Episode 59

Published on:

6th Jun 2024

Proven Strategies for Law Firm Strategic Recruitment | YPM Podcast

In this episode of Your Practice Mastered Podcast, Richard Brock from OnBoard Legal joins us to discuss how law firms can effectively grow through strategic recruitment. Listen in as we explore Richard's journey from practicing attorney to entrepreneur, and learn practical tips for overcoming growth challenges, hiring the right talent, and even planning for a successful law firm exit. Don't miss these valuable insights that can help you master your practice and achieve long-term success.

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Let’s Chat About Growing Your Law Firm. 


Atty. Richard Brock: [:

They write briefs, because most lawyers, most lawyers hate writing briefs, which, you know, I didn't love it myself when I was practicing, I mean, I get it. So that's just a, specific, you know, suggestion that may be helpful.

Introduction and Housekeeping


Richard James: Hey everybody, welcome to today's episode of Your Practice Mastered podcast, my name is Richard James. Unfortunately, we don't have my sidekick, MPS, with us today. It's one of those character building days for him. He was in his vehicle on an appointment earlier this morning. The vehicle broke down and he's stranded on the side of the road.

We're trying to get him some help and we feel bad for him having to go through that. So, you're going to have just one half of the team, which is me, the old guy.

Meet Richard Brock: From Attorney to Business Owner


: And you don't get the good [:

And OnBoard Legal really does something that many law firm owners need, which is help them find legal talent. But before I get there and I break into the conversation with Richard. Just as a quick reminder, we put these together for you, these interviews together for you, so that you can get value. We ask nothing in return, except for you to just go ahead and like or subscribe or follow, comment. Do those things so that, we can get the algorithms of Google and podcast nation to be able to lift this up. So, more law firm owners can hear the message that you're enjoying right now.

Again, we'll continue to put out the free content. All we ask is that, you hit that button, to subscribe and make some comments. So with that being said, the housekeeping out of the way, Richard, welcome to the show today. I'm excited to have the conversation.

Atty. Richard Brock: [:

Richard James: Yeah, we've got two Richards today. That's not often, so here we go. Do you always go by Richard?


Atty. Richard Brock: I,

I do. Some of my friends call me more colorful things that I probably shouldn't say here but yes. usually it's

Richard James: I tell them if they call me that, they just better mean it, that's all.

Atty. Richard Brock: Yeah, that's right.

Richard James: And mom calls me Richie, I get some of that too. So look, we're going to have a conversation about you and your journey, cause you are, well, I don't know if you're a recovering attorney but that's what some attorneys call it. Because you are an attorney yourself that practiced for many years and you've made this transition into business ownership. And I'm excited to talk about that but before we go there, to break the ice, to get to know you.

Is there anything you can tell us that maybe, about yourself personally, that not everybody else knows? So a little secret here on Your Practice Mastered podcast. About yourself that other people wouldn't know about you?

The Rockstar Dream and Family Stories


be Dwayne Allman, I would be [:

Richard James: So, you love the stage and you love to entertain. Is that the idea?

Atty. Richard Brock: Yes and I love music. And it looks like a pretty fun lifestyle.

Richard James: It looks like a risky lifestyle too.

is true.

Atty. Richard Brock: there's some, danger areas, for sure.

Richard James: So my father, also a Richard. He is one of those people that were born with the ability to play music by ear, right? So, he can play any instrument by ear and I got zero. of As a matter of fact, he's 6'3 and my mom's 5 foot nothing. And I got stuck in the middle, around 5'10, right? And so I didn't get his height and I didn't get his musical talent.

ered a piano and my son just [:

Atty. Richard Brock: I'm so,

Richard James: so envious of people like that, Oh, so envious, so envious. It's so much fun to watch. So I will never be a rock star either.

Richard Brock's Journey: From Law to Legal Recruiting


Richard James: So, tell us a little bit about your journey. So I look

Every journey has its highs and its lows. And so, you know, an encapsulated form, give me a picture about your origin story, how you got started as an attorney and you made the transition over to business ownership and what you do today?


Atty. Richard Brock: Sure. So I am a lawyer, by background. I practiced, I was a civil litigator for about five years. And I was with a good firm with nice people who treated me well and bottom line is, I just knew that was not the career path for me. I knew, I would never be happy doing that as a career.

work, always kind of had an [:

And I know in a smaller law firm, solo practitioners, two, three person law firms, you know, you are betting on yourself. I was in a larger firm. So, didn't have that same kind of perspective on it but in any of that, I knew that I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial.

I had an opportunity to get into the legal recruiting business. And I found that I really liked it. I mean,

It's basically sales, you know, at the end of the day, recruiting is sales, which

I like, I like the fact that you win or you lose. I like the fact that, you're really helping law firms, sometimes corporate legal departments, they have to have talent, right? They want to grow and if you really think about it, law firms, they're not a whole lot of ways a law firm can grow. Particularly, if you're representing know, kind of the corporate America side, where you're billing hours.

can either raise your rates [:

Richard James: So, it's interesting that you say that. I'll put the headline, like, you just knew that law wasn't going to be the thing that you wanted to do. And I have an opinion, I'm curious about your opinion. I have an opinion that, those who see themselves as entrepreneurs, I think we're born with it. And it may lay dormant for a period of time until we realize it. But I don't,

you can, I suppose you could [:

Do you,

do you I,

Atty. Richard Brock: I,


I agree a hundred percent with that. And all of the entrepreneurs that I've spoken to you know, through the years, I think would also agree with that. It's either a, either a blessing or a curse, kind of depending on what day it is. But I, I do think it's something ingrained. Well,

Richard James: It's funny you say that, my son, MPS, who's a partner in my firm. When he was a young man, 10, 11 years old. He's like, I'm going to be a business owner. And he started selling things very early. He would come home and say to mom, Hey, I need, 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies and she'd say, for what? He goes, well, I just sold them. She goes, you mean you sold them before I made them? He goes, yeah, I figured it was easier that way. He was born this way, we don't get credit. But when he told it to me, and I said, you know, if you made the decision, this is what you want to do.

I just said. I go, Congratulations, I go, it can be a very exciting career path. But I said, my condolences in advance, because there are going to be some wild rides. and

ing to be ready for him. You [:

Challenges and Highs of Running a Business


Richard James: So, speaking of that transition to that law firm owner, that's sitting out there and they're going through a wild ride right now, right? Maybe they're on their 70th hour this week. It's 2 o'clock in the morning and they're just looking for some hope. And they just want to know that they're not alone, regardless of whether they own a law firm or any kind of business.

Let's talk about some of the valleys that you've gone through. Do you have any that you can remember specifically that are darker times for you when you were starting to grow your business?

Atty. Richard Brock: Oh, sure. you know, Again, probably like, a lot of your, audience members. I mean, I think any time you're running a small business. Which if you're running a law firm, you're running a small business. You have the nonstop pressures of you know, first and foremost is cashflow, right?

You got to meet payroll, you got to pay rent, you know, you've got to cover all your other expenses before you even think about paying yourself. you know, and

I mean,


course, beyond that, you've [:

If they're not on top of everything else, on top of managing the business and marketing the business and bring in hiring and firing staff and everything else at the end of the day. If you're not a good lawyer, then it's never going to fly. So sure, I can absolutely relate to the pressures that they're feeling on a daily basis.

Richard James: And so, how about some of your higher moments? So, if we,

if juxtapose the lower moments and, the struggles that you have. What for you has been a win for you as you've been working in this industry?

around here when we close a [:

That's a sale and it doesn't matter whether it's a small sale or whether, we also put law firm mergers together and those are the biggest deals that we work on. Obviously, I'm more excited about a law firm merger than I am about know, a smaller deal, but I still get a rush out of closing a small deal, it's the thrill of the kill. And I think to your earlier point, I think you either have that in you or you don't. Some people really wouldn't get that excited about closing any deal, particularly a small one. You know, If you've got that gene, then you just do and it never goes away.

Richard James: We use Slack in our office now cause we've got so many employees all over the countries. And so to keep track of everything, everybody communicates through Slack. And on one of the channels, when a new deal comes through and the contract is signed, it comes through Slack. And there is little in this world that makes me as happy from a business perspective than when that little ding comes through that we got a new contract.

rily close the deal anymore. [:

Atty. Richard Brock: Yeah. That's it, I mean, those, are the highs in my business. And obviously, the bigger the deal, the bigger the high. But the high is there regardless.

tressed out. Because they're [:

And whether it's out of fear or out of misunderstanding or whatever about being able to grow and to bring that next lawyer on. There's a gap there that they got to make.

Strategies for Law Firm Growth and Delegation


Richard James: So let's talk a little bit about, you know, it's gotta be great for you to actually find a great placement I'd imagine, right? So when you take that law firm that needs to fill a gap because they're trying to grow and they need to add that additional bar card or maybe it is that small and solo that is stressed out of their mind. And they just need somebody to take some of the work off their plate. Finally, for the first time ever, they've always done it all themselves.

And this is going to be the first attorney they hire, whatever it is, maybe it's the corporate placement that they're trying to grow that department. And they just need to, you know, they need to bring in another million dollar bill or whatever that is for you. What is it like for you to go through that process and, place and maybe better question is, what do you see some law firms struggle with when they're thinking about placing that next lawyer and why should they try to overcome that struggle?

ere's obviously a difference [:

o would love to pick up four [:

I mean, There really are more options today to delegate some of that work than there ever have been. you know, You're not stuck with the auto but used to be, Hey, every law firm either had partners or you had associates and there was nothing else. Those days are long, long gone. Now I know it takes time to delegate, it takes time to train people, but it's just like delegating in any other business. If you have a growing firm and more clients are coming in the door and you got more business to handle. There's really no other option but to delegate that work somehow.

Now, each individual firm, each individual lawyer has to figure out what works best for him or her. Sometimes, it's hiring, law students, law clerks you know, from the local law school all the way up to hiring lawyers with 30 years of experience who just want to work a little bit, earn a little extra money, but that's all they want and everything in between.

to a lot of the audience who [:

Richard James: Yeah, I thank you for saying that. That will help a number of law firm owners who are fearful of taking that leap to hire the full time associate that are going to have that big dollar commitment. And that this is a way for them to grow into it. And as you said, there are multiple solutions out there for them.

We have a lot of our firms who are litigation based firms. We have a firm who is, a couple of them that are, a state litigation firm specialty. We have some that are family law litigation. We certainly have criminal firms that use litigation and we certainly have some personal injury and worker comp and that kind of stuff that also have litigation in it as well.

legal services as opposed to [:

And what happens is, they find themselves at some point quickly overwhelmed and this business has to now get served. And they have to bring in that next person. And, sometimes they have a hard time finding them or their growth is hampered by their ability to find them. And so I've seen our firms start what we call like a litigation university inside of their offices.

And they bring in brand new college students and they train them their way through their litigation practices. And they bring them up from scratch and they've got great programs that are kind of firm growing you know, their own legal team. And then we have others that, like you said, go out and find that chronologically accomplished attorney who has decided they don't want to run the business anymore but there be happy to build 20, 30 hours a week.

m as many cases you want, as [:

And so, there are a lot of different options available for law firm owners today. To be able to bring in a solution but one solution that isn't okay. You tell me if I'm wrong, is to suffer in silence and to not act. Is that fair?

briefs or just trial briefs, [:

And you just pay them as a $10.99 and they write your briefs for you. And again, I'm not saying it's easy to find those people but once you found them, but A, they're out there and B, once you found them you've got them. Because that's a win win. I mean, look, it's the gig economy and you know, that is their gig, they write briefs. because most lawyers, most lawyers hate writing briefs, I didn't love it myself when I was practicing. I mean, I, I get it. So That's just a, specific suggestion that may be helpful.

Richard James: What a great insight. It's not just limited to brief writing, but that's a powerful one. But there is always somebody out there who loves what you hate to do, who loves to do what you hate to do. And so, if they're willing to go ahead and do it for a fee. And if you can send them business regularly and you pay them fairly and it's a good relationship communication wise, once you find them, they'll be yours for as long as they're willing to do this.


That's a great insight. Now, before we leave for today, I want to make a quick pit stop on the comment that you made earlier. Because we talked a little bit off camera and I don't think a lot of lawyers know that this is available to them because I think they believe the opposite is true.

Opportunities for Acquiring or Selling a Law Practice


Richard James: That if they've become chronologically accomplished and they've decided they no longer want to run the business of law, there is actually an opportunity for them to be acquired. Is that accurate?

e state bar or the governing [:

Now, a couple of caveats. Of course, it's always up to the client, whether or not that client sticks with the attorney who acquired your practice, okay? But generally speaking, the way I've seen it done is, it's like a succession plan, right? Like the senior attorney will strike an arrangement with typically a younger attorney, you know, who's hungry, who wants to get after it, he or she has everything except a large enough client base to have a sustainable practice.

And they will make a financial arrangement and there's usually sort of a transition period over a year or two. It can be longer It can be shorter but a year or two in order to introduce the newer attorney to the established clients and then the two of them, you know, make a financial arrangement that makes sense for both.

there are a few consultants [:

Richard James: Yeah, so if you're on a growth pattern, know that there are people, there are attorneys that are in your practice area right now in the geographic region that you're in that may be looking for an exit. And so, it could be a great growth strategy for you. If you're on the other side of the spectrum and you're chronologically accomplished and got to the point where you don't want to do it anymore.

ightforward like they are in [:

Cause the younger guy wants to know that he's buying something that's trustworthy and the older guy wants to make sure or gal, forgive me for putting gender on that. But the younger, older person wants to make sure that the younger person coming in is actually going to carry along their legacy.

Well, right.

and of course they get


right person in a succession [:

Because, it's either that or try to start referring them out and who knows what happens there or just turn the lights off and that, doesn't really serve anyone. I mean, To me, it's a very viable plan that serves both interests, as well as, most importantly, serves the interests of the clients.

Richard James: That's great.

Richard Brock's New Book and Closing Remarks


Richard James: So Richard, tell me, what are you most excited about now in your practice, where you're going from here? What's next for you? What are you excited about today?

Atty. Richard Brock: Well, thank you for asking. The biggest news in my world, actually, I just wrote a book. I wrote a book that you can get it on Amazon. We just hit the Amazon Best Sellers list. So we're, yeah, thank you. So, we're excited about that. The book is called, Win the Talent Game and it just came out very recently. And it is about how law firms grow by talent acquisition and how talented attorneys out there make the right career moves to further their career path.

now what that's like, it's a [:

Atty. Richard Brock: Yeah. Thank you for that question. So, my company is OnBoard Legal. And the best way to find information about us, about my bio for those who are interested is, OnBoardLegal.com. Spelled just like it sounds.

Richard James: Thank you so much for sharing your insights about not only your journey today and what it's been like to be a natural born entrepreneur that went lawyer. And then figured out he really wanted to be a business owner. And sharing that journey. But also, the insights that you shared today about the idea of hiring that associate to gain some, reduce the overwhelm in the firm or possibly look to grow the firm through mergers and acquisitions or be able to exit your firm if you've come to that point in life.

and I hope our listeners are [:

As the listener of the Your Practice Mastered podcast. Again, go ahead and hit that subscribe or like button. And we will catch you next time on the next episode of the pod. Richard, thanks for being here today.

Atty. Richard Brock: Richard, thank you. I enjoy talking to you.

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