THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 167
Interview on 02.23.2022

Hosted By
Kevin Daisey

Featuring Attorney

Scott Erskine



Managing Partner of
Erskine Law

About Scott Erskine

Scott Erskine is the Managing Partner at Erskine Law in Michigan, California, and Ohio.

Scott has been counsel for Ford Motor Company since 1998, handling Ford warranty litigation in both Michigan and California. In addition to Ford, he has successfully represented and tried cases for Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC, Chrysler, Palm Harbor Homes, Inc., Fleetwood Homes, Inc., and a variety of other smaller and mid-size companies. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law. He was named a Michigan Super Lawyer in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015.

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

Kevin Daisey:

All right, we are recording. Welcome everyone to another live episode of The Managing Partners Podcast. I’m Kevin Daisey, I’ll be your host. I’m also the founder of Array Digital, and we do digital marketing for law firms and help them build their case pipelines. Today, I got a special guest coming out of Michigan, but they have more locations as well, which we’ll learn about here soon. Scott, welcome to the show.

Scott Erskine:

Thank you for having me, Kevin.

Kevin Daisey:

Absolutely so excited to learn about you, and your practice, your firm, what you specialize in. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and… What’s your story? What’s the journey you’ve had so far? And what got you into this business?

Scott Erskine:

Well, so what got me into this business was I guess I always wanted to be a lawyer. I did a paper on it when I was in fifth grade, but then I went into engineering in undergrad. And I was in chemical engineering and started talking to my advisor after two and a half years, and received some terrible advice that if you want to go to law school you need to be an English major, a communications major or something. And so I was trying to transfer out of the Engineering school, but I wasn’t really sure.

Scott Erskine:

And my buddy and I set up a screen printing business, and we’re selling t-shirts outside of the football stadium at college. And the first lawyer I ever met was the university attorney who said the university was going to sue me for violating their copyright to their logos and their everything for the university.

Scott Erskine:

And I pointed out to him that we didn’t violate any copyrights. And he went through this whole spiel about how it was close enough. And I said, “It’s not even close.” And ultimately they dropped it and then I realized, “Okay, I do want to be an attorney.”

Scott Erskine:

So I went to law school became the best Ms. Pac-Man player in the school. The second best Ms. Pac-Man player had a great job as a law clerk at Ford. And because I went to law school in Michigan, and he asked me if I wanted to work at Ford. And at first I thought he meant as a janitor, he actually meant legal department.

Scott Erskine:

So I started working as a law clerk while I was in law school at Ford Motor Company, and then got out, became an attorney, and within a couple years, realized I hated personal injury litigation. And so, I contacted some people at Ford as a young, dumb, naive attorney and said, “Can you send me some work?” And they did, so.

Kevin Daisey:

Ask and you shall receive.

Scott Erskine:

That’s right. My career path was, I was almost sued and wasn’t, and didn’t get sued. I was great at Ms. Pac-Man, and I was dumb enough to ask a former employer if I could represent them. [crosstalk 00:03:15].

Kevin Daisey:

I think that’s awesome. It is funny that you almost got sued and you basically fought it in won. And you’re like, wait a minute. There’s something to this.

Scott Erskine:

Yeah. It was exciting.

Kevin Daisey:

That’s [inaudible 00:03:32], they’re pretty serious about their brand logos there.

Scott Erskine:

Apparently, yeah.

Kevin Daisey:

And it takes a while to get license for the colleges, ACC, all the other ones out there. But yeah, awesome story though. That’s pretty cool. So you move out Ford and they were like, “Yeah. Here’s some work. No problem.” So, it sounds like you went into a firm first and they were a personal injury firm.

Scott Erskine:

Yeah. I spent a brief time at a Plaintiff-Side personal injury firm, then I went to a defense side doing insurance defense. First day on the job they said, “Here’s your first file.” It was like a nine months lawyer. They said, “Trial’s in six weeks. Good luck.” Handled a bunch of jury trials back to back to back as a young lawyer. And I think on the fifth one, I represented a man who probably deserved quarter million dollars in compensation. His lawyer made a couple of critical errors during the trial. I bounced down and did my job. My client won who didn’t have to pay any money. I felt terrible. Picked up the phone and called Ford to see if I can stop doing auto [crosstalk 00:04:47] cases.

Kevin Daisey:

Right away. That’s excellent. So, all right, well that brings you to the next point. Tell us about what you focus on now, and about your firm. And of course, if you’re listening, we have a website address here. Sorry, if you’re watching, the website address is blue right here on your screen. If you’re listening it’s… I guess, let’s see. Well, E-R-S-K-I-N-E law.com. So it’s Scott’s last name, law.com. Go check that out. Find out more about his firm. Interesting site, a little bit different take, more modern spin to it. So Scott, share a little bit more about what you focus on today, and what the makeup of your firm is.

Scott Erskine:

Yeah. So our firm is different, that’s why our website is different. We are very technology based. We have a bunch of proprietary software that we’ve developed here in-house. One of my partners is a coder.

Kevin Daisey:

Nice.

Scott Erskine:

And we integrate machine learning, artificial intelligence, into proprietary databases that we use. We have developed technology that allows us to take our clients’ data at the beginning of a lawsuit, because as we know, at the beginning of any lawsuit, your client gives you a bunch of data. We receive that now electronically and dump it into our database, that’s step one. And so we don’t have people retyping our client’s data because it’s all automatically imported. We focus… We’re fairly auto-heavy. We represent Ford Motor Company, General Motors, FCA, which is… Most people know it as Chrysler. We represent General Motors in 41 states, Ford in two states and litigation. We do a bunch of product claims and warranty claims work for Ford in all 50 states. We do… Actually, we do claims work for Ford in Canada, but we don’t do anywhere where they speak French, because we don’t have anyone here that does that.

Kevin Daisey:

You don’t speak French. Okay.

Scott Erskine:

That’s right, no French. I struggle enough with English, so. We represent FCA in 25 states, and then we have some other tier two suppliers, tier three suppliers. We do some employment litigation. We do provider cases where the companies that do all of the imaging for people that are injured, their bills, aren’t paid, we sue on those. And we… But everything we do and what our… We’re a technology based law firm, which is a new thing, right?

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah.

Scott Erskine:

We’ve developed products where our clients don’t have to use the traditional data search tools for record reviews and things like that, because we’ve built our own using that natural language processing and using artificial intelligence. And we can do it very fast, very efficiently and incredibly accurately, create privileged logs, create discovery responses, and all of it is technology assisted.

Kevin Daisey:

Awesome.

Scott Erskine:

So we learned early on that if we wanted to have clients like the ones that we’re fortunate to have today, that we would either need to build an enormous law firm or we’d have to be able to compete with some of the biggest law firms without having the size of those law firms.

Kevin Daisey:

So efficiencies and technology.

Scott Erskine:

Yes.

Kevin Daisey:

Absolutely, that’s awesome. That’s the perfect company in my mind is efficient with a few people. That’s excellent. So is your main client in the… You said in the auto industry, what has been some of the ways that you get those clients, and for your B2B exclusively, correct?

Scott Erskine:

What’s that?

Kevin Daisey:

Your B2B exclusively?

Scott Erskine:

Yes.

Kevin Daisey:

Yep. So what’s some of the things that you’ve done that’s worked, other than Ford, you had a relationship, I’m sure you carried that through. What has been some of the ways you’ve landed some of these other clients?

Scott Erskine:

Well, so we’ve tried all kinds of things. I can tell you what hasn’t worked. We haven’t had much luck with advertising as far as like in magazine or in whatever it is, because believe it or not, general counsel aren’t combing through magazines looking for a counsel. We’ve gone to some marketing meetings where these groups bring council together with GCs and AGCs of other companies, and that’s been successful. We’ve also… And I’m not going to say which one, but one of our clients, we started sending them a quarterly newsletter that we developed. And the only thing the client never found out was that our mailing list was one person long. We developed an entire newsletter that looked like it was for the world but it was [crosstalk 00:10:32].

Kevin Daisey:

That is awesome.

Scott Erskine:

… sent to one person. And I don’t know if it… And then, [crosstalk 00:10:39].

Kevin Daisey:

That’s awesome.

Scott Erskine:

Yeah. Thank you. One thing we focused on is when we get our foot in the door, we have been successful at marketing to our existing clients, and growing our footprint laterally throughout that company. And I know… Someone told me early on when I was a young lawyer, and I started getting clients and I was at a firm, an attorney who was a great guy, and was a partner at one of my other firm said, “Never lose… Never forget that your best marketing opportunities come from the people who already trust you, the clients who already use you.” And that’s true, whether it’s a personal injury client, making sure that they tell their friends, if you did a great job for them.

Kevin Daisey:

Yep.

Scott Erskine:

That they’re ever, unfortunately, in an auto accident or anything like that, to give you… To give us a call, we’d be happy to help. Or a corporation, it doesn’t really change. And we found that to be very effective.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah. A hundred percent. And we do digital marketing for law firms, same applies to what we do. So, yeah, I think that’s something that everyone needs to focus on and work on and have a process for. I think it’s going to have a process for it meaning, I think a lot of people, they do the good work, and they don’t have a process for really the follow up that might be required to get some referrals. And it’s okay, I think. “Hey, I want…” It’s every quarter, “Hey. Hey, Mr. Client, are you happy with us still? Are we doing good job? Yeah, we are. Okay, great. Do you know just one other law firm that you connect us with?” And I think you build that into your process, and don’t be a haggle, but just if you got good clients, they respect you and they like you, then they’re going to have no problem with that.

Scott Erskine:

Absolutely.

Kevin Daisey:

And so right away, I think if you’re looking for more referrals, which are the best thing to get, just build that into your onboarding process, have a task on the calendar created immediately after they onboard. And say, all right, in 90 days, reach out, check in with them and say, “Hey, if you’ve been happy so far, would you give us one referral?” So.

Scott Erskine:

Absolutely.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah. So I think having a process around it is helpful to people, which is something we try to work on, but excellent. So I like the newsletter thing. That’s actually real… I’m thinking right now going, who do I want to… Who do I want to get in front of?

Scott Erskine:

It worked.

Kevin Daisey:

That’s really cool. Did you… Was the content even crafted towards what they would probably… What would appeal to them mainly?

Scott Erskine:

No.

Kevin Daisey:

Or was it just…

Scott Erskine:

No, it was absolutely targeted, what we thought would appeal to that one specific person.

Kevin Daisey:

That’s hilarious.

Scott Erskine:

Yeah.

Kevin Daisey:

Whatever their football is, you got that in there too. It’s like, “These guys are great.”

Scott Erskine:

We try not to make it too creepy, but just on the edge, right?

Kevin Daisey:

I like that.

Scott Erskine:

Putting in an ad from his kid’s school might have been too far, so [crosstalk 00:14:08].

Kevin Daisey:

“We just made a donation to…”

Scott Erskine:

One elementary school.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, that’s funny. That’s really cool. So, you’ve told me what didn’t work well, as far… We do digital marketing, so we always like to ask. You got… Your website’s unique, it’s a little bit different, you’re technology focused. Have you guys done anything with content or SEO or anything like that? Social media, has anything like that even been something you’ve done or had success with or tried out in the past?

Scott Erskine:

Because we’re looking for corporations, social media, hasn’t been a really good or effective tool. We did try a few things in the social media arena and they really didn’t… They weren’t helpful to us. We’ve thought about digital marketing, we haven’t done it yet just because we’re trying… We try one thing at a time to see if it works and give it a little bit of time, but it’s difficult when you’re… Or not difficult, it’s different when you are looking for corporate clients than it is.

Kevin Daisey:

B2B is different. It is.

Scott Erskine:

Yeah, it is.

Kevin Daisey:

I was thinking you did TikTok videos.

Scott Erskine:

If I could find that one guy I needed to get in front of, and needed help.

Kevin Daisey:

That’s right.

Scott Erskine:

Maybe I might.

Kevin Daisey:

This TikTok’s for you. No, yeah, I could see social media being difficult and not produce… SEO, I would think could always do well for anyone, that’s just my belief. That’s when they’re searching Google specifically and you come up or not, that’s never a bad place to be. I would think LinkedIn, I’m big on LinkedIn personally. LinkedIn is cool because… And you don’t have to post on there as much as you can connect with the person by title, in whatever corporation you want, which I think is just invaluable. It’s probably how we got you in the podcast. Connect with the managing partner of a law firm, they connect back, “Hey, we want to see if we could talk to you.” So.

Scott Erskine:

Yeah, that’s actually… That is how you found us and that’s what gave us the idea. We’ve started posting, we’re going to try and use LinkedIn as a… Informationally, connecting with people that we think would be within companies that trying to connect with those who we think would be interested.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah.

Scott Erskine:

And then have very targeted posts that are more informational, not salesy at all and see how that works. As a matter of fact, we’ve just connected with a guy that I’m having lunch with next week through LinkedIn, where they’re a tech company that there may be some synergies between what they do and what we do. And we share some clients, and then we both have clients that the other one doesn’t have.

Kevin Daisey:

Oh, cool. Excellent.

Scott Erskine:

So, but LinkedIn is… We ignored it far too long and we’re… Both, my personal page has been more active, but we’re trying to bump up traffic on the law firm’s page.

Kevin Daisey:

Excellent. Yeah. Well, based on my experience with it, I got about 20,000 followers or so. Personally, my company page doesn’t have that much, but your personal page is going to always do better. And if you want to connect one on one with someone, that’s the best way to do it. The cool thing is you can use your company content and you can put that on your personal page too, just because you have it. And you’ll probably get more views from your personal page, but you can connect with the right people and control your following technically. And then build up that audience of exactly who you want, versus say on Instagram or TikTok, you don’t have no clue who’s looking at your stuff or who follows you. On LinkedIn, you can control exactly the audience and now you know when your content goes out, who’s potentially seeing it.

Kevin Daisey:

And then you can get some stats on LinkedIn to say, “CEOs, CMOs, whatever, here’s the people that saw your content the most.” And so you can cater your contacts towards that. So, I think it’s really cool. And I think that’s a good space for you guys to probably focus on other than just DM-ing one on one, “Hey, would you be interested in a coffee or a quick meeting?” I had a CMO… I’m sorry, the CFO of a law firm pinged me on LinkedIn and said, “Hey, can you meet me at a Starbucks?” And I was like, “Of course.” And they have a budget of 160,000 a month. And the CFO was just like, “Hey, I think…” He’s like, “I don’t control our marketing, but I… Some things about it, I don’t… I feel off about, and we’re spending a lot of money.”

Kevin Daisey:

And so I sat down with him, and that was all through LinkedIn, he saw my content and that was it. So they’re not a client yet, but they’re a prospect. So it’s interesting and people respond, if you say, “Hey I want to connect.” And it seems like people are pretty open to talk to you on there, so.

Scott Erskine:

Yeah, it seems that way so far, so.

Kevin Daisey:

I get a lot of spam on there too, though. I get a lot of message that are just… It’s very spammy. I just… But you can pick them out real easy. So, whatever. Someone from my team probably reached out and said, “Hey, would you like to be on our podcast?” And that got through to you somehow and here you are.

Scott Erskine:

It did. Yeah. Certain things I think help, right? I think podcasts are helpful. I listen to podcasts and not just true crime. I listen to all the kinds of podcasts. And although I do listen to the true crime ones, they’re excellent also. But I find when you’re in the car or when you are doing something around the house, or even if you need a break from working in a brief or whatever, a podcast is a great way to lose yourself for a little bit of time.

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah.

Scott Erskine:

And I started about a year ago, wondering if that would ever work. And so when you guys reached out, I thought, “Okay, well, maybe this is a great first step into seeing what the podcast world is like from being on the podcast side, as opposed to just listening.”

Kevin Daisey:

Yeah. Well, yeah, it’s been… I appreciate you coming on and it’s been a good experience for us. And I advise law firms all the time too, they can create a podcast in their little niche, they can invite potential clients on, or they can talk just about the subject itself. For B2B, I think it’s great. Invite your potential client on to be a guest. For more say [inaudible 00:21:28], family law, personal injury, you’re talking about the subject matter and what people should do, because they’re in research mode, especially divorce, a year, year and a half or something like that, you can put out good content. On the B2B, you literally interview your client and potentially they become a client because they learn about what you do. So, yeah, I think podcasts are great and they’re only growing right now, so.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, I appreciate you coming on Scott, to share your story. And I thought you got some interesting stuff. The newsletter thing, that’s a cool tip right there. So anyone, B2B specifically, I would say, that’s a great tip from Scott. Draft up a newsletter for each of your prospects and just keep sending it to them. I think that’s awesome. Scott, anything else you want to add before we roll? I do have your website here at the bottom, anyone that wants to take a look and connect with Scott. Is there another way people can connect with you if they wanted to reach out? And if they’re a big automotive company and they wanted to hire you, how would they do that?

Scott Erskine:

Well, they could either email me and go to the website below. Or they could connect with me on LinkedIn, or if they… Our phone number is on there and welcome them to call, and I’d be more than happy to talk to them.

Kevin Daisey:

All right. If you sign up with Scott, all proceeds go to me, so.

Scott Erskine:

I couldn’t hear what you said. I think we had a bad connection for a second.

Kevin Daisey:

Oh, I’m sorry. I said, if anyone signs up with Scott through this podcast, I get all the proceeds, so.

Scott Erskine:

Still didn’t hear that, I’m sorry.

Kevin Daisey:

Oh, well I don’t know what happened there. Can you hear me now?

Scott Erskine:

Yes.

Kevin Daisey:

Oh, okay. I said, if… No, just kidding. I like you, Scott. You’re pretty good.

Scott Erskine:

Well, thank you.

Kevin Daisey:

Well, everyone tuning in, if you want to see this episode, it’ll be up on our website soon, arraylaw.com forward slash podcast. It’ll also be up on YouTube, my LinkedIn soon. So Scott we’ll tag you too, and my whole team will reach out to you so you can share it and tag it, put on your content on LinkedIn. And then it’ll also be up on the podcast version, Apple… Google, Apple, Spotify, and pretty much every other platform you can imagine. And if you need help with social media, websites, SEO, or advertising your law firm, give us a call or get arraylaw.com and check us out. Scott, anything else before we roll?

Scott Erskine:

No, just anyone that’s looking to start their own firm, just jump in head first. Don’t look back and don’t ever wait until you have all the information on whether you should do it. If you think you have 70 to 80% of the information and it’s looking good, just go for it. If you wait until you have all the information, it’ll be too late.

Kevin Daisey:

No, good tip from Scott. And I would say if you got 80 to 70 or 70 to 80%, you’re in a pretty good spot. So you’re better than most. So go, yeah, jump in, get going. And everyone have a great day. We’ll talk to you soon.

Scott Erskine:

Thanks, Kevin.

Kevin Daisey:

Thank you, sir.

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