The email was one of many I, and other lawyers, receive:
I am hosting a free teleseminar on August 10, 2011 entitled:
"How to Double Your Criminal Defense Practice Income Without Spending One Extra Hour In The Office”
What I will reveal in this call will enable you to design and implement a strategy to boost your practice revenues and boost them quickly! These are proven techniques
One hour, on the phone, a free call, the tips I needed to build my dream practice, only 200 lines available, RSVP now.
So I did.
And then I waited. I waited for the email: "Sorry Mr. Tannebaum, we're all full (because we know who you are and are not letting you near this call.)
It never came. I guess I'm not that famous. Damn.
I got plenty of auto follow-up emails from her, but not the expected, "sorry folks, parks closed" one.
Rachel Kugel, admitted to the Bar in 2005.
I don't know her, don't know anything about her reputation as a lawyer, just this, and this.
Here's what happened on the call.
It was an interview type conversation. A seemingly drooling questioner, and Rachel answering the questions. It was like an infomercial on the phone. Just enough was said to get people to want more.
The first thing was about who she is - "I'm not a marketing coach." "I don't teach what I don't do." "My primary income comes from being a lawyer."
OK. Sounds good.
She told of her history - solo right out of school, and a half-million in income two years later. There were also hints that that number is now one million.
Now everyone is listening.
The overriding theme was that this can be done, as a criminal defense lawyer, with little work. That kept being said over and over again. It sounded attractive to the young, desperate "how to make money as a lawyer" lawyers, although Rachel made it clear it was for all lawyers. There was no doubt that the strategy was to let people know over and over again that making money taking other people's lives into your hands was "easy" and required "little work to implement."
The system involves getting clients to hire you. It has nothing to do with actually representing them. It is all about "being first" to get the client, convincing them you are "the expert" to handle their DUI or shoplifting case through forms and other tactics, (these two types of cases were mentioned over and over again, no other examples of cases were mentioned), and charging more while obtaining these clients without having to be in the office by "leveraging technology," (read: e-mail, etc...). At one point Rachel said that potential clients get messages from her that make it seem that they are actually coming from her (read: auto, canned, messages.)
She referred to her many vacations and stress-free life, her "Park Avenue address" where she only has to go there "when I want." The questioner thought that was absolutely amazing. I think it's probably a time-share Regus type deal.
She revealed that her average fee is $4,000. This would mean that on average, she opens 250 cases a year or, on average, over 4 cases a week.
The talk was all about the smaller cases. She said that a lawyer she knew said he would take on high profile big murder cases for the sole purpose of getting hired on smaller cases like DUI and shoplifting. I found that interesting, because in my 17 years, I have found that most lawyers who do high-profile murder cases do them to get other high-profile murder cases or other high-profile cases. But maybe I'm wrong.
The word system started to be mentioned. At one point, the questioner said "we've heard system, system, system," and then he asked her to elaborate. This was exactly 45 minutes in to the call.
It's $1297, although we were told it's worth tens of thousands of dollars.
But wait, there's more.
For the callers, a couple "bonus" items, including a personal coaching call from Rachel.
And for us, $997, with a 90 day guarantee that it will work.
Rachel at one point said one of her goals was to "return honor" to our practice. I have no idea how teaching lawyers to convince clients (whether it's true or not) that you are the expert for their shoplifting case is going to "return honor" to our practice. I think there's plenty of honor. Teaching lawyers to make money by strategic marketing tools that are less than a face to face meeting with the new client, isn't real attractive to me.
I don't know how many people were on the call last night, or how many signed up - you can do the math.
And that's my report on the call.
Rachel did say one thing that I liked - that when clients get her on the phone they have already decided to hire her. That's something I've strived for - to get rid of the, as she says "tire kickers."
Although when clients hire me, it's not because they are dazzled with my strategy, my leveraging of technology, or my ability to make it seem like I am actually talking to them.
It's because they need a good lawyer, I hope.
Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Post to Twitter
9 hours ago