Patrick Slaughter: [00:00:00] a lawyer will decide they’re gonna spend a half a day working on their website They’re gonna manage their website themselves and I’m like I can find somebody to manage a website for 200 an hour at most but I can bill at four or five hundred dollars an hour myself So it would make more sense for me to spend my time doing things that I can build at four hundred dollars and paying somebody 200 to do something so I call that, you don’t want to wear the cheap hats, you want to wear the hat that makes the most money and pay the other people with the cheap hats to do the job.
And the reason I say that’s important for selling is because one of the things later that they’re going to look at is you know, if you leave and you’re planning on leaving, is the practice going to make it? And if you can demonstrate that I’ve got these other systems that involve other people or other vendors that are still going to be around after I’m gone, banks feel a whole lot better about it.
But also, it makes your life a lot easier.
Jonathan Hawkins: [00:01:00] All right. Welcome to Founding Partner Podcast. I’m Jonathan Hawkins, the host, and I am really excited about our guest today. We’ve got Patrick Slaughter, and he’s going to tell us a lot of things, but the thing I’m really interested about is that he successfully sold his law firm. I know that is a question I get a lot about, and I want to hear how he did it and all of that.
But first Patrick, why don’t you, introduce yourself and tell us what you’re sort of up to nowadays.
Patrick Slaughter: Man, I am living the dream. Patrick Slaughter went to law school at a no name law school in the middle of BFE Tennessee and [00:02:00] graduated. I guess I did okay. I was like second in my class and all that crap. But when I got out of law school, I couldn’t find a job. I found A glorified law clerk position, but I couldn’t find an associate attorney position.
So I ended up going off on my own after about, oh, about eight, nine months of that, Jim LeFevre and I got together and we had kind of an eat what you kill relationship with LeFevre and Slaughter. And things were going great. And then Jim had to retire unexpectedly for medical reasons. And I kind of took over from there.
Did real well. Our first year we made, I think it was around 185, 000, maybe a little more than that. Then we doubled our revenue each year. So we were up to a million dollars in recurring revenue yearly. About three and a half years into it, four years. And it just kept going. We did really well. I started getting awards.
What the hell was that about? They said I was a super lawyer. Which is a funny story I can tell you about there. I don’t know where they got [00:03:00] that from. But apparently, I’m waiting for my cake to arrive in the mail. On top of that, they said I was a rising star. I was 40 something years old. I don’t know what they’re talking about there either, but whatever.
So I got that. I, they locked me on Avvo. They gave me a bunch of client choice, this and whatever. I don’t know, got a bunch of little things saying I was supposed to be worth a darn. Did pretty well. Andy Stickle liked me. I got tired of dealing with social media, so I made Andy do that for a little while.
They gave me an award and we made a bunch of money and we, I think we had like, it was like 500 or 600 leads a month that were coming in and everybody was surprised about that. I, again, I don’t know. Things were going pretty well. Pandemic hit. Man, if anything will make you want to reevaluate your life, it’s a pandemic.
So during that, that’s when I started thinking about, man, maybe I want to sell this thing. And we can go through that whole story if you want me to when that happens, but we eventually sold the firm in April of 2022 for, well, [00:04:00] it was healthy seven figures. We’ll put it that way. And I was supposed to be retired at 52, but I will tell you retirement and hospitals are where people go to die.
So now I’m looking at doing some other things. I’m helping some lawyers get their firm started. I wrote a book, starting a whole bunch of stuff. So that’s it in a
Jonathan Hawkins: Well, cool. We’re going to go through a lot of that. So, , I want to go back. You started, well, let’s start before law school. You went late in life. What were you doing before law school?
Patrick Slaughter: I was a magician. I did everything in this world you can imagine to avoid having a real job. I started off in Chicago. I was homeless actually. And I learned how to do magic tricks on the street busking for tips. And I got fairly good at it, made a bunch of money, got to where I was making like a thousand bucks a weekend.
This was back in like 91 I think it was 1991. And then I discovered I’m allergic to cold. And Chicago gets real cold, so I jumped on a plane, went to St. Thomas in the Caribbean and did some stuff down there for a while. [00:05:00] My parents both have advanced academic degrees, so that didn’t sit well with them, and they decided that by golly, I was going to finish my undergrad, so I came back and I did.
I graduated in 94 from Virginia Tech with a degree in Urban Affairs and City Planning. Did that, got a job working for the state as a rehab counselor for kids with disabilities. I loved the kids, I hated the system, so I quit and I went back to doing magic and I did that for 14 or 15 years. And did a bunch of other
Jonathan Hawkins: So were you doing like shows on stage? I mean,
Patrick Slaughter: Yes. Well, it was funny. I met a mentor, Tim Conover, who was, he’s passed away now, but he was widely considered a leading mentalist in the world, which is funny because I did nothing with mentalism. But he lived in Virginia Beach the same time I did, and he’s got me thinking. He’s like, Patrick, you gotta start doing trade shows.
And I’m like, why would I do a trade show? I do street, I go out, I, he goes, well, think about [00:06:00] it. Trade shows are just street performing indoors. You gather a big crowd around you, you do your thing, and then you pass them off to the salespeople. It’ll be great. I thought he was high. But. I talked to some of his folks and agents and they started booking me to do those and, you know, they, I, I have plenty of money with that.
I was like, okay, this is good. Then I, the show I performed, I didn’t really talk. I did it with a white face, like a, a mime kind of character. And Club Med liked me because their shows had to be translated into Spanish, English, and French. And since I didn’t talk, there was no translation. So that was real popular.
So I ended up doing resorts with them. I worked at a bush gardens in Williamsburg. They hired me to work for them. I did different, different things ended up going into a lot of corporate events award ceremonies or holiday programs, things of that sort. Basically anything that would pay me to run around and act stupid on stage for a living.
That’s what I did. It worked out pretty well.
Jonathan Hawkins: so at [00:07:00] some point, you got tired of that or why did you stop that and go to law school? What made you go to law school?
Patrick Slaughter: And I asked myself that every day. It’s, I got really tired after 9 11. It wasn’t fun to travel on airplanes that much anymore. Especially if you’re a magician because you carry weird crap with
you. So, I was traveling about 100, 000 miles a year on airplanes. I still have like 850, 000 frequent flyer miles on American.
So I got kind of tired of being on the road all the time. Plus, I met my wife. And suddenly I had a reason to want to be home. So that kind of got old and I just was ready for something to change. So we moved to Knoxville, Tennessee from Virginia Beach with no idea. I was going to law school. That wasn’t a plan.
Lots of funny things happened. I ended up street performing in Europe and had this new religious experience in Venice and went. Okay, I’ll, apply to get into law school. I didn’t think I’d get into law school. I agreed to take that stupid LSAT test. And to this day, I [00:08:00] still don’t know what sorting imaginary animals into cages on an imaginary ship has to It’s practicing law.
It makes no sense, but I did it. I got a horrible score. My score was like a 148 and I was like, huh, I ain’t got to go to law school. I ain’t going to be able to get in. It’ll be fine. And I was contemplating, starting to do the things I’d done before. And, suddenly out of nowhere, Oh no, there’s this new law school that’s opening up right by your house.
It’s like, you know, five miles from my house, six miles from my house. And I’m like, eh, I can’t get in. And I was selling computers for Apple at the time. The stores were cold enough to hang meat ins. I was freezing to death, and I’ll never get this woman named Libby King came up and she made me essentially promised to, to apply to go to law school.
And I, I kept meeting lawyers, I kept selling lawyers, computers. I went, okay, fine. So I said, okay, I’ll do it. Of course I didn’t. She bought the computer and I put it off. And then my conscience started getting to me and I said, well, okay, I’ll apply. Oh, wait a minute. The deadline’s [00:09:00] passed. I don’t have to apply now.
Deadline’s gone. And I got an email. Deadline’s been extended. Well, crap, fine. So I went down, took my application. Paul Carney’s the director of admissions at the time. And he happened to be there. And I’m wearing like cutoff jeans, a t shirt, Birkenstocks. I am not planning on seeing anybody. I’m wanting to drop off this chunk of paper and haul ass.
So I go in and, oh, let’s have you talk to the director of admissions. Well, great. He’s like, what do you do? I said, I’m a professional magician. Okay, what instrument do you play? Huh? Magician, not musician. I don’t play anything. Oh, you’re a magician? got to introduce you to the Dean. He’s an amateur magician.
Jonathan Hawkins: Oh yeah.
Patrick Slaughter: Okay, fine. So I go and I meet Sid Beckman, who’s the Dean. He’s an amateur magician from Texas. He knows a lot of people that I knew that I used to work with in a different way. So suddenly I’m like, oh crap. And then I forgot about it. Long story. Six weeks later they called me and told me I was in law school.
And I went, oh God, I guess I’m going to go to law school. [00:10:00] Still wasn’t sold on it. Wasn’t 100 percent convicted on it. I bought a book called Law School Confidential, and I read it and it scared the bejesus out of me. I made Zena, my wife, read it. I was like, you think I can do that? Well, try it for a semester.
If you don’t get good grades or you’re miserable, you can quit and go back on the road and do magic shows. And I’m like, That sounds like a plan. So my first semester I made straight A’s. So I went, oh crap, I guess I’m stuck around for another semester. Second semester I made straight A’s. So, and I kept making really good grades all the way through.
And everybody thought it’s because I thought it was because I was really smart. And no, I’m not really smart. It’s just God had knew that if I didn’t make good grades, I was going to quit and go back to do the magic show. So I ended up graduating that way, but it was, if you told me I was going to be a lawyer, you know, 10 years for that, I would have laughed at you.
It was not something that I had expected.
Jonathan Hawkins: So yeah. So it sounded like. You just got thrown into it, just like when you started practicing. So you graduate, you don’t know what you’re going to do, you get [00:11:00] a job for a little while, and then you end up with Lefevre. What kind of work did you do with him?
Patrick Slaughter: You know, Jim, well, I’ll tell you how this started. The guy I was working with before, he’s a great guy, I love him, he’s a good guy, but he was having some problems and, and my, my associate, I wasn’t an associate, I was like a law clerk, my check bounced. And I went, crap, I gotta do something else. And it was funny because we were in, in Nashville, my wife’s birthday is on March 28th, I can tell you that.
I don’t have to know the year, just need to know the day so I get the gift. And we had taken her out to buy something for her birthday. She wanted to go to this little snazzy mall in Nashville. And we went. I walked in the door. I looked around. I see Rolex over there. I see Louis Vuitton over there. I’m like, this is out of my league.
We walk around. She goes to this little shoe store she likes. Didn’t have the red bottom shoes, thank God. And she wanted to buy a pair of 300 boots Firebird boots. Apparently Steve Tyler has them, I don’t know. [00:12:00] So she wants these boots and I can’t afford them and I’m mad as heck because I’m a licensed attorney.
Why in the world can’t I afford to buy my wife a pair of 300 boots for her birthday? So that didn’t sit well. Then I’m walking around the food court looking at my bank balance, trying to figure out how in the world to make this happen. And I noticed that my account is significantly less money than I thought was in it.
So that’s when that night I’m laying there going, Okay, I got good grades in law school. I was on the law review. I even won an award, a quarter finalist trophy in a moot court competition. What else do I have to do to get a decent dang job? And something similar to like when I was in Venice, this idea came to my head.
Well, why don’t you open your own firm? Because I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. I don’t know how to practice law. I want to screw up and lose my license. This will be bad. And it kept kind of going through my head. So I decided I’d give it a shot. I didn’t really have much choice. And I had a friend, Mark Jendrick, in Knoxville.
There’s only two skyscrapers, and they’re right beside each other. And Mark happened to have an office suite in one of them, [00:13:00] and he had this little Harry Potter broom closet of a space open. He goes, you can go in there, but I’ll take it. How much is it gonna cost? He goes, free. I’m like, price is right. I set up on this little credenza with my little laptop computer and started doing my thing and You know started doing really well.
I mean even the very first day, the very first day out there forgetting. I go in and I took out an ad on Avvo for like, I think it was 250 a month for like three months in domestic stuff. And I also, I subscribed Rocket Matter, which is like another 50 or 60 bucks a month. And I came home that evening, I was pale.
Zane was like, what’s wrong? And I’m like, I just signed us up for 300 a month in bills and I have no idea what’s going to happen. And I’m not kidding you, by two hours later, 6. 30, 7 o’clock at night, I got a call and I answered it and a guy paid me two grand to go handle his little juvenile court case thing that
And I went,
Jonathan Hawkins: that was from the [00:14:00] Avvo ad.
Patrick Slaughter: That was from the Avo ad, that very day.
Well, what I realized the next day was, I don’t know what I’m doing. I have no clue. But, I know a bit about marketing because I used to sell really expensive magic shows. I mean, my magic shows were between 3, And I can tell you, people need to get divorced a whole lot more than they need to watch magic shows.
So I figured I would use the same kind of marketing stuff that I had learned doing that and that would help me to find people and then You know learning the law all that stuff just kind of fell into place But I realized that I couldn’t you know, there wasn’t it there weren’t all the lawyer coach now Everybody in the world wants to be a coach for lawyers down there weren’t any of that back then and I just kind of started using non legal experience to profit in the legal arena.
And it worked out really well for me. And so that, I mean, that’s kind of how that whole
Jonathan Hawkins: And so, so you focused on family law [00:15:00] much from the beginning.
Patrick Slaughter: Well, originally I was a criminal lawyer. That was what, by golly, I’d watched enough Law Order, I knew that I could do that. So I, 30 minutes, whole damn thing solved. So I took, got into doing that. And then I realized, I don’t like most criminals. Most of them did it. Most of them don’t have enough money to pay you.
And most of them are a real pain. And I remember Bruce Beverly in law school said, When it comes to criminal clients, you’re going to have some of the world’s worst people, but they’re going to be on their best behavior because they’re afraid of going to jail. Or you can practice family law where you’ll have some of the world’s best people, but they’re on their worst behavior because they’re afraid of losing all their stuff.
And I figured I’d side with them. I got plenty of criminal law stories I can tell you that were funny, but I just, it wasn’t something I wanted to do, like I have my phone case to this day, it looks like a Bible. You know why it looks like a Bible? Because your criminal clients won’t steal it off the council table.
[00:16:00] So, you know. I decided that I was going to do something else. And family law seemed like a good idea. I didn’t want to get in a personal injury because I didn’t have money to bankroll a bunch of the thing. And it seemed like family law was, was more ingratiating for new folk. So that, that’s where I started.
And Jim Lefebvre, it worked out, Jim, you know, his office was kind of catacording to my little closet. And he did family law, he’d been doing family law for years. He’d done a bunch of other stuff too, asbestos litigation, all kinds of. But he really was like, okay, let’s do family law. And he spent, you know, untold hours listening to me, you know, talk about crazy stuff and him giving me ideas.
And plus, the stories. You just don’t get better crap than family cases. I mean, the stuff I would listen to people call me and then I’m like, is this the bar? Like, is this like a test that I don’t know about? Like, are you going to take my case? No, I ain’t taking that case. I had no, ain’t no way I’m taking this case.
I just want to know if you hit the bar, what have I [00:17:00] done to get on their radar? But no, I got into family law and it, you know, just kind of, you
Jonathan Hawkins: stories some of the craziest stories. We could spend probably a few days going over some of those. So, you get up with Jim LeFevre and then six months in he asked to leave and you’re sort of on your own. I mean, what, what was going through your mind when all of a sudden you’re like, holy crap.
I got to do this whole thing by myself, run the firm, do everything. I mean, what’s going through your mind?
Patrick Slaughter: Well, holy crap wasn’t the exact word. And I’m not going to use the words that was on here, because it might get you censored in some way. You know, it was just, it caught us all by surprise. I mean, it wasn’t something we expected. Jim, I mean, Jim’s healthier than I am. I mean, he was, you know, 70 years old.
He’s Running and doing push ups and sit ups and all this. I mean, he just looked like he was in great shape. But then he had to go to the doctor and the VA for all kinds of things. [00:18:00] We talked about it earlier, but Jim was in Vietnam and he was exposed to Agent Orange. Because of that, he developed like multiple myeloma precursors.
And they were pretty sure he was going to have bone cancer and a whole bunch of things. So it was decided that he was going to have a stem cell replacement therapy. Where they, I guess they nuke you pretty much to death. And wipe out your stem cells and give you some other ones and you know, hopefully you come back and it worked for Jim fine But he just he was afraid that he was gonna have brain fog or these other things I tried to talk him into coming back.
He did but his granddaughter beat me I’m not nearly as cute as her and she was a lot more fun. So he decided to retire I’m sitting there going what and blue blazes because suddenly You know, getting clients was never a problem for me. Getting, you know, marketing and, and client acquisition, never an issue.
Had more work and I knew what to do with most days. But suddenly, you know, the practice I’m having to hire associates, I’m having to hire paralegals. I’m having to deal with taxation stuff that I’d never known was an issue. I didn’t know payroll [00:19:00] withholding tax was such a big deal. All this stuff started, you know, coming up and it was trying to figure out how to manage that and still stay sane.
And that’s when I ended up, I went to Ernie Spenson’s small firm bootcamp and that’s why I met Ernie and Ernie was real helpful. And I started reading everything. I mean, Michael Hyatt, Red Arrow, all of his stuff, even the stuff that stinks. You know, Tony Robbins, yeah, he was instrumental in some other stuff later with some money stuff.
You name it, I read books on it and went to seminars. If there was a, if there was a coaching program, I would have paid for it. There wasn’t really. But I was You know, looking for all the people that were doing anything that made any sense. And I figured out most of them were nuts. Ernie not included in that group, but most of them were kind of crazy.
And a lot of the folks, they were, either they weren’t lawyers, or they may have been a lawyer, but they never built a successful [00:20:00] practice themselves. So, I’m like, well, you know, if I’ve got to have my heart, open heart surgery, I’m gonna look for somebody that’s done it a few times. I don’t want somebody that’s read a book on it, maybe even walked across stage and got a degree.
I don’t want the guy that, on his first time, I want the guy that’s done it a few times. There just wasn’t people out there. So, again, I went back, there was a point in my life where I managed very large disaster recovery projects, which is a whole other weird thing, but in 2004 when the hurricanes came through Florida I ended up through luck and happenstance managing the, the debris removal and all kinds of things associated with that with FDOT District 1 in Central Florida.
And four hurricanes is enough to keep you busy for a little bit, so I did that. And then the following year Katrina went through and then that was a problem with New Orleans. And then there was also before Katrina was Katrina, it was Wilma, and that went through South Florida. So Hudson Engineering hired me to manage all of their [00:21:00] 800 cutters in South Florida from Broward down to the Keys.
So I’ve done this big stuff before and Zena, who’s, you know, really the brains behind the operation, said, why don’t you just do what you did then? I went, yeah, it makes a lot of sense. So we started doing that. Things just started clicking. More than I expected or was really prepared for. I kept waiting.
I always thought all these other attorneys always did better than me. I always thought I was playing catch up because I started so late. So I just assumed everybody was dealing with the same stuff. And then I found out they weren’t and that we were, it was uncommon to make the kind of money that we were and the size we were.
So I just figured if it wasn’t broke, keep doing it and wrote that. And then eventually I got really good at delegating. The firm was located in Knoxville, Tennessee. We ended up living in central Florida
Jonathan Hawkins: so yeah, so, so
Patrick Slaughter: that.
Jonathan Hawkins: before, before you go to that, I definitely want to go into that, but [00:22:00] before you get into that, so it sounds like early on, you didn’t have a problem getting clients but you didn’t really know how to manage this thing. So, you know, I think a couple of lessons you invested in yourself.
Through coaches and whatever experimented with that, figured out some of them didn’t know what they were talking about it, at least not for what you were doing. So you, you took what worked and sort of got rid of what didn’t work. And then all of a sudden you’re overwhelmed with you’re getting the clients.
I guess you’ve hired people sort of started to train them and then, and then that’s where we are now. So then you wanted to figure out, did you want to stay in the practice or. What led you to the delegation piece
Patrick Slaughter: Well, here’s the thing. There wasn’t anything about being a lawyer that I didn’t enjoy. I liked the research. I liked going to court. I mean, it was the closest thing to a magic show I had. I liked all of it, but I, it’s like law school. You know, in law school, they always get you to do the free stuff.
They want you to be on law review because it’s going to be good for you. They want you, and it’s just a bunch of [00:23:00] extra work that you don’t get paid to do and drives you nuts. So, it started kind of being like that. I felt like, you know, I didn’t get to practice that much because I was too busy managing everything else.
You know, I had three or four associates working for me and they got to go to court all the time. I didn’t get to go to court because I had to deal with, you know, whatever other crisis du jour was coming up. So I started getting a little disillusioned when I wasn’t getting to do the stuff that I like to do, but I was getting to do all this stuff about the business thing.
And so that, that was what’s got me starting to think, eh, maybe I want to do something else. I don’t know. But the, the firm, is doing well. We had lots of people coming in. The pandemic, I guess, is probably what got me to start thinking about something’s going to change. Because I just, I wanted to live a different kind of life than what I was living.
Jonathan Hawkins: and you figured out, I don’t know, it was just before the pandemic or after. you sort of figured out how to work your firm remotely. Right. When
Patrick Slaughter: did.
Jonathan Hawkins: [00:24:00] the path, did that happen?
Patrick Slaughter: Before the pandemic what got me thinking about it? Well, I mean, really, from the time we started. You know, in law school, they always ask you what kind of law you want to practice, and I used to tell them the kind you can practice from an Airstream trailer parked on a beach. That’s the kind of law I want to practice.
So, Ernie’s Boot Camp got me thinking about that. You know, before, I didn’t really realize there was a lot of things that was possible. So Ernie’s Boot Camp got me thinking, hey, maybe you try it. Like, I remember, I think the Boot Camp was like in November. And, we were just balls to the wall, crazy busy, you know, Christmas is supposed to be a slow time, it was not.
Also practiced immigration law, and that kind of got real busy. So in January, I decided, we’re going to take a long vacation. Ernie said I could do it, so I’m going to do it. So we took like two or three weeks off, and we decided to do everything from Disney World, because we like Disney. And it worked.
And I went, well, crap, if it worked, I’m going to try it again. So we kept trying to do these things where we would take [00:25:00] extended vacations and that. So we discovered Zoom before anybody knew what Zoom was. We were using Zoom for, anyway, so we had a cheat sheet and all kinds of things. And we just started using different strategies.
I remember one particular, this is a, this is a funny story. So I’d signed up for, What do they call it now? It used to be called Lexicata. Now it’s, Clio Manage. I think that’s what they call it. Or, Clio Grow. That’s what they call it. Clio Grow. I lied to you. For a CRM. Cause, and the reason, cause, I mean, we were getting, you know, 60, 70 calls a week.
And I wasn’t calling people back. I was forgetting to do that. So, I needed this program that would set up like a kin band chart, and I didn’t know anything about Trello. And would do these things. So that’s why we got it. And as part of that it came with HelloSign. This digital signature thing. Which I thought was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard of.
I was like, I don’t need to know anything about that. I just need to know how to use this thing to make sure I call people back. But Xena [00:26:00] paid attention to that. So one day we were driving down to Florida for a vacation. Going to buy a long two or three week vacation. And this guy called. His first name was Tony.
I’ll never forget it. And he’s like, I really want to hire you for this juvenile court case that I have tomorrow. And I’m like, well, I ain’t going to be there tomorrow. I’m going to Florida. And he’s like, you got anybody who works for you? And I’m like, yeah, I got some associates. And Xena’s checking the counter.
Yeah, we got some people for eight. And I was like, yeah, but I don’t know how we’re going to do this because, , I got, you got to sign a fee agreement and pay me and I can’t take your money until you sign the fee agreement. And I’m nowhere around and the people up there don’t do that. I don’t know how that’s going to work.
And then Zena took me on the shoulder and she goes, What about that HelloSign stuff? And I went, Oh, well, I guess we could try this crap that I got that I don’t know how to use, but I, I’m gonna pull over an arrest area and we’ll see if we can figure this out. I might be able to send you this PDF and you can sign it that way electronically and then you can pay us with a credit card and maybe I can get Luke to go with your [00:27:00] thing.
And he was happy with that. So we will into arrest areas. I don’t, I don’t know how to do it. My, my fee agreement was already uploaded as part of the whole onboarding with Lexicata. So it was already there. Xena figured it out, sent the guy the thing. He signed it, sent it back and sent money in by, , pay the trust deposit by credit card and Luke was at his hearing the next day and got him what he wanted.
And it was like the damndest thing I’d ever seen. And I was like, this is stupid. But at that minute I realized like. Instantaneously that I was free. Before I used to tell people the only reason I had an office was so I could have a conference room Because I’d do a consult on the phone Then they’d schedule a time to come in the conference room.
I’d go over the same crap I just talked to him about anyway But they’d bring me a check and then we’d sign the fee agreement and then we’d go on but with this it’s like Suddenly I realized I didn’t have to do in person consultations anymore. I didn’t have to meet with the people, which was shocking to me.
I thought people would want to meet me [00:28:00] because they’re trusting me with their retirement plans or kids or life, but they didn’t care. And we were one of the first people ever to start doing consultations that way. I just, at that point, I’m like, there’s no reason to have anybody in the office except for depositions, maybe.
So we started using that. We started doing our consults strictly by phone and zoom. Everything, all the retaining process was electronic. And this was back going in like 2017, 2018. So in 2020 with the pandemic hit, Hey,
Jonathan Hawkins: You were ready.
Patrick Slaughter: yeah, I’m like business as usual. The only thing that was different was the judges were calling going.
Will you send us that Zoom cheat sheet? How’s that thing work? And suddenly i’m like I don’t even have to go to court anymore I can just stand here with a shirt and a jacket and a tie on Underwear underneath sitting in front of the computer and still be able to practice law. This is great but everybody was getting sick.
I got sick. I got it before they knew what covid was damn near killed me And [00:29:00] you know just after That’s when people started getting real nasty with each other too. So, again, I started thinking about selling, but we were set up. I mean, I, I lived in Florida. I managed my firm entirely remotely. I would go to, to Tennessee usually like one week a month, maybe.
I would just go to try cases whenever there was a trial.
Jonathan Hawkins: Wow. That, that is nice. We’ll get to selling your firm here in a minute, but you start out, you build it from 180, 000 a year up to a million plus a year. And not only that you’ve designed it. So you’re basically managing remotely. You’re only there, once a month and, I talked to a lot of folks and it’s, if you design the practice in a way that it doesn’t need you to be there so much, then all of a sudden it’s more enjoyable, but also the value of it goes up and then it gets you in a situation.
You don’t have to, but if you want to, you can. Potentially sell the thing like you did.
[00:30:00] So let’s talk about, some point you decided you want to sell, how did you figure that out?
Patrick Slaughter: Well, so pandemic happens, we’re all shut down in 2020. 2020, I’m scared to death. It’s like, how’s this gonna work? I’m a litigation firm and courts are closed. Scared, to death. But we make more money that year than we never made. We did really well and I don’t know. It’s just something started.
I started asking myself the question. If I could sell it, [00:31:00] what would it be worth? Could I sell it? I mean, just asking questions like that. I didn’t have the answers. So, at one point, I think it’s towards the middle to the end of, I think it’s like June of 2021. I just had a long, deep conversation with myself.
I’m like, you know, Hey look, I was like 51 at the time. I’m like, you’ve got probably 25 good years left where physically you can do what you want to do. Hopefully, as long as you don’t get one of the godawfuls, hopefully you’re going to be able to do that. Do you want to spend any of that time fighting over child drop offs, or who’s got the medicine prescription this week, or child support, or any of that stuff?
And before I could verbalize the answer from my neocortex, my limbic brain had already spit out the answer, no. And considering your limbic brain doesn’t have any communication function at all, that was amazing. So I knew that I was tired of just All of it. Just, just, just everything going on with it.
Immigration was getting crazy. So I thought, well, let me look into it. So I [00:32:00] went to one of the guys, an accountant, that we had used to do business valuations for clients, because we did a lot of high end divorces. And, you know, we had doctors and lawyers and dentists. Especially dentists. Dentists are great for family law cases, if you don’t know that.
But the guy told me my practice wasn’t worth anything. He’s like, you can’t sell it for anything but it’s not worth anything. I went, now wait a minute. It’s got to be worth something. No, no, it’s, you know, it’s just you. It’s a closely held thing, you know. And so I went away going, well, he’s an idiot. I ain’t going to use him anymore.
But I didn’t know. I didn’t really have any idea. I talked to a few other lawyers and nobody, I mean, everybody talked about selling the practice, but nobody did it. Nobody was actually doing it. So I just kind of started asking questions. And never did get a whole lot of good answers, if you want to know the truth, until as a matter of fact, Andy Stickel, his he was doing Myron Golden, one of Myron Golden’s programs.
Myron’s a motivational, he’s one of the best guys at [00:33:00] selling things from stage. And it’s always funny. Myron, Myron’s about, my height, maybe a little shorter. He’s an African American gentleman. He has a great beard, not very tall, kind of diminutive, great voice though. His brother Mark is his little brother who’s like seven feet tall so it’s funny to me that he’s the little brother and he’s like But Andy knew him knew Myron.
Myron suggested Mark who was his brother and Andy’s brother Introduced me to Mark and that’s what Mark did. Mark sells businesses for a living. He sells gun shops. He sells What all? Landscaping businesses funeral homes. I mean the stories he would tell and he’s like, well, why don’t we get together me?
Look at it. I’m like you ever sold a law firm before you know, but it’s no different anything else No, okay, so we met and I liked him. He’s like tell you what Give me five grand and I want to try it. I’ll write a description, you know We’ll see what we can do, but I’m gonna need all your your [00:34:00] financials so I can figure out what it’s worth And I’m like, eh, okay.
So he was surprised, all of our, you know, tax returns, all this balance, all this stuff they need, we could give it to him right away because we were 100 percent digital. So we gave it to him that day, he was shocked. He came back and he told us, you know, that it was worth seven figure plus and I about fell over, considering everybody else had told me it wasn’t worth anything, and I’d been willing to sell it for a whole lot less than that just because I wanted to do something different.
So he told me that and I’m like, are you just blowing smoke up my behind? I mean, that sounds good, but I don’t know if this is real. Then he’s like, well, let’s, let’s put it on this thing and see how it is. Within a week, we had like eight or nine offers from across the country, some from Canada. People wanted to buy it, like, within, like I said, within a week.
We had a purchase agreement done within two weeks, or an offer of acceptance thing. It still took like another six or seven months, I think, after that, because the guy [00:35:00] that bought the practice was getting a small business loan, or a loan from the Small Business Administration. And that, that’s special.
There’s something to that. he went through that process, so we ended up selling in April of 2022.
Jonathan Hawkins: So you know, talked to a lot of lawyers that transition or sell their practice. One question is, was it an internal sale or an external sale?
Patrick Slaughter: Next time.
Jonathan Hawkins: from all over. So it was an external sale. So this
Patrick Slaughter: Yeah.
I’m out of there.
Jonathan Hawkins: You didn’t know this person before.
Patrick Slaughter: Never had any idea what, I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. He was, there was a bunch of people, there was a girl from Alabama, him, some guy from Canada, another girl from Texas. They were all arms length transactions for people I didn’t know. I didn’t know that I didn’t want to do any of this earn out crap or any of these other things that still obligated me to the practice because I’m like, if I’m going to do that, I might as well keep it.
So it was all of a, it was an asset purchase. We didn’t do a stock purchase because I didn’t know if I was going to keep the business for something else, the [00:36:00] business entity. But it was an assets purchase agreement.
We had all the,
Jonathan Hawkins: So you did not have to stick around.
Patrick Slaughter: no
Jonathan Hawkins: Wow, that’s
Patrick Slaughter: gave me, he gave me the money on I’ll tell you on April 18th and I was gone on April the 19th.
Jonathan Hawkins: I mean seriously, you know, this is really impressive that you were able to do that You know a lot of firms a lot of lawyers are sort of take, you know, what you heard It’s not worth anything and then it’s like well, I have to stick around and make sure you know everything transition So you I mean this was like a true sale You listed out there, person you don’t know, they stroke you a check, and you are out the door.
That’s, that’s impressive. So let me ask this. So, as part of, you know, they bought the asset it’s an asset purchase. I assume your, your attorneys and staff sort of stuck around. Or did they,
Patrick Slaughter: They did
Jonathan Hawkins: how did you sort of prep them and do that transition?
Patrick Slaughter: I didn’t tell them squat. I didn’t tell them anything. I wasn’t going to take a chance, they were going to haul butt if, [00:37:00] you know, if I was leaving. Because I didn’t know if the sale was actually going to go through or, or what was actually going to happen. So, you know, at one point he had to, the buyer had to go from one bank to another bank and I didn’t have a lot of faith that it was going to go through.
So I didn’t want to lose people myself. And we were still blowing and going. We were making money. So I was like, well, what they don’t know won’t hurt them and I don’t know that I’m actually going to be. Leaving yet. So I didn’t tell them anything now. As far as preparing, it was more of the stuff that the banks and the SBA would ask for, all kinds of stuff.
And it turns out that the reason we were able to get the price for the firm that we were had a lot to do with all the things we had that were tangential to the firm. I mean, I had 70 videos on YouTube that I could say was a digital you know, catalog of, of Q and A videos and things that help for marketing.
You know, our standards, our policy and procedures manual was digitized. [00:38:00] Everything was there. I’d one thing I’d realized early on is we had two law schools in Knoxville. So I figured if I was going to have to hire an attorney, I wanted to get one straight out of law school before they could screw up anything.
But I also realized I needed to have everything done for them so I can just plug them into kind of like what McDonald’s does with their new fry cooks. So we had all of our pleadings, all of that stuff already digitized and using different kinds of command logic so that they auto populated and did a bunch of stuff.
So it was easy and it was all these other extraneous digital assets that justified the price as far as the the bank was concerned. Plus,
Jonathan Hawkins: did the bank, did the bank take into account the fact that you were sort of running this thing remotely? Did that go into the valuation?
Patrick Slaughter: Yes that’s why they were willing to do it, actually, because they figured if I could do it from Florida, why couldn’t this guy do it from Louisiana? That’s where he was from. So that, you know, that helped a lot. Also, just the way we did our books. You know, I know everybody’s going to say this is crazy and we could have [00:39:00] kept more money, but I didn’t do K 1s.
We were set up. In Tennessee, they have a thing called a professional corporation that you can elect to be handled in the same fashion as an S Corp. But rather than do K1s, I went ahead and ran things through like regular payroll, because I needed for Zena and I to have some kind of social security at some point, and I still believe it’s going to be there in some semblance when I’m retiring.
So all of our books were really clean. We were able to show that we were cash flowing 100, 000 plus every month. We were able to show You know, there wasn’t any kind of monkey business with our books where they have to try to translate. Yeah, because I know some people, they run everything in the world through their practice for the deduction.
Yeah, I paid taxes. I mean, I did. But all of that in the long run ended up being really good because it was really easy for the banks to look at it and go, this thing cash flows actual money. These people are all, None of this is fantasy type stuff and it worked within the same framework of the way they evaluate other businesses that, had nothing to do with law [00:40:00] firms.
So, it’s, we had, I think Fountainhead was the bank he used Live Oak, which is another kind of hoity toity higher end SBA lender. They were jumping at it, wanting to lend money on it. You have to really look at it from the perspective of what the lenders are willing to lend money on and what they are expecting and what they want to justify your price.
And having those other assets and the way our books were structured made all the difference on why we were able to do it and do it at the speed we did.
Jonathan Hawkins: So it sounds like, to pull this off, a few things you had to do, number one, you set up the firm early on. To sort of run without you, did a variety of things you created, you built assets, not just you, assets that someone else could have. And then, you had to make sure that the buyer was comfortable and then you also had to make sure the bank was comfortable and you’d sort of set it up to do it that way.
So I want to go back to, making the buyer comfortable. You didn’t tell your staff and your lawyers until I said it was done. How did you get the buyer? [00:41:00] Comfortable with the fact that, they’re still going to be there tomorrow after I walk away or was it just, it’s your problem.
You deal with it however you want.
Patrick Slaughter: mean, it’s kind of funny. I mean, a lot of things happened. People left,, whatever, but He was buying more of the brand and the presence than he was any of these particular people because again, I’d set it up to where hey, , we got about 150 lawyers graduating every June in that town.
You can find other people to do it. Plus, I’ve offered to consult and do all that kind of thing if he wanted me to. He just doesn’t really need me to. So that having the employees around wasn’t the thing that really drove it. It was funny though when he bought it, when he bought it at the end of the first week he came to me, Hey Patrick, when it comes to this, how’d you do that?
And I look at him and go, James, I didn’t do that. I paid somebody else to do it. That’s what I did. Oh, okay. Who’s that person? I give them their phone number. You call them, figure it out. And then the week or so later, 10 days later, Hey Patrick, I [00:42:00] need to do this now. So you know how you did that. And I’m like, I didn’t do that, James.
I paid somebody else to do it. And this was a recurring pattern for a while. And then he finally called me one day and said you didn’t do a whole lot, did you? You just paid other people to do things. I’m like, there you go. That’s what you’re doing. You’re buying the systems and the people that are set up because, I realized there’s very few things in this world that I do very well.
And that’s what I’m going to do. All the other stuff, I’m going to give to somebody else and pay somebody else to do. And that’s what we had done. So the practice was I looked at an amalgamation of people who are really good at doing a particular thing that they did that worked in concert to create a law firm that created money.
Jonathan Hawkins: So as you were building your firm, setting up these systems, doing all this, did you have any hints in your brain that you might. Sell it one day or this really just came later and you just by luck of the draw had done all these things And then you had the opportunity that you could actually sell it.[00:43:00]
Patrick Slaughter: It was pure happenstance. I, and I think lawyers miss out on this. I think this is a big thing they screw up on generally. Lawyers are very reactive. What am I going to do to get the clients to call me and when they call me I’ll do this and how am I going to do that?
Jonathan Hawkins: Instead of saying, this is what I am going to do, instead of taking the approach of, I think some things are, you accomplish just through the force of will. And if you decide, hey, this is what I’m going to do, and I want to do it this way, and then it doesn’t work out, but you do something else. You become the captain of your own destiny and things work out.
And that’s what I always did. So I think, I focused on, I think lawyers screw up in two ways. They wear 20 hats and they worry about imaginary problems. So I never did those things. I was more interested in creating a practice that would serve me rather than the other way around. And as a part of doing that, all these things came into being.
No, I didn’t think about selling it for that much money when I first started. Hell, I was just hoping to make enough money to pay my bills. But, [00:44:00] By focusing on the stuff that mattered every week and every month, the cumulative effect of that is you build something special. And I think that’s where lawyers need to focus more on and less on what can I do and more like what do I want to do.
Because you’ll be better at it. You’ll be a better lawyer. You’ll make more money. You’ll have
I think that that is so important, everybody talks about You know the mental health crisis and how lawyers are so unhappy and have all these problems and you know A lot of it’s they’re reactive. I mean, they’re chasing money, chasing clients, or they’re just sort of letting life happen to them instead of stepping back and saying, what do I want, and then trying to figure out how to design it you figured out sounds like pretty early, want to be able to.
Worked from Florida with a law firm in Tennessee. So I’m gonna figure out how to do that
Patrick Slaughter: Well, that wasn’t the plan originally. Wasn’t the plan originally, but I was like, that’d be a good idea. I kind of like, let me try this, how it works. And again, and I’ll [00:45:00] say this, my wife, all the good ideas came from, a lot of them came from her. Because she was more willing to encourage me to try different things.
Not everything worked. A lot of stuff failed miserably. But, the core, Things that you have to worry about were always there. And that’s, I don’t know, it just worked out for me. And I think it worked out for most folks. That’s, folks that want me to help them, I tell them things and it’s not, everybody’s looking for the new trendy marketing thing, or what’s the best way to do your Google ads, or how do you get your KPIs, or what, and it’s none of that.
All those things are trendy, and that’s what’s , in the literature right now, and that’s what people want to hear. But none of that’s got anything to do with anything. And I compare it to my experience with Sharks. During the pandemic, I developed an irrational fear of sharks. Don’t know why, but I did.
And my wife, she loves sharks. So she wants to watch this Shark Week thing on Discovery. I hate that stuff. So she’s watching it. And one day, there’s this thing called The Top Ten Ways to Avoid Shark Attacks. [00:46:00] And naturally, I’m very interested in that. So I go to watch and it says, Number one, don’t go in the ocean between five and seven or whatever, because they eat.
Number two, don’t wear a swimsuit that’s yellow or orange or yellow, you know that, because it, Don’t wear jewelry. And they went through this list and I, at the end of the list I’m kind of dumbfounded and Zane’s looking at me going, what’s wrong? I’m like, why didn’t they say just stay out the water? That’s the easiest way to avoid a shark attack I know, stay out of the water. Well, conversely with, with law practices, I hear all kinds of things and ways to. Create a better law practice, get good at social media, post stuff all the time, learn how to use click funnels. Do that, the one thing I never hear though, kind of like standing out of the water, is be a better lawyer.
Be a better lawyer. If you will focus on being a better lawyer and serving your clients by becoming a better lawyer, you’ll be shocked. I mean, I was horrible. I didn’t know what I was doing. I had a woman call me one time, I’ll never forget, she called me from California, asking me if I could, it was early in the morning, like 8 o’clock in the morning, Jim wasn’t there yet.
And [00:47:00] she asked me if I could do an ICPC adoption. I was like, lady, I don’t even know what ICPC stands for. I have no idea what that is. And then she’s like, well, you think you can do it? I’m like, I don’t know. Ladies goes, well, my California lawyer, he says I should hire this one particular lawyer. And I’m like, yeah, I’d hire her too.
She wrote the book literally on adoptional authenticity. I’m looking at her books. I’ve got them on my desk. That’s who I would hire, too. I don’t like her. Well, I said a few other things, and I’m like, well, I don’t know. I don’t know her, but she’s the one I would hire if I was in your position. Well, you think you could do it?
I’m like, I tell you what, I’ll talk to Jim. Jim’s gonna be in about half an hour. If he thinks I can do it, I will call you back, or you can call me. You call me, and then we’ll figure it out. So Jim comes in. I was like, what the heck’s ICPC? He goes, Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children. It’s an interstate adoption.
Well, I’ve never done any of that, Jim. You think I can do that? He’s like, oh yeah, I’ll help you. You’ll figure it out. It ain’t that bad. Okay. She called, and I kind of forgot about it. And then she did. She called me about an hour later and she’s like, Would you talk to Mr. Lefevre? I said, yeah, he [00:48:00] said he thought I could do it.
So, and I quote her some ridiculous amount of money. And she paid it. And I asked her, I’m like, why would you pay me to do this when I just told you I didn’t know what the thing is and I’ve never done it before. And the person that’s recommended for you literally wrote a book on adoption law in Tennessee.
I would hire that person too. Why are you hiring me? And she said, Well, because you’re honest and I like you. Okay. And sure enough, it worked out. There’s a bunch of other funny stories about it. Okay. And sure enough, it worked out. There’s a bunch of other funny stories about that case. Stuff that went on with it.
But, they’re lunch. Most lawyers don’t want to be lawyers. They want to be glorified paper pushers. They want to be estate planning this or trademark that or whatever. And I get it. Because a lot of people want to avoid litigation. But the only thing that I can figure that you can do that I can’t is you can stand in front of a judge.
And you can care about your clients. Those are about the only two things that you can do that AI can’t. So, if you will develop your practice where you focus on those things, I don’t see how you can help but be successful so long as you’re [00:49:00] willing to put in the time and the work to do that. And being successful doesn’t mean winning all the time.
a lot of different ways you can be a good or a better attorney, but you have to decide that’s what you want to do and stop looking for the magic potion, the pill, the powder, whatever’s gonna, change your world, because it doesn’t exist.
Jonathan Hawkins: So so nowadays you’ve sold your practice. You’re not practicing law anymore But you are helping lawyers and I think you’ve got a book coming out and tell us about that
Patrick Slaughter: Yeah.
Jonathan Hawkins: and and what it is you’re helping lawyers with nowadays.
Patrick Slaughter: Well, so a bunch of people were calling me kind of informally going, Hey, how you do this? How’d you do that? What’d you do? How’s that work? And I’d talk to them about it over the years, or I’d have associates that would decide to go off on their own. The ones that were respectful about it, I’d help them and help them do well.
So I kind of enjoyed that and then we got involved with this digital online marketing community and this thing and they said I need to write a lead magnet. I went okay, I’m gonna write a lead magnet. What were the questions I would ask me about opening a law firm? And [00:50:00] that turned into 125, 000 words. And it’s like, this is a book, I guess I need to publish this book.
So I put it out to people and they apparently like it. So we went through that process. It’s the printer people right now, the publisher people approved it and the person approved it. So now the people who print the book are printing it and I’m getting this off cover sometime this week and I’ve got to read through it again for the umpteenth billionth time.
I’m tired of it. And make sure that it’s okay, and then the hardback comes out I guess the week after, and we’ll be putting that on the website. I’ve got a new website just for this kind of stuff called ownyourownlawfirm. com. I’ve got a newsletter that I put out with some funny videos and stuff that I do every week, kind of telling people some kind of little hidden tricks to things you can do to improve your practice that’s contrary to most of what everybody tells you.
So I’m doing that, and just kind of taking it again. I’m not trying to create a whole other big gargantuan business like I did before, or at least big to me. I’m looking at working with a very [00:51:00] small number of people that really just want to kind of go from soup to nuts, that want to start. You know, my method is you get to 100, 000 in personal revenue your first year, and then you start doubling your revenue until you get to a million dollars.
After you get to a million dollars, I was happy at that point. We made plenty of money. I did what I wanted to do. I didn’t care about making more. Some people want to build an empire. If that’s the case, once you get to that million dollars, I will point you in different directions you can go, but it ain’t me.
Because I didn’t do it and that’s a special set of problems somebody else can help you with. But that’s kind of what we’re doing now because, yeah, I’ve been to Disney World so much that the CFO has my picture on her desk. I’ve got to start doing something else.
Jonathan Hawkins: So is it one on one with you or is it group? I mean, how does it work?
Patrick Slaughter: Right now we’re doing one on one. It’s a 90 day program. We sign up 13 weeks to accomplish anything. It’s probably going to be about 13 weeks. And we work through the things that are in the book, but I help you do them instead of you trying to do them on [00:52:00] your own with your first marketing plan that’s actually fairly simple and doesn’t cost you a penny to do.
That was the other thing. I never spent all this crazy money on advertising like people are talking about. I never spent more than 50 grand a year on advertising and it wasn’t, I never spent a penny on Google stuff. Nowadays everybody is fixated on driving traffic through paying to ads. You don’t have to do that.
But anyway, so we talk about how to create these campaigns, how to leverage free resources so you can, my whole approach to that is you want to be a celebrity in your market rather than a commodity. So we teach people how to do that and take them through that process. As far as management, we teach them, the same kind of strategies and procedures that we used that worked really well.
And also try to connect them with a lot of the same vendors that I use, because I know they did it for me, so I know they can do it for them. So we do a lot of that. And usually we talk every week to ten days, depending on their schedule. I’m fairly available now. So I can do every week, but sometimes they need a little extra time.[00:53:00]
And we work through this process of getting them to that goal of 100 grand the first year. If they’re just getting started, they haven’t started before. Usually people come to me from one of two positions. Either they’re just starting the firm from scratch. And holy, they’re just hell Mary. I’m going to do it.
I’m scared to death, whatever, or they work for someone, the second path, they work for someone for a year or two. And they’re realizing, Hey, I really want my own shop, but I’ve got a little bit of experience, I’ve got a little bit of stuff so I want to do it. Or, they’ve taken the leap and they’ve opened their firm, but it ain’t working, ain’t knocking the ball off the cover.
It ain’t firing on all cylinders. They’re just kind of scratching their head going. I got bills to pay. I didn’t go to law school to drive a Prius. And we try to, help them build on the stuff that we’ve already done.
Jonathan Hawkins: So you’re help, you’re helping lawyers get that, build their, their firm. You’ve gone through the process. You’ve built your firm. You sold your firm. If you are, if you had one or two pieces of advice to a lawyer, whether they’re just starting out or they’ve had a firm for a [00:54:00] while, To get their firm ready to sell what would be sort of the top, know, one or two things you’d tell them to do today to get it ready to sell later.
Patrick Slaughter: Well, I usually have two pieces of advice that are not what you’re going to expect to hear. The first one is they’ve got to stop wearing 20 hats and by that I mean, you know It’ll amaze me a lawyer will decide they’re gonna spend a half a day working on their website They’re gonna manage their website themselves and I’m like I can find somebody to manage a website for 200 an hour at most but I can bill at four or five hundred dollars an hour myself So it would make more sense for me to spend my time doing things that I can build at four hundred dollars and paying somebody 200 to do something so I call that, you don’t want to wear the cheap hats, you want to wear the hat that makes the most money and pay the other people with the cheap hats to do the job.
And the reason I say that’s important for selling is because one of the things later that they’re going to look at is you know, if you leave and you’re planning on leaving, [00:55:00] is the practice going to make it? And if you can demonstrate that I’ve got these other systems that involve other people or other vendors that are still going to be around after I’m gone, banks feel a whole lot better about it.
But also, it makes your life a lot easier. You’re not doing stupid stuff that you shouldn’t be wasting your time on in the first place. So that’s the first thing. Don’t wear 20 hats. And the second thing, I’ve got to lay the groundwork for this. The only reason I passed calculus in undergrad was because I was dating the TA that was teaching it.
Again, I, I used to tell people that we lawyers go to law school because we’re bad at math. Well, I was not particularly good, but I remember one day I walked into her class and she draws a little cursive I and puts a negative sign next to it. It says, we’re going to talk about negative I today.
I’m like, I don’t know what that is. She’s like, we’re going to talk about imaginary numbers. She goes, yeah, the square root of negative one can’t be negative one. And she starts, I’m like, wait a minute, don’t we have enough problems with the real numbers? We don’t have to, we don’t need to go making up imaginary numbers.
But no, we [00:56:00] spent, again, thank God I was dating her because I would, imaginary numbers. Lawyers spend a whole lot of time dealing with imaginary problems. They think there’s a problem that they may experience in the future, and they spend a lot of time focused on solving that problem. And it’s not a real problem, it’s a problem they want to have.
I’ll give you examples. The young lady I work with down here, she’s, she’s in estate planning. When I first met her, she had bought ConfusionSoft, and she was Going to automate her intake process and her this process and that process and she’s just going nuts figuring all this stuff out And i’m like lord god, how many calls a week?
Do you get she’s about 10 I’m like, well, automating your thing is not your problem. You’re, you’re doing that because that’s a problem you want to have. Your problem is you need to get 10 calls a day. Because then you can pick the ones that you want. So let’s solve the real problem and not the imaginary problem.
But what I found is the real problems are often more vexing. They involve more personal [00:57:00] commitment to finding the solution. They involve going out into things that you’re not comfortable with. As lawyers, we like to play around with stuff on the computer. We like to deal with the theoretical. We like to deal with things that we think can be solved in the never ever land.
And that’s what I see and that’s what I think lawyers get caught up in. They get caught up in automation. That was a big one. We want to automate everything. Well, maybe you don’t need to. When I was, I sold, I exported wood from South America to India too. That was one point. And I wanted to pay for a self loading truck.
in India to remove all the trees from the containers and they wouldn’t let me. And I said, why? And they said, because what are all the people going to do? And I realized. Same thing with law. I mean, yeah, I can automate stuff. I can come up with, or I can pay somebody to do it. I can pay an employee.
Employees are the number one source of passive income in the world. I don’t care what anybody tells you. So, why spend all this time trying to figure out how to automate this thing and all this money, if that’s not a real problem for me, when I can go hire another lawyer, or I can [00:58:00] hire somebody to do that job.
Then I can have them do it. And it makes it easier. And again, at the end of the day, when you’re solving all the real problems, not the imaginary problems, you’re growing your practice exponentially in what it can accomplish. And you’ve created a network of people that are supporting that practice, such that the bank, when they look at it, goes, this is an operation.
This isn’t some little guy doing divorces out of a room in somewhere. So that’s, those are the two things I think that will move the needle in your practice the most and also get it ready to be sold at one day.
Jonathan Hawkins: Well, Patrick, you’ve given us a lot of good stuff today. I think your story. Is illuminating and will is an example that a lot of people will say could not be done. Well, you did it. So I appreciate you coming on today. So you mentioned your website one more time. Why don’t you tell people how they can get in touch with you?
If they want to find
Patrick Slaughter: Www. ownyourownlawfirm. com. There’s a link. You can sign up for the, the web, the [00:59:00] newsletter that I send out. There’s also going to be a link to the book, the book process where you can check out the book you want. I want to be given some of them away. I’m giving away some free chapters. I, I’m not really worried about making as much money at this as I am.
Just, I have this goal. I’m not really worried about making as much money at this as I am. Just, I have this goal that I want to help. Five people in every state start their own practice and succeed. A whole lot of people and I’d have fun doing it. So I’m going to be doing more of that. I just, just check out the, the site, stay familiar with it.
Cause there’s a lot of other stuff. I’m going to do a free course for people who are getting started. Some other things, but it’s down the road. It’s still a work in progress.
Jonathan Hawkins: well, I’m going to buy the book and I recommend everybody else buy that book. So.
Patrick Slaughter: I almost said you go,
you didn’t go worry about it
Jonathan Hawkins: it again. Thank you for coming on today.
Patrick Slaughter: Oh, you’re welcome. It’s a joy being here. Take care.