are said it and forget it?
Patrick Palace: Well, there is a couple answers to that, but maybe if I just share kind of a story in my firm, it’s a way to answer that question with history.
Jared Correia: Yes, go for it.
Patrick Palace: So we started with the idea that there’s a lot of stuff that we needed and we had no idea how to create it. You watch what’s going on Twitter and this conversation comes all the time, should lawyers be learning how to code? Should I be learning how to code? Should all lawyers know how to code?
Is that a fundamental part of our practice or what, and I am a firm believer that lawyers don’t have to learn to code, or really know anything about code, all they have to do is have a little vision about what they need and then start pairing up people have expertise that we don’t and bringing together partnerships to create tools using the people who have the expertise and have the abilities to do it.
And so, we started doing that in our firm and we started creating tools that we didn’t have before. We reached out to a company and said, can you go and scrape a government website of all the information relevant to our clients and dump it into our computers every morning where we could sort it and give it to everybody who is working on individual cases.
So we created this partnership with MetaJure, who created this key to scrape government website and provide us all the information about all of our cases days before the government was ever going to send it out in the mail or anything else. And then they can go off and share that key with everybody else. We didn’t make a joint venture on that. We just paired up and shared ideas.
Jared Correia: Yeah, no that’s fantastic.
Patrick Palace: We did another project with another tech company. We wanted all of our mail that was now electronic and are paperless system, all of our mailing, 500 pieces of mail that come in every day. We got tired of having one person name each piece of mail and put it into our database. And so we worked with a company to create a tool that auto-named every piece of mail and dropped it in to our database.
Jared Correia: That’s awesome.
Patrick Palace: And then from there it gets send on to everybody’s Trello board, so when you come into work in the morning all of your mail, all of the pleadings, all of the letters, all of the everything has been standardized, has been identified, has been placed into our Clio’s, we use our case management system database and then it’s placed on our Trello board as new mail for the day to go through and to take whatever action you need to.
Jared Correia: That’s fantastic. Those are two great applications. And you do that more often than these just two instances.
Patrick Palace: Yeah, I think we are on like our eighth partnership with a different tech company now.
Jared Correia: Nice.
Patrick Palace: But what we learned along the way was — I mean at first, the idea was all we want is essentially a free tool or a low-cost tool, and we’ll put in the elbow grease, we’ll put in the time to help beta test it, develop it and the company we work with, puts in the time to give us the tool and then they can go and sell it and use it, right.
Jared Correia: Yeah.
Patrick Palace: We did another one and a shout-out to Allen Rodriguez on ONE400, we wanted a tool that can tell everybody what the value of their case was with just a couple of questions. And so we partnered with them and created a tool online on our website where anybody who wants to come there and answer a couple questions will tell you the value of their case to the dollar and our idea was we wanted to keep our state government honest, because this is what the value of — what volume of your case is worth and you should know that and not settle for a penny less, and it was a free service. It’s free on the front page, our homepage of our website.
And so we partnered with Allen’s company to build that tool and they built it to us really inexpensively and now, they go and sell it to firms across the country and make good money off that. And that’s really a good model I think.
But as time has evolved we’ve said, maybe we should keep a piece of that, right. I mean we have these really great ideas, maybe we should keep a piece of that.
Jared Correia: That’s right. Well give it all that.
Patrick Palace: So we started creating joint ventures with the next couple of iterations of companies that we worked with, with the idea that we would develop it and then keep a piece of that pie and then help market it outward.
And one of the examples of that is we have partnered with Tom Martin of LawDroid, and I really thought it would be cool rather than having to talk to Siri or Cortana or Alexa, why can’t I just talk to my computer and do everything legal, like why don’t we have voice commands for everything that I do and so we started with Clio, and we turned all of the Clio functions into voice commands. So in our office we can just talk to our computer and not use the keyboard.
And so that was a joint venture with Tom Martin and we created LawDroid Voice, and that is now being beta tested and anybody can go online and beta test that with us, and we are about to release a mobile version of it. So that’s going very quickly. It’s example of what a joint partnership looks like, where we kept a piece of that for ourselves. So we continued to grow it and share it and work it outward.
Jared Correia: See that you’re doing all those things I was talking about before as a small firm. I want everybody know out there that you can do that as well.
Thanks Patrick, this has been a great discussion so far.
Patrick Palace: Yeah.
Jared Correia: So, we are through the beta, now we’re going to move on to the marketable product in the third phase of our podcast. While I look for the playing UNO card set that’s not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one, listen to these words from our sponsors.
Is your firm experiencing missed calls, empty voicemail boxes, and potential clients you will never hear from again? Enter Answer 1 Virtual Receptionists. They are more than just an answering service. Answer 1 is available 24/7. They can even schedule appointments, respond to emails, integrate with Clio, and much more. Answer 1 helps make sure your clients have the experience they deserve. Give them a call yourself at 800-Answer-1 or visit them at answer1.com/podcast for a special offer.
Firm Central, cloud-based legal practice management software for solo and small firms, provides a single online location for all of the tools you need to manage client files and perform client work, and offers unrivaled integration with Westlaw. With Firm Central, you can securely store and organize documents and case files, manage time-tracking and billables, and collaborate with clients through a secure client portal from anywhere there is an Internet connection.
Jared Correia: All right, thanks for coming back once again. I hope you are enjoying your salty opposition of progress. Let’s get back to our conversation with Patrick Palace of Palace Law who is talking to me about ways that law firms and legal tech providers can work closely together.
And if you have listened to him before the break, he had several specific examples of that.
So when law firms work closely with technology vendors, Patrick, I am wondering if it actually helps them to better understand technology or is it kind of difficult to gain a broader perspective when you’re working with only like a single type of technology at one time. And I think your practice is different in that you work with a bunch of different vendors, but I don’t think that’s the case with most law firms.
Patrick Palace: At the TECHSHOW, I listen to Ed Walters. I always listen to Ed Walters.
Jared Correia: A good thing to do, yes. Always a good plan.
Patrick Palace: I have known him for years and he just never ceases to impress me with the new directions that he is going and the new tools that he has to share. And every time I think I get a grip around where technology is heading or the kind of things technology can do, he completely and utterly blows me away with the potential that’s out there, and this whole AI potential is incredible.
So whether or not lawyers can pretend to understand tech or know how tech works or understand the horizons of tech, I think everyone can take ownership of the idea that they know what they need and they can create a vision of what they could have or create or build or some idea of the limits of their potential and then it’s just a matter of finding someone who has the ability to bring that to fruition.
Frequently, I talk about my position to top of this pyramid of my firm just as a visionary and that sounds rather egotistical. I don’t mean it to sound quite that way. I do admit intend to say that if we sit back in our chairs and just think about what it is we need and the possibilities of how we get it, chances are there’s somebody out there in the tech world that can make it come to life today.
And the more that you are linked to those people in our legal space and in technology that are making these things happen, the closer you are to finding them, talking with them, pairing with them, building something cool or adapting something cool and breaking your firm into territory that you never thought possible when you are island on your desk, siloed in pleadings.
Jared Correia: I like how you brought that back. Nice call back to the first part of the show. All right, here’s a big question for you. So get settled. Let’s imagine a world in which alternative business structures are allowed in the United States, like they are allowed in the United Kingdom. Would you personally view that as a positive development and then how would that change all this stuff we’re talking about, the way that lawyers and legal tech vendors can work together?
Patrick Palace: Yeah, I’ve been a proponent of it for years, and as you know, and I am sure your listeners know, the barrier to that happening — I mean and there’s a number of them frankly, but the one that’s front and center is RPC and Ethics Rule 5.4 about sharing attorney’s fees, right. We can’t share with non-lawyers. And as long as that rule is firmly rooted in as a barrier, then we are unable to share our fees and if we can’t share our fees what’s the advantage to having for an outside company that has expertise to come into legal space, right. They can’t make money, they can’t make profit, they are locked out. And that’s a big problem.
So I think when we talk about alternative business structures, we have to talk about the pieces that build up to it, and one of those pieces is being able to share fees, because if we can share fees then we can share profit. If we can share profit, there’s a profit motive for people to come in with investment money and all the other areas of expertise that are excluded from the practice of law right now.
We practice law but we don’t do anything else, right. We are not tech experts, we’re not marketing experts, we’re not accounting experts, right. We’re not investment capital experts, we’re not anything experts. We know how to practice law and that’s what we do.
And so we open up those doors and we can bring in all these other experts and form all these other collaborations to really explode into what our full potential really is. I use the example of airports and airplanes and the whole travel industry. If we put everything on two pilots and said, you have a license to fly planes, go, we would never have had airports. We have never had the travel industry. We would have never had any of these things, right, because pilots don’t know how to do anything but fly planes.
And yet look at how rich that tapestry of that industry is, because it’s not limited to pilots controlling everything and by the same token if we as lawyers open up the doors to create these airports of opportunity and open up this market, I think all of us become far more successful and here’s the bigger piece of all of this is that if 70%, 80% maybe of the people out there who need legal services can’t get them because we form a barrier that they can’t get through, because they can’t afford us. We can’t cut costs down. By opening up all these doors with fee sharing and investment and alternative business structures suddenly we open up the door to make law accessible to the rest of this 300 billion to trillion dollar latent market that can’t get in and can’t find us.
There’s really good reasons for alternative business structures, but before we go there and there are a number of states looking at it; Washington State has played with this idea, Utah is playing with this idea, right. California with their landscape report and their condition is now looking at this idea. We need to find a way for sure that gives very solid reasons to market to and to sell to the people that need practice and need law the most.
Jared Correia: Yeah.
Patrick Palace: If you really don’t have incentives or maybe subsidies or tax credits or legislative fixes to drive this new joint ventures into providing law to everybody who needs it, then we are just doing what they are doing in the UK, which I think is just driving the law into bigger and bigger corporations and making a fewer group more wealthy.
So alternative business structures are great, but I think we need to do it in a way that really is focusing a law for all, not more money for a few.
Jared Correia: Yeah, great, I like your airport analogy too.
Patrick Palace: Yeah good.
Jared Correia: Just like some version of TSA Pre is available in that hypothetical Airport and I am down.
So last technical question for you. I know we talked about this a little bit, but like are there instances that you believe where it is still okay or advisable for law firms to build their own software without the aid of a company or a vendor?
Patrick Palace: It just depends who you are. If you are David Colarusso, then you’re doing that every day for lunch. And during your lunch break you’re creating a new tool, right yeah, right what’s for breakfast. I think I am going to make this new tool.
But not all of us can be David Colarussos and not all of us can be —
Jared Correia: If only —
Patrick Palace: Ticking question-and-answer markup and creating solutions to our legal problems. But I think the opportunity is out there for the right lawyer who — this makes them happy. I mean follow your passion. I have a winery, not because I’m a lawyer, because it’s my passion to do these things. Follow your passion where is your side hustle, go for it man. Make your life happy. Live it to the fullest.
If coding and creating tools is your jam, for God’s sake go out there and do it and make yourself happy. For the rest of those folks out there who might want these tools but don’t feel confident, and frankly it doesn’t make them super excited and sit down and code, then go partner up with people who make that their thing and it’s their expertise and then together build something fabulous or for everyone else, go find out-of-the-box product and buy it and thrive that way. I mean everybody should find what makes them happy and create a firm that does what they wanted to do.
Jared Correia: Nice. All right, let’s talk about jams. I was reading your website bio. You rock hard is what I hear, like your kids tell you to turn the music down, right?
Patrick Palace: Yeah.
Jared Correia: So, what I want to know is what is the most embarrassing album you own? Because I feel like we’re in the same age bracket and that you probably own albums at some point or CDs at least, and if it helps, if it helps to push this long I will name mine as well.
Patrick Palace: Oh all right, I see where this is going. The idea of owning albums these days totally dates me dude. I can’t believe you threw me into that bus, but yes I have.
Jared Correia: I am staring you like a stack of record albums right now. I am throwing myself under the same bus. We are there together.
Patrick Palace: I’ve been buying my son these new LPs, because he loves his turntable and so it’s all cool again, all over again and so we’ve been buying things like –
Jared Correia: Retro.
Patrick Palace: Boston albums, he loves Boston, he loves Old Journey.
Jared Correia: Oh Boston is good, yeah.
Patrick Palace: I bought him AC/DC Back in Black, right. So I mean these are fun albums back today, but if you want to know mine embarrassing collection, I’m afraid you have to go back to the 80s, and it’s things like Culture Club or Adam Ant or –
Jared Correia: Nice, nice.
Patrick Palace: Human League or something like that.
Jared Correia: I like Adam Ant, I got to say.
Patrick Palace: Yeah, yeah okay.
Jared Correia: I had an Adam Ant cassette single, I remember that very well.
Patrick Palace: Yeah. But you got to reach back there way I think to embarrass me. I have a pretty broad collection of music and I listen to everything all the time. In fact, we actually sponsor a rock concert every year. My office has a back stage party. We bring on about 20 bands, 15,000 people every night for a couple of nights.
Jared Correia: Oh wow.
Patrick Palace: Yeah, it’s called Pain in the Grass, it’s a big deal here in the northwest. Super fun to go to and it’s all metal, it’s all metal, and that’s kind of our thing. It’s my balance between yogi winemaker, maybe a little bit of a head banger law. It’s — I know –
Jared Correia: You’re just a Renaissance man, that’s all.
Patrick Palace: Yeah. You find your passions, you know you meet them wherever you find them. And so yes, I’m one of those embarrassing parents whose children are probably better mannered and listen to music quieter than I do.
Jared Correia: I feel your pain. This has been a fun discussion.
Patrick Palace: But you didn’t say your album, you didn’t say your album?
Jared Correia: Oh, I thought you were going to forget about that. I’m going to have to go with Wilson Phillips debut album 1990. I love that.
Patrick Palace: Wow, yeah.
Jared Correia: I mean I was into Chynna Phillips a little bit, but like, I kind of liked the music too.
Patrick Palace: All right.
Jared Correia: Right now, that’s out there.
Patrick Palace: Okay.
Jared Correia: I should — I’m trying to think of a cool album I have now as well, but I’m just going to drop this before it gets any worse.
So we’ve reached the end of yet another episode of The Legal Toolkit podcast. This was the podcast about law firms’ legal technology vendors working better together, and we’ve been talking with the one and only Patrick Palace of Palace Law.
Now I’ll be back on future shows with further insights into My Soul, the Soul of America and the Legal Market.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for my dulcet tones, however you can check out our entire show archive anytime you want at legaltalknetwork.com.
So thanks again to Patrick Palace of Palace Law for making an appearance as my guest today.
All right Patrick, can you tell everybody how they can find out more about you and Palace Law and Sunken Cellars and your concert series or whatever else you want to tell people about.
Patrick Palace: Yeah, thank you. I’m happy to have this conversation. We started these conversations on a podcast and they tend to bloom. Find me on @PalaceLaw on Twitter or email me at [email protected] Website is palacelaw.com. Call me, I don’t care. Let’s, if you have ideas and want to exchange thoughts or partner up or whatever, come find me, I love the conversations.
Jared Correia: Call this man. So once again, that’s Patrick Palace of Palace Law.
Finally thanks to all you out there for listening. This has been The Legal Toolkit Podcast, where we all our navy beans because they’re good roughage.
Outro: Thanks for listening to Legal Toolkit, produced by the broadcast professionals at Legal Talk Network. Join host Jared Correia for his next podcast covering the current business trends for law firms.
If you would like more information about today’s show, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Subscribe via iTunes and RSS. Find Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn or download the free app from Legal Talk Network in Google Play and iTunes.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Legal Toolkit highlights services, ideas, and programs that will improve lawyers' practices and workflow.
Patrick Palace give tips on how lawyers and legal tech vendors can develop better working relationships.
Michael Carroll explains the intricacies of professional liability insurance.
Tim Baran talks about the elements of great podcasting.
Susan Smith Blakely talks about her latest book, “What Millennial Lawyers Want: A Bridge From Past to Future Law Practice.”
Robert Brink and Fred Cohen talk about how legal organizations and legal tech vendors can work together more effectively.
Mary Juetten talks about her new book, “The Business of Legal: The Data-Driven Law Practice.”