I graduated from law school in 1985 and then spent two years clerking for a respected federal trial judge in New Orleans.
After that I spent 18 years working in a large New Orleans firm handling complex commercial litigation cases (think: LOTS of paper).
I made partner and accomplished all the things that were supposed to make one happy. But instead I became miserable.
Soaring overhead, crazy billable hours, and mindless bureaucracy left me completely burned out. I seriously contemplated quitting the practice altogether.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to just quit, so I considered going out on my own to start a simpler solo practice. However, it didn’t seem feasible that I could handle paper-intensive business lawsuits as a solo.
Then I discovered how to create a paperless law practice. That enabled me to automate key workflows—instead of begging people to do the work and then stay on top of them to make sure they did it right.
I also discovered that having a low-cost weblog was an amazing way to build trust online, from which then came a steady flow of clients.
Those two discoveries allowed me to create a fulfilling solo practice. One that was Ninja-efficient, easy to manage, and financially lucrative.
Oh, one thing…
I should clarify that my weblog “discovery” was total serendipity. Which is to say I absolutely zero strategy, or purpose in mind when I started blogging.
(you can easily see this from my lame first post on March 2, 2002)
But apparently people were attracted to my blog because of the name. So how did I pick the name “Ernie the Attorney”?
Looking back, it seems like divine intervention. Here’s what happened…
One of my early mentors when I clerked at federal court was Magistrate Michaelle Wynne. She used to call me ‘Ernie the Attorney,’ which everyone always found amusing.
Anyway, since there weren’t many lawyers blogging back in 2002 when I started, it was easier to get attention online.
But clearly the name “Ernie the Attorney” was a big part of my blog’s success.
The ABA Calls
In 2004, the American Bar Association invited me to speak at their annual technology conference in Chicago. The topic? How to market successfully on the Internet.
My advice was honest but useless: if your name rhymes with your profession use that for your website name.
As I mentioned, back in 2002, I had no idea how marketing actually worked.
But I managed to achieve pretty amazing success simply by being open-minded about using technology to practice law.
I was invited back to speak at other ABA conferences, as well as countless state bar association conferences. I wrote a couple of books for the ABA.
My New Mission
As a result of all of that speaking and writing, I was exposed to hundreds of other attorneys who wanted to transform their practices the way I did mine.
For the past decade, I’ve been 100% focused on helping lawyers modernize their practices so they can work less yet earn more (plus spend more time away from the office relaxing!)
How do I do this exactly? Well, I give them a strategic blueprint for leveraging technology that explains everything in bite-sized chunks.
And I provide ongoing guidance so that they can keep streamlining their practices week-by-week.
For example, I help family law attorneys like Patrick Slaughter from Knoxville, Tennessee.
Or appellate lawyers like Todd Smith from Austin, Texas, who wrote by email and said:
“I’m a true believer. I think you and the team you’ve assembled have great potential to transform small-firm practices in a way I don’t see anyone else being able to do.”
Helping small firm lawyers is what I enjoy most. So how about you? If you’re looking for someone to help you streamline your law practice, schedule an appointment to chat by phone.
I look forward to talking with you!
I’ve written two books that have been published by the American Bar Association:
I self-published an e-book to show lawyers how to harness the power of PDFs in their daily law practice:
And I was commissioned by Nuance to write a book about their PDF software: