THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 188
Interview on 05.05.2022

Hosted By
Erik J. Olson

Featuring Attorney

Alexa Larkin



Managing Partner of
Larkin Law

About Alexa Larkin

Alexa (“Lexie”) Larkin is the owner and managing attorney of Larkin Law, a law firm based out of Tampa, Florida. Lexie Larkin handles family law and estate planning matters for clients in the Tampa Bay area and surrounding counties. For the past five years running, Lexie has received accolades each year for her work and professionalism in the legal field by both Super Lawyers and Martindale-Hubbell. Throughout her career, Lexie Larkin has been elected to serve in several leadership roles in her community and currently serves on the executive council of the family law section of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and as the Vice-President of the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Larkin graduated with distinction from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Division 1 varsity track and field athlete, and Stetson University College of Law, where she completed their honors program and received her Juris Doctor.

Watch the Episode

Episode Transcript

Erik J. Olson:

Hey, everybody. I am Erik J. Olson, your host for another episode of The Managing Partners Podcast. On The Managing Partners Podcast we interview America’s top managing partners to find out what they’re doing to grow their business and how they’re running their firms. And today, from Tampa, Florida, I have with me Lexie Larkin.

Lexie Larkin:

Hi, how are you doing?

Erik J. Olson:

Hey, Lexie. Fantastic. Thank you for making the time to be on the podcast.

Lexie Larkin:

Oh, thank you for having me. I’m happy to be here.

Erik J. Olson:

Let me tell the audience a little bit about you. Alexa, who goes by Lexie, Larkin is the owner and managing partner of Larkin Law, a law firm based out of Tampa, Florida. Lexie handles family law and estate planning matters for clients in the Tampa Bay area and surrounding counties. Once again, welcome to the podcast.

Lexie Larkin:

Thanks. Thanks, excited to be here.

Erik J. Olson:

Well, Lexie, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your firm?

Lexie Larkin:

Sure. I’m a solo practitioner and law firm owner out of Tampa, Florida. My law firm specifically deals with estate planning matters and family law matters. We help, like you mentioned clients in the Tampa Bay area and then the surrounding region when they’re transitioning from either a nuclear family scenario or a partnership relationship into a different phase of their life.

Lexie Larkin:

And then in estate planning, we help people plan for things that aren’t very happy things to be talking about, like death and incapacity. But things that everyone at some point in their lives has to deal with, either come upon it or it happens to all of us in the end. We help in those two practice areas in the Tampa Bay area, so yeah.

Erik J. Olson:

When you started your practice and when you started practicing law, I should say, did you start with that focus area or that practice area?

Lexie Larkin:

I did. As soon as I started practicing law I was in family law, which is unique for family law attorneys. Most of them kind of fall into it. It’s an acquired practice area, acquired taste, I should say. Not a lot of people choose it, but I was very much drawn to it.

Lexie Larkin:

Initially I taught in between undergrad and law school and I had two of my students that were unfortunately abused by an immediate family member. One was physically abused by a stepparent and one was sexually abused by their father, and it was awful. And so, as a teaching assistant in fourth grade, there was really not a lot I could do apart from report it. And then that was it. And then I had to just keep turning this child over to this family member and I felt very hopeless and powerless in that situation. And so it really ignited my interest and passion about child advocacy. And then in law school, I learned more and more about how I could help families as a whole together. And that’s how and why I pursued family law specifically.

Lexie Larkin:

And then the estate planning just came about recently as a result of the pandemic. I had a lot of my clients, young and old and in between, that were just really scared. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of how you approach the pandemic, it definitely, I think, made a lot of people look at their own mortality and their own … That nobody goes on forever. And even young people, who don’t tend to think about estate planning until much later on or it’s too late, they’re proactively seeking me out and saying, “Hey, can you refer me to somebody that could make a will for me and my new wife, or me and my brother, because …” And the third person I referred out, I was like, “I really want to help …” These are some of my former clients and friends, and I want to help them myself and make sure they’re in good hands.

Lexie Larkin:

And so the beginning of 2020 I started more and more estate planning stuff. And it’s really caught fire, I think, as a result of the pandemic. And gives me a good balance between the family law, in something more straightforward like the estate planning, helping in a different phase of life.

Erik J. Olson:

It’s interesting that you said that really picked up around the pandemic, and I just got my … I guess I’m going to say a trust, I had a trust created in February.

Lexie Larkin:

Okay.

Erik J. Olson:

And I never really linked the fact that it was in the middle of the pandemic to actually doing it, but there probably was certainly … That’s probably part of the reason is that we’re reminded that the end is near, it’s just a matter of how near is it.

Lexie Larkin:

Right.

Erik J. Olson:

It was an incredible process for me. And like you said, it has a lot of questions that like, you really don’t want to answer because you just never thought about these things, these different scenarios, but they could totally happen. I think it’s … Personally, I went through it and I feel great about it. And we’re actually in the process of still transferring those assets into the trust.

Lexie Larkin:

Sure.

Erik J. Olson:

But I feel wonderful about it. I’ve showed my kids. I didn’t walk them through the whole thing, but, “Hey, if something happens to me and mom, this is it. Call this number. This is your document.”

Lexie Larkin:

Yeah. I mean, but now they have somebody to call. In the midst of what could be a really bad situation, they have somebody that they can turn to and something that helps them navigate, because they’re going to have enough to going on. I mean, there’s so many things that come at you that I’m so glad that you did that. Not just for yourself, for planning purposes or for your wife, but for your kids. That gives them that resource.

Lexie Larkin:

And that’s what I try to talk to clients about or people that may have expressed interest in doing some planning. And sometimes, toward the end of the initial consultation, they’re like, “Yeah, it’s just maybe a little bit down the road we’ll call you back.” And to each of their own, I get it. I think that conversation in and of itself tends to not sit well with some people. They don’t want to think about it too much. But if you actually go through it, I try to tell them that you’ll feel so much better afterwards. Get through the discomfort and then you’ll sleep so much better knowing that there is a plan, and the people that you may leave behind are taken care of in the best way that you can do that.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah. And we’ll go down this rabbit hole a little bit more then I’ll have to pull us out.

Lexie Larkin:

Sure.

Erik J. Olson:

But when the suggestion was first floated by me, it was from a financial advisor. And then I went to my business lawyer and he also does estate planning through another attorney that works for him. But my initial thought was, “That’s not me. I’m not uber rich. I mean, it’s too soon. Maybe one day.” And they both said, “No, it’s time. You need to do this now, get this in place. And then as you continue your life and hopefully continue to accumulate assets and et cetera, then the system’s already in place.”

Erik J. Olson:

But yeah, now is the time you should do it now. You mentioned that people want to kick that can down the road a lot of times.

Lexie Larkin:

Sure.

Erik J. Olson:

What are some ways that you … I mean, do you try to give them advice that now maybe is a good time or you just let it go?

Lexie Larkin:

Depending on the situation, people have different financial abilities. And depending on what their reasoning is for maybe wanting to kick the can, I totally get it and it’s their process. I never try to do any hard sell, at least that’s my practice style. I just offer the services that we can provide and my personal reasons for why I’ve done that for myself and my son and my family. And then, if they connect with that and present them with some reasons that they may not have thought about why it might be beneficial. Because I think there is a stereotype or just a pervasive thought that it’s for old people and for really rich people.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah.

Lexie Larkin:

But when people find out that there’s something called a, in Florida at least, called a designation of guardian, that if you don’t have and you have a minor child and you pass away, and you don’t have a designation of pre-need guardian for your child, then you don’t have any say or any input over who is the guardian of your child.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah.

Lexie Larkin:

Which people don’t realize that they would need something like that in order for the court to take that into consideration. It doesn’t guarantee that the person that they name in this document is a guardian, because maybe they’ve passed away, maybe they’re not competent to do that. But the court heavily defers to that designation. So when they find out that, “Oh, there’s other reasons for why I need to plan for this for my child’s sake or my wife’s sake,” then they tend to see the value in doing this thing-

Erik J. Olson:

Agreed.

Lexie Larkin:

… rather than later. Yeah.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah, yeah. Anyone who’s watching or listening, if you’re thinking about possibly doing this. And by the way, we have a lot of managing partners who are going to watch or listen to this episode. But what I’ve also found out is that just because their lawyers doesn’t mean that they’ve got all their legal ducks in a row.

Lexie Larkin:

No, I know. We’re the worst. Yeah, we’re the worst with it. Some of the worst, yeah.

Erik J. Olson:

Well, what is that saying, that the cobbler’s kids have no shoes?

Lexie Larkin:

Yeah.

Erik J. Olson:

I get it. But incredible peace of mind that comes with the trust. As a non-lawyer, I completely recommend it. All right, I appreciate you entertaining those questions. Let’s shift a little bit.

Erik J. Olson:

As a digital marketing agency we work with a lot of law firms. And one of the things that we’re always very interested in is what’s working now, and then conversely, maybe some things that aren’t working quite as well. Let’s start with what are some different ways that you go about getting clients?

Lexie Larkin:

Pre pandemic it was very grassroots, one-on-one direct marketing efforts. There wasn’t a company that was behind my practice that was telling me what to post and who to see and what to do and how to brand. It was really one-on-one lunches, breakfast, coffees, dinners, happy hours with other professionals. And just telling them a little bit about me, making that personal connection, and growing the word-of-mouth from that perspective.

Lexie Larkin:

And then COVID hit and that marketing strategy was made very difficult. I mean, did I still do Zoom Happy Hours and Trivia Night, absolutely. But unfortunately it just doesn’t have the same impact. I think we’re just social creatures. And even though it was better than nothing, just to have that connection by Zoom, it just wasn’t as effective in-person. I had to rethink things in the last year and a half about what things can I do to continue to build the practice and market our brand, but in a way that’s different than what we’ve previously done. So that’s what it was pre pandemic.

Lexie Larkin:

And then I went more online. I’d never dumped thousands of dollars into any kind of paid advertising online, but then I started to put together … I’m on the Super Lawyers listing, for example.

Erik J. Olson:

Cool.

Lexie Larkin:

Crafting a profile through them to see if that generated any leads, significant leads where people that it was a good match. I’ve put more eggs in that basket that I’ve never done before. And now that things are, at least in Florida, transitioning out of the pandemic in terms of restrictions with meetings and being in-person and that kind of thing. I’ve gone back to what I know. But still kept my toe into the online marketing water, so to speak.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah. I learned very quickly that networking like this is just absolutely terrible.

Lexie Larkin:

Sure.

Erik J. Olson:

I mean, there were people in Rooms that I was like, I don’t even recognize them.

Lexie Larkin:

Yeah, sure.

Erik J. Olson:

And these are people that I’ve known forever.

Lexie Larkin:

It’s hard. You don’t realize until I guess it was gone, how much we read into the different social cues and everything with this part of our face.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah, just terrible.

Lexie Larkin:

Yeah. I’m glad to be on the other end of that, because that’s where my marketing efforts had been focused, was just direct smaller groups so that people can really get what I’m about and make that personal connection. Because family law, which until, like we talked about recently when I added estate planning, was my practice. It was the only practice area. It’s what I specialized in for almost a decade.

Lexie Larkin:

It’s a really sensitive, personal aspect of people’s lives. I mean, you don’t see too many people going on Facebook going, “Hey, anybody got a good divorce lawyer,” and they’re friends with their wife. It’s a private thing. So you ask your brother, you ask your neighbor across the street that you know went through a divorce couple years ago. It’s your pod, it’s your network of people. And in order for people to refer to you, they have to have a really … And not a professionally close relationship, or to at least know that you’re competent and that you are going to take care of whoever this person in your pod is.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah.

Lexie Larkin:

That’s kind of how I focused because that’s how I found the most success ,is when people get to know me a little bit better.

Erik J. Olson:

Very nice. What are some of your growth plans for the next few years?

Lexie Larkin:

Just growing the estate planning aspect of it. I really didn’t anticipate enjoying it as much as I really do, and really broadening the number of clients in that sector of the practice. Not necessarily adding an office or adding more attorneys, I like the boutique … We’re a small firm, but we do that on purpose so that we can give people that one-on-one, small firm touch that I think my clients have come to like, so I don’t want to change that model.

Lexie Larkin:

But I think the amount of family law to estate planning, I’d like to grow that area of the practice because I think it provides a really good balance for me as a practitioner in day-to-day.

Erik J. Olson:

Have you found that the marketing approach is different between those two practice areas?

Lexie Larkin:

It’s still in early stages, so it’s hard to tell because I haven’t been able to do what worked for me previously with family law in terms of the in-person, one-on-one stuff as much. It’s really only been the last couple months. But so stay tuned. I’ll see.

Lexie Larkin:

But what I have noticed is that it’s easier to get repeat clients. Some people in family law are repeat clients, but that’s going to happen. It’s not as common as one might think, but it happens. Now I have a feeder, inherent marketing. If they like my services in family law, once they get divorced, a lot of clients are then turning to me and saying, “Hey, by the way, can you just do my will? You got all my financials. I don’t want to have to start over with somebody else. Can you just do that for me?” “Well, absolutely.”

Lexie Larkin:

And so a lead that I might have to market for family is already built in, baked in to my family law clientele, which is really nice. I mean, as a business owner and a managing partner that’s important to me, is helping people that I like anyway that I know are good clients, but also being able to generate that repeat business, either right away or in the future.

Erik J. Olson:

No, that’s great, having your own lead source. You are the lead source.

Lexie Larkin:

Yeah.

Erik J. Olson:

That makes a whole lot of sense.

Lexie Larkin:

It’s pretty nice. And I like to be able to help people that … Continue to help them and see them through in a different phase of their life. Oftentimes, if they don’t come back for some other issue, I don’t get to really see them again and catch up with them and help them in a different way. And this lets me do that, the estate planning.

Erik J. Olson:

That’s an interesting concept and one that I hadn’t really considered before, is the potential for additional work from the same client. Whereas something like personal injury, you’re only going to get hopefully hit by a car once in your life, it’s won and done.

Erik J. Olson:

But with family law, with the state planning being tacked on, with maybe even something like business law, there is that potential for more matters, more cases with the same client where you can help them more and get integrated in with their lives a little bit more, whether it’s their personal life or their business life.

Lexie Larkin:

Yeah.

Erik J. Olson:

That’s just kind of some built-in and repeat business, hopefully.

Lexie Larkin:

Yeah, yeah. And so that’s been an added bonus to the practice area, for sure.

Erik J. Olson:

Excellent. Well, cool. I really appreciate your time. If someone would like to get in touch with you, what is a good way for them to do that?

Lexie Larkin:

So my website is larkinfamilylaw.com, or they can reach me on Facebook or Instagram at Larkin Law.

Erik J. Olson:

All right. Well, thanks so much, Lexie. I appreciate it. If you would like to check out other episodes of this podcast, you can see our entire backlog at arraylaw.com/podcast. Each episode is tagged by practice area and by state so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

Erik J. Olson:

And if you are looking for digital marketing for your law firm, please check out my company Array Digital at arraylaw.com. We’re a digital marketing agency that focuses on a law firms. We provide services such as website design, supported hosting, SEO, online ads, and social media.

Lexie Larkin:

Lexie, again, thank you. Appreciate it.

Erik J. Olson:

Thanks, thanks. Appreciate it.

Website Design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Online Advertising, Social Media & Digital Marketing.

© Array Law
Website Design, Online Advertising, SEO, Social Media & Digital Marketing.
© Array Law