Every law practitioner knows the stress that comes with running a law firm — the chaotic juggling of administrative tasks, client pressures, and financial obligations can be overwhelming. What if you could pinpoint the 20% of efforts that yields 80% of your productivity? In this episode of the Lawyer Millionaire Podcast, we were honored to host Mike Chastaine, an accomplished attorney and consultant who reshaped his practice by integrating this very principle.
Episode 36 – “Mike Chastaine: How to build an efficient, effective and profitable law firm,” is a refreshing dialogue that draws from Mike’s vast experience in criminal defense and insights garnered from handling his law firm. Mike underscores the paradox of average lawyers billing only a portion of their day and the wasted hours spent on unproductive tasks. He elucidates how a lawyer’s time is their most valuable asset and provides strategies to guard it against resource-draining interruptions.
Here are five crucial nuggets of wisdom you can expect:
1. The 80/20 rule and how to identify the enriching tasks that should get priority.
2. The importance of setting up effective intake systems and rules of engagement.
3. Embracing the “profit first system” as a key to lasting success.
4. Securing your practice through financial planning and cash flow management.
5. Creating a hiring strategy that ensures every legal employee amplifies your law firm’s profit.
In a rare moment of lawyerly introspection, Chastaine gives us a reality check, addressing the key reasons why many law firm owners find themselves entangled in dissatisfaction, and proposes an antidote — intentionally designing their law businesses to support the preferred lifestyle.
This episode is a must-listen for every law practitioner seeking to transform their practice while achieving a harmonious work-life balance. So why wait? Tune into The Lawyer Millionaire Podcast and give Mike Chastaine’s powerful episode a listen today. Leapfrog your practice’s trajectory through an hour of ground-breaking insights.
Have you ever wondered how top-tier law firms manage their businesses successfully? Learn directly from an award-winning attorney Mike Chastaine on the ‘Lawyer Millionaire Podcast’ hosted by Darren Wurz. This episode is a gold mine of productivity hacks, financial strategies, and law firm management tips.
Known for his mastery in the legal profession, Chastaine turned his firm, Chastaine Jones, into a seven-figure business with just three lawyers. Now he dedicates his knowledge and skills to helping fellow lawyers navigate the innovative paths of the law world.
How can law firms maximize productivity?
Chastaine espouses the 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle), which suggests that 80% of productivity or revenue comes from 20% of work. Nevertheless, alarming statistics show that the average lawyer only bills about 2.5 hours out of an eight-hour day. The solution here is not doing more but focusing on the right tasks. Chastaine recommends centering on the profitable 20% tasks and effectively saying ‘no’ to non-cooperating clients.
Less email, more productivity
For a law firm owner, time is your most valuable asset. A common trap many lawyers fall into is wasting precious hours on emails or in-office interruptions. Prioritize tasks that are directly connected to productivity and profitability. Also, establish clear rules of engagement for clients and colleagues to respect your valuable time.
Bookkeeping and Financial plans – Outsource or oversee?
Chastaine highlights that while bookkeeping can be outsourced, it should be monitored carefully. He also emphasizes the vitality of having a robust financial plan for law firm owners, supported by accessible cash flow and an emergency fund. Using a well-documented system like the profit-first model can help manage money efficiently.
Hiring for growth
Worried about hiring additional attorneys? Chastaine’s advice is clear: your potential hires need to generate about four times their salary. Gauge your firm’s financial readiness before deciding to expand your legal team. Always maintain a pool of potential recruits, even if you’re not in a hiring phase.
Aiming for a lifestyle?
Chastaine’s goal is to guide law firms towards achieving balanced work-life dynamics. His experience as an attorney and insights as a mentor are encapsulated in his new book, “Legal Ease: The Ultimate Guide on How to Survive a Law Practice”.
You may be excellent at your work as an attorney, but wouldn’t it be great to master the business of law as well? For more insights, head to Mike Chastaine’s website or turn your attention to the ‘Lawyer Millionaire Podcast’s’ next episode.
Remember, as a law firm owner, the difference between a stressful existence and a fantastic lifestyle can often be reduced to addressing business issues proactively and setting systems in place for success.
Keywords: Mike Chastaine, Lawyer Millionaire Podcast, law firm productivity, 80/20 rule, profit-first model, hiring attorneys, law business mastery, work-life balance, financial planning for lawyers, law firm management.
Connect with Darren Wurz:
- 30 Minute Chat With Darren
- Wurz Financial Services
- The Lawyer Millionaire: The Complete Guide for Attorneys on Maximizing Wealth, Minimizing Taxes, and Retiring with Confidence by Darren Wurz
- LinkedIn: Darren P. Wurz
- LinkedIn: The Lawyer Millionaire
- Twitter: Wurz Financial Services
Connect with Mike Chastaine:
- Linkedin: Michael Chastaine
- Website: Michael Chastaine
- Book: LegalEase: The Ultimate Guide on How to Survive A Law Practice
About our guest:
Mike Chastaine is an award-winning attorney, speaker and author. His career spans many decades and covers a wide range of experiences, both in and out of the court room. As a successful entrepreneur, nationally recognized trial lawyer and endurance athlete, he has a unique perspective for success that puts him in a unique position to help others.
- Nationally Recognized criminal defense attorney for over 37 years
- Founder of Chastaine Law – “Best Criminal Defense firm in Northern California in 2020 and 2021 by New World Reports
- Legal Excellence Award for Literary distinction, LEA award and author of five books
- Radio host of ‘Legal Ease’
- Video blogger of 20 minutes with Mike
- Entrepreneurial Attorney of the Year finalist in 2017 and 2018
- Extreme Adventure Racer
- National Ski Patroller Alumni
- Harmonica and bass player
- Husband, father and grandfather
Darren Wurz [00:00:00]:
Law firm owners face numerous challenges, from financial management and marketing to work life balance. Our guest today has navigated these intricacies himself and now helps other law firm owners do the same. Get ready for invaluable insights and practical advice to become more effective, efficient, and profitable. Welcome to the Lawyer Millionaire Podcast. I’m your host, Darren Wurz, financial planner for ambitious law firm owners. Today we’re honored to have Michael Chastaine, an award winning attorney, mentor, speaker, and author of the highly acclaimed book Legal Ease the Ultimate Guide on how to Survive a Law Practice. Mike has had an extensive career as a criminal defense attorney and law firm owner. His firm is Chastaine Jones, located in Northern California. Mike, welcome to the show. We’re glad you’re here.
Mike Chastaine [00:01:05]:
Well, thank you very much. I’m very much looking forward to this.
Darren Wurz [00:01:09]:
Absolutely. Me as well. Before we dive in, why don’t you just share with us and our listeners a little bit about yourself, who you are and some of the work that you do. Sure.
Mike Chastaine [00:01:20]:
Sure , so to make a very long story short, I graduated from law school back in 1985 and had a very long and productive career in the public defender’s office in San Jose, California. I was there for about 17 years. I moved to the Sacramento area, joined a law firm that was very well known, kind of cut my teeth in the Sacramento area, got to know my way around there, and then opened up my own firm in 2007. The story for me was really all about mentors. I had great mentors in the public defender’s office. I really learned my craft. I was doing death penalty cases and all manner of very serious criminal cases. But what I didn’t have was I didn’t have a business mentor. So when I went out on my own, I had this belief that, well, I’m really good at what I do, so people will just somehow know that show up and pay me. Well, it doesn’t work that way, as you know. And so I spent a number of years struggling trying to figure out how to pay the rent, where the next client was going to come from. Eventually I started doing what needed to be done, which was investing in myself and investing in mentors and learned the business side of it. And from there we had steady growth. Wound up going over seven figures routinely with just three lawyers, myself included. And at the end of 2021, I sold the firm. And so now I’m of counsel to the firm. I consult with them, I consult with other attorneys. But I don’t live in California anymore. I live in New Mexico. And through the miracle of technology, I can do 99% of the things that need to be done through zoom or phone calls or what have you.
Darren Wurz [00:03:17]:
Fabulous. You have done what we have talked a lot about on this show in terms of setting yourself up for that next phase of your career and moving into more of a work on your own schedule kind of arrangement. So I love it. That’s great. And I want to hear more about how that’s working for you. But I want to get into the main message of your book. And I was looking at your website and I noticed you had on there interesting fact, a study from the Aba or something that says most attorneys, and probably especially law firm owners, are unhappy. Can you tell us why that is in your experience?
Mike Chastaine [00:03:16]:
Yeah, I think there’s a number of reasons. One, it’s really hard work being a lawyer. There’s a tremendous amount of responsibility. You are trying to fix problems that other people have made, whether it’s a car accident or a contract issue or a criminal problem or a family law problem. It doesn’t matter. It’s a problem that you didn’t cause, but now you’re trying to fix it. So there’s a lot of responsibility. There. Two, there’s a lot of stress from just the competitive nature of practicing law. Law school kind of teaches you that it’s you or me, as opposed to this collaborative, let’s all work together. That’s not how most lawyers work. And then the stress of owning a business. I think most lawyers are ill prepared. They don’t know how to do it. I know I certainly wasn’t. As I said earlier, I had this illusion that just because I was good at what I did, somehow that would turn into dollars. It doesn’t work that way. So you have to learn all of the skill sets to run a business, including hiring, firing, all the learning how to be a leader in your own firm as well as all the day to day work. And there’s not a lot of support. I mean, that’s really what it comes down to. Most of the lawyers that I know and I know hundreds of lawyers, maybe thousands of lawyers, they don’t talk about, oh, the business problems that they’re having, and so they don’t share that burden, and so they don’t get the help. And that was the big thing when I went and really reached out and invested in Mentors. All of a sudden, I was surrounded with people who would actually open their books and go, let me show you what, as a practical matter, is going on and how we can turn this zero net gain at the end of the month to a profitable firm and how you can start putting money away so that you have options. Because that’s really what money buys you, is options.
Mike Chastaine [00:06:14]:
It doesn’t work that way. So you have to learn all of the skill sets to run a business, including hiring, firing, all the learning how to be a leader in your own firm as well as all the day to day work. And there’s not a lot of support. I mean, that’s really what it comes down to. Most of the lawyers that I know and I know hundreds of lawyers, maybe thousands of lawyers, they don’t talk about, oh, the business problems that they’re having, and so they don’t share that burden, and so they don’t get the help. And that was the big thing when I went and really reached out and invested in Mentors. All of a sudden, I was surrounded with people who would actually open their books and go, let me show you what, as a practical matter, is going on and how we can turn this zero net gain at the end of the month to a profitable firm and how you can start putting money away so that you have options. Because that’s really what money buys you, is options. So I think it’s all part of those things that cause lawyers to just not be happy with the totality of what they’ve got going on. So I think it’s all part of those things that cause lawyers to just not be happy with the totality of what they’ve got going on.
Darren Wurz [00:06:28]:
I guess the good news is there that a lot of those things you mentioned are things that can be solved. They’re problems that there are solutions to. And if you implement some of those solutions, that can bring happiness. And maybe we need to define what happiness is. Maybe that’s peace of mind, less stress, stuff like that.
Mike Chastaine [00:06:23]:
Yeah, for me, having the perfect day on a regular basis. So what would your perfect day be? So, like, this morning is a good example. I got up. I didn’t have an alarm clock. I got up when I was ready to get up. I meditated for 15 minutes. I did 20 minutes of yoga, and then I walked around my property. Now, that’s a great way to start my day. And I’ve been doing something akin to that for years, even when I was actively practicing. Get up in the morning, get my day started in the right way, get my mind set in a way that I have good intentions of what it is I want to accomplish. The app, for me, was the perfect day. Everyone else has their own. I’m not saying my way is the only way, but that was where I kind of started, is I decided, what do I want my days to look like and then how do I build my business around that so that I can actually have those days?
Darren Wurz [00:07:52]:
Yeah, that’s great. Purposefully designing the business to support the life that you really want. I love it. So let’s get into your book. You’ve got this book, Legalese, and there’s a new edition coming. I’ll let you tell a little bit about that. You give a lot of practical advice on productivity for law firm owners. It’s a fabulous book. One of the things you mentioned is the 80 20 Rule. Can you tell us a little bit about that, what that means for law firm owners and how they can put that in practice?
Mike Chastaine [00:08:23]:
Yeah, the 80 20 rule is basically the concept that about 20% of the work that you do accounts for about 80% of your productivity or your revenue. And Cleo just came out with a report that said the average lawyers is only billing two and a half hours a day out of an eight hour day. So that’s at about 30%. Right. So that kind of lines up. So the issue is, what are the things that you were doing in that 80% that are not being productive? Are you rummaging through your email? Are you wasting time doing a variety of things? Are you doing busy work rather than productive work? And so the key behind the 80 20 rule is learning where that 20% is. Who are the clients that are actually paying? I mean, how many of us have taken on clients that we knew from the get go weren’t going to pay, weren’t going to be cooperative? We’re going to be a real pain in our rear, and yet we took it anyway. The idea behind the 80 20 rule is if you can recognize that that person is going to be in that 80% where you’re going to work really hard and not make any money off of it, then you can learn to say no and start spending your time in the 2080 rule or in the 20% of where the real productivity is. And one of the examples that I use is if you’re a guitar player, if you play musical instruments in a guitar, there’s like 4000 chords. Technically you could make. But almost every popular song that you listen to is made up of three or four chords and most of them are major or minors. Right. So if you learn about 50 chords, you can play probably 90% of the music out there. So the question is, do you spend a bunch of time trying to develop a D nine Sus or a D nine Sus, which is a chord that you will probably never, ever use? Or do you get really good at doing your GCD transitions as a guitar player? That really made a lot of sense to me as I focus on the stuff that really can get me somewhere. And it’s just a good example of how the 80 20 rule works. Where are you spending your time in the productivity 20%? Or are you burning time doing stuff that’s busy work?
Darren Wurz [00:10:57]:
Yeah, first of all, you mean there are clients that don’t pay? I’m shocked.
Mike Chastaine [00:11:04]:
Yeah, I wish that was not true. But it is. Even big firms, part of their report, the Clear Report, said that even in the really big firms, they collect about 90% of what they bill. So if you’re doing 90%, that’s pretty good.
Darren Wurz [00:11:22]:
Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, staying in those productive arenas, I am relating so much to this. There are so many black holes that we can get stuck in. We were talking about one of them before we came on, which is emails. Are there other traps that we need to avoid that are going to really just tank our productivity?
Mike Chastaine [00:10:52]:
Well, yeah, if you have an office where you have employees, other lawyers, law clerks, paralegals, what have you, you really need to be very firm about when you allow them to stick their head in your door. Because if you let them do it, they will do it all day long. Hey, Mike, you got just a minute. Hey, Mike, you got just a minute. And then 45 minutes later. Right, so setting rules of engagement for not only your clients when you’re available to them because they don’t need you, they don’t even expect you to be available. Best lawyers in the world are not available to their clients on the cell phone. You got to make an appointment with them. There’s a great book that I just read called The Fourth Door where this kid is trying to make appointments with Warren Beatty or not Darren Beatty, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg and whatever. And the book goes through all the hoops he has to jump through to get an appointment with these guys. Right. You need to value your time enough that you are not readily available to every single person that walks through the door. And by doing that, you can really focus on the things that will make you the best lawyer that you can be. If I’m working on a jury trial, for example, I’m trying to come up with a closing argument. I cannot be interrupted. I need that time. I need it to percolate and to think about it and to run through various things, because that’s what people are paying me the big bucks for. So go back to your question. How do you do that is you have to be very firm about when you’re available and when you’re not. Set your rules and then stick to them. It’s easy to set the rules. It’s the sticking to it that’s the hard part. In our office, while I was there, there were just times when you could talk to me, and then there were times when, you know, you say, unless the building is on fire and I’m the only one with a bucket of water, do not knock on my door.
Darren Wurz [00:14:00]:
Right? Yeah. You really need those times of real intense focus where no one’s going to bother you. I can relate to that. So you talk a lot about systems in the book and been talking about systems with other folks. I think we talked about systems before on the on the podcast processes and procedures. I’m curious, what are some of your favorite systems that you’ve put in place over the years that have really been the best for you, that have maximized your own productivity, that you would recommend for others?
Mike Chastaine [00:13:58]:
Yeah, that’s a great question. So one of the most important ones, I think, is your intake system. So when the phone rings, who’s answering, and how is that getting dealt with? I don’t answer the phone. We have a dedicated person who answers the phone. They have a script. They have a real clear intention of what the purpose of that is. For us, if somebody calls it’s to set an appointment, everything else is secondary. The goal is to set an appointment with that person to get them into the office. So having a system that you can measure how many calls are coming in and how many of those are being set for appointments, once you know sort of your baseline of what that should be, then you can really monitor if it falls off. So let’s say 70% of the people call, you set an appointment, and then you look at the report and you go, oh, well, this week was only 60%. Okay, is that just an anomaly, or did we change something? And nine times out of ten, my experience is we stopped following the script, and then it’s just a matter of getting back on the script, and the numbers go right back to where they’re supposed to be. If you don’t measure it, if you’re not following that, then you have no idea. And it could be literally months where that script turned into something completely different. Because, as you know, the hardest part is to get people to call now. Once they’ve called now they’re what I consider low hanging fruit. They’ve raised their hands, say, hey, I’m interested in what you offer. So we need to get them through the system, right? And the goal is that first call to get them into an appointment so we can begin all of that. So to me, that is like the number one system that you got to have in place. And the lawyers should not be answering the phone, right? As a matter of fact, it’s worse when the lawyer answers the phone because then you start answering questions, and that doesn’t move you towards what you want, which is to set the appointment. Right. If you’re answering questions, all of a sudden they’re like, what do I need an appointment for? He’s already answered my question. So I think that that’s really important. And then on the other side of it is the whole bookkeeping thing. I think that that needs to be done by somebody else. I don’t care if you are a bookkeeper that really needs to be done by somebody else, and then you monitor it. So in our system, I look at the bank account every single day. I look at the PNL probably four or five times a week. So I know exactly where we are to the penny. And I know whether we can hire somebody, whether we can buy new computers, whatever the expenses are. And we know where our profit margins are and are they staying where they’re supposed to be, or is there a problem? And if there’s a problem, then we backtrack and start figuring out why.
Darren Wurz [00:17:34]:
Yeah, great stuff. So intake one area. You really need to have systems, and it sounds like the system is whatever works best for you. The important thing is just to have the system and then have metrics so you can measure its success and you can make changes and you can improve upon it. And I’m so glad you mentioned the second one bookkeeping. Yes. Getting your finances in order so critical. And on that note, I want to ask you, since I’m a financial planner, but I want to hear from your perspective as a law firm owner, how important is it for law firm owners to have a financial plan in place and what should be the key components for a law firm owner’s plan?
Mike Chastaine [00:17:30]:
So it’s a great question. There’s this old saying that there’s what you want your firm to look like, there’s what you think your firm looks like, and then what it really does. And the only way to know that is to know your numbers. You got to know, are you profitable? I am very much a big fan of Mike Mccallowitz. Profit first. That’s how we run our firm. So when a dollar comes in, a little piece is sliced off, that goes in the profit account. There’s little piece sliced off into the tax account, savings account, and then whatever’s left, basically, is the budget to run the firm, right? That’s the operating account. You got to know that. And you’ve got to be able to anticipate when a big bill is coming. You can’t be caught by surprise every quarter when your tax estimates come up. If you are, then you’re not planning properly. And the other thing is, I really go into this in the new book, but my advice, especially new firm owners, is you got to save every penny you can. I mean, COVID taught us that your firm, despite everything that you do, it could be in perfect shape. But if the courts close down, you’re going to struggle. Right. And we had the good fortune of having saved we had $100,000 sitting in a bank account, just in a savings account. And I went to my financial planner and I was, like, complaining about I got all this money sitting there and it’s doing basically nothing, right, because it’s just sitting in a savings account making virtually nothing. And he said to me, very wisely, he said, well, what’s it for? And I said, well, in case there’s a problem. He said, So it needs to be liquid, right? He said, Then it’s doing exactly what it needs to be doing. And it wasn’t. Six weeks later, COVID hit and our courts closed down and we went through almost the entire amount until we were able to rejigger the firm and start putting ourselves back together. I didn’t have to borrow money, I didn’t have to put it on a credit card. So that’s the value of knowing where you are financially.
Darren Wurz [00:20:43]:
You’ve got to forecast those numbers and you got to have an emergency fund. We talk about that on the personal side. But you got to have a business emergency fund, too. And you’re so right. It’s got to be liquid, it’s got to be accessible, it’s got to be safe so you can get to it. A lot of times, law firm owners will maybe rely on a line of credit, but if banks are under stress, your line of credit might get pulled. You might not have that line of credit available to you. So it’s so critical to have cash. Cash is king.
Mike Chastaine [00:21:16]:
And even under line of credit, now you’re paying interest on it. Yeah, right. That can add up really fast. So I prefer to be my own bank if I can. And that was the key of having that money in there. It took a while to build that up, but it’s just small increments. And again, this is part of your system, right? When money came in, part of my system was I would go into the account, I would move all the money to the various bank accounts. And you got to read Mccallowitz’s profit first to understand.
Mike Chastaine [00:21:51]:
But we had nine bank accounts, and you move all of that stuff, and now you know exactly where you yeah.
Darren Wurz [00:21:58]:
Yeah, I love it. I’m a big fan of that system, using multiple bank accounts for all those purposes. A follow up question I have because I think you mentioned this earlier, and it’s something I’ve been talking with people about recently, is how do you know, as a law firm owner, when you’re ready to hire somebody to bring on an employee or maybe another attorney, is there a financial place you need to be at? What would be your counsel you would give there?
Mike Chastaine [00:22:26]:
Yeah, that’s a good question. So my general rule of thumb is that any legal employee, so that would be a law clerk, a lawyers, or whatever, should be generating four times their salary. So if you’re paying them 100 grand, they need to be bringing in 400. Now, that’s pretty optimistic. If they bring in 300, you’re probably still okay. But that’s the calculation that I do, is I start looking, okay, if I bring in this person, am I going to be able to feed them enough work that they’re going to be able to generate that kind of money? And I don’t think there’s a definitive thing you want them to generate money right away. You probably are going to have a month where you’re going to have to support them, but you shouldn’t really have to support anyone who’s doing billable hours. Whether you do flat rate or billable hours or some hybrid of those things.
Mike Chastaine [00:23:31]:
Doesn’t really matter. Are they doing enough work to generate that kind of income, and do you have the work to provide them? And then this kind of boils down to, well, are you niching your practice or are you being a general practitioner? And we very much niched, so we are always looking for paralegals and law clerks and attorneys because they’re hard to find. And my mentor said, you should always be recruiting. You don’t have to always be hiring, but you should always be recruiting. Because when you find the right person, sometimes they’ll bring in their own caseload, sometimes they’ll just be a super workhorse and they’ll generate a bunch of hours. But that’s what you need to be looking for. So what I would say is if you think that you are going to grow, if you want a firm that has a couple lawyers as opposed to just being a solo, you need to be recruiting right now. Even if you don’t think you’re ready to hire, because it may take you six months to find the right person, what you don’t want to be is in the position of, I got to hire the first warm body that shows up, because that could be disastrous, right? So we’re always looking. We’re always, oh, that public defender seems pretty sharp. Maybe we should chat with them and start building a relationship, and maybe it’s not time for us to hire, and maybe they’re not interested yet, but that changes. I was 17 years in the public defender’s office. I thought I would never leave. And then one day I just decided it was time, and it was a whole host of reasons, but yeah, things change. That’s why you keep recruiting.
Darren Wurz [00:25:18]:
Okay, good. Great advice. Keep recruiting. And even if, you know, you’re not quite ready, you got to be ready when the time comes. And it sounds like a lot of the criteria revolves around the work coming in. And if you have the leads coming in and the clients coming in and you need that extra support and you can provide that extra work for that person. I want to get to one more thing here, and that is your advice for attorneys, law firm owners, once their practice has really hit its stride, right? Once you’ve set up your practice, it’s profitable, it’s running smoothly, you’ve got a steady flow of new clients coming in. What’s next? How do you move to stage two of ownership? So you’re not working 70 hours a week anymore.
Darren Wurz [00:26:09]:
How do you make that transition?
Mike Chastaine [00:26:13]:
Yeah, that’s a good question. So I think a lot of it boils down to what do you want? So do you just want to do jury trials and have everybody? Because at the end of before I sold it, that’s basically where I was. I was basically doing trials because I like doing trials, but I was having other people do all the prep work, so I was doing the fun stuff, and they were doing the grunt work of getting me all the things that I needed subpoena and the people and what have you. If you want to go into more of a management situation, then that would be a different trajectory. But I think the commonality, the one thing that you have to have is you’ve got to have metrics. You’ve got to know your numbers, and you need to have reporting that you can identify where the problems are, because just because everything’s running smooth today doesn’t mean that’ll be true tomorrow. Google changes its analytics, and all of a sudden your SEO is not producing or something like COVID. I mean, there’s all kinds of things that you can’t control. So I think the key is to have good, reliable metrics that you know are correct and then monitor to them so that you start to look at, okay, where are problems starting to develop? Right? So it’s a little bit like the check engine light on your car, right? Just because that goes on doesn’t mean your car is falling apart. But it does tell you that you should probably go check the oil and the fluids and maybe take it in and have a look see. Sometimes it’s just a little tweak, but as the example I said before, when our set rate for appointments drops below 70%, the first thing I’m doing is I’m talking to the person who’s setting appointments and just going over. Are you following the script? And nine times out of ten, you find, yeah, I didn’t do this piece. Okay. Or, I did it in a different order. All right, well, maybe that matters, and let’s get back on script. You want to be doing that long before there’s a real problem, right? You can fix the things that you can control.
Darren Wurz [00:28:34]:
Definitely. Awesome stuff, Mike. We’re coming close to the end of our time here, but to wrap up, I just want to give you the opportunity to share a little bit about some of your future plans and projects you’re working on and also share with our audience where they can find you and learn more about you.
Mike Chastaine [00:28:53]:
Okay, well, thank you. I’ve just done a new book. It’s sitting on my flash drive, ready to go to the editor. What I realized about legalese, how to survive a practice, I felt like the bar was set too low. And so this new book is really designed towards mastery. How do you become the master of your craft? Not just survive it and not be miserable, but how do you actually become one of the top lawyers in your field, if that’s what you want? I take a lot of the same concepts and really expand on them, and there’s a lot of new concepts that I think are really important to deal with. So that project is going on right now. I’m also working with other small and solo law firms. Everyone from I’ve got a client right now who is brand spanking new. And so we got to start basically from scratch, which was really kind of fun to get him set up. So he’s got his systems all in place, so as he grows, he’ll be rocking and rolling and he won’t go through a lot of these struggles. I’m also dealing with a guy who’s on the totally other end, who’s looking to retire and getting his numbers all together so that he can sell the firm or bring in a partner or run it without actually practicing, which is possible as well. So those are the things that I’m working on. I have a website, Mikechastain.com. It kind of lays out what I offer. Everything is very personalized, so this is not an in the box system.
Mike Chastaine [00:30:34]:
I sit down with you. I find out what you want. That’s the number one thing. What’s the end game for you? And then start to design using business practices that are well developed, foundational, and get those into place, because every business has certain things that it just has to have. Get those into place, and then start tweaking your systems in a way so that you can have the lifestyle that you want. So that’s what I’m doing with folks. You. Can reach firstname.lastname@example.org. Mike@michaelchastain.com is my email or Mchastain at gmail. You can get to me either way, but yeah, that’s what offering.
Darren Wurz [00:31:22]:
Great. Great. Thanks so much, Mike. We’ll make sure we put all of that in the show notes for everybody if they want to get in touch with you. And with that, we’ve come to the end of another insightful episode of The Lawyer Millionaire podcast. I hope you found our conversation valuable. Remember, having a solid financial plan, using systems to boost your productivity, and prioritizing your work life balance are all vital aspects to building a thriving law practice. If you enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to subscribe to our podcast to never miss an episode. And don’t forget to leave a review to let us know how we’re doing and help us reach even more aspiring Lawyer Millionaires. Are you an ambitious law firm owner with big ideas about the future? As a financial planner, I help law firm owners get crystal clear about their future life goals and create a plan to achieve them. I can help relieve the financial stress in your life by partnering with you as your personal CFO to master your cash flow, reduce your taxes, and exponentially grow your net worth so you can secure your future and legacy. Learn more at the Lawyer Million. Until next time, this is Darren Wurz signing off and wishing you continued success on your journey.