Episode 61

Published on:

20th Jun 2024

How to Dominate the Legal Market: Expert Tips from 'The Naked Lawyer' Author | YPM Podcast

Join us in this episode of Your Practice Mastered podcast as we sit down with insurance expert Michael Carroll. Discover how to shift your mindset from lawyer to business owner, streamline client processes, and prune unprofitable clients for growth. 

Plus, learn the importance of morning routines and business coaching. These insights are invaluable for any law firm owner looking to take their practice to the next level. 

Listen now to transform your law firm’s future!

Our channel offers expert advice on law firms, entrepreneurship, and success strategies. Hit "Like" and subscribe to stay updated with our latest content.

Let’s Chat About Growing Your Law Firm. 


Michael Carroll: [:

What do I like to do? Do I want to run the law firm and hire other lawyers to litigate or do I love litigation that much? I'm going to hire someone. To run my law firm, a true, competent, empowered law firm administrator, a true COO, a true someone who can make that thing go and make everyone accountable.

That's when we jump into being true business owners.

Introduction and Welcome


MPS: Hey, law firm owners. Welcome to the Your Practice Mastered podcast. We're your hosts. I'm MPS.

Richard James: Hey MPS, and I'm Richard James.

Guest Introduction: Michael Carroll


Richard James: And I'm excited to be here today, my friend, because I've got somebody that I consider a friend. We've been in and out of our world now for almost a decade, probably real close to it. And he has helped a number of our clients through the years, see the truth about what's an important protection side of their business.

he works only with law firms [:

Michael Carroll: Amen. Yeah, it has been a good 10 years. We've had a great run.

The Importance of Insurance for Law Firms


Michael Carroll: But most importantly, that law firm owners, insurance can be an extremely confusing or pain in the neck item. We're here to share today. It's not that difficult. There are systems and workflows to make it very easy, yet a little affordable. But thanks for having me.

Hopefully I'll share some very useful and exciting, or at least as exciting as insurance can be.

Richard James: Well, You're a lot more exciting than your topic may lend itself to. So Michael, I'll let you, drive the bus. MPS, see where we go from here.

MPS: Yeah. Michael, why don't you, kick us off, break the ice a little bit? What's something that maybe not everybody knows about you?

is the fact that, we talked [:

If you don't understand the fundamentals of what it is it takes to run that said business, you're going to fail. One of my favorite shows is Bar Rescue. Jon Taffer, if you're familiar with that show, he's a wild man. He's a maniac, but he gets in your face. I don't think, any of our styles are quite that aggressive, but it drives home point. It's great entertainment. If you don't know what you're doing, you're going to fail. You could be terrific at technical wizard as all lawyers are coming out of law school, incredibly intelligent people, but running a law firm is something that takes, you need someone to lead you out of that. And I play a small part of that in the insurance portion of it.

ou think the answer would be [:

Streamlining the Insurance Process


Michael Carroll: I hate that damn application.

rough the repetitive cycle of:

Richard James: Michael, my name is Richard James, and I hate filling out applications. I will admit I,

MPS: Agreed.

Michael Carroll: Oh, amen.

an insurance story. I had a [:

And I said, yeah, go ahead. Let's rock and roll. And he goes, okay, I sent you all the paperwork from the said underwriting company that was going to do it. And it was a PDF that was going to have to print out.

Michael Carroll: Ha. There it is.

Richard James: I know. 27 pages whatever. Right. And he's texting me and emailing me, Hey, did you get to that?

And finally, like four months in, I go, dude, I love you, but I'm not filling out this one.

Michael Carroll: There it is.

Richard James: I said, so I don't know what to tell you. And he's

like, yeah, my hands are tied. This is the only way they, whatever. And that was his answer. And I don't know that was his best answer.

And I don't know if that time that was his only answer, you know, he lost the fundamental commission because of that, because I didn't want to deal with it. And so, pause right there.

Client Journey and Customer Experience


ugh the lens of the law firm [:

And I'll solve this really difficult life problem that you have. And boy, they do God's work. God bless him. But they look at the client and they go, I don't understand why you're not just getting me everything that I need. And they don't think about boy, how could they just take the time to make what you have to get from the client easier to acquire. There's lots of software out there, there's processes, there's customer service stuff. There's all sorts of things. And usually, the way that it goes is client hires, law firm, law firm says, client email, law firm starts calling client, bugging them for information that they didn't send them. Client gets aggravated because they're frustrated.

, right? This is part of the [:

A lot of times, law firm owners never even stop to consider what the client journey should be like. And the fact that you opened up with that, Michael, is so telling about who you are and who your company is and how you think about the customer journey.

Michael Carroll's Unique Approach


Richard James: I remember Michael, the first time we were introduced to one another. I made a whole program around this, by the way. I ethically swiped and deployed this story. But you sent me a box. We had one interaction and you sent me a box. And I got this big box and it was about, I don't know, 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide or something like that. I'm like, who the heck? And I opened this up and out floats a balloon. And on the bottom of that balloon was popcorn.

Michael Carroll: [:

Richard James: If I remember correctly.

Michael Carroll: Flavored popcorn.

Richard James: And on the bottom of the popcorn was an envelope from you that was like, confidential, must open, whatever. Had a copy of your book and all this stuff.

You made an impression on me forever. Because you started thinking about the client journey we were going to have together from the very first interaction.

Michael Carroll: That's right.

Richard James: MPS, I don't know if that leads to another question for you, but that was Michael Carroll's in my first introduction.

who's been in business since:

Let's say, what [:

At the end of the day, he is interesting and as entertaining as possible, while delivering value. And that's ultimately the key. But we're going to assume that a great law firm owner is technically proficient. They can do the job, whether he or she, whatever area of practice it is. But you've got to stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, it becomes a commodity driven type thing. And you described a process that every business, rich, the sad, ugly tales that far too many businesses experience and they wonder why they're failing. You just nailed it. That's why, but yeah, stand out. We're in the infotainment business. And Richard, you do a tremendous job with that. And you know, you do. mean, You just come off as good every single time. And please take this in all due respect that I speak with you. I feel better about being alive. I mean, You're just that kind of a guy. I can see it with Maria. I see it now with your son. I mean That sincerely.

why this guy is, like, he's [:

Oh no. Coming to your events, they wanna be law firm owners. My oldest is a lawyers, I shared. And my youngest is just got accepted to law school. They said, I won't be like those people because you transformed their lives. You see happy lawyers. You see Lawyers that are full of joy, that are really living their dreams.

They're not stuck in mediocrity and this misery loves company. You know, We're in this horrible business. You know, Everyone's like this and like that. They're vibrant. Their life is good. And you've been a big part of that. I mean that sincerely, you should take great pride in what you do. 'Cause your clients behind the scenes, when they talked to me, they said, you still keep up with Rich? And I said, you better believe I do.

said, of course, I follow, I [:

So yeah, it's been, it's, very fun to watch and it's been a great journey over the last decade.

Richard James: That's kind of you and I, received that. And we work harder at that around here, for sure. But at the end of the day, they have to take whatever they get here and they have to put it to work. And so. whoever of those are successful or inspired or better humans, they get the credit for implementing because talk to a multiple of people, more than those who decide to act, and those who decide to act are a part of the few, not a part of the many. And it's fun to watch the few, and it's sad to watch the many suffer.

So is. MPS, where do you want to go?

Challenges and Opportunities for Law Firm Owners


as a bit of a low point, but [:

Michael Carroll: So, You'll see it when you talk about, in my experience with the law firm owners, you can tell who comes in you know, with a, they're beat up, they're damaged. And you can see that. And they'll be looking to me, the highest compliment they could pay me is when they say, I'd really like to learn your marketing.

That's when you start to see, as you talk about Richard, you know, the many they're becoming the few that want to change, because they realized that it is more than just, I gotta buy insurance. Mike Carroll was recommended his company. I gotta you know, learn this. It's they start to say, I want to be like Mike.

Remember the old, you know, I think it's a Gatorade commercial, Michael Jordan. You know, I want to be like Mike. Who doesn't want to emulate the winners? We all do. That's why famous people are famous because they have success. And it is true. The greatest form of flattery is to copy someone and what have you.

So, it's [:

How do I do it, Pop? And I'm like, well, I can help you with certain things, but you've got to go to Richard James. You've got to go to all the different entities he has. Those are the people that understand your business, specifically. Plus with father and son, familiarity breeds to town, take out the trash.

I don't have to, the ball game, Bob, they fall asleep. I got to take the trash out at 6am, you know, when they're teenagers. So, it's best that someone else, I'll help support them and this and that, but let the people do it best. You do it.

injury lawyer if you've got [:


MPS: Yeah, no, no, no. I appreciate that. And so, when working with, law firms from a tactical perspective, what is something that you see as an initial opportunity? They might be a firm that's stuck kind of in the mud right now, or a firm that's a little bit newer. Where do you see that initial opportunity to implement something on a tactical basis?

Michael Carroll: well, so,

Mentorship and Systems for Success


Michael Carroll: I'm going to say, I'll be, same thing, to this very day, the Richard James of the insurance business is a guy named Michael McLean, MCLean,

a crazy Canadian, he's got a [:

But he tells me what I need to hear to this day. I mean, I've got a lot of success. I've done well and what have you, but he'll still say, let me see your email. Let me see this. Just things that you're marketing days to set little tricks of the trade. And that's the first thing I want every law firm owner, I will suggest highly because how that benefits me is a successful law firm owner, is a happy law firm owner who understands the importance of workflows and system.

Brady, study Michael Jordan, [:

I thought I was being a great dad and a great husband, at some level I was, but I could burn an old fence because we're young like that. But ultimately, you start to realize, there's got to be more to life than just grinding. It isn't that I want to, the 5 hour work week, there's a book that's actually out that's you know, called that. That's, come on, that's, horse rubbish. That's fantasy sold as reality. But to get into a balanced life, and let's face it, if we want to be you know, super successful, we got to be imbalanced to the side to get balanced to that side. But ultimately you want to get back to the middle there.

s actually entertaining. You [:

And I said, well, it's not much of a standard. I have to overcome anything other than an insurance manual. That's going to look like, it was an interest that could be made into a Oscar winning movie. But my point is, it's one of those things where, when you get a successful lawyer that is being mentored and coached, like I am again to this very day by McLean, you're going to have someone who just gets it, who wants to be a part of who's in the game, who loves the action, who loves the game of business.

And that's really what it's all about. It's loving the game of business and wanting to be the master of your own domain, the king of the castle, one that you know, when the king rises, the kingdom rises. It's all about controlling your destiny, and relying on those that are going to assist you along the way.

So, that's what's worked for me. And I hope that answers your question.

The Importance of Having a Coach


he best players in the world [:

And there are different types of coaches for different things, right? So, I have a coach for my head. They call him a therapist these days, right? got a coach for my golf game. There are lots of coaches for law firm specialties now. turn of covid has changed the landscape. So, where there was maybe 5 of us, now there's 500 of us. right Now, they're not all great, but find somebody that you can relate to, find somebody who's speaking truth and who has evidence, and then go learn from them. And there's so much information available to you for free that you could start learning.

Learning from Other Industries


Richard James: Even about business, as a law firm owner, if you can get out of the idea, well, I own a law firm so that heating and air conditioning company isn't the same as what I do. If you can get away from that, as Dan Kennedy would call stinking thinking, right? That is not the way to think about it.

what? Maybe, I watched this [:

you know,

Admitting Mistakes and Embracing Business Ownership


Richard James: We were interviewing somebody else and they mentioned that lawyers don't like to admit that they're wrong and they don't know something. For obvious reasons, right? There are malpractice issues.

They were also, they've been told their whole life. They're the smartest person in the room, or they're always right. Or they're always looked to as an advisor because of their status in the community, from their education, and I get all of that. But if you're going to be a business owner, and by the way, the moment you decide to open up your own firm, you are a business owner, whether you realize it or not.

t simple because you've been [:

Success Stories: Transforming into a Business Owner


Richard James: We just had an entrepreneurial attorney of the year contest.

ue when we met in November of:

We just had a non-attorney owner. So a non-attorney law firm owner in Arizona, they allow that now. And one of the first ones that came out after the law was passed and they could apply for that application, they put the application in, and now he owns a law firm. And he is growing at breakneck speed and growing well because he came into this with a perspective of owning a business, not being a lawyer.

ave you an advantage? And he [:

Balancing Lawyer Duties and Business Management


Richard James: Now, a lot of lawyers listening to this don't have that opportunity because they still have to be a lawyer in the circumstance that they're in right now.

And I'm not asking them to change overnight, but your point is right. If we could get them to open up their mind, to just start to learn a different way, start to think about it differently, even if it's just 20 minutes a day. They're going to start to see positive movement in the right direction.

phone or your laptop, or not [:

Or not wondering how to cut the learning curve because you're not getting self-educated. You could change all of that by just investing a little bit of time doing what you told them to do. And that is start investing in learning from those who've already been there before you, start building those frameworks.

And I think that's great advice. Michael.

I think, if I could add, when you see a law firm owner, we're taught is when we own a business, you hear the cliche, the client is always right. I'm not going to contradict that and say, the client isn't always right. What I will say is the client is the client But there are some clients, not all clients are created equally.

Firing Clients for Better Efficiency


Michael Carroll: And sometimes, you have to let certain clients go kind of the Pareto principle.

in our office. It was back in:

I said, well, I don't want to go to Europe or play. That time, it was called the CBA, it's now the G League. So, let me get on with my life and I had a pretty girl I liked and I ended up marrying her and having a bunch of kids, but it was the right decision. But I began my career writing a lot of purse lines.

I was a generalist because I didn't know what I was doing. Began my career with Allstate, won every award, saw the whole world. It was fun. But ultimately, when I became an independent agent, I became the guy who didn't know what he was doing. I only had one child at the time. I could afford to work a lot and infant sleeps a lot, and all that. But ultimately, what it came down to is when we, this now jump ahead 15 years later, 20 years later, when we go to the service center model, that was for the personalized book that 20% of our clients were causing 80% of the work.

roll guy can talk. Oh, I can [:

But ultimately, we lost 22% of our clients, which is, that was a lot of revenue, but our profits went up 27%. So, there's your answer right there. So if you're a lawyer watching it, the law firm owner, and you want to free up some time, I guarantee you, just like any business, you've got some clients that abuse you, not because they're bad people are abusive in the harsh sense of the word, but they take advantage of you and you're not building them every hour. Because half the time, they're chewing the fat about their kids or grandkids or sports teams or life in general.

o be the CFO and the COO and [:

What do I like to do? Do I want to run the law firm and hire other lawyers to litigate, or do I love litigation that much? I'm going to hire someone to run my law firm, a true, competent, empowered law firm administrator, a true COO, a true someone who can make that thing go and make everyone accountable.

That's when we jump into being true business owners. And like I said, no business owner successful likes to admit they're wrong. We all have egos. We're all driven people. We all have that Gusto we want to go. But you do need to be able to look in the mirror and say, most of us watch the Brady Rose. They were sitting Belichick.

tside of my business because [:

Everyone's going to tell, you're the best. Yes sir, whatever you say, sir. I don't need that. I need someone to tell me. I'm not looking to beat myself up constantly. I just need to be told the truth. So again, a law firm owner, there's easy ways to get rid of these things so you can free your time.

It'll be the greatest feeling in the world to say, what's the worst thing that can happen? I lose this account. I was successful in life before this client, I'll be successful after this client. And that's such a freeing feeling. You're like, life goes on, even if it's it, you hate to lose a client. You somehow just lost it, someone blew it, or their kid became a lawyer or someone joined the church or country club, they just left you. It's going to be okay. You'll be all right. You'll free that time up, and you'll come back better and stronger.

a client. You'll know right [:

It was for me, So

Richard James: Great advice.

Michael Carroll: Thanks

MPS: Very much. so.

Personal Reflections and Inspirations


MPS: I'm curious, Michael, what's, got you fired up and excited today? Could be personal, could be business, could be both?

Michael Carroll: You know, I mean, Personally, I'm a big family guy, you know, being Irish and Italian, America is the greatest country on earth. I've got my folks are alive at 98, 84, got a beautiful bride who supports me. She's a great partner in life. She's just tremendous. My children are all healthy and successful grandchildren.

That's where I tend to go. You know,

I, have a relationship with God. I'm not going to run from that. That's a big deal to me, say my prayers every day to know that even though things don't always go the way we hope, I lost my oldest dog, it'll be 5 weeks ago today, big Brady. Brady was a big boy, 95 pound Labrador, he was 12 and a half, he had lived a great life. For us dog lovers, that's a sad day.

a basket case. Did I shed a [:

And that's been a big thing for me and not to make this into a revival meeting or anything, but there is something greater than me out there. And to have a relationship with God, it just to pray every morning and say thanks at night, it's been a big relief. And it's business owners, it's easy to hit the floor, get on that cell phone, check emails, and not get into a healthy routine in the morning to just take that first half an hour and that's at least, and then you can expand on that, with some reading, you know, I like to read. I'm a big reader. I love reading books. 30 pages a day. I'll get you 40 books a year. It can be spiritual, it can be business, it can be biographies, but that's to start my day with some prayer and meditation to just set the tone for the day, drink some water, who likes water?

I don't, I'd rather [:

uh, and go out and walk the dogs and really just start the day with some movement, quiet. I don't need to listen to music. I love music. I'm an old, school rock and roll guy, not heavy metal. I like the band.

I like that kind of from the 60s. Born in 63. I like the 60s and 70s. The Guess Who? The Who, the Rolling Stones. I'm the middle of that. But my point is, not when I walk. I wanna be the one with nature of my dog, and just get quiet. And that's where a lot of great ideas come in.

guy. You know, I don't drink [:

And lastly, business, of course is the action. People, in my age, I'm getting offered to get my business bought on the regular and it's flattering, but what am I gonna do?

in my, prime. I'm like an:

man. And I'll the unbelief. [:

Richard James: That's not corny at all. Yeah, God first, family second, business third. And, And you make a lot more money at an 11 and a half than you do at a 3 on the golf course.

Michael Carroll: That's great. Amen.

Richard James: Gotta give a lot of strokes as a three. I'm happy being a 10 and a half. Sweet spot.


Michael Carroll: Exactly.

Richard James: As my buddy says, never make a putt, you don't have to. so anyway, let's say, Hey, Michael, this has been great. We've got a clock that's working against us, but we could talk for hours. I think you are not only wildly entertaining, but you're full of inspiration and gifts that you've been given by others and you're willing to share. If anybody wanted to learn more about you and your company, where would they go to do that?

lawyers, InsuringLawyer.com.[:

You'll get to see me back when I had dark hair and not gray hair. My videos are about 7, 8 years old on there, it's a little thinner too. But my point is, you can find out a lot about our company there.

Insurance Essentials for Law Firms


Michael Carroll: The biggest things I want to take away, applications don't have to be this pain in the neck.

It's very simple. There is a better way. Professional liability and cyber liability is a big deal today. Those are the two that every law firm should have. The other three components of insurance are going to be your office. Business insurance, because there's advertising liability and driving liability on that.

Workers comp in 46 of the 50 states. Don't sleep on that, because you don't want to be compliant. States like New York will get fined tens of thousands. Be careful. Florida could be a little weird. Texas to California, the big states demographically, could be weird on that stuff.

assment, unfair termination, [:

t's written in story format, [:

And I appreciate you for inviting me today.

Final Thoughts and Gratitude


Michael Carroll: This has been, like I say, I always feel better about life after speak with you, Rich.

I mean, you're just here. I consider you a friend. You've always been like I said, a beacon of light and your sun shines the same way, your beautiful bribery is the same way. And I mean, I really appreciate you all. You're doing great work out there. And if I can say so, I believe you're doing God's work because when you help business owners out, it helps their family, their kids, their grandkids and society as a whole, successful business owners. So, those of us that are small business owners, are really the backbone of America. And that's why I take such great, I have so much gratitude to be involved in the work with people like you. And hopefully, I can give back some of that too.

So, thanks for having me on today. Truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

Richard James: Oh, you're welcome, Michael. I appreciate you being here again, as I love that you share with everybody. MPS wrap us up.

istening or watching and you [:

Let us know if you've got any questions, but we appreciate you investing your time and being here today. But Michael, thank you again. We appreciate your time.

Michael Carroll: Thank you.

Richard James: Absolutely. Make sure you go get a free copy of Michael's book, and that's the pod.

Show artwork for Your Practice Mastered

About the Podcast

Your Practice Mastered
Are you ready to take your law firm to the next level?
Tune into The Your Practice Mastered Podcast where we talk about specific problems for law firm owners as they grow their firms. A show that will allow you to learn how to build a law firm that supports a lifestyle that gives you personal and financial freedom. New Episode every Thursday 8PM EST.