Welcome back to Beyond the Docket! This time we are back to interview Caroline Fox of CJ Fox Law. Caroline is a small business attorney with a focus on creatives, startups, and event professionals. We talk about her background in PR and advertising, her Next Tuesday Podcast and how to land speaking engagements.
Tell us a bit about your legal practice. What type of work do you focus on?
I focus on small- and medium- sized companies with a heavy creative aspect. This encompasses everything from advertising and branding agencies to the event industry.
How does your background in PR and advertising influence your work as a lawyer? How did it help you open your own practice?
I think having a background in PR helped me really focus on the branding and messaging part of my firm. I knew that I needed to pick a target audience, focus on them, and not get distracted by other “shiny objects.” I knew how to pitch companies on what I could do for them, I knew how to put together a deck for a presentation, and I knew how to present myself. Those are skills that aren’t taught in law school, but are critical to building a client base.
What inspired you to create the Next Tuesday Podcast?
My podcast partner and I were very frustrated with the way women have been portrayed in the past few elections. I wrote my thesis on women in the 2008 election, and then became disillusioned once more during the 2016 election. We started the podcast as a way to highlight women doing awesome things and breaking that “double bind” mold—working to normalize the high-achieving female experience.
In addition to your IP practice, you run Engaged Legal Collective which provides resources to wedding professionals. How did you get involved with the wedding industry?
I was so lucky to have a group of wedding industry folks who allowed me to work with them early on. The wedding industry was really just taking off when I was in law school, and so I knew it was an area I wanted to focus on. I had the experience with contracts, trademarks, and copyrights from my time working for an ad agency— so those skills translated very well into the wedding and event world. Plus, who doesn’t love a good wedding?!
Your schedule seems to be full of speaking engagements, what is your advice to lawyers looking to score a speaking gig?
Super-niche yourself. Be the “it girl” (or guy) for your particular topic. Get out there and take speaking gigs whenever you can—and don’t expect to get paid. And finally, be approachable—we aren’t these “holier than thou” keepers of the keys to all knowledge. Lawyers are business people too. We just have more rules to follow.
What is your law firm’s technology stack? Do you use Slack? Practice management software? Trademark management software?
I hate most of the practice management softwares out there, and I have tested almost all of them. Design and flexibility is crucial with my client base—they don’t want anything clunky. For that reason, I kicked all of the traditional practice management software to the curb and adopted Dubsado for my CRM. I use Alt Legal for my trademark docketing because it’s simple and clean. My assistant and I use Slack to talk during the day, with a weekly Zoom meeting. We use Zapier to connect our email, Slack, client intake forms, payment processing and CRM together. I also use a bunch of marketing tools that I make work together through using Zapier. But for trust accounts? I go old school. I use a simple Excel spreadsheet formula backed up by good old pen and paper.
If you could create any legal practice-focused technology, what would it be and why?
I love that you ask this, because I think about this all the time! I would create a simple, drag-and-drop, Madlibs-style contract drafting software. There is enterprise-level software like this right now, but I want something accessible to smaller firms and solos. Think of how much time this would save!