Liz McCausland earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida in 1994 and her Juris Doctor...
Ernie Svenson is a New Orleans lawyer and regular industry speaker who has been running the Ernie the Attorney blog...
Adriana Linares is a law practice consultant and legal technology coach. After several years at two of Florida’s largest...
A new client or matter comes into your office. You need to open the matter, work the matter, and, ultimately, close the matter. Are you doing those steps the best way? New Solo host Adriana Linares sits down with guest host Liz McCausland and guest Ernie Svenson to discuss how Ernie helps lawyers develop systems to avoid disorder and waste. Learn how to use your time better, get more meaningful clients, and use the best tools for the job. They also discuss Ernie’s upcoming 2-day Small Firm Bootcamp being held in New Orleans on May 7th and 8th.
Liz McCausland started her career as a civil litigator and now does bankruptcy and mediations in Orlando, Florida.
Ernie Svenson is a New Orleans lawyer and regular industry speaker who has been running the Ernie the Attorney blog since 2002. Ernie also hosts the Law Firm Autopilot Podcast.
Implementing the Right Processes with Ernie Svenson
Intro: So you are an attorney and you have decided to go out on your own, now what? You need a plan and you are not alone. Join expert host Adriana Linares and her distinguished guests on New Solo. Tune into the lively conversation as they share insights and information about how to successfully run your law firm, here on Legal Talk Network.
Adriana Linares: Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of New Solo on Legal Talk Network. I am Adriana Linares, I am your host and a legal technology trainer and consultant. I have a good time helping lawyers and law firms use technology better. Before we get started with today’s episode, I want to take a moment to thank our sponsors.
Let’s start with ROSS Intelligence. ROSS Intelligence is the legal research platform that leverages AI to get to the heart of legal issues fast. Go to rossintelligence.com for a 14-day free trial.
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 visiting them online at nexa.com.
LAWCLERK is where attorneys go to hire freelance lawyers. Visit lawclerk.legal to learn how to increase your productivity and your profits by working with talented freelance lawyers.
Adriana Linares: Happy Mardi Gras you all.
Liz McCausland: Happy Mardi Gras.
Ernie Svenson: Happy Mardi Gras.
Adriana Linares: So its February in New Orland and its Mardi Gras which means not only have those of us who love to visit here frequently or live here part-time as I do but guests and visitors and friends and fun-loving revelers have descended upon New Orleans. So I thought I would take advantage of not only having Ernie Svenson’s recording studio available to us but also the fact that Liz McCausland came to spend Mardi Gras with us and she’s a regular guest on New Solo. You’ll recognize her name and her voice hopefully but before I let Liz introduce herself a minute.
I will ask Ernie, Ernie Svenson is our guest today to tell us a little bit about himself in case for some weird reason in some parallel universe that you live in you don’t know who Ernie Svenson is.
Ernie Svenson: Well I’m an attorney. I practice law for a bunch of years in a big firm and then because of technology I was able to escape that world which I was disillusioned with and burned out with, I hated the excess overhead, the inefficiency, the bureaucracy but I didn’t think I was able to go out of my own however because of technology being able to be paperless and market my practice through the internet, I was able to escape, go out on my own, have a solo practice that I thoroughly enjoyed and then after I started doing that, people asked me how did I do that and could I help them and I started showing them what I knew and I’ve enjoyed it. So I’ve been doing that exclusively for the past couple of years.
Adriana Linares: So you quit practicing law?
Ernie Svenson: I did.
Adriana Linares: Do you call yourself a consultant? I mean because you kind of are.
Ernie Svenson: I don’t like the word consultant I guess because in my mind a lot of times that means a person who bills you by the hour to come in and tell you things that are you’re doing wrong which sounded too much like what I did as a lawyer. So I like the word advisor.
Adriana Linares: Oh I like that or I would call you a bit of a coach too because your processes and the things that you put your clients.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah coaches are good. Coaches do good.
Adriana Linares: Coaches are good. Okay. So we are going to come back and talk about what it is you’ve done to transform your experience in your legal career into a technology advisor for many lawyers across the country.
Liz McCausland: Hello.
Adriana Linares: I like your glitter hat.
Liz McCausland: Thank you. You can never have enough glitter.
Adriana Linares: I feel like you can’t. Lizzy you are not only one of my dearest friends but also a very tech savvy attorney who runs a solo practice and tell us a little bit about your jam.
Liz McCausland: Okay I primarily practice bankruptcy now I like to tell people that I’m a recovering insurance defense attorney so I did that.
Adriana Linares: Can you say Liz as a litigator fighting over stuff.
Ernie Svenson: Yes I can, of course.
Liz McCausland: I cannot.
Adriana Linares: Who would take her seriously with that Minnie Mouse voice?
Ernie Svenson: Well the Hat would be tricky.
Adriana Linares: Glitter, the glitter is the dead giveaway.
Liz McCausland: But no I did that for many years and then decided that I didn’t want to do it anymore. And so now I like to solve those problems for people I primarily mediate and practice bankruptcy in Orlando, Florida. I also mediate though in five other states.
Adriana Linares: Wow.
Liz McCausland: Through special order of the court they allow me to mediate primarily mortgage foreclosure mediations in bankruptcy.
Adriana Linares: What states are those in case any of our listeners are looking for someone like you?
Liz McCausland: California, Nevada, Arizona, Indiana and then the entire state of Florida.
Adriana Linares: Wow, okay awesome. Well thanks for co-hosting with me we can pepper Ernie with some good questions.
Liz McCausland: Thank you for having me. I like having Ernie, my ability to ask him questions.
Adriana Linares: I feel like you should totally take advantage of this.
Liz McCausland: I know. I will plan on it.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, okay. So Ernie you are a devourer doesn’t seem like the right question but you devour a lot of great books on leadership and running businesses better and you take all that and somehow transform it into helpful information for lawyers. And one of the things I think you’ve recently become very good at and focused on is helping lawyers develop systems.
Ernie Svenson: Well I don’t know if I’m good at it, it’s definitely something I think is super important.
Adriana Linares: Let’s hope you’re good at it.
Ernie Svenson: And I try as hard as I can to figure out how to get lawyers to understand how to do it but it’s funny, it seems kind of simple in one way that you need to create systems, checklists or systems and so forth but I found it kind of challenging like people keep asking me well how do you create this system and how do you do this. And so I’ve thought a lot about it and yeah I think it’s more challenging than we tend to think.
Adriana Linares: Do You have one of your workbooks handy?
Ernie Svenson: I don’t.
Adriana Linares: Oh rats, I should have asked you for one. For those of you who are wondering why I’m asking about a workbook is Ernie puts together these great seminars and their life seminars but you also do things throughout the year to help your clients. So tell us a little bit about that business and what you teach lawyers how to do and then I want to — I just wanted to grab the workbook to be able to say well, here’s the process that you have your clients go through in order to develop system.
So I was going to pull ideas out of there but since we don’t have handy, I’ll just make it up but tell us a little bit about your business and how it’s out there and how people can find it and also the things that you have available on the website to get lawyers started in developing systems?
Ernie Svenson: Sure. So when I started doing this I was actually when we met back in the day in tech show, I didn’t really have any plan for teaching lawyers how to do any of the stuff, it’s just people ask me so many questions and I answered them so many times after a while I realized well maybe I should be more organized about answering these questions. And the more I try to organize everything, the more I realize it’s actually kind of challenging and I like this challenge, I like figuring things out, I like explaining them.
And then some things seem like they’re going to be real easy to explain but then they’re not and I think that’s been the case at least that’s been my experience with technology and with systems and with running a business. It’s a lot harder to explain to people because there’s a lot of elements and so it’s not just two things or three things.
The challenge has been trying to figure out how can I help the most number of lawyers most effectively in a way that’s cost-effective for them and easy for me to do not because I want it to be easy but because if it’s too challenging, then it would be too hard.
And so teaching people online is definitely one way to do it and that’s been very effective and useful but what I found was that you can’t just say here’s a course with 60 lessons that you go through and now you learn everything you need to learn about running a business and doing marketing, people have ongoing questions and ongoing challenges and so that’s really been the thing that I’ve found to be interesting. And that’s what I like doing because that makes the biggest impact for people really.
Liz McCausland: Can I ask you Ernie, do you find that different areas of law need different things from you or different systems, I mean I’m certain there’s certain systems that are in every area.
Ernie Svenson: Right.
Adriana Linares: Client intake, workflow.
Liz McCausland: Client intake, exactly. Training of staff.
Adriana Linares: Closing a matter.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah I try to avoid getting into things that are too specific not — I mean first of all because then that means I now can’t help as many people most effectively because I’m getting into the weeds where now all of a sudden somebody cares a lot but most people don’t.
So like for example in bankruptcy, there are systems for how you handle bankruptcy case. I’ve only handled a few of my life but in general my experience has been the people who live in the bankruptcy world know that world very well. There’s a whole rhythm to it there’s an ecosystem, there’s software I think that’s specific for bankruptcy lawyers.
So if you’re a bankruptcy lawyer, you know all that stuff, you don’t need me to tell you at least you probably shouldn’t need me to tell you about that, what I try to focus on are things I feel like are the perennial ongoing challenges of all small businesses and weirdly there are a lot of them, that have been there forever and seem to just be there continually.
Adriana Linares: In legal, is there a checklist of these are five systems that would serve or five processes or five checklists that would serve every law firm or lawyer regardless of what area of practice?
Ernie Svenson: I mean client intake would be one, because okay you have to get clients and then if you get clients what do you do.
But any system is just like you look at what is happening and you try to optimize it and say okay, this is the best way for it to be happening or can I improve it. And it kind of comes in general like what you don’t measure you can’t manage, what you’re not writing down is harder to keep in your mind, right.
So if you’re trying to develop systems or checklists or whatever you have to write them down. If you’re going to write them down, where are you going to write them down? Paper, yeah paper is okay to start to brainstorm it, but eventually you’re going to want to put it into a digital system so that you can update it more easily, so you can share it with more people, put it into the cloud and that’s kind of the basic of a system.
The question is where do people start? So client intake is a good place to start, because most lawyers have this problem.
Adriana Linares: Yes.
Ernie Svenson: And you can get a lot of information from other lawyers about what’s working well for them and once you start using any kind of system and being thoughtful about it, that makes it easier to do the next thoughtful system building.
Adriana Linares: Do we approach the system of running a law firm as one giant system from — let’s just talk about it in terms of a matter which I always call it the life cycle of a matter, from birth to death or from opening to close.
So when we’re thinking about trying to come up with a system for how best to manage a matter’s life cycle, am I building one big system or a bunch of small systems?
Ernie Svenson: You might be built — well you should try to build one big system and have that cover as much ground as possible, but then you might have to have separate little systems and have to see how they integrate.
I mean I was thinking the other day about how this is something never had occurred to me before and once it occurred to me I thought, why didn’t I think of this.
I mean when I started figuring out the technology mattered to me was when I used a program called CaseMap, which we know about right and CaseMap was nothing more than a relational database that was created by some jury consultants who saw because they were privy to the background scene of lawyers getting ready for trial at the last minute, that lawyers were extremely disorganized, like shockingly disorganized from the standpoint of managing their information.
So they said well, why don’t we build a database, set it up optimize it for litigators and we will make it available to them. And I downloaded this thing for 30-day free trial and I started looking at this and I thought wait a second. I can — this is paint-by-numbers. I can put all of my information in here and I just try to fill every box and I had never sat down and thought, okay let me make a list of every issue, let me make a list of every fact witness that goes to every issue. I didn’t think like that because that would have been too hard to do, but when I had a piece of software that could let me do that, that essentially was my system.
So the thing that occurred to me was software can be your system, close enough right, and a database is basically what underlies all of these things, these software packages that are sold and so you might — you’re going to need more than one but you find the big one that works for the most number of things and if you’re a litigator that might be something like CaseMap but practice management software is kind of covers a lot of ground.
And then after that, you want to avoid trying to use too much software but you might need to, right, you might need to use Adobe Acrobat, right, that’s so and you know this obviously because that’s what you do all day long.
Liz McCausland: It seems like the best time to put a system in is in the beginning when you have more time.
Adriana Linares: This never happens.
Liz McCausland: But it never happens right. And so I imagine that people come to you after they’ve been in business for a little while and they’re looking to implement systems but it can be overwhelming. It’s like a rabbit hole, you could spend hours looking at it. Where do you think is the best place for someone who’s looking to implement systems to start, if there is one.
Ernie Svenson: Well I think, yeah, I think there is one. I think that where the rubber meets the road is being aware of you doing something that you’re going to do again and saying to yourself as you’re doing it because it’s fresh in your mind and you’re keenly aware, while I’m doing this let me write down some notes about this system or this process while I’m doing it.
Then I’ll go back to being busy, but at least now, I have a record that I can come back to and work from, and that’s why paper is great for that part, right, because that’s fast and easy, but then as you think it through, then you want to put it into a digital system and its really an iterative process, right, like you have write it down, it’s not perfect. You try it, you try to develop it, but the acid test comes when you give it to somebody else who’s never done it before and watch and see what happens when they try to use it.
And if they have trouble there you go, that’s the system not being fully developed and then you develop it from there and then eventually the system gets to the point where the people that work for you upgrade the system and you don’t mess with it.
Adriana Linares: I find that every law firm I walk into or every lawyer I talk to does not have written processes down, do you?
Liz McCausland: No, no, in fact that’s been one of my — kind of on my to-do list constantly and it’s not just writing it down, it’s because a lot of times it’s hard to write down the clicks you go here and you click.
And so I’m trying to figure out a way to put all of these systems down so that when I do hire someone to come in, I can just have them get going without me having to spend the time, because that’s where actually what keeps me from hiring more people.
Adriana Linares: Oh my god.
Liz McCausland: That’s a lot of time I have to spend.
Adriana Linares: Liz.
Liz McCausland: Training that person.
Ernie Svenson: Right.
Liz McCausland: I know.
Adriana Linares: You are one of my best customers how’s this possible.
Liz McCausland: Well, I know and now I’m doing videos.
Adriana Linares: You know what’s so funny. I was at home this morning and I needed to — there was a law firm that needed some steps for something. He wanted can you send us how to do that and I thought I hate typing. No, this will take me too long. It was way easier for me to record a quick little video, put it in Camtasia, a couple of bumpers and off it goes.
But those are harder to edit after the fact.
Ernie Svenson: But at least you’ve got them.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Ernie Svenson: Right, like they are easy for you to do.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Ernie Svenson: And then you give them to the person who’s going to follow it and if it takes them a little more time to watch it, so what.
Adriana Linares: What I try to do is tell law firms as especially as I’m implementing new software for them or new programs.
Well yes I could do it and write it down but I don’t really want to. But why isn’t your secretary or your receptionist who kind of doesn’t always have as much to do, why isn’t it their job to document or write this process and create a documentation, a manual of how things are done? Plus too these days, if I had a video or if I just set it out loud and recorded these steps in to speak right or got on Fiverr or found someone on Upwork to turn those processes that even I spoke into a memo into bulleted items, it would be so easy and I wish every law firm would just start doing that.
Liz McCausland: I will tell you the video that I made for, I have a part-time person who’s helping me now and the videos I made to help her I think she appreciated it more than me sitting there because she wasn’t embarrassed to ask, wait I understand can you click that again. She wasn’t busy taking notes, because she was watching the video and I think it just went over much better.
Adriana Linares: Ernie, do you have a place that you recommend and so for me I’m thinking about where would I — you said digitize, okay, it’s okay to start with paper but then put it somewhere. I assume most of us are going to think, I’ll put it in a Word document which I think is fine. I also think — I see now in Teams on Microsoft there’s a wiki for every project you create and a wiki seems like a good place to be able to not only go and document but also historically document why things were changed.
Do you have a way or a place that you encourage your clients to start like I get that Word is fine but is there any magic bullet that we should know about?
Ernie Svenson: No.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Ernie Svenson: Sadly there’s not. I mean like I’ve used things like Process Street or SweetProcess which are dedicated to creating online systems and recording them and all that stuff and people who I respect and follow have used it, but I think the reality is from my perspective where people stumble is not by not having the right tool, and when you get the tool and you obsess about learning it, you think oh, this is great I’ve done this thing and now I know this tool.
In reality, you’re postponing the really hard thing. The hard thing it’s not really hard, it’s just the thing that trips people up, is paying attention to the fact that you’re doing something, that you’re probably going to do again, and writing that down and that mere act is what you’re locking it in.
And from there, go to the next simplest most familiar thing. You use Word go into a Word document.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Ernie Svenson: You prefer to do a spreadsheet, fine, use this whatever you use go there right, like you’re going to refine it later when it gets to be robust and developed, but in the beginning, you just want to get it out and get a process in place where you habitually think, I am doing this, wait, I’m going to do this again. I should probably copy this down and record it. And I see myself doing this like I’ll get emails from people and I go this is an email I get all the time. All right, this is it, this is going to be the one where –
Adriana Linares: This is the day.
Ernie Svenson: Where I am going to record this and I’m going to write this email now, so what changes is then when I write the answer to this email instead of just writing it quickly and getting it off my plate, I’m thinking can this serve as a greater template.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Ernie Svenson: And then I lock it in and of course when I go to use it the next time I find to have to change some part of it, which is fine and now I’m off to the races, I’m iterating this tool, but the hard part is recognizing that this is going to be a thing that I’m going to lock in, that’s not fine.
Adriana Linares: You are so right. I mean you know I don’t think it’s recognizing that you know it’s going to be a thing because you know it’s going to be a thing, it’s taking the time to do that. So I’m as guilty as anybody with this.
Liz McCausland: I feel like it’s recognizing too because recently someone asked what zaps do you use between Clio and somebody named one that I can’t believe I couldn’t think of before I saw it down on paper.
And once they said it, I’m like I need that, why didn’t I think to implement that. It’s so easy.
Adriana Linares: It’s really hard to think of everything. So for me I am constantly, constantly, constantly sending out how-to’s after an implementation. Oh and actually I was talking to Craig Bayer, another good friend of ours who’s a NetDocuments’ consultant who he has created for the repetitive questions that he gets after NetDocuments roll out a drip campaign.
So he rolls out your law firm and I guess you could use this as a client walks in the door, I mean this is — oh Ernie, real quick to explain a drip campaign.
Ernie Svenson: Well, a drip campaign is buzzword stuff in the email marketing world and it means when somebody opts into your email list, then they automatically get a series of emails that drip out over time according to a schedule you set.
Adriana Linares: And a lot of CRMs have that baked in for law firms, so the client fills out a form on a website within two minutes, they get an email that says thanks for reaching out, we’re going to call you at whatever time you may have picked and then after the initial consultation, a day later this reminder gets sent out or this request for documents get sent out.
So those I think like you just said software and systems are sometimes already built for you when you find or subscribe to the right services. So for me what I was going to just to finish my example of how I use technology to help me do this. Number one I use Trello as one place to keep a series of events and what I ended up doing all the time was going back to the last email that I sent that had all this stuff.
So finally I did what you suggested which is I sat there, I finally had to send out the email one more — send an email out again and I took the time somehow this day I had the time to perfect it, bulleted, bold, underlined like I wrote it really good, just like I speak.
I wrote it out, I made it look great, not only with the intent of impressing this client with this well-documented process, but then also copying and pasting it into Trello and I have started collecting things in Trello.
I also use TextExpander a lot and sometimes I use TextExpander not to even expand text, but as a place where I will remember I put a block of something.
Ernie Svenson: Oh yeah.
Adriana Linares: Right?
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, yeah. I’ve created — I have created a folder in TextExpander called Drafts and that’s why I just go in there, I go this is going to be one I’m going to develop, I dump it in there and that’s just enough when I come back later, you’re like, okay.
Adriana Linares: Right. So let’s explain that real quick. Explain TextExpander, I talked about it a lot. It’s one of my favorite tools.
Liz McCausland: I use it all the time.
Adriana Linares: But yeah, let’s just real quick.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, TextExpander to me is one of those things that every person who owns a computer should use it. It’s kind of I guess a macro generating thing right but it works in every context as opposed to a macro that you develop in let’s say Word, it’s only going to work in Word.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Ernie Svenson: Whereas once you create the macro thing in TextExpander, and it can spit out an email address or it can spit out your home address.
Adriana Linares: Signature blocks.
Ernie Svenson: Anything, any amount of text you can spit it out, but you’re controlling all this stuff in one place so that you can use it all over the place and doesn’t matter with your Mac, PC, in fact if you have a Mac and a PC, you can synchronize your snippets in TextExpander across all those things.
So to me everyone who wants to take advantage of automation should find things where they can automate text, especially lawyers because we cranked out a lot of text and TextExpander is number one on the text automation parade for me.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, the thing is what like maybe $40 a year and I have it on my Mac, my PC, my iPhone, my Android everything. So I put a lot of that stuff in both Trello, do you want to talk about Trello, just so we don’t — aren’t leaving it out in the dust after we described TextExpander.
Liz McCausland: Sure. Well one thing with TextExpander that I like that we didn’t touch on is that your teams can utilize it too. So everyone can have the same response and just have uniformity that way, which I think is great.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, that’s a great, just dumb simple legal example ADA language.
Ernie Svenson: In a way that’s a system right, okay so because if your system is well when we get an email that says this, we respond like this, the system now could be okay everybody just use this TextExpander keystroke and then if it needs to be updated, you update it and they just — the words spit out, right, that you don’t have to tell them.
Adriana Linares: Right you update it in one place and it propagates through everyone who has an account.
Ernie Svenson: Yep.
Liz McCausland: I imagine too it’s really great as a basis for a system because if you have someone maybe who’s going through your email, you tell them these are the keywords you’re looking for, when you see that keyword, you use this text.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, exactly.
Liz McCausland: And so it’s perfect.
Adriana Linares: I’ve got one firm that puts their ADA language in three different languages in there just depending on the client and different — actually that’s another good example. If you have multilingual clients and maybe your receptionist or your secretary isn’t that well-versed in it, you could certainly put snippets in there in that language that they need and make it easier on them than trying to go to Google Translate.
Give us a little low down on Trello just real quick.
Liz McCausland: Trello is kind of like an Index Card System. You put it everything in columns based on you can set it up really however you want and they have a lot of great examples.
So for instance on-boarding of employees is a great example. So you can actually set your employee down and they start usually from left to right and these are the first things you need to do and you can put attachments in there, you can put links, you can put faces, pictures and all of those things and so you can as you might imagine with Index Cards, you have different rows, they can turn over for more information, click on the card and have more information embedded in there.
I use it a lot, so I have it my master to-do lists kind of in there, but I also which is more recent, I use it personally. So if I’m planning a trip, these are all the places I’m staying, this is airfare, airline, hotel everything. I use it for books, these are the books I’m reading, these are the books I’ve read, if they were hardcopy or ebook or audio and then that way if I’m ever looking for it again or I want to tell someone about it, loan it out, I know oh, I checked that one out from the library, so I don’t have it physically.
Adriana Linares: Those are all great examples and I use it for all those things too. And then the other place I’ve started to put lists of to-do’s and how-to’s to make it easy for me to get to and for my clients is right on my website as a page. And it’s funny again having had lunch with Craig Bayer the other day, it’s funny, I said you have so many great videos and so much good resources on your website.
He goes yeah half the time I do it for myself so I know — so I remember where to go find it, but also it eases the burden of phone calls and emails from his clients on how do I, which is what I’m always trying to do is reduce those and by creating this library of resources and how to do things and making it so easy, it’s like putting it on your own website even if it’s on a page that’s hidden, at least you know where to go and find it.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah you can search it.
Adriana Linares: Yeah you can totally search it. Well hold on real quick, before we move on to our next segment of the conversation, let’s take a quick break and listen to a couple messages from some sponsors.
Artificial intelligence will outpace lawyers anytime soon, but lawyers who use AI are already outpacing lawyers who do not. With ROSS Intelligence lawyers conducting legal research leverage AI to get to the heart of legal issues fast. Ask a question on the Ross Legal Research Platform and Ross will return on point case law. Go to rossintelligence.com today and get a 14-day free trial. Use promo code LEGALTALK for 10% off.
If you are 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 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 special offer.
Adriana Linares: And we’re back. We’re talking to Ernie Svenson and Liz McCausland, we are recording live at the “Ernie the Attorney” headquarters in New Orleans, Louisiana and we were just sort of tossing ideas around about the ways that we document and share processes and systems with ourselves and our clients and/or employees.
I want to turn back again to systems, because I kind of derailed the conversation, I think, top three systems or process — what’s the difference between a system and a process?
Ernie Svenson: I don’t really know that there is a difference. I mean I think that the big differences are linguistic, like it’s like atoms and molecules. I think at the atomic level, there are checklists like I do this, then I do this, then I do this, then I do this and then at the molecular level of thinking there are decisions like if this happens well then I do this or that, right.
And so as it evolves more, the systems get a little more complicated. I think that’s a more useful way of thinking about it than trying to –
Adriana Linares: Okay, yeah that makes sense.
Ernie Svenson: Then trying to come up with the definitive view of is it a process, is it a policy, is it a system, my question is do you need to do this again, or you need somebody to do it again preferably not you and if so how can you train that person as quickly as possible preferably without you being involved at all, which is what the system gets you.
Adriana Linares: What Liz has done with her videos.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: If somebody walked in here right now and said I’m starting my law firm tomorrow, I’m going solo, where do I start?
Ernie Svenson: Well, you would probably be a better person to ask that question than me.
Adriana Linares: I might have some opinions on this.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, well you’ve done it, but this is where like when people ask me, I tell them right away like here’s what I know and here’s what I don’t know and what I feel like I know really well is the decision process that lawyers make in certain situations, but if it’s starting a new firm and involves technology, which it will, then you are the person, I refer the people to you.
I say, I’m going to start a new firm. I need technology. What should I do? I said, well, call Adriana, because she’s done it about 8000 times and like our friend Ray Abadin, he came to me and said — but he already knew, he knew.
So he leaned on me for some things and on you for other things and there’s several different decisions to be made but as far as the basics of where do I store my email and do I use this — you do, you do this all day long.
And what I love about what you — how you approach this is unlike some people instead of saying, this is the way it must be, because this is what I learned and this is how I think it’s done best, which and we all know people like this.
You are open minded, you said, look I don’t care how you do it. If you’re starting from scratch, maybe you have more choices. So do this. Oh on the other hand, you already did this and you have this practice management software, well, then you’re probably going to want to connect it to this.
Adriana Linares: That’s on 00:30:59.
Ernie Svenson: If you are on the Mac. So there is those choices about where people already are, that I find that — that’s a big separator. There’s a lot of people out there that give advice, but all they really want to do is tell you the thing they know.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, yeah.
Ernie Svenson: And unfortunately that’s not really actually useful advice anymore, because the thing that one person knows, if that’s all they know it’s got to connect to other things and that’s the hard work and the hard part of it.
Adriana Linares: It is. I cannot emphasize enough how critical it is to have things that talk to each other when possible, but when they don’t there’s a super helpful tool which we mention all the time which is Zapier and people are afraid to create zaps, they’re afraid to just create an account and try it out, but it makes it so easy, but it is critical if you want to have a systematic approach to your law firm that technology talks to itself. Otherwise, you have a system breakdown.
If someone has to sit there and manually take information from your client intake program on your website and put it into a CRM and then somehow someone has to move it over to a practice management program, there’s a breakdown there.
So I guess step one I would say is always trying to find things that talk to each other. But I think three critical — I mean back to the sort of life cycle of a matter. You’ve got to have how you deal with it when the matter comes in the door. So whether it’s client intake or matter intake, dealing with collecting the right details and information that you need, that you know from experience you’re going to need, then I’d say the middle area is actually working the matter and then the end is properly closing the matter.
I mean those — if you had — if I had three places that I would tell someone to start, it’s just so easy. Opening, doing and closing and for that I feel like most of today’s practice management programs are so helpful. I mean it’s like dummy process, it’s like paint-by-numbers, what you said earlier.
Ernie Svenson: It is paint-by-numbers, it is.
Adriana Linares: And I still have so many lawyers that have built, I called it the Rube Goldberg Machine of Technology where they have — you guys — I had this guy the other day. He had, you name it he was using it. Smartsheets, WebConnect, Case Management, Zapier, it was unbelievable and I was like oh my god, if one component of this guy’s crazy machine breaks down, the ball goes flying off the whole table and there’s no balloon that gets lifted off at the end, right.
Ernie Svenson: Right.
Adriana Linares: So I think that was what I was going to ask you earlier. Do you find that a lot of clients come to you and they have tried to build things on their own rather than just looking for something that’s already built and works, Excel spreadsheets would probably be a good – good place to think about that?
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, there’s some — there’s some of that, I mean that example when you’re talking about that kind of person which — that happens a lot, to me that’s the seeking efficiency and thinking you’re going to catch something magical in a bottle by doing this, to which I always return to the Peter Drucker quote, “There’s nothing so useless, as doing really efficiently that which should not be done at all.” And a lot of people are doing things they shouldn’t be doing at all and trying to optimize it. There’s a great concept called 80/20 principle, Pareto’s principle. Tim Ferriss was the first person I heard talking about it, but now everybody seems to be talking about it. And it’s this idea that like if you look around and start paying attention, you’ll see that in most cases there’s a huge imbalance between how much effort you put into something and how much return you get from that effort.
And so what you should be looking for, our place is where you put in let’s say 20% effort, or money, or resources and you get 80% of the returns you’re looking for, right. But most lawyers and most people are perfectionist, they are trying to optimize for the 100%. Well, by definition you’re now spending 80% of your time trying to get that last 20%, because you’re not paying attention to what is it that you want to — how can you get the benefit. And so like for example — and people say what’s 80/20? Where do you see 80/20? And the answer is, all over the place, but you have to start looking for it.
One example for me is to say, well if you want to market your practice, you want to reach a bunch of people who conceivably would hire you. You could spend a lot of money and time and energy trying to reach all kinds of people or you can say, here is my ideal client and let me figure out the least expensive best way to start finding that person and the answer would be, not online, not on Billboard’s but rather through people that already know like and trust you. That’s called Referral Marketing, and weirdly we all refer – we forget about referral marketing but it’s — they already know you, and like you and trust you to some extent.
The people driving by the billboard are coming to your website. They don’t know you from Adam, it’s so much harder to explain to those people what you do enough to where they trust you, whereas you put a little effort into your referral marketing system, you are going to get a huge payoff.
So do that first and then if you’re not getting everything you need, then you can start the next thing but you have to look for these big gains like little incremental gains are going to get you nowhere.
Adriana Linares: I think this is in the workbook?
Ernie Svenson: It is in the workbook.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Ernie Svenson: Yes.
Adriana Linares: The one I don’t have but I have the pull from memory. I think the workbook had things in it like where do you currently get most of your referrals, right, which by the way is a hard problem for a hard question for a lot of lawyers to answer because they don’t track it officially, like they keep it in their minds. So just real quick on that specific topic, what do you teach them. How to do that, what’s in the workbook?
Ernie Svenson: Well the latest thing that’s in the workbook because I think this is the easiest way to do it, is so the key to referrals, well the key to everything is goes back to human nature. You know technology is great but psychology is, it underlies everything, right. So how do you get referrals? Well you’re going to get them from people already know you, like you and trust you. However, they have memories that fade. They forget about you. You’re not “top of mind” or whatever. So you have to keep reminding them regularly.
Adriana Linares: Is there a system for this?
Ernie Svenson: Yes, yes and you remind them regularly, once a month will be good right, and if you are going to remind him once a month, you can do it two ways. One, you can take them all to lunch, or try to take as many of them to lunch as possible or call as many of them on the phone as possible but that’s a lot of work and a lot of money and that’s not, that’s not effective.
What’s effective is email them all once a month. So an email newsletter but it’s not a newsletter with fancy graphics and stuff. It’s just write the email like you would write it to one single, one of those people and write it like you would write an email to that one person. And it doesn’t have to have a lot of words basically the fact that you’ve reminded them by sending the email once — even if they don’t open it up, even if they just say oh I see an email from Liz McCausland, I don’t have time for that right now. They never return to it, they were reminded that you exist right and over time as they open a few of those emails, they’re going to be reminded what you do specifically and hopefully if you write in the down-to-earth way and way that you should. You’re reminding them that you actually care about helping your clients, more than just making money.
All these things come together to help you become more referable. And to me all the website and all that stuff is, that’s just referral marketing done a different way. You can try to reach cold traffic, but that’s expensive, ineffective and hard.
Adriana Linares: I have so many young, brand new lawyers come to me at the San Diego County Bar for listeners who don’t know I work halftime for the San Diego County Bar on a remote basis and one week out of every month I go to San Diego and meet with their members and it’s astonishing, how many new lawyers.
I mean I always knew this because they’re in my face all the time, but really in this sort of flow constantly. They want to know how they can get new clients through their website and I have to tell them, baby lawyer you are way too late to the marketing on the internet game. It’s going to cost you a fortune. You need to go back to the basics, which is referrals, networking, face-to-face interactions.
Liz McCausland: That’s 100% true, because not even — when I have tracked the people who came to me and how they came to me, the people who come to me on a referral are almost a hundred times more likely to hire me because they trusted the opinion of somebody. A lot of times it’s not even someone that they knew well. It was my sister knew a lawyer and he gave me your name, but they are more likely to hire me after the consultation than someone who just looked me up online.
Ernie Svenson: Right and so I give the example and there’s a lot of examples I could give, but this is the one that’s the most compelling I guess, is I went to go speak to a group of lawyers, I won’t say which state, the State Bar not Louisiana, invited me to speak, I gave a talk afterwards at lunch I was seated at a table, sat next to a very nice attorney fellow, I guess he friended me or requested a friendship on Facebook, followed me.
I remembered his name, I’d see his name here and there, which right there is referral marketing, because I would have forgotten his name completely. He remembered my name, I remembered his name and one day out of the blue on Facebook and I still have the Facebook messages, it was in 2011, he messages me and says listen I have this case in New Orleans, I’m looking for a lawyer who can help me with a personal injury case and he was really I guess asking could I help him but or if not could I find him somebody, and I referred him to my friend who did that kind of work, forgot about my friend, handled the case. One day my friend calls me up and says listen we’re going to lunch. We’re going to have the finest champagne whatever you want and he said I’m going to send a case to your house and he goes this case settled for a lot of money and I want to repay you. I said great and it’s obviously was millions of dollars that the case generated. His fee was several hundred thousand dollars.
Adriana Linares: And that’s why we’re here in this lovely home, with this professional podcasting studio.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah and but then he pulls out a check and gives it to me. It was a $10,000.00 check just to thank me —
Adriana Linares: Wow.
Ernie Svenson: — for referring his case. Now that would not review, it would not had happened if I one, hadn’t met somebody, okay so it’s meeting people, then getting to know and like and trust them at all, but being able to sustain that relationship over time which merely was offloaded to Facebook essentially. So it’s —
Adriana Linares: So one good thing Facebook is for.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, I mean all of it is about relationships. So it’s about maintaining the relation, that’s the key. The relationship part is the key and the message that you want to send which should be a message about, I care about people, right, because nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care, that old song.
Adriana Linares: Oh good one.
Ernie Svenson: You never heard that one before?
Adriana Linares: No, I’ve never heard that, what was it?
Ernie Svenson: ‘Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.’
Adriana Linares: Oh, is that it?
Ernie Svenson: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: Oh, like a card of some sort or Maya Angelou —
Ernie Svenson: It’s not attributable with any one person, it’s been said a bunch of times.
Adriana Linares: I’ve never heard that.
Ernie Svenson: It’s true.
Adriana Linares: It’s so true.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: Let’s take a quick break. Listen to more messages from some sponsors. We’ll be right back.
LAWCLERK is where attorneys go to hire freelance lawyers. Whether you need a research memo or a complicated appellate brief, our network of freelance lawyers have every level of experience and expertise. Signing up is free and there are no monthly fees, only pay the flat fee price you set. Use rebate code NEWSOLO to get a $100 Amazon Gift Card when you complete your next project. Learn more at lawclerk.legal.
Imagine what you could do with an extra eight hours per week? That’s how much time legal professionals save with Clio, the world’s leading practice management software. With intuitive time tracking, billing and matter management, Clio streamlines everything you do to run your practice from intake to invoice. Try Clio for free and then get a 10% discount for your first six months when you sign up with the code New Solo 10, that’s New Solo 10, and do that at clio.com.
Adriana Linares: Alright we’re back. I’m just blown away by this perfectly good saying that I’ve never heard and someone else at the San Diego County Bar had this great, you said it a quote earlier that I was going to try and remember which was ‘You can’t improve what you can’t measure’, and this is an attorney who uses lean methodology in his law firm, but that’s because he came from an engineering background and had been at either a Toyota or something where they use those processes.
So we won’t obviously dig deep into that but I will encourage our listeners if you’re interested in learning about processes and process improvement and getting rid of waste, removing waste from your system in your process. I did a little bit of research before we did this seminar last year on Six Sigma methodologies for law firms or you can do lean methodologies for law firms and get some really great topics and posts and books about how to incorporate those critical and helpful methodologies which are typically used outside of legal into legal and I think that’s always a good place to start.
Ernie, I want to hear a little bit about the courses that you teach and the information that you put out there and the topics.
Ernie Svenson: Well I have one signature course which is the one — I had it one on Paperless it’s still there and I have one on —
Adriana Linares: But everyone’s paperless now so nobody clicks on that one.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah they — well weirdly some people do but yeah mostly people are paperless now. But so the signature course I call it Law Firm Autopilot and it was my attempt which is still ongoing to kind of wrangle together like here’s the basic blueprint of things that I feel like every lawyer needs to know to build a modern firm. And it’s really it could be for any modern business really but it’s for lawyers.
And that is a great course, I like it, I’ve tried to update it, I’m still updating it, but what I discovered was that people —
Adriana Linares: Like a hairy person with tweezers and that thing Ernie.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, that was my first thing and then I realize like nobody’s ever going to have the whole course. So I created a program which is basically group coaching and I do two webinars a month, one on operations, one on marketing. I invite people to come, help me sometimes, so you haven’t done that yet but you will.
Adriana Linares: Yes.
Ernie Svenson: And I’m sure, I am sure you will. I just try to introduce the lawyers to other people that I know and trust that they can rely on for the things that need to understand because I don’t know everything. I think I feel like what I do know are enough people who know things that one would need to know.
So if somebody said to me I’m having a question with e-discovery, I go okay ask Craig Ball —
Adriana Linares: Right.
Ernie Svenson: I know people that know this really well —
Adriana Linares: You are a great referrer.
Ernie Svenson: Well so are you. I mean this is — I’ve probably learned this from you, because you were connected in that world way before I was. I’ve just learned through that the ABA TECHSHOW, all those people those different bar associations the people that I feel like really do this at a high level, really care okay, so that we’re drawing a Venn diagram, care more about helping people than they do about making money which is you, Craig Bayer, other people, but when you distill out the people who know, who care at that level and who are trustworthy in that way, meaning they recommend things even if it goes against their self-interest.
Like I’ve heard you and Craig Bayer and other of my close friends say, you don’t want the thing I sell, would you want is this other thing.
And when I saw that the first time, I was like wow that’s great, that’s I think, that’s what everybody wants, but that’s not what everybody gets.
Adriana Linares: No.
Ernie Svenson: So the Copilot program is me just trying to help people as best I can on ongoing basis, but the biggest part is introducing them to other people like you.
Adriana Linares: And what’s the website?
Ernie Svenson: lawfirmautopilot.com.
Adriana Linares: And so I could go there and take a course?
Ernie Svenson: You can find the courses, yeah.
Adriana Linares: And then also become, what is group?
Ernie Svenson: The group thing is called ‘Copilot Group, Law Firm Copilot.’
Adriana Linares: And that’s you do the two monthly webinars?
Ernie Svenson: Two monthly webinars —
Adriana Linares: Where do your topics come from? Do they come from your actual group members that say hey I’d love to learn more about this?
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, that’s, I definitely — if they say this is what we want you to cover then I cover it and that’s why systems has been like a best popular thing, we cover that a lot, but the past couple of months what I’ve done is I’ve done something a little different and that is I’ve said okay for the next three or four months leading up to the boot camp, which I know we’ll wind up talking about.
But leading up to that I feel like that for marketing what we’re going to talk about is email referral marketing, because I know that if I don’t stay on it they’ll bail and they’ll say, oh yeah I’m going to do it and they won’t sign, something they won’t sign up for the email service, they won’t send the first email. So we just keep going on that until everybody gets results and they’re now getting results.
Liz McCausland: So you keep them accountable?
Ernie Svenson: Yes.
Adriana Linares: You go lockstep? The whole group moves at once?
Ernie Svenson: They don’t go lockstep, but what we do is like we’ve now been doing the email thing for a couple months and so I’ll start and I’ll say okay everybody, tell me where you are, tell me that you have sent your first email and then some people say yes then I’ll look I’ll see okay some people haven’t responded. I’ll say well those of you who have not responded —
Adriana Linares: You there.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, tell me if you sent the email, just come on, go ahead let’s confess it and I won’t shame you, I won’t say your name but just tell me why you didn’t send it and one person said I haven’t sent it I just it feels weird. I was like good. I’m glad you said that.
Adriana Linares: Talk about your feelings.
Ernie Svenson: Because I feel like a bunch of other people are going to say — yes it feels weird to send one email to a bunch of different people at once. The first time you do it feels weird, riding a bike felt weird the first time you did it, going to a dance, everything feels weird the first time you do it. But you will get results if you do these things I’m telling you should do and when you get the results you can, oh my god, this is the most amazing thing in the world and I think that’s what we all love right.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, of course.
Ernie Svenson: When you get people those results and you knew they were going to get them if they just did things you said to do.
Adriana Linares: We always know listen to your coaches.
Liz McCausland: Well I was just going to say, so you are a coach?
Ernie Svenson: Yeah.
Liz McCausland: You give them tasks to do, you follow up and you keep them accountable.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah and I’ve realized that you have to do that, like it’s not enough — this is an epiphany, it’s not enough to say to somebody here’s some great information that I have distilled for you. It is not going to move the needle for most people. What you have to do is say okay just like coaches do like that coach doesn’t go okay everybody here’s the best way to block somebody if it’s a football coach and okay I’ll leave you alone now —
Adriana Linares: You are going right, you keep working on this.
Ernie Svenson: People need the ongoing guidance, that’s just normal. So if you truly want to help people and I do, like I prefer this thing that I’m doing now is supposed to practicing law because I actually can help people, there is no opposing party on the other side trying to destroy everything I say which makes it a lot easier to help people. So if I want to help them it’s not enough to give them information go, there you go, that’s the information. I have to help them implement the information.
Liz McCausland: That’s to me the most critical part because every seminar I’ve been to anything retreat whatever I always leave with the best of intentions of taking all of that information and making it useful, but when you get back into work and we’re all busy and it just doesn’t happen.
Ernie Svenson: That’s reality, that’s life, right.
Liz McCausland: It is, it is life.
Ernie Svenson: So if you want to help people you have to deal with the reality of how people learn, what’s going on in their lives and you have to help them move forward and you have to stay on top of them, not to hound them, they want to be reminded of what they need to do and they also have sometimes they feel ashamed that they didn’t execute, then they go quiet.
Liz McCausland: That would have been me. That’s a 100%.
Adriana Linares: That would be me on the internet hoping Ernie didn’t notice that I hadn’t sent out my first email, just hiding in the back.
Liz McCausland: Because I will buy a course, like I said with every intention of implementing it and then of course I think because I spent money on it I will implement it and it doesn’t happen.
Ernie Svenson: Right.
Liz McCausland: And so I do go silent then.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: You need a human poking out.
Liz McCausland: I do. I need a coach fairly.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. Well, we know one. I got one for you. Let me refer you to one. Ernie, tell us about the Bootcamp in May.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, the Bootcamp that you both will be attending.
Adriana Linares: We well –
Ernie Svenson: And speaking at, and helping people therewith. So the Bootcamp, the last time I did you guys were there. 2017 was the last time I did it. I had been doing it every year for a while.
Adriana Linares: It’s a full day seminar, two days.
Ernie Svenson: It’s two days in New Orleans; great speakers, people that have been speaking at TECHSHOW basically my friends. The ones that I really trust in different, enough different areas including marketing so that if you go there and you knew nothing you could learn a lot, but the thing that’s different about the Bootcamp than other seminars, conferences, is that if you were to register for the Bootcamp today, you would immediately be given access to the Law Firm Autopilot Course and one of the Slack channels and you’ll get free webinars every week from here on out until to the Bootcamp and my podcasts are all dedicated to things that we’re going to be learning at Bootcamp.
So the idea is we’re moving toward Bootcamp and you’re learning.
Adriana Linares: As we go.
Ernie Svenson: So that by the time you get there you already know a lot of things.
Adriana Linares: Do they get the workbook?
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, they do get the workbook.
Adriana Linares: Have you seen the workbook?
Liz McCausland: Well –
Adriana Linares: I am sorry.
Liz McCausland: I have not seen the workbook.
Adriana Linares: It’s so beautiful. The reason I love it so much is because not only is it helpful and has a lot of good information, it’s just very beautiful.
Ernie Svenson: Well, it’s a PDF.
Adriana Linares: I mean but it was printed last, last year the one –
Ernie Svenson: Oh that was workbook, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Liz McCausland: I haven’t seen the workbook but I have heard the podcast and they are very, very good.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, Ernie, tell us about your podcast.
Ernie Svenson: Well, I just had a podcast. I have a podcast.
Adriana Linares: Law Firm Autopilot?
Ernie Svenson: Law Firm Autopilot. Yeah, and I just — I don’t necessarily interview a lot of people because when I started I thought what I’m going to do is just hammer home the same points that need to be hammered home, right.
So systems is important that we’re going to keep coming back to systems, and I wasn’t sure if people would like that or not, but people seem to like it and then I do have guests and between now and the Bootcamp, everyone is going to be one of the speakers, because I want people to know who are these people, get to know them, so that when they show up they feel like they can approach them and talk to them. They feel like they already know them because that’s the whole point.
Adriana Linares: So smart.
Ernie Svenson: The thing that you can’t — the thing that I can’t do online, that I can do in a two day conference is put people in a room who need to be in a room together and have them talk to each other, and there is certain, there are certain sessions that we could do that can be done in a course. Well then let’s just do them in a course.
But there is some things that are going to be great because that speaker is going to say something then somebody is going to say I need to talk to that speaker more and they can talk to the speaker more and everybody can talk to each other in the Slack area.
So everybody can have a big conversation in those two days. It’s very intense but they can continue it afterwards.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, you build a really nice community. What are the dates?
Ernie Svenson: May 7th and 8th, Thursday and Friday.
Adriana Linares: And is it on lawfirmautopilot.com?
Ernie Svenson: It is on lawfirmautopilot.com under Live Events and then you can find the Bootcamp there.
Adriana Linares: And it’s in New Orleans?
Ernie Svenson: It’s in New Orleans. It’s at the Hampton Inn Convention Center which is super nice hotel, they just renovated it and the rate — we got an incredibly good rate of a $129 a night which is wonderful because solo and small firm lawyers generally prefer to spend less money and be judicious about their resources. And so it’s a great event space.
We have one big room that everyone’s going to be in, but then we’re also going to have a separate room that will hold 50 people where we can have small group discussions and everybody who in the copilot program will be in there, they have priority and then other people can come in there if they want to.
Adriana Linares: Who are your speakers?
Ernie Svenson: Well, you are one.
Adriana Linares: I’ll be there.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, and Craig Ball and Craig Bayer, Brett Burney, Chelsey Lambert, Mike Kim, basically you know what’s funny is when I thought about doing this Bootcamp and I said okay, let me let me see if this will work. So we picked the dates, we found the dates and then I sent a blast email to 17 or 18 people whatever it was and said you know could you do with that?
And I thought some of them won’t be able to do it and if they can’t, then I’ll just figure out who else I could have. Actually I had invited more people that I had room for, but everybody said yes.
Adriana Linares: Well, who doesn’t want to come to New Orleans?
Ernie Svenson: New Orleans, yes, New Orleans is a big draw.
Liz McCausland: But what, what kind of topics are you going to have? Are you are going to have I know systems obviously?
Ernie Svenson: Yes, systems, outsourcing, automation, text automation.
Adriana Linares: You do great marketing content. Are you doing marketing?
Ernie Svenson: Yeah. Yup, a lot of marketing content, practice management software, which is the best one. How do you organize digital documents, you and Craig Bayer will be talking about that, mobile, mobile warning, that’s one of your topics.
Adriana Linares: Oh I’m doing mobile learning with my sweetheart.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: I am not a lawyer but I date one on TV, and he, I thank you for thinking of inviting him because he’s my poster child for being a 100% mobile attorney. So we’ll definitely cover that.
Well, that’s awesome. I’m super excited about that.
Liz McCausland: Let me ask you Ernie, because I know a lot of lawyers are trying to figure out how to market, how to differentiate and I agree with you a 100% on its relationships, but I see a lot of them asking questions on should I start a podcast, should I do these different things?
Since you being someone who has just started a podcast, have you seen if it’s drawing more people into?
Ernie Svenson: Oh yeah, oh my gosh, yes. In fact, the guy that produces my podcast Danny Ozment is going to be one of the speakers and he helps Mike Kim with his podcast. He helped me. Parker Layrisson has a podcast now so he has helped him.
Adriana Linares: Oh wow.
Ernie Svenson: And so yeah, the weird thing about podcasting, I already had a blog and I thought how much more useful can it be to have a podcast, and Mike Kim and other people told me like you really need to have a podcast, like it’s easy, it’s kind of you. I said okay fine. So I tried it.
And what I’ve discovered is it’s very hard to track, it’s not like an email marketing thing we can look and see, oh look at how many — I mean you can see downloads but you don’t know who those people are necessarily, but what’s funny is when people come to the podcast and they connect with it, the know, like and trust part of it builds faster than any other medium.
And it has been explained to me which makes perfect sense because I guess this is how it works for me with podcast, is that you’re talking into somebody’s ear, right, like it’s an intimate thing and I think back to like David Sparks was a lawyer that I met at TECHSHOW. I’ve been listening to his podcast and to me, he was this hero of Mac using lawyer who understood technology and automation, everything and I go to register it at TECHSHOW where the speakers were all registering, and I hear this voice I’m like wait a second David Sparks is here.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Ernie Svenson: And I was like, oh my god David Sparks is here. And it’s just like, so yeah, I guess I can understand it from that perspective, but it’s just weird because you can’t really measure it.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, it’s very hard to measure.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: I know from having now produced a couple of episodes for the San Diego County Bar what that’s like. We’re recording this in February of 2020, Ernie’s conference is in May of 2020.
So if you end up listening to this later than that, well, you will just have to wait till the next one comes around, but if it’s before that we hope to see you there. We’re all going to be there, a great lineup of speakers and before I forget to I want to say one thing.
We’ve mentioned Craig Bayer a couple of times, so I just want to give a little shout out to him, because he is just — he’s so helpful it almost makes me want to cry. He has helped me a lot over the past couple of days with a project I needed help on.
So Craig Bayer spelled like the aspirin B-A-Y-E-R is a legal technology consultant. He is almost 100% dedicated to doing NetDocuments implementations and roll outs and if you are a NetDocs user or you are curious about it, he has a great website at his company’s domain optiable.com. You can learn about Craig there and also get a lot of videos and help for NetDocuments on there, which is one of my favorite products. But Craig is a good friend and he’ll be at the conference as well.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, yeah.
Adriana Linares: Well awesome. Well I want to thank you both taking time. A Lundi Gras to record this, now it’s time to go catch some beads.
Ernie Svenson: Let’s get out there.
Adriana Linares: Before I let both of you go though Liz, why don’t you start, tell everybody how they can find, friend or follow you.
Liz McCausland: So I probably need to go to Craig’s Bootcamp and really get my web site up and running, but my website is lizlawfirm.com. It’s been on my to-do list for probably 10 years now.
Adriana Linares: Oh my god.
Liz McCausland: But that goes to show you that relationships matter because I do get all of my — every one of my clients through a referral, because they’re not picking me up on my website.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah.
Liz McCausland: But that’s where you can find more information about me or my services and then on social media. I’m on Twitter @LizMcCausland and Facebook as Liz Foshay McCausland.
Adriana Linares: Spell McCausland.
Liz McCausland: M-C-C-A-U-S-L-A-N-D.
Adriana Linares: Great. Ernie, where can everyone fine, friend, follow you and sign up for your Bootcamp to meet us all in person?
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, well the easiest way to find me is at Google “Ernie the Attorney” and you can find my main website and everything — you can find everything else from there, but lawfirmautopilot.com is the main business website and if you go to Live Events you can see all about the Bootcamp there and see all about all the other stuff I do right there as well.
Adriana Linares: Awesome. You’re a wonderful friend, great former attorney, excellent technology coach. Thanks for helping me out today.
Ernie Svenson: Yeah, you’re welcome.
Liz McCausland: Yeah, you are welcome.
Ernie Svenson: Thanks for having me.
Liz McCausland: Thanks for having me, yeah.
Adriana Linares: Thanks for listening to the New Solo Podcast on Legal Talk Network. If you like what you have heard today, please refer this podcast to a friend, subscribe and rate us on iTunes, hopefully with five stars.
We will see you next time and remember you’re not alone, you’re a New Solo.
Outro: Thanks for listening to New Solo with host Adriana Linares. Tune in again to learn more about how to successfully run your new practice, solo, here on Legal Talk Network.
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.
New Solo covers a diverse range of topics including transitioning from law firm to solo practice, law practice management, and more.
David Holmes shares insights from his personal experiences as a law firm leader.
Jill Epstein and Keith Fisher share insights on how they transitioned the San Diego County Bar Association to work remotely.
Adriana Linares and Brett Burney offer tips and recommendations for remote work tools and services.
David Holmes, Henry Herrman, and Greg Lambert offer guidance for establishing remote legal practice.
Ernie Svenson discusses how his work with attorneys helps them use their time better and get more meaningful clients.
Early blockchain co-inventor Scortt Stornetta and IBM’s Shawnna Hoffman discuss the past, present, and future of blockchain. Learn how this technology is already impacting...