In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Mathew Kerbis discuss:
- Time management efficiently and effectively with technology.
- Utilizing a client portal.
- Meeting your clients where they are and going where the market is.
- Offering more affordable, transparent pricing.
- Put it on your calendar. If you can stick to your calendar, building the habits becomes easier.
- You have to get your technology in order for everything to be streamlined and automated if you’re looking at moving to a subscription model.
- There is always an opportunity to layer on a subscription no matter what practice area you are in.
- Everyone is on subscriptions that they want and need and they don’t bat an eye at it.
“A subscription model is finding a way to deliver value on at least a monthly basis. You’ve got to actually provide real value for what you’re charging your client on a month-to-month basis.” — Mathew Kerbis
Connect with Mathew Kerbis:
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Show notes by Podcastologist Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie
Audio production by Turnkey Podcast Productions. You’re the expert. Your podcast will prove it.
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Narrator, Matthew Kerbis, Stephanie Vaughn Jones, Steve Fretzin, Jordan Ostroff
Matthew Kerbis [00:00]
It’s finding a way to deliver value on at least a monthly basis. And you’re actually providing real value for what you’re charging your client on a month to month basis.
You’re listening to be that lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Each episode, your host, author and lawyer coach, Steve Fretzin, will take a deeper dive helping you grow your law practice in less time with greater results. Now, here’s your host, Steve Fretzin.
Steve Fretzin [00:40]
Hey, everybody, welcome to be that lawyer. I hope you are having a terrific, wonderful and lovely day, just back from vacation, and I’m just like shot out of a cannon ready to go. And I have an amazing guest today. He’s a second time on the show, man.
Matthew Kerbis [00:53]
Steve Fretzin [00:54]
All right, second timer, two timers when we like to call you folks. But before we get to man who’s waiting in the wings, just want to thank our sponsors. We’ve got practice Panther, making it easy for people to track and keep in touch with their clients with their prospects. Get that practice management, you know, make sure you got everything cleaned up. We’ve got mani pedi doing the live reception, we got the live chat on the websites, your automated there. And, of course, legalese who’s gonna just take all that marketing junk out of your head and out of your off your plate and give you an opportunity to do what you do best practice the law. So thank you to those sponsors. So Curtis, I’m gonna go by Curtis, because we agreed a long time ago that you’re not really a Matt, you’re Curtis. Okay, that’s right. So we’re going with that. And you’re gonna call me Fretzin? Because we agree, that’s okay. And that’s the way it’s working for us. So right, my interest? Yeah.
Matthew Kerbis [01:46]
Well, branding, right. And if you look, you know, obviously, you know, this podcast, but you know, if you go and watch anyone goes and watch one of your videos, you see big Fretzin in the back with with your book. So that’s your brand, and it’s everywhere. And so yes, we’re curbless and Fretzin.
Steve Fretzin [02:00]
Now, does that immediately say I’ve got a big ego? Because I hope that’s not what it says. But I think I’m trying definitely trying to brand the name. I just don’t I don’t want to I don’t want to get a big head about
Matthew Kerbis [02:08]
No, no, I think branding is super important, right? Like, and that’s why not every zoom call that I have, I have my name bigger than my firm name, right? Because you’re not just building your brand, you’re building your name, your personal brand, as well, you know, as long as you along with your business brand, and sometimes they’re one in the same. So
Steve Fretzin [02:24]
maybe it’s a good lesson for lawyers that are at law firms that while you might be at a law firm that’s got an impressive name or a name that you keep telling everybody, you’re from this firm, it’s really you Inc, right? It’s your business under their umbrella. And your name is what ultimately people want to hire the lawyer not necessarily always the firm,
Matthew Kerbis [02:40]
well, especially when it comes to the day where you want to leave and go solo, that’s going to be super important, which is something that I’ve done there. Yeah, I’d like to think over the last decade plus I’ve built a personal brand.
Steve Fretzin [02:51]
Okay, and we’re gonna segue into that in a minute. But I want to just share your quote of the show, which is whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right, which we’ve all heard that I think at some point or another is that Henry Ford, who said that,
Matthew Kerbis [03:03]
you know, it’s often attributed to Henry Ford, I don’t know, you know, if it’s actually Henry Ford, you know, was probably like a woman inventor that said that, and it’s so Miss attributed to Henry Ford. But it’s
Steve Fretzin [03:14]
the ultimate the ultimate mansplain right there or not mansplain. But like, the ultimate slap in the face to the woman who invented made up that quote,
Matthew Kerbis [03:22]
right, probably, I didn’t really flirt solid. We’ve learned so much like, like, there are quotes, you know, that, you know, we say it’s this old white man, you know, who was successful in business, but it turns out, you know, it was like a woman of color who actually said it, right. So like, so we’re learning more. So I’m keeping an open mind. I don’t know who said that quote. But like you said, it’s often used whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. You know, another way that we experienced this, you know, if we’re lucky, if we win the parent lottery in life is your mom and dad say you could do anything as long as you believe in yourself. It’s kind of another way, right? It’s about having that positive mental attitude. It’s about having a growth mindset, you know, and that’s really what it comes down to is, you know, another way you can say it is believing in yourself. But I love the, you know, I love just the way that that quote is set up right now,
Steve Fretzin [04:05]
something I teach my clients is that there are three motivators for driving results and goals in a law practice and a life in a sport than anything you want to become excellent at doing it’s behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. And I see them like a wheel like a cycle. And people think, Oh, well, if you don’t have a good attitude, then you’re not going to then it’s you know, you’re thinking negatively, and it’s not gonna work or you don’t believe in yourself this. And then of course, behaviors are the activities and the actions that you take to get something accomplished. I always try to lead them towards the behaviors because I feel like if you get your behaviors down, meaning let’s say it’s business development, doing it once a week for an hour and you get that behavior down, then your attitude is better because you’re doing something you know you need to do that affects your belief in yourself. And then you go back and you feel good, and you’re going to want to keep doing those behaviors, right? It’s like success from working out or eating well. You just want to continue that cycle of positive Have behaviors that affect everything else. And I think that’s, that’s just a side note that, that if you’re trying to improve your attitude, and you’re not sure how to do it, maybe go back to the things that are making you feel bad because you’re not doing the right things. Yeah. Yeah.
Matthew Kerbis [05:14]
I mean, I think that’s spot on. Right. I mean, good habit building is definitely part of that. But it’s also, you know, if you believe that you can do something, whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right, then you’re going to take the actions that you need to fulfill the goals that you set out for yourself.
Steve Fretzin [05:31]
Yeah. So I always ask people is it beliefs is it behaviors is it attitudes, that starts a positive cycle, and then it’s all over there, and they’re all They’re all workable, they’re all you can do it from either any of those three, I just find that behaviors is maybe the simplest place to start is like trying to talk yourself into something is harder, maybe than actually just taking some action. But it’s all they’re all important to, ultimately getting results in something you’re looking to achieve, which is a great segue to you, Curtis, in the sense of where you started, where you’ve been, and where you are. And I want you to give that Reader’s Digest background of where you started, and then taking the big leap was in the last maybe three months? No, no, six months, you
Matthew Kerbis [06:09]
got I think I’m in week 20. Right now. Okay, recording. Okay. So you know, in my fifth month, essentially, very early in my fifth month of, of leaving a firm to start my own practice. And yeah, and like you said, your habit building is really important a part of it, because what I did is I left a firm that build by the hour, and you know, we build, you know, larger institutional clients by the hour, which is different than what I’m doing now. I’m mostly representing everyday people, freelancers, small business owners, that’s, that’s sort of if you have a niche, you know, it was just difficult. People ask me, What’s my niche? Well, my niche is, I think I’m the most affordable lawyer in America, because legal services on a subscription. Now, I’m also only licensed in the state of Illinois, right? So there has to be some nexus in the transaction with the state of Illinois for me to, you know, help a business or an individual negotiate some kind of contract, right. But even though I’m not billing, by my time, managing my time is really important. So just to keep the thread going here, I’m asked by attorneys or other entrepreneurs, you know, what do I do to make sure that I’m being as efficient with my time as possible, and one of the ways that you do that is I just, I live by my calendar, right, I have, I have a slot at the end of every day. And for me, that’s 830, that’s, you know, the kid goes to bed, spend some time with my spouse, and then I could go back to my computer, and I could do a little bit of work. And that is like time block my next day. So utilizing technology efficiently, like Calendly. And there’s a lot of apps out there like that. But I use Calendly, I don’t let anyone book with me within 16 hours, which ultimately effectively ends up being about 24 hours or so I could plan my next day, at the end of every day and time block. And I have a master list that I go through, of here’s all the things I need to do as a business owner, here are things I need to do for clients, and the clients things come on and off. But then I know I could schedule a time for social media posting and planning, I could schedule a time for reaching out to prospective clients in my CRM. And so if I put that on my calendar, and I make my all I have to do is make myself stick to my calendar. And if I’m able to do that, then then the habit building becomes a lot easier.
Steve Fretzin [08:07]
Yeah. And I think the, you know, the saying is did you have the week or the week have you? And the lawyers that are out there just like winging it, or just letting their email dictate their day or their week, they’re getting crushed, and they’re not getting things done. They’re not building their business, they’re not able to do the important stuff that is outside of billable hours.
Matthew Kerbis [08:26]
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, at the end of the day, you know, you want to control your time, and I don’t even speaking about being controlled by your email, I tried to stay out of my email. That’s another thing that I tried to do. I have a client portal, which I use a different non legal tech solution for that. But that’s HIPAA compliant that’s used by doctors offices. But I hear PracticePanther is also a great client portal, you know, to keep keep it on sponsor here. But seriously, you got to use a client portal, and I only, I try to only communicate with my clients through my client portal. And so I know if I get an email that says you got a message in the client portal, and I have that set up to different notification than my other emails. So I know, okay, I have a client I need to respond to. So I’m spending more time in my client portal than I am in my email. And so I’m actually addressing client concerns, and I do tie block, time to go and check my email. But I would not be able to get anything done and be productive as I just had my email open all day, I was staring at it.
Steve Fretzin [09:23]
Okay, so let’s let’s move from the time management, you know, piece to the other side of time management and the idea that lawyers can move to a subscription model. Let’s start off with just defining what is a subscription model for a lawyer that wants to that’s interested in that subject.
Matthew Kerbis [09:42]
It’s finding a way to deliver value on at least a monthly basis. I think week to week you could do maybe there’s like a weekly newsletter or there’s different things you could do. But you got to think I think it’s easier to think about it on a monthly basis. And you’re actually providing real value for what you’re charging your client on a month to month basis, right? You know, there are ways to do annual subscriptions. I think that gets complicated with legal ethics the way that they are in most jurisdictions. So at least, I’ve set up my firm to be a month to month subscription, where the client could drop me any month, and I could drop the client any month. And again, I’m only in week 20. But that seems to have worked out really well. And I’ve made it really easy for clients to sign back up, I still will roll running and other conflicts, check if a client is signed back up. And I haven’t been operating so long that I’ve gotten a lot of those. But I have gotten a handful of those where they subscribe, they get their legal services, their legal questions answered, and then they leave, and then they come back. And so because they have another question, or they need some estate planning, or they need something else, and I developed a good relationship with them for the couple of months that I had them at first, but you really you have to look at technology solutions, right, you can’t be taking checks, if you’re going to be switching over to a subscription model, you have to use a payment processor that takes credit cards and debit cards. And that’s all I take. I mean, so like the technology side, we could spend 30 minutes just on that Fretzin. But that’s super important that you get your technology in order so that everything is streamlined, and everything is automated, that can be automated. As a subscription attorney, you’re not going to be chasing down bills, because all that’s automated, you have to make it easy to sign up. And then right conflicts, check and do all the things that we need to do to comply with the legal ethics. And then everything else that you can, whether it’s email, follow up, whether it’s whatever it is automate, automate, automate, that’s super key. And as far as what prices to charge, while does depend on the practice area, here, so I’m taking a general practice approach, which has never been done with the subscription model before. And I’ll talk about that a minute. But some of the areas where subscription has made a lot of sense, is in the IP space. Because if you’re a trademark attorney, you’re going to be helping companies protect their brand all the time, because that’s an ongoing legal need. It’s obviously an ongoing legal need, right? Because you need to protect the brands, you need to send out a cease and desist letters, you need to maybe file trademarks, and maybe you know, if it’s a bigger brand, and they’re coming up with new, you know, new brands, or new slogans or new posts on social media, you could do a copyright, you know, filing in bulk, and all that, right. So like, there’s a lot of obvious opportunities for monthly work on a business. And if you’re at a trademark practice, and it’s it’s national. So it’s federal law. So you’re not your jurisdiction isn’t limited to your state. So that’s sort of where the subscription model first found its footing. In the legal profession, I’m taking a more general practice approach. And part of the reason why I’m doing that is because there’s a massive, what if the blue blue market Blue Ocean Strategy, I remember the name of the book, but they’re the blue, the blue
Steve Fretzin [12:36]
blue ocean strategy, strategy and see is bloodied red with competition go where the blue ocean is. Right, right. And
Matthew Kerbis [12:43]
so that’s what I’m doing. So there’s a massive market opportunity for everyday people and small business owners and freelancers with a lot of people leaving their jobs to start their own solopreneur endeavors that they’re simply priced out of legal services at the billable hour, most lawyers that who I know, couldn’t afford their own billable rate, because it’s targeted at businesses, right, like businesses that have a certain amount of revenue that could afford legal services, right. And so I’m targeting that market and the trademark attorneys that do subscriptions, I mean, I think they’re some of the lowest prices I’ve seen to actually get like the trademark value is like $1,000 a month. And for most people, that’s simply too much, which is why I have a $20 a month subscription, but not $20 $19.99 a month, because I’m communicating with potential clients the way that they’re used to being communicated with as consumers. And I think that’s really important to meet them where they are. And so I’m taking this, you know, I’m looking at this huge market opportunity. And, but at the end of the day, just because I have the most affordable attorney in America started to bring it back to this podcast. It’s not just about having the technology, coming up with a good affordable pricing model and a business model that where I actually makes money, you know, on the margins, right for what it costs for me to operate my practice, but you got to bring in business. I mean, I have a podcast last subscribed and you’re going to be a guest on there. And depending on the publishing dates, you know, everyone should go listen, you know, if you’re hearing this, go look up, blah, Subscribe and find that the Steve Fretzin episode and listen to that, because what we’re going to be talking about is about, you know, business development with the subscription model, which is a new thing, because you could have all the technology, you could have the pricing models, but if you don’t generate business, it’s not gonna matter at the end of the day.
Steve Fretzin [14:21]
So there’s two questions. Number one is, are there areas of law that don’t fit well for a subscription model? And what are the reasons why and the second one is, when you’re priced low in a subscription model, that sounds counterproductive to how someone would make money in less time and less effort. Like you’re charging the pennies on the dollar. How the heck are you going to end up making the kind of money that other lawyers making 567 $100 Now or whatever that case is? So let’s work through those two things.
Matthew Kerbis [14:54]
So the first one that I’ve had the most difficult time coming up with ideas for how you can implement the subscription model with regard to legal services, specifically as a law firm is criminal law. Right? Because you don’t want repeat offenders?
Steve Fretzin [15:09]
Or do you Better Call Saul, you know,
Matthew Kerbis [15:13]
well, you know,
Steve Fretzin [15:14]
someone on retainer, because you’re a criminal enterprise,
Matthew Kerbis [15:17]
that is, you know, you know, yes, certainly, you know, we like to in and I hear the, there’s, you know, depending on when this goes live, you know, there might be bringing back the Breaking Bad folks on an upcoming episode of Better Call Saul. But there are ways to monetize around your legal practice. So like, for example, a criminal law attorney with a subscription model can have a, like, a course, like become a also a course creator. And so they’re their past offenders who’s who they’ve helped negotiate some kind of, you know, plea deal or, you know, whatever, I’m not a criminal attorney, but they’re on probation, maybe, maybe they got to, you know, they were arrested for drunk driving, but they got him at without any jail time. Now, they can have a course that is legal, you know, there’s legal information or legal advice, you know, included because it’d be paying clients, so you could give legal advice to paying clients, you don’t have to be careful around this whole legal information, legal advice thing, they’re paying clients, I don’t know what you would charge that course, you know, to pass defenders. But if you want to make sure they succeed with probation, which is a great opportunity to continue to monetize this criminal attorney, then you could have a course where it’s like, here’s what you do, here are compliance things with your probation officer, here are things to consider. And maybe it’s 50 bucks a month, 100 bucks a month, I don’t know. Like, you’d have to think about how much time it’s going to take to invest in building that type, of course, but once you build the course, you just have to, you know, update it to make sure if there’s any updates in laws, they update the course. But then you got the course. And then you could sell that on a subscription to past clients. And you don’t even have to, you know, sell it that hard. Probably, you could just be like, Look, now, you know, I got you off, you know, you’re not you’re not in jail, and prison, whatever. And if you want to stay out, and if you want to make sure you’re on the straight and narrow for another 50 bucks a month, you know, and maybe there’s also you could book a time to call me, you know, if you have any questions about what you’re hearing in the course or something like that, right? So there’s, there’s always an opportunity to layer on a subscription, no matter what practice area it is. And to answer your second question. So get general practice, right, a lot of what I do is ends up being contract negotiation, or just contract explaining, you know, people are interacting in their day to day lives, you know, the most out of right field contract I helped a client with was a pet groomer agreement, they went to the groomers and their groomers, who they’ve been taking their dog to for years, all of a sudden gives them a one page contract to sign
Steve Fretzin [17:22]
if your dog gets killed. It’s not our fault. Right?
Matthew Kerbis [17:26]
Right. So so they just wanted me to explain some things in there offer some suggestions on what they should strike or change if they should even sign it at all. And at the end of the day that groomer wants business, so you could strike a couple of things and still take your dog there. And they’ll probably take it because they’re also not hiring me or another Florida affordable attorney yet to change anything. So they’re like, well, this client just wants to strike these two things. Sure. What’s the big deal? And so that’s, you know, like, that’s a lot of what I do is just contract stuff, just everyday, you know, vanilla sort of contract stuff that most people would it make sense to hire an attorney. But then I also have a little bit of an estate planning practice. And so in terms of how am I making money on this, well, if people are already subscribed to me, when something terrible happens, like what happened in Highland Park, and we’re right, you know, we’re right, by that, you know, people start thinking about, you know, what if what if the unexpected happens with my life, and so I’m getting, you know, I’ll actually some estate planning business where it’s just simple wills and advanced medical directives, things where you don’t need to spend $1,000 on it, because maybe you don’t have a crazy amount of assets anyway. And so I’m able to within one to two hours with a client, do some basic estate planning. And so based on my prices, which all the lawyers listening could go to subscription, attorney.com and follow the client journey. And at a point in that client journey, you can see all my prices for all my services that I offer. On my website, my whole motto is as transparent price for legal advice. So that includes for clients, and the profession, because I want other attorneys to copy this model. That’s why I have what below subscribe podcast too, but you’ll see what I’m charging for, for a well in advance medical directives is only $400. And so I’m not charging a lot and for and you get access to that as only a $20 a month subscriber. So for $420, I could I could set somebody up with a basic well, and advanced medical directives, power of healthcare power of attorney if something should something ever happened to them, and give them advice about it and advise them. And that only takes maybe one to two hours because they sign up. All the billing is done automatically. I don’t have to do any of that. It’s just one to two hours of going through things with them following up back and forth. So maybe I’m making two to $300 an hour in that range if you want it to look at it. So I am definitely making money and the $20 a month, I’ve had about 50% of the people who have signed up with me and I’m still very early on in this and I don’t know that number may go up or down. But about half of the people that get away with me stay subscribed because now they like talking to a lawyer and I’m affable and I’m likeable. And I give them more advice than just the estate planning advice that they need. And so they could send me a message they could look at my knowledge base, they could book a time to talk with me which they get access the entry level subscribers at 20 bucks. I’m I get access to only two hours a day to book a time to talk with me. But like if I’m doing a will for them, I might send them a Calendly link that’s off of those two hours. So you’re there if they’re getting value from it, they’re gonna stay subscribed and then when they buy a home or sell a home, which something else that I do, you know, for a flat fee for that’s a below market flat fee only available to subscribers, then they’ll come back to me because they’re already paying me and I’ve continuing a relationship with them. And since I’m not charging them by the hour, they’re not afraid to book time to talk with me or to shoot me a message in the client portal.
Steve Fretzin [20:33]
As listen to this podcast, I hope you’ve learned some valuable lessons when it comes to not just managing your firm but helping you thrive. Practice Panther the all in one legal practice management software is designed to help you do just that. It has powerful reporting that gives you real time feedback on the health of your firm and its finances automated workflows that free up your schedule while keeping your cases on track, and tons of native feature like E signature and two way texting that keeps your clients happy and informed. With practice Panther you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Get a free demo with practice panther.com/v That lawyer to receive 10% off your first year.
Jordan Ostroff [21:09]
legalese marketing is not your traditional marketing vendor. Instead, we’re a true fractional cmo that helps you save time and spend your money the right way to build a practice of your dreams. We help through the entire process from customizing your intake system to driving leads, and even getting more reviews afterwards, schedule your free call at legalese marketing.com.
Steve Fretzin [21:32]
Staff tell everyone what Moneypenny does for law firms
Stephanie Vaughn Jones [21:36]
where the call handling and live chat experts and Moneypenny receptionist can ensure that your calls are directed to the right person seamlessly saving you time and money. Steve, did you know that 69% of people don’t like to leave a voicemail?
Steve Fretzin [21:49]
I did not know that. That’s a lot of business going away right there. Let’s cut to the chase. What are you prepared to do for my listeners?
Stephanie Vaughn Jones [21:56]
We’re offering an exclusive two week free trial. If you’re interested in hearing more, you can call me directly on 470534884 sets and mentioned that you’ve heard this ad on Steve’s podcast.
Steve Fretzin [22:09]
Very cool. Thanks. I’ve got to follow up. So Curtis. Number one is if you identify that something is far beyond what you would offer in a subscription, for example, the simple will that you think is two hours. Now it’s some pretty extensive estate plan that needs to be done. Right? With trusts and everything else. Are you able to flip that and charge a much greater fee? Because you’ve identified that there needs go beyond the simple subscription model on your website?
Matthew Kerbis [22:40]
Well, I do revocable trusts as well, because those are sort of a simpler, yeah, you know, type of trust. And for the revocable trust pourover will and advanced medical directives, I charge a flat fee of $1,000. Okay, and I’m not looking at my website right now. But I think it’s still available to the $20 a month subscribers, that might be a premium subscriber only level. So at that point, if they want to trust, you have to pay me at least $100 a month, okay to get access to that subscription have I you know, and I’m still playing with the model that I’m still learning and I’m still figuring it out. And I if I make a change to my flat fee services that are offered to entry level or premium and business subscribers, I have to based upon my engagement agreement, which is also on my website, I also encourage that attorneys go check that out. I have to give a certain notice before I make a change, but I am making changes because I am learning. I mean, this is a very new thing. So every week every month, I’m making slight adaptations to the model. But But yes, but to your point. I actually have a great business for referring out clients. I
Steve Fretzin [23:36]
was gonna say, Yeah, so there’s a lot of things that are just going to be above sort of the pay grade of the subscription model. They’re very, you know, it’s a serious piece of litigation, it’s a divorce, it’s things that are going to be you know, involved in court and everything. Those are things that you
Matthew Kerbis [23:49]
would farm out. Yes. So I don’t handle anything with court. And they can
Steve Fretzin [23:55]
come to you is part of the subscription to get your advice and maybe even get a referral that would be a good service to, to offer. Right? Right. And I’ll give you a real life example.
Matthew Kerbis [24:06]
My clients who are landlords actually really liked my entry level negotiation package, where I will help to handle disputes with their tenants on their behalf before it ends up in eviction court. But if it doesn’t up in eviction court, I have an attorney who actually used to be on the other side of me, we had my last firm and he left to go to another practice and I left to start my own and I sent him business when you actually need to evict the clients. But because my clients are still on a subscription with me, I could still you know, they could say, well, this other attorney said this and that about court and I and since I had have eight plus years of litigation experience some of that eviction work. I can help explain things to them. And so it’s just nice that they could also still lean on me. So yes, even though I farm that out that 10 that’s flat fee work, typically eviction work. So one of the reasons I have the podcast one of the reasons I’m appearing on your show and other shows for lawyers is I want more lawyers to offer more affordable transparent pricing, because it’s going to be good for their business because they They’re gonna be at predictable revenue that they could count on. And it’s going to be good for their clients. Because the clients will know what they’re going to spend and what they’re going to get in return for it. And so the more lawyers that do that, the easier it will be for me to refer my business. Another real world example is I’m, I’m on these unbundled social media platforms like, like on try and Prometheus and an E fuse for gamers. And so I’m getting at some of these platforms and getting entrepreneurs that want to like do a high growth startup, well, I don’t do that. But somebody I had on my podcast offers those types of services to high growth startups that want to raise venture capital money, and she’s based out of New York. And so I will refer that business to her, right, because I don’t do that. But then if they’re if they’re in Illinois, or they’re transacting in Illinois, then when their business is up and running, and they need, you know, outside fractionalized, you know, in house counsel, but from outside counsel on an affordable monthly price, which is less than they’d be paying an in house attorney, then they can come back to me and I haven’t gotten there yet. But I’ve gotten close. There’s there’s one company I set, that’s a Chicago company, and they’ve raised some money now. And so as they start to get started, I’m still maintaining that relationship with that referral. And now I can, that business could come back to me for my sweet spot of the fractionalized in house counsel services that I offer to small businesses. And as they grow, they should either hire in house counsel or their needs will eventually be needs that larger firms can provide, there will be a tipping point, but that’s the market that I’m I’ve chosen to address
Steve Fretzin [26:25]
that just so there are lawyers listening to this and thinking two things. Number one is how would I get started in doing this like purpose did? And the second thing is, how do I ultimately make money changing over from the high stress, you know, worry in life of an overhead of a regular law firm model to a subscription model, that’s mostly technology automation. And, you know, like Netflix, you know, they’re Yeah, they’re only charging 16 An hour or six. That’s a bad example, because they just lost a lot of people. But But But everyone’s on subscriptions, we’re on dozens of subscriptions. I’m on at least 20 to 30 subscriptions right now. And I don’t bat an eye about it. Because it’s all things that I want or need, right? Whether that’s technology. You mentioned Calendly, I’m on a couple of subscriptions for automating my calendar, and the list goes on and on and on. So that so the two questions are how does? How does somebody get? Think about transitioning over to it? And then how long does it take to make money to like, when you’re charging less? How many people do you need to get to a viable level?
Matthew Kerbis [27:30]
I’m gonna answer that last question first, because it’s quick and easy, okay. And when you have a subscription business, you can make those projections. And you could say, Okay, here’s my operating costs, of whatever it is, and, and, you know, if you’re running a virtual solo practice, like me, those operating costs are super low. So I was profitable in week three, right? So so I was profitable, like, pretty much right away. Yeah, I was making money. And so everything above that is gravy. And then you know, my business goals are like, earn enough to pay for the kids daycare, you know, then earn enough to, you know, save for the kids college fund you all those things are everything’s about the family, because my wife also works, right. So. So the thing is, whatever your costs are, whatever that not, is that monthly, not or annual, not, you know, always add more to it, because you know, or if you’re especially if you’re not working with a bookkeeper or financial partner, but then you can see, okay, how many subscribers at what levels? Do I need to subscribe? And then you could get into, like, how many tariffs should you have? And all these different things, right? But you could I have a very nice spreadsheet built for my own business, where I actually plug in actual numbers, and examples of numbers that I need to hit those monthly revenue goals. And so it’s actually really easy to project out if you’re if you have if you offer subscription services. Now, how do you switch over? Well, you start by listening to this podcast, and going to last subscribe. last.com last subscribe.com, we’re at where there’s a podcast tab on there, where I has all the platforms where you can subscribe to my podcast, started listening to that it’s twice a month show right now, as I get more guests on, it might become a weekly show. And we’re just talking about all the different ways other attorneys are doing it, the technology that they’re using to do it. And I could certainly see like I said, spend an hour just talking about the technology I’m using, but there are some turnkey solutions, none of them sponsors of this podcast. So I don’t know if you want me to say what they are because they do kind of compete with maybe a sponsor on your show. And you know,
Steve Fretzin [29:18]
look, the sponsors are gonna get highlighted, but that’s not gonna stop us from talking about anything, you know.
Matthew Kerbis [29:25]
Yeah. So there’s two platforms out there that do this as far as I know where they offer a turnkey solution if you want to watch a subscription for your law firm and that has to do to do legal I’m not sure the website but I think if you Google for dually fit you like fiduciary, and that was started by an attorney who’s one of the first subscription attorneys Kim Bennett and she was the first guest I had on my podcast. Okay, so she’s, you know, has a solution a godmother of subscription in no way Yes. And so, there’s also some other great ones out there who are around the same time she started, but then there’s another one I think rally legal if you Google Ral ry legal. I think they have have also they’re starting to position themselves as we help attorneys launch a subscription. Why don’t I use a different platform, I use suite dash for mine. But it’s not a turnkey solution. It took many weekends leading up to the launch of my firm, to build out what my client portal look like to build out the automations. I absolutely love it. And it’s more flexible than those other solutions. Because those other solutions are turnkey. They give you what you need, you’re ready to rock and roll. But for the way I envisioned my practice, I needed more flexibility. The upside of that is it’s a much more affordable software than the other software.
Steve Fretzin [30:30]
Well, I’ll tell you the ultimate subscription is I’ve got a friend who’s a doctor who has you know that? What’s it called concierge practice where they’re getting paid for all the services they do. And then on top of that people are paying out if it’s 567 $1,000 a year, just to have access to the doctor at time, and, you know, they’re making bank guy can’t buy enough houses and boats and stuff with all his money he’s making Yeah,
Matthew Kerbis [30:50]
and if you’ve done the business development, then you could charge higher because you know, what your clients are going to have we oh, you only need so many clients, if you have, you know, if you want to be a solo operation, and you’re charging $1,000 a month, you know, you don’t need that many clients, and you don’t keep them happy. You’re set. You’re right,
Steve Fretzin [31:07]
right, right. Oh, so there’s different models based on volume and what you’re, what kind of offerings you have, I mean, one of my clients is she ended up going solo, and then going back out into the big firm again, but she was doing a subscription model on labor and employment to fund mostly defense side, a little bit of plaintiff side, charging a flat fee monthly, this is how much it is a month to have me sort of on retainer to work with you through all your labor and employment, she was doing incredibly well. And then she got pulled back, you know, offered a huge amount of money brought back into law from space. So But ultimately, Curtis, I think people need to consider the future of legal consider where it’s headed, and how to build a practice where you can have a life and you can have more flexibility. And and this might be a way for a number of attorneys to go.
Matthew Kerbis [31:54]
Absolutely. And the route I’ve chosen, I will not make the millions and millions of dollars that partners that big law firms have, but I will absolutely have work life balance. I could go pick up my kid from daycare and drop her off when she’s older. I could go to you know, sports games and all that and swim meets or whatever, because I’m in charge of my own destiny.
Steve Fretzin [32:13]
Yeah. Yeah. Curtis, thanks so much. And let’s get you on the record. Now for your game changing book. I think you’ve got a good one.
Matthew Kerbis [32:20]
Yes, everyone listening to the podcast needs to read legal business development isn’t rocket, which I think the alternative, the alternate title is legal business development isn’t something they teach you in law school.
Steve Fretzin [32:32]
So that was the sun, it should have been the subtitle. But I appreciate that. And listen, everybody that that’s a shameless plug right there. You just got it. You just heard it from purpose to me. But it’s interesting, the book is blowing up not only because it’s an international bestseller, but I think law firms are buying this book to give to their associates and to give their partners as a, here’s a simple way to get started, here’s a simple way to start learning some of the soft skills that you’re going to need to grow a law practice. And I’m watching my Amazon bank account, right go up and up and up. And by the way, that’s going to fund my help fund my son’s 529, which is doing really well right now. But not because of the stock market. Because I keep sticking money in it. But I appreciate that what anything about it that you that you like or anything specifically that you would share about the book?
Matthew Kerbis [33:19]
You know, I think Steve, they gotta read it. They don’t want to read it, they gotta buy it, and they gotta read it. It’s very affordable. And for everyone who can’t, who’s either, you know, it doesn’t make sense for their practice to hire you. You know, specifically, this is a great opportunity to learn what you’ve learned. And I know, other attorneys that haven’t just read this book, but I’ve read your other books, too. I mean, like, after appearing on your podcast last year, you know, for the first time and people listening to the show other lawyers across the country. I mean, people were reaching out to me, you know, back then this was before I even launched law, subscribe before I launched my own practice, but even just appearing on your show has helped my network around the country, as there are people already reading your books, and they’re finding success with it. And so there’s no substitution for going on Amazon and downloading the book.
Steve Fretzin [34:03]
I mean, it couldn’t be easier to get information. And so the question is, is it Look, I’m not going to be able to work with every lawyer that wants to grow a law practice, right? I think I can work with 30 to 40 lawyers a year. And then I’ve got these peer advisory groups, but the books and the videos and the podcast. These are all ways for lawyers to start to learn business development, start to get acclimated to that aspect of growing a law practice, whether you’re at a big firm or you’re on your own. And that’s why this show exists. It’s because I know that I’m not going to work with everybody but yet Can I try to help an industry that is notoriously bad at what I’m teaching right that mean that’s there’s not too many people that would argue that point. It cannot be understated that no matter if you’re the best lawyer ever, and you have the coolest shiniest new practice like subscription attorney LLC,
Matthew Kerbis [34:51]
if you can’t bring in business,
Steve Fretzin [34:53]
it doesn’t matter. Yeah. Yeah. Very true. So courteous of people wanting a now we’ve mentioned this, I’m going to say Three or four times, but let’s give it one more time, it’ll be in the show notes too. How do people get in touch with you, Curtis? Well,
Matthew Kerbis [35:05]
if you go to Los subscribe.com, or even subscription attorney.com, you could both send me a message on those platforms. Also, LinkedIn is the best way to find me. You could search Matthew Curtis, Matthew with one T, or the subscription attorney, and I should pop up to so my DMs are open on LinkedIn, I highly encourage you to reach out and connect with me on there.
Steve Fretzin [35:22]
You know, I would also say that a good market for you would be attorneys that are meeting with folks and realizing that they can’t afford them. And where can they send people that just can’t afford $5,000 estate plan 3000, but still need something in there. Just don’t just send them away, send them to curb it, send them to someone who can at least give them you know, something of value that is more affordable than what you’re able to actually do? Because I’ve got lawyers that are they’re charging the premium for their services, that’s part of working with me is how do we get the value that you should be earning as a lawyer, and that not everybody can just afford that.
Matthew Kerbis [35:57]
So where can we send them? Yeah, yeah. And I’ve gotten those clients, right from like big firm attorneys that they get somebody in the door, and it’s like, they just can’t afford us. And so subscription attorney.com is really the best place for them to go, I have streamlined the signup process. So all my information is on my website, and you could just sign up for the level that works for you. But also Curtis, my last name krB is at subscription attorney.com. That’s my email. And so your your they could just send me an email the client or the attorney, and I’d be happy to set up a quick zoom meeting. But on the front page of my website, it’s a schedule a call introductory call. So send them to my website, tell them to click on the schedule a call and it’s an intro call. It’s not a free consultation, because it’s cheaper to sign up for me 20 bucks a month. Yeah. But it’s a 15 minute call where the client can get to know me. And it’s what I love about Calendly is it’s a time when the client when the prospective clients available, and I’m available, and I don’t miss those meetings are on my calendar. And like we started with the show. I live by my calendar.
Steve Fretzin [36:54]
Yeah, me too, man. I tell my wife like if you need me to do something that isn’t my calendar, just expect it’s not going to get done. Because that’s that’s how I’m running my day. My son can be waiting for me to pick them up at school. He’s gonna be waiting a long time. Because I’m not picking them up. It’s an unlikely reality. She tells me something that doesn’t mean anything. It’s got to go in.
Matthew Kerbis [37:11]
I did do the same thing. Yeah, it’ll stuff in the calendar. So that’s it. That’s it.
Steve Fretzin [37:15]
Curvas thanks so much, man. Always a pleasure. Always fun to talk with you. And you know, I miss hanging out with you. I know we did. We were talking some tech a while back and we need to we need to get back together and maybe grab a lunch out in the burbs here, but just appreciate you and what you’re trying to do to, you know, to change the legal industry in a positive way and give more options to lawyers who are feeling that stress and pressure. And there’s another option here. Yeah, yeah. Well, thanks
Matthew Kerbis [37:39]
again for having me back on your show. We’ll have to do it again next year.
Steve Fretzin [37:42]
There we go. There we go to timer. Hey, everybody, thanks for spending some time with Curtis and I you know, hopefully if you’ve always wondered about what a subscription model looks like that you got, you know, some basics from him and obviously a lot more to learn about that. And just keep thinking about how you can be that lawyer someone who’s competent organized in a skilled Rainmaker one way or another. You know, that’s really the key to success in building a law practice these days. So that’s all I got, man be well be safe. Take care. We’ll talk again soon.
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 notice