Alay Yajnik: Actively Staffing Up Your Law Firm

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Alay Yajnik discuss:

  • The biggest errors law firms make when hiring.
  • Leveraging your network to grow your firm (not just your business).
  • Vetting the candidates that you bring into your firm.
  • Hiring quickly in the current war for talent.

Key Takeaways:

  • You do not need to settle for your hire. Working with a recruiter is often worth the money as it saves you time and resources in looking for that new hire.
  • Ask open ended questions when you are interviewing to dig deep into the credibility of your candidate.
  • Check the references – this is one of the most underrated aspects of hiring.
  • Always be hiring and always be looking for talent.

“Right now, there’s a big demand for legal services, but there are not very many attorneys to go around. Firms that don’t get out ahead of this quickly find themselves buried with work. And when you’re buried with work, it impacts your ability to hire because you just don’t have enough time.” —  Alay Yajnik

Connect with Alay Yajnik:  

Website: LawyerBusinessAdvantage.com

One Page Strategic Plan: LawFirmSuccessGroup.com

Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/alayyajnik

Book: https://www.lawfirmsuccessgroup.com/book/

Lawyer Business Advantage Podcast: https://www.lawfirmsuccessgroup.com/podcast-2/

Thank you to our Sponsors!

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Connect with Steve Fretzin:

LinkedIn: Steve Fretzin

Twitter: @stevefretzin

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Website: Fretzin.com

Email: [email protected]

Book: The Ambitious Attorney: Your Guide to Doubling or Even Tripling Your Book of Business and more!

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Call Steve directly at 847-602-6911

Show notes by Podcastologist Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie

Audio production by Turnkey Podcast Productions. You’re the expert. Your podcast will prove it.

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

hire, lawyer, work, law firms, people, firm, questions, steve, business, candidate, interview, attorney, moneypenny, clients, big, book, recruiter, references, ski, legalese

SPEAKERS

Narrator, Steve Fretzin, Alay Yajnik, Jordan Ostroff

 

Alay Yajnik  [00:00]

Right now there’s a big demand for legal services. But there are not very many attorneys to go around. And so firms that don’t get out ahead of this quickly find themselves buried with work. And when you’re buried with work, it impacts your ability to hire because you just don’t have enough time. And you get really, really desperate to hire, which increases the chances that you just grab the first person that shows an interest. And that sets you up for a lot more problems down the road.

 

Narrator  [00:30]

You’re listening to be that lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Each episode, your host, author and lawyer coach, Steve Fretzin, will take a deeper dive, helping you grow your law practice in less time with greater results. Now, here’s your host, Steve Fretzin.

 

Steve Fretzin  [00:53]

Hey, everybody, welcome to be that lawyer. I am Steve Fretzin, your lovely host, I’m feeling lovely today, you probably don’t hear that from guys very often. But you know, today’s a particularly good day for me, I’m not sure why. But it’s beautiful. Here in Chicago, we’ve got nothing but snow and cold and ice. So you can appreciate that. And listen, as you know, it’s all about being that lawyer, someone who’s competent, organized in a skilled Rainmaker, and look, every time I bring a guest on this show, it’s your job as the listener as the audience member to take some notes to mental notes or actual physical notes so that you can walk away with something tangible that you can do to improve your law practice to make things a little bit better than they were yesterday. And it’s all about incremental change and improvement, it’s not about big sweeping change, you’re not going to make a big change today that’s going to, you know, make your whole year, try to do little things that are going to add up to making better decisions on hiring better decisions on firing better decisions on business development, marketing, branding, etc. Okay, and I’ve got a guest for you today. It’s his second time on the show. And I think you’re only the second or third person that can say that. Gary Johnson beat you to it a little bit ago. But that’s okay. We love Gary. And I’m going to introduce a lay in just a minute. I want to take a moment to thank our sponsors, legalese marketing and money penny for doing what they do legalese, for being a great marketing partner, for me. And for the lawyers I refer, and Moneypenny. Also, for being a great partner, if you go to my website, you’ll have a nice chat with Moneypenny. They’re on there with a chatbot. And you can just pretend it’s me for a little bit. But you know, their job is to figure out, you know how to get you to meet, so that’s okay. And then they also do that reception. So look, if you’re, you know, tired of paying for receptionist full time, or you just realize your intake is kind of weak. Check out Moneypenny. They can help you out. And a lady was kind enough to give me some quotes, I asked for famous quotes, he sent me his own. So I’m just assuming he’s famous at this point, right now that you have a book you’re famous is that the deal?

 

Alay Yajnik  [02:43]

I’m a legend, in my own mind and your legend.

 

Steve Fretzin  [02:45]

You’re a legend to the people that know you, me and a bunch of other coaches. So the first quote is you can’t build a great firm with a mediocre team, which is super true. And finding employees is much harder than finding clients. And I would also agree with that. So you’re two for to on your quotes. But what what was the impetus of those quotes? And kind of what what did you figure out that that that you sent those quotes to me is the Quotes Of The Day?

 

Alay Yajnik  [03:09]

Well, I feel we were going to be talking about hiring for law firms and how how that can really limit the law firms growth, especially we’re seeing right now every law firm I know is trying to hire people, it is a critical constraint to growing their firm it and we’ve seen this play out even in environments where the hiring market wasn’t so tight, where people would hire the first person that comes along. And it would not only limit the firm’s growth, it would actually cause a decrease in growth because of the fact that they don’t have good staff don’t have good employees. Now we’re just getting to a whole nother level over the past six months to a year. It’s been it’s been nuts. It’s the hardest hiring environment I’ve ever seen in 20 years. Plus, yeah, we

 

Steve Fretzin  [03:50]

are in the weeds in the sand trap in the forest with this with with what’s going on right now. Hey, everybody listening to Steve Fretzin. That’s me. And you’re in when I’m talking with my guest, les Yagnik. Right, nailed a yes. Or if he’s that he’s the founder of loss firm success group and the author of a new book staffing up. So welcome to lay and give a little background because you’re not the typical lawyer, coach, person, you’ve got a pretty amazing background of developing companies. We’ve

 

Alay Yajnik  [04:21]

got a lot of things in common Steve, and thank you so much for having me on the show. I’m a big fan of your podcast and everything that you do. Like yourself, I’m not a lawyer. I started about 17 years ago and in Silicon Valley and was in the medical devices space, worked for some larger organizations, always in professional services and ran $100 million business unit built a few from the ground up and then decided I had enough enough for corporate America, enough of the VC world. And I decided that I would start my own thing. The problem is unlike lawyers who have marketable skills, the only things I was ever really good at were building businesses and developing people. So I said how can I do that? Well, I can Do that as an advisor. So I quit my job, I started consulting and business coaching. And that was several years ago. And within short order, I found myself working with law firms, really small firms, so two partners or less, but we were able to move the needle really, really well. And it was a lot of fun to be along for the ride helped them increase their income, take more time off, take two weeks, three weeks, four weeks of vacation, you know, and really see that impact for them as the owners of the firm as well as their team have kind of stuck with it. And I

 

Steve Fretzin  [05:29]

think one of the reasons you and I are both in legal is because we saw a really important need for, you know, learning all the soft skills and all the, you know, the business development, hiring, you know, Operation skills that just aren’t taught in law school and just flat out aren’t taught at the law firm level. So lawyers that go off and start their own firms are really in the dark about a lot of it. And so we’re we’re in it, we’re, I think we’re doing something very noble in deciding to be in this industry and be a part of it. And so in, we’re doing it different ways, I think you and I align real well in, in how we’re supporting the legal industry and the lawyers that we work with, what are what are for your business? What are the main deliverables that you’re providing to the lawyers and law firms that you work with?

 

Alay Yajnik  [06:16]

Yeah, that’s a great question. And now I just want to go back to something you said first, which was, you know, the practice of law is in and of itself, a noble profession. And that’s, I think, a big reason why you and I love to serve this industry. And I had no idea until I got into the space, the difference that lawyers make in people’s lives and the lives of the people in companies, also them as individuals, and then the mental health challenges that are happening in the law, firm space, a lot of those things, you know, substance abuse, depression, health issues, a lot of those things are because the lawyers are overstressed and they’re overworked. And they’re unhappy. Yeah, but a lot of what you when I do solves those problems, they’re making more money, they’re having more fun, they’re taking more time off, they’re working with better quality clients, we can really help attorneys be appropriately rewarded for the amazing work that they do. And that’s, that’s why I love the space and and that resonates with you as well, when I’m working with a client, usually two partners or less, anywhere across the country, they’re coming to me because they want to grow their firm, but they don’t just want to grow their firm, they want to grow their firm on their own terms, that means not killing themselves during the week, not working over the weekends, taking a real vacation when they don’t have to be on email, or working the working vacation. And so we typically work with them on several different things. We take an integrated approach, it’s customized to every client, we focus on strategy. We focus on marketing, not so much business development, but marketing, which is one of reasons why you and I are a great fit, productivity, both individual productivity and team productivity systems. And of course, a key component of all of that is hiring.

 

Steve Fretzin  [07:55]

Yeah. And that’s really going to be the lead in for our topic today. Because you’ve got this new book, great book staffing up, and you wrote this for a reason. What was you know, what was the impetus behind it? Is it is it the times over the last couple of years? What how long did this take? What’s going on with the book?

 

Alay Yajnik  [08:12]

Yeah, a great question I get this a lot is people say, La, you’re a law firm growth and marketing guy, why are you writing a book on hiring? And as a valid question, I wrote it in 2019, the audio book just came out this year. But the reason I wrote it was when we got the marketing dialed in for my clients, and they had more leads coming in and they knew what to do with. They still needed to hire people. And there was no good resource that I could find, that would teach lawyers how to hire people. So I started teaching them how to do that, how to source candidates, how to interview candidates, how to make an offer, and of course, before all of that, how to figure out who you want to hire and who you want to hire next. And I took all of those things that have worked time and time again. And I put them into this book and released it because I felt that there was a real need and a gap in the literature that’s out there for law firms.

 

Steve Fretzin  [09:03]

And when you think about what law firms are doing, right, or in this case, I’m gonna ask you about what they’re doing wrong. What are like the biggest errors that law firms make when hiring that ends up being just either a huge drag on their time, money, energy, etc.

 

Alay Yajnik  [09:21]

Yeah, probably the number one is that they wait too long to hire somebody, especially in this environment, where the supply and demand for legal services and lawyers is all out of whack. Right now, there’s a big demand for legal services. But there are not very many attorneys to go around. And so firms that don’t get out ahead of this quickly find themselves buried with work. And when you’re buried with work, it impacts your ability to hire because you just don’t have enough time and you get really really desperate to hire which increases the chances that you just grab the first person that shows an interest and that sets you up for a lot more problems down the road. Well and

 

Steve Fretzin  [09:59]

then also takes away from my favorite topic business development because you’re doing administrative work paralegal work, you’re doing associate level work. And you’re not able to delegate. And so therefore, you know, me asking you to go out and meet with people or going out to meet with clients in such to do business development sort of very, very challenging situation that

 

Alay Yajnik  [10:20]

it’s awful. It’s just terrible when I have to tell clients, look, you don’t have the time for business development right now until you hire somebody. It’s just terrible. Because you and I both know what that’s doing to their pipeline in three months and six months, it’s killing it. Yeah.

 

Steve Fretzin  [10:35]

It absolutely is in so number one is the waiting too long. What’s another another big challenge that or mistake, I should say that law firms are making when hiring.

 

Alay Yajnik  [10:46]

And very mind, Steve, I work with small law firms, right, two partners or less. So that’s what the that’s the lens through this to this response. It’s the attorney feeling like they have to do everything themselves. They have to do all the phone screens, they have to write the ads, they have to post the ads, they have to do all the interviews. And of course, they don’t have time for that. And so what ends up happening is that falls to the bottom of the list, and it doesn’t get done. Yeah.

 

Steve Fretzin  [11:11]

And so is the is the option then to just flat out use a recruiter and being a small firm. Is that a good idea? Pros and cons.

 

Alay Yajnik  [11:20]

Yeah, recruiters are a great tool. But they’re an expensive one, especially for small law firms. And so, for that reason, there’s a lot of different things we talked about in the book, where we suggested try first, the first thing is to leverage their network, letting people know that if you’re a lawyer, and you’re hiring, letting people know, everyone you talk to that you’re hiring, every networking meeting, you bring it up, you’re posting it on your law, firm alumni, you know, Facebook page, or whatever, what have you, you have got to really make this front and center of your promotion efforts. And then number two, doing an add on Indeed, or something like that, depending on the position you’re looking for. If those are all turning up with no results, then yeah, contacting a recruiter because they have the network and they have the focus and the time to go out and get the person you’re looking for. Just bear in mind, they’re going to be expensive.

 

Steve Fretzin  [12:12]

Yeah, and I think that’s been the barrier of entry for a lot of lawyers, especially in smaller firms, because I think they’re asking on the low end 15%. And on the high end, I don’t 25 or 34, you know, someone that might be brought in at 100 to whatever, 200,000 a year, that’s a big, that’s a big chunk of change.

 

Alay Yajnik  [12:32]

It is and of course, you know, they do the analysis, or at least they do when we’re sitting down and looking at the numbers, and it actually makes a fair amount of sense to go ahead and pull the trigger on it. And the reason for that is you don’t have to settle. You can really make sure that the person you’re bringing in the firm, let’s say let’s say it’s gonna be 25% of their salary goes to the recruiter. Well, that’s, you know, that’s what three months of billable work. If you try and do it on your own, it will probably take six months or longer. So right there, it makes financial sense to do it. And you’re getting a dream candidate, because if they’re not a dream candidate, you don’t have to hire

 

Steve Fretzin  [13:06]

you have there’s no, there’s no fee until you hire in most cases. Exactly.

 

Alay Yajnik  [13:09]

The only challenge is that once once they come on board once the 30 days are up, and if they decide to leave at that point, you know, the recruit, you know, the recruiter doesn’t give the money back. You’re out your your feet. Yeah. But to me that’s that’s mostly on the firm and vetting the candidate properly.

 

Steve Fretzin  [13:24]

Well, let’s let’s let’s dive into that. Because that’s sort of the next thing to talk about is you’ve got now some candidates in front of you, whether they’re from your network, or are vetted through a recruiter, either way, you need to be able to evaluate that candidate. And what are the tips that you’re giving in your book on how to do that? Yeah,

 

Alay Yajnik  [13:42]

so one of the big mistakes I see is that they just bring people in for interviews, that that’s the first step. So that’s an incredibly time consuming way to do things. The best thing to do is do a phone screen first 1520 minutes. Ideally, the attorney is not the person doing the phone screen, they have the questions written out, we have sample questions in the book as well. And your idea there, what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to really exclude and eliminate candidates. And so you get down to just your vital few to where it’s worth your time to bring them in. And then having a really nice process around the interview so that it’s not a mad scramble, you’ve got a well thought out, and you get the answers that you need. In some cases, even setting up kind of a test, you know, you want to see some of the work product to make sure that they’re not just talking a good game.

 

Jordan Ostroff  [14:28]

Yeah, legalese marketing is not your traditional marketing vendor. Instead, we’re a true fractional cmo that helps you save time and spend your money the right way to build a practice of your dreams. We help through the entire process, from customizing your intake system to driving leads, and even getting more reviews afterwards, schedule your free call at legalese marketing.com.

 

[14:51]

Hi, I’m Steph from Moneypenny. We’re trusted by leading law firms and attorneys to answer calls virtually professionally and brilliantly. Our high tech receptionist service enables us to route calls to your team’s wherever they’re working. And even recognize and prioritize calls based on whether they’re a repeat caller, a new clients or a VIP. Claim your exclusive partner rates and Free Trial by quoting Fretzin. Today,

 

Steve Fretzin  [15:19]

everybody puts on their best face for an interview, you know, what’s your greatest weakness? Well, I’m too punctual. Right, you know, like, people are gonna put on their on their best face. And then and then you end up with someone that you find out later, really, you know, wasn’t everything in a bag of chips? So I think the testing is really good is there are a set list of questions that someone should have? And if so, what are those questions? What are the questions that are going to maybe drive to a better understanding of the qualification? Or that this is potentially not a good candidate? Are there are there secret questions that only you know?

 

Alay Yajnik  [15:53]

Yes, there are absolutely. No.

 

Steve Fretzin  [15:57]

Buy the book. Everybody buy the book?

 

Alay Yajnik  [15:58]

Exactly. They’re all in the budget. The the it’s actually a lot of the same questions that anyone would think about asking with one specific difference. And I’ll give you an example. Yeah, this goes. So do you. Do you do litigation? Yes. Have you taken depositions? Yes. Do you record your time, contemporaneously? Yes, right. Those kinds of closed ended questions where it’s a yes, no, it’s super easy for the candidate to tell you what you want to hear, as opposed to tell me about a time when you’re in a really hairy litigation case and what you learned. Tell me about a time, you know, when you weren’t recording your time, contemporaneously? And what impact that had and what changes you had to make. So you’re able to do this now? Yeah. So changing those closed ended questions to open ended questions will allow you to dig deep into their credibility, because now they’ve got to give you an example, when they give you an example. Now, you can ask follow up questions about that example, and dig even deeper. It’s very hard in a 30 minute interview in person where someone’s asking open ended questions to fake it. If you ask them to maybe analyze a case and give you their thoughts on that as well. Now, you’re going to have a really good sense for who that person is. Yeah. And

 

Steve Fretzin  [17:12]

I think it’s important to maybe have the same list of questions for every interviewer. So if you’re interviewing three, four or five people, you don’t want to just randomly just walk in and just start asking questions and just have a random conversation, have a set list of questions, so you can compare them in a more even level, same task as well?

 

Alay Yajnik  [17:29]

Absolutely, yeah, that’s part of the process is to have setlist the questions for the phone screen, as well as for the in person interview, whether it’s one attorney doing the interviews, or a number of different attorneys taking turns, or even if you’re doing a panel interview, I still have the same set of questions available. You know, people

 

Steve Fretzin  [17:46]

don’t know this about me and my wife is sick of hearing about all the jobs I’ve had, and all the businesses I’ve run, and you’ve, you’ve run quite a few as well. But I ran a recruiting firm for about five years. And one of the things that we did differently than all the other recruiters not all but many was we used assessment tools as a way to help put the science with the gut. Everybody’s got a gut feeling about someone and how their, from their handshake to their eye contact, how they answer questions. And I was I was doing some disc assessments. I was doing some motivators, assessments, things like that. Do you? Do you have any feeling or opinions about that?

 

Alay Yajnik  [18:21]

I do. Yeah. So I love desk and motivators, that’s my go to, okay. The challenge with it. And this is the disclaimer for all the employment attorneys that are listening, is you’ve got to take into account that it’s being done in compliance with your local labor laws. I live in California, there’s a lot of restrictions around how to do those kinds of assessments. And at what point in the process, you can do those assessments. So make sure you’re in the clear there, but assessments are fantastic.

 

Steve Fretzin  [18:49]

Yeah, and I liked that, because there’s a test that I used to give called the work environment. Are you through TTI? Are you through someone else? TTI? Oh, TTI. Alright, I’ve been with them for almost 18 years, I’ve been a distributor for them. And what I love is that they’ve got this work environment where you can sit down with the hiring manager or the lawyer or whatever. And you can basically take the assessment if as if the job could speak, what would it say? And then you can then it plots it on a map. And then you can see where the disk which is the universal language behavior is sort of what disk stands for dominance, influencing steadiness, compliance, if you don’t know anything about this, but it’s basically how do the people behave, and see how that aligns kind of on top of the other map? And if they align, then it’s a better fit in most cases than if they’re completely on the opposite spectrum.

 

Alay Yajnik  [19:38]

Yeah, just have to be a little careful with disk and with with all these tools, for example, with disc, you know, the, the more extroverted styles tend, you know, the DS in the eyes tend to associate better with business development versus introverted styles, the esses and the C’s. But being a introvert and an SSC and a pretty good business developer myself, I can tell you that any style can be successful because stuff and I’m sure that’s what you teach as well. So well,

 

Steve Fretzin  [20:02]

it’s really interesting. So in, in some sales companies and sales roles, they I know that some won’t even consider a sales applicant that doesn’t have the DI, the dominance influencing behavioral style. But I’m a, I’m a convert, because I’ve trained up some of the top assassins in the country lawyers who are very introverted, very analytical, and what they’re craving is process what they’re craving is methodology and in structure while I provide that so it is it used to be sales was a, you know, it was a Yeah, it was an is a natural born salesman, and I think that’s a load of BS, I think it’s an absolutely the taught skill, it’s a learned skill. And even if somebody they just have to be willing, right away is that I mean, just they have to be willing and motivated to go learn it and then execute, then they don’t have to be the guy with the lampshade at the, you know, on the head at the party.

 

Alay Yajnik  [20:53]

It does have to be willing to get out of their comfort zone. Yeah. Right. And I think that’s, that’s really true with lawyers, and bizdev, which is more of a consultative sales type of thing. Right, it really lends itself to people that are well prepared that work the process. So you know, as long as you’re using the tools appropriately, I think that makes a lot of sense. Sometimes I’ve seen people use the tools blindly, without knowing what the tools are, and then they can get into some hot water

 

Steve Fretzin  [21:16]

there. Yeah. Okay. Well, I think that’s good. But but it’s, but it’s we’re talking about various ways to improve hiring so that you can lessen the mistakes, because I think a hiring mistake can be really costly.

 

Alay Yajnik  [21:30]

Absolutely. And there’s a lot of numbers around how bad that can be. And even if you’re not paying a recruiter, it’s last time for you, and maybe even last billable time that has been written off for the employee. You know, one of the things Steve, that people can do to really reduce their risk of a poor hire. This is kind of old school. But it’s checking references. I remember I talked about this in the book, but I’ll give you I’ll give you the short version. But the one of the hardest jobs ever had to interview for the hiring manager asked me for eight references. He said, You got to give me eight references. I think they were like, you know, certain number supervisors, certain number of peers and certain number of supporters, whatever it was, it was eight references, and I killed it during my career in Silicon Valley, it was still challenging for me to come up with eight references that would pick up the phone and have a conversation. And that’s only gotten more difficult now. So if you are I’m not suggesting you go ask for eight references. By the way for most positions, you know, three references will work. And of these people have to be willing to pick up the phone when you call. And you have to do it in the right part of the hiring process, again, being in compliance with employment law. But if someone can provide three really good references, they’re probably going to be pretty decent at their job.

 

Steve Fretzin  [22:42]

Yeah, I mean, I can provide hundreds of references, not one of them wants to talk on the phone anymore. My phone doesn’t ring at all anymore. It’s all email, it’s all text. It’s crazy. It’s good. I actually like it. Because it used to be my phone was ringing, and I had to really be attentive to the phone. Now I just let I let it sit on silent. And it doesn’t bother me. And I don’t bother it. So I think I think we’re going through a lot of really important content about about how to you, you go out and get the right candidate, you know, through your network. And then the interviewing process and all that. And then how there used to be a saying in the recruiting space or another recruiting space, but in the hiring space, it was slow to hire quick to fire. That was sort of a thing because you don’t want to let someone drag out too long. If they’re not if they end up not being a good hire a bad employee, whatever you want to get rid of them quick to pull the band aid off. But slow to hire, don’t make a mistake by by bringing someone on to quickly. Now we’re in a weird place. Because law firms are dragging their feet on a great hire, and they’re gone. They’re gone, like in a blink of an eye that hire that could have been saving your estate planning practice group, or that could have been your best new associate, gone, because you waited too long, a process was too slow. So talk to me about the balance of that because it’s really changed in the last, you know, six months to a year.

 

Alay Yajnik  [24:02]

It has and if you’re slow to hire in terms of time, you’re going to lose candidates, no question about it. But what you can do, again, if you’ve, if you’re hiring at the right time, if you have adequate resources around your hiring effort, you can do the entire hiring process in just a couple of days. I mean, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, done. You can go through a lot of work in a short period of time really do a great job of vetting people. Maybe just have the references hanging out there, make the offer, get them on board, make it contingent upon reference check, and you’re okay. Yeah, okay. But it takes bandwidth. And it takes the ability to prioritize that to the top of the list. And

 

Steve Fretzin  [24:36]

let’s sort of wrap things up. And I know we’ve got a few minutes but let’s talk about the great resignation because we’re dealing with sort of an unprecedented situation in the legal space. And it’s it’s, it’s weird, because there’s some firms that are that are that are making bank on it. And there’s other firms that are just they’re just dying on the vine with that, and the whole world has been turned upside down in the legal industry. So what are you seeing out there? are mainly around around the topic of hiring and recruiting, hiring and bringing in the right people.

 

Alay Yajnik  [25:06]

Yes, the great resignation is real. And it’s really impacting the legal industry, no question about it. That being said, many of my clients and several other firms continue to hire really good talent, like the war for talent is more escalated than I’ve ever seen. But you can still win that war, if you’re able to basically outbid your competition, not just in money, but in other things, for the best talent that’s out there. And you’re aggressive about getting it done. If but if you’re doing that, you’ve got to play to win. And you’ve got to understand your strengths and go after the right people with, you know, as aggressive and quickly as you can.

 

Steve Fretzin  [25:41]

Yeah, and it’s, it’s interesting, I’ve had, you know, a number of conversations with not only recruiters but but clients that are at law firms that they’re, they’re pretty open to looking around and pretty open to seeing what’s going on. And they’re realizing they’ve got kind of a bad deal, you know, in their culture isn’t great. And then on top of that, they’re 50%, under what they could get paid at other firms. And they’re just they’re just trying to figure out the whole is the grass, you know, is the whole is the grass greener on the other side? And if I make them more money, that’s great. But you know, what, if I hate it there, it’s a bigger firm, or it’s just a different environment? How do we How should the from the lawyer’s perspective? How should they be looking? This is a big a big win day, like a big, you know, you know, opportunity, or should they be very careful?

 

Alay Yajnik  [26:26]

Well, I think as, as an attorney, right now, the pendulum has swung from the law firms to the individual attorney, and it’s a great opportunity for them to think about what it is that they really want. And then to go get it. Because I have never seen a market like this, Steve, I don’t know if you have I have not. And so you know, draw up your wish list and figure out how you can make it happen. And one of the best ways that they can secure that in any firm is to be able to build a book of business. And you know, that’s what you help them with. Yeah. So if they’ve got that book of business, they can take it anywhere, and basically have their future on their terms right now. You don’t have your book of business, talk to Steve, build it up and then take it somewhere.

 

Steve Fretzin  [27:05]

Yeah, I mean, it used to be interestingly enough, a few years ago, where if you didn’t have a half a million or more, you really weren’t portable, you really weren’t going anywhere. I mean, you you wouldn’t going to get, you know, the offers. And now I think it’s changed a bit and I still think it obviously is better to have a book you’re gonna make bank if you do, but there are people with 100 $200,000 books that are, you know, reasonably portable, and they’re, they’re still getting, you know, Suite offers.

 

Alay Yajnik  [27:28]

Yeah, we we compete against these firms a fair amount, because I work with a lot of these small law firms. And if you’re trying to get an employment law attorney right now, in California, you were in your small law firm, guess what you’re getting outbid by the big law firms, it’s happening. But they can also compete on other things that compete on flexibility, culture, interesting work, faster path, the partnership. So no matter what kind of firm you’re looking for, as an attorney, there’s probably a match out there. And hopefully, it’s where you are right now. But if it isn’t, this is a great time to be looking for another opportunity. Yeah.

 

Steve Fretzin  [28:05]

Well, listen, we’ve covered a lot of ground and you’re listening to me and my friend, Les Yagnik, talking about staffing, talking about hiring, recruiting, any kind of final thoughts or words as we sort of wrap things up here and giving some advice to the people listening to this this conversation?

 

Alay Yajnik  [28:23]

Yeah, no matter what the environment is, you should always be hiring. actively looking for people to bring into your law firm. You want to make sure that you’ve got your A players identified, because you never know when they’re going to become available. And when they become available. It won’t be for long so always be hiring. Always keep a lookout for great talent. Yeah.

 

Steve Fretzin  [28:43]

Oh, yeah, I was just going to add to you before you think that I was just going to add that like, you know, almost like a baseball Scout, right? You just can’t stop looking for talent and keeping your eyes open. Because once you do then then then when things you know heat up, then you’re you’re going to be dead in the water.

 

Alay Yajnik  [28:58]

Bingo, man. Okay. Hey, thanks for having me on the podcast. I really enjoyed our conversation.

 

Steve Fretzin  [29:03]

Yeah, me too, as usual. And let me ask just just in in you know, just this out and I think you and I know where you’re gonna go with this, but outside of work, like what what’s your joy? What do you enjoy doing?

 

Alay Yajnik  [29:14]

You do know where I’m gonna go with it. I do. I love snow ski. And this is a great time for me to do it. I’m in the San Francisco Bay area. So it’s about a three hour drive to Lake Tahoe and the ski resorts up there. And then we can get in some skiing either for the week or for a weekend.

 

Steve Fretzin  [29:28]

You haven’t tried boarding snowboard I have

 

Alay Yajnik  [29:31]

Yeah, snowboarding but I’m much more comfortable on skis. Ashley was skis you know I can be going on the mountain putting on gloves and digging in my backpack and stuff. But on a snowboard after the keep my focus. So these days I just ski.

 

Steve Fretzin  [29:42]

Alright. Is that because just because we’re old? Because we’re older

 

Alay Yajnik  [29:46]

because? Because I’m way more relaxed about things. All right. Oh, that hurts a lot more.

 

Steve Fretzin  [29:51]

Yeah, right. Falling is like my whole thing is I’ll ski an entire day and if I don’t fall, I’m like, yes, yes. My back is okay. My knees don’t hurt. Okay. So All right. Hey, thanks so much, man. I appreciate it. Thanks for just being being a friend for being on the show and sharing your wisdom. I just, I really appreciate you.

 

Alay Yajnik  [30:07]

Thanks for having me on, Steve. I appreciate you as well. Yeah.

 

Steve Fretzin  [30:10]

Hey, everybody, listen more and more good ideas from, you know from Elaine in this conversation today. Hope you got a couple of good takeaways. As you know, it’s all about being that lawyer, someone who’s competent, organized and a skilled Rainmaker. So stay up to date, keep your radar open for good talent and whether that’s a paralegal and an admin or a lawyer. You have to keep building your team with the right people the right way. So listen be well be safe. We’ll talk again soon.

 

Narrator  [30:39]

Thanks for listening to be that lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Visit Steve’s website fretzin.com For additional information, and to stay up to date on the latest legal business development and marketing trends. For more information and important links about today’s episode, check out today’s show notes