Artwork for podcast Your Practice Mastered
Unveiling Attorney Howard Snader’s Blueprint for 7-Figure Law Firm Growth
Episode 374th January 2024 • Your Practice Mastered • Your Practice Mastered
00:00:00 00:37:09

Share Episode


Join hosts Richard James and MPS on Your Practice Mastered as they sit down with Attorney Howard Snader. In this episode, dive deep into the strategic maneuvers and pivotal choices that propelled a solo criminal law practice into the million-dollar revenue club. Discover how Howard's transformation from legal advocate to savvy entrepreneur resulted in a goldmine of growth. 

Tune in to learn actionable tips that can revolutionize your practice, and get inspired by an entrepreneurial journey rooted in real-world challenges and triumphs. Don't miss this compelling conversation—listen now to spark your firm's financial breakthrough!


Richard James: [:

They just had a different way of helping you get there. And so that's the key. You just don't lawyer specifically in law school, aren't taught the necessary skill sets to be able to diagnose a small business the way that is required just because you don't have those glasses on. And so having somebody else that has those glasses, I think is important. Do you agree with that?

Atty. Howard Snader: It's not only that I agree with it. Look, my dad was a PE teacher. My mom was a housewife. Okay. I never took a business law class until I was in law school. Business acumen was not in my DNA in any way, shape or form. So I was the guy that hung up a shingle. I got my yellow page ad. I did the things that I was told to do to be successful.

ractitioner and criminal law [:

And when I latched on to you guys, it was a mechanism that I could use to grow. And actually in the interim years, I feel like I've gotten a doctorate in business just by going through the process. So yeah, there's a difference between being told I'll take care of the problem and I'll teach you to take care of the problem.

And I'm always somebody who wants to grow and you guys have given me the tools to do that.

MPS: Hey, law firm owners. Welcome to the Your Practice Mastered podcast. We're your hosts.


Richard James: And


at a lot, but the end of the [:

So I'm excited to have this conversation. Welcome to the crowd today, Howard.


Atty. Howard Snader: and Richard Thank you for having me on board. I can't wait to have this discussion with you guys.

MPS: Absolutely. Looking forward to it. And I think, yes, there's going to be a lot of valuable and actionable insights from today. But Howard, one of the things we do on this podcast is we kick things off with a little bit of an icebreaker. So what's maybe something that not everybody knows about


er football and youth league [:

And when I got into high school, I was able to work high school football and I worked high school football until 29 years passed and three knee tears and I had to hang it up and I do miss being out there on Friday nights. I was the youngest guy in the state wearing a white hat with my own crew. And it was fun while it lasted and I just got to back off nOw

Richard James: No,

no dreams of, there was no, the dream of being a Hockley at one point.

Atty. Howard Snader: I met with Mr. Hockley on several occasions because he's an attorney here in town, like I am, and bumped into him at a couple of bar functions, talked to him a little bit about, you know, working in the NFL. I tried to do the junior college route way back when, but I saw the time sink that was into it, and I just didn't have the time and energy to put into it.

film, We had five man crews [:

So I'd go through and dissect the film, reach out to the ADs, reach out to the coaches every week for 16 weeks. And that was a huge time sink. My, the guys on my crew didn't realize. How much time I put in until I blew my knee out the first time and one of them had to step up and do it and they couldn't keep up with that.

So it's a lot of work. It was fun, but

a lot of work

Richard James: yeah, it's a hobby that requires an immense amount of time. It's kind of like golf, not the same as golf for sure. But golf is a big time sink. You know, you decide you're going to play golf one day, it's, you know, five to six hours of your life gone. So you better prepared to that time up somewhere else.

So, yeah, I totally get it. Michael, where do you want to go from here?

rd, which is, I think you've [:

Atty. Howard Snader: Well, it's almost how I fell into this world with you guys, because at some point, if you want to get good at something, you need a coach. And even before I met you guys, I found what I believe to be a coach and a business coach. And he took a look at my business and said, Hey, you got these problems. And if you hire me, I'll do these things and get you fixed.

And after about two years, I didn't lose any money, but I didn't, make any extra money. And I said, you know what? I'm not where I want to be. My ultimate goal was to either retire with some kind of evergreen dollars coming in, be a consultant, get some money back some way, or to partner up and share in my practice.

. And with the second coach, [:

And then, my accountant of all things, and Rich knows the story. Rich wrote a book called Acres of Diamonds, and my accountant in one tax year said, Hey here's a book for you. Now the book is a little tiny paperback book, takes about 20 minutes to read at max, and it literally sat in my briefcase until I went back the next year and I said, Hey, can I mark this up?

ook at my business and says, [:

And that was the real difference. Instead of paying somebody else to take care of my problems, Rich's. By nature, just a wonderful teacher. I think you learned from the best and in the years I, what is it? Nine years now, 10, I lost track, but in that time I learned how to fix my problems and I built a very successful practice.

I crashed a successful practice and I'm still learning and dealing with things as I'm moving forwaRd

Richard James: let's

focus on the success part because I and I think there's a lot of lessons to learn from the downside. Michael probably asked that question at some point, but you mentioned it, Howard by the way. Thanks for the kudos. And of course, this isn't promotional for us at all. This is we're speaking to that.

the door and close up a case [:

Atty. Howard Snader: that's where I was. Yeah, I

get it

Richard James: That's, yeah. And so that for me, I think it's so important that the key message you said is, I'm not saying hire us. but you need a coach. Like somebody's got to be able to give you the ability to see the things that you can't see yourself. The other coaches that you talked about saw those things.

They just had a different way of helping you get there. And so that's the key. You just don't lawyer specifically in law school, aren't taught the necessary skill sets to be able to diagnose a small business the way that is required just because you don't have those glasses on. Right.

And so having somebody else that has those glasses, I think is important. Do you agree with that?

usiness acumen was not in my [:

I had a very consistent business as a solo practitioner and criminal law generating usually right around 300 to 325, 000 a year for the better part of 10 years. It was very consistent. I was okay, but I knew that I'd have to change if I wanted to. As I said, either sell my practice or I needed to do something.

And when I latched on to you guys, it was a mechanism that I could use to grow. And actually in, in the interim years, I feel like I've gotten a doctorate in business just by going through the process. So yeah, you know, there's a difference between being told I'll take care of the problem and I'll teach you to take care of the problem.

And I'm always somebody who wants to grow and you guys have given me the tools to do that.

hat at the end of the day. I [:



reward it for putting in that work to get that doctorate. And that warms my heart to know that you now have the knowledge that you can take this and literally do run any business really, quite frankly, in the world with the knowledge that you have.

And so that's awesome to me. So

Atty. Howard Snader: firmly believe that

Richard James: Yeah,


That's what my entire, that's what my goal was the entire time. And now that my son is in the business, my goal, my gosh, he's unfortunately, or unfortunately for him, he's heard this from a very early age. So, you know, as long as he said he wanted to be an entrepreneur, my goal was to try to get it so he could stand on his own two feet too.

ust like you, they feel like [:

What was the first thing you re do you remember fixing about your business that made a marked difference in how many new clients you were getting?

Atty. Howard Snader: things, actually three things if you, the way you phrased

Richard James: Oh, it's

Atty. Howard Snader: it

Richard James: it's your show

You rock and

Atty. Howard Snader: keep in mind I was a sole practitioner, literally in the office by myself, no legal assistant, no nothing. And I was able to maintain that level of practice, okay? Number one, I got tired of those phone calls in the middle of the night.

And the first thing I did was fix my phones. I got somebody to answer my phones for me. So I didn't get those cold calls all day long. And what a stress relief that I didn't talk to salespeople and what a stress relief. And I didn't have to worry about goofy calls in the middle of the night. The second thing was.

bookkeeper and got a p and l [:

So just in the savings of money, I was bleeding money and didn't realize it because I'd never done a P& L. So fix the phones, do the P& L, and then the third thing which I'm forgetting about, because you said, what else did you do?

Richard James: It's okay. Those


Atty. Howard Snader: I

can't remember. Those are two big ones, yep.


Richard James: Timing

MPS: Two powerful punches.

Richard James: the Yeah. Michael, those under the title, Michael of sell your way to success and save your way to solvency.

MPS: Literally the epitome of it right there. Yes. No I, I think those are two super big keys. And I mean, as you know, Howard, we meet with a lot of law firms that haven't necessarily got those down and their phones still ringing all day. They get the calls in the middle of the night. They're the one at the first line of defense and it's a time suck too.

the middle of the night, but [:

Atty. Howard Snader: tHe real issue though, is you've got to take a leap of faith and you got to change your paradigm and understand you don't have to be the one that answers the call to still get the business, you know, to bring in the business, to bring in the leads. That's, that was the third thing, Rich, was I remember you telling me, stop prejudging potential clients and just set them all for appointments.

And I started doing that. And what was amazing is the fact that one third of the people that I would have rejected. Ended up hiring me on some level. So I got rid of the pre judgment and got them on board.

Richard James: That's huge.

MPS: That could be a wrap right there. I mean, that

Richard James: You can literally like stop, they can stop listening. Just go do those three things and stuff is going to happen for them. Right. So

Atty. Howard Snader: They could do those three things, but there's ways to do it better. And


where our comes

into play

Richard James: enough

Howard the idea of filtering [:

Okay. To filtering every lead and having to figure out if they're going to be a good opportunity. And those are two wildly different approaches. So I think that's a very good point. Now, we don't, obviously the entrepreneurial journey has highs and lows, and I want to come back to the high, but I think we would be remiss if we didn't go through.

What would you say on this journey was a down point? And what's something you took out of that?

n't know how to be a better. [:

That's the bottom line and my payroll got out of hand and it got out of hand and it came out of my own pocket to keep it alive. And I kept telling myself it would change and it just didn't change. It had plateaued. I had built up, I built the practice to a point where it could maintain a certain level.

And I thought I needed all of these employees to keep that level at the same pace. No, I needed all those employees to get me there. And then I could have started chopping some folks and I wasn't a aware enough business owner to terminate good people for no reason. And that was really hard. Now I don't have a problem,

MPS: Exactly

Richard James: You know what,

MPS: I did that.

lot of professional service [:

In almost every one of those instances, they get a customer or sorry, they get a sale to make a customer, right? So that customer or that client is their client. For life. Like they, they make, maybe that maybe it was worth a thousand dollars or 2, thousand dollar to 3 thousand dollar this year, but then it's probably worth a thousand dollars or 2, 000 next year.

But most law firms, not all, but most law firms usually do business with a single client once, maybe twice, depending on what kind of practice area they're in. But it's that one time deal in which theoretically means. For most law firm owners, certainly the retail law firm owners who have, you know, PI, criminal, bankruptcy, immigration, estate planning, you know, so on and so forth.

Those firms [:

If for whatever reason there is a dip and you built your set your salary base on say 100 or 120, 000 type firm and one month you have an $80,000 a month, well, holy crap, that's a $40,000 shortfall, right? And it just means. That's got to come from somewhere. And if there's not cash reserve, it comes from the owner's pocket.

nalize. You've lived through [:

Maybe they had a great year. It's hard to recognize when a new cycle has started. Something broke a website, broke a lead source, broke a macroeconomics, broke. It doesn't matter something broke. And when that happens as quickly as we can. We have to try to reduce expenses. Otherwise, the firm gets upside down.

And that's, what happened to you. And that's in that span, right? And you say, I saw it coming. Well, that's easy for me to see. I'm looking over your show. I'm not running your firm, right? I was able to go, Hey, Howard, here's what's coming. But I'm You're the one that had to live it. And I've said this to you before, I have the t shirt because my, coaches and consultants back years and years, and you're going to take me back 20, 25 years.

was out of control. I had to [:

Would you agree with that?

Atty. Howard Snader: Oh, absolutely. I mean, well, you always learn more by screwing up. So you, as long as you, as long as you take those mistakes and you don't repeat them, you're going to be in a better place. And I know I'm not going to be repeating those mistakes. So it's a real simple, the math equation is real easy. Don't do it again.

And, So yeah, it's been a hell of a journey for all these years, but it's not a journey that I would have passed up. You know, I just wish I was 20 years younger when I started. So, you know, I'm, look, I'm turning 62.

you to continue to learn from[:

Atty. Howard Snader: Yeah absolutely. I mean, my dad, like I said, was a teacher. I've always been in a family of teachers and learning is it's an ongoing process and. I mean, the self improvement, it's amazing. The books I started reading nine, 10 years ago have a different meaning now. So you start, you're at different places along the journey.

As you read the information you know, things that you told me 10 years ago, didn't make sense. Now I'm the one able to tell the other people in EA Nation that this is how it goes. And, you know, so you're, what I love about your coaching style and your practice mastered is it really meets you where you are.

It diagnoses where the problems are, where you are, and you guys have already developed the tools to jump in at that point and move forward. So that you can't have it any better than that, but you got to be the one to sit down and say, yep, I don't know what to do. I need your help. And as soon as you ask, you guys are there.


Richard James: That's the key. Hey, Michael, why don't we the Howard relive some of the good and high notes? Yeah. What

MPS: yeah, exactly. Let's hit some of the high points because there's plenty of high points as well. So Howard, what would you say were some of your aha or breakthrough moments on your entrepreneurial journey?

Atty. Howard Snader: Honestly, being able to go to sleep and I'm not worrying about the phones was an aha moment knowing that I hired my first employee as a phone person and she set all the appointments and her separate was better than mine. That was an aha moment. Then the dollars in the bank, it was kind of nice to see six figures kind of sitting there for once.


So yeah, seeing those numbers go up every year, but it is kind of nice to see a million dollars in gross when, you know, years earlier, it was 300, 000 and of that million, I was able to pocket a whole bunch. A lot of that, I've had a feedback into the business. That's been the downside, but those aha moments, seeing the bank go up and getting calls from other people.

How are you doing this in our group and walking those people through the same process. Those are all aha moments. Those are, it's. It's nice to be the one who knows how to do it. It's nice to see the translation from this into other areas of my life. How to communicate with people better. I mean, we talk about the quote sales process, but that's just.

long the way it's, it's self [:

Richard James: Hey, Howard how, about so you, made it as a lawyer You, obviously it came from two, you know, middle class parents that were teachers, right. And, that idea that. You went on to law school and you became a lawyer and you achieved that success and there was a feeling there and of course you achieved success as a referee as well, but to go from not knowing anything about running a business to then at that moment where you felt like you looked in the bank and you're like, Oh my gosh, this worked like, how did that feel?

How good did it feel to feel like you accomplished small business ownership?

r. That was a great feeling, [:

And I had that two week vacation, I disconnected from the office, took a cruise. Disconnected from the internet for a week of that and even the other week I wasn't really checking on things before a week with no internet access and I didn't care. So, yeah, everything just kept on working and that's because I had everything dialed in.

So, yeah, that, you know, I, to not, to go to sleep at night and not have to worry about stuff. It just makes the world spin a little bit nicer, a little bit faster, a little bit smoother.

MPS: That's well

Richard James: Sure does.

rent things. But I'm curious [:

Atty. Howard Snader: It's a long list. You really want me to go into it?

MPS: This is


your show

Richard James: who

you are you are and you're successful the way you

MPS: I agree.

Atty. Howard Snader: Keeping in mind, I was not doing any of these things and the list has grown over the years. One thing I've learned, I've taken away from your friend, Blaine Elkers and what he does. And he was an acquired taste. I did not get him for over a year and a half. And now I'm a


Richard James: can't I

tell them that That's

Atty. Howard Snader: But the bottom line is,

Next day planning has become crucial.

So before I go to bed at the end of the night, I sit down and I write out what I'm going to be doing the next day. And the more detailed I am on that, usually the better I do.

back into it. I used to put. [:

you know,

that one thing you don't want to eat in the morning, but put your frogs on the plate and I used to put them on an index card and tape them to my computer monitor and remind myself to do those first before I do the other things.

And that way it's just literally in my, it was in my face. I had to deal with them. I've gotten away from that, but I still write them down. They're in my daily to do list

On my next day planning. So next day planning is crucial.

sO I,

you know,

it takes 15 minutes, but it just locks your brain in before you go to sleep that when you get up, it's this, so now the next day planning for me.

ning and what time I have to [:

So I have to box all that in before I leave in the morning. And usually it's criminal. So I'm heading off to court for an 8:30 somewhere. And then I finally get back to the office to get to the work I got to do. But it says drilling in

That morning routine the night before. So that when I wake up, I don't have to think about it.

Just go into it. The night before routine includes.

You know,

getting my suit ready for the next day. It's things I don't have to,

If I don't have to think about two things in the morning, great. And

you know,

what tie, what shirt, what, whatever, it's all picked out. It's all hanging on a rack. I just go shower and put it on and I'm out the door.

So that's all part of just being organized. Some people may think that's crazy,

but you know,

there's the system behind that is, I don't have to think about things in the morning. I just get up and go.

Richard James: I relate,

Atty. Howard Snader: I

Richard James: we have podcasts recording today and I need to have a different outfit for every one of them. And last night they were all laid out and they're right over there. Now I won't,

you know,

the fact that my east coast [:

They're ready to rock and roll. I didn't have to think about it this morning. So it's a huge benefit.

Atty. Howard Snader: And then a couple of years ago, Blaine introduced everyone in your practice Mastered to Sean Aker's,

Theory on Happiness. And if anybody wants to look up Sean Aker on TED Talks, go for it. But my next day journal My next day,


Planning turned into a daily journal and with the daily journal,

I follow Sean Acres advice.

I try and find the 3 good things that happened that day. Not the bad things, which most people, that's what they're going to journal about is

What kind of crap happened to him during the day. I want to focus on the good things.

So, you know,

find those three, four, or five things. And then with the random act of kindness that he also says you should be doing.

I'm an attorney stuck in an office. It's

kind of

what I jumped into was doing [:

And video in an email.

And that goes out from Sunday night through Thursday night. So it hits everybody's desk on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday mornings. And hopefully that's the way you start your day is with a positive quote and a video that is usually relatively short and you can just get through. And that's my random act of kindness.

I might have some other things that happen during the day, but it's

kind of

interesting because


I'm at a point where I'm looking, what can I do? That's nice for somebody. Just, they don't even know about it. And you just become a more generous person,

I guess.

You're looking to do something and you're not waiting for the world to come to

Richard James: Did you tell me that your new health habits mean that you're doing a hundred burpees a day?

Atty. Howard Snader: Wow.

Yeah. One of the videos [:


Her title on the video was 30 burpees for 30 days and you watch. And I said, if she's like that, I can do, I know I can do 30 days.

sO I watch her do it and she's literally doing the pushups from her knees.

She has to bear walk into a standing position. She can't do the jump after the,

you know,

so it's not a standard burpee, but she's giving it her all. Based on her physical ability at the time.


great, YouTube picks up the algorithm and I'm watching videos on burpees now. And the next day I get two guys, One's in his late teens, early twenties, and the other guy's in his late twenties.

Both of them obviously very fit. And their goal was to do a hundred burpees for thirty days. A hundred burpees a day for thirty days. And,

y. He did a hundred in seven [:

I just couldn't do


The third day, I got a hundred out, took me 34 and a half minutes I think it was. And on day 15 I got my 30 done, my a hundred done in 19 minutes So within two weeks my cardio's really jacked up

MPS: wow,

Atty. Howard Snader: and

MPS: I'm

Atty. Howard Snader: getting

Richard James: hundred

burpees in 19 minutes. That's five burpees a minute. That's a hundred and you're doing the full burpees with the full on squat, push up and jump. I mean,

MPS: yeah,

Richard James: that,

Atty. Howard Snader: Why? I really wanna get to the point where I can do a full squat. When I do the jump,

not there yet.

MPS: mean,

Atty. Howard Snader: unfortunately, I've been down for a couple of days because I cottoned up a respiratory thing. Which means I got to start all over on day one again, which really sucks. So, but I'm hoping to do that


Richard James: Go

Well, yep.

go, Mike. I [:

So I'll let you take it from here, Michael.

MPS: Yeah, no, I, and we appreciate it. And Howard thank you for sharing those daily habits and really even the night before habits and super impressive on the burpees. I'm not a fan of burpees at all, but I understand the importance and value of them.

Atty. Howard Snader: I've never done burpees for real in my life. I dreaded them, but in terms of getting myself in cardiovascular shape, that kicks my butt more than the elliptical. More than the interval training, more than the spin bike, more than any other tool that I've used. It's kicking my behind and it's something I'm going to stay with moving forward.

So that's, yeah, I, yeah, I don't like them, but they do what they do. So

Richard James: I a

ought I was hero. A hundred? [:

my goodness

Atty. Howard Snader: You gotta get 10 done in 50 seconds. That's where I'm at.

MPS: Well, Howard we like to kind of wrap things up with what's got you excited, what's got you fired up and excited today. Could be personal, could be business, whatever it is.

Atty. Howard Snader: I guess in my, it's still business. As you guys are aware, I merged my practice just in the last couple of months with a Stewart Law Group. And he wants me to come on in and really build out the criminal side of things, got to wind down. My leftover cases until then, I don't have the capacity to jump in with both feet over there.

We're a few months away from doing that, but to know that he trusted me and Scott Stewart's part of your world too, but to know that Scott trusted me to do what needed to be done, that I understood how he operates his business. Cause we were speaking the same language. It helps. And we're really excited to see where we're going to take the merge practices together in the next several years.

s: Yeah I tell you that it's [:

And so it takes all that crap out of the way. And so I, I'm. Excited about where you guys are headed. I think it's a powerful team. Scott obviously has his strengths as do you. And I think those strengths compliment one another. And I think it's going to be a match made in heaven. Obviously it's going to take a minute to get through the slog of what we left behind and to get that.

Those two firms together, but I think as you start to hit your stride I think you guys are going to have make some real magic happen. And because Scott's now in the building phase again his daughters are older and he's ready to go again. So, so yeah, I think it's very, I agree with, I'm excited for you.

's pretty much client number [:

I think you're going to do great things together.

MPS: Yeah,

Absolutely. And we'll have to have both of you back on the show in a couple of years to talk about the journey. I'm excited, excited to listen. But well, we are too probably equally as excited. But Howard, very much appreciate you taking some time to, provide some value to everyone listening today and to the law firm owners listening we appreciate you for taking your time and hope that this was valuable and we have the gentleman's agreement around here.

So if this wasn't your first time listening or watching and you got some value. Make sure to hit that follow or subscribe button, depending on where you're listening or watching. And then in the comments, show Howard some love. That's a, there's a lot of great things to be unpacked and discovered today.

listen and watch today. And [:

Atty. Howard Snader: Hey guys, it was really nice of you to have me on board. I really hope I provided some insight on what can be done with your practice. And if anybody wants to reach out to me directly, they can do that. Just send me an email at Howard@ArizonaLawGroup.Com Just spell it out. Howard@ArizonaLawGroup.Com Happy to address any questions that they might have.

Richard James: Thanks, Howard. Appreciate you. And by the way, for everybody who's listening, you, this probably is falling on the eve, maybe a week before ish, depending on when this gets released. Hopefully it is, maybe it's already happened, but you should check it out. If it hasn't we've launched our justice for joy event, and that's where we're partnering with St.

ou donate your dollars to St.:

gram. We're excited about it.[:




More from YouTube