How does this happen? How do you get in their heads? Great question! The key is to become intimately familiar with their painful state. Doing this requires you to understand the path they are on, the journey they will take.
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Our mission is to provide thought-provoking powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth-generating law firm without overwork or overwhelm, so you can live your best life. Ernie is the founder of law firm autopilot, a program that helps lawyers work less and earn more.
So welcome, Ernie. Ernie Svenson: Thank you for having me. So tell me a give me a little bit of background though and talk to me about how your life as an attorney Me and your career attorney before you got free creative law firm autopilot sort of give me the story and lead us there. Um, yes, I worked in a big law firm for about 20 years after graduating from law school and clerking for a federal judge for a couple of years.
And I thought this was going to be the most amazing thing in the world. You know, I was I know, nobody in my family had been a lawyer. And the idea of working in the 48th floor of a building with fancy resources and paralegals and secretaries, and it was like, I won the lottery.
And so everything was great and had a good time. I liked computers, I thought they can be useful and so It was kind of a hobby, but then I, the more I used them, the real more I realized like this was a pathway to efficiency.
And about the time I was starting to get dis dismayed with how I practice and the practice felt bureaucratic, you know, big, firm, high billable hour high overhead, you know, people were nice, but it was just, you know, a lot more work, to do things that I thought could be done simpler and more efficiently.
And of course, when you look at how they can be done on the computer, that was a big contrast. And I started being paperless because a friend of mine showed me how to scan documents. And I just did, I thought for sure, now I won the lottery for sure. Because I was like, wait a minute, I can do all this stuff faster, better, more reliably, using a machine and why would I do that? And so I tried to evangelize this within the firm.
But nobody was really listening. You know, as much as I can. And but then around that time clients were getting pickier about their bills. And I thought, well, clients want efficiency. Maybe I could leave the firm and do this on my own. But then I started a web blog in , that started getting a lot of attention. And people were seeking me out and trying to hire me. I was like, wait a minute, this technology stuff is even better than I imagined. So I went out on my own started my own practice.
But it did. And I was much happier. And then I started showing a few friends how I did it, because they were like, Wait, how do you do this?
And then it was a few more people. It was a dozen people and I was invited to speak around the country. And it just became a full-time job, which is what I do now.
Davina: Wow. Tell me what area you were practicing. Ernie: Yeah, I was doing the same thing. Yeah, you know, not totally.
I mean, I was doing commercial litigation. You know, that could run the gamut in the big firm from antitrust cases, which is not the kind of thing you can handle by yourself. And I actually could do a better job once I had the systems in place and the tools to manage those documents myself, so I actually did a better job for lower cost, enjoyed it more. And, you know, as long as it was a case I can handle by myself or partner up with somebody to do which I did, you know, and that was great because I pick people based on whoever was the best attorney to handle that kind of case.
So everything about my practice got better. Davina: Yeah, I understand that. Have you always been a techie? I mean, are you a tech? Are you a tech guy? Or was this something that that kind of came with time or what? And I just came back from this conference, which was for entrepreneurs.
I think technology was just a vehicle through which I expressed that desire to learn how to do things better. I was willing to experiment with it. Ernie: Oh, yeah, for sure.
No, I agree. It was just like, do it this way. But then when I got to high school, and I took physics, and there was an interesting problem, and I said, Oh, okay, well, you could use math for an interesting problem.
Davina: Right? Ernie: Other people Certainly pegged me like that so not an open, you know, violent, you know, Che Guevara kind of way but a quiet passive-aggressively, I guess. So tell me about how you came. You said you came to do a law firm autopilot. Well, there are a couple of days that you came to do came to doing it because people were just started asking you, what are you doing?
What are you doing? But then also, you said that you started out blogging, and you actually started doing that while you were working for the firm still. Do you How long? Ernie: Since ? Yeah, I was supposedly the fifth lawyer blogger out there.
Davina: Oh, wow. So tell me the kinds of things that sparked you to do a blog and tell me the kinds of things that you talked about and what came out of that for you? Ernie: Well, I started blogging because I had been learning about technology and becoming paperless. And there was a fellow who was a lawyer who was in a group of, you know, an online discussion group.
He came to New Orleans. And we did. And he showed me this thing called the blog and I was like, What is this? This is crazy. And we went to a restaurant in New Orleans that, you know, was a very old school family restaurant, they only took cash they took him. It was just not the kind of restaurant that I would have ever in my life imagined at that point would have had a website.
And he in his blog post about his visit to New Orleans, linked to those restaurants like wait a minute, said Mars has a website that I need to start checking out this website.
More and the blog software was an easy way to do it because it eliminated the need to go get hosting and all this complexity that previously, you know, was a barrier to entry for having a website. That reminds me of the show. And, and, weirdly, that became, you know, a marketing genius move, right?
It was like the Mr. Magoo School of marketing, like completely blind, dumb luck. And but it attracted the attention of all kinds of people. Eventually the ABA, you know, people invited me to speak. And, you know, down the road, people are trying to hire me because they liked me. All of a sudden, I could speak to the world and people were like begging me to take them on. And I worked for an agency in the 90s.
And we were developing websites for people. And that was a very new thing. And then after a while, it was like, well, I gotta have a website because they have a website. But one of the most powerful tools is still email marketing. I talked to my clients about email marketing all the time. You know what, you betcha. What did he say? You know this is easy. And when I started doing this, all of a sudden, my list grew. So in other words, referral marketing by sending emails, which was super easy and powerful.
So I told my friend, what I was doing. And you know, he was the fellow that we started the company together to do CLE programs and things. And he said, Why? And he did it. He goes, Oh, my God.
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