Tom Freeman: The Billable Hour is Broken

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Tom Freeman discuss:

  • The evolution of the legal industry between the great recession and the great resignation.
  • Building beyond the billable hour.
  • The future of law firm cultures.
  • The value and portability of having your own book of business.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lawyers and associates now have more choices than they ever have and they are being more particular about what they are willing to accept.
  • DEI is late coming to law firms and law firm culture, but we are starting to see a shift. The thriving firms are the ones that are embracing DEI.
  • The practice of law is changing for the better as more diversity joins in the industry. Minorities and women are going to law school more than ever and bringing a different perspective.
  • Law schools don’t teach you to think like a lawyer, they teach you to think like a law professor.

“The billable hour model is broken. It doesn’t incentivize those types of mentoring relationships, or those types of collegial training experiences.” —  Tom Freeman

Connect with Tom Freeman:  

Website: http://www.thomasfreeman.com/

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

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Show notes by Podcastologist Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

lawyer, people, firms, law firms, attorneys, clients, business, law school, law, happening, book, years, billable hour, legal profession, office, practice, life, legalese, dealing, resignation

SPEAKERS

Tom Freeman, Narrator, Steve Fretzin, Jordan Ostroff

 

Tom Freeman  [00:00]

The billable hour model is broken. And it doesn’t incentivize those types of mentoring relationships or those type of sort of collegial training experiences.

 

Narrator  [00:16]

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  [00:38]

Hey, everybody, welcome to be that lawyer. I hope you’re having a lovely and fabulous in terrific day. I’m covering all my bases. And listen, this show, as you know, is all about helping you to be that lawyer to understand sort of the landscape of the legal profession, the industry, bringing on tech people bringing on rainmakers bring in a marketing people. Today, I’ve got an amazing guest who’s not only a lawyer, but a professor of law. So we can we can talk about Tom in a moment. And I just want to take a moment though, to thank our sponsors. We’ve got legalese marketing, who is killing it, helping law firms to get their marketing done, whether it’s a website, email marketing campaigns, you want to become an expert at law Maddix and how to use that they do that the training, they’re just awesome. So anything you kind of need that law Matic or legalese is the way to go. And then of course, money, Penny, who’s helping me on my website and helping law firms all over the world, get the chat, the live chat on the website. And then also, of course, the virtual reception, which many law firms need, and lawyers need to make sure their intake is done properly, and that they’ve got someone picking up that phone when it rings. And my guest, Tom Freeman today submitted a great quote, and it happens to be my one of my wife’s favorite if not my wife’s favorite movie, from To Kill a Mockingbird, and Atticus Finch, quote, you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. So Tom, why don’t you submit that quote, I think it’s fantastic.

 

Tom Freeman  [02:05]

Oh, thanks, Steven. And thank you for having me. I’m glad to be here. Welcome. I love I love that movie. It’s one of the few situations I guess where I like the movie better than the book. The book is great too. But Gregory Peck just deliver such a great performances Atticus Finch, it’s kind of iconic. And you know, some of the quotes from the book, they’re not just great lessons for lawyers, they’re lessons I really reinforced with my kids, the value of empathy and the value of really trying to understand people by stepping into their skin, and trying to figure out kind of where they’re coming from where their lived experiences and understanding them on a deeper level.

 

Steve Fretzin  [02:42]

Yeah, and I think that’s so important. Because as an attorney, or as a person, in professional services, you’re dealing with all different kinds of people. And if you’re not able to sort of understand where they’re coming from, have that empathy. You just you can take things personally, or you can you can get angry quickly, because this person is not behaving the way you want them to behave, when in reality, you don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes, they’ve got depression, or they’ve got family issues, or they’ve got you know, illness in the family, whatever it might be. You just don’t know what’s really playing out.

 

Tom Freeman  [03:12]

Yeah, that’s exactly right, that people have dealt with in practice. You know, 95, maybe 97% of attorneys are great. And the few that aren’t, I mean, some of them are probably just jerks. But more often, if you kind of know their backstory, they’re dealing with a difficult divorce and mental health issue, maybe a kid’s health problem, some kind of substance abuse. So if you understand the backstory, you probably don’t take it as personally, and it gets easier to relate to them as a as a human being who’s just struggling.

 

Steve Fretzin  [03:39]

Right on, right on. In. Hey, everybody. Welcome Tom Friedman to the show. He’s an attorney. He’s a law professor at Creighton University. You’re out of Omaha? Correct along Nebraska. That’s right. You got some good steaks going on in Omaha?

 

Tom Freeman  [03:52]

We do best in the world. We’re pretty proud of him.

 

Steve Fretzin  [03:54]

Yeah, I’m a big steak guy. And I think we take your steaks and try to make them here out there as good. Not as fresh.

 

Tom Freeman  [04:01]

What’s crazy, you know, I can go to a local butcher shop and get a steak and grill it on my grill. And it’s probably better than anything you can get on the coasts for 100 bucks or whatever. Yeah, yeah, it’s pretty well, we kind of take it for granted.

 

Steve Fretzin  [04:12]

Yeah, right. Right. Well, listen, man, it’s fantastic. And dude, do me a solid and just give a little bit of background because you’ve got a pretty a pretty amazing and diverse background as well.

 

Tom Freeman  [04:22]

Oh, thanks. Yeah. You know, I was working in banking and fraud prior to law school fraud at PayPal and then went to law school, worked in private practice, for several years, worked at the Attorney General’s office here instead in Nebraska for a couple of years. I’ve represented corporations, Native American tribes, state, local governments, of different counties in Nebraska. So I’ve really kind of handled almost every type of case on each of the two sides and gives you a good feel for the law. So you kind of have a different perspective than some people might have.

 

Steve Fretzin  [04:54]

Fantastic and when did you start teaching in law school?

 

Tom Freeman  [04:57]

started right after I got my MBA in 2012. As an adjunct in the law school now I’m a full time professor over in the Business College, teaching business law and negotiation and developing a data science ethics class.

 

Steve Fretzin  [05:09]

Okay, really cool stuff. And one of the things I wanted to pick your brain on as a part of this conversation is really the vast changes in the legal industry leading up to kind of where we are today, maybe even leading up to where we were two years ago, before the pandemic, before the great resignation. Give me a little give me a little history of how you’ve seen things changed in the last 20 years.

 

Tom Freeman  [05:33]

You know, it’s kind of wild, how radically it’s changed. Around the time I graduated, we had the great recession. I graduated from law school in 2007 2008 2009. Those are really rough years for for lawyers just getting started. Jobs, were hard to find the market was pretty tight. Now you see, you know, what is that 12 years later, a complete 180 degree turn where he’s law firms are just desperate to try to keep the people they’ve got and then find new people in terms of who has the bargaining power in that situation and kind of supply and demand that have really changed over that period of time. So

 

Steve Fretzin  [06:10]

yeah, and that’s what I that’s when I got into legal to time, because of that exact point, like lawyers were the phone wasn’t ringing like it had been and lawyer started getting a little bit more anxious about, Hey, maybe I need to be proactive with getting business versus just waiting for it to come to

 

Tom Freeman  [06:24]

  1. Right, when I think there’s a huge need for that service, Steve, because they don’t teach you that in law school. And as an associate, some firms my teacher that but some just kind of have you grinding along as an associate and you’re supposed to pick that up along the way. And as a senior associate, certainly, as a partner in most firms, you’re supposed to generate business. And nobody’s probably taught most people how to do that.

 

Steve Fretzin  [06:47]

Yeah, I mean, it’s been it’s been a wonderful industry. For me, it’s been a great calling. And again, you know, if I can get my books, my videos, my pile, you know, my articles, things into lawyers that are interested into their hands, good things happen, because they realize that this is all a learned skill. There’s the saying of that Rainmaker from 20 years ago, that’s a natural born Rainmaker. Well. Now, I work with some highly introverted people very uncomfortable people in the legal industry, and they get a process and they start to internalize it, and it opens up all the doors that they’ve been hiding from, or that they’ve been, you know, avoiding or not able to open. So it’s a really is a great, a great, you know, peanut butter and chocolate, you know, combination. And when we can find, you know, when when attorney has the right motivation, but that’s got to be there.

 

Tom Freeman  [07:35]

When the social skills, you know, they’re like a muscle, you develop them by using them, and you get more comfortable than where you use them. And it’s really about delivering value. It’s about caring about your clients. You know, these are just kind of basic human things. If people feel like you care about them, like you’re going to handle their problem, you’re going to treat them like a person and not some number on a client spreadsheet somewhere. They’re going to want to do business with you. Yeah,

 

Steve Fretzin  [08:01]

exactly. And so leading up to, to, you know, the last two years, why do you feel that the great resignation is now upon us? What’s your take on the last two years and what’s been going on and sort of why that is happening? Why this is happening.

 

Tom Freeman  [08:15]

I think there’s a generational shift. As you have more young people into the profession, they want more work life balance, they don’t want to be working 80 hour weeks, 100 hour weeks, they don’t really care at some point how much you pay them. It’s just not worth it. So they have a different perspective on life, maybe the earlier generations, and they’ve maybe figured out by watching parents, grandparents, whatever, that it’s really not worth it. You know, I read one time, there was a hospice nurse who said nobody ever gets to the end of their time here on Earth and wishes they work more wishes they’d spent more time at the office. So I think that message really resonates with these younger generations, as they come into the workforce and come into the legal profession, there’s been a shift there. And I think COVID really just was the kick in the pants, people needed to rethink their lives. So okay, now I’m not at the office. Now I’m at home. And I’ve got more time to think. And now I’m thinking about what’s really important in life, as we’re all dealing with this sort of crisis where we’re all struggling to manage things day to day. And a lot of the people who are involved in this sort of reshaping of the economy have determined that maybe I was putting too much emphasis on work a bed, really, I was going to work every day, I was grinding out the hours, but I didn’t really have time to step back and think about I don’t like this, I don’t find fulfillment in it. It doesn’t do much for me. And at the end of the day, it’s they’re more important things than money. So sounds like but

 

Steve Fretzin  [09:39]

here’s the here’s the question. And the pushback is Alright, so let’s say that there are more people working from home than ever. But I know that that part of being a great lawyer is the mentorship, the camaraderie and the collaboration that happens in the office and is that not happening now is much and if so, is that going to then impact how lawyers advance their education. In real experience, and you know, practicing,

 

Tom Freeman  [10:03]

that’s always been the sales pitch for bringing people the office, I think there was some of that happening organically just by virtue of like a team working on a case together a team working on a business proposal together a contract, whatever. I don’t know how much of that there isn’t a lot of firms really, associates are kind of on an island, you’re kind of just expected to figure stuff out. And some cultures have more of that built in one of the problems, you know, I write pretty frequently on LinkedIn, the billable hour model is broken. And it doesn’t incentivize those types of mentoring relationships are those type of sort of collegial training experiences. Because typically, you can’t build too many attorneys on one project, clients just gonna balk at the bill. And the firm might be embarrassed to give them a bill where there are two or three attorneys that just question it, and then provides kind of an economic disincentive to have much of that training going on. So I don’t know how much of that’s really actually happening.

 

Steve Fretzin  [11:01]

Okay, that and that’s, that’s, that’s the answer, not I was looking for. But the answer that explains that, I think maybe better than that, you know, we think that this is happening, but in reality, maybe it’s not, and many firms. And I think the other point of it is how efficient people have become working on their own when they don’t have the distraction of, you know, the office guy, you know, popping by your desk, and you know, putting his arm on the door, how’s it going, you know, like the the talk in the, in the you know, that just constant interruptions that can happen in an office when you’ve got everybody there, that that isn’t happening some really so much. So maybe people’s efficiencies going way, way up, and they’re able to work, you know, more effectively than they were in the office.

 

Tom Freeman  [11:43]

The other trick too, I think, is just as people have become more computer savvy, you know, the last 10 or 20 years, and lawyers are more, even older attorneys are more computer savvy. You know, it used to be maybe you walk down to the partners office, because he’s handled this 50 times, and he can give you a quick answer. Now, you can just ask Google. Now a quick Google search will get your process started. And you don’t necessarily need that, that resource to save you a bunch of time on research.

 

Steve Fretzin  [12:07]

Yeah. And let’s go back to the billable hour, comment that you made, because a lot of up and comers are really anxious to get rid of that model and look at subscription models, I’ve got a few clients that have moved to the subscription model. And they love it. They love the freedom, they love the ability to expand. And the clients love it too, because they’re not being hit with these massive bills, where it’s kind of coming out of the blue and not really sure how it’s going to be managed. So talk talk about what what that might mean to the practice of law moving forward.

 

Tom Freeman  [12:40]

You see more and more people trying to shift that way. The difficulty is that unless it’s a fairly routine task, it’s difficult to determine how much time is going to be spent doing it. So you know, lawyers have always said and you know, I used to work with an law partner who said, The only thing I have to tell you is my time. So I’m going to tell you based on how much time I spend on something, well, if it’s a simple form contract, if it’s kind of a run of the mill divorce and you do a bunch of them, you can pretty easily price, how much time and effort it’s going to take and then figure out what that’s worth, I have to do it. It’s much more difficult, like in a litigation context. What I think is ultimately going to happen is you have so much data out there that firms can figure out certainly if they’re of any scale insurance companies can figure out groups of firms, maybe like the American Bar Association even could get involved in figuring out, okay, a discrimination case sort of at this level involving these factors. Here’s the average just by leveraging all that data in bringing all of that to bear. And then firms can sort of use that as a guidepost to try to figure out how much should I charge for this without using a billable hour model? I have kind of a guesstimate of how much effort is going to be involved and then some predictability, I can give it to my client.

 

Jordan Ostroff  [13:50]

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[14:13]

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Steve Fretzin  [14:42]

So talking more about the great resignation. I mean, there’s i I’m speaking to recruiters all the time and they’re having a field day, but the law firms are suffering I think the partners that that have been passing work down to associates and junior partners, you know, they’re having to do work they’ve never thought they’d have to do again. You And and people are jumping ship all the time, as you mentioned, because they’re looking for a better home, they’re looking to go out on their own. What other things about what are you seeing that about the great resignation? How do you think that’s going to change the practice of law for for good. After this, all the smoke settles, if you

 

Tom Freeman  [15:15]

will, you see a lot of changes in how law is practiced. So even a lot of 80 year old judges now are allowing online hearings, online trials, technologies more involved, that has some great potential in terms of legal equity. So serving underserved clients, maybe making legal services cheaper. I think law firm cultures are going to have to change because you have a lot of people who want to go to their kids soccer game, they want to see their their daughter’s dance recital, they want the date night with their spouse, they want to be able to see the parents, they want that work life balance that maybe other generations were more quiet about, didn’t really have figured out as early in life they weren’t as aggressive about. So I think the cultures are going to have to change. You know, my wife’s a lawyer, too. And we graduated the same year in 2007. And she went to work at a law firm here in Omaha. And about three years later, we were having our first kid and this is 2010. Now, her firm didn’t have maternity leave policy. Wow. So she had to use sick leave, she had to use vacation, they’d never had a female attorney who wanted to be a mom and wanted to stay home with their kid and it just just never come up. Women sort of got to the point where they wanted kids, and then they just left. So a lot of that type of thing needs to change where we’re more. You know, the big push right now is dei diversity, equity and inclusion. And I think that’s late coming to law firms and law firm culture. And as you incorporate some of those concepts, and you learn to value your employees as people, kind of three dimensional people, not just some cog in a machine to crank up billable hours, I think that will change and the firm’s that are able to do that I see thriving in the firms that can’t I think are just gonna bleed people. Yeah, because people just have so many choices now.

 

Steve Fretzin  [17:02]

Yeah, and that’s I think that’s what this is proven out that you know, the broken model, whether it’s billable hour, whether it’s culture, whether it’s lack of appreciation for business development, and training your people properly, whatever the case might be, it’s it’s come, you know, it’s coming, it’s coming home to roost. So law firms are going to have to make some pretty tough decisions about how they want to, you know, run and manage their firm, more like a business and more with a strong culture than business as usual, you know, the three white guys with the books at the top, you know, that are, you know, just yelling at everybody to do the work.

 

Tom Freeman  [17:41]

Right? When I looked at it, like it was a broken model for a long time, Steve, and COVID is a stress test that a lot of law firms are just failing very badly. Yeah, I see anything. So put to the test. And it just it’s not working. Yeah.

 

Steve Fretzin  [17:55]

So how can the practice of law be improved? What are what are the a couple things that you’re that, that you’re seeing for the future that will improve the way that lawyers practice and improve, you know, their lives, their lives in this industry?

 

Tom Freeman  [18:10]

Well, we’ve proven that people can work from home, we’ve proven that it doesn’t really matter where you’re at, you can get the work done, it doesn’t really matter for the most part when the work is done. And that offers a tremendous amount of flexibility for people with families, you know, working moms, working dads, people taking care of elderly parents, a lot of people, I think a lot of women in particular will take some time out from practicing law to raise their kids. And then they made me want to go back part time, and what does that look like a lot of law firms, I’ve never really thought through the idea of part time work or contract work, or, you know, maybe we hired sort of on a council ad hoc basis to handle some stuff for us here and there. So I think that flexibility, that sort of being built into the model now is really helpful. I hope that, you know, kind of the values of di that are referenced earlier, as they become more commonplace in the legal profession. I think more than 50% of people going to law school now are female, increasing numbers of people of color. And I think that has a huge potential to change the practice of law for the better. Because those values, if you sort of adopt them universally are more flexibility, more value for people bringing kind of their whole selves to work, more appreciation for the different skills and experiences in education different people can bring to the table. And those aren’t things that the law has done a great job of valuing traditionally, you kind of referenced before, you’ve got these seven year old white guys who are sort of running things and they have kind of limited life experience and they never really balanced the work life, family situation. Their wives sort of stay home and handle the kids in the house and they missed out on all of that, but it’s sort of outside their universe. So then dealing With younger attorneys who want to be home and want to deal with the kids and want to have the family and want to have the more balanced lives, that’s a really foreign concept. So those attorneys are either going to have to age out these older ones that are in in law firms, or they’re going to have to sort of rethink how law firms need to run. And they’re going to have to run for the firm’s to continue to thrive.

 

Steve Fretzin  [20:19]

And they may not have the stomach for it, quite frankly, because change is hard. And change is really hard when you’re 70. Plus, I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m just saying it’s hard. And that’s, that’s what’s going to have to happen. So they’re either going to lose people, and then of just like closing up shop and retiring early, or just kind of functioning more on their own, which, you know, they, they may not want to may want to do that. So, yeah, it’s definitely tricky. And then I wanted to also bring up again, the role of business development in sort of the new world. I mean, I’m, I’m busier than I’ve ever been. And I’m finding ambitious attorneys all over the country that have come to the realization now more than ever, that having their own book of business is part of that balance and freedom. Because if you have four bosses, all sending you work that they want done, and that’s your life, you know, you have not only your bosses at the firm, but you also have these clients who are telling you what to do. So it’s a lot of people throwing things at you, and you’re not deciding on any of it. So having that book of business, and yet, it’s still to your point earlier, it is brought up in law school, but I don’t think it’s being centered on or focused on in law school, because that’s not that’s not the function of law school at this stage. But like I spoke to Paul, in Chicago, you know, about LinkedIn, and I’ve done some presentations for, you know, a number of different schools. But they’re not getting into any kind of, you know, heavy stuff like I’m teaching our day to day basis.

 

Tom Freeman  [21:45]

Right. And one of the problems with law schools, you know, I taught at one is that they don’t teach people how to be lawyers. The claim they do, they’ll claim, they teach you to think like a lawyer, they claim you to think or they teach you to think like a law professor. Because, you know, that’s what they are. They’re law professors, a lot of them haven’t actually practiced law. So they haven’t been in the courtroom and help the clients handle the verdicts being read, they haven’t dealt with the types of problems that clients are dealing with, in a very real way. They haven’t negotiated deals, they haven’t tried to bring in business, they haven’t dealt with kind of law firm cultures and dynamics. So they’re pretty limited in their ability to teach you skills, certainly like business development. And then as a result of that law school should start doing a very good job with that. Now, there are an awful lot of things you need to do to succeed as a lawyer, the law schools just don’t teach that people are just sort of expected to pick up on their own.

 

Steve Fretzin  [22:36]

Yeah, and I mean, I would say, one skill that that has to be taught. And it’s not everything that I’m teaching, because I’m teaching people some pretty high level stuff. But even just the networking component, LinkedIn, and networking to understand that the people sitting to your left and right in class, you know, eventually they’re going to be the GC at Tesla, they’re going to be the GC at Google, they’re going to be in all these different positions. They’re going to be lawyers and other firms. And that network is the base of what you’re going to be building from, but I think most people just kind of floating through it, not thinking about it from that perspective, then they get into the next five years working at a law firm or in house where, you know, it’s just it’s just it’s shunned, you know, to even consider networking or getting out and trying to bring business into the firm. I mean, I’ve had law firms flat out, tell their associates, you know, I hear this from the associates, you know, don’t worry about business development bill your hours get, make sure the clients are taken care of. And I’ve had, you know, people come to me like that. No, no, no, no, that’s not what we, you know, if they fired me, I’m gonna be the first one to step in and go, I get what they’re saying. But that’s not what we’re doing. You know, we’ve got other plans. We’ve got other agendas that don’t necessarily align with that with that, you know, party line at the firm.

 

Tom Freeman  [23:47]

Yeah, and when networking can be built, is really what it comes down to. You want those associates chained to their desks, cranking out hours? Because that’s how they make their money. Yeah, so yeah, that’s absolutely true. But certainly your book of business is what gives you value and gives you portability as a lawyer where you can go work anywhere, if you’ve got clients will come with you, you’re never going to be unemployed, you can set up your own shop where you can go work just about any place if you’ve got business to bring with you. Yeah, and

 

Steve Fretzin  [24:13]

I don’t know, if law firms are worried that, you know, the lawyers that build books are going to leave because that’s, you know, that’s the that’s the ticket out for many lawyers, and so they don’t have to improve their culture because, you know, everybody’s tied to them. So they, you know, they, they, they really, you know, shun it or look down upon it, because they, they need those five people to just crank out all the work so that they can make their money. It’s, it’s, you know, it’s broken all over. And I think it’s changing and technology is a big part of why it’s changing. I think, you know, the pandemic, the great resignation, and then technology advances, I mean, for someone to go off on their own. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I mean, there’s so much technology and automation now, where you can have super low overhead. You can get a virtual assistant, you can set up your bookkeeping and all this stuff, virtually you’d have case management software. So talk to that a minute as well, because that’s the technology being a huge part of of the next five to 10 years, I think it’s going to just explode.

 

Tom Freeman  [25:08]

Yeah, I agree with you. And I think you’re absolutely spot on with the the overhead cost, the startup costs for starting a new law firm are much lower than they used to be. So it used to be if you wanted to start a law firm, okay, now you need an office and you need a lease, and you need furniture, and you need an assistant, copier, and fax machine and all the equipment to go with it. Yeah, it just not that way anymore. You don’t necessarily need an office, I have friends who run a law office. And if they need a meeting space, they kind of rent it. And they have these arrangements where you take a deposition, you have a conference room that’s available, you just book it, they’ve got their cell phone, and they can meet at Starbucks, and it’s way simpler than it used to be. And you can work from anywhere. You know, my wife, I mentioned is a lawyer, and she has a couple of people she works with who will spend a month down in Florida. And they’re just hanging out in Florida and they’ve got a laptop, and they’ve got a cell phone. And as long as you’ve got a wireless connection, you’re getting your work done. And I really liked that because like I said, it brings some of these more marginalized people back into the legal system into the legal profession, who maybe there wasn’t a great place for before. And it really improves the quality of life for a lot of lawyers who aren’t stuck in an office in a building someplace, they can kind of work from anywhere, whether it’s a kids soccer game, or a condo in Florida or wherever. So I like where that’s taking us as a profession, because I think it improves people’s quality of life.

 

Steve Fretzin  [26:33]

And I think the other the other piece of it is we also have to be careful with that home life homework life because I think what’s happening too is that lawyers that work at home or in that work virtually, the expectation of the client might be that they’re now available anytime weekends, evenings, and they’re in some some lawyers put make themselves available then, and that can take away from you know, the evening, you know, the dinner with the kids and in the game on the Saturday or whatever, because they’ve got, you know, I get you can work anytime but you know, taking calls and dealing with clients on a regular basis, I think there’s got to be some boundaries that are set as well so that you don’t fall into the trap of 24/7. You know, with your law practice, again, unless you don’t care, and that’s your jam, you know, you go for it. But other people like me, I I tell my clients and call me anytime they know, if they call me on a weekend and I’m you know, this may sound crazy, but I’m ice fishing with my son who are doing something insane like that. I’m just not going to pick up the phone. And as soon as I’m done, and I’m back in my car, and we’re driving back and I’ve got the my feet warmers on trying to get my feet to feel some some movement again, you know, then I will call that that lawyer back and say, Alright, sorry, man, I, you know, I just did this. And now let’s talk and, you know, I’m not, you know, doing brain surgery. So there isn’t like an urgent need on a weekend. But so I’ve set myself up for that. But I also they understand the boundaries that I’m just not going to pick up every time they call.

 

Tom Freeman  [27:55]

Those boundaries are vital, I think, because just like you alluded to, law is one of those professions where there’s sort of job creep. And if you don’t have really set boundaries, yeah, sometimes something’s going to come up. But it’s going to be a legitimate crisis. And it needs to be handled immediately. Most of the time, you need to be able to turn your phone off and focus on your spouse, focus on your kids focus and your family focus on what you’re doing. The people that don’t, I think, end up having more issues with mental health issues with substance abuse issues, because they’re never able to turn their brain off and get it up lawyer mode, and just sort of relax.

 

Steve Fretzin  [28:28]

Yeah. And we got to and that’s part of that balance, right, that we always talk about is you know, you’ve got to, you’ve got to set time aside for family that a set time aside to work out and eat and be healthy and mentally, physically and everything and without it. It’s it’s just, it’s just a grind, and it’s gonna you’re gonna get burned out. There’s just no way around it. We just as humans, we don’t work. We don’t work that way we have to have up and downtime. So,

 

Tom Freeman  [28:53]

you know, kind of to your point. And we’ve been talking about the great resignation, I think and I see online, I’m on fishbowl and I’m on Reddit, and I kind of glanced at different stories people are telling. Unfortunately, I think a lot of these jobs shifts are people thinking if they change their job, they’ll be happier. And I don’t think they’re addressing the underlying kind of fundamental problem, which is often lack of work life balance, lack of boundaries, not finding things sort of outside the profession that they find fulfillment in and thinking if they put their nose to the grindstone and crank out 2400 hours that are different from they’ll be happier. And I don’t think that’s probably the case. Yeah.

 

Steve Fretzin  [29:29]

Well, let’s wrap up on that point. Tom, thank you so much for being on the show and sharing your wisdom, I found this conversation to be, you know, really enjoyable, and also in, you know, a lot of information that we were able to kind of go back and forth on and, you know, I think you’ve got a really unique perspective as a lawyer and also as a law professor to talk about the great resignation, technology and all the different things that are kind of happening, you know, in and outside of your bubble. So I just appreciate you coming on the show. Well, thanks, Steve. Really enjoyed it. Yeah, very good. And hey everybody, again, another Another great guest and opportunity to take away some ideas and some thoughts. There might be some things that we mentioned that you’re saying, oh, shoot, I’m doing that maybe I need to consider making some changes. And again, all about being that lawyer, someone who’s confident, organized and a skilled Rainmaker, so stay with us. If you liked the show and you’re enjoying it, please tell other lawyers about it. Feel free to give us a like or a five star review or whatever. But we’re looking to continue to just drive this forward with great gas and great information and helping you to be that lawyer so keep in touch, stay safe. Stay well, we’ll talk again soon.

 

Narrator  [30:36]

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