Be THAT Lawyer – Steve Fretzin – S6E10


Finding a way to demystify the most challenging elements of growing a sustainable law practice? Here’s what they didn’t teach you in law school…   This week, we had the absolute pleasure of chatting to premier coach, skills trainer and business development for attorneys keynote speaker, Steve FretzinSteve has devoted the last 18 years of his career to helping lawyers master their business goals so that they can flourish and go on to develop a successful law practice. As well as now being recognised as an industry leader, he is also an international best-selling author, having published 4 books on legal marketing. If this didn’t keep Steve busy enough, he has written for some of the biggest names in the US law indusry such as American Bar AssociationNational Law Review and Attorney at Law Magazine AND he hosts the highly rated podcast ‘BE THAT LAWYER’ where he chats to top rainmakers, marketing experts and legal tech gurus to share practical tips, fresh ideas and new methodologies! , ? You can catch our Rob Hanna and Steve talk about:

  • What it takes to be a coach and what skills are involved
  • Coaching and business development for lawyers and attorneys
  • Tips on how to live your life to the fullest following a near-death experience
  • Common mistakes a junior lawyer makes and how to not make them!
  • Inspiration in writing international bestseller books
  • Motivations to create and build the BE THAT LAWYER podcast
  • The challenging elements of growing a law practice
  • Using social media to build your brand
  • Why networking is important for success

  Join us now on your favourite podcast streaming app! Sponsored by Clio – the #1 legal software for clients, cases, billing and more!   www.legallyspeakingpodcast.com   [email protected]

Transcript

[00:08] Rob Hanna:

Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. You are now listening to Season 6 of the show. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week I’m delighted to be joined by Steve Fretzin. Steve is a premier coach, skills trainer and keynote speaker on business development for attorneys. Steve has devoted the last 18 years to helping lawyers master their business goals to develop a successful legal practice. He is also an internationally renowned best-selling author, has published 4 books on legal marketing, and Steve has also written for the American Bar Association, National Law Review and Attorney at Law Magazine. In addition to all of this, he is also the host of the highly rated podcast BE THAT LAWYER! and ProVisors Group Leader, the largest, fastest growing professional networking organisation. Wow, that’s a mouthful, but a very warm welcome, Steve. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. And before we dive into all those amazing projects, and what you’re getting up to, we do have a customary icebreaker question here, on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very real, how real would you rate the hit TV series Suits in terms of its reality?

[01:18] Steve Fretzin:

I’ve only seen Suits a few times and I would say it’s, I don’t know, maybe in the 5 range. Is that, I don’t know what what is that? Is that a typical answer that you get? Or?

[01:26] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, 5 is about right. I gave it a 5 when I get asked when people say from the show, so let’s give it a 5 and let’s move swiftly on to talk about something super exciting all about you. So why don’t we start at the beginning, Steve, why don’t you tell us and I’m excited about this 1. Tell us a bit about your background professionally and personally, and your journey to date.

[01:43] Steve Fretzin:

I’m someone who was considered as a teenager if we want to go back that far as I think they call it stupid and lazy. I think that’s how they defined ADHD back in the 70s and 80s when I was a kid. And I was just an underachiever. My father said, when are you going to get serious? My father, the lawyer, Larry the lawyer, when are you going to get serious about school? When are you going to get serious about this? When are you gonna, and I just like to have fun. I like to play sports, I like to go out and I just, I wasn’t an academic in the least. So I kind of struggled through high school, I finally got my act together just to get into a college, went through college and just to be able to say I have a degree to get a job. And I ended up landing in the sales space. And what I loved about sales was interacting with people, I’ve always been kind of been a people person. So interacting, solving problems, trying to help people, you know, figure out how to get their advertising going, or how to get their communications improved. And eventually, I sort of landed myself in the franchising space. In fact, I came over to the UK and Australia and a bunch of places to sell franchises at these franchise shows that they would run. And what I loved about it was I was helping somebody basically like find their future find a business that they could get into and do all that. That led me to eventually meeting a coach who I worked with he and I had always done well in sales, I thought I was kind of the the bee’s knees, if you will, and that I kind of knew what I was doing. This guy evaluated what I was doing, and the things I didn’t know, and ended up I hired him, and I ended up doing better in 6 months that I had in my best year under his tutelage, eventually saying, hey, you’re helping me with sales, how do I do what you do? How do I become a coach and work to help people and make that a business? Because I always knew I was going to be in business for myself Rob, was just a matter of what kind of business. Was it going to be a food store, like a food shop? Was it going to be, at 1 point I looked at a Dairy Queen, but it just because I liked Dairy Queen, I thought in the city of Chicago, where I’m from, like there aren’t enough Dairy Queens. And so it was just that and then this just totally like connected for me. And so that’s kind of the story of like, how I got into coaching. And I wasn’t sure if you wanted to go into any other details. There’s 1 more thing I left out, but I don’t know, if you want me to get into the weeds on that or not.

[03:48] Rob Hanna:

We will get through as much of that as possible. And if we miss that, definitely, let’s put it in because I know you’ve got lots more to to give, but let’s stick with coaching for the moment. Because you know, over the last 18 years, you’ve coached in over I believe 50 different industries. So what type of industries have you coached in, give us that flavour?

[04:03] Steve Fretzin:

So what I mean it’s been really crazy from from big corporations like Canon and, and in big financial institutions, The Chicago Tribune to you know, the JUF you know, and everything in between, I worked with a local carpet cleaner, I worked with a local website guy, worked with a local CPA. So all of these different companies and individual businesses and business owners would come to me because what I was giving them and providing, was a an alternative solution to selling. So we all know about sales, we all know about selling, we all know in lawyers know about going on what are called pitch meetings, and what I was offering and I learned this not only from my coach, but from a number of other coaches and books and other you know, resources. I came up with my own proprietary process, but ultimately, I call it sales-free selling and it’s how do we walk a buyer through a buying decision, to make sure it’s a fit, to make sure that everybody’s qualified and aboveboard versus going in and hard selling, hard pitching, convincing, hey, do that do this with me and here’s what you’re gonna get, the typical sales business that someone would do. And I was taking a real sort of softer approach, a more relationship driven, consultative approach. And the people that I worked with really loved it. And it made selling predictable. And it wasn’t about how much time we do it. It’s about the quality of the time that we invest in it. And how do we move someone forward if it’s a good fit, or be okay, moving people to a no, if it’s not, and understanding that no can be the second best option or outcome, because you’re not wasting time and spinning your wheels with people that aren’t a good fit. And so then you can spend more time with people that are. So these methodologies led to me not only creating my business, my books, and all the other stuff, but really connecting me in the professional services arena, because in particular, lawyers hate the idea that they’re in sales. In fact, they won’t even use the word sales, they’ll call it marketing, business development, anything to avoid being related to the word sales. And so again, the idea that I’m teaching them the opposite of sales, more relationship driven than convincing driven. They love that.

[06:03] Rob Hanna:

Yeah. And let’s stick with words then because lawyers are wordsmiths, and you mentioned that, you know, lawyers don’t like the word sales. But let’s get into some of the differences because there are some key differences. So what is the difference between coaching, skills training and business development?

[06:17] Steve Fretzin:

Business development is the activity that an attorney, for example, would go out to network, they would go out and speak with their clients, they would try to develop strategic partnerships, they would develop, try to develop additional business through their relationships and their activities that they’re putting out there. Marketing is more of like the newsletter, the social media, the stuff that backs up and supports the messaging and the branding for this for the business development to work. And what I like to see happen is I like to see someone get better at business development on this side of the mountain, and do marketing on this side of the mountain, and then they meet at the tip. And that’s when I know someone’s really made it, because their business developments kicking ass, pardon my French. And then on the same side, their marketing is reinforcing all the efforts they’re making. But coaching and training, that’s where there’s some confusion. And there’s a lot of coaches, and I’m friends with a lot of them in the legal space. And what they do is they do coaching, which is accountability, it’s teaching, it’s educating, but mostly it’s supporting the efforts of that lawyer. And what I found is that, I was doing a lot of coaching, but what lawyers really needed was training, they needed skills building, they need to learn my methodologies. And the problem is if you do that when you’re coaching, then you’re not really coaching, you’re really training. So what I’ve devised is a 2 or 3 prong program where, coaching is where I meet with people individually to talk about their needs, their goals, and in fixing problems that they’re having, so they get better and better and better. But then I have a class that I run from lawyers all over the world that come to this class where I’m teaching them the skills. So for example, this morning we met and we worked on how do we more effectively develop strategic partnerships, referral partnerships, right. How do we, we worked on a bunch of different skills, but for example, 1 was a technique called the 1 to 10 and that sounds salesy, but the way we do it, it’s really about understanding what does a prospective client for a lawyer need to see your experience, so that when I present, I’m presenting the right things, I’m not presenting everything, and I’m not presenting things that aren’t relevant to that prospect. I’m actually presenting what they’re saying, if you present me these 3 things, then I would want to proceed forward. So it’s a way to kind of lock things up. So you don’t just get the runaround or get ghosted at the end of the day. So all these are learned skills, whether you’re an introverted lawyer or extroverted lawyer, there’s better and more improved ways of doing things. You just may not know them because you’ve never learned them in and law school or at the law firm level. They’re just not teaching the stuff that I’m teaching at the level I’m teaching it.

[08:45] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and you’re doing a tremendous job of that. And I love that you’re talking about the referrals because I always use the analogy of well as well of working warm, who do I know, who can introduce me to somebody I don’t know. But let’s stick with your, your blogs and articles because there was a fascinating 1 that was titled ‘Harrowing life, death experience not need to set your goals’. So Steve, you outlined 3 tips, I believe, firstly, invest in learning time management. Secondly, set your goals and drive forward to achieve them. And finally, enjoy what you do. So can you explain those tips in more detail and maybe some context to the title of that particular blog? Why did you choose these 3 specifically?

[09:20] Steve Fretzin:

I mean, I want to share that that record of how I’m built Rob is I’m a feather on the wind. So the wind blows this way the wind blows that way. So when you look at my desk 15, 16 years ago, stacks of business cards, stacks of proposals mixed in with a brochure to Italy. I wanted to take my wife and mixed in with all this stuff. It was it was just a big pile of mess. Okay, it was a big hot mess, as they call it. And my time management I never learned, where do you learn time management? Do you learn it in high school, do you learn in college, do you learn that at your job? No, you never learn time management unless you really want to. So there’s a number of books. The main 1 that I focus on is Getting Things Done by David Allen. So shout out to the master David Allen. But it literally changed my life. It changed my life in how I take in things into my world and how I process them, that can be an email, a phone, call a book, whatever. And so now I have no paper, I do everything on my remarkable to pad that backs up everything that I love. And the idea that lawyers who are billed hourly that get paid based on billable hours don’t have a process for time management is it makes me distraught, because this is how they’re getting paid. This is how they’re getting time to do business development. This is how they’re living their life. And if they’re not efficient with their time, then it’s just again, a big hot mess. So that’s the number 1 point of that article is we need to get back to the basics of learning time management and not learning it is just a big mistake. And I’ll give you a great story. My grandfather got called, this is years ago, got called by the library, he hadn’t returned a book that he had checked out. The book was entitled ‘How to improve your memory’. I’m waiting for a spit take on your in your water as you drink. But think about that. I mean that that’s so in line with what I’m saying, like lawyers are billed hourly by there they’re based on time, yet they don’t learn how to master time and learn how to be more efficient with their time. So it’s it’s really, you know, that’s got to be the first step that that people take in order to get organised. And then you can start looking at the other pieces.

[11:19] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, no, and I love how you mentioned that. And maybe that leads quite nicely on to what I was going to ask next about sort of frequent mistakes. So you know, what are some of those mistakes you see junior or maybe even more senior lawyers make when it comes to attorneys, and what can they do to remedy some of those common mistakes, that you see time and time again?

[11:33] Steve Fretzin:

I mean, a lot of it again is learning, that that you, you know, look, if I walk into a courtroom, and I’m not an attorney, which I’m not, okay, and I can only pull from Suits, I can pull from My Cousin Vinny, I can pull from, you know, The Good Wife, okay. And I’m going to do my best to sort of pretend to be an attorney and deal with the judge and deal with the jury and try to deal with evidence. But realistically, I’m not going to do very well. I’m probably going to get yelled at and kicked out of the courtroom at some point, okay. So lawyers go through extensive extensive training and get experience in a courtroom and their first trial is never as good as their 10th or their 20th. Well why, because they continue to learn and improve. Yet in business development, they’re not putting in the effort, the time, the energy to do the same thing, when that directly relates to their freedom, their control, and how efficient they can be at growing a book of business, to get that business in the door for them and their partners. And so that’s where it really is a concern that they’re not doing the learning, whether it’s from me or from you or from others to become an expert at business development, marketing, branding, because it directly relates to how fulfilled their life could be as an attorney. So that’s really where that all comes in.

[12:40] Rob Hanna:

And I love that you’re mentioning that because it’s the age old story isn’t it, before you earn you must learn, drop the L. And you’ve just given a great example of that when it comes to business development. And you know, 1 great thing for business development and raising a personal brand is to become a best-selling international author, Steve, which you have done, and you’ve written numerous books around legal marketing, business development, so what inspired you to write them and can you tell us a little bit more about your books?

[13:04] Steve Fretzin:

Yeah so I’ve written 4 and the first 1 was the most challenging because it’s called it is called ‘Sales-Free Selling’. And instead of writing it as a how to book, which I’m very good at doing. I write articles all the time, I can knock out solid article in like an hour, okay. As long as I have an inspiration, my teenager or my bad accent I was in or whatever it was, like I can pull an article and relate it to back to legal business development. However, when you’re dealing with books, especially 1 that’s written as a story with characters and dialogue, and you’ve never written like that, oh my god, it took me a long time. And it took my editor a lot of like training me like you can’t say it like that over and over again, or you’ve got to mix it up. So that’s the book I’m probably most proud of from a standpoint of accomplishing something that was very new and uncomfortable for me. But in doing that, it makes it a much more palatable book to read, because you’re reading a story of Dan the attorney and Stacey in their experiences with Scott, the coach and that’s me of course, changed my name to protect the innocent. So taking them through the sales-free selling methodology. So some that never hires me, and this is kind of getting to all the books, there are lawyers that are never going to work with me. I have a capacity issue. I’m a 1 man show. I only work with so many attorneys a year and I handpick who I’m going to work with the same way they handpick me. However, what’s my main goal for my my career in my life, it’s to benefit the legal industry. And I don’t care if it’s in the US, UK, Canada, whatever. I want to have a legacy of leaving good processes, good methodologies, good best practices within my books, my podcast, my videos, everything that I leave for the masses. I want that to be taken in, so that people can learn even if they never hire me.

[14:40] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and I love that. And that’s where we share such a common value. You know about you know, I’ve told you my story. My grandfather ran a successful law firm over here and he had a tremendous legacy. And I’m trying to do that and build this kind of collaborative, you know, legal community where we educate and inform people but embrace all of these podcasts and digital resources we have. Time for a quick break from the show. You wouldn’t leave a potential client waiting in your office for 3 days. But what about when it comes to returning potential clients phone calls, emails or even web inquiries. If you’re not responding rapidly to those who inquire about your firm’s services, you could be losing money, losing clients and affecting your law firm’s reputation. Thankfully, there’s a resource from our sponsor Clio that can help you, called how to grow your firm with legal client intake. It’s a free guide that will show exactly how and why you should be automating your client intake process, download your free copy at Clio dot com forward slash UK forward slash free intake guide. That’s Clio C L I O dot com forward slash UK forward slash free intake guide. Now back to the show. And you mentioned it there, and I mentioned it in the intro, but you are the host of the BE THAT LAWYER! podcast. So it’s hugely successful, but what were your motivations behind that, you mentioned very briefly comes part of the legacy, and what are some of the things you talk about on the show?

[16:04] Steve Fretzin:

You know, the show is all about helping a lawyer, to be that lawyer. So what does that mean, be that lawyer? Well, for most lawyers, they’re looking up to the rainmakers. They’re looking up to the managing partners, the folks that have brought in the business and built the relationships, and they have millions of dollars of regular business coming in. They’re the ones that everyone looks up to. And those are the people I’m creating every day, every week, every month. 1 way or the other I want to help lawyers live the best life and doing that a big part of that is having your own clients. So when the recession that I know is going to happen hits, and some people are going to be fine, and some people are not, okay. And I want to try to help lawyers be okay, so how do I do that? Well the podcast is a way of me bringing on people in health and wellness, people in time management, experts in marketing, experts in in branding, people like you Rob that can talk intelligently about how to be that lawyer and my audience listens. And they pick up a tip 2, 3, 4 from every show, that’s going to add up and accumulate. So eventually they either want to talk to me about helping them take it to the next level, it may just be saying, hey I got so much out of that show, it really helped me get over the hump on you know, particular issue, whatever the case might be that again, it’s just another part of the frets and machine that I’m building to create so much content and so much value that lawyers are gonna get benefit 1 way or the other.

[17:26] Rob Hanna:

Absolutely. And I just love what the show stands for. Because you know, you’re demystifying really the most challenging elements of growing a sustainable law practice. So I guess from all the numerous guests, and you’ve had some super high profile guests come on your show, what have you learned to be the most challenging element of growing a law firm?

[17:42] Steve Fretzin:

I would say, the top 3. Number 1, go back to time management I brought on, you know, for example, Walt Hampton, who is just the most amazing guy, he actually wrote a book called ‘Time Mastery’. And I had it on my shelf, and I didn’t even remember that he wrote, and I got to meet him through my podcast, which by the way, that’s another beautiful part of the podcast, I get to meet you. We could talk about the reds, we could talk about all this, you know, football stuff. And it’s so much fun to meet new people and meet all these experts and have them sort of like become my friends, which is like, oh my God, and they’re all over the world. So I love that. But time management again, just such a critical element of success for any attorney, how to delegate, how to determine what you should work on, or not work on, how to do business development at a level where you’re efficient with your time. So that’s number 1. I would say another 1 would be just understanding how to delegate. I think that’s a huge part of what makes a lawyer successful now, and I’ve had a number of, of recruiters and people that run paralegal companies and virtual paralegal companies come on and talk about how to delegate and why that’s so important. And the reality is that most lawyers probably have 10 hours a week on their plate of things they probably shouldn’t be doing. They just don’t have someone to delegate to, or they do, but they don’t know how to delegate in an effective way. So I would say that would be another topic. And then I would say the last 1 is just networking. I think there’s a lot I mean, a client this morning said to me, I just want to tell you Steve, 1 of the main things I’ve gotten out of working with you is though the endless number of networking meetings I’ve gone on that have been really fruitless. It was just an act of how do I invest my time networking, but I wasn’t really getting any kind of return on that time. I really wasn’t developing strategic partners, developing business, I didn’t have a method or methodology of going after it. And it was just kind of a big time suck. And so your methodologies and your processes showed me how to do it efficiently to move people in or out in a nice way. And I was just like, oh my god, that’s so wonderful to hear that you’re not only taking that away, but that you’re executing on it in a way that’s getting you those kinds of results.

[19:42] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and it’s such great advice you give there and so many great little tips. And the 1 thing that really stuck to me, as you know, you will never see successful people stopping networking. I always say NSN never stopped networking because you just need to have your continual nurturing of your existing networks and growing, because things are changing, and you’re developing, and you mentioned before as well that you can bang out articles and many, many things, podcasts. But let’s go to some of the other stuff that you do. Because you are a monthly columnist in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, and in your recent column about ‘social media for lawyers, developing your personal brand to drive new business’, you outline ‘effectively utilising social media, these platforms will shorten the process of becoming well known, and a leader in your space’. So why do you believe social media has become so significant when it comes to raising a personal brand?

[20:34] Steve Fretzin:

I think it’s important for you know, especially LinkedIn for most, you know, b to b lawyers, it’s been an important element of, of how we do business development. And in the goof that I, you know, share, especially about LinkedIn is, you know, we’re all attached to our phones, like we cannot live without these phones, this has become our our life, our computers, this is you know, sometimes I’m driving in my car, and I put my hand on my phone, like, what am I doing? Why? Why did I just touch that piece of equipment for no reason, I’m not picking it up on that. It’s that crazy of an amazing tool for us as business professionals. And if you just took it and threw it in the trash and went back to a corded phone, and even a rotary, which you may not remember, because you’re a young guy, but like, you know, that’s how significant some of the social media is, especially LinkedIn, if it’s leveraged properly. So I’ve been teaching LinkedIn before people were even on it. Because I just know that if it’s used properly, it can elevate someone’s brand, it can elevate business development to an entirely different level. An example of that is with a consistent performance of regular posting, you can take your content, your blog, your podcast, your videos, anything and put them up there and start building an audience. Start building followers and people that are interested in the education and the content you’re providing. It’s not self promotional, it you shouldn’t do things to be shameless promoter or self promoter, I think it’s about educating people and becoming known as the expert without saying, I’m an expert, right. So that’s really what some of these social media platforms can do, if they’re used not only properly, but also in a regular, consistent way. It’s incremental improvement over time, might take years, but there are people that are doing it and getting value and getting that brand built. And there’s people that aren’t even on it, or even are earning using it at all. And they’re behind their competitors. So, again, it’s that mountain, I talked talked about business development here, marketing here, and we want to have them both work at the same time, if possible.

[22:23] Rob Hanna:

And it’s so true. And I love that you mentioned consistency, because people will be blue in the face. But consistency will always be creativity. So if you don’t think you’re the most creative person or you’re lawyer, and I’ve got nothing, absolutely not just be consistent, and you’ve got to you’ll see those changes gradually over time. So let’s stick with social media then. So do you think lawyers only use social media to build their brand? Or what would you say to those individuals who may be fear leaving a digital footprint?

[22:47] Steve Fretzin:

It’s a decision you have to make, if again, if you can get so much business and so much branding without doing social media at all, and you don’t feel that it’s a necessary tool, because you’re killing it in every other way, then don’t bother. Like that’s a potential strategy is don’t do it okay, if you hate it, or you’re anti-social media, which again, there’s a lot of junk, and a little bit of a silver lining, kind of going through it and we just have to find that silver lining. And it’s Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, I mean, there’s a lot of options, they’re not all right for everybody. So I think you have to find where your audience is, you have to find which you’re most comfortable communicating with in in, and then I think you want to lean into it. But again, if you don’t have content, it’s more challenging. So you want to also write for a legal publication, you want to write or speak or do something where you’re producing content that can be repurposed, because that’s going to help social media become more comfortable and in a better place for you, if you’re just coming up in and just trying to figure out every week what you’re going to put up there, and that’s going to be more challenging. Like, I’ve got the podcast, I’ve got videos, I’ve got articles, I’ve got my book chapters. So like, for example, I’ve got a new book out the international best seller, ‘Legal Business Development Isn’t Rocket Science’, while there’s 51 chapters, I’m giving away and I’ve written chapter since. I’m giving away a chapter a week for 52 weeks. So now I have 1 post a week or 2 posts a week going out for 52 weeks. Well, that’s content. That’s great. You know, I’m giving away free books, I’m driving traffic to buy books, and I’m giving away free content that people may not ever see. So this is the kind of stuff that helps us to build that brand so that we become known on a larger scale than just in our little circle that we you know, in our little town or city that we’re in.

[24:31] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and I love that because it’s content banking, as well and this strategy, and there’s no wonder why you can help people and lawyers and you do a tremendous job with all of that and sort of with their business development strategies. But let’s get back to networking. So I mentioned again, in the introduction that you are also the ProVisors Group Leader. So that’s part of 1 of the largest, I believe, fastest growing professional networking organisations. So what does being part of that as a leader mean to you?

[24:54] Steve Fretzin:

So that I realised years ago when I was new in business, we’re going back to 2004 that networking was the key for me to be successful. Here’s the here’s the problem or the rub. Most of the networking groups that I was involved in, engaged in, joined, were really poorly run. The people there were underqualified to the level that I wanted to participate. And the meetings were just a huge waste of time. So what I did was I started creating my own networking groups. At 1 point, I was running upward of 10 meetings a month, of networking groups that I created and was a part of him was facilitating, and I was a very good facilitator, because I kept people on track, I kept track of time, I wasn’t afraid to say, you know, cut it man, you’re doing your infomercial, it’s a minute, but you’ve already gone a minute 15, I’m gonna have to give you this. And I, I just generally have a way of of not being mean, but like saying what I want to say, but in a nice way with a smile so that people don’t get mad at me, essentially. My wife loves that, because I can help her, like, figure out how to problem solve without getting people angry at her. Anyway, the long and the short is, um, so that’s sort of been my background, I’ve always kind of run stuff. And so when ProVisors Group Leader came to Chicago, I joined but then they offered to allow me to run a group in the North Shore, which is about 20 miles north of, of the actual city of Chicago in the town, I live in the surrounding cities that I live in and around, I jumped at it. And it was like a no brainer that I could not only build a group quickly, of the right people, qualified people, but that it would be very successful, and we would, you know, exchange a lot of business, and then I can engage in a little higher level. So I’m of the ilk that if I’m going to involve myself in something, run it. Not everybody is built like that. But I am, I like to lead, I like to run, I like to dictate. And I also love to get make sure people get value from the time that they invest. So if I’m running something, it isn’t just about me, I also want to make sure that I’m, everyone that’s involved in it is happy and getting business and getting traction. Otherwise I don’t feel successful.

[26:48] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and I love that because it’s not, it’s not about you, it’s about them. And that’s such a great approach to anything in business. And I love the fact that you know, you’re not in you’re all in and things that you’re devoted to. So as we’ve kind of hopefully moved to more face to face activities, I’ve got a lot of busy summer with networking events, which I’m super excited for. What would be your 1 tip to share about networking and meeting new people?

[27:08] Steve Fretzin:

I think you want to set a goal for yourself, you know, so many meetings a week, if you can handle 1 meeting a week, make sure every week you have that 1 meeting with someone that has the ability to refer you, the ability to network with you, the ability to get you in front of the right people. So don’t just meet anybody, look at your clients, your best clients, look at the other professionals and lawyers around you that have that don’t do what you do, or maybe even do do what you do, but maybe they’re at a big firm, you’re at a mid-market and they can, you know, hand down that price pressure or work that where there’s conflicts. And set a goal for yourself 5 meetings a week, 3 meetings a week, and make sure it’s in your calendar, that you’re doing this time management stuff, so that you get those emails out every single week, so that you have a consistent performance. Even just doing that and not even following any real methodology, you’re going to have more success than sitting in your little man cave, woman cave, hovel office, just cranking out work every day. You’ve got to have a balance of the billable hour, and the business development and marketing stuff in order to have the career that is sustainable through a recession, that’s sustainable through difficult times. And if you don’t think they’re coming, I’d like you to convince me why not, because I think they are. In 2008 wasn’t a blip, 2008 could actually be much worse this time. We just people just don’t want to deal with that it could happen. So they’re just gonna, you know, keep their head down and do the work. You need to get out there and be active with how you grow your book of business.

[28:31] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and it comes back to the never stop networking, you know, be proactive rather than reactive. And that leads me to what I think in my experience is the most important trait in life and in business. And that’s resilience. So I wanted to ask before we wrap up, tell us about your story, because I was inspired when I first heard that and what you’ve been through, and how would you give a message to people when you think you might just be right at rock bottom? How do you pick yourself up and keep going?

[28:58] Steve Fretzin:

Yeah, so I think you know, what you’re referring to in resiliency has been something that is sort of been a theme of mine since I was younger, but when I was 26, and that would be 1996, if anybody wants to do some math. I was involved in a small plane crash in just outside of Chicago where we actually crashed landed into a house. So there really isn’t any logical reason that I should be talking to you right now or alive at all. The fact is, is that when I woke up after being knocked unconscious, the plane was upside down ripped in half in someone’s garage, that I was basically ripped apart, broken, and dislocated left leg, broken dislocated left arm, shoulder, broken right arm, torn meniscus, broken ribs, everything was smashed, and I was in a wheelchair with no arms for you know, many months and that is a good time to reflect and say look, the end result in the story is better over over a beer right? But the point of it is, we don’t know. We don’t know if it’s covid, we don’t know if it’s cancer, we don’t know if we turn our head for a second and get hit by a car. Life is short and it’s what we make of it every day. So if you’re just going through the motions of a career, going through the motions of a day, a week, a month, a year, you’re not thinking about how you’re going to spend the day, how you’re going to make the day better, how you’re going to make life better for others. That’s something that we all need to do. And getting over, and being resilient, and getting through that life’s toughest challenges is what defines us. That’s what makes us who we are. So overcoming adversity with your job, with your boss, your tough clients, whatever it is, that’s what makes us better, stronger, faster and more resilient. And that’s why it’s such a big part of my life and trying to toughen not, it’s tough, because I’m trying to, like toughen up my teenager, and, you know, that’s sort of like, you know, it’s slowly getting to him that, you know, we got to, you know, do what we say, we’ve got to make commitments and execute our commitments, we’ve got to make the most of each day is not just sitting and watching YouTube videos. There’s more to life, there’s living it, and that’s what we need to all do is consider how we’re living our lives and leaving a legacy or just leaving things better than we found it and making the most of it. And so that’s, that’s a long kind of drawn-out thing. But the idea is that I wish it hadn’t taken a near death experience for me to identify what life is all about, and how I’m going to spend it. That’s my story of how I’m just telling, don’t wait for that. Don’t wait for cancer to say, I’m going to beat it, and then then I’m going to be a better lawyer. Do it now take my words of wisdom and run with them that this is a limited a limited engagement life. And let’s try to make every day count.

[31:29] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, and I love that. And as my good friend Mitch Jackson says gonna make each day a masterpiece. And it’s so true. So, you know, with that, let’s before we wrap up, you know, what advice would you give to any aspiring lawyers who might be wanting to be truly successful or maybe start their own practice 1 day?

[31:46] Steve Fretzin:

Be the best lawyer you can be. If you’re not a great lawyer, then then you’re not even at the baseline of where you need to be, number 1. Number 2, start realising and qualifying the person to the left and to the right, in your law school class, or at your law firm or whatever, that you feel will be the most successful people in the future. Not not not the people that are just kind of calling, you know, calling it in or phoning it in, as they say, look at the people that are really ambitious and hungry and go getters, those are the people you’re going to want to stay in touch with, because the network that you build, when you’re younger is the network that’s going to pay out in 5 and 10 years when you’re a successful attorney, and you’ve kept in touch. And now that friend is the GC at a major corporation, that friend is a judge, that friend is whatever and now you’re able to you know, build from there as opposed to building from nothing and saying, hey, I’m 45, 50 years old, and I don’t even have a network. And I’ve got to start from scratch, not a place you want to be because I deal with 50- and 60-year olds that haven’t built the network and built the business and they’re kicking themselves. I wish I had done it 10 years ago, I wish I’d done well, yeah. So the words of wisdom are get started early, and start you don’t have to go out and get business day 1, you need to develop your network, develop your relationships, and that will ultimately help you later on when you do decide that you want to start building business.

[33:01] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, I just could not agree more. Your network is your net worth folks. And you will be the sum of the parts of the people that you spend your most time with. So really think about that. And really think about your own board of directors for yourself and, you know, keep these key people of influence or people who have all of that potential definitely within your network. Well, well, Steve, it’s been an absolute masterclass, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning from you and listening to you and more about your story and how you are helping so many lawyers particularly grow their practices and be super successful. So if our listeners would like to learn more about your coaching services, skills training, business development, podcast, books, pretty much everything, what’s the best way for them to contact you, feel free to also shout out any social media or website links, we’ll also share them with this episode for you too.

[33:40] Steve Fretzin:

I mean, the simplest thing is just go to my website, it’s Fretzin dot com. And on there, I’ve got 2 programs, I only do 2 things. I help do coaching and training. It’s like an MBA, like an advanced degree in business development and marketing for attorneys. I also run peer advisory groups, so lawyers that are already successful, but looking to get an in a noncompetitive confidential group with other successful lawyers to talk shop on a regular basis. And those are all the all that informations on my website with even videos from clients that have been through them talking about what it’s like to work with me and what they’ve gotten out of it. So check that out. And certainly connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m a big LinkedIn guy. And so like you Rob, is so just, you know, Steve Fretzin and on LinkedIn, and you can connect with me with a nice message saying, you heard me on Rob’s show and can connect in I’m happy to then you know, provide content for you as I as I create it, which is happening every day. Well, thank you, Rob.

[34:30] Rob Hanna:

Well, thank you so so much, Steve. That’s so kind of you. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on our show. We’d like to wish you lots of continued success with your future pursuits and how you’re adding so much value and that legacy for the legal profession but for now from all of us on the Legally Speaking Podcast, over and out. Thank you for listening to this week’s episode. If you liked the content here, why not check out our world leading content and collaboration hub, the Legally Speaking Club over on Discord go to our website www dot Legally Speaking Podcast dot com for the link to join our community there. Over and out.