Sandy Van has a busy personal injury law firm… a real estate business… and a company providing virtual legal services. How does she find time in the day to do it all – and balance a home life? 

She reveals how she’s used delegation to maximize her time and abilities… while letting others run with projects they’re better at. How do you know what to focus on? Sandy says there’s one defining characteristic of your must-do tasks… and those you pass on to your team. 

She also talks about how she put the right people in place to be able to take on a CEO role at each of her businesses… while others keep things running smoothly day-to-day. Tune in to discover…

  • A 4-step hiring process to find the best candidates for the specific job
  • Secrets for creating a cohesive and productive team
  • The danger of getting bogged down in the day-to-day of your business
  • Knowing when to hire – and fire – employees
  • Life-changing guidance on how to start and run a business or businesses that will be not only lucrative but fun

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:

Transcript

Davina Frederick: Hello, and welcome to the Solo to CEO Podcast where we provide a mix of powerful thought-provoking and practical information to assist you in your transformation from solo to CEO of a high impact, high revenue-generating business. I’m your host Davina Frederick, and I’m here today with Sandy Van, attorney and founder of the Van Law Firm. The Van Law Firm is located in Las Vegas and provides personal injury services throughout Nevada. Welcome, Sandy. It’s so good to have you here on the Solo to CEO Podcast. 

Sandy Van: Thanks for having me. 

Davina: Great. So tell me about the Van Law Firm. I said personal injury services. Now that’s a really broad term, but you offer a lot of different services under that person injury services label. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more about the law firm and what you guys do?

What is Sandy’s Law Firm All About?

Sandy: We do single event cases. So motor vehicle crashes, and you know, slip and fall premise cases. People that get hurt on people’s businesses, mostly casinos here in Las Vegas, but it could be Target or Walmart even. So, yeah, what we do and we also do mass torts such as hernia mash, you know, hit, things like that. 3m earplugs round-up tucks.

Davina: How did you get into doing personal injury? What made you decide to pursue that particular area of practice?

Sandy: One of my friends one day just recommended it and I was like, Okay, I think I’ll do that. I was doing a lot of short sales before. And I knew that that was going to come to an end because it’s cyclical, and the market was changing. So I was like, I need to find something else to get into.

Davina: Right. Okay, so did you when you started out, practicing then, I guess, when I first started practicing, I was doing a lot of foreclosure work, because I’m in Florida. And we were it was my practice started at the beginning of kind of the foreclosure crisis. And you guys in Nevada probably got really hit by a lot of that too. And so that’s probably years about doing short sales. You’re probably doing a lot of that kind of similar type of work when you first started out.

Sandy: Yes, correct. Yes, I was working in a business litigation firm. And I decided that it wasn’t for me, but I was a great Rainmaker and I bought a lot of business. So I decided to rainmake instead. Well rainmaking didn’t pay very fast. So I decided that you know, I have my real estate license, I’m going to start doing short sales. And then one day this law office was calling me with one of the marketers to try and get realtors to refer them short sales. And I was like, why would I refer you my short sales? I’m a realtor and an attorney. And he’s like, wow, that’s a power combination? Why don’t you go open your own law firm? I was like, Great idea. I think I will.

Davina: So that’s how you came to open your law firm. That was gonna be my next question is how you decided to open your own law firm. So when you open your own law, because I noticed you also are a real estate agent and still, you know, have an active license and, you know, in the real estate business. So you have your own law firm. Did you partner with somebody else Open your own law firm? Or did you do that by yourself? Did you decide you’re just going to, you know, go out and do that by yourself?

Sandy: Well, since I worked at a business litigation firm before, I realized that a lot of partnerships don’t turn out very well. So there is no partnership track here at Van Law Firm. 

Davina: Ahh see, so you and I are on the same page with that. I also like to fly solo. I totally understand that. But you have quite a number of attorneys working with you. And that is particularly interesting for me, because you started your practice in what year? What year did you start your practice?

Sandy: In 2013. 

Davina: 2013. It’s 2019 now. When you started out it was just you. And now you have, How big would you say your firm is how many attorneys do you have working with you?

Sandy: We have like I think well we have for right now. We have another one that’s joining us shortly. And then we have a law clerk. If he passes the bar, then we’ll offer him a position probably. So we should have five or six soon.

Davina: Five or six. Okay, great. So you’ve grown pretty quickly in that short amount of time. And then you have a number of attorneys who work with you sort of counsel and stuff like that as well?

Sandy: Oh, no, just they just work with me. They don’t we don’t have any of counsel.

Davina: Okay, okay. So you’ve grown pretty quickly in that short amount of time from solo, to really grow in your team. And you also in addition to that, you have another business. So tell us about that business.

Sandy: Well, I was one of the top realtors in town. So when I was doing short sales we were just doing a lot of cold calling and working our sphere clients that we had and people that we knew. So I am one of I was one of the top realtors probably won’t hit that list this year. But we’ve kind of gotten away from that just to, you know, pay attention to my firm. But so I have a real estate group of some a few realtors that work with me. And then I do have a virtual assistant company that we farm out virtual legal staff to other law firms. We work with about 30 firms across the country.

Davina: Wow. So my question is, and how do you do it all? That’s the question. I think a lot of women lawyers listening to this and other business owners listening to this are going to be asking themselves Wow, how do you do all of that? And how did you grow your law firm so fast and create three businesses? It’s just such a successful businesses in such a short amount of time. Tell us your secrets.

The Art of Serial Entrepreneurship 

Sandy: I think that’s actually one of the questions that I think that women think that they can do it al. They’re so used to like doing the laundry, cooking, watching children and working 60 hours. They just really need to learn how to delegate and maximize their time and their abilities. So, you know, I’m very good at that. I think we were just, we’re applying for something recently because we’re thinking about buying another building. Either that or it was like either some kind of business line of credit. And one of their questions was, well, how much time do you spend on these other business? 

And I’m like about an hour. An hour on this one, and about an hour on that one. And I was just laughing about that, because I just have the right people in the right seats, you know? So we, when we first started that, you know, I built up my team and my organizational director to get the right people in the right position doing the right duties. As an entrepreneur, you have to realize that your time and energy should be focused on higher-value tasks. So anything aside from that, you should not be doing so task to generate the most revenue for your business.

Davina: Right. So you are really you must be really good at hiring people.

Sandy: Well, I wasn’t for a while. So we weren’t for a while it was hurting morale, because people were like, well Am I going to be the next one on the chopping block. So we kind of stopped after a while. And I read like five books on how to hire, then I gave them to my assistant to read. And now we just have a hiring team. 

So we do have a process for hiring such as going through the resumes, organizing the resumes, keeping a database of the resumes and categorizing them from like 10s and nines or something, you know? And then an 8 before like, Hey, we really need this person, maybe they have a different area of law, but maybe we can use it for us. Maybe they did criminal litigation or something. And maybe we can change them over and do personal injury or something. But we have a process for doing that. So we have someone that phone interviews them and then if they’re good for an in-person, they’ll send us their checklist. 

If they had to have a questionnaire they have to go through with the person over the phone. They then we say yes, they scheduled them in person, then we have a checklist to go over with them in person, like some kind of sheet that we go through. And then if they’re good to hire then we it send back to that person to call their references to make sure that they were really 10s and nines, and then we choose whether or not to hire them then. So yeah, it took a lot of reading.

Davina:  Yeah, sounds like you got really systematic and created a real process for that. That’s brilliant. And you are not afraid to dig in and do the research. And really realize you really get honest with yourself that you know that this is an area you need to figure out.

Sandy: Yeah, we’re pretty somewhat, I think that we’re somewhat disorganized, but we’re probably more organized the most firms.

Davina: What do you think makes you, you know, where did you think  you learned that skill or ability? Where does that come from? That way of thinking that you’re going to delegate? that you’re going to get this team that you’re going to put this team together, that when you’re faced with this challenge, you’re gonna, you know, you’re not going to try to do everything yourself. You’re going to try to figure out the best solution to get people in place to help you do it. Where do you think that comes from?

Sandy: Well, I think that one of my favorite books is I think it’s by Malcolm Gladwell or something it’s Outlier’s Book. And it says, sometimes we fail for a while, like you’re talking about the Beatles. And they’re like, Well, the reason they were good was because he spent 10,000 hours, they weren’t playing like sets from seven to 10 pm. They were playing sets from like, noon till like 3 am. 

And they had to learn all these different variations of music to play. Tolk, to whatever, you know? Folk to rock to whatever. And they have just so much practice that they were a big hit. They also talked about an attorney. An attorney who was a Jewish attorney, nobody wanted to hire him, because he was Jewish, and he wanted blond hair, blue-eyed attorneys, and he decided to go do whatever he could get that comes in the door. And he did like mergers and acquisitions. Well, the tide turned and mergers and acquisitions were hip. 

So now he’s working for like Skadden Arps, you know? And it’s just things like that. Well, when I was doing short sales, I decided to go team up with someone, didn’t work out very well. But I learned a lot through creating things for his company. So I was like, hey, I’ve got this many deals, you’ve got this many escrows, let’s team up and let’s create a just a basically a conveyor belt, kind of like JP Morgan. 

JP Morgan did this back in the day if you watch the men who built America, he decided to go process everything out and it was called organization. And Ford as well. Ford decided to do the same thing. You know, let’s have you create the wheel, you create the steering wheel, you create the tires, and we’ll put a car together at the end. And that’s what we did in the real estate company. We were like, okay, I want you to go run these comps. I’ll take your comps, review them, then go to the listing presentation. 

I’ll sign them and then you go put, get the pictures taken get the lockbox on and blah, blah, blah. So we decided that a team always outperforms the individual. And I learned a lot that way from doing it. I was the one that came up with the idea, gave him this great idea. Cost me a lot of money to be with him. 

And then but it just, you know, every failure brings you closer to your goal. So we decided to do that at our firm, we’re like, Okay, this person is going to property damage. So they’re going to fix cars, get people’s cars fixed, and get their car rentals and their loss of use every day, all day long. That’s all they’re going to be doing. And then you’re going to be doing demands all day, and you’re going to be and gathering medical records. So we just decided to create a conveyor belt at my office because not one person does everything well.

Davina: Oh, excellent, excellent. And how do you help people sort of determine what their zone of genius is? I mean, how do you go about doing that? And what do you think your zone of genius is?

Sandy: I don’t know how we do that. I think we just kind of figure out where they like to be, you know? And we have enough business to support that. We did draw out an organizational structure. And as we grew with revenue, we decided to put people where we had gaps. So we have this little chart, and then we’re like, okay, we need so many people on the side, but we people just doing this and blah, blah, blah. And then we created operating procedures, checklist. 

Wikipedia is training materials for every single process enroll in the firm. We have an audit system to make sure that the key performance indicators are being met and someone’s not goofing off. It minimizes human errors and maximizes from profitability. My most important thing that I do when I was an attorney in my firm, and I couldn’t afford to hire as many attorneys as we have was to either my highest and best use was to either do intakes and get people signed. New clients in the door and signed. To negotiate their claims, get them more money on their settlement, and it’s not file a lawsuit, those are my three things.

Now that I’m overseeing things, my highest best use is to have vision, basically, Steve Jobs, he never coded. He didn’t, he doesn’t code. But he had the technical ability to tweak things. So that’s me, you know, I’m supposed to have the vision. So I kind of go in once in a while into my office, and I’ll be like, there’s a more efficient way of doing this. Let’s, instead of going through everything in the alphabet, from A to Z, let’s skip this and we can get to Z faster, you know, without compromising the productivity or the quality of our work. I go in to make things a little bit more efficient in my firm. 

We tweak things. I do tell my HR who is the next person we need to hire like hey, I need a runner, or whomever. We do, I do find new areas of law to go into. Because one day these cars will drive themselves, it probably won’t happen while I’m still working. But just in case, I did find other areas of law to go into. So right now we’re hitting mass torts pretty big. And just finding new areas to go into. So we are building new locations and, you know, going into other areas. So

Davina: Yeah, that is and that’s what that is exactly one of the things that I talk with my clients about. You know, people who are starting out they’re women here starting out their businesses, and they’re going through that solo to CEO journey. And we discussed the job of a CEO is to hold the vision of the firm. To create the vision hold the vision. And ultimately, that’s where you want to get to is exactly what you’re talking about. But I want to take you back to the beginning of you starting your firm. And when it was just you. Did you start out hiring staff right away? How long did it take you before you started hiring staff? Were you a bootstrapper? Or did you come into this with capital?

Sandy: Well, let’s see. When I first started, I did have like two employees. And then we were doing short sales on so that wasn’t like it required a lot of people. It was when we went into PI that required a lot more people. I’m kind of, you know, kind of lazy in that respect, where I don’t want to do some of the work, I just want to do the things that I’m good at, which is getting people to hire me, you know, and but yeah. We had two people, and they did everything. And then as we grew with revenue, we added more people, you know, like,

Davina: Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask you about was kind of that tipping point. Because I think a lot of you know, I have conversations with a lot of women attorneys who have that fear around hiring. I mean, we see it, we see a lot of these forums on social media that we’re in, you know, fear around firing people. Am I making enough money to hire somebody? When is that tipping point for hiring people? You know, and the concern that they have of not being able to pay them, you know, pay staff. And so what do you say to that?

Sandy: Well, I think that as soon as you get someone that’s 50% busy with what they’re doing, you need to go start hiring because then you can train them with the other 50% of your time, or, you know, does that kind of thing. definitely get those systems and processes down. Like sometimes they sit there training people, you know, if they’re lucky that day and I’m the one that’s training them, I’m writing this down, or I’m saying Hey, you guys write this down, get this all together for me, because usually we’ll train like two or three people at same time. 

Write this down and give me a list, you know, but I would hire right away. Not that bad. You can get people for 15 bucks an hour, you know, and as long as you believe in yourself, like you’re not going to go spend that time sticking around, are you? You know, you’re gonna be working and bringing in more business. I think that you should hire as soon as you can. It’s not that expensive. It’s $15 and hour.

Davina: How long did it take you before you hired your first attorney?

Sandy: I tried to do, I had like a person that was, you know, was giving me advice. And they would say, Hey, you know, try and bootstrap as long as you can. I’m like, but I don’t want things falling through the cracks, you know? So sooner or later, we were hiring attorneys. I would say maybe two or three years ago, we started hiring attorneys. Two years, probably two years ago. So I try to do as many cases as I could. And I’m like, I can’t do all the cases, and manage the firm and do intakes and negotiate these team playing. So we hired an attorney or like two years ago or so.

Davina: Was that a different thought process or experience for you? Was that more challenging mentally and emotionally to do that, then it was to hire a staff person for you?

Sandy: They are a lot more, they cost a lot more. They have different perks that they want. I think that with that. And we it’s interesting. So just because you have a law degree doesn’t mean you know anything. We’ve hired a few that were like, Oh my god, I don’t know how you went through school. You know, because you thought it was cool to go Facebooking and YouTubing on your first day. 

We’ve gone through a few of them, you know, a few attorneys for various reasons, none of them. I don’t know, sometimes I just don’t understand people. Sometimes they have no clue about that. But it’s different. They do cost a lot more. You think that they know what they’re doing but I think with hiring, there’s a Sam Walton quote that I like it says, I learned this early on in the variety business. You’ve got to give folks responsibility. You’ve got to trust them. Then you gotta check on them.

Davina: Yeah, yeah. Trust and verify.

Sandy: Right, exactly.  

Davina: What Sam Walton book is it that you like?

Sandy: Oh, I don’t know. It’s just a one of my quotes that I like. I have a bunch of quote.

Davina: Quotes. Okay. I thought it was a book. I thought you said book. You said, quote. What’s your favorite book on hiring?

Sandy: Who: A Method For Hiring. I think it’s by Geoff Smart or something. I like that one. I do. Like there’s another one at the blue. And I forget what it’s called. It’s a blue book. I gave it to my assistant so I don’t have it. I was like, here. All yours. 

Davina: Yeah, that one I’m not sure I’m familiar with that. Blue? It’s called Blue something. 

Sandy: No, it’s a blue book. I don’t remember what it’s called. 

Davina: Okay. It’s a blue book. Well, that narrows it down.

Sandy: Yeah, no. Okay, let me see. maybe it’d be my Amazon account. But anyway, what was your next question?

Davina: Well, I asked you. Let’s see, I asked you about your favorite book for hiring.

Sandy: Hiring and Getting Hired Lou Adler. That one seems to be a good one.

Davina: Okay, Hiring and Getting Hired. Okay. Yeah I wanted to just kind of get some recommendations out there for people because I know it’s a big, growing your team is a big issue for a lot of, you know, that is the people problem is one of the biggest challenges for growth of a law firm. And it’s different with staff than it is with attorneys. You know, it’s, it’s a different kind of hiring, right? And so, you know, once people kind of get over the issue of staff and then sort of get accustomed to that, then they start hiring attorneys, it becomes a different sort of ballgame. And of course, you know, it’s my thought were always. 

The transformation of from solo to CEO terminology that I use, is, you’re always evolving and growing into the person who becomes a higher level CEO, right? So once you master one level you’re going to, then you’re going to be challenged with the next part of your growth. So you might start out hiring staff, and you’re going to get comfortable with that. And then now it’s time to hire lawyers. And then you’re going to have to grow into the person who get higher and manage and train lawyers, right? And then you grow into, you know, the next level of your firm, which is more lawyers and bigger, and maybe bigger clients. 

Bigger projects, or whatever that is, right? So tell me, you’re quite visionary, right? So what are what are some of the things that you have got, that you’re working on now that you kind of got in your sights that you want to do? I know with the staffing agency, that’s been sort of a big thing for you. You’ve been growing pretty quickly with that. You said you’re in 30 states now? 30 locations?

Diversification and Growth

Sandy: We’re in 30 law firms. We help law firms that need to hire someone, you know, we have them, we have a bunch of virtual assistants that work for our firm. And we find a good one, we move them over to, you know, this other firm, and then they kind of manage it and run it. So we get people that need something every day, you know, I was pretty excited. I went to a conference the other day. And these people like, Oh, I need a lot of people, I need like, three or four of your assistants to call on my leads to, you know, do some design work for me. 

Graphic design work or whatever. I need a personal assistant because, you know, just getting my hair done is a lot of work or whatever, you know? And I’m like, okay. Got some people for you. And then we just, you know, find people to fill that position. And we go into their firms, and we get into their case management software, we get all that done. We do have other things that we’re doing right now. We’re getting into another mass tort, which I’m not going to disclose yet, but we’re going to be getting into that one soon. And we are going to be probably starting a headhunting company. 

That’s why I have my assistant reading those five books. So I’m like read these five books, synthesize it, figure it out. And I’m working on the back end part of it to create the webinars and the book for it. So she’s doing all that. She’s synthesizing everything, writing it down on a piece of paper, a Google doc and then I go in there and edit it and write it into my own words. And so we’ll create a book and we’ll create a webinar, sell the webinar. And then if those people are too busy to hire, we will be the ones that will be hiring. They can pay us hourly to go hire their next people for them.

Davina: So let me ask you this. What drives you to create these different businesses like this? Because that’s a lot of businesses paying, you know? You’ve got three solid businesses right there. Well, you know, why not stop there? Now you’re adding a fourth. I mean, you know, like, what drives you?

Sandy: It’s a lot of fun. I’ve done it because some of the virtual assistants, you know, they don’t have much. They don’t have very much they’ll never have, like, I’m their best ticket, you know, I’m the visionary. I’m, they want stock in me. They believe in me, you know? So they go and create these and I’m like, I’ll give you a little percentage of it, or whatever, you know. You can have a little percent of the revenue. So yeah, we’re just creating these things so that they can have something to do. 

And people agree with me and believe me, I’ve got some kind of clout, I guess, in the purse in the legal space. So we’re doing that. We have a, I want to do my own in house marketing, and then farm that out to people. So start a marketing company. And after that, we have the mass tort company that we’re starting. So kind of exciting. Pretty exciting. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m bored. It’s fun. It’s fun and exciting to start another business. So I can, I do want to create a lot of income and revenue in case anything fails. And I don’t know, I have this income goal. So if I hit that income goal, then I don’t know.

Davina: Then that still won’t be. It’s not about the money though. It’s, it’s about the creative

Your Career Can Be Your Hobby as Well

Sandy: It isn’t. It’s a lot of fun. I don’t have any kids. I don’t have a husband. So you know, probably just donate it to different causes. But yes, it’s fun to get there.

Davina: So what else do you like to do besides create businesses? That, do we have hobbies?

Sandy: Well, I do play poker, but it’s very rare. It’s only when I need some human interaction. funny, because I’ll go there with a book or something, or I’ll bring some work with me. So I can organize paperwork or something. And then people be like, you know, you just paid for this poker tournament. And I’m like, I know, but I don’t care. I need to stay awake. If I’m at home on Facebook or something

Davina: How do you do that? while you’re playing poker? I don’t understand.

Sandy: I’m just somewhat paying attention. And I don’t really care. Usually, it’s not enough money for me to like, get choked up about, you know? Like, if it’s $150, or $1,000, it’s not going to make or break me. They sometimes think I’m kind of crazy at the table. They’re like, you know, you 2% of winning, that I’m like, I know but I don’t care. I can make more money in my day job than playing with you guys. But it was just so I could have something to do and hang out.

Davina: So have you been in Vegas long? I mean, did you grow up there? Or have you been it? You know, or so? You’re very used to?

Sandy: I’ve been here a long time. 27 years. 

Davina: Okay. So you’re this, you’re old hat there. Like, hanging out of the casinos. You’re like, yeah, whatever.

Sandy: I don’t do it very often. I do that a lot. I do build a lot of businesses on the side, I’ll work on something. I’m big into personal development. I read a lot. I go to a lot of conferences, too many sometimes. You know, I have accountability buddy and a bunch of groups I’m in so.

Davina: Yeah, yeah, well, of course, being in being in Las Vegas you’re probably, there’s a real availability of conferences and things like that even right there. Not to mention, you know, obviously traveling to different conferences and stuff. I’m sure you do that as well. But it’s like, here in Orlando, there’s just, you know, an abundance of conferences you could go to, because there’s so many hosted here, just like I’m sure there are there, you know? Yeah. Well, that’s fantastic. 

So tell me, what do you think for other business owners who are, you know, women attorneys who may be growing their business. Or other business owners who might be listening to this Solo CEO Podcast. And that may be behind you on the journey how you’re really inspired by how you’ve created these businesses. How you grow in your law firm so quickly. What kinds of advice would you have for them? If they’re starting out there on the journey behind you, what kinds of things would you tell them that if you had it to do over again, what would you do differently? What would you do better? What advice would you have?

Sandy: I would definitely, you know, the E Myth book. I would definitely create systems and processes for everything. Standard operating procedures and checklists and training materials for everything. I would just do that, from the get-go. It would cut down on human error. And, you know, it would be so much better because you’re going to hire this person again. It’s not like you’re going to find your first receptionist and you’re live with them forever, you know, have them forever. You’re going to have a few receptionists. 

We have like four now. So, you know, we have to always say, Hey, here’s what we need to train every receptionist on. We have a list of things that we need to do to onboard our new receptionist, and then we have to break that down to how they do those things. You know, sorry about that. Someone is moving trash cans into my neighbor here. Yeah, but I would do that I would have a why. You know you don’t really do anything without a why. My why is kind of funny. So I have this why to like, make more money than my ex. So

Davina: I was about to ask you what your why is.

Sandy: Yeah, just to make more money than my ex. I just want to show him that I can do this. And but then I also have an accountability buddy. So he and I meet up once a week. I think I have a conference call with him at five. And we talked about like three to four things three to five things that we need to do for the next week. 

And then I really do not want to be not accountable or whatever, the one that didn’t fulfill whatever I said I was going to do. And he has his three to five things that he wants to do. And we just say, Hey, did you get those done in he’ll tell me and or tell me, why not. And it really gets your button gear there. So if you have a really good one anyway, someone’s gonna hold you accountable.

Davina: What are the consequences if you don’t do what you said you were going to do?

Sandy: We don’t really have anything for that. But it’s just we just are like that with each other. He’s like, he felt really bad other days, like I only slept three hours. Is there any way we can move it? I’m sure. But I’m not here very much this week. But sure, let’s do that. And, you know, it’s just you guys. Yeah, just feel really guilty. And, you know, but it’s great. We watch together. We calendar a day, we watch Tony Robbins webinars and stuff that we bought. And stuff like that

Davina: Right, that’s fantastic. You mentioned when you talk about your virtual assistants, I want to talk about that just a little bit. Because I think that’s something that’s really changed a lot in business and changed, that’s really been an advantage for a lot of business owners Because, you know, there’s been such a shift  in the way that people do business now, with this sort of virtual economy and freelance economy and this ability to be more female, be more mobile and work from anywhere and have any kind of business that you want. 

And we see it in law firms. We see a lot of lawyers now who are starting modern law firms and virtual law firms and not having to start with a lot of the overhead that people used to have to start with. And really be able to take advantage of virtual assistants to help accomplish a lot of functions. Like for instance, a lot of the social media marketing kinds of things are a great way to use a virtual assistant. And there are many, many, many different ways. 

Talk to me a little bit about that, because I that know this is something you’re really helping a lot of attorneys use virtual assistants. You’re using some virtual assistants. Tell us some of the things that virtual assistants can help us with.

What Virtual Assistants Can Do For Your Business

Sandy: Oh, they do probably 90% of the work in my firm. I have about four personal ones to help me with personal stuff. So we’re buying another building, they’re gathering the documents for me for that, because I don’t want to do it. They’re sending things to me via DocuSign to sign. They do everything in my personal injury firm, pretty much except for meet with clients and mail out things. If it wasn’t meeting with clients and mailing out things, we wouldn’t need anyone in the office. So, you know, other than or attorneys do like go to, you know, court and stuff. 

But they open up a claim. So we, let’s say we meet with a client in our office, we get all the documents, we get the pictures of their IDs and health insurance cards. We send it over, we email it to our assistant, they input everything in there because you know, you want to input the insurance and insurance tab and health insurance and health insurance tab and how the facts were and everything. So they type out everything they go open up the claim. 

So they’ll call Geico and say you hurt my client and get her a rental car and blah, blah, blah. They will send out the letter rep. And we have everything generated in our system or following system. But you know, everything’s generated. They send out the letter reps, they make sure that we have already missing items that we told the client to bring us their homework. They will make sure that the client is treating every month to see if they’re treating. If there’s something to research they’ll research it. They will go gather the medical records, when everything’s done. They’ll do the medical summaries. They will do the demand letter. 

They will do the reductions. They’ll pay the providers. They log into our computer and they type out the QuickBooks checks. My assistant comes in verifies everything prints out the checks. Someone else signs it, you know, and someone holds the checks. So I have a try, you know, three-way check there. They do the bookkeeping for me to see if the things cleared or not before we pay up clients. If you know, providers cash their checks to my quick my trust counted them off. I don’t know they’ve applied for state bars for me. 

I’m barred in different states. So they sometimes I tell them, Hey, I can attend this webinar. I really want to know about it. Can you record it and watch it for me? I don’t know. They plan all my trips and vacations for me and hotel airfare. Everything. They just do a lot. They order food you know? It’s like, so interesting.

Davina: You have different ones who do different, handle different things for you? Or do you just do whichever one? Do you have a service they use? Or do you have different, you have like one handles your calendar and one handles your food order?

Sandy: We have one, I have four personal virtual assistants that handle all my personal stuff. So I will cc them. So that a lot of stuff. You know, I’ll be like, hey, I want to report on something. And then they’ll create a report for me or something. Yeah, I have four those for that. One person does my calendaring. And then, you know we have a few that are social media SEO website ones. We have a few that just watch our faxes all day. 

You get an inordinate amount of faxes. Even our mail that we scan in and we mail email it to them, and they’ll put it towards the file to the one it’s supposed to go to. So my assistant does that. They sit there and say this goes in Jane doe’s account. And this is insurance documents that need to go in the insurance tab, or whatever. We have someone that just basically creates documents and reports in our case management system. 

You know, so if we need a customized letter, she creates that for us. You know, we have like 12 that know how to do that, because they’re doing it for other firms too. So it’s our company,we created a company called Legal Support Help. And we do it for 30 other firms, whether it’s immigration, business or, you know, criminal or family or whatever.

Davina: Right, right. That’s fantastic. So yeah, that’s, it’s really interesting. Because the, you know, it just adds a whole different dimension to the law firm world and can really maximize what you can do if you can rethink the way that you run your business from a traditional model. You know, that’s you probably read Tim Ferriss Four Hour Workweek. And you know, that that whole way of thinking where you’re using other types of services like that virtual services. So that’s a really interesting way and, but what people do is they get locked into the thought of I have one virtual assistant. 

So it’s really interesting to hear you say, how many virtual assistants you use. So instead of getting locked into the thought of I have one personal assistant, if four virtual assistants, because why limit yourself to just one? That would be like having that would make sense if you had one personal assistant in your office who was just running it. But if you’re using a virtual assistant, why limit yourself?

Sandy: Yeah, I don’t know why. They’re probably not good at everything you know? Like you don’t want to ask, like one of my virtual assistants started doing an Excel spreadsheet and like, Oh my gosh, pivot tables that add up to this, you know, I’m like, I could never do that. Like your virtual assistants not going to know everything just like you, don’t. I don’t know, Adobe Photoshop, right? So I’m, or Illustrator or whatever. I’m not gonna be creating flyers. That’s not my thing. 

Davina: Yeah, that makes so much sense. Right? Trying to get them to be everything, you know, especially when it comes to social media because you’re thinking you’re gonna need a social media, somebody to do social media. Well, social media is so broad. You know, you get somebody who’s going to be an expert in Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, you know, creating videos, doing graphics, writing copy. It’s not gonna happen, right? So, well, this has been really, really helpful and really interesting, and I really enjoyed our time together. I appreciate you being here. Tell us how we can find you if we want to find out more about the band law firm and all the things you’re doing. Tell us how we can find you on the interwebs.

Sandy: Okay, well our website is vanlawfirm.com. You can go there, you can also find me on Facebook. If you want to email me you can email me on my other email it’s [email protected]. I check it maybe once or, every day or two.

Davina: Terrific. Thanks so much, Sandy. I really appreciate you talking about us today and I think a lot of people are really going to enjoy this episode of the Solo to CEO Podcast because you’re just really fascinating and we can’t wait to see what you come up with next. It’s just so exciting to watch your journey and watch all the different business ideas that you come up with and execute on. I’m excited to see what’s next. Thank you. 

Sandy: Okay. Thank you.