Jim Coogan: Interacting with Non-Lawyers in a Way They Understand

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Jim Coogan discuss:

  • How Jim’s childhood interest in medicine lead to his career in personal injury law.
  • Listen to what the questions really are.
  • Engaging your audience when you speak.
  • How AI is changing legal practice with communication clarity and efficiency.

Key Takeaways:

  • In law school, there’s a mentality that you want to speak like a lawyer. Once you’re working with clients, however, they are not (typically) lawyers and will better respond to you translating the law to what they need to know and understand.
  • No matter what area of law you are in, your area of law is going to be connected to other areas depending on your client and their situation.
  • As you practice, you will get better at appreciating and connecting with the audience you are speaking to. But it does take practice and analysis of what you said previously.
  • Your job is to interpret and build trust with your clients so they have a reason to believe what you’re saying as things get more complicated.

“It’s just a matter of gauging who’s listening to you, and whether what you’re saying is making a difference and whether it makes sense in the first place.” —  Jim Coogan

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Episode References: 

About Jim Coogan: Jim Coogan has been representing injured people his whole legal career. He is a partner at the law firm Coogan Gallagher in Park Ridge, Illinois. He is the host of the “Coogan Knows the Law” podcast.

Connect with Jim Coogan:  

Website: https://cgtrial.com/

Podcast: https://feeds.captivate.fm/coogan-knows-the-law/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jecoogan/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/coogan-gallagher/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/james_coogan_

Twitter: https://twitter.com/coogangallagher

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jim.coogan.1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coogangallagher/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jimcoogan.atty

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coogangallagher/

Connect with Steve Fretzin:

LinkedIn: Steve Fretzin

Twitter: @stevefretzin

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Website: Fretzin.com

Email: [email protected]

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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

[00:00:00] Narrator: 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.

[00:00:27] Steve Fretzin: Well, hey everybody, welcome to Be That Lawyer. I am Steve Fretzin, as you know. The announcer just told you so. So that, that’s going to be the giveaway right there. I hope you’re having a lovely day today. As you all know, this show is all about helping you to be that lawyer, someone who’s confident, organized, and a skilled rainmaker.

[00:00:43] Steve Fretzin: Part of what I enjoy doing is bringing on amazing guests that are going to give you great insights. Sometimes they’re at the 20, 000 foot level and I got to bring them back down to the tactical level, actionable level, but that’s part of the fun of this thing. And, uh, today’s no different. I’ve got my good friend Jim Coogan hanging out with me.

[00:00:59] Steve Fretzin: How you doing, Jim? Great, Steve. It’s great to see you. Welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. Boy, your sound is so clear. You must have a podcast, Mike.

[00:01:07] Jim Coogan: Ha ha, it’s funny you ask. I do have a podcast, Mike, as of the last month or so. Yeah,

[00:01:11] Steve Fretzin: well, I’ve heard your podcast a number of times. I think it’s fantastic.

[00:01:14] Steve Fretzin: And we’re going to get into that in a few minutes. I would be remiss if I didn’t start off with the quote of the show. People love the quote of the show, by the way. I almost sounded like Trump there. People, uh, people, a lot of people tell me they like the quote of the show. Abraham Lincoln said, A lawyer’s time and talent are his stock and trade.

[00:01:30] Steve Fretzin: And, uh, talk to me about that. We’ve, I think I’ve heard that many times. I know you’ve heard it dozens of times. What does it mean to you and why, why is that your quote of the show? And welcome to the show, by the way.

[00:01:40] Jim Coogan: Yeah, no, I, I appreciate you having me here. It’s, uh, it’s always great to talk. It’s a good reminder that, you know, we really don’t produce things.

[00:01:48] Jim Coogan: We’re not cobblers. We’re not making stuff. We’re not making food. We’re not making clothing. And back in Lincoln’s time, most guilds, most jobs, most anything was making things production, but ultimately. It’s the time that you’re spending working on things, thinking things over, strategizing, discussing it with the other lawyers in your office, or the time you’re discussing it with the client to explain to them what’s happening, walk them through what’s happening with the case, the time you’re going to court.

[00:02:20] Jim Coogan: Ultimately, that’s really what it is. You know the law, you can explain the law, you can advocate for your client. Uh, so it kind of, just a reminder of what’s unique about this particular profession.

[00:02:31] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, well, I think also, you know, time is money. I mean, that’s, I don’t know who said that quote, but we all know it.

[00:02:35] Steve Fretzin: And, uh, I think now more than ever, you know, how a lawyer spends his or her time and talent is just as critical. And I know we, we always talk about that. Uh, you know, in my program about, you know, things that you should be doing or not doing. And so I, I don’t know, that’s a different spin on it, but it’s, it, you know, if you’re gonna, if it time is, is your asset, then you have a limited amount of it, right?

[00:02:58] Steve Fretzin: We’ve got to make best, best use of it,

[00:02:59] Jim Coogan: use it as efficiently as possible, which includes all these other tools that, uh, you know, we all have to keep an eye on as, as attorneys into how to enhance how we use our time and how we can multiply the amount of things we can get done in a given day.

[00:03:13] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, and I know we’re going to get into AI in a little bit and I always think back to the, you know, hey, the tractor put a lot of people out of business, right?

[00:03:20] Steve Fretzin: You know, a lot of, you know, farm workers and, and, uh, horses and, and, you know, things that, that would pull, pull, you know, pull the plow. That’s just life. That’s just, that’s just progress. And I know that it’s going to, you know, things keep evolving with lawyers and, and, and the tech and the legal tech and all that.

[00:03:36] Steve Fretzin: So, But let’s take a step back though, Jim, before we move forward and talk to us a little bit about your, you know, when you were a child, did you think of it? I’m just kidding. You don’t have to answer that. But tell, talk about your, you know, your background in, in becoming a great lawyer and, and, uh, working in the, in the PI space.

[00:03:52] Steve Fretzin: Sure.

[00:03:52] Jim Coogan: You know, for a long time I had a lot of interest in medicine and, you know, at some point I think I contemplated being, becoming, becoming a doctor. But when I started to study the subjects that I liked in college, I really dove into philosophy, uh, head first and halfway through finishing up at, at Boston College, I was kind of thinking to myself, well, I don’t know where you take this into the professional world unless you wanna be a philosophy, uh, professor.

[00:04:21] Jim Coogan: Or maybe I just wasn’t imaginative enough, but looking around at my different options, uh, then I started to think, what about becoming a lawyer? And obviously that meant going further and going to law school and doing all that. To actually get to, to practice in that profession, but understanding how to break things down, being curious about the bases of things and kind of like, how do things work and how does the system work and all that sort of thing.

[00:04:46] Jim Coogan: If you combine that with an interest in medicine and how the body works, it sort of flowed naturally into the personal injury space because. You know, if you, if you don’t have a basic understanding of anatomy, orthopedic medicine, just general medicine because of pain medications and all kinds of other things, you really couldn’t do this work and you really wouldn’t enjoy it if you didn’t want to spend a lot of time reading medical records and so on.

[00:05:10] Jim Coogan: So it’s fit together pretty well.

[00:05:12] Steve Fretzin: It was that kind of a, uh, I would call it a be that lawyer tipping point, the decision to move, you know, from medicine to philosophy to.

[00:05:20] Jim Coogan: I would say, yeah, I mean, I, you know, to, to figure out how this was all going to express itself. How could I actually, what would I, what will I do with these things that I’m interested in that all kind of fit together with a general desire to want to do some good somewhere because I guess similar to you really wouldn’t be effective as a personal injury lawyer.

[00:05:39] Jim Coogan: If you didn’t want to read records or talk to doctors or ask those questions, you also wouldn’t be very successful at it. If you didn’t want to work with clients. Yeah. Listen to what is troubling them, the problems that they’re having, because. They’re coming to you in very vulnerable situations. You have to have an interest in helping them move forward, helping them find some justice, helping them find some solutions and walking through that

[00:06:01] Steve Fretzin: process.

[00:06:02] Steve Fretzin: Well, you have a very calming voice. So I think, you know, medicine, you know, bedside manner and medicine, and maybe transitioning over to legal is, is I think you in, in PI in particular, there’s the high energy, you know, billboard and TV guys that, that I guess is that no one gets to really talk to. They’re just sort of the face of the, the face of the, of the firm.

[00:06:21] Steve Fretzin: But I think, you know, if you’re, if you’re really doing personal injury and you’re, you know, you’re, you know, interacting with the clients the way that you do, I think that type of calm and empathetic demeanor, uh, will come in handy.

[00:06:33] Jim Coogan: Well, yeah, I appreciate that. I hope that’s the case. That’s certainly what one of the things we want to offer to our clients is that we’re listening to what you’re actually telling us.

[00:06:43] Jim Coogan: Ultimately, if you do that, you’re going to be much more efficient in that process as well. If you don’t really listen to what the story that they tell you about how a crash happened. And you have to ask him five or six times. That’s not a very good conversation. It’s not really productive, but then explaining things back to them as to how that fits into what’s going to happen next and how this process is going to play out is, is critical, you know, just to make sure you’re building that understanding, building that trust and building a case.

[00:07:08] Jim Coogan: That’s going to be successful. Ultimately.

[00:07:11] Steve Fretzin: And for everybody listening, we’ve got to Jim Coogan here. He’s the co founder of Coogan Gallagher. And, um, the topic that I really wanted to explore with you was sort of a combination of how, because, because this is what I picked up from listening to your podcast, Cougar Knows the Law, and as a non lawyer, I so appreciate, I’m not going to say dumbing it down, because you’re not dumbing it down, but what you’re doing is you’re explaining the law in terms that a non lawyer can understand, and I think there are a lot of lawyers out there that struggle with that particular skill, and why do you think that is that, that lawyers do, um, and, and, and, and, Have some difficulty explaining the law to non lawyers.

[00:07:49] Jim Coogan: Well, think of it this way, there is a transition that everybody needs to make as they go into practice. So if you’re in, when you’re in law school, there’s a emphasis on being the smart kid in class, being number one, you want to speak like an attorney. There’s this, you know, this need, this, this compulsion to sound like some kind of

[00:08:09] Steve Fretzin: sickness, some would say.

[00:08:11] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, I mean,

[00:08:14] Jim Coogan: we’ll on any direct or individual specific people, but you know, look, it’s a very competitive mentality at that stage, no doubt. But that’s before you start to actually speak to people and have to explain what it is that you’ve been cramming into your brain for the last three years. Not to mention that, you know, at coming outta law school lawyer, those lawyers are barely lawyers yet.

[00:08:33] Jim Coogan: They really don’t know anything about the practice or haven’t been to court yet or any of those things, but, I think because of the way that the law school process selects for some people, and only some people will bother to go that extra mile and try to even attack this challenging profession, turning around and then be being someone who can teach that complicated stuff to people who didn’t do that.

[00:09:02] Jim Coogan: No, it’s not just even just going to law school. It’s being immersed in that practice every single day, talking to judges, talking to opposing lawyers, reading up on case law that came out. I mean, you’re constantly trying to work in that world, catch up with things, understand it. It’s, it’s a legal, ethical obligation for lawyers to be.

[00:09:21] Jim Coogan: Up to speed and know what the current state of the law is. So you’re using your brain at that level, but then turning around and making it in or explaining things in a way that actually helps can educate people who aren’t immersed in that every single day. It takes a certain amount of perspective just to remember that.

[00:09:39] Jim Coogan: So as to why do lawyers struggle with it? I think it’s because it’s, it’s sometimes humans struggle with appreciating the audience that they’re actually speaking to and the ones to do it well can keep that in mind and try to do it. Look, it’s nobody’s perfect at it. It takes constant effort, but. Can turn it around and realize, wait a second, who am I actually trying to explain this to?

[00:10:00] Jim Coogan: And how can I do it best so that they actually understand me? And

[00:10:03] Steve Fretzin: this is a little bit where I do think about doctors and lawyers being the same. If somebody’s got a very complicated diagnosis on their, their health and it’s coming at them from a. You know, very scientific, uh, viewpoint, it’s going to be very confusing, especially for someone who’s like shocked that they have some disease or something, but for lawyers, same thing, you know, you’re explaining things at 20, 000 feet and, and, or, or get even getting into the weeds in a technical level.

[00:10:28] Steve Fretzin: And I think part of the problem with that is it could also hurt the relationship you’re trying to not only, you know, create a new client, but also then you have to work with that new client. And I think if you’re not being a good, you know, asking good questions, being a good listener and explaining things in simple terms that can ultimately, you know, hurt your chance of a getting the business and be, um, that, you know, it may, it may hurt, you know, you’re not, maybe don’t have the strongest relationship.

[00:10:54] Jim Coogan: I think that’s true. I think a lot of times when somebody says to you, I’ve got a great doctor or I really love my accountant or my lawyer, I think a lot of times that is a reflection of the time that that person spent with them. That they explained whatever that thing is, whether it’s some tax thing with an accountant or a legal issue with a lawyer or a medical diagnosis, that that professionals spent the time, but also tailored that explanation in a way that actually made sense because I think the, the comforted, positive feeling that someone comes away with, even if it’s not the best situation, it’s a serious, you know, maybe grave medical diagnosis or whatever.

[00:11:34] Jim Coogan: They’ve got a divorce case that’s going to be challenging, expensive, and be it take a lot of time, but when they don’t feel as much anxiety coming away from it, it’s probably a product of that message was tailored and explained in a way that even if it’s not great news, at least they understood what’s going on.

[00:11:51] Steve Fretzin: Well, yeah, I think the other piece of it is the ability to, to not, not, you know, I always say like ditch the patch or don’t, you know, sales free selling is all about not selling and not pitching and not convincing. And I think when you meet someone new that has an injury or just in general, anyone that has a legal problem, you know, there’s two ways to approach it.

[00:12:10] Steve Fretzin: One is to go in and make your pitch and try to convince them that you’re the one to talk to. And then it’s, it’s almost like, You really do feel like you’re selling. And I, that’s what I mean when I see the billboards and I see the TV commercials, it’s kind of a hard, aggressive type of approach and it works.

[00:12:25] Steve Fretzin: Obviously they get, they get the calls in the door, but I almost would rather, you know, have someone sit down with me, ask great questions, be a great listener. I feel understood. And there’s a connection with understanding that doesn’t happen when there’s a sales pitch. So what’s your philosophy on how you.

[00:12:42] Steve Fretzin: Sort of interact with new potential clients and, and sort of, uh, to get them comfortable and, and, and maybe even believing that you’re the right person for them. Well, I don’t want to give away

[00:12:53] Jim Coogan: all my secrets, but I don’t think this is really, uh, much of a secret. I think the, the biggest or the most important critical starting point is.

[00:13:03] Jim Coogan: To ask more questions than you are explaining, because if you ask questions, then you’ll have a better understanding of what it is that they’re wondering about. And if you’re listening to what they’re asking you, you’re going to a careful listener is going to pick up on all kinds of clues about where they’re coming from preconceived notions that they have, they start to tell you about.

[00:13:24] Jim Coogan: Pain somewhere or something that their doctor said you will have an idea of what they think that they’re supposed to tell you. And sometimes I’ll stop someone in that situation. They’re not even a client yet. It’s like, wait, wait a second. You don’t need to tell me what you think I want to hear. Tell me what your questions are.

[00:13:41] Jim Coogan: What is actually happening? Uh, you know, what are you wondering about as far as the next steps? What things do you think are going to happen coming into this? Since you’ve never had an injury case before, you never got hurt at work before. And if you listen, you’ll have all kinds of clues as to what their questions really are.

[00:13:59] Jim Coogan: And then you can get to a deeper level of understanding and actually explain things that they really do want to know by the time you get to the end of that conversation. Yeah,

[00:14:09] Steve Fretzin: and I think that flows really well with the whole, you know, uh, medical lawyer connection and the philosophy that I, in the mantra, you’ve heard me say maybe dozens of times, which is prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.

[00:14:22] Steve Fretzin: You know, the idea that we’re going in and prescribing a solution or prescribing some legal course of action before we’ve properly. Ask questions and diagnosed and understanding and that’s really at the heart of I think what build stronger relationships then just you know the high level technical speak of convincing someone of you know what their situation is and why you know they need to hire you sure

[00:14:45] Jim Coogan: you just throw a bunch of jargon at people then that’s what they’re gonna hear and.

[00:14:51] Jim Coogan: Even if someone isn’t in a particular profession, people are smart, you know, they, they know what, when they’re hearing from someone who’s actually paying attention to what they’re saying, they know when they’re hearing from someone who will actually take the time and try to help them as opposed to just kind of shoving them into a pigeonhole and.

[00:15:10] Jim Coogan: And I go, go do whatever they’re going to do, and then maybe they’ll hear from him in two years. So,

[00:15:15] Steve Fretzin: but I don’t know, and Jim, I don’t know if it’s smart or if it’s, if it’s everybody has that guttural instinct. About who’s out for their best interests or his or her best interest. I mean, you know what I mean?

[00:15:27] Steve Fretzin: Like if I’m just there to, to make a buck, then in people can, can sort of sense that, right. And people can sort of understand like this person actually cares. And this person actually has my best interests at heart or not. And I don’t know that again, if that’s, you know, some people are book smarts, some people have street smarts might be more of a guttural, a guttural sense that people have about others that might play a role in how people feel about.

[00:15:54] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. No, I

[00:15:54] Jim Coogan: mean, I think that’s a, a really important observation because I guess for the people who are listening to this show, they’re probably trying to be that kind of an attorney to have someone sitting in that chair across from them or on that phone call that is really engaged and wants to hire them as opposed to just kind of, you know, given them whatever their sales pitch is.

[00:16:13] Jim Coogan: So, uh, I think you’re right that they’ll, that people can pick up on that part of it because it’ll be, it’ll, it will come through in that conversation in, in what. Questions are asked or even whether questions are asked in that initial conversation, and they’re going to have that general sense, even if it’s subconscious, that this is a situation that makes sense to me.

[00:16:32] Jim Coogan: I feel like I’m welcome here. I feel like this will actually help me, even though I’m in a bad spot. Doctor just said I can’t work for the next month. I don’t know what to do.

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[00:18:27] Steve Fretzin: out. So I think relationships are critical and one thing that I’m observing in your show and observing through knowing you for, you know, a year or two now has been the ability for you to just simplify things.

[00:18:41] Steve Fretzin: I, that’s kind of maybe going back to the beginning of our chat today is how are you interacting with non lawyers or maybe lawyers that are in a different space so that, that they can understand the law, you know, in, in the way that you’re, in the way that you’re going to handle their, their matter.

[00:18:58] Jim Coogan: Um, yeah, I mean, look, the whole philosophy behind, like, even this, this podcast, the, this Cougar Knows the Law podcast that we’re, we’re launching, and I think there may be 8 or 10 episodes out now, has been talk about issues, uh, some of them are specific to personal injury law, but others are a little more, even broader than that, or touch on personal injury law, because what, one unavoidable reality is, no matter what it is, your area of law is going to have connections to something else, You know, I have lots of things that are connected to probate issues.

[00:19:33] Jim Coogan: Some of my clients are having a divorce, which can affect their case or tax issues, which might affect some part of the settlement of their case. So it’s, it kind of comes back to the same general principle. Uh, I mean, I could thinking about this leading up to the show today, I was, I remember when I had my first trial.

[00:19:51] Jim Coogan: It was not good. I want to be very upfront about that. I was trying to case. It was out at in Bridgeview. It was a municipal court. We were picking a jury and I think it was my opening statement. The part of it that I remember being really terrible and we actually had to pick a jury twice. So this was a very messy process.

[00:20:08] Jim Coogan: It wasn’t well done all around, but I had spent a lot of time preparing for this thinking that I knew how to talk to juries and I was going to get their attention. It’s gonna be really interesting because what I thought was yeah. The defense is all about a red herring. And I don’t even know if the listeners, like you’ve heard of a red herring, but you never really think about, well, what does that even mean?

[00:20:28] Jim Coogan: I thought it was going to be brilliant to go look up what a red herring even, where’s that term come from? I think it has something to do with how herring were stored on ships with salt, because that way they’d be preserved for some period of time and you could eat them, you know, later on, if you were out on the seas for a long time.

[00:20:46] Jim Coogan: It was, I don’t remember, it’s been 15 years now. I tried to tell that story in my opening statement and I could tell by the halfway through it as I was saying the words that you got to understand the history of a red herring and here’s what it really is and all it is is a distraction and the defense is just trying to distract you but I didn’t even really bring the distraction part home very well I could just see it going right over their heads.

[00:21:11] Jim Coogan: And I realized, wow, uh, this was not the best idea I’ve ever had. And I, I didn’t have the experience or really, you know, obviously you got to stumble before you can walk, so I have a better understanding of. What people are going to appreciate and absorb from what you say and how to make it engaging so that it isn’t just some abstract fumbly story about red herring.

[00:21:35] Jim Coogan: So, um, you know, coming back to now, I think I’ve gotten as also a process of trial and error, better at thinking through and trying to understand and appreciate the audience that I’m talking to. And whether it’s in this case, it’s, if it’s lawyers who don’t practice specifically in personal injury, even then, if they’re asking me questions, if they’re potentially referring a case to me, I want to tell them what they need to know, but not necessarily bore them with all the details unless they want to know.

[00:22:03] Jim Coogan: And that’s just a matter of gauging who’s listening to you and whether what you’re saying is making a difference and whether they’re make, whether it makes sense in the first place.

[00:22:11] Steve Fretzin: You know, it’s interesting. I, I have a, uh, I’ve been doing disc assessments and you’re familiar with that. And it’s a, it’s a behavioral assessment and it puts you into four categories, dominant influence, uh, steadiness and compliance.

[00:22:24] Steve Fretzin: And my test, it’s like, you know, my results are 23 pages and there’s a communications do’s and don’ts. And mine says very clearly on communication don’ts, don’t give him your opinion unless he asked for it. And don’t get into detail. And it’s like, I’m a big picture guy, right? I just want, like, give me the breakdown in 30 seconds in simple terms.

[00:22:44] Steve Fretzin: And sure enough, I’ve had so many people over my lifetime that have tried to, like, explain to me how to code a website or explain to me, Oh, my father in law, I love him, but he’s the worst. Like, he’ll explain to me about All the differences in different kinds of fishing lines and I, I get it that it’s, there are different kinds of fishing lines, but he goes on for like 20, 30 minutes about fishing lines.

[00:23:05] Steve Fretzin: I just don’t want to hear it. So I think there’s something about knowing your audience. And being able to identify is this someone who appreciates detail and it can handle complex, complex information, or is this someone that just wants the big picture? This is what the case is. This is what we’re going to do.

[00:23:23] Steve Fretzin: And this is what, you know, we’re going to go after and what the results should be. I’m of the latter in that group.

[00:23:29] Jim Coogan: Well, and I think you can appreciate those details, but you’re just not that interested depending on what it is, you know I mean, I don’t think it’s a matter of your capacity to understand fishing line details.

[00:23:39] Jim Coogan: You know, I’m happy to jump right to

[00:23:41] Steve Fretzin: the next thing Yeah, I just I’m, I don’t know if it’s my adult ADHD or whatever we want to call it, or just again, it’s my behavior that I’m, I’m just, I’m not built for that. I’m not built for details. And that’s why I try to outsource everything I can outsource, because I don’t want to deal with all the little things that someone, you know, that’s why I like tell lawyers all the time too.

[00:23:59] Steve Fretzin: You gotta, you know, don’t be dealing in the admin and the bookkeeping and all the things that are way under your pay grade going back to the beginning with the time. So I totally get it. And, and that the idea that we have to keep things simple, whether that’s to a jury, whether that’s to a new prospective client, it’s all going to benefit both parties.

[00:24:22] Jim Coogan: And yeah, I mean, that’s, and that’s the other thing, whether, especially if we’re talking about. Juries, which is a specific thing for trial lawyers to be worried about, but it’s the same general idea because they’re not attorneys and whether they like it or not, they’re going to be inundated with all kinds of details.

[00:24:40] Jim Coogan: Uh, because of the nature of trials and, you know, for example, even if you have, uh, some kind of complicated witness, if it’s a doctor, there’s a bunch of foundational questions that must be asked. It isn’t the most efficient, interesting, engaging story, but you have to still try to fit it together and make it as interesting and engaging as you possibly can.

[00:25:00] Jim Coogan: Even if there’s lots of details to it. So that by the end of it, you have a legally sufficient case because we have to, but also a compelling case. And the takeaway that they have is, okay, yes, that doctor is the one who did the surgery and he said that that surgery was necessary because of this crash and all of that was painful and if they come away with that, then that’s, then you’ve accomplished what you want to accomplish, even though that might have had, you may have needed to ask questions for a full hour because those are all the basic things and you have to cover everything in a legally correct way, right?

[00:25:34] Steve Fretzin: And I think one of the things that’s nice about, you know, the way that law is going with technology too, is I think a lot of the details and the things that, that drag lawyers down and drag, you know, just anyone down is going away with some AI. I mean, the fact that I’m auto scheduling all my appointments, the fact that I’m paper free, the fact that I’m, you know, able to.

[00:25:55] Steve Fretzin: You know, easily automate how I put out content, things like that. How are you, how are you seeing AI change the way lawyers are going to practice law to maybe for the better, from a standpoint of, of improving relationships, improving communication efficiency? Well, we

[00:26:10] Jim Coogan: started this whole conversation talking about professionals, even maybe broader than just lawyers, the proliferation of the internet, you know, this is going back 25 years now.

[00:26:20] Jim Coogan: Anybody who was going to go see their doctor could start to look up their conditions before they got there. People can spend, you know, any number of hours going down rabbit holes about legal issues, even before they call an attorney. And these are, these are challenges for the professional because you’re, you sometimes have to overcome or break misunderstandings that people have before they even start calling you, or they look something up and they’re really sure that they have this condition.

[00:26:46] Jim Coogan: But, so, as the technology becomes so much more sophisticated, The ability for clients to find possibly even better information or ask even much more specific questions if they’re talking to a chat bot, a GPT type thing now, uh, means that they will have more information. Some of it could be problematic because it’s a misunderstanding, but Ultimately the, the clients will have that, but the lawyers also have a lot more tools to do research in a different way, to, to plug information into things in a different way so that really what you’ll have is a lot more of the details are going to be taken care of or be covered by computer systems one way or the other.

[00:27:31] Jim Coogan: And so your ability as an attorney to communicate these things, to interpret what’s being done on the other end of it, in the AI side of it. Is going to be that much more critical lawyers who do what I do have known for a long time that the big insurance companies use big data and they’ve used it for a long time.

[00:27:48] Jim Coogan: And so whenever you communicate something to them, they’re processing it in a system. So knowing how to sort of, quote unquote, hack that system by communicating with it in an efficient way is just one piece of the puzzle. Then when you get information back or you get an offer and you’re trying to explain to the client, the context of that, all this means that your job is an attorney and it doesn’t matter if it’s personal injury.

[00:28:10] Jim Coogan: Or corporate work worse work or anything. Although divorce might end up being still Remaining in the human realm more than some of these other types of practice, but your job is as an interpreter and that comes back naturally to everything we started this conversation with about building trust so that your client has a good reason to believe what you’re saying as the explanations become a little bit more complicated or the things that you’re trying to explain are necessarily complicated, but you still have to try to break them down so that they understand and are comfortable with.

[00:28:41] Jim Coogan: Yeah. Where they are in the process and where it’s all going and wherever it’s

[00:28:45] Steve Fretzin: going to end. Yeah, well, that might be a good place for us to kind of wrap things up and move on to our cautionary. Oh, shoot. I just gave it away. Our game changing podcast, which is cautionary tales. And that’s what I hadn’t heard of.

[00:29:00] Steve Fretzin: But now I’ve already loaded it up on my phone. Again, selfishly just want to hear about what people’s podcasts are. So, you know, I think it’s good for everybody, but selfishly, I’m right. I’m, I’m picking up on good stuff to, um, talk about that. Why do you like that podcast so much?

[00:29:13] Jim Coogan: So shout out to Tim Harford.

[00:29:15] Jim Coogan: That’s the guy who hosts it. Uh, yeah, he’s listening

[00:29:18] Steve Fretzin: right now. I’m sure.

[00:29:19] Jim Coogan: Well, he should. He should. Is he a lawyer? It’s an excellent production right here. What’s that? Is he a lawyer? Uh, I don’t know. I think he’s either an economist by background or it’s. So essentially what it is, is kind of looking at human nature and with a little bit of an economic twist to it.

[00:29:36] Jim Coogan: So it’s, it’s got a Malcolm Gladwell feel to it, which I think is part, it’s the same production group that does this one, but I’ll give you an example of a show that I just listened to a couple of weeks ago, which was, there’s a story of the, I think it was the Crimean war. There’s a very famous poem called the charge of the light brigade.

[00:29:52] Jim Coogan: It was Tennyson, I think wrote it. Um, I should have looked this up before we started anyway, that whole story. Actually, it’s about a British army that was fighting with the Russians over what ended up being a pointless war. Nobody got anything out of it, but that specific poem was about the light brigade was like the elite fighters.

[00:30:12] Jim Coogan: Charging ahead into cannon fire and basically all being massacred. The reason why it happened was because of bad communication. So the cautionary tales, plural, each one of them is about some aspect of human nature and why we’ve got these different biases or frailties or faults when it comes to understanding one another or understanding situations and what you can then try to learn from it.

[00:30:36] Jim Coogan: So you don’t make the same mistake again. And in that particular case, it was about the general not appreciating what the guy on the ground was going to do and him not understanding the message that was sent to him because they’re both looking at the battlefield from different perspectives. So it’s, I think it’s a great tie into this because at the end of the day, it’s about having an understanding of who you’re communicating with and whether they’re going to understand what happens.

[00:30:57] Jim Coogan: Then of course trying to avert disaster as a consequence of a misunderstanding. Well, and that’s a great

[00:31:02] Steve Fretzin: wrap up too in the, in the sense that most of our conversation here today was about effective communication and seeing things the same way, you know? And so I think, wow, what a great, what, what a way, how, how did, I did a great job of wrapping that up.

[00:31:15] Steve Fretzin: As we do that though, we wanna also take a moment to take our sponsors, of course, get visible, get staffed up and overture law. So check out those three guys. And, um, Jim, thanks so much, man, a great having you on the show, been a great friend. Um, you went through the program recently, you’re at one of my peer advisory roundtables.

[00:31:32] Steve Fretzin: It’s been great working with you and helping you grow your law practice. It’s, you’re just, you know, you’re someone that executes, you know, you like the general, we’re not, we’re not doing that, uh, Brigade, Brigade, Brigade thing, but like, you know, you’ve executed on the things that we’ve worked on together very well, and, and I’ve just been very proud of your success.

[00:31:52] Jim Coogan: Hey, it’s been my pleasure, Steve. It’s great working with you. Thanks for having me on. I

[00:31:55] Steve Fretzin: appreciate it. Yeah, if people want to get in touch with you, they want to refer you, they want to meet you, what are the best ways for them to, uh, to get in touch?

[00:32:02] Jim Coogan: So that the most straightforward way is our website is cgtrial.

[00:32:07] Jim Coogan: com. So Cougan Gallagher, cgtrial. com.

[00:32:10] Steve Fretzin: Easy. Is it? Yeah, it’s easy. It’s easy. And everybody check out Cougan Knows the Law. You want to, uh, check out a new podcast that breaks things down. You want to understand personal injury better and, and the kinds of things that he’s doing. I think I’m on your show coming up.

[00:32:25] Steve Fretzin: You might

[00:32:25] Jim Coogan: even hear Steve Fretson on an episode coming

[00:32:28] Steve Fretzin: up very soon. All right, that could be trouble. This is probably going to air after that goes on. I could be wrong. But, uh, anyway, Jim, thanks so much, man. Great, uh, great having you on the show and, uh, you know, checking out all your, all your skills. I appreciate it, Steve.

[00:32:41] Steve Fretzin: Thank you, everybody, for spending some time with Jim and I today on Be That Lawyer. This is a show all about helping you to be confident, organized, and a skilled rainmaker. Take care, everybody. Be safe. Be well. We will talk again soon.

[00:32:56] Narrator: 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 Check out today’s show notes.