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From Pastor to Entrepreneurial Attorney LD Holt's Journey of Reinvention
Episode 3918th January 2024 • Your Practice Mastered • Your Practice Mastered
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Atty. L. D. Holt joins hosts Richard James and MPS on Your Practice Mastered podcast to share his unlikely journey from preacher to "chronologically accomplished" entrepreneurial attorney. Learn how Atty. Holt reinvented himself by embracing an entrepreneurial mindset later in life to build a thriving law firm. Hear his insights on perseverance, morning rituals, hiring in creative ways, letting go, and staying focused on what matters most through it all.

Tune in for an inspiring story of reinvention and what any law firm owner can learn from this wise septuagenarian attorney.


Richard James: [:

Atty. L. D. Holt: I think you're going to have to accept that there was no such thing as a one aha moment for the simple reason that when I came to the Richard James community, I had been part of another profession and we would meet bi-annually and have 3,000+ people there on the floor and another 7,000 people in the gallery.

So I knew the advantage of hanging with people who had similar values, similar practices, similar intents. And given the level of my chronological accomplishment and given the fact that I moved to an area of the country I'd never lived in before to open my law practice, I decided that I wasn't sure how long it would take me to learn to make a living practicing law.

practiced law. They ran the [:

But when I came to the Richard James community, I understood the value of having comrades. I understood the value of having people that you can depend on. Having people that you can give counseling to when they need it, and people that can give you counseling when you need it. Just like I called Will this last week.

Yes, I know that I'm a septuagenarian. I'm supposed to have a lot of wisdom. I got white hair and a white beard, but even septuagenarians need to learn something sometimes.

MPS: Hey, Law Firm Owners. Welcome to the Your Practice Mastered podcast. We're your host. I'm MPS.

ames: And I'm Richard James. [:

I love the terminology you came up with for yourself, and I think it's apropos, but you made your decision to really build a business a little bit later in life. Is that correct?

Atty. L. D. Holt: Not entirely. I built my first business starting when I was 13. I

Richard James: Ah,

Atty. L. D. Holt: built my second when I was 19. Then, when I was, in my forties, I decided to go to law school and went to law school and then started my law firm practice. So I started businesses repeatedly, but I started the law practice after I had some chronological accomplishment.

D, one of the things that we [:

MPS: about you

Atty. L. D. Holt: That I'm a strong believer in the fifth amendment for one thing. In other words, if you don't know Michael, I'm going to tell him that. You knew you talking to a lawyer, didn't you, Michael?

Richard James: Oh,

MPS: I sure did, but this helped it out a little bit.

Richard James: that might be the best answer we've ever received.

MPS: Yeah, that's great. You just garnered the attention of all the other lawyers listening right now.

Atty. L. D. Holt: the

MPS: are listening

right now

Atty. L. D. Holt: a long time ago, if you can't CYA for yourself, you won't be able to do it for any of your clients. So I try to be a good CYA for both myself and my clients.

t you've obviously had a lot [:

Atty. L. D. Holt: I have had some difficulty with the term entrepreneurial attorney. And I'll explain to you why. Entrepreneurship has been part of the fiber of my being. all Of my life But when you go to law school, they teach you not to be an entrepreneur, but to be a professional. Now, I'd been a professional before in other professions, and I understood that professionals have certain codes that they have to live up to and expectations of society.

? Not one time that I have a [:

But over the years my natural entrepreneurial ship served well in part of what we did. And I remember early on, I got the email or the website and I got it simply so that my emails would reflect. my business Later, I learned that the grandkids looked at one another and said if he's got his own dot com, he must be somebody.

living, but I wanted to make [:



OLD is one of those. And as I was becoming more chronologically accomplished. I realized that maybe I needed to make some money that I, I didn't just live off of and provide my daily needs. And so I began to look for ways to do it. And I was invited to a mastermind for realtors. I'd been invited several times, but I don't sell real estate.

appened before I left, I had [:

And he wanted to invite me to understand his material and his mastermind. So while I was at a very Powerful mastermind for realtors and realize there was something there worth having, I decided I would check with with this dude named Richard James and see about his. In fact, I told their administrators, I'm going to go check this dude out because we need in the legal business, what you guys do for realtors.

And it may be that I could put the two of you together and you could help one another. And that's really what I thought. So. I come back, I look at the stuff, I buy the Richard James material, which is the way they were doing it then, and then I got a free invitation to spend money to go to Arizona and to meet Richard James and and the crew.

realized what was happening, [:

So you've got to hang your own shingle. You've got to be an entrepreneur, like it or not. So, and listening to the mastermind and meeting the people that I met there and the James community I realized, number one, that what he was doing for lawyers was far in excess to what Brian Bethany was doing for realtors, and I realized that what he was giving lawyers were things that every lawyer needed to know or understand.

e accepted the invitation to [:

And I called one of my Richard James partners. And I said, give me your feedback on this. And I can trust what Will says. Because I know him, I know that I can trust him. And what he told me was exactly what I needed to hear. Now, I've been part of the Alabama bar for years. I've been part of a community of lawyers for years, but I've never been a part of a community where you could be totally open and totally honest with other people about business decisions and about what you're doing.

e Richard James community, I [:

Richard James: Oh my gosh. Well, that's a, that goes without being, I mean, I'm glad we said it, but yeah, you are, you are an extraordinary light for those that are in our community for them to be able to look to you and to what you're doing and how you're implementing and. Thank you for the kind words, LD. But at the end of the day you had to do it.

You had to accept the invitation. I think it helps that you maybe you didn't think about the word entrepreneurial attorney, because quite frankly, you just considered yourself an entrepreneur or a business person. Your whole life and you knew, as you said, when you went into law, you were going to have to open up, hang your own shingle because you didn't expect to be employed by anybody else.

So for you, it [:

But what was it so specific? What was that? Maybe one thing that you learn that made, made the aha moment happen for you as you're in this community. And not necessarily from my teachings or maybe from somebody else. It doesn't matter where it came from. What was that one aha moment that maybe you can share with those that are listening that they might be able to experience as well, whether they join our community or any community.


, I had been part of another [:

Biannually and have 3,000+ people there on the floor and another 7,000 people in the gallery.

So I knew the advantage of hanging with people who had. similar values, similar practices, similar intents. And given the level of my chronological accomplishment and given the fact that I moved to an area of the country I'd never lived in before to open my law practice, I decided that I wasn't sure how long it would take me to learn to make a living practicing law.

So I started a mortgage company simultaneously. And so I hired people to operate the mortgage company. I practiced law. They ran the mortgage, and I took revenues from both of them. And in a couple of years, I realized the mortgage business was going to go bust, but the law business was thriving. And so I passed that off, and I

Continued to,

To practice law and work in that area.

But when I came to the [:

Yes, I know that I'm a septuagenarian. I'm supposed to have a lot of wisdom. I got white hair

and a,

and a white beard, but even septuagenarians need to learn something sometimes. So I called Will and I got the answer and I told him what I was thinking. And he gave me some thoughts that I hadn't had and made it very clear.

That the direction that I was wanting to go was right in front of me and I should follow what I was doing.


and you don't find that elsewhere. And without the,

that I could go to and say, [:

How do I handle it now? So,



50 years in business and in 50 years and associating with people of a similar profession and where you can develop trust and understanding


and resources. When I came to the Richard James community 45 years into that 50 year trip, I already knew that I needed resources.

I already knew that I needed comrades. I just needed to know where they were. And,

When I got involved with,

The Richard James community in Phoenix, I realized I had the right one. And,

There were half a dozen people that I met, such as Will. In fact, there were two or three people that joined at the same time that I did.

And we've been comrades, buddies, compadres ever since and still are to this day. In fact, I just sent out,


a gift. To,

ndy that you can only get in [:

Now I also sent a video to Michael. But he's not a child. He didn't get the candy. So don't let him go home pouting about that. And, but,


these families, I know they're, I know their children. I know their mother's love for them and their father's love for them. And so I wanted to share with them and what I have found in the Richard James community.

Is that not only entrepreneurialship not only instructions, not only advice and information that I need, but I found a community that I need and we made on with some of these people on a regular basis. And,

What I learned from them week to week,

ake advantage of some things [:

I have 10 people total on staff, not counting me because as I learned to use the entrepreneurial mindset, I am learning how to make some money. And in addition to just making.

Richard James: That's music to my ears. Michael, where do you want to go from here?

MPS: Yeah, well, I it is music to our ears and I appreciate you acknowledging the community LD and I think it's extremely valuable. But I'm curious along your path. Did you ever have a down point in your journey? And what's something maybe you took from that?

that you've

Atty. L. D. Holt: Which

Now Which

part of the journey are you referencing?

MPS: Whatever part of [:

valuable lesson

Atty. L. D. Holt: whoever tells you they've never had a down point, do not buy property from them, do not buy a car from them and do not believe what they tell you. And yes, there have been down points. In fact, it was a down point that brought me to the place where I had to decide. Whether whether to go to law school or not.

In fact I'd been a pastor for over 20 years and the wife wanted a divorce and I tried to avoid it and couldn't, and I was with the church group that said, if the wife don't need you, we don't either. So that was kind of a down point. And I had two choices. I could become a drunk. Or I could become a lawyer.

you well know to this date, [:

There's been difficulties. There's been times when I've had challenges. But the difference between me and somebody who is chronologically challenged as opposed to being chronologically accomplished, I've been through enough of life that I understand if you've got the right faith. If you've got the right truth, if you've got the right facts, and if you've got the backbone to stick with it, it's going to be okay.

ing the majority of the work [:

Atty. L. D. Holt: The real learning that has to take place, that had to take place for me. Was the learning to turn loose. I have been blessed to engage some of the smartest attorneys I've ever met. And when you had 75 years of right living every now and then the good Lord sends you a blessing. And he sent me two new attorneys that needed an old man to help them know a few things.

ne thing that evolved at that[:

And on the month before we celebrated it, 75th publication, I began to have some internal contemplations with myself and the spirit, and I decided that it was time for me to begin to turn loose. And even though I'd had a non equity partner with me for some time, he still was operating on a small percentage of the business.

Because LD wasn't smart enough, wasn't that I was too stubborn. I was just not smart enough to know to turn loose and to lead other people to do it. But somehow in the month of May, I got a couple of epiphanies. One of them is that there's something else I need to do before I terminate life.

's one more bill left in me, [:

And my biggest surprise is that I've had enough intestinal fortitude to actually do it. Because my mom always told me, you do it son and you get it done right. And to look at mom and say, mom, I'm going to let them do it. Make sure they do it right. That's a real That's been a real adjustment for me.

Richard James: I'm curious, do you think that you're able to do that because you decided to hire them through God's inspiration and delivering

through God's

attorneys and you decided to say yes. So you figured you can't have him sit there and do nothing. Or do you think that you decided to hire them?

stage. Which do you think it [:

Atty. L. D. Holt: Neither one

Richard James: What

do you think it


Atty. L. D. Holt: in May, I had this epiphany and my question was, and it has to do with helping doctors and, and I contacted a doctor and some things began to roll and some things began to happen, but I said, I don't have the time to do that. And One of the smart things I learned over the first five years of working with the Richard James community is to quit expecting my staff to answer the phones and hire somebody that I've trained to answer the phones and do it right.

And I'd lost my phone person and I was very upset. And then When I got back from our Virginia beach meeting, the very first morning, the young man I'd taken and trained to be a paralegal said, just want you to know that this is the first day of my two week notice and that I'm, I'm leaving. And I wanted to say about talking to him in a stand and remember.

f he didn't have a change of [:

I realized customer service is what her business was. And I called her up and asked her if she wanted to go to work with me. She said, yes, but, and so we worked out the but, and I hired her and her mother to work as a tandem team. And that same week. I talked to a lawyer whose name had been given to me while I was in Virginia Beach, and he didn't want to work.

daughter off to college and [:

And so all I can tell you is I had made up my mind to do it and wondered how I was going to get there. But once I made up my mind, then the good Lord started sending me the people. Now, as you know, Richard. One of the things that I do that's a little bit different because I, and one of my former lives, I did work sales and I believe, and in Alabama, you can't go around passing out your card and say, let me do this work for you.

You kind of need referrals, but I've hired a man that went out to meet people and say, you need to refer your clients to Mr. Hope. And while he was there, he found a woman that had been practicing law for the same period of time I have, but she had been out of the country while her husband was with the State Department.

got two people who are very [:

And our sales are increasing as we go because these people are bringing them these people that want to do business with them. And but the answer to your question is it had to happen here first. I had to make up my mind that I was ready. To do more than be the grinding person at the computer, drafting all of my documents.

I decided that I wanted to help more people and I wanted to help them through others. Once I decided that, then the good Lord made sure I found the right people. At the right time in the right way.

could listen to you all day [:

MPS: I probably caught it, but we'll

Richard James: the, the, the hire, the waitress

MPS: Yep, that's the one. Yeah, the

Richard James: what do you think about, how do you feel about that? I mean, that, that was,

MPS: I, I feel great and I think it was subtle and I think for many law firm owners listening to this, it, it probably, that's just like a glaze right over, right? But I thought that was such a, a valuable lesson that you just used, LD, which was you knew that this server at wherever it was that you were dining at had customer service skills and you had frequented wherever that may have been to the point that you had built a relationship.

dividual that you knew. With [:

And I think that is a very valuable lesson in the difference between recruiting and just putting job ads out there and hoping and advertising for a role. And that was the epitome of that right there. And I, yeah, so rich to your point, that's what I picked up on in addition to just the pure conviction and LD's voice the whole time,


Atty. L. D. Holt: and there's one other thing from that experience that more people need to learn and understand.

Bethany, I'd known her for years. I'd hired she and her husband to come when I was having gatherings at the house to help serve there. I mean,


we knew them. And Bethany said, I only want to work three days a week.

hany, I could live with that [:


So, and I've got more people. Working for me now that for one reason or another can't give me 40 hours a week. And what I'm realizing is that ever since the pandemic, we have,

n't like it used to be like. [:

We can learn from the past experience and we can go forward irrespective of the circumstances we encounter.

Richard James: yeah, that, that

MPS: so valuable, so valuable. I appreciate that LD. Well, why don't you tell us LD? Cause you've led a very successful life and you've had a journey, but what are some of the things that you do on a daily basis that habit wise contribute to your sustained success? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


Atty. L. D. Holt: Well, habits are always personal.

But one of the things that I do, and I told you I started my first business at the age of 13. I started an evangelistic business and all of my teenage years, I was a teen evangelist in my area. And,

So you start practicing law and believe me, the courtroom is not the church house. And,

There are a lot [:

The only difference is I get to tell them how much to put in the bucket when I pass it.

And I don't have to depend on what their whims But,

One of the things that I realized that I need for me. It's to keep my personal inner self focused. So before I get out of bed every morning, I start reading the scriptures and then I've got three lists of people who've asked me to pray for them or situations I pray about.

ce, I think adhering to that [:

The good Lord made sure I had them ready for me.

Richard James: Yeah, I don't doubt it. I'll tell you what, that habit's a heck of a lot better than waking up and checking your email. You know, email

Atty. L. D. Holt: Amen.

Richard James: know

wow, what, what a, what a uh, I, I, you do that every day, huh? You have your list. You have your prayer list that you read in bed before you get out and start your day every day.

and start your

Atty. L. D. Holt: I'm getting up to go to another prayer meeting and I need time to do that, but yes,

Richard James: All right. I need, I need to, that's a new challenge for me. I'm, I'm always looking to as Blaine, our good friend, Blaine says, habit link something else. So I got myself a new challenge.

Atty. L. D. Holt: I tell you, if you'll pick that habit up, then you can do like I do get to the place where somebody else reads most of your emails and tells you which ones you want. Instead of checking while you're still in bed.

MPS: True, true.

Richard James: That's a good idea.

MPS: I love [:


Atty. L. D. Holt: What's got me excited today is I don't know when this may, when our viewers may see it, but today is the 21st of December is four days before the birth of Christ. And I have sent out, I'm sending out literally hundreds of. electronic postcards. I took,

Put a fire in the fireplace, brought children around, told them,

Some interesting, not well known facts about the Easter story.

And we're sending these out to different ones. And like I said, there's a candy in Texas, it's called peanut patties.

And it's pretty much raw sugar with peanuts in it. And now they put an elephant

On the front of which reminds you of The Alabama Crimson Tide,

With their gray elephant. And so,

I sent those out all [:

I said, I need


your mailing address. I've got some for the kids. And so what's got me excited is that it doesn't matter the business problems you have. It doesn't matter all the political problems that's going on. What really counts is being real people with real people. And at Christmas, I make sure that I find children and others to be real people with.

And to be honest, I've learned you can live that life pretty much 12 months out of the year.

Richard James: And you do my friend that you do. There's no question about it. As long as I've known you, you don't, you don't just relegate this behavior to Christmas time. And so while there may be more gifts and more candy at Christmas, your willingness to be a giver, your willingness to share with others. is something that is part of your DNA that you do 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

ciate you. I appreciate your [:

They've gotten to hear your delivery They've gotten to hear your wit and I wouldn't be surprised if somebody might want to reach out to you If somebody did want to reach out to you ld, please don't give them your cell phone number is there an email address that may somehow find their way to you if they wanted to reach out to you?

Atty. L. D. Holt: Thank you for the opportunity, rich, because when I listen to things like this, sometimes I hear something and I say, just wish I knew how to contact that person. And if anybody would like to call me or contact me, you can email It's H-L-D-H-O-L-T. Now, Michael, you know why that's my email?

MPS: Let's hear it. ld.

t my age, I need to remember [:

And I promise you, we will call

MPS: And, and, and there is no, no doubt about that. No, no doubt about that. And ld, you're, you're an inspiration to, to not only everyone listening to this, but to the entire membership base and Partners Club. You're filled with conviction. And that's something that's really admirable. And so we appreciate you and to the law firm owners listening today, there were so many great things to take from this.

platform you're listening or [:

There's so many good things today and man, I mean, it's almost impossible for once he starts talking to not just zone in to every word he's saying, because you could just hear the conviction in his voice, but we appreciate you all day and we appreciate everyone that took the time to listen today.

listened today

Atty. L. D. Holt: thank you.


Richard James: more comment before I go, before we cut today well two comments actually, one is for you one, thank you for being the epitome and the example of what we call the infinite game. We're talking a lot about that lately, about the difference between playing the infinite game and the finite game.

ve out for yourself, another [:

So thank you for that.

Atty. L. D. Holt: And I know for most of our viewers it may be inappropriate for where you are, but Merry Christmas everyone.

Richard James: Absolutely.

MPS: Absolutely. Merry Christmas,

to help you launch into your:

And we're going to partner with St. Jude. And so the training is going to be free. All we ask that you do is make a donation of any size to St. Jude. So this way you can get the training and somebody else can get the joy. And we're, we're going to do that on the 10th. And if the 10th is passed, when you're listening to this.

ow. So you should be able to [:

Thanks. It was a great show.




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