How to Effectively Promote Your Legal Brand Online and Systematically Scale Your Practice
Hello and welcome to the Unbundled Attorney Mastermind Podcast. My name is Dave Aarons, I’m the founder and CEO of Unbundled Attorney. In this podcast we interview our unbundled attorneys as well as the leading experts in the industry, to identify the fast practices for converting leads into paying clients and how to equitably and profitably deliver unbundled legal services and other affordable options in your practice. To learn more about how our exclusive unbundled leads can help you grow your practice visit our website at unbundeledattorney.com.
Or, you can Watch the video version of this podcast on our Youtube Channel.
Welcome to the show. I am very happy to welcome Jacob Sapochnick who is one of our unbundled attorneys in San Diego County. Working together with him for a long time, originally met way back in the day at the Thrive Business Conference, all about creating for purpose aspects empowering entrepreneurs to make a difference and impacting the communities that they serve. Really happy to have an opportunity to be chilling here today with Jacob and catching up on all the amazing success he’s had in his firm and some other realms as well. Right?
Jacob Sapochnick: Absolutely.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, I mean- thanks man, thanks for joining us. Maybe one of the things that a lot of people who don’t know you, we were just talking about the fact that you actually own a coffee shop and a couple other entrepreneurial ventures. Maybe you can start by just sharing the idea behind the coffee shop.
Jacob Sapochnick: The coffee shop, kind of like everything that we do in the practice, it’s all about the community because we want to be helping people, we engage with our audience, with our customers. For me, the coffee shop was a place where I can actually come down to the people, understand what people want, talk, have daily conversations with customers. I enjoy that kind of, it kind of fuels my day. That’s the reason why I started our coffee shop, Simon Says, which is our first location. I’m just going to spend time a few times a week, have a coffee and meet the customers, understand what they do, where do they come from, why are they here? I like that, the same reason why I enjoy practicing immigration law.It’s one of those practices where you actually meet the customers, you deal with them one on one.
The other business we started was our co-working space community, which is the place where we sit here. This is our community.
Dave Aarons: This is the digs.
Jacob Sapochnick: Co-working space. Which is another reason we want to bring entrepreneurs together, understand their pain points, what drives them to succeed, help them out, and kind of be around them? The energy of being around entrepreneurs really helps me do better things at the law firm and in my other businesses. That’s the reason why I am doing those things.
Dave Aarons: We found a lot of attorneys that have taken advantage of virtual offices and co-working spaces, especially when they are first getting their practice started. Because in most cases you can just rent the space by the hour or by the day, basically on an as-needed basis. So, they don’t necessarily have to make a full investment into the overhead, when they are first getting their firm started.
Jacob Sapochnick: Correct. And so in community, [00:02:53] we have two locations, in this location part of the back end of our space is designed for attorneys because we are private offices. In our first location, it is more of an open space. But in this location,n we have offices that attorneys can rent per hour or per day. I’m doing events once month training attorneys about marketing, business development. My [00:03:00] we are going to do more of those throughout the year, but we have that option here in this place. So we have lawyers here as well.
Dave Aarons: Do you- awesome, do you stream the events online, live stream?
Jacob Sapochnick: The events
Dave Aarons: For lawyers who might want to
Jacob Sapochnick: The events that we had so far, for attorneys we haven’t done, we haven’t streamed them online. We are going to start doing that as well because we want to make sure that they feel comfortable, we want to kind of test it out. What it looks like. Now we have the format so we are going to start broadcasting and recording them as well.
Dave Aarons: Nice.
Jacob Sapochnick: That’s kind of the idea behind it.
Dave Aarons: Okay, well keep me informed on when you start to stream them and then I can go ahead and link to the show notes on this podcast so that anyone who wants to participate and plug into the training that you are doing for attorneys out of the co-working space. You’ve got, they’re both called Co-Mmunity in La Jolla and then where is the other one?
Jacob Sapochnick: Hillcrest.
Dave Aarons: Hillcrest.
Jacob Sapochnick: But the one in La Jolla, is more designed for attorneys because we have private offices, the conference room where we are sitting right now and other areas that are more secluded so attorneys feel more privacy. Also, they can be outside in the common area, which is the co-working area where if they want to meet customers or if they want to meet other like-minded attorneys they are able to do that so they don’t feel alone. Most attorneys who start practices, if they have an office they feel always kind of alone. It’s hard to kind of boost yourself to do more things because you feel what am I going to do, who’s going to mentor me?
Dave Aarons: You feel isolated.
Jacob Sapochnick: Here is more of a collaboration.
Dave Aarons: That’s right so almost like a mastermind.
Jacob Sapochnick: Yeah, kind of. Which we’ll do more of that because the thing is most attorneys who come here they don’t understand that they need to be part of a mastermind type environment. They are not used to it so we don’t want to push it on somebody that is not familiar with it. Once they understand that it’s actually helpful, then we are going to, come join our event or come to our discussion forum, or whatever you call it and then they feel more comfortable. Then when they start doing it on a more regular basis. So people feel like, oh yeah, last month we talked about marketing this month we talked about how to deal with angry clients, next month we do how to scale your practice. Those are going to be more things that we are going to do on a regular basis. Definitely, I will record them and stream them so more people can see it.
Dave Aarons: You also have a podcast you’ve had for many years [00:05:30]
Jacob Sapochnick: So most attorneys that know me they know The Enchanting Lawyer podcast. Which, we will relaunch hopefully after, in the next few months. The premise behind the podcast was first of all to share stories of other attorneys and non-attorneys who do amazing things because my premise was you always want to learn from people who are not doing the same things that you do. In the podcast, I did have attorneys, which were doing different things, but most of my guests were non-attorneys. The idea was why don’t you learn from somebody who is not like you and pick up a marketing tip or maybe a leadership tip or some other, just like I did. Everything I learned, was from non-attorneys. I implement it in my practice because it is very difficult to copy your competition because you just do the same thing, you also want to do something different. Try to adopt it in your practice and then see if it works, which was always my philosophy.
Dave Aarons: I can see that as I’ve got to know you. You are always at different kinds of conferences.
Jacob Sapochnick: Which are not legal, necessarily. They are all-
Dave Aarons: Non-legal conferences, exactly.
Jacob Sapochnick: Inspiration, could be something that would inspire or motivate and then you come back and you implement the little things in your practice. That always helps.
Dave Aarons: Especially some of the conferences in the internet marketing world. In Thrive.
Jacob Sapochnick: Where met, Thrive, that was not a legal conference that was more of a business conference, but it had some sort of giving back element. When I came back from that conference the first time, we actually changed the tagline of our law firm. Now we call this serving to give. That was after Thrive. The idea is that everything that we make, a portion of it should be given back either financially or by services to other attorneys and our clients. We donate money to charities, and we offer our expertise to other attorneys that want to learn. We want to share with others, we don’t want to just keep it in. That’s the purpose of serving to give.
Dave Aarons: Yes, it’s actually built into the model as such that as you grow your firm your giving grows along with it.
Jacob Sapochnick: You have to otherwise if you keep it inside you’re never going to grow. It’s going to always kind of, but the more you give the more you get and the more you’re able to scale. Which is kind of always on our premise?
Dave Aarons: Yeah, I think nowadays a lot of people especially with social media, and that there isn’t really a curtain. The curtains have been lifted by companies.
Jacob Sapochnick: Absolutely.
Dave Aarons: Your culture and how you treat people on what it is your doing becomes so much more important. Just from the growth of a business standpoint. People see that and they want to be a part of working with you specifically.
Jacob Sapochnick: I give an example, being open to ideas is really key in our industry. Just about a year ago, somebody called my office and it’s a person I worked with in the past on a documentary. He got an Emmy for that documentary. He said listen, I was approached by a few media outlets, I want to do a documentary about an attorney in the Trump era as Trump was going to be elected. I was like, you know what, why not. They came to my office and they filmed for about to weeks a reality about me and the practice as Trump was literally the week when Trump was elected. Now we have a pilot, its called Immigration Master. It is pitched right now to Netflix and a bunch of other media outlets. We hope we will hear something by May. If the show was selected and if it is we are going to do 15 episodes of a reality show based on our practice.
If it’s not going to be selected I have a full pilot that was created for me that I can use for marketing purposes. I can put it on YouTube. Break it down and who knows. It’s just a cool thing to have a pilot.
Dave Aarons: Yeah.
Jacob Sapochnick: They are filming my house, my kids, my family. It was amazing.
Dave Aarons: I’m curious what you talked about or shared about how this presidency has shifted the direction and some of the things you have had to do to adapt both for helping your clients dealing with the fear and uncertainty that they’ve had to address and then also as a practicing attorney, figuring out new pathways to serve.
Jacob Sapochnick: If you go back when they filmed, I remember there was I was coming back from Tokyo. I was speaking in Tokyo and I spent a week there. And when I returned, it was the day when Trump was elected so I actually missed the elections. I wasn’t here when he was inaugurated. I was on route to California. When I landed literally two hours later I did a Facebook live, and I spoke about my feeling saying listen, yes, he is the president but he is not a king. He cannot just do whatever he wants. He can impact the mood. He can change the dynamics, but he cannot just say and so that live was like we had 1,000 people on it. The people that shared it. I said he we have time, it is going to be until January 20th, it was November.
I said he is not going to take office until January 20th don’t be scared. People are confused, what is going to happen. I said that it’s not going to be the same anymore, while he’s not the king and he cannot just decide what he wants to do, the whole mood of what is possible for immigrants is going to change. That’s really what I said and it’s true to this day. To this day, it’s all negative you can’t just come in here and start a company like you used to be. You can’t just, if you are undocumented you have to be scared for your life. The mood of immigration has changed.
What I see for us immigration attorneys is that processing cases become more difficult. We get a lot more denials, we get a lot more requests for evidence. [00:11:06]
Dave Aarons: Have you seen that happening?
Jacob Sapochnick: Of course, it’s happening right now. We’re getting, there are more things that we can’t do any more for example, people were able to adjust their status, literally within weeks of arrival to the US. Now, they have to wait 3 months. Its big shift, small things like that, but these are important things to show his verbiage about who can come in, who cannot come in. He wants to cancel the visa lottery. He wants to cut legal migration by half almost. Kids won’t be able to sponsor their parents. Some of the ideas that he presented in the State of the Union.
What does it mean for our practice? It means that it is going to be more difficult to do cases. It means that it is going to limit the things that we can do. A lot of the small attorneys, I had a call from a colleague of mine from New York. She has been in business for 4 years. She is considering closing her practice and working for somebody else right now because she doesn’t get enough cases. The cases that she able to do are getting denied and she doesn’t really know what to do.
I feel like space is going to, the big firms, the bigger firms like Friedman or the big players in the space are continuing to expand because they have enough volume of corporate clients to survive. Firms like mine that have been around for 15 years plus I think will be okay. Of course, we are going to suffer some hit in business but we’ll be able to compensate by doing things we weren’t able to do before. Maybe do more I-9 compliance and offer some audits for employers. Maybe more creative on visas.
We have to become flexible but its definitely even us we definitely see a shift in the business. It hurt our business for sure.
Dave Aarons: Already you’ve seen
Jacob Sapochnick: It has. It’s not people say Trump is going to come in and you’re going to have a lot of business. It’s not like people get deported every day and we go out there and we have all these cases. It’s different.
Dave Aarons: There’s an initial bomb with all the attorneys we’ve worked with. We could see that immigration volume went up for maybe been permanent residents and now want to become a citizen. People that have been, maybe I really need to take this path of residency. There was that but that was almost short-lived to some degree.
Jacob Sapochnick: Now it’s just kind of flattened. People are like do I do this or can I do this? There’s a lot of things you can’t really do anymore. I think immigration law is still going to be a good business, you just really have to like in any business. You can’t just sit and do the same thing for years.
I think its kind of like in cryptocurrency, correction, it’s not always going to go up. At some point it’s going to go down, what are you going to do, you are not going to just sell. You have to hold maybe buy some more, readjust. The same thing, with our space, we- the drop in traditional business, means that you have to invest in other avenues, improve the existing business and focus on a new way of marketing immigration services. Because there is a lot of business out there, it’s just that the business is going to be different.
You have to understand how to shift. If we have a lot of denials, that means we have to focus on being experts in reviewing those H1B’s that other attorneys get denied. Which is kind of a service we started? We have a service where we offer a review of requests for evidence for other H1B’s. Even if you have an attorney right now, [00:14:21] you have a huge request for evidence. People are reaching out to find out what are they going to do.
They don’t trust their attorneys for, they want a second opinion. That’s a good market. We charge H1B’s a few bucks for our fee. We always prepare it and then they can hand it off to their attorney and they can do whatever they want with it. If they want to use our findings great, if not at least they have material to use. We have done a lot of H1B’s, we know our field and we are successful with our H1B’s so we know we can market it as a service to other attorneys and other clients that want second opinions.
I never had to do it before but its a new niche. Another thing
Dave Aarons: So created a niche, you’ve almost been forced to create.[00:15:02]
Jacob Sapochnick: For example with [00:15:01] is where we have more, it is much more difficult to do those in the US now. We have different ways to prepare these cases inside the US. I would say, how about we do your case inside the US but if it gets denied, or there’s a problem then we will refile at the US Embassy almost the same package. So we can upsell, the service. Stuff like that, that we come up with which are almost the same things but we didn’t have to do it before, but now we have to. Right?
Dave Aarons: Yeah.
Jacob Sapochnick: Kind of being more creative with your services. But being able to dive deep into areas that other attorneys may not know. Like some of the new attorneys, are not familiar with some of the complicated visas. So now they can reach out to more experienced attorneys and you have more business coming from other attorneys that you didn’t have before because they could do it easily on their own.
Dave Aarons: It almost seems like, in certain ways, there is a need to specialize.
Jacob Sapochnick: Absolutely.
Dave Aarons: And almost cooperate with other attorneys, one specializes in that, one specializes in that, and then create communities like you’re working on. \
Jacob Sapochnick: The new marketing strategy under Trump is that you really have to be specialized. I’m the best deportation attorney. I’m the best H1B lawyer. I’m the best whatever because if you are not specialized if there is an issue then, other attorneys may reach out to you for a second opinion or hire you, or clients that are really concerned right now. We want to go with the best because we don’t trust anybody else. You don’t want to have to say you’re the best but you have to act so you create content. Educational videos, articles, written format, webinars. By default, they will come to you and say, hey, we saw your article we heard your podcast. We want to come to you because we feel you know what you’re doing.
You are not going to come out and say I’m the best immigration lawyer. You are just going to create content you’re going to create authority by saying, you know what I solved this problem by showcasing like we’ve started our ask podcast. Where we answer questions every day to clients who want to know for free. And so by doing that, people come to us and say we listened to your podcast, you answered our questions, now we want to come to you as an expert.
That’s where the shift. You basically have to terrorize with knowledge. The more knowledge you create, the more knowledge you spread, right? The more people with come to you for advice because people are scared. And who would you go to when you are afraid. You want to go to the person that you feel he knows what he’s doing. It’s normal. If I am in pain and my tooth is hurting, I’m going to go to the best dentist. When I had my eye surgery, a couple of years ago, I had to find the best retina surgeon because that’s the problem I had. I didn’t just go to anyone online. I found a person who wrote the articles, spoke at conferences, put the video out there. Explained how the retina tear occurs and how you can fix it. That’s who I went to. Right?
Dave Aarons: Yes. So,
Jacob Sapochnick: That’s really where again, there’s a lot of opportunities right now. Even though it’s hard, it creates opportunities for attorneys to build a foundation for their practices by creating knowledge, by being an authority, by being out there. As opposed to being in there, you have to be out there. Everywhere. That’s the key. If you’re everywhere people will trust you.
Dave Aarons: Its interesting because right now, more than ever its really important for attorneys to adapt and get creative. At the same time, you have the platforms and the tools and the channels that can be used to reach more people than you ever could five years ago, ten years ago. As much as there’s a contraction as far as the old way of doing things, there’s also a massive expansion opportunity if lawyers can embrace some of the new platforms and like you said can take a very serious approach to providing content.
When we were at the Clio Cloud conference a couple years ago, Gary Vaynerchuk was there he was the keynote at the Clio Cloud conference and he just talked about this mobile device. This is the, he said how many of you use this thing while you’re sitting on the can? Raise your hand right now. Everyone is using these mobile devices all the time. There is a whole new possibility that can that is opening up and other avenues are closing. Those that adapt, will overcome and those that don’t may lose. So one of the things I’ve always appreciated about you is you’re really staying on the cutting edge of what platforms still have the most traction. You obviously built a huge following on Facebook, I think, I don’t know how many fans you have nowadays, but maybe close to 200,000 or 150,000 followers something like that. which is amazing for attorneys, it’s really an amazing accomplishment.
Then you’re also utilizing YouTube, you had a podcast. What are some of the platforms that you’re most excited about and one of the ones maybe that you hadn’t been doing in the past that you’re really paying a lot more closer attention to as potential content mediums.
Jacob Sapochnick: I think this year 2018, YouTube is definitely going to be, it has always been a good platform. I think this year, more than ever, it has become a powerful tool for attorneys to use. In many ways, by doing a show. you can do consistent content, so YouTube, difference now with YouTube is that you really have to do consistent content. Almost like a weekly, on a weekly basis.
Dave Aarons: Yes.
Jacob Sapochnick: Not just throw a video once in a while, but every few days. There’s a lot of engagement there it’s a search engine. People are going to find you much easier. From YouTube, you can send them to your other platforms. Right now on our cover, we have links to our Facebook, our Instagram, and to our Twitter. I use Instagram a lot as well. It’s more on a smaller scale, you connect one on one with people by Dming or getting the Dms back. Putting photos, Instagram is kind of showing more your personal backhand side. So people want to connect with their attorney kind of on a personal level. Like, what does he do? Does he travel? Does he eat good food? Whatever. We get a lot of personal inquiries.
I get a lot of Dm’s on Instagram. People are like hey we saw your feed and we’ve been following you for a while, now my cousin needs help or whatever. That kind of stuff. I’ve been using SnapChat last year more. I do less here because I don’t have so much time and I feel like the reach is a little bit lower. At some point, I was doing a lot of SnapChat stories. I still do it, so I kind of shifted to Instagram stories. Which is kind of another video platform, that.
Dave Aarons: Did you find you weren’t getting as much engagement on SnapChat?
Jacob Sapochnick: Its just, I was getting engagement, its just that I feel like with some of the changes in SnapChat the last few months. I feel the kind of people that are the people we are getting there are less corporate clients are more personal. They become more friends. In a way, you hae to choose your battles, you can’t be everywhere. I did experiment for about a year on SnapChat. I like the format I like the way you can have a geo filter for our firm and stuff like that, so it was good. But, think Instagram and Facebook now are good tools because you can, the ads are somehow connected. So if you do ads on Facebook you can, people can see it on Instagram.
Of course, Facebook has always been a good tool for us. We do Facebook Lives. You can consistently do those shows. So between Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, I find to be the most useful tools for content creation. We’ve been, we are going to be testing LinkedIn as well this year for articles and videos. Because now you can do more videos there so LinkedIn has become more of a, we have an interest to build more of our corporate clientele. Clients that want to do consistent visas. I’m going to focus on building a group on LinkedIn. Bring in some of these corporate HR people and do videos and stuff like that.
I’ll be doing similar videos, so we are going to be building videos and cutting them into YouTube Shows and snippets on Facebook and LinkedIn. We actually hired a couple of video guys that are editing our stuff. We are going to be investing a lot in a video this year as well.
Dave Aarons: Okay.
Jacob Sapochnick: So the video is going to be and not just YouTube but other platforms that are visual, pure light visual. At the same time, the audio from the videos could be used for a podcast. We have two podcasts, which is the marketing podcast and the immigration podcast. We are going to build another podcast around immigration for stories. Because people find you on iTunes, which is a search engine, right. They like to listen to it on their phones. So we are considering building an app, which they will be able to kind of aggregate their audio on their phone on like on a daily show. Listening to our show on their phone.
So all the audios will be on one podcast. They ask, and the stories one. So I can just click on the show.
Dave Aarons: So, all the different episodes will come though
Jacob Sapochnick: They’re still going to be on iTunes, but they can easily download the app and say hey we want to search for the one on H1Bs. Boom they can just listen on the phone so they don’t have to go to iTunes necessarily. It’s still going to be on iTunes but it will be through the app, its just easier to sort it, they can save it. They will be able to share it with a friend and download it as a standalone. So we are actually building the app right now. Hopefully, by summer we’ll have it ready.
We already had apps in the past, but this is going to be a little bit more of a. We had a book that I wrote last year. That book will be pushing in verticals. The book helped us get some speaking engagements, and so we will be using that. Maybe I’ll do an audio version of the book as well this year. Just record the whole thing. Some of the projects that I’m kind of being involved in right now.
Dave Aarons: Just a few projects. That he’s involved in right now.
Jacob Sapochnick: The gist of it is, it boils down to two things. You have to be out there almost everywhere, Second of all, video and audio are going to be key tools to build momentum, right?
Dave Aarons: It’s impressive how seriously you’ve taken building your practice and putting out content and building community. These are things that are great as ideas but they take a lot, they take some work, they take effort, they take strategy, they take thought. You are talking about building an app to synchronize all the podcasts you create to run. It’s amazing, on the other hand, I see a lot of lawyers that go Facebook, I have no idea. Instagram, I have no followers. How do I even get started?
Could you maybe, give a practical understanding of how you go about your day? How do you create content? What are some of the moments that you would then capture and put on Instagram? What are some of the things that obviously you’ve got your shows where you’re interviewing and so far so. What I’ll link to the different shows that you have into the podcast in the show notes so that all of you can check out the different shows he has. As not only to learn from the content that he’s producing but also to get an idea of some of the format and the way he’s thinking about producing content and differentiating himself in today’s market and utilizing these platforms to have a bigger reach. On the very basic scale, someone doesn’t have an Instagram account, they want to get it going and start building some kind of a following as a starting point or Facebook. What’s some day to day things that you do to start to build some traction?
Jacob Sapochnick: On the video side, what I do on the video side. I don’t do everything myself. It has to be clear. Its not like me doing everything.
Dave Aarons: That’s key right? It’s not constantly you coming up with a handout.
Jacob Sapochnick: So on the audio, an audio/video, I’ll choose a few days a month where I’ll batch videos. I will do 10-15 videos in one or two days. Then from those videos, we can strip the audio. Somebody will do the videos, I’ll assign it to a person who does the videos. Then we have someone who edits the audio. Then we will create the episodes, I have somebody who will transcribe them. It’s important on YouTube to not only do the video, but also transcribe every single word of the audio. Because then its more sociable. Person will do the
Dave Aarons: Then you put that in the content, the transcription.
Jacob Sapochnick: In the blog, podcast show notes. So if somebody does the transcriptions, somebody does the audio stripping and editing, somebody does the thumbnails art. All these people they are contractors, they don’t work for the law firm but they are contractors that we contract to do just like the person who is doing the video today is being contracted so they don’t have to worry about somebody always on a payroll.
Whenever we need them for these two or three days, they are contracted to do this work every month. All I do is record the audio and the video, that’s all I do. I don’t edit anything, I don’t learn how to do any of that art. That’s not my job.
Dave Aarons: Not your mastery.
Jacob Sapochnick: I come in here I do my audio. I do my videos. Then I assign it to people to do all the stuff and then we have a schedule when we upload them. We upload them on a daily basis. The show comes every Monday or whatever we day we have the show. As far as Instagram, Instagram is obviously more personal. Instagram, my strategy Instagram, some people post almost every day. I used to, but I’m not anymore. I post maybe once per week or whenever I have something interesting to do. Instagram is not necessarily about frequency, it’s about quality.
I invested in a few apps and a designer to have really quality. If you look at my photos, from like a year ago and look at them in the last 6 months you’ll see very high quality photos. Because they’ve been edited to look very, you know, in lighting. Most of my photos, are from my travel, from like food events, something cool that happens. That’s why I don’t post every day. I feel for me it has to be something quality, something cool to say.
Dave Aarons: As opposed to, hey I’m eating this.
Jacob Sapochnick: Exactly, and some people post every day on Instagram, which is fine, but you don’t have to. Instagram is more like, people follow my photos. They like the quality, the art. When I travel, I post different destinations and then I use hashtags that are interesting to reach more people. I always have an immigration lawyer, lawyer life, more like a lifestyle. The person behind the brand.
Dave Aarons: Do you keep it somewhat related to the things you are doing that are related to immigration?
Jacob Sapochnick: A little bit, so for example.
Dave Aarons: [00:29:41] conference and this is how it fits.
Jacob Sapochnick: Exactly, so for example, lets say I travel. I came back from in the summertime and I was in Bora Bora. I said oh its amazing because so many people, so many different countries all in this area and they all talk about their freedom to travel. Something like that, [00:29:58]. There is a little bit of [00:30:00]. In the recent, I had an interesting case where we saved this guy from deportation and it was all over the news. Like 15 news stations in 3 days. What I did I posted a photo of me with the guy and an assembly member Gloria that helped us release him. There was a nice photo in his office with a flag. Kind of like, more inspirational, so that’s immigration related. I don’t put ads. I see so many attorneys on Instagram.
We are one on one, call our office or whatever, its more. Instagram was designed to be a personal outlet for people to reach. Some example of cases that I got from Instagram. We had this guy who is he is an art dealer. He has been following for me for I would say about a year, because I see when somebody likes. Then one day, I got a DM from him. DM is a direct message. He says, Jacob, I love the last photo you posted from I was in Paris. Me in Paris. I was in Paris again, immigration related. I was speaking before a conference of startups in Station F. The largest incubator in Paris. I put 3 photos during my trip. And 4 photos, me, the Eiffel Tower and I had lawyer life, [immigration 00:31:20] Paris.
My business partner is also in Paris. I want you to meet him. The last day I meet the guy, he basically needs to bring 15 engineers to his startup in San Francisco. The guy follows me for a year. No comments. He saw me in Paris. He loved the photo of me standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, it’s a beautiful photo with lights and everything. That resulted in almost $50,000 of business from that one guy on Instagram. It’s a very, very [00:31:55] once you referred me to that guy, he hired me with no questions. He was, it’s his company, you hire this lawyer. I met him in Paris, we talked for an hour. We signed the deal, the next thing you know when I came to San Diego, he wired the money and we did the visas.
That’s the [00:32:12] Instagram is not volume based. It’s more of a personal connection. Very high quality leads that it can make. And connections, other attorneys connect with you. That’s how I do it on Instagram.
Dave Aarons: There is a balance between this is what I’m doing, these are things I’m doing but there’s always a relating back to immigration. Also, people get to know who you really are as a person.
Jacob Sapochnick: You can do whatever you want. I decided to change my focus do more of a landscape. Beautiful photos because of its all about visual. Its more visual, people don’t really know how to use it. People think its like a Facebook. It’s not a Facebook. It really has to be visual. It has to have, you can do video, like a short video. You can do, I do mostly photos. Like high quality photos.
There’s another attorney, his name is Lee Rosen. He travels the world. He also has a nice Instagram account. He shares his stories, wherever he is in the world. For him its more building a relationship and sharing his travels. He doesn’t really make business for him, but it’s more builds his its like an outlet for his lifestyle.
You can do different things with it. I think the best way to start is taking nice photos and sharing your personal passions. For like golf, golfing photos, if you like cooking. You can be still a lawyer like a lawyer life #pastarecipe. It’s still legal related. Then people see how the guys like is a family guy. I want him to be my attorney. He likes to golf, I like golf. I’m going to connect with him.
Dave Aarons: People are coming into your office not because I’m this immigration lawyer, we help with these things. It’s like, hey, these are qualities that I like about a human being.
Jacob Sapochnick: How will they know from the website. They are never going to know from your website. How will they know from your blog, they are not going to know. Even from Facebook live, they are not going to know who you are as Dave or as Jacob. On Instagram, you can open that little door. I like golf. There’s a picture of me and my son boxing. People like that photo because it shows I’m a family man. I like my son or whatever. Somebody might connect with that. It’s just, that’s how I use Instagram. I feel like that’s the right way to do it based on everything that I hear and I see. My favorite accounts are the accounts that are personal and I can see a little bit glimpse into the life of.
Like if you follow David Beckham on Instagram, it’s a perfect example. He’s at home with his kids, he’s traveling, he eats, he posts food. Of course, he’s David Beckham so whatever he does people are going to follow him. He doesn’t do, It’s just him, his life. Which I think is the right way to do it, you learn a lot about who he is by following his account.
Dave Aarons: I think there’s something that I’m also noticing and that is that you study and you watch what other people do.
Jacob Sapochnick: Absolutely.
Dave Aarons: You pay attention and go oh what’s the approach here? What’s the strategy? It’s not just like you come up with ideas, you’re constantly asking questions. You’re constantly following the people that have the highest accounts. What is it that they’re doing? What are the strategies that work? [00:35:11]
Jacob Sapochnick: The biggest issue in a legal space, in any whether its immigration or family law or any practice is that, most attorneys are always doing the same things. Most of them are yellow pages, most of them have websites, most of them have blogs, most of them have videos and YouTube that all look the same like a talking head.
Where is the innovation? The innovation are attorneys that are using automation software. The innovation is by attorneys that are doing things that are not normal. They give you free information first. Then they are charging where they should charge, information that I’m bundling their services. These are the innovation in our space. Attorneys that are doing online courses. Selling services that are necessarily not trading dollar for time. Those are the innovations that we have in our space as opposed to the attorneys that are doing the same thing.
I’m going to do this because everybody else is doing this. I’m going to pay fine law, because everyone is, I’m going to be on Avo, pay them for advertising because everybody’s doing it. Most attorneys are not innovators. There are a lot of attorneys that are. Some of them are members of unbundled, some of them are, they have, they speak in conferences. Most attorneys are just not innovators, they are not marketers, they are not business people. They are good lawyers, but they’re not business people.
I think the way to survive this Trump era is to really be a business person first. So you can be adaptable if changes are happening.
Dave Aarons: That’s one of the things you’ve embodied. Not only are you wielding one of the [00:36:52] immigration practice, you’ve got the community, the co-working spaces, you’ve got coffee shops. You’re traveling and doing conferences and so forth. You’re an entrepreneur first and a lawyer second. Would you agree with that?
Jacob Sapochnick: I do agree, but this is just me. I’m not saying everybody has to be like that. What I mean is that they need to understand the law firm is a business. If you think like that, then even if you are not a business person you understand that you have to. Is this paralegal producing or is this attorney that I hired worth it. When is the right time to bring another associate? All these things you have to know. You have to be aware of that. If you are not the best business person in the world, if you build systems that are working for you then you will learn.
Dave Aarons: That co-eds right into what I think we want to explore a bit next is that being an entrepreneur first is someone where you have to embrace systems, embrace looking at the numbers, looking at process maps. That’s kind of out there, but really looking at each step of the process from the time we acquire a lead, obviously, all the marketing side is just to bring in leads. Now once you have the leads, then okay, how do we get them on the phone, connect with them. You get them to enroll in a service, then from there, how do we start to deliver services and one of the things that is very unique about your firm is you have six or seven, six lawyers I think and also 15 support staff in your firm. Because you’ve done so well on the marketing side, you have a high volume of intake but you’ve also been able to scale that intake in a really intelligent way. Maybe you can talk about some of the processes you’ve developed. Also, how you use your support staff to leverage your time and serve such a high volume of clients.
Jacob Sapochnick: We use different funnels to get the clients in there, this is part of the marketing. Once they call the office, we keep tweaking the way people answer the phone, we know we have two people that are assigned just to receive them on the phone. All they do is that. They take the intake, they interview the client, they understand what they need and then they will assign them to the right person in the office to talk to them.
We also started doing recently, we started using a tool called Call Awayo. It essentially records most of the calls that come from our ads. The reason we do that is because sometimes they listen to the caller and I hear a paralegal say, the attorney is not here right now, but I will call you in the morning. When I hear that, I’m like what the hell is happening here? Nobody’s going to call you in the morning. If you don’t give them the answer now, their going to go to someone else. What I usually do is, if somebody is out of the office, lets say somebody needs a question about an e-visa. I’m not there or the other attorneys, that party is supposed to say, somebody is going to call in the next 30 minutes. Then she will text the attorney and the attorney will call wherever they are, they will call that person.
They don’t have to be in the office as long they get that message, they will call them. We want to avoid, the idea is to be a welcoming firm. So, when somebody calls.
Dave Aarons: A responsive
Jacob Sapochnick: Yes, oh really. So you are basically right now your wife is stuck at the airport. No problem, we’ll, where is she at now? Let us try to see what we can do. Feeling that, they feel that when they call, they need to feel that there is an answer. No hesitation. There’s no uncertainty. Yes of course we can help you. Yes, we can do it. Even if you can’t do it, lets say we had a case where somebody needed a family lawyer first. They are not ready for immigration yet. They need to get divorced first, and then they could have done the waiver.
The paralegal on the phone, will be well, you really, this is something that you need to be divorced before we can even do anything. Here’s what we are going to do. Call this attorney. She is the family lawyer that we usually work with, then once you call her. Start the process of the divorce. Probably, a couple of weeks after, lets all get together and figure out how to start your immigration. So, the person feels like we are not handing them off to someone else, but we are kind of, they feel safe.
Dave Aarons: They feel protected.
Jacob Sapochnick: When they call they need to feel safe. Whatever that is. We keep tweaking our script, because every time, sometimes I hear it and it doesn’t work. So I say, no, you shouldn’t have said that, you shouldn’t have said we do have, how many cases do you do. What is the answer to that? We don’t really keep track of that. What I can tell you is the higher rate of success in those cases. You always have to have an answer that whoever is on the phone feels safe. They feel that they called the right place. Whatever, that formula is that is kind of the result that I want to get to.
Once they go through the funneling of the phone call, they get to the paralegal who is going to start working on their case once assigned. Typically, we try to keep them informed, we have a system where they get emails once in a while, every few weeks updates on their case. Automated, some of them are not automated, depends on what the case is.
We use my case as our case management tool. Then we use simple citizen as our. Simple citizen is not available yet to the masses for attorneys, but we use it because we are. I’m an investor and advisor of the company so we have the tool. Before simple citizen, and I still use INS Zoom as our integration software, we are transitioning to simple citizen, which will hae a full robust intake from the moment they call the office all through the whole. Even when we get their information from the government, it’s built into the system. They have an AI tool, that will get your information from the government.
When you check your case online, it will be in the system. It’s a very cool tool that we are working on right now.
Dave Aarons: Pulls down the data right from the
Jacob Sapochnick: Government. From everywhere, labor department. We use, kind of like INS Zoom right now, but a simple citizen is a legal software to use for our tools. Then we use.
Dave Aarons: Its practice management and document automation.
Jacob Sapochnic: Correct, then we use the active campaign as our software to be able to. Its kind of like Infusion sol but we use it to get all our leads into one space ad then break them down. In addition to that, we use pipe drive as a back end to. So the person who is on the phone who deals with our leads pipe drive is like a sales software where you selling the products. It tells you if the lead is hot or what happened with the lead. Are you familiar with pipe drive?
Dave Aarons: Actually, I haven’t seen that platform.
Jacob Sapochnick: So pipe drive, is like, what I like about pipe drive is I can see visually, which leads are being treated, why then they call the person, why is he waiting, they have a tool called rotting. It’s rotting in the system literally. It’s become red. So they haven’t called this client in 2 days. What’s happening with the lead. Pipe drive is like a pipe, you put your names in there and it follows up with a live visual to see what is happening to our leads. The person who is on the phone is using that.
We use enough tools, not one tool but it works for us. We are going to build it in. Of course, we have systems. We use a sweet process. Do you know what sweet process is? Sweet process is a cool tool. Let’s say I want to tell.
Dave Aarons: Sweep, like sweeping a building.
Jacob Sapochnick: Like sweet.
Dave Aarons: Sweet like a taste.
Jacob Sapochnick: Like a taste. So let’s say, I want to teach the receptionist how to answer the phone. Sweet process will allow you to record a voice so you can listen to it. You can put a PDF in there like in 1, 2, 3, 4 or even a video flow. You can record a video on iPhone upload it in Sweet Process and then I say, hey you’re now the new receptionist. Spend an hour in a sweet process and see how we answer the phone. So the first thing that your going to have is a welcome video. Hey, whatever, welcome to our law firm. Here’s how you answer the phone. You pick up the phone. You say Welcome to Sapochick Law Firm how can we help you?
Then you ask the four questions, are you calling for a family matter, are you calling for a business matter, are you calling for a deportation matter? Then you have a series of PDF’s how to actually move extensions, you click on this button it sends you to extension number 5, this one sends you to extension number 6. It’s visual. Then the last one is an actual video. A screen flow. Here’s what happens when you have to move 5 extensions. Here’s what happens when you have to move this event. Its kind of like one of those. Sweet process. Everything in the office is in the sweet process. They can download it. They can print it out. You can see it. Anybody can log in there.
Dave Aarons: So it’s like training modules, with videos, documentations.
Jacob Sapochnick: Let’s say right now I want to teach someone how to put together exhibits. I will do a video, hey, here’s how we do exhibits. This is the only way you are going to do exhibits in this law firm. We use blue sheets, pink dividers, green labels. Here’s where the labels are then there is going to be a PDF. The PDF will tell them how to manually put this. It’s actually a checklist. Finally, there’s going to be an audio that I recorded. Hey guys, I’m tired of you not doing this the right way, this is the only way and the other has a date. This is the only way your are going to do labels from now on. All the videos from before are obsolete. It’s all in that same one, its easy to log in, I can share users. Its online. Its not in our system, its not on our server, it doesn’t clog space. We use.
Dave Aarons: Accessible on demand, people can go home they can study at home if they want to.
Jacob Sapochnick: We use Microsoft 365 for all our emails, we are all connected with our calendars. Everything is in the cloud. A share point. We have nothing in the office. It’s all, we all [00:46:22] people can be at home and I can patch calls to them.
Dave Aarons: That’s call routes too? Patch it and it also records it. So you can have that level of oversight.
Jacob Sapochnick: These are the kinds of systems we use. We are building for us. We have so many people we need all the systems. We need. Now we are working on finding tracking performance. We using we are testing LEAN. Its called, Lean is based on Toyota. Toyota principles. One of our clients is a former Toyota employee. He built what is called Honshu. It is a consulting company, a system. It is modeled after the efficiency of Toyota. Who is efficient, Who is not? How can you become more efficient?
We are trying to bring those people into it. It’s brand new right now. We just started to try to work with them. Basically, say do you need these people, do you need this person? Why do you need this person. How efficient is [00:47:21] law firm. Why do you need that space? Do you need all that space? Can we? Honshu is the company and the system we are going to be implementing is and I am actually going to go to Japan in June to spend time in the Toyota factory. To be able to immerse myself in the principles of Toyota and bring it back to the firm and see how, what we can do.
Dave Aarons: That’s awesome. Of course, when you are going to Japan, to learn how the Japanese factory works, and so forth, and tour the factory, you’re going to be sharing on Instagram, you’ll be sharing doing audio.
Jacob Sapochnick: Of Course.
Dave Aarons: You’ll be doing interviews.
Jacob Sapochnick: Who knows, maybe I’ll come back with a course, a full course to run the. Nobody has done it for a law firm before. Take that model of Toyota. What is this model. The model is that they, everything is efficient to the bone, to the T. All the engineers that used to work for Toyota, they are so efficient because the system is there is no waste. They reverse engineered it back into a law firm and now you scale it 5 times x5. So that is going to be the focus this year.
Dave Aarons: More broadly why is it so important that when you go from the solo practitioner to then hiring staff, why is efficiency so key? I can share at least from one stand point, obviously, in immigration, you are doing a lot of flat rates. It is a specific fixed fee. In certain cases, 2,000; 2,500. And so your income is directly determined by how long it takes you to get that job done. If it takes you 40 hours to, your not going to be keeping those doors open.
Jacob Sapochnick: We have a lot of overhead. We have almost 20 people working there, We have a full building that we lease. There’s a lot of expenses, so you can’t, even as much as the volume we get if your not efficient you’re not going to make money. And you won’t be able to support all these operations, that’s why you really have to. I feel like, even if I think that I am efficient, I know that I am not as efficient as I could be. Therefore, the whole Toyota efficiency system, the LEAN methodology is something I want to implement in the law firm. And take it to all the other businesses that I have to make them much more efficient.
Dave Aarons: Are you creating, you’ve been doing some trainings at the co-working space, where you are training attorneys how to do this. Are you also building some courses for attorneys or thinking about something like this?
Jacob Sapochnick: We are building some courses, like I said, I was so busy with everything else, I haven’t, I’m not done with it. I have a course that its based on the enchanting way, our system. How to build and scale a law firm in three months. There is, it’s three months because, it takes 3 months to launch a practice and then it’s up to you what you going to do with it. Those first 3 months are key to any operation of consulting service business like a firm. Hopefully, I will be able to accomplish that course as well. Sometime this year. I am actually working on something pretty robust for other attorneys. It will focus on attorneys, accountants and consultants. I have a specific vertical for lawyers.
Dave Aarons: Okay. Its something I’m happy to collaborate in any way we can because we do have a lot of attorneys that come on board that are just launching a new solo practice.
Jacob Sapochnick: Once, even a prototype, we will definitely sit down on this.
Dave Aarons: This has got to be the most common thing that attorneys are struggling with. Especially, once they sign up with us and they are starting to get a lot more leads than they used to. They go, I can’t manage all the, I can’t be calling the leads in real time. Then also working on the cases, you have to have these systems in place. The profession the legal profession, really struggles to modernize. Really struggles to implement some of these systems. Especially the technology side. It all takes time. Being able to provide some guidance and some tools just in the way you are right now is just really helpful for attorneys to start to get to know how these pieces start to come together. Just put a little time each week into implementing some of these things. It can really make all the difference, especially when you are offering flat rates or unbundled services.
Your effective hourly rate or income is directly proportional to your ability to build effective systems and offload to your staff. That is something it seems like you’ve done pretty well. Anytime a case comes through your door, you have the option where you can either have one of your attorneys handle it. All these attorneys, they work under salary as opposed to being contract employees?
Jacob Sapochnick: Yes, in our firm we have a family division for immigration, business division for immigration, and then litigation removal defense. If it’s a family case, the people who work on the family division they know what they are doing so they are more efficient. They don’t have to relearn it, they know boom, boom, boom. How do you do a marriage case? Their system is. Let’s take an example. Let’s say a paralegal gets paid $20/hour. It takes 12 hours to do a marriage case. Let’s say we charge $2000 to do a marriage case. And then an attorney gets paid an hour to review it. Then we are still profitable. Let’s say $200 to do the case, another $200 for the attorney to review it so we are at $400 lets say $500 bucks. We still make $1500 bucks profit. Let’s say $1000 is profit. On any of those cases, that’s pretty good.
Dave Aarons: Yes.
Jacob Sapochnick: Let’s use an example, we try, it’s not always the case. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes there are complications, sometimes we have cases that drain us. But if we have enough cases that keep you afloat that are profitable, then the ones that drain you it all evens out eventually.
Dave Aarons: It also, you can start to analyze what your pricing needs to be at if you study the cases over time, if you put some time into how long each case. Do you keep track of time?
Jacob Sapochnick: Yes, we do it more now. That’s part of the system that we want to implement. How is long is it going to take? Why is it taking that long? Can you cut down some of the hours? We monitor we have reports. We try to work with those staff members to teach them to be more efficient.
Dave Aarons: Yeah that’s key.
Jacob Sapochnick: People are especially when you work with flat rates. People are not very efficient. We have to keep them on track.
Dave Aarons: One of the things that notable about having staff and having an attorney is you have the option because you said a paralegal works on it for 12 hours at $20/hour who can do the work. You have an attorney to review it. It gives you the option as to whether you even want to be involved personally or [00:53:34] attorneys are doing it. Maybe at the end of the day, it’s an hour or two of your time. Even if you were going to take the case to maybe get the job done, minus complications. Anything else that might be involved of course. Your leveraging your time in a way where your not just, if you are doing everything yourself your just trading time for money.
Jacob Sapochnick: I would stress that even for people just starting out their practices, the moment you can hire somebody, even part-time, even contract basis do it. Even 2 hours that you free from doing the work you open up the way to marketing or organizing the financials or focusing on what needs to happen. I am not saying hire right away, but at least get somebody to help a couple hours a day just to kind of free those hours that you need to do something else that is not necessarily the work.
Dave Aarons: Especially things that are lower value tasks. If you can find someone who can do that for $20 an hour and you can build a system to do that. And you have a training platform like a sweet process where you can just give them the standard operating procedures on how to do that now that’s been offloaded to them. You’re not, that’s one less hour or two hours that you have to put into each individual case yourself. Massively increases your effective hourly rate as a result. Like you said, it allows you to focus your time on other things that can help you grow the firm.
Jacob Sapochnick: Correct, exactly, perfect.
Dave Aarons: Listen, this has been just a broad sweeping inspirational interview. Obviously its impressive all the different things you have in the works. Like I said how you’re really embracing the times. Putting out amazing content, using all the platforms that are available to attorneys, its really just a great example of any number of the things Jacob’s doing you can implement in your practice. Pick the ones that really make the most sense for you. Once you start to develop these content strategies, put out the videos, build some forms of efficiency, start to look at how to scale your practice, we have a lot of podcasts, interviews with other attorneys that have scaled out their practice. We can link those in the show notes as well. I really appreciate you coming on and sharing all the things you’ve got in the works. At least just a few of them. How do you cover all these that you have going on? Its awesome. Thank you so much for your time.
Jacob Sapochnick: Pleasure being here.
Dave Aarons: For everyone else that’s been watching, we really appreciate your participation. All the links will be in the show notes. Unbundledattorney.com/podcast to this episode. You can also find us on YouTube by searching unbundled attorney. You can subscribe to our channel to get each new video podcast as we share it. If you want to reach out to us you can also send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org we’d love to hear from you, what you learned from this episode, what you’ve learned from any of the other episodes. Suggestions for future episodes, future guests, or anything else you would like to see us cover. With that, we’ll wrap up. Thanks so much for your participation and of course we will see you all on the next episode.
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