Know Thyself to Spark Growth in Your Firm with Dustyn Coontz
Aug 11, 2022
Weaknesses can be your strengths if you know how to use them. Problems like ADHD can make executing the right decisions to grow a business a significant challenge. However, with the right mentality and awareness, it can be an asset — albeit one difficult to harness.
In this episode of Profit with Law, we interview Dustyn Coontz, the owner and founder of Coontz Law — a criminal defense firm based in Lansing, Michigan. After being diagnosed with ADHD late in his life, he will share how he used this apparent weakness as a catalyst for catapulting his firm to success. We’ll also discuss the ins and outs of when and who to hire to grow a business successfully!
If you feel intrigued about how you can turn your weaknesses into a competitive edge and grow your firm, then this episode is for you.
Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode:
- See how Dustyn turned his ADHD into a money-making advantage that will grow a business.
- Learn how your business can utilize a flat-fee system.
- Understand how self-awareness is crucial to business success.
The Definition of ‘Destiny’
- Dustyn grew up lower middle class with a single mom in Lansing, Michigan
- His internship with a non-profit organization focused on the genocide in Sudan and sparked his interest in International Criminal Law.
Dustyn: “I got really interested in International Criminal Law and became convinced that it’s my destiny to prosecute warlords and dictators.”
- Dustyn believes that criminal procedure is the most fascinating and engaging subject matter in law school.
Dustyn: “I became intensely interested in criminal law and intensely interested in how I can use my privilege as a white guy in America to help others.”
- He initially planned to pursue Air Force JAG corps after law school but was rejected for medical reasons.
- His work as a law clerk for a probate judge was his first job offering.
When to Build a Firm and Grow a Business
- Working alongside a criminal defense attorney, he saw many things in the day-to-day running of the business that he did not like, so he decided to open his own firm.
- Dustyn drew inspiration from listening to the Maximum Lawyer Podcast and Lawyerist Podcast.
- Coontz Law opened its doors in May of 2018.
- He relocated his firm’s address back to Lansing, Michigan, his hometown, where he wanted to serve.
The People Behind Coontz Law
- Coontz Law celebrated its fourth year of establishment last month.
- His company has 12 personnel: two other attorneys, client care coordinators, a summer intern or associate law clerk, and virtual assistants based in the US and the Philippines.
Moshe: “You just need to be careful to make sure that the person you're hiring has a desire to work during that time. Because you don't want to have somebody do something they don't want to do or they're not going to enjoy.”
- One risk of being a business owner is training many candidates who leave the company later. However, bringing in extra personnel helped Dustyn grow his firm.
How to Grow a Business: the Foundations
- Dustyn believes that his firm's success was more foundational than because of strategic marketing or careful hiring.
- He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at the age of 32
- Getting diagnosed helped him trace his shortcomings and magnify his strengths.
Dustyn: “If I am in court all of the time and jumping from case to case to case is one dozen criminal defenses, I can hyper focus, and that's where I'm my best when I can hyper-focus on things…because it’s like a new hit of dopamine.”
- You do not have to force yourself to work in areas of your business where you struggle. Hiring candidates to do these roles is both time-saving and capacity-building.
- Dustyn relates that self-awareness is one catalyst that can help grow a business. For him, it was getting his ADHD diagnosis.
Dustyn: “An email is not just an email, an email is a rabbit hole, and, in the way, you know, it's because it's going to make me think of other things that are going to make me think of other things when I'm doing internet research. And then, you know, all of a sudden, a single email is an hour and a half of my day.”
Using ADHD to his Advantage
- Dustyn says that managing ADHD without medication can work, but medication and therapy makes him feel more in control of his life.
- Dustyn recalls a discussion with a podcast guest about how ADHD can manifest in high-performing people. Hearing the various symptoms of ADHD made him aware that he might have it.
- A few days after being diagnosed with ADHD, Dustyn got the book ‘Faster than Normal’ by Peter Shankman, which helped him feel understood.
Dustyn and his Flat Fee Firm
- Dustyn recalls how flat fees were a standard in the criminal law firm where he worked.
- Moshe claims that the key to winning at flat fee scheduling is to track what's happening and see results. It's a law of averages.
- A target revenue metric per attorney is a safety measure when scaling up your firm.
The Challenge of Finding an Integrator
- Traction, a book by Gino Wickman, introduces the idea of the visionary and the integrator. It explains that you do not always have to fill both roles.
- It can be hard to find the right integrator for your firm through traditional hiring.
- Alternatively, you can hire someone for a lower level role and train them into becoming an integrator.
An Author Gives a Final Note
- Dustyn authored a book dubbed 'Surviving a Criminal Case in Michigan,’ which narrates the entire criminal process of the state.
Dustyn: "I didn't want it to read like a lawyer had written it, or an SEO company had written it. I wanted it to be just kind of raw and real."
- Dustyn's book is an excellent tool for consultations. He plans to repurpose some of the content and distribute copies to local jails.
Dustyn: “So, my number one piece of advice is to know thyself. It's been around for 1000s of years, but it is it. If you have an idea of where you want to go, you’ll get there. And you need to know how to operate yourself. Figuring out who you are, is the most important thing.”
Dustyn Coontz is the founder and CEO of Coontz Law, a skilled group of attorneys and legal professionals based in Lansing, Michigan. Before working with various law figures, he went to law school at Michigan State University, College of Law. He never looked back ever since and is now a successful solo practitioner with his firm.
Coontz Law focuses on upholding people's rights and helping clients with criminal defense matters. The firm is a tripartite system of a Client Care Team (CCT), Legal Assistance Team (the LAT), and the Attorney Team (the A-Team). They also publish timely and accurate blogs relevant to the criminal process in Michigan.
If you wish to get in touch with Dustyn and know more about their company’s services, you may send them a message at https://coontzlaw.com/contact/ or call them at (517) 760-0966.
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