Erik Pickering was just getting the hang of things in data operations and company security at Bridgewater Associates when the Great Recession hit and the bottom fell out from under the economy. He still uses the lessons he learned at Bridgewater, which had set up a sophisticated Depression alarm that anticipated the turmoil.
Pickering and host Christopher Anderson discuss the strategy lessons he saw developed and implemented by Bridgewater’s billionaire founder Ray Dalio. Pickering shares Dalio’s five-step planning process that he says applies to business and life.
The lessons are particularly applicable today and boil down to, “Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.”
One key to planning right now? Shorten the planning horizon. Rather than a five-year plan, Pickering and Anderson say firms may need to think in terms of months or weeks.
Pickering and Anderson discuss the common mistakes lawyers make during times of crisis. Taking on too much at once is one Pickering sees far too often.
Closing the episode, Pickering and Anderson talk about investigative and data research as a tool for lawyers, from solos to larger firms. Pickering differentiates the Tracers software and investigation method from simple internet searches that don’t measure up to responsible due diligence.
Erik Pickering is president of the data-research company Tracers.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Scorpion, Lawclerk, Alert Communications and LawYaw.
The Un-Billable Hour
Data Is Such a Powerful Tool
Intro: Managing your law practice can be challenging. Marketing, time management, attracting clients and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of the Un-Billable Hour. The law practice advisory podcast. This is where you’ll get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher Anderson: Welcome to the Un-Billable Hour. I am your host Christopher Anderson, and today’s episode is about — well, this one’s going to be kind of about everything. I might say that it’s about tools, which is something that we talk about. The tools that you use as lawyers to produce in the production line. The work that you’ve promised that you’ve marketed and sold to clients and these tools can include software and your physical space and desks and computers. But we’re going to be talking about data as a tool that will probably lead to a lot of other conversation outside the range of tools. But just simply excited about our guest and we’ll see where it goes. But we’ll call the title today, Data is a Powerful Tool. My guest is Erik Pickering. He’s the president of Tracers which is a data resource company but before we get started, I want to say thank you to the sponsors that make this show possible and for giving us the opportunity to spend this time together. Alert communications, if any law firm is looking for call, intake or retainer services available 24/7, 365, just call (866) 827-5568. Scorpion is the leading provider of marketing solutions for the legal industry. With nearly 20 years of experience serving attorneys, Scorpion help you grow your practice. Learn more at scorpionlegal.com. LAWCLERK, 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. Lawyaw provides end-to-end document automation for solo, small and mid-sized practices. Save time and avoid mistakes with documents that you draft over and over again. Learn more at lawyaw.com, and that’s L-A-W-Y-A-W.com. And today’s episode of the Un-Billable Hour is data is a powerful tool and as I said, I am pleased, thrilled, excited to introduce my guest. Erik Pickering, president of Tracers which is a data resource company. We’ll be talking a little bit more about what that means and how law firms can use that. But Erik is also 25 years experienced in running and growing businesses and that’s what should be really interesting to you as well. As president of the consumer division of First Advantage Corporation, he ran two data business units both U.S Search and the Homeowners Club. And then at Bridgewater Associates, which is the world’s largest hedge fund, his responsibilities included research, data operations, trading desk oversight, and company-wide security. Prior to that he’s also worked at Amazon at Booz Allen Hamilton, Procter & Gamble. He’s a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and a Harvard business school MBA. So, you might say that he knows a little bit about business and I certainly would pay attention. With that introduction, Erik, welcome to the show.
Erik Pickering: Thank you. I appreciate you having me on. It’s really awkward to listen to you read that.
Christopher Anderson: I appreciate it. And I know I butchered Tracers, like I always try to find a pithy little thing to say and I think I always do a bad job. So, before we get started with kind of the meat and potatoes, can you just say a little bit more about what Tracers is?
Erik Pickering: Yeah, you bet. So, Tracers is a cloud-based data research platform. So, in addition to the legal vertical we serve law enforcement, fraud examiners, collection and several other verticals. So, we aggregate all the public records out there along with some proprietary data and bring it all together to create this sort of 360-degree view of 99% of the U.S. adult population. So, then a background screening company can use our data to determine due diligence on candidates, so that’s the core of what we do.
Christopher Anderson: Excellent, thank you. So, I read your resume which is like really impressive but a lot of it — like one of the concerns I had when booking you and I just — my guests should know I clearly decided to do so. But one of my concerns was like that sounds like a lot of big business. We’re talking to the owners and operators of small law firms. Can you help me relate your experience right now to the growth of a small law firm business?
Erik Pickering: Yeah, I mean the things that I’ve enjoyed talking to attorneys that are running these small solo firms is I completely relate to that entrepreneurial world.
I mean you know, based on my experience as you just read, I have grown a lot of businesses but I have not been the owner, operator, top of the heap for everything and it’s just such a radically different operating environment. And I’ve bought Tracers about three years ago, so I’ve got three years of sort of how do I take all this great stuff. I mean I’ve worked at some amazing places and taken a lot of great things from, what I’ve learned there and how do I apply it and how does that really — what’s important when I’m in this — you know, Tracers is it’s bigger than a solo law firm but it’s not an Amazon, it’s not some — it’s a — I think of it as a small business, so I feel like I relate to the day-to-day of where you’re spending your time and the pitfalls and so that’s what I’ve been enjoying talking about.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, great and I know that a lot of it is relevant. So that’s the big business stuff that we talked about. Then Bridgewater, I mean I think quite honestly myself and a lot of small law firm owners aren’t really that dialed into what a hedge fund does and what does your experience at Bridgewater particularly relate to what we’re going through now as in the economic atmosphere that we’re in for small business.
Erik Pickering: Yeah, well the part that’s particularly relevant is it has nothing to do with it being a hedge fund. A lot of a lot of people have started to follow Ray Dalio and his principles of how do you run a firm and the purpose of leadership, so that’s the part that I have found particularly relevant. And then as this sort of as 2020 has played out, extremely relevant in terms of — I actually joined Bridgewater about a year before the great recession. So, I got there, settled in and then everything fell apart and it was it was really fascinating to watch how the benefits of that process. The short story I tell is he had a depression alarm that just sat there dormant for the 35 years he’d been running it or whatever.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Erik Pickering: But there was just an analytical way of saying when these indicators aggregate up to this level, set off an alarm so that people can react as though we’re in a depression. And I remember that went off and I was like, what is he talk — what is going on? That just didn’t make any sense, it seemed in hindsight it was brilliant. At the time it felt this is crazy, like there wasn’t enough going wrong to really warrant it, but it allowed — so that pre-planning and understanding how you measure your business and that really came to the forefront.
Christopher Anderson: Right, and in preparation for the show, you mentioned Dalio’s five-step planning process. Can we just like give the listeners an idea of what that process is and kind of the one we’re going to focus on?
Erik Pickering: Yeah, he’s got lots of little steps and processes in there though. The one that I really like because it sort of — it applies to life and applies to business; I mean it sounds really trite and simple but it’s step one is figure out what you want to do. You have to — you can pick one thing, you can’t do anything but if one thing, you can accomplish it. Step two is think real hard and come up with the best plan you can. Step three is find somebody credible to poke holes in that and step four is then go work really hard and execute your plan. And step five is then to step back, look at the results, reflect on what happened, reflect on what you did well and what you did poorly. So — and then the step three is the one that is — the one nugget that I try to pass on a lot because I feel like there’s that step is often overlooked and skipped and in particular with attorneys, they’re sort of been trained that they’re the ones that give the advice and its very sort of counterintuitive to get an advisor. So, that’s the part that I think is an interesting part to talk about.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, and indeed, I mean obviously it’s a lot of what I do with law firms that I work with, but yeah, having someone credit like you don’t want someone — I love that you use the word credible in there because what you don’t want is somebody just to go like, “Oh, who do you think you are? You can’t do that. You’re too big for you.” You don’t want somebody just to poke holes at you but to actually be able to — with some knowledge, with some familiarity poke holes in your plan so that you can fill them, not to dissuade you necessarily but so you can fill them and make the plan stronger.
Erik Pickering: Right.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, and then I think it’s probably — what do you think about like step five, assessing and reflecting on the results. I think that’s another time, where having a third party, an objective person help you reflect on the results because there’s sort of a confirmation bias when you’re reflecting on your own results, isn’t there?
Erik Pickering: Yeah, I totally agree that that is the step that having somebody get you out of your head and ask you questions as opposed to you trying to ask yourself questions because it’s — being self-reflective is something you can learn but if you’re naturally not very self-reflective and open to learning from your mistakes, you miss a ton of opportunity for sure.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, yeah, so you know, you joined there. I love that the depression alarm was going off and I don’t think we need to get into what all the stats might have been. I can imagine some of them, but you know maybe the yield curve and stuff like that we’ve been hearing about a year ago as well, but you know, you saw that coming and I imagine what you said is it was a good thing to have because we could then take action. What in this time where we’re right now uncertain about where the economy is heading for the next year or two, what the effects of the pandemic are going to be on the overall economy, not to mention the law economy. What are some lessons that you learned from that experience back in 2006-2007 that can be applied by law firms in their own businesses today?
Erik Pickering: The part that there was a lot of structural goodness in the fact that you set this up in advance and if you do the sort of rigorous analytical thinking to say if this situation goes this way, here’s what you need to do and therefore you’ve sort of laid out a framework that kicks in, in a non-emotional way. So, it sort of takes the emotions out of, “Oh my gosh, my business is drying up and what am I going to do?” And you’re you sort of flounder and you know, you can’t really get a good footing on what’s the direction to go. So, the summary of it is to hope for the best but plan for the worst. So, you know, six months ago or however long it has been feels like forever when this COVID stuff hit and everybody just stopped. To some degree, we’re in the same — it’s a little bit different, it’s coming back, but we’re in the same place which is you have to envision, okay the school opening has caused a huge spike again and everything shuts down again for two months. So, what does that mean and then you do that same five-step process I just talked about which is you know, for me, the goal is with Tracers because I’m obviously doing this. The goal is to first and foremost stay alive because you’re not doing any employees any favor if you write it down to zero so you can then thrive. So, how do you set yourself up so you come out of this stronger than you were when you came in? That’s the goal, and then you know, picking the one two or three things that you think are the most important parts and then just narrowing, shortening your planning horizon.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Erik Pickering: You know, I think I’m covering a lot of ground there but —
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. In fact, what I’d like to do, because I think that the planning horizon is really key. I’d like to come back and hit on stay alive, just talk a little bit about what that can mean. Thrive, and then talk about that business planning cycle. And I’d like to do that in just a second after we hear a word from our sponsors.
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Christopher Anderson: And I’m back with Erik Pickering. We’re talking about lessons to be learned and applied by law firms facing economic uncertainty and Erik, before we went on break, you talked about first you have to survive and then you thrive and you do this through this five-step method of planning that that we talked about a minute ago but so — if you don’t mind, I’d like to break it down just a little bit. What do you mean by thriving, I mean by survive? And what should law firm owners and directors of law firms be thinking about as far as the survive thing. And before you answer that, I want to kind of interject just like I’ve seen two schools of thought out there. I’ve seen literally, I mean it boggles my mind, but I’ve seen some law firm owners basically putting a notice on their website or an automatic answering on their phones that says basically, “We’re closed during the pandemic. Please contact us once it’s safe to come out”, and others that are really seizing and seeing the opportunities that are here today. But so, you know, in that context too, like what do you mean by survive for a small business?
Erik Pickering: To me that one is like super-super clear. It is just a cash flow exercise. And what it really means is you really need to get your hands firmly around what that — like not just a general sort of hand wavy you know, we make some money every month but like what are the drivers of that. What are the things you can change, what are the things you can’t change and therefore do the math on the things you can change.
And again, planning for the worst, where does that put you and because that then sets up a series of decisions that you need to make. Again, speaking for myself, like it just helps me make those decisions. When I know I need to do this to survive and because it often impacts people, that’s one of the biggest obvious expenses that can be changed. But so, it is purely — if this plays out in this sort of worst case, what do I need to do? It’s simple, but it’s not what — it’s a 90% of entrepreneurs don’t have that grasp. They sort of you know, so it’s generally okay. They can tell you good, bad, ugly but not really like here’s the levers and which ones can I pull immediately or potentially pull and then reverse easily.
Christopher Anderson: Right, I mean I kind of reacted to what you said, don’t ride this all the way to zero. And I think part of that is knowing where zero is, right? And then how can you move zero farther away. So, you know, if you’re in a troubling time, like you said, there’s things you can change, there’s things you can’t change but so basically what you’re talking about is understanding what’s going to happen with your cash. What’s going to happen with your ability to operate, pay your people, pay your bills and when will you run out of that. And then is part of surviving then figuring out what you could do to move that zero farther away from today?
Erik Pickering: A 100%, yeah, I mean it is — you control your costs 100%. So, if you know what — you calculate your burn rate and then you look at your revenue and you do scenarios of the client base and how that looks and then you can just do the math and count the number of months. And then which are the big — the thing I wanted to reiterate was I said at the very end there which is like which of the things ideally is the cost, there are some costs that are just like, “You know what? I should have cut that a long time ago.” You know?
Christopher Anderson: Sure.
Erik Pickering: There’s lots of — everyone’s kind of got those and you’re like, “Well, now that I’m here, let me just cut that.” You know? It’s sort of easy and then the next bucket is, I can cut those and I can easily reverse those and you know, you really want to stare and try to find as many of those as you can before you get into the ones that are like sort of irreversible to a sense.
Christopher Anderson: Right, like I mean shedding — permanently shedding really hard to get talent for instance.
Erik Pickering: Exactly, exactly.
Christopher Anderson: So, let’s then shift to the concept of thrive. So, we figured out how to survive. We pushed that zero out three months, four months, six months, a year and you know, using some other tools probably like you know PPP and Idle, whatever is necessary to move that off. But then I think it’s important, it’s essential to shift then into this thrive thinking. What should lawyers be thinking about in their small businesses to shift to thrive?
Erik Pickering: So, there’s two buckets that I think are helpful to tee up for the people, which is the first is to sort of take this time to test some theories out. So, go learn. So, what can you — take this time to learn. So, that may be learning about — so we did some things where I just switched the organization around, put some extra focus on something that we typically don’t have time for because we had some time. And if we then — and basically what came out of that was we were able to essentially get it to a — now we can do it, it’s automated and move back to the old flying formation.
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Erik Pickering: So, we’ve just had this win. We put this time to good use, so there’s that sort or for example and you know, a Tracer’s related example is I’m going to get rid of my private investigators that I outsource my investigations too because in theory I should be able to save money. Let’s try it, and if it doesn’t work, we’re going to flip back, but you know, there’s that sort of bucket. And then there’s sort of the revenue side of what are some — you know, in the same flavor of what are some tests or some steps I can take towards pivoting towards into the — I mean sort of pivoting into the tide. I mean I think —
Christopher Anderson: Sure.
Erik Pickering: Things like the legal vertical is actually set pretty well up, set up well for in downturns. Most flavors of law practice actually go up, but how do you move towards those or how do you start — you know. The great one that I love is there’s more questions than ever of this practical advice. Kind of like, “I just have a question.” Like, “What do I do about my lease?” And figure out how you can offer that as a freebie because then you’re just — you’ll basically have a hundred new potential clients when you come out the other end and you figure out the business model later, but you know, it’s again, if you have the time, fill it and do some tests and not just random stuff but things you think are good possibilities.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, I think that’s really great advice. As you said, we all at some points have faced periods during this where we’ve had a little extra time on our hands and as the business model shifted as the lead flow shifted and that’s a great time to run experiments as long as — and again, you know, I love it in your five steps that you — it’s not yours. It’s Dalio’s, but the ones that we talked about is as long as you assess and reflect on the results and use them for learning, not just for goofing around. All right, so that’s how we move to thriving. And then you talked about shortening your business planning horizon and I just want to explore a little bit.
What did you mean by that? What did you mean by shortening the business planning horizon and if you don’t mind, the compound question, how do you do that when there’s so much like the horizon looks very murky? It’s just so much unknown right now. We don’t know what this is going to look like. I mean, a couple of years, six months later, we still don’t know what it’s going to look like four weeks from now. How do you plan and reduce your business horizon in face of that uncertainty?
Erik Pickering: Yeah. I mean, the only answer I have is that you have to just adjust your lens to the furthest part out that you can still stay in focus which is like to your point has been extremely short, you know. So, I know I can do a test with taking some things in-house and I’m going to do it on a — maybe you can get to a quarter now, I don’t know, maybe it’s still a month. But I’m, you know, I’m setting the horizon and the key part of that is that’s then the part, you know, back to what you said which is I’m going to assess how it’s going. So, you don’t lose sight of this some sort of you don’t become the leaf on the river of life and just whatever hits you in the face you’re going try to give it a, you know, take a swing at it. So, I am not back to the quarter yet. I’m feeling better like I’m feeling like maybe it’s time to get back to the quarter but I’ve been doing monthly, you know, a month feels like a really long time.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. Yeah, it does.
Erik Pickering: And it’s just — yeah.
Christopher Anderson: And I think this is really a key. I mean, the way you phrase this, the way you position it. Like there are times indeed where certainty increases and you feel like you can see that you said you like to plan it on a quarterly basis and there are times when uncertainty seems to be maximized. So I mean, I think this conversation is really useful for as we emerge from the pandemic and back into whatever new normal we have that you’re always adjusting your planning horizon and the most important part is to make a decision as to what that horizon is and then make the plan, does that make sense?
Erik Pickering: Yeah, that’s right and some times like these where you don’t even react, where you think about that question whereas normally like, you know, you don’t even think about it because it’s everything certain so you’re just doing your planning but it’s bringing that to the forefront of step zero as you’re starting that processes, it’s a great way to say it, yeah.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. And, you know, there’s pandemic now but there’s political changes, in every different legal practice area there’s new legislation. So, there’s always reasons to decrease your time horizons and then re-increase it based on uncertainties that are introduced in your specific business so I think that again, it’s really useful now but I think that’s a useful advice for the long-term. I think one of the things that the lawyers that our listeners struggle with and what we’re going to do is going to come to a break but I want to kind of tease the question. One of the things that lawyers struggle with is leadership and when things get confusing, when things are a little bit more uncertain, I think the biggest hesitation is leading into that uncertainty and being wrong. So, I want you to talk a little bit about your vision of leadership in confusing times right after we hear a word from our sponsors.
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Christopher Anderson: And we’re back with Erik Pickering, the president of Tracers talking about leading your team because, you know, as business owners, yeah, we’re certainly focused on what’s going to happen with the business and the uncertainty and our worries. Meanwhile, we’ve got a team working with us that is facing their own concerns and they really look to the business owners for some leadership and to provide them some degree of certainty. So how can law firm owners, small business owners be effective leaders when times get uncertain and confusing?
Erik Pickering: My approach, it’s hard, but it’s to be even more open. I mean, there’s sort of a natural human condition where if you’re not certain, then you don’t want to sort of share what the plan is or whatever but I think it’s even more critical and in particular because of the tough choices that you’re going to — people are making and going to have to make as we toss and turn through this cycle we’re going through.
Laying out that survive as the main goal so that we can all thrive is, you know, I have found that that a people appreciate the reality of, you know, it’s not all roses and it’s not all silence like “Hey, look, here’s where we’re at, here’s our goals, we’re going to have to do some choices and make some choices and do some things that we normally haven’t had to and this is why.” And I’m always surprised at how, I don’t know if the word is mature or just how capable people are of processing that when you lay it out for them as opposed to sort of them spinning in their heads, they take it and they may not like it at first. but will come to — that makes sense and they can — or if it doesn’t make sense, they can move on to some place that they think it does, you know, is operating differently or whatever but you sort of get a dual benefit of that, we’re in sync and this is the way to navigate through this.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. And I think implied in what you’re saying, but I wanted to come out and just say is that nobody’s under illusions that times aren’t uncertain and in fact, in my business, we’re actually forbidden from saying in these uncertain times, that’s like — that one’s done. So, people are aware that the economy is not working the way it has been working. There are issues like I said some law firms are doing really well and some law firm owners have been really visionary and seizing opportunities here. But keeping things quiet, keeping things to yourself, your team will spin the worst-case scenarios on their own. You’re not going to scare them, you’re just going to provide at least some level of leadership, something to hang their hat on and like you said, maybe they can take it and maybe they can’t but you’ll do your team much bigger disservice by keeping mum.
Erik Pickering: Yeah. The part that really resonates is there is not a void. It is being filled with whatever fears and lack of data based, you know, hypothesis of what’s how it’s going to play out, so yeah. It’s not that you’re — they’re spinning anyways, that’s right. So, helping them, at least grasp on to here’s really the way this could play out and it’s actually maybe it’s better than I thought it was going to be or maybe it’s worse but you can at least get and sync on that picture.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. Yeah. So, I think that’s really really helpful. And then you were talking about making the plan like having the horizon, choosing whether it’s a month or it’s a quarter or six weeks, whatever you choose and then making this the best laid plan, making sure you’re covering for the worst-case scenario but planning for the best. In all of that, what are some of the mistakes that you’ve seen or that you’ve heard lawyers can make and do make when making business plans that you could advise our listeners not to make?
Erik Pickering: Yeah. I think there’s two flavors. One is just trying to bite off too much. I think there’s like — there’s a, you know, I need to have a hundred-year vision and then a ten year and a three and it just becomes this, it’s not really real and therefore everyone sort of loses interest and it doesn’t really stick so I really advocate going super small to start with and then you can grow it. And then the second part is, you know, we touched on it earlier but really doing it in a bubble without some accountability and another set of eyes, those two parts, those two benefits are just invaluable and it’s one of those things that I had not really appreciated or I appreciate it so much more now that I am running a running up business because it’s lonely at the top and you can’t get out of your head.
Christopher Anderson: Right. Yeah.
Erik Pickering: And whether that’s , you know, I did Vistage for a while which is one of those, you know, you get together with 12 peers and spend a day a month and I mean , you know, a lot of people think that was overkill, I thought it was great or you can get somebody like your organization that is just like that’s what you do and I think there’s — so I’m a huge advocate of that and then if you don’t, if any of your listeners say “I still don’t want either one of those,” just get a peer, you know, everyone’s got peers, somebody they respect that knows similar businesses but non-competitive and just start having a coffee and just try it because I think once you experience it, you get hooked.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. Yeah. I think you’re absolutely right. What I love about doing things in a group setting like Vistage or like so many like the group set that we run is that you often — even though you come with your own problems and throw it out there to the group and you get really great solutions and ideas from the group, it’s hearing the other people’s issues and hearing the solutions thrown at them that like they surface things you haven’t been thinking about in your business but are there and the dynamic is really useful in that way as well.
Erik Pickering: 100 percent.
Christopher Anderson: So, while we get towards the end here and, you know,0 Tracers, we talked a little bit at the beginning of the show about what Tracers does and I appreciate you giving that level of detail. Like law firms use research in a lot of ways, right? They do legal research, that’s not exactly what you’re talking about here. What are some of the ways law firms that are working with you use data to improve their services for their clients?
Erik Pickering: It’s peculiar to me how opaque what we do and what people provide to attorneys is to them because there’s just — people here like you said when people say research so I get research, well that’s legal research, I guarantee what they’re talking about.
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Erik Pickering: And then the other piece that goes equally important is the, you know, we call fact research. So, I love the saying that the law is the law, it’s the facts that win the case. So, what we provide is, there’s sort of four buckets. You can find people that you need to find, whether it’s witnesses or heirs or whatever. The second one is due diligence. You can find out about a customer, a potential seller of a business. The third one is finding assets or information about businesses and that type of data and then the last one is sort of the digital footprint which I call out separately because it’s new and it’s such a wealth of information that people tend not to use that. I like to just highlight it separately, but it’s going in and for every case, I’m going to go see what is being posted on social media because people will post amazing things that you can’t believe the types and flavors that is out there that can help so many types of cases.
Christopher Anderson: Sure.
Erik Pickering: So, those are the four sort of product types that I like to bucket it in.
Christopher Anderson: Cool. I mean, I can’t even think of any practice area that that wouldn’t be relevant for.
Erik Pickering: And I think the part about being opaque that’s probably a poor choice of words. But people, you know, we are working with a law professor who said like just come to create some material so I can at least teach my students to when they walk out of here to not think that if they google, they’re accomplishing their goal, you know. Because I think it’s — because they don’t have any training and therefore, they don’t really understand the concept of what a professional investigative data platform is but the ability to log in and do all of your investigations in one place, it’s more efficient. So, it’s more efficient, it saves you money, it saves runs your firm but it’s also like you find that one piece that can turn a case which is, yeah, that’s the real powerful part.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. And do you work with really small firms, as well as larger firms?
Erik Pickering: Oh, yeah, yeah. We work with all size firms and basically you can just – sort of the plans are structured in a way that based on what you need and what you use so we can tailor in a way. So, it’s, you know, there historically has been sort of this barrier of our big competitors were very draconian about, here’s the plan and sign up for 10 years and they’ll take it or leave it. So, there’s just been some real simple wins of being more customer-centric that we’ve been able to make.
Christopher Anderson: Great. Well, Erik. I’m sure that we’ve only scratched the surface on some of these and particularly on what Tracers does. If listeners want to be able to learn more and contact you about anything we’ve talked about today, how could they reach out?
Erik Pickering: Yeah. Well, anyone can go to tracers.com and then there’s seems like a million pages on there but all great content of, you know, in particular what kind of practice you are and how can we help you. But if anyone wants to reach me personally, I love getting erikp@tracersemails and if you go to the site and you want to give it a shot you can tell them Erik sent you and you get 100 bucks off.
Christopher Anderson: There you go. [email protected] and otherwise just check out the website. Erik, thank you so much. I really appreciate you being on the show.
Erik Pickering: I enjoyed it and thanks again for the opportunity.
Christopher Anderson: You bet. And again, this is our — I guest today has been Erik Pickering, he’s the president of Tracers. Of course, I am Christopher Anderson and I look forward to seeing you next month with another great guest as we learn more about topics that help us build the law firm business that works for you. Remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thanks for joining us and we will speak again soon.
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