Kimberly Rice is the president and chief strategist at KLA Marketing Associates. Nationally recognized as one of the top...
Jared D. Correia, Esq. is the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law firm business...
Many lawyers believe simply doing good work gives them complete job security, but in the end, much of your career may be in the hands of others. Kimberly Rice joins Jared Correia to share tactics lawyers can use to take command of their professional lives. Kimberly explains the basics of business for lawyers and gives concrete steps for developing a business owner mentality. Later, Kim reveals her “secret sauce” for marketing that helps lawyers create a prosperous personal brand in the business world.
Kimberly Rice is the president and chief strategist at KLA Marketing Associates.
The Legal Toolkit
Taking Ownership of Your Legal Career
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: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of the award-winning Legal Toolkit Podcast, here on the Legal Talk Network. If you were looking for Spoilers for Avengers Endgame, I’m not going to do that to you, but you should check out LeSean McCoy’s Twitter account if that’s what you want for a good laugh.
If you are a returning listener, welcome back. If you are a first-time listener, hopefully you will become a longtime listener, and if you are still over stimulated on peeps after Easter, it’s time to slow your role.
As always, I am your show host Jared Correia, and in addition to casting this pod, I am 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.
I am 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 because I don’t have enough to do, I also co-host another podcast with my wife, Jessica, it’s called The Lobby List podcast focused on family travel because that’s something we do also. It’s on iTunes. Subscribe, rate and comment.
But here, on The Legal Toolkit, which you are turned into listen to, we provide you twice 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.
And in this episode, we are going to talk about Taking Control of your Legal Career. But before I introduce today’s guest, let’s take a moment to thank our sponsors who make this all possible.
Nexa, formerly known as Answer1, is a leading virtual receptionist and answering service provider for law firms. Learn more by giving them a call at 800-267-9371 or online at www.nexa.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.
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. That’s TimeSolv.
My guest today is Kimberly Rice, who is the President and Chief Strategist at KLA Marketing Associates. Nationally recognized as one of the top leaders in law firm business development strategy, Kimberly collaborates with lawyers and law firms of all sizes to guide them in building, growing, and sustaining a prosperous business and educating them on how to exceed clients’ expectations and increase revenue.
Kimberly is the author of “Rainmaking Roadmap: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Prosperous Business”, which is available on Amazon, and is a frequent speaker on a wide array of business growth topics.
Bringing more than 25 years of experience as a professional services marketer, strategist, communications specialist and entrepreneur to bear on behalf of her clients, Kimberly and her team provide practical solutions for law firms’ most challenging business development and growth issues.
Kimberly also founded the Women in Law Rainmaker Forum to co-create positive change with women lawyers who are seeking to jump-start their business development efforts and create the career of their dreams via group learning, peer mentoring and masterminding business challenges.
Kimberly, welcome to the big show, we appreciate it.
Kimberly Rice: It’s my pleasure to be here Jared. Thank you for inviting me.
Jared Correia: Oh, this is great. I’ve been wanting to have you on, so I’m glad we can do it. Let’s get started. You’re going to talk a little bit later about the secret sauce for a law firm marketing and that’s just a tease, we’re going to do that later on.
Kimberly Rice: Okay.
Jared Correia: But you actually sent me a bottle of hot sauce and it was good. I’m a hot sauce kind of guy. So let me ask you, as a purveyor of hot sauce in addition to being a marketing consultant, do you actually like spicy food or do your taste run more mild, and if you are a spicy food person, do you have a favorite type of hot pepper, is it the ghost pepper?
Kimberly Rice: Not a trick question. It’s interesting Jared that in my younger life I loved spicy food, in my mind I still love spicy food, but my GI tract does not. So it depends on how adventurous I’m feeling on any particular given day, if I’m willing to sacrifice my GI well-being, I may dive in, but most time sadly I do not.
Jared Correia: Well how much milk you have on hand potentially as well?
Kimberly Rice: None. Can’t do that either.
Jared Correia: That’s fair. Well I, I enjoy spicy food every now and then, GI tract is doing all right and I thought your secret sauce was really good. We will talk about the marketing secret sauce in a little bit, but today we are going to talk about one of my favorite subjects which is “Taking Ownership”, I’m doing air quotes right now of real law firm career, even if you’re working for somebody else, and this is something like I’ve advocated for, for years like. I feel like a lot of people who are associates or employees of law firms are like, oh this is great.
Somebody else is taking care of this, they’re going to get me clients, they’re going to make me money, but there are a whole host of reasons why you want to create your own brand and why you want to market yourself even if you’re working for somebody else.
I do think this is a tough concept for a lot of people to wrap their heads around though, so can you tell us why it’s such an important thing to do as a law firm associate or employee of law firm?
Kimberly Rice: Absolutely. Thank you for the question. It’s one of my favorite topics for the fact that when students or when people go, individuals go to law school and they’re — take three years out of their life and invest substantially in their law school education and come out and do practice privately in a law firm, I have seen over 25 plus years that they are not prepared — they’re not prepared nor educated.
And so basically it boils down to one question or statement. There are two kinds of lawyers, those who have their own business and those who work for those who do and if a lawyer doesn’t have her own book of clients they are highly vulnerable for being terminated from their law firm when the work slows down.
We learned this in no greater proportion than during the Great Recession of 2008 to 2010, when the work slowed down, the legal pie is shrinking and management views non-producing lawyers as overhead and when they’re looking to cut their way to a profit, lawyers who have no or very few originations are some of the very first to go.
We work and have worked for many, many years with lawyers of every type, every area practice, all over the country, and we’ve seen that there’s no job security whatsoever working in private practice and quite frankly they limit their income possibility as being constantly fed work by other lawyers, partners primarily. And if we think about it, lawyers are unlikely to reach their career fulfillment depending upon partners who feed them work.
So if their source of client matters decides to pick up and go elsewhere, or they retire or they may pass away, all of a sudden the lawyer doesn’t have any work and they’re highly susceptible to layoff. We’ve seen this time and time again.
So the thought that if lawyers do good work then they’re secure, those days are absolutely history. The marketplace is too competitive, the legal demand is shrinking in too many sectors and the clients are in the power seats.
Jared Correia: Yeah, right, that’s like a bedtime story that lawyers tell each other, which is like, if I do good work I’ll be fine. They love that, that’s like a crutch for a lot of lawyers.
Kimberly Rice: I just smacked my head, SMH, when I hear that, because there’s too many. I mean the bottom line is Jared there’s just — you know I mean according to the National Law Placement Society are right now, but the National Association of Law Placement, there’s so many statistics and data analytics available that shows that the US law schools are turning out thirty five, 30,000 to 35,000 new lawyers every year. We’ve never had more lawyers than there are today. And so you have that as an access with the converging access that in many sectors the legal demand is shrinking and so that creates a real problem for people.
Jared Correia: Absolutely, and this notion of like protecting yourself from vulnerability, sourcing your own work is a really good thing for everybody, not for lawyers, not just for lawyers I should say.
But I think like, I think this whole notion is like something that I can ride with as well, but like I think for many attorneys, especially practicing attorneys who are like head down on their work that requires like a massive mindset change for them. So how do lawyers take ownership of their careers by making a shift in the way that they think?
Kimberly Rice: Well I’m so glad you asked this question. As I described in tremendously great detail in my book ‘Rainmaker Roadmap’, there are three pillars to a prosperous service business. Number one, relationship building is the number one cornerstone to any service business without ongoing meaningful relationship building with people who have the decision-making and financial power authority to retain you for your services, Mr. and Ms. Lawyer or those who can refer to those people who can.
Without doing those two things within the context of relationship building, you’re just dead in the water.
Number two, reputation enhancing. So you could be the best securities attorney or commercial litigator and they are out and standing the head shoulders above your competitors, but if the right people don’t know about you, then the cash register is not going to ring in and your client base is not going to be enhanced.
And then thirdly, contact management. I mean there’s never been a time more than right now in the history of mankind and womankind where there are so many vehicles and technologies to get and stay connected with contacts, prospects, referral sources and existing clients.
So literally a lawyer must shift and take responsibility by engaging in proactive developing a business plan that integrates tactics of these three requisite pillars. In the relationship building efforts, lawyers must absolutely identify their ideal client.
We work with so many lawyers that when we ask them what is the profile of your ideal client they have no concept. And they say, well I just do the work that I’m given. I’m like but don’t you understand, if you’re going to be barred at the bar to the bar, some industry association, you need to know who are the most likely people to retain you, because you can’t be everywhere nor should you. So where they go to professional development then the lawyers need to go where those folks go. When they’re targeted networking in those situations they need to focus on cultivating meaningful relationships that can lead to client retention.
So lawyers prospects problems, they need to understand how they can solve them and then to eloquently or concretely articulate that to the prospects and that can be done many, many different ways. We have all kinds of content delivery models, blogs, video, interviews all types of techniques and tactics that we can help lawyers and lawyers can leverage on their own to expand these relationships and to build their own personal brand.
Another aspect and it’s incredibly important is for lawyers that they must get and stay connected with their referral sources, their prospects and contacts, whether that’s in-person and a combination of in-person and indirect tactics that we call, whether that’s social media, recordings, conferences, lunch and learns, going on-site, there’s a whole host of tactics in the toolkit.
But I say all that to say that lawyers must take responsibility for building relationships, their reputation, grow in their contacts with the right individuals that will lead to retention and know, this is one thing that I say to our clients all the time, implementing all these steps are not easy nor is it a quick fix, particularly with when you have a full workload, but it’s absolutely imperative if they’re set on building a prosperous business.
Jared Correia: Yeah, I especially like this point you make about finding decision-makers who will buy legal services, because that’s one of the hardest things to do here.
So I think you’re right that like every associate should also have a business plan, even though I think many of them don’t bother to do that.
Kimberly Rice: Most of them don’t. I mean associates, partners, managing partners, practice group leaders, honest to god, I mean they really, really don’t — they don’t know and the reason that they don’t do is they don’t know what — they don’t know even know what goes into it. They don’t even mean it’s not like it’s some document that is going to be certified or whatever, it’s a living breathing document, but it helps give direction and concrete action steps to take on a regular basis which takes us to the secret sauce, and we could talk about that.
Jared Correia: Hold on, we are not talking about secret sauce, yeah.
Kimberly Rice: Yep, I know I just mentioned it, I’m not going to say what it is.
Jared Correia: That’s a perfect tease as we go into our first break. Let’s take a quick break, we’ll come back, here are some of the things you should buy.
If you’re missing calls, appointments and potential clients, it’s time to work with Nexa Professional. More than just an answering service, Nexa’s virtual receptionists are available 24/7 to schedule appointments, qualify leads, respond to emails, integrate with your firm’s software, and much, much more. Nexa ensures your clients have the experience they deserve. Give them a call at 800-267-9371 or visit them at nexa.com/podcast for a very special offer.
Jared Correia: Thanks for sticking around. Now that I have finished cleaning up under the couch. Hey, look I found an old pretzel ball, just another day.
Let’s get back to talking with Kimberly Rice of KLA Marketing Associates. We are here talking about how to take ownership of your legal career even if you are a associate, so let’s get back to it.
Kimberly, we just talked about this idea of having a mindset change before you can start to really market and brand yourself as an associate attorney. How does that mindset changed materially impact the lawyer’s ability to attract new clients or service existing clients, because that changes as well, right?
Kimberly Rice: It does, and you know here is one of the unfortunate things that happen and I was in, I worked inside three different law firms for almost 20 years cumulatively. So I was part of the – I understand that culture, I was part of the what they call the non-lawyers C-Suite as Chief Marketing Officer for some pretty good sized firms.
And what happens and I feel really sad about this and that is when lawyers come out of law school, it’s kind of like being a senior of your class in college or high school, it’s like all of a sudden you’re the lowest man, woman on the totem pole, and it can be psychologically jarring if you will to come in knowing that you basically now know nothing once again.
So oftentimes when an associate starts at a firm as a brand new associate, it’s they’re still wet behind the ears and they are told that they’re the low woman on the totem pole once again.
And I — when I coach new lawyers I say, don’t let the label throw you, so what. You still have a whole list of business development initiatives that you can take first year out day one, and we do a lot of coaching around that.
And so from the very first day of the legal practice lawyers can take control of where they are commiserate to their level, and what I mean by that is that for the first several years they have to understand that their internal clients are their partners who are teaching them mentoring etc, but they need to get and stay in contact with their law school colleagues and classmates, they need to get involved in the Alumni Association, there are things that they can do very first year.
We actually outlined a bunch of this and all kinds of content we have on our website from first year to twelfth year, what an attorney should be doing as far as proactive activity and the mindset that has to happen and this is really very fundamental. Lawyers have to realize that if it is to be, it’s up to me.
No one’s going to hand them a book of business, they’re not going to inherent clients from retiring lawyers and once lawyers understand the business of law, which most of them do not come in into a law firm, it’s never taught in law school, it’s not taught at law firms and they accept that they must own their own professional destiny, then these realizations change how and where they allocate their time.
And that’s huge, because time now all of a sudden is a very short circuited commodity because of the billable hour requirements, but it changes how they perceive networking and organizational involvements and perhaps even opportunities and resources that their firm’s will afford them.
I mean when you’re in a firm there’s all kinds of resources that help and encourage you to get out and about and to get to know clients, but then as is the business cycle moves forward if lawyers have existing clients or they have close relationships with other, with clients of other partners, then thinking as a business owner will make a huge difference in checking in with clients frequently even though they may not even have an active matter.
They assume a leadership position for the relationship, business owner thinking lawyers care in a different way for their clients and look out for their best interests as opposed to someone who’s just bill on those hours out the wazoo and wanting to get out the door and get on home to do whatever they do.
But a business owner thinking lawyer wants to help their clients and prospects and contacts stay ahead of the upcoming landmines in their industry. So behavior change follows mindset shift. It’s a game changer in how lawyers approach their professional journey.
Jared Correia: I like how you structured that. All right, so bringing this home, let’s get down to brass tacks, because this is what people are going to want to know about. What are some concrete steps that lawyers can take to kind of seize on this business owner mentality when they’re working for somebody else, how can they move this forward in a practical way?
Kimberly Rice: Absolutely, and this is what it’s all about, it’s like how can I make this happen. First, lawyers must get educated specifically on how law firms make money as it relates to them. They need to know how much they need to bill and collect to break-even. At the end of the day, the management committee leadership views every attorney as a production unit.
Kimberly Rice: There is a cost and there is a benefit, and that, the lawyers need to understand their salary, their benefits, their office space, their insurance, all the benefits that they have, all that comes down to a dollar figure. They need to know what that is. They need to know how many matters a year is so, per client amount is going to be considered profitable. Despite the fact that lawyers may work for a firm of any size, they’re still viewed as a business unit.
So once they understand how to be profitable and how to grow that profitability by originating profitable client matters, because that immediately translates into, no, I can’t afford to take a client that’s worth $50,000, I need a $150,000 client. And for smaller firms it would not be that, but they need to know what those dollar figures are, that’s very, very powerful.
Secondly, they need a written business plan to outline precisely the steps that they are going to take to attract new clients and expand the engagements of existing clients.
Third, they must be receptive to this mindset shift, understanding that they are a service provider and the client is in the power seat. They must seek out the expert resources to help them either develop and implement an integrated business plan, because left to our own devices most of us, we allow life to get in the way and that’s where we end up with random acts of marketing, doing things once or twice and not following up or not following through, and that’s just a total waste of resources.
Jared Correia: You’re really good with outlines, I’m impressed. Everything is numbered. This is great. So last question I have in this section is the following. You talked a little bit about data analytics before, which I love, I am a big data analytics fan. I once did a Bar Association presentation like 10 years ago, where I was hitting data analytics I think a little bit early and I got go boot off the stage, but that’s all right, sometimes it happens. That’s now —
Kimberly Rice: Sometimes we are just — we are just wizard before our time.
Jared Correia: I know, I know, I feel like I’m way ahead of my time. But this is kind of becoming more accepted by law firms, and I think like having access to data and information and you’ve talked a little about this in the context of like hiring and retention, but also in terms of like whether your marketing is working.
So step one, change your mind set. Step two, put these concrete steps into place and then after that, like how do you know if it’s working, like how do you measure results. And one thing you talked about is it doesn’t happen right away. So I think it’s important for attorneys to understand that this is not like hitting the light switch, you have to actually do some work.
Kimberly Rice: This is what really separates the girls from the women, and this is, and I’m not going to give it away, but this is precisely the genesis of the secret sauce.
Jared Correia: Oh, we’re getting there, we are getting there everybody.
Kimberly Rice: I know.
Jared Correia: Keep listening.
Kimberly Rice: I know, I am just mentioning, I’m just teasing, I’m not going to — I’m not going to tell what it is, but this is exactly where the rubber hits the road.
Most lawyers that we’ve worked with over all these years expect the light switch to go off. Oh I went to this speaking engagement and I didn’t get any of the clients, so that must not really work.
So number one, it is adapting and setting realistic expectations. Not every business development initiative and there’s — of which there are many is designed to operate in a linear fashion, and this really puts lawyers at a disadvantage, because in law school, they’re taught to think and analyze in a linear fashion, but yet when you introduce the human condition to any equation, it’s not linear.
Relationships are not linear, building trust is not linear and that really throws a lot of lawyers, because they feel like they’re putting all this effort, whether going to the Bar Association or whatever they’re doing, wherever they’re going, wherever they’re allocating their marketing time, and they may not say, oh, and they’re only measurement is if they get a new client or they are retained. That cannot be the only measurement. There’s many other types of measurements.
But what too many lawyers miss is that these efforts even done to perfection require time, time and time and time. So the greatest thing that lawyers can do in making this mindset shift to a business owner rather than an employee is to understand and accept the fact that the longer that the lawyer stays in neutral, not going forward or backward, the longer the process is going to take, so that the indirect messages, it’s never too early to start today.
But understand that if you go to a networking event and you come back with three or four cards, because you kind of asked the right questions to gain some interest, and you see where you may be able to help someone, and that’s huge.
It’s shifting from what can I get, to what can I give as a service provider. We work for service providers that and when you follow up with those people, most people don’t even follow up with those people, but you follow-up with those people, maybe schedule a coffee, that’s how you cultivate, nurture, foster relationships that will lead to retentions.
It doesn’t happen automatically, and you know what separates the girls from the women is the tracking and the following up and the consistent, persistent actions, making sure that you are “fishing” in the right ponds where your prospects are and you’re engaging in the “right business development and marketing tactics” over time tracking it and you will absolutely see results. And those will be client retentions.
But by and large lawyers they just either they get sidetracked with their billable work which of course is how they keep their job, but this is over and beyond and when you think like a business owner, you understand that you’re investing in your own future, not anybody else’s.
Jared Correia: Yeah absolutely, the consistent application is like the hardest thing. On that note, we’re going to take break two of two. This is our last break and then we’ll be back for the rest of the show.
So while I go look for my Adidas sandals with no tread listen to these words from our sponsors.
Advertiser: 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 thanks for coming back again. I hope you’re enjoying the lively banter and good humor that is a trademark of the one and only Legal Toolkit Podcast. Let’s get back to our conversation with Kimberly Rice of KLA Marketing Associates, who is talking to me about how you can take ownership of your legal career even if you don’t own a law firm, let’s find out more.
So we’ve been talking partly about this mindset change that lawyers engage when they are going to take control of their careers potentially for the first time, but that’s different depending on where you’re placed in your career. So how is that a different challenge for a first-year associate versus somebody who is a partner versus somebody who already owns a firm?
Kimberly Rice: Well, it’s a great question because I’ve been in firms too many times I’ve seen where they want to inspire and encourage the younger attorneys, so they tried out some of these older white guys that have been around since the 50s and 60s and with all due respect they’ve earned their stripes, but what firms tend to misjudge and not recognize is that the world has changed dramatically in the last say 15, 20 years with the onset of so much incredible marketing technology and the way that we live our lives in the way that we communicate and build and cultivate relationships.
So what lawyers do when they are in their first year versus what they do when they are senior partner to junior partner to senior partner is very, very different, but young lawyers, the newer lawyers need to really focus the first couple of years on honing their craft, learn as much, absolutely as much about their area of legal focus as they possibly can and then something that is so often overlooked is when they’re out of the various networking and the activities, even from the most benign Bar Association meeting they need to know as much about their firm as possible and what the triggers are for services.
So for example, in a labor and employment practice if another lawyer is talking to them about well we have a client who just got laid off and we’re fighting that because of they think that they’ve been wrongfully terminated. Well, if perhaps that there’s a conflict and the lawyer, the young lawyer understands what wrongful termination is, they need to know if their firm handles that are not.
So maybe they may have an opportunity to say well we have a lawyer who handles wrongful termination in our employment practice. I can give you my card or I can pass it along. And the bottom line is they’re much more informed and they’re much more helpful and they can be part of a business development team if they understand the full range of services that their law firm offers outside of their specific practice, and almost no lawyer does that.
When I was in-house and I would take new lawyers to the marketing orientation, I’m like you need to memorize and learn what’s on that website, because overall those practice areas that you — you will need to understand what they are. You don’t need to know all about them, but at least you need to understand the buzzwords.
But then they absolutely need to get and stay connected with their former law school classmates, learning everything that they can about where those folks landed because there may be some opportunities there and the law firm partners are the younger lawyers’ clients.
So they need to take some time and invest in those relationships, because sadly those senior partners or the mid-level partners really do hold those new lawyers’ futures in their hands at least for those law firms that while they’re employed there.
And so once those newer lawyers practice for a few years, they get to know their practice, they get more acquainted with the services that their firm practices and offers then they need to pivot to the next level of moving into leadership positions within targeted organizations where their prospects and who they have defined go for professional development.
They get very confused by this. They don’t understand that every business sector has professional — has a professional association or TIN, there’s tons of them everywhere and it’s critical to be seen and get known as well as to get and stay connected, because there really is no other way to become a business owner than to develop a wide and deep network of prospects, referral sources that will lead to client retentions over time.
Jared Correia: Yeah so this is a good point like having the knowledge is really important about your own firm and it’s a challenge for lawyers, even those who –
Kimberly Rice: Oh my God, it blows my mind, it absolutely blows my mind. This is like Marketing 101. I mean how can you basically sell a service if you don’t even know your organization offer that service.
Jared Correia: Well, I think step two is partly like expressing that knowledge. So I know you talked about this from time to time as well like what if somebody knows all that stuff and they’re really good lawyer on top of it, but what if they’re shy or they don’t like to go out and network. How do lawyers overcome that because there are a ton of lawyers who want it like they don’t have an extroverted personality, even the old white guys?
Kimberly Rice: I am firmly — first of all, statistically, there are legitimate studies and science that supports the fact that most lawyers are introverted, which blows my mind particularly with the litigators, but I have seen this when I was in-house and we’ve had clients that are introverted, but that does not let anybody off the hook because it does not predispose them to building meaningful relationships.
Instead of speaking in front of dozens or hundreds of people at a industry conference, perhaps instead they facilitate a Lunch and Learn for a few contacts or a few referral sources, which could be recorded and shared later. I mean if a marketer were to get a hold of that that would be all over social media and on the blogs and everywhere else.
If a lawyer instead of being out in targeted networking or organizational involvement, if a lawyer enjoys writing then that’s a tremendous opportunity. They can develop quite a following online that can transition to real-time one-on-one relationships that they can nurture and foster over time.
And over 27 years of working with lawyers, I’ve worked with every type of lawyer in every practice across the country, and here’s what I’ve learned. If a lawyer is truly committed to the process of building a prosperous business, there are solutions and methods that can fit every personality, but what I’ve also learned in my observation and field experience is that most of what we all want is on the other side of stepping outside of our comfort zone.
Jared Correia: Yeah I think that’s a good point as well. And I think for a lot of lawyers as you indicated and studies show that being extroverted, going on networking potentially is stepping out of their comfort zone, especially networking with other lawyers because lawyer is this kind of a safe space.
You make a good point about like the world being divided into lawyers and non-lawyers for attorneys, which is a really strange worldview but that’s how they view it.
Kimberly Rice: Yes they do.
Jared Correia: So I think like part of that is getting out of that comfort zone and talking to non lawyers. Okay, are you ready? Your version of the 11 herbs and spices of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, secret sauce, marketing secret sauce, what is it?
Kimberly Rice: What is it? It is the most simple yet formidable proven methodology to building a prosperous business. I coined this phrase the secret sauce to marketing success is the following. It is the consistent, persistent, massive amounts of actions over a prolonged period of time.
I coined this phrase years ago to explain to clients and those that want to be that building a book of business is not a one-and-done process. There are no magic bullets, there are no one-time solutions to make it happen. Instead, there are numerous coordinated and focused action steps that lawyers must take on a daily basis.
Some of these can be very, very small action steps such as just sending an email or following up on an email or leaving a voicemail to larger initiatives and action steps like collaborating and planning an employment conference within your practice group, that will over time create a critical mass and positive momentum of solid relationships to support a strong personal brand and reputation with regular contact that will win the day.
Sadly, I found lawyers don’t learn this in law school nor do the law firms teach this in a systematic way. That is why I am so passionate about bringing this learning to every lawyer who has ambition to be more than just a hired worker be. To me, they’ve invested considerably in their higher education to not enjoy the fruit of their labor, it’s there for those who aspire to optimize their career in business ownership.
Jared Correia: That’s pretty good, right do you have a secret sauce of marking, it’s a good thing you’re here helping lawyers learn the stuff they didn’t learn elsewhere. Here is my last segment, here’s my last segment of the show, something new I’ve introduced. It’s called Tweets you Forget About, I will read you back a tweet, an old tweet of yours and you can comment on it.
Kimberly Rice: Okay.
Jared Correia: I have to say, usually I’m really good at finding embarrassing tweets that people have forgotten about, but your marketing is so on point I couldn’t find one.
Kimberly Rice: I’ll take that as a compliment.
Jared Correia: I think that’s a testament to your skill, but here’s your tweet not embarrassing at all, maybe next time, from April 2nd, 2019 ‘Golf and other sporting events, inviting your referral network to outdoor performances are all high impact examples of in-person activities that provide for quality relationship building and nurturing. Have you tried this?’
All right, so here’s my question for you. What’s your handicap, A and then B, do young lawyers actually still golf or do they play laser tag, is this something that’s viable for younger attorneys?
Kimberly Rice: I have no handicap because I do not play golf.
Jared Correia: All right, check one, all right.
Kimberly Rice: Check one.
Jared Correia: If young lawyers don’t want to do this stuff what do they do instead?
Kimberly Rice: Oh absolutely. I mean there’s no one right answer.
Jared Correia: That’s correct.
Kimberly Rice: Nowadays — nowadays people go to beer, pub crawls or they – it’s whatever, there’s no right answer, it’s whatever a lawyer’s interests are and something that we — this is what we kind of nail down when we’re developing a personalized business development plan is that people — you’re not going to do something that you don’t enjoy doing.
So part of the skill that we bring to the table is that we kind of peel back the layers of the onion to understand the individual outside of the title of lawyer of what is it that you enjoy doing. I mean maybe you have a large family and I mean, it could be so many different things. And so it’s not really so much the activity as it is with the commitment to the activity.
I could fill a book with antidotes of parents standing on the sidelines of their little, their children’s Little League fields and all of a sudden they realize that they’re standing next to the CEO of Rowan University that needs some kind of contract review or whatever or they’re at their daughter’s ballet lessons and they learned that other mothers are the CFO’s of an organization.
Part of the secret sauce is being aware in developing that marketing mindset that there are opportunities everywhere if you’re got your radar up.
Jared Correia: Yeah that’s a good point too. I like that a lot and pub crawls like I was way on that like even before today.
96 to 2005, I was like — I was pub crawling like you wouldn’t believe, the marketing was great.
Kimberly Rice: I just gave that as an example, I don’t do that either. But I am big, I am a big 00:40:16.
Jared Correia: Well I used to, not any more, I am a normal man now. I am just glad they didn’t have Facebook when I was in college.
Kimberly Rice: Yes indeed. Oh that’s a good one. But it really is and this is what I think law firms’ missed summarily is that there’s no one fit solution, there’s no one-size-fits-all.
Jared Correia: Absolutely, and with that we will end sadly, yet another episode of The Legal Toolkit Podcast. This was the podcast about “Taking Ownership of Your Legal Career”, and we’ve been talking with Kimberly Rice of KLA Marketing Associates.
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 Kimberly Rice of KLA Marketing Associates for making appearance as our guest today. Kimberly, can you tell everyone how they can find out more about you, the secret sauce in KLA Marketing Associates.
Kimberly Rice: Absolutely, you can certainly hop on over to our website at klamarketing.com, we are represented deeply and broadly on every social media platform, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, tons of videos on YouTube, my personal email is [email protected], 609-458-0415. I am extremely easy to find and welcome all inquiries and just outreaches. I’m always happy to help and support lawyers who are serious about building their own business.
Jared Correia: Thanks again to Kimberly Rice of KLA Marketing Associates. As you just heard, she’s easy to find, contact her.
Finally, thanks to all of you out there for listening. This has been The Legal Toolkit Podcast, we are all gathered in Winterfell trying to figure out what the hell to do now.
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.
Thomas Hamilton offers insights into how AI streamlines legal research.
Dani Whitestone shares common marketing mistakes and how to develop a strategy that connects you to your target clients.
Nora Riva Bergman shares strategies for attaining a happier, healthier legal practice.
Jay and Maggie Wallus share insights on the importance of showing gratitude to referral sources.
Molly McGrath offers strategies for defining your firm’s staffing needs and picking the best person for your team.
Stuart Wilhoite shares how to find an agency that truly delivers on your firm’s marketing investments.