What's my story?

Well, if it was a movie, the promotional poster might say something like…

“The story of a burned-out attorney who stumbles upon the elusive secret to a prosperous solo practice that virtually runs by itself.”

So how did I stumble upon this secret? Well, here’s the absolutely true story…

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 high stakes cases for demanding clients with LOTS of documents. Complex cases that required lots of people working together (attorneys, paralegals, secretaries) under intense stress and serious deadlines.

At first, learning how to manage these kinds of cases was interesting. And there were many other things I enjoyed about working in a big firm. I made partner and made good money. That is, I achieved the big things that were supposed to make one happy.

But instead I became miserable. Ridiculous billable hour quotas, and mindless bureaucracy left me disillusioned and burned out.

In a fit of exasperation, I quit the firm and started a solo practice. I continued to handle commercial litigation matters that involved lots of documents. But instead of relying on hordes of expensive paralegals and secretaries to help me, I used technology.

For example, I created a paperless practice that made it easy for me to manage all my case documents in digital form. And I could do that by myself, without relying on other people. So that was the first step.

Then, I then started using automation to power my practice in all kinds of mind-boggling ways. Digital automation is powerful and inexpensive, though it’s admittedly tricky to set up.

So I created a practice that was streamlined, and easy to manage. Which was deeply satisfying. But I also enjoyed being able to keep my overhead low. Because that meant I could work less and yet keep more money as profit.

And finally, I learned how to make my practice mobile so that I could work from anywhere, anytime.  No matter where I was I could handle any client matter that came up, and find any important information I needed, quickly and easily.

My clients loved my new approach to practicing law. Which made me feel really good. And I got great clients easily and steadily because I learned how to effectively market my practice.

Sure there were hiccups and setbacks, but I used them to learn how to improve my practice even more. The biggest thing I learned was how to get past the usual frustrating things with technology that stymie most lawyers.

This created a bit of buzz in the legal community…and other lawyers wanted to know more about how I built my practice. And so I was invited to speak at events around the country.

The ABA Calls

First, I was invited by the ABA to speak in Chicago at their annual TechShow, which is a national conference that over 1,000 lawyers attend. Because of my innovative use of technology, I was profiled in the ABA Journal. And that garnered even more attention.

I also started getting invited to speak at smaller events around the country, by state and local bar associations.

The ABA asked me to write some books about using technology in a law practice.  And  I was asked to appear on various legal podcasts as well.

And as a result of this kind of attention, I started getting hired by lawyers and law firms to consult with them about how they could better leverage technology.

My New Mission

As I got better at marketing my seminars I began attracting lawyers from all around the country to fly into New Orleans to attend. This was exhilarating, to say the least.

The attendees loved the seminars, and they told me how much it helped them improve their practices. But I could see that some of the attendees were still struggling. After all, you can only learn so much in two days, and then when you go back to your busy practice things just fall by the wayside.

So I created an online course, which I called LawFirm Autopilot. I first made it available to folks who came to the live event as supplemental training. But then other lawyers asked if they could get the online course because they weren’t able to come to the live events. And so I made it available to everyone.

The online course has done great, and almost 300 lawyers have now taken advantage of it to help them improve their practices. They’ve given me glowing compliments on the course, which is nice.

And yet there were some lawyers who couldn’t get the full traction they needed from just the online course. They needed ongoing guidance. They needed someone to help them stay on track week-by-week, to overcome the inevitable challenges that surfaced.

So I created a monthly membership program called LawFirm Co-Pilot, which provides ongoing guidance. Both from me and other helpful consultants that I know well and trust completely.

The Co-Pilot program has been running for over a year. And lawyers who’ve joined love it even more than the online course. Which of course has been exciting and very rewarding.

So that’s how I connected the dots, and figured out the best way to help solo and small firm lawyers. Not just with technology, but with all of the key areas that have a big impact on improving a law practice (especially marketing).

So how about you? Are you looking to take your practice to the next level like Patrick Slaughter was when I first met him?

If you’re serious about improving your practice then I can help you like I’ve helped Patrick and hundreds of other solo and small firm lawyers. To find out how…

CLICK HERE to schedule a free 15-minute strategy call with me.

I look forward to hearing from you!

~Ernie

Book Publications

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:

Want me to speak at your event?

Click here to learn more about my speaking engagements.