24. Paige Sparks, Sparks Law — Viral Social Media: Changing the Game for Young Firms

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On TikTok, LawyerPaige, aka Paige Sparks, has over two hundred thousand followers. Attracting millions of eyes, she offers practical legal advice and tosses out myths that are more like urban legend than law. How does extreme social media exposure inform a business plan and re-imagine the client journey? Owner of freshly-minted Sparks Law is here to show us the way. She has already figured out one of the most complex aspects of running a firm. With her marketing figured out, she has more flexibility to rethink the essentials of building a firm.

Today, we cover some of the unexpected practicalities of starting a firm, hustling on the side to fund her dreams, and simple systems to capture ideas when they strike.

What’s in This Episode?

  • Who is Paige Sparks?
  • What hurdles did she have to clear when launching her firm?
  • How did she raise the capital to begin her firm?
  • What non-notables would she spend top dollar on if she were starting a firm again?
  • Why did she divert resources from her website?
  • How does having a massive social media following change the client’s journey?
  • Paige makes videos for people who are where she once was.
  • How does her lived experience shape her videos?
  • How does social media presence fit into her business model?

Transcript

Paige Sparks

Don’t think you have to have this big formal office and all the bells and whistles decorated.

Sonya Palmer

The new guard is rethinking how to spend money, but revolutionizing the client journey in the process.

Paige Sparks

That’s great if you’re able to afford that, but if you’re not, you can still be professional, still be available and just use space as needed, that saves a lot of money.

Sonya Palmer

According to a recent survey, only 19% of managing partners in US law firms are female. We’d 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. And look forward to the future they’re helping build for the next generation of women in law. I’m Sonya Palmer, your host and VP of Operations at Rankings. The SEO agency of choice for Personal Injury lawyers. This is LawHER. Paige Sparks, the owner of freshly-minted Sparks Law, has already figured out one of the most complex aspects of running a firm. On TikTok, LawyerPaige has over two hundred thousand followers. Many of her videos have gone viral. Attracting millions of eyes, she offers practical legal advice and tosses out myths that are more like urban legend than law. With her marketing figured out – she has more flexibility to rethink the essentials of building a firm. Today, we cover some of the unexpected practicalities of starting a firm, hustling on the side to fund her dreams, and simple systems to capture ideas when they strike. Let’s dive in.

Paige Sparks

And I accidentally got started in employment law because it’s not a big area of law. Especially in St. Louis, there, there aren’t a lot of people that do it. And so when I was clerking, I worked on a case where I was like, wow, this is really cool. And it made sense in my brain, cuz it’s like a formula for discrimination, for example, where it’s like a protected individual makes the protected complaint, something bad happens. Now you have a case. So that’s what really attracted me to it. And then I just started getting more of those cases. So I was able to primarily shift just to that.

Sonya Palmer

That’s super smart. One to go where there’s a little bit less competition. And then two to create the formula. So you’re not having to like reinvent the wheel every time you try a case, you know what to expect? You can try

Paige Sparks

And it’s so narrow for what we’re able to bring anyway. So it’s if it doesn’t fit that formula, it’s not really much I can do usually with employment law in Missouri, especially. But yeah. Thank you.

Sonya Palmer

Congratulations on opening your own firm.

Paige Sparks

Thank you.

Sonya Palmer

There are a ton of women who want to get to where you are and with everything being fresh, what can you share with us? Were there hurdles upon launching a new practice?

Paige Sparks

Oh, of definitely. And I’ll tell you, I’m still learning something new every day about what I need to do or what I need to cover. And thank God. My sister-in-law who is also an attorney is doing it with me because. We’re totally different. Like I’m a fly by the seat of my pants. Like I quit my job and started a law firm and I’ll figure it out as I go where she’s very planning and knows all the rules and all the everything. When I registered my LLC first, I didn’t know that was public information and people track it to buy your website domain. So then they travel to your website. It was just, that I could write a book, do it in this order, and here’s why.

Sonya Palmer

Were you afraid as you did this?

Paige Sparks

It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done, but I was also at the point where I had gotta change my circumstances and what’s what I’m doing is not working. And my sister-in-law with the timing, it just worked out for us to perfectly go. I would say I’d be even more scared if it wasn’t for her also, we can bounce all these ideas off of each other and be like, is this normal, And I think so someone told me like, you’ll be scared for the first year until you really figure out your cash flow and how to allocate your time. And so I hope it doesn’t take me that long to not be scared, but it’s every three days I’m like a little nervous about money coming in and then we’ll get a case that pays or, like something like that. So it all takes care of itself. You just have to be kind of fake till you make it.

Sonya Palmer

What was the best piece of advice you heard prior to opening your firm aside from, purchasing your domain before you file for the LLC?

Paige Sparks

Before we started our own law firm, I don’t know that I have a solid piece of advice so much as it was like a lot of local women attorneys that I really respect were like, You’re not gonna enjoy this job. If you try to take it, cause you don’t like family law or you’re not gonna enjoy this. And so they really helped me be like, have faith. The money will work out, continue doing what you know and what you know you do well. And eventually, those cases start coming in. People refer to other people, it all works out. So it was like this, like women’s power. Like you can do it. You’re a good attorney. You can do it. And so it wasn’t so much like a statement, but I had a great support system for setting that up and asking all my dumb questions like, where do I get malpractice insurance from? And things like that. Everyone totally guided me and helped me start out, which was great.

Sonya Palmer

One of the things that are not. Discussed very often is how law firms get funded. Can you share with us how you raised the capital to start your own firm?

Paige Sparks

Sure. I have a lot of side hustles, that’s my fun thing to do is random things I like from spray tans to wedding makeup, like a whole variety. So like I have these multiple forms of income. I was able to streamline into what I wanted to be my little nest egg for the law firm. And so I was able to get more money that way. Cuz I was working at a firm before regular salary and everything. And so that’s how I was able to kind of bank things because there are a lot of expenses you need to front. As, like for everything from administrative to, we do a lot of PI cases. Like my sister-in-law is PI and then my cases, it’s all contingency. So we’re fronting all the expenses and fees and syncing those costs with the hope that we get paid a percentage of what we’re able to recover. And so having my little side hustles helped me get this like a comfort zone so that I could feel okay to do. Because once you get going cases start covering each other through your operating account. But initially, I was like it might be a little while before we have a check.

Sonya Palmer

What would you say are some non-negotiables when starting a firm that you would spend like a top dollar on?

Paige Sparks

Find out where you wanna keep all your files initially because migrating them over is a nightmare. That is the one thing that you should not be cheap on because. As attorneys, we have to maintain those, they have to be secure. There are all these regulations. So really get don’t if you’re gonna skimp on something, don’t do it with wherever you’re storing your files, and make sure that they’re backed up. Because we had an instance, we had to migrate some, it was a nightmare. Everything was fine and worked out. But that was like just another stress for a week that you could have. I could have avoided it if I had not tried to go the cheapest route. That’s one of them, I will say what I wouldn’t spend a ton of money on is a website. Like I get it really cheap through GoDaddy. And once you own the domain and everything. It generates the whole website. You can edit a few things or add things in here and there, but, and it looks great. Like my friends and family were like, great job, formatting your new website. It looks great. And I literally put four words in it. I was like legal content and it did it. So that’s something I wouldn’t just because that’s not where a lot of my traffic comes from, but you do need it. But that’s something that I was like very impressed with the whatever basic GoDaddy package. I think it was like 12 bucks a month or something for this great looking.

Sonya Palmer

Does it generate traffic for you? Is it getting, is it generating leads for you?

Paige Sparks

The website. Yes, it does. It has a little questionnaire box, so people can send me their question and I can respond by email and direct it if we don’t do it or help them get help. But most of our leads come from either people we know or social media through like TAC, for example. So the website, I think is a secondary thing. People check to see if we’re real, then they reach out because we see the visits, but the traffic there is less than in other forms of social media.

Sonya Palmer

It’s a trust factor, which it’s so interesting, cuz it’s almost reversed from what we typically see, which is where they will go to the website is like the first part. And then they go to the social to see oh, this is a real firm like, oh these are

Paige Sparks

Yeah. yeah.

Sonya Palmer

And you have flipped that where they’re finding you on social first.

Paige Sparks

It’s a blessing and a curse. So like our brand is more personal. Like you can contact us. We are very present on social media, but the problem with it’s great. But the problem with it is it’s like you never get a break. I’m getting Facebook messages at all hours of the day, cuz it’s cuz we are a personal brand, so it’s good and bad. And we’re trying to find the balance to that, but it is different. You say that it’s backward. Sometimes we’ll be, I get messages at 2:00 AM on Instagram that it’s from like another country and they wanna know the employment laws. And I’m like, would you message any other law firm and ask this? Probably not, but, so we just have to find the balance of that, but it is interesting. It’s different.

Sonya Palmer

Yeah, I think again, what you just said, it’s super interesting because of the accessibility that you’re offering potential clients. Works to your advantage, cuz you’re gonna collect people cause it’s easy. But then also to your disadvantage, because you’re working 24 7. Yeah. Hopefully, as you grow, you can put the infrastructure so that it’s not you have to answer that message at 2:00 AM.

Paige Sparks

yeah. Or that’d be like the only thing I do. Yeah. Cause it’s a lot, it’s like a full-time job running all the social media separately because it never stops.

Sonya Palmer

Oh, yeah, we have a whole team. So I can’t even imagine. Yeah. Yeah. We have four or five people, running socials. So I can’t fathom.

Paige Sparks

Yeah that’s what I would like one day

Sonya Palmer

Yeah, we’ll get there. So you saved money on a website. what do you have any other sort of money-saving hacks that you’ve discovered?

Paige Sparks

So we have a different office space that I’m able to use because we don’t have a regular office. And I think starting out is the way people really get stuck with costs that they are just eating. That’s not necessarily. A profitable cost that you need to invest is we don’t need this big, fancy formal office because we’re able to rent space for a depo. If we need it. Or my friend will let us use their conference room. I was able to have good connections like that. Again, those friends who are like, we know what it’s like, starting out, don’t spend money on rent because depending on where you are at, it’s like astronomical in St. Louis and in the surrounding area. So I would say if you’re just starting out, don’t, everything’s virtual now, especially like with what I do with employment law, it’s all online. So don’t think you have to have this big formal office and all the bells and whistles decorated. That’s great if you’re able to afford that, but if you’re not, you can still be professional, still be available and just use space as needed. And it, that saves a lot of money.

Sonya Palmer

Your clients don’t have to come into an office to have a conversation with you. They can access you via email, or instant messaging. and I think it’s just like people want to access a lawyer the same way they do other services. So walk us through what a typical day was like when you were at your previous firm to what it’s like now, owning your own.

Paige Sparks

So content creating and making legal, informational videos gives me a lot of joy. And I wanted to spend all my time doing that. And so I still had my other work to get done as a full-time lawyer at the other firm. So I would literally do my regular work. It would give me content to film, like going to court, doing these things, but I’d have my regular eight-hour day or so. And then I would get done and immediately start making videos until I made maybe three for the day. Cause I was trying to post three a day to keep my engagement up. And so then it was like a part-time job after my full-time job every night because it is tiring. When I first decided I didn’t wanna do that anymore, it was just really wearing me out. I couldn’t keep doing that. I was like I’ll just make a content full time, but then my sister-in-law came on board. My time hasn’t changed so much as now I can pick a day if I just wanna make a bunch of videos or do a Q and a, so it’s given me a lot more freedom, which has stressed me out less because I can move things around.

Sonya Palmer

Even if you end up working more hours, If that time is flexible, you feel like there’s more freedom So I think that makes a ton of sense. And you’re right about content. One of my favorite trends was when people just like record themselves, making jewelry or sewing, and they’re like, everything is content. Everything is content because it is exhausting trying to come up. You have to do scripts sometimes and figure out angles and lighting. And there’s a lot that goes into it.

Paige Sparks

And following up to comments even was exhausting to me cuz it’s you’re constantly engaging with people. So it was just way too much to continue trying to do all of that. And now one day I won’t post, but I do all my legal work and I’m not bothered, so it having a balance is what was really important to me.

Sonya Palmer

To her followers. Paige is the authority on employment law. But that wasn’t always the case.

Paige Sparks

I didn’t know a lot of employee rights, especially myself when I was an employee. So I was clerking at a place I didn’t like what was happening or the way I was gonna be treated. And I complained about it using the proper. Legal language by accident is actually this guy was dating at the time. He was like, you should probably say that just in case. And I’m like brilliant. It was the only good advice he ever gave me. But anyway, so I made this complaint and preserved my rights accidentally and started getting involved in employment law. And I could have had a case regarding that. And that’s when I was like, that kind of first piqued my interest. And then as I was doing employment law, I’m like, wow, I didn’t know. It’s illegal to prohibit your employees from talking about your wages. I’ve been told, don’t do that at work at blah, blah, blah. And so those little things were really interesting to me and why I can relate to it because it’s things that I have experienced. I think that’s what’s different too, is like that employment situation I was talking about. I have been that person that’s shaking, scared to send the email because we’re using this scary word. We’ve never been said, told to say discrimination before, that’s a big deal. Don’t say. And so I know what it feels like. I know how scary it is. So that’s why it’s nice. Sometimes I can talk with people and be like, just trust me on this. If you say it, you’re good. Just keep working and they can’t retaliate against you. You’ve gotta trust me. I know what you’re going through. And so that’s how I relate because I’ve been scared,

Sonya Palmer

yes. Yes. That’s the best way. Who are you hoping to educate?

Paige Sparks

You know what really is I like to educate the average Joe person, obviously. I only know Missouri employment laws, so I can’t, I don’t do cases all over the country, but there are federal laws that do apply to everybody. Like being able to discuss your wages. That’s federally protected. And so my goal is that we debunk. Some of these employment myths. I would like people to know their rights more in the workplace because it’s so predatory anyway for the employer-employee relationship, usually. So that’s my goal is if everyone can feel a little more comfortable, if they stand up to a bad boss, then they know they’re right in the law, for example, or, but I’ve also been liking, which kind of makes me like terrible a little bit when people commented is there are so many people who have reached out to me that. I’m on one L and I wanna do employment law, like thanks to the videos you’re in script, that kind of things. I’m a SAP. So I’m like, oh, thank you. Those are my two things when those things happen, I’m like, that’s pretty.

Sonya Palmer

Very cool. Let’s talk about your content. Let’s talk about your videos. You have so many, what do you have a cadence or a posting schedule that, that has worked for you?

Paige Sparks

No,

Sonya Palmer

Oh, gosh.

Paige Sparks

It’s all it’s like right now. It’s whenever I can find time because we’re so busy, I try to do one a day, but sometimes that is a lot. And so my goal, apparently the algorithm likes three to four videos a day. With like on-brand content, you don’t wanna do a lot of trends if you’re trying to get followers, because everybody’s doing that’s boring, do things that are different, like information where you’re the authority and the knowledge, and so I have a lot of success with those videos. I’ll sometimes I’ll stitch things. If I’m having like a lazy day where I’m like, I don’t wanna make my own content and I’ll just do a quick. That’s the most recent one that like took off too. And I hate when they do that, because all these new people that don’t follow me, see it. And they’re like, you don’t know what you’re talking about. So the viral videos can be good and bad, but I don’t, there’s no rhyme or reason they just randomly will take off. And so I don’t have a set schedule either.

Sonya Palmer

Wow. And then, how much time do you think you spend on making a video?

Paige Sparks

It depends on the video. Usually, the ones I’m responding to is information. I know for sure off the top of my head, so I don’t have to do a lot of research. Those can take maybe 20 minutes of video by the time I record it, edit it, or caption. That kind of thing. If it’s something I have to look into there’s one right now, I’ve been putting off comparing a lot of employment agreements. People have sent me in, I know that’s gonna take hours. So I’m like, maybe I’ll do it this weekend. It just depends on the content, but usually, they don’t take me too long to do.

Sonya Palmer

Do you have any processes or anything that you’ve put in place that can help you stream?

Paige Sparks

Yes. So I have ADHD and I have the memory of a goldfish. And so I forget things and I’ll be like driving and I’m like, Ooh, that would be a great TikTok idea or, Ooh, that’s a good question. If I’m doing an intake with someone and I realize that’s a good scenario, I wanna draw attention to. So early on, I’ve always done it. I have this huge note app on my phone that has literally 55 million TikTok ideas. And. I forget ’em and they’re there. And or whenever I’m like, I’m burned out, I don’t know what to do content on. I can just go through my list and see, I was like, oh, that was a good idea. I’ll do that.

Sonya Palmer

Yeah, I can’t tell you how often talking to law firms and CEOs and executives, and they have these very complicated, like tools and processes and all these different things. And most people are just using the notes up on their phones.

Paige Sparks

Keep it simple. Yeah.

Sonya Palmer

Yeah. Like it’s just, it’s E you can get to it. It’s right there. You can just take stuff right off the top of your head. So it’s so funny how advanced stuff has come, and yet people still just pull up the notes app.

Paige Sparks

Yeah. And I prefer that I actually like being more simple.

Sonya Palmer

I like to brain dump there as well, and then put it where it belongs. Are there any other tools that you use?

Paige Sparks

I only use my phone. I don’t use any different lighting and I just stand by a window. Like I don’t have any fancy process for doing this, which I think is why I get a good interaction is because it’s more relatable. I wanna feel like you’re just FaceTiming. You’re talking to me like this. And so that has what worked well for me. So I think the. Fancy. I get, sometimes I’ll put my phone on a little trip that I got on Amazon. That’s about

Sonya Palmer

yep. It’s good. If it’s working, keep doing it. A lot of the videos that you make the kind of highlight aspects of the legal process that can be very intimidating to the layperson. And it makes it so much more accessible. And you talked about like your comment section and people who don’t follow you. Do you feel like you’re building a community?

Paige Sparks

I do, especially because the people that do follow me, are the most loyal people in my life. they know my dog’s name, they know my horse’s name. And if someone says something rude to me on there, they’re Adam, before I even see it we really do have a little legal community and what’s cool too, is these people will now tag me in different posts. They see of what if they see an employment law question that someone makes on their own and it’s not getting a lot of views or so. I’m getting tagged all these different ones and helping a bigger base of people than that. Just see my stuff potentially. So that’s, what’s cool. Are they all tag everybody and we have our little lawyer community ONAC two, which is nice because if I get a case that I don’t do like it’s in California, I can sense to my buddy Ryan and be like, he’ll take care of you. You know that part’s cool too.

Sonya Palmer

I love that. So you will have a buddy. Ryan in California on TikTok, a TikTok follower that you’re sending referrals to.

Paige Sparks

Or I’ll be like, Hey, this was a case someone asks me about, I don’t know, California law, but they’re crazy. So I’ll be like, they’re not getting lunch breaks. Is that the case? And he’ll be like, let me talk to ’em. So yeah, we have a couple of different lawyers that I know, literally only through TAC that we can reciprocate, referring things too. We only know each other through TAC. We had one meeting in Vegas where we met a couple of each other and otherwise we’ll say hi to each other in our lives. And that’s it.

Sonya Palmer

I love that. I really do.

Paige Sparks

it’s different, but it’s like, what people do now.

Sonya Palmer

Yes. Yes, it is. I think there’s a massive sort of gap between the way things were done and the way things are starting to be done. And I’m very curious to see where it leads. With all of the exposure and your audience, really getting to know what you’re saying and trusting your authority is this translating to leads.

Paige Sparks

It does translate to leads and it’s only cause I can only take Missouri cases and I do the disclaimer in all the posts because the ones I do are just general it’s for informational only not legal advice. So I have my email and some people will use that to send me their specific questions because obviously I’m not gonna nurse. And I even say that in the comments, I’m like, this is public. I don’t wanna comment here, talk with a local lawyer or you can email me and I can try to help. And so sometimes it does. Obviously, I’m still working. I haven’t retired yet, so anything crazy, cuz it is employment law. We’re not making six figures a case. the most common way. So I actually will help write complaints for people that are still employed, cuz they’re limited in what I can do under Missouri. So if they’re experiencing a certain kind of discrimination and they don’t know what to do, I’ll be like, here’s my suggested complaint for disability discrimination. And it’s HR this way. Let me know if they give you a hard time and what the coolest thing is most of the time, I never hear from those people again. So that’s, what’s cool for me, cuz it’s just a, it’s a little bit of my time just to help them. And it’s not a case, but it helped their situation. And that makes me feel.

Sonya Palmer

So does your social presence, does fit into your business model?

Paige Sparks

It did, but backward like you were saying before. So the firm I was at before, I did just brand myself doing my own videos and that kind of thing. And because that took off so much, I was able to have a business doing it where sometimes I create videos for other people, as they’ll pay for videos. So if they want the same informational style, but for a different area, So that kind of turned into a little side thing I do. And then also that’s how we were able to open up the firm for the cases that I’m handling is because I had this big following and they have these questions and they just came with they’d go wherever I go.

Sonya Palmer

What are some bright spots in the legal industry that you are optimistic about?

Paige Sparks

I will tell you locally. we do a lot of local outreach. Sam, my sister-in-law, and I last year, there’s a local group, the young lawyer section it’s run by the Missouri bar and we got to do a mock trial with these high school kids. And we were their coaches. And then we were both like,

Sonya Palmer

I love it.

Paige Sparks

They took it so seriously. Like they would be upset with us if we weren’t prepared that day. Do you know what I mean? So that, I think, so this, the nationwide stuff depresses me, makes me sad. I’m like outta sight outta mind, but it’s cool for me locally is that we do these different outreach things. So it’s you forget about the crap of the world for a little bit when it’s like my favorite mock trial kid won their objection, so that’s what we really enjoy doing. And I like to distract myself with that a lot.

Sonya Palmer

When an attorney reaches a level of exposure like Paige has, the social capital translates directly to increased revenue – when captured and nurtured appropriately. But there is no one right way to create a client experience. Paige is finding what works for her and building a community in the process. A big thank you to Paige for sharing her story and unbelievable insights with us today. You’ve been listening to LawHER with, me, Sonya Palmer. If you found this content insightful, inspiring, or just made you smile, please share this episode with the trailblazer in your life. For more about Paige Sparks check out our show notes. While you’re there, please leave us a review or a five-star rating. It really goes a long way for others to discover the show. I’ll 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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