Erik J. Olson (00:01):
Hey everybody. This is Erik J. Olson, your host today for this episode of the managing partners podcast in the managing partners podcast, we interview America’s top managing partners to find out how they are running their firms, how they’re growing their firms and what they’re doing to keep their case pipeline full. And today I have with me from Connecticut, Eric Broder. Hey, Eric.
Eric Broder (00:25):
Hey, how are you, Erik?
Erik J. Olson (00:27):
Doing fantastic. Thanks for your time. When we tell the audience a little bit about you and then we’ll get talking. So Eric Broder is the co-founding member and partner at Broder Orland, Murray and Dati. The firm has offices in Westport, Connecticut in Greenwich, Connecticut, and is regarded as a boutique divorce and family law firm. Thanks so much for joining us.
Eric Broder (00:48):
Thank you for having me. You really appreciate it.
Erik J. Olson (00:50):
You got it. So, but besides that short intro, can you tell us a little more about yourself and your firm?
Eric Broder (00:56):
Sure, absolutely. We’re a Connecticut family law firm. That’s a nice way of saying divorce law firm. And there are eight soon to be very soon to be nine attorneys in our office. And that’s all we do a hundred percent. Yeah, divorce, family law you know, do prenups post-judgment issues, things that come up after divorces are finalized. And we are throughout the state. Connecticut’s a small state. I mean, depending on where you’re listening mainly though in Fairfield county, which is a suburb of Manhattan of New York city. And the way we probably set ourselves apart a little bit is we try to sort of tag team our cases with more than one lawyer. It doesn’t mean double billing by any stretch. It actually keeps cases less expensive by having experienced and lesser rate rated attorneys work on parts of cases. So you’re not stuck paying, you know, the big partner rate to do more of the mundane and day to day tasks on cases.
Eric Broder (01:48):
And it always sets us kind of strategically good cop, bad cop case a little bit as well. I could always be the nice guy in the end or the heavy if I have to. So it it’s a good blend that also lets our clients have a lot of contact. So if I’m in court or on trial or depositions, there’s someone that can answer a question that pops up in your case or vice versa. We’re always really proud ourselves on getting back to people and being available and moving cases. These, this people don’t wanna know me for a long time professionally, at least I hope only professionally. So we try to move our cases through relatively quickly, unless there’s some Sical reason not to
Erik J. Olson (02:25):
Nice the, you know, your, your concept of kind like pairing up two lawyers on an account. Is that something that that is prevalent in the industry? I haven’t heard much of that. And is that something that you did from the beginning or is that kind of a newer thing that you tried?
Eric Broder (02:43):
I think you see it more in the traditional partner associate relationship, like with bigger firms. Yeah. Did do utilize that. We kind of started from the beginning, you know, since many, 17 years ago, I think 18 years ago when my partner Carol and I started, you know, we didn’t have a lot of cases. We worked together and we, that we liked doing that and it was also good for the client because you usually get two different perspectives from a case you could have my perspective or somebody else. We don’t always think the same way about cases. So it kind of gives a client the best of both worlds. A lot of times we’ll see things in a similar fashion, but someone may have a better rapport on certain issues with a client. So it really lets us learn more about the case actually quicker than if one of us were handling it in a solo capacity. So we like that we pride ourselves on sort of the teamwork. The one thing about having a lot of lawyers running around here is if I have a question, I just sort of open my door and see whose door is open as well. Huh?
Erik J. Olson (03:37):
Yeah. That, that, that’s really interesting. And you know, in, in my world digital marketing when it comes to building a website, there’s this concept of pair programming, you know, two programmers that are coding at the same time. Like one’s doing it, one’s watching and, and it, it produces high quality work for sure. Yep.
Eric Broder (03:56):
Erik J. Olson (03:57):
Really neat. All right. So again, you know, we’re a marketing agency. We like to talk a lot about how different firms are, are getting clients, what they’re doing. And so, you know, definitely referrals are always a big component of every law firm, but besides referrals, do you have other ways of going out about and getting clients?
Eric Broder (04:20):
Sure. I mean, definitely there is, there is we have somewhat of an online presence. I mean, it is a small niche of firms that handle cases in this area, but we try to set ourselves apart by being a little bit more of an educational website and perspective. We have a ton of blogs on specific Connecticut divorce issues. It’s one thing to write, oh, join custody is great and best interest of the children, yada, yada, but I’m gonna tell you what it’s like in the Stanford courthouse. First, the Bridgeport courthouse first, the Hartford courthouse. So we, we try to really focus on what’s useful to our potential clients within our own website. And I find that to be really helpful. We get a lot of calls because someone saw a particular article that we did or a blog that we did. And sometimes they’ll ask for the specific author of that blog to be there, you know, per se attorney it also lets us understand what, what the public is asking.
Eric Broder (05:13):
I can tell you the difference between legal separation and divorce is our number one by far search block, for whatever reason, that’s a hot topic. I also know that can I tape record or not tape record shows my age, but can I record my spouse is another hot topic. That gets a lot of searches versus dividing non-qualified retirement plans in a divorce case, which doesn’t get too many. So it definitely has been a, a boon to marketing in a way. I, I think one thing, of course, we do our traditional networking with people and because we have a lot of more high, some, a lot of high net worth clients, a lot of them are a little reluctant to go online and find someone without a personal reference. So of course personal references are important and we spend a lot of time in our business with therapists, accountants, financial planners, and other lawyers. You might not, maybe I could muddle my way through a real estate closing, but I wouldn’t want me to do my own real estate closing. So we, you know, we refer those cases to real estate attorneys who in turn will refer their family law related cases to us. And so I think that’s a big, that’s
Erik J. Olson (06:18):
Great. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s great that you’re running those articles and there is authorship. That is a very that’s a very good component when it comes to getting SEO value. And certainly Google has laid down the law when it comes to law websites and some other kinds of websites that they want to know who is authoring those posts, because if you’re not an expert, then you shouldn’t be providing either legal advice or quasi-legal advice. Cuz a lot of times it’s not extremely specif legal advice on a website. It’s more like concepts. Right.
Eric Broder (06:51):
Yep. Right. Exactly. Exactly. Yep.
Erik J. Olson (06:53):
True. Very nice. How are you currently handling your marketing in particular? Like say like the content writing, is that something you’re doing in house? Or do you have like associates working on it?
Eric Broder (07:04):
You know, for the content, we actually have a rotation in our office every eight weeks. Someone has to write an article there’s eight of us soon to be nine it’ll, you know, thin it out a little bit. So, you know, it’s a little bit of a commitment, but it’s not that long. These aren’t law review level articles where we’re, you know, spending hours and hours on things. If you spend a solid hour, you know, you can write enough of an informative article and really it’s already been done. I mean, there’s nothing unless, well, I would take that back with COVID for example, and changes in the courthouse. We were constantly writing about what the most recent change was in our local courthouse, whether it was remote hearings and how that worked. So we did keep people abreast of what was going on. I know in hopefully very soon, but definitely a year or two from now, no one will overlook at those articles again, but yeah. Otherwise we just rotate around and at least every, you know, nine weeks you they get a shot and you write your piece and everyone’s pretty much on time with it. You know, that that’s, that’s probably the best, the best way to do it. It, it does be easier to farm out probably, but I wanna be in control of the content that I put on my website, especially when it’s law related and specific to my geographic region.
Erik J. Olson (08:16):
Absolutely. Do, do you have like like a list of topics or guidelines that you provide?
Eric Broder (08:22):
Yeah. I mean, we try, we do work with someone who gives us, you know, a guy who manages our, our website and stuff will give us you know, what he thinks hot topics are. Sometimes they’re not really easy to write about, or they’re not really relevant in what we see. They might be popular in another part of the country or not relevant law wise. So we filter through those and we just kind of figure out what’s going on. If a new case comes out in Connecticut on a hot issue, we’ll talk about that. Connecticut is unique in that. The cause of the breakdown of the marriage may come into play. So people like to read about cases with affairs or abuse. I mean, it’s sort of a little bit salacious, but we, we do relay how those are interpreted by judges a lot. So if a good case comes out, we’ll share that as part of our monthly, our weekly blog. Yeah.
Erik J. Olson (09:05):
Nice. That’s great. Do you ever take that that blog content and maybe do something else with it, like put on social media or newsletter or something like that?
Eric Broder (09:13):
We, we have to start getting better about putting it on like Instagram and Facebook and stuff. I mean, that’s definitely the next, the next steps. That’s where we probably need to start pushing it a little bit. Yeah, definitely.
Erik J. Olson (09:23):
One, one thing I’ve done in the past and especially if we have writers here is they’ll write a piece for SEO purposes for our website. And then I ask them for an abstract that I could then post as an article on LinkedIn and then have a hyperlink to the full article
Eric Broder (09:37):
To get you. Yeah,
Erik J. Olson (09:39):
Yeah, yeah. That’s that, it’s just a way of repurposing and trying to get a little more traffic out of it, right? Yeah, absolutely. Yep. Well, cool. What, what is one thing that’s working well for you right now in your marketing? You’ve you’ve mentioned content and the writing is, is that kind of like what’s really driving the business at this point?
Eric Broder (09:55):
I, I think that from that side of things, yeah, I, I, you know, five years ago I tell you we didn’t get many calls from the internet. In fact, I, I remember when our website first went up, the number one viewed page was the directions page, how to get to our office. Right. <laugh> we don’t have that page anymore, but I do
Erik J. Olson (10:12):
Remember, and I really needed,
Eric Broder (10:13):
It was usually the attorney vis and then the direction page which I kind of laugh at now. But one thing that we’ve done and I loathe it, but we’ve done it is we’ve actually gotten a good number of Google reviews. And I don’t like to be compared to the cold appetizer or, you know, the, my, my bedroom, my bedroom in the hotel wasn’t made properly. You know, and in my business in divorce law automatically one side hates me, right. If I ever was in the husband, the wife’s not a fan of mine and vice versa. Sure. But I will tell you that in our area we’ve start, we, we sort of jumped ahead of our competition per se, and started getting a lot of reviews and thankfully favorable. We don’t like to just blast out to every client with a service that says, Hey, can you review this lawyer?
Eric Broder (11:00):
But we do, you know, if we have a good experience with the client, we’ll call them usually a few weeks after the case is over and ask them if they’ll do it. And most of the time, yes. Once in a while, there’s someone that doesn’t wanna, you know, they don’t have a Gmail account or they wanna be you know, anonymous about it. Sure. Which is totally fine. But that’s gonna help because we’re getting referral course referral calls saying I saw your reviews online. So I know that’s actually making a difference as much as I hate asking for it and hate that it really counts. It’s sort of a, a necessary thing to do.
Erik J. Olson (11:34):
Absolutely. Now. That’s great. And actually, I’m gonna show this real quick. So I just searched Google for your law firm name and up popped your Google my business on the right hand side. And you have 62 reviews and a five star rating. So that, by the way, that is not easy to get into maintain a five star. Cause you know, if like one person doesn’t give you a five star, it drops down to something less. Yeah. So congratulations on that. That’s super impressive.
Eric Broder (12:00):
I don’t have that many relatives, so I promise their clients <laugh>, <laugh> close. So
Erik J. Olson (12:06):
That’s funny, but you know, it’s, it is interesting cuz you mentioned like you’re getting referral calls out of that. Yeah. Is that what you meant?
Eric Broder (12:13):
Yeah, I am.
Erik J. Olson (12:15):
And, and that, that, that’s a really good statement because you know, like, like most law firms and most managing partners will say it’s all about referrals, which is great, but let’s say, let’s just say, hypothetically, you help me with, with my doors or something. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and, and I really liked you. And you did a good job. Well, I may, I may not tell anybody. Right. Unless someone asks me, if someone asks me then I’ll, if it hasn’t been too long and I frankly still remember who the, who the firm was, then I’ll say, oh, you gotta contact Eric. Right? Yep. But I may only give one, one referral, maybe two so normal traditional referrals. It just doesn’t scale very well. But when you can get a referral from like a Google review, it lasts forever and it’s one person to many, but then also like, you know, we like to talk about this when it comes to organic listings, the free listings in Google, which is that when Google is rising you through the ranks, cuz you’re doing all the right things, you’re writing the content, you’re getting the back links.
Erik J. Olson (13:19):
It’s a referral that lasts a really, really long time and it, and it affects a lot of people just think about how many people search for family lawyer, right. Something like that on Google. So it it’s incredibly meaningful. It’s, it’s basically referral marketing on steroids. <Laugh> right. And I think, I think some managing partners haven’t made that jump between referrals and, and these kinds of Google listings.
Eric Broder (13:44):
I, I think it’s also confirmatory a little bit. If you gave our name to someone and you gave a couple names and they looked us up and we have, you know, 60 something referrals and some our yeah. You know, ratings us three, they might think, you know, we’re a little more legitimate or whatever it is. It could be to get a lawyer. I’m not, you know, ting their ability, but it does make a difference. And it it’s funny because the calls we would get three and three years ago, I say pre pandemic calls for online things were sometimes cases such as you know I had a child with someone he’s overseas in the, in the military, some cases or, or there’s no money or there’s people really not with a lot of sophistication, comparatively speaking to some of the higher level calls we’re getting now that people look, us, look us up online. And I really think during the pandemic, a lot of people, especially people I’m gonna pick on my own generation in their fifties and sixties learned how to use the internet a little more because they were stuck at home. Yeah. And now they really can get a lot more out of it and have now found a lot of things like our reviews and our website much more helpful. And it’s, it’s translated, pop PO you know, in a positive way.
Erik J. Olson (14:49):
Yeah. Yeah. I agree. Definitely. It, it is pretty amazing how the technology and whatnot’s been there for a long time, but it, it just took the pandemic for people to finally say, okay, I guess we’re gonna learn this thing. Right. <laugh> right. Right, right.
Eric Broder (15:02):
Erik J. Olson (15:02):
Exactly. So, but alright. So we talked about like what’s working well. What about the contrary? What, what is something that used to work well for you that doesn’t really work that great anymore?
Eric Broder (15:15):
I mean, things like traditional networking groups I think have died out and those were something that, and they’re still a ground and people still are involved. But I think that a lot of that has fizzled out a little bit as because of what you said, things are available online for people to find, of course the pandemic has heard a lot of the FaceTime that we usually have. I believe in strong relationships. I, I wanna be able to refer to a therapist or an accountant that I know and have met and can personally vouch for, because those are pretty important. And I’m just referring you a you know, maybe a plumber. I don’t mean to pick on a plumber, but I can go online and my there’s 50 are gonna pop up. I wanna make sure I, I have a right contact or, or connection, and it’s really hurt.
Eric Broder (16:00):
I think that the COVID in general, but just that lack of one on one time, which I’m trying to get back, it’s tough cuz it costs a lot of time in your day and, and we’re an hourly billing law firm. And when you spend, I made a rule years ago, I’m gonna spend at least one hour a week with somebody new if I can. It’s very hard to keep up with that, but I have, and most of the time, at least, you know, subject to a trial and that’s been the biggest let down, cuz you just said it earlier, you might see somebody and meet them. And if I ask you for a referral a month later, you remember them, but it’s staying in their mind and staying relevant with them. So that’s been tough to do on a face to face basis.
Erik J. Olson (16:37):
Yeah. Certainly face to face. Networking has been non-existent for the last, almost two years now. Right. I know. And, and it, it it’s so time consuming to begin with
Eric Broder (16:49):
It. It is time consuming and, and for everybody I’d rather dinner with my family, no offense to anyone, you know, or be with my kids in the morning, but you know, find time.
Erik J. Olson (16:59):
Yeah. And that’s a good point they’re usually before or after work. Right. And sort of, well, if they’re during work, then you’re taken away from your hours. So then you have right. Then you’re sacrificing something else, family time. Yeah. So that it makes it tough. So
Eric Broder (17:11):
It’s a balance, it’s a balancing act.
Erik J. Olson (17:12):
Yeah, absolutely all. So you’re, you’re at eight attorneys. You’re about to go to nine. What are we looking at for say like the next two years or so for you, what are your growth plans?
Eric Broder (17:23):
You know, we now have myself and my partner Carol have been around for a while and my partners, Sarah Murray and Kristen Mattie who are relatively new, you know, full Bo full partners. So they’re developing a lot of business, which is great. They have great reputations. So I think a little more growth. I mean I never wanna get too big either. There’s a point where that gets dangerous. So sure. Probably growing a little bit over the next couple of years as a law firm, as it, as the needs arise. And I think sticking with and staying ahead of sort of the, the internet curve and staying on these, you know, certain things that were popular a few years ago online are, are not pop. You know, you don’t need to write 3000 word treatises on child support anymore. It’s keeping up with the trends, which is very hard. I find it very interesting by the way personally, but it is frustrating and hard, so trying to do so and and just keep educating people about what we do and how we, how we approach what we do.
Erik J. Olson (18:20):
Got it. That’s great. Well, this has been really interesting. I, I, I really like your take on you know, using the internet as a referral source. I, I think that’s, that’s excellent. If if someone who’s watching or listening would like to reach out to you, what is a good way for them to connect with you?
Eric Broder (18:34):
I mean, certainly visit our website. It it’s CT family law.com feel free to call. I’ll take a question or call anytime. Don’t worry. I’ll schedule a call. We’re in Connecticut at 2 0 3 2 2 2 4 9 4 9. And then my email, you can always shoot me. An email is E Broder EBR, R O D E R, CT, family law.com. So yeah, shoot me a note. I’m happy to, you know, talk more about it. This stuff ISS. Very interesting. Practicing law is certainly what I like to do, but this, this side of the, the business side and, and learning about how people choose their lawyers is, is really important.
Erik J. Olson (19:09):
That’s great. Well, thanks so much. All right, everybody, if you would like to check out other episodes like this, our entire backlog of over 150 interviews with America’s top managing partners is at array law.com/podcast. Every episode is tagged by the practice area and state, and you can find exactly what you’re looking for. And if you are looking for digital marketing for your law firm, please go to array law.com to check out my company’s services. We are array digital and we focus on things like website, design, search engine optimization, online advertising and social media. Eric, thanks so much.
Eric Broder (19:47):
Hey, thank you so much for having me. It was great. Really enjoyed. Thank you. Got.