THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 211
Interview on 07.26.2022

Hosted By
Erik J. Olson

Featuring Attorney

Alex Hernandez



Managing Partner of
Alex R. Hernandez Jr. PLLC

About Alex Hernandez

Alex R. Hernandez, Jr. is the Managing Partner at Alex R. Hernandez Jr. PLLC in Austin, Texas.

Alex is an acclaimed trial attorney. With experience on the plaintiff’s and defense side, Alex brings a wealth of knowledge to helping clients with serious injuries nationwide. Having tried to judge and jury hundreds of civil and criminal cases he has various national trial lawyers accolades. The son of a judge and trial attorney Alex R. Hernandez Sr., he has deep roots in the practice of law. Today he runs Alex R. Hernandez Jr. PLLC a national trial law firm concentrating on personal injury and mass torts matters.

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, everybody. This is Erik J. Olson. I am your host today for the Managing Partners Podcast. In this series, we interview America’s top managing partners to find out what they’re doing to run their firms, grow their firms, and as always to keep their case pipeline full. Because everybody wants a full pipeline. And today I am joined by Alex Hernandez. Hey, Alex.

Alex Hernandez:

Hey Erik.

Erik J. Olson:

How are you doing?

Alex Hernandez:

I’m doing well. Thank you.

Erik J. Olson:

Oh, cool. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Alex Hernandez:

Sure. My name is Alex Hernandez, I’m a practicing attorney. I live in Los Angeles, California but my principal office is in Texas. I’ve spent most of my life in Texas, I’m also licensed in New York. We do mainly national litigation and we’ve got a few lawyers that handle different matters in different areas of law.

Erik J. Olson:

Cool. Looking at your website, alexhernandezlawyer.com, it looks like you have what I would, I guess, describe as an interesting mix of practice areas, right?

Alex Hernandez:

Yeah. So it’s an interesting mix because I’ve been practicing for 20 years. Back 20 years ago, I just practiced personal injury and it was just car wreck, car wreck, personal injury, personal injury. When tort reform came about, proposition, what was it? The legislation came and changed, and it has been changing in Texas, got rid of medical malpractice, really capped a lot of the damages. So I dealt with other matters. My background is economics, I worked in finance for a long time, so I know a lot about business law. So I just delved into some other areas of law, including business, real estate, probate, it’s the property case. And then going out on my own, I really had to do everything, it was eat or starve. It really just forced me to do criminal law, a lot of family law, different consumer law issues, I’ve even done bankruptcy, immigration at some time, and really trying to figure out what I was best at and what my firm could perform. And in the overall hierarchy, what I saw was that we were best at just litigation.

Alex Hernandez:

So when you look at the overarching topic or area of law, it’s really litigation. What do we litigate after that? We go in and we try cases and we litigate almost everything. So when you’re looking at, do we litigate car wrecks? Yes. Do we litigate probate law? Yes. Do we litigate business issues? Yes. We litigate, and that’s really what we do, is we’re trial lawyers and we’re in the courtroom. COVID’s has changed a lot of that, we aren’t in court a lot anymore. We’ve switched over to Zoom and switched over to making appearances by phone or by email. But before COVID for 18 years, we were just litigators. I’ve litigated asbestos litigation, I’ve really tried a lot of stuff.

Alex Hernandez:

And I really tried not to tell people we can’t do it. If I can’t do it, I’m going to send them to somebody who might be able to do it. But for the most part, we’ll do it for you. I’ve got attorneys that specialize in areas. I’ve gotten out of the practice of dealing with child custody cases, I’ve got attorneys that handle that for me now, probate law. My dad is the city county court law judge in Calhoun County and he does a lot of probate litigation, a lot of probate law. And I would get people inevitably from my hometown come up to me and say, “Hey, I need to do some probate.” So I got a probate lawyer to handle anything that’s in my dad’s court.

Alex Hernandez:

So it seems like nowadays in the year 2022, what I’m doing is really overall administration stuff for the law firm. But it’s really changed, COVID’s changed a lot of stuff. A lot of people ask me, “What are you doing in Los Angeles?” I just think of my firm as a more national law firm, I can do things here in California, New York, Texas. I’m licensed in New Mexico and Arizona. I just want to be able to help on the overall picture anybody that I can, wherever I can, wherever I want to be.

Erik J. Olson:

It’s really interesting because we talk to a lot of different kinds of lawyers at our firm or digital and then also for the podcast. And certainly what I’ve noticed is, depending on the practice area, it defines the potential growth or I should say the likely growth geographically for a firm. So for something like family law, almost always within a city or a small region. If you start talking about personal injury, you’re talking about the state usually, maybe multiple states. But then when you’re talking national, it’s really more like business, anything to do with business. Because that’s beyond sometimes, certainly when you’re talking about federal, beyond the state level. So it seems like an interesting way of growing a strategy for growth and getting a big firm to take on more practice areas. But I would imagine that a lot of lawyers maybe have suggested to you in the past about nicheing, like going the other direction. What are the pros and cons do you think about going narrow versus going wide when it comes to practice areas?

Alex Hernandez:

I think if you niche market, you’re really just pigeonholing yourself. I’ve got a friend that all he does is real estate and he took the specialization certification real estate law. And I said, “Well, what happens when somebody calls you with a federal criminal case and they want to hire you to go handle some something federal?” Which I’ve done federal cases. I think I look at that specialization and say, “Well, you just do real estate law.” I just don’t want to be pigeonholed into something one or the other that says, this is all you do. But at the same time, I don’t want to be Jack of all trades and master of none. I think the specialization that we offer is litigation, it’s procedure, it’s being able to take a case from beginning to end and litigate everything that’s in between using the different areas of law.

Alex Hernandez:

A and I think that the way that we do things is really, I’m not sure if it’s not specialized, it’s more of we can go online and create a page about what we do and then it can go to the masses. It’s digital these days and digital marketing, social media marketing, you don’t have to be… Like I’m from a small town in Texas, it’s just called Port Lavaca, I’m not going to be pigeonholed to handling only family law cases in Port Lavaca and not really looking at the picture of what happens when somebody calls me from Dallas. Well, today I can say, well, “I’m in Los Angeles, I’ll fly over to Dallas and go handle your case, I’ll litigate your case.” My paralegal is and Corpus Christi will do all the paperwork, some other staff attorney in Austin will be able to handle any appearances. It’s just changed, the platform’s changed, the way we do business has changed, the legal market’s changed.

Alex Hernandez:

I’ve got friends that have moved to Puerto Rico and they’re still practicing in Texas. I’ve got friends that have done like what I did, they’ve not really retired, but they really hone down and really just take what they want to do. And they’re living their life. Again, we’re in a different era with COVID, we’re in a different era with technology. And I think we’re progressing, I think we’re changing things every day.

Erik J. Olson:

So I’m guessing with COVID and the fact that people realize they have a little bit of geographic freedom, that’s actually strengthened your strategy. Is that a good assumption?

Alex Hernandez:

Yeah, it’s a great assumption. I think that the way that I can think mentally, I get to think outside the box, I get to think on the bigger picture, I get to think, “Well if I don’t want to be in New York during the winter months because it’s cold and snowy and I can’t get anywhere, let everything go on and then I’ll be up there May or June.” And then when it gets too hot, I can go back to California. It just allows us a lot of freedom and flexibility. And these days, I can be on my laptop in the airport, take care of my work at the airport in the lounge. I can be working and dealing of people, handling my calls, Zoom calls, I could take phone calls from one phone number. I can be across the nation when they’re calling into my Corpus Christi office, I can be here in Los Angeles, and it doesn’t really matter where you are.

Erik J. Olson:

Nice, love it. But before we started record, you shared that you have multiple websites. How are you handling all? Well, I guess number one, why the multiple websites? And then how are you handling your marketing generally speaking?

Alex Hernandez:

Well, it’s a metamorphosis of changes. The celebritylawyer.com is really for my celebrity clients here in Los Angeles. Things that I want to help them with, whether it’s their real estate issues or their criminal issues, sometimes I’ll be able to handle and help them, actors, contracts, social media stuff. And then I’ve got the Corpus Christi website, which is Alex Hernandez Trial Law. And then I got the more national website, it’s Alex Hernandez Lawyer, which I’ve got pages for different types of law for that. It’s just the way I’ve done it for 20 years, it’s just the… And I want to take one down because it my effect my business model, it’s the change the way we’re doing business.

Erik J. Olson:

So your model, what you’re doing is very similar to the model that we have here at Array Digital, which is we can service a lot of different folks, but we know that each industry needs to have… The marketplace, I should say the marketplace demands niche services. So what you’ve done it seems like is the celebritylawyer.com, you go to that website, and I just briefly glanced at it, but it’s all about your celebrity lawyer services not your other services. So you’re presenting that niche to the niche audience because that’s going to resonate the most of them. So it’s interesting what you’ve done, and we’re doing the same thing here with different agencies and different industries. But what you’re doing is it seems like you want the opportunity of not nicheing but you also recognize that there’s a need for nicheing in the marketplace. So you present that niche to the audience that needs that presentation.

Alex Hernandez:

Right, that’s correct. A long time ago, I used to be a musician. So entertainment law was like the real background. What I wanted to do was be a musician 30 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago, and never got to do that. And what I’m doing now is really dealing with artists, musicians, actors, entertainment, intellectual property. And that’s really just that website. The other websites may deal with the Texas law and real estate issues or Texas law and divorce law issues or Corpus Christi law and what’s happening in Corpus Christi, Austin law and the changes in real estate and business in Austin the market. So here I’ve just honed down for Los Angeles, just really entertainment law for right now, business contracts, and dealing with other stuff that it’s going to be more client specific and their needs in general and what I can help them with.

Erik J. Olson:

Awesome, sounds great. So as a national law firm with lots of different practice areas that you’re supporting and several different offices, but what are some different ways that you go about getting new clients?

Alex Hernandez:

That’s changed too. The way that we’ve gotten clients 20 years ago has drastically changed from how we get clients today. I still get referrals, I still get people to call me, I still get people who know my phone number. Used to be just go to the Yellow Pages and pick out an attorney. I remember the days when the back truck or the phone book, the yellow pages was the way to go, and that was 20 years ago. That’s changed substantially these days. Now you go type in your keyword and that’s how you find an attorney. The good thing about my firm and my reputation, mine specifically, is that you can go online, Google Austin Texas real estate lawyer, you’ll find me, you’ll find my reviews, good or bad, and see that I’m able to handle what I can handle. So I think digital has really changed the market and how attorneys get clients.

Alex Hernandez:

But the way that we do it, it’s more digital these days, it’s not… I still have the billboards in Texas, still do some old traditional marketing. But for the most part, it’s really digital. Social media has changed a lot. I get people that message me on Facebook all the time, message me on Instagram all the time. And I think that that probably is the future of marketing, it’s going to be mostly digital. And hopefully it doesn’t get too saturated. My concern is that the saturation of everything of how digital, it’s just going to confuse the consumer. Consumers really need to be able to pick the best attorney or law practice for them.

Alex Hernandez:

There’s a lot of young lawyers that are really good at social media marketing, but they’ve never stepped a foot in the courtroom, let alone trying a case or handle a litigation matter, they don’t know how to do it from beginning to end, and really are just actors on TikTok. There’s got to be a balancing of that. And I think just because you’re the best digital marketer, it doesn’t mean that you’re the best attorney or the best law firm. And that distinction is going to be important in the future I think for consumers who really want the best attorney for their matter and not generally the best model or TikToker or Instagramer, or whatever. Social media is going to be the future.

Erik J. Olson:

It’s interesting how you talk about TikTok, Instagram, and the perception that goes along with the attention that some lawyers are getting. The attention usually leads to the opportunity. But you’re right, it doesn’t mean that just because someone has 2 million, 5 million followers on TikTok that they’re going to be the best attorney for you. But they probably will get the opportunity from their audience before someone else does. So it’s one of those things, that’s like, “Hey, you want the attention, but it can’t just be attention without something substantial behind it.”

Alex Hernandez:

Right. So consumers really need to do their homework, look online, look on social media, look at everybody’s the way that they do business and their… I guess Google reviews helps a lot [inaudible 00:17:07] from different directories, whether it’s ABO or Hostio, or some of these other directories. And consumers can make their judgment based on what they see online.

Erik J. Olson:

No, I totally agree. I love it. What are your growth plans for the next few years?

Alex Hernandez:

Continue to grow. I just turned 50 in November, so I’ve got a few more years and I still have all my hair like you told me.

Erik J. Olson:

I did have to mention that right away.

Alex Hernandez:

Until my hair is all gone I think I’m going to continue to practice law. I think that the growth is going to be there. I do see changes in the legal system. I think Zoom’s going to help us, I think I just see that there’s tremendous growth opportunity for attorneys. It’s a saturated market here in Los Angeles, in Austin, and in New York, there’s a lot of attorneys obviously. But I think that the ones that are doing things smarter are going to be able to provide their services better. And even things like this podcast where I can actually speak and let you listen to me and understand how I function and how I’m able to present myself and present my cases and talk to my clients, I think that helps a lot. But my growth strategy for now, just keep doing what I’m doing. I do a lot of stuff on my own, I’m very hands on with what I do. And I think that the digital thing is going to just grow.

Alex Hernandez:

It’s not going to be just TikTok, something else is going to come along in two years. It’s going to be somebody else’s idea, it’s going to be somebody else’s Google, it’s going to be somebody else’s new Snapchat, it’s going to be somebody else’s new Instagram. Facebook or Meta, I’m sure it’s going to still be around. But there may be a new Meta, there may be a better Meta. Everybody’s got this platform, but everybody’s trying to make a better platform. Maybe Elon Musk will make his own digital marketing brand. He’s trying to build a phone to compete with Apple, he’s built cars, he’s moved to Austin where I have my other home. So I just think that everybody is looking to better themselves and present our platforms and make money doing it. NFTs are new and there’s going to be a new NFT, there’s going to be a new idea. Everybody thinks new, tomorrow morning, I may wake up with a new idea that’s going to blow everybody out of the water with regards to the law. I don’t know. It’s just going to happen.

Erik J. Olson:

I think most people realize that, to use a cliche, the only thing constant is changed, but they don’t want change. So it’s so easy to just think, “Well, that probably won’t happen.” But it does, these things happen, change occurs, inventions are made. It’s going to change age over time for sure.

Alex Hernandez:

And Erik, the people, the attorneys that were not willing to change when COVID hit, were not willing to do Zoom, were not willing and not able to do… Like I’ve got my phone systems here and they ring from Corpus, they ring from Austin, they ring everywhere. They’re not set up that way, they don’t have the technology to do that, I saw them retiring, I saw them closing. I saw the old lawyers, the old guard just went away. And it’s really, really hard to practice law if you don’t constantly change, if you don’t constantly look at the future and better yourself. We don’t use law books anymore, we go to our laptops, we go online. I’ve got Salesforce CRM now that we keep all our clients in. It’s just the change of the guard, it’s the change of technology, it’s the change in systems. If you don’t go with the change, you’re going to get lost and you’re going to drown. And it’s not just for me as an attorney, not just for law firms, but anybody in business.

Erik J. Olson:

I think that is really a profound statement and good advice that people need to stick with the time. So speaking of time, I do want to respect yours, so we’re going to wrap this up here. If somebody would like to reach out to you and connect, what is a good way for them to do that?

Alex Hernandez:

Alexhernandezlawyer.com or 888-97SHARK. People in Texas have called me the shark for many, many years, [foreign language 00:21:51]. We do speak Spanish, which is a great plus for my firm. We’re able to provide services to the Hispanic community, to anybody in the United States in Spanish, so in English, Spanish. And in my business background, it’s just been a great, great 20 years of practicing law.

Erik J. Olson:

Fantastic. All right, everybody. Go check out alexhernandezlawyer.com or you can give him a call at 888-97SHARK. And also check out my website if you would at arraylaw.com/podcast, where you can find our backlog of awesome interviews just like this. Each one is tagged by practice area and by state. And also if you’re looking for digital marketing for your law firm, my company, Array Digital, is a digital marketing agency that works with law firms in website development, SEO, on advertising, and social media. All right, Alex. Thanks so much.

Alex Hernandez:

Thank you, Erik. Thank you for your time. Take care.

 

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