We sat down with attorney Nick Pleasants of Pleasants Law to discuss his experience in our Lawyerist Lab community.
Lawyer: Can you give a brief description of your company, its size, what it does, where it is, and a little bit about how you started it?
Nick: For sure. So I have my own law firm in Bellevue, Washington. I am the only lawyer. We have a paralegal and I mainly practice in senior law. Think of estate planning, estate administration, and estate litigation. After working for my father’s company for four years, I started my own solo company. Around the time my father was preparing for retirement, I joined the Lawyerist Lab, where I worked on a business plan and developed processes to run my own company instead of being an employee of another company.
Want defined values in your company
Lawyer: You mentioned that some of your challenges prior to joining Lab were unlearning what you learned from your father’s company. What exactly were these challenges?
Nick: Many things! One had a business plan and a target customer in mind. My father didn’t do much marketing other than the Yellow Pages. So in the lab I started thinking about how to have a brand identity that wasn’t on my dad’s radar.
I also spoke to another Labster at LabCon who really had his values in his company. And I had a moment with a lightbulb – I had to develop some values and a culture for my company. I gradually found that the work I have done on our vision and values flows into the way I speak when I give public lectures or record videos. I will refer to our fixed values and culture.
And this work is key to everything we do now. This is why I came to Lab primarily to create these basics because I knew how to practice law but didn’t run a business.
Lawyer: Speaking of which – how did you find out about Lab in the first place?
Nick: It’s a long story, but I originally met Sam at a Washington State Bar Conference, then the rest of the crew at ClioCon for a year. I almost joined another community, but that community felt one-dimensional and, frankly, felt like a community at all. A big selling point for me was seeing the legal team all over the world. They felt very unsaleable. They are real people doing real things. That was the community I was looking for.
Lawyer: That’s so nice to hear! What else drew you to the lab?
Nick: One of the biggest tensions when working with my father was modernizing our office. For example, I told him I wanted to be paperless. I never want paper. It is not necessary to practice law. And he would have many reasons why we couldn’t. I bought a very fast scanner, but I couldn’t get it to use it. I just couldn’t get him to use it.
And when I got to Lab, I thought: I’ve finally found a community where I don’t have to convince that the modernization is worth it. Lab was already a paperless community. First cloud-based. This is so important to me.
Lawyer: How has the legal team helped you develop and execute strategy over the years?
Nick: It’s great to have a community and a mastermind cohort that hold me accountable. To be able to work through modules together, to check each other – really valuable.
Lawyer: And you’ve been here for a while – one of the veterans.
Nick: I started in October 2018. Correct! How would i ever go
Lawyer: What have been some of your achievements and milestones over the years?
Nick: I think it’s probably a bunch of little things, but a big one uses a project management tool (Trello). It is critical to be able to visually see the next steps and deadlines in cases. And I also have a personal account to follow my goals.
At this point the practice takes off to the point where I can show up every day and work in the practice without stressing myself out. I’m taking home a decent paycheck and people are happy, but I still want bigger things. Actually having goals and planning some time to work on the business.
Lawyer: Which features of Lab did you like the most?
Nick: Oh, I love LabCon. I miss the personal LabCon, but virtual was a good replacement! I like that it’s not just a conference where you absorb knowledge. It is actual working hours.
And community events too – masterminds, group coaching calls. They were great. To be able to interact weekly with trainers like Bernadette on Finances or Kelly on Management or Laura on SEO.
Lawyer: What are your future plans for your company?
Nick: We are working to grow. I unlocked this the other day with Coach Stephanie. Our business is not just growing a little, it’s growing a little too. I’m working on the processes to get us there.
We have also invested time in our website and can only reach customers quickly through Google searches. The power of SEO!
Lawyer: Do you have any advice for someone starting their own company?
Nick: Good question. One thing to note – the overhead monster. You need to keep your overhead super low. This also applies when your company takes off. You have to be brutal with these expenses.
In the beginning, less is more. Start out as lean as possible. For example, do you even need an office? I mean, now people just do everything from home. So if you can eliminate all of these startup costs, you can start your own business with very little overhead.
Which areas of your company would you like to take to the next level?
Whether your company’s goal is to bring legal services to the masses in new, innovative ways or just to enjoy going to work every day, we want to help. Our ultimate goal at Lawyerist is to put you on a track where you can blow your own expectations out of the water.
The Lawyerist Lab is full of resources, skilled trainers, and an advocacy group eager to empower you not only to achieve your goals, but to push you far beyond them. Ready to take the plunge? Find out more here.