Justie Nicol: Building a Culture of Trust and Respect Across Generations

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Justie Nicol discuss:

  • Leading and selling without fear.
  • Building your law firm to support you and your life.
  • Systematizing your training processes and procedures.
  • Running a virtual firm to invest in people over premises.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are no bad people, only bad decisions. As a lawyer, your job is to make sure that that bad decision doesn’t wreck the person’s life.
  • Be the best you can be with the years you have with the amazing people you have. Sometimes things change and people move on and that’s okay.
  • Self-care is extremely important for both you, as the leader, and for your team. Finding a way to be flexible and support your team in what they find most important can be culture-defining and still lead to a successful law firm.
  • Check-ins don’t have to be scheduled and formalized. You can have informal meetings to make sure everyone is doing good and all on the same page.

“Respect them for who they are and ask them, ‘Am I meeting your needs? Are you feeling like you can contribute in ways that are meaningful to you?’” —  Justie Nicol

Find out more about the Mastering the Legal Clock and Thriving Event at: https://fretzin.com/events

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Lawmatics: https://www.lawmatics.com/bethatlawyer/

Get Staffed Up: https://getstaffedup.com/bethatlawyer/

Green Cardigan Marketing: https://greencardiganmarketing.com/

Episode References: 

About Justie Nicol: Justie Nicol is a feisty, red-headed, nerdy, dog & toddler mom, with a variety of legal experience who’s actually a PERSON (human first, then attorney) and who wants to GENUINELY HELP her clients. Justie practices primarily criminal defense work but is also well-known for innovation, systems-design, and using legal tech to achieve great results for the firm and her clients. Justie is often teaching other lawyers about tech stacks, guest-lecturing at local universities about animal law, teaching animal control officers how to testify and investigate, or giving webinars on law firm automation. She is the Colorado Lawyer Team visionary.

Justie owns two companies in Colorado and is a licensed real estate broker. Justie is a small-town girl and rural lawyer at heart and often travels to clients throughout the majority of the state of Colorado. Access to Justice is something she’s passionate about, so she keeps her costs down and is on many modest means lists for low-pay slow-pay representation.

She enjoys long walks in the mountains (they’re called hikes in Colorado) and she’s horse-crazy. She’s active on social media (@Justie4Justice) where you can see regular appearances by #OfficeDogs and #OfficeHorse. She welcomes questions at any time via email to [email protected].

Connect with Justie Nicol:

Website:  https://colawteam.com/

Email: [email protected]

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

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justie4justice

Connect with Steve Fretzin:

LinkedIn: Steve Fretzin

Twitter: @stevefretzin

Instagram: @fretzinsteve

Facebook: Fretzin, Inc.

Website: Fretzin.com

Email: [email protected]

Book: Legal Business Development Isn’t Rocket Science and more!

YouTube: Steve Fretzin

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] Steve Fretzin: Hey, everybody, before we get to the show, I just want to share another amazing event we’ve got coming up called Mastering the Legal Clock and Thriving. And that’s happening on the 29th of February from noon to one central time. It’s me and my friend, Sarah Reeve Hecking, and we are going to help you reclaim control of your legal practice in one hour.

[00:00:18] Steve Fretzin: So if you don’t have time to come and join us. Maybe you need to come and join us. Enjoy the show everybody

[00:00:27] 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 We’ll take a deeper dive helping you grow your law practice in less time with greater results Now here’s your host steve Fretzin

[00:00:49] Steve Fretzin: Well, hey everybody welcome to be that lawyer.

[00:00:51] Steve Fretzin: I am steve Fretzin. Welcome back if you’re uh Pass listener. If you’re a new listener, while you’re in for a fun show today, and as usual, two shows a week to help you to be that lawyer, someone who’s confident, organized and a skilled rainmaker. We are hirelessly working to bring on the best guests in legal, the best law rainmakers, the best law managers of law firms, the best legal experts, anything you can think of.

[00:01:17] Steve Fretzin: By the way, if you have someone you think would be a killer guest for the show, don’t be shy about emailing me at steve at Fretzin. com or in mailing me on LinkedIn or whatever, and let me know, Hey, I’ve got someone, or maybe it’s you, maybe you’re, maybe you’re the next guest. I don’t know. Not a mind reader.

[00:01:30] Steve Fretzin: Get off my back. We, um, at Fretzin here are working with lawyers in two direct ways. One is to help them become a rainmaker through training and coaching and really internalizing all the things you never learned in law school and really becoming an owner of these skills that will help you drive business.

[00:01:47] Steve Fretzin: For the rest of your career, so it’s not like you pay the money and like it’s done. It’s going to keep paying back year after year. I’ve got rainmakers doing millions and millions of dollars. They never complain about my fees for some reason. And then the obviously the other thing we do is pure advisory roundtables, mastermind groups for managing partners, law firm leaders who want to surround themselves with the smartest, best leaders, most Fun, wonderful individuals that are all motivated to continue growing and building out their um, Not only their personal books, but also their their law firm.

[00:02:17] Steve Fretzin: So that’s enough about that I’ve got justy waiting in the wings. How’s it going justy? I’m good. Thanks for having me. Steve. Yeah. Yeah. I’m really happy that you’re here. I’m excited for our chat. And, um, you know, we love to start with here on the show. I’m I’m

[00:02:31] Justie Nicol: your guest. You got to tell

[00:02:32] Steve Fretzin: me I’m going to tell you right now.

[00:02:33] Steve Fretzin: It’s the quote of the show. We love our quote of the show. I mentioned to someone I might be doing something different. They said, don’t. Keep the quote of the show. I said, okay, we’re going to keep the quote of the show. And this one is by Kip Tyndall. And it is you, and this is your quote, so you know it.

[00:02:48] Steve Fretzin: You can build a much more wonderful company on love than you can on fear. And that doesn’t seem right. I think the tyrants running law firms is still the way to go. Well, well, I

[00:02:59] Justie Nicol: definitely think that that’s prevalent in the industry.

[00:03:03] Steve Fretzin: Right. That’s the norm. What’s the, what’s the, uh, what’s the way to go.

[00:03:06] Steve Fretzin: Yeah,

[00:03:07] Justie Nicol: yeah, I mean, it’s a whole, it’s the whole thing about the scarcity versus abundance mindset, right? Like, the, there is enough to go around, and if you’re constantly worried about the next shoe dropping. You’re not going to be looking forward to what the future can hold. So if you have that different mindset at the top, like the rest of your team is going to follow in that footstep.

[00:03:28] Justie Nicol: And so I’ve used that as kind of my guiding principle for this last year, if not probably well before that, but I just discovered that quote

[00:03:36] Narrator: in 2020.

[00:03:37] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, it’s a really, it’s a really good quote. And again, I think the leaders that. Have, you know, have studied leadership and that care about culture and they care about building an environment that’s going to be, uh, you know, not only workable, but also, you know, thriving, you know, love, certainly over, over fear.

[00:03:57] Steve Fretzin: Uh, there’s there’s no question. I mean, there are people that get things done because of fear. However, I think there’s there that that’s not a long term play.

[00:04:05] Justie Nicol: Yeah, I think there, there’s a difference between, uh, fearing missing a deadline and procrastinating, right? Like, there’s a certain amount of personal productivity there, but then when it comes to leadership of people.

[00:04:17] Justie Nicol: And culture at a firm, it absolutely cannot be peer based.

[00:04:20] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. I mean, my background is sales and I had some sales managers that were so horrible and aggressive and in tyrants, and I would have night regular night nightly nightmares about those managers. And I’d wake up and I gotta go see this jackass today.

[00:04:36] Steve Fretzin: And. I spent half my day just avoiding, you know, talking to them and dealing with them because they were so negative and mean and aggressive and, and, and they just, you know, wanted money and, and, okay, I get it. It’s sales, but like, you know, that’s why I came up with sales free selling. I just, I hated sales.

[00:04:53] Steve Fretzin: I hated, you know, what they were trying to get me to do. And I just knew there was a better way. It’s been lovely and wonderful, especially for lawyers that, you know, appreciate that kind of environment. And I think. In a law firm, same thing, right? I mean, you’re either building a, an environment of, of positivity and love and, and, and helpfulness, or, you know, you’re, you’re offering something very different.

[00:05:14] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, I mean,

[00:05:15] Justie Nicol: most of the lawyers that I know, when we went to law school, we didn’t go into, some of us went into it for the money, but then we were. Badly disillusioned at the time, a lot of us went into it to help people, but somewhere along the way that got just kind of muddied in the waters and ruining our own ferns and running a whole practice area.

[00:05:35] Justie Nicol: Um, one of the things I like to do during intakes, especially, so we do criminal defense intakes and I do almost all the intakes with clients. That’s like my kind of my sweet spot. Um, I will never threaten somebody with jail to get them to hire us. I will tell them they don’t need a, an attorney and try and handle it on their own.

[00:05:54] Justie Nicol: Yes, is there a possibility of jail for using a careless driving ticket? Yep, you bet your ass there is. Do I think you need an attorney to go deal with a fender bender in a Target parking lot? Probably not. Right? So I don’t sell through fear, I don’t lead through fear, um, and when it comes down to it, I, you know, I like to tell people, I deal with some really sketchy people, and that’s just the nature of my job.

[00:06:20] Justie Nicol: There are no bad people, they’re just bad decisions. And my job as your lawyer is to make sure one bad decision doesn’t wreck your entire life.

[00:06:30] Steve Fretzin: And keep going, keep going on that, Justy. Give a little bit more on your background leading up to your Be That Lawyer tipping point. I’d love to just have you share a little bit more about, about what you’re up to.

[00:06:38] Steve Fretzin: Sure, yeah.

[00:06:39] Justie Nicol: So I run a small law firm in Colorado, Colorado lawyer team. Um, I’ve been doing this since 2015. I started on my own. I was previously a DA before that worked for the ACLU. I did bankruptcy and tax stuff, did a bunch of like contract jobs. I really found I loved working for myself, which shock did not work really well in the DA’s office.

[00:07:01] Justie Nicol: Um, but, uh, I’ve had 2 partners come and go over the years, I’m going on 9 years now. And, um, yeah, I, I finally, you know, we survived covid and not, not only survived covid, but we were a virtual. Paperless law firm from the beginning, um, we actually tripled during covid. And so now what I like to say is we have survived the new normal.

[00:07:25] Justie Nicol: Because we’ve come back down from the craziness that was, you know, we’re set up to do everything remotely already. Everybody else was shut down. So we took a bunch of work on and we grew and grew and grew and grew. And now we’ve kind of collapsed again to our sweet spot, which is kind of nice, actually.

[00:07:42] Justie Nicol: Um, but yeah, 2023 has been probably the hardest year of my life personally. Um, and what I’ve learned through all of that is that the firm is there to support. What I’m doing outside of work, not the other way around, right? Like, I have to prioritize the personal a little bit more and it’s been a really difficult year.

[00:08:05] Justie Nicol: We’ve had 2 cancer diagnoses with my parents and my, my husband’s mom. We’ve lost 1 of them. My, my mother in law died right before. Thanksgiving, um, I got COVID over New Year’s, my partner left and took four employees in the middle of, uh, spring break, right? So it’s been, I lost my dog, right? Like,

[00:08:26] Steve Fretzin: I was going to say, at least you didn’t lose your dog.

[00:08:29] Steve Fretzin: And then you threw that at me. Holy matter. Okay. The same,

[00:08:32] Justie Nicol: the same day I had to put my dog down, my mother in law called from the ER and said she had stage four cancer too.

[00:08:38] Steve Fretzin: Wow. Okay. So it’s been,

[00:08:40] Justie Nicol: it’s been a year,

[00:08:41] Steve Fretzin: but you know what? It’s been a year. Yeah.

[00:08:44] Justie Nicol: You know, it hasn’t really stopped is the law firm.

[00:08:47] Justie Nicol: Like, I thought I was going to hit rock bottom again with the firm when partner left. We lost employees. No, we hired, we replaced. We, we found good people. Um, my associate now is amazing. We’re growing again. We’re going to probably hire another associate this year. We’ve expanded practice areas. It’s wonderful.

[00:09:06] Steve Fretzin: But, but that’s so, but that’s such an important thing, A, that you’re willing to share that everything isn’t always peachy, that there’s personal and business hardships that. I mean, everyone listening to this podcast, they’re going through them now, or they’ve gone through them in the last couple of years.

[00:09:20] Steve Fretzin: I mean, nobody’s had perfection every day, every week, every month. It’s just not happening. And I think a lot of it has to do with how we. Respond, how we take the challenges that come. I’ve got an elderly father, you know, you guys know, Larry, the lawyer, I talk about him on the show quite a bit and he’s 89 years old and his health is failing.

[00:09:38] Steve Fretzin: And, you know, we’re dealing with that. And, um, it’s, it’s hard. And so, you know, how we deal with people and how we deal with our circumstances is, is just as important as, as anything with how we move forward. So 1 thing I want to ask you about it. And I know this is, this is, this is, you know, the, the rebuilding of a firm.

[00:09:55] Steve Fretzin: I mean, obviously that a part of part of what helps to grow is, is having good people. When you lose good people, they’re not, you know, people feel like it’s the end of the world. And for you, you may have felt that way, but sounds like you just, you just. You know, positively looked at it and replace. Yeah.

[00:10:11] Justie Nicol: Yeah. And I, I, I look at these kinds of things as a little bit of an opportunity for growth too. Right. Like every time something like this happens, I’ve lost like multiple employees on one day and some of them I fight for, right? Like I, I, I called up my, my current paralegal. She’d been with me for years and she was like, I’m not happy with who I’m working with.

[00:10:29] Justie Nicol: And I’m like, right. Like interpersonal dynamics happen even on remote teams. Especially, we have an all women team, so that does tend to sometimes happen, too. But yeah, like, it’s, it’s an opportunity to make things more in line with my personal and professional vision. Which I’ve been very intentional about studying and talking about and bringing the team on, and it’s been a long road to get here, but I think some of it is a change in my mindset, too, where good employees aren’t going to be with me forever.

[00:11:04] Justie Nicol: Like, I, I just know that. I, I’m here to help them be better, not only better lawyers, or better paralegals, or whatever the case may be, but to also help them achieve their goals. Like, the company is there to help support us to achieve our goal. And part of that is we all succeed or thrive together and make more money together.

[00:11:24] Justie Nicol: Yes, that’s a byproduct of all of that, but happy employees working towards their personal goal. I can’t beat that. But once they achieve some of those milestones, are they going to outgrow me? Yeah, probably. Am I an incubator for really great lawyers? Yep They’re going to go on and be amazing in their careers later long after they’re with me so I have to approach it like This is a temporary situation and we’re going to do the best that we can with the years that we have with the people that Are here,

[00:11:52] Steve Fretzin: but I think that kind of mentality is unique and and you know Most people like well, I put all this time and money and energy into these people and they’re just going to leave me Anyway, well, yeah, they’re That’s, but you’re, you’ve accepted it, but understand those relationships persist.

[00:12:07] Steve Fretzin: There could be business. There could be somebody coming back when they realized the grass wasn’t greener. And you hopefully are building a culture that allows you to continue to develop new people and keep bringing in the right people that replace the good people that left for a different, a different opportunity.

[00:12:22] Justie Nicol: Yep. One of the things we’ve invested in and we’re working on building right now is, um, the systems for onboarding and training new trainees, because. So far, we’ve always hired a somewhat experienced attorneys, and so it’s been an adjustment to unlearn things that other firms do differently so that I can then build them back up.

[00:12:42] Justie Nicol: And this next hire that we’re going to do is going to be straight out of law school. I think. And so I’m kind of interested to see the way we can shape him or her. They, and also build some systems that really support, Hey, here’s the, here’s the plan for the next six months. Right. And if I have that in writing and it’s a checklist and anyone can follow it.

[00:13:04] Justie Nicol: And my whole team’s on board with it because I’m not the only one doing the training. It’s tired. It’s something that if I systemize that it’s really profitable in the long run because it’s not just about the sunk cost at that point. It’s about, oh, I already have a system to bring somebody new on. It’s just a matter of finding the right person.

[00:13:21] Steve Fretzin: And it’s probably, and you tell me if I’m way off on this, but one of the most missed elements of running a successful firm is lack of systems, right? It’s there’s your desk, there’s your phone. Let me know what you need. Good luck. And then why didn’t they, why didn’t they work out or why didn’t they? Right perform at the level that you expected them to write because there were no systems and I think lawyers are really coming around to the understanding the old days of winging it in their systems for everything their systems for business development on boarding training their softwares as automations there’s all everything is available you just have to be open to it and know what’s important to you in the future your firm and lean into that and it’s I think that it’s coming around I’m seeing it like you’re seeing it.

[00:14:08] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, I think

[00:14:09] Justie Nicol: it’s, this is probably the thing I get asked to teach on the most is systems and technology and how it can support your team. I don’t know why my brain works like that. And it always has. It just kind of comes second nature to me. But yeah, I mean, it’s a learned skill to do for a lot of lawyers and anybody can do it.

[00:14:26] Justie Nicol: It’s just a matter of, hey, okay. What would I have liked as a brand new associate? I mean, my current associate, she said her, her. One of her previous jobs, she was like, I showed up for work at 8 AM and the office is locked. I have no idea who to call when they’re going to show up. And it was like nine 30 before the partner rolled in.

[00:14:48] Justie Nicol: She’d been sitting in her car waiting for an hour and a half on her first day. Yeah. I’m like, that’s not going to happen with us. Well, a, we’re remote. So it’s really not, but yeah, I mean, it’s stuff like that. It’s just, it’s lack of communication. It’s lack of respect and it’s lack of systems and forward thinking.

[00:15:06] Steve Fretzin: Which, which all leads to a positive culture or a negative culture. Someone that is, is not being, um, shown that, that they’re valued, not being trained, not being led along in a way that’s going to be bright, positive, then that might be a negative culture. And so why do you feel like law firms struggle with that culture piece?

[00:15:27] Justie Nicol: I think law school doesn’t do a good job of teaching us to be good managers, right?

[00:15:34] Steve Fretzin: Um, we Add it to the list, Justie. There

[00:15:36] Justie Nicol: are many things that law school doesn’t teach us, right? To a certain extent, lawyers can often be very book smart, not very street smart. Empathy is something that many of us lack or have too much of.

[00:15:47] Justie Nicol: There’s never a right balance. But I think in my experience, having done a bajillion other jobs that I didn’t even put on that short little list that I gave you earlier. What, what I find to be lacking is a lack of trust. I trust my employees to get their work done. It’s about the work and the product and the client service.

[00:16:07] Justie Nicol: It’s not about sitting around the desk from eight to five. If we’re light, I want you to go and walk your dog. In fact, I, even if we’re heavy on workload, I want you to go and walk your dog and please send pictures to the rest of the team because it’s really difficult to get your best work done when you’re constantly working under a micromanager.

[00:16:27] Justie Nicol: Or under somebody who is just burnt out. So you’ve got to do self care too. And you’ve got to trust your team. And there’s, I don’t want to say work life balance because it’s always a work life, it’s all the same thing. Right. So some days you’re going to have to take off to go do a doctor’s appointment for your 7 year old, right?

[00:16:46] Justie Nicol: A dentist appointment on Friday, right? It’s prioritizing what’s important and having the full support of upper leadership when it comes to what is most important. So for some people, it’s their dog. For some people, it’s their kids. For some people, it’s travel. And finding a way that a firm can be flexible and support all that, that’s my goal.

[00:17:07] Justie Nicol: So. The culture here, I have people who want to work for me, which is hilarious. They’ll, they’ll take pay cuts to come and work here, which is hard with inflation and everything right now. So, um, you know, it’s, it’s nice to have that vote of confidence and to know that there is a way to do this and do it successfully.

[00:17:31] Steve Fretzin: They are the number one law firm automation platform in legal. They help law firms win new business, speed up intake, and boost efficiency. They integrate smoothly with your favorite practice management tools like Clio, Smokeball, and Practice Panther. And get this, on average, Lawmatics users get 25 percent more clients, save 6 hours a week, and grow their revenue by at least 25%.

[00:17:53] Steve Fretzin: Curious? I think so. Give Lawmatics a try with a 10 percent discount by going to Lawmatics. com slash BeThatLawyer. That’s Lawmatics, L A W M A T I C S dot com slash BeThatLawyer.

[00:18:10] Steve Fretzin: As you all know, finding amazing employees can be the toughest job for any law firm leader. You deserve to run the law firm you’ve always dreamed of, but you can’t get there without a great team. It gets staffed up. They will help you by staffing your law firm with incredible full-time, offshore executive assistants, legal assistance, marketing assistants, and much more.

[00:18:29] Steve Fretzin: The best part, they will find you a highly qualified English speaking VA based in Latin America for only a fraction of the cost. Locally at Freson, we use Get Staffed Up for Marketing Person and you know how good our marketing is. Learn [email protected] slash be that lawyer

[00:18:48] Green Cardigan Marketing: law firm owners. Are you tired of relying on referrals to grow your law firm?

[00:18:52] Green Cardigan Marketing: Have you been burned by marketing agencies who do not understand the legal industry? Hey, my name is Ashley and I’m the owner of Green Cardigan Marketing. We help law firms just like yours grow through marketing strategies that work. We track measurable data to make our decisions. We monitor your market, your competitors, and your online footprint.

[00:19:12] Green Cardigan Marketing: To schedule a call with me today to see if we can help your law firm. Visit us at greencardianmarketing. com.

[00:19:21] Steve Fretzin: But is it, is it tougher to run a law firm virtually and, and, and have a strong culture versus the potential of, of, you know, five or 10 people being in an office together? And I know, I don’t know how many of them are doing that on a regular basis, but maybe being part time in person, you know, where there’s, where there’s more face time, is there, what’s the upside downside with all that?

[00:19:42] Steve Fretzin: I

[00:19:42] Justie Nicol: mean, it’s a balancing act. We do a couple of in person events, but we have a remote team that’s literally across three, four States now. Yeah. Um, so we don’t do as many in person events because it involves airfare and hotels. But what we do is we have a really robust Slack channel. And I’ve got systems built so that people can get, you know, help when they need it quickly without relying on email or cell phones.

[00:20:12] Justie Nicol: We do a quick check in every week. How busy are you feeling so that we can deal with capacity issues? Not open your calendar and tell me how much white space there is. How busy are you feeling? On a scale of 10, my associate, or no, I was saying, I think it was my legal assistant said 7 of 10 this week. And I was like, dude, are you okay?

[00:20:31] Justie Nicol: Okay. Right? Like we want to get that down to like a five. Um, because you’re approaching burnout at that point and capacity is always an issue with the remote team because you can’t just see how frazzled somebody is when you walk past their office. So we have a quick check in every week and then we do weekly team meetings where we have lunch on Wednesdays.

[00:20:50] Justie Nicol: Um, we have case audit meetings where we go through every case and we stop every client matter on Mondays. We do, um, quarterly bonuses and meetings about, um, supporting our teammates. And then we also have annual retreat and annual holiday parties, which are in person events. So at least twice a year, we’re doing that.

[00:21:12] Justie Nicol: And I do regular one on ones as well. I just finished that last week. So yeah, I mean, it’s, there’s a cadence and there’s often a lot of Just asynchronous check ins. Like, Hey, how you doing? It doesn’t have to be a meeting. It doesn’t have to be a phone call. It doesn’t have to be, you know, a big one on one.

[00:21:31] Justie Nicol: Here’s your annual performance review. Kill me, right? It would be, it’s much more likely that they’re going to give me feedback in their one on ones. And the other way around, I think I had a longer list than 80 of my employees after

[00:21:43] Steve Fretzin: last week. Yeah, I mean, I, I used to have all my clients in Chicago in person.

[00:21:50] Steve Fretzin: Like, that’s how I did business all the years that I until the pandemic. I’ve moved to 100 percent virtual working with all my clients on zoom. In groups and 1 on 1 and I don’t think I don’t think it’s hurt anything from a standpoint of my relationship with them, but the quality of of how I’m coaching and teaching and everything else.

[00:22:09] Steve Fretzin: And, you know, I’m yeah, I do have a small team of folks. And again, I think we’re as tight as we would be if we were in person. So that may that may be a much bigger. Deal maybe with with with, you know, firms where attorneys need to, you know, collaborate, you know, there’s a 5 or 10 person team that needs to collaborate on trials and matters and such that.

[00:22:30] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, being together might be, but I think if it’s done virtually, it’s still, I don’t know, like, I’m not, I’m not feeling that. And maybe other people aren’t either

[00:22:37] Justie Nicol: when we do trial prep and some of our client meetings, we will rent office space and do it in person face to face, but it’s nice because the overhead on that is significant.

[00:22:46] Justie Nicol: I think I spent like a thousand dollars on office rentals last year. Okay. Rent would be astronomically more than that. And so the overhead that I save on rent, I can pay my people more. Yeah. I will always invest in people over premises. Yeah.

[00:23:00] Steve Fretzin: Like that’s just. And that’s the, that’s why the commercial real estate in Chicago and other cities is, is in, is in a bad, in a, in a bad way.

[00:23:08] Justie Nicol: I have a second company where I run commercial real estate. So, I know, I know all too well, but we also have 32 commercial tenants and no vacancies coming up. Okay,

[00:23:18] Steve Fretzin: so, all right. We run it the same way. Yeah, some person’s trash is someone else’s treasure or however, but I mean, it. That, you know, again, it’s just, it’s just, you know, you’re moving things around on a, on a, on a playing field, I guess, a little bit with that, but like, I don’t know, I was just watching the news and they said, like, in New York, for example, there’s like, I don’t know if it was like, maybe it was in New York, maybe it was around the country.

[00:23:38] Steve Fretzin: It was like 37 Empire State buildings worth of, of available space. And they’re just going to, you know, change it into residential. They’re going to figure out other ways to leverage that space. But, yeah. Yeah,

[00:23:48] Justie Nicol: it’s gonna come through in the end. It’s just a market adjustment right now.

[00:23:52] Steve Fretzin: But yeah, real estate are, I mean, that’s a diff that’s a whole different podcast.

[00:23:56] Steve Fretzin: We gotta do real estate podcast, whole years to talking about . Uh, I, I do wanna ask you about, you know, I’m without, you know, talking about, you know, your age, my age, or anybody’s age. There’s, there’s also another element with culture with you’ve got, you know, four different generations now, potentially all working together in one firm.

[00:24:14] Steve Fretzin: And everybody’s different, you know, I mean that, you know, those crazy kids today and that music they’re listening to. And, you know, I sound like my dad and I’m sure he sounded like his dad. So how, how do, how do people build culture when you’re dealing with so many different generations working together all with different belief systems?

[00:24:36] Justie Nicol: I think it’s just a big, it goes back to the trust and respect, right? Like you’ve got people. Be what they’re going to be without judgment. And I am in the unique position. Like I’m technically a millennial, but I’m like the older millennial. So I’m maybe closer to, you know, latchkey kids and that sort of stuff.

[00:24:58] Justie Nicol: Um, all of my attorneys are older than me. I have retired magistrate. I have someone in her sixties. But I’ve been practicing law longer than all of them. I went straight through. So it’s a different dynamic when it comes to law, because a lot of times, this other career happened before they went to law school, right?

[00:25:18] Justie Nicol: And I just, I had other work jobs, but I was not, I was not doing any of that for my career. It was just to pay the bill. So one of the things that’s interesting is being a younger leader. Supervising an older attorney workforce and their hesitation when it came to technology, because I push tech like crazy.

[00:25:40] Justie Nicol: I’m like, can we try this, you know, and next shiny thing. And my team is like, if you’ve seen her phone system 1 more time. Anyway, so we’ve hit we’ve hit a nice, like, hey, just don’t do this without talking to the rest of the team. Right? But I think inspiring them to have confidence with using the technology and knowing that there’s no real wrong way and just.

[00:26:01] Justie Nicol: Incremental bettering of their technology. Competency over years now, it’s been amazing to see some of them be like, no, I know how to do that. Now I can help you and I can have the receptionist who’s a 20 something get logged in because, you know, we have an it channel on our slack when anybody’s having it issues.

[00:26:23] Justie Nicol: And I used to be the IT person, the only person who could troubleshoot any of this stuff. And now I’m the last person anybody goes to. They all

[00:26:30] Narrator: help each other.

[00:26:31] Justie Nicol: Um, but it’s always fun to, to see the older generation and be like, I may be a boomer, but I know techno. And they’re, they’re, you know, just right in there with the younger ones.

[00:26:45] Justie Nicol: And my, my staff is off also on the other end of the spectrum. And we, we sometimes laugh about like. I have been playing volleyball longer than you’ve been a lot. So

[00:26:59] Narrator: yeah, we,

[00:27:00] Justie Nicol: we have the whole spectrum, but it’s, it’s Fun and it’s lighthearted and we can learn something from everyone. So respect them for who they are and ask them, you know, am I meeting your needs?

[00:27:13] Justie Nicol: And are you feeling like you can contribute in ways that are meaningful to you? There’s nothing wrong with

[00:27:19] Steve Fretzin: that question. Very cool. And kind of my final question is. All right. So you you’ve built this thing that you continues to evolve. What’s the next year to look like for you? What are going to be some of the key things that you’re going to do that?

[00:27:32] Steve Fretzin: You would also share with others to say this is what I’m doing. And here’s why. And maybe you want to consider doing following suit. Um,

[00:27:39] Justie Nicol: one of the big things that we’ve started were, um, years ago, we started this, but it’s become much more commonplace now is quarterly wellness initiatives. So we are doing things when we’re talking about culture and why people want to come work for you, right?

[00:27:54] Justie Nicol: Like, we provide a headspace subscription to the entire team. We provide a masterclass subscription to the entire team. I put my money where my mouth is and put 200 in everybody’s pocket for a gym membership, or a volleyball league, or whatever, you know, physical activity you want. We’re bringing in emotional, financial, physical, and, um, mental health, like, mental health well being initiatives, and we’ll rotate through those.

[00:28:22] Justie Nicol: And we keep a list of them, so all past input, well, not past, but past initiatives. Current employees can access to and so I’m starting to talk about that on a larger scale to other lawyers. They asked me to come and work with the bar here. For the wellness initiatives in Colorado, and it’s just, it’s, it’s a.

[00:28:42] Justie Nicol: Component of talking about the struggles that I’ve had this last year, and then also talking about how I’ve learned from that, how we haven’t let it go. You know just implode everything because you could just give up easily enough And how we can make it better for the next generation of lawyers So that’s where i’m focusing right now is really on.

[00:29:01] Justie Nicol: Yeah wellness

[00:29:03] Steve Fretzin: well, I think and again that kind of wraps things up in a nice little bow with You know, good culture, you’re not just work, work, work, get it done, where’s my this, where’s my that, it’s all, you know, a part of a system of value, you’re showing, demonstrating value in your people, you’re helping them with wellness, you’re doing check ins, like you’re, you’re being a leader that, that cares, and that is demonstrating that care.

[00:29:28] Steve Fretzin: That’s something that needs to happen, you know, it needs to happen, happens in business. It needs to happen in law, in, in legal, in law firms too. Um, yep. Justi, let’s wrap up with your game changing podcast called One Thing, or is it One Thing or The One Thing? The one thing. The one Thing. All right.

[00:29:44] Justie Nicol: It’s actually a Keller Williams book.

[00:29:46] Justie Nicol: Um, but I, I enjoyed the podcast more than anything else. Okay. Because it really did help me solidify my personal goals and know how I want. To present myself long term and then I backdate those goals like, okay, if this is what I want from 10, 10 years from now, what do I have to do have done in five years to get done?

[00:30:07] Justie Nicol: What do I have to have done this year to be on track for that? Forget this year, what do I have to do this month and this week today to move that forward? And it’s just one thing every day in incremental steps to move you towards your long term vision. And I was really good at setting long term vision.

[00:30:24] Justie Nicol: I was less good at what do I need to date? So it balanced me out

[00:30:30] Steve Fretzin: nicely. Yeah. And a lot of the, a lot of the more recent books and philosophies on achieving goals is less about, Hey, I’ve got this big, nasty, hairy, you know, super big goal for the year. And bringing it down into like what are the daily habits what are the things i need to do today and this weekend if you focus on those and do them well then yeah the yearly goal will just occur because you’re you’re you’re in the moment in the day doing the right things business development for example just one.

[00:31:00] Steve Fretzin: But the idea that, you know, I’m making this a daily routine. I’m going to send out three emails a day. That’s going to get me some meetings and I’m going to consistently do that. So every week I have meetings versus it, you know, being on that roller coaster ride of busy and slow and and and putting things on the back burner, which then leads to slow.

[00:31:17] Steve Fretzin: So. As we wrap up, I want to thank our wonderful sponsors, of course, green cardigan marketing, just crushing it on the websites and the digital for their clients. Um, I’m working with green cardigan. They’re fun to go look at my website. It’s kick ass and we’re getting tons and tons of people through it.

[00:31:35] Steve Fretzin: Matics helping, you know, you mentioned about, you know, having good stuff will use Law Mads. I love it. , I, I’m, I’m all about matics. I’m using it in so many ways. I’m sometimes the head of law firms, which is surprising ’cause I think they would get a lot more out of it than me and of course, get staffed up and I’m a huge fan of, of my guy Sergio, and get staffed up helping me.

[00:31:56] Steve Fretzin: You know, work with someone who, you know, spends their entire day helping my business grow and making me look good. Like, do you think I’m a marketing genius? And yeah, I’m pretty good, but you know, there’s somebody on the back and that’s actually executing on all this stuff for me. And so thank you to get staffed up.

[00:32:11] Steve Fretzin: Just if people want to, just if people want to get in touch with you, what’s the best path for that? Um,

[00:32:17] Justie Nicol: I used to be on Twitter a lot and now I’m not on X as much. So probably the easiest way you can find me on all the social media stuff. But the easiest way is our website. It’s just www. dolawteam. com.

[00:32:33] Justie Nicol: You can also just Google Colorado Lawyer Team. My email is also always available. J U S T I E at dolawteam. com.

[00:32:42] Steve Fretzin: Yep. And last name, Nichol? Nichol.

[00:32:45] Justie Nicol: N I C O L. There’s no A.

[00:32:47] Steve Fretzin: I used to be dropping the

[00:32:49] Justie Nicol: H and my, my maiden name was coins, so I didn’t really change my name. I just specify.

[00:32:55] Steve Fretzin: Wow. Okay. That’s, and you didn’t want to go with the hyphen and do the,

[00:33:05] Steve Fretzin: that’s very cool. Thanks so much for being on the show and sharing your wisdom. And, and I’m just so happy that we got to. To meet and talk a little bit about what law firms need to be doing and there’s a lot of lawyers that are going out on their own and they’re, they’re, they’re very interested and curious about how to do it as a solo.

[00:33:21] Steve Fretzin: And then, obviously, if they have interest in scaling, what does it take? And I think, you know, you, you’ve become a great resource for those folks, uh, to, to understand what does it take to be sustainable, even when things are down, chips are down and you lose people or you lose, you know, you’ve got personal things coming up.

[00:33:37] Steve Fretzin: So really, really great stuff. Just thanks again. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. Yeah. Yeah. And thank you everybody for spending time with Justy and I today on Be That Lawyer. Um, again, just continue to try to, you know, feed you insights and information and stories and examples of what successful lawyers are doing to keep the lights on and to be happy in the career.

[00:33:57] Steve Fretzin: I mean, you don’t want to, you know, be unhappy and miserable and loathing every day. And if that is the case, we’ll maybe need to make some changes. So keep thinking about, about how you’re doing things and how to keep learning and improving. That’s, that’s always the key. And, uh, again, we’ll, we’ll continue to pump out great content for you all.

[00:34:14] Steve Fretzin: Feel free to give us that thumbs up and tell other lawyers about us and we’ll keep pumping out great content. Uh, thanks everybody. Be well, be safe. We’ll talk again very soon.

[00:34:27] 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 about today’s episode, check out today’s show notes.