Challenging Paradigms in the Practice of Law with Marc Snyderman

Uncategorized Feb 04, 2021

Have you ever felt that the hours you spend working is better spent on something more productive? It is standard practice in law firms to be billed by the hour — but is this still effective and cost-efficient? There are many ways we can hire others for menial tasks. We can cut down costs and free up time for more productive work! Embracing this change can bring growth for your law firm.

In this episode, Marc Snyderman joins us to talk about why the practice needs to change. The current model is not effective for several reasons: overhead expenses, staff productivity, and client relations. He also shares that we need to look at our resources and expenses carefully.

If you want to know more about embracing change in the industry and disrupting traditional models of practicing law, then this episode is for you.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode

  1. What’s the importance of challenging current business paradigms and embracing change?
  2. How can we make sure we are realistic about our business growth and resources?
  3. How do we create a better working relationship with our clients?


Episode Highlights

Marc’s Background

  • Marc started as a corporate securities lawyer then moved on to work with a company dealing with bond work.
  • This was where he discovered his talent for translating technology.
  • Marc realized that the traditional law firm model needs to change if he wants to support small- and medium-sized businesses.

Changing the Game

  • For Marc, getting paid by the hour did not make any sense.
  • He observed that attorneys are now so uninvolved and usually at the back end of the office.
  • The only way to change the game is to think like a startup.

Marc: “Why are attorneys not even on the sidelines? They're in the back. They're behind the backstop. They're not in the game at all, right? Why are they so far gone? It can’t be because they don't know the same thing. We don't know any more than the attorneys knew 30 years ago — it's money. It all comes down to money. So you have to change the game.”

Embracing the Inevitable Change

Moshe: “Change has to happen, it's happening, whether you like it or not, because the consumer is changing, right? How we shop for what we're buying is changing. Our buying habits are changing. The way that we research something is changing. And the way that businesses can stay relevant and be able to meet the needs of the consumer is by harnessing the power of the technology available to us.”

  • Constantly adapting to new and effective technologies can keep overhead costs down.
  • Trends indicate that offices are becoming less important in the decision-making process.
  • When Marc started his firm, he utilized co-working spaces like WeWork.
  • Listen to the full episode to hear the discussion on embracing inevitable change in the industry! 

Realistic Business Growth

  • It would be best if you were realistic about your available resources and where you are in your business growth.
  • Often, overhead costs kill businesses.
  • Running a law firm is not just about being a lawyer, it’s also about knowing the business.
  • Listen to the full episode for a deep dive into overhead expenses and tips on savings.

Marc: “It goes to the heart of the problem with law firms. Law firms are run by lawyers, and not every lawyer is a good business person. The cream of the crop that runs the law firm that becomes the managing partner is really because they were a great lawyer or they were a great Rainmaker, not because they were a great businessman or businesswoman.”

Right Fit at the Right Budget

  • The range of salaries nowadays has changed a lot.
  • Moshe notes that for small firms, it’s hard to compete salary-wise.
  • According to Marc, these firms should look for more entrepreneurial people.
  • There are a lot of reasons why someone would resign from their work.
  • Know what these people are looking for.

Marc: “It's typically not money, because if it's just money, they're gonna come to you… You learn pretty quickly when people are leaving, they're usually leaving because of their manager. That's usually the number one reason. Number two is they found something — they just want to do something totally different. But if they're going into a lateral job, it's typically management and culture. It's not money.”

Optimizing Pricing and Staff

  • Even if he was not being paid by the hour, monthly revenue is enough for his needs.
  • The practice of law is not rocket science.
  • Take a step back and see where you can hire staff to help with non-specialized work.
  • Listen to the full episode to learn more about optimization.

Marc: “It totally creates the wrong paradigm for the client. It's not in their favor in any way, and it creates a distrust that… They're going to look at these invoices, and they say, “Well, how did it take so long?” They don't understand what the work is, and they don't understand what the work is because you didn't explain the work to them.”

Best Interest of the Client

  • We need to learn how to play the long game — challenge current paradigms. 
  • What are the needs and wants of the clients?
  • We need to start looking at law as a service and commodity to help people.

Marc: “It's always ‘we have a commodity. We have a professional service that you can't get anywhere else.’ So we're not going to commoditize it. We're not going to come down to the consumer-facing market, and we're just not going to do it.”

“There's no such thing as 395 an hour — it doesn't really exist. It's not a real number anyway, and I don't care if I make [that]. I don't need that. That's not what my business is about. It's not about that kind of profit margin, even if I could make it. My business is about helping companies and making sure that I can pay my bills and live a nice life.”

Advice During This Change

  • Changing to a subscription model can feel uncomfortable.
  • Lower hours does not mean you’re doing less work.
  • This model helps you create a relationship with your client and understand their process more.
  • Above all, Marc advises to be kind and to treat others with care and gratitude.
  • Listen to the full episode to hear the discussion on what to look out for!

Marc: “The other thing that is important for sort of solos and firms that are looking to make the transition is to understand when you're in those outdoor months, the reason why it's lower hours isn't because you're doing less work. It's because you know the client better. You're more integrated into their operations than you've ever been. You actually understand where their businesses are and where they're going.”

About Marc

Marc Snyderman is the founder and CEO of Snyderman Law Group. He provides strategic business and legal solutions to small- and medium-sized enterprises at below-market rates. Marc believes that the traditional law firm is broken and unable to represent the SMB market. He changed the paradigm to a monthly subscription outside general counsel services.

Marc specializes in government contracting, technology, engineering and software development, risk development, employment law and strategic consulting, and general corporate matters.

Before the Snyderman Law Group, Marc worked as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at Universal Technical Resource Services, Inc. (UTRS). This is a mid-tier international technology firm providing services to the US Government. He was Director of Legal Administration for Insight Communications, working on IPO, multiple bond deals, large scale acquisitions, and litigation management.

You can follow Marc’s work at Snyderman Law Group and contact him through [email protected]. 

You can also reach out to him through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

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