In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Eric Gros-Dubois discuss:
- Eric’s motivations for starting his law firm (and what held him back from taking the first step).
- Surround yourself with those who are better than you.
- Working to the highest and best use of your time.
- Creatively hiring to suit your law firm’s needs.
- You can delegate a task, but you cannot delegate the responsibility. As a manager or a leader, you cannot pass the blame if something goes wrong.
- Believe you are successful, and act like it, even if you aren’t there yet. You will be putting yourself in a position to be successful, not a position of failure.
- Effective marketing and networking is more financially beneficial to your law firm than if you were billing hours. You can hire and delegate the work to another associate, but nobody knows your firm better than you.
“It is very important to me that I track every single referral I receive because the people who are sending me those referrals, those are the people I need to give love to.” — Eric Gros-Dubois
Thank you to our Sponsors!
Get Visible: https://www.getvisible.com/
- Book: How to Build Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie – https://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671027034
About Eric Gros-Dubois: Medium-sized law firm founder and owner in Miami, Florida, focusing on business law, and mentoring young attorneys.
Connect with Eric Gros-Dubois:
Connect with Steve Fretzin:
LinkedIn: Steve Fretzin
Facebook: Fretzin, Inc.
YouTube: Steve Fretzin
Call Steve directly at 847-602-6911
Show notes by Podcastologist Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie
Audio production by Turnkey Podcast Productions. You’re the expert. Your podcast will prove it.
[00:00:00] Eric Gros-Dubois: It is farming, not hunting, right? Hunters go out there with their bow and arrow and they hope they get lucky and come across a deer or an elephant or a squirrel. The farmer is out there in his field. He’s picking the weeds. He’s tending the, the vines. And I’m, I’m banking on the harvest is gonna come and I’m, I know I’m gonna feed my family cause I’m a farmer.
[00:00:26] Narrator: You are 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 Freson.
[00:00:48] Steve Fretzin: Hey everybody. Welcome to be that lawyer. I am Steve Fretzin. So happy that you’re with us today. Um, as you guys all know, this is a show to help you, the lawyer, figure out all the ins and outs of being successful in your career and actually enjoying yourself. Actually having some private, you know, um, family time, having, you know, kind of that balance.
[00:01:07] Steve Fretzin: They say you can’t have. We, we, we, we differ. We, we want you to have that balance. It doesn’t mean you can’t work hard or shouldn’t work hard, but, uh, I think we all need to take vacations and we all need to, you know, have a moment of, of relaxation and, and breathing and all that. So if you guys are hearing about Freson for the first time, uh, what I do is I work with attorneys every single day to help them learn all the stuff they never learn in law school.
[00:01:30] Steve Fretzin: And you know what I’m talking about? Business development, marketing management. Really with the focus of growth. And, uh, we do this in two ways. And one way we take people identify that their gaps exist in, in how they’re developing business day after day, and work with them in a very structured program involving classes and one-on-ones to basically help an attorney internalize how to do business development with method and process and planning and structure versus the old adage of just winging it.
[00:01:58] Steve Fretzin: And the other thing we do is we currently run five rainmaker round table programs. These are for already high functioning attorneys that are crushing it, but they wanna get into a confidential environment with other successful lawyers to talk shop, and I absolutely love facilitating those groups. If any of those sound interesting to you, please don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have that conversation and take 30 minutes to get to know each other.
[00:02:23] Steve Fretzin: Always happy to do that. Well on the show, everybody, we’ve got a lot to cover. Eric is waiting in the wings writing something down. What are you writing, Eric? Your email address. Oh, okay. Well there you, well you have my email address. We’ve been
[00:02:38] Eric Gros-Dubois: point, I want to, I wanna talk more, uh, offline about the rated acre.
[00:02:42] Steve Fretzin: Oh, okay. Yeah. Well, all right. So, so that worked very well. Uh, but, uh, for everyone else, other than Eric, yes, please reach out to me if you’re already killing it as an attorney and you want to keep killing it. Love to have, have that conversation. Eric, you are the man, you are the master of Down in Miami. We are gonna get into your background and everything about how, how to, how to start an a successful law firm and build it.
[00:03:04] Steve Fretzin: And before we do that though, we have a quote of the show as we always do, and that is the buck stops here. And, uh, before you tell me about that, I wanna, Harry Truman was someone I did a speech on when I was in high school and he said I’d rather build a house than break a window. There’s another Harry Truman quote that most people don’t know, and of course he dropped the bomb.
[00:03:27] Steve Fretzin: So I don’t know if that, uh, maybe broke a few windows. So I don’t know how that, how that fits into this famous quote, but yours is the buck stops here. Tell me why that was your quote of the show.
[00:03:36] Eric Gros-Dubois: Well, for one thing, it’s written on a plaque behind my desk, which was a gift from my father-in-law. But I think it’s an important management philosophy that I will never throw anyone under the bus.
[00:03:48] Eric Gros-Dubois: So I’m very much about delegating and I always tell people, you can always delegate a task, but you can nev never delegate responsibility. So an easy example in my current life is, let’s say a client is upset about something and let’s, let’s just tell a story where maybe my associate really messed something up.
[00:04:06] Eric Gros-Dubois: I will never blame the associate. I will never make it their fault. It was my fault. And maybe, and, and by the way, it was, it was a failure of leadership, a failure of management. Maybe it was a failure of recruiting and training. And so I always take full responsibility. Now, I’ll turn the other direction when I’m done speaking to the client and I’ll have a separate conversation with the associate.
[00:04:29] Eric Gros-Dubois: And you know, most of the time the first conversation is, what can we learn? What can we make sure that this never happens again? And then if it’s. A similar conversation we’ve had in the past, and maybe it goes a different direction, but no, the Bob stops here and I, I know my partner Oscar believes the same thing.
[00:04:44] Eric Gros-Dubois: We’re, we’re very proud of what we built. And mostly that has relied on building a team. And I think part of being a, a good leader is always to take responsibility. Yeah. And
[00:04:55] Steve Fretzin: the other saying around that is, you know, when you’re pointing the finger at someone else, there’s at least three pointing back at you.
[00:05:01] Steve Fretzin: And so people are now doing that with their hand to see if I’m right. I am. So that’s another one we can share. But I think, I think that’s a really important part of, of just being in business and, and, and it’s easy to make excuses and I had this come up and that come up and this and that and the other, and I think people are just tired of it.
[00:05:18] Steve Fretzin: So, you know, when someone takes ownership of a problem and takes ownership of, of something, I think people respect that it’s not, you know, they’re not gonna, you know, be maybe angry as long or be resentful.
[00:05:29] Eric Gros-Dubois: And even for practitioners, I, I have a, I have a, I had a situation once where I, back when I was practicing law, where I completely messed something up and I was going to court the next day and I was pretty sure the judge was going to either rip my head off or worse.
[00:05:44] Eric Gros-Dubois: And so what did I do? I immediately took full responsibility and the judge said, oh, that’s it. Okay. Pine onto the next business. And you know, I lost so much sleep the night before, but take responsibility. I think the judge respected it. And again, I maybe I, I’m, I was making a mountain out of a molehill.
[00:06:02] Steve Fretzin: Oh, there you go.
[00:06:03] Steve Fretzin: There you go. Well, listen, Eric Gro Dubois is the founder of E P G D Business Law. He’s our guest today. Uh, really talking about, um, how to build a law practice. I think, you know, uh, did you start as a solo, by the way? Yes. Okay. Okay. So we’re, you know, there are a lot of solos that like this show and listen to this show, and I think many of them are interested in what’s the, what’s the path and what’s the progress.
[00:06:27] Steve Fretzin: But before we go there, talk about your background. You know, working into getting into your solo, is that something that happened overnight or is that something you worked in, in, in, in a law firm for a while before you, you decided that it was, it was gonna be your own show?
[00:06:41] Eric Gros-Dubois: Sure. So I was very fortunate in my first job I had a very generous boss who was, uh, very nurturing and really took me under his wing, and he still a friend and a mentor, and I made the decision of moving on to greener pastures, as they say.
[00:06:56] Eric Gros-Dubois: And his famous last words to me were, well, Eric, don’t forget better the devil, you know? And I said, Jeff, what do you mean? He goes, you’ll figure it out. I said, and better the devil, you know than the devil you don’t. So right. Work environment was, let’s just say, very challenging to a point where I actively started looking to move on in short order, and I’ll never forget I was with a recruiter.
[00:07:19] Eric Gros-Dubois: Now this is for those of you have been practicing long enough, this was on the tail end of the great recession. And the recruiter said to me, well, you should be lucky you have a job. And no, I can’t get you anything better, and you should learn how to suck it up. Well, my professional career goals were not to learn how to suck it up.
[00:07:36] Eric Gros-Dubois: And I, I didn’t think that was a nice way to live my life. So I had a, another friend who had his own firm already, and he was, uh, generous enough to gimme the push. He, he said, Eric, he said, Eric, I’ll rent you a desk in my office. I’ll teach you what I know. And you know the, I guess. That’s how it got started.
[00:07:55] Eric Gros-Dubois: So yeah, the, the process from the decision make moment to opening the doors was about three months. Um, it was three months from when I had the, the light bulb go off that said, Hey, I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna open my own firm. And then the three months of, and, and truthfully, I was just telling someone this, it was three months of procrastination.
[00:08:16] Eric Gros-Dubois: It was three months of dragging my feet, three months of making excuses, three months of I guess collecting a steady paycheck. And I had a job that I didn’t like. Until I finally, you know, and then basically it was three months of lost time until I finally, you know, was out there on my own. No one was gonna make it, uh uh, you know, I was the only one I could count on.
[00:08:35] Eric Gros-Dubois: Yeah. So
[00:08:37] Steve Fretzin: that’s how it started. And did you have, just outta curiosity, did you have any sort of business development, marketing background in, in jumping into your own gig? Or was that, it was that, that was just a whole new, that was a whole new thing for you. Whole new
[00:08:49] Eric Gros-Dubois: thing. And I’ll tell you, one of the greatest ironies in the world.
[00:08:52] Eric Gros-Dubois: One of the straws that broke the camel’s back at the last job was he told me I had to start networking and I put back really hard and I was so angry and re resentful that he was gonna make me go network. And then once I went out on my own, I realized, I was like, wait, that’s all I have
[00:09:07] Steve Fretzin: to thought I did.
[00:09:09] Steve Fretzin: That’s so great. Yeah. You have, you have no, you have no work. Go out and do something. Go out and, and, and shake the bushes. Yeah. That’s up. Wow, man. That’s crazy. But that’s, that’s the thing about, you know, A lot of what I’m talking about with, you know, lawyers now learning, you know, business development and marketing in law school.
[00:09:25] Steve Fretzin: And I get that. I mean, I think they’re slowly turning the corner and, you know, I know there’s a, a group in Ohio State law that’s, you know, using my book and they’re, you know, they’re practice management classes that are starting to teach this kind of stuff. But, you know, they just want you to put your head down and work.
[00:09:39] Steve Fretzin: And then, by the way, if you wanna make equity or you wanna do anything, you know, real in this, in this place, you better. Go get some business and all right, well now what? Right? That’s, I hear that on a daily basis,
[00:09:51] Eric Gros-Dubois: and I’ll say this, if you’re trying to make partner or be invited into that club, and somehow you’ve gotta be a grinder and a rainmaker, right?
[00:10:00] Eric Gros-Dubois: And, and you gotta somehow figure out how to do both if you’re trying to do it within an existing organization, which the alternative of which I took was to start my own right. And so, Now here we are 10 years later.
[00:10:12] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. And then, so let’s talk about, you know, kind of year one. So now you’re in your own gig, you’re out, you know, networking and, and what were some of the things that you found were, were like barriers to success and barriers to like bringing in business or dealing with work or whatever that, that first year?
[00:10:31] Eric Gros-Dubois: I think that most lawyers always have, like even today, have a certain insecurity that they don’t know enough law. And so, you know, back then I was a six year attorney and I had to some out look people in the eye and act confident that I could solve their problems. So overcoming a lot of the insecurities and the imposter syndrome, I, I think that was very challenging.
[00:10:52] Eric Gros-Dubois: And, you know, I, I’ll, I’ll actually take it from an opposite perspective. I, I had seen other people start their own furs and it’s something that a lot of them did, which I thought was a big mistake. Was try to keep their expenses so low that they was like, oh, I’m not gonna rent an office. I’ll just work from home.
[00:11:10] Eric Gros-Dubois: And what I, what I, what my mindset was that if I’m at home in my workout clothes, I’m not gonna be ready to go. If somebody says, Hey, you want to go with me to something right now? And so I can imagine, you know, my, my best friend calling me and saying, Hey, we’re going to a J Judicial reception. Do you wanna come along?
[00:11:27] Eric Gros-Dubois: And I’m like, well, I just went for a jog. I haven’t taken a shower yet. You know, maybe next time. And that could be a missed opportunity. So, um, for me, I, I always thought it was really important to get out there and, and, and so I was putting on a suit and tie even when I didn’t
[00:11:43] Steve Fretzin: have any clients. But I think what it represents is you, you know, you’re gonna feel the way and act the way your surroundings and the people that you hang out with, you know, are so, and I’m, I know my teenager’s in the house, so I can’t say this too loudly, but like his room’s a pigsty.
[00:11:59] Steve Fretzin: And sometimes I think he feels like a pigsty because his room’s, and I said, if you clean your room, you might feel better about yourself, feel better about the day. And I think that’s where you’re getting is that you have to sort of almost, you know, kind of lie to yourself a little bit or believe in yourself until you actually have the success.
[00:12:15] Steve Fretzin: You have to believe you’re successful, even if you’re not. And play that rollout. Fake it till you make it. I think that’s the saying, right? And it’s not being a fake, I think what it’s doing is you’re putting yourself in a position to be successful versus, you know, putting yourself in a position to, to, to drag things out and, and maybe, you know, not be successful.
[00:12:34] Steve Fretzin: So that might have been some of what you were doing.
[00:12:37] Eric Gros-Dubois: I, I also believe very strongly in surrounding yourself with people that are better than you. And so that friend who gave me the offer to let me rent a desk in his office, He’s older, he’s wiser, he is smarter, he’s handsomer, you know, and, and he was willing to spend a few minutes with me passing on his wisdom.
[00:12:56] Eric Gros-Dubois: And, you know, I actually, I look forward to doing that in my career, in my life, and, and I take a lot of pride actually in mentoring
[00:13:03] Steve Fretzin: people. Well, Eric, if he’s better looking than you, he must be a male model too. That’s right.
[00:13:09] Eric Gros-Dubois: All right. He’ll have all his hair though, so.
[00:13:10] Steve Fretzin: Oh, okay. Okay. Well there’s that. And so, It sounds like, it sounds like you, you really had to put yourself in a good position.
[00:13:18] Steve Fretzin: The other thing I’d say is, and I’m telling all my clients to do this, even ones that that are in law firms, any ones that are, that have been in business for five years, is think about all the things you do in a day and don’t just write down, I say make a list of everything because you’re doing your bookkeeping, you’re doing, you’re keeping time, you’re sending out invoices, you’re doing all these things as a solo or even even things that you’re doing at a law firm.
[00:13:41] Steve Fretzin: And they’re not at your pay grade and they’re not the best uses of your time when you’re trying to make it rain. You’ve got, you know, you’ve got business development and marketing and you’ve got the work that you bring in and all the other stuff I find is generally a distraction. And it’s not that we can’t, we, we, sometimes we have to do it, but anything we can find to delegate.
[00:14:00] Steve Fretzin: Did you find that as well over the first year or the second year or something like that? No, from the beginning.
[00:14:06] Eric Gros-Dubois: Um, okay. A lot of people are shocked to hear that I hired my first employee after six weeks. Oh my God.
[00:14:12] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. That’s not, not us. That’s not usual thing to do.
[00:14:15] Eric Gros-Dubois: Part-time law student who wanted to come and was eager to help me write first drafts of whatever.
[00:14:20] Eric Gros-Dubois: I was able to sign up when we ran out of that work. She would say, Hey Eric, you got anything else for me? And I would say, yeah, let’s go do some marketing. And I would take her to networking events or she’d write blocks for my website. And so absolutely I am. Yeah. In fact, I’ll take it even a step further.
[00:14:37] Eric Gros-Dubois: I believe that the highest and best use of my time of anything that I do is marketing and sales. So in fact, if I am billing on a file, I think I’ve lost, I think it’s a failure because the way I look at it is one new client could be $25,000. My hourly rate’s $500 an hour. So if I, if I’m sitting at my desk rather than being at the networking event where I could meet that new client, you know, I’m missing out.
[00:15:03] Steve Fretzin: I mean, I don’t know, and I don’t know where I heard this statistic. It might have been on the show a few weeks ago, but someone mentioned, and I, I have to look this up, but like that you’re, you’re actually, you can make two and a half times what you bill if you’re marketing effectively. So, you know, I know that we, you know, $500 an hour is a great number and, and geez, that’s, that’s a lot of money an hour to make.
[00:15:24] Steve Fretzin: But if you can, if you can be effective at bringing in the business and hand that work off and make a profit on it, is that a better use of your time? If, if you’re willing to, to do that, if you’re willing to, you know, to, to bring other people in and, and delegate it? I,
[00:15:38] Eric Gros-Dubois: I’ve always believed that. And so for the first, I’d say six years, All of our business was word of mouth, which was just people we meet and, and, and, and I’ll, I’ll say something about that for a second.
[00:15:51] Eric Gros-Dubois: I actually, um, I’m all about systems and procedures. I actually created a networking system and so it was basically for every 10 hours that I would go networking. When I say that, so let’s say I spend one hour at a networking event and I meet four people, then I would spend four hours, one with each one at a coffee or a breakfast or a lunch or whenever.
[00:16:13] Eric Gros-Dubois: And so if I go to three networking events, that’s three hours and then meet four people and and so on and so forth. And so my math was for every 10 collective hours of networking, I would get three leads, which would lead to three hours of consultations, and I’d sign up one new client. And so I, I just, I put that in my mind and I would do, I, I extrapolated from that.
[00:16:35] Eric Gros-Dubois: I did 30 hours a week of networking. Nine or so hours a week of sales and then sign up three new clients a week.
[00:16:44] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. And then what happens to the work that just, that’s delegated or does that Donald?
[00:16:48] Eric Gros-Dubois: Yes, and I started getting work and I was like, all right, time to get
[00:16:51] Steve Fretzin: an associate. Yep. Okay. Okay. Really makes sense.
[00:16:53] Steve Fretzin: Really makes sense. Okay, let’s take a quick break to talk about how Money Penny is changing the game. For lawyers who are losing business every day and may not even realize it, it’s impossible to provide amazing client service when you have phone, trees, voicemail, jail, or untrained staff handling your phones.
[00:17:11] Steve Fretzin: Every inbound call could be a new client to intake properly or an opportunity lost with money. Penny, it’s all been insured. The call will be handled exactly the way you want it every time. To take immediate action on this, write down this email and start your free trial. It’s s vj moneypenny.com. And just mention my name in the subject line
[00:17:32] Eric Gros-Dubois: lawyers.
[00:17:33] Eric Gros-Dubois: There’s an easy way to boost your law practice partner with, get Visible, the digital marketing agency that makes you stand out, meet Sarah, an awesome lawyer, but a terrible marketer. Get visible, helped her . Build a powerful website and boost her online visibility. Now she ranks high on Google gains clients through ads and engaging content, tired of filling insignificant.
[00:17:56] Eric Gros-Dubois: Make it
[00:17:56] Steve Fretzin: rain, visit get visible.com and stand out. And that’s a scary thing. I mean, it’s one thing to say, Hey, I’m gonna hire a part-time, you know, law, law clerk, or I’m gonna hire a bookkeeper. But talk through that first associate hire because I think that’s, that’s a. That’s a very scary thing for solos to, to do.
[00:18:15] Steve Fretzin: What, what kind of business do they have to have? What kind of mindset do they have to have and, and what, what’s the key to making that first, that first step? You know, you did it, you know, very
[00:18:25] Eric Gros-Dubois: quickly. Well, uh, so I did the first associate after about seven months. Okay. After about months was the actual time I actually had another, somebody else with a bar license.
[00:18:34] Eric Gros-Dubois: And, and by the way, it’s absolutely correct cuz when you go from one U to two, that’s a 100% increase. Like right now, we go from 21 to 22. That’s a 5% increase in Yeah, I don’t notice it. Yeah. Uh, and so, um, to go from basically a hundred percent increased my sec, my cheat code. The secret I found the part-time Willis when willing to per work part-time and point of fact, it was a burned out big law attorney who had quit the practice of law and became a CrossFit instructor.
[00:19:07] Eric Gros-Dubois: And then through a friend of a friend, she’s like, well, I’ll be willing to work 10 hours a week. I missed the law. She’s like, but I don’t wanna work in big law. I don’t wanna work in a firm, and I want to have the flexibility to go do my CrossFit whenever I want. And I said, that’s great. So that way I wasn’t going from one to two.
[00:19:23] Eric Gros-Dubois: I was going from one to 1.25, which
[00:19:26] Steve Fretzin: Ken, and you got free CrossFit training. She was the muscle for the office. Don’t
[00:19:32] Eric Gros-Dubois: mess with it by way. She eventually, so over time it went from 10 hours a week to, hey, can you do 20 to 30 to eventually full-time? And then it broke my heart. One day she told me that she was joining the F B I.
[00:19:44] Eric Gros-Dubois: Oh my God. She does bank robberies in la.
[00:19:47] Steve Fretzin: Wow. Okay. Well that was an interesting twist. I wasn’t expecting. So then, so then so, but, but, so if you had her at, at, at 10 or 20 or plus hours a week, and then were you in a position then to hire a full-time person within a, a period of time while she was still with you?
[00:20:05] Steve Fretzin: Well, she was the first full-time person. Oh, so she went to full-time. Oh, then, then when she left, is that when you brought in number two?
[00:20:11] Eric Gros-Dubois: No, I’m pretty sure I was already at two or three by
[00:20:14] Steve Fretzin: the time she left. Okay. Okay. And, but, all right, so, so, so I think it sounds like one way to bring an associate on is to find someone that maybe is, can be on contract or someone that can be part-time and ease on to it versus the full-blown 150 grand a year in benefits from day one.
[00:20:32] Eric Gros-Dubois: Absolutely. And, and so she was hourly, she was willing, at the time it was $50 an hour and I was billing her out at $250 an hour. Yeah. So as long as I can get clients to pay their bills, it was a great formula for me. Yeah. And then eventually what we did, make it to salary. And, and, you know, as a small firm, you don’t have to offer many benefits, although I, I did always believe that it was important to offer health insurance someday.
[00:20:55] Eric Gros-Dubois: We eventually included a 401k, but, um, a firm that I used to work for, He would always look for new moms, new moms who had the little ones running around the house and wanted to still be in the law, but didn’t wanna to commit to a full-time job.
[00:21:12] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. So it sounds like there’s, there’s some gaps in the, in the marketplace where you can find a new mom, you can find a retired C, you can find someone that isn’t, you know, just the stand, you know, the burned out, you know, the burned out big firm player, you know, whatever it might be.
[00:21:28] Steve Fretzin: That might be a good starting point versus, you know, again, just like hiring a recruiter, paying a top fee and starting from, you know, from a, from a high salary and benefits from day one. Although that is still an option for people. You know,
[00:21:40] Eric Gros-Dubois: I, I will say I went a, a very different way now, nowadays we’re doing recruiters with a fee.
[00:21:46] Eric Gros-Dubois: Yeah. But originally, in the beginning, other than this one lawyer, what we were doing was hiring, uh, law students while they were in law school. Which essentially becomes an interview process, right? Because they’re gonna work for me and I’ll get to know them, I’ll get to know their character, and then the ones I really like, I’ll offer them, Hey, next year when you graduate, would you like to come work for me as a first year attorney?
[00:22:09] Eric Gros-Dubois: Now, I’m a small firm, obviously, you know, we’re, we’re a startup and I’m gonna offer you 60. But I already know they’re good. So I’m not even taking a chance. I’m not like, like when you hire, even when you use a recruiter, when you hire someone at $150,000 a year, it’s still, I think 50 50 if it’s gonna work out.
[00:22:27] Eric Gros-Dubois: Yeah. And I’ve had a fair share of $150,000 a year associates who either didn’t know how to bill or weren’t the right fit for our type of practice. And, you know, I ended up losing, you know, put it bluntly, a lot of money. Uh, back in those days, that was my model. It was, it was, uh, using law clerks at a very, I think, $12 an hour back in the day, and then building them up, finding the good ones, and then growing my firm through smart first year associates.
[00:22:58] Steve Fretzin: And something I want to go back to, that’s so important that you mentioned Eric, is the importance of learning. Networking, learning, business development and understanding that that’s, that’s what butters the bread. That’s, you know, where the buck stops in a different way. And there are attorneys that are counting on the phone to ring counting on their website, to produce counting on things.
[00:23:20] Steve Fretzin: They’re not out building relationships. They don’t have a process or a method or model like you developed or that I’m providing on a daily basis. Whatev, I don’t care if people work with me, read my stuff, use YouTube, like just, just be a sponge. Is that, is that a critical element for someone to be successful in their, in their small practice?
[00:23:39] Eric Gros-Dubois: I think it comes down to the type of law. I know of some, I I, there’s a famous story down here in Miami of a guy who graduated from law school, might have been towards the bottom of his class, and his father said, I’m gonna give you, uh, uh, the last thing I’m ever gonna give, so I’m giving you $40,000. And don’t ever ask me for another dollar.
[00:23:58] Eric Gros-Dubois: And he just went out and he bought a billboard on the side of the major highway and he started a ticket, a traffic ticket law firm. And now he has 50 attorneys working for him, and he lives in the nicest neighborhood in town. You know, so there’s different paths. Yeah. Uh, for me, for my type of law, my best clients come from word of mouth, just because, for example, a business owner, that’s my type of client, business owner, is gonna talk to his accountant.
[00:24:24] Eric Gros-Dubois: And he’s gonna tell his account, oh, I’ve got this problem. The account’s gonna say, oh, I know this guy error. But you know, I met that accountant at a CPA dinner that I went to, uh, right. You know,
[00:24:35] Steve Fretzin: two years ago. Yeah. And I could have been more specific, or should have been more specific that for, you know, for b2b, for transactional and litigation, where it involves companies, it involves, you know, GCs and CEOs and folks like that.
[00:24:50] Steve Fretzin: It is, it’s mostly about relationships. I think there’s definitely a marketing element to it, but there’s But you’re not gonna do a pay per click add for meeting a GC with a major
[00:24:59] Eric Gros-Dubois: corporation. I think you’re absolutely right. And, and I think if I bought a billboard, it would be a complete waste of money.
[00:25:06] Eric Gros-Dubois: Right, right, right. And so I, I know that my, my resources are much better put. Now it is a, a big commitment cuz it takes time and it is a long-term commitment. So lemme say something about that. It is farming, not hunting. Right. Hunters go out there with their bow and arrow and they hope they get lucky and come across a deer or an elephant or a squirrel.
[00:25:26] Eric Gros-Dubois: The farmer is out there in his field, he’s picking the weeds, he’s tending the, the vines. And I’m, I’m banking on the harvest is gonna come and I, I know I’m gonna feed my family
[00:25:37] Steve Fretzin: I’m a farmer. Yeah. And I think, I think what we wanna look at doing is we wanna, you know, develop relationships and we wanna work, you know, work those networks.
[00:25:48] Steve Fretzin: And if, if, if I had my druthers about what a successful attorney should do, it would be that. And then on the other side of it is the marketing side, the social media, the newsletter, the things that are gonna support the business development efforts. So that you’re hitting people on both sides and, and then that, that’s when I tend to see most of the success for the lawyers I work with is when they’re doing both, maybe not equally well, but, but they’re, they’re definitely engaging in both.
[00:26:14] Eric Gros-Dubois: I think having a system like, like I mentioned that you brought up is very important. So for example, it is very important to me that I track every single referral I receive. Right. Because the people who are sending me those referrals, those are the people I need to, to give love to and to show my appreciation for lawyers.
[00:26:32] Eric Gros-Dubois: We we’re allowed to pay referral fees to other lawyers. Um, for non-lawyers, I like to send them gifts and presents. I like to remember their birthdays. I like to check my, my, my list and I, and I’ll say, oh, I haven’t talked to that guy in six months. Um, and so I actually have a day set aside once a quarter where once a quarter I go through that list and reach out to all the people I haven’t talked to that quarter.
[00:26:52] Eric Gros-Dubois: Yeah.
[00:26:53] Steve Fretzin: Anything, uh, anything you regret about going out on your own and building the business that you’ve had? I mean, anything that, that, you know, you would change? No. Uh, normally I normally ask open-ended questions, so that was kind of a doozy. But, um, let me ask you this, let me ask it a different way. What do you wish you knew then that you know now, so you can go back in time and change something?
[00:27:16] Steve Fretzin: What would that be? I wish I had
[00:27:18] Eric Gros-Dubois: implemented a CRM from Data One. Okay, so I didn’t start actually, I, I just mentioned how important it is for me to keep track of my referrals. I didn’t start until 2019. Mm. I had lost 16, 17, 18, 6, no, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. They’re all lost. It’s just data that’s lost. So I wish I had started from day one, which by, by the way, it’s a commitment.
[00:27:44] Eric Gros-Dubois: It requires data entry. It requires you, you know, your friend texts, you, Hey, I’ve got a referral for you. Then you’ve gotta go to your system and you’ve gotta enter it and make sure that you’re consistent and make sure you’re diligent. But if I had, if I had a time machine, I would go back and tell Eric and say, Eric, start from 2013.
[00:28:01] Eric Gros-Dubois: And even back then, if I just had a
[00:28:02] Steve Fretzin: spreadsheet, Yeah, I, I’m, I’m a big fan of spreadsheets for people that aren’t interested in another software. You know, if it, like, for example, I use Matics, so like I’m using the marketing of Matics and I’m using the CRM of Matics and it’s helping me with follow ups.
[00:28:18] Steve Fretzin: And you got plenty of like contact before our, our meeting today, right? Uh, maybe, maybe four emails. Yeah. So four emails. Hey, it’s a week to go, it’s a day to go, whatever. And then there’s gonna be more that you’re gonna get when. This show starts to go live and now I’m letting you know, Hey, we need to market this together and get a, our video out on social media and all that.
[00:28:40] Steve Fretzin: So the follow up that you’re talking about that can exist with a C R M generally doesn’t happen when it’s just ad hoc. It’s just, it’s very difficult to do it that way.
[00:28:50] Eric Gros-Dubois: I, I will say that, that’s my, my first thing. I wish I could go back in time. My second thing, I had brought on a partner about halfway through.
[00:28:59] Eric Gros-Dubois: Truthfully, I wish I had done that earlier. And partner and I, it’s very, very interesting. He’s the guy that’s in the firm. He’s the guy managing all the cases. He’s the guy managing the firm and which frees me up completely to go out and continue to do the business, the bell. And so we’re like a yin and a gang.
[00:29:16] Eric Gros-Dubois: I, uh, and I, I see a lot of solos where it’s so hard to do both, right? Like how, how are you supposed to be out at every networking event and preparing for the hearings tomorrow? You know that
[00:29:27] Steve Fretzin: that’s really hard. Yeah. And I would caution people on partnerships. With the saying, there’s no ship that sinks quite like a partnership.
[00:29:34] Steve Fretzin: Uh, only, only in in joking about that because really be careful, really be, um, you know, spend time with someone, maybe work with them for a few years, get to know their family, get to know their values, get to know how they’re gonna handle stress. Right. And if you find the right person, it could be a dream come true like Eric has.
[00:29:52] Steve Fretzin: And uh, and there’s a lot of people where they don’t take the time to do that. They jump in a knee-jerk thing because it looks op like an opportunity and then they end up regretting it. So that’s all I’m gonna say about that Eric. But sounds like you found a match made in heaven. Well, I’ll
[00:30:06] Eric Gros-Dubois: say it’s just like getting married.
[00:30:08] Eric Gros-Dubois: So it’s usually not gonna work out if you marry someone you just met. Yeah. You know, once in a while it works out, but it really is someone you know that it’s a relationship. Built on trust and respect and you gotta pick your battles too. So. Yeah.
[00:30:21] Steve Fretzin: Right on. Right on. Listen, I, uh, I wanna wrap things up and I again, just so appreciate you being on the show and sharing your wisdom.
[00:30:28] Steve Fretzin: I know there’s a lot of people listening that either wanna go out on their own or have gone out on their own. Just are curious about people that go out on their own and, and you’re given a lot of insights. You’re game changing book is how to make friends and influence people. And I think we may have had that book mentioned on the show a few times.
[00:30:43] Steve Fretzin: It’s a very. Old yet, or book in the, you know, marketing, business development, networking games. So talk to me about that and why you submitted that as your, as your kind of, your, your go-to.
[00:30:55] Eric Gros-Dubois: So, first of all, it’s an easy audio book. So I actually did it on a road trip, uh, okay. We were on a road trip. I was like, Hey, let’s listen to something.
[00:31:02] Eric Gros-Dubois: Why don’t, why don’t we listen to something good? So, And you’re right, it’s an old book. I can imagine like door to door salesman with like a briefcase, you know, and a hat. But it, all of the fundamental lessons it teaches are still true. And if you’re trying to build a business by word of mouth, I don’t think there’s a better book that you could at least start with breeding.
[00:31:23] Steve Fretzin: I mean, there’s only one that I’ve heard about that’s better. It’s called legal business development isn’t rocket science, and that’s available on Amazon. So that, I mean, that’s the, other than, than the one you mentioned. That’s the only other one that I, that I know of that could possibly agreed
[00:31:35] Eric Gros-Dubois: and I’ve got behind me on my mantle.
[00:31:38] Steve Fretzin: Ah, there we go. There we go. Well, fantastic. And hey, just a shout out to our wonderful sponsors, practice Panther Legalese, and of course, money. Penny. Uh, love you guys. Appreciate you. And, um, look, if you’re looking to automate and get things rolling, and I know they’re, they’re making some good offers on free trials and all kinds of fun stuff, um, don’t be shy about checking them out in the show notes and giving them a ring and saying, Hey, Freson sent me.
[00:32:02] Steve Fretzin: Eric, thanks so much. People want to get in touch with you. They wanna work for you, they wanna network with you, they wanna do business with you. Send work your way. How do they reach you?
[00:32:10] Eric Gros-Dubois: Email. It’s the easiest. It’s eric pgd law.com.
[00:32:16] Steve Fretzin: Epg d. That’s a mouthful, but I like it. It works. It flows. Uh, good man. Well, listen, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.
[00:32:23] Steve Fretzin: I’ve got my usual page of notes. I’ve got some amazing quotes that I’m gonna share, you know, in, in on social that you, that you threw out at me today. Fantastic, man. Just thank you. I appreciate it.
[00:32:34] Eric Gros-Dubois: No, I appreciate you. Thanks for the opportunity. This was a lot of
[00:32:36] Steve Fretzin: fun. Yeah. Yeah. That’s it. And that’s what this show’s all about.
[00:32:39] Steve Fretzin: Everybody fun. If you’re not having fun, what’s it all about? Let’s go. And again, you know, if this is a, if this is an opportunity for you to learn something that’s gonna help you take things to the next level and really be that lawyer, that’s really what I, why I hope that you’re here. If you’re new to the show, go back and listen to some past episodes.
[00:32:55] Steve Fretzin: Uh, we’re coming up on 300. It’s happening like in a few shows, so that’s gonna be exciting. Uh, we’re gonna have a very, very special guest, not that you’re not special, Eric, but uh, this guy does about 30 million in, uh, in, in originations a year. I think that’s pretty special. So we’re gonna have a surprise guest for you guys there.
[00:33:11] Steve Fretzin: And, uh, listen. Be that lawyer, somebody who’s confident and organized in a skilled rainmaker. Take care of everybody. Be safe, be well, and we will talk again real soon.
[00:33:23] Narrator: Thanks for listening. To be that lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice, visit Steve’s website, fretzin.com for additional information and to stay up to date on the latest. Legal business development and marketing trends. For more information and important links about today’s episode, check out today’s show notes.