Sarah E. Morris, Esq., is the Managing Partner of Morris Williams LLC in Norfolk, Virginia. While in law school at Regent University School of Law, she interned for a judge in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Virginia Beach. She also interned at the United States Attorney’s Office in the criminal division where she practiced in federal court primarily in sentencing arguments and detention hearings. She was an executive board member of the Trial Advocacy Board and chair of the board’s Intramural Trial Competition.
Leslie A. Williams, Esq., is the Managing Partner of Morris Williams LLC in Norfolk, Virginia. She graduated summa cum laude from Charleston Southern University in Charleston, SC and earned her law degree from Regent University School of Law. In law school, she was presiding officer of the honor council, an executive board member of the Trial Advocacy Board, and a mentor for other law students as part of the Academic Success Program.
Learn from their expertise and what trends are helping grow their firm on this episode of The Managing Partners Podcast!
Erik J. Olson (00:01):
Hey everybody. This is Erik J. Olson for yet another episode of the managing partners podcast. In this podcast, we interview America’s top managing partners to find out what they’re doing to run their firms, grow their firms, and to keep the cases coming in. And today from my hometown, or at least very close to it of Norfolk, Virginia, we have Leslie Williams and Sarah Morris. Hey there.
Morris Williams LLC (00:25):
Hi. Hey Erik Erik 7 57.
Erik J. Olson (00:28):
Yeah, we are all in the 7 57. So I’m from a little town called Chesapeake, Virginia. And you guys are in Norfolk. Do you? I know your office. Is there, do you live there as well?
Morris Williams LLC (00:39):
We do. We do. I’m in colonial place and I live in Largemont, which is near old dominion university.
Erik J. Olson (00:45):
Yep. I know the neighborhoods. Well, I used to live in colonial place. Love the area, love the area. Great. Well, cool. This is great because a lot of times we’re talking to attorneys from across the country. I love talking to people like any other business owner or attorneys that are local. I love it. This is great. So if you would tell us a little bit about yourselves and your firm.
Morris Williams LLC (01:05):
Yeah. So our firm is female owned, veteran owned. We have been in business now for four years as of may of 2018. So yeah, we made a decision before we started our firm to focus only in the area of family law. We made a very conscious decision on that. That’s where we both had experience before we started our firm. And it was important for us to not be a Jack of all trades. I know some attorneys are all about that, but for us, no. Yeah. We wanted to focus on family law and we met each other before we were even attorneys actually. So, you know, the good, the bad and the ugly. I think that really makes it actually so amazing because we knew each other’s strengths before we became business partners too. And so that’s a real asset. Biggest strength is humor.
Lot of laughing. Yeah. Family law can be kind of crazy circus. And so it’s important to put things into perspective too. Yeah. And my specifically background, I, you know, went from school to school, into law school. I think God knew if I took any break, I was not gonna ever go back to school, but originally I wanted to go into intelligence, FBI type route. And then I had an amazing professor way back when, who was an attorney. And that kind of brought me into the legal legal course, in addition to my, when my parents adopted my sister from China kind of saw the intersection of law. Oh, wow. Law and all of that, that, and really the fun side of law adoption law. And we do that, but primarily we do a lot of divorce cases, custody support, and a newer extended area. Do you wanna talk about co-parenting?
Yeah. And co-parenting so my background is that I grew up in the realm of family law <laugh> so my entire life was dysfunctional growing up. And so it kind of gave me this, this heart for it, but I did not go school, school, school. I went school, military school and working full time for department of services in North Carolina. I did child support enforcement. And then it was there that the child support enforcement attorney and the judge that we were consistently in front of kind of encouraged me, you know, maybe, maybe you could do more. And so yeah. I was like, well, let’s try it. <Laugh> and then I did. That’s awesome. Yeah. So yeah. And so I really have a heart for co-parenting. I have a co-parent and you know, we’re always learning and growing in that, especially through the ages of know our son who’s 15 now and in ninth grade. And so it’s yeah, I basically get to use my experience good, bad, and the ugly in helping to, you know, guide our clients through really terrible things.
Erik J. Olson (03:58):
So, yeah. It’s, it’s interesting how you, you, you both touched on that. How with family law, it it’s, it can be difficult. These are difficult situations obviously with divorce, but there’s also a, a bright side to it. Right. There’s, co-parenting how you can make that successful. There’s also giving people kind of this new lease on life. Right? Like let them out of the situation that they’re in, guide them into another situation. That’s hopefully better for them. So there there’s an awful lot of positive as well that can come from it. Yeah. Now I know with the pandemic, it seems like family all had kind of like a big boom for a while when the lockdown started. Is that still happening?
Morris Williams LLC (04:37):
Yeah, it is. And we’re still seeing the fallout, unfortunately. I mean, just like many other spheres are of what isolation has done for many people and their marriages, their children kind of an intersection though with family law, big intersection for us. So we take very seriously is mental health. Yeah. I mean, my dad’s a psychiatrist. We, we have friends who are therapists. And so personally we know the importance of taking care of our mental health and we really try to help our clients understand the importance of that too, of getting into therapy. You know, the law can only do so much. The judge can only do so much. And so we, we view that in a holistic way too. So mental health is big at our firm. We talk about it, we talk about it during consultations too, which, you know, some people may be like, oh, isn’t that too much?
No. Cause we need to know too what’s going on, especially when it comes to custody cases and sure. And all of that, but yeah. Would you say too, Leslie, we’re seeing the fallout. Yeah. I mean, the fallout continues to today. I think, you know, I’m a big proponent of the fact that like, if stuff’s emerging now, it’s probably been festering for a while anyway. Right. And so kind of to your point, Eric was that, you know, sometimes we are giving people a new lease on life. They’ve just gotten to the point where they’re like, I just don’t wanna do this anymore. And so we really believe in more of like an all person type of lawyering, which is a little different than a lot of our colleagues. We actually have a network of therapists that we refer people to. We have financial planners, we have, that’s great. Yeah. We have you know, even down to like babysitters and, you know, realtors and, and so like that’s really important to us is to be able to have like vetted individuals and professionals that can also help our clients so we can like pass them on. Yeah. So we’re not just like leaving them in the dark mm-hmm <affirmative> you know, and then we, like, like we mentioned earlier, you know, we continue to assist our clients after their cases are over. If they do have children through co-parenting coaching and that sort of thing.
Erik J. Olson (06:40):
I think that’s great. All the things that you both just said is fantastic because you know, like in, in your profession, you’re gonna get paid for legal fees, if you help people get divorced. But it sounds like there’s even a lot of discussion upfront about is this the right thing and right. Be prepared on the back end and probably a lot of extra, you know time and touches with the client, if you will basically interactions where you, you may not be able to charge fees. Right. But, but it’s the right thing to do to get these people going in the right direction. Or maybe, maybe not even send them in that direction. Right. Maybe there’s another way maybe the counseling is the way.
Morris Williams LLC (07:17):
Right. Right. Yeah. I mean, that’s true. And there are oftentimes after consultation, we’ll say to people, you really, in my opinion, don’t need us right now. But here’s when I think you will need us. So yeah. So yeah, every, every case is so different and we believe in reconciliation too. Yeah. Believe it. Divorce attorneys do believe reconciliation. It’s just when most, most people come to us, they have tried those things. They have tried therapy or Coco, you know, counseling, that kind of thing. And so we’re able to give them the legal tools when they wanna have a change. Yeah.
Erik J. Olson (07:50):
And I’m sure it’s actually quite fulfilling. If you could help someone reconcile or give them a suggestion and then, you know, it doesn’t have to go down that route. So I, I would imagine it’s a, win-win no matter what
Morris Williams LLC (08:00):
Yeah it is. And we also believe in the fact that not all cases need to go to court and we actually, which might be the antithesis to what most divorce attorneys would say is like, let’s go to court, let’s fight, let’s get all the, all the funds, but at the end of the day, and we’ll talk about this later. I’m sure. But mm-hmm <affirmative> we like referrals mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so we really don’t wanna take people’s children’s college funds away from them. They can go fight for something in court that they have maybe a 50, 50 chance of getting. Yeah. So it’s like, I’m happy if you wanna pay my law school debt. I’m totally cool with that. However, maybe we should look at all options to try to resolve this. And even if we can resolve everything through some type of like, you know, dispute resolution tools, maybe we can resolve most of it. And then we’re taking very limited things in front of the judge mm-hmm <affirmative> right.
Erik J. Olson (08:48):
Yeah. Yep. Absolutely. So referrals, you mentioned that and, and this is, you know, we’re, we’re a digital marketing agency, so we’re always interested in finding out how law firms are getting new leads, new clients, prospective clients, how they’re handling them. Can we talk about referrals first? So yeah. Referrals, I assume is a pretty big part of getting new clients referrals from existing clients.
Morris Williams LLC (09:09):
Yeah. So actually we didn’t really even start doing any type of other like paid marketing until about eight months ago. So our first like about three and a half years was just based off of referrals from our prior clients, but also referrals through our attorney partner network. We’ve been really purposeful about sitting down when we first started our business and saying like, who are these attorneys that we know that have tangentially related businesses to us? So for instance, criminal defense attorneys, mm-hmm, <affirmative> real estate attorneys, you know, all of these types of like they’re touching, but we’re not conflicting. And then being purposeful about meeting with them, getting to know them if we don’t know them first. And then the people that we do know saying like, Hey, if you get these types of people who are in need of family law attorneys, this is what we’re about.
This is what we will provide to the client. If you, if we get somebody, this is what we’d like to do. This is how we’d like them to be taken care of. Do we think this is a partnership that can work? And Eric, that has been about 80% of our our new clients has been that’s great through our referral partner network. Yeah. And we just continue to build that and build it. And then we also do marketing, you know, we got our pay per clicks and our AdWords and all of our things. And, and that just really kind of got it started recently over the past league this year. So mm-hmm <affirmative>, and we’re really seeing a lot of a lot coming in with that, but it’s pay to play. So it’s a numbers game, you know what I mean? And, and without a solid foundation in place to do that, that is impossible for a law firm to keep up with.
Erik J. Olson (10:44):
I agree. Yeah. That’s a great point. You have to have the foundation first before you start, like, you know, turning on the SPT and, and getting more cases than you would through just referrals and, and organically. So you, you mentioned paper clicks, so we’re talking about, or what Google search in particular. Yeah. Mm-hmm <affirmative> how about like Facebook, social media ads. You do. Yeah. That’s it good for you?
Morris Williams LLC (11:05):
We do that for us. It’s really also about when it comes to Instagram, having that presence, you know? Yeah. And find us, but you know, that’s not the, the way that we’re banking on that people are only gonna know about us. It is through those referrals. Like Leslie is talking about that. We’ve seen the, the clients come who, who want our services, but yeah, we’re all about the Insta. So <laugh>, we’re trying,
Erik J. Olson (11:29):
I love Instagram, although, although I’ve started to love TikTok a little bit more, to be honest,
Morris Williams LLC (11:33):
Know what, that’s our next thing. We’re not on TikTok yet, but stay tuned, Eric. We’re not on TikTok, but our assistant keeps going. I know I need you on TikTok. I’m like,
Erik J. Olson (11:40):
It’s crazy. <Laugh> we, we don’t, we don’t have a TikTok service here, but I do TikTok for myself, which is from a lot of the podcasts that we record. And it’ll, I mean, we’ll get thousands of, of views on, on every one of those videos that I post, but there’s also we have some other lawyers that post regularly on TikTok and they’ll get tens of thousands of views, crazy and thousands of likes. And I know a realtor who does it as well, and it’s, it’s constant. Like, and, and they get a lot of business from it. So TikTok seems to be really a place of interest for, for warriors. If, if you’re, if you’re in, if, if you’re okay with putting yourself in front of the camera and Instagram should be a lot like that as well, kind of the personal side, the social side. Right? Yeah.
Morris Williams LLC (12:29):
And that’s the side that we’re like, who do you mean? People wanna know that we’re real people.
Erik J. Olson (12:34):
Exactly. Yeah. <Laugh>,
Morris Williams LLC (12:35):
There’s so many attorneys they could go to. So yeah. It’s important for us that people, well, you’re, we are,
Erik J. Olson (12:41):
You’re very personable. Like you, you like to talk, right. So like you would do very well in front of the camera like this. So I, I, if, if you start a TikTok, I’ll be your first follower. How about that? Okay. All
Morris Williams LLC (12:52):
Right. To hold you to it. Yeah. We have witnesses.
Erik J. Olson (12:55):
Many witness. Yep, exactly. Yeah. This is gonna be public one day. So <laugh> well, cool. Hey, on your marketing, how are you handling that? Are you doing that inhouse? You mentioned an assistant. This he or she helping.
Morris Williams LLC (13:06):
Yeah. So our assistant does help us with some things, but with marketing, we actually have a company that helps us. Mm-Hmm
Erik J. Olson (13:12):
<Affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative> awesome.
Morris Williams LLC (13:13):Mm-Hmm <affirmative> yeah. They’re helping us with the SEOs and all that fun stuff. Yeah. But I will say, I mean, the, if I, if somebody’s starting off and wanting to hire one person and thinking about marketing, in our opinion, it’s really important to have that foundation, like Leslie said from the beginning, because you could have the calls coming in, but the foundation for us is really having somebody to feel those calls first mm-hmm, <affirmative> having a system that tracks the ROI what’s working. I mean, if you’re not tracking it, if we weren’t tracking it, we wouldn’t know what ads are working. Right. As, as you know, so it’s like, we could throw money out, but how do we even know what’s sticking? Right. Cause because sometimes, you know, we ask people when they call what our intake specialists that we have, you know, we’ll, we’ll try to ask, well, how did you hear about us? Well, everybody says Google, but was it the ad? Was it, was it Facebook that popped up people don’t always remember. I mean, I wouldn’t remember if I was, you know, experiencing a trauma of needing a family law attorney, what did I search necessarily? Mm-Hmm <affirmative> so it’s important to have that tracking mm-hmm <affirmative> to see what’s working.
Erik J. Olson (14:12):
Yeah. Yeah. Now the thing is usually that tracking requires a paid piece of software. Right. So that’s got another expense. So, but it does require an investment. So yes. And you know, you, you, you can do without tracking, but, but it’s best to know what’s really producing, especially if you’re putting a money, like it’s you mentioned it’s, it’s pay, pay to play, like in particular Google ads, you will not get a lead unless you pay Google. And if you turn it off, the leads go away. So if you’re gonna be paying for every single click, you really want to know if one ad is producing five times as many leads as the other ad, if so, guess what? You wanna shift your money over. But if you don’t have that tracking software, you’ll never know.
Morris Williams LLC (14:52):
Yeah. And I would go step further or actually not a step further, but a step back because if we start our firm and we didn’t first know who we were even going for mm-hmm <affirmative> and what kind of firm we are. I mean, we, we got real clear about our ideal client because we’re not for everybody <laugh> and we’re OK. We’re OK with we’re OK. With that there’s enough. There’s enough of attorneys in the sea, you know, like it’s fine. Like, and we actually tell our clients that we have a pretty robust consultation interview sheet that we’ve been developing over the past ever since we’ve been practicing. So, I mean, at the end of the day, you do have to get little step by step by step, the practice management program that we use actually started having a CRM program attached to it. And so we started tracking it on our own. Yeah. Just with our referrals. And so as we’re doing that, we’re like, oh, okay. And then it’s like, oh, did you know that this system does this thing? No, I had no idea. The system did this thing. Let’s use this thing this month, you know? And it’s just been such a slow role. So yeah. I think like the, the thing I’m thinking of in this conversation is it seems like this just started happening, but this has really been our entire businesses, like trajectory to right now. And now we’re, the spigot is working
Erik J. Olson (16:12):
<Laugh> yeah. There’s the, the overnight success, four years in the making.
Morris Williams LLC (16:16):
Yeah. And also add too, you know what, some people may not know about family law is it can take sometimes even a year before, you know, they come for the consultation or we found them, they found us. And then when they’re ready to get started, because sometimes people, you know, they wanna take time. They’re not in court. They can take time. Then all of a sudden, if they’re served with something, for example, it’s like, now I need you, Leslie. Yeah. Now I need you, Sarah. Yeah. And so that, I think that’s could be a little different than other areas of law, like criminal defense or PI. It’s like, I need an attorney right now. Not always in family law.
Erik J. Olson (16:47):
Right. It we’re about to go over on time. Do you have a few more minutes? Yeah.
Okay. I just wanted make sure that we’re, you don’t have a hard stop. It, it is interesting that you said that because that happens a lot with us as well. Like we’ll, we’ll talk to a, a law firm and they’re like, no, we’re good. We’re good. We’re and then three months later, I’ll get an email. Hey, we’re ready to talk. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And so what’s interesting as a marketer is that they may, when, when that happens, it’s kind of almost luck that they remember you because so much has happened in their lives, in the world, in the last, say three months between when you last talked to them and when they finally reach out. And that’s why it’s important. I think, to, to remind people that you exist. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so things like an email newsletter and not abusing it, you don’t wanna send like an email every day, unless you advertise that front.
But like, you know, just keep them, keep yourself in their minds or social media, like Instagram or TikTok. Right. If, if every time I open up TikTok or every fifth time I open up TikTok, I see someone that I’m thinking about maybe one day doing a deal with them. That helps remind me that they’re still there. Cause I’ll, I’ll forget. And people I’m guessing other people are like me as well. They’ll forget. Yeah. Do you have any systems in place for like dripping emails or reminding people who have reached out for a consultation, but they didn’t actually pull the trigger. Do you have any systems in place to remind them that you exist and to maybe one day help them remember to come around?
Morris Williams LLC (18:14):
We do right now for people that have found us that have had consultations and we’re slowly building up to then the six months later year later, that kind of thing with our CRM mm-hmm <affirmative> system that Leslie mentioned. So it’s really a direct call straight from our assistant. Yeah. She keeps herself on a schedule. I see. And then she calls mm-hmm <affirmative> and she’s the one, because it’s that personal touch that we really feel like that’s kind of us period. Yeah. <laugh> so, and you know, I think the rub for us is okay, the bigger we get, how do we make this scalable? Right. And so that’s always the conversation that’s being had from like quarter to quarter, year to year is how do we continue to make sure that we are taking care of our clients in a way that feels good to us and for us, and is representative of us. But also knowing that, you know, we’re doing something wrong. If in five more years, it’s Sarah and Leslie doing everything that’s right. You know what I mean? So it’s like, right.
Erik J. Olson (19:07):
Well, and, and that’s, that’s, what’s really smart about the way that you’ve built your firm. So far, my opinion is that in the beginning, what you had was your reputation and your network and you leveraged that, right? So you got clients and then you leveraged that to get a bigger network and to get referrals. But at some point you kind of start to like tap that out. Right? You can only reach your, if you, if you’re only going after your network, it can only get really so big unless you do something else, like scaling it on social media or by driving more people into your network intentionally versus you just bumping into them or a client. Who’s happy with your services from a previous engagement remembers to refer you. And, and some, some clients may never even get an opportunity to provide you referral. Cause they never have a friend that needs this.
Morris Williams LLC (19:52):
Right. People joke to us too. They’re like, huh, thanks for, you know, I’m glad you have a business. Thanks for your social media, your blogs. But I hope I never need you. And I hope I never have a friend that needs you like may, because you know, it can be a sensitive subject talking about family law. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and the kinds of clients and cases we serve. Yeah. But you know, but we also expand our social network too. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> our professional social network. So like Sarah is in a BNI chapter that is like very robust here in Norfolk. And like, I am in our Hampton roads chamber of commerce lead 7 57 program, which is really cool. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> we both like to volunteer, like we love this. Yeah. And that’s definitely opened up different spheres, not just boring attorneys, you know, other people and business owners. Yeah. And you know, so that’s yeah. That’s been really good. Yeah. Mm-hmm
Erik J. Olson (20:40):
<Affirmative> Kevin just went Kevin, my business partner, Kevin Daisy. He just went to a BNI meeting in Norfolk like a week ago. Did you bump into him,
Morris Williams LLC (20:49):
Sarah? Oh my gosh. You know what the name sounds familiar. It was a large group. Now I’m trying, I have to think about, I need to look at my roster to see was that when you did the, the speech wasn’t that the last was he, was it live or was he on?
Erik J. Olson (21:02):
It was live. It was last week. Oh, let me now, now we’re now we’re way off track
Morris Williams LLC (21:08):
We’re we were on zoom last week. So I’m wondering if it was a different chapter. Yeah, it might have been. Cause yeah, we, we meet live well live. This is person on the first Wednesday
Erik J. Olson (21:18):
Of event, this is zoom here.
Morris Williams LLC (21:20):
Erik J. Olson (21:21):
You can see that.
Morris Williams LLC (21:22):
Yeah. Okay. I’ll check my roster again. It may have been a different group. <Laugh> well, obviously, you know? Yeah. It’s a great, there are great chapters and you, and it’s, it’s made up of business owners that I would never have met mm-hmm <affirmative> cause I’m just not in their orbit. They’re not in
Erik J. Olson (21:39):
Mind. That’s right. Well, you, you kind of have to put yourself out there. Right. And, and a lot of times we’re running businesses. We, you know, we don’t have time. We got other obligations, but it really, it seems like it kind of needs to be a part of the job. And especially now that the world is by the way, for anyone who’s listening to Washington watching now the published date is gonna be several months after the recording day. So we’re recording this in the middle of May, 2020, but the, the economy is just really starting to open back up after the pandemic. People are starting to get back out. But I think it’s a really good opportunity for people now to get back out versus really wait for this whole coronavirus thing to pass, because there’s an opportunity. A lot of people are still hunkered down. They may not be going to in person events. If you do that, if you’re, you know, if you’re concerned about the risk and are willing to take the risk, then it’s actually, in my opinion, a competitive advantage to get out into the world now versus waiting till later.
Morris Williams LLC (22:37):
Yeah. The real world. Yeah. And
Erik J. Olson (22:39):
The real world
Morris Williams LLC (22:40):
About it. I mean, we purposefully, you know, you, you said we have to be purposeful about having connections like this, Sarah and I did not want to make that a thing. I mean, it’s very difficult to find that balance, but you just put it in your schedule and do it. And it’s like, it’s, if it’s important, you’ll make time for it. So every week we be purposeful with one hour a week that we’re actually meeting with another business owner or another referral partner. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> so
Erik J. Olson (23:04):
Morris Williams LLC (23:05):
Erik J. Olson (23:06):
That’s great. When it comes to your marketing, what is something that’s working better than you maybe would’ve expected it to right now?
Morris Williams LLC (23:13):
Hmm. I would think it was just the Google AdWord. Yeah. But it’s a numbers game. It is a numbers game. I would say that. And a new hire that, you know, is related point that we had made a couple months ago for, to have an intake specialist. Nice. Working out great. When you find the right person, we call it the right person in the right seat. Right. Traction retraction. <Laugh>, it’s pretty dense
Erik J. Olson (23:36):
Back there somewhere. There’s
Morris Williams LLC (23:37):
Not there. We’re still getting through it, you know?
Erik J. Olson (23:40):
And I dunno where it’s,
Morris Williams LLC (23:42):
But yeah, it makes such a difference to have that as part of the foundation, a person, you know, not every business can have this right now, but to have somebody who’s committed to taking those referrals through the whole pipeline, we call it, you know, our, in our CRM. Yeah. but yeah,
Erik J. Olson (23:58):
Google, you you’ve mentioned your CRM a couple of times. Do you mind sharing which CRM it is?
Morris Williams LLC (24:03):
We actually use Cleo grow. That’s part of our Cleo managed practice management software. It’s just easy at this point and we don’t need anything too robust, but you know, when we start tapping out on the ability to utilize its total package, then we’ll look into something new, but for now it works and we get a discount. And so, you know, we look it over. There you
Erik J. Olson (24:25):
Go. <Laugh> yeah. We love the discount. No, it’s great. It’s just, obviously it’s a world class tool and it’s, it’s used very widely mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. So, so I asked you what’s working. What, on, on the, on the converse, what, what’s not really working as well as you thought, maybe it, it should, or something maybe that you stopped doing a little while ago.
Morris Williams LLC (24:45):
Well, there was a magazine that we paid a lot of money for, to be in for a whole year. And it’s a great local magazine. However, how many people did we get from that? Leslie, we didn’t even get one phone call, which is really funny because somebody actually found us in there for something we didn’t pay for and was a fabulous client. Yeah. And so we were like, let yeah, sure. Why not? We’ll pay, we’ll pay for a year, not 1 cent, but you know what
Erik J. Olson (25:10):
Live and learn, live
Morris Williams LLC (25:13):
Erik J. Olson (25:14):
I I, I have a similar experience where I, I aadvertised in a local business magazine for a year and a journal and it, it cost, you know, a decent chunk of change over $10,000 for the whole year. And I, I, I got one person, one person mentioned it to me and it was someone that I already knew who was that they weren’t gonna become a client. And, and that was it. No one else even mentioned it to me. And so it was incredibly discouraging. I’ve also had that experience with just newspapers in general. So and at least locally, I mean, I’m a subscribe of the newspaper in a long, long time, but locally we have the main newspaper for the entire region and then there’s inserts for the individual cities. And I had a little bit of success with the ad and the insert for the city. So I thought, let me put an ad into the regional newspaper. It’ll go to the entire region and nothing crickets. Yeah. So it, yeah. It’s you have to be like, I, I think when it comes to publications, I, I think there is a place. Yeah. For print, if it’s very specific mm-hmm <affirmative> like incredibly niched, then, then it can make a whole lot of sense.
Morris Williams LLC (26:28):
Yeah. It didn’t make much sense for us in the long run, but, and you know, we were, yeah. We were like you, I think we spent like $5,000 over a year, which was a lot of money when it’s just the two of us. And it’s like, it was the first time we did anything with marketing where we paid. So we were like,
Erik J. Olson (26:42):
Morris Williams LLC (26:44):
We thought to ourselves, like at the end of the day, you know what, it’s fine. Now we let learn. Now we won’t use this. And that doesn’t mean we still can’t leverage other things through those publications, but very specifically, like you said, so mm-hmm <affirmative> but yeah, we find difference. Not,
Erik J. Olson (26:59):
Yeah. Live, learn
Morris Williams LLC (27:00):
For us, not for us. I mean, all of our friends saw it and then would like, they’re like table take pictures and text it to us. You’re in the magazine. And I’m like, OK, this is the wrong demographic. If we’re getting all of our friends
Erik J. Olson (27:13):
<Laugh>. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. It could be like that on social media sometimes too, where your friends see? And you’re like, okay, that’s, that’s cool. I’m glad you saw me, but I want my phone to ring. <Laugh> right.
Morris Williams LLC (27:23):
Click on the ads I’m paying for those. Yeah.
Erik J. Olson (27:26):
<Laugh> don’t don’t click on those. Do me a favor. OK. <laugh>
Morris Williams LLC (27:30):
We call that though. Going off, don’t go after the shiny object. Right. And sometimes you don’t know what the shiny object is until you try it. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, you know, it’s
Erik J. Olson (27:36):
Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. Yeah. And you know, that’s a good point. I think if you do try, like, we were talking about TikTok before, I think if you’re gonna do something like that, then you really need to have a plan. Yeah. And, and you need to understand where you’re about to get into. So like, let’s say you’re any of us, anyone listening was thinking about starting TikTok, like you have to have some sort of commitment. You have to know, like I’m gonna, we had, we had talked about like the in person meetings, right? You said one hour a week, like you made a commitment. We’re gonna spend one hour a week getting in front of other business owners and other people in the community. You have a plan. E even if it’s not written down, you have a plan on how you gonna execute. So any kind of shiny new object, you probably wanna watch it for a little while. Yeah. Come up with a plan. When are we gonna make this content? If it’s social media, are we really willing to put our faces and our voices out there for everyone to see?
Morris Williams LLC (28:25):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because we did that for a while. Like we started doing videos during COVID cuz we’re like, well, we have some time we’re bored and we have time let’s do it. And we were pretty consistent with it. And then when everything kind of opened that back up a little bit in 21, like after summer of 21, we realized like we weren’t able to be as consistent. And so now, you know, with the urging of our assistant, she’s like, we need to like get this back up and running and we’re like, but we need to do this in a way that we can keep up with it. Yeah. Cause like I can’t take five hours to do three hours worth of video right now. Like I can’t do that. So, so yes. Having a plan. I agree.
Erik J. Olson (29:06):
Great. Yeah. Making a plans. What are your growth plans for the next few years?
Morris Williams LLC (29:11):
Oh, growth plan. So we actually have our 2022 plans that we did in December of last year were hire an intake specialist in Q1. So we that’s done. Hmm. And then by the end of the year, we wanna have a paralegal for the both of us and then in an office manager and we’re looking to potentially add a new attorney. So
Erik J. Olson (29:36):
That’s fantastic. Mm-Hmm
Morris Williams LLC (29:37):
<Affirmative>, that’s what we’re hoping
Erik J. Olson (29:38):
For now. Are, are you going to outgrow your office?
Morris Williams LLC (29:42):
I don’t think so, but here’s what I know Sarah and Leslie can get another office at a Regis center in downtown Norfolk for not very much. So if we gotta surrender our office for all of our staff members, we’re, that’s
Erik J. Olson (29:54):
Morris Williams LLC (29:57):
For that. Yeah. There’s a model.
Erik J. Olson (29:59):
That’s right. That’s right.
Morris Williams LLC (30:00):
Well, and that’s with COVID too. I mean, we’ve learned, I think most businesses have the beauty of bobbing and weaving. We call it with technology. I mean, most people realize for their jobs, they don’t have to be in the office every single hour for the day. Right. and so if we trust our employees to do their job, then we want that ability too. Yeah. For them to be working virtual when they’re able to, when it’s fit. Yeah. Unless we’re doing trial prep, I’m like, I need you here. <Laugh> I need help with my trial binder. Yeah. I mean, we have enough offices to put two more Bo two, three, potentially three more bodies in the firm. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> but again, you know, we still wanna be conscientious to the fact that like C’s still a thing mm-hmm <affirmative>. Yeah. And again, to be conscientious to the fact that we don’t have to do that, like, you don’t need to be here. I mean, your assistant is completely remote mm-hmm <affirmative> we just have to be purposeful about how we do that. And so, you know, we continually learn from other business owners and through podcasts and books on how to continue to build a culture. Even if people aren’t in the building.
Erik J. Olson (31:05):
Morris Williams LLC (31:07):
<Affirmative> cause when done, right. It can feel like that person, team member is literally with you. I mean, we’re very purposeful about meetings. We call them, you know, morning and afternoon roundups mm-hmm <affirmative> nice. And yeah. We may have to make a trip to El Salvador soon to yeah. That’s where our assistant CELA she’ll be going on our website soon. She’s she’s
Erik J. Olson (31:25):
Sounds like a business expense to me. Yeah. Fantastic. Well, I, I appreciate your time. This has been very educational and fun, frankly. Thank you. If someone would like to reach out to you if they have questions, if they have a case for you, a referral, what is a good way for them to get in touch with you?
Morris Williams LLC (31:44):
Yeah. So we have our firstname.lastname@example.org. They can click a form with their information, to schedule a consultation. They can call us our intake specialist, Daniela at 7 5 7 2 2 6 9 4 2 5. Or we are also on Instagram, like we said, at Moore Williams, family law,
Erik J. Olson (32:04):
And, and to soon
Morris Williams LLC (32:06):
Talk soon, potentially talk soon, stay tuned.
Erik J. Olson (32:09):
Doesn’t take an Uber. All right. That was, that was a lot of fun. I appreciate your time. All right, everybody, if you would like to see other fun and educational podcast episodes like this, gotta find our entire backlog at thisisarray.com/podcast/. Every one of our episodes is tagged by the practice area of the law firm that we’re discussing and also by the state. So you can really drill it on to find exactly what you’re looking for. And if you’re looking for digital marketing for your law firm, check out my company, thisisarray.com. We specialize in websites, SEO, digital ads and social media. Leslie and Sarah. Thanks so much.
Morris Williams LLC (32:49):
Thank you, Eric. Have a great day. Hold on.