Future-Proofing Your Law Firm: Q&A with Attorney Chad Dudley

What does it take to double, triple…quadruple the size of a law firm? According to Chad Dudley of Dudley DeBosier, it requires having a growth mindset, trying new things, and always prioritizing the client experience.

Dudley joined Dudley DeBosier in 2007 as Chief Operating Officer. Within 10 years the firm grew from 30 employees to nearly 200. But despite that success, they aren’t resting on their laurels. Dudley continues to look ahead and find new ways for his firm to stay relevant amid rapid technological changes.

We spoke with the LitiQuestX NOLA speaker about the changes law firms need to make to be successful today and long into the future.

Litify: Dudley DeBosier has grown at an impressive rate—the firm now boasts nearly 200 employees. What advice do you have for law firms that want to scale, but their growth seems to have plateaued?

Dudley: Have a plan. Strategic planning matters. It makes a difference, but you must do it right.

There are very few firms that I have come across that can successfully do strategic planning without an outside facilitator. Bring someone in that knows what they are doing and knows the industry, and get them to challenge you to keep growing.

Litify: In your role as CEO of cj Advertising, you help personal injury law firms create and execute marketing strategies to grow their firms. What is one area of marketing that you see personal injury law firms repeatedly struggle with?

Dudley: Client service. I think it is a key part of your marketing plan and it often gets overlooked.

You can drive more people to the restaurant, but if the food is not good, your business will suffer. Firms often fail to consider that part of their marketing plan, and do not spend enough time, effort, and energy on it.

Litify: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge the legal industry will face in the future?

Dudley: I think that plaintiff personal injury firms will face increased competition. It is getting easier and easier to compete with established brands in new and creative ways that are not economically prohibitive. Firms that do not stay up to speed from a marketing standpoint and an operations standpoint are going to get left behind.

Litify: What changes have you made at Dudley DeBosier to future-proof your firm?

Dudley: We aren’t complacent. Just because something works today doesn’t mean it is going to work tomorrow.

We have had a lot of success, but we have a mentality of always learning and never thinking that we have it all figured out. I think that is the only way you have a chance to adapt to the changes coming to our industry.

Litify: Outside the specific practice of law, which skills do you think lawyers need to develop to be successful now and in the future?

Dudley: I’m going to go back to client service. It matters. Building relationships, building trust, taking the time to show that you care, being responsive…those things will never go out of style. The firms that have a culture of practicing these things have been successful in the past and will continue to be successful in the future.

Litify: In what ways do you think technology has changed law for the better?

Dudley: It has made it easier to communicate with clients, to answer questions, to speed up the process without losing quality. I also think that it has allowed law firms to simply run better and more efficiently. That is a good thing for lawyers and a good thing for clients.

Want to hear more of Chad Dudley’s insights on how to future-proof your law firm? Register for LitiQuestX New Orleans, the one-day-only legal tech conference happening Thursday, September 26.

Trial Lawyers Summit – Recap

The National Trial Lawyers Summit was jam packed with informative and exciting sessions, celebrity guests and filled to capacity with the top trial lawyers across the country. The electric atmosphere rolled right into the night with luxurious after parties and incredible entertainment.

The NTLS was an event that attorneys will be talking about throughout the year. Although it was a packed house, there were still so many that couldn’t make it. If you couldn’t make it, here are some highlights to keep you in the loop.

1. Nick Saban is a Legend!

Alabama Football coach, Nick Saban, was the keynote speaker at the Summit. Everyone that was attending the conference came to see Coach Saban. His stories of the need to pivot and make adjustments in a game in order to win really resonated with the attorneys. The need to adapt and change with the industry is key to staying successful and growing your business. How are firms seeing success on this front? Data, data and more data! Access to your firm’s data is key to understanding your business, transparency in your firm and knowing when strategic pivots need to be made.

“What separates mediocre teams from the highest performing ones: “The MINDSET of the people in your organization” – Nick Saban

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. The Achievements

The NTLA honored the top trial teams and lawyers of the year, and inducted its class of 2019 Hall of Fame members.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hall of Fame Inductees

  • James F. Boccardo
  • Francis Hare, Sr.
  • Myron Beldock

Mass Tort Trial Team of the Year

  • Brent Wisner
  • David Dickens
  • Mark Burton

Products Liability Trial Team of the Year

  • Frank Branson
  • Chip Brooker
  • Debbie Branson
  • Eric Stahl

Class Action Trial Lawyer of the Year

  • Bob Clifford

Medical Malpractice trial Lawyers of the Year

  • Brian McKeen
  • Kennan Dander

Trucking Trial Lawyer of the Year

  • Brent Goudarzi

Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer of the Year

  • Benjamin Brafman

Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyer of the Year

  • Mark Lanier

Congratulations to all of these incredible attorneys on their achievements!

3. Evander Holyfield Making an Appearance!

The champ was at the Summit! Holyfield was immediately mobbed by everyone wanting to take pictures with him. Holyfield was always known as being one of the undersized heavyweight champions and showed grit and a lot of heart in some of his biggest wins! There is much that we can learn from him. Finding the right people and leveraging progressive and innovative systems to streamline operations and boost efficiency at your firm can give even the small firms the tools they need to compete with the heavy hitters in our own industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. The Parties! The Parties!

Conference attendees had plenty of options when it came to after-hours entertainment. The NTLA hosted their own party with a luxurious dinner and an exclusive live performance from America! The Surfcomber, the SLS and the Versace Mansion all hosted parties as well. Fine dining, hand-rolled cigars, rooftop cabanas, pools and drinks. The amazing day at the conference led to a night of networking, fun and entertainment.

                                  

 

 

 

 

3 Ways Lawyers Can Build Their Skills and Networks at the 2019 AAJ Winter Convention

We’re lucky enough to be in the Miami area twice this winter for two important legal conferences: once for the Trial Lawyers Summit and again for the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Winter Convention. But we’re going south for more than just fun in the sun.

In an earlier post, we suggested ways that lawyers can maximize their time at the Trial Lawyers Summit. Those tips also apply for those attending the AAJ Winter Convention, but to get you started, we’re going to highlight a few of our favorite events that are off the beaten path from the usual continuing legal education (CLE) offerings.

1. Work on becoming more mindful.

The AAJ offers a year’s worth of CLE credit in just four days. With so many sessions, your brain might start to feel as if it’s on overload.

One session to keep in “mind” to combat that overload is less about the practice of law and more about living mindfully. The first session on Tuesday morning addresses ways to improve your life and legal practice through mindfulness and intentional living. The legal industry is increasingly focused on this trend, given the stress of legal practice and the its effects on productivity, health, and overall well-being.

2. Take advantage of ready-made networking opportunities.

Many of us view networking as artificial or contrived; the key to successful networking is to participate in activities where you can feel comfortable talking with new people. Fortunately, there’s no place like a legal conference to make connections with other lawyers!

For example there is the  AAJ 2019 Winter Convention Kickoff Party – at the Delano Hotel South Beach.

The AAJ builds in a number of opportunities to chat with your fellow attorneys. If you’re new to the AAJ or the Winter Convention, we recommend trying Saturday’s mixer for first-time attendees and new members. You already have something in common—your newness—so why not plunge into the abyss together?

For the introverts in the crowd, review the list of AAJ presenters and see whether there is anyone you’d like to meet. Look those people up on LinkedIn and send an introductory message, saying that you’ll be attending their session and are looking forward to their remarks and to chatting with them. Attendees often fear that no one will be interested in or attend their session; this introduction will help allay their fears while giving you an easy way to approach them at the meeting.

3. Give back to the community.

More and more, conferences are recognizing their potential to provide service to the communities where their events are held. This year, the AAJ is supporting His House Children’s Home, a nonprofit that provides residential care for at-risk children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

In addition to helping others, this service mission will provide a terrific informal opportunity to network with other AAJ members. To learn more about volunteering, visit the AAJ’s community service page.

You’ll deserve to let loose after a day full of learning, networking, and community service, and we’ve got the ideal option for you. Together with Bernheim Dolinsky and Esquire, we’re hosting a party at the Delano Hotel. This invitation only event is designed to facilitate networking in one of the hottest locations in South Beach.  This invitation only event is limited to only 200 people.  To attend this event sign up here.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Miami Beach!

The Essential Guide to the AAJ Convention

We’re lucky enough to be in the Miami area twice this winter for two important legal conferences: once for the Trial Lawyers Summit and again for the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Winter Convention. But we’re going south for more than just fun in the sun.

In an earlier post, we suggested ways that lawyers can maximize their time at the Trial Lawyers Summit. Those tips also apply for those attending the AAJ Winter Convention, but to get you started, we’re going to highlight a few of our favorite events that are off the beaten path from the usual continuing legal education (CLE) offerings.

1. Work on becoming more mindful.

The AAJ offers a year’s worth of CLE credit in just four days. With so many sessions, your brain might start to feel as if it’s on overload.

One session to keep in “mind” to combat that overload is less about the practice of law and more about living mindfully. The first session on Tuesday morning addresses ways to improve your life and legal practice through mindfulness and intentional living. The legal industry is increasingly focused on this trend, given the stress of legal practice and the its effects on productivity, health, and overall well-being.

2.  Take advantage of ready-made networking opportunities.

Many of us view networking as artificial or contrived; the key to successful networking is to participate in activities where you can feel comfortable talking with new people. Fortunately, there’s no place like a legal conference to make connections with other lawyers!

The AAJ builds in a number of opportunities to chat with your fellow attorneys. If you’re new to the AAJ or the Winter Convention, we recommend trying Saturday’s mixer for first-time attendees and new members. You already have something in common—your newness—so why not plunge into the abyss together?

For the introverts in the crowd, review the list of AAJ presenters and see whether there is anyone you’d like to meet. Look those people up on LinkedIn and send an introductory message, saying that you’ll be attending their session and are looking forward to their remarks and to chatting with them. Attendees often fear that no one will be interested in or attend their session; this introduction will help allay their fears while giving you an easy way to approach them at the meeting.

3. Give back to the community.

More and more, conferences are recognizing their potential to provide service to the communities where their events are held. This year, the AAJ is supporting His House Children’s Home, a nonprofit that provides residential care for at-risk children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

In addition to helping others, this service mission will provide a terrific informal opportunity to network with other AAJ members. To learn more about volunteering, visit the AAJ’s community service page.

You’ll deserve to let loose after a day full of learning, networking, and community service, and we’ve got the ideal option for you. Together with Bernheim Dolinsky and Esquire, we’re hosting a party at the Delano Hotel. [add more details about party here]. To join us at this free event, please sign up here.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Miami Beach!

Why You Should Attend the Colorado Trial Lawyers Blockbuster

80It’s almost here: Blockbuster, one of the year’s most popular legal seminars in Colorado, will start on Thursday, January 24, in Denver. The ensuing two days pack a punch: they’re stuffed to the gills with educational sessions plus endless networking opportunities. By attending, you’ll prime yourself to kick-start the new year with a ton of inspiration.

But, in a schedule that’s back-to-back with exciting Continuing Legal Education (CLE) offerings, one session stands out, and it’s first up on Thursday’s agenda: Intake—Checklists and Specific Questions.

Why are we so excited about this session? Because client intake remains a huge missed opportunity for many law firms.

Some law firms are still using error-prone manual processes to handle their client intake: an admin or paralegal jots down a caller’s information on a sticky note—a slip of paper that all too often gets lost in the shuffle. Other firms have at least joined us in this century by using case management software, but often these tools are outdated or not suited to busy law practices, with limited data storage, reporting, and collaboration tools.

There is a better way—and it’s one that simplifies the intake process, so your law firm can maximize both the number of leads you generate and the number of leads that you convert into clients. We’re talking about Litify Intakes, an intelligent app that includes dynamic questionnaires that help you gather the key information your attorneys need and sets qualification criteria that will allow you to sign up high-quality leads faster, without letting anyone fall through the cracks. Once you convert a lead into a client with Litify, you can track your stored interaction history as well as upcoming important events. You can even schedule and make client phone calls directly from the intuitive Litify platform.

While you’re in Denver, we’d love to bend your ear about how our intake app can help you screen and sign prospective clients more efficiently, improve your communication with existing clients, and streamline your matter management and workflows.

Of course, conferences aren’t just for learning—they’re also for meeting new contacts and reinforcing your existing connections. And what better way to learn about people than by learning what they know about ridiculous trivia? Please join us for a trivia night, complete with complimentary appetizers and spirits, on Wednesday, January 23, at AccuMed Trivia Night.

5 Questions to Help You Get the Most Out of the Trial Lawyers Summit

In less than two weeks, we’ll head south to join the nation’s top civil plaintiffs’ and criminal defense attorneys at the Trial Lawyers Summit, held this year in Miami Beach from January 20 to 23.

Between the plethora of educational sessions, vendor exhibits and social gatherings, the Summit can be overwhelming for first-time attendees. But, if you take the time to prepare a strategy, you’ll be able to make the most of this unforgettable event.

By answering the following five questions, you will be able to take advantage of everything the Summit has to offer.

1. What do you want to learn?

This is the most important question to ask yourself, as it dictates which sessions you’ll attend. Given Litify’s business focus, we’re especially excited about Tuesday’s sessions on client intake and conversion. Drill down on your key goal for attending the summit, and arrange your schedule to help you achieve it.

2. What problems does your firm need to troubleshoot?

Are any of your current vendors attending the show? If so, this is the perfect time to talk to them about your needs for customization or problems you’d like resolved. At the Summit, you’ll have easy access to vendor representatives who will be delighted to problem-solve with you. If not, you may still find yourself networking with others who have encountered—or overcome—similar problems. Organize your thoughts ahead of time so you can get the most from these interactions.

3. What are your firm’s technology or support needs?

Talk with your colleagues and staff to assess your current roster of tools and evaluate whether there are any gaps you’d like to fill. Before you arrive in Miami, do a bit of research on the attending sponsors to see whether any of them have services you’d like to explore. By studying the vendors’ products and solutions in advance, you’ll have more productive discussions. Don’t forget to collect business cards and sales collateral (and swag!) so you can continue the conversations later.

4. Who do you want to meet?

Don’t get so caught up in sessions and conversations with vendors that you skip networking. You’ll have many opportunities to interact with your peers; make time to chat with these new contacts over coffee or drinks, a meal, or before and after sessions. Your fellow attendees are a potential gold mine of information about best practices, tools, and techniques. Chances are, they’ve dealt with challenges similar to yours. Don’t forget to bring extra business cards with you to exchange.

5. How will you record what you learn?

With so much information coming at you in such a short time, it’s essential that you take notes that will be decipherable later on. Plan ahead and bring a notebook or a tablet, or consider using your phone’s voice memo or an app like Evernote to record information you’d like to remember. Calendar some time shortly after your return to reflect on what you learned and who you met, share your learning with the rest of your team, and create a to-do list so you’ll be sure to follow up on tasks and conversations.

While you’re in Miami, please join us, along with Esquire Bank and Shea Barclay Group, for a happy hour on Monday, January 21 from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. We’ll be in the South Cabana at the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel, located just one block from the Summit. We’ll have complimentary food, drinks and cigars, and we’d love to meet you. Please visit our invitation to register.

We look forward to seeing you at the Summit and our happy hour!