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Becoming a Law Firm Marketing Master with Tom Spiggle

Welcome to another engaging episode of The Founding Partner Podcast, where we delve into the stories of successful lawyers and their journey to building a thriving practice. This week, our spotlight is on Tom Spiggle, a passionate plaintiff’s side employment lawyer from Virginia. Tom’s legal career spans from civil law to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and now to his own firm that specializes in employment law. With an impressive team of eight attorneys and a total staff of 42, Tom’s firm has carved out a niche, offering personalized legal services to individuals facing employment disputes.

**From Civil Law to Plaintiff’s Side Employment Law**

Tom’s legal journey began in civil law, representing school boards in North Carolina. However, his move to Washington, D.C., and subsequent work in the criminal law field, including a stint at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, led him to discover his passion for employment law. It was the personal aspect and the intellectual challenge of these cases that drew him in. Tom’s shift to plaintiff’s side employment law was a calculated move, driven by his desire to make a tangible difference in individuals’ lives.

**The Leap into Entrepreneurship**

Tom’s entrepreneurial leap was inspired by his father’s medical practice and the influential writings of Carolyn Elephant and Lee Rosen on law firm management. Despite the initial challenges and the steep learning curve, Tom’s determination to carve out his own path in the legal world was unwavering. He recognized the power of specialization and the efficiency that comes with focusing on a niche. With guidance from Lee Rosen, Tom narrowed his practice to plaintiff’s side employment law, a decision that would set the stage for his firm’s future success.

**Embracing Marketing and Writing a Book**

Tom’s marketing efforts are a testament to his understanding of the modern legal landscape. From writing blog posts to authoring books, he has utilized various platforms to establish his expertise and connect with potential clients. His first book, which compiled his blog posts and additional insights, served as a powerful marketing tool. Tom’s approach to writing was simple yet effective – speak directly to the client’s pain points, as if in a consultation. His latest book follows a similar model, showcasing his growth as a lawyer and a marketer.

**The Power of Delegation and Focus**

One of the key takeaways from Tom’s experience is the importance of delegation. By focusing on his strengths and outsourcing tasks like editing and publishing, Tom could produce his books efficiently. He also credits his success to his unwavering focus on his chosen niche, which has allowed him to become a recognized authority in employment law.

**Tune in for Insights and Inspiration**

Tom Spiggle’s story is a rich tapestry of experiences, challenges, and triumphs. For anyone interested in the legal field, entrepreneurship, or the power of niche marketing, this episode of The Founding Partner Podcast is a must-listen. Join us as we explore Tom’s journey, the decisions that shaped his career, and the strategies that have helped him build a successful practice.

Don’t miss out on the wisdom and insights shared by Tom Spiggle. Click [here] to listen to the full episode and be inspired by the story of a lawyer who found his calling and built a firm that truly makes a difference.

[00:00:00] Jonathan Hawkins: your plaintiff’s side employment that, that can mean a lot of things, maybe do all of them, but is there a specific niche within the niche that you take care of, or do you sort of do anything plaintiff’s side?

[00:00:11] Tom Spiggle: Yeah, no, it’s a great question. And we’ve narrowed it down to answer your question. No, we don’t do it all. We tried to for a while. But as, yeah. Maybe this is true of other practice areas as well, but, you know, within employment law, even plaintiff side, there are, right? You could do nothing but wage an hour.

[00:00:28] Tom Spiggle: You could, you know, focus on non competes. You could you know, just do discrimination cases. So we represent. Individuals. So we don’t do collective or class actions. We tried that for a while and realized that, you know, it just wasn’t our wheelhouse. And also when we can kind of get into this a little bit more of it in terms of the marketing, you know, it’s a different pain point.

[00:00:51] Tom Spiggle: For people when you’re talking to individuals versus, you know, a class.

[00:00:56] ​[00:01:00]

[00:01:25] Jonathan Hawkins: Welcome to Founding Partner Podcast. I’m Jonathan Hawkins, your host. Really excited about this week’s guest. This week we have Tom Spiggle, who is a plaintiff’s side employment lawyer out of Virginia, who is pretty prolific in his marketing efforts. And I’m very impressed. We’re going to get into all the stuff he does and how he sort of layered that on.

[00:01:46] Jonathan Hawkins: I really want to, I really want to dig into that, but Tom, why don’t you introduce yourself? Tell

[00:01:51] Tom Spiggle: Yeah,

[00:01:52] Jonathan Hawkins: who you are and where you are.

[00:01:54] Tom Spiggle: I appreciate it, Jonathan. This is going to be, this is going to be some fun. Yeah, like you said, I plaintiff’s side, [00:02:00] employment attorney. We are out of Alexandria, Virginia, so right outside of Washington, D. C. And we represent folks in primarily in the DMVs, so Maryland, D.

[00:02:10] Tom Spiggle: C., Virginia. We do take some cases in North Carolina, Texas, and North Carolina, which is where we have folks barred, but our primary hub is here in the DMV.

[00:02:23] Jonathan Hawkins: So how many people are at your firm? How many attorneys, how many staff, how many offices?

[00:02:28] Tom Spiggle: Yeah. So we have eight. Eight attorneys, nine attorneys, eight attorneys 42 people total. We only have, you know, like we said, we operated a number of areas, but we only have one brick and mortar location, which is in Alexandria. But, you know, as I think with a lot of firms these days, we got people.

[00:02:46] Tom Spiggle: All over, you know, not only in the states, but, you know, working, you know, Mexico, South Africa you know, kind of remote workers, but that’s sort of a sort of our stats.

[00:02:57] Jonathan Hawkins: That’s a big operation, that’s a big, we’re gonna, [00:03:00] I want to hear the evolution, but so, so your plaintiff’s side employment that, that can mean a lot of things, maybe do all of them, but is there a specific niche within the niche that you take care of, or do you sort of do anything plaintiff’s side?

[00:03:13] Tom Spiggle: Yeah, no, it’s a great question. And we’ve narrowed it down to answer your question. No, we don’t do it all. We tried to for a while. But as, yeah. Maybe this is true of other practice areas as well, but, you know, within employment law, even plaintiff side, there are, right? You could do nothing but wage an hour.

[00:03:30] Tom Spiggle: You could, you know, focus on non competes. You could you know, just do discrimination cases. So we represent. Individuals. So we don’t do collective or class actions. We tried that for a while and realized that, you know, it just wasn’t our wheelhouse. And also when we can kind of get into this a little bit more of it in terms of the marketing, you know, it’s a different pain point.

[00:03:53] Tom Spiggle: For people when you’re talking to individuals versus, you know, a class. So we only represent [00:04:00] individuals. And within that we do, we, you know, we do the range of services. So whether it’s a discrimination matter or, you know, we are occasionally on the other side of the V so we’ll represent, you know, folks in a defensive action.

[00:04:12] Tom Spiggle: I’ll get somebody getting sued for non compete violation. Occasionally breach of contract will come up. So that’s sort of our that’s sort of our wheelhouse.

[00:04:21] Jonathan Hawkins: So I know you started out in criminal law. How did you, number one, tell us what you began doing and then how do you, how did you move from that? Into what you’re doing now.

[00:04:31] Tom Spiggle: Yeah, I actually started out in civil. I graduated from Georgetown in 2001 and then went back to North Carolina where I’m from and worked with a sort of a mid sized firm called Farrington Smith down there in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was in their education practice. So we represented school boards in all manner of fields.

[00:04:54] Tom Spiggle: But basically we were there, you know, outside general counsel. So as part of that, we handled a fair amount of litigation, [00:05:00] including employment litigation. So that’s how I got my first taste. And it was actually on defense side which was a little bit interesting because a lot of us, you know, in education, in that field, you know, we’re sort of bleeding hearts and you know, want to make the system better, and then we realized that, well.

[00:05:16] Tom Spiggle: We’re firing people. We’re suspending. So, you know, if there was a student suspension appeal, we’re coming in there to try to kick that poor student out. I mean, it was good work. I mean, I don’t mean to shortchange it, but it was definitely management side, but that’s where I got my first taste of it. I actually didn’t take any of those classes in law school, but love the.

[00:05:36] Tom Spiggle: intellectual challenge of it. Love that people on both sides took it very seriously, right? And it wasn’t just kind of an it wasn’t just kind of a business dispute getting resolved in the courts, you know, people really took these matters personally. So I love that. So that I did that for about two years.

[00:05:54] Tom Spiggle: My now wife and I, we met in law school and she stayed in DC. And then, so we got [00:06:00] engaged. I’m like, well, somebody has got to move. And she’s from Connecticut. And she said, well, I’m not moving any further South than right here. So back, I went to DC and Ended up clerking in DC superior court for Jeb Boasberg.

[00:06:15] Tom Spiggle: He’s now the chief judge the DC federal court just a really impressive guy. And he was, you know, a hotshot from the U S attorney’s office. And I told him I wanted to learn how to try cases because I had been. Doing, you know, litigation I mean, you know, as a very junior associate, but if you depositions here or there, but a lot of the folks that I worked with didn’t try a lot of cases, maybe they tried one or two in their entire career.

[00:06:40] Tom Spiggle: And I wanted, you know, I wanted to have more notches on my belt than that. So he was the one who’s like, well, you should go to the U S attorney’s office. Well, he said, you should go criminal defense. I mean, criminal side, because you’re going to get more trial experience. And And I’m like, you know, so he said, I’m happy to, you know, to, if you wanted to do the U.

[00:06:59] Tom Spiggle: S. attorney’s office, [00:07:00] I’m happy to support you. And so I applied out of the clerkship and got all the way to the final interview and did not get it. Went to work for a, because I didn’t have much of a criminal background. So I went to work for a white collar white collar boutique in DC that those guys have all retired.

[00:07:19] Tom Spiggle: It’s no longer in existence. It was called Janis Shulky and Wexler. And they were all it was an interesting group of folks because they were all former They had come up during the Watergate era, and then they opened their shop before kind of white collar defense was it was considered by the big firms to be not classy enough to do it.

[00:07:39] Tom Spiggle: So the other big firms didn’t do white collar defense. And so, and it really started to boom after the Watergate era. So they really hit that wave just right. And it was a big hit. Oh, it was a great two years. I was the only associate there. They only had one associate at a time and basically, cause they would represent mostly individuals.

[00:07:58] Tom Spiggle: So, you know, their buddies [00:08:00] former colleagues at the U S many of them at the U S attorney’s office were at these big firms, the big firms would take the companies and represent them and send these guys like, you know, the CFO, the CEO sometimes they had criminal exposure and sometimes it was just a matter of kind of walking them through the grand jury But it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot and then reapplied the U.

[00:08:17] Tom Spiggle: S. Attorney’s office. And that’s how I ended up ended up there. And then, you know, there for a number of years and really enjoyed, it was a great job. Enjoyed that. But I already sort of had an itch to start my own practice and finally wore my wife down to enough to where she said, you know, this is, she was pregnant with our third.

[00:08:36] Tom Spiggle: And she said, okay, you’ve got nine months to make this work. I’m like, okay, well, it only took me about. I don’t know, nine years? But it was too late, you know, the seal had been broken and I was off to the races.

[00:08:51] Jonathan Hawkins: US attorney’s office won’t have me back. I have to do it.

[00:08:54] Tom Spiggle: That’s right.

[00:08:55] Jonathan Hawkins: So that’s cool. So, so what was the itch? What, why did you [00:09:00] want to start your own firm? Are you sort of an entrepreneur at heart? I, you know, I’ve followed you on LinkedIn. I’ve looked at your website. I’ve seen a lot of the stuff you’re doing.

[00:09:07] Jonathan Hawkins: You got a podcast. We’ll talk about all that. So it seems to be that you sort of have this in you, but maybe it’s something you developed later.

[00:09:14] Tom Spiggle: Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. I really, I mean, I do think I have some entrepreneurial tendencies, but I was not one of those kids who was like selling bubble gum to their classmates, you know, in elementary school and always had kind of, I was not that guy. That said, my father now retired, but he was a doctor solo practitioner.

[00:09:31] Tom Spiggle: So I, you know, without thinking about it, I think I did sort of absorb Some of that and just saw how obviously how he lived his life and what that was like. And it really was when I was clerking, this was in 2003. This is back when blocks were just becoming a thing. And I’m sure you probably have heard of her, but Carolyn Elephant had a blog called My Shingle.

[00:09:51] Tom Spiggle: And she was writing about her experience, but then she had just started. I think she was a couple of years out. And. And I was just in a [00:10:00] swoon. I mean, I just read that. I’m like, that was what really lit the fire for me. And got me thinking about it. And once that started, it was like, you know, like a mind virus.

[00:10:09] Tom Spiggle: I couldn’t get rid of it. So that was the impetus.

[00:10:12] Jonathan Hawkins: So you decided to start your own firm. Did you decide at that time you’re going to do plaintiff’s side employment or tell us about sort of picking that, or what did you start out with and how did you end up in your niche now?

[00:10:25] Tom Spiggle: sure. Yeah I kind of shudder at what I didn’t know when I started. I can’t even remember, frankly, what I was, what I thought I was going to do. I mean, I remember talking to my wife and be like, Hey, look, all I got to do is build this many hours at this rate. I’ll easily be able to replace my salary through your attorney’s office.

[00:10:43] Tom Spiggle: And I think that was about my level of sophistication with

[00:10:46] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah, I have, I’ve had a very similar conversation. I know that conversation.

[00:10:50] Tom Spiggle: And the math didn’t quite work out, not immediately anyway, but but so yeah, so I, you know, when I started, I was all over the map. I mean, I did want to [00:11:00] do litigation and I did a fair amount of that.

[00:11:03] Tom Spiggle: I, I still want to do plaintiff side. So I’ve always had that interest. And in fact, I you know, even when I was working at these, you know, the criminal defense side firm I did a number of pro bono. I was involved with the National Employment Lawyers Association, which is the big, you know, federal plaintiff side bar and also the local chapter and was with a group that, You know, it’s, I think it’s been absorbed by the committee for civil rights, but it used to be they did pro bono work at a clinic and they did pro bono work for folks with employment issues and the ones that had legs, you know, like actual need, they need to be filed.

[00:11:36] Tom Spiggle: They would send them out to folks to do. And so I took one of those cases, which was my first, you know, even while it’s a Janet Shockey and Wexler. So I had that interest, but I can remember. I remember I did one will, and I think I probably made about 5. 13 an hour after I as I realized, like, I had no idea what I was doing when it came to like trusting states and I had [00:12:00] to take the CLEs and all that.

[00:12:01] Tom Spiggle: So, so I, but pretty quickly from there, I you know, focused on litigation. I got on did some criminal defense got on the CJA panels in DC and Virginia. And then started taking, you know, taking other related civil litigation. I was, like I said, I was interested in plaintiff’s side and started kind of holding myself out for that and started to get a fair number of referrals.

[00:12:27] Tom Spiggle: And I. quickly realized that man, that why I was getting these referrals. That’s because Virginia, it’s gotten better. It’s still not great, but it’s, it was not a great, it was a rocky jurisdiction to do plaintiff side work. So people were sending me these cases. I’m like, Oh, I must be the man. Then I got, you know, slapped down on summary judgment a couple of times.

[00:12:47] Tom Spiggle: I’m like, okay, this is why there’s going to be these cases. But so I had sort of that mix of cases I was doing. And then I And I sort of backed into hiring people. Like I, for when I started, I mean, it was [00:13:00] just me. I mean, I had a cracked, a laptop with a cracked screen. So I had to get an external monitor so I could see it.

[00:13:06] Tom Spiggle: And you know, a little bit of office furniture, but that was it. I mean, I was attorney, paralegal, chief bottle washer, you know, you name it. And this was in 2009, 2010, when the economy was in the, And I had a case that I got that was a big federal civil litigation in the Eastern District of Virginia that was like hot and heavy.

[00:13:28] Tom Spiggle: And I had co counsel, he’s actually one of my former Georgetown professors, co counsel. And and we were like, we need somebody, he didn’t have a big shop either. And we’re like, we need some help. And I put an ad, I’m like, I was just looking for a law clerk to help me go through the documents. And I got.

[00:13:43] Tom Spiggle: So many borrowed attorneys who were just desperate for work. So I ended and, you know, I, I hired one or two just kind of on a part time basis and then, you know, quickly realized what law firms have been realized for the past thousand years, which is, Hey, if I can pay you X [00:14:00] and bill you out at You know, three X, this is not not a bad deal.

[00:14:03] Tom Spiggle: So I did have some, I did have some associates and I, then I, but it was, you know, how this, when you don’t have a niche, when you don’t really, I mean, I was just sort of feeling my way along, I mean, it was hard, you know, I mean, it was definitely, you know, long hours, I wasn’t particularly efficient and I started following.

[00:14:22] Tom Spiggle: Guy named Lee Rosen, who you may have heard of and this was back when he still owned his firm and he was just getting into the coaching business and he just couldn’t getting the power of marketing. He had this blog which he would just. You know, post his thoughts on law firm management. And I just, every morning I would just devour that thing.

[00:14:42] Tom Spiggle: And it was like, you talk about good marketing. It was like, he was in my head, you know, it was like, he was like, you know, he would write about things that I would think had only happened to me. And it was like so comforting to read and be like, Oh, okay. This is like, this is not just me, you know, in my tale of woe, this is [00:15:00] like a kind of thing.

[00:15:00] Tom Spiggle: So I called him and it’s interesting. I knew of his firm when I was in Raleigh, because that’s where his firm was. So I knew of him. But I never met him. So I called him and I think he was doing some, he just started doing individual coaching and I hired him as a coach and he was fantastic.

[00:15:16] Tom Spiggle: But one of the first things he said, which is like, you got to pick one, pick some, a niche, he’s like, I don’t care which one it is, like, you know, but pick one area that you want to focus on. And I’m like, okay, I want to do plaintiff’s side employment. And it was scary. I remember because I mean, I was probably doing a, I was doing a good bit of plaintiff side work.

[00:15:33] Tom Spiggle: Then it was probably 50, 60 percent of my revenue, but the other cases were 30 to 40 of it. So to let go of that and to kind of, you know, just jump into that. And then he, that, and he said, you got to write a book. He said, I don’t care what the book says, it’s got to have a good title and a good cover.

[00:15:48] Tom Spiggle: You know, you just want it to get SEO and to get press coverage. So that’s what I did. And he, I just ran his program straight down the middle and he was exactly right.

[00:15:57] Jonathan Hawkins: So let’s pause on that. So a couple things you said, you know, a [00:16:00] lot of lawyers not all of them But that go out on their own They’re like like you that you got nine months to start making it work So you’re like I’m gonna do anything and everything just to get money in the door And you know, it’s scary and you want the money and that’s good.

[00:16:13] Jonathan Hawkins: But then you quickly realize how inefficient it is when you’re doing a wheel here and then you’re doing a dispossessory over here and then you’re doing a whatever over there. And so, you know, that’s a common experience. And the other thing I’ll say, you know, big believer in the niche practice is sort of like almost by removal of the other things.

[00:16:31] Jonathan Hawkins: You slowly start removing things. And then, you know, I’ve, I was part of Lee’s program, I don’t know, a few years ago. way, you know, you were there in the beginning, but I think he had, I don’t think he had sold his firm yet. It was close around that time there, but you know, he was traveling the world, I thought that was pretty cool, but so I was going to ask you, your marketing stack, you were doing a lot of cool stuff and we’re going to go through all of it.

[00:16:55] Jonathan Hawkins: So I guess the first thing is, was it Lee Rosen that [00:17:00] helped you figure that out or started you down the path? How did you know, I guess. Was the book really the first thing you did?

[00:17:06] Tom Spiggle: How about, you know, this is one of the things I wish I had done. I wish I’d kept a journal, you know, just a whole and I’m not a great journaler. I know some people are. I wish I had because I can’t remember. I think I was doing some marketing. I knew I had a website. So, you know, I was always interested in marketing and I think I was doing some writing and You know, some blogs, but, you know, really what picking the niche is where it helped me start to focus on that.

[00:17:32] Tom Spiggle: But Lee was certainly the big impetus. I mean, he was the one, I mean, I know I had been doing some because, you know, when it came time to write the book, he was like, well, just take all of your blocks and that’s, you know, that’s the first bit of it. And that’s what I did. So I collected all these blog posts, you know, and that was, so I had already been doing that, but he was the one who.

[00:17:53] Tom Spiggle: You know, just what he did, he’s like, you know, pick your niche, figure out what people’s pain points are, which, you know, because [00:18:00] they’re coming into your office and they’re telling you what their pain points are, like what keeps them up at night and then write to them, like, don’t write to another lawyer, which I think would be fine if you’ve got an appellate practice.

[00:18:10] Tom Spiggle: But if you’re B to C and you’re trying to get these clients to call you, you know, right. To their pain points. And so he was the, he was probably the big impetus behind that. And I remember, you know, he kept having to redirect me, you know, like I would come to him with some great idea. And he’d be like no.

[00:18:28] Tom Spiggle: Just back to employment law. Just keep writing. Keep, you know, keep pushing and that. Because I remember I had a I had an attorney who did special education work and I’m like, well, this is related. So we’ll start writing about, you know, you know, students and all that. And he was like no. He’s like, you’re just going to confuse Google, you know, just stay in your line.

[00:18:46] Tom Spiggle: So he was the big impetus for it.

[00:18:48] Jonathan Hawkins: Okay, so you’ve written two books now. I know you’ve got a new one that’s out and I want to hear about, you mentioned a little bit about the first one. So you took some blog posts. I want to hear about your process and how you did it, how long it took you, you know, [00:19:00] what resources you went to employ in terms of, you know, the cover design, all that kind of stuff.

[00:19:05] Jonathan Hawkins: And compare that first go around with the book to what you did this last go around.

[00:19:10] Tom Spiggle: Yeah. So the first time, again, I relied on Lee quite a bit. I mean, I actually wrote the book myself and I just, like I said, I you know, You know, however many blog posts I had, and that was probably the first half of it. And then I would just sit like, you know, after we got the kids down to bed, you know, they got that golden hour, maybe hour and a half.

[00:19:34] Tom Spiggle: And and I would just sit on the couch. We’d have our TV show on and I would just write and I didn’t try to make it I didn’t try to make a narrative, I didn’t, I just kind of just started as if I were speaking to someone who was with me in a consult and I realized like when you write that way, like, and you’re not writing a law review article or something like that, like, for me, at least, I imagine probably for most folks who do what we do, [00:20:00] it comes pretty quick.

[00:20:00] Tom Spiggle: You have a lot, I mean, there’s a lot You know, I was surprised, you know, because there was a lot I had to say about it. And so it probably took me 10 months, maybe a year to finally get it, get the final, well, to get all the material down. And then I hired a a writer who was a lawyer who her name is Kristen Walensky.

[00:20:23] Tom Spiggle: She’s still out there. She does great work. And again, Lee pointed me to her and I just like, was like, here’s all my Here’s this, you know, manuscript, I turn it into like chapters and headings and all that. Because that was another thing that Lee, he was the one that really kind of turned me on to the idea of delegation, you know, in those areas to where, cause he talked about like for his, Because he was obviously a prolific writer, and he would say for himself that for his blog post, he would often get stuck on putting in that he’d get the thing written.

[00:20:52] Tom Spiggle: You get 90 percent the way there, but he gets stuck on the headings and the graphics and all that. And he quickly realized, like, look, if I can just do the [00:21:00] writing and then send it to somebody. Who was Kristen and say, put in the heading, put in the graphics and then post it for me, like then things started to move for him.

[00:21:09] Tom Spiggle: And so, that was one big thing. I, so she turned it into you know, a usable manuscript and which went through many iterations after that. I mean, anybody who’s written a book, I mean, if this happened to me the second time, like almost like you invariably, I don’t care how many times you read it, you’ll still find a typo somewhere and you know, you’re like, Then I get paranoid.

[00:21:29] Tom Spiggle: I’m like, is there, there are typos everywhere. I don’t need to go back through this whole thing again.

[00:21:32] Jonathan Hawkins: and they’re highlighted and they’re flashing and everybody’s going to see it. Right.

[00:21:36] Tom Spiggle: exactly right. Nobody else, right. So nobody else notices, but you notice, right. So we got a cover designer. Off of I believe it was off Upwork which is a, you may have used, but it’s a platform you go and you can post for anything.

[00:21:51] Tom Spiggle: I’ve gotten so much help off of Upwork, but that’s where I went and I found a cover designer who designed the cover for us. And then I used a [00:22:00] company that has since been bought by Google. I think it’s now, I think it is now, it’s not completely or at least part of their Kindle direct program. But this company was called Create Space and they would they would like, actually at the time they would even do the cover and all that, but I already had that done, but they would do all the stuff.

[00:22:19] Tom Spiggle: That I didn’t realize, like, you feel like the hardest part is writing the book and it is a hard part, but like, you’re like, okay, it’s done. Typers are mostly out of it. You know, you hand off somebody and they’re like, well, what kind of page stock do you want? How big do you want the book to be? What kind of font do you want?

[00:22:34] Tom Spiggle: And I’m like, I just do a book. I don’t know. So, so they worked with me on that to kind of get those details done. And then they put it up on Kindle, I mean up on Amazon and did all the hard copies. So that’s how I got the first one done.

[00:22:49] Jonathan Hawkins: And how did you use it to market? I mean, do you have it on your website? I mean, obviously if a client comes in, you just hand them a copy. I mean, how did you employ it?

[00:22:59] Tom Spiggle: [00:23:00] Yeah. I mean, certainly any kind of networking stuff that I did, you know, I would send people a book afterwards. I’m sure a good many of them end up in the trash recycling, but it’s harder to throw away a book than it is a business card, so I’d use it that way. But the other pro tip and again, I go back to Lee.

[00:23:15] Tom Spiggle: He was the one who he’s like, you know, you got to get somebody a PR agent. He’s like, writing the book is only half of it. You got to get somebody out there to push it for you. So, I did, I hired a PR person who’s fantastic. She’s still out there. Her name is Alison Beckwith. She’s in Maryland former press person who now does PR stuff.

[00:23:34] Tom Spiggle: And she was just phenomenal. I mean, she really, I mean, part of it was certainly her work and part of it was you know, I’d picked a good topic. There weren’t. There weren’t many men, there weren’t many books out at all, but there certainly weren’t many men writing about pregnancy discrimination. So it was just sort of an interesting hook for, you know, for reporters and, you know, this, because going back to what Lee said, he’s like, you want a book with a good title, [00:24:00] you know, and a nice cover because he’s like, press people want somebody with authority and they want to be able to say, Tom Spiegel, author of, Whatever.

[00:24:08] Tom Spiggle: And he’s like, they’re probably not going to read your book. They just want, you know, they’ve got stories they got to produce. They’ve got to find experts. He says, once you find one or two, you’ll be in their Rolodex and they’ll come back to you from other, for other stories, which turned out to be exactly.

[00:24:23] Tom Spiggle: Right. So I ended up, I don’t have the book necessarily, but I got quoted in the New York times. Got me on CNN. Like it got me just a lot of, you know, a lot of press, which then resulted in a lot of backlinks to the website. And then, you know, another thing that I did was you know, so I write, I’d taken half of the first half of the book off My current writings, the second half of the book, I took them from the book and put it back on my website.

[00:24:48] Tom Spiggle: So, again, another tip from Lee, he’s like, don’t be precious about what you write. Nobody’s reading it so closely that they’re going to notice you have in eight different places. So, you know, just kind of repurpose it. So that’s what I did.[00:25:00]

[00:25:00] Jonathan Hawkins: That’s cool. So, so you got the book you’re getting in the media. How did you start to add to your stack? I know I’ll list some of the things I know. I know you do now. So you’ve got your email newsletter. You’ve got a podcast, maybe you have more than one. You’ve got You know, you’re on social media.

[00:25:16] Jonathan Hawkins: You probably do some other stuff too. So take us through your stack and then how did you begin to layer that on? Cause you can’t do it all at once. That’s the other thing. Somebody comes out, I mean, they look at you and your website and they’re like, holy crap, there’s no way I’m ever going to be like Tom and be able to do that, but you know, it doesn’t happen overnight, right?

[00:25:32] Tom Spiggle: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. And I think for me I mean, I’ve always been a little bit of a frustrated law professor, right? I like to write, I like to teach. And so, I don’t know if compulsively is the right word, but I just did that naturally, you know, I was like writing. So to your, as to your question, it really started with the website.

[00:25:50] Tom Spiggle: So that for a long time, that was my main game that, that, and just, you know, shoe leather. Networking. That was a big piece of it too [00:26:00] for me in the beginning. But in terms of like digital marketing, it was just, you know. Writing stuff on the website, you’re constantly adding, you know, obviously the game has changed quite a bit, but back in the day, you know, it was blogging, right, that was the thing.

[00:26:13] Tom Spiggle: And so just regularly get out there in blogging was it, was a big piece of it and then constantly trying to iterate on the website to provide things that would be useful to our potential clients. So for instance one of the things I did again through Upwork was I hired you know, I not developed in the sense of the back end, but I’m like, okay, I want to figure out a calculator that somebody can use to get a kind of a, you know, a broad stroke look at what the damages in their case might be.

[00:26:42] Tom Spiggle: And so, I went on Upwork and I was like, Hey, this, I didn’t know what to call it. And so I’m looking for somebody to help me with a calculator. And I found this dude in India who did it for me for like 500 bucks. And I bet that thing I don’t know for certain, but I would be not surprised if that didn’t [00:27:00] generate many six figures in revenue because right, you put the calculator on the website and then you do the email drip, right?

[00:27:06] Tom Spiggle: Because people got to put in their web, their email to, to get access to the calendar, which is the way I did it. And then I just had this drip campaign, follow up email. that I used. And so it was things like that. So it really started with the website as the anchor. And then the other things really flowed from that.

[00:27:25] Tom Spiggle: And I think to your point, like if you can get some traction in one area, then you get the revenue and the space to try other things like podcasts and social media. And cause the trick is always like, how much of it do you want to do yourself and how much do you want to hire somebody to do it? Like that was kind of the anchor and then everything else flowed from that.

[00:27:43] Jonathan Hawkins: So, so let’s tell me about your podcast. Let’s plug it. What’s the name? You know, how often do you publish? Who’s it geared towards?

[00:27:50] Tom Spiggle: So, yeah. So we, so I’ve had a couple of podcasts. I did one called parents at work. Which again was [00:28:00] designed here cause one of our niches within our niche is representing Pregnancy discrimination, caregiver discrimination. And so I wanted to, I wanted, and this is true of at least my second layer of marketing is trying to stay in front of my audience before they need me.

[00:28:16] Tom Spiggle: Right. Because. I think this is true for plaintiff’s side in particular, you know, when somebody has the accident, when somebody gets fired, you know, they’re out there looking for the attorney, but those are the, and you should be looking for those people, of course, but those are the most expensive people to get, right?

[00:28:30] Tom Spiggle: They don’t know you, they, you’ve got to develop, you know, the, you know, the trust and like you piece before they’re even going to pick up the phone. So the objective was for me was to try to be in front of people and. Most people have better things to do than worry about whatever your specific area of law is, right?

[00:28:47] Tom Spiggle: Like, my ideal clients are not out there thinking, wow, what’s the fourth circuit doing on, you know, on title seven discrimination cases these days, they’ve got other things. So I wanted to be in front of them in a different way. So we it started out [00:29:00] with just me and then it was with another attorney Lori Mahalik Levin.

[00:29:04] Tom Spiggle: Fantastic. And she had her own I’m a blank on the name of it, but her own e course for attorneys mostly who had a child and were returning to work and kind of how to navigate that path. Oh man, I’m blanking on it. But anyway, so, so she and I co hosted it and we would interview people in various.

[00:29:22] Tom Spiggle: You know, like in accounting and legal and tech, you know, who had kids and like, basically, how are you making this work? So I did that for a while and this is just, you know, part of my personality. I’ll kind of start things and get tired of them. And so I did that for about a year. And I just started to kind of lose My mojo even though I thought it was a great podcast and I love working with Lori, but I’m like, Lori, do you want to just take this and run with it?

[00:29:48] Tom Spiggle: And she’s like, sure. So now she and her husband do parents at work. And then it was a while. There’s probably another maybe year, another two years before I started another podcast and [00:30:00] it started out started out called I got fired again, you know, toward my target audience and the subject matter was what you might expect.

[00:30:07] Tom Spiggle: I mean, you talk about really more narrow employment law issues, and that was more towards, you know, people who’ve got that burning need. We then renamed it the Spiegel law podcast because I wanted to broaden out some of the things I want to talk about. I didn’t want to have to just be in that lane.

[00:30:23] Tom Spiggle: So, so that’s what I do now. I do a mix of, you know, kind of employment law topics and law firm management issues. A lot. I don’t know. I’m not very, I don’t know. I can’t be, I can’t, I’m not an expert at it, but I’m very interested in AI. So some discussions about AI in the legal field. So that’s the podcast now.

[00:30:41] Tom Spiggle: And we do it weekly.

[00:30:43] Jonathan Hawkins: okay.

[00:30:44] ​

[00:30:57] Jonathan Hawkins: So there’s another thing that I think is pretty cool just from looking at your [00:31:00] website. And I came across something that’s called the legal leverage program and it has a trademark symbol on it. So, number one it’s intriguing and enticing. I was like, what is that? So, so tell me about that and what is it?

[00:31:13] Jonathan Hawkins: And I like that you got the trademark on it.

[00:31:15] Tom Spiggle: Yeah. So, this was a video course that I first developed three or four years ago. We’ve since we shot it at least one time, but it is basically how to, how describing to a lay person or somebody who’s trying to go in on their own or at least doing their own research, like how somebody, an expert would evaluate their case, right?

[00:31:37] Tom Spiggle: Because there are just certain steps that we take and anybody in my field takes when evaluating a case. And so, the idea, the legal leverage was, you know, using the legal system to apply force to the lever to move, you know, move your employer or to reach your objective. And that, that, that leverage changes.

[00:31:56] Tom Spiggle: Depending on where you are in the process and how far and how many [00:32:00] resources you’re willing to put into it. So, I really start out with the first module is on damages, right? Because, you know, it’s interesting and you may have noticed this in your field, like, in some ways it’s elemental, but like you, 10 times.

[00:32:14] Tom Spiggle: It takes you years and years of doing something to be like, Oh, like, why am I, why don’t we just switch these two pieces? And so my thing was like, let’s start with damages, right? Let’s, we’ll get to whether and whether you have a case. And that’s obviously an important piece of it. But a lot of times, you know, I’ll get, And I’m always welcome referrals, but I’ll get people call me or get cases referred to me.

[00:32:35] Tom Spiggle: And I’m like, there’s just no damages here. Like even if I could prove, you know, that there’s a violation of the law, like the juice is just not worth the squeeze on this one. So that’s part of it. It’s like explaining that concept to people, you know, and because we get people all the time who. Bad stuff has happened to them at work and they’ll come and I’ll be like, yeah, this is bad stuff that happened.

[00:32:57] Tom Spiggle: It may even be illegal, but like [00:33:00] we can go all the way through a federal trial and you’re going to get max 30, 000.

[00:33:04] Tom Spiggle: Going to make 200. Exactly.

[00:33:08] Jonathan Hawkins: I was last week at a presentation a MedMal plaintiff’s lawyer, he was going through how he evaluates a case and damages. First thing he’s like, it’s gotta be big damages.

[00:33:19] Tom Spiggle: Yeah, absolutely. And so I think a lot of people are surprised by that, you know, they’ll come in and they, you know, they think they’re going to be big emotional distress damages. And I’m like, that’s, you know, like, yes, there are some damages here. But again, getting back to the legal leverage portion of it, like if what you want is to negotiate a You know, 10 percent better severance.

[00:33:39] Tom Spiggle: Yeah. You’ve got some leverage here, right? Because the employer wants to avoid this. There is some smoke here, maybe some fire, you know, so you’ve got some leverage. If you want a 10%, you know, better severance. We can do that because you’ve got some damages. If you want a hundred thousand dollars or more, like you, you just don’t have the leverage for that because the other sides, [00:34:00] you know, knowledgeable employment attorney is going to do the same thing I did and be like, Hey, we’d love to get rid of this, but You’re just, you’ve got 30, 000 at best, 30, 000 in damages.

[00:34:10] Tom Spiggle: So that is to try to, you know, the whole course is designed to, and again, for a lawyer, it’d be fairly elemental, but it’s like, you know, let’s start with the damages. Let’s figure that out. Let’s look at your, the liability of your case. And of course, you know, I mean, You’re not going to be an attorney, the person who’s reading it, who’s a lay person, but I try to walk them through, you know, kind of broad strokes, how an attorney would look at this and then, you know, just, you know, provide a weighted average, you know, based on everything, you know, about your case, you know, do you have emails?

[00:34:40] Tom Spiggle: Do you have documents? How strong your witnesses scale of 1 to 10? How would you evaluate your case again? Always it’s in the book. It’s in the course. It’s always better to talk to an attorney. You’re that’s where you’re going to get the real Rob. But like, you know, a smart person could do this. Is it 6 8 out of 10?

[00:34:58] Tom Spiggle: And then take that and [00:35:00] multiply it toward, you know, to the value, the damages that you’ve calculated. And so, you know, you’ve got 100, 000 for the damages and 80%, you know, on liability, then you’ve got an 80, 000 case and then helping people understand that. Yeah. You know, you generally are not going to get that 80, 000 unless you push way into the process.

[00:35:19] Tom Spiggle: Right. So you, and if you want that’s great, you know, but know that from the outset, whereas if you know, if you want 30, 000, well, you could probably get that a lot quicker. And what is, you know, there’s no right or wrong answer to this, but what is the value of your time, your money, like, You know, if you could get 30, 000 now, would you rather have that?

[00:35:40] Tom Spiggle: Or would you rather wait for two years and full tilt litigation to get double that, you know, and some people, you know, they’re willing to do that. But that’s the, what the legal leverage

[00:35:51] Jonathan Hawkins: So it’s like a video course for basically potential clients out there. So how do you deliver it? Do they have to sign up for it? How are you, how do they [00:36:00] find it? How do they sign up for it?

[00:36:01] Tom Spiggle: Yeah. So, so our clients get it for free. We give them, you know, they give, they get the access code and then if for people who want to purchase it, I forget what we priced it at. But it’s just on the website. They go, you know, you enter your email and, you know, well, you get, I think that we, you, maybe you get some it’s been a while since I’ve been, I’ve looked at the marketing follow up on that, but I think you get some snippets of what the videos are like.

[00:36:24] Tom Spiggle: And there’s also a workbook that comes with it. And so then you enter your email, there’s an invoice sent. If you want to buy it and you buy it. And then we also have a face group, Facebook group associated with it because that’s the other piece, right? For employment law, probably for all legal issues, but certainly for employment law, it can be very isolating, right?

[00:36:42] Tom Spiggle: Like you are on your own dealing with this very, yes, you’ve got your attorney, but you know, you don’t really have a community. Yeah, there are some attorney client issues. I mean, that, you know, they’re something we have to be dealt with, but with the face group, it can be anonymous. So people can post their anonymously and ask [00:37:00] questions or share their stories.

[00:37:01] Tom Spiggle: And so the idea is, you know, to give people. Some sense of their options, even if they don’t hire an attorney. And obviously that’s the best way to go. But even if they don’t hire an attorney, cause a lot of people, they can do their own demand letter, they can take the first swing at it on their own, if they’re willing to do that and to help them through that situation.

[00:37:20] Tom Spiggle: And then for people who are going further, you know, in litigating or working with an attorney you know, giving them that support and the knowledge they need to be a, to be an educated consumer.

[00:37:30] Jonathan Hawkins: So that’s pretty cool. So it’s you’re probably not make, you’re not getting rich off of it but it is a revenue stream, number one. And the, maybe more importantly it’s almost like a pre screening. It probably takes a little load off your intake. Probably they sort of pre screen themselves.

[00:37:44] Jonathan Hawkins: That’s pretty cool.

[00:37:46] Tom Spiggle: Yeah.

[00:37:46] Jonathan Hawkins: So, shifting gears a little bit. So, you know, your firm, you said you’ve got like 42 people now. I assume you tell me, but I assume you’re sort of in the CEO role now. Do you do any legal work anymore? Okay. In the CEO role, [00:38:00] obviously you do marketing. Cause I see everything.

[00:38:01] Jonathan Hawkins: What about sales? And by sales, I mean, you’re in the consult room and somebody calls in. Do you do that anymore? So how, okay, this is awesome. So how did you move? That’s the question. How did you move to where you are now?

[00:38:15] Tom Spiggle: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:38:16] Jonathan Hawkins: mindset? You know, how’d you get the pieces in place?

[00:38:19] Jonathan Hawkins: How did you get there and how long did it take?

[00:38:22] Tom Spiggle: Yeah. That’s a great question. And so after I worked with Lee and so Lee at the time would only work with you for 14 months. And so, cause his thing was like, after 14 months, you’ll no longer be scared of me. You’re just going to tell me what I want to hear. I’m not going to be abused to you. I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but I worked with him for that 14 months and and then stopped.

[00:38:40] Tom Spiggle: And then I think it was a, Oh, and I think that’s one of the things you had a question about. But I went to a strategic coach, which was another coaching group. It’s a non attorney coaching group run by a guy named, but he doesn’t do much of his own coaching anymore. But Dan Sullivan, who’s just fantastic.

[00:38:56] Tom Spiggle: I don’t know if you’re familiar with him, but

[00:38:58] Jonathan Hawkins: am. And I know [00:39:00] strategic coach, I have not done it, but I do want to get into that. I’m curious. I’m very curious about the program and what you got out of it.

[00:39:07] Tom Spiggle: yeah, it was, I did it for three years and loved it. And, you know, I would go back to that one eventually, I think I, you know, I learned a lot of kind of the high level, not high level, but like, entrepreneurial, Ideas there first, like really you know, Leah turned me on to some of it, like the delegation, the packaging of your intellectual property, kind of how to think about and it just, it was also great to just be in a room with a bunch of other entrepreneurs most of whom were not lawyers.

[00:39:34] Tom Spiggle: So it was interesting to get the perspective from other fields. So I did that for three years again, which I thought was fantastic, but I felt like what shouldn’t have been true. I needed More of kind of a tactical, you know, nuts and bolts. Like, how does it work in a law firm? Because that’s you’re not going to get that necessarily a strategic coach is going to be a higher level kind of training.

[00:39:54] Tom Spiggle: So then I joined how to manage a small law firm. And that is where I really, [00:40:00] I was already primed. By strategic coach, so I was a step ahead in the sense of the way, like, some of the concepts they would say would talk about, like, I think, for a lot of attorneys in the room is the 1st time they had heard them.

[00:40:12] Tom Spiggle: It was not the 1st time I had heard them. I’m like, I’m all in. Just tell me how right? Tell me the nuts and bolts and, and also, I mean, just being with a group of people who had a similar objective, which was to build for me anyway, to build an organization that could run without you having to steer, right?

[00:40:31] Tom Spiggle: Be there and steering the wheel the whole time. Another great book on the topic, which also a great podcast Built to Sell. Love that book and love that podcast. But anyway. So to get to your question, probably the first big leap for me. I mean, so I was already Oh, shoot. Hold on. I got to plug my computer in real quick.

[00:40:49] Tom Spiggle: I didn’t realize it wasn’t plugged in. Give me one second.

[00:40:52] Jonathan Hawkins: Yep.[00:41:00]

[00:41:06] Tom Spiggle: Sorry about that. I got the notification. I was about to die. And I’m like, why is it? And then I saw the plugs in here. So we’ll start over. So the, one of the big things for me was cause I was already, you know, already had associates. I was already delegating, you know, a lot of the work down to them.

[00:41:23] Tom Spiggle: And just a quick aside on that. The first time I even thought about that possibility, I remember I was with one of my early callers with Lee Rosen and I was talking to him and I’m like, Hey, you know, you’ve just kind of asked me like, why, you know, why I was picking him. Why I reached out to him. I’m like, well, I got all these things I want to do and all this marketing.

[00:41:41] Tom Spiggle: And I just can’t seem to get it done. And he’s like, well, why not? I’m like, well, I got all these clients. I got all these kids. And he’s like, well, you’ve got attorneys working with you, right? I’m like, yeah. He’s like, we’ll have them do the work. And I was just like, dumbfounded. I’m like, you can do that. He’s like, [00:42:00] yeah, that’s how you grow any business.

[00:42:01] Tom Spiggle: Like you have somebody else like do the production while you go out and grow the business. And so I immediately went back and was like, you’re managing attorney. You two are reporting to him, which went about as well as you might imagine something like that would go. It was a. Well, it wasn’t quite a disaster, but let me say, I had to clean up a lot of messes

[00:42:20] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah.

[00:42:21] Tom Spiggle: because I didn’t.

[00:42:23] Tom Spiggle: And again, I learned this as a strategic coach, you got to delegate, not abdicate. And I was just like, here, you guys go have fun with this. And I’m going to go market and sell and do all that kind of stuff. And it took me years. Years to get to the point where I wasn’t doing most of the legal work.

[00:42:43] Tom Spiggle: But the big piece for me with how to manage, which was kind of mind blowing for me at the time is like hiring non attorney salespeople which was not even something I would never have come to that on my own. And and I just couldn’t wrap my head around how to do that. And they, he had a our John, I mean, [00:43:00] our John Robbins, he’s the one who started how to manage.

[00:43:02] Tom Spiggle: It was already pretty sizable when I got there. And he had a course called how to train your dragon, right? Named after the movie. And it was, as it sounded, it was like how they call them dragons, the sales, you know, the people who would do sales. And it was how to train them to sell legal services.

[00:43:19] Tom Spiggle: And so, it was to train non attorney salespeople, but you could, as the attorney go through the program yourself. And so that’s what I did. I signed up for, cause I just, I’m like, how does this even happen? And I went through the program and I just was. I mean, I was like, after I finished it, I’m like, I’m not sure how I managed to sell legal services at all to this point.

[00:43:40] Tom Spiggle: Like, because you realize there is a, an art to it. And I think most entrepreneurs, I mean, certainly people who start their own businesses are naturally good at it to a certain extent. So I’m being a little bit facetious, but but realizing that there’s an art to it that can be learned and that a good bit of it does.

[00:43:57] Tom Spiggle: Does not only does it not require an [00:44:00] attorney, but attorney will often muck it up, right? Because an attorney, what they said and how to manage, like you always want to take them to the sausage factory. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that. I’m a file this. And some of that is good, right?

[00:44:11] Tom Spiggle: It develops trust with the client, but it doesn’t address what their issues are. Right. I mean, if you start this, I did after that started reading you know, reading books on sales, like they say, you know, sell the sizzle, not the steak, right? Like you got to talk to them where they are and what their ambitions are.

[00:44:26] Tom Spiggle: And so I came back and still, then I was doing a decent amount. Well, let me back up. I had attorneys doing my other attorneys doing the initial consults and I was still doing some. So we were all sort of doing the consults. And when I went through the sales training, I had no idea there was something called a conversion rate.

[00:44:43] Tom Spiggle: I didn’t even know what that meant. And they sat me down and they’re like, well, your conversion rate is you’ve got so many potential clients that are coming in. So many of them are converted to clients. Like what’s that percentage? And it was terrible. Like when I actually calculated, it was like 14%.

[00:44:59] Jonathan Hawkins: Oh, wow.[00:45:00]

[00:45:00] Tom Spiggle: Oh, it was awful.

[00:45:01] Tom Spiggle: It was awful. And that’s just because they, we, I mean, it wasn’t that the attorneys were great attorneys. There just weren’t, that’s not what they were. And some of them were better than others. Some of them were quite good. And some of them were, you know, just you might as well be throwing those leads into a black hole just cause that was just not their skillset to convert them.

[00:45:17] Tom Spiggle: And that was a big piece for me too, because again, I think a lot of issues, and I got this from somebody else in any small business really come down to simple math. Right. If you could do the simple math, you can figure it out. And once I sat down, because before then I had been like market.

[00:45:33] Tom Spiggle: I need to market more, market, more website more leads. And when they were like, look, if you can change your conversion rate from 14 percent to just 25%, like, look what this does with your revenue without doing anything else in marketing. So I came back and I’m like, All you guys just go back to passing law.

[00:45:51] Tom Spiggle: And I did all the consults for, I don’t remember how long a number of months. I don’t know if it was a full year and then started hiring non [00:46:00] attorney salespeople. And it took me a while you know, kind of work out the kinks with that. But that was the, that was probably those two things. I’d gotten better at delegating.

[00:46:12] Tom Spiggle: And I was still doing some of it, mostly the higher level stuff. And occasionally taking a client here and there, but then the other big piece was getting out of the sales process. So that was the first time where I, once I got those pieces in place where clients would come in, they would be worked up, cases would be resolved and they would be closed out.

[00:46:31] Tom Spiggle: And I’d never, I wouldn’t have any idea. Like I wouldn’t, if you said, you know, what about the

[00:46:36] Jonathan Hawkins: That, that is awesome. That’s awesome. You know, it’s, you know, the use of non attorney salespeople, I’ve heard of some other firms doing this, but it is probably easier in a consumer facing practice

[00:46:48] Tom Spiggle: I think that’s, I think that’s true.

[00:46:50] Jonathan Hawkins: sort of facing. But man, I mean, that, that’s usually, you know, one of the last pieces is this, the founder has always been good at marketing and sales.

[00:46:59] Jonathan Hawkins: And it’s the [00:47:00] last piece that they get rid of, it seems like often.

[00:47:04] Tom Spiggle: I think that’s right. And I do, I have some friends who, you know, are more kind of B2B you know, are kind of, I have some friends who are in the white collar criminal defense world. And that’s, I think that’s trickier, you know, I think it can be done, right? I think you just probably, you could, there are attorneys, right, who are sales people.

[00:47:20] Tom Spiggle: That’s what they do, you know, and so you can have somebody with the JD, you know, who can speak at that level who’s almost more of a business development person. You know, not just necessarily a sales person. So I do think there are some differences, but yeah, that was the biggest change for me and kind of getting myself out of the day to day of the business.

[00:47:41] Tom Spiggle: So yeah,

[00:47:42] Jonathan Hawkins: So another question that is always of interest to me as I’m growing my firm and as you continue to grow yours you know, as CEO, part of your job is, Allocation of resources. So, you know, any business you’ve got limited resources, time, energy, money, and you’ve got more [00:48:00] ideas and more initiatives than you could ever do.

[00:48:02] Jonathan Hawkins: So how do you Tom figure out, okay, this is what we’re going to do. What’s your process of sort of going through that and figuring out, okay, we’ve got this much time, energy, money. We’re going to do this now and we’ll save the others for later.

[00:48:15] Tom Spiggle: Yeah, a couple of things. Probably the, so after the sales piece, the next big thing that allowed me to kind of jump forward was hiring a COO. And I again, got that from how to manage, I would not have come to this on my own, but I was you know, kind of in that program, at least at the time they were like, look, once you get around 1.

[00:48:33] Tom Spiggle: 5 million in revenue, your firm is going to get too big for you to keep your arms around it, you know, and you’re going to need. Just like there are people who are really good at sales and perhaps better than you are at sales. There are people who are really good at managing resources, perhaps better than you are at managing resources and you should hire them.

[00:48:51] Tom Spiggle: And and so I did that, but it wasn’t with some reluctance on my part because it was my first, I mean, well, except for some of the attorneys. It was my first six figure hire. I [00:49:00] mean, it was a big deal and I was trying to do it on the cheap. I was trying to promote a paralegal and I don’t know if you know how HTM works, but they have kind of their fractional program.

[00:49:08] Tom Spiggle: You have a fractional CEO. And I, my CEO at the time, he was just a great guy. I was like, don’t be like, Don’t be stupid. Like, no, don’t promote your paralegal. Like be a pirate, you put on your big boy pants and hire somebody who you can do this right out of the job. And perhaps not strangely, my wife was a huge advocate of this because of my many skillsets, reading a spreadsheet and figuring out like, you know, how to, like you say, how to allocate those resources.

[00:49:36] Tom Spiggle: It’s just not my. I can do a B minus job, but I’ve never been, that’s not where my head lives. And so I hired, so now I’m not even the CEO, right? So my CEO now is named Brian Formigas. He started out at my COO and in some ways I got lucky because you’ll hear people who hire COO and have nightmare stories, just like any hire.

[00:49:57] Tom Spiggle: Right. But I kind of got lucky right out of the gate. And [00:50:00] Brian had. Decade, maybe decades. I can’t, I’m sure management experience in, in downtown DC firms. And he had just kind of gotten burnt out of that big firm, you know, pre pandemic, you know, throw on your suit, jump on the Metro, head into town every day.

[00:50:16] Tom Spiggle: And so I kind of caught him on the rebound. He was looking for something else and it just it it was phenomenal. And it really, when he stepped in, like, Honestly, I don’t know that the firm would have survived if he hadn’t come in because we were growing. So I had the non attorney sales people like, you know, everything was going great, but you’ve heard the phrase like growing, gone.

[00:50:37] Tom Spiggle: Like I was headed to growing, gone. Like, because we were bringing in more clients, you know, record breaking revenue every month. Spending like just like it was all going out the back end and some months more than it was bringing in and I’m not the greatest at math, but I do know if you spend more than you’re making.

[00:50:55] Tom Spiggle: That’s not a, that’s not a recipe for longevity. So he came in and [00:51:00] just he was great. I mean, he just, he’s like, we need to read, you know, reset your comp system. We got a chain, like, just really pull all these levers. And so he was the next big step. So, that, that really helped us take off because he took off my plates and things that I was not particularly good at.

[00:51:17] Tom Spiggle: So he was CEO for a number of years, and then I promoted him to CEO about a year ago. So I’m really practically useless. So I’m glad you gave me something to do to be here talking to you. Grand poobah. But I’ll tell you another thing that we did. I’m sure you’re familiar with is we Use the EOS, the entrepreneurial operating system.

[00:51:41] Tom Spiggle: I don’t know if you guys do that, but I had been a fan, which again, I learned about through the strategic coach, which we’re our first heard of it, the book traction and read it. And it was like, this is what we need to do. And we tried to implement it on our own for a number of years and did not. I mean, sort of a 30 percent job.

[00:51:58] Tom Spiggle: And then we eventually [00:52:00] like, okay, we need to hire a consultant. So we hired one of their implementers through their EOS website. And for two years we did we did that. And that was another big piece. So in addition to bringing on Brian, they really helped us bring our management team together.

[00:52:14] Tom Spiggle: Really helped us bring some discipline, you know, to, to our our management process, because I think this is true of a lot of entrepreneurs, You’re probably the same way. Like I’m a quick start. Like I want to try this. I want to try that. Like, you know, I’m, I, you know, which is. Good and bad, right? Like it gets a lot of initiatives out there, but a lot of them like are smoking heaps off in the corner because you, right, you got bored or you weren’t good at implementing it.

[00:52:40] Tom Spiggle: So it just didn’t

[00:52:41] Jonathan Hawkins: You’re describing me to a T.

[00:52:42] Tom Spiggle: Yeah. So, so.

[00:52:44] Jonathan Hawkins: your team. I’m sure. I know it frustrates mine. It’s just like,

[00:52:48] Tom Spiggle: Right. Well, that’s, that was the great thing about EOS is they get that the right way. They were like, in a nice way, they’re like, look, we get it. He’s crazy. Right. Like, well, you got like, he’s [00:53:00] crazy. He’s going to come in here and he’s going to go boom.

[00:53:02] Tom Spiggle: And you guys have got to, you know, particularly with Brian, like, be like, okay. Let Tom have his whiteboard moment, you know, and then we’re going to pick a couple of these ideas and work with the team. And, you know, it’s. Really, it’s sort of elemental, but it’s hard discipline to learn, which was, you know, come up with your rocks or your objectives that you want to accomplish within these 90 days.

[00:53:28] Tom Spiggle: And you do this all in one day, right. Or maybe two, and then that’s it. Rightly, you don’t go back and say like, Oh, I’m going to do this. Like, no. You have picked your objectives, all these great ideas. You can put them in the parking lot and we can talk about them for the next quarter. But Tom doesn’t get any more ideas in these 90 days.

[00:53:45] Tom Spiggle: We’re just executing on those. And it. Took us a while. I mean, it took us a number of months. It really took us about two years. But that process got a lot better. And so, and then the whole group learned it. So, not only this kind of happened over a number of years, but so [00:54:00] I, I had Brian as my C COO, and then we hired a director of sales, director of marketing And a managing attorney.

[00:54:08] Tom Spiggle: So we had a whole C suite and the EOS process really helped with that discipline to your question about, okay, we got these resources. How do we allocate them? Because I just was not, that was not my strong suit.

[00:54:19] Jonathan Hawkins: So, so you’re, you’ve got the EOS system. If you’re willing to share or how, however much you’re willing to share what’s the longterm or what’s your 10 year vision for the firm?

[00:54:29] Tom Spiggle: Yeah, so we want to you know, continue to be, you know, stay in our niche, right? To stay in employment law, representing individuals and to continue to expand out into this market. You know, the 10 year goal is to be at 30 million in revenue. You know, I think I forget we’ve got this all out on our, you know, EOS, you know, they have you lay it out and your vision.

[00:54:52] Tom Spiggle: And I forget how many employees I think we had it by 10 years, a hundred and some employees with AI, frankly, I don’t know that’s going to be [00:55:00] necessary, but we’ll see, but that’s the 10 year goal.

[00:55:03] Jonathan Hawkins: So it sounds like you’ve sort of found your sweet spot. You get to, to do the things that you’re good at and that you enjoy. What do they call that? You’re a, I don’t know. There’s

[00:55:12] Tom Spiggle: Unique ability. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:55:15] Jonathan Hawkins: And so, so it sounds like you’re Things are pretty good. Is

[00:55:18] Tom Spiggle: Yeah. Things are good. Yeah. Life is good. I am certainly. Happier now than I than I ever have been. You know, and you’ve experienced this. I think any entrepreneur has like, there were definitely, there have definitely been some dark, you know, and I think if you’re trying to grow that way, that’s just going to happen, right?

[00:55:37] Tom Spiggle: Like there, you just got to learn some things in the school of hard knocks, but I wouldn’t trade it. I’m glad that, you know, And it really, frankly, sometimes I kept going just because I didn’t know of a better option than to just keep on keeping on. I wish I could say it was some, you know, great bravery on my part, but it really wasn’t, but I’m glad that I, you know, for whatever reason, stuck through those times and learn those [00:56:00] lessons because it’s entirely possible, I think, in any business.

[00:56:03] Tom Spiggle: And again, not all attorneys want to do this, and that’s fine. If you want to keep your hands in the production and, you know, some managing attorney loves trying cases like he’s like, I don’t think he wouldn’t want my life. You know, he wants to stay which is great, you know, and I think, you know, attorneys can certainly do this, but it is also possible to develop a, an organization, even a professional services organization that that just runs without you having to steer it.

[00:56:29] Jonathan Hawkins: So you’ve had a nice career arc from a solo with no business to, you know, you’ve sort of retired to the, I say retire, but you’ve moved to the chairman role, get to do, you know, your sweet spot there for the others out there that are thinking about starting their firm, or maybe the early stages, you know, is there any advice that you would give them, you know, things you wish you had known way back then when you started?

[00:56:54] Tom Spiggle: yeah, absolutely. First of all, I mean, if you’ve got that itch, then you should just do it, right? I mean, it’s entirely [00:57:00] possible. And I think what I wish I had known is that it’s not Easy, but it is not conceptually difficult to build a firm that will support you in whatever fashion that you want.

[00:57:15] Tom Spiggle: And I have seen people, I mean, for me, I mean, it was years and years of kind of, you know, grinding away, you know, learning some things here or there, but I’ve seen people who, you know, using the same knowledge that I wish I had when I had started, which is much more available. Now than it was in 2009. But I’ve seen people like start with how to manage or with another coaching group, and it’s not that there aren’t hard times within a matter of a couple years, they’ve got a pretty decent firm that’s continuing to grow.

[00:57:43] Tom Spiggle: So I think get out there and learn. I understand it’s gonna be hard. That’s just part of the way it is hard and fun and exhilarating and all those things. But get out there and learn it right. Learn how to do the sales. Learn how to reach your P and L. Learn how to, you know, how to market [00:58:00] your practice.

[00:58:00] Tom Spiggle: And then I think the other piece is like, There’s almost any practice area, any business, anywhere you can make it successful, right? I think when I started, I had a little bit of a lack mentality, like there wasn’t enough out there, you know, so I was constantly reaching and grabbing for more. And it doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, but if you want to be the, T bone car crash guy.

[00:58:22] Tom Spiggle: Like you can do that. It might take a little bit, but there’s, there are enough T bone car crashes out there for you to do it. And in any market, like I remember, this is not my practice, but I remember meeting with a guy who was just starting out his practice in the DC area. He was starting out in personal injury and he had some experience you know, good attorney. And I remember talking to him and he wasn’t spending a lot on digital marketing and he didn’t have much of a website. And I was like, And I don’t do personal injury, I don’t know, but I’m like, I think it’s pretty competitive. I think you’re going to need to spend some more on that. And I was wrong.

[00:58:55] Tom Spiggle: Like that guy grew his practice pretty steadily by [00:59:00] doing networking. Like he would have two lunches with people and he was a good attorney. So it wasn’t just that. I mean, like he was doing a great job with the cases that he got, but he was having two lunches religiously. And I mean, I could tell like I would come up on his Rolodex every now and then he’d call me back up, you know, to go get lunch.

[00:59:16] Tom Spiggle: And and he’s now got a thriving practice. And of course, now he does the PPC, he does the website, but that’s just an example of this was somebody who started out with no resources, without a ton of experience who just kind of in a pick and shovel fashion, built himself a thriving personal injury law firm in an area where there are a lot of personal injury lawyers.

[00:59:39] Tom Spiggle: So I think that’s another thing I would like to have known to is like, pick what you want and stick at it. You’ll, there are enough people out there to make you a success that needs your services. Yeah

[00:59:49] Jonathan Hawkins: that’s something that, you know, part of my practice representing law firms, one of the cool things is that you get to see, or I get to see so many different types of practices that are kicking [01:00:00] ass. You know, there’s low volume, high volume plaintiff side, defense side, this weird little niche over here that nobody’s ever heard of and then there’s this thing over here and.

[01:00:09] Jonathan Hawkins: People are doing it. They’re figuring it out. It’s just like you said. I think another key is you need to do something that at least, you know, I don’t really like the word passion, but it’s something that at least is going to hold your interest. It’s got to be interesting to you or else you’re going to hate it.

[01:00:27] Tom Spiggle: point. And I’ll tell you, just going back to my early days. So I, you know, because I was coming out of the, you know, US Attorney’s office. So like one of the obvious things for me to do was do criminal defense. And I was working with a this is not Lee, but with a coach at the time. He’s like, well, start with that because that’s what, you know, And you can add other practices later.

[01:00:46] Tom Spiggle: And I think that’s not necessarily bad advice but to your point, like I didn’t have the passion, like I could do it. And I actually liked my clients quite a bit, but like, I wasn’t interested enough. To be able to sit down and write about [01:01:00] it every day and think about it. And that’s really what helped me pick employment law, because I, you know, that was an area that, like you said, I don’t think you necessarily have to be, you know, kind of bleeding heart, like you love, and it’s okay if you are like, great.

[01:01:12] Tom Spiggle: If you, some people have that really kind of passion for, you know, a particular area. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be that, but you have to have enough. As you say, enough in the tank that you’re willing to come back every day and chip away and write about or get out there and network on whatever topic that it is.

[01:01:30] Tom Spiggle: So I do think that it’s got to have, and I’ve got this from RJ Robbins, he’s like, there’s a number of different ways you can love your practice. You can love your clients, right? You can’t love the law and you can love the business model and it doesn’t have to be all three. Like it couldn’t be just one of those.

[01:01:46] Tom Spiggle: Maybe you just love the clients. Maybe you just love that area of the law. Maybe you love, you know, that business model. Like you said, maybe you like doing kind of the, you know, high volume and that turns you on and you love that. Tearing down your [01:02:00] practices, building it back up, you know, and thinking about it.

[01:02:02] Tom Spiggle: So, there are a lot of ways to be successful, but it’s gotta be something that you’ve got the endurance for.

[01:02:07] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah, I like that. I like that. So, I know I’ve kept you here for a while. Why don’t you tell everybody if they want to get in touch with you and.

[01:02:19] Tom Spiggle: Yeah, sure. You can find me, you know, find our website. So spigglelaw. com. You can find me on LinkedIn. Always happy to connect connect to people there. We do have a new book out called fired or afraid that you might be that is now up on Amazon, so you can go there and, you Get you a hard copy. I forget what hard copy is.

[01:02:36] Tom Spiggle: The Kindle version is like a dollar. So you can go get get our book for a dollar there. And you can also find the book on our website. I

[01:02:44] Jonathan Hawkins: And I’ll say, I like your post on LinkedIn. You dropped some good wisdom on there. So keep doing that. And I get a lot out of that. So, so thank you.

[01:02:51] Tom Spiggle: that.

[01:02:52] Jonathan Hawkins: So

[01:02:52] Tom Spiggle: been fun. Thanks for having me on

[01:02:53] Jonathan Hawkins: Yeah. Thanks for coming on.

[01:02:56] ​[01:03:00]