Dina Eisenberg works with firms and solo lawyers to create custom outsourcing and onboarding strategies that convey a firm’s values while retaining employees and provides Ombudsman services. Formerly a prosecutor turned award-winning entrepreneur and CEO of Unstoppable Lawyer Playbook (a.k.a. Outsource Easier), Dina’s mission is to help law firms create sustainable, profitable, and happy workplaces. In this episode, Dina and I will speak about the ways in which solo and small law firm attorneys can better outsource their business minutiae in order to crush chaos is business.
In this episode, Dina and I cover:
- Dina’s prophetic tale and how the failure to systematize decimated one of her family’s businesses
- The dangers of Panic Hiring – what it is and why it doesn’t work
- Where to start the process of onboarding new talent
- Developing trust in your law business – how trust is transactional
- Onboarding versus training
- The devil’s in the delegation
- Overcoming resistance to delegation
- The Critical “Rates” – utilization, realization and collection rates
- Optimizing performance through proper systematizing
- Observational feedback strategies
Allison Williams: [00:00:07] Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us for today’s show on Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor. And today, I as I said in my intro, we have our wonderful guest, Dina Eisenberg, who is just a wealth of knowledge and resource on the topic of lots of different topics, actually, but particularly the topic of onboarding, which I think is an area that law firm owners sorely neglect when it comes to getting the right team members in and getting them working well in your law firm. So, Dina, welcome to the show.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:00:34] Thank you so much, Allison. You know, I always love talking to you because you are a wealth of information. I always learn so much. And I’m delighted to be able to share what I know about outsourcing and onboarding delegation.
Allison Williams: [00:00:49] All right. Thank you so much for saying that. I appreciate you. And we’re glad to have you so that we can jump right in. So first, I have had the pleasure of interviewing you in our Facebook group, the Law Firm Mentor Movement. So I know your story. But for those who haven’t heard your story, I’d really like to have you share with us what it was that brought you to the topic of onboarding and why that is such a critically important piece for you based on who you are and what you’ve gone through.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:01:14] Absolutely. No, it took me a while to get the courage to start telling my story, but I think it’s important for lawyers in particular to hear how I came to this, because I came to this through a personal tragedy. So starting off like every entrepreneur, I always run a six figure business. My husband was running a million dollar business. You know that American dream where everyone’s like, well, I just want to have free time. I want to travel. I want to do the things I want to do. I was doing all of that. Like, literally, I got to build my dream house from scratch. No hesitations, no real budget. Just do what you want to create. And it was an amazing experience. My daughter went to do her study abroad in Madrid. And, you know, I had to go along for a couple weeks just to make sure she was good. So life was really wonderful until it wasn’t. I have always had a team because I came from being Senior Vice President of one of the largest banks in the nation. I knew that I couldn’t do my job without having other people around me who got who I was and supported me so that I could focus on my core task. Well, I tried to convey that to my husband a million times, you know, and I would say, why don’t you bring on somebody to help you? And his excuses were always the same.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:02:41] I don’t want to have a competition, so I’m not going to be training my own competition. Thank you. I can’t have any mistakes. My clients just won’t put up with it. So I have to do it myself. I want to make sure it’s getting done. And, you know, why would I want to pay money to somebody else to do something I can do myself? Which when you think of that, I’ve heard so many lawyers say exactly the same thing. Well, one night he sneezed. Everybody sneezes, right? We all sneeze. Well, he sneezed and ruptured two discs in his back and at 3 a.m. we’re rushing to the hospital for emergency surgery. The doctor literally tells me if we don’t operate in 90 minutes, he can be paralyzed. So, you know, I was not thinking about either of our businesses at that moment. Really, all I was thinking about was, Lord, please keep this man safe. In fact, I actually wrote a little note on his body to the surgeon just so they would know at the right place to operate and that he was loved. He needed to come back and so he got through the surgery, but he started a two year recovery period.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:03:51] So that meant learning how to walk. Learning how to use the bathroom. Learning how to go up and down stairs. Everything just like a toddler. And that put a lot of stress and strain not only on our businesses, but on our marriage. His corporate clients would call and say, so where’s the blank, blank, blank or the ABC and I’d be like huh? I don’t know. I don’t run his business. I can’t help you. Well, they were all very sympathetic, as you might imagine. Because it was a terrible experience, but they all dropped him literally within a week. But he went to rehab on Monday. By the time Friday, the next Monday came around, all his corporate clients were gone. Why? Unreliable. Couldn’t trust him anymore. He needed a team. And I thought, you know, I know a lot of my friends who are in exactly this situation. They don’t recognize the fact that if they stop working, their income stops. And that’s not what they ever intended. So I decided to make it my mission to really talk to people about this and tell them what the consequences are. If I’m not willing to put in systems and teams that help you run your business. You lose your business. You possibly lose your spouse. And I just didn’t want anybody else to go through that stress.
Allison Williams: [00:05:12] Wow. So that story continues to be as powerful as the first time I heard it. And it continues to be like what I think is probably the most eloquently stated basis for someone to know that this is you know, we don’t we don’t really have time. You know, at the time that we’re recording this, this is right on the heels of our learning that, you know, NBA giant and all star Kobe Bryant and his daughter perished in a helicopter accident. And you know that that has kind of sent ripple waves through people in a lot of different ways. But your story is kind of the perfect tying into that, which is that you don’t have tomorrow. You don’t have endless arrays of time to get your stuff together. And so not having a team today and not having them well-trained, well versed in your business today is a critical risk factor that lawyers really have to pay some attention to. So let’s talk about what’s involved. You know, if somebody hears that story and they’re like, oh, my God, yeah, I got to do something. I got to. I got to get a team in my law firm and I’ve got to get them cranking. Like, how do you advise them to even get the process started of getting the right people? Let’s say you hire somebody. But now you’ve got to get them in your office and you got to get them doing the right things. How did you even start that process?
Dina Eisenberg: [00:06:32] Great question. One of my favorites. So first, I’ll tell you what I don’t do. Don’t do any panic hiring. Now, what is panic hiring? That’s when you recognize you wake up one morning like, oh, my gosh, I’m flat out. I have no more capacity. I’m afraid things are slipping through the cracks. My clients are going to start complaining. I’m going to get a bar complaint and your anxiety goes through the roof, like today. Today we’re getting somebody. I just don’t care. And it’s you know, if they have a heartbeat, they don’t have a criminal record. They seem relatively nice. Boom! I’m hiring them. And I’ve seen so many folks just do that. Because they get to their upper limit, and I like I need to change now. Now I appreciate the desire to change, but that process leads you to hire people who are not going to work in your best interests. They’re not going to be as skilled. They’re not going to really be the kind of person that you want to bring into your practice. So the first thing I always encourage people to do is stop and plan to hire. The first thing you really have to think about it. Why do I want this person and who do I need them to be? And that’s all about you. Like, who are you and what you need to do your best work. So I’m always encouraging people to think about, like, who do I work best with? We don’t really stop to think about that ever.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:08:00] It’s just, you know, whoever is around, we will make them work. And I take the opposite perspective, which is you need to be intentional about who you invite into your practice. In my mind, your law practice is like your house. You just don’t go out on the street and yell to anybody. Come on in. We’re good. You know, we got some good stuff in here, come in. You don’t. Nobody does that. What you do do you think about what I like to invite as a friend to come into my world so I can take care of them? I can help them with their problems. I can help. They can help me grow my business. So first thing is, you got to know who you want. What qualities do you want in this person? What qualities you absolutely need to have? What’s non negotiable? Then they must be this. And then you want to switch it around. Think about the red flags. What don’t I want? Like if this person does this, it’s a termination offense. Immediately they’re gone. I can’t tolerate these kinds of behaviors. So a good example of that is lots of my clients will say that they want somebody with attention to detail and a self-starter. Yeah, I want that too. But what does that look like in real life? You know, what kind of behaviors will help lead you to believe that somebody is a self-starter? You’ve met that person before.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:09:27] You’ve worked with them in some other group. It’s now just about really articulating with a high level of specificity what that looks like in real life, so that when you see somebody else… Oh, yeah, yeah. You because I see those qualities. And it’s not just the quality, it’s the emotion. How does this person make you feel? Because I can have all the right qualities. But if I don’t make you feel confident in me that you can trust me, that I know I’m not going to betray you, then really it’s not going to work, right? So you’re looking for the qualities? You’re also looking for that feeling, right? You probably have had this experience where you just clicked with someone who was a teammate and you’re like, yeah, this is gonna work.
Allison Williams: [00:10:10] Yeah. Well, you know, it’s interesting that you raise that issue because I think there is so much, especially in a small business, there is so much intimacy that we have to have and face it, we have to put into people that if we don’t have, you know, an intuitive basis to say that this person is going to have our back. Gonna be able to do things the way we like. Gonna be somebody that’s trustworthy. It really is very difficult to let go. And lawyers already, as we know, have a hard time. I have a hard time letting go. Right.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:10:40] Yes, very hard time. And I’ll just touch on that for a second, because it’s one of my other favorite topics to talk about. We all assume that trust gets made in an instant. We don’t really investigate how we make trust, but we all make it in different ways. So one way that you’re going to be able to figure out who’s going to be a great employee for you is deciding how do I make trust? Now, I say the trust is transactional. It’s a series of events that have a positive outcome that lead you to believe that the next event is going to be positive. So the way I like to people think about it is if you ever valet park, you drive your $25000 investment in front of the restaurant and you will look out and you see that pegboard with all the keys on it. You see the guy with the podium. He’s wearing that stupid jacket and he’s looking at you and walking towards the car. Now, what convinces you to give him your twenty five thousand dollar investment because you in the past have been in that situation where all those things add up to a positive experience. So, you know, when you give him the keys, you’re very likely to get the car back. It’s the same thing when we’re looking at people. Look at the experiences that lead you to trust somebody and look to replicate that experience in your new employees.
Allison Williams: [00:12:03] Yeah, well, you know, you know, the trust factor, I think is critical. And I think you said something earlier that I want to circle back to, which is this idea of knowing going in, who it is. What are the attributes that you want? Because I think you raised a perfect example of where lawyers fall short with this, which is they’ll say, I want a self-starter, but they won’t define what that means in their law firm. And so you’ll think you’ve hired a self-starter, but then you also have somebody who goes off the rails, doesn’t comply with your orders, goes and does things their own way. And in their view. Right. You advertise I want a self-starter. They’re like, well, I’m starting I’m starting to do it my way. I’m starting to do, you know, starting the process. I’m I’m starting this new way of doing things, because for them, they are living up to what you have defined because you haven’t defined it narrowly enough. So when you when you talk to lawyers about getting that right person in, what is it exactly that, you know, how do you guide them to be able to tailor their request in a way that’s going to resonate with the person that’s best for the offer that they’re making?
Dina Eisenberg: [00:13:07] It is definitely a process of iteration of asking the question. So you tell me I need a self-starter and it looks like this and then we really piece that apart. What does it actually look like? What are you trying to get at the end of the day with that kind of behavior or that quality people and really drilling down deeply than we usually do? Often I will get people who think they want one thing, but they actually want something else. But they’ve just used the short kind of language to get to it. It’s like, no, no, we can’t have a shortcut. We have to actually explore the whole thing so that you are crystal clear.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:13:48] If you’re not clear about what you want from somebody, you can’t tell anybody else what that is until you know what it is, until really the process is very much reflective, self-reflective, asking people to be introspective and honest with themselves about what it is they truly want and what they don’t want. Sometimes I find lawyers have needs but they don’t want to express the need because they seem harsh or it seems like they’re not the nicest person. And my thought about that is, you know what, that’s you judging you. You don’t need to. What you need to do is create systems that allow you to serve your client to the best of your ability. That means you don’t want somebody who cries. Guess what. Don’t hire someone who cries.
Allison Williams: [00:14:36] Oh, God. If only we could put that out there into the universe. Oh, wait, we can. There’s the shocking part of it. Right. We can absolutely ask her what we want. And, you know, one of my very good friends, she is she is known to be a little hard on people. She has cycled through quite a few humans, but she now steps into the truth of, you know, listen, I can’t do the wildflowers. You know, there’s going to be some F bombs dropped around this office. And if you do something wrong, I’m going to make a noise about it. I’m not going to fire you instantaneously, but, you know, you’re going to hear about it. And if you can’t deal with that, this ain’t the place for you, right?
Dina Eisenberg: [00:15:11] Exactly. You know, it’s your business. You are creating an environment where you do your best work. That’s what matters. You like people to that party who want to be at that party.
Allison Williams: [00:15:24] So speaking about the party, right. You’re at and you’ve got somebody at your office and you’ve got them now hired. You’re sure, based on having worked with somebody who’s going to help you tailor your ad appropriately, you’ve got all the skills and attributes of a rock star. And now that person needs to live up to their full potential. So I know that there are elements of getting them onboarded that are important. And then there’s also the ongoing training of someone that is important. How do you distinguish those two attributes, those two processes, and how do you help somebody to create a plan for both of those in a law firm?
Dina Eisenberg: [00:15:59] My fave. So, yeah, you’re absolutely right. It’s totally different to onboard someone and orient someone. So what happens is most lawyers kind of want to skip both, but they recognize that I better have something in place for the first day this person shows up. Well, it’s critical to have a really well-designed organized orientation day that is meaningful and relevant to that employee. Now, why does that matter? All those like, hey, I’m giving you a job. You show them to say, no, no, no, no. Today, employees have the ability to go other places to work. The law office is not the be all end all. So when you are hiring someone and they say, yes, I want to join your mission because you explained who you are in the world and what your law firm stands for and who you serve. So they get your values. And you explained all that. You still have to make that first day special because guess what? They could change their mind. I’ve had clients call me and say my paralegal is supposed to start this morning at 7:00 and she just called me to tell me she gonna take a different job.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:17:13] Now what? Right. Well, what that means is you didn’t help her understand that you wanted her and it was important for her to join your team. So your orientation day has to be organized. Person can’t just show up and like point to the desk. You have to plan to sit down with them. Face time is very important when you’re you’re having a new employee because you’re the boss. The most important person there, if you’re willing to spend time with them, then they know I’m important. Your orientation day has to go through the job description. People ask why they read the job description. Yeah, they read it. But reading it and understanding what it actually means in real life: two different things. So it’s your job to walk that person on their first day through the orientation. I mean their job description so they know what their job is and then begin setting expectations around. OK, here’s how we’re gonna get you trained. Here’s what I’d love to see. You know, you take on and master first. They know step by step. I’m wanted here. Somebody planned for me and I made a great decision because this law practice is like unlike any other I’ve ever been at.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:18:28] This person cares about my development. And so now I care about them. So you really have to plan and have a great orientation day and first week. So the first day is important because that’s when you’re connecting with that employee and trying to begin to build your work relationships. That first week is introducing them to others and your team if you have them and getting them set up on your system. So gotta have a desk a computer and a phone. It’s all things that, you don’t even think about that will make a difference to that person. So that’s what the first day and first week are after that. Then you’re moving into really the training portion, the onboarding portion. And the sad thing about this is that most lawyers think of onboarding that three month period where you’re getting someone to learn their job and learn the expectations as get out of jail card. The whole lot, you know, in some jurisdictions, if you fire someone during their probationary period, then you’re not, you don’t have to pay unemployment insurance. So they are steadily looking for the flaws like, oh, that was bad. That was bad. Okay. Boom! you’re gone.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:19:41] That is not the attitude to take. Onboarding is a time for you to set expectations with this new employee and help them learn their job. Is it because you’re training them? You’re using training videos. There’s somebody else on your team who’s going to be there, buddy, who can be the one to answer their questions and help get them get trained. And the goal is to fix little problems during that period. Why? Because it takes six months for you to recoup the money and the effort and time that you spent hiring this person. If you boot them in the first three months, you lose money. So you really want to focus on doing a good job connecting with this person, helping them understand context, which is this is how you fit into our overall practice. Your efforts contribute to these goals and we need you. And then clarity. Here’s how I want you to do your job. Here’s what happens when you make a mistake. Here’s who you go to to learn more about doing your role. And it’s not necessarily me. It’s going to be some other tool or another person who can help them learn their role. Does that make some sense?
Allison Williams: [00:20:56] Yeah, that makes perfect sense, Dina. And in fact, I just I love that you talk about the onboarding process being a three month period, because I think so many people miss the idea of how much it takes to acclimate to a workplace. Right. Especially solos and small law firm attorneys, because I think a lot of us assume, oh, it’s just me and my secretary. You know, it’s not that complex. It’s not that it’s not that big. Right. But there’s so much detail that goes into everything that we do, everything from how we send letters to how we open mail, to how we how we update our computer software, to how we order supplies. All of that minutiae that somebody is going to either be a part of doing in your office or they’re going to fit with someone else who’s doing it in your office is a system, right. And so if you don’t give people the time to really absorb all that information and you put unrealistic expectations on them, that they’re just going to come in and magically in a week, poof, have it under control, you are doing them a disservice. And you’re also doing yourself a disservice because you’re almost ensuring that you’re going to have to replace the person.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:22:06] Exactly. And that’s the problem. People kind of think and laughing. But I’m I’m unhappy about it. I’m kind of think that staff is like Kleenex, you know, there’s a box and you’re like, OK. I use this one poof on to the next, I use this one, poof on to the next.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:22:25] It does not work like that. When you find somebody who really, you know, fits your personality wants to join your mission and has the skills to do the work, that’s a keeper. That’s somebody you want to groom, not only to do their role, but to cross, train and do other roles and to have a career path because you want to keep that person as long as possible. Now, three years is the outer limit these days that you’re going to keep somebody if you keep them the entire time you’ve maximized the value of that employee. And that’s what you’re looking to do.
Allison Williams: [00:23:01] Yeah, well, I think that’s also a very good point that you make, because I site this statistic often. But the ABA says now that on average lawyers move around once every four years. And we’re also getting a much more a much less loyal, if you will, workplace in general. And people do move around. And so the better relationship you can create with that person, the more opportunity you have to not just optimize their performance while they’re with you, but also get referrals for other people to join your company and also create a place where if somebody leaves for family reasons. Right. You know, they have to take care of someone at home that maybe their spouse got a job transfer. You never know when that person is going to come back into the area and be a best fit for where you’re going to be at that point. Right.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:23:46] Exactly. And that’s the part I think we forget about. We don’t live in a vacuum. People have other relationships. When you treat somebody well and they work for you when they leave, they take that goodwill with them and talk about you. And if you do it poorly. They talk about you. So you really want to be thought of as an employer who cares about your employees. You want to see them develop and grow. Often I hear lawyers saying like, why would I want to make this person more marketable to someone else because they’re never going to stay with you forever, 18 years. You know, we used to have with people who stayed for 18, 20 years. That doesn’t happen anymore. They’re gonna leave. So you just got to be planning that when they do leave. They leave with a positive impression of the time they spent with you. And they’re happy to share with others that you’re law firm is a great place to work and that you’re a great lawyer to work with.
Allison Williams: [00:24:48] Yeah, well, and I think that is a that’s a very important element of it. Now, I think people really do have to adjust their minds to the idea that you’re not going to most likely have people come stay for the duration of their career and retire out of your office. So you have to make sure that you are prepared for that.
Allison Williams: [00:25:06] And of course, that then gets us on to the next important topic, which is the big D. You might be wondering what the big D is. It’s not profane. I promise. The big D is delegation. So we know that lawyers, myself included, I will own this myself. You know, we are awful at thinking something’s on my desk. It needs to go to someone else. We think, OK, it’s on my desk. That means I got to do it. And then often for many of us, we get overwhelmed and say, I don’t have time to do it. Where do I start? I’ve got so much on my plate. Even if you have a whole entourage of employees outside of your door to take things off of your plate. So how do you help lawyers first with the resistance around delegation and then just starting the process of getting things off of their plate and onto others?
Dina Eisenberg: [00:25:55] Yeah, I love talking about this topic because it relates back to law school. When we’re in law school, nobody cared that you were overwhelmed and no one cared that you stayed up late doing work. That was the norm. We are just conditioned to do two things, work as hard as we can because that’s what real lawyers (doing the air quotes), real lawyers do. So we have this attitude of, you know, toughness, glorified toughness. You’re not a real lawyer unless you’re working 24 hours a day and you’re just cranking it out. Which I totally disagree with. So we’re already conditioned to think we should work so much harder, sacrifice our health and our well-being to law. So we go in with that attitude. We’re also conditioned to fear mistakes. And, you know, the only way we’re told that we can avoid having mistakes is to do everything ourselves. So you see where that creates kind of a bad mindset. We’re already feeling like, hey, if I’m overworked, I’m I’m a I’m a good lawyer. I’m a real lawyer. And I don’t want any help because I don’t know you. I don’t trust you. You’re going to make mistakes. And the truth of the matter is we all make mistakes. You can avoid that from happening. So you have to, one, recognize that it’s never going to be perfect and that mistakes can be remedied and that you do need the help, because when you don’t have any help, what you’re actually saying is I want to limit my practice to my capacity.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:27:27] I don’t ever want to grow beyond me because I’m afraid somebody will make a mistake. Well, we don’t want mistakes. Guess what? Prepare not to have any. Create systems so people can understand what it is they’re supposed to do and not do. Be uber clear about, you know, checking things and having people understand that it’s gonna be your responsibility to make sure there aren’t any mistakes. Not that I’m going to blame you or beat you up if there is a mistake. The right tact, then, is to figure out why the mistake happened and to create systems to avoid a repeat performance. The thing is not to not hand off any any work. So really, I get people to think about what should I take off my plate that can be most valuable for somebody else to do. And right now, that looks like all the clerical work. It looks like all the administrative work. It looks like marketing. Those are things that don’t return to you the value you want when you spend a billable hour on Canva making that cute little graphic because you can.
Allison Williams: [00:28:37] All right. I’m starting to feel convicted right now. Just say, you know what? OK.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:28:42] Ok. No, no means, I’m not meaning to attack.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:28:45] But you know, this is the favorite of everybody. I want to do my own graphic. Want to do my own social media. You know, I think I read a stat the other day that 80 percent of solos do their own social media. That is crazy town. That’s money out the window people. First of all, it’s not your expertise. So the hour you spent on Canva, you know, that graphic is not going to look so great, and you’re going to end up dumping any. And not using it. So you’ve just wasted the hour and the effort. And you’re, you know, in terms of social media and those kinds of things. It’s more of a task than you think. It’s not just creating the graphic. It’s curating information. It’s producing the graphic. It’s distributing the graphic. It’s repurposing that graphic. All of that needs to be done by somebody who actually is trained to do those things. And guess what. That’s not you. That is not you. So you have to recognize that you need to stay in your lane and give things to other people that are in their lane. If, what I like to have people do is evaluate. Is this more cost effective to my business and will help my business grow if I do it or I hire somebody else to do it. Often the answer is somebody else. And then it’s really just about adjusting your attitude so that your first thought is not, I can do that because that’s really always our first thought. I can do that, to who else can do that?
Dina Eisenberg: [00:30:15] Who else in my office? Who else within my sphere of influence can do that task, because it’s really not something that, a master task that I should be focused on.
Allison Williams: [00:30:25] Yeah, so 1000 percent correct that lawyers tend to want to do it themselves, and oftentimes that is about being penny wise and pound foolish. Right. We don’t want to spend the money.
Allison Williams: [00:30:36] So we say it’ll be better if I just do this myself and I’ll tack on an hour onto the weekend or tack on an hour to the end of the week. But there’s only so many hours to go around. And the more that you take on for yourself, that’s beyond your area of expertise, the less productivity you’re going to ultimately be able to get out of the time that you’re spending. In fact, the Cleo Trends Report came out at the end of last year when people were going to the conference.
Allison Williams: [00:31:05] And I remember one statistic that was jarring was that 30 percent of billable time is actually captured by solo and small law firm attorneys. The rest of their time goes to things like Canva and admin and all of that other stuff. So not having somebody is really costing you money, right? Because I know we have more than 30 percent of our time allocated and available to give to a billable file.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:31:30] That’s exactly the thing I’d like to point out to people is like a 1 percent change can make a huge difference. So if you look at collection rates. Right. So most lawyers don’t know their KPIs, which is the key performance indicators. And you need to look at your utilization rate, your realization rate, your collection rate. Utilization rate is how are you spending your day and then realization rate is if you’re billing hours, are you actually billing the clients for all the hours? Because, you know, we love to write down time and then collection rate. Well, now you build out those hours and you ask your client to pay how much of that money are you actually getting back? And a lot of the times I find some lawyers who don’t love the money question, they don’t like to ask for the money, don’t like to deal with the money. They’ll just leave the accounts receivable on its own. Someone doesn’t necessarily immediately pay. It’s like, well, I’m going to get around to it. Because it’s a task you don’t like to do you’re kind of slow getting around to it. And so you’re losing money. You need to increase your collection rate. The best way to do that is for you not to be involved in collections is to hire a billing clerk who now is responsible for on a weekly basis. Maybe it’s on Friday afternoon reaching out to those clients and say, hey, guess what? I noticed you have an outstanding bill and when can we expect that payment. I never want a lawyer to make that phone call. I always want someone on their team to make that call for them because it’s the best use of time.
Allison Williams: [00:33:09] So I love that we we kind of went from delegation to talking about money. Because, of course, money is one of my favorite topics. And there is a lot of resistance that a lot of us have about collecting money. Right. We feel bad and a lot of us will stop the ongoing attorney client relationship when we feel that we have to go ask for money because we have separated out those two as if asking for money is a bad thing. So definitely a great tip to involve other people in the process of collections. So as we we’re kind of coming to a tale of our conversation, I just want to ask you for people that are struggling, really struggling with how to take a person who has a lot of potential and optimize their performance, get them into the area where they are giving the owner a lot of true value.
Allison Williams: [00:34:01] Where where do you come in? How do you help people to kind of move from? I’ve got my new employee, to, I’ve got my rock star who’s my right hand.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:34:09] Yes. Really, the way I am most helpful is helping lawyers frame what’s going to be most useful to them and then giving them permission to ask for a high level of performance from their team. So you’re selecting the right person because they are aligned with your values, your goals and your work ethic. Then you’re really informing that person here’s the job at hand and how you contribute and want and need you. And then it’s really about leading. Which is something that as lawyers we’re kind of maybe not as skilled at. I find that lots of my clients feel bad, that they have to tell their employees that they actually want them to do a good job. I know that you and I are little giggling about it, but it’s been so true. Because we’re very empowered in the realm of law, like we know the law. And we feel like we can ask for things. We feel less empowered in the realm of leaving a law firm because it’s not something we’re ever trained to do. We don’t have a lot of training around using emotional intelligence to motivate people. And to be clear about what we want and so we feel less like, oh, could I ask for that? Or should I ask that? Am I being difficult?
Dina Eisenberg: [00:35:32] So really my role is to help you be much more confident as a leader and authentic as a leader. So you’re not pretending to be somebody else. You are yourself explaining to your team how they can help support you to do the best work possible. And belive it or not, that takes a little bit of coaching because we feel anxious. Like what if the person says no? What if they challenge me? What if I have to fire them? And so my role is getting you comfortable with all those different roles. You’re gonna be the one who leads and motivates this person to do their best job. But you’re also going to be the one that gives them feedback when they’re not doing that job. And so now I have a technique where I teach you how to give observational feedback. So it doesn’t feel so harsh and jarring for you to give the feedback or for the person to hear it. We talk about how to release people and that, you know, when it’s time. Now, I hate saying fire because you know what that means.
Allison Williams: [00:36:38] Separation from employment. Yes. Yes. I know all about that.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:36:42] Nobody wants to be fired or be the one firing. But I like to think of it as releasing someone to a better situation. Right. So how do you make that transition from you’re going to be my employee, to, now I’m releasing you to have other opportunities. So we talk about how to do that in a way that makes sense and doesn’t damage your reputation. So it’s an ongoing coaching process. People can either, you know, take my course, which is Train Your Perfect Paralegal that really outlines the bottom line to your yardstick and then your orientation process and your onboarding process. And then we do ongoing coaching because you’re not going to pick this up in a week. You’re going to need someone to be your truthful mirror and tell you when you’re off base.
Allison Williams: [00:37:32] All right. So everyone definitely want to check out the Train Your Perfect Paralegal course and check out what Dina has to offer in the way of ongoing coaching so that you can step into the leader who is going to get that right person on your team, but also get them optimized on your team.
Allison Williams: [00:37:48] So, Dina, we are going to drop into the show notes for anyone that’s interested, a link to your course as well as information about you. I know that your website is outsource easier, but please let people know how best to get a hold of you if they want to speak to you further about this.
Dina Eisenberg: [00:38:05] Sure. I would love to speak to any of your listeners and be helpful. Please reach out to me on LinkedIn. This is the year that I decide to give up business cards and be totally electronic. So reach out to me on LinkedIn. Go to my website and apply for a free consult with me. I’d love to sit down and figure out what’s going on in your practice and how you can maximize the value you’re offering.
Allison Williams: [00:38:31] All right. There you go. So, again, everyone, Dana’s contact information will be in our show notes. And I want to thank you for tuning in for another episode of Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor. Everyone, have a great day.