JUPITER, Florida—Josh Konigsberg, Partner & Co-Founder of Law Firm Marketing Pros, an award-winning digital marketing agency offering the most cutting-edge, efficient, and cost-effective digital marketing tools available for law firms, recently welcomed Brana Williams, Co-Founder of Prosper At Law, a new coaching program. Based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Williams’ firm, Indigo Family Law, concentrates on family law, estate planning, and other areas, including criminal defense, personal injury, power of attorney, and healthcare.
Konigsberg begins by asking Williams about her background.
“I am a native to South Carolina and a native to Myrtle Beach,” she replies. “I grew up on a tobacco farm, and was the first one in my family that went to law school.
“Law school was very interesting—very different from anything I had ever done. I go in, I graduate, I get out, I start working. I was in the upstate and then I came back local to prosecute. I switched from prosecuting into private practice. I did what every lawyer does, you start out thinking, ‘Oh my God, I just gotta have business.’ You do what we call practicing door law and you take different kinds of law. Then I opened my own firm in 2000. And about five years ago, I niched into family law. That’s how I decided to focus my firm and grow it.
“It is a business. Law school doesn’t teach us that, which is why Greg and I are doing the Prosper at Law, because law school teaches us to be lawyers. We don’t know anything about business. In my undergrad, I had a double in finance and marketing with an accounting concentration, I should have known better. And I didn’t. I think it’s really important, which is part of why we’ve started Prosper at Law—to teach lawyers that this is a business as well as a practice and a profession.”
“You decided five years ago to niche into family law, which is really the way to accelerate. Where were you at that time, revenue wise? And how fast have you been able to grow?”
“I’ve always kind of felt blessed and lucky,” Williams says. “I had gotten to where I was consistently pulling in as a sole practitioner, anywhere between two to 250 in a good year. Sometimes 175, but I’d say two to 250. When I niched, I probably dropped back to about 150 gross. You’ve got to understand that’s the hit you take. I consistently doubled that 50% per year growth, up until COVID. The year of COVID, I should have broken a million. We didn’t, but we grew during COVID. Every year, our gross revenue has continued to increase. Now we have been consistently over a million plus.”
“So even though you took a hit, you didn’t double but you still managed to grow?”
“Well, from that first time dipping back down, I’ve grown 50% a year, up until up until COVID hit and of course, COVID changed the landscape of business for everybody,” Williams explains.
“The inspiration for you to help other lawyers is by being the Co-Founder with Greg McCollum at Prosper at Law. Greg is in criminal defense and you’re in family law in Myrtle Beach. Tell us about the inspiration when you guys got together.”
“Greg has been a friend of mine for a while, and has always done more criminal than I have. Independently of each other, we found this idea that we wanted to niche and grow the firms and make it more of a business. We realized we were both doing it, so it drew us closer as friends. We realized our struggles were not unique. It’s everybody if you’re in the solo or small business arena.”
“What I see, and, again, this is not taught in law school is that the only time you’re a lawyer is when you’re with a client, in a courtroom and a deposition or mediation, the rest of the time you’re a business owner,” Konigsberg notes. “You have to change hats, right?”
“You absolutely have to change hats. And what you don’t realize is that so much of your other time is spent in that other hat and you’re not prepared for it; you’re not prepared for the sales aspect of you’ve got to have clients coming in the door. ‘What do I need to do?’ ‘I don’t need to lawyer them to death, I need for them to hire me so that I can then help them, I need to have enough money in my bank account so that I can pay my bills, I need to have enough money, so I can pay my staff, and I have to have enough time to actually lawyer.’”
“It’s interesting to break it out, not only to the lawyering aspect, and then the business aspect, but then you have all these other aspects of business that someone who has not been to business school, does not have a degree in economics or marketing, or whatever it is, and you need to understand, as a lawyer, accounting, personnel, marketing. Within marketing, you need to understand intake, which we see is a big problem, right?”
“Our philosophy is there’s seven parts to a business, and only one of those parts is the service. The service is law, and you have all these other parts, and you’ve got to know that and you’ve got to know what the finances are, you’ve got to know what your metrics are. You’ve got to know what your KPIs are. Who knew what that term was five years ago.”
“Some of the people listening might not know what it is,” Konigsberg observes.
“It’s your key performance indicators,” Williams replies. “What do you do? How much is your average case value? Did you charge X amount, but you’re spending Y amount of time? It might make you feel good as a lawyer, but is that paying your bills? You’ve got to know why your clients come see you versus going to see the next lawyer down the street. What do you do to keep your clients happy? What do you do to keep your staff happy, so you don’t have turnover left and right, because training new people is just ungodly, time consuming, and difficult. It’s hard on your clients. It’s hard on you. There’s really so much that goes into owning a small business.”
“For Prosper at Law, who’s the ideal customer?”
“We truly believe that we can help our small criminal lawyers, small family lawyers. There are other areas as well that I know that we can help, but quite frankly, a criminal law practice and a family law practice is different from, say, a PI practice. Estate planning is more similar, but different. And then obviously, a civil suit is different, just a whole other arena.
“We know that we can help people who are grossing somewhere between 75, 250, 300, even a little bit bigger because sometimes you get lucky and you get bigger but you’re what we call an ‘unconscious competent.’ You’re doing it, but God knows you don’t know how you’re doing it right. And you ride the wave and what happened to me for so long, and I know what happened to Greg is, you’re going, going, going, and then all of a sudden, ‘Oh my God, I got all these clients, I gotta be able to do something for them.’ Then you’re doing all the work, and you’re like, ‘I don’t have anybody new coming in.’
“And the goal is to help you structure a business and get systems in place so that it’s a lot more smooth. It’ll never be really smooth. But you can make the dips and ups and downs not so ridiculous, and not so doggone stressful.”
“Exactly right. It’s so dramatic, and funny because I describe it the same way in marketing,” Konigsberg says. “You’re so busy servicing the clients, and not doing your networking and going to all the cocktail parties and the breakfast meetings, and then there’s a drop off. It’s difficult to grow a business without a predictable, manageable cash flow.”
“You’ve got to know your capacity,” Williams adds. “It doesn’t help you a lot to take on all these new people and then not be able to service them, you’ve got to be able to figure out what you’re doing. The other part of it that I think was so surprising to me when I really made the shift was what kind of cases do I really like? Where do I excel? And what makes me happy? We’ve all taken cases where you go, ‘Why did I do this?’ The goal is to do something that fulfills your soul. Because when your soul is full, and you’re doing a good job, you do the best job for your clients. And what we do as lawyers is very necessary. People make fun of lawyers, but by God, that’s who they call when they need help.”
“If you could describe your unique selling proposition, would you? Do you have a USP?” Konigsberg asks.
“It’s a new business; we’re on the journey too, and that’ll be part of what we’re taking our clients with, but I know that the one of the reasons that I know we can do this, and we can do a really good job to help our clients is by God, we’ve been there and done it. I did it. I am still doing it. Greg has done it. And he’s still doing it. You know, I went from a real baby solo law firm with one employee to now there are nine of us in here. We’re opening another office down there in Georgetown and growing. Part of it is I’m not I’m not preaching at my people, I will be preaching with them, because I’ve done it. The mistakes I made, this is what you can look forward to at this level. Then when you have that level, I think a very important lesson is that the next level isn’t all Mecca. There’s problems there too. It’s just a different set of problems.
“You’ve got this fantastic growing successful law practice. What motivates you to win outside of that with Prosper at Law?”
“I want to help. I believe there is enough blessing and enough money and enough goodness in this world that we can all share. And I don’t have to be jealous and threatened and hope that I get it all and you don’t have any. I’ve done well. I’m doing it and I want to share it because I want everybody to come along on the journey. I just want to give back and I want to help and if I can help at least some of the other young lawyers not have to go through self doubt.”
“I mentor other digital marketing agencies,” Konisgberg says. “We had a mentor session just the other day. They were talking about one of the members who’s been incredibly successful recently that I’ve mentored. Nothing brings me greater joy, so I can relate to what you’re saying.”
“My personal vision is a world of people who see the possibilities. I want you to see what’s possible around this corner. And then let’s look at the next corner. And then let’s look at the next corner, and not get stuck. And not to be so overwhelmed that you think, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t get out of this.’ There’s a way and I want to help you find it.”
“Brana, that sounds like your unique selling proposition to me!”
“Maybe we created it together!”
Watch the full interview below.
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