On this week’s episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer® Podcast, we speak with Alexis Austin, CEO of Right Law Group, a Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Law Firm founded in June 2018. Since its inception, RLG has grown from one to nine full-time employees and is emerging as a sleek, technology-savvy firm.
Alexis says, “It has been very, very interesting to see that the more people I bring on, the more quickly we generate revenue. And, it’s not just attorneys, it’s anyone. So, I think taking the leap and knowing that the more you grow, the more you can provide that service to your clients, which means handling more clients in a better way, is really the key to our quick success.”
Alexis discusses her path as a continuous seeker of knowledge, as well as:
- Stepping into where you want to be, not where you are
- Staying true to your unique path, regardless of others’ advice
- The importance of branding your firm outside of yourself
- Approaching client questions as a team to maximize attorney time
- Right Law Group’s fixed fee strategy
- And more.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/18789168/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/RightLawNow
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RightLawGroup/
- Website: https://www.rightlawgroup.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rightlawnow/
Davina Frederick: Hello and welcome to the Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast. We believe all women lawyers deserve to be wealthy women lawyers. Our mission is to provide thought provoking, powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth generating law firm without overwork or overwhelm so you can live your best life. I’m your host, Davina Frederick, and I’m so excited for you to meet our guest today. So let’s get started.
Alexis Austin is the CEO of Right Law Group, a Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Law Firm founded in June 2018. Alexis’, leadership and vision have steered the company to consecutive years of 40% increase in annual gross revenue. She has grown the business from one to six full time employees and four contractors. As a result of Alexis’ relentless pursuit of excellence RLG is emerging as a sleeker technology savvy and superior criminal defense firm. So we’re really eager here to have her here today. Alexis, welcome to the Wealth Woman Lawyer Podcast.
Alexis Austin: Thank you so much for having me.
Davina: Great. So I, there’s so much that I want to talk to you about today about your firm. But why don’t we start out with just telling everybody a little bit about your journey into law and becoming a lawyer? And what made you decide to start your own law firm?
Alexis: Sure, I think the easiest way to sum up my journey into law is I’ve always been a seeker of knowledge, I’ve always wanted to better myself and do the next thing. So in undergrad I had I think my my number was five to six different major changes. And I ended up majoring in psychology. But I was taking a lot of philosophy classes just to understand the world. I was raised in a very religious household and trying to understand my upbringing as well. And my last semester of college I went in, and they said, Well, if you take one extra class, you’ll double major in psychology and philosophy.
So I left undergrad with a double major. And it’s I mean, there are only really two options with those types of majors, you either go on to do a PhD in psychology, or you take the LSAT. So I made a bet with a friend, I took the LSAT and my friend took the GRE, and then we never went back. So I went to law school, I really, I went to D U because I was very interested in the practical applications that D U had, D U is known for their clinical program and their ability for you to just jump in, I’ve always been able to learn on my own. So having the instruction wasn’t as important as having the hands on experience.
And while at DU I got experience working at a DA’S office, and ultimately, that’s where I ended up going was to the DA’s office after graduation. So I was a district attorney for a little over three years. And then I moved to two different DA’s offices, and then a local attorney here in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was retiring. And he was looking for someone to take over his private law firm partnership. So another man that was his partner, the attorney was the attorney that was selling had some significant health problems. And I will never not be grateful for this man because he saw something in me that I think I didn’t see. And because of that, he offered me a chance to buy into a partnership at a rate that was outrageously gracious. Wow, I don’t think I would have had that experience. Otherwise he let me do it. 24 months payment plan on my buy in it was just he was absolutely fantastic. So I left the DA’S office bought into the firm, and began my career as an entrepreneur. At that law firm, I really got to learn how a criminal defense firm traditionally operates. The firm had been in existence for about 40 years. So I had 40 years of data to go through and going through all that data, especially the marketing spend and the overhead.
And the revenue really kind of gave me a feel for the pulse in this area. And I have a lot of changes I wanted to make because like I said, I’m always a learner. So when I left the office, I was listening to everything I could get my hands on, I like to listen to books while I worked out or shower. I was listening to podcasts, books, on Audible, anything that I could sink my teeth into. And I had all these ideas. But my firm was a traditional family feel firm. And it got to a point where it was a partnership. It was 50/50. And I just I couldn’t make it work to do what I thought was best for the company and really move forward in an aggressive manner while maintaining the integrity of what that firm was.
So what I ended up doing is I sold my half of the firm after a little over a year to a family man. He has written I think he’s now has five kids. Because it was a better fit for him. He was looking for something more stable and I knew he would be a good steward of the firm. And I launched out on my own to build a more technologically advanced streamlined firm. So when we opened Right Law Group, I had a couple of clients that came over with me from my old firm. But that’s it. I had terrible credit, I had absolutely no savings. Didn’t even have a savings account. I had an apartment and my Husky and me, that’s it. I launched the firm with another lawyer in town cosign to let me get a $12,000 loan from a bank.
The bank, I don’t think was going to let me have a loan, they thought that it was just some upstart young attorney who left the DA’s office, but I came in with a full fledged business plan, my idea for how this firm was going to look exactly what I wanted to do. And the only reason I think I was able to do that was because of all the self taught coaching that I was doing. And all of the information I’ve learned from my previous firm, so they reluctantly gave me $12,000 loan. And I use that money to get an office space right downtown. And I I’m a big fan of Jen Sincero. Have you ever read her You’re a badass books?
Davina: Oh, yeah, yes.
Alexis: So she’s all she’s fantastic. And she’s all about stepping into where you want to be, not where you are. So she tells a great story about purchasing an Audi when she didn’t have the money because of her dream car that she wanted. So I did the same thing I bought the car I wanted. It was I mean, it was an older model. But what I wanted was a red SUV. That was a luxury brand with heated seats and leather interior. And I got it.
I purchased an office space overlooking the courthouse in the Front Range here in Colorado Springs, that I could have gotten for half the price in another building without the view. But I wanted that mindset, I wanted that push in that mentality. And so I just jumped. Doing that forced me to have to find revenue, because I had to pay my rent, and I would lock myself into a two year lease. So I started really pushing in marketing, I made a lot of mistakes along the way I trusted people that I should not have.
And the biggest thing that I think I learned was, there’s something too if you get into the right place and the right mentality, and you’re I’m not a religious person, but I’m a deeply spiritual person. I believe that if you listen and you let God guide you, and you actually do what you know, to be right, what everybody else says doesn’t really matter if you know, it’s right, and it’s the right path for you do it. And every time I followed that, it works. Every time I followed someone else’s advice, it kind of fell flat if not crashed and burned.
Davina: That’s a lot to unpack there. I’ve got questions. Let me, ask some questions. Okay. So one of the things that struck me is, is really interesting and different is this idea of creating, creating the need by investing in things right, so you bought some luxury items you want, you got a nice place to live, and all of that you did because it bolsters your confidence and made you feel good. And, and also by creating that need, that then sort of turned up the heat on your motivation to build the business and get it going. Right. Is that something, have you, I bet there were a lot of people who gave you all kinds of grief for that decision in your life. They’re probably people who were looking at what are you doing, right? Did you get push back on that?
Alexis: I did. You know, I think if I had been in any other place in my life, I would have listened to them. One of the reasons I took the jump from my law firm, my first one, and started really digging into bettering myself as I was in a very, very bad relationship. It was very emotionally, somewhat physically abusive. And in January of 2018, as a last way to try to control me and make me feel like a terrible person. My ex fiance killed himself. It was just this turning point where and he did it with his kids in the house and did all the the stereotypical, like, let me make you feel responsible for this kind of thing. And from that moment, I made a choice. I said, Okay, I can either believe everything he’s told me believe everything that I’ve let other people put on me, or I can be the person that I know I am. Because for a very long time, I was not that person.
So starting at the beginning of 2018, I decided, pardon my French screw what everybody else thinks about me. I’m going to be who I am, and really step into that. So I mean, even down to I got a very nice apartment that I couldn’t afford, because I knew that that’s where I was meant to be. I walked into that place. It’s full of light. It was calm, peaceful. That’s what I needed. When I dumped out and open my firm all of these other lawyers, which Colorado Springs as a very male environment in the criminal, Defense Law Firm owner, fear, all of them, basically did the kind of bless your heart. Good luck kind of thing.
Yeah. Everyone said I was too ambitious. Everyone said that you’re not doing this the right way. Even still, I have lawyers who call themselves friends, I don’t know that they actually are other colleagues in the area saying, Well, why aren’t you paying yourself more? How are you hiring all these people, you should be taking home more money. But that’s not what this firm is about. That’s not what my purpose is. My purpose is to build something lasting to provide for my people in my firm, because if I provide for them, and I give them the best life, they’ll give my clients the best life. And then eventually, it’ll come back around. So I, when people push back, that’s fine. They can think that but that has nothing to do with me their thoughts or their own, and they don’t have to sit on me at all.
Davina: Right, right. I love that. I totally agree. And thank you for sharing such a deeply personal story. I know that that probably was a really difficult time. For you.
Alexis: It was the best part of healing, you have to talk about it and move past it. It’s part of my past.
Davina: Mm hmm. You also when you talk about conservative and being male oriented, they’re Colorado Springs is a it’s a military town, and it tends to be pretty conservative town because of that. So I can imagine, you know, there are a lot of people who who don’t think the same way that you do and approach it. So I’m sure that’s, you know, you definitely are probably encountering that there. So you have built this firm very quickly. And I want to talk about how you did that. Because this, you founded this in June of 2018. So here we are in 2021. And when we’re recording this, we’re in January. So tell me you’ve got six full time employees and four contractors. Tell me how did you decide to do that?
Alexis: I actually I should have updated you, too. We just hired three people two days ago.
Davina: Oh wow! So you have nine full time employees now?
Davina: Oh, wow. Congratulations.
Alexis: Thank you. So I think it really comes from two different places. One, I was very privileged to get to know a woman who had a marketing company here in Colorado Springs, who taught me the importance of branding, as opposed to marketing yourself. So part of what the firm everything that I do I look at the brand of the firm and I see, is this brand something or is this toy, something that’s going to support our brand, our brand is very much about I mean, it’s the name of the firm is Right Law Group, but it’s not Austin and Associates, because we’re trying to get people on the right path in the right way.
And what I believe is the right way is customer service. I was a server all through my education, and I got to see kind of that customer service aspect, up close and personal. And what we do at our firm is we’re really striving to provide that to the clients. Because ultimately, I mean, the law is law, no matter which way you cut it, lawyers are going to be able to do the legal work. But the experience that a client has with the firm can be a very wide range of different things.
So I it goes back to the making choices that I need to be right. I first brought on a in 2018. I had a contract paralegal who was just working a couple hours a week they had a full time job elsewhere, but they would work a couple hours a week just helping me get some filings done just to make sure that I was staying on top of things. And then I had an intern who had just passed the bar and couldn’t find work. And so I said, Well, I can’t pay you. But if you want to come on help me do this and learn from me, I can teach you criminal law.
So she came on and learn from me for about six months, she helped me cover things she would write up case summaries helped me manage the caseload. And then ultimately, I brought her on as a contractor and then an employee. She was my first associate. And actually she went out and opened her own firm last year, which is pretty cool. So I ended up not paying myself very much. Partially because I knew what I wanted. I knew I wanted the team more than I wanted to be the one person and making lots of money. Obviously everyone wants to be financially secure.
But I was at the point where I was paying myself enough to pay my bills. And that’s all I needed. It also has been very, very interesting to see that the more people I bring on, the more quickly we generate revenue. And it’s not just attorneys. It’s anyone so right now we have myself and another attorney. We just hired a third attorney this week. We have two paralegals a legal assistant, and then three client relations managers. So those are the women that really I say women, the only a woman right now, those are the women that really focus on making sure the clients so heard their needs are met.
And they don’t have to have any legal experience. But because we are known for being such a client friendly and service oriented firm, we keep getting people in. So, I think taking the leap and knowing that, the more you grow, the more you can provide that service to your clients, which means you can handle more clients in a better way, is really the key to our quick success.
Davina: So that stat is really interesting. You have three client care specialists or client care what I’m not sure what you wouldn’t, what was the title you have for them?
Alexis: So I actually I have to so I have client relations managers, which basically they’re the ones that answer the phone, make sure internally, we call them our air traffic controllers, make sure that the the clients get to where they need to go into the question as easy as when is my next court date, they can answer that. And then we have a client success specialist, she actually is the one that does our intakes.
So we don’t have lawyers doing intakes anymore, we have our client success specialist doing that where she has been trained through sales training, not attorney training, to sell our firm, there is nothing about the sales process that involves or requires legal analysis. I personally think that that’s a very fine line to tread if you do that, because you could be giving legal advice without having been hired. And so I just I take that out of the equation altogether. And we have someone that sells our firm. And that’s how we get the clients to hire us. And then they get a strategy session with their lawyer once we actually can review their case.
Davina: So it’s very interesting, you’ve always taken a coaching model and and adopted that for a law firm. Which is very interesting, because using the term, you know, strategy session. And, you know, seeing your approach there. I think that’s, that’s really fascinating. And I think a lot of lawyers are going to find that interesting, because lawyers think that often think that the client is going to want to meet with me before they make a decision to hire. Right? And how do you find you’re finding that’s not the case?
Alexis: So it’s twofold. One, if you the lawyer thinks that the client has to meet with you, then yes, so the client is going to have to meet with you. Because that’s your mindset. And that’s how you’re thinking clients. And I do not mean this derogatorily to humans, but clients don’t know what they want. They don’t know, right, as expected. Most of my clients are first or second time offenders who they don’t know what a law firm should be based on what we think of as the traditional law firm model.
They know what they’ve seen on TV, and they know what they’ve experienced in other customer service areas. So honestly, we very rarely even get the clients asking, if Bree our client specialist is an attorney, they just know that she’s the woman that helped them out, validated their concerns and said, we can get you back on the right track. That’s it. That’s all they care about clients are human. And first and foremost, they want to feel heard, and they want to be supported. And they want to know you can do a good job. So I think well, you’re you think that it’s either one an ego trip and they think they’re too important. And they’re really not. Or to it, they just don’t, they haven’t seen another way of doing it.
Davina: I think that for a lot of people
Alexis: Look at all of the the other industries, I really think law is probably about 20 years behind other industries right now. I mean, you don’t talk to the main person in the company for quite some time you’re going through this process, because our rule at Right Law Group is anything that can be done by someone lower on the totem pole, they’re the ones to do it, you don’t push it up to the next level unless it’s absolutely necessary. That way, you can have more people at the bottom handling the run of the mill issues were the people at the top, who were the more specialized positions focused on what the real work is. And we we often tell clients, you know, you don’t want the lawyer answering every single person’s phone call, because if they do, they won’t work on your case, they won’t have time. So you want us working as a team and you want this team approach for you.
Davina: So you talked about your intake person sending her to sales training not or having her take sales training, I’m assuming virtually or something but not being attorney trained. So tell me what sparked that idea for you?
Alexis: No, I’m trying to think about that. Um, I so I’m part of a group of different masterminds and different lawyers across the country, and I’m trying to watch how other firms are doing things. I’ve also been looking at how other companies do things. I absolutely love digging in and learning about tech companies, service companies and seeing how they build on what I’ve learned. And some of it came through business coaching and different trainings. But what I’ve learned is, from my personal experience, a lawyer wants to fix the problem. That’s what their their natural urges is to fix the problem.
The issue is, we don’t know what the problem we don’t know the nuances, even if the client tells us what the problem is, obviously, the state is gonna have a very different side of that, or opposing counsel is going to have a different time. So it’s impossible to fix a problem that we’re not clear on yet.
Alexis: For the intake staff. What a client wants is they want to know their problem can be solved, not to fix it immediately, they just want to know what can be solved. So I found that if you don’t have legal training, so none of my none of my staff, during the client intake or the client relations have any legal training, I specifically asked them, if they have it in if they do that the check against them, they might be better for some other place in our firm. But if they have legal training, I think they’ll get too much into trying to solve the problem.
For that position, we want someone empathetic, we want someone who can understand the the feelings and the emotions that the client is feeling and reassure them. So their training is more the only legal training they have is they get to see our lawyers in action sometimes just to be able to have that confidence in selling our lawyers, but they don’t need to know much about anything else. We teach them about the process of court so they can explain Well, this is what this court date is, but nothing about the legal nuances, because that would I think dissuade them from being able to do the best job that they can for the client, which is just to honestly provide a listening ear.
Davina: Right, right. So let’s talk about the there’s a couple things that come to mind with sort of this structure that I think people are gonna have questions about one is, you know, you said you want to keep the lowest people on the totem pole doing the bulk of the work that doesn’t require an attorney to do it. Right. So I think we’re gonna say, Well, what are the attorneys doing a and b, what I think they’re gonna want to know how what you’re doing is different from what your attorneys are doing. And also, I think a lot of people look at the model and go, Well, you know, if I have my attorney doing more I can build at the attorney rate. And so I can make more money that way. So does it does it benefit me to have somebody lower on the totem pole like a paralegal do something if I don’t, if I have one less paralegal, and I have attorneys doing some of this, I might be able to bill it at a higher rate. What do you say to something like that?
Alexis: Well, I think there are two issues. Number one, we’re criminal defense over flat fee. So our fees don’t involve any type of billing or anything like that. Because for that specific reason, I don’t want the attorneys thinking, Well, I have to build more time. I also don’t think it’s fair to the client. Just because an attorney can do something doesn’t mean that they should. It’s not fair to the attorney because they’re getting overworked. And it’s not fair to the client, because they’re getting over billed. I think that the the counter argument that attorneys would have, as far as well, I can bill more.
Number one, you have to do a gut check. Is that right? If you were the client, and you were in this position, and you heard someone say, Well, I can bill more for it. So I should, is that really what you should be doing? And number two, it’s a volume thing. If it’s if you have more people at the bottom, billing more, you can still make the same hour that the attorney would or the same billable amount. But you can do that for more clients and service more clients. So that then when it actually gets to the attorney, the attorney can work on more clients and take more things to court and resolve more things and ultimately help more people. So I don’t know I think maybe my perspective is a little bit different because the flat rate, but I do think if you’re trying to build up a bigger base, there’s no reason not to it may take a hit in the very beginning. But otherwise, you’re ultimately going to build a much more successful thriving firm.
Davina: Right. So let’s talk about the flat rates. When you started out, you had been in family law and now you’ve moved over to criminal law. How what information did you use to decide on how to charge a flat rate how much to charge for different things?
Alexis: Um, I actually I actually never did family law. I was a DA and then.
Davina: Oh, I thought it was a family law firm.
Alexis: The first firm was a family law and criminal firm.
Davina: Okay, okay. I thought it was just family law.
Alexis: So and that was that was an issue that we had is how do we bill this way for our family law cases, and we were trying to decide that as far as setting rates, I got a couple of tips from a couple of people ahead of me in this journey, different law firm owners, and then I did some business coaching, what we did is we calculated how much time it takes to work on a case, how much the attorney needs to build, how much the staff needs to build, and basically what the overhead is there. So 30% of the case, fee that we charge, and we call them prices, not fees, because there’s a negative connotation with fees, but 30% of the ticket price is for attorney work.
So the attorney should only be billing as much as 30%. Another 30% is for I’m sorry, a third, so 3-3-3. Another third is for the overhead. So that includes the staff that includes our office, that includes everything that we need to make this this case run smoothly. And then the last third should be for profit, or for bringing it back into the company and investing. So we reached our numbers by doing that analysis, looking at how much the attorneys were working, how much the staff was working. And then I also compared our numbers to the market averages. It’s kind of difficult, because I don’t know if it’s the same everywhere else. But here in the Springs, the lawyers are not forthcoming about their rates.
Davina: Yeah, I think it is the same in a lot of places.
Alexis: I don’t understand that. I just had a lawyer who just opened up a firm, text me yesterday saying, Hey, what do you charge for this? And I told him right away, it’s not. I think that there’s plenty of work for everyone. And I think that the idea that you have to hoard everything just puts you in a bad position, there’s no reason not to be open. Because if you’re competent in your firm, you know that you’re going to get the client of that other person with the same rate anyway.
So it shouldn’t be a bargaining or an undercutting. I do rail a bit. But generally, our prices tend to be in the mid range of everyone else here. And this brings. Oh, the way that I found out what everybody else charged. I asked my clients, they would go to other firms and get consultations and then come to me and I say if you don’t mind me asking, what are they charging you? Just so I know.
Davina: Yeah. And so that helps give you a lot of information. So you can price yours in a way that you thought would be market smart.
Davina: Yeah, I think that’s what the reason I asked you that the reason we kind of went into that is because I, I have seen a lot of we know the billable hour model works from the standpoint of making money. And because it’s just it’s proven, right, but we’re seeing a lot of attorneys, particularly younger attorneys who really wanting to go with the flat fee model for a number of reasons. One, is because then we don’t have to get into time tracking as much.
And two, we don’t have to, you know, if the client seem happier if they can just predict what it’s going to cost for them. And then there are certain practice areas like yours criminal, obviously, is a place where flat fees make a lot of sense, and a lot of cases. But one of the things that I find that many law firm owners and lawyers are doing, when they’re setting their fees is they don’t have data to get they don’t have the data, like I should know exactly how much how much time it takes to handle a certain type of case.
You had experience and an opportunity to get that to collect that data before you did flat fees, or did you not I mean, that’s, that’s because I think that that is that, to me is what I’m always telling people is like, you can’t just set your flat fee. On a gut feeling you have to do what you did and do some reconnaissance, you have to think you have to figure out how much time it takes your team to do it. You have to, you know, look and see what’s going on in the market around you ask clients what you know, they think and then that’s how you can arrive at a flat fee, that’s going to actually make you money because oftentimes people set them and they’re too low, then they don’t realize they’re too low because they’re not tracking time. But you sounds like you really were really thorough about that.
Alexis: Yes, and no, I think I mean, when I was just on my own and I had my contract paralegal and I had my intern, I had no idea. I just kept the same rates as my previous firm had done. And so in that, in that situation, it would have been just if I’d gone out on my own. Without that experience, I would have asked a friend what they charge or ask some other people in other jurisdictions that were similar to mine, and just set them there. But moving forward. I think maybe this is the wrong approach. But I think at a certain point, you just have to set it and start working.
So you’ll find out if it’s incorrect and If you find out that you’ve overcharged refund the client, the client will be more than happy to take their money back. If you’ve undercharged, then you take that as a learning experience and you up your charge on the next case, clients. I mean, I think that’s one of the reasons a lot of law firms don’t put their pricing online, is because a lot of people do different prices for different clients. I actually, that’s how I was taught when I first went out, but I’ve actually kind of nipped that in the bud. I think that that, number one causes confusion. Number two, it doesn’t facilitate the sales process. And number three, it goes back to doing the right thing is all about that brand for me. Is that right? I mean, yes, we’re gonna have more difficult clients. But in the end, they even each other out, generally speaking, I think 80% of our clients are just a pleasure to work with 20% are really, really difficult 5% I’m never gonna have to deal with or deal with.
So when you look at it, that way, it evens out in the wash. So if you’re setting flat rates based on either what you’ve seen other people doing, and then you adjust it based on what your time is, I think that that’s a fair and reasonable way to do it. And you can also then use it in your sales. So for me, I’ve built an internal product for our firm that has set prices, there is no deviation from this price. And you do a click down menu, it tells you exactly what the price is. And we’re able to tell our clients, hey, these prices were set this way, because this is the amount that it costs for our firm to handle your case in the right way. If you don’t like it, you can go to the people who may bargain but know that this is how we do everything, we make sure that we’re doing everything the right way every single time.
Davina: All right. So there’s a lot of predictability for them. And also, what I love about that’s one of the things I’ve discussed with a lot of my clients is you have to have, you have to have your fee set and have them in a you know, on a sheet document or in a in a program like you have or something, I mean, on a sheet laminated or in a program like you have or something, something that sets it and says to sends a message to the client.
This is a set fee. This is a policy for the firm, because this is what we’ve done the homework and we know what it’s what it’s going to cost to do this. Because I think a lot of times attorneys get very people are sitting in front of the attorney because it gets such access to the attorney during the sales process. And then they are they feel like it’s a negotiation, and right, negotiate with this, because it’s just a person sitting across from me, as opposed to a business that has already set fees.
Alexis: Right. And I have three points on that. Number one, I think attorneys use this quite frequently, but you don’t negotiate your prices at the doctor. That’s what the price is. That’s what it costs to help you. But number two, I tell my clients when that situation comes up that, okay, this is the price this is what it costs. They say, well, can you do lower? And I say no, this is what it costs. And you would not want me to do lower? Because if I did that would mean that you who has not gone to law school, no offense, could bargain me down from my position, and have me adjust my feet for you. If you can do that to me, what does that mean? I’m going to do in front of opposing counsel or the district attorney? If I’m so ready to step off what I believe is right, how much are you going to have faith in my ability to represent your best interest? And that usually gets them past that. They’ll go yes.
Davina: Yeah, yeah, that is wonderful. That’s wonderful. That’s a great technique. I want to shift to talk about before we run out of time, I want to talk a little bit about your marketing, and your brand’s your approach to your brand and your marketing. One of the things you have on your website is you have a first of all, I love your website, I think it’s very much designed, it’s very client centric, and it’s designed to to showcase the firm in a way that lets people know why they should hire you. Okay. And one of the things you’ve done is you have a video on your about page and you talk on the video about kind of your philosophy and your approach.
And, and it really I think if some attorneys would listen to it, who and think oh, wow, I could never do that. I can never say that. Because you’re really direct about, you know, you may not be for everybody and there’s some clients are gonna like you and some are whatever, because here’s your approach, the way you approach it was there. I, if you’re in marketing, you understand that the stronger you attract, the stronger you’re going to repel as well. So you’re going to repel people who are not for you.
And you’re going to strongly attract people who are what was your thought process? What made you decide that this was a good approach for you? And are you have you been worried that you’re going to turn people off and not you know, attract those or not attract enough clients?
Alexis: So I think the worried portion goes to mindset. I’ve had to work very hard at that I spend at least an hour every day doing something to get my mindset correct, generally is, while I’m getting ready and driving to work, I listened to podcasts and coaching. But I think that it is flawed thinking to think, well, if I behave this way, then I’m going to repel clients. Because if you’re going to repel clients, you probably didn’t want to work with those clients. Anyway, when I was desperate and trying to get everybody who came in the door, I would get these clients who were not a good fit for me.
And by not a good fit, they either wouldn’t pay, or they would contradict my legal analysis, which in that case, I mean, why are you even hiring a lawyer? If you think you know, I mean, go ahead, you’re gonna be wrong, but go ahead. So I think that, as with everything, quality of life is so much more important to me than being the richest person in the room or in the in the city. I think that if I like my clients, I’m going to do a better job for them just as a human component. It’s not intentional, but I do. And I think that clients really appreciate that because clients when they watch that video, I’ve gotten so many comments about that video. And they all say we really appreciate you being honest.
And not sugarcoating things. So many lawyers say they’re the best at everything, and they can definitely handle my case, and they can get this result. But I know that they can’t, because they don’t even know me, they just met me, and you don’t act like that. And so I think that, number one, you do it to protect you from not having to deal with really difficult clients and you hating your your job and not being able to do it. And to the clients that want to have that relationship with their lawyer and relationships. I mean, I like in a lawyer relationship to dating all the time, which may be a little weird, but I mean, you have to trust that person.
You have to want to be around that person and know that they’ve got your back, you’re not going to date someone who makes you feel icky, hopefully. And you’re not going to date someone you don’t trust so why would you pick a lawyer you don’t trust or a lawyer that makes you feel icky?
Davina: So talk to me about your decisions regarding your marketing and and you really did some work to brand, your firm. And what was that process like for you?
Alexis: I actually took a branding quiz. Just to kind of see because I had in my mind what I wanted the firm to look like vaguely but I took this branding quiz. It’s called Kayne Putnam it’s K A Y N E Putnam P U T N A M Branding quiz. And I just went through and I answered it as me as just me as a person, because I was first opening the firm. And it gives you all of these different brands under which you could fall. And it gives you kind of what the the sound of that brand would be. And it kind of, it’s all free online, which is fantastic. But it walks you through kind of what people are expecting when that is your brand, and explains the psychology behind that.
So I took that, and I got two results that were pretty equal. And I picked the one that seemed the most like the path that I like, I’m doing it so long, it wasn’t passed back then. But that’s how I know where to everything the most like I wanted the clients experience to be. So the journey. And from there, I actually had quite a time finding the right people to help me do this. So I hired one of those big marketing companies that everyone knows to do my website, and they just would not listen. So I had this very specific view.
I knew what I wanted, but they wouldn’t do it. And I even I’m not an artist, by any means, but I sketched out what I wanted. And they try but it just fell flat. And this was I want to say this was nine months to a year into our company. So our our first website was just something I made on Wix, that was my current affair and I. But I think one thing is, it’s not luck, I really don’t believe in luck. It’s making sure that you get quiet enough within yourself to hear when you need to make a change. And for me, I had to find that marketing person, my marketing person is a good friend. Now he is my my, my teammate.
I mean, he’s not part of our firm, but he is exceptional. And he listens, he gets what I am trying to do. And he spends a lot of time talking to me about what I want for our clients what I want the vision to be. And then he realized that in his team to make it happen in our in our website. So I think it’s a little bit of knowing what you want to be in finding out what your brand is because I truly believe that law firms should not be just the typical law firm, you need to have a brand you need to have a message and not just I’m here to help you. It has to be something that a client can subconsciously relate to. And once you have that brand in place, then you have to find the right person who can do that and join you in that path to make sure that it’s showing up in the way that you want it in your marketing.
Davina: You, you also have a lot of five star reviews and you talk about that on your site, you have 50, more or more five star client reviews. And so that makes me think you probably have some sort of system or mechanism for collecting reviews.
Alexis: Davina, you got me, I do not. That is literally something I just talked with our team, we have a team meeting every Thursday. I talked with them yesterday saying, Hey, we got to get these reviews up. So I have no process whatsoever.
Davina: So you guys are just asking for reviews.
Alexis: Right! So until now, our general rule of thumb is if someone says You guys are so great, you did a great job immediately follow up with, you know, I really appreciate that. Can you without saying anything about your case? Can you leave us a review, because other people you know, we’re new, newer to the area. Other people don’t know our reputation yet. The only way they know is through Google reviews.
And people love to help other people out and to feel needed. So if you tell the client, hey, that would help me a lot. If you could do this for me, would you be willing to do me a favor? People will respond. But we actually I want to get this more? Because I think Yeah, reviews are key. And our clients say that they hire us because of what it said the content of the reviews, not necessarily the number. But what other people have said.
Davina: Yeah, yeah, I’ve spoken with I have another criminal defense client. And they have said that they have surveyed their clients. And reviews are super important. That’s how they make a lot of decisions to hire. So it’s been very interesting. You have your core values posted for everyone. And I want to talk about that a little bit. And I want to talk about how, and asked you how you.
I think a challenge for a lot of law firm owners when they’re growing their practice, is how do I take what my what I value what my values are? Or my personality, or the thing that clients love about me that made them want to work with me initially? And how do I create that as a company culture and passed down that to my team? So that it’s the it’s the culture of the firm and and people associated with the firm, not just with Alexis? Right? Have you done that?
Alexis: Well, we actually need to update our core values, because what I wrote those at first for what I had is a vision for the firm. So this is what I wanted to have everyone in the firm believing. And then I just I counted it into the firm, and everything that we write in everything that we do, I brought that up in some way. For me, technology is very big. And so finding a new way to do things or doing things differently. When we do our coaching, I have scripts for our client intake positions, that I asked him to read over and over to really solidify that messaging and branding, and what they say and the more you say something, the more you start to believe it because you can trick your brain into it.
The other thing I did is I asked my team, what do you think we’re all about? What do we do best. And that helps them buy in, because they then feel that they have a hand in the direction of the firm. I’m very, maybe slowly learning that. Because I’m building a company, it has nothing to do with me anymore. My goal is to step back and be the manager and go on to my next adventure. But it is all about the buy in from the staff. And I say staff just because they’re working here, but we consider everyone a team effort and no one is valued more than another member.
Because if they buy in and they’re living what we preach, then it all works. So one of the things that I think is really important is if your team has five different core values, and they’re different than what you have, let the team set it, because they’re the ones on the front lines, they’re the ones doing the work as long as it’s not something outrageous. And if it’s just slightly off. Like for me, technology is huge. But my team doesn’t care as much about technology as I do. So I talked to them about the importance of it. But then I let them lead with what they believe is most important. And for them, that’s loyalty, honesty, integrity, making sure they’re helping clients along the way, which are part of our core values. The other thing is in interviews, I will listen to see if someone says one of those buzz words. I don’t give any clues that I’m listening for it. I don’t give them any direction. I do advise people to look over the website first.
And this last round of hiring, every single person that we hired, said something if not multiple things that resonated with our values. Because a lot of it I think you can’t really train you have to just hire for that fit. And we’ve let people go who didn’t didn’t fit the core values just because it’s they are not a right fit. It’s not going to be good for the clients and it’s going to be toxic to our environment.
Davina: Right. Definitely when you get clear on your core values, the core values of your business. It really Really, it really works almost in an automatic way, if everybody’s clear on the core values, because you just again, it goes back to that attraction and repelling. So you’re attracting people who share those core values and people who don’t share the core values, it won’t resonate with them, your marketing won’t resonate with them. And the core values really are about the value to the clients that you’re serving, as well as your team.
So it’s the team and the client, you know, so it’s about people at the end of the day, who share similar values, you know. So I think that’s, that’s really great. I was curious how you how you take that culture that you envision in your head and pass it down to your team. So thanks for sharing that. So we are we need to end here in just a second. So why don’t you tell us how we can find out more about Right Law Group and how we can connect with you if you want to.
Alexis: Sure. So Right Law Group, you can just go to www.rightlawgroup.com. You can find us on LinkedIn and LinkedIn /rightlawgroup, we’re on Twitter @rightlawnow Instagram at right law now. And then you can always find me I love making friends on Facebook. I’m on there as Alexis Austin pretty, pretty obvious to me. And our Facebook page for Right Law Group is also on there. And I like to connect especially with criminal defense lawyers, because my next adventure is building what I have built for other people. So in the next year or two, I’m going to be doing that and selling my processes so other people can get jumped up on on not on their phones. So hit me up and let’s talk. Alright, great.
Davina: Thank you so much for sharing and for being here today. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation.
Alexis: Thank you.
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