Welcome back to Beyond the Docket! This week we caught up with the unbelievably creative attorneys at the law firm Wilkinson Mazzeo. We chat about their background in nonprofit work, their impressive technology stack, and their innovative marketing strategy.
Tell us about your legal practice. (How long have you had your own practice? What type of work and clients do you focus on?)
We started our career in nonprofit work, building the legal and development teams at Invisible Children. After surviving the viral phenomenon that was KONY 2012, we co-founded Wilkinson Mazzeo, a legal practice for creatives, nonprofits, and small businesses.
Our practice represents these three particular groups because they generally haven’t had access to solid legal support. Being lawyers, we’re risk managers. But we look at our role as empowering creative entrepreneurs to take and manage risks in an affordable way.
What’s your law firm technology stack? Do you use practice management software? Intake forms? Docketing software?
Our stack is DEEP. We leverage everything from Typeform for client intake, Insightly for our CRM/project management tool, PandaDoc for proposals and electronic signatures, Zapier (which is basically a robot butler) for magical things we don’t understand, Harvest for time tracking and invoicing. Google for alll the things and, of course, Alt Legal for our TM docketing needs. We are constantly nerding out over and fine-tuning things on the backend. Our tech stack is what enables us to make the client experience efficient, easy, and affordable.
You have a really catchy slogan: “we’re just like you but lawyers.” How important do you think it is for attorneys to be able to relate to their clients and vice versa? How do you think lawyers can be better lawyers for their clients?
Extremely important. As lawyers, we are advocates, cheerleaders, guard dogs, and paperwork junkies for our clients. In order to be effective at our jobs, we have to understand our clients’ needs. Luckily for us, this comes naturally because we come from a nonprofit background, identify as creatives, and run a small business ourselves.
I understand that you’ve created a community of lawyers that think differently. How do you go about identifying lawyers that would be a good fit?
Yes! We are in the process of forming a nonprofit called the Legal Unicorn Society. It is made up of values-driven, socially conscious lawyers who want to join forces to create a better experience for our clients. We believe in things like collaboration (v. competition), transparency, empowerment, honesty, equity, innovation, and empathy.
Your marketing is really impressive, especially your social media presence. How did you develop your marketing strategy? What marketing suggestions would you offer to other lawyers, especially those just launching practices?
Our social media strategy, like everything else, emerged from our core values: authenticity, creativity, empowerment, and joy. Our aim is to be real with our clients, educate and empower them, celebrate their accomplishments (aka get invited to their holiday parties), and most importantly, make them smile. :)
You recently put up a billboard, a retro but effective marketing strategy. How did you choose that strategy? Are there any other approaches to your legal practice you follow that might be considered traditional but still work well?
The billboard was meant to be an art piece more than a marketing piece. We were lucky enough to get the hookup through Em’s brother-in-law. It brought us so much joy to see that it was received well. People seemed to understand and appreciate our semi-ironic, throwback guerrilla marketing tactic.
As for other traditional approaches to our practice… We guess now we’re going to need to make a commercial?!
How do you balance presenting yourselves as young and hip with showing your knowledge and expertise? Do you ever find those ideas to be in conflict?
For us, the best way to achieve any type of balance is just by being true to who we are. There is no way around the fact that we are (relatively) young professionals. But we’ve also been around the block and know a thing or two! We don’t see this as conflicting, because it’s not a persona we put on; it’s just who we are. And as corny as it sounds, the right people find their way to us. Being real about who we are provides a healthy filter for attracting our ideal client avatar: socially conscious, innovative, millennial-oriented entrepreneurs. We speak the same language.
If you could create any legal-focused AI technology, what would it be and why?
Far and away, we would create a *dreamy* client portal that hosts all of our interactions with our clients: documents delivery, messaging, and, of course, giffage.