Halloween Podcast Series Episode 11 – The “Devils Advocate” and the “Bride of Frankenstein”

Halloween Podcast Series <span>Episode 11 &#8211; The &#8220;Devils Advocate&#8221; and the &#8220;Bride of Frankenstein&#8221;<span>

Good evening, this is Richard Jacobs. Today is day 11 of the 13 unlucky days of monsters attempting to suck the blood from your law practice. We’ve talked about client monsters: the ghost, the backseat driver, the nervous nelly, the vampire, the wimpy, the backstabber, the bungler, the narcissist, and the canary.

Then we talked about the marketing monsters: the branding barbarian, the social media serpent, the Rip Van Winkle of referrals, the follow-up fumbler, the SEO siren, the paid leads pusher, the new client hopium dealer, the lowball leech, the omnipresent omnivore, and the budget bully. Now, we are talking about some of the most pernicious monsters: staff, family, and friends, (unfortunately).

We talked about the strangler, and now we are going to talk about the devil’s advocate and the bride of Frankenstein. The devil’s advocate is a staff member or maybe a fellow attorney who is just a devil’s advocate in everything. Any idea you come up with, any client you take on, any case that you work through with a partner, or any case that you have a staff member help on, they are always pointing you to the dark side. “What if this happens?” or “I don’t think this is going to work,” or “Maybe we should reconsider…” What this does is turn you into a “two steps forward and 1.9999 steps back” person, and you essentially go nowhere. You just jiggle back and forth in position.

Meanwhile, the market changes around you, other firms get clients and try new things, and win or lose. The firms that just kind of jiggle back and forth and don’t aggressively market, try new things, or adapt to new technologies like live chat, texting clients, or using Zoom for intakes, start to lose ground to other firms and younger attorneys who may have 20 fewer years of experience than they do. They start to eat your lunch, they start to take over, and you start to get very frustrated. At times, you might feel like a dinosaur. You’ve got to watch out for these devil’s advocates; they mean well—they really do—but unfortunately, they have to be coached.

If a staff member, family, friend, or anyone else is being the devil’s advocate, say to them, “I really appreciate it. You are a good sounding board and you are a great devil’s advocate, but I want you to deliberately think, ‘How can I do this?’ What advice would you have for me if you knew that there was nothing I could do and that something had to be done and you at least wanted to help me do it as best I could?” Change their frame of mind so that they are supportive instead of a devil’s advocate because the devil’s advocate only goes so far. If you have idea after idea after idea and that’s all you get back, it’s going to take the air out of your balloon. It’s going to deflate you, and eventually, you’ll give up and just sink into mediocrity and helplessness.

You won’t want to engage with your marketing firms and you won’t want to move your firm forward. You are going to lose ground and just lament that you didn’t go anywhere while other firms surpass you. As you know, there’s a lot of competition in the world of attorneys, especially this year with COVID. The sands are shifting, the tectonic plates are shifting big time. There are big-time winners, and there are big-time losers. You’ve got to be either a winner or a loser going forward because things are changing dramatically. Watch out for these devil’s advocates. Again, they mean well, so turn them around so they help you instead of hurt you.

Now, the bride of Frankenstein. I could have called it the spouse of Frankenstein, but in the movie, it was called the bride of Frankenstein. Forgive me if instead of a bride, you have a groom; it’s your partner or spouse who is unsupportive. You’ve tried things in the past, and they are worried about the finances, they are worried about the kids, and they are worried about your financial situation.

I can’t give you relationship advice here, but I want to point it out. If you have a spouse or a partner who is unsupportive, it can easily suck the life out of you and make you do nothing. I can’t tell you to get rid of your partner or spouse. All I can tell you is to be aware that the approval or the withholding of approval of a spouse and the withholding of other things can really make life very difficult.

I don’t know how you are going to manage it. Again, I don’t even want to go there; I just want you to be aware of it, and if it is a factor in your life, it is going to affect your practice, and it’s obviously going to affect your personal life. It’s going to affect everything. The only thing I can recommend is that you not let yourself be in a situation like that for too long. Then again, you have to decide how long “too long” is for you.

Unfortunately, the longer it goes on, the less likely it is to change or improve unless action is taken by both parties. Of course, take your side of responsibility for the whole situation; it might not just be your partner…it might be you too. There are definitely great resources out there that can really help you. I recently read the book, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee Adams, PhD. I am literally just about to finish it, but it’s a really great book that can help you with any issues that you have. It can apply to most of the monsters you deal with (maybe even all of them), and this monster in particular because it’s such a tricky one. I recommend you check out that book. It’s excellent.

There’s also 5 Love Languages, which sounds kind of funny, but it’s a fantastic book. There are five different ways that people express love in any relationship, and you’d be very surprised. When I read through this book and looked at the people around me, like my wife, my kids, and my other relationships, it’s literally like wearing a new pair of glasses where you see people in a way you’ve never seen them before. It’s really cool. One love language is physical touch. Another is acts of service, where we do something for someone and they feel loved. Another is quality time, where you spend quality time with them. The fourth love language is gifts, and I forget the fifth one. It is an excellent book.

I highly recommend these two books because they’ll take the friction out of a lot of your relationships and really help you have a smoother time. If my wife is mad at me, it can ruin my whole day. I’m not saying she’s bad or blaming her or anything—I do plenty of things wrong to annoy her—but I know it’s important when a partner or spouse is not supportive; it really can take the wind out of your sails, so it’s really important to address it. It’s not nice to call it a monster, but I’m including it. I hope this helps you. On today 12 tomorrow.

Richard Jacobs

About Richard Jacobs

My name is Richard Jacobs, and I've discovered quite a bit about the plight of solo practitioners and small, 2-5 attorney firms like yours these past 12 years.

I've come to understand the unique challenges in marketing ethically and effectively that attorneys face because I have:

  • Helped over 180 attorneys author their own practice area book and become the 'implied expert' in their practice area
  • Helped hundreds of attorneys successfully navigate Google's search algorithm changes, growing their websites from 2 potential clients calling a month to 4+ calls per DAY for some clients.
  • Interviewed and promoted over 507 attorneys nationwide, in practice areas such as:
  • DUI / DWI
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Bankruptcy
  • Auto Accidents
  • Social Security Disability
  • Slip & Falls (Premises Liability)
  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning / Probate
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Expungements / Post Conviction Relief

Before you decide to invest in your marketing, it makes sense to first request your complimentary, custom, no obligation video website review.

Richard is the author of 6 books published on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com

Richard is available for speaking engagements on direct marketing for attorneys and has recently spoken at the following legal conferences:

  • PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association)
  • Las Vegas DUI Summit – Private event for DUI attorneys
  • New York Boutique Lawyers Association
  • Perry Marshall & Associates Marketing Academy (Marina Del Rey, CA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)