David Holmes shares insights from his personal experiences as a law firm leader.
David Holmes is a business lawyer and managing partner at the Farr Law Firm. He counsels and...
Adriana Linares is a law practice consultant and legal technology coach. After several years at two of...
Good leadership is invaluable to law firms when they face a major transition, and transitions abound as the profession navigates issues brought forth by the pandemic. Adriana Linares talks with David Holmes about his passion for leadership and his personal experiences as managing partner at the Farr Law Firm. He shares insights on how patience and encouragement can help you as a leader nurture a culture of positivity in your law firm.
David Holmes is a business lawyer and managing partner at the Farr Law Firm.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Clio, Nexa, Lawclerk, and ROSS.
Law Firm Leadership: Cultivating Positivity in Your Law Firm
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: Hello and welcome to another episode of New Solo on Legal Talk Network. I am Adriana Linares, your host. I am a legal technology trainer and consultant. I help lawyers and law firms use technology better. Before we get started with today’s episode I want to make sure and thank our sponsors.
Thank you to ROSS Intelligence, 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 Answer 1, is a leading virtual receptionist and answering service provider for law firms. Learn more by giving them a call at 800-267-9371 or online at nexa.com.
Clio’s cloud-based practice management software makes it easy to manage your law firm from intake to invoice. Try it for free at clio.com. And that’s clio.com.
LAWCLERK is where attorneys go to hire freelance lawyers. Visit lawclerk.legal to learn how they increase your productivity and your profits by working with talented freelance lawyers.
Well, I am very excited to welcome David Holmes back to New Solo. He was on an episode we did in March, I think that’s right. Was that right, David, March?
David Holmes: I believe it was.
Adriana Linares: All the days are flowing and blowing together because in case you are listening to this months or years later, we have all been stuck inside of our homes because of the corona crisis. So this feels like March 58, 2020, but it’s really been quite an interesting time.
And David, you were on the podcast in March. We were just talking about I had you and a solo practitioner Henry Herrman talk to us about what the two of you had done, he as a solo and you as the managing partner of a large law firm to really deal with everyone working from home and having a mobile workforce and dealing with clients. So I really wanted to bring you back. I appreciate you coming back to talk a little bit more about that, but also as someone who has worked with you in your office, I admire you very much for the way you run your firm and I am hoping that you can pass some words of wisdom on to other attorneys who are just looking for guidance and help in running a better law firm.
So tell everyone a little bit about yourself, where you practice, where you live, the size of your firm, just the basics.
David Holmes: Yeah. Well, I have been practicing in Southwest Florida in a town called Punta Gorda since about 1993, part of the Farr Law Firm. Our firm has been around since 1924, so we are getting closer to our 100th anniversary.
Adriana Linares: That is so cool.
David Holmes: Yeah. I have been managing partner of the firm for about — right around 10 years now. So time flies when you are having fun.
Adriana Linares: Wow. How many attorneys do you have?
David Holmes: So we have got I think 17 attorneys. We are a full-service law firm. When I describe our firm to people I say we really have three main practice areas; real estate and estate planning, litigation and a business transactions practice, but within those large areas we are truly a full-service firm and take care of just about anything that our client needs, be they a business client or an individual client and we have been doing it for just about a 100 years and we are in a great place to do it.
We are in Punta Gorda, Florida, which combines all the benefits of a small town lifestyle, but a big firm practice. We have got a lot of relationships around the state and around the country and are fortunate to do really good work and to use really good technology as we do that work, which makes it better and easier and more efficient for everyone.
Adriana Linares: I definitely want to talk a little bit about the technology, but a couple of background questions too. So having been to your firm a couple of times, you guys have a big beautiful modern state-of-the-art standalone building. I think it’s rare that I see law firms that have that, you know, especially one your size because really you are a large law firm for the region. Are you the largest law firm in the Punta Gorda area?
David Holmes: I would say in our market area we are; in Charlotte County, Florida certainly the largest. Our sort of Southwest Florida region extends to the north to the community of Sarasota, to the south the communities of Fort Myers and Naples. And I would say we are one of the three or four largest firms in that larger market area,.
Our firm has been in the county seat of Charlotte County, which is Punta Gorda from the inception and in the early 1990s Charlotte County made plans to build a new courthouse and our historic offices were right across the street from the courthouse. So a group of our partners got together and decided to buy a piece of property next to the location of the new courthouse and we wound up building a new building that we moved into in June of 2001, so just about 20 years ago. And we went up to Tampa, went over to Miami, looked at a lot of law firm spaces, worked with a very good group of architects and interior designers and built this building that we have been in for just about 20 years now.
Adriana Linares: Very cool, it’s a beautiful building. I love coming through there. I want to talk to you, I want to ask you, so you and I met when your very talented and kind and sweet office manager and marketing director reached out to me and said hey, we are looking to upgrade our technology. Can you help us? And I came in and helped you guys with NetDocuments and Clio. And I don’t want to spend too much time necessarily talking about those specific products, but I do want you to tell me a little bit about how having become a more cloud-enabled mobile friendly firm has allowed you to now grow to a couple of satellite offices that I think you didn’t have before. I think you had the small office in Venice, is that right?
David Holmes: Yeah, we had that office and still do have an office in Venice, Florida, but the connectivity between that office and our office before we went to the cloud through your services was very less than optimal. We just had a hard time. We had all sorts of ways of connecting that the IT people tried to explain to me that I never understood. All I knew is it just didn’t work.
But once we finally got to the cloud-based solution, the ability to connect those offices is seamless. So when you are in any of our other offices the experience when you login and go to work is no different than it is in the home office. And you would think it would be easy to kind of connect offices in the 21st Century, but it was a bit of a struggle until we got the right technology platforms. And now with the platforms that we have today you can be in one of our remote offices, you can be in your home, you can be in a hotel room, anywhere in the world and basically you are able to do the work that we do exactly the same as we would do it if we were in the office. And that obviously is liberating and it makes you very efficient when you are traveling and it gives you the ability to work through the occasional world health pandemic, which is what we are doing right now.
Adriana Linares: Right or hurricanes, because I think a big push a few years ago when we started helping your firm was a hurricane, another hurricane had blown through there and I think you guys just sort of said enough is enough, like let’s get this firm in the cloud and then it turns out to be helpful at times like this.
So tell me a little bit about making decisions like that for your firm, and we did talk about this in the previous episode so I will encourage listeners to go back and listen to the March episode because that was a really good conversation. But real quick, you know, just one of the things that I admire about you was when I came to help you and having been doing this for 20 years I said look, this is going to be hard for some people, there might be crying, there is definitely going to be complaining, there is no way to please all the people all the time.
And I have dealt with a lot of managing partners who made that transition a lot harder than it needed to be and that’s not what you did. You came at this as we called it in the last episode and I will call it again this heart transplant for your firm with a really good attitude and managed to figure out how to deal with people’s complaints or fears or insecurities and I think that’s really hard to find in leaders, in law firm leaders these days.
David Holmes: Well, we had been through one of those heart transplants I think several years before when we actually first acquired case management software for the first time and I don’t think I was managing partner then, but I was the champion that said gang, we have really got to get into the 21st Century here, we need case management software. I saw sort of the struggle that a lot of people went through in that process so I knew there wasn’t going to be a way to avoid it. But I knew that the payoff was going to be worth the cost, the cost in terms of not only financial but brain damage, for lack of a better way to put it, it’s stress and anxiety and all the things that go along with it.
So by the time you came around I had been through it once, this time I was the individual in charge, for lack of a better way to put it, and knew what was coming and just pulled everybody together and said we are going to do this as joyfully as we can, it’s not going to be easy, but I believe before long you are going to be getting more work done in a way that works better.
The reality in all of these things is nobody likes change; lawyers don’t like change, staff don’t like change. Everybody wants to come to work, they have habits about how they get their work done; some of those are efficient habits, some of those are inefficient habits, but be that as it may people don’t like changing how they do what they do to get their work done every day. So you have got to embrace the idea of change, stay focused, and as I said last time, most importantly, make sure you invest in training your people.
Adriana Linares: Training, right.
David Holmes: If you don’t train your people they are going to wind up doing workarounds or half using the technology and not generating the efficiencies that the whole thing is designed to lead to in the first place. So stick with the training, keep everybody moving and if you have to along the way take away any crutch that people might use with the old system, so that’s sort of like a baptism by fire, there is no going back. You have jumped off the diving board and you can’t go back.
So you put it altogether, but attitude I think is critical in that whole process. You have just got to keep smiling and as people get stressed out, just be the calm, reassuring, soothing voice and bring someone who is a good consultant to the table, like you, who can solve problems, work through issues and provide solutions, because if you can’t provide solutions to people as you are going through one of these transplants, the whole thing can break down pretty quickly.
Adriana Linares: And to your credit, when we talk about training, you are someone who likes training and you would call me into the office all the time and say hey, show me how to do this. You are an advanced user as it was. So I think one of the tips that I would give to attorneys taking their firms through something like this comes from what I learned and saw out of you, which is, I use these programs too and I think a lot of times when someone came into your office complaining that they didn’t know how to do something or couldn’t do something, because you are a power user and you used everything and actually dedicated time to figure out how to use it, you would be able to say well, you can totally do that, let me show you how.
And so you were as much a leader and a change agent and a trainer as anybody else in that firm when we were going through all this. So I think that’s something that I would encourage attorneys to do too is you can’t be the leader of your law firm and then just watch the change. I feel like it’s important that you are a part of it.
David Holmes: Well, here is one of the things I have learned as we have, now in our third week of the COVID remote work experience, where we have in our big beautiful building that you were kind enough to describe, we have about eight or nine people working there now and everybody else is working remote, what I have kind of learned along the way is some of our people who deal with lots of documents and other things don’t necessarily know the easiest most efficient ways to do things with some of the software. So what I figured out how to do over the weekend is create a YouTube video where you see my screen and you hear my soothing, hopefully, voice talking, showing —
Adriana Linares: Yes, you should read books.
David Holmes: Showing you how to do things with Adobe and Word.
Adriana Linares: No way.
David Holmes: Yes. So I am going to actually record a few of those and put them up on our intranet.
Adriana Linares: I love it.
David Holmes: And tell everybody hey, if you are trying to do this or that, just in case, here is how I do it, not necessarily the best way, but here is a way to do it, because I just kind of figured out along the way that some people don’t necessarily have that knowledge of some of our software. So I am going to throw up a few little quick one or two minute at the most videos where somebody can say quickly how do I do this and we will just be on the intranet, oh I need —
Adriana Linares: No kidding, I love it. David, that’s awesome.
David Holmes: I need to combine five PDFs, don’t print them out and scan them.
Adriana Linares: Oh my God.
David Holmes: No, there is a way to do that in Adobe and I need to remove some pages from a PDF. Well, there is a way to do that too.
Adriana Linares: Well, no, the way you do it is you print it, take out the two pages you don’t need and then rescan it.
David Holmes: Well, in case any of my colleagues listen I won’t criticize that approach, but there may be a time saver that goes along with it.
Adriana Linares: Please don’t do that. Hey, I will give you a tip real quick. There is a really nice little program called Loom. Have you heard about Loom, L-O-O-M?
David Holmes: No, I haven’t.
Adriana Linares: And I paid for it because it was $5 a month for a year, but it’s a very quick and easy way to record how-to’s and then it just publishes them directly to the Loom site into your account where you can share those screen shares or you can download them and then upload them to your intranet or you can just put the link there.
But I have been using Loom a lot and for me too, obviously, I do how-to’s all the time, but now during the past three or four weeks it’s been intensified, I can’t call back everyone that calls with a question. So it’s really much faster for me to turn on Loom, record a quick how-to and send them the link, so that one might be helpful for you.
David Holmes: There is an app for that, I love it.
Adriana Linares: There is always an app for that.
Hey, before we go on to our next segment, which I want to ask you about how you became the managing partner of your firm in your 30s and your interest and passion for leadership, we are going to take a quick break and listen to some 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, qualified leads, respond to emails, integrate with your firm, 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: All right, we are back and I am on with David Holmes, who is — I consider David a friend of mine, but he was once a client, hopefully still a client, and he has always inspired me and impressed me with his ability to run his law firm very well as a tech-savvy lawyer.
So David, welcome back. I wanted to ask you, you and I are about the same age, which means when you said earlier that you became the managing partner of your firm, it must have been in your late 30s, mid 30s, I take it?
David Holmes: Late 30s, I think, yeah. That sounds about right, yeah.
Adriana Linares: So that’s a pretty good accomplishment for someone in their late 30s for a firm as storied and well-respected as the Farr Law Firm. Can you tell me a little bit about, was that something you wanted or did you sort of make it up the ranks and you were the obvious choice or were you on a path? And how did you get the skills outside of just the legal skills, because you can’t be the managing partner of a law firm and just be a good lawyer, you have got to be a good business person, you have got to be a good people person, you have got to be a good manager and a good leader?
David Holmes: Yeah, the story for us was we have and had at that time a generational law firm. Right now we have lawyers in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, and for a long time, especially back when I became managing partner, I was very much the person in the middle. I had a cadre of younger lawyers. I was probably right around 40, 41, 42, I think perhaps when I became managing partner and I had a cadre of lawyers who were younger than me and a cadre of lawyers who were older than me, the people that had trained me and taught me most of what I know, if not all of it, and brought me up through the ranks.
So I had great relationships across the board with all of the attorneys in the firm and we came to kind of a time of change where there were a number of challenges that were presenting us, it was just prior to the great recession. There was technology change that was going on. There was generational change. So in a lot of ways I think I was the logical choice, but it was something that I sought out at a particular time where we had some challenges that we were dealing with and they took me up on it.
Adriana Linares: They are like nobody else wants this job but David, kidding.
David Holmes: When you talk about leadership, there is no substitute for actually having to do it. So it was definitely something I wanted, it was something I believed that I would be good at, and shortly after the transition occurred we had a firm retreat and I to this day, I don’t know if I have ever told the story before Adriana, so this would be a first, I remember sitting at the head of the table at a firm retreat having been managing partner for about a month or six weeks and I felt like saying, you know what, never mind, I don’t want to do this.
Everybody looked at me and the crickets were chirping, but I think anyone who has been in this position has had those moments where you question your confidence that you were full of before you had the mantle of responsibility and then all of a sudden it’s on you and it’s a very different perspective. And what I felt at that time was really an overwhelming sense of responsibility. It wasn’t a chance to finally impose my will on anyone; it was a great sense of responsibility to take this institution that has been around since 1924 and try to move it through a challenging time and help everyone that is part of it make it better and stronger for the future.
So we got through that retreat and here we are 10 years later and it’s a never-ending series of challenges, but it’s something I enjoy very much, because it’s really at the end of the day about relationships and I really prize all the relationships I have with our partners, with our associates, with all of our staff. We have just an incredibly talented group of people and it’s my job to really help them get through the day and do everything I can to support them in trying to do their best for themselves and for the firm and most of all for our clients.
Adriana Linares: And you are a likable guy, I mean let’s just admit it.
David Holmes: I always put on my likeable face for you Adriana.
Adriana Linares: Well, no, I have seen you interact with your staff and your attorneys and you are lighthearted and you are funny when it’s right and your stern and you are serious when you need to be and I think I feel like if I interviewed anyone from your firm they would say the same things and very much appreciate that.
So I love seeing that in law firm leaders. I just think it’s so important.
David Holmes: Yeah, there’s these quintessential stereotypical managing partners and that was never what I wanted to be. And I remember when I was in law school at Stetson in St. Petersburg, like most law students remember they have alumni come and talk to you.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
David Holmes: And we had an alum come who was a trial lawyer, a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer who was talking about trying cases and what he said that really stuck with me is whoever you are, don’t try to be someone other than who you are. You are most effective, you are most credible when you are being yourself, and that sounds easy, but in our business when you deal with conflict for a living, when you deal with challenging people for a living, when you deal in stressful environments, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of trying to be like that person or this person and when you do that you are off your game.
So when you can be yourself you don’t need to force confidence or project anything other than you are being who you are and I think people respond to that, because that’s genuine, that’s honesty, and for me that was a lesson that I took to heart at an early age and wasn’t necessarily confident enough to apply it until later in my career, but I think it’s always served me well in my managing partner role and otherwise.
Adriana Linares: I think that’s great and so important and I think certainly something that coming up through the ranks, watching young lawyers and it’s funny now because when I first started and worked at one of Florida’s large law firms, I was the trainer, the computer trainer training these young attorneys who were the same age as me and now you know 20 years later they’re the managing partners of their firms or they’re in some other highfalutin positions and it’s been fun to watch.
I guess myself too but really my associates, my friends, my lawyer friends go through that and become themselves and find that confidence as we get older and get more experienced and I just think that’s great advice too.
David Holmes: And my mission in life and all of this is there are too many obnoxious lawyers out there, maybe I am the first person to ever say that live.
Adriana Linares: What?
David Holmes: But there are too many obnoxious lawyers in the world and I have always been determined not to include myself in their ranks. I have done litigation, I do lots of litigation, I deal with conflict for a living, but I refuse to be that guy. There’s plenty of other guys and gals that play that role and too many people confuse aggression and obnoxiousness with effectiveness.
So as a law firm leader and just as a practicing lawyer, I am not going to be that person, because it’s not necessary and it doesn’t serve any of us well.
Adriana Linares: I think that’s a great message for every attorney and human to hear and try to heed.
One more quick break before we move on to the last segment of today’s episode.
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.
The legal industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation and the Daily Matters podcast is here to give you a competitive edge. In Daily Matters, Clio’s CEO Jack Newton interviews prominent legal experts to explore how solo and small firm lawyers can succeed in the current economic environment. So listen, visit clio.com/daily or subscribe to Daily Matters wherever you get your podcasts.
Adriana Linares: All right, we are back. And David, I wanted to ask you, so when we were warming up to do the podcast you said what are we going to talk about. I said I want to talk about your passion for leadership and you said, I didn’t know I had it. And maybe —
David Holmes: That was off the record, Adriana.
Adriana Linares: Oh no, it’s on the record, but I know you were kidding. But I think someone who really understands what leadership is, is critical in the role that you play and one of the things that I learned a really long time ago from a speaker that I was listening to was there was a big difference between a manager and a leader, there’s a big difference between a good manager and a good leader and just because you are a good manager doesn’t make you a good leader.
You are one of those people who strives to be better at whatever it is you are interested in. I think, I mean I am totally making an observation here that I think is true and so I wanted to ask you why you do things like participate in Leadership Florida? Why you go to lawyer training and practice management, betterment programs like Atticus? So I want you to tell us a little bit about those programs that you’ve gone through and how they have helped you and why they were important to you and especially as a side note all of the relationships that you have built from going through that and how those have brought you clients and referrals and just bring the whole thing together for me?
David Holmes: Yeah, this is an interesting topic, because at various times in my career I’ve said to the firm, we should bring in a consultant on this topic or that topic and there’s a lot of people that have a kind of knee-jerk reaction, well, what do we need that for, what do we need someone to come in here and tell us a bunch of stuff that we don’t want to hear.
Adriana Linares: Right, we know everything.
David Holmes: Yes exactly, and I’ve always kind of looked at it differently. I like working with most consultants. There’s exceptions to every rule, but good consultants I think bring you a fresh perspective. Our law firm especially is kind of unique in the sense that I think every one of our partners with one exception, so we’ve got 11 partners, 10 out of 11 came to work here right out of law school and have never worked at any other law firm. And that says a lot about us.
Adriana Linares: Yes, it does.
David Holmes: Some of it good, but some of it presents challenges. It means we are a cohesive group of people that stick together for a long time, but it also means we can lack from outside perspective, because we just don’t have people that have been other places doing things different ways. And I think bringing in consultants personally or for the firm is always just a great source of input and information. It’s just always been something that I’ve found valuable. I am a kind of curious person by nature, I like to figure stuff out and I like to kick things around with other people, both inside the firm and out of the firm.
So groups like Atticus which I did very early in my partnership career proved invaluable to me, so a plug for Mark Powers in Atticus, it’s a great group, it’s a great time to just force you to sit down and focus on your practice and your goals and follow up and do everything you can to implement them. And I’ve encouraged other attorneys in our firm to reach out to those kinds of resources.
So it’s a collaborative thing that I think is very valuable and anytime anyone resists outside input, which is not uncommon in our profession, I challenge that usually with a smile and a wink and a joke, but why are you so resistant to outside input. Are you afraid someone might suggest that you could be doing something different or better, would that be frightening to you and we work through it.
Adriana Linares: I think for many lawyers it would be.
David Holmes: Yeah, that’s the problem. So try to be open-minded and the worst thing that can happen is nothing changes. The best thing that can happen is you can get some great ideas and really improve the way that you go about doing what you do all day every day.
Adriana Linares: And then, if you don’t mind, give me a little bit more on what Atticus does and did for you specifically?
David Holmes: Well Atticus is a group founded by a guy named Mark Powers in the Orlando Florida area. They have a number of programs. The one I did I believe is called Practice Builder and it was a — I believe long weekend, three day or two and a half day program, where you would simply go through training and you get forced to set goals for what you want to do in your practice, identify what your goals are and in my case I set, what I thought at the time were absolutely, ridiculously unachievable goals, and then you follow up for a period of time on a regular basis to go about the process of implementing the things you need to implement to achieve those goals and I did and continue to do so and I think it was a very valuable program, really good information. I have stolen more quotes from Mark Powers than I can remember over the years, but I use them a lot and it’s a lot of really good insights and it sort of brings a lot of social science business type concepts and applies them to this unique professional services world that we work in.
Another great resource is a guy out there named David Maister. I don’t know if you ever read or watch any of David Maister stuff.
Adriana Linares: Sure. My friend Ernie is a big fan of his.
David Holmes: Yeah, Maister is a Harvard Business School professor who took on this curious little world of professional service firms that none of the other professors were evidently that interested in back when he was coming up through the ranks among his best pieces are, a chapter in a book he wrote called ‘Are Lawyers Manageable?‘, and very good insights about the psyche of the typical lawyer and why they are a challenge to try and manage.
Adriana Linares: I have an answer to that question and it’s yes, I manage lawyers all the time, but I have a really weird position when it comes to lawyers, which is when I walk in the room I am the expert and there is something weird about that. Of course I am not a lawyer and I have certainly learned how to manage their expectations and how to help them and how to — I can almost predict what lawyers are going to protest about when we are talking about technology or software or training and I feel like when you are good at that understanding, which you are, obviously with and without this training that you have received, that obviously really, really helps.
So Atticus is a great program specifically geared toward legal and lawyers and running a better law practice. But you also are a big fan and advocate of Leadership Florida. Tell me a little bit about that because that’s outside of just legal.
David Holmes: Yeah, Leadership Florida is a great organization, probably known outside of the Leadership Florida ranks for putting on the gubernatorial debates during every election cycle. But it’s an organization that’s been around in Florida for decades. It brings together a class usually of about 50 people every year that meets five or six times, yeah, six times during the course of the year, every other month, from all walks of life, all sectors of industry, all who are more senior executives, leaders, not all necessarily C-suite types, but people who have a lot of leadership experience from for-profits, not-for-profits, manufacturing industry of all sorts.
And it’s a really immersive program where you get to know; I call it a group of high school class presidents who all come together in cocktail hours and all sorts of different settings. And you travel around the state and are hosted by a group of alumni in each location that you travel to.
So for me, I grew up in Southwest Florida, close to where I practice now, had never spent a lot of time in South Florida. But I remember we spent two sessions, in Broward County one and Dade County the other and it gave me just an incredible appreciation for things in South Florida that I knew nothing about. In fact, I took my family over there and retraced our steps to a lot of places, because there were just so many interesting things that I learned, and you learn a lot about the state and a lot about different industries and segments and you make a lot of relationships with a lot of really good people. So it’s a great program.
Adriana Linares: I love that. And so to wrap our arms around both of those opportunities, you are big into networking or it’s important to you, so when you join programs like that, do you feel that that obviously improves your network? How do you get more clients? It’s something I know listeners are always wanting to hear advice about how do you use those relationships to grow the client book for the firm now?
David Holmes: I am sort of a stealth networker, for lack of a better way to put it, I think when someone shows up intent on networking and making contacts that are going to turn into business or money, it can be overwhelming and counterproductive. So again, sort of as I said before, my view of networking is show up, meet some interesting people, talk about whatever you are going to wind up talking about and see where it goes.
I describe all those kind of events as planting seeds, you show up and you plant seeds and they don’t necessarily germinate the next day or the next week or the next month, but I can’t think of how many times I have met someone somewhere in some setting and they have come back and called me up or sent me an email or come to see me three, four, five years later and wound up being really great clients.
So what I always tell people is show up, be yourself, meet people, don’t have any expectations other than having a good time and sharing any knowledge that you can share with a group and let the rest of it take care of itself. That’s my approach for whatever it’s worth. That’s how I try to go about those types of things.
Adriana Linares: What about LinkedIn? I see you on LinkedIn a lot. You are very engaging. You are interactive. You post things. You congratulate peers. You say positive things about companies when they have won an award. Is LinkedIn a place where you also interact a lot and that same magic sort of happens where you are kind of in stealth mode, but you are top of mind for people, so when they are looking for legal services in an area that you can help them with, do you find that LinkedIn is a good resource for that for you?
David Holmes: So I am like a social media novice, I don’t have a Facebook page. I don’t do any of that stuff. But I was a bank director for a bank for many years and I got into a contest with the president of the bank when LinkedIn was first coming out to see who could get 500 contacts first. So I don’t remember who won, but we both got over 500 pretty quick.
I have just sort of gotten in the habit of, you know, if I work with someone after the project comes to an end, I will shoot him an invite on LinkedIn. Never really did a lot of posting until the last year or so, but just started seeing some interesting things out there and it’s sort of like everything else, you don’t know that you are doing or reading anything interesting until you kind of step back and think about it and say well, that’s interesting, people might benefit from that or take interest in it.
So once or twice a week or so I will come across something like that and throw it out there, and sometimes you get responses, sometimes you don’t, but I think it’s, as you said, about just sort of keeping your presence out there, top of mind, reinforcing the relationships that you already have and maybe making some new connections along the way.
Mostly I go to LinkedIn because it — I usually just see very interesting stuff and it leads me to articles and things that I read and all kinds of content that’s out there. So I am pushing and pulling all at the same time.
Adriana Linares: No, I agree, I think LinkedIn is — for me it’s — if we are going to call it social media, which I don’t, I don’t always put LinkedIn into the social media category because it’s more like business media, if that was a term, is definitely one of the places where I go to read great articles, good conversations. I am a member of bunch of groups that are so helpful to me and I definitely appreciate the community that LinkedIn offers. I wish I was more active. I don’t have time. I don’t know how people do social media the way they do, how they have the time to do it, but I wish I had a little bit more.
David Holmes: You are busy being all things to all people at all times Adriana.
Adriana Linares: Tell me about it, day number 58 of March did we say?
Anyway, David, I very much appreciate your time. I know you are busy, although not that busy these days. No, I am kidding, I am kidding. I know you are very busy.
David Holmes: We are working around the clock, day and night here in the home office, so bring it on.
Adriana Linares: So ground-hoggy. But I have been wanting to have you on the podcast since we met a few years ago and really like I said, I am not just saying this to say this, I very much admire the way you run your law firm. I can’t tell you how often I go into other law firms and just wish that it was the same culture, which is positive and just run by really nice people, your entire firm, you are lucky.
And I will say this, which we haven’t mentioned, just a funny little side note, one of my oldest friends from high school and then was my college roommate and then she went off to law school, you hired her way back, so that would have been I guess 20 years ago when you hired Jenny Howell.
David Holmes: Yeah, many moons ago. I remember I was an associate at the time and was in charge of driving her from point A to point B during the interviews and we hired Jennifer and she worked for us for many years and ultimately branched out and started her own very successful estate planning firm, and over the years she and her husband have become even better friends of mine than perhaps when we were all working together, so great relationship with great folks.
Adriana Linares: Yeah and such a small world. I love coming to see your firm because I get to stay with her and visit with her. She is just one of my dearest friends and you are now.
David Holmes: Well, we will just have to have some technology problems and see if we can bring you back.
Adriana Linares: I think you are right. I think you are right. Although I don’t know, I feel like you guys are doing pretty good.
Well David, thanks so much. Really appreciate it. Before I let you go, tell everyone how they can connect with you or find, friend or follow you out there in the world.
David Holmes: Well, we are the Farr Law Firm and we are at farr.com. I am David Holmes. [email protected].
Adriana Linares: Thanks again David, very much appreciate it.
David Holmes: Always good to be with you.
Adriana Linares: Thanks. Thank you for listening to another New Solo Podcast on Legal Talk Network. If you like what you have heard today, share this episode, subscribe to New Solo, give it 5 stars. We will see you next time.
And remember, you are not alone, although you might be because we are all in quarantine right now, you are 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.
Notify me when there’s a new episode!
|Published:||May 21, 2020|
|Category:||Best Legal Practices , Startup Law|
New Solo covers a diverse range of topics including transitioning from law firm to solo practice, law practice management, and more.