Photo credit: Ten LaShon
The Modern JD spotlight series is a feature on Lawyernomics that highlights attorneys that are using technology, their brand and marketing in innovative ways to connect with clients and their peers. These attorneys come from different practice areas across the country but have one thing in common: they have evolved with the times to meet the needs of their clients and practice. This week we are excited to share attorney, Patrice Perkins of Creative Genius Law.
What is your area of practice and why did you decide to get into it?
I work with creative entrepreneurs and innovative businesses in all aspects of business law and intellectual property (copyright and trademark matters). I do purely transactional work. I chose this path because shortly after law school, I realized that I didn’t know many creative entrepreneurs who actually had attorneys. I decided that I wanted to develop a law firm model that was approachable with an emphasis on helping creative entrepreneurs maximize their intellectual property for new opportunities.
How has being a lawyer changed since graduating law school?
I’ve been seeing more lawyers focus on personal branding than ever before. I think it’s because of the changing market – legal technologies that purport to replace us is one key factor – we have to connect with prospects in new and innovative ways. On the flip side, innovations in legal technology also give us new and interesting ways to serve clients and to connect with prospects that hadn’t existed before.
Where do you envision your practice and profession as a whole going in 5 years?
Goodness. I have to fight to scale back my vision at times. But, I envision the core of my practice remaining the same with expansion in other key markets such as D.C., California, and New York. I’d love to offer a training ground in the Chicago market for newer attorneys who want to do similar work – I frequently receive emails from attorneys interested in my type of work and I’d love to have a fellowship program for them. I also envision a foundation at some point, where Creative Genius Law will more frequently work with clients who cannot afford our services.
How do you think your practice is unique compared to others? What is your firm’s secret sauce?
Creative Genius Law is unique in that it takes a very strong stand on who we work with. Once they’ve visited the website prospects are pretty clear on whether it’s the firm for them or not. My only secret sauce is being really attentive to clients. I treat them like the decision makers that they are. I show them that they are valued and not just another legal matter.
Do you see yourself as a lawyer first? Business person first? or Client service first?”
I see myself as a business person first. At the end of the day, law and business are integrated. When I talk to clients it’s always about the impact that each decision has on their business, overall. They see me as a trusted advisor for their business.
How do you use your personality or brand in creative ways to connect with clients?
It’s less about creativity and more about authenticity for me. I am naturally creative and if I weren’t, I wouldn’t force it to fit within my brand. I’ve surprised clients with really creative gifts hand selected by me based on what I’ve learned about them. I’ve hosted small groups of clients and prospects in unexpected places like a café or an art gallery to discuss current legal issues. I blog whenever I find the time and am not afraid to let my personality shine through—in addition to giving sound legal information.
Where do you find inspiration professionally and/or personally?
Professionally, I find inspiration in my clients when they experience huge wins. I know how hard they work so it makes me proud and I want to push harder in my practice. I love hearing success stories in general, so I’m constantly scouring blogs and podcasts for sources of inspiration. I used to listen to a podcast, Entrepreneur on Fire, on a daily basis. Personally, my parents, sister, and grandad. They’ve always supported my career aspirations and even some of my “wacky” dreams.
What’s the piece of technology you couldn’t live without and why?
I love finding new technologies, so this changes from month to month. My current favorite is called Inbox Pause. It allows you to pause all of your emails on a set schedule. I struggled with spending too much time in my email and this is literally a dream come true. I set emails to land in my inbox at 8am and 4pm only.
What kind of a role does technology play in your practice?
My practice is driven by technology. I depend on it to automate workflows, communicate better with clients and everything in between. I see it as the means to improving efficiencies so I can spend my time lawyering.
Favorite app on your phone?
It’s called Freedom. I needed a way to tame the amount of time I spent in emails. This app blocks you from accessing websites of your choice from all of your devices at a set schedule. I removed email directly from my phone and use Freedom to block the actual websites (i.e. Gmail, Outlook).
The best tip or trick for balancing everyday work and life?
Current technologies have resulted in people expecting us to be accessible all of the time. I’ve balanced work and life better by limiting that accessibility. Limiting the emails has helped tremendously and I set my cell phone to Do Not Disturb on certain hours. In the office, I have a VOIP phone which has the ability to ring directly to my cell phone—I turned off that feature. I’ve also turned off most cell phone notifications. Recognizing that most matters truly can wait until I’m in the office and that I don’t need to be alerted about everything all of the time has helped me maintain better balance.
Describe, in three words, the Modern JD or the 21st Century Lawyer.
Resilient. Discerning. Innovative.