THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 181
Interview on 04.12.2022

Hosted By
Erik J. Olson

Featuring Attorney

James Kirshbaum



Managing Partner of
Kirshbaum Injury Law

About James Kirshbaum

James (Jim) Kirshbaum is the Managing Partner at Kirshbaum Injury Law in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

Jim is a very experienced trial lawyer having conducted jury trials in multiple states both on behalf of injured people and on behalf of defending insurance companies. He is one of Minnesota’s most experienced no-fault arbitration attorneys having handled several thousand hearings both on behalf of injured people and on behalf of insurance companies. He has also been on the panel of no-fault arbitrators for the American Arbitration Association since 1990 and has acted as the arbitrator on hundreds of matters since then.

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

Erik J. Olson:
Hey there. This is Erik J. Olson with The Managing Partners Podcast. Today, we are interviewing yet another managing partner from the United States, where they are leading the charge on their law firm, running it, growing it, and keeping their case pipeline full. So today I have with me, Jim Kirshbaum. Did I say that right?

Jim Kirshbaum:
You said that right.

Erik J. Olson:
Well, I had to think about that one as it was coming out. Well, hey, Jim, I appreciate you making the time to be with us. Let me tell the audience a little bit about you. Jim is the managing partner of Kirshbaum Injury Law, which helps wrongfully injured people find a path forward to a better life by achieving maximum compensation. He became the owner/managing partner of the 45-year-old law firm in January 2021 when his father retired after 65 years in practice. Jim has been practicing injury law for 35 years, about of that on the plaintiff side and half on the defense side. Great perspective coming to us today. Welcome to the show, Jim.

Jim Kirshbaum:
Thanks, Erik. Thanks for having me.

Erik J. Olson:
You got it. Well, besides what I just read to the audience, can you tell us a little bit more about you and your firm?

Jim Kirshbaum:
Sure. I’ll tell you a little bit about my background. I’m a graduate of the University of North Dakota with a degree in radio and television broadcasting, so I’ve been in front of the camera a time or two. Went to William Mitchell College of Law here in Saint Paul, Minnesota. That seems like an eternity ago. When I first got out of law school, I actually went into business with my father, Mitchell Kirshbaum, who, as you mentioned, practiced law for many, many years. We were together for about 12 years, and then for a variety of reasons, I went out and tried doing things on my own with some different types of practice. Ended up doing some collection law. Ended up representing a major insurance company doing their Minnesota [inaudible 00:02:05] arbitration work for about 15 years. Lost that gig and then ended up with a national law firm that represented all kinds of places that nobody’s heard of like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell and some of those places.

Jim Kirshbaum:
They represented nationwide, so there was a lot of travel in that job that most attorneys, when they have to do a deposition, jump in the car and drive to another city. I would jump on a plane and fly to another state. Did that for about three years and then decided that I didn’t like that very much. That was about the time that my dad and I were talking about his exit strategy and what would happen when he would no longer be practicing. As he approached his nineties, that became a very real possibility and we decided I would go in with him and be in a position to take over the firm at such time as he decided that he could no longer do it. Unfortunately, he was kind of forced out through some physical issues.

Erik J. Olson:
Well, 65 years of practicing the law, that is incredible, and your 35 years as well, especially half on the plaintiff side and half on the defendant’s side. That must give you an interesting perspective that I’m guessing a lot of plaintiff lawyers don’t have. Is that true?

Jim Kirshbaum:
It does. I learned all the dirty tricks that the defense counsel and that insurance companies use to try and minimize claims, and have learned some of the ways to get around some of those and some of the ways to defend against those.

Erik J. Olson:
Gotcha. That’s great. So the podcast is about growing law practices, and that usually means getting in front of prospective clients. What are some different ways that you’ve done that? A lot of times we hear referrals, but are there other ways that you’ve done in the past besides referrals?

Jim Kirshbaum:
Well, there are. The firm itself, through many years in the way that my dad always did it, he had grown a firm to the spot that there was enough referrals coming in from former clients and a couple of other referral sources that he really didn’t have to do any marketing. When I took over the law firm, it was kind of a 1980s-style law firm, still doing things on paper, still sending out snail mail, and we’ve changed a lot of that. We’ve gone electronic, we’ve gone paperless. We’re using email, text messaging, a lot of the modern day tools that law firms use. It’s been much more effective and I think our clients like it a whole lot more.

Jim Kirshbaum:
But as far as the marketing goes, is that I realize that even though the word of mouth is good, and that’s the reason that I made sure that when we recently did a change in the firm’s name, away from what it was, Mitchell I. Kirshbaum, PA, the Kirshbaum Injury Law, that I left the name Kirshbaum in there because that’s what our old clients look for. They look for an attorney named Kirshbaum. We’ve been able to maintain that and it’s maintained the firm very well for a number of years, but there’s not been a lot of growth. That’s what I’m looking for now, is I want this firm to grow. I want it to get to the point… I’m the only attorney right now, and I’m the production, that I do what needs to be done as far as production. I want to get away from that. I want to get to the point where I can spend more time working on my firm than working in my firm.

Erik J. Olson:
Yeah.

Jim Kirshbaum:
We’ve, in the past, besides that, we’ve also done some marketing through medical providers and we’re really ramping that up right now, as far as contacting chiropractors, doctors, companies that do imaging, different people like that in the area to try and broaden our referral network. I’m also working right now on just a list of people in all walks of life that I’m sending out to, letting them know that I want to know what they do so that I can refer business to them, with the idea that if I become top of mind with them, that they’ll start referring people back to me when the time comes.

Erik J. Olson:
Yeah. Referrals are incredibly powerful. You and I were talking about it a little bit before we started recording, and I’m a huge fan. I want as many referrals as possible myself for my business, but it is one of those things that’s usually quite passive. Even if you go out and you get referral partners, you’re still kind of waiting for them to take action. There’s not much you can do to kind of make that happen. So at least with marketing, it’s more active, so never give up on the referrals. You always want the referrals.

Jim Kirshbaum:
Absolutely.

Erik J. Olson:
But if you can do a little bit of marketing in addition to that, you can have two sources coming in. It’s quite impressive that he ran the practice for 65 years exclusively on referrals.

Jim Kirshbaum:
He did and did it well. It was steady, but it never grew.

Erik J. Olson:
Yeah, totally understand. Yep. In your marketing right now, what are some things that you’re doing in your marketing that are working well for you?

Jim Kirshbaum:
Well, we’re starting to get ramped up. We redid our website not too long ago. There really wasn’t much of a website until I got going with this. The website is more of a marketing website than what it was. It used to be more of an informational website. We established a YouTube page and [inaudible 00:07:14] videos and actually placing videos on that YouTube page. It’s under Kirshbaum Injury Law on YouTube, a couple videos up there right now if anyone wants to check it out, but it’s going to be growing. There’s a lot more that are going to be done probably in the next month or two that I’ve got a company that I’m working with doing that.

Erik J. Olson:
Nice.

Jim Kirshbaum:
We’re ramping up. We’ve got a Facebook page that we just established. We’ve got a LinkedIn page that we just established. That’s kind of what we’re doing, is trying to get all over the place with pages and people that I know, and getting the word out there and trying to get some SEO going so that we start to get some hits and build up our Google presence and turn it into, instead of having everybody that calls us be a warm lead, somebody that’s been referred to us, get some cold leads, get some people that find us and stumble upon us and want to find out what we’re all about.

Erik J. Olson:
That’s right. It’s incredibly powerful when they call you versus you try to reach out to them, which in your business would probably be a little bit on the difficult side to reach out to people directly to see if they need your services. But yeah, when they find you and they call in, it’s incredibly powerful. You mentioned YouTube, which is interesting because you also mentioned things like establishing a Facebook, establishing a LinkedIn. My opinion is those are pretty fundamental things these days. It’s not often that I speak to a business owner that is just establishing a Facebook, but you’ve all also done YouTube. I’m surprised actually a little bit, because that seems to be more of an advanced feature, if you will, getting in front of the camera and posting videos, and there’s a whole science to YouTube and whatnot. What’s it like for you to have a film crew come in every once in awhile and how does that work for you? Is it like once a month?

Jim Kirshbaum:
It’s actually not done through a film crew. I guess I can pitch a little bit here that I’ve started working with a company called How to Manage a Small Offer.

Erik J. Olson:
Familiar with them.

Jim Kirshbaum:
You’ve probably heard about them and some of your listeners have heard about them. Through them, they have an arm called That Video Thing, where what we do is actually produce videos the same way we’re doing it right now, is via Zoom through a camera. They have somebody that comes on and has me do my thing. It’s actually a director that tells me what to do. They do it in segments. Then, they take the videos and they edit them and make them very professional-looking and make them very good. So that’s the way I’m doing videos, so they’re also helping me as far as putting together the YouTube page and getting a presence in there and maximizing it for YouTube searches, so people that are searching personal injury attorneys in Minneapolis, in Maple Grove, which is the suburb that we’re in in Minnesota, that they start getting hits on to our page where looking for that kind of search.

Erik J. Olson:
Oh, that’s fantastic. Yeah, I’m familiar with How to Manage. I did not realize that they had a video production kind of arm, or is it another business?

Jim Kirshbaum:
It’s one of their sub-businesses. They’re into a lot of different things, but they use that for their members to help them produce videos and help them to be able to put those videos out in a meaningful way, and also to pipeline those videos, to actually be sending them out in such a way that they become a pipeline and help keep the pipeline full.

Erik J. Olson:
Yeah. I think I understand what you mean by that, but how do you go about using those videos in pipeline development? You’re talking about like a funnel, kind of, get people to come in through an ad?

Jim Kirshbaum:
Yeah, exactly. Different videos for different aspects or different spots in the pipeline. A video for somebody that just visited the website and went away from the website. You caught their information, but they didn’t do anything. You can shoot them a video to get some information to them. Somebody who just scheduled an appointment, we’ve got a video that we send out to that person telling them, “Thanks for scheduling the appointment, here’s what we need before you have the appointment. Go and fill out our intake form. Things will be smoother,” and pitch the firm a little bit at that point. Another video for after we’ve been retained that we send out saying, “Okay, you’ve retained us. Now, here’s the information that we need and things that we need for you to do.” That kind of ongoing… but a lot of it is the followup, is that somebody who does contact us, does not retain us right away, and they have two or three different videos that can be used to trickle followup.

Erik J. Olson:
I like that a lot. That’s a really good idea, the videos, because most people won’t do that. Most companies will send you a text-based email and it’s usually quite lengthy, and most people, when they receive an email like that, they triage it. They’re like, “I’ll come back to that later,” and later turns into months and then eventually they just delete it. So watching that video is a lot faster usually than reading multiple paragraphs of texts and it’s modern. I like that a lot. That’s really good. That’s actually, is it embedded in the email or is it more like a hyperlink over to your YouTube?

Jim Kirshbaum:
Right now, I’m using it as hyperlinks to YouTube. It’s difficult. I haven’t learned how to embed it into an email yet. The fact is our firm is 100% virtual now, that when the pandemic hit, we closed down the office and started working from home and learned that we can do it absolutely as well doing it this way as before. And so what the video also does is personalize the engagement with the client or prospective client, because of the fact that I’m not meeting with people face to face. We’re doing it via the YouTube or whatever. In fact, I’ve had a number of clients that I’ve signed up through telephone consultations, and the video that they get afterwards is the first time they see my face and actually see that there’s a person behind the firm.

Erik J. Olson:
Isn’t that crazy?

Jim Kirshbaum:
Yeah, it really is. It’s a new world.

Erik J. Olson:
The world we live in. Well, it sounds like that’s working very well for you. What is something that maybe you’ve already tried since you’ve come back into the firm and didn’t really work, and you’re either going to not do as much of it or you’ve actually shut it down?

Jim Kirshbaum:
Really, not a whole lot because of the fact that we’re so new at this, as far as trying to market in ways other than strictly referral. Our toes are just being dipped in the water right now and I really haven’t come across something that I’ve looked at going, “Ah, that’s not going to work.” It’s like we’re trying this piece, we’re trying that piece. Until we get to that point where we’re into them and getting them up and running and really have some metrics so that we can see where things are coming from and what’s working and what’s not, I don’t know if I can really answer that question.

Erik J. Olson:
I gotcha. Fair enough. Well, cool. For the next couple of years, what do you see as far as your growth in the firm? What do you want to achieve?

Jim Kirshbaum:
Well, the plan for the firm is revenue increase of probably about four or five times in the next 12 months.

Erik J. Olson:
Wow.

Jim Kirshbaum:
That’s a pretty optimistic and pretty aggressive strategy, but as I said, it’s been a pretty small firm with a pretty stable amount of revenue, and we’ve learned better ways of doing things. We’ve learned ways of maximizing our clients’ cases. We’ve learned and met people that we’re working with that can take a look at a personal injury case in a way that we never did before. One of the things that I’ve learned to realize in the last year, year and a half, is that almost everybody who’s involved in a car accident has some sort of a component of a head injury involved, no matter what happened, whether they hit their head or not. The mere fact that you have a whiplash and go forward and backward causes the brain to shake around in the head to the point where there’s a lot of people that do have those kind of injuries and don’t even know it.

Jim Kirshbaum:
We’ve found people that can help us as far as maximizing that and diagnosing those for people even better. So that’s part of the growth plan, is to maximize the value of our cases for our clients. Plus, when I took over the firm, there was one paralegal that came with us and we’ve already started growing. I now have a second paralegal and I also have somebody that we recently hired that’s our intake manager/client relationships manager. Eventually, she’s… well, at this point, she’s learning how to be the person who’s the first point of contact for a prospective new client and also to make sure that we’re touching clients on a regular basis. That’s one of the things that’s real important to me is client contact, keeping clients informed. I’m looking in the next year or so probably to add one more associate and to add one more paralegal. And if we have the revenue growth that I believe that we’re going to, that’s pretty realistic and that’s what’s going to trigger that growth.

Erik J. Olson:
Good for you. I love the ambition, four to five X your revenue in 12 months. That’s impressive. It sounds like you have all the ingredients in place now. You have the digital assets, the new website. You have Facebook, you have LinkedIn, you have the YouTube, you’re growing your support staff. I think you’ve got a lot of good things going for you, so congratulations on that. If someone would like to reach out to you and they have a question, or maybe they have a case for you, what’s a good way to get in touch with you?

Jim Kirshbaum:
Best place to get in touch with us is our website, Kirshbauminjurylaw.com, as you’re showing it at the bottom of the screen, thank you very much. From that site, there’s information. There’s also a link to schedule a free consultation. Phone number has the ability to text us as well as call us, and that’s the best place to get ahold of us. Phone number is (952) 545-2700, but the website has all that information and that’s really the best place to go to for somebody that’s watching.

Erik J. Olson:
Awesome. All right, everybody. If you would like to check out other episodes like this one, you can find our entire backlog at arraylaw.com/podcast. Every episode is tagged with the applicable practice area and state, so you can filter down for exactly what you’re looking for. If you are looking for digital marketing for you law firm, consider my firm, Array Digital. We are a digital marketing agency that focuses on law firms in particular websites, SEO, online advertising and social media. All right, James, thanks so much.

Jim Kirshbaum:
Thanks a lot, Erik. Thanks for having me.

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