client service

148 – Gyi Tsakalakis – How to Promote Your Law Firm With Digital Legal Marketing Expert Gyi Tsakalakis

Marketing a law practice is different from other types of businesses, due to things such as unique ethical considerations and the referral aspect.

On this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, Michael Cowen is joined by Gyi Tsakalakis, President and Co-Founder of AttorneySync, a digital legal marketing agency. A former trial lawyer from Southeast Michigan, Gyi is also the co-host of the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast.   

Tune in to hear Gyi’s practical tips on how you can more effectively market and promote your law firm, both online and through more traditional channels, including if you’re working with a limited budget. Gyi also covers the importance of building relationships in the local community, how to ask for reviews, and how to gain a competitive edge. 

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name: Gyi Tsakalakis 

About: Gyi Tsakalakis is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of AttorneySync, as well as the co-host, along with Conrad Saam, of the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast.

Company: AttorneySync

Connect: LinkedIn 

Episode Highlights 

[2:26] Marketing for legal services vs. other businesses. There are unique considerations to marketing a law practice, such as ethical considerations, among others. 

[5:33] Promoting your law firm on a budget. Lawyers should look for ways to cross promote in their community, including building relationships with local business leaders and organizations, sponsoring events, and getting involved in educational programs.

[12:09] The importance of demonstrating subject matter expertise. Testimonials, business profiles, and endorsements from other lawyers can validate your expertise.

[29:49] Online reviews for a referral-based practice. When other firms refer clients to you, they will check your reviews. Gyi suggests what lawyers can do if they receive a negative review. 

[39:01] Building relationships. When you’re just starting out, you have more time than money. So use that time to build relationships, talk to people, and focus on providing great service.  

[49:47] Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast. Gyi and co-host Conrad Saam have a podcast that is available on the Legal Talk Network, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and Google Podcasts

[51:39] Annual trucking seminar. Registration is open for Michael Cowen’s Big Rig Boot Camp taking place on July 12, 2024.

Connect with Trial Lawyer Nation

☑️ Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

☑️ Subscribe to Trial Lawyer Nation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.

In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.

Produced and Sponsored by LawPods.

147 – Robert Disque – Are You a Trial Lawyer or Just a Litigator?

Empathy is an emotion not commonly associated with lawyers. But harnessing it can provide valuable insight.

On this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, Michael Cowen is joined by colleague Robert Disque who focuses his practice on 18-wheeler and commercial vehicle cases. 

Tune in to hear Michael and Robert discuss Robert’s path to law, the difference between a litigator and a trial lawyer, and how to talk to clients about bad cases. Robert also shares how empathy led him from the defense side to the plaintiff’s side, and how empathy has helped him find common ground with opposing counsel. And how does Robert’s passion for gardening benefit him as a trial lawyer? It’s taught him patience and the willingness to accept mistakes.

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name: Robert Disque 

About: Robert has been an associate attorney at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock since early 2018, concentrating on 18-wheeler and commercial vehicle cases involving death and catastrophic injury. He earned his undergraduate degree from Creighton University and subsequently attended Baylor Law School on a three-year, full-tuition academic scholarship. While at Baylor, Robert served as an Associate Editor of the Baylor Law Review and competed on several moot court teams.

Company: Cowen Rodriguez Peacock

Connect: Robert Disque  

Episode Highlights 

[2:43] The difference between a litigator and a trial lawyer. Law school teaches you the rules to work up cases and prepares you to be a litigator. Being a trial attorney is more about case presentation. 

[7:13] Robert’s first case on the defense side. Robert was assigned a traumatic brain injury case involving an 18-wheeler that swerved into traffic.

[10:12] Empathy for defendants. Knowing that most truckers don’t want to get dragged into court can help you find common ground with the defense attorney.

[17:30] Dog cases. Some cases are simply bad and not much is not going to change leading up to trial.

[25:07] Radical Candor. When it comes to difficult conversations, a lot of pain can be avoided by being upfront, honest, and transparent early on.

[35:39] Rock analogy. Rocks represent the big things that move the ball forward on your biggest cases and water represents the small things that you can get bogged down on. It’s important to concentrate on the rocks. 

[44:29] Robert’s gardening hobby. Robert discusses his love of gardening and analogizes it to being a trial lawyer.

Connect with Trial Lawyer Nation

☑️ Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

☑️ Subscribe to Trial Lawyer Nation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.

In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.

Produced and Sponsored by LawPods.

146 – Anthony Vessel on Leadership, Empathy, and Professional Development

Lawyers aren’t necessarily great business people, or even good law office managers for that matter. That’s because running a business requires a different type of skill set than the practice of law. However, if you have a firm that is run well, you will have more time to be a good lawyer.

On this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, Michael Cowen is joined by Anthony Vessel, a lawyer from Houston, Texas, and a partner at Marc Whitehead & Associates, to talk about how to manage a law firm.

Tune in to hear Michael and Anthony talk about building an empathetic law firm culture, the benefits of an inclusive workforce, the use of behavioral assessments, and book recommendations. You’ll also learn how Anthony went from the nickname “Tony the Hatchet Man,” because he had to fire so many people, to being a respected leader in a firm whose core values are integrity, accountability, compassion, communication, teamwork, customer service, and health and happiness in the workplace.

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name: Anthony Vessel 

About: Anthony Vessel is a partner at Marc Whitehead & Associates, LLP.  He dedicates his practice to plaintiff’s insurance denials and disability law, specializing in long-term disability insurance denials, social security disability, mass torts, and veteran disability. The firm’s central office is headquartered in Houston, Texas, where Anthony manages a national practice and has successfully litigated disability claims in nearly every state, including the Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico. Anthony leads the firm’s largest department, the Social Security Disability Department. Anthony’s SSD department advocates for the rights of thousands of clients annually.

You may have seen Anthony’s work as an author of the newsletter, “The Successful Barrister–Marketing, Management & Life Skills that Probably Won’t Get You Disbarred.”  He has authored numerous articles and often presents on the topics of law office management, professional development, time management, as well as disability benefit claims, litigation, and negotiation.  Anthony also greatly enjoys mentoring young attorneys and peers.

Anthony is an active member, presents CLE presentations, and holds leadership positions in several professional organizations including the American Association for Justice (AAJ), Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA), Houston Trial Lawyer Association (HTLA), Houston Bar Association (HBA), National Organization for Social Security Claims Representatives (NOSSCR), and National Organization for Veteran’s Advocates (NOVA).    

Anthony is also a certified mediator and mediates across a wide practice area. Visit his website www.vesselmediation.com to book a mediation.

Connect: LinkedIn 

Episode Highlights 

[4:04] Firm background and caseload. Brief background on the Social Security Disability Department that Anthony heads up at Marc Whitehead & Associates and the cases he handles. 

[8:52] Max fee for Social Security Disability. Congress recently raised the maximum fee for Social Security Disability to $7,200. This fee was previously set at $6,000 about 12 years ago.

[9:47] Organizing your team for efficiency. Anthony’s team is organized into pods, each of which handles different tasks starting from case intake through completion. 

[11:04] Choosing the right case management system for your practice. A cloud-based case management system, such as Litify, can help ensure efficiency and timeliness by setting specific tasks. This system is customizable, can be accessed remotely, and is good for a high volume practice.

[12:04] Traction. Making sure that people fit their role helps to ensure success for the individual and the firm. This concept of “right people, right seats,” comes from Gino Wickman’s book, Traction.

[14:37] Empathy over skillset: Hiring candidates who have empathy, rather than a certain niche skill set, has helped improve the firm’s culture. 

[17:11] Setting core values. Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team instructs you to set three core values to work towards. However, it’s ultimately up to each law firm to identify however many core values are important to them, even if it’s more than three. 

[17:58] Book recommendations. For Michael, different books, such as The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, the Lencioni books, and Traction, have taught him many things about running a business. Anthony also recommends Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek and Never Split the Difference, a book about negotiating by Chris Voss.

[24:35] Kaizen. Kaizen is a Japanese business philosophy about continuous improvement. This philosophy goes along with the premise in the book, Who Moved My Cheese, which states that things are always going to be changing so it’s important to learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.   

[26:49] Building and retaining your team. Being intentional about building firm culture and making the workplace the type of place where employees want to be attracts people who bring success to the firm.

[33:00] Workplace assessments. Behavioral assessments such as DISC, which is similar to Myers-Briggs, help identify employees’ strengths, management styles, and where they will best fit into the team. 

[37:46] Employee risk factors and coaching. The Jay Henderson workforce analysis identifies potential employee risk factors as well as provides good fodder for interview questions. A company called Atticus provides individual attorney coaching, guidance, and training so that attorneys can be better leaders. 

[40:22] Building a presence in legal organizations. The firm is active in legal organizations at the city, state, and national levels, including HTLA, TTLA, AAJ, and American Association for Justice. All of the firm’s attorneys have gone through the TTLA lead group, applications for which open up in January.

[42:52] The Flywheel Effect. The concept in The Flywheel Effect was first popularized by Jim Collins, author of the book, Good to Great. The premise is that momentum is built through a series of small but continuous actions. 

[43:55] Continuous improvement. One of the biggest themes in the book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, is continuing to improve as well as correcting bad habits.

[44:40] Stoic philosophy. Ryan Holiday’s books on Stoicism contain a lot of useful information about working on yourself and building a place you want to be in.

[45:20] Instruction manual for leaders. The 4 Disciplines of Execution instructs teams and organizations on how to achieve their goals and priorities.

Connect with Trial Lawyer Nation

☑️ Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

☑️ Subscribe to Trial Lawyer Nation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.

In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.

Produced and Sponsored by LawPods.

145 – Natalie Arledge – Goal-Setting for Success: Michael and Natalie’s Roadmap for 2024

It’s that time of year again. What do we want 2024 (and beyond) to look like and how are we going to make it happen? At Cowen | Rodriguez | Peacock, it all starts with goals.

But, as we’ve all learned by now, all goals are not created equal. How do you identify your goals? Are they long-term or short-term and how do they align with your existing circumstances? Are they specific or general? How do you measure your progress?

On this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, Michael Cowen is joined by partner Natalie Arledge to discuss goal-setting for 2024 and share some of their goals, including making more money, drafting pattern jury charges, empowering their team to make decisions, and using more visual aids in depositions, hearings, and at trial.

Tune in to join the Trial Lawyer Nation team in setting big, achievable goals for 2024!

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name: Natalie Arledge  

About: Natalie Arledge was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She graduated cum laude from Baylor University with a B.A. in Political Science and earned her J.D. from Baylor Law School. A partner and trial attorney at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, Natalie focuses her practice on 18-wheeler and commercial vehicle cases involving death and catastrophic injury.   

Company: Cowen Rodriguez Peacock 

Connect: LinkedIn 

Episode Highlights 

[4:43] The importance of setting specific goals. A goal should be specific, not wishy-washy. Specific goals are measurable, allowing you to track your progress.

[8:10] Natalie’s goals for 2024. Natalie’s goals include analyzing FOIA documents and driver logs, drafting pattern jury instructions after initial client meetings, putting photos of clients in their case files, empowering her team to make decisions, and using more visual aids. 

[13:29] Michael’s goals for 2024. Michael’s goals include hiring someone to take over the administrative part of running the firm, trying at least two jury trials, getting back to running five days a week, and hiking a mountain over 14,000 feet.

[17:12] How to ensure goals get done. Using visual reminders, enlisting support to stay accountable, and tracking goals on the calendar.  

[21:40] Presentation Zen. Michael recommends a book titled, Presentation Zen, about presentation design and delivery. 

[22:09] The idea of traction and hiring an integrator. The book, Traction, introduces the idea of traction, where a business has a visionary who comes up with ideas and an integrator then makes those ideas come to pass and runs the business. Michael wants to hire an integrator.

[26:45] Using coaches to achieve goals. Michael has many coaches in his life, including a fitness coach, eating coach, running coach, and business coach.

[27:35] Share your goals with Michael. Michael invites listeners to share their goals and offers to give advice to anyone who emails him at michael@CowenLaw.com

[27:52] Michael Cowen’s book. Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases, is available at Trial Guides

[28:11] Cowen’s Big Rig Bootcamp. Michael’s seminar will take place in San Antonio, Texas on July 12th. Sign up at BigRigBootcamp.com.

 

Connect with Trial Lawyer Nation

☑️ Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

☑️ Subscribe to Trial Lawyer Nation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.

In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.

Produced and Sponsored by LawPods.

144 – Eric Oliver – Beyond the Facts: Trial Consultant Eric Oliver on How to Tell Your Client’s Story

Jury trials can be notoriously unpredictable, even when the facts are in your favor. To be successful at trial, attorneys need to do more than just rehearse their opening and closing statements. They also need to know how to influence the jury.

On this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, Michael Cowen is joined by nationally recognized trial consultant and the author of several trial guides, Eric Oliver. Applying over 40 years of experience and his background in marketing and persuasion, Eric shares strategies and techniques that trial lawyers can use, such as storytelling, reverse sequencing, and the use of nonverbal communication, to engage and persuade the jury. Eric and Michael also discuss things such as confirmation bias and what lawyers need to be aware of so as not to alienate the jury. 

Tune in to gain valuable insight and tips on how to present your case more like a story to persuade the jury. 

Don’t miss out! Michael’s book, Big Rig Justice: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Value in Truck Accident Cases is now available!

Featured Guest

Name: Eric Oliver

About:  Eric Oliver is a seasoned trial consultant with over 40 years of experience in the field. A nationally recognized trial consultant, Eric specializes in leveraging persuasion and perception of facts to influence legal decision-making. His expertise lies in working with trial attorneys and assisting them in presenting well-developed case stories that effectively sway decision-makers, both inside and outside the jury box. His books are available at Trial Guides

Company: Metasystems Consulting LTD.

Connect: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights 

[01:54] Eric Oliver’s background: Eric talks about his marketing and persuasion background and how he got started as a trial consultant.

[04:17] Books by Eric Oliver: Eric mentions how some of the books he has written and co-written have come about, including Facts Can’t Speak for Themselves and a revision called, Facts Still Can’t Speak for Themselves

[08:26] Get over the hump of suspicion and engage the jury: Research shows that people are genetically wired to create narratives. Trial lawyers can favorably present their client’s case to the jury by using this information to tell an intentional and cohesive story.

[11:25] How to do focus groups: The trick is to never ask the jury to take a position on the case, because it can work to your disadvantage. 

[13:54] Story components that are persuasive to a jury: Present your case more as a story and less as a case by incorporating elements of a narrative, such as point of view.

[15:20] Confirmation bias: Eric explains the meaning of confirmation bias and how it influences the jury’s thought process and decision-making. 

[18:11] The importance of motive and how to show it, rather than tell it: Eric and Michael discuss why motive is important, even in a negligence case, and how to show motive without telling the jury what they should think.  

[26:46] Rehearse your case and your experts: One challenge at trial is that when witnesses get on the stand, the whole story can fall apart. Eric explains a trick that you can use to train your experts to adopt your language, your imagery, your metaphors, and your analogies. 

[33:33] Sequencing doesn’t always mean starting at the beginning: Starting with the defendant’s story and working up to the bad act is not always the best approach. Sometimes a reverse timeline, where you start with the worst and back up to the beginning bad act, is more effective. 

[36:29] The good and not-so-good things about nonverbal communication: Eric discusses the pros and cons of nonverbal communication, and provides examples. He also talks about how to create rapport with the jury, including how to use mirroring.

 

Connect with Trial Lawyer Nation

☑️ Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

☑️ Subscribe to Trial Lawyer Nation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.

In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.

Produced and Sponsored by LawPods.