Ep. 14: Julie Tolek on Authenticity in Practice and Branding

Episode Overview

Julie Tolek is the founder and solo lawyer of Think Pink Law, based in Framingham, Massachusetts. She practices firearms compliance, estate planning and family law, including family law mediation. Julie has been a panelist on topics ranging from legal technology to law firm branding. On December 8th and 9th, she’s speaking at Law Launcher, a virtual legal summit on how to launch technology to start, grow and manage your law firm. 

In addition to her successful law practice, Julie has started a branding business in which she helps other lawyers tap into what makes them unique and market themselves to make that human connection.

This time on the podcast, Julie joins host Rackham Karlsson to discuss building a brand, taking risks in a solo practice, and staying centered in a stressful profession.

Key Takeaways

  • Clients may not realize that mediation is an option. Keep an open mind during the intake, and if circumstances seem amenable, present mediation as an alternative that gives your clients a voice.
  • In creating a brand, tap into what you’re passionate about and let your personality surface. From there, the marketing will flow naturally.
  • Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”
  • Risk-taking is essential in launching a solo practice. While many in the field are focused on safety and risk-avoidance, the business aspect of starting your own practice requires that you have a willingness to “try things and fail … until you succeed.
  • Make use of video conferencing software to meet people where they are. Because reading body language and facial expression is so essential in understanding how people truly feel, the opportunity for face-to-face communication afforded by this technology is a blessing.
  • Take time to step back and look at the bigger picture. In a stressful profession, it is essential to keep yourself centered and inspired. Consider creating a vision board or a journal to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing on a regular basis.
  • The best way to build a client base is to build relationships. Go to events that interest you and create an online presence to network and to make human connections. “If you keep doing it, there’s no way it won’t pay off.”

Listen Here

Resources Mentioned

Kat Loterzo on Facebook

Episode Transcript

Rackham:  

Welcome to the ADR Initiative. This is the podcast where you’ll hear from successful mediators, arbitrators, collaborative law attorneys, coaches, and other alternative dispute resolution professionals about what they do, how they got here, and valuable lessons they’ve learned along the way. I'm your host, Rackham Karlsson. Today I'm talking with Julie Tolek. Julie is the founder and solo lawyer of Think Pink Law, based in Framingham, Massachusetts. She practices firearms compliance, estate planning and family law, including family law mediation. Julie has been a panelist on topics ranging from legal technology to law firm branding. On December 8th and 9th, she’s speaking at Law Launcher, a virtual legal summit on how to launch technology to start, grow and manage your law firm. Welcome to the show, Julie.

Julie:  

Hi! Thanks for having me.

Rackham: 

Why don’t you start out by telling us a little bit more about the services that you provide in your business today.

Julie: 

Sure. I’d love to. I started doing just family law and estate planning, and I took on doing firearms law and firearms compliance and Second Amendment law about two years ago now. Time flies – I can’t even believe it’s been two years. In my own practice, the firearms practice has become the bulk of what I do at this time, but as a solo attorney there are always ups and downs. Sometimes it’s less firearms and more estate planning or more family law issues, but I do all three of those.

Rackham: 

Can you talk a little bit more about the family law piece then? You mentioned that you do mediation?

Julie: 

I do. I actually prefer to do mediation over traditional family law litigation. I do mediations for divorces, and of course that’s usually the first thing that people think about is mediation in divorce in a family law situation, but I’ve also started to apply it to different situations in the family setting such as doing mediation for prenups and postnups and just anywhere some kind of an agreement needs to be worked out. I bring my mediation skills to those before anybody even talks about litigation. I’ve found it to be very successful, and clients seem to like it a lot better.

Rackham: 

How does that work out then? Do people come to you looking for mediation? Or do they come to you with a family situation, and then you guide them in that direction?

Julie: 

Typically, they come to me with a family situation, and it’s a very fine line when you’re doing a client intake to be careful… If you’re thinking about mediation (as the attorney) as an option that might be good for your clients, it’s a fine line when you’re doing the intake to not get too much – I say too much information, but maybe the wrong information – where you’re not as neutral as you would have been at the outset of the intake. I always have that at the back of my mind. If clients come to me, and it sounds like a situation where they’re both communicating or they’re both at least civil to each other, that maybe there’s an opportunity to explore mediation more. A lot of times it’s something that clients haven’t even considered, so I find that – in the right circumstances – they’re very receptive to it once they understand the process a little bit better and what it means to work with a mediator: That they can have their own voice in the situation, and they essentially (as clients) are the leaders of the discussions, and I’m there to help them. I’ve had a lot of success with it, and they really like it. I think they’re surprised that it’s even an option. They think only thing that they can do is go to a lawyer, and the lawyer’s going to do everything. But once mediation is presented, and it gives them all of that control back, they really… I hesitate to say the word “enjoy” the process, but it becomes something that opens their mind to actually solving a problem in a much better way than fighting about it.

Rackham:

I think you’re right. I think a lot of times people just aren’t aware of the options. They might have a sense of the general feeling that they would like to have – we would like to do this privately, respectfully, cost-efficiently – but they don’t know the words. I think that tension that you were alluding to earlier about the fine line between forming an attorney-client relationship and still leaving the door open for mediation... When people say, “I’m not getting enough mediation work,” I think you need to be aware of that line and you need to, as much as possible at the outset, leave room for that conversation so that that client has the ability to become a mediation client, and you haven’t closed that door prematurely.

Julie: 

Yes, absolutely. And that takes practice, of course, as does everything. It is the practice of law. I find myself thinking about how to better accomplish that, a lot. It’s the first thing I think of when I go into an intake with clients: “Okay, Julie, remember to keep a small little open pocket in your brain for mediation,” so you can ask those questions and if a clue comes up that says it would be a good mediation case that I can explain that and not forget.

Rackham: 

How did you get into family law? Going back, how did you end up in this line of work?

Julie: 

I ended up in family law because – not because I wanted to really; it wasn’t something I always dreamed about doing – when I started my practice, I wanted to be myself and I wanted to use my personality and I wanted to use my ability to connect with people on a more emotional and raw level than what people usually think of how attorneys communicate. And I was thinking, “What kind of law could I practice where I could use an emotional touch? Where I could be a human being and recognize that other people want to be recognized as human beings in the situation?” And I thought family law would be the perfect place to do something like that because it’s a very emotional experience.

People want to be heard, they want somebody to listen to them and know that you’re there at their level. They’re already in turmoil – usually they’re in turmoil if it’s a divorce issue or something. They don’t want somebody standing above them and just squawking law at them. They want someone to sit next to them and listen, and then help them try to solve their problem. That seemed like the perfect place to start.

One of the things I told myself that I wouldn’t compromise in starting my law practice is that I wouldn’t compromise being true to who I am, and I wouldn’t be somebody else, and I wouldn’t be fake. For me, that has worked out really well, especially in the family law situation when people do want a more personal touch to make them feel better and to comfort them. My job is not a therapist, but there’s so much that can be done just by listening to somebody and acknowledging how they feel. It changes the entire dynamic of the attorney-client relationship and builds trust that way.

Rackham:

Yes, the themes of authenticity, empathy, listening… Those come up so often in this line of work. You’ve also made it part of your branding strategy, right? Can you talk a little bit about your branding?

Julie:  

Yes, absolutely. I like to say that I’m the lawyer for humans in my brand because that’s what I try and do. I want people to feel like they could sit with me and have a cup of coffee, and we could just talk about what’s going on and I can work on helping them in an environment that’s like that, that’s more comforting, less intimidating. Everything from the design of my logo to the name of my firm, Think Pink Law, is meant to be disarming and is meant to be human. If people look at Think Pink Law and say, “Oh, God, what’s that?” and they kind of disparage it, that’s actually good too. I don’t mind that, I actually want that because that shows that it’s disarming and it shows that it’s human because it’s unexpected of a lawyer to have a firm called Think Pink Law. It’s kind of ridiculous, and I’ll be the first to admit it.

I love it, and it’s my baby, but before I did it, when I was thinking about doing it I thought, “Wow, can I really do that? Is that possible?” And it is, it has been. It’s worked out well for me, and so having a name like Think Pink Law allows me to make those human connections and to disarm people and to help them feel more comfortable and less intimidated by the whole process of whatever legal battle they’re facing or legal questions they have – maybe it’s not always a battle, but they need somebody to guide them and to explain things to them. I want to do that on a person-to-person level, not on an I’m-better-than-you-and-you’re-just-my-client level.

Rackham:

Yes, and I think one thing that probably works out really well with that disarming branding is that… Divorce is often a very slow process. People are thinking about it, they’re researching lawyers, they might come back to it. They might have consults, they go away, they come back. Think Pink is very memorable. Even if they don’t remember the Think Pink part, they’re going to remember the lawyer with pink on the website, and they’ll Google “pink divorce attorney,” and they’ll come back to you because it was so memorable and – as you said – disarming.

Julie: 

People say, “You’re the Pink Lawyer.” That’s my nickname, if you will, my brand nickname: You’re the Pink Lawyer. It’s exactly that; they remember the pink part.

Rackham: 

You also have this firearms work?

Julie:

I do. And I’m still pink, even in the firearms work which is also very interesting. I do firearms compliance which essentially means that I work with individuals, I work with police departments, I work with firearms dealers in Massachusetts, basically I work with anyone that needs to understand how the firearms laws in Massachusetts work, and if they can or can’t do something under the law.

With individuals, it’s usually applications for a license to carry or helping them understand their background checks. With police departments, it’s usually understanding – because not all police are gun people, they don’t always know what type of gun falls into what category – I help police analyze the statutes according to a case that they’re working on if they need to. I help dealers with their federal compliance and local compliance to make sure they’re doing things right. Basically, I help everyone to make sure that they are complying with state and federal laws.

Rackham:

Great. Those two different businesses or two different practice areas – the family and the firearms compliance – from a business perspective, as you’ve built these two different areas, what’s one big mistake that you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

Julie: 

It’s hard to say… It’s hard to put my finger on one or two or anything that I would call a mistake because I learned from everything. There are things that I probably would have done differently I’m sure, after the fact, after I learned more about it and learned more about myself and being an attorney and the practice and the different statutes, but I struggle with calling anything a mistake, really. If I can rephrase that and say, “What’s the biggest thing I’ve learned or the most important thing I’ve learned?” I would say that there’s never a point where you actually know everything, and I might be the only attorney who will ever admit this because most attorneys want to act like they know everything because they think that’s what clients want.

But I have found that vulnerability is also part of making a human connection with clients. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I don’t have to know everything all the time, and I don’t have to give that illusion to my clients all the time as long as I’m honest and let them know that if I can’t find the answer, and I don’t know it, I will find somebody to help find it, or I will guide them in the right direction. I think that’s the most important thing. We as attorneys, and mediators too, get caught up in feeling like we have to know everything all the time, and I think that’s a wrong assumption to make because a little bit of openness and humbleness will get you much further than trying to do everything – including things you don’t know how to do.

Rackham:

Isn’t that amazing? I think three of the hardest words for many lawyers to say are “I don’t know.”

Julie:

You know it’s funny… This just occurred to me as we’re having this conversation. I used to work for Apple before I was an attorney. Before I went to law school, I was a Lead Creative Trainer. And one of the things we learned at Apple – all employees learned in their training – was to be able to say, “I don’t know, let me find out.” Maybe for me it comes more naturally than for most people. People in general – it’s a human condition. I don’t think it’s just attorneys that have difficulty saying, “I don’t know.” Maybe for me I’m more comfortable with it because I have a lot of training in that – and being able to recognize those things. It’s an interesting observation. Thank you! Thank you for helping me make an interesting, introspective observation about myself.

Rackham:

I think that would be useful training for more lawyers to have. If you think back to law school, the pressure was on you to know the answer. The whole point of the Socratic method is you’re asked a question, and you’re expected to have not only read all the material, but to have thought about it and have the answer. In a field like family law where the facts can vary so much from case to case, you might need to go back and refresh yourself, or look up a new situation you haven’t faced before, and be able to say to the client, “This isn’t something I’ve run into before, but I’m going to look it up for you, and we’re going to find an answer. I just don’t have it on the tip of my tongue right now.”

Julie:

Yes, exactly. Another thing that I’ve learned, I guess… The law is constantly changing and evolving, and it’s impossible to know everything at any given time. I find myself saying – especially with firearms clients, I have to say, because the laws are very confusing and they’re very gray and even I don’t know the answers a lot of the time, so maybe I’m just used to saying, “I don’t know,” and it’s easier for me to say it. But it’s definitely… I don’t know how that would be addressed in law school training, but you’re absolutely right – the Socratic method kind of scares the crap out of you from wanting to ever say you don’t know anything because that’s the worst thing in the world you can do while you’re in law school.

Rackham: 

Absolutely. Now we’ve talked about one of the big lessons that you’ve learned. Turning that on its head a bit, what’s one of the best decisions that you ever made for your business?

Julie:

Starting it in the first place, I think. Is that a cop out answer?

Rackham:

Let’s go back… Let’s explore that a little bit. Starting in the first place, were you at a firm, or did you go solo straight out of law school?

Julie:

I went solo straight out of law school. I was interning with a firm my last year, and I had interned with them over the summer, so I knew them pretty well. It was a small law firm in Boston, and I was going to do bankruptcy work for them after I passed the bar. When I was studying for the bar, I said, “Hey, let’s plan. Let’s have a business meeting so I can hit the ground running.” Then when I met with them after the bar exam, they basically said, “We don’ need you anymore because bankruptcy has its peaks and valleys, and now it’s in a valley. We don’t have any work.” They said, “Sure, you can go out there and find the work and be a rainmaker and bring it back to us.”

I thought, “Why the hell would I do that? If I’m going to be a rainmaker, I would rather do it for myself at this point.” That’s when I had to really think about what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. That’s when I decided – after I cried for two days, of course, because I didn’t know what I was going to do – I decided to go out on my own and to start my solo practice and to call it Think Pink Law. I had a lot of haters and a lot of nay-sayers and a lot of people saying, “You can’t do it. You can’t do it. You’ll never be able to do it.” Both from just the perspective of starting a solo practice and how challenging that is anyway, but also with my choice of firm name and branding.

I had a lot of people tell me that it would never work. I had a lot of people insult me. One girl said, “How are you feeding yourself? How is your brand working?” It was literally two weeks after I launched it. I thought, “I don’t know, I just started!” I’ve had a lot of people give me a hard time about it. On the same token, I’ve had a lot of people support me through it. I’ve had a lot of colleagues cheer me on and have my back and mentor me and be there when I needed a pep talk to keep going and to keep the firm going. It’s had its ups and downs, but it was a challenging start, definitely. I almost quit. I almost quit, I will tell you that. A couple months in, I almost quit. But I didn’t!

Rackham:

Yes, and we’re all glad that you didn’t. I think one thing that you show in there is something that lawyers… It’s a safe profession. People in the practice of law are very focused on safety and avoiding risk. When it comes to the business side, you almost have to throw everything that you know about safety and risk out the window, and you have to be willing to take those risks and say, “I’m going to try this branding thing. I’m going to try this marketing campaign. I’m going to try this, I’m going to try that, and some of it’s going to fail.” Some of it’s going to cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars with no return on investment, and some of it you’re just going to knock out of the park. But if you’re starting your own business, you have to be willing to get out there and try things and fail, try things and fail until you succeed.

Julie:

Yes, absolutely. I don’t know what kind of internal niggling I had in my soul that made me stay on the path to do this. I didn’t know I was an entrepreneur until I did this. I didn’t know that I was interested or even good at marketing and connecting with people until I did this. I had no idea, so it’s been an amazing adventure. At the same time, I’m single. I don’t have children. I have only myself to be responsible for. So for me, it was the perfect time to take a risk because I didn’t have other people to worry about putting in a position that might be bad. I just had myself at stake.

It’s easier to take care of yourself and to take risks like this when there’s not a lot riding on you – which isn’t to say that people with families shouldn’t or can’t do it, but I find that people like me that did it alone don’t speak up as much. I would like to be that voice and speak up for us because I have to believe there are other people out there that did this completely on their own and didn’t have either family support to help them or family responsibility to think about. I always ask around because I feel like the true solos who start this process by themselves maybe are too embarrassed to talk about it, and I would like to get that out and on the record. I didn’t have anybody else to be responsible for but myself, and there are pros and cons to that. I didn’t come home to have support at home – emotional or financial – I did it all myself. But at the same time, I had more flexibility in deciding what risks I was going to take.

Rackham: 

Yes, so doing it completely solo, no safety net, but also – on the other side of that – not the same kind of responsibilities, but then you get to turn around and you’ve had the benefit of those risks, you’ve had the opportunity to test what works, what doesn’t, and now you’re in a position where you’re also educating other lawyers, other professionals. You’re doing these seminars and these speaking engagements, and I think you and I have talked before that you have a branding business going on as well?

Julie:

Yes, I started a branding business specifically focusing on teaching lawyers how to brand and market in order to make the human connection. It’s a difficult thing to do, but I like to help lawyers think about why they’re doing something. What’s really deep down inside? Why they decided to become a lawyer, what they’re passionate about. What they’re passionate about in life. Sometimes that has nothing to do with the practice of law, but all of those things are what make us, as lawyers, human. Those are the things not enough lawyers tap into to be able to bring that personality to your client interactions and be more passionate and a better lawyer when you allow a little bit of that to shine through.

My focus is to help lawyers find those things about themselves that maybe they didn’t think about before. Or maybe they thought they had to ignore and set aside in their practice. Once you find that, once you tap into that, all of the marketing comes naturally. It kind of just flows from the beginning point of finding out and being okay with who you are and what makes you tick and what you’re passionate about and bringing that to life. All of the connections and all of the conversations and all the marketing will just flow naturally.

Rackham:

I think it’s so important to find that personal passion, that identity, that you can then bring front and center in your marketing. Probably if you took ten lawyers websites – eight out of the ten, if you were to exchange headshots, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them. Being able to make yourself memorable just by being yourself and showing a little bit more about who you are as an individual, something that people can connect to.

Shifting gears again, what’s one tool in your office, your computer, your mobile device that you would recommend to other professionals?

Julie:

Does saying smart phone count? I kill all birds with that stone if I say smart phone because you can pretty much run the world with an iPhone or any other smart device at this point in the game. I think today, being as mobile as possible is super important. To be able to meet clients on their terms, whether that’s meeting them physically on their terms if they want to meet out at a café. I meet clients at Starbucks, I have drinks with clients. It depends on the case and the situation and if we have to be in a conference room or an office… But being open to meeting clients in different physical locations is huge because everybody’s mobile.

And then using technology to meet with clients, having some kind of video conferencing software whether that’s something like Skype or just using FaceTime is super important, to be able to talk to people, especially in the context of mediation when facial expressions and maybe gestures or body language is so important to get a sense of how somebody’s feeling. You don’t get that same thing in an email. Sometimes even on the phone, people become really good at hiding what they’re really feeling in their voice, but if you have somebody in front of you – especially when something is mediated because part of the point of mediation is to be able to express a little bit more than you would in litigation from an emotional perspective and to be able to communicate things that you don’t otherwise get a chance to in mediation.

For clients to have a voice and along with the verbal communication in their voice comes the body language cues and so being able to use technology and video specifically is such a blessing in this day and age. If you’re not using video to communicate with people, you’re really missing out because it bridges so many gaps. That’s also something that I learned when I worked at Apple as well because I used to help little old ladies get on Skype and talk to their grandchildren from around the world, and seeing how happy these people are being able to see family on the other side of the world – maybe they saw them once every couple years before we had this kind of technology. I’ve seen how it can affect people and it can affect emotions and it can affect communication. I’m a big proponent of using video as much as possible when you can’t see people face to face, in front of you physically.

Rackham:

I had David Hoffman on the show, and he talked about – I can’t remember how many people it was – it was something like six or seven (or maybe more) people in a family doing this huge multi-party mediation, and he had people coming in through the laptop, up on a screen. Using that to connect people visually who were hundreds of miles apart is just such a huge opportunity, and of course you mentioned the smart phone – that was the first thing you said – and I think that’s really important to keep in mind in our marketing too because so many of us have our attention on our smart phones so much of the time that if you’re not thinking about where the attention is in your work, in your marketing, then you’re really missing out. You have to be meeting people where they are.

Julie:

Right, and I think… Maybe you have a more recent statistic, but the last I read – which was a year or two ago at this point – was that something like 80% of people now are using internet and web on their smart mobile devices. It’s more people than not that are doing all this on their smart phones now.

Rackham:

Yes, it’s huge. I would challenge anybody listening to this interview to think back to the last time they looked something up. I have a question, let me ask Google. Ask yourself, “Did I do that on my laptop, or did I do that on my phone?” I think there’s a pretty good chance you did it on your phone. That’s huge. That was not true five years ago.

Julie:

It’s huge, and it’s weird. I’ll sit at home and I’ll have my laptop in front of me, maybe it’ll be five feet away on my coffee table, but my phone will be next to me. I still won’t move the five feet to get my laptop. I’ll still use my phone, even though I have access to my laptop. When I think about marketing, I think mobile first. In my mind, your computer doesn’t even exist from a marketing standpoint anymore.

Rackham:

I think you’re right. Now going a little bit more low tech then, what’s one book that you consider essential reading for anybody doing ADR or related services? It could be about theory, law, business, whatever you recommend.

Julie: 

Oh gosh, I have so many books – so many books at home. I’d have to look on my bookshelf and tell you because I poke through a lot of books, I don’t know that I always read them from cover to cover lately.

Rackham: 

Is there a particular blog, then? How about a blog? Is there a blog that you love to read?

Julie:

This is kind of cheesy, and it’s not directly related to marketing as far as a step-by-step here is what you do thing, but I believe a lot in the spiritual component of believing in yourself and believing that you can do things and creating what you want in your heart and in your mind before you actually do it in the real world. I read a lot of stuff about that and journaling every day… What do you want from life? What do you want from work? What do you want from the universe? What makes you happy? That ties back into how I help other lawyers find those passions that maybe they’ve forgotten about. I read a lot of blogs.

There’s a woman that I follow, her name is Kat Loterzo. I follow a lot of her stuff on Facebook. She does a lot of videos too. I really like that because then you get to listen to her. She’s Australian, and you get to listen to her analysis of how she built her business, how she taps into her soul and what her passions are. And authenticity… Her main focus is how to do what you want to do in life and make money and do it by being authentic. You really can have it all. You can be happy and you can do things that you love and you can be true to yourself. It is possible, but it takes work. You have to make the choice to be able to do it. Those are the kinds of things that keep me motivated in work, more so than anything more process-based or “The ABC’s of Running a Law Firm.” I tend to gravitate more to the soul level and passionate, spiritual firm-building stuff.

Rackham: 

I think that’s totally relevant, and you bring up a really important point here which is that a lot of times the most valuable resources available to us as solos or small firm professionals come from areas completely outside the law, right? Most of my marketing information doesn’t come from lawyers or legal marketing blogs or things like that. It comes from marketing materials that are really applicable to a wide range of industries and it’s fundamental marketing principles.

In terms of what you were saying about finding inspiration and authenticity, I have heard so many entrepreneurs talking about using vision boards and – like you said – journals to create a vision, a plan for themselves, and to revisit that daily to keep themselves focused and keep moving in the direction where they want to be, and reevaluating it because in this line of work – or any line of work, really –where you’re in the weeds all the time, it’s so easy to lose that focus. You really need that daily – or at least weekly – jolt of inspiration and reminding yourself what it is you’re really trying to do here.

Julie:

Totally. I forget to do that all the time. You have to step back and look at the bigger picture, always, to stay grounded, especially in an industry that’s kind of stressful like practicing law. Being involved in the law in any way, whether you’re litigating or mediating… As lawyers and mediators, we suck in a lot of energy from other people that isn’t always pleasant and it’s not always good, and we tend to carry that around with us. So being able to hit reset and take a step back and let go of those energies that are not ours and get back to our own place of what we want to do and why we’re doing it is huge. I forget to do that a lot. I’m becoming better at it, and I remind myself to do it, and when I do it makes a huge difference for me.

Rackham:

So resetting, re-centering, finding your own personal space rather than just internalizing the day to day, other people’s baggage that is so easy to internalize in this work.

Julie:

Yes, absolutely.

Rackham:

Beginning to wrap this up now… For those just starting out or wanting to grow their practices, what have you found to be the best way to bring in new clients?

Julie:

Start early. Visibility is everything, to be top of mind and visible is how people are going to remember you. Making those human connections, of course. I shouldn’t have to even say that anymore – that’s obvious in how I think about things. I started early… When I was in law school, I would go to BBA events all the time. I tried to be out there and meet people as much as possible, even when I didn’t know what kind of practice area I wanted to go into, I would go to the marketing sessions… Things that interest me, I would go to. It takes a lot of effort. Law students don’t have a ton of time to do all this stuff, but to me, those were the things that helped me hit reset while I was in law school and showed me that I was passionate about certain things and got me excited to be starting a practice and to be getting into law and doing what I was doing.

These connections and this natural, human marketing doesn’t happen overnight. I have people that have known me for seven years that come back to me now and say, “Hey, I met you at xyz event, and I know you were starting your practice – or you were still in law school then, even – and now I’ve seen you all around. How could I miss you? You’re everywhere and you’re online and now I’d like to retain you to do x, y and z for me.” Those are the coolest moments for me because then I know that the fruits of my labor have paid off, and I know that you just have to get out there and talk to people and do the work and it will come back. You don’t know when it’ll come back to you, you don’t know when that client – if it’s not that client, they’ll tell somebody else about you and that other person will come back to you. You just never know where these connections are going to be made and had, so the more you get out there and talk to people, the faster they’re going to happen and the better quality they’re going to be.

But it takes effort, and it takes time. If you’re not networking and going to events that you like and that make you happy… Don’t force yourself. It’s so important to not to force yourself to go to something you’re not going to like because then you’re not going to talk to anybody. You’re not going to want to be there, and it’s pointless. You might as well have stayed home. But go to things that you like, follow people that you like, that you enjoy. Talk to people that you like to talk to, and then over time people will start to know you, and they’ll start to remember you, and these human connections will start building.

That’s why I say that once you find what your passion is, whether it’s related to the law or not, all the marketing happens naturally after that because if you know what you like, you’re going to put yourself in situations where you’re happy, around things and people that you like. That’s when you’re going to be at your best, and that’s when you’re going to start connecting with people. Then the rest just falls into place. If you’re not out talking to people, if you’re not either blogging or online somehow, you should have started yesterday – essentially, would be my advice. If you didn’t start, start now.

Rackham: 

Yes, stay visible within the area you’re passionate about, build those connections, those relationships, and – like you said – remember that you’re playing the long game. It takes time. You have to keep doing it, and it will pay off.

Julie:

Absolutely. If you keep doing it, there’s no way it won’t pay off. If you have a good reputation, that will come back. Likewise, if you go out and you’re kind of a jerk, then that will come back too. That’s also why it’s important to go to things that you like and things that keep you passionate because those are the colors of you that you want people to see and bring out.

Rackham: 

So true. Julie, thank you so much for your time today. Before we go, what’s the best way for someone interested in your services to reach you?

Julie: 

You can find me online. My website is thinkpinklaw.com. My email is julie@thinkpinklaw.com. I’m on Twitter @thinkpinklaw. If you Google “think pink law,” you’ll probably find even more ways to connect with me, but those are the basics.

Rackham: 

Perfect. Thank you again, Julie.

Julie:

Thank you.

Rackham: 

That’s today’s show. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review on iTunes. You can find show notes for this episode, including links to any books and other resources mentioned at zephyrlaw.com/initiative. I have some more great guests lined up, so be sure to join me next time for another episode of The ADR Initiative.