THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 145
Interview on 12.03.2021

Hosted By
Kevin Daisey

Featuring Attorney

Kimberly Benjamin



Managing Partner of
Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center - Missouri Accident & Injury Law Center

About Kimberly Benjamin

Kimberly Benjamin is the Managing Partner at Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center in Kansas City and Belton, Missouri.

Kim is known among her peers as an expert DWI and criminal defense lawyer and a spectacular trial lawyer who obtains unbelievable results for her clients. She quickly learned the truth as a public defender in Kansas City, Missouri, where she came to be known as a zealous fighter for her clients in and out of the courtroom. She attended TLC as a young lawyer in 2000, and joined the faculty at TLC in 2008, where she regularly teaches other lawyers how to win trials.

The criminal defense law firm was named in the top 30 out of 355 criminal defense law firms in the Kansas City metropolitan area by Expertise.com and she has personally been named as a SuperLawyer in 2020 and 2021. In addition, she has received awards for her exceptional trial work on behalf of clients, including MACDL’s prestigious Atticus Finch Award and the Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s the Women’s Justice Award for litigation.

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

Watch the Episode

Episode Transcript

Kevin Daisey:
All right, we are live. Welcome to another live recording of the Managing Partners Podcast. I’m Kevin Daisey your host, also the founder of Array Digital, where we exist to help law firms grow their case pipeline, using digital marketing. Today I’ve got a special guest, Kim Benjamin coming on to the show. Thanks for joining me today.

Kim Benjamin:
Hi, thank you for having me, Kevin.

Kevin Daisey:
Yeah, so we had a couple technical issues coming on the show today, but we got that figured out, always fun in this environment with all the technology we got going on, seems to be the new norm. But so Kim, thanks for joining me and you’re coming out of Kansas City, Missouri.

Kim Benjamin:
That’s right. I’m downtown Kansas City as we speak.

Kevin Daisey:
Excellent. So thanks for joining me from there and just excited to really learn more about your story. I was able to check out your website, see what you’re about, see what you guys are up to and what you focus on, but for the audience who really want to capture your story and hear from you. You know, what kind of triggered you to become an attorney. And what was that journey like as far as, getting where you are today?

Kim Benjamin:
Well, unlike many, my journey is interesting in the sense that when I started, I did not know I wanted to be a lawyer. I did not know I was going to go to Law School. I actually was in College and thought I was going to be an Accountant and I started not liking Accounting. And I was in Speech Communication and Political Science, and really getting a job with those Degrees is not easy. So I decided what the heck I’m going to go to Law School. And to be honest, it sounded fun for me. For some reason, my parents said I argued all the time. I liked the TV Shows about Lawyers, but I didn’t know any Lawyers at all. I had no connections to a Lawyer, so I applied to Law School.

Kevin Daisey:
Awesome. I mean, whatever works for you, right. So I think I like hearing all the different stories and what led people to making that decision. And quick question is, I wonder you went, you were thinking about going to school for Accounting or you were going to school for Accounting you said?

Kim Benjamin:
That’s right.

Kevin Daisey:
How, I guess how beneficial was that when you started your own firm? Because when you become an Attorney for yourself, you’re also a Business Owner, right?

Kim Benjamin:
Yeah. I didn’t have enough Business or Finance or Marketing background. I only had Accounting background and I had been a Bookkeeper for a friend of mine who owned their own business. So I guess in the sense that keeping track of the numbers didn’t scare me, inputting the information in QuickBooks, oh Gosh, when I started, it was green paper. Having the task didn’t bother me or stress me out, but otherwise it really didn’t give me a lot of information on how to run a business. That’s for sure.

Kevin Daisey:
Yeah and that’s a very, that’s a trend I’ve not brought, no one’s been on this show with me at least. And we’ve had 140, 150, I think Attorneys Managing Partners this year. That’s the biggest turnout thing I see. We weren’t taught how to run a business. We were taught about the Law and so a lot of people are just thrown out there and, and most that I’ve talked to and probably for yourself too, is you wanted to practice Law. You know, you wanted to do that and become a Business owner, before you know it you’re like, okay, there’s all these other things that I have to be able do too. So

Kim Benjamin:
Right, that’s exactly what happened, I wanted to be a Lawyer. I wanted to be a Trial Lawyer. While in Law School, I took a Trial Advocacy Class and that’s what sparked me to end up becoming a Public Defender. I wanted to be in the courtroom, trying cases, talking to juries. So I did that for six years. And then I decided to go out on my own, because in Missouri public defenders don’t make much money at all, and they’re government employees. So it’s even worse. There’s just no opportunity for growth. It’s not like it’s a contract, in some States, they have a contract. And so they get the experience, but they’re in private practice. No, we here have a Government agency for the public defender, but anyway, I got all my experience. I took every skill I could and then moved forward into owning my own business.

Kevin Daisey:
Excellent. Yeah. So the thing is it got you the experience and I like hearing the stories of some people like they interned somewhere, they went and did some work that they didn’t want to do to, to eventually kind of get to where they want to be and get that experience. And then they can decide, you can decide where you want to go and where you want to be. So [crosstalk 00:05:00] exactly love it. So you wanted to pave your own path, or I guess “hang your own shingle” as they say. When you came out so you were probably doing a lot of what you do now when you were working for the state?

Kim Benjamin:
As far as Criminal defense and DWI defense, yes. As a Public Defender mainly big cases, the murder, the sex, crimes, the drugs, and in Private Practice, more so the DWIs.

Kevin Daisey:
Got you, okay excellent. So, basically you took that same experience you had and wanted to apply it, so [crosstalk 00:05:39] right. When was it when you decided, how long is your current firm? How long have you been practicing private?

Kim Benjamin:
Right, I graduated law school in 96 and it was 2002 when I opened up my own business and it was just me. And then eventually it was me and a part-time Receptionist. And through the years I’ve grown and changed. For example, back when we first started, it was me and two other lawyers eventually who did Family Law did Personal Injury, did whatever kind of case, really a General Practice, but those three main areas: Personal Injury, DWI and Criminal defense and Family Law. Ultimately those two lawyers went elsewhere. One became a Judge, one opened their own practice and I decided to niche down and focus all of it on Criminal and DWI defense own and to not have any other practice areas that we do. And in [fact 00:06:42] , just this year I opened a second Law Firm so that I could do another area of law that I want to do, but then I don’t water down my brand.

Kevin Daisey:
I love that. I love that. I love that. And here’s the website below, if you’re, if you’re watching, if you’re listening is dwicriminallawcenter.com and then she has the other website too, which I’ll pull that up in a second so I can share that too. But yeah I think nicheing makes everything easier. Your messaging, search engine anonymization advertise. I mean, everything just becomes easier and you’re talking to the right potential customer and so right. Everything gets so much easier. And, and then if you’re going to do other practice areas, instead of just being this conglomerate law firm that does everything, I like how you took the approach of just starting a different brand technically, and being able to be very specific to those individuals that need your help.

Kim Benjamin:
That’s exactly right. Because the more I build the Criminal Law Firm up, I can take less of a role in it and have more of a role in the other because my passion is just being a Trial Lawyer. I love being a Trial Lawyer, but I also have a passion running the business. So I want to do a little bit of both, mostly run the businesses and also still get to try cases. And so the civil cases that I enjoy so much is why I opened up the second Law Firm. Because I didn’t want to step away from being in front of a Jury on a civil case.

Kevin Daisey:
So Kim wanted to have her cake and eat it too. And she figured out a way to do it. So write that down. I started out as a General Marketing company website company, because that’s what we do. We’re just digital marketing. And we, we now only work with law firms. So we niched and that’s all we do. And It took us a while to get there. And we started as, more of a General Practice if you will. And that’s been all the difference in the world to talk to a specific client, understand their business inside and out and be able to focus on that. So, and our goal really honestly, is if there’re other areas that we want to focus on, that they are completely separate agencies with completely different brands. And that’s kind of our growth model here is very similar to what you’re doing. So [crosstalk 00:09:13]

Kim Benjamin:
It makes sense. And it allows you to focus, focus your energy and not be scattered.

Kevin Daisey:
Yeah, no, it is. It’s back in the day, it was like, maybe I talked to you say you’re a client of mine. I’d be talking to you about your law practice and how marketing we’re doing is generating work for you and, and leads and then get on the phone next with a plumbing company and then the local shop down the street. So it’s, you can’t really be an expert at helping all those folks, I don’t think. And [crosstalk 00:09:46] you can help them a little bit, but can you really be the best at it? So I don’t think you can, so it made everything so much cleaner and easier, and I’m sure you probably see the same thing with what you’re doing. So absolutely. So the new firm, what was the web address for that? I’d like to pull that up. So [crosstalk 00:10:05]

Kim Benjamin:
missouriaccidentinjurylawcenter.com.

Kevin Daisey:
Okay. I’m going to try to get that up here in a second

Kim Benjamin:
Somebody already had Accident Injury Law Center. So I wasn’t able to get that one. So I put Missouri in front of it since we only practiced in Missouri. Anyway, it’s a long, long website.

Kevin Daisey:
So Missouri accident,

Kim Benjamin:
Injury law center

Kevin Daisey:
Injury law center. Okay, awesome. I got, yeah. Okay. I’ll pull that up here in a second. Okay. Yep. Hey long is fine. It’s got a lot of good keywords in there, right. From a marketing perspective. It’s not [inaudible 00:10:46] so give a little bit of background on that. So you’ve opened that up. Do you have someone in place that’s, that’s kind of running things and you’re kind of overseeing, what’s kind of the angle there?

Kim Benjamin:
Yeah, the way the second Law Firm works is I am doing what I enjoy, which is I am handling well, I have an intake team and then I handle the new client meeting and the contract. And then I have another Law Firm that handles the stuff I don’t like, which is the discovery and the negotiations. I like Trial. Preparation. So I do Trial Preparation and Trial, but I have another company that handles the stuff I don’t like.

Kevin Daisey:
Excellent. Okay. Yeah. So I’m checking out the website, it looks fresh and clean. It’s actually down at the bottom of my screen if you’re watching the video. So Missouri accident injury law center.com and check that out. So yeah, I’m kind of taking a look at this and yeah, it looks really nice. So you’re focused there on personal injury and it looks like you have a gentleman, Craig who’s I guess the one handling most of that stuff, right?

Kim Benjamin:
Yeah. Craig is the Senior Associate Attorney in the Criminal Law Firm. He tries cases, he’s a Trial Lawyer. So if we had to try a case and he would be like me a Trial Lawyer, not the lawyer that handles the discovery.

Kevin Daisey:
Got you. Excellent. Okay, excellent. So you got the two firms you’ve obviously been around and you know what you’re doing and what are some of the things that you’ve done over the years, really, to stand out, to get customers, to get phone calls, clients form fills what has worked well for you in that space?

Kim Benjamin:
Well, early on when I opened my practice, I made sure that everyone in the Community knew me. So starting with the Lawyers and the Business, the Chamber, different ways, this is pre Facebook. 2002 is before you really had anything, anything known as social media, you’re still in the phone books back then. And so you do a lot of in person lunches and, and coffees, but I made sure that people knew I’m a Trial Lawyer and that you would come to me if you want the best deal possible. And so early in my career, after leaving the public defender, I would take certain cases to trial whether I was paid or not in order to get what I called street cred. Because once I had street cred amongst the Judges, the Prosecutors, the local bar, then people knew to send me cases.

Kim Benjamin:
And so I did maybe four or five big cases and won all of them. So then I was able to market that, but also use that in for professional referrals. And so of course, back in the beginning, it was mostly referral business and or phone book. People find me in the phone book and now with the internet and the website’s what they are. It’s a tremendous amount of energy put into branding on different venues. We have a YouTube Channel. We have the billboard and the print ads, which are minimal except for a billboard. We don’t do a lot of print ads. It’s mostly Pay-Per Click and SEO putting our energy there, but a tremendous amount of former client referral and professional referral is what we notice, about 50%.

Kevin Daisey:
Yeah. I mean, you just can’t beat a referral and just that the best way to do, it’s just, if can you make more of them appear as you wanted them to, it would be great, but you just can’t, you can’t be [inaudible 00:14:37] doing good work and have people referring you so, right. You know, that’s and,

Kim Benjamin:
And making sure that people know about our good work. Years ago, we weren’t putting our case results out on social media or even on the website and [crosstalk 00:14:57] okay. It’s something that we do, client testimonials, client reviews, video,

Kevin Daisey:
I’ve seen some really nice videos on your site. So yeah, go check out her website on the DWI one, she’s got some really great produce videos with client testimonials on there, which I think are great.

Kim Benjamin:
We worked with a great company out of Atlanta called Crisp Video. And they focus on helping Lawyers and Law Firms. And so several years ago we worked with them on creating those videos.

Kevin Daisey:
Yeah. This looks really good. And honestly I thought they were good because I’ve seen some that just kind of look actorish or whatever, but if those, they look and feel real and I’m sure they are, but I think they did a good job.

Kim Benjamin:
You know, watching yourself on camera is always frustrating, because you never know what you look like or sound like, but I was really happy with my two clients [crosstalk 00:15:56] who were interviewed, their stories were amazing and they really captured their story and their essence very well in those videos.

Kevin Daisey:
Yeah. Yeah. So check those out. But yeah, the thing is I’ve had a friend and more of I guess, a mentor in some cases as well, putting yourself out there and you know, you’ve got these successes and cases and, and some people don’t want to share that or don’t want to talk about it or whatever, but if you’re you’re trying to grow your business, you’re trying to help more people. The only way to do that is to be in front of more people and to be found. And so it’s good to put that stuff out there and put your successes out there, put the videos out there, the awards, all those things are good.

Kevin Daisey:
And you know my friend always says, if you qualify apply, so that’s like awards people, are not going to [inaudible 00:16:54] is a hand board out to you necessarily, unless they know that they can put you to the process. So I think it’s good to, to do that. And I think there’re some attorneys and businesses out there that, that kind of like, ah, I don’t want to, I don’t want to do that. But again, if you’re, if you’re helping, trying to help more people and take care of your staff and, and yourself, then I think it’s a good approach, you need to do it. Yep [crosstalk 00:17:20] . So [crosstalk 00:17:21] I agree. Well, so what is the next couple years look like? So you had the new firm and you just started that how long ago?

Kim Benjamin:
September 1st of this year.

Kevin Daisey:
It’s very recent. Yeah. I’m sure there was some planning. Well, before that.

Kim Benjamin:
There was. And we had always done Personal Injury Cases and I’d been, I’ve had Jury Trials on Civil Cases before. And so it wasn’t a matter of doing something new that has never been done before. It was just a matter of creating a better marketing opportunity to keep it separate.

Kevin Daisey:
Got you. Excellent. Well, I know you’ve got a lot going on with that and you know, we’re just coming out of COVID. Hopefully things are settled down, I’m not sure how things are there. What have you guys seen in the last few weeks or months?

Kim Benjamin:
Of course. In the very beginning of COVID, nobody was driving to work. Nobody was getting arrested. No one was drinking at bars. So DWIs criminal cases, personal injury cases just sh dried up. But within 90 days it picked right back up and it’s been busier than ever. And it was actually pre COVID that our lead numbers went up tremendously. We went from statistically, we were showing around 50 leads a month to 250 leads a month. That happened very quickly for us. [crosstalk 00:18:50] Wow. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:18:53] That’s awesome. And so the change that happened right before COVID and that never really dipped terribly, it dipped a little, but not terribly. It went right back up.

Kevin Daisey:
Okay. Well, that’s good. Yeah. It seems like a lot of things are back open. Everything was virtual where it can be. So, I’ve seen a lot of positive signs and everyone seems to be to business as usual. What are some of the plans for growth in both of the firms that you have kind of on your mind over the next couple years?

Kim Benjamin:
Well, in particular, I’m very active in a business coaching company for lawyers called How to manage a small law firm. And so [crosstalk 00:19:33] I have, I have [crosstalk 00:19:34] very familiar coaches there and we are projecting next year. Obviously we’re already looking at our business plan and our budget and our marketing plan for next year and trying to grow obviously every year to see growth. So next year we’d be hiring probably four new employees, this year I brought on two new full-time employees, two contract lawyers and four intake specialists that was this year, next year I foresee bringing on another salesperson, another case manager and another attorney at a minimum and probably, well, we’ll see what happens if my plan goes, it’s basically doubling the business.

Kevin Daisey:
That’s awesome. Very exciting. Yeah. I mean, for us too, like with COVID we had our best year this year. We’ve, I mean, I hired eight to 10 people ever since this year started, at least [crosstalk 00:20:35] that’s great. And we’re hiring now, but so that’s good to hear and, but yeah. Awesome plans for growth. I love what you’re doing there, how to manage great, great group. We have multiple clients that are members of that, that organization. And we’ve heard nothing but good things actually. So, that’s excellent. And that’s having a mastermind, if you will, is what I would call that is super important for attorneys or any business owner to surround yourself with others. I think that are kind of going through this same thing. Not all might align with your vision or goals. Right. But how awesome is it to be able to talk to others that you know, or you can’t go home necessarily in most cases and talk about it around the dinner table about how you’re going to grow your law firm or with family or friends,

Kim Benjamin:
Or even the Local Attorneys, most Attorneys and not looking to grow, they’re trying to do it all. They’re trying to be their own Bookkeeper, their own Marketing Manager, they might have a Receptionist and a Paralegal and that’s about as big as they want to get. So [crosstalk 00:21:39] yeah. Talking to your friends is not usually helpful either.

Kevin Daisey:
No, it’s yeah, you just can’t do it. I try sometimes. But, so you know, a lot of folks are out there, you know what I would call a lifestyle business, you got your firm, you got your cases, you’re a sole proprietor and you’re going to go like that the whole way through. So not me, not you, we’re trying to do some big things here, so well, that’s awesome. It’s good to hear that. And I’m sure you will crush it so, but great goals to have and yeah exciting times ahead.

Kim Benjamin:
Yes. Thank you

Kevin Daisey:
Everyone, please check out her website either one, I guess. And at this point, dwicriminallawcenter.com. Think she got some really great content on there. The videos are amazing. I haven’t got to check out your YouTube channel yet, but I’m going to do that too. And the new website, which I just took a look at, I’m certainly going to take a look at that as well. If others wanted to reach out to you, connect with you, other attorneys, maybe other ATM members that you’re not aware of, or just someone that’s looking for some assistance, what’s the best way to, to connect with you, Kim?

Kim Benjamin:
The best way is the well through the website, the email would eventually get to me, but kim@benjaminlawkc.com is my email, Kim at Benjamin law, kc.com. And [crosstalk 00:23:14] okay, so it’s fine to email me. That’s the way most people try to reach out to me.

Kevin Daisey:
Excellent. Well, I appreciate you sharing, where you’ve come from and what you’re all about and, and honestly motivation for where you’re going and all the success. And hopefully that’s inspiring to other Attorneys listening. So doubling in size, I mean, within a year’s time is pretty impressive and pretty exciting. And I’m sure it comes with its own challenges, but [crosstalk 00:23:47] it does, as business owners that’s what we like, you can’t get too bored. [crosstalk 00:23:53] Definitely never bored, never bored. All right, well, Kim, appreciate it again, everyone listening, watching from wherever you were tuning in at this episode with Kim, will be up available on our website soon. It’s raylaw.com/podcast. This will also be up on our YouTube channel as well as my LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and then soon as we get some editing done, this will be up on our podcast.

Kevin Daisey:
If you’re listening right now, obviously already on there, and look for Kim to be featured also on our social media in the next couple weeks and and months to come. So we’ll be pulling some good, good little bits and clips from what Kim’s had to share with us today. But motivational, I love it. I love what you’re doing. The kniting is huge. And I definitely think the way to, so [crosstalk 00:24:47] thank you. Kudos Kim on that. And if anyone else, if you need help grow in a firm like Kim, I mean, she mentioned the leads that she’s getting in from 50 to 250. That’s what we help our clients do. So if you’re not in the position that Kim is in with good content and all that good stuff and, and paper click strategies that are working, reach out to us, that’s what we do. We’d be happy to help. So Kim, anything else you want to add before we go?

Kim Benjamin:
No, Kevin, thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

Kevin Daisey:
All right. [inaudible 00:25:21] We’ll just stay on with me. [inaudible 00:25:22] Win the recording. Everyone else. Have a great day. We’ll talk to you soon.

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