THE

Managing
Partners
podcast

Episode # 221
Interview on 09.27.2022

Hosted By
Erik J. Olson

Featuring Attorney

Thomas Dunlap



Managing Partner of
Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig

About Thomas Dunlap

Thomas Dunlap is the Managing Partner at Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig PLLC.

Tom’s practice focuses on patent, trademark, trade secret, commercial, entertainment law, business, government contracts disputes, litigation, and transactions. Tom has authored numerous books and appeared on national television and radio, including Fox, Sundance T.V., and NPR, speaking on various subjects in his fields of practice. In addition to the state and federal courts of D.C., VA, and M.D., he is a member of the Federal Courts in Puerto Rico, Colorado, and Texas, as well as the Court of Federal Claims, the Federal Circuit, where he has recently argued and won three appellate matters, the Veteran’s Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court, where he was lead counsel on a False Claims Act case (See United States ex rel. Carter v. Halliburton Co.) and in the T.C. Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC (U.S. May 22, 2017) (No. 16-341) case involving jurisdiction in patent infringement cases. Other recent litigation victories where Tom served as lead trial counsel include a $12,317,500 verdict in Zuru v Telebrands et al. (EDTX 2017) (patent infringement) and a $2,600,000 verdict in DPX Gear v Prince et al. (Loudoun Circuit Court 2017) (breach of contract & fraud).

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, your host of this episode of The Managing Partners Podcast. In the Managing Partners Podcast, we interview America’s top managing partners to find out how they’re running their firms, how they’re growing their firms, and what they are doing to keep their case pipeline full. And today I have with me Tom Dunlap. Hey Tom.

Tom Dunlap:

Hey Eric.

Erik J. Olson:

Well, I appreciate your time. Thanks for being here.

Tom Dunlap:

Sure. Yeah, of course.

Erik J. Olson:

Let me to tell the audience a little bit about you. A former US Cavalry officer, Tom is a founding veteran partner of veteran-owned national law firm, Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig. Did I say that right, or did I say that wrong again?

Tom Dunlap:

You did. That was perfect.

Erik J. Olson:

All right. Good. By the way, audience, this is take number two because I messed it up the first time. With more than 80 lawyers handling business and intellectual property prosecution, transactions and disputes, real estate and government contracts. Tom also holds the distinction of having been lead or local counsel in three United States Supreme court cases. Welcome to the show, Tom.

Tom Dunlap:

Thanks, Eric. Appreciate. Thanks for having me.

Erik J. Olson:

Well, besides that impressive bio, can you tell us a little bit more about you and your firm; when you started the firm and how that came about?

Tom Dunlap:

Sure. In a pretty small-ish nutshell, after I had spent some time as a prosecutor and then I was at a larger firm, I quit law entirely, enlisted in the army as a private because I just hated being a lawyer, hated the way being in a bigger practice was. While I was in the army in Officer Basic School, I started putting together the idea of a different kind of law firm. At least this is my personal premise. And when I flipped over to the National Guard off of active duty, I was at a firm and another attorney at that firm and I left. He was a 20th Special Forces Group. I had been a Cavalry Recon Scout, and we both kind of had the same ideals about how to practice and who we were as people. And we started the firm in 2001/’02. 2001.

Tom Dunlap:

And so we were a small shop, and over time we kind of grew to a critical mass. About 2013 or ’14, we were about 10 to 12 attorneys and made a decision at that time to cut out one of our four partners at that time because we had a partnership dispute, and that allowed us to change and grow. And we approached the growth of the law firm as a professional model as opposed to a standard law firm model, so the idea was to have professional management services, have lawyers not do anything but law and clients, which is a huge part of our law firm’s growth and the ability to attract other firms. And our growth started with one or two individual lateral partners from bigger firms like McGuireWoods, and then ultimately our first big firm, I won’t say bigger firm acquisition, but seven lawyers joined us 2015. And then 2016, another big firm.

Tom Dunlap:

And our most recent acquisition of attorneys was late last year, a firm of seven attorneys in Chicago. So we’ve grown to about 80 plus lawyers in that time period, roughly the last seven or eight years, and have been fairly successful with that by staying on brands, staying focused in the practice areas we’re in. We’ve had some experimental kind of offshoots, but we’ve decided that that wasn’t effective and a lot of it is culture. We have kind of a no, I guess I can use, a no hassle policy, which is a big part of our partner addition process. And then the way we run the law firm; we don’t have lawyers participate in managing things like office space, paper, supplies, things that they shouldn’t do. And that’s really how our firm grew and how we came to be.

Erik J. Olson:

Let’s go back in time a little bit. So you mentioned, I think it was, you said it was 2013 when you kind of redefined the role of lawyers in the business. What was it like before and after? What were some of those big shifts there?

Tom Dunlap:

So for me, the big shift was I went back to school to get my MBA in 2007 and I finished that in 2012. And all of my group projects at the end of that… because most of my fellow students, I was at University of Maryland, did not care what group project we did. They just were like, “Come up with a group project.” So, I did all of my group projects the last year of my MBA on law practice.

Erik J. Olson:

Good for you.

Tom Dunlap:

But like consumer sensitivity, pricing, what practice areas were the most valuable, what structure or law firm for compensation would be the most effective to make partners feel like things would be fair. So splitting everything four ways or three ways are very ineffective and something always falls apart there. We did a lot of work on that thanks to being in an MBA program that made me do some of this, and I kind of rolled out of there with a bunch of ideas on paper, and since I had a platform to do it. And once we got rid of this challenging partner, a bunch of partners who were interested in doing something that way, we were able to implement a lot of the things that I had notions about. And a lot of them are effective and you can find them in a host of books on the subject, which hadn’t been written yet, but other people have since said, “Lawyers should really be focused on practicing law,” and things like that. And, “Higher rates don’t hurt you as a lawyer. They can help you.” Just things that seem like common sense maybe to us now, or to a lot of people now, not all lawyers, but that were sort of novel at the time or not written about.

Erik J. Olson:

Was that transition a little risky or scary for you and the other partners?

Tom Dunlap:

I mean, so my job in the army was to shoot people and get shot at, so putting things in perspective, having seen horrible things, I don’t find any of this really scary. I just, again, it’s all a matter of perspective, but I thought it was exciting and interesting and academically challenging. Intellectually challenging, right? Well, maybe both; intellectually and academically challenging.

Erik J. Olson:

Well, yeah, I think a lot of managing partners/business owners, generally speaking, it’s difficult to make change, right? And there’s a lot of wanting to hang on to the status quo. You mentioned before adding and removing practice areas, right? A little bit of experimentation. And sometimes people just don’t want to, they want to stay in their lane regardless of whether it’s going well or not. But I think it’s really important what you said, is that you’ve added, you’ve removed, you’ve experimented with the business model and it’s worked out. You’ve had multiple acquisitions and you’re up to 80 lawyers. That’s impressive. That’s not easy to do. How many states do you cover, by the way?

Tom Dunlap:

Probably with physical offices, I think we’re in seven states physically, but from a bar perspective, since we do IP litigation, we’re probably practicing in most of the states. We have cases all over the place. A patent venue, which was decided by this TC Heartland case, which is one of the Supreme Court cases I was [inaudible 00:07:21] counsel in, and we lost. You used to be able to bring a patent case wherever you wanted to, so everything was either in Texas or maybe Eastern District of Virginia or Southern District of New York. But after that case, you now had to go after patent defendants where they have corporate headquarters. That was the Supreme Court decision in 2017, so as a result, we’re all over the place.

Erik J. Olson:

Got it. Okay. I never thought of that, so.

Tom Dunlap:

Yeah. Our main offices are, Tysons Corner’s our biggest office, that’s Vienna, Virginia; and then Leesburg; Richmond. Chicago is a big office for us with seven lawyers; and Tulsa, Oklahoma; and New York City; and Atlanta; and Delaware, we have physical offices. Also in Texas we have one attorney and we’re looking to grow that one now as well.

Erik J. Olson:

There you go. All right, one more thing that you mentioned then we’ll move on. You said a no hassle policy. What did you mean by that?

Tom Dunlap:

So no hassle policy, I guess when it comes to interaction with managing the firm. So a lot of lawyers… I’m in this managing partner group at the Virginia State Bar and we meet every couple months. We just had our first meeting. And when we each introduced ourselves, all the managing partners in Virginia and this council, everybody looked at me like I had three heads when I said, “We’ve gone to a professional management model. I have a CEO and a CFO and a CMO. And really, lawyers are doing law and getting clients,” they all seem surprised and were kind of like, “Why would you do you that?” And all I could think to myself is, “Why wouldn’t I? It’s massively successful and it makes practicing a lot more fun and what you went to law school for.” So the no hassle policy is we don’t require partners to be on committees or to, “We should hire this paralegal or move that desk.” It’s just, that’s silly stuff to me. It’s not silly stuff. It’s important stuff, but it’s stuff that you didn’t go to law school to do, and it’s a waste of your billable hour.

Erik J. Olson:

And it’s a challenge-

Tom Dunlap:

So, that’s the no [inaudible 00:09:08] hassle policy.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah. And it seems to be a challenge too, because like you said, they didn’t go to law school for these things, right? But they’re having to run a business now.

Tom Dunlap:

Right. It’s like doctors flying airplanes. Maybe it’s not a good idea.

Erik J. Olson:

Well, that was a really good overview of the company. I appreciate all that information. Let’s shift a little bit to marketing, all right? So this is mostly a marketing show or a digital marketing industry, so we’re always interested to know what firms are doing that’s either working or not. So actually, let’s go right to that question. What are some things that you are doing right now that is working especially well for you?

Tom Dunlap:

So I will tell you, Erik, that in the digital marketing space… now you’ve talked to one of my friends who has a law firm and I’ve helped him a lot with that firm. And for certain practice areas, digital marketing is far and away the most effective and best way to get new clients. And he does domestic relations law, divorce law. Fantastic. For what we do, we have tried so many things in the digital marketing space but our practice areas are all along what I’d call long tail sales. So it really takes, our digital focus is on brand awareness, presence, and authority. Giving the attorneys in our firm authority voices through blogs, through our hosted podcast, which you will be a guest on soon; the Blackletter Podcast. I’m excited to have you on there; our business podcast. But through other things; LinkedIn posts, having them speak at CLEs, having them attend and write treatises that the Virginia State treatise from Virginia CLE on intellectual property is something I co-write with one of my law partners, and we redo it every two years. So, we teach the class on the essentials of intellectual property litigation.

Tom Dunlap:

But creating authority voices for every single practice group and every single partner or associate that we can. And I think that has been the most effective. The challenge is that it’s relationship-driven, so you get a contact and you have to make three or four… I mean, you know the long tail sales process. You have to make three or four contacts, convince the corporate council, convince the CEO, or have the corporate council convince the CEO, to hire you for one thing. You do a thing. That’s good, then they’ll talk to you about more things. And that’s kind of how you work your way into relationships. Whereas with consumer-facing things, you can put content out there. They can see your resume and they can say, “Oh, I’ll buy that consumer-facing product.”

Tom Dunlap:

Now caveat; there are a couple things that we do that I would call them quasi consumer-facing and could be very effectively digitally marketed to, but they’re so hypercompetitive because everybody else knows this, too. And that’s base patent prosecution and trademark prosecution. Filing trademarks and filing patents. Almost everything else we do; trademark litigation, patent litigation, M&A work, maybe business formations falls into that quasi consumer-facing thing or small business-facing thing, but those things can be digitally marketed to, it’s just a big lift. And you have to be the right brand to do it, and our brand… so you have to make a decision, right? And you know all of this because this is what you do, but we’ve made the decision consciously to be that, a high-touch brand of experts, and that’s what we are. Our average partner’s 20 plus years, and so that’s the challenge. Sorry.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah.

Tom Dunlap:

Your turn. Sorry.

Erik J. Olson:

No, that was great. And I agree with you 100%. Depending on the practice area, the approach to marketing is completely different. So a personal injury lawyer, as an example, lots of advertising. You got to get in front of those people and you have to get attention. Not so much authority figure. Get attention first, get them to your website, and then you can show them that there’s a serious side to your law firm.

Tom Dunlap:

Oh, and they spend billions. Yeah. Morgan & Morgan. I mean, you know all these guys, but yeah.

Erik J. Olson:

That’s right. That’s right. Family law, little bit different; higher touch, right? More compassionate, for sure. The people that run family law firms versus PI firms, completely different personalities.

Tom Dunlap:

Well, but I would like to just… and again, I don’t do family law but I’ve been co-helping my friend, John, run his and run his marketing campaigns. But this is interesting, right? The consumers are still relatively agnostic when they’re first looking for a lawyer. They don’t necessarily have… When you’re selling M&A work or patent litigation, you’re asking five other companies for referrals and recommendations. Not so with domestic relations. Very similar to personal injury. They’re kind of in a field of, “I don’t know where to go,” so they’re getting their first touch information from the web. They’re learning about the bio. I do think you’re right; it’s got to focus on, “I’m so-and-so domestic relations attorney and I am special and care for your…” It’s much more high touch.

Tom Dunlap:

And bringing somebody in, it’s much more deliberate than personal injury. “You’ve fallen. Call somebody right away.” But those consumers are still susceptible to digital marketing because they don’t have any other basis for finding an attorney. They’re Yellow Page. They’re the former Yellow Page users. Anybody from Gen Z has no idea what a Yellow Page is, but that’s what I’m talking about. That’s how we’re finding [inaudible 00:14:22].

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah. You’re absolutely right. So it’s really like B2C businesses, right? Because those kinds of attorneys are marketing to consumers directly, whereas you’re more of a B2B business. You’re marketing to other businesses. And so when it comes to the business law, it’s… you mentioned authority several times. You need to establish authority, you need to establish a presence, you need to establish that you’re an expert. And it really comes down to, in my opinion, thought leadership. You need a thought leadership platform. So, what’s a thought leadership platform? Certainly there’s a website, there’s blogs, there’s a podcast like you have. You need to get your voice out there and be able to express yourself and then use all that content that you’re creating for marketing and, frankly, sales purposes, right? So, if you create a podcast that’s relevant to a prospect that just came in, you could answer their Contact Us form like you normally would, but maybe include a link to the podcast episode that’s relevant to what they’re asking about. “Oh yeah, yeah. Tom just spoke about this here. Listen to his podcast where he interviews some famous person.” So, it’s relevant.

Tom Dunlap:

Yeah. Well, it’s like what you’re doing now, right Erik? So, exactly what you do. I’ll say something that we did that I think’s unique. And so we created, we have podcasts like this on our Blackletter show that are longer, in-depth interviews where we talk to an expert like you about marketing law firms and things like that. But we also do a Monday Morning Minute. It’s a two-minute show every Monday morning, and it’ll be a quick hit like, what is secondary meaning in trademarks? The one I did this week was, what is the law that Putin relied on to invade Ukraine? What is the international law that is Article 2, Subsection 4 of the UN Charter? How did he violate that? He relied on Article 51. But I’ll do a two-minute podcast explaining something really quick. I don’t think I’m going to get any emails about, “Putin should have invaded. I want to sue him,” right?

Tom Dunlap:

But some of the things that we get, I can literally send a two-minute podcast out, and in the day and age of TikTok, you’ve got to have something digestible and consumable. So, we’ve been doing a lot of those two-minute shows where we’ll say, “What is the state…” Just something quick every morning, and we have a lot of subscribers… we have I think 19,000 listeners. Well, we have 19,000 unique downloads, so not listeners, not [inaudible 00:16:39].

Erik J. Olson:

Sure. That’s good.

Tom Dunlap:

But what they’ve said is, “It’s great because it’s two minutes and I can invest that.” And I was like, “Well, thanks for two minutes a week.”

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah. I mean, that’s asking a lot, right? Yeah.

Tom Dunlap:

Yeah. It is funny. “I could have watched a [inaudible 00:16:52] video in those two minutes, or three videos of somebody dancing, but instead I’m going to listen to you.”

Erik J. Olson:

Are you using that content for social media? Do you video it?

Tom Dunlap:

Yeah, we cross-post every Monday morning.

Erik J. Olson:

Good. Yeah.

Tom Dunlap:

So, two weeks ago I did one on the only salad dressing in the federal code, French dressing, was codified in the 1950s. Three weeks ago it was about Gruyère cheese. The FDA just declassified it. Doesn’t have to be from Switzerland anymore. And there’s a whole legal battle between Switzerland Gruyère and the FDA over that classification. So, it’s random things.

Erik J. Olson:

Funny. Yeah. That’s good.

Tom Dunlap:

[inaudible 00:17:35] It is funny.

Erik J. Olson:

The quick hits are good. We have another podcast, our original podcast, is called Journey to $100 Million, because our goal is to go to a large agency, and those are daily. It’s me and my co-founder, but they’re somewhere between 4 and 10 minutes long, and usually on the shorter side; 4, 5, 6 minutes at the most. We actually came up with the concept so that it would run as an Alexa… What do they call them? Daily… I forget what they call them. The daily podcasts? Flash briefings. That’s what they call them. The Alexa flash briefings, which used to be really big but they’re not so big anymore.

Tom Dunlap:

Yeah.

Erik J. Olson:

And it could only be 10 minutes long, but what we really liked is that there’s a lot of benefit. People like the shorter episodes and frankly, it’s a lot easier to record a 5-minute episode of max of 10, versus 50 minutes, right?

Tom Dunlap:

Right.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah.

Tom Dunlap:

Yeah, yeah. For sure. Totally agree.

Erik J. Olson:

And then we used that for social media as well. So, it’s all video. We used to do it audio only, but now we record those as video. We extract the audio for the audio part and then the video becomes all of our social media. So, all my social media on Instagram is based on that, which is great. It’s multi-purposing and cross-promoting, and you can say the same message over and over again, just in different forms.

Tom Dunlap:

Fantastic. No, I love it.

Erik J. Olson:

Well, cool. So, you’ve had really good growth. By the way, congratulations on 21 years in business. That’s impressive. That’s not easy to accomplish.

Tom Dunlap:

The age of the [inaudible 00:19:08].

Erik J. Olson:

So, big respect for that. Good for you. What are your growth plans for the future?

Tom Dunlap:

So, we do think that platform size is a big part of law practice in the field that we practice in. Not necessarily for every practice, but in the M&A, IP litigation field, we are reaching the point where bigger Fortune 500, Fortune 100 companies will hire us because our bench is deep enough in certain practices, like IP litigation or IP prosecution, where we’re top 10 in trademarks every year. We’ve been number three. We’re top 20 in patent prosecution every year in the whole country, which is saying a lot because there’s a lot of darn lawyers in this country. But our growth plan is we think that a platform of at least 100 attorneys put just in a real competitive space with the very, very big law firms, and provides a lot of stability. We’re very close to that. I don’t think there’s a limit. So honestly, I just tell you, and this sounds flaky but it’s true, because I’ve aged to the point where I don’t care if it sounds flaky. My goal is that any lawyer who does what we do and is not happy, should be happy here.

Tom Dunlap:

I mean, we have created an environment where if you’re not a jerk and you want to practice law the way you want to practice, we have so many flexible structures for partners that I don’t think there’s a limit to our growth size. We could be 1,000 lawyers. The challenge is convincing lawyers that it’s real, but the great thing is now that I have so many partners and associates at the firm, and unlike other firms who acquire lateral practices, because we’ve been approached two or three times, we don’t say, “Call this guy. Here’s the guy to call. Here’s the phone number.” I say, “Look, look on the website, call anybody you want, anytime you want. If you want an e-intro, I’ll do it. Because if you’re not happy here, we’ll have a party for you if you want to go somewhere else or start your own thing, whether you’re an associate or partner.”

Tom Dunlap:

Because that’s really the goal is, we’re trying to create an environment where lawyers aren’t all screwed up in the head, where they’re not killing themselves, where they’re living; they’re working to live and not living to work. And that sounds cliche, but it is what it is. That’s literally, honestly our goal. A happy lawyer makes a better lawyer, a safer lawyer. They’re just better at what they do. They’re their best them. So, sounds flaky. I’ll just [inaudible 00:21:21]-

Erik J. Olson:

No, it doesn’t. Tom, I love it.

Tom Dunlap:

Yeah.

Erik J. Olson:

I think it’s great. I love the enthusiasm and the ambition, because there’s a tendency these days for people to be very modest and humble, but it’s okay to have a big vision. But the thing is, a lot of people don’t express their vision, their dreams, and if you don’t put it out in the universe, it makes it a lot more difficult to achieve that. But if you start telling people what your dreams are, what your goals are, and you’ll be surprised that they’ll rally behind you. They will help you achieve that. So when you say, “We could be 1,000-lawyer firm,” absolutely. By the way, we work in a lot of different practice areas, and I mentioned PI, family and business. What I absolutely have found is that when it comes to… Those are the three primary ones, by the way, that we work with. Family, very local, city-based mostly, although they can practice a lot further but it’s basically a city-based. PI, state-level.

Erik J. Olson:

When I come across a big firm, it’s always a business firm, and I mean always, right? And so, the business firms have the ability to scale out to the 50 states, maybe beyond, but no other practice areas seem to have that natural ability; at least, it just doesn’t happen as frequently.

Tom Dunlap:

Well, part of it, Erik, is what we do, for example, when we were 20-something lawyers, we were considered by some big companies… I have a friend, was corporate counsel at a huge company. Very good friend. And he’s like, “I put you on the list, but…” and I think we were 30 or 40 lawyers at the time. And he said, “but the CEO and the board just felt your firm was too small. They knew you were great. Great resume, loved everything about you.” And this guy was chief counsel at the company, but he said, “You guys are just too small.” The kind of law that we do, you have to be a certain size and have a certain bench. For IP litigation, we’re there. We have, I think of our 83 lawyers, 30 to probably 40 something of them do almost exclusively IP. And then probably another 10 or 15 do at least half of their practice involves IP if they’re in litigation or something like that.

Tom Dunlap:

So, we have a very deep bench there. The challenge for a firm like ours, honestly, is when it comes to M&A or real estate and we have three or four or five lawyers that do that. We don’t have the bench for a Fortune 500 company right now. We can do a transaction, but we can’t do five of those transactions at the same time. And we found that out last year when, I don’t know if you know this, in our industry, in the M&A… I’m not an M&A. I’m IP, but it was crazy… Oh. Sorry. It was crazy. And we had to turn deals away. So the size of the law firm, the reason you see business law firms and IP law firms that are that big is they have to be because they can’t physically do the work otherwise. We did a three-year patent litigation case that I was lead on. I think we won $30 million. It took 15 lawyers almost full-time on that case just to do the case.

Erik J. Olson:

Wow.

Tom Dunlap:

I mean, it was a big case, to be fair, but how could a firm of 20 lawyers do that and then exist after the case is over? It couldn’t. Yeah. So, you have to be of a critical mass to be able to handle those cases and then cyclically have enough business support for other things for those lawyers when that case ends.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah. 15 lawyers working on one file, one case; that’s a big team, for sure.

Tom Dunlap:

But it’s pretty common in this space.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah. Well, this has been great, Tom. I appreciate your time. What is a good way for people to reach out to you if they would like to connect or they have questions for you?

Tom Dunlap:

So, they can check out our website at dbllawyers.com. That’s D-B-L, Delta, Bravo, Lima, and then lawyers, L-A-W-Y-E-R-S dot com. Or they can call our nationwide toll free number 800-747-9354. And hit me up on LinkedIn. I don’t know how you feel. I’ll ask you since you’re a marketing guy. People are like, “I don’t connect with people on LinkedIn unless I know them, know them. If I don’t think it’s a fake profile, it’s a business place. I connect with anybody who asks me to connect, as long as it’s not purely a spam person that’s not a real person that is, I don’t know, a hacker.”

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah.

Tom Dunlap:

What’s your opinion on that? I’m kind of curious, actually. How do you use LinkedIn?

Erik J. Olson:

Sure. Sure. So, LinkedIn is not Facebook. You go to Facebook for a particular reason and that’s to share photos with friends and family and people that you know. You don’t normally connect with people that you don’t know. LinkedIn is for business. With business, you don’t just stick with your little tribe. If you did, then you wouldn’t connect with anyone besides the people in your office or a really small ecosystem. So, you should treat it like a networking event. You go around, you say hi to people you don’t know. When you go to a networking event, the point is not to stand in a corner with your friends. The point is to network, and so you should network. It doesn’t mean that you have to meet everyone there, but you shouldn’t be afraid of accepting requests to connect. As an example, I probably reached out to you. I don’t recall exactly how it was, but I probably reached out to you through LinkedIn.

Erik J. Olson:

It’s a great way to find people that you want to connect with in business, because you can search by title, you can search by industry, you can search by company size. There’s a lot of different ways you can search. So, you can really target in to the kinds of business people that you want to connect with. And so connect with them, say hi, send them a message. If you have a thought leadership platform, like a podcast, like this podcast, invite them on. Get to know the person. Tom, you and I just spent almost half an hour recording this, nevermind if 5 or 10 minutes beforehand, then we’ll talk afterwards, right? So, I’m getting to know you. Otherwise, if I was concerned about only connecting with people that I knew, we’d never get this opportunity. So, LinkedIn is good for that. I don’t hang out on it, I don’t read the feed, but I absolutely use it for connecting and messaging.

Tom Dunlap:

So, the thing I tell partners in my firm, they don’t have your password. You’re just connecting with them on a business platform and you can unconnect with the click of a button if they start spamming you. I’m a proselytizer of using platforms the way they’re supposed to be used, even within my own firm, which again, the growth challenges, so yeah.

Erik J. Olson:

Yeah, you’re right. The biggest risk is that you connect with someone and then they start sending you a ton of sales messages, and you don’t have to accept those. You can just disconnect or ignore them. And a lot of times when it comes to, quote, “marketing online”, you can just straight up ignore these folks, right? They’ll send you an email and just, you can just delete it. They may send you another email. You can delete that one, too. You can mark it as spam. But very few sales people these day and age, very few marketers will actually take the trouble to try to reach out and contact you by some other way besides electronically. And so, you could just ignore them. I do it all the time. I get a ton of spam and I just ignore, ignore, ignore.

Tom Dunlap:

Yep. Totally agree with you. Awesome. Sorry, I didn’t mean to sidetrack you, but just-

Erik J. Olson:

All good. No, I appreciate it. No, this has been a great conversation. All right, everybody, go check out Tom’s website. Again, it’s dbllawyers.com. And if you would like to check out other episodes like this, you can go to arraylaw.com/podcast. Every one of our episodes is tagged by the practice area of the managing partner and the state they practice in, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. And if you are looking for digital marketing for your law firm, I’d like you to consider my firm, which is Array Digital. You can find us at arraylaw.com. We specialize in website development, online advertising, search engine optimization, and social media. All right, Tom. Thanks so much.

Tom Dunlap:

Thanks. Take care, Erik.

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