Guest Mark Rockwell shares the five biggest mistakes most firms make every day.
The Un-Billable Hour
Mark Rockwell is a lifelong entrepreneur who shares his experience with attorneys seeking purpose, growth, and profit....
Christopher T. Anderson has authored numerous articles and speaks on a wide range of topics, including law...
Guest Mark Rockwell helps lawyers and law firms build purpose, passion, and profit. Learn the five biggest – and crazy simple – mistakes lawyers make every day that undermine their business.
Rockwell helps lawyers understand what they want, who they are, and where they want to go. Without structure and vision, what’s the point? When lawyers find themselves spinning their wheels, busy without achieving goals, Rockwell helps create structure and processes that build order and direction.
For the first 10 listeners to reach out at (503) 784-7205 or [email protected], Rockwell offers a free one-hour coaching session. He also offers a free e-book, “Five Mistakes Lawyers Make That Kill Their Career,” at www.CoachRockwell.Com.
Special thanks to our sponsors Law Clerk, Alert Communications, LawYaw, and Scorpion.
Free e-book, “Five Mistakes Lawyers Make That Kill Their Career,” download at https://www.coachrockwell.com
“Traction” by Gino Wickman https://www.eosworldwide.com/traction-book
“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek https://simonsinek.com/product/start-with-why/
“Power of a System” by John H. Fisher at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Power-System-Injury-Practice-Dreams/dp/1599324210
“The Emyth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Revisited-Small-Businesses-About/dp/0887307280
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 are not 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 T. Anderson: Welcome to the Un-Billable Hour. I am your host, Christopher Anderson and today’s episode is about, well it’s about you, the owner. The main triangle that we talked about what it is that a lawn firm business must do between acquiring new clients or acquisition, producing the results that you promised or production or achieving the business of professional results for the owners. Well, it all begins and ends at the end of the day with the owner of the business. I mean sure getting new clients is essential. Doing the work that you promised, when you promised and how you promised is key but unless the person at the helm has defined how many clients they’ll serve, what they’re going to serve them, what the brand stands for and what the standards are that the business promises. Well, none of the other stuff really matters which is why I’m really excited to present our program today which I have titled Vision to Values to Victory. I really meant Vision to Values to Success but I couldn’t avoid the three Vs so there it is. And my guest today is Mark Rockwell but before I get to introduce him and get started with the show, it is time to do a little business. So I want to say thank you to the sponsors that make this show possible.
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Christopher T. Anderson: Today’s episode of the Un-Billable Hour is Vision to Values to Victory and I am pleased to introduce my guest today, Mark Rockwell. Mark works with attorneys who are frustrated by their inability to scale up and become more profitable. He helps them create their vision and implement an operating platform that builds healthy thriving law firms. Mark is an attorney and an entrepreneur and he started and grown several companies during his career and struggled with the same frustrations and setbacks that we talked about here on the show every month. Most recently, Mark created a healthcare company which created 12 locations, 800 employees and $50,000,000 in annual revenue so here’s a small chance he actually knows a little bit about what he’s talking about.
It was during this period that he has witnessed firsthand the transformative power of implementing the operating platform he now shares with law firms. Mark and his wife Cindy have two sons, Andrew and Chase and he served as president, trustee and elder at the Lake Grove Presbyterian and on the boards of several non-profit organizations. They live in Lake Oswego, Oregon with their English bulldog named Sugar and a sweet but somewhat cranky Shih Tzu named Daisy. He’s written a book called ‘Five Mistakes Lawyers Make that Kill Their Career’ and I am excited to have Mark on the show. So Mark, welcome to the Un-Bilable Hour.
Mark Rockwell: Well, thank you. It’s exciting to be here. I appreciate it.
Christopher T. Anderson: It is absolutely my pleasure. So, I think the first thing is to kind of help the audience understand how you got from there to here. Tell us a little bit about your background. What brought you to bringing business advice to lawyers?
Mark Rockwell: While I was in business and by the way I have adopted a phrase, embrace wisdom wherever you find it. One morning I was at breakfast and the young man that I had been mentoring for about 10 years brought a book to breakfast because he knows I’m an avid reader and it was ‘Traction’ by Gino Wickman which talked all about how to implement EOS and how to install really timeless business principles. And I was intrigued by the book so I bought it and I knew he would call me in four, five days and say did you get the book? Have you read it? What do you think? And so, rather than putting it on the stack of unread books I thought you know, I know that call is coming, I better just get with it. So I read it and I really liked it and I called Derek and said, “Gosh that really was a good book.”
So any way, he said, “Well, would you like to talk to the fellow that’s helping us implement it in our company?” and I said, “Yes I would.” And so, we implemented it in our healthcare company. Saw that it really you know had some profound impact and I had to scratch my head and say, “My gosh I’ve been in business all this years. How did I miss some of these basics?” So when I sold my firm that healthcare company in 2019, I decided that you know I really want to take these principles and share them with other individuals who can benefit and it just so happened. I start getting calls from people who knew me who happen to be attorneys and they knew my background was a lawyer and more often than not, they were feeling some level of frustration in running their firm so I kind of backed into it Christopher.
Christopher T. Anderson: Well, that’s fair enough, but the principles you find. I mean, it is a great book. I would say it again just in case because we went kind of fast. There was ‘Traction’ by Gino Wickman and you found that the principles taught in that book which are of general business principles work really well for law firms?
Mark Rockwell: Well, absolutely because you know, really the principles are agnostic whether you’re running a plumbing company, whether you’re running a law firm, whether you’re running frankly, a dental practice. The fact is, there are three components in every business. One is get the work, secondly is do the work and lastly is get paid for the work and those three elements apply in virtually every business and I know often times attorneys think well we’re really a professional, we’re not really a business. But the fact is, law firms have to get the work, they have to do the work and they have to get paid for the work and all of the operating principles that apply to frankly any other business also apply to the law firm.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. That makes total sense and certainly what we preach here at the Un-Billable Hour. One of the things that we want to talk about is, oh actually in your show notes that you share with me you said that I should ask you about a pivotal childhood memory. So I’m going to do that. I don’t usually do that but why not? What do you want to share about that?
Mark Rockwell: Well, I don’t know that there’s anything uniquely profound about my background but I, when I think back on my childhood, I was fortunate to grow up in central Washington. My dad was a dentist and as a kid, I realized I wasn’t going to get to work in a dental office. There wasn’t anything for me to do but our neighbors were these wonderful Dutch immigrant dairy farmers. And so I had the joy of growing up on a dairy farm, raising calves and showing them in 4-H fairs. And when I think back to my childhood, what were some of the most profound memories or principles and that had to do with caring for livestock. I always had at least 10 or 12 young heifers that I was caring for and you know, unlike and this isn’t to belittle any other kind of work such as delivering newspapers or mowing lawns, but if you didn’t show up one morning and you failed to deliver the newspaper, you probably just had a grumpy customer or two or a whole bunch of them as same if you didn’t mow the lawn, but if you didn’t care for the livestock, if you didn’t give them the water, if you didn’t put the straw out, if you didn’t give them their feed, you probably would wind up with one or more calves that got pretty sick pretty quickly. And so what that taught me was a principle of really following through making good on your commitment.
Christopher T. Anderson: You said the law firm owners that approached you, which kind of drove you into consulted with some law firms were frustrated. They were feeling pain in their business, trying to grow not seeing profits. Can you talk about like what some of the key pains that you were seeing are and what you kind of achieved as a concept of the questions they should be getting answers to before they begin their growth path?
Mark Rockwell: Absolutely. One of the first questions which you know as an entrepreneur I have to tell you and confess I guess you would say that I didn’t always do this and the first question that we all need to ask ourselves whether we start a law firm or any other type of occupation is why am I doing this? What’s my passion? What’s my purpose? What’s my belief? Why am I actually doing this? We all know what we’re doing and we know how we’re doing it but more often than not, we don’t stop to ask ourselves why are we doing it? And if I were sitting down with anyone who has a law firm, or when I do sit down with someone who has a law firm or is thinking about it, the first question I would ask is, so why are you going to do this? And that may almost sound like a rhetorical kind of a question, but it’s not. It’s a very sincere question to try to dig into what is motivating the person or persons that really is going to become their inspiration and cause.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. Well, that makes sense but so, one of the things I’ve experienced when talking to people and asking that question is the blank stare.
These could be people that have been practicing for 10, 20, 25 years and they still have that blank stare because that’s not a question they’ve asked themselves before, because they haven’t given it a lot of thought they’re not necessarily prepared to answer it. So, how do you help, how do you help people then get to that answer?
Mark Rockwell: I will tie this back to law firms in just a moment. But let me give you a story that hopefully will stimulate thinking. When I started my healthcare company in 2008, we put together business plan as everybody does and it was kind of a pro forma type of statement and you come up with a purpose and a vision and all which you know when you read it was boringly predictable, but when I read Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start With Why’ it really stimulated my thinking because he says, you know, and I’m a real believer in this. That is he calls it, I think the Golden Circle where you know, on the outside is the what and then the inner circle is the how and then the most in inside circle is the why.
And after listening to that and reading the book, I realized you know, we have a healthcare company that cares for people suffering from dementia. And there’s a real story here. There’s a real reason why we’re doing it. We’re not in this just for the sake of making money. We’re in this for the sake of really providing for these families and for these residents. And so, I have a hypothetical story real quickly that isn’t really all that hypothetical actually and that is a daughter or daughter-in-law comes in to see our executive director and says, “You know, dad’s just no longer safe. We got a phone call yesterday from the police. He was down in the Rite Aid parking lot and he was confused. He’d gone to get his medication and they called me and said, you know, you really need to come get him. He’s not safe driving home.” And then secondly, she explains I really want him to be involved. I want him to be engaged. I want him to live a full life as full as he can even though he’s no longer 30 or 40. I recognize he’s probably not going to square dance or be doing complex crossword puzzles, but I don’t want him to just sit and watch TV and then lastly as she’s turning and goes out the door, she says, “Oh, I know this may be too much to ask but could you just love him?” And so what that did is it caused us to come up with our why which was to protect which is the safety part, engage and love people living with memory loss.
And that became our purpose, that became our why, that became our motivation or if you will our North Star. And I think every lawyer, every law firm has that equal opportunity. If you’re doing wills and estates, you’re not just doing it to crank out paperwork, you’re helping your client plan their life. You’re helping them so they can have peace of mind, so they can have organization. And I think every lawyer can look at the kind of work that they’re doing and realize there’s a higher purpose. There is a higher calling for the work they’re doing.
Christopher T. Anderson: I’m thrilled to death that you brought up Sinek’s book because I don’t think that’s another really great way to approach the question of why. I love the vision that you had free business. I think that’s really well expressed one and you know, I want to make clear it doesn’t always have to be altruistic or it’s nice sometimes if it is, but it you know, as long as you’re clear as to it because I’m sure that once you guys developed that, when a lawyer develops that it probably informed your marketing message, it help to attract customers, it help to attract talent to your team because the people with whom that message resonates would come and the people with whom it didn’t would not.
Mark Rockwell: Well, absolutely and you’re absolutely right Christopher. It isn’t about being simply altruistic. I mean, you can take Disney. Their purpose is to make people happy. So there’s all kinds of reasons and purposes. It can be to give people peace of mind. It can be to make people safe. There’s all kinds of very practical reasons for being in business but there needs to be one and it needs to transcend simply billing out your time. It has to be tied to something that you know is fulfilling for you as a professional and is a benefit to your client.
Christopher T. Anderson: Absolutely. We’re talking with Mark Rockwell and we’re talking about what lawyers need to be thinking about before they start their growth path. We’re going to be taking a break here. When we come back, we’re going to be talking more about some little bit more technical, a little bit more pragmatic, but nothing more fundamental than what we already talked about tips for growing your business after we hear a word from the businesses that help this show exist.
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Christopher T. Anderson: We’re back with Mark Rockwell. We’ve been talking a little bit about what it takes to create a great foundation for growth of a law firm which is to understand the why of the business and of course, earlier we talked about the fundamentals that every business and law firms are not exempt. Really have the three fundamentals as Mark described getting the work, doing the work, and getting paid for the work. So after a law firm Mark gets clearer on their why, what issues do you think that a law firm owner or owners should be clear on and get resolved before they achieve the sustainable growth for their business?
Mark Rockwell: Well, building on the why it really becomes or I guess the question I would say is what do we want to become? What kind of firm do we want to become? How big? Are we going to be one office? Are we to be multiple offices? It’s really creating a picture, a vision of what the trip or the journey is going to look like. So I think that’s kind of part A. Part B would be which is a really big piece. What are the behaviors we want in each of our colleagues? What behaviors do I need to exhibit and what kind of individuals do I want to associate with on this journey. And that’s something I honestly believe that many businesses and law firms in particular have not stopped to really think through. There’s more emphasis on professional expertise, on education, on experience but not a lot of thought given perhaps on what are the personal attributes of the colleagues that I want to work with.
Christopher T. Anderson: So you’re talking really about the values of the business and how that affects the culture of the business?
Mark Rockwell: Absolutely. If you were to ask, have asked me several years ago about core values and vision, I would have said, “Oh my gosh, that sounds so academic.” I suppose it’s something you should get thought too but it sounds pretty stuffy. But I have since done a complete 180 in my estimation. The most fundamental question after the why is what is our vision and what are our core values? I honestly Christopher don’t like the term core values as much as translating that into core behaviors. I always tell people, core values are a noun. It sounds like something you would etch on a wall somewhere. But really, they need to become a verb. What are the core behaviors that you want to see evidenced in yourself and your colleagues? And let me give you an example. There is an organization here in the Pacific Northwest called Les Schwab. It’s a tire company. It’s outstanding. It’s known for service and I love to tell this story because I’ve witnessed it many times myself where I drive into Les Schwab, I pull into the parking lot, as I’ve turned off the key, I reached to get my wallet, my keys and sunglasses and I turn and wow, there’s a young man practically with his face pressed against the glass and the first question he asked is well, good morning, how can I help you? The illustration there is that’s hustle. The moment I pulled into the parking lot somebody virtually sprinted out to my car. And you can say, well, what’s so significant about that? That is a core behavior. That is a core quality. That is a core ingredient that Les Schwab insists each and every one of their colleagues has and if they weren’t interviewing for that, if they hadn’t identified that, if they hadn’t elevated it and focused on it, it isn’t something that they would wind up hiring for. And as a result, their total reputation if you will, the way they operate would be dramatically changed.
And so, when it comes to a law firm or it comes to any organization, when you identify those top three or four at the most behaviors and I’m not talking about honesty or respect those are pay to play kind of values. Those are table stakes. I’m talking about, as an example. One organization I worked with one of their core values is own it. Own it. Take responsibility. It can be cheerful behavior. Now that may sound odd, but it is really, really important. In fact, I was talking with someone the other day who told me that was kind of an interesting story. He said he lived in Philadelphia area. He would go into the Wawa store and get his cup of coffee. And one morning he went in on a Monday morning and he opened up his mug and he looked down and he said, “Oh yuck.” He forgot that he left a cup of coffee with a cookie in it and had gotten really crummy over the weekend.
So we turned to the young lady who was there and said, “Oh, would you mind washing this out?” And she said, “Oh gosh give it to me.” And she scrubbed it and cleansed it and gave it back to him with a big smile. And as he told me I later, he said “gosh, I don’t know why I didn’t just go into the men’s room and wash it out myself” but he was so impressed by her cheerful attitude. He went immediately to his computer when he got to the office and wrote Wawa and said, “I just want you to know this was my experience and what a wonderful friendly person she was.” Well, one of their core values is friendly behavior. About two days later he got an email back saying, “Oh, thank you for your kind email.” Everyone in her region has been awarded a spot bonus. Now, her behavior was something that they interviewed for. It is something that they put emphasis on and they rewarded. It’s no different in the law firm. What are the behaviors we want to elevate and celebrate and those qualities once they have been identified or what will attract the kind of colleagues that you want, they will repel the kind of colleagues that you don’t want. That’s why they’re so important.
Christopher T. Anderson: You know, I’m actually fascinated by the fact that they bonused everybody in her region for that too. That’s amazing take away just like the hidden in that story.
Mark Rockwell: Can you imagine out self-reinforcing that is when everybody recognizes that Sally got them a spot bonus?
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah and it’s fantastic. All right. So since you started out with why, like in my mind immediately when you start to talk about vision, my mind went to, oh, that’s really talking about where, where are we going? What’s our destination? And then when you start talking about behaviors, that almost brought forth the word who to my mind. So you’re really kind of doing the why, are we doing this, where are we going and who do we want to take on the journey?
Mark Rockwell: Well, those are all absolutely three vitally important questions that need to be answered. And you know, I used a kind of corny illustration that when you when you haven’t answered all three of those questions as an example of where, it would be like telling your colleagues meet me at Philadelphia International, we’re going on a trip. Well, everyone shows up and some think you’re going to Anchorage, some think you’re going to Hawaii, some think you’re going to Rome, no one’s ever bothered to actually tell anybody where they’re going so they honestly didn’t know how to pack. And yet in business we often times do that. We just ask people to show up and we’re going on this journey, but we’ve never actually told them where we’re going or what is really expected of them.
Christopher T. Anderson: Let’s take it from the conceptual now to the practical. How can a law firm take some of the stuff we’re talking about right now and start doing something today, tomorrow that would help their operation go more smoothly?
Mark Rockwell: Well, I’ll share with you a simple technique that seems almost laughably silly or simple but it’s actually called the daily stand-up and what it constitutes or what it consists of is having your leadership team meet every morning at a very specific time and you know, if you open your office at eight o’clock, I wouldn’t suggest using eight o’clock as the time, I’d say pick 7:59 or 7:47 or 8:02, some very specific time that is memorable, part A. Part B, give it a name. Give that morning stand-up meeting a name. Call it a daily brief or some other name that has something memorable, clever to it. Number three, make sure it doesn’t last more than 10 or 12 minutes. Number four, don’t let anybody sit down. And the purpose of the meeting is really only three things.
For each person in the leadership team to talk about what they did yesterday, what they’re doing today and what they’re stuck on. And that doesn’t mean that people are supposed to pitch in and say, “Gosh, this is how I can solve your problem.” It’s just to make people aware on the leadership team that there is something that you are working on and struggling with so that they are made aware. But also their course, there is that side benefit where somebody could perhaps step up to you at the end of the day or end of the meeting and say, “Oh, by the way, I do know someone you should call or here’s a resource.” So, that is a great benefit on several levels. One, it means that everyone in the office that is in key leadership team feels obligated to show up every day at the same time, on time and that is feedback I’ve gotten from any number of law firms. You know, it’s really interesting. Once we started that daily stand-up, people were all here on deck at the same time. People didn’t come dribbling in 15, 20, 30, 40 minutes late. So there’s that benefit.
Number two, there is also the communication benefit, meaning it’s three o’clock in the afternoon, I know I’m going to see you tomorrow morning Christopher at the leadership meeting stand-up meeting. So rather than get up and interrupt my afternoon, go down to your office and interrupt you, I know that I’m going to see you tomorrow morning at a designated time and so I can just you know, put it off until then but there is that consistency and that opportunity to see you. So if there’s one tip that I would share that everyone can benefit from immediately at no cost is to implement a very simple 10 to 12 minute stand-up meeting every day.
Christopher T. Anderson: All right. So, we’re going to go take a break right now. I’m talking with Mark Rockwell. We’ve been talking about the core decisions really that law firm owners need to make in order to build that foundation for growth and need to know why they’re in the business, they need to establish a vision and really establish what they understand and what they communicate to their team are the key behaviors. And we talked about the stand-up which I think is a fantastic idea. When we come back, we’ll ask Mark for some challenges. So, you know, this all sounds great but what are the challenges that will throw themselves in the way of growth. But first, we’ll hear from our sponsors.
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Christopher T. Anderson: All right, we’re back with Mark Rockwell. We’ve been talking about the foundations of growth for a law firm and what I said we do after the break is talk about some challenges. So Mark, I’d love to do that at this point. So you talked about a great tip that a law firm could implement tomorrow. What I’m worried about now are like, okay, we figure out the why, we figure out our vision, we figure out the behaviors that we stand for our brand promise. What are some of the challenges that keep most law firms from growing or keep some law firms from growing?
Mark Rockwell: Well, of course, you can imagine there’s any number but one of which is the fact that, you know, often times law firms have become are very technically competent, but they’ve really never bothered to put organizational structure in place. They don’t have processes and procedures, everyone kind of wings it, each attorney sort of does his or her own thing and putting in place processes and procedures and I don’t mean voluminous documents, I’m talking about identifying those 6, 8, 10 key processes and boiling them down to a page, page and a half each. Oftentimes really nothing more than a checklist to make sure that everything is followed is something that many law firms have not done and benefit from immediately when they take the effort to do that one of the best books I think that I’ve read in that regard is ‘The Power of a System’ by John H Fisher. It’s a fabulous book. It’s a really good blueprint for any firm that hasn’t done that already.
Christopher T. Anderson: What about when a lawyer says, “Well, I don’t know how to write this and so I don’t know how to write that procedure or I’m not good at it.” How do you help them get across that?
Mark Rockwell: I’d have to tell you, confession. I’m not the world’s greatest at writing procedures myself but what I do is I sit down and I really write down the steps. The steps that need to be followed because I know that if I do, if I identify each of the key steps and I have a check box next to it, then when I review it with a new associate or a new colleague of another nature whether it’s accounting or whatever that if we get through the steps, at least it gives us a roadmap to make sure that we’re not missing any of the key ingredients. Obviously, it’s probably smart to actually engage someone who can help you with that, but short of that, if you just want to make sure that you are not having any ball drops, simply sitting down and listing out the various steps in one sentence descriptions means that when you sit down with an associate, or frankly for your own benefit to make sure you’re following it with consistency, is to simply say these are the six or eight steps that are required for this process and I will tell you that will get you at least 90% there.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. The challenge that you’re talking about here is just the inconsistency or the lack of people being able to do things the way that you would want them done in the firm?
Mark Rockwell: Yes and in fact, what that reminds me of Christopher is you know that complaint if you will, “Oh gosh, we just can’t, we can’t seem to grow.” And my statement is always, first of all, you can’t grow until you can achieve consistency and you can’t achieve consistency until you have defined what the steps and process are and even as a solo practitioner, you want to have consistency, but that becomes obviously far more critical when you have multiple players in the office and it all needs to be done in a very consistent predictable way.
Christopher T. Anderson: Well, I think you put your thumb on it, right? Until the solo can become consistent herself or himself, how could they ever grow to have a second person never mind lawyer, a paralegal, a legal assistant and be able to rely on them to do the work the way that they want it done unless they build that system. It would seem like the sine qua non of growth as you got to have that.
Mark Rockwell: You’re absolutely right and I remember the story I read years ago in a little book called ‘The E-Myth Revisited’ by Michael Gerber. Maybe I remember the story so vividly because it involved chocolates, but he tells this story, hypothetical story of a person who has an inn, country inn in Northern California, and he said, you know, people bemoan the fact, gosh, if I could just find good employees, if I could just find smart people and then he proceeds to tell the story about, okay, you have this country inn and couple comes to stay there on their anniversary and the first time they stayed, they find that the fireplace is all made up beautifully, the wood is there, the candlings there, the matches are set right to go and all the person has to do is light the fire. The next time they come, it’s not that way. The candlings on the hearth, the woods on the hearth, the papers on the hearth, the matches are on the desk and while it still is a pleasant event, it’s not the same as the last time. Well, no one defined a principle or a process. And secondly, in this story he says, you know, if part of your mystique is making certain that every night at eight o’clock you put a chocolate on each pillow, you need to say to the housekeeper, put one chocolate on each pillow. Otherwise, one housekeeper is going to go in and think well, I’ll put these on the desk or I’ll put these in the bathroom or I’ll put these on the nightstand. So it has nothing to do with intelligence. It has nothing to do with experience. It has to do with having defined what it is you want done so it can be done consistently.
Christopher T. Anderson: Makes total sense. Before we close up this segment and wrap up the show, Mark you’ve written the e-book ‘Five Mistakes Lawyers Make That Kill Their Career’. I’d like it if you don’t mind to talk through those, what are they and how can they avoid making them?
Mark Rockwell: Well, you know, when I walk through the five and talk about them briefly people are probably going to go, duh.
But there really mistakes that we all make, myself included. One is frankly, taking unscheduled client calls. You know if you, I mean think about it. We’ve all read that every time you’re interrupted it takes anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to kind of spool back up to your full capacity. And if you’re sitting there taking calls every 15, 20 minutes, you’re spending most of your life spooling back up to a maximum capacity. So, probably the number one mistake that most lawyers make is they’re just too accessible. And they might say, well, but my clients demand that no, not really. If they know, if they know that you will get back to them in a very predictable amount of time, whether it’s that afternoon or the next morning, they’re going to be okay with that particularly if that has been explained to them early on.
Second, same kind of an animal client visits. People just pop into the office and expect that they have unlimited access to you. Again, big interruption. Thirdly, and this is perhaps one of the worst, it’s interruptions from our own colleagues. So, you know, you need to figure out a system. You need to agree to an agreement with your colleagues. I’m not going to interrupt you and I would ask that you not to interrupt me, and when my door is closed, please don’t come knocking because that means I am in deep thought and I need time to be left alone.
Fourth thing that we all struggle with and you probably do too Christopher and that is turning off the dog on cellphone and not looking or hearing those notifications that come bleeping and beeping while you’re in deep thought. And the last, which is really ubiquitous for all of us and that is managing our email. So, there are some tips in my book which I’m happy to share with anybody and send them a free copy of their, if they’re interested. There really are techniques that I have observed every successful, well, let’s put it this way. Every attorney who wants to be really successful and maximize their productivity, there is a tip for every one of those five and when managed consistently a person’s productivity goes up, their stress level goes down and things just work a whole lot better.
Christopher T. Anderson: And that makes a whole lot of sense. I think it’s a great way to end this segment and the show today. This wraps up this edition of the Un-Billable Hour and I thank everybody for listening. Our guest today has been Mark Rockwell and Mark, you said that you would be willing to send folks that e-book with those tips, if they want that, or they want to just learn more about you or whatever, how can they get in touch with you?
Mark Rockwell: Well, actually there’s a couple ways. First of all, I’ll give them my cellphone (503) 784-7205. They can send me an email, [email protected] and my website is coachrockwell.com. I would offer this. Anybody who sends me an email I’ve got really two things, I can send them at no cost. One is the e-book, the ‘Five Mistakes Lawyers Make That Kill Their Careers’. Secondly, I have a very simple 25 question organizational assessment that will take an attorney probably no more than oh gosh, five, six minutes to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses within their firm. And what will oftentimes happen is the score that they will give themselves probably isn’t as high as they like, but the good news is there is a road map that if they execute on these other items where they gave themselves lower scores within a year or two, they can double or triple their score. So that’s good news. And then lastly, I would simply say this for the first 10 people that would call or email me, I would gladly volunteer an hour of my time a free coaching. So that’s something I enjoy doing and I would gladly offer that as a part of our conversation today.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic. Well, thank you Mark. It’s very generous. So everybody’s got that email and look forward to you helping folks out and send an e-book. Mark, again, thanks so much for being on the show.
Mark Rockwell: Well, thank you. It’s been delightful.
Christopher T. Anderson: My pleasure. And of course this is 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 I will speak again soon.
Outro: 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. Thanks for listening to The Un-Billable Hour, the law practice advisory podcast. Join us again for the next edition right here with Legal Talk Network.
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|Published:||September 28, 2021|
|Podcast:||The Un-Billable Hour|
|Category:||Best Legal Practices , Practice Management|
The Un-Billable Hour
Best practices regarding your marketing, time management, and all the things outside of your client responsibilities.