THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 138
Interview on 11.09.2021

Hosted By
Erik J. Olson

Featuring Attorney

Allen Tittle



Managing Partner of
Tittle & Perlmuter

About Allen Tittle

Allen Tittle is the Managing Partner at Tittle & Perlmuter in Ohio.

Allen practices exclusively in the area of personal injury with an emphasis on medical malpractice and nursing home neglect state-wide. He has quickly risen through the ranks to be recognized as one of Ohio’s leading personal injury lawyers by services such as Super Lawyers, where he has been chosen to their Rising Stars list for 6 consecutive years, The National Trial Lawyers organization, where he has been named to their 40 under 40 list, and the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocate’s Forum, where membership is exclusive to only those attorneys who have received multi-million dollar results on behalf of their clients.

Learn from his expertise and what trends are helping grow his firm on this episode of The Managing Partners Podcast!

Watch the Episode

Episode Transcript

Eric J. Olson:
Hey everybody. It is Eric J. Olson with another live episode of The Managing Partners’ podcast. On this podcast, we interview America’s top managing partners to find out what they’re doing to grow their firms and to keep their case pipeline full. And today I have the pleasure of hosting Allen Tittle. Hey Allen, how you doing?

Allen Tittle:
Doing fine, Eric. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

Eric J. Olson:
Well, thanks for making the time. Let me tell the audience a little bit about you. The Tittle & Perlmuter law firm focuses on medical malpractice, catastrophic personal injury, nursing home neglect, and wage an hour litigation. Offices are in Cleveland. How do you say this next city?

Allen Tittle:
Elyria.

Eric J. Olson:
Elyria. I wasn’t prepared for that.

Allen Tittle:
Beautiful. Elyria, Ohio.

Eric J. Olson:
Sandusky and Chardon.

Allen Tittle:
Chardon. You got it.

Eric J. Olson:
I like to practise these before. I should have definitely walked through the pronunciation of those city names.

Allen Tittle:
I want to keep you on your toes.

Eric J. Olson:
I appreciate it, man.

Allen Tittle:
Yeah.

Eric J. Olson:
I always make it exciting. All right. And you guys have three attorneys. I was looking at your website before and we were talking about this before we went live. Incredibly impressive website, always really, really nice. I’m surprised to read that you have three attorneys. I would’ve guessed much more, but please tell us a little bit more about you, how you got started and your firm.

Allen Tittle:
So, I started the firm in July of 2015. By myself. I didn’t have a pod to do you know what in, but I had a couple cases and I had a passion and I thought I was a pretty good lawyer. So, took the plunge. I shortly thereafter convinced my law partner, Scott, to jump ship from a firm that he was at. And that’s sort of how we got started. I like to think of our firm as sort of like we’re big game hunters, meaning we don’t want the soft tissue car crash case. What we’re well known for is the significant wrongful death, the paralysis case. And so that’s why we only have three attorneys is because the whole goal is to focus on those catastrophic cases. That’s our bread and butter. And my partner, Scott, he does a lot of what we call wage an hour collective actions or class actions, which is you don’t get paid your overtime like you should, they dock your pay for lunch breaks, even though you’re not taking a lunch break and those cases can be very significant. So that’s really where we focus, focus our attention.

Eric J. Olson:
Very cool. Now, you started in 2015, correct? And I’m guessing it took you a little while to figure out your niche even within PI. Is that a decent assumption that it took some time to get to where you’re at now?

Allen Tittle:
Oh, absolutely. When I started out, I knew the niche, but I started on the third floor of a shared office space and a little office by myself. It was known around, I was paying 500 bucks a month. Maybe it was 300. I can’t even remember now, but it was next to nothing because that’s all I could afford. And I knew that what I wanted to focus on were the larger, more catastrophic cases, but I need to do that in the beginning. So there’s no doubt about it, I was taking any type of PI case that came through the door, but you know the beauty of growth and success is you can be more selective in the cases that you choose. So, as we got more successful, obviously our case selection criteria got a little more precise and that’s how we got to where we are today.

Eric J. Olson:
That’s interesting. It seems like a lot of lawyers and even just business people in general, go through that same nicheing analysis. Did you find it challenging at first when you decided to narrow in to these kinds of PI cases?

Allen Tittle:
Yeah. I mean the biggest issue is funding the cases. So, in a single medical malpractice case, you’re looking at a hundred grand in case expenses and no one’s funding these cases for me. And so we had to self-fund them. And the only way you get funding is by successfully litigating cases that you had before. So in the very beginning, no doubt about it, it was tough to make ends meet while funding the cases properly. Because if you cheap out on cases, you’re not going to be successful anyways. So that was a real battle early on, but the beauty of growth and success is then that becomes an afterthought.

Eric J. Olson:
Yeah. We talked a little bit beforehand about some other folks that you consult with as far as other lawyers, masterminds, things like that. Did they contribute to this journey that you’ve been on as far as finding the niche and how to fund and things like that?

Allen Tittle:
Yeah, absolutely. You know, there are some businesses out there that do loans to help fund cases, but to be blunt, I felt uncomfortable doing that. Just because I wanted to make sure that my clients didn’t have to pay some huge interest rate. But I think the most difficult part of growth that I did not expect that the mastermind helped most with was hiring and firing and then also management of staff. And, I don’t know if you can tell yet, but I could be an intense person and I can also be pretty direct. Sometimes that doesn’t mesh too well with staff. And that’s still something I’m really struggling with. And, the hiring process in the very beginning, I would just be hiring on gut instinct and it would backfire almost every time. And so now we have a full process – there’s three to four steps to it. And I truly believe in the old adage “fire fast, higher, slow”. I’m still not firing fast enough, but we are higher and slow enough. And every time we do it right, it’s a lot better for us. That’s for sure.

Eric J. Olson:
Yeah. I’m with on the same kinds of issues, very direct, to the point and sometimes it can hurt feelings. And so as you know, a managing partner, as you know, in my case, the CEO of a digital marketing agency, it’s one of those things you need to think about before you start talking to people, right? Some folks you can, like your partner, probably.

Allen Tittle:
Right.

Eric J. Olson:
You guys are very direct each other, but the rest of the staff, different rules of engagement. I’m interested… You mentioned funding these cases and it’s interesting because in your line of work PI personal injury, however this came about over history, you don’t get paid until the very end. Whereas in other practice areas you get paid along the way. So you’re funding these cases. I think you mentioned like a hundred thousand dollar case or more that’s coming out of your pocket, either with your time or you’re paying people to do it, probably a combination of both. But then you also have to go get new clients and certainly in personal injury, there’s usually a lot of advertising that goes along with that. Is that the way that you have gone about getting the clients for your business?

Allen Tittle:
It’s a combination of internet marketing combined with just relationship building. And so, in a perfect world, everyone would be able to throw up a website and get every case they ever wanted. But in reality, it doesn’t work that way. And if you put all your eggs in one basket, it’s not going to work out either. And so we’ve really taken an approach of, we need the internet and we need relationships. And so I’m happy to discuss the approach we’ve taken with that relationship building and those co-councils that we have. But also I’m happy to dive deeper into the digital marketing as well.

Eric J. Olson:
Both please.

Allen Tittle:
All right. So relationship building, obviously, it comes down to just meeting and talking to people and going to lunch. But I would stress for everyone, take a look at where your cases are coming from. And what I mean by that is this… They’re coming from lawyers. Well, what type of lawyers? How old are they? What’s their sex? What are their interests? And really take a deep dive and then come up with what I consider personas. So, a lot of times in marketing here about your ideal clients and boy, I was beating my head against the wall because anyone could be a victim of medical malpractice. Anyone could be driving down the road and get hit by a semi truck. So, how do I figure that out? And then it dawned on me that my ideal client isn’t the client so much, it’s the referring lawyer.

Allen Tittle:
And so what I did was, I took a look at where exactly those cases are coming from in deep detail. Going forward, we’re going to create content directed specifically towards that type of person. And so without getting too deep in the details, my best referral partners are estate lawyers. And then also general PI lawyers who may just do, say, car crashes, but they don’t do medical malpractice. Those are perfect partners for me. They will send me their malpractice work and maybe there’s a soft tissue auto case that I don’t want just because I don’t have the staff to work it up, and I can send you them. So, in terms of relationship building, take a deep dive and see where your cases are actually coming from. On top of that, you got to give them the tools. You got to give them the tools and know what kind of cases you want.

Allen Tittle:
So I stole this idea from somebody, but essentially, create what we’re in the process of doing is creating what I consider a sales sheet. So, it’s laminated, it’s hard. Here are the cases that we want. And these are the type of scenarios to look for these cases. Hopefully they keep it on their desk, they get a call. It’s one of those types of cases. They immediately call us. On top of that, I think it’s important to obviously be active. One thing that’s interesting is it’s not only active in the local bar associations and things like that, but social media leads to professional referrals. And so, a lot of folks here say, well, I just don’t know how to put staff on social media marketing. Well, they gave me a call and they said, they’re from X, Y, and Z, not LinkedIn or Facebook, but what you don’t realize is the effect on social has with your referral partners. So, it’s all about being top of mind and the way you can be top of mind is through social media.

Eric J. Olson:
That’s great. Yeah, you asked it right. And a lot of times, no one has time for social media. We’re all busy running businesses or our own practice areas. And if you don’t have time, then you need to find some help, in my opinion. But I agree with social media. I’m looking at your Instagram right now. It appears to be quite active. A lot of plays on your videos. Now, this is great. And, you mentioned quite a few things that it’s difficult to learn from experience only, as far as things like identifying your avatar, the ideal prospect, what do they look like? And getting down to the details. Man or woman? What’s the age? What are their activities? That’s hard to do. It’s very hard to do for most businesses.

Eric J. Olson:
We’ve gone through the exercise here and we’re a marketing agency and we started off the same way as you. I don’t know, it could be anybody because you have such varied clients, but some of them are ideal and others are not. So, focusing on the ideal ones really, really smart. I like that a lot. So, I could definitely tell you put in the effort. So, you mentioned several great things about relationship marketing, digital marketing, social media in particular. How about something that hasn’t quite worked out well for you when it comes to marketing your business?

Allen Tittle:
Yeah, so I’m kind of embarrassed to mention this. I’m going to do it anyways. So, my partner does wage an hour cases and one area that’s really, a good line of cases to get, if you can get, is misclassification cases relating to strippers. So strip club cases. And so, a few years ago we created this Facebook ad and we were going to target the area where the clubs are, gentleman clubs, and we didn’t really think it through, boy, what effect is this ad going to have just on normal people. And so we had this Facebook ad, it was a dancer who was on a pole and neon lights. And I swear to you, I had it up for about 10 minutes. And then my wife looked at it and was like, what are you doing?

Allen Tittle:
What is this? And I immediately thought to myself, yeah, this probably isn’t a good idea. So it was a terrible idea, but everyone makes mistakes. And before you put up any ad, you should probably ask, what does your significant other think about this ad and what will that effect have at home. But especially in social, you got to be thinking about, what are all the different angles that people are going to think about this? And, it’s a lot more difficult to think about because here we are, we have this targeted ad, a specific group that we wanted to target that are really getting hurt financially because owners are swindling them out of overtime or out of pay that they should have or misclassifying them as independent contractors when they’re in fact employees. So, moral of the story, be careful what you put out there.

Eric J. Olson:
Yeah. I appreciate you sharing the story. First of all, thank you, because I know that some of these mistakes that we all make, like “do I really want to share this?” But it’s a good learning opportunity for everybody. And I think that the moral of the story, maybe, is certainly be careful about what you post. But also, even if you determine, in retrospect, that it’s a mistake, it’s not catastrophic, right? You took it down in 10 minutes or 15 minutes and only a few people, big deal. It’s not the worst case scenario of it’s going to destroy your company. And so I’m a firm believer that knowing your niche, having a strategy and experimenting within that makes a lot of sense. And the worst case, you just reverse course. It’s not going to hurt you that bad. So, not that big of a deal, and by the way, I’ve done much worse than that. So I’ll share that after right. Rerecord. Well, cool. What are your growth plans for the next couple of years?

Allen Tittle:
So, I know most lawyers have heard of John Morgan, managing partner of Morgan and Morgan. And he has a saying that says either grow or die. And I firmly believe that. Now, growth can be defined many different ways, but we need to keep growing. And so, we need to grow, obviously, monetarily, we got to make more money. Not to put it in my pockets, but that means we’re helping more people, right? The more settlement, the more jury verdicts that we get, more people we’re helping. So that’s number one, help more people. Number two, we need to keep growing personnel. So, right now, for the very first time I’m hiring an executive assistant. I’ve never had one – kind of nervous to give up control – but he or she is going to be doing things, since she is answering email. I never want to look at an email again. I hate email. So in the short term, we need to figure out how to free up my time, Scott’s time, my law partner, but then in terms of growth, we need to help more people. And then also, we need to add another office the next five years. There’s no doubt about it. We’re going to do that. We sort of already had a plan figured out where, but that’s our plan.

Eric J. Olson:
That’s awesome. I love the concept of growth because it creates, hopefully, endless opportunities for all of your stakeholders. Whether it’s you, your partner, your staff, your families, your clients. We believe in that as well. So, growth just for the sake of growth, no. Growth for the sake of creating those opportunities for everybody.

Allen Tittle:
Yeah. I firmly believe in every case that we handle, we change something for the positive. So if it’s a malpractice case, there’s going to be a new policy that’s put in place to prevent that from happening again. If it’s a nursing home case, hopefully next time around, they got more staff. If it’s a wage an hour case, their pay practices are going to change because they don’t want to get hit again with another collective action or class action. So every case that we handle, it makes a positive change in society. And I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else because I can firmly go home at night knowing I’m making a difference. And I don’t know if I was some other type of lawyer getting hired by insurance companies, I know I wouldn’t be able to say that.

Eric J. Olson:
I love it. This has been really good Allen, I appreciate your time. If someone would like to reach out to you or even just check out what you’ve done online and your social media, what’s a good way to get in touch with you.

Allen Tittle:
Website is probably the easiest tittlelawfirm.com or shoot me an email, even though I hate email. Hopefully someone’s going to be telling me about your email and reading it for me. tittle@tittlelawfirm.com is my personal email as well.

Eric J. Olson:
Excellent. All right, thanks again, so much. So, all right, everybody, if you would like to check out the rest of our episodes, we have a full backlog over a hundred and twenty, thirty, forty, something like that. A lot of episodes. Organized not only by practice area, but by state. You can really drill down and find the episodes that you think will be interesting for you. Those are at arraylaw.com/podcast. And, if you are looking for social media help or website SEO or advertising, you can check out my company’s website. My company is Array Digital and we are at arraylaw.com. Alright, Allen, once again, I appreciate it.

Allen Tittle:
Thanks Eric. Take care.

Eric J. Olson:
Bye

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