Mentioned in This Episode
Jared Correia: I’d like to take a moment to thank my mom for listening to every episode. Now, my mom is the real reason you’re listening to this show right now but the sponsors have a little something to do with it as well. So, I’d like to thank our sponsors too. Clio, TimeSolv, Alert Communications and Scorpion. Now, more than ever an effective marketing strategy is one of the most important things your law firm can have and Scorpion can help, with nearly 20 years of experience serving legal industry, Scorpion has proven methods to help you get the high value cases you deserve. Join thousands of attorneys across the country have turned to Scorpion for effective marketing and technology solutions. For better way to grow your practice, visit scorpionlegal.com.
Male: It’s Legal Tool Kit with Jared Correia. With guests, Laura Frederick and Jane Kuhuk. A round of Legal ToolKit Trivia and you know what? Last episode, we put on a concert, a freaking concert. I’ve earned an episode off from writing jokes. So, screw it, here’s your host, Jared Correia.
Jared Correia: Oh, hell yes. LegalTool Kit. So, let’s start rearranging the deck chairs. And yes, it’s still called LegalTool Kit Podcast even though I returned the shingle froe my wife bought me for Christmas. I’m your host Correia. Alfonso Rivero was unable because he pulled a hamstring during the Carlton dance, sexy at all man. I’m the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, a business management consulting service for attorneys and bar associations. Find us online at redcavelegal.com. I’m the COO of Gideon Software, Inc. We build chat bots so law firms can convert more leads and conversational document assembly tools so law firms can build documents faster and more accurately. You find out more about Gideon at gideonlegal.com. Now, before we get to our interview today with Laura Frederick, the founder and president of How to Contract about how to contract I guess. I want to take a moment to discuss Bluey like many children of the 80s, TV was a hell of a babysitter for me but that’s only because we didn’t have Netflix. When the pandemic hit and every parent was like springtime, fuck it. My kids started watching a lot more TV that they ever had before. I mean Netflix. That’s not great in a lot of ways but we did at least discovery an Australian cartoon called “Bluey.”
Now, if you’re a regular listener of this show, you’ll know that I recently named my favorite TV show from when I was a kid, that was Quantum Leap and like two weeks later, it was announced that that show was going to be rebooted. Coincidence? I’d like to think not so you might be thinking to yourself. Well, Jared, what’s your favorite TV show right now? I’m so glad you asked because I wanted to tell you. So, I can tell you that the best show on television right now is Bluey. Shit, I mean on Netflix. No wait, Disney+. In case you were not aware, Australian children’s television is actually pretty amazing and my kids love it. Little Lunch is a show that is like an elementary school version of the office. It’s hilarious. The investigators is a great kid’s mystery show by the same production team. I mean you can even say that Rocko’s Modern Life is kind of an Australian TV show since Rocko is a wallabee. But Bluey taste cake. I’ll be honest with you I can watch Bluey by myself. It’s legitimately hilarious. It’s about a family of anthropomorphic Blue Heeler dogs. There’s a dad and mom, Chilli and two daughters, Bluey, the title character and Bingo. Yes, they have dog names. Bluey is probably six, Bingo is probably four and Bandit is essentially my spirit animal. We’re both annoying, flatulent and yet despite all that somehow quite endearing. I even have a Bandit t-shirt.
Bluey is probably the most down to earth children’s show I’ve ever watched. There’s no pretention whatsoever. It focuses on imaginative play and the characters act like modern parents and children act. What a novel concept, right? Every single episode of Bluey is relatable for young families for real. Anything on this show could happen in my own life literally any day but whether or not you have young family, it’s still super enjoyable to watch. Show’s won a slew of awards. The theme song is really catchy and the family dances in the opening credits with everybody getting a solo highlight. Episodes are seven minutes a piece to match the moderate attention span and there are also ancillary characters that are amazing like norm for cheers, right? There’s hapless next door neighbor, Lucky’s dad, fitness fiend Wendy and crazy cousin Muffin.
Some Bluey episode highlights may provide some further context for you here. The children are obsessed with taking pictures of their parent’s bums in the episode “Born Yesterday.” Bandit however says he’s not stupid enough to expose his rear end to the children because he wasn’t born yesterday which sparks an idea because Bluey and Bingo have never heard this expression, “born yesterday.” So, he said, “Hey dad, can you actually pretend that you are born yesterday?” So, he starts talking to a stool and talking to people at the bus stop about the sun, the fiery thing in the sky hilarity ensues but along the way, Bandit rediscovers the joy of nature and yes, as you might have guessed, there’s always a lesson at the end of every Bluey episode.
In the episode “Fairytale,” the last episode was season three. The kids asked Bandit to tell a fairytale so he talks about what it was like to be a kid in the 80s. Every time they’re shocked by his engaging of what appears to be highly dangerous behaviors he said, it was the 80s. Isn’t that right? Got the India episode, even meets his future wife. Well, maybe you’ll have to watch to find out.
In the episode “Hammer Barn,” which is like a fake Home Depot type store that they evented for this show, Chilli takes the girls to the hardware store and they’re fighting about everything and they end up breaking a garden gnome. Long story short, the garden gnome was Bingo’s imaginary husband named “Hecuba.” Hecuba so loved cheeseburgers. Eventually, Chilli tells the girls that there’s no magic land where everything is happy and free and of course then they discover paint samples.
Unicorse is an obnoxious unicorn who interrupts story time and whose favorite food is children. Shaun is an emu played by Bandit’s right hand who misbehaves all over the neighborhood and in swim school, Bluey is an obnoxious swim instructor who encourages dobbing and look if you don’t know what dobbing is, I’m not going to tell you. You just need to watch more Australian TV. Start with Bluey, it’s brilliant.
You can catch seasons one and two on Disney+ and yes, I know I talk a lot about Disney+ but I can’t fucking help it if Disney owns everything. Season three is available in Australia but not in the US yet but you might want to check Youtube for Season three episodes. I’m just saying though. You didn’t hear that from me. But now let’s hear from Joshua Lenon, that’s correct. It’s time for the Clio legal trends report minute then come back and we’ll talk to Laura Frederick from How to Contract.
Joshua Lenon: Did you know that 66% of consumers consider online payments their top choice when paying for legal services? I’m Joshua Lenon, lawyer in residence at Clio and this is just one finding from our recent legal trends report. If you’re still only accepting checks by mail, you may want to reconsider. Online payments are helping lawyers introduce greater flexibility and convenience to clients. In fact, an addition to online payments, preference for automated payments and ones made through mobile apps outranks mailed-in checks by 13%. And here’s what’s in it for you, we found that firms using online payments collect as much as 16% more revenue per lawyer. To learn about the impact of online payment technology on law firms, download Clio’s legal trends report for free at clio.com/trends. That’s Clio spelled C-L-I-O dot com forward slash trend.
Jared Correia: So, let’s cut into this Paska. It’s time to interview our guest. My guest today is Laura Frederick. She is the founder and president of How to Contract. Laura, welcome to the show.
Laura Frederick: Thanks for having me.
Jared Correia: You’ve got this business where – you’ve got two things going on, right? You’re a natural real life contracts attorney, you still do that? But you also decided to create this learning platform for other attorneys to improve their contract drafting. So, whenever I have founders on the show I like to ask them about their journey. So, how did you decide that you wanted to launch a company like this and continue to practice?
Laura Frederick: Yeah, I think I decided to do it because there really was that need that was unmet and I was so frustrated whenever I looked around and saw nobody was really documenting how we actually do our jobs when we do our contracts lawyers, what you draft? What you don’t draft? And so, I’d known about that need for a long time and then as I got to a point in my legal practice on my own boss, I have some bandwidth and choices about what I’m going to do with my day and I decided it was time to try and start documenting some of that and create this side business. But it really came out of that place of wanting to help others and I mean it sounds kind of corny but it really was wanting to serve a need that was unmet.
Jared Correia: I’ve never heard an attorney who hasn’t used that, right? Like attorneys get a lot of flock but every attorney I’ve talked to is like I just want to help people and I think it’s largely true. Now, you were like, you were posting tips online, right?
Laura Frederick: Right.
Jared Correia: And then people are into that and you were like, “Hey, this might be a business.” That was kind of the idea behind starting this, right?
Laura Frederick: Yeah. I started a 30-day challenge on LinkedIn to post every day back in August 2020 and I thought well —
Jared Correia: It sounds painful. No, go ahead.
Laura Frederick: I know, exactly. And I thought when I started, I really only used it to post like congratulations to people in my network I knew who changed jobs or did something new. So, I posted basically I’d had a bunch of messed up negotiations recently where the counter-party’s lawyer was saying things that were completely wrong so I’ve decided well I’ll post what they should’ve said, what I want to say to that lawyer but I can’t because I’m being polite. So, basically it was me telling these lawyers on the other side of my deals how they should handle these particular issues that I thought they got robbed. So, it started that way but people really appreciated it. There was a lot of reception in and it started dialogues about the points I was making and so that continued and snowballed. People loved it and then it turned into actually the book was the next step. I wrote a book, “Collecting These LinkedIn Tips.” And that did well. And that people kept asking me for courses or training and I decided to turn it into that.
Jared Correia: People love LinkedIn. Everybody is on LinkedIn now. What’s interesting to me though is that something you just said. So, you started this business and you kept practicing law.
Laura Frederick: Yeah.
Jared Correia: Most people I talk to are like, law practice? I’m going to start a new business. I can never fucking do that again. So, how are you balancing that? And why did you decide to continue practicing even as you launch this new company?
Laura Frederick: Yeah. Well, I’ve always loved being a contracts lawyer. And I think part —
Jared Correia: Oh, you’re the one. Great.
Laura Frederick: Yeah, exactly. The only one. But I do and I think that’s why people like the cartoons because I am practicing lawyer and I remember – so, I post the cartoon with each post. I talk about real world in the post so it’s not an academic approach. It’s really – when you’re struck in a negotiation with somebody who doesn’t know what they’re doing, here’s some tips. And so, practicing law actually helps me do that better and it also keeps my life balanced. I think whenever I tried to do all of one thing, I tend to get bored and get sick of it. So, this way, I’m sick of both at the same time.
Jared Correia: Well, played. It’s working. Yeah, talk to me about the cartoons. Are you like drawing cartoons yourself? Were you posting other people’s cartoons? Like and what caused you to do it that way? That’s interesting to me.
Laura Frederick: Yeah. No, I started. I was doing it myself so I started by just having stupid stock photo cartoons or pictures actually I started with pictures and just like a picture of a warehouse, a picture of a dog in a field smiling, that kind of stuff. And then over time, I started doing charts and I’d write a provision and color it in and do pretty things that way. And those were all fine but then I started using Canva to create little stick figures that kind of represented what I was doing. So, it would be a man who is sad, a man handing something to somebody else to signify we’re signing a contract just simplistic.
Jared Correia: Right.
Laura Frederick: And then, I started adding speech bubbles and creating more elaborate cartoons and what I do is I take the drawings from a particular artist and he has a ton of them and then I’ve learned to cut and paste within Canva to create – take from different cartoons and I add the points together. I did one recently, it was Maria Antoinette talking about let them have their cake and remedies too. And so, I thought —
Jared Correia: Such a lawyer joke.
Laura Frederick: Exactly. And I couldn’t find a good historical French 70th century woman cartoon.
Jared Correia: That’s hard.
Laura Frederick: Surprisingly, I know. So, I took a cartoon with a beehive and then I just kind of colored it in and put it on top of her head and that was my Maria Antoinette so.
Jared Correia: You’re like the Bob Ross of contract law. I’m already feeling sued. All right. So, the other thing I wanted to ask you about is, you kind of have taken this on a different direction than a lot of people do right now because the way you see a lot of these companies coming into legal, they’re like, okay. We’re going to take the lawyer out of the contract. We’re going to build some AI functionality so that you don’t have to do as much as you did before but you’ve taken kind of a different approach where you’re like, I want to teach lawyers how to do better contracts on their own.
Laura Frederick: Yeah.
Jared Correia: So, what do you feel – and A, was that intentional? And B, what do you feel as like the lawyers place in contract drafting in the modern world?
Laura Frederick: Yeah. No, it was intentional. I’m a huge believer in the lawyers’ role. I think it’s almost silly to think that there won’t be lawyers in contract negotiations.
Jared Correia: I do by the way.
Laura Frederick: Maybe not every – yeah. Not every contract needs a lawyer but what I talk about the biggest —
Jared Correia: But every lawyer needs a contract. You can keep that one. Go ahead.
Jared Correia: Yeah, I was going to say Tony Stark may have something to say about this but they did destroy the world like 18 times so.
Laura Frederick: Exactly. Well, then if that happens we don’t need lawyers but —
Jared Correia: Right, we’re good.
Laura Frederick: Until that time, I just think there is an important role for lawyers but it’s not operating mechanically with a provision out of a book that you pick up and drop in your contract. I got to get this deal done. Yeah, there’s a risk because this language sucks but let’s leave it alone because the risk isn’t that big. But this other provision, huge, let’s fix that. That’s the lawyer’s role.
Jared Correia: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think so there’s going to be that higher level worth that lawyers are always going to be able to do. I think so too. Let’s turn this around a little bit and talk about the lawyer themselves more specifically. So, what kind of common errors do you see attorneys making in terms of contract drafting and how do you fix those? I assume that’s part of the whole process of teaching them to draft better contracts.
Laura Frederick: Yeah. I think it is. And so, the biggest mistake I see people make is saying things more than once the same thing in different places in the contract. Complete disaster because when you say things more than once, now instead of just being silent on an issue and letting people try and figure it out, now you have to figure out which version is correct and how do you marry these two versions into one outcome.
Jared Correia: All right.
Laura Frederick: So, it creates problems not only if it goes to court or an arbitrator but also for the business people because they don’t know what they’re supposed to do and they each now are fighting over something different. So, that’s one of the biggest mistakes. The other one is lawyers set themselves up for failure when they make contracts too complicated. So, I’m a huge believer in simplifying, less words, simpler sentences, less complexity where you’ve got every section referring to another section and it just creates a big mess. Think of watch Jane run – little simple sentences as your core structure and then building what you need to around that. I think that helps lawyers avoid those mistakes.
Jared Correia: Okay. So, we talked about mistakes. Let’s turn it around and talk about what’s the number one thing that lawyers should improve in terms of contract drafting?
Laura Frederick: I believe it’s learning how to apply the law, how the law applies in particular circumstances. So for example a lot of lawyers work on intellectual property licenses and they’ll see a section with license terms but they don’t know the intellectual property loss behind it. For example, copyright law, there’s five rights that a copyright owner has. But a lot of lawyers don’t know what those are and but you need to know what those are if you’re going to draft a proper intellectual property license. I describe it as you have to learn the trick to do the magic. You have to understand what’s behind the provision in order to draft it properly and not just the case in one jurisdiction. It’s really conceptually at a broader level, how does this work? What part does it play in the relationship and where does it go wrong? So, it’s a combination of a lot of different factors but that’s the best thing lawyers can do to improve their contract drafting is really go behind the provisions and understand them?
Jared Correia: Houdini would be proud if he were alive. I think I saw online that you guys had a conference this year, right?
Laura Frederick: Yeah.
Jared Correia: How did that go? Did you do it live or?
Laura Frederick: Originally it was planned live in Austin. It started as an excuse to get all my friends on LinkedIn together to come to Austin, eat tacos.
Jared Correia: Austin is amazing. I love Austin.
Laura Frederick: It is. I love Austin too. We’ve got great tacos. We’ve got great barbecue and margaritas and so, over the time that I’ve been on LinkedIn, I’ve met so many people online but didn’t know them in real life. So, it started as a big party but then with COVID and everything —
Jared Correia: You should’ve stopped right there, big party, right? No, go ahead.
Laura Frederick: It would’ve been great. I’m still looking forward to it at some point. But yeah, with COVID expanding and I decided it’s just–
Jared Correia: Yeah. You went online for that one.
Laura Frederick: We went online which was the right decision because it was the second week of January —
Jared Correia: Yeah.
Laura Frederick: –when COVID was hitting hard so we went online, it was our first conference. We had eight hours of lawyers each talking for 30 minutes about a provision or an operational issue like limits of liability or how to draft a statement of work, real fundamentals but what I loved was most of the attendees were actually six years or more in –of practice experience with contracts. So, it really was a great overview but done by sophisticated lawyers so everybody provided all these insights that we don’t usually get when we talk about fundamentals.
Jared Correia: Right. Into the live person they’re probably like, oh my god, hours of contract provision? That sounds like my nightmare but it’s actually like the lawyer’s dream.
Laura Frederick: It is because you do this stuff every day and like I said you have to understand that trick behind the provisions but nobody explains it to you. You might have heard it once when you are a first year or second year but you forgotten so you’re now your fifth year or sixth year and you’re suddenly doing commercial contracts. You’re like, what am I supposed to do here again? So, that’s what I really try and teach is for those – I teach a lot of laterals and a lot of lawyers who came from litigation and are now commercial contracts lawyers or for whatever reason they’re picking up commercial contracts later in their career and so they know the law but they just don’t know it how it works in this little world of commercial contracts. So, that’s what I’m trying to explain.
Jared Correia: Right. Next time you have the conference, you got to invite me down. I love going to Austin and impressing the Uber drivers with my knowledge of Blue Gras music so I’m ready for a trip to Austin.
Laura Frederick: Very nice. Very good.
Jared Correia: I got one more question for you. I know you worked for Tesla previously, right? Do you get a free car if you go work for Tesla because I’m considering it.
Laura Frederick: I wish. No, but we did get first in line when the Model 3 came out because I was there when that came out. And it’s an ingenious strategy because if anything goes wrong with the first production cars, the employees have the first ones. So, we’re going to go complain to New York Times about our Tesla not working right. So, it was a great strategy and it’s – they quickly resolved any of the initial issues within first deliveries before it reached the public.
Jared Correia: Nice. All right. Laura, thanks for taking the time. You’ve had a really interesting career sounds like things are things are taken off with how to contract that straight. Thanks for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.
Laura Frederick: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Jared Correia: All right. We’ll take one final sponsor break as we usually do so that you can hear more about what our sponsors could do for your law practice then stay tune for the rump roast. It’s even more supple than the roast beast.
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Welcome to the rear end of the Legal Toolkit. That’s right. It’s the rump roast. It’s a grab bag of short-form topics all of my choosing. Why do I get to pick? Because I’m the host. So this seems like an appropriate time to introduce today’s contestant, Jane Kuhuk, who works with Laura at How to Contract. Jane is one of the kindest and sweetest people in the legal industry so I’m happy to have her on the show. Jane, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
Jane Kuhuk: Well, thank you so much. I am great. Thank you for having me.
Jared Correia: That’s true. That’s true. So, you’re a regular listener of the show which I really appreciate and hopefully that will continue after this segment is over with.
So, I got something new for you today. New to the show, we’ve never done this before and really it’s a shameless attempt to get people to listen to our show archives so hope Evan, our producer likes this. So, I wanted to ask you Legal Toolkit Trivia. On one level, this is horrible. On another level is absolutely terrible but let’s go get those downloads. Jane, are you ready to play?
Jane Kuhuk: Okay, let’s play.
Jared Correia: Okay, you sound ready. Maybe a little nervous. All right. I’m going to ask you give questions about our show and we’ll see how you do. If you get stuck, you give me a pass and I’ll give you a multiple choice.
Jane Kuhuk: Okay.
Jared Correia: Here we go. The last episode for which we did a rump roast which came out today the day we’re recording, I let the guest host this section and quiz me. I answered questions in a specific trivia category. What trivia questions was I asked?
Jane Kuhuk: I’m sorry, pass.
Jared Correia: Okay. I’m going to give you a choice. TV trivia and I was asked either questions about gun smoke, The Simpsons or friends.
Jane Kuhuk: The Simpsons?
Jared Correia: Yes, you got it.
Jane Kuhuk: Cool.
Jared Correia: I’m going to give you that one. We had Joe Patrice on from Above The Law, also a host on Legal Talk Network asked me questions about The Simpsons. I was terrible by the way.
Okay. Question number two, who was my first guest when we rebooted the show?
Jane Kuhuk: I know that you’ve been on air for over a decade.
Jared Correia: Oh, okay.
Jane Kuhuk: I’m not sure.
Jared Correia: Bonus points for that.
Jane Kuhuk: Yeah, I have researched you thoroughly but – sorry, I can’t answer this question.
Jared Correia: All right. I’m going to give you this one, it was Gyi Tsakalakis from AttorneySync.
Jane Kuhuk: Oh.
Jared Correia: Also, he’s great, right? He’s awesome.
Jane Kuhuk: Yeah.
Jared Correia: But also a host on Legal Talk Network who has a podcast called “Lunch Hour Legal Marketing.” Boy, I am stepping in this pretty hard right now. Okay, question number three, who was the subject of the second music playlist I created for our rebooted show when the guest was Megan Hargroder Gram. And I’m going to give you a multiple choice here.
Jane Kuhuk: Okay.
Jared Correia: Was it a collection of Tom Petty songs, Phil Collins songs or James Taylor songs?
Jane Kuhuk: I would go with James Taylor.
Jared Correia: Oh, that’s a great guess but it was Tom Petty. However, bonus points because James Taylor is my favorite singer of all time.
Jane Kuhuk: Yeah, that’s why I was going for him.
Jared Correia: Yeah. See you know me pretty well. I just – I’m waiting on the James Taylor episode. That’s going to be a very emotional one for me so I need to mentally prepare for it. It’ll come though. All right. So, now you said that you did some researches into the back channels of the show so let me ask you this, what was the subject that we covered in our first episode ever of this podcast and what year was it released? I will give you multiple choice here as well. Subject matter, IOLTA Accounting, Data Security, or Intake?
Jane Kuhuk: I’d go with Intake.
Jared Correia: Oh, good guess but it was Data Security. This actually started out as a Data Security podcast believe it or not. And we’ve taken it in very different directions.
Jane Kuhuk: Definitely.
Jared Correia: The first episode we had was at 2009, 2008 or 2007?
Jane Kuhuk: 2009.
Jared Correia: Yes, very good.
Jane Kuhuk: That I know.
Jared Correia: You’re doing pretty well here. All right. I got a last question for you. You’ve heard Correia family stories which we do on this show from time to time? Which one of my family members had sex on the pool table that my father, brother and I then almost played on? And since I didn’t used her name, her relationship to me is an appropriate answer. Which of my relatives did that?
Jane Kuhuk: I’m really-really scared.
Jared Correia: Aunt, uncle, cousin?
Jane Kuhuk: I’d say aunt.
Jared Correia: Yes, correct. And that’s only one of the tamer family stories I have. Hey, you did a great job. I think you got like 60%. Not bad at all.
Jane Kuhuk: Thank you. Yeah, you’ve been on air for so long.
Jared Correia: I know. I’m really old and we have a lot of back episodes but I’m just trying to get people to listen to the archives. Jane, thanks for coming on. Thanks for alerting me to Laura and having her on. It thought this was a great episode. I appreciate it.
Jane Kuhuk: Thank you very much.
Jared Correia: If you want to find out more about Laura Frederick and Jane Kuhuk and How to Contract, visit howtocontract.com. That was easy. Now for those of you listening in Bug Tussle, Texas, we’ve got a new Spotify playlist that’s going to knock your socks right off your feet. Since we discussed the precious heeler family today, I’ve got a playlist filled with songs about animals. Unfortunately Evan didn’t even write a joke for me for this episode because he’s a lazy fuck so I’ve got nothing left and that’ll do it for another episode of the Legal Toolkit Podcast.
This is Jared Correia reminding you that flocks of ravens are referred to as an unkindness or conspiracy. Quote the raven, that’s pretty messed up.