37. Davina Frederick, Wealthy Woman Lawyer – Build an Abundant Practice: Increase Capacity, Resources, and Fund Your Dream Lifestyle

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Davina Frederick has spent 14 years as a lawyer and business owner and nearly 10 years as a business coach and law firm growth strategist. Her company – Wealthy Woman Lawyer – helps firm owners create over 1 Million dollars in wealth-generating business.

For Davina, creating a thriving practice is not just about securing wealth for its own sake. Increasing earning potential goes beyond immediate financial security. It can be about maintaining your current lifestyle once retired, traveling on more than a shoestring budget, and caring for parents as they age. Often women think of making “enough.” But Davina believes that wealth, prosperity, and abundance are birthrights. In this episode, she explains how the rubber of mindset meets the road of action when building an abundant law firm.

What’s In This Episode

  • Who is Davina Frederick?
  • Why did she sell her first practice to open a virtual firm before they were popular?
  • How can the right coach improve the bottom line of practice?
  • What are the differences in coaching women law firm owners versus men?
  • Why do only 1.7% of women business owners make more than one million dollars in their business?
  • How can firm owners scale their businesses without taking on a larger workload?

Transcript

Davina Frederick:

You can have it all, but you cannot do it all. And I think high achieving women sort of lead with this idea that I have to do it all to have it all. Only 1.7% of women business owners achieve a million dollars in their business.

Sonya Palmer:

More women and marginalized people are working their way up the ladder and opening firms than ever before. Despite forward progress, women still perform the majority of mental and emotional work in their personal lives.

Davina Frederick:

Now is the time to be thinking and asking for more, and there’s a way to do it without you being the doer.

Sonya Palmer:

In 2021, women made up over half of all summer associates for the fourth year in a row. Yet equity partners and multi-tier law firms continue to be disproportionately white men. Only 22% of equity partners are women. We would like to see that change. Hello and welcome to LawHER, the show where we celebrate the trailblazing attorneys and entrepreneurs who are changing the game for women in the legal field. Be inspired by their stories, learn from their mistakes, build community and look forward to the future they’re helping build for the next generation of women in law. I am Sonya Palmer, your host and VP of operations at Rankings, the SEO agency of Choice for Personal Injury Lawyers. This is LawHER.
Davina Frederick is the owner of Wealthy Woman Lawyer, a law firm growth strategy company that coaches women law firm owners to generate over $1 million in wealth-generating business. She has spent 14 years as a lawyer and business owner and nearly 10 years as a business coach and law firm growth strategist; the right coach can help owners make leaps in their professional lives. For Davina, creating a thriving practice is not just about securing wealth for its own sake. Increasing the owner’s earning potential goes beyond immediate financial security at home. Increased wealth maintains the desired lifestyle even when retired. Traveling or caring for aging parents, she offers actionable advice for attorneys at any stage of ownership before ever going to law school. She held a career in marketing when she graduated at the age of 40, she had the vision to open her own practice, but even seasoned professionals hit bumps along the way. Let’s dive in.

Davina Frederick:

It was me in a little one room, and I hustled, and eventually, I was able to bring in a partner. We moved to a bigger space, we started hiring people, and I was just working all the time. And I had already gained weight in law school, turning 40, and just stress eating all the time. And I think I gained 10 pounds just studying for the bar. So the stress did not get any better as I began to practice and grow my practice. And we started hiring people and putting systems in place and all those things. And I just found that I was not only a litigator, but I was the firm administrator. I was the accountant, and I was the unofficial therapist for my employees and for my clients. And I had a great partner, but she had a different sort of vision and goals for where she wanted the law firm to go.
So then I had something happen in my personal life that just compounded all of that and brought it all to the forefront and made it even more intense. And so I decided that I needed to step away, that it wasn’t what my vision was. I don’t know what my vision was, but it wasn’t the life I was living because my only comfort was wine nights with friends. And then I started drinking wine every night and then eating and all that because you’d just be so drained and exhausted at the end of the day of all of the intensity of this kind of adversarial work and add to those personal problems on that. It just became too much. And I said I just need to take a step back. And so I sold out my business, my shared law firm, to my partner, and I said, “I’m going to take some time to of rethink this.”

Sonya Palmer:

Good for you.

Davina Frederick:

And through the course of that, we started the business, I started it at the end of 2007, and 2008 was the recession. And as a lawyer doing the work I was doing, I was representing lenders in foreclosure matters in Florida. So I was doing quite well, which is how I grew my law firm successfully. And then I was also a family law attorney and doing some estate planning and that kind of thing. But my husband’s business went in the opposite direction because he had kind of put all of his eggs in one basket working for one client, which was a really large law firm.
And when the recession happened, they started making changes, and that blew up his business. So we then got into some financial problems because he was really the one … He’d been doing this for 25 years. So all of that happened, and it just caused me to say this has got to be a better way to live. This is not fun. We’re not doing something. So we spent a lot of time, he and I, we worked on our marriage. There was a lot of therapy, there were a lot of tears. We owned a high-performance fitness training facility. So we both kind of worked in that for a while. We trained people, we got in better shape, took better care of ourselves, all those things. And I started a new law firm in 2011, and it was a virtual law firm this was before virtual was a thing, really.

Sonya Palmer:

Yeah. You were early.

Davina Frederick:

And I had a lot of naysayers. I had a lot of people say to me, “That’ll never work. Your clients won’t like that. They’re not going to respect you. You’re not going to look like a real law firm.” All those things that now, of course, we know are ridiculous. But it was at that point I said I need more business education and information, and I need more support. I need to figure out what it is that I was doing wrong and how to change it. I was invited by a mentor of mine, who was an attorney who’d been practicing for two decades, to a high-ticket coach running this event. And I went, and I was just blown away.
It was like the loud music and the flashing lights and all the success stories and all that, and I kind of got sucked into it, and I wound up signing up for this program, and I didn’t get what I thought I would out of the program, but I did walk away a whole lot smarter and knew a whole lot more. And that led me to hire my next coach, which was a one-on-one experience that completely changed my life. So I fell in love with coaching and how it can really help people make quantum leaps in their life and really change their life if you get the right person helping them. And since then, I’ve worked with other coaches, so everybody breaks up these sorts of differences to the table. So that’s kind of what led me to this. So 2013, I said, “Well, I’m going to transition this and combine it with my marketing career and with all I know, learned as a lawyer and a business owner and an entrepreneur, having owned several businesses and doing business coaching.”
And I started doing it for professional service businesses. That was sort of a wider range than what I’m doing now, a broader market than what I’m doing now, because my whole career had been working on marketing professional services businesses and growing them. Because I did that when I worked for other people, and I did that for myself and my own businesses. And then what happened is I eventually just niche down to women law firm owners because those were the majority of the people who were seeking out my help because they know they saw what I had done and they wanted to know how I had done it. And those are my people, women law firm owners, so I niche down to that.

Sonya Palmer:

What an incredible story. I liked what you said about your vision. I don’t know, my vision was, but this wasn’t it, to just be able to reserve the right to change your mind. What I was working towards, this isn’t the reality I was expecting, I’m going to change my mind. A lot of people start in the niche and then grow. So I think it was smart to maybe expand, have a broader net and then find your people like you did in niche down.

Davina Frederick:

And I think that for me, having a marketing background, of course, I was familiar with ideal clients and serving a group of people. And what was happening was I wanted to be a stronger brand. You’ve heard of cocktail party syndrome. It’s when you’re at a cocktail party, and somebody says your name behind you, and you immediately sort of turn around and go, “What?” It catches your attention even in a crowded room when somebody says your name. And I wanted to have that experience with my clients, I wanted my clients to know when they heard the name of my business, they heard me talk about what I do. They would say, this is for me or this is not for me. So to strongly repel as much as I attract, I wanted to repel those people who were not a good fit to work with me.
And I have had male law firm owner clients, and they were fine; they were great. I certainly enjoyed working with them, and I was privileged to do so. But by focusing on women, the reason I chose to do that is that I started doing in-person gatherings with women with my clients. And I found that it was a different experience when it was just women in the room as opposed to when it was a mix. I’m an old-school feminist, and I’ve always felt that there are a lot of spaces for men to network and gather. We hear about the good old boys club and that for decades in this country have excluded women or in the world period, have excluded women, have excluded marginalized people and minorities. And so I really wanted to create a place that says, “Okay, here’s our club. Here’s our club, and let’s talk about the things that are important to us that are different, that are unique to women and women of different races, ethnicities, life experiences, ages.” So that’s kind of why I did what I do. And we sort of gather around the law firm owner.

Sonya Palmer:

What are some of the differences you’ve found?

Davina Frederick:

There’s not very much research about women’s law firm owners. It doesn’t surprise me, but I think it’s coming. Hopefully, it’s coming. I know that ABA is now doing a little bit more research focused on solos. So that alone will be unique. I know of women business owners; only 1.7% of women business owners achieve a million dollars in their business. And so we look at that, and we wonder why that is. What is that about? And for me, what it was, I had worked for a large law firm before I went to law school, and it was started and run by men, and the majority of partners were men. And their idea of diversity at the time, which was in the ’90s, was letting women now start to become partners, a few here and there was one. This one is the daughter of this partner.
So now she can become a partner. It was that kind of thing. And so I was experiencing working in that culture, and I just feel like there’s never been enough support for women, for mentorship, for the lifestyle that needs of women, which is so different from the lifestyle means of men. Because even with very progressive husbands, we’re seeing a lot of younger couples, but women still handle the majority of the mental work of running a household. Where are the kids going? What are they doing? Keeping track of everybody’s calendar, making sure everybody’s needs are met. Even if you have help with housework, which a lot of people don’t. Even if you have help with laundry, which a lot of people don’t, or help with cooking, which even fewer people have, women still have the mental and emotional responsibility for running the house and their husband’s help.
Now that is shifting. We are starting to see some differences. I’m very fortunate because my husband is really an equal partner to me. So he’s also a feminist. And we don’t have children, but it’s that kind of thing. And when we get women together, and we’re talking, we’re talking about that, what is our time, what available time do we have to do some of this leaning in, as Cheryl Sanberg said, which I absolutely hate the idea of leaning in. I think it’s just making more high-achieving women do more stuff.
And I want to say you can have it all, but you cannot do it all. And I think high-achieving women lead with this idea that I have to do it all to have it all. And that is not the same with men. With men that I’ve had conversations with in growing their firm, it is never a conversation that revolves around … Men will come right out and start a firm, and they’ll hire an assistant and paralegal and probably attorney right out of the gate. Women don’t. Women will work for 20 years without their own personal assistant. They may hire paralegals and an office manager and people for the firm, but to hire their own executive assistant, they just don’t do, and it doesn’t occur to them to do it. So it’s that kind of thing.

Sonya Palmer:

Yes, I think there are advantages to doing virtual, and I think that women firm owners, people going out on their own, they’re more open-minded to alternative ways of doing business. Where I do find with men that’s traditional, you have a firm office downtown, it’s staffed Monday through Friday, nine to five we’re going to meet there. Where women are like, “No, we’ll do Zoom; we’ll get this texting service.” And so I think there’s an advantage now to that lifestyle that you talked about. They need that flexibility. I do not even want it, but like you said, to bear the burden of just decision making around who’s going to help with the house, who’s going to help cook the meals. So I actually think there’s now an advantage because women, they’re trying to figure out how to fit their own lifestyle and that then helps actually cater to clients in a better way. Because clients are dealing with the exact same thing. I can’t meet you at two o’clock on a Tuesday, but I can meet you Saturday morning at 10:00 AM.

Davina Frederick:

So I pulled my community members, and the vast majority of them said that they started a law firm business because they needed flexibility; they needed time flexibility. And so we are all about scaling to and through a million dollars in gross annual revenue. But the reason for starting for most of them is I need the flexibility to be with my kids when they’re small or when they’re teenagers or when they’re going to college or whatever it is. It’s always the sort of first thought. And, of course, a lot of our clients do not have children. So it may be I want to travel; my dream is to live a life of travel. My dream is to work from anywhere. My dream is to have more me time, whether it is or not work in that structured sort of work environment. And that is kind of where people lead from.
Where I sort of come in, though, with my message is that I think we can have more than just flexibility. And I think it is something that we don’t consider that we can do because it seems like the first thought that people have when they think of scaling a law firm to be a million dollar multimillion-dollar revenue-generated law firm is that’s going to be an awful lot of work on my already overloaded to-do plate. So that to-do list is there, it’s going to be, “Now we’re adding this on top of it. I don’t know if I can do this.” And the reason why is they’re coming from the mentality of I have to do it, I have to be the doer. And so what a lot of our work is getting women law firm owners to reframe and really learn what leverage is and why it’s important and how to leverage.
And then also talking about why you need a million dollars. Because when you start out at first and you’re like, “My goal is just to make six figures,” and then you make your first six figures and you’re like, “Well, I didn’t get to keep all that six figures. In fact, I made very little in my own pocket. So now I need to be able to have an income of six figures.” Even that, though, it’s not enough for what needs to be done. Women, of course, outlive men. And so many women are telling me, “I want to retire early, I want to retire at 55, I want to retire in 10 years,” whatever. If you retire at 65, you’re likely to live to 95 as a woman with healthcare the way it is and everything. And that’s 30 years of funding a life. And now people are telling me, “I want to retire at 55,” so now let’s add onto that.
And if you do the math very basic, no inflation, no anything else, and you just say, “Well, if I’m going to live $50,000 a year for 30 years,” do the math, and you’re going to need a couple of million dollars. A million dollars is not going to be sufficient. Not only that, but most of us don’t envision that we’re going to want to live on $50,000 a year. We want to maintain the lifestyle we have when we’re working. And so we’d really like to have a hundred thousand dollars a year to live on. So a lot of people aren’t doing that math, and they also, I’m 57, I’m kind of on the other end of the spectrum of where a lot of my clients are, and they don’t take into account, which I didn’t either, all the expenses along the way, the funding of kids college, the paying off your own college debt, all the traveling that my clients want to do.
I’ve got one client who travels internationally four times a year, and her goal is to move it to six times a year. Well, this year, she’s at five times a year. All of those trips cost a lot of money, and travel’s gotten even more expensive. So it’s looking at all that and also people say, “Well, I’m going to work, I’m never going to retire. I’m going to work my whole life.” But when you get to be 57, and you start realizing I don’t really like to work that much, and I look at my 80-year-old parents, and I go, “They’re unable to.” So the thought that we’re going to work until we die, we’re going to change. It’s people. It’s just not the case. And so now, while we’re making money, while we have the stamina and the energy and all of that, now is the time to be thinking and asking for more. And there’s a way to do it without you being the doer.

Sonya Palmer:

Earning as much as possible is not just about taking care of your home and family; it can be about maintaining your current lifestyle once retired, traveling on more than a shoestring budget, and caring for parents as they age. Often women think of making enough, but Davina believes that wealth, prosperity, and abundance are birthrights and that the universe is set up for our success.

Davina Frederick:

You’re meant to thrive. It doesn’t mean that life won’t have ups and downs and experiences that offer contrast and say, “That makes it very clear what I don’t want. Now, this is what I do want.” But I think, by and large, the universe is set up in our favor. The universe provides what we need to thrive. So when you see a tree that’s planted, there’s a beautiful tree outside my window, that tree is, it doesn’t question that there will be rain, there will be nutrients in the soil, there will be sunshine, there will be what I need. It just stands there and grows and thrives and looks beautiful and looks like it is meant to look and to exist in the world and for human beings that are there for us too. And obviously, we can think about how we think, and we get into our own minds about things.
But I think it’s always sort of shifting back to that kind of optimistic view that everything is always working out for me. And this is the law of attraction that I’m talking about. So anybody who’s familiar with the law of attraction is going to understand what I’m saying when I say that. This is really about focusing on what it is that you want and not letting those things that appear to be obstacles knock you down and take that shine away and take that optimism away that everything is always working out for me.
So I believe that self-actualization is the ultimate human experience, and that’s what we’re striving for. And I think we can have that even where we are in our life, in our current circumstances, it is hard for people to see that if they are in survival mode will note. And so, to me, the seeking of prosperity is not for prosperity in its own right, but it is really about when we have more resources, we have more options. When we have more resources, we have more options. And some people are born privileged with more resources than others. And I think it’s good to work to try to help level that playing field because I think, as human beings, our values as human beings are inherent, and our birthright is thriving, not just surviving.

Sonya Palmer:

At some point, the rubber of mindset has to meet the road of action. Leveling that playing field, the resources, where do women begin, what does that look like?

Davina Frederick:

For all of the downsides of social media and the internet and the world that we live in now, where everybody is a reporter of equal value because you’re able to do a TikTok video. I think the flip side of that as the optimist that I am, I think the flip side of that is that we also have resources available and opportunities available to us that were never available even a decade ago. Certainly not available when I was coming up in my career as a young professional out of college, we didn’t have the technology and the resources, and we didn’t have the power of being able to connect with millions of people the way that you can now through technology. So I think where people begin is where they are. So first of all, I start where you are and look around you and say, “What resources do I have available to me now?”
And I know for women and law firm owners, there are so many more resources for running your business and understanding how to get that help even though there was so much that was not in my awareness in 2007, there were programs available for lawyers to grow their business, but they’re not the same as what you get today. And they’re not as prevalent, and they’re not as accessible because you have back then, I mean, you really had to, it was high dollar. And now there’s high dollar, there’s a high ticket, but there’s also a lot of really affordable options to help people, a lot more resources. And it’s a lot easier to reach out to people and meet people and connect. And so really think about one of the biggest resources we have are our connections. And people often don’t leverage their connections, but wealthy people middle-class people focus on hard work. It’s my hard work ethic, but wealthy people say, “No, it’s my connections; it’s who I know that can help me.”

Sonya Palmer:

That’s an excellent differentiator. One of my favorite guests that we’ve had on this show is Sarah Williams, and she talks about social media being the great equalizer for marketing. And I completely-

Davina Frederick:

Absolutely.

Sonya Palmer:

Yes. And I will say working in marketing for lawyers when we started the podcast less than a year ago, I have already been introduced to so many other services for lawyers, for firms that are female-owned and female-led, that I had no clue about.

Davina Frederick:

It’s so exciting. But I will just say websites, the internet and websites were a great equalizer because you could have a lawyer who was a solo practitioner who could now create a very fancy website that would be comparable to someone who owned a large law firm and they’re out there looking very much like the same offering to the public. So to me, that was when I first kind of saw that. And now with social media and in what we’re doing right now, we got video microphones, and we’re reaching all kinds of people that we would not be able to reach if we just had this office downtown someplace, and we were kind of marking in our local area. So for my business, it’s been wonderful because my goal from the beginning of coaching was to really work with women and law firm owners all over the United States and Canada.
I’ve had a client was Australia, an attorney in Australia, and that’s an experience I never would’ve had but for the kind of technology available just this day. So I do think there are so many resources, and we already have them. We don’t have to start from scratch. I have my clients do this fanatical fan exercise, and I have them take a piece of paper and ultimately write 30 names of people that they already know, who already know and love them, and think they’re great.
And if they opened a cupcake shop, they’d support them. You already have a network of people who love and support you, but likely you’re not asking, you’re not saying, “Can you help me? Is there somebody you can connect me to? Is there somebody I should meet? I’m trying to do this thing. What thoughts do you have on it? What advice do you have?” So not asking those people to hire you per se, but saying, “Help me meet the right people or do the right … and what advice do you have for me?” Those opportunities are out there everywhere. So just starting there, we can do that, and that doesn’t cost anything.

Sonya Palmer:

And we kind of established that oftentimes women try to do it all themselves, and that’s not a sustainable way to scale a business. And again, you sort of established you have to scale your business. Do you work with solo attorneys?

Davina Frederick:

So I work with solo law firm owners.

Sonya Palmer:

Yes.

Davina Frederick:

So an attorney who’s working in a firm and trying to build their book of business or whatever, that’s not my client, but a solo law firm owner. And so, for me, I have different programs. I have those who are in the high six figures who are going over a million. So they’re going to get over a million and into the multiple million, and those tend to work with me as my private clients. I created about, we just celebrated our second year anniversary of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer League, which is a course and coaching program. It’s a group coaching program that I created for women who were in the earlier stages of growing their law firm business. So there, maybe they’ve already started, and there were a couple of years in, and they’re getting, they hit that a hundred thousand, and they go, “That’s not enough.”
And they realize, “I really need to get to a quarter million; I need to get to half a million. But I’m not yet ready the invest in private coaching, but I need some foundational information. I need to know how to hire that first person. I need to know how to hire that first attorney. I need to know when to hire that first attorney. I need to know what systems I need in my business and how to set them up. How do I balance that feast and famine cycle that I’m in? How I’m doing my own bookkeeping, should I be?” No, the answer to that is no. How do I gather resources for myself at this stage when I have maybe more time than money and very quickly, I’m running out of time? So how do I start rolling through that a little smoother so I can get to that half million and really get maybe some one-on-one help or go deeper into that?

Sonya Palmer:

You just gave a wealth of advice in 30 seconds. So yes, I’m a new female law firm owner; I’m open for two years, and I have more time than I do money. I want to grow. Where do you begin? Where do you suggest? What’s the very first step?

Davina Frederick:

Find mentors. Find mentors-

Sonya Palmer:

Resources.

Davina Frederick:

Find places; find people who’ve been there and done it. And then I think you have to get really clear on what you want because that is where a lot of people struggle if they’re not really clear about what they want. They know a lot of what they don’t want, but they don’t really know what they do want. And some of this is a journey of discovery. And then the other thing is to identify the number one biggest problem that you’re having in that moment. So what is the number one problem? Is it that I don’t have enough capacity, I’m getting too much work, and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to get this done, so I can’t market because I have work and I’m afraid something’s going to fall through the cracks. And then your number one problem is hiring help. So who’s your key person?
And do not rest until you solve that number one problem. That is your focus. I want to know the thing that is going to help me make the lead and give me the capacity. Because it’s all about expanding capacity. I have to expand my mental and emotional capacity for wealth, which I do by experiencing and learning. And I have to expand my physical capacity if I want to serve more people and create a bear impact. So identify that number one problem. If it’s getting clients I haven’t got enough leads, then that’s your problem that you need to solve. And once that problem is solved, it’s going to open up, and it’s going to say, “Okay, now here’s another problem.”
And stick with it. Tenacity. The ones who are successful, who make the million and beyond the multiple million, are tenacious, and they take risks when they fail; they do it often so that they can develop that muscle so that they can move through failures more quickly. And you can’t learn that unless you do and fail and do and fail and feel the emotions. And then, after time, you’re like, “Yeah, I had to fire somebody today, and I’m fine with it because it wasn’t in the best interest of the business.” When we first do that, it’s painful. So the more we hire to fire, the more we test systems and fail and get a new system. All those things help us to evolve to become the CEO that we want to be. That’s a lot of first advice.

Sonya Palmer:

Excellent. Then so, they put those things in place, and now they don’t have any time left in that next stage. How, then, can they scale that business without getting burnout?

Davina Frederick:

The key to scaling the business is really expanding your capacity. So it’s really about hiring other people. And one of the things that I see, we’re talking about the differences between men and women. One of the things that I see women do or not do is hire lawyers soon enough. And by the time you hit $300,000 in your business, you should be hiring a lawyer. And that’s kind of a general rule of thumb. It’s not the same for everybody, but your lawyers, your other lawyers are the one that are the ones that are going to give you the capacity that you really need.
Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t types of practice areas out there that can be run on a team of paralegals, but if you ever want the time freedom, which I find most of my clients want the money, but they want the time freedom. So they want to take, I’ve got one client, her goal is to take off an entire month in the summer or the entire summer if she can. But for her to do that, she has to have lawyers who are running the show while she’s gone. So she’s got lawyers and staff so that she can be gone because a law firm can’t run without lawyers.
And there are people, there are some people who like to … they want to work from anywhere with a laptop. But to me, I like to be able to be away from my work for periods of time and not be on call for any reason. And so to have that, you have to have people who can provide that support for you and cover for you while you’re gone. And so, women often delay hiring lawyers. There’s a lot of fear about how I will pay them. What will it be like to manage them? What if they’re better than me? People don’t talk about that one, but it’s at the back of people’s minds. What if they’re better than me? And they’ve caught on that I don’t really know what I’m doing. So the imposter syndrome crops up. Can I be the boss of another lawyer? Insecurity or lack of confidence, and those are all things we don’t talk about, but a lot of people experience those emotions, right? And then how do we figure out the money piece? This is a big thing for people, but it is doable.

Sonya Palmer:

I think it goes back to what you said at the beginning about believing that the universe is working toward our advantage. I think so many female law firm owners, when they’re getting ready to hire someone, they think, “Well, what happens in six months if I don’t have the money and then I have to fire this person? Or if it’s not going as well as it is right now.”

Davina Frederick:

Yeah, I hear that a lot.

Sonya Palmer:

And it’s that plan for the worst case, but that sometimes puts us at a disadvantage. Take the risk and assume that you will have 20% more in six months and 40% next year. Believe that the worst-

Davina Frederick:

We’re making decisions based on what’s in our bank account at this moment.

Sonya Palmer:

Yes, yes.

Davina Frederick:

But lawyers make you money. And I often go through the math problem with my clients, and we do the math, and I show them, this lawyer is going to make you $300,000 in profit. Now, does it make sense to you? It’s that kind of thing. But the fear is understandable. But the way we overcome fear is by making decisions, taking risks, making decisions, and we get faster and better at it the more we do it, do it. So you just have to start doing it.

Sonya Palmer:

Yes, the right people can increase the capacity of you and your firm, but to keep processes consistent, systems need to be in place. Davina has written a book about just that.

Davina Frederick:

It is about law firm systems and is the seven essential law firm systems. And that book, first of all, most attorneys, when they’re thinking systems, they’re thinking automation, and they conflate the two. And it’s different. Systems are different from automation. We apply automation and technology, and we apply people to systems, but we have to set up the systems. And we often think, when we think of systems, we think of case management systems, we think of workflow, the fulfillment part of our job. So what I’ve identified in my book is that there are actually seven essential systems for every law firm. You need to think about the buyer’s journey through your business. So how are we going to attract those ideal clients? That’s your marketing system and your marketing conversion system. How are we going to attract prospects, sort them out and get those ideal ones that we’re meeting with and doing consultations and closing them?
And then how do we onboard them? So that’s the next stage, the onboarding part and also setting up your client relationship from the beginning, your client law firm relationship. We set that up, we set the tone for the relationship during that onboarding process, then we move it to the service and fulfillment stage, and fulfillment is what everybody knows. That’s the part of being a lawyer. And they’re looking for things like workflows and case management stuff. So that’s their process. The service piece, though, is a critical part of that as well. And that is how we are going to provide that high level of service that we want to provide that solidifies our reputation. How are we going to get feedback? How are we going to train them to give us feedback? So when we’re ready to offboard them and ask for those reviews, they’re ready to give them.
They’re accustomed to giving us feedback. Then we have the offboarding, and then we have the internal systems, which are people management, financial management, and technology management. So that’s where all the HR stuff, all of the fractional CFO, the accountant, bookkeeping, the billing stuff. And then we have the technology stuff, which is the automation and all of that and those tools that we’re going to be using to make our life easier. So there are multiple systems. So I think that is important for people to identify and recognize so that when they’re working on systems, they can be clear on where to categorize that system. So I’m looking to hire somebody. I need a hiring system that goes under my people management category. I need to train, that goes under people management. I need to terminate; that goes under people management. So identifying those and having systems for each of those. So there are subsystems under each of those, obviously.

Sonya Palmer:

What are some bright points that you’re optimistic about?

Davina Frederick:

I am optimistic. The more I speak, the more I surround myself with young women and young lawyers who are coming up, and I’m seeing how they are trailblazing without even knowing they’re trailblazing. How they’re saying this doesn’t work for me, and I want something that works for me, and I won’t settle for anything less. And as somebody on the flip side of that, I look at it, I go, “Dang, I didn’t have that. You need to work hard. You need to do what I did.” But really, truly, in my heart, I’m encouraged by that because that’s what we’ve been working toward a life where more women have more say in the world. And there certainly is a need for that because we see in the world all the things that are happening, things that are happening in Iran right now. We need more women stepping up and saying, “We need to create the world that we want to see.”
And not just women but women and also people who have been marginalized in our society. We need more voices. And so I’m encouraged when I see young people who are not settling for the status quo, and they’re pushing the limits. And sometimes, it works, and sometimes, it doesn’t. So that, to me, makes me feel optimistic. And then we’ve talked about the opportunities that there are out there for us, the access that so many more people have, not obviously not everyone in our society. So there’s always work to do. But there’s so much more access to resources if we ask for help if we connect with other people if we put ourselves in places and in conversations with people that are like-minded. So that encourages me. That gives me hope.

Sonya Palmer:

Yes. And then, what is next for you and your agency?

Davina Frederick:

We have a lot going on right now. As I said, we’re celebrating the second anniversary of the league. We are growing that and working on growing that. I’ve had the Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast for three years. And in 2023, it will be our 10th anniversary of this business. The name has changed, but the business is the same, and it is our 10th anniversary, so that’s a big celebration. I’m also working on my third book right now, which is about amassing wealth. So it is what do we do when our law firm business starts making this money? It’s a wealth-generating machine. What do we then do with it? Because I think a lot of people, especially if you grow up without money, as I did, I grew up in a kind of lower middle class. My parents were hardworking and had steady jobs, but we didn’t have … they weren’t entrepreneurs, and they never taught me lessons, money lessons about how to make money work for you.
And so this book is really where I’m in conversation with a lot of women law firm owners who have now been having this wealth-generating law firm. And now they’re taking that, and they’re saying, “What do I do with this money? How do I invest in it? What are some other multiple income streams I can create?” So we’re kind of expanding in that direction as well. And then our goal is really to get a lot more people in the Wealthy Woman Lawyer League because it is, there’s so much value for and resources there. I coach weekly my league members, and we have a lot of courses and material and all the different things that they need to really get that foundational information and get them scaled up to that half million dollars so they can be ready and prime for that million dollars. So all of those things are going on. We’re expanding our team, of course, to support all of that. It’s a growth process here too.

Sonya Palmer:

What do you do when you need to decompress? Take some time for yourself. Do you have any rituals or routines?

Davina Frederick:

I am married to my best friend, and he is a health nut, and he always researches ways to keep us healthy and youthful. So he keeps me on the straightened arrow with my nutrition and with my sleep and with my exercise and all of that. So I do all of those things. I also have an English Bulldog puppy, and I spend a lot of time playing with her. She reminds me that I need to stop and play because I feel compelled to make sure that she gets that since she’s our only dog right now. And so I make a point, I play with her several times a day, and it lowers my blood pressure, and it makes me happy. It makes me laugh. What I’m working on is taking more vacations myself, longer vacations. I’ve always been kind of that long-weekend person.
And so I’ve started doing more vacations with my husband and me around my birthday, which is in June, we took my sister and my nephews, my twin nephews who are college age and my husband, and we all went to Montana and had a great time. And so my husband and I have a vacation coming up at the end of the month, a nice long, 10-day vacation. So those are some of the things that I do. And also I think it’s so important. I have a lot of great clients that inspire me, and I have a lot of conversations with them about business which I love. My work is purposeful. So all of those things I think, make for a much more joyful and happier life.

Sonya Palmer:

When operating a firm, fear can often stop us in our tracks, making even the smallest decisions hard. The way we overcome fear is by making decisions and taking risks. The more decisions we make, the faster we get. And when we fail, we get back up faster each time. A huge thank you to Davina for sharing her story and unbelievable insights with us today. You have been listening to LawHer with me, Sonya Palmer. If you found this content insightful and inspiring, or it just made you smile, please share this episode with the trailblazer in your life. We’re about Davina and the Wealthy Woman Lawyer; check out our show notes, and while you’re there, please leave us a reviewer five-star rating. It really goes a long way for others to discover the show. And I will see you next week on LawHER where we’ll shed light on how another of the brightest and boldest women in the legal industry climbed to the top of her field.

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