Learn How to Build a Successful Estate Planning & Elder Law Practice

with LWP Founder,
Dave Zumpano

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practice success podcast

Welcome to the Practice Success Podcast!

Episode 30: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Michael Rutkowski (Part 2)

Lisa and Dave are joined again by LWP Member Michael Rutkowski, Founder of Rutkowski Law Firm, an Asset Protection and Estate Planning firm in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. This time, Michael shares how EOS (Entrepreneur Operating System) allowed his firm the flexibility to quickly implement a new operating model in the pandemic and why they haven’t looked back. Hint: they haven’t needed to. But the best part of this episode? Dave asks Michael what words of encouragement he would give to young lawyers as he looks back on the decisions he made in building his firm into the thriving business it is today. You won’t want to miss their answers!

Episode 29: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Michael Rutkowski (Part 1)

Lisa and Dave are joined by LWP Member Michael Rutkowski, Founder of Rutkowski Law Firm, an Asset Protection and Estate Planning firm in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. As someone who just really loves helping people, Michael’s first career in law – workers compensation defense – never really sat right with him. But when he started to help friends with their estate planning needs, it opened his eyes to an area of the law where people truly appreciated his efforts, and some cases even ended in a hug! So, he branched off and found a niche in revocable living trusts and will planning. Then a referral led him to discover Lawyers With Purpose and he started to learn how to regain his sanity and his freedom. LWP helped Michael go from having a law practice managing him, instead of him managing it, to developing systems that allowed his firm to run efficiently from multiple locations and with far less headache. And the best part? His pre-LWP revenue of $500k soon exploded to over $1.9 million within just two years! Suffice it to say, you don’t want to miss a second of our three part series with Michael.

Episode 28: Entrepreneurial Freedom

In this engaging episode, Dave discusses the LWP Entrepreneurial Freedom (E-Freedom) Program and what it can mean for an Estate Planning and Elder Law attorney and their business. This complete law practice system covers four pillars: Legal Knowledge, Marketing and Sales, Operations, and Culture. Dave defines and explores the metrics needed for each law firm practice success model: Profitable, Robust, and E-Freedom. If you’ve ever wondered what your E-Freedom (or practice success) could look like and how to achieve it, this episode is for you.

Episode 27: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Mitchell Lansky

In this episode Dave and Lisa welcome Mitchell Lansky, founder of the Lansky Law Firm in Memphis, Tennessee. Mitchell has been practicing for 40 years and he shares that he knew as early as second grade that he wanted to be an attorney! His main reason was he had a vision to help people. That focus is still as important to him today as he assists his clients with their planning needs. Mitchell has been on an eight-year journey with LWP and he knew right from the start, that in order to grow he needed increased knowledge and system and processes to keep him on track. Listen to Mitchell’s inspiring path to success.

Episode 26: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Connie Aschenbrenner

In this inspiring episode, Dave and Lisa are joined by LWP member Connie Aschenbrenner, founder of the Law Office of Constance A. Aschenbrenner, LLC in Anchorage, Alaska. Connie shares how she was greatly influenced to enter the field of law by her parents. Her mother was a special education teacher and her father was an attorney. She began to practice law in 1996 and worked in many areas. In 2013 Connie received a postcard from LWP that said, “What if You Don’t Know it All?” This inspired her to attend an LWP event that really changed the course of her practice. Within months of joining she had tripled her income. Dave and Connie discuss the importance of planning, the power of a positive mindset, the impact of following the LWP systems, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this podcast.

Episode 25: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Timothy Crisafulli

Dave and Lisa are joined by LWP member Timothy Crisafulli, Esq, co-founder of Crisafulli Gorman, P.C. in Syracuse, New York. Tim started his life after college as a social studies teacher and continued on that journey for ten years. As he playfully recounts, he was married, with a mortgage and a baby, when he quit his job to attend law school. After a number of years working at another law firm, he had the “entrepreneurial seizure” and hatched a plan with another attorney to start their own firm. In this inspiring episode Tim shares how he balances his high-fact-finder instincts with his need to take risks in moving the firm forward. Dave and Tim discuss lessons learned from Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth; understanding your Kolbe score and how that can impact your business; having well executed and purposeful milestones; and more.

Episode 24: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Dinesh Chawla

Dave and Lisa are joined by LWP member Dinesh Chawla, Esq, founder of Chawla Legal Group in New Baltimore, Michigan. Dinesh shares his personal success story from his early years working and building relationships in the auto supply industry to attending law school, working as a healthcare compliance consultant and eventually opening his own practice. From 2019 until now, Dinesh has experienced some major life changes that have led to a complete change in his mindset. He is now “following the signs” toward the positive and embracing a set of inspirational words in his firm…Positivity, Motivation, Execution and Intentionality. Dinesh shares some powerful personal stories of loss and triumph. You won’t want to miss this engaging and inspirational podcast.

Episode 23: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Pam Buff Baker, Esq, Safe Harbor Law

Dave and Lisa welcome LWP member Pam Buff Baker, owner and founder of Safe Harbor Law in Naples, Florida. Pam joined LWP at the onset of opening her law firm, hiring her first employee and joining LWP at the same time. Listen to hear how Pam found success in a highly saturated estate planning market in Florida with help of the LWP systems and processes. Pam shares how she has used the time templates to successfully overcome the time challenges involved with managing a law practice.

Episode 22: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Lydia York, Esq, L.E. York Law

Dave and Lisa are joined by LWP member Lydia York, founder of L.E. York Law in Wilmington, Delaware. Lydia is what she refers to as a second career attorney. Although she spent over half of her life doing other things, she felt called to go to law school and become an attorney. After law school, she was offered a clerkship in New Jersey and took it. Tune in to hear Lydia’s story of her journey to success and how she helps educate her clients about Medicaid and other parts of the law using the LWP systems.

Episode 21: Leveraging the Five Key Focusers from LWP Accountability Consultant, Phil Miner

Dave and Lisa welcome Lawyers with Purpose Accountability Consultant, Phil Miner. As an accountability consultant, Phil helps guide members to set the right commitments to reach their goals using the LWP processes. Listen to learn about the five key focusers Phil uses to hold members accountable to increase their client enrollment and protect their cash flow. Phil speaks on how to smooth out the rollercoaster of owning a law practice by managing the key performance numbers in the focusers and creating consistency.

Episode 20: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Peggy Timmel

In this episode, Dave and Lisa are joined by Peggy Timmel, Esq, owner of Timmel & Associates LLC from New Albany, Indiana. Peggy shares her personal success story from her early years as an attorney through opening her own practice and growing it with the help of LWP. Peggy explains how she never felt like she had a clear vision until she became involved with LWP. She had a real wake up call when the firm she spent five years with did not extend her contract. While she was figuring out her next steps she attended a VA workshop where she was invited to attend an LWP member event. Here she was encouraged to always attend TAPER and follow the LWP system. Listen to learn how her annual gross revenue grew from $130,000 at the time she joined LWP to over $1.3 million in just over nine years. Hear Peggy’s personal story of overcoming struggles and determining when to bring in all the pieces of the LWP system to help her achieve success. Dave and Peggy discuss the E-Freedom program and how implementing these systems have helped her to delegate responsibilities to other key members of her staff. You won’t want to miss this powerful LWP member story.

Episode 19: The Journey to Practice Success: Attorney and Certified Coach Candace Pollack, Part 2

Lisa, Dave, and Mandy Bossow continue their engaging conversation with attorney Candace Pollack, who discusses “what makes her heart sing”—coaching fellow attorneys. Candy begins by describing what it means to be a Certified Coach in the legal industry. She then shares some of the challenges faced by attorneys, particularly with regard to mindset and the Imposter Syndrome (the fear of being “found out” for not knowing everything). Other topics include meta-learning, toleration, and the importance of being open, aware, and adaptable.

Episode 18: The Journey to Practice Success: Attorney and Certified Coach Candace Pollock, Part 1

Lisa and Dave welcome a special guest, attorney Candace Pollock from the firm Hahn & Pollock in Cleveland, Ohio. Before becoming an attorney, Candy was a Paralegal. After earning her J.D. she joined a firm that soon underwent a massive transformation. She had to “reinvent” herself and her career around the time she first met Dave, in 1999, when both were part of a national organization that provided training in systems and processes. Over time she built a satisfying and profitable solo practice—the model that works best for her—in the areas of estate planning, elder law, and asset protection. Some keys to her success include learning to say no to the “distractions of practice,” being intentional, staying focused on her areas of expertise, and taking complete control of her time.

Episode 17: Marketing for Practice Success, Part 3: Advertising

Lisa and Dave share their expertise and experiences in an area that many attorneys struggle with—advertising. They begin by distinguishing between marketing and advertising. Then, they cover a range of topics, including: the importance of being intentional with your marketing formula, path, and plan; traditional, digital, and social media; why you need to be wary of media “deals” and thinking you can do all of your firm’s advertising yourself; collaborating with advertising agencies and holding them accountable; tracking results systematically; LWP advertising tools and systems, such as AMP; taking advantage of today’s technology; and more.

Episode 16: Marketing for Practice Success, Part 2: Relationship Marketing

Lisa and Dave discuss Relationship Marketing and LWP’s Relationship Management System (RMS). RMS is an efficient, cost-effective method for establishing, nurturing, and maintaining mutually rewarding relationships with like-minded allied professionals (financial advisors, CPAs, nursing home professionals, and more). Dave shares what has worked, and what hasn’t, over the course of 30 years as a practicing attorney, as well as the changes wrought by new technologies during that time. You’ll see how, early in his career, Dave overcame resistance from many financial advisors, who thought of attorneys as “deal killers.” Lisa and Dave discuss getting past “the gatekeeper,” the proper mindset, the four components of the Synergy Meeting, identifying synergistic partners and the importance of having an “80/20” conversation with them, the “system” of RMS, and why Relationship Marketing is a numbers game.

Episode 15: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Matthew Deliberato

Lisa and Dave are joined by LWP Member Matthew Deliberato, Founder of the Deliberato Law Center, LLC in Independence, Ohio. Matthew “grew up in a funeral home” and served as a fourth-generation Funeral Director, so he has always been committed to helping families during difficult times. Early in his career Matthew practiced law and worked at the funeral home, which became untenable after he developed cancer in 2010. During this time, Matthew discovered LWP and the world of possibilities inherent in being an estate planning attorney. He has gone from being a true solo to partnering with another attorney (he characterizes this partnership as the worst three years of his life). Matthew’s firm now has a part-time probate/trust administration attorney, a team of five, and serves between 200 and 300 families a year. Matthew and Dave discuss lessons learned from Benjamin Hardy’s book The Gap and the Gain; the importance of reporting, financials, and planning; the macro versus the micro; filling the pipeline not the bucket; finding the Who, setting expectations, and building a self-managed team; and more.

Episode 14: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Jeff Bellomo

Lisa and Dave welcome LWP Member Jeff Bellomo, Founder of Bellomo & Associates, LLC in York, Pennsylvania. Jeff shares what inspired him to focus on elder law and estate planning, his “Entrepreneurial Seizure” in 2009, the realization that he needed to learn how to actually run a business, and his experiences with LWP over the last 11 years. Initially, Jeff was a true solo—he didn’t have a team member for over six months. He now has a law firm leader managing the day-to-day operations of his firm, as well as a part-time attorney and 17 team members. Jeff defines his current role as a “team member” with a satisfying work-life balance. He holds 16 to 17 meetings a week and spends four to eight hours a week on marketing, RMS, blogs, and videos. See how Jeff went from needing a J-O-B to owning a firm with $2.1 million in revenue—and the challenges he overcame along the way, particularly with regard to learning to trust the skills of his team and Following the Darn System. (We have Jeff to thank for creating the mantra “FDS” back in 2012.) Toward the end of this engaging podcast, Jeff also shares a powerful personal story. You don’t want to miss it.

Episode 13: Marketing for Practice Success: EPLC Attorney Dave Mancuso Discusses RMS

Lisa and Dave are joined by attorney Dave Mancuso from the Estate Planning Law Center (The Lab), who shares his challenges learning the LWP Relationship Management System (RMS). The discussion begins with the premise that there are two ways to get leads: you can write checks, or you can shake hands. The latter involves identifying allied professionals and forging mutually beneficial relationships with them. Dave Mancuso describes how he learned the importance of using RMS to sell himself as a worthy and valuable synergistic partner for allied professionals. Through reflective listening and experience, Dave was able to closely follow and apply the four elements of the RMS approach while making it authentically his own. Bottom line: You don’t have to try to be like Dave Zumpano for RMS to work, you should be yourself… but you must follow the system.

Episode 12: Marketing for Practice Success, Part 1

Lisa and Dave reveal what attorneys need to know about marketing from both a strategic and a tactical perspective. Topics include: how to utilize your marketing budget and the differences between branding dollars, marketing dollars, and advertising dollars; determining your marketing ROI; the importance of having a marketing plan in place; three key elements of a basic marketing plan; why you must know your value and what sets you apart from other firms in your market; keeping your messaging consist across all media; the role of your firm’s website; how attorney marketing and lead generation have changed over time; the difference between a “contact” and a lead; the myth of the magic bullet; and more.

Episode 11: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Daniel Umlauf

Dave and Mandy Bossow welcome LWP Member Daniel Umlauf, Founder of Salem Law in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. After graduating from law school in 2010, Daniel worked at a small firm before going out on his own in 2013 and focusing on estate planning. He joined a professional organization that provided some helpful tools, but two years in his revenue was still inconsistent and unpredictable. Seeing the opportunities available in elder law, and LWP’s expertise in that area, Daniel became a Member in 2017. His firm is now robust, with a reliable revenue stream and solid referral network. Daniel has been able to delegate, thanks to two full-time Paralegals, one of whom also serves as Director of Operations, and a full-time Client Services Coordinator. Daniel credits LWP software, systems, processes, and tracking with helping his firm overcome the income “yo-yo” and become more intentional.

Episode 10: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Andrew Jaloza

Dave is joined by LWP Member Andrew Jaloza, Founder of The Estate Planning & Elder Law Group in Queens, New York. Andrew began his legal career in 1988, working in a variety of practice areas, including estate planning, but his main focus was real estate. Like many attorneys, he was looking to “escape being an attorney.” He went into the mortgage business until the crash of 2008, after which he resumed practicing law. It wasn’t until he took a workshop called “Finding Passion in the Second Half of Your Life” that Andrew decided he was meant to focus on elder law and estate planning. Seven years later, he finally began to do so, after meeting and speaking with Dave. Since then, his practice has gone from 90% real estate to 90% estate planning and elder law. What was once “Andy Jaloza by the seat of your pants law” is now an intentional practice with LWP systems and processes in place. Watch as Andrew shares his experiences with this transformation and the challenges along the way, particularly with regard to team building, mindset, and core values.

Episode 9: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Erach Screwvala

In this engaging podcast, Lisa and Dave welcome LWP Member Erach Screwvala. Erach began his career 23 years ago in the area of insurance litigation. Let’s just say he didn’t exactly love it.

After transitioning into general litigation and theater law, the latter of which Erach found more satisfying, he eventually decided to start his own firm. He quickly discovered that going solo in theater law is not the recipe for consistent revenue, at least in his case. A “recovering litigator,” Erach decided to focus on estate planning. He began by teaching himself the basics and found some initial success. Eventually, however, he was hindered by the same problem so many solos face—how to run a successful business. Erach and Dave discuss this challenge in depth, with references to Gerber’s E-Myth, the Entrepreneurial Seizure, the Fatal Assumption, the Revenue Rollercoaster, and more. Then Erach shares his experiences with LWP, which he joined initially for the sole purpose of learning Medicaid planning. Erach likes to say, “I came for the Medicaid planning, I stayed for the systems and processes.”

Episode 8: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Alan Hougum

Lisa and Dave welcome LWP Member Alan Hougum, Founder of the Hougum Law Firm, LLC, which has offices in Wausau and Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Alan began his career at a large firm doing tax and corporate law before transitioning into estate planning. After discovering LWP 12 years ago (from an LWP email he received), Alan began generating considerable revenue for the firm. Somewhat reluctantly, he decided to take the big leap and founded his own firm eight years ago, bringing two members of his team with him. The relationships he had established with financial planners, CPAs, and other synergistic partners proved crucial in initially maintaining and then increasing revenue. With the new-found control he had as founder, Alan was able to freely implement LWP systems and processes, which led to more relationships with professionals who liked the way he and his team consistently operated and were happy to refer clients to the firm. Hougum Law Firm now has three attorneys (soon to be four) and a team of 16. Watch as Alan shares his experiences with team building, relationship marketing, and more using LWP models, systems, and processes.

Episode 7: The Journey to Practice Success: LWP Member Jack Weyers

Lisa and Dave are joined by LWP Member Jack Weyers from Family and Elder Law of Mid-Michigan, P.C. Jack came to the practice of law later in life, at age 50. His mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease when Jack was in college, together with his role as one of her caregivers, inspired Jack to focus on estate planning. In this engaging podcast, you’ll learn about the challenges Jack has overcome since founding his first firm with two attorney partners, who eventually went their separate ways; his experiences with other professional organizations before joining LWP; how he was able to build a solid, cohesive team; his (and his team’s) resistance to implementing and following LWP systems and processes; and the success the firm has achieved since going all-in. Today, Jack’s team includes one attorney, four full-time staff, and a part-time funding coordinator. Revenue is consistent and continues to grow. Jack focuses on relationship management and estate planning while the firm’s operation, thanks to his team, “just kind of happens.” And, Jack has plenty of free time to spend with his young family.

Episode 6: Guidr and the Digitization of Law

In this podcast Dave discusses Guidr, the new digital platform that is transforming the way lawyers work and interact with clients. Dave describes the origin and evolution of Guidr, how it differs from existing “self-help” legal services platforms, and how it allows estate planning attorneys to reach an audience they otherwise would have missed: younger people (aged 18-55) who often lack the time and money for traditional forms of in-office planning. You will come to understand that Guidr represents a profitable additional service offered by your firm, a perfect complement to your virtual and traditional services, not a substitute for them.

Episode 5: Pulling Together the Four Pillars of Success

As we have seen in earlier podcasts, the four pillars of success are knowledge, operations, marketing, and mindset. In this episode Dave explains that although each pillar contributes to success, all four are necessary to achieve it. He discusses the challenges most lawyers face in trying to bring the four pillars together, including the surprising fact that lawyers’ training and legal-technical way of thinking actually hinders their ability to develop efficient operations and proper mindsets. Dave shares how he was able to bring the pillars together to build his own multi-million dollar “model” law firm and then use what he learned to create the LWP software, tools, systems, and processes to help hundreds of LWP Member attorneys build successful firms of their own. Finally, Dave notes that while mindset is often the most difficult pillar to achieve, it becomes easier when the other three pillars are in place.

Episode 4: Developing the Mindset for Success

In this podcast Dave focuses on one of the four keys to practice success, mindset (the other three are knowledge, operations, and marketing). You will gain an understanding of what constitutes the mindset for success and why attorneys often struggle to achieve it. Part of the challenge is learning to accept the idea that success cannot be achieved alone. The proper mindset depends on mastering concepts such as “success is about who, not how,” building and training a team that is good at doing what you are not, and adopting LWP’s six core values: open, curious, aware, collaborative, adaptable, and generous.

Episode 3: The Foundational Elements of a Successful Practice

In this engaging episode Dave shares his personal journey to success, the insights he gleaned along the way, and the foundational elements of a successful practice. You’ll learn about Dave’s experiences growing up in an entrepreneurial household as the youngest of 10 children; his decisions to attend law school and focus on estate planning; the founding of the Estate Planning Law Center; his creation of the iPug Asset Protection Trust and the Medicaid planning industry itself; the co-founding and evolution of Lawyers With Purpose; and more. Dave also explores the four keys to running a successful law practice: knowledge, operations, marketing, and mindset.

Episode 2: Understanding LWP’s 3 Models for Practice Success

In this episode, Dave defines and explores LWP’s three practice success models: the Profitable Law Firm, the Robust Law Firm, and the E-Freedom Law Firm. You will learn what these models have in common (consistent profitability and operational proficiency, for instance) and how they differ (revenue, team size, and the role of the owner/founder). You will also come to understand that each model represents a different form of success, and choosing the model that’s right for you comes down to your definition of success. That is, LWP’s practice success models help you envision and achieve success as you define it

Episode 1: What Is Lawyers With Purpose?

Dave Zumpano kicks off his series of Practice Success Podcasts, logically enough, by answering a fundamental question, “What is Lawyers With Purpose?” As you’ll see, Lawyers With Purpose is not a nonprofit. Rather, it is a community of ‘purposeful lawyers’ dedicated to helping fellow Members achieve success as they themselves define it. Dave begins by exploring the four universal principles of business success: knowledge, operations, marketing, and mindset. He goes on to explain how the right mindset, which incorporates LWP’s six core values, is the key to achieving long-term success, a purposeful practice, and a satisfying work-life balance.

Take the next step toward a successful estate planning and elder law practice and join us for our next podcast: