The Immigration Guy

Starting a New Law Practice Ft. Erick Widman

March 22, 2023 Kyle Farmer Season 2 Episode 7
Starting a New Law Practice Ft. Erick Widman
The Immigration Guy
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The Immigration Guy
Starting a New Law Practice Ft. Erick Widman
Mar 22, 2023 Season 2 Episode 7
Kyle Farmer

This week Kyle sits down with Erick Widman from Passage Immigration Law. They talk about the passion behind immigration law, pros and cons of the legal industry, and starting a business. This is an episode you don't want to miss!

If you're interested in talking with one of our Business Relationship Developers about solving your business labor needs, click the link and fill out your contact information. We will get back to you shortly!

Sign up for our free webinars using the links below:

Send an email to if you'd like to be featured in an episode, if you have a question Kyle can answer, or if you'd like to purchase an advertisement on the podcast.

Follow Kyle Farmer on LinkedIn, here.
Subscribe to our monthly Immigration Insider Newsletter, here.

**The information provided on this podcast does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only. Listeners of this podcast should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.  No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.  Use of, and access to, this podcast or any of the links or resources contained within the description do not create an attorney-client relationship between the listener and Kyle Farmer. **

Produced & Edited By: Drew Tattam

Show Notes Transcript

This week Kyle sits down with Erick Widman from Passage Immigration Law. They talk about the passion behind immigration law, pros and cons of the legal industry, and starting a business. This is an episode you don't want to miss!

If you're interested in talking with one of our Business Relationship Developers about solving your business labor needs, click the link and fill out your contact information. We will get back to you shortly!

Sign up for our free webinars using the links below:

Send an email to if you'd like to be featured in an episode, if you have a question Kyle can answer, or if you'd like to purchase an advertisement on the podcast.

Follow Kyle Farmer on LinkedIn, here.
Subscribe to our monthly Immigration Insider Newsletter, here.

**The information provided on this podcast does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only. Listeners of this podcast should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.  No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.  Use of, and access to, this podcast or any of the links or resources contained within the description do not create an attorney-client relationship between the listener and Kyle Farmer. **

Produced & Edited By: Drew Tattam

Today we're sitting down with Erick Widman, founder and managing attorney at Passage Immigration Law. Erick started his law practice in 2007 after becoming the in-house counsel for an immigration law firm teaching international law and Budapest and interning with a superior court judge. He's experienced immigration and naturalization process firsthand with his marriage of his.

Who's Hungarian? Welcome Erick and thank you for making time to join our show today. Thanks so much, Kyle. It's, it's a privilege to be here, and that's a nice synopsis that, that sums me up pretty well. My life's simple right now. I've got three kids that keep me busy. Nice, nice. How old are they? 13, 11, and nine.

So, a lot of, lot of driving 'em around. Yeah. 13, 11, and nine. You had 'em back-to-back. I've got 6, 4, 3 and one. So, I've got. I've got a fair share of driving people around myself. Right, right. Yeah, no, no doubt. No doubt. But yeah, that it's again, a pleasure to be here. Thanks so much. Hey, all. This is the Immigration Guy with Kyle Farmer.

So, you started your firm back in 2007? I started. Six years ago, you know, mine was driven a lot by just a passion for job creation. It's like a, there's a longer history to it, but the idea of creating jobs or helping people get jobs that really want 'em and just are looking for some economic stability has been a huge fashion of mine since 2008.

But I'm kind of curious what got you into immigration law? What was it that kind of got the juices flowing for. Yeah, so right after law school I took a bit of a, a risk, kind of an unorthodox approach and I heard about an amazing opportunity to teach law in in Europe or Russia or China. And so, I went with the Budapest Hungary option, and it looked legitimate enough on my resume that I wasn't just goofing off for a year, and it turned out to be the best experience of my life and was there teaching business business international, like trade rules and some U.S. History in fact too. And my first potential employer loved it and I thought they, they wouldn't love it. But I got hired in the legal department at Phillips Electronics big international company and there what got into global Mobility was dealing with all kinds of fairly tricky employment-based immigration issues.

I was in-house counsel though. I was able to pick up the phone and, and call the law firm to, to do the, the toughest cases. Yeah. So, I got my start there and was there for six years and then went out on my own after that. Yeah. So, what's your main case type? If you had to pick, you know, one or two or three, just main case size, what do you handle the most of?

Yeah, so I started with business immigration cases, but then. Started my firm, my wife gave me the green light. A lot of my initial clients were people like me, Americans, who had married a foreign national. Nice. And that was kind of a natural fit because I related to them, understood them, understood the, the challenges and the richness of an international marriage.

And so that's, that's been the foundation of the firm the last 10 years. That's cool. So, I'm guessing you met your wife while you were teaching. Yes, exactly. Exactly. And, and so first disclaimer, she was attending the school where I was teaching that college, but she was not my student and it's seven. We can't judge that long anyways.

Right, right. You know, it was, it was while back, but I mean, I, I was young. I was a 26-year-old guy and, and single, and what, what excites me is that you're special. Someone I tell my potential. Could very well likely be in another country. It's just like, you know, a global perspective changes everything. And so, we, yeah, we, we met over there and then I persuaded her to join me back in the U.S. 

She grew up like skiing in Austria. Her life was pretty good over there, so it's not like she really wanted to immigrate. I had to persuade her. Where did you grow up? In California? Silicon Valley. Oh, okay. Okay. That's cool. So, what took you to. It was after kind of getting priced out of the, the Bay area.

Crazy expensive and grew up in Cupertino, apple headquarters. And I got a job offer at Apple too after Phillips. And I liked being in-house council, but the adventure of starting my own firm, my wife and I were not in tech necessarily, the housing is so offensive there that you've got a, like a 2 million starter home and, and if you want a little bit of a yard.

So, after my sister moved up to Portland, Oregon, we love visiting her and love the outdoor lifestyle and, and settled in about 15 years ago. Yeah. That's cool. That's awesome. If you were just thinking from an immigration perspective, if there was one thing you could change, you, you got a magic wand and there's one thing that you could change, what would it be Right now?

The outrageously long processing times. Yeah. There's the, the first thing that comes to mind is just the, the unnecessary weight, the, the waste of human potential where people cannot work, where there's, there's just a lot of time wasted too on stuff that's not I. Yeah, and all the paper pushing that happens with USCIS for things that are, need to be streamlined and made more efficient.

Uh, so a number of things under that umbrella of too much time spent. Yeah, yeah, definitely. I think that makes sense. So, you started your firm in 2007. Tell me, I'm kinda curious, just as you've progressed in the growth of your business, what are some of the things that you've encountered that you wish you would've known how to overcome back then?

Just some big hurdles that you faced. Yes, so I think there's a, there's a real simplicity and it's a good business model if you're a sole practitioner and there, there's pros and cons to that. So, it is a great way to start out where you're, you have clients, you answer the phone yourself, but once you wanna be able to take a vacation and you want to scale up, which I think most people should, you’ve gotta learn how to be a good manager, and we're not typically taught any of that in law school.

So how do you deal with employees effectively and and be a great boss? That's, that's so crucial. And, and for those who think they can escape demanding clients and then just be a, a boss from, from, uh, on high. You're, you're not gonna be a good boss, then you're, you've gotta deal with the concerns and the challenges of your employees.

Yeah. Uh, in, in order to thrive. Yeah. No, that's definitely true. How many employees do you have? We are 10 people now. Couple of 'em are remote and then, so yeah, eight. Eight in uh Portland. Eight in Portland. That's cool. Yeah. It's kind of funny how, if you think about it, just the different stages of growth, they all present.

Different and unique challenges. Although I would much rather have the challenges that I faced to date than when I first started our firm. You know, I, I started our firm cause I couldn't find another job and I never found another job, but I continued to look for it even after I started our firm. But we just kept growing and then, you know, by the end of the second year, it's like, oh, it would make no sense to go work with someone else, but...

I never, I didn't realize at the time when I first started firm, how stupid of a decision that could have been. Like I had no clue how off the rails, this thing could have gone from a very early start. I could have been like, man, I went through all that trouble between me and my wife. We had half a million dollars in student debt.

I could have had, I could have gone through all that crap just to make it. And uh, luckily that's not what happened, but it is kind of funny cuz I, but now you know, it, we've got a much larger firm than we did obviously when we started. I think we've got over a hundred people now and it is just interesting because now we have different problems, but I would never want to trade the problems I have now for the problems I have.

It was just, you know, having to figure out like, man, how do you get new, how do you get clients? How is, how do you do that? Right? Yeah. And I'm, I'm curious, Kyle, when the first couple years, what was it that enabled you to get the cash flow going? How did you get those initial clients? So, at the very beginning, my father-in-law owned a construction company that utilizes one of the types of visas that I do.

And so, I was only doing it to help him while I was looking for another, but we ended up being successful and we really got to know H-2A and H-2B visas. Like we really, really got to know 'em. And then we had other people just start coming up to us and start saying, hey, can you help me with my visas?

And then they would have other problems. You know, like I, I need someone to help me find people. I need to be able to process people in other countries. So we just. Trying to help 'em solve that problems, that problem. And I think that what it was in large part is a lot of times there's an ego with being an attorney where you only wanna do legal work.

Like I only wanted to do legal work. That's all I wanted to do. I never had that because all I wanted to do was work. I just wanted work. I didn't care if it was legal or non-legal. I cared that it was work. And um, I think that that really resonated with people because it really puts you in the same boat as your clients and… Right. And I think that that was one of the big things cuz we've grown mostly through referrals, even to this day, that's still the vast majority of our clients are through referrals. We really appreciate referrals, but we've, we've grown because we've always tried to be on the same side as our clients.

You know, we've always tried to be very transparent with everything that we do. There's, there's a lot of stuff that you can do to earn your client's trust cuz you do have to earn it. And uh, one of the things I think that you can. To really earn your client's trust is if you make a mistake, you own the mistake.

You, you tell them before they find out there was a mistake. You own the mistake. You tell them exactly what happened. You tell them how it's not gonna, you apologize. You tell 'em how it's not gonna happen again. Because as lawyers, we want our clients to think that we're superhuman. They know we're not.

They know that we are people that will screw up and we will screw. Uh, but it matters to them a lot that you're a person that can overcome that just like a normal, humble person would do. And I think that that resonates a lot with people. And so, you just have clients that trust you and they take care of your clients, and they'll take care of you, is basically all we did.

That makes good sense. And, and yeah. I've found as well that the, the worst thing that gets clients the most concerned or sometimes even upset is lack of communication. Yeah. If there's silence and, and I'm, I'm trying to train my team better on this, uh, especially these days in the age of really instant communication and text messages, if we just tell them that we, we heard them, we're working on it, uh, we, we have a plan in.

That's way better than crickets. Yes. That's, that's what really riles people up. Yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, to, to address that, uh, something involving communication's always been in our core values. And that's another thing is immigration. Lawyers generally are awful communicators, lawyers. Actually, it's not even just immigration, it's not stories you pick on immigration.

It's just lawyers are terrible communicators. And you gotta understand that when people are going through this process, whether it's employment-based, on an individual level, it is a high-stress process. It is a life-changing process for them, regardless of the situation that they're in. And so rapid communication is one of the most important things.

So, I, I'm glad you pointed that out. So, what we did with our team is whenever we onboard people, we tell 'em, hey, the expectation is that you reply to clients every single time within 24 hours. I don't care what that takes. You're, you're require, you're re, re replying to our clients. We don't have clients waiting for an answer.

It can be as simple as what you've said. The the answer can be, hey, thank you for sending this. Just so you know, I'm working on it. Uh, I'm gonna get you a more detailed reply as soon as I can thoroughly research the question you brought in. Right? That's totally fine. People just don't want to send their questions into a black hole.

Yes. Yeah, definitely. And, and something, I believe I picked it up from days in Silicon Valley. We, we set up our email system, so now there's a, a breach alert that goes off like an SLA breach it's called when there's an unreplied email, and we use front to do that, this email system. But, but yeah, I like the simplicity of your 24-hour reply, and, and that's crucial.

I'm almost thinking about mandating some kind of, even if they've just said thank you. Yes. Do do you require them to reply to every single email back? No. No. Just any email that's requiring something. So, cuz you know if, if, uh, but I do like it when they do, you know, and whenever we have a client that replies, says, hey, thank you so much, you've made this process so much easier.

I want our people to reply and say, you're welcome. Thank you for being a good client and for communicating thoroughly with us throughout the entire process. You helped us a lot. I think that, that, that's just, that's just being a good person. Like you're, it's, which is an important thing. Develop a real relationship with these people and they'll want to re They'll want to reply.

Yes. Yeah, exactly. And it's a key habit to build. That's a good way to put it. What about from an actual legal work production standpoint? I think it was cool what you pointed. That you have to consider whenever you are running a solo firm, you're doing everything. You are producing all the paperwork, you're reviewing all your own work, you're shipping it out yourself, you're writing the checks, it's all you.

What have you tried to do to make it easier on other people to learn and be adapted into your firm? The, yeah, the starting. Well, a great book that really helped me a lot was traction and the entrepreneurial operating system. We follow a lot of that. So that gave me a foundation. Someone's never been to business school, but lots of training so that, that book was great.

And having core values that are not just a kind of blah, blah, blah, write it down and then forget about it. Where we try to really live it out and make those impactful. So, the core values. Plus, training that we're doing more and more on video so that when a new person comes on, we don't have to reinvent the wheel, but we use Loom, for example, to record things and learn.

A paralegal teaches something. We want camera her to, to record her that the details of it so that it's accessible. And then we have a knowledge base that I'm trying to develop a culture where someone asks a question. And we say, well, what does it say on our knowledge base? And then go to that, rather than hunting around and trying to get someone to maybe come up with a new answer.

The answer should already be there. Yeah, I like that. I like that a lot. Yeah, so we've done similar things, and I do love traction too. EOS I think in general is a powerful system and not, not just for law firms. I, I think for any business owners out there that are looking to grow and scale their. EOS is a great way to do it and it's a great way to do it.

I think most importantly, consistent with the values that you want out of your firm because then you're doing everyone of serving. You're not sacrificing your values to grow, which I think is a deadly combination, but you're growing consistent with your values. It, EOS is a, is a great. Yeah. Agreed at, at some point.

Those guys are really expensive, but of course the value's there, but a EOS uh, implementer. Have you, have you had someone come and, and do regular training with you? Yeah, we just started it. I don't remember, like at the beginning of this year sometime. Yeah. So, it's a cool thing though. Yes. Yeah. So, the other thing that you mentioned is videos. Videos have been a very useful way of onboarding people as well. Not, not only to get them familiar. The actual legal production. But then I think it's a good way to make people understand the culture that you're trying to foster. I think that that's a, a good thing. Right. Definitely. Yeah. That's been very helpful.

And you mentioned the, the current size of your company. Now a hundred people. That's a big achievement by the way. That's amazing. And on your website, there's maybe like eight attorneys or so, maybe seven. What is the breakdown of your staff? I'm really curious. Legal assistants. Paralegals, who's the bulk of the, the team?

Yeah, so we've got our attorneys, and then below attorneys we've got senior paralegals. Then below senior paralegals we have paralegals, and then below them we've got legal assistants, and then we've of course have a sales and marketing depart. We've got a training and development department. That's where, where Drew is, and in addition to her excellent podcast production, and then we've got some administrative folks.

Yeah. So, one thing that we've really tried to do is hire an anticipation of growth, because one thing that I don't want for our clients is that we become to the point where it's like, okay, well we need to turn off the faucet. Because there's, you know, that there's too much work for the people we have. So, we hire knowing more work's gonna come in the door cause we've got great clients that continue to refer us to work.

And then that way we already have trained people ready to perform that work that way there's no drop in actual productivity or consistency, which is I think, pretty important. And for your company's policy about remote work or in person, do you have everyone come in or work at home or hybrid? Yeah, it's a hybrid and it's mainly because I'm uniquely terrible at estimating the amount of office space you need.

I bought the house I live in now. We originally bought it for the purpose of office out it in November of 2019. There were, I think at the point, at that point there were like eight of us or something, maybe, maybe nine. Not nearly as many as we have now. And then within the first like four months, it's like we're outta space.

And so, we sold our other house, moved into that house, and then rented this office space. And I remember walking in here and looking at all this space, like we will never fill up that room with people. That is wild. Six months later, we're having to rent office space on the other two levels of our building. Just to accommodate our people.

And now at this point we're into hybrid so that people can actually rotate seats, although I don't think they've actually started doing that yet. That's, that is amazing. That, and good for you with covid and uncertainty in the economy really being able to deliver and, and grow so much. That's, that's, uh, and it gives me optimism for immigration because it's a solution and, and I think companies.

And, and you've been uniquely positioned to, to provide that service. Yeah. And you know that I think that the best advice I can, I can possibly give people is just, and you would think that this is like so intuitive, but it's not because people are so focused on their legal work, which is great. I mean, you can't sacrifice legal work, but you gotta build relationships with the people that you're working.

And it's never a bad thing. Even if, let's say hypothetically you build a relationship with someone that you don't like, then you know you don't want them as a client. Like it's a two-way relationship. You have a client and that's great. They can fire you at any time. You also can fire your clients at any time.

And if you don't have a good relationship with your client, move on just like they will, and it's, it's fine. Just build a good relationship with people. That is fantastic advice. That's only gonna become more important with ChatGPT and, and other amazing AI bot basically providing all the information someone needs about law or medicine.

Yeah, it's right here. So, the, the way that lawyers are gonna add a huge amount of value is the human element where we can't compete with the bot that's gonna scour the web for like every single new court, but we can build relationships with clients and reassure them and basically provide a good way forward with confidence.

Yeah, yeah. No, that's definitely true. It's funny with ChatGPT, I've tried putting in relatively complicated legal questions into it, and a lot of times the output isn't great yet. You're like, Nope, that's wrong. But I do think that you're right, like we're on the brink of actual AI bot that is good at producing legal information and the only, I think the problem with ChatGPT is that it, it crawls the whole internet. So, it's pulling data from blogs and stuff that are generally not written by lawyers. And so, it's pulling a lot of bad data, pro providing bad output. But I do think that you're exactly right now, I think that you're also exactly right that the human element's gonna be extremely important.

And that's, uh, a great thing that lawyers should be embracing, and they should be embracing. The technology that's gonna get us there. Right. And as you said, the, the client relationships, how to meet their needs, how to be a good communicator and be a good person. There's, we're going back to the fundamentals here and, and did you hear by the way that there was some bar exam where ChatGPT got like 90%, they evaluated it and it just passed decisively?

No. Must be Louisiana. I just hope it wasn't the uniform bar exam, because then it would've screwed, it would've destroyed me. Uh, yes, yes. You know, it's still gonna be a ways off and no one, no one should trust their future and the all kinds of, especially medical issues, legal issues to a bot. It's, it's years away, but it's coming up pretty quickly.

Yeah, yeah, definitely the ChatGPT stuff. It. It's interesting. One time I asked Jasper, which is another generative AI company, I asked it to produce a sentence for me that will confuse ChatGPT, and it produced like the most random sentence I've ever seen, but it actually confused Chat GPT. ChatGPT was like, I dunno what to do with this, but here's some information on onions.

And I was like, okay. When my two junior high boys first introduced it to me a month or two ago, they were saying, look at this. You can have it, write poetry that incorporates anything you want, and it rhymes really well, and it brings in history. So, it's remarkable in the, the breadth of it. Yes, it is. I know, I was just thinking this morning about how easy it would be to write a book using… Right.

Generative AI. I mean, you could, you could write all of the content for it and then just go back through it. I. You know, so one thing about ChatGPT, well, I guess this actually probably isn't that bad, but I, I imagine journalists are gonna be able to use it really easily to pull historical information that was said by someone, you know, like let's say that New York Times has all worked up about something right now, and then I would be willing to bet that it would be relatively easy as a journalist to type.

Has New York Times ever said anything to contradict this statement? And then it'll be able to pull all that information. Like, oh yeah, look at all these times. And they write articles about how they're worked up about this issue now, but five years ago they were writing about the same thing. Oh, that's a great example.

Yeah. Because it'll be able to scour every database and it's smart enough to know when something is contradictory. Yeah. So that'll be very. Yeah, that'll be pretty funny. I mean, I just hope that they use it to point out all the hypocrisy that people are constantly writing about now. Oh, this is offensive.

That's offensive. It's like you weren't offended by this 30 minutes ago. And look, ChatGPT told me about it. Right. Well, and and for business owners like us and others who produce content, the podcast voices. Actual video. Both those things are gonna be way more important than written content, cuz who knows where the written content came from.

Yeah. The legal profession is changing so quickly and, and yeah, it's gonna be, if my boy is going to, to law for example, it'll be a different world. It's hard to anticipate exactly 10 years from now what it'll be like. Yeah, no, definitely. It'll be interesting though. I guess we'll get to see. I plan, I plan on it.

I, I gotta stick. If, if you were able to go back in law school, just, I don't know why. It just kinda just popped in my head. And you were able to pick a course to be taught about in law school, what would it be? I think you know what, it might have been there, but I didn't search it out. But more client interaction, client skills, more practical work with real people, like actual clinics.

I think that is so much more than just another, uh, overview of a subject area with the five points, the five elements, reading the main cases. I think doing actual client work is to me way more enjoyable too than Sure. It's like the, the law professors love, they're the ones running law school, but they, we should actually have real lawyers run law school.

Yeah. And teach other lawyers how to do it. No, definitely, man. It might be a series of classes, but if there was. Series of classes on how to run a law firm. Yes. I would've been all over those classes. That would've been so nice. So, you knew, even in law school, there's a good chance you'd want to, even if you didn't start your own, you'd be partner someday.

Right. You know what's funny is I didn't wanna start my own law firm, but I, I would've always found that type of information interest, you know, like just business in general I find interesting. And so, yeah, I, I would've definitely taken those classes. Like, I wonder how you do like marketing. I mean, I, you got, I got no idea.

I wonder, I wonder how you draft an engagement letter. Like what do you actually do to need a new client? What is a trust account? What are all these different things? Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And a project management course too would be helpful. And I just think of what I often have to teach people, attorneys and staff, is how to lay out a goal to find the objective and then break it down into step milestones and when do you know when it's done and, and marketing complete.

So, I would, I would include that, yes. That would actually be kind of fun. I think that this is all right. We just created a new law school here. You teach the law, teach what you gotta know to pass the bar. Okay? That's called your first year of law school for anyone that wants to go to law school. You learn all that crap your first year, and then your second and third year can be dedicated to, hey, how do you actually apply these things?

That would be a lot more practical. Yes, absolutely. And that is, Super helpful even if you're in a larger law firm, even if you don't start your own. But more and more people are starting your own cuz of the barrier to entries lower and with people working from home. I'm, I'm sure I haven't seen statistics, but I bet it's become more popular to go out on your own, have that autonomy.

And with the service business it can be fairly low cost to, to get started. It's not like we have inventory and those kinds of. Yeah. Yeah. That's the nice thing. Then the scariest thing in the world is hiring your first person. Yes. That is horrifying. Like, I gotta pay that person now again, I don't even know if I can, I don't even know if I'm actually gonna get money next month.

Okay. And then gonna have, yeah, hire someone. And the recurring revenue challenge, I bet your business clients, this has helped you grow. No doubt is they come back for, for more. But in the family immigration world, you know, they're, they're done after a while, they might petition for their parents, they might naturalize, but they don't have year after year coming back for more work, right?

Yes, yes. No, and, and that has helped because basically all of our clients are our clients, and we don't have any kind of client retention issues. But that's also because we actually really, really care a lot and we actually really, really like our clients. I think that one thing that is probably important for young lawyers to to know is to trust their instincts about people, about clients, about situations.

Like, trust your instincts and follow your instincts because you, you have 'em for a reason and it's likely going to end up worse if you don't follow them. And I, I wish I would've known that. That practical. That's right. And thinking like a lawyer, yes, that's very important, but thinking like a human being and a good person is essential.

And often I, I think what would be great preparation just for business, for law team sports is often a, a great thing to figure out how to work together, how to be reliable, how to deliver for others, and the, the common. approach is often not common practice. Yes. Oh no. It like never is. It's hilarious. It's so funny to me how most lawyers operate like it, it's fascinating cuz you, you watch them, you're like, you guys do you even want to have work?

Why are you such a douche to all of your people? Right. He a good person. It's really we're, what we're talking about is like the most, you would think like the most competent stuff. But then whenever you get to this like elitist profession, then you, you quickly adapt that type of mentality. So don't do that. Have some humility for God's sake.

Absolutely. And I remember an an older lawyer reading a client's email. And saying, you know, I'm not gonna reply back now, even though I could give the answer in like 30 seconds. Cause I want to train my client not to expect like good customer service so, so quickly. So, they, they waited for like a day or two.

I love it. And then your response is, that's great. I'm gonna go start my own firm and I know all I have to do to beat you. That's right, that's right. Yeah. One of, one of our values is communicate brilliantly and, and that can be shorter responses, and I'm emphasizing this, trying to train my team more that it's okay to have a more informal approach in your emails cuz the.

Are okay if you're just a little, little faster, but they, the speed of course accuracy, it's all gotta be. Right, of course. But they don't need to treatise, they don't want a paragraph of lots of jargon in it. That's, that's not what they need. Right. No, that's exactly right. And that is another thing is whenever you're actually friends with someone, how do you talk to them?

Because that's how you should be talking to your clients. It's not dear, sir, Mr. Blah, blah, blah. Yes. Here's my paragraph, right? Orally yours, paralegal. Like, no, what are you doing? I don't even wanna read that. It's making my skin itch, right? It's right. Oh yeah, that's, and that, that human element, and then that just doesn't lead to client happiness, people.

Love is kind of surgical interaction. They, they want human to human. Yeah. Personally. Yeah. And I, you know, I do think that that is like kind of an art more than a science because people, especially when they first are developing a relationship with a lawyer, they might want more of a level of professionalism where they're communicating in a way they would expect from a lawyer.

But then as you get to know the people better, kind of like relax. letting the guard down. It's probably more of an art than a science, but it is, uh, yeah. Having, having some level of social awareness is pretty, pretty critical. Yes. And, and then the, the senior lawyers can demonstrate that balance. Yeah.

Where you can show that you're pleasant and perhaps a little informal, but you're always professional at the same time, and you're always reliable. And, and that's, that's of course, Yeah. The other thing that I wish other lawyers knew is that they need to care about the things that their clients care about, not the things they care about.

And that's basically it. Like you're, the, the client experience is everything. Care about the things they care about. And that's, that's basically what you're talking to. Responsiveness, honesty, consistency, reliability. These are the things that they want from their. What they don't want from their lawyer is being a stick in the letter.

Right. Yeah. That, that's profound what, what you just said right there. A lot of lot of firms have not picked up on that and they don't deliver what the clients actually want or need and the, yeah, the fast responses, but putting yourself in the shoes of them, and so I'm also coaching my team. Lay out to the end of the email, the next steps.

They always want to hear not just the answer to their question, but like, what's coming next, and anticipate that and then they know we're in the driver's seat. Yes, definitely. You know, that the last thing that I would, that I'd kind of say is, and this is kind of, uh, this is definitely harder whenever you're running a smaller firm than whenever you're running a, a bigger firm, but one thing that I don't think that lawyers like to do.

I don't think that they like to do anything that costs them money. Like they, they don't want to concede some point to their client because they don't want to cost the client money. But it's, it's okay. It is okay if your client costs you money. It's okay if you have to pay something to fix some issue.

Like maybe you're paying for new filing fees or, uh, right, not, not billing the client again for legal work to produce something that you messed up or so. Most lawyers will make an excuse for their issues so that they can be sure to build a client again and do not do it because the long-term consequence for that are that your client doesn't trust you.

Your client's not gonna send you business, and your client just wants to get away from you. And so, it's, it's just relationship buildings all is sir, that, that good common-sense approach is not followed in, in, in a common way. People will look at the short-term gain and it's like, well, I'll win this battle.

But and they view it as a battle when they shouldn't and then they lose the war, they lose the client for the long term. Yeah. And nothing annoys people in general, more in clients more than getting nickel and dimed or an unexpected expense. And, and the upside, the potential of the long-term relationship is way more lucrative.

Yeah. Yep. And a hundred percent, there's a lot less resistance if you're rowing in the same direction. Right? Yeah. And again, putting yourself in the client's shoes, making sure you're aligned. What do you want? How are we gonna get there? That's, that's essential. Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. I certainly appreciate it.

What, uh, what's a good way for our listeners to connect with you? Yeah, well, thanks Kyle. You can find me on LinkedIn. So, Erick Widman. We're at for our law firm. We're on the, the West coast and Kyle, I'm actually coming out to, to Austin. I'm gonna see if I can come by and, and visit end of April if you're around.

Yes, sir. That sounds great. Some training. Okay, cool. Cool. Yeah, I'll, I'll let you know. But yeah, it's been a real pleasure to connect here. Yeah, it has. I certainly appreciate you taking the time and we'll, we'll talk to you. Thank y'all for listening to the Immigration Guy Podcast. We really appreciate it.

You can find us on our website. Go to You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter. Just search at Kyle Farmer, FLPC. Uh, you can find our law firm on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. All you have to do is search for at Farmer Law PC. Go ahead and subscribe to download all the episodes of our podcast.

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