On this week’s episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer® Podcast, we’re joined by Starlett Massey, the Founder of Massey Law Group in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her firm offers commercial litigation and corporate transaction, real estate, and construction law services. 

We enjoyed speaking with Starlett about her firm’s unique business model— one that incentivizes attorneys not with billable hours, but for creative solutions and rapid resolution of client disputes. We also discussed:

  • Her journey from non-equity partner in a big law firm to opening her own firm with employees and a full client roster from day one
  • The best way to plan for, and accurately predict growth
  • How she found her secret success weapon—her law firm administrator
  • How a mix of contract and full-time employees helps her scale her business up or down quickly as needed
  • The importance of building trusting relationships within the small business and nonprofit communities in her hometown
  • And much more.

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:

Transcript

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 be our guest today. So let’s get started. 

Starlett Massey is the founder of Massey Law Group in St. Petersburg, Florida. Massey Law Group offers commercial litigation, corporate transaction, real estate and construction law services. We’re excited to have Starlett here today with us on the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast to discuss her unique law firm business model, one that incentivizes attorneys not with billable hours, but for creative solutions and rapid resolution of client disputes. So Starlett, welcome. I’m so excited to talk to you today.

Starlett Massey: Thank you for having me, here, Davina. It’s really an honor and a pleasure.

Davina: Oh, terrific. So why don’t we start out with giving everybody a little bit of background so they can get to know you kind of your journey to becoming an attorney? Or were you were you got a child in new and early age you wanted an attorney or did something influence you or happen in your life that caused you to leap to go down that path?

Starlett: Yeah, well, it’s funny. No, I never had a burning desire to be an attorney. But I was working and mortgage lending up until 2004. And I saw a lot of what was going on around me. And I can’t say I’m prescient enough to have seen the 2008 2009 crash coming but I knew I didn’t want to be there. I was very uncomfortable with some of the things I was seeing. Certainly not engaging in. And I looked at my options, and I decided it would be a really great time to go to law school and possibly give back by becoming a public defender, which as you know, didn’t happen.

Davina: So tell us what, so you went to you went to law school. You went to what Florida State? Yes, Florida State. Yeah, I’m a Tallahassee girl, I did not go to Florida State. But I grew up in Tallahassee. So after you became an attorney, what did you do? Did you go right into starting your own practice? Or did you work someplace else?

Starlett: No, I, I didn’t really have a plan after law school. Except that I knew I wanted to live in St. Pete. I had been here a few times. And I just knew that this was the city for me. So I rented a house sight unseen and moved to St. Pete and started volunteering at legal aid, and looking for a job. And I ended up finding insurance defense work at a small boutique firm. And I stayed there for 11 years until going out on my own.

Davina: Wow. So a couple of questions there. One is, what is it that you love about St. Pete, I can tell you what I probably love about it. But I’d love to hear what you love about it.

Starlett: You know, it just really has a wonderful, creative energy. It’s a wonderful progressive city. It just feels like home. I come from the panhandle from Panama City. And the landscape is very similar here in St. Pete to my hometown, or at least my hometown before Hurricane Michael. The politics are night and day. And so St. Pete is really just feels like home to me. 

Davina: Right. Right. It’s so funny that you said Panama City. That’s when I first the formative years of my life from six months to seven years old. My family and I lived in Panama City Beach. And so that was always once you grew up living on the beach, there’s always that calling to sort of get back to that beach town too you know. Especially Gulf Coast beaches.

Starlett: Absolutely. I mean, the Yeah, the Gulf of Mexico, the white sand. And then also, you know, kind of that old Florida outdoors feel like there’s so many wonderful parks right near my home, that have those 400 year old Live Oaks, and you know, the Spanish moss mixed in with the palm trees. And it just, it feels good.

Davina: Yeah, I know what you mean as as a native Floridian. I understand that. So we’ll get back and talk about this. What made you decide and you were working for this insurance defense firm for 11 years and what made you decide it was time to go out on your own?

Starlett: Well, I had an interesting journey within the firm. I’m sure many folks share stories like that. But, you know, they were exclusively insurance defense, health care work, and they hired an attorney and male attorney who managed to accrue a fairly large book of business on the commercial litigation real estate litigation arena. And the first day he started, I walked into his office stuck out my hand. I said, I’m Starlett and I am here to help you in any way possible. He was very happy to fix up any and all help. 

And he really didn’t have an affinity for doing any drafting or going to hearings or talking to any clients. So there was he created the void, and I stepped in. And when he was terminated a few years later, I kept a large part of his business and stayed at the firm. And then the years go on, I grew, you know, that book of business at the firm, I think we almost hit, I’d say like 1.5 million under my control at that firm. And I felt like the shareholders, I was a non equity partner with a carefully negotiated profit sharing agreement. And I felt like we just couldn’t stop playing games about my profit sharing, agreements implementation, and I got tired of the games, I lawyered up, and we reached a deal. And I started my own firm.

Davina: Wow, wow, I love that. wiring up is a good thing that for lawyers to do, because a lot of times lawyers don’t lawyer up you know what I mean? It’s really, it’s always kind of fascinating to me, how lawyers are the least likely to actually draft contracts and take care of their business, you know, for so many taking care of others all the time. So,

Starlett: I had a wonderful female attorney, who was very familiar with my own story, in a personal sense, and she was a master at handling the room. And in the end, they were, well they said they we’re happy to see me leave with all of my employees, my contract attorneys, all of my clients and all my cases.

Davina: Wow, wow, that’s wonderful. What a what an auspicious start. So before we get into what that was, like, I want to talk with you about what was it attracted you to this commercial litigation and corporate transaction, real estate and construction law world because it tends to be sort of male dominated that area of practice. And I imagine that’s not an easy hill to climb, for that reason. So what was it like for you to kind of enter into this field?

Starlett: Well, and for each of those specific areas, I have a very specific reason why, you know, real estate law, I’ve done mortgage lending for a number of years, corporate law, I was on the moot court team at Florida State. And I had a wonderful Professor Barbara Banoff, she really took me under her wing and gave me a really hard time and I think gave me a huge hand up by being so tough on me. So I was very familiar with with corporate law and securities law through her and construction law, funnily enough, my dad’s a GC, I know that work because I’ve done most of that work, you know, helping him out on different you know, real estate, you know, that he has or different jobs throughout throughout my life. 

And I just I love construction. I love building I love. I love real estate I love you know, the passive income it brings this is this is fun for me. Absolutely right. All of those tend to be male dominated. And I just don’t take anything personally. It’s it’s really kind of fun when you know, I think we’re talking about the same thing here. It’s, I’ve seen gender discrimination and harassment issues are certainly alive and well in my practice areas. But it doesn’t, it doesn’t trouble me because, you know, I tend to use that as an opportunity to get someone to tell me exactly what they’re going to do to my client. 

You know, if you get a man who’s not used to being spoken to by a female attorney, and you know, a construction law case, when they’re done, you know, berating you, you have a good idea of where they’re going. So it’s my strategy. 

Davina: Right. Right. That’s interesting. Yeah, in construction law in particular, I think that’s it’s really unusual, you know, to find metal attorneys in that area, you might have more involved in business law, real estate, maybe, but maybe not at that level with corporate transactions, and then with construction. Construction law is its own unique thing.

Starlett: And I am very fortunate to have a highly skilled construction lawyer, a male attorney, my partner, JB Lewis, and we work those cases together. Often, you know, opposing counsel or, you know, different adversaries. So, that’s a good, it’s a good strategy for us.

Davina: Right. All right. So that’s a good segue into going back to what you wanted to address earlier. And that is that you left and started your own firm. And you took cases with you, you had clients, you had vendor, you had employees, vendors, clients, and what was that like for you? So give us an idea of what did you do? How did you immediately hire people by building? Did you read? Did you? What was that like for you? What year was this?

Starlett: Um, so I actually formed the firm as as a PA in 2017. But we didn’t open until July 1, 2018. But more importantly, I’ve been running books and projections and spreadsheets and had a business plan, you know, that I’ve been updating, honestly, for years. And think that projections going back to 2014, once I realized what I had with my book of business, you know, and I didn’t feel like I was getting sufficient data from the small firm from management, I wanted my own set of books, and I wanted to know what my projections were. 

And I was pretty pleased by about the third year of doing it. And this is, you know, back in 2016, I would accurately projected my growth for several years. And, you know, the better I got at it, and the better the plan was shaping up, the more I knew I was ready. So it was, it was very, it was very calculated. And there was a lot of planning that went into it, I think I think I willed the firm into existence for five years before it ever opened. 

Davina: So what I love about that is how data driven You are right, because that’s something that I’m always talking with my law firm 100 clients about is doing more of tracking metrics, and making data based decisions. And so it’s very interesting to me that you were doing that while you were working with another firm, you were tracking your own data on your own book of business. And it revealed to you what you could be doing if you were if it were your firm, 

Starlett: Right. And you know, the only person I had to hire, when I opened was a firm administrator, I knew where my my weaknesses were, which would be HR, and all that goes with it. And I wanted somebody who could also manage, you know, the books, but because of the deal I’d made with the firm, I’m grateful for it. I was interviewing potential farm administrators, you know, for about, I think a year while I was there before I open because I had to have that person in place for at least four months, according to my plan. 

Before we could officially open the firm and transfer all of the files and employees in cases it was a it was a big move. It was complicated. They were I think for two or three years of my life. All I did was plan and strategize how do you move something this large, you know, it’s really just me doing it, and make it its own entity, those those complicated experiences in corporate law, and everything else that helps.

Davina: So how did how big how big of a book of business are we talking? I mean, how many cases how many employees?

Starlett: When I left, I had five paralegals, my new firm administrator, I think one full time attorney, and six contract attorneys. And that’s another thing that has always given me flexibility. As I have utilized contract attorneys, instead of having attorneys be full time, and there’s there’s a lot of different reasons that that works for attorneys, but it really worked well for me, and you know, people can come and go or take as much work as they want. But I knew them all, very well, personally, in some cases, and I knew that they were brilliant and driven, and so they could work remotely. You know, and do good work.

Davina: So this is a you, you may not realize how special this is, and how unusual it is what you what you’re talking about what you did, because I often talk with attorneys who are bootstrapping, I mean, they’re, they’re, they’re coming, they’re starting from scratch, it’s just them, and they have to grow to a certain point and then they add, then they start to have to deal with the fear of hiring somebody. And you know, then they go to the next level with it. And a firm administrator is way down the line. 

People are just trying to think of like a paralegal who might sort of be the office manager. And we know in big law firms, it’s common to have firm administrators. So it’s really interesting that right out of the gate, you said I have to have a firm administrator. And it’s probably because you’re working for a larger firm that had a firm administrator and you saw the value that they bring.

Starlett: Well, I knew that I absolutely would be miserable if I had to do pretty much anything. That is the firm Administrators job. And you know, I could certainly make more money if I had less staff, but I’m happy and I have balance. And those tasks are in the right hands. And HR is a big deal. You know, when you have this many people, you want them to be happy, well compensated, loyal, driven. And you don’t want to violate any employment laws. 

So you really need an expert in that role. And I also view you know, every single member of the firm, as as a marketing person as well, which probably goes back to my you know, high pressure sales days and mortgage lending. Every role is a sales role. And I wanted to focus more on on sales on rainmaking and doing exactly what I wanted to do, you know, from a litigation or transactional perspective, then I just don’t want to deal with those things.

Davina: Right, yeah, I think. I think it’s terrific. And I think that’s, it’s very smart. And obviously something you you knew you had to do because because you weren’t starting from scratch, and adding people one or two at a time, you had a lot of people that you were sort of moving with you. And so it’s understandable that you need some help with that with administrative, you know, an administrator to help you do that. And for administrators, when your firm is of a certain size are just invaluable. 

So you wanted to focus on marketing rainmaking, so first, I love that you have a sales organization that everybody in your organization understands the role. They’re getting clients, keeping clients happy, you know, plays in the firm, it’s a business. And with marketing, when you’re dealing with the practice areas that you have, your marketing is not like it would be if you had a consumer driven firm, like family law practice or wills and estates. It’s more business, you’re dealing with business entities and business people. 

So marketing is different. You can’t just go on Facebook, and expect to really get your clients there. Alright, so I assume you have I know you and the business plan, I assume you had a good marketing plan coming out of the gate, too.

Starlett: You want to hear it?

Davina: I do. Very much.

Starlett: Oh, and just to clear up the record, we do have an estate planning attorney. So we do also provide their services. One of my contract attorneys has been doing estate planning for years. And we include that so that we truly are a full service firm for all of our business and our clients. My marketing plan is really more about developing organic relationships. And I have always been involved with nonprofits. And I love the work. I love volunteering, I love organizing, I love, you know, the community involvement. 

And so I have focused my marketing dollars and my my time, you really getting closely involved with a few organizations, and it just expands your network. And and you you know, over the course of years, you know, people will remember you’re not only, you know, on the board of directors of this or that, but you are a lawyer and when they need one, you’ll be the person that they call. They trust you. I love being a trusting, authentic relationship.

Davina: Yeah, so this is this is very much a big law model. When I was in my first career, which was in marketing, I worked for a large law firm. And I was the marketing manager, that firm. And I had a very significant marketing budget, and the majority of the budget was spent buying tables at a profit events. And being involved, you know, because there are different attorneys were on boards of different civic organizations, charitable organizations, professional organizations, and so the firm supported them, and that’s how they conducted their marketing. So that very much like what we’re talking about.

Starlett: Actually, no, it’s not. It’s not quite that. For example, probably the biggest sponsorship, I did, definitely the biggest last year in February 2020. I, you know, I, you and I’ve talked about this separately, but I’m, you know, very committed to diversity and inclusion. This is a cornerstone of what the firm is based on. And I’m very interested in spending money to promote diversity and inclusion and, you know, bias elimination events. And to the extent that’s possible, I think, in our community. I think it works best through the arts. And so, I had been, and of course, this ties back to St. Pete in my love of St. Pete. 

I was shocked several years ago to learn the green benches in St. Pete. have a racist history. A lot of companies are named green bench this or that, and I’m not here to comment on that. But you know, we we’ve whitewashed this history. And to say that, you know, back in the Jim Crow era, and after, you know, if a black person were to sit on a green bench on Central Avenue, they would be removed by the police. And I went around talking to everybody about it, because I’m like, I feel like we should make this known, we really need to have some kind of, you know, event or we can have healing and a discussion about it. And a lot of people, you know, just said, we can’t, we can’t do that. Nobody wants to talk about it. 

And, lo and behold, I was introduced to Katie Deits over at Florida CraftArt. And I told her my idea, which wasn’t really an idea so much as a, you know, mission. She was amazing. She said, You know what, we’ll build a whole program around it. She said, I even know somebody with the green bench. And we put together an artistic program, she wrote a play with a black playwright, and they had a dance, and poetry and music, by a very diverse group of performers. And so I sponsored that event to pay the performers. 

And I was very involved in the planning of it. And then we later that, that video of the performance and turned it into a CLE for people. And I think that’s probably the thing in 2020, that I’m most proud of. So I’m much more it’s not buying a table at at a luncheon, although I do think there’s value in that for those who can afford it. It’s it’s more personal than that.

Davina: Right? Right. So you’re really connecting your, your personal your core values, your personal values, to your law firm business.

Starlett: It’s how we give and who we’re making relationships with.

Davina: Right, right. So you’re selective in who you’re making relationships with. That’s intentional.

Starlett: Yes, yes, absolutely. And I try to be intentional about who my clients are, I mean, an attorney client relationship is a relationship. And, you know, I really want to and, you know, for the most part, do, I think, almost 99%, you know, my clients have become, you know, friends, and I truly do know what, you know, their ultimate goals and greatest fears are, and I can help them all the more because I have that information, that understanding of who they are. And we do have a lot, you know, in common as far as vision, a lot of times, they’re business owners to them, in many cases,.

Davina: Yeah, I really, what I really love about your story is the way that you are really integrated, your business is integrated, and you’re integrated in the community, and in trying to better the community. So not just it’s not a transactional situation, relationship with clients, it’s really about looking at everything as a whole, that your clients are part of the community. And you guys, and you’re trying to better the community, as well as you know, make living making good living. Right. So that is one of the aspects of your firm that’s unique. 

And other is that I love it, if you talk with us about your business model and your decision around your business model. Because the areas of practice that you’ve mentioned, I know that, you know, the billable hour might be something that’s very popular, especially with bigger law firms, I know, they will hours or rule the day, but you’ve chosen a different kind of business model. Can you tell us what that is and what the reason behind it is?

Starlett: Sure, and and just you know, to be candid, for litigation, you know, that always is hourly, I don’t, haven’t come up with anything creative, on how to change that. But for all of our contract drafting and transactional work to the extent humanly possible, I will come up with a flat fee when I can, and I’ll try to bundle services. And it just makes sense for people, you know, where the majority of those clients are small business owners like me, you know, what, from a cash flow perspective is predictability and helps so much when you can, you know, have a legal budget, and then you say, Okay, well, I know Starlett says that I need these 10 things to get my business where I really want it, but let’s do you know, A, B and C in year one, you know, and so forth. 

And you have a plan. And you you know, you triage what’s most important, and then you then account for it and your cash flow as a business owner. So I really, and that has not been a smooth process. That has not been an easy process. I may not even get it right. But I think that it’s really valuable for clients. It’s very difficult to run a business when you know, you can order a contract from an attorney and all of a sudden something that they thought maybe would be $1,000 is now $3,000 because it just got more complicated and we all know billing, billable hours. That’s how it goes. some point, you know, I think the right thing to do for clients is just say, okay, we’re gonna do it for two and call it a day.

Davina: Yeah. So that also, I imagine helps you develop long term relationships you might get, you might have a higher value client in the long run by taking that approach?

Starlett: I think so. I think so. And again, it’s about, it’s about trust, you know, I want them to trust that I have their business and their personal goals in mind, and that I’ll do the right thing, you know, to the extent I can.

Davina: So you’ve made some changes in the last year in your business. Can you tell us about those?

Starlett: Well, COVID made some changes too. We, we went completely remote. I had, I closed on a commercial building, February 28 of last year. And it was a complete gut job. It had to be, I mean, we removed everything. Ceilings, flooring, every wall, you know, it had to be completely gutted and redone. There were minor ish structural issues that had to be remediated. So it was a big build out. My initial plan, February 28, and prior was that our sublease in St. Pete was up, I think, August, and I thought that I could get the build out done soon enough for us to move into it. 

And then COVID and I just wasn’t comfortable proceeding with the build out, I wanted to know, you know, what, what our cash flow situation would look like, what the what working in an office was gonna look like, you know, what, what the virus was wanting to do. And so we ended up having some close calls as far as transmission and my St. Pete office, I said, you know what, I can’t deal with this, I’m shutting it down. 

So we close down the St. Pete, and our office in Broward and send everybody go home, you know, we fortunately have the technology to do so, you know, and securely, because that’s been another driving factor in how I run the farm. And so we shut it down. And I didn’t start the build out until October. But we are almost ready to move into the new building, I think probably by mid March.

Davina: Wow. So I bet. Is that exciting?

Starlett: It’s so exciting. And I’ve loved the build out process and you know, interacting with the GC and the architect and you know, developing plans and negotiating the contract. I love it.

Davina: Yeah, it does sound fun. It sounds really fun. So that’s exciting. So you guys are moving into new space? What is the size of your firm? Now? Have you kind of stayed steady? Or have you had you know, is there been some sort of up and down? Or, you know, what have you done as far as the size of your firm? Did you make changes from when you first started to to now?

Starlett: Well there have been a number of changes, I mean, change is inevitable. At the moment, I have three paralegals and another assistant. And so of course, the same wonderful firm administrator at two full time attorneys, in addition to myself, and two contract attorneys you stay pretty darn busy.

Davina: Good size. That’s a good number of people, a good sized group, and you guys are all going to be moving into the building, we you still have some What do you think about continuing to work remotely, some? I know there are some firms that are loving it, and they’re gonna continue and then there are some that are gonna say, No, hey, we can’t wait to get back in the office. And in your other sort of thing, a hybrid, a mix of it. What do you what do you think on the other side of this?

Starlett: And you know, that’s a great question. And I don’t have a definitive answer. I’m not sure I’m not sure how I feel but I I am tired of working in the you know, front spare bedroom and having the giant copier and the giant firm safe in here. So I think it’s time to move those out. And at least really decorated office and conference room because I’ve had way too many meetings on my back porch. It’s not ideal, but we did you know, it’s it’s gone fairly smoothly. We have from the very beginning, we had a you know, 9:50 morning call and a 2:30 afternoon zoom and everybody attends. 

So that really kept us connected, but I’m ready to have an office space. And I think I think a lot of things will go go more smoothly, but there are you know, I have one paralegal who lives a little further away and she’s gonna stay remote. That’s absolutely fine. I have never cared when or where people do the work. Just that it’s it’s done right.

Davina: Yeah. What do you think your secret is to hiring well? Hiring good people and having people stay? Because I think that’s a big challenge for a lot of law firm owners as they’re growing their practices, you know, how do I find really good people? And how do I incentivize them to stick around and stay with the firm? 

Starlett: Well I think there are leadership skills that are not intuitive. And that kind of training is invaluable. I think it takes a lot of self reflection and how you communicate with people and, you know, really trying to into it. And then also kind of factually, based on data, understand what what makes people tick, because we can’t give everybody the same kind of feedback or constructive criticism, or even oral support or emotional support, everybody’s different. And, you know, it’s very personal. I think, to each person, how you how you lead them. And it is a skill set, and people want to be good leaders, they, I would recommend studying leadership. How do you inspire? How do you? How do you garner loyalty? It’s not, it’s not automatic. It’s not a given you have to work for it.

Davina: Right. So that’s great advice. And I’m assuming that part of your secret weapon in making good hires has been that firm administrator.

Starlett: Yeah, yes. I won’t say his name, lest somebody tries to steam him. He’s amazing. He’s absolutely amazing.

Davina: He’s your super secret weapon.

Starlett: I have a few secret weapons. I think everybody on my team is actually a secret weapon. But he, he has a gift for reading people. And, you know, and even dealing with me, and he’s, he’s helped me grow a lot too, from that perspective.

Davina: How’d you find him? I’m curious.

Starlett: Well.

Davina: You said it was a process. It took a while.

Starlett: Well, I had to think about it, right. I’m like, okay, so somebody who is amazing, and exactly what I need, isn’t gonna already be in Tampa, or St. Pete. Unless the company and I didn’t want a law firm administrator, I wanted somebody with no experience with a law firm, because I didn’t want to just reinvent the same old law firm. But you know, I wanted to do something different. So I wanted somebody who came from a different area, but I thought they either have to be moving here for a personal reason, or their company has to just like closed, otherwise, no one will ever let them leave. 

They have to be that good, though, targeted a nationwide search. And I flew in people from a couple different cities and met with them. And they just weren’t right. And it took him about eight months to find me. And I just knew right away, but I didn’t think I could ever get him to join me because I couldn’t, you know, pay what he was used to. But it was just it was it was kismet. He, you know, he bought in, he actually interviewed my people. He didn’t believe that I could be seriously is that you know how I am. 

And he thought I was putting on for him. And he’s like, you know, I’d like to spend some time talking to your team during his interview. Sure. Have it. And he realized we really were that, you know, sincere about our kumbayaness and he joined us.

Davina: Yeah, yeah, that’s fantastic. So I love that you really took your time to find the right person. And you’ll see the nationwide search, I oftentimes I hear when people are looking to hire, they wind up with so and so needs a job and oh, I have a job. And I think they’ll be a good fit because somebody knows them or they. And I think that’s the worst way to go about hiring. Because I think, gosh, you know, the pool of potential people out there is so big, why wouldn’t you open it up and try to find because somebody may seem okay, they may seem good. And then the next person that walks in the door, you’re like, That’s the one. That’s why you never would have met them. Had you not taken the time to go through such an extensive search.

Starlett: Well, and to be fair, Davina, I have been hiring and firing since. I mean, I took a couple years off a few years off in law school when I first started as an associate at the boutique firm, but I had been hiring and firing, you know, for about five years prior to going to law school. So I had some business experience and knew enough about what I didn’t know and that I had to be very careful before I got anywhere near opening my own firm.

Davina: So you you have, you did have some HR experience having hired and fired. And that’s something that takes, you know, not only to have to educate, you know, learn the skills and everything, but some of that you learn just through the doing it.

Starlett: I thought that’s fair. I mean it, you know, a lot of it is life experience.

Davina: Yeah, yeah, we underestimate that sometimes. And the only way to get it is to take those risks and step out there and try it. You know, what do you think your biggest challenge has been in starting and growing your, your firm? I mean, I’m assuming you’re gonna say COVID is one.

Starlett: Well no. By the time we got to COVID, I’m like, whatever. It’s just another challenge. It’ll be fine.

Davina: You already had so many different things.

Starlett: Yeah, I mean, and I think accepting that the role of being a business owner means you’re constantly getting surprised, ambushed, and all these, you know, horrible, scary things are happening. But at some point, I just had to stop reacting. You can make yourself sick stressing over it, or you can just address it the best you can and move on to the next thing and have faith that everything is going to be fine. There’s the only only approach that that ultimately worked for me, you know, by the time we got through the first couple of years, which were so stressful, and then COVID. And then we’re doing the build out. And my GC calls me and he’s like, did you see that video I sent you? Are you sitting down? I just laughed. I’m like, that’s interesting. It’s just another thing that you will deal with.

Davina: I would imagine you probably had some nights when you’re lying there with your eyes open. Just mind going a mile a minute. Because taking the responsibility of movie all these people, and knowing that they’re now your responsibility to make sure that they have work and paycheck and all that.

Starlett: I had years of nights, sitting awake, strategizing, and planning and thinking through every possible challenge. I don’t do that anymore. I sleep, I sleep well, now. Yeah, it was planning in advance. I, you know, I didn’t sleep well.

Davina: Yeah, I mean, I do think that you have to, when you’re starting your own business, no matter what approach you take, however doing it, there, it’s all on you, and you do have those, but then you get over time you get sort of, it’s like an old coat, you know, you sort of used to wearing it, and don’t really think about it as much anymore. Because Because you do experience challenges and changes. And then you realize you’re still okay, you still come out on the other side, you know, it’s not life threatening, for the most part, right?

Starlett: Unless you actually let it be because everyone was so overwhelmed with stress. And that I mean, I’ve been there. But you’re right. I mean, you, you, you and your company survive some some big hits and some huge challenges. And then after a while, you’re like, you know, anything could happen, and maybe nothing looks the same. You know, like, Who would have ever thought we would be working from home for almost a year, or you know, that my contract attorney pool would have shrunk? You know, so much, but it’s okay, it’s fine. 

You know, I still have a law firm we’re doing, I think, better work than ever. And the people were happy. I think for the most part, I can say that everybody is very happy. And their role and and feels satisfaction, you know, from the work they do. So what what more could I want? And, you know, say we’re working from home for a year, you know, so so whatever next, you know, big hit comes. It is what it is.

Davina: Right? I think there’s been a, honestly, a real down side. You know, COVID has been horrible, especially for some people who’ve been experienced it personally or lost a loved one. From a business standpoint, though, I do think there’s been an eye opening among the business community, that maybe things don’t have to be the way we’ve traditionally always thought. I think it’s really challenged a lot of people to expand their vision and their capacity for doing things, different ways. You see that with maybe some of your clients as well?

Starlett: If you want to survive, you have to you have to adapt. And that’s true in COVID. And you know, with a lot of other other challenges, but this has been global and it’s been big and it’s been terrible for a lot of people feel very grateful and happily working from home after nearly a year of this.

Davina: So before we wrap up, why can you tell me like what piece of advice you would have for other women law firm owners kind of coming to you maybe coming up on the journey behind you, and wanting to grow and create a successful law firm business.

Starlett: I’m sure others have said this. But I think this is, for me. The key is love what you do. Find a practice area that matters to you that you want to learn about in your free time that you know, has nuances that are all of interest to you and then become no as much of an expert as you can in that field. And when you love what you do, and you feel confident in the doing of it, you know, your clients, the clients gravitate toward that.

Davina: Absolutely. I love that. That is terrific advice. Tell us how we can connect with you if you want to how we can find you on the internet.

Starlett: Well, we are on most of the social media platforms. It’s Massey Law Group PA website is www.masseylawgrouppa.com. All of our contact information is there.

Davina: Right. So we’ll, we’ll have that link in the show notes too, for people. Massey massey law group and we’ll have the link there. So thanks so much for being here today, Starlett. I really enjoyed getting to know you on glad that came on the podcast today.

Starlett: It’s really my pleasure and an honor Davina. I love the work you’re doing here. And thank you for having me as a guest.

Davina: We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast. If you have, we invite you to leave us a review on your preferred podcast platform. The more five star reviews we have, the more women law firm owners will be able to positively impact. Your thoughts and opinions are so important to us. If you are a woman law firm owner who wants to scale your law firm to a million dollars or more in gross annual revenue and do it in a way that’s sustainable and feels good to you, then we invite you to join us in the wealthy woman lawyer league. 

The league is a community of highly intelligent, goal oriented and driven women law firm owners who are excited to support one another on their journeys to becoming wealthy women lawyers. We’ll be sharing so much in the league in the coming year, including the exclusive million dollar law firm framework that until now I’ve only shared with my private one to one clients. For more information and to join us go now to www.wealthywomanlawyer.com/league. That’s www.wealthywomanlawyer.com/league. League is spelled LEAGUE. We look forward to seeing you soon in the league.