Tim Lupinacci: Leading with Trust

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Tim Lupinacci discuss:

  • Time management and prioritization.
  • Testing out leadership in smaller groups first.
  • Learning from others to strengthen your leadership skills.
  • Utilizing daily disciplines to support your leadership and your team.

Key Takeaways:

  • Get together and pour into people and allow them to pour into you. You’ll build relationships and strengthen all team members.
  • Seeing people in action will allow you to get to know them and see their strengths and personalities.
  • Building your team, and trusting them, will allow you to transition out of the day-to-day work as you release responsibility to them and start focusing more on your zone of genius and your leadership.
  • Don’t neglect your self-care. Checking in with yourself (either alone or with a professional) is vital for leading successfully.

“My experience has been when you build that trust, then the pie gets bigger because now you’ve got multiple people who can have those relationships because we’ve got that finite amount of time.” —  Tim Lupinacci

Find out more about the Mastering the Legal Clock and Thriving Event at: https://fretzin.com/events

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Episode References:

About Tim Lupinacci: Tim Lupinacci spent the first 28 years of his legal practice focused on helping financial institutions solve complex problems arising in commercial restructuring and bankruptcy matters throughout the country. During his leadership journey at Baker Donelson, Tim chaired the Financial Services Department, the Women’s Pathways to Leadership Committee, and served as a member of the Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. He was awarded with the Firm’s highest award for both advancement and support of women and advancement and support of minorities. Four years ago, he was selected as CEO and Chair of Baker Donelson, which is one of the 100 largest law firms in the country. In these positions, he has led the Firm through significant organizational change, growth, and the global pandemic. He continues leading Baker Donelson through its five-year BakerVision 2028 strategy, and the execution of its Diversity & Inclusion Compact.

Connect with Tim Lupinacci:  

Website: https://www.bakerdonelson.com/

Website: https://www.bakerdonelson.com/Timothy-Lupinacci

Website: https://everybodyleads.org/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/addison-diana/

Connect with Steve Fretzin:

LinkedIn: Steve Fretzin

Twitter: @stevefretzin

Instagram: @fretzinsteve

Facebook: Fretzin, Inc.

Website: Fretzin.com

Email: Steve@Fretzin.com

Book: Legal Business Development Isn’t Rocket Science and more!

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] Steve Fretzin: Hey, everybody, before we get to the show, I just want to share another amazing event we’ve got coming up called Mastering the Legal Clock and Thriving. And that’s happening on the 29th of February from noon to one central time. It’s me and my friend, Sarah Reed Pecking, and we are going to help you reclaim control of your legal practice in one hour.

[00:00:18] Steve Fretzin: So if you don’t have time to come and join us, maybe you need to come and join us. I enjoy the show. Everybody.

[00:00:27] Narrator: 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.

[00:00:48] Steve Fretzin: Well, hey, everybody. Welcome to be that lawyer. Another exciting episode for you to enjoy. And help you to be that lawyer, someone who’s confident, organized, and a skilled rainmaker. We talk about so many different things in this show, and um, and I’m meeting new people all the time that I know are going to add value for you, whether you’re trying to just get your basic LinkedIn profile up, or whether you’re looking to scale your practice and build it out.

[00:01:13] Steve Fretzin: Uh, that’s, that’s what this show is all about and, and, uh, we’ve got a doozy for you today. How you doing, Tim? Good, Steve. How are you? Yeah, I’m doing really well. I had a, we were just talking ice fishing, which you’re down in Alabama, so it’s not too much ice fishing. Although you never know, I guess. Right.

[00:01:27] Steve Fretzin: Right,

[00:01:27] Tim Lupinacci: right, right. I mean, we’ve been down in the teens the last couple of weeks, so we might could have some ice

[00:01:33] Steve Fretzin: fish. Yeah. They’ve got, well, they got iguanas falling out of the sky in Florida and whatever. Or is it Arizona? One of the two. But, uh, anyway, really, really fun stuff. And for those of you hearing about Bretson for the first time, you know, we focus on two things, helping lawyers to be rainmakers and putting them through a very tedious, intensive, fun and educational program on how to make it rain every year and have your best year.

[00:01:56] Steve Fretzin: And of course, we’re doing those rainmaker roundtables with the existing rainmakers out there, mostly managing partners and law firm leaders so that they have a group of people around them to for support. Uh, for best sharing, best practices. I also bring in a ton of great, you know, a lot of the guests that you’re hearing on this show, um, get out and they’re hoping to, to speaking to my rainmaker round tables.

[00:02:16] Steve Fretzin: And so I appreciate them for that. Tim, we’re going to have some fun today, starting off with your quote, which is one I haven’t heard before, which is do justly love mercy, walk humbly. And that was by the prophet Micah.

[00:02:29] Tim Lupinacci: Yeah, so it’s interesting. When I first became a lawyer, I didn’t have any lawyers in my family.

[00:02:34] Tim Lupinacci: Uh, and I kind of, I literally stumbled into becoming a lawyer. I had a media law course in college as a mass comm major. And I thought. The First Amendment stuff was pretty interesting, although I never practiced a minute of First Amendment law in my career. But, uh, when I graduated, uh, one of my wife’s aunts gave me a framed picture that had sort of the scales of justice and had that quote from the, from, uh, it’s an, I guess, an Old Testament prophet.

[00:02:58] Tim Lupinacci: Uh, and I just always have kind of gravitated back to that because it tells me a lot, I think. You know, like a lot of lawyers, I mean, maybe I struggle with arrogance or whatever. I like that just, you know, be humble and, uh, justice, of course, is what we’re all trying to do. And whether we’re representing big companies or not, I mean, we still think about justice and then mercy.

[00:03:16] Tim Lupinacci: I mean, I just, I’ve kind of come to define that as, you know, listening, being kind, being compassionate, trying to understand the other person. So it’s just always guided me and I still have that frame print, not my office anymore. It’s at my home office, but, um. So it’s just, it’s also a fond memory of that great aunt Ruby that, uh, had a big influence on my life.

[00:03:34] Tim Lupinacci: Yeah,

[00:03:35] Steve Fretzin: that’s really, that’s really interesting. And I think I love being in humble is, is a great word. And I’m finding that a lot of managing partners that I think that it used to be, you know, to be a managing partner, you had to kind of be a tyrant, right? You had to kind of run around screaming and get things done and blah, blah, blah.

[00:03:51] Steve Fretzin: And I’ve noticed like you and other managing partners just seem to be the nicest guys, the nicest gals, the nicest people. And is that is we’re going to talk a lot about leadership today, but I don’t mean to jump ahead, but, like, it just popped into my head. Is that is have you seen that, too, that there’s less of that style of management, that style of leadership and more of maybe your style, which is, which is, I think, like a nice guy style.

[00:04:13] Tim Lupinacci: Yeah, well, I don’t know what you call it. I mean, I know that there were I’ve read. I’ve read a lot about sort of that shift as you got into the new century, and it was nothing magic about the new century about this leadership more by emotional intelligence, which I think is. Kind of encompasses all that is you got to be hard nose.

[00:04:29] Tim Lupinacci: You got to be driven. You got to be focused. You got to get things done, but I think it’s that aspect of really people don’t want to be in that hierarchical being told how to lead anymore. I mean, maybe it worked in the past and so it’s just not my style. I’m just kind of who I am. And maybe that helps build trust and authenticity with people admit my mistakes.

[00:04:49] Tim Lupinacci: I don’t try to hide from them and how I’m going to get better. So I don’t I don’t I mean, I think there have been studies about that. I think people in. Yeah. More gravitate to that type of, uh, leadership, but there’s obviously great examples of very successful leaders who are still that more authoritative, uh, type person, but that’s just not

[00:05:05] Steve Fretzin: me.

[00:05:05] Steve Fretzin: No, right. And I, but that’s my point is like, I’m finding that most of the leaders that I’m working with and engaging with are just the nicest people, like the ones that, you know, you want to go have a beer with and that can just be human and not not have that ego that I think normally is associated with.

[00:05:20] Steve Fretzin: Managing partner. So Tim Lupinacci, you are the CEO and chair of Baker Donaldson, a very large firm. And you’ve spent a lot of time, you know, kind of working through that. Can you give us a little bit of, first of all, welcome to the show. Thank you for being here. Right. And then, and then can you give us a little background?

[00:05:37] Steve Fretzin: Because I don’t think that was something that you aspire to, right? As a younger

[00:05:41] Tim Lupinacci: attorney, that’s right. Well, Steve, I’m really grateful to be on the show and I’ve really received a lot of value from the guests on your show and also from the book, uh, the, the, that you sent me the electronic book. So I’m grateful to just have this time to discuss.

[00:05:53] Tim Lupinacci: Yeah, I, I did not. I, um. I really didn’t think of myself as a leader or leading organization. I like, because I kind of backed into law. I finally found my niche, which was corporate bankruptcy, and I was at a couple of different firms. Uh, and then I came to Baker Donaldson about 19 years ago, uh, and do an odd set of circumstances.

[00:06:10] Tim Lupinacci: I had a team of about 3 or 4 of us that I kind of. That was kind of my leadership scope. I like having a team and working together and serving clients. And then, uh, about two years after I was at Baker Donaldson, I was in the Birmingham office and there’s a unique set of circumstances that just happened that I became the managing shareholder of that office, uh, and I hadn’t had a practice group or office level leadership.

[00:06:33] Tim Lupinacci: Uh, and I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it mostly cause I was getting to know the people in the office cause I was still somewhat new. Uh, and trying to understand and how that went. And so, uh, you know, what their practices were all about. And, uh, and so it was a really eye opening to me that I really enjoyed it.

[00:06:47] Tim Lupinacci: We had some successes and trying to really have some collective goals. To drive to drive the office, uh, and, uh, that led to about 5 years into that. I said, well, I think it’s a good time to kind of step back. It’s good to get fresh blood in and I was. You know, back in the, uh, as a bankruptcy lawyer, the greatest recession, I was very busy.

[00:07:08] Tim Lupinacci: And so I went to our CEO CEO at the time and I said, I think I’m ready to step back. And he said, that’s good because we want to start a new practice group around financial services and that’s who you represent. So we want you to lead it. So it kind of just built from there. And, uh, and then 5 years ago, put my name in the hat to become CEO.

[00:07:23] Tim Lupinacci: So, yeah.

[00:07:25] Steve Fretzin: And the rest as they say is history,

[00:07:28] Tim Lupinacci: I guess. So it was, it was a very, I really appreciated the process. Cause it was a very long, uh, you know, I jokingly talk about way to 50 page questionnaire. It didn’t start out 50 pages, but it was, that was filling out all my thoughts and visions for the firm.

[00:07:42] Tim Lupinacci: And my predecessor had been in the role for 20 years. So it was kind of a signature event for people at the firm. And so, uh, we had a lot of great strong candidates and we all kind of. Set out our vision and, uh, and uh, work through it. So it’s great. And

[00:07:56] Steve Fretzin: so was the, what was the, be that lawyer tipping point for you from a standpoint?

[00:07:59] Steve Fretzin: Was it, was it that, that move to the managing partner of your office? Was it that going through the process of the five years or what? Talk, talk to that.

[00:08:08] Tim Lupinacci: Yeah. You know, I think it really goes back even earlier. Like I said, I, I wasn’t really not having a mentor in the family or someone I knew what it was to be a lawyer.

[00:08:16] Tim Lupinacci: I think it was early on I was just. I looked at the practice of law. In addition, at that point, paying off a lot of law school debt was just transactional. I’d come in, get a project, do it, turn it in, um, and then go to the next project. Still trying to figure out, is this really what I want to do for my career?

[00:08:33] Tim Lupinacci: Um, and then I had a pretty big fail on a project. I was working with like a 5 year lawyer. I was about a 2 year lawyer. We’re working for this pretty gruff boss. Uh, and I turned in my part of the project to the 5 year lawyer. He turned it in. It rolled up. I’m moving on to the next thing. Next thing I know, we’re getting called into his office and he’s yelling at us on what the phone called about 20 lawyers.

[00:08:54] Tim Lupinacci: Calling us idiots and we got the project wrong. We’re going to fix it if we stay there all night. And so that, um, and the next day, uh, and so we did stay there. We got it. It was a financial calculation. We got it fixed, but I had drawn the short straw to take my boss to court the next morning. So I went to pick him up and it was a very quiet kind of ride.

[00:09:10] Tim Lupinacci: I didn’t know if I’m going to get fired. And then he, he, um, he did apologize, which was to his credit. Cause he said, I shouldn’t have yelled at you in front of other people. He said, but the thing I was so frustrated with you particularly is because I see that you really have strong leadership. Uh, and strong career opportunities if you’ll just own it and you’ll own being a leader and own your career and not just get by and assume other people are going to check your work for you.

[00:09:35] Tim Lupinacci: And that was really kind of eye opening. I don’t know that I’d had someone speaking to me as about leadership. And so that really set me on a path to start thinking about that a lot. And it really did. So it was not long after that really gelled about what I was doing in my career and I really enjoyed it.

[00:09:49] Tim Lupinacci: So I think it was all the way back there pretty early on.

[00:09:52] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. Really, really cool. And you know, everybody’s got that moment where something flips right where something clicks or connects or something that that even if it’s getting yelled at, right? Yeah, you know, but you know, it’s what happens after that and what what road we take.

[00:10:07] Steve Fretzin: So an individual that is interested in building a law firm out or deciding to take a leadership role and maybe he’s conflicted between look, I’m already busy with the billable hour. Steve’s always telling me I got to do business development. So I’m doing that too. And I’m busy with that. Now I have to lead this firm and manage these people and do that.

[00:10:27] Steve Fretzin: How, how is that even feasible for, for lawyers to wrap their head around that?

[00:10:32] Tim Lupinacci: Yeah. Um, it’s a great question because you’re right. There’s a finite number of days of hours in the day, right? And we all have a lot of things and the client. Uh, clients pay the bills to keep the lights on that lets you even do the leadership.

[00:10:44] Tim Lupinacci: So fortunately in my role right now, I’m full time leading, so I don’t have to worry about my personal, uh, billable hours. But I guess for some of those earlier positions I had, I really found I didn’t go into it with this anticipation, but having that title really did help me in my business development.

[00:11:00] Tim Lupinacci: Just the fact that a law firm, um, had designated that I was someone that they trusted to lead an office or then when I led a practice group leader. Uh, let, let a practice group, even though my clients weren’t necessarily in Birmingham at the time when I was office leader, I think it just was a, it kind of gave me a leg up, uh, with other competition, other competitors to say, not only does Tim know the substance of the law of this, of this particular area, but he also kind of gets how to manage and lead people to accomplish things.

[00:11:30] Tim Lupinacci: And I think particularly, I don’t know, bankruptcy, you’re trying to work through difficult situations. Nobody’s ever happy. I guess it’s not really an. Litigation either, but, um, but how do you solve this problem, uh, and get to a consensus? And I guess that gave me, I found that it elevated my business development to have some of those titles and I didn’t do it for that.

[00:11:48] Tim Lupinacci: Um, but I think you just, yeah, just manage through it. And then it did seem like it accelerated on itself. And then certainly. As you get your legs under you with leadership, um, and that’s why I think it’s really, it’s been helpful to me to have, like, a small team and then a little bit bigger team, and then it grew.

[00:12:04] Tim Lupinacci: Your influence grows, um, it helped me feel a bit more confident in what I was doing on the leadership side that I could devote more time to the other, but it’s just about it’s a lot of it’s about time management and prioritization as I know you talk about all the time, but you just have to make those things work.

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[00:14:09] Narrator: com.

[00:14:12] Steve Fretzin: Well, and I, you said something really interesting and I think it makes a big difference to get some experience managing maybe a group or managing a small team or something where you have. Some authority and, and get to test out leadership and I know you’re going to recommend, you know, and you became a bit of a junkie on leadership, but there’s so many great books.

[00:14:30] Steve Fretzin: There’s so many great podcasts. There’s so many great ways to get educated mentors, coaches to, to become a future leader. If you’re not already one, how did that, how does that play out? Yeah,

[00:14:42] Tim Lupinacci: and it’s been, um, it’s been really interesting because, uh, building on that idea, like when he said, uh, you, you should be step up like a leader.

[00:14:49] Tim Lupinacci: I didn’t know what that meant necessarily. So I started reading a lot and, uh, you know, uh, books and things and podcasts. Although I guess at that point, you listen to stuff on CDs and tapes because I’m old. Yeah. But, um, but 1 thing I did early on, and I think I’ve replicated this as different things is I became a young partner.

[00:15:07] Tim Lupinacci: I had an associate and a paralegal working for me. So it’s 3 of us. Yeah. I just started doing a 30 minute coffee break every week to kind of talk about the matters we were working on and for me to try to give them some tips and leadership ideas. And then at some point it hit, I hit upon this idea of bringing other people for the, there was a prior firm I was at.

[00:15:26] Tim Lupinacci: So I was a younger lawyer. I would invite leaders of that firm to come and speak to our little team of 3 about leadership and about what lessons they had learned. And of course, lawyers, we all like to talk about ourselves. So no one ever turned me down, even though it was a 30 minute commitment, you know, 20 minutes to come talk to it.

[00:15:43] Tim Lupinacci: So I think that really helped because I was learning to write. I’m taking notes and all that. And then I continued to do that back in the heyday of the Great Recession. I mean, heyday for depending on what side of the how that was impacting you. I know a lot of people were really decimated to do that.

[00:15:57] Tim Lupinacci: But when I was really busy and our team was, I don’t know, 7678 people. We would do the same thing and get together, but I would get like a book and, uh, I would teach through the book with that team. Maybe it was every other week we’d get together. And I was actually talking to a former colleague who’s now, she left to become general counsel of the company.

[00:16:16] Tim Lupinacci: Now she’s CEO. And she said that that time of going through that book together and thinking about your ambitions and goals. Really was her, maybe her, you know, tipping point on, on be that lawyer, you know, about the lawyer. So, so I think things where you can just get together and pour into people and it doesn’t have to be sometimes you think I’ve got to teach like a 6 hour seminar.

[00:16:36] Tim Lupinacci: No, I think it’s just getting together and sharing coffee, you know, and talking about things. So anyway, those are a couple of things that I think of help.

[00:16:43] Steve Fretzin: It sounds like, yeah, you know, time, like focus time and building not only the relationship, but also looking at doing something as a team building skills.

[00:16:52] Steve Fretzin: Is that part of how you get buy in from your team as the leader?

[00:16:58] Tim Lupinacci: Oh, absolutely. And I think because, and particularly again, it’s not, uh, just you talking at them. It’s sort of, it should be a dialogue and getting to know them and understand their ambitions and their ambitions are going to be different.

[00:17:09] Tim Lupinacci: Each person can have different, but if you can understand and tap into that, some people. Want to go teach CLE classes to clients as their business development? Others want to go just hang out at a ballpark with them, and they may hate teaching CLEs. I mean, I, I, I love people, so I like being around people, but I always was freaked out trying to teach CLE stuff, because I thought, I’m going to say something wrong, and then somebody’s going to call me on it, and I’m not going to know the answer, and I’m going to go look like an idiot.

[00:17:34] Tim Lupinacci: So I would much rather go do the other, although sometimes you have to do all of it, of course. So, but yeah, I think that it’s building that buy in and that, um, uh, and, and also add some fun into it sometimes that team I was talking about, we were meeting, we would go out and do, you know, escape rooms together or we’d go out.

[00:17:51] Tim Lupinacci: And, um, one time I, I kind of, uh, all kind of told them block off a Friday afternoon and we just left and went and had lunch and went to see a movie. I mean, it was just stuff like totally out of other minds, but I kept them guessing. So they were all thinking like, we’re going to do a ropes course. Is he going to take us where he went to college?

[00:18:08] Tim Lupinacci: I made it like they didn’t know what was going on. And it was so, um, anyway. But I

[00:18:12] Steve Fretzin: think that’s, it’s, it’s so critical because what you’re saying, it’s, it’s that it’s, you’re building a culture as a leader. You’re building a culture of, of not only fun, but also of how you guys are collaborating, how you’re getting things done and how you’re, you’re, you know, interested in them as individuals.

[00:18:29] Tim Lupinacci: Yeah. Well, and I mean, something, even though it can be from the beginning there, or even up to Now, our board of directors, you know, I became CEO, we would always the standard was we get together 3 or 4 times in person for, you know, a year, uh, because we’re from the boards from all our different offices. We get together somewhere and we go out and have a nice dinner, which is fine, but then we realize that, you know, the restaurants are loud and you get to talk to the 1 board member that’s next to you on either side and.

[00:18:55] Tim Lupinacci: And that’s kind of it. So then we just decided at some point, well, why don’t we just go do something fun? And so we would go do Topgolf and have hot dogs or we, uh, last, uh, in December, we went to a dart place, you know, where you’re just shooting darts and eating again, but, you know, and seeing people in action and you’re getting to know them to see the personalities come out more than a really, you know, stuffy dinner.

[00:19:13] Tim Lupinacci: Although the dinners are fun and I’m a big fan of. Getting together and having meals together, but I just think it’s sometimes you just have to get people out of their comfort zone

[00:19:22] Steve Fretzin: and just do something different that everybody can enjoy. And it’s just not the same routine, especially if you’ve identified that there’s there’s weaknesses in that routine, for example, dinner.

[00:19:33] Steve Fretzin: How do you? So this is like, so I’m working with a ton of managing partners, mostly of small firms. And the biggest challenge they have is I mentioned earlier, they’re billing a ton of hours. Their clients want them, at least in their mind, they want them. They are the top rainmaker and they’re managing this team of five, 10, 20 attorneys and all the staff.

[00:19:54] Steve Fretzin: And they’re feeling pretty stressed out. And so is it, what’s, give me a, give me a couple of tips and secrets for them that are listening, that, that are kind of in that predicament.

[00:20:04] Tim Lupinacci: Yeah. Um, well, I think it’s a couple of things I’ve, um, try to rely on a lot. I think it’s real important for me to have, I call them kind of like disciplines, daily disciplines, whatever about like, I want to have time every day where I’m getting outside and walking or running, um, mostly running.

[00:20:19] Tim Lupinacci: But then I busted my ankle a couple of months ago, so now it’s walking, which is good. You know, I’m outside, um, just thinking time blocked a half an hour every day. And I don’t do it every day, but it reminds me to have a reading time, like, just to try to read articles about things. To get me thinking, you know, creatively, um, uh, you know, I try to, uh, watch what I eat.

[00:20:39] Tim Lupinacci: I try to, you know, focus on the sleep, uh, aspect. I try to, um, every weekend I try to do a 24 hour, you know, like a Sabbath from electronics, you know, getting away from. Uh, of that, um, that doesn’t always happen and, but it’s an aspiration and I try to track it. Like, uh, so far this year, there’s been 3 weekends.

[00:20:57] Tim Lupinacci: I’ve done 3, 24 hour, you know, fast or whatever you want to call it from electronic media. So it’s tough to get your mind renewed so you can show up your best. So that’s, that’s kind of basic.

[00:21:06] Steve Fretzin: But is that, but Tim is, but Tim is that now? Because now you’re, you’re in a role where you, you’re not doing the billable hour, right?

[00:21:13] Steve Fretzin: You’re not playing that game anymore. You’ve, you’ve figured out how to get out of doing certain things and focus on. Yeah. The leadership element, but there was a transitional point for you. Oh, right. I’m sure. Sure, sure. Right. And so talk to that. ’cause that’s really where I want to get. Yeah. How did you, how did you transition where every client that had wants, you’re the guy and now you’re saying, look, I’m not the guy because I’ve got this other thing to

[00:21:36] Tim Lupinacci: do.

[00:21:36] Tim Lupinacci: Yeah, yeah. No, there’s both that. Well, so, and I do think all the, all that stuff about the self-care, I think I was trying to, I was doing that. You know, as a full time practicing lawyer, trying to balance it, because I still needed to show up for the clients, but you know, uh, the one thing I would say, if you go back.

[00:21:51] Tim Lupinacci: You know, uh, 10 years before I became CEO, so 15 years ago, one of my real beliefs about building business development is that it, it does take a team that, you know, um, as much as, you know, I may be the guy or whatever you say, you know, but, um, but as we’ve over time, we built a team where I trusted, um, you know, other shareholders with those clients, that there were four or five of us that we were doing business development together.

[00:22:17] Tim Lupinacci: Now we may not all go to every client together, but we were dividing up. Um, And sometimes it would go together. Sometimes we wouldn’t. And then we built out the team to do that. So that if I was, you know, on vacation, that is took a while to get this, you know, the work, but I’m on vacation. They felt comfortable calling.

[00:22:34] Tim Lupinacci: No, when or Eric or Spencer, um, because they trusted them and then it took time. So then fast forward to 5 years ago, when I’m stepping into this role, there’s now a whole team of people that they know it’s not the Tim show. It’s it’s this team of Baker Donaldson workout lawyers. That they’ve built this trust and direct relationships with so, I mean, it probably took 6 months.

[00:22:55] Tim Lupinacci: People would still call and want to know strategy and I was still want to kind of keep my pulse in there. And there’s still some of my longest time clients. I’ll get on a call for 30 or 60 minutes talking about strategy of how to work something through. But I think so. I think it’s, I know it’s easier said than done, but, uh, but, but it was done with a lot of hard work of building that team trusting that team.

[00:23:16] Tim Lupinacci: We had people that. We’re on that team that we gave front row, um, opportunities with clients and they dropped the ball and you didn’t have to come back in and clean up the mess. And then maybe they, you know, don’t work out. Yeah, but it’s some of that. So

[00:23:28] Steve Fretzin: anyway, there’s, there’s a trust. There’s a trust transference there.

[00:23:32] Steve Fretzin: So I’m talking to a website company. I’m dealing with the owner. She brings in. The team right and these are the people that are going to make all the magic happen and eventually i’m not really talking to her i can keep the relationship with her we can if i have a make a big overarching problem she’d be the one i’d want to call but for the day and day out of getting the website down or getting the marketing done.

[00:23:56] Steve Fretzin: It’s going to be the team. So I think that’s what you’re saying. Like you’ve got to transfer the trust to the team, whether that’s a second in command to you or a team of three to five, whatever might be, and that’s going to open up your day and your time to do the things like lead.

[00:24:11] Tim Lupinacci: Yeah, and I think you’ve made a good point.

[00:24:13] Tim Lupinacci: You have, you can’t just get that call, get that new matter and then say, okay, here, go work with someone. So it’s got to be over time. Like, you’re both doing it and I get it. Then you maybe can’t build for both the time. I mean, it’s all, but my experience has been when you do that and you build that trust.

[00:24:29] Tim Lupinacci: Then the pie gets bigger because now you’ve got multiple people who can have those relationships. Cause we’ve got that finite amount of time. So, yeah.

[00:24:38] Steve Fretzin: And you mentioned about the self care and I love that. And it’s like, it’s like everyone’s. That’s in law as a, as a fireman, like they’re constantly putting out fires in court and, and tough clients and all this stuff.

[00:24:50] Steve Fretzin: And this self care is what ends up suffering. They’re not putting the oxygen mask on themselves first as the door blows off the plane and, you know, good for Alaska airlines, um, but that’s really, you’ve got to start working that out early. I

[00:25:08] Tim Lupinacci: totally agree. And I, I learned from failure. Like I said, I’ve make a lot of mistakes along the way.

[00:25:13] Tim Lupinacci: And I just had gotten where I was just totally at the end of the rope. And I mean, this was probably 10 years into practicing law and I was burning it at all ends and I wasn’t doing any self care. And so finally just reached out to our firms, like at the time, EAP, you know, assistant employee assistant program.

[00:25:27] Tim Lupinacci: And I went and talked to a counselor and I was like, I got to get this. Cause I was just always on edge, always on stress and pressure and all this stuff. Um, and that person gave me some tips about how to try to navigate through that. And then over the years, I’ve continued to try to. Go back when it hit and I was just, you know, there’s a lot of pressure and there’s no playbook.

[00:25:45] Tim Lupinacci: I realized at some point, I need to just have some voice that I can talk to. So I got a consultant. I’m talking to counselor, um, probably once a month now, but it’s just good to check in and have that voice of somebody who can talk to it. So, hey, I really saw myself. Going down this spiral of anger or whatever, you know, what, any tips about how to deal with it and things like that.

[00:26:04] Tim Lupinacci: So, um, I think that’s kind of how some of the way I’ve learned from making those mistakes that it’s hard when you’ve got, you know, you’re doing 20 hour days and the pressure is coming from everywhere. How can I worry about myself, but my experience has been through some failures that that’s when I can make the most of the 18 hours then or 17 hours because I’m now.

[00:26:25] Tim Lupinacci: Better fuel to do it, but

[00:26:27] Steve Fretzin: hey, my final question to you, Tim, is, is I, and I’m going to, I’m going to be humble in saying this, that I’ve had opportunities in my career to not only lead, but also to manage. And I think from a leading standpoint, I’m an excellent leader from a management standpoint. I’m much more organized now than I used to be when I tried to manage and I was a failure at managing and, um, didn’t meet with people weekly and didn’t, you know, help them in the way a normal manager where you’re snapping a whip, whatever you want to call it.

[00:26:54] Steve Fretzin: So how do you, when you feel like a manager, but you really want to be a leader, how do you solve, how do you resolve that? Yeah,

[00:27:02] Tim Lupinacci: that’s really, that was probably one of the biggest, the hardest thing for me moving into this role, because there’s certain things that the CEO or the managing partner of whatever size group, that’s what you need to be doing.

[00:27:14] Tim Lupinacci: But there’s a tendency to feel like you got to solve every problem and depending on your team that you’re working with, and we’ve got, uh, you know, we’ve got a chief operating officer CFO here and some other executives. I’ve got to make sure that I’m, um, figuring out what is the most valuable, uh, work that I can do on behalf of the firm and on, on, on behalf of our shareholders.

[00:27:35] Tim Lupinacci: And what is better, uh, aligned with some of these other executives and then let it go. And again, it’s that same kind of thing. You got to build that trust with them, which, um, but it

[00:27:43] Steve Fretzin: sounds like there’s a, but Tim, isn’t there, there’s a hierarchy, right? Of, you know, there’s problems at all levels, right? And there’s people that report to you and that should come to you for certain problems.

[00:27:52] Steve Fretzin: And there’s, there’s probably other people that they should be talking to that, that are there. Direct. Managers direct reports and is that, is that one of the important elements of it? It is.

[00:28:00] Tim Lupinacci: And one of the things though, is, um, the Tim responsibility, what I control is not holding on to things and doing things that aren’t my top priority, even though they’re good things, they need to get done.

[00:28:10] Tim Lupinacci: And one thing I’ll give a quick tip that, um, a coach helped me with early on was I started tracking my time of what I was spending my time on of different buckets of categories. And then a lot of it I realized was not what you would say were my three or four top vital priorities to drive the firm forward.

[00:28:28] Tim Lupinacci: And that’s when I really, it was more eye opening, you know, to say, oh, yeah, I don’t need to be doing that. I need to be driving this, which is, you know, maybe driving growth or interacting with shareholders or casting the vision. So, yeah, that’s

[00:28:40] Steve Fretzin: like a time management must do is just track your day, track a couple days, see what you’re really doing.

[00:28:46] Steve Fretzin: And I think what you’ll realize is that. You’re not really doing, you know, what’s in your best interest to develop business or to lead or to, you know, just build something.

[00:28:56] Tim Lupinacci: So, well, and even, even going back to the business development, like you got to have a bucket if you’re, if you’re full time practicing and full time leading and trying to do business development.

[00:29:07] Tim Lupinacci: You’ve got to have a plan on that business development. I used to break the year out in the quarters and say, I’m going to touch this client here, this client there. I can’t do all this. And it is. It’s a lot of time management, but it just, um, it works.

[00:29:19] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. Well, planning, you know, right, you know, plan and execution and accountability and prioritization, all elements of what makes someone a great rainmaker, a great leader, et cetera.

[00:29:29] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. Thank you so much, Tim. Let’s wrap up with, uh, your game changing book. We’ve got today, the four disciplines of execution. Talk to

[00:29:35] Tim Lupinacci: us about that. Yeah, and it kind of goes into exactly. It’s almost like you teed it up. Perfect.

[00:29:40] Steve Fretzin: I’m an old pro at this

[00:29:41] Tim Lupinacci: point, right? That’s right. I think it’s like a Stephen Covey book, but, um, uh, or his organization.

[00:29:47] Tim Lupinacci: But, uh, the thing about it is that, uh, if you know, your vital priorities, the world wouldn’t have every day is going to throw it all out the out of the door. Something’s going to happen this morning that I’m not expecting. I can have the best plans to do my 3 or 4 things and then something, somebody walks in my office and creates a big bomb and I’ve got to solve it.

[00:30:05] Tim Lupinacci: But the thing that I loved about that book is, first of all, it’s identifying those priorities, but then it’s also recognizing that you’re going to have the whirlwind blow it out of all over the place. But then when the whirlwind slows down, you go back to the same 3 or 4 priorities, the vital, um, the disciplines of executing and like you were saying, getting things done, uh, because sometimes you can just let the whirlwind take you off track.

[00:30:28] Tim Lupinacci: For days or weeks, but if you know, you’re coming all the way back to these priorities, then you can keep executing. So that was a lot of things that just really helped me crystallize everything. There’s also this great idea in there about setting lead goals instead of lag goals. We all know once the fiscal year is over how we did last year and okay, that may have been driven because we were doing business development or maybe not.

[00:30:49] Tim Lupinacci: Or maybe we didn’t get some checks in, but what are some things you control to make sure next fiscal year is good? Well, doing client visits is going to pay dividends. You know that that’s a lead measure. And so do you track your client visits? Things like that were, was really game changing for me.

[00:31:02] Steve Fretzin: Yeah.

[00:31:03] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. And it’s, it’s these kinds of books, you know, another one that, you know, getting things done for time management. And there’s so many, so many wonderful books. I’ve written a few that I like to think are pretty wonderful. Bye. Yeah. You know, they’re, they’re for business development. If you’re looking to lead, that’s, you know, you’ve got to find specific books, like the four disciplines that’s going to get you there.

[00:31:21] Steve Fretzin: Really, really fantastic. As we wrap up, I want to just thank our sponsors, Get Staffed Up, Green Cardigan Marketing, everybody, and Lawmatics. So check them out. And, uh, I think you’ll enjoy, uh, working with them. And Tim, if people want to reach out to you, they’re interested in, in working for a wonderful leader like you, or they just want to learn more about your, your firm, what are the best ways for them to reach you?

[00:31:42] Tim Lupinacci: Sure. Um, the firm website is Baker Donaldson, B A K E R D O N E L S O N dot com. I’m on there. Um, and then I’ve also got a nonprofit that’s all about leadership. Everybody leads dot org. I’m on there too. So feel free either way. I’d love to keep the dialogue going.

[00:31:58] Steve Fretzin: Yes, absolutely. And a huge shout out to to Meredith Bell, who introduced us.

[00:32:01] Steve Fretzin: She’s such a, she’s such a superstar and such a great advocate for others that, that are trying to make the legal industry a better place. That’s what this show is all about, Tim. And you’ve been just an amazing guest and I’m so happy that we got to meet and he got to pull out some gems from you. And I think there’s a lot of future leaders out there that need to be inspired, that need to know that it’s possible,

[00:32:21] Tim Lupinacci: you know?

[00:32:23] Tim Lupinacci: Well, I really appreciate this, Steve. And I just have learned so much from you already. So it’s been great to spend some time together.

[00:32:28] Steve Fretzin: Awesome. Awesome. And thank you everybody for spending, again, some time with, with Tim and I today to help you to be that lawyer. Someone who’s confident, organized, and a skilled rainmaker.

[00:32:36] Steve Fretzin: Keep listening. And if you’re enjoying the show, don’t be shy. Tell the other lawyer friends about it. Give us some kind reviews and ratings and all that jazz. And, uh, we’ll keep, we’ll keep at it. Um, be well, be safe. We’ll talk again soon, everybody.

[00:32:52] 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.

[00:33:14] Narrator: I’m Steve Fretzin.