72. Michael Rose, Hach & Rose LLP Customer-Centric Law and Succeeding in a Saturated Market

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Michael Rose is a founding partner of Hach & Rose and a leading Manhattan personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. He is a 7-time New York Super Lawyer and was featured in New York Magazines Top-Rated Attorneys in the New York Area.

We talked about delivering first-class customer service and how that impacts everything from your referrals to your search rankings. Listen in to learn about the importance of integrity in your practice and how to and how to establish lasting relationships with clients.

Transcript

Michael Rose

Customer service. Uh, in my opinion is the most important thing in running a personal injury law firm.

Chris Dreyer

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling. There will always be a client at the heart of what you do. The best companies. Find a way to understand that client and create a relationship with them.

Michael Rose

Uh, people come to us, they’re hurt. They don’t have money coming in. Um, they want to understand what’s happening with their case. So, um, I would say my top priority right now is making myself available to the firm’s clients so that if they want to speak to me directly, they can, um, everyone’s got my cell phone.

Chris Dreyer

You’re listening to The Rankings Podcast, the show where top marketers and elite personal injury attorneys share their stories about getting to the top and what keeps them there. My guest today is Michael Rose, a personal injury lawyer, and founding partner of Hach & Rose, one of the most elite PI firms in New York city. Michael routinely wins verdicts in the millions for his clients. Over one six month span, he tried three cases and each resulted in a seven figure verdict. We discuss how providing excellent service can be its own pathway to the top of the search results. I’m your host, Chris Dreyer, founder and CEO of Rankings.io. We help elite personal injury attorneys dominate first page rankings with search engine optimization. SEO is all about the first page and that’s also where we’d like to start our show. Here’s Michael Rose co-founder and partner of Hach and Rose

Michael Rose

So, uh, my partner and I, Greg Hach we’re at one of the larger personal injury law firms in New York city. Uh, I was in an unfortunate position where I was thrown right into the fire trying cases when I was 26 years old. Um, so we, so I was at a point where I was on trial once a month. At least, um, in jury selection, trying cases to verdict. So I really had a unique opportunity at a really young age to, uh, be in front of judge as being in front of juries and, uh, just have an opportunity to learn. So. Uh, I think that’s really what got me started having a comfort level of being on my own, being able to speak to people. Um, that’s really, um, how I got started.

Chris Dreyer

So you got a lot of experience there. Did, did you do you know, retrospectives with other attorneys to discuss. You know what you could’ve done better, what you, what you did great, all those different types of situations for trials.

Michael Rose

Yeah. So I was lucky to have some great mentors. Um, uh, some, some of the, some of the people that I worked with, uh, are now when they’re praying they’re 60, late sixties now, and there are people who are known as. Some of the most formidable trial lawyers, uh, some of the States, some throughout the country, and I had an opportunity to pick their brains. Um, when I did go on trial though, I was on my own. So it was, it was self-analysis understanding what worked for me, what didn’t work for me. So learn from people who had different styles than. The one that I eventually developed, there are things that, uh, frankly worked for other people that didn’t work for me. So, um, best way to get feedback for me was after a case was over and, and talking to juries. So, um, sometimes you feel like the telling you what you want to hear, but, uh, not being scared to ask hard questions about what they liked and what they didn’t like about what I did, where I could be better. Um, uh, that’s how I grew up.

Chris Dreyer

I love that. And I, I like the candid conversations and the openness to accept that and, and try to improve, you know, so I, I believe you, and, and, uh, Gregory, you know, you worked at the same firm and then you were both very accomplished and successful lawyer. So. What made you, uh, where was the decision to strike out your own? What made you decide to start your own firm?

Michael Rose

So we were, we were, um, We were, we were both 29 years old at the time, I think. And, uh, it was a large firm. It was, uh, it was about 15 lawyers. A lot of the lawyers were senior Greg and I were going to be two, the two youngest partners deferment, ever made. Uh, they told us they were making us partnership offers. And, uh, Greg and I got to talking actually at an office Christmas party one night and, uh, decided that, uh, we were a good fit. We had, we had skills that complemented each other, Greg being someone who liked to be on the inside, uh, doing the business end of things. And. Generating business and myself at the time, uh, really just being interested in being a trial lawyer. And so at that point in time, we decided that, uh, we were going to partner up and start our own shop.

Chris Dreyer

What does it look like now? Is it still that same? Focus where you’re still highly focused on trials and he’s still focused on business. Did you kind of stay in that, uh, that path

Michael Rose

it’s it’s, it’s hard now to be on trial, although I love doing it. Um, we are now I think we’re 15 lawyers and close to 50 employees. So management takes over, uh, business responsibilities take over, uh, Marketing respires I’m sure, you know, marketing is more and more competitive today than it’s ever been. Um, everyone wants to be on the internet, so, um, I’ve become highly involved in the marketing of the law firm. I spent a lot of time also, uh, speaking to clients on the phone. Um, clients want to speak to me, um, Customer service. Uh, in my opinion is the most important thing in running a personal injury law firm. Uh, people come to us, they’re hurt. They don’t have money coming in. Um, they want to understand what’s happening with their case. So, um, I would say my top priority right now is making myself available to the firm’s clients so that if they want to speak to me directly, they can, um, everyone’s got my cell phone, so incredible. Yeah. So, uh, I’d say that, that is my number one priority, but, um, tell you, uh, having been in the office for over a year now with the epidemic, um, Dying to get out into the courtroom. So hopefully we’ll be there soon.

Chris Dreyer

So I wanted to stay, stay on that, that customer service side, you know, aside from the multi-million dollar type of positioning, the other words that perhaps are most associated with your firm are honesty and integrity, you know, are these words. A cornerstone of your brand or are they more table stakes for just everyone that you’ve hired has to have them, or do you really put a tremendous amount of emphasis in, in that customer service? And it sounds like you do.

Michael Rose

I do. I do. It’s very important to me. Uh, it’s important to me that people I talk to or on the other side, understand that when I say something, my word means something. When I make promises to people, to clients, to adversaries, to insurance companies, whoever it is, um, that I lived up to my word. Um, I demand that of my staff. I demand that of my attorneys. Uh, I expect them also, uh, to, uh, to uphold the same standards. Um, And, and, uh, try really hard not to over promise people, um, because people need to have genuine expectations as far as, uh, the likelihoods of success of their case. Uh, what expected recoveries should be because, uh, people are relying on us. They need to be able to plan for their future. So, uh, if there are difficulties, it’s important that people need to understand that. Yeah. I agree with you. I think that’s incredibly important to set those expectations. There, there are certain situations, you know, on the surface, not every case, especially to the prospect may look like a seven figure case. Sometimes appearing really big or successful may make potential clients think they’re too small to approach them. You know, how are you positioning yourself as a firm to attract leads of all sizes? Or is it maybe you aren’t the firm for everyone, but you help connect them with someone who is the right? Yeah. There is a balance. Um, I’d like to think that we can help everyone. Um, There are a certain number of smaller cases that frankly, um, our firm is not. Equipped to handle in a way that other firms are, that are equipped to handle large volume cases. So, uh, you have firms out there that handle thousands and thousands of cases, and they have systems in place which allowed them to be more efficient. Uh doesn’t necessarily the cases don’t necessarily require the same amount of detail legal work. Um, So, uh, yes, if I may answer your question, um, there, there are many, there are many clients who, uh, do have smaller cases, um, better, better off within a law firm. Um, it’s better for them and it’s a better service to the clients that we do have take on because, uh, if we’re spending time on things that. Uh, we’re not equipped to handle, it’s taking away from what we’re good at.

Chris Dreyer

I think that in itself falls under integrity, right? You focus on what you do best and, you know, everyone would love to have all the revenue and take every single case. But I love that integrity wise. You’re like, Hey, we can do this. Very very well. And someone else might be the better fit for the smaller cases that you don’t handle or out of your practice area of expertise. So switching over to the marketing side, uh, you know, we’re all about helping firms grow and, and clearly, you know, a finger to about marketing based upon the successes you’ve had, what is your philosophy and, uh, and or approach as it comes to marketing, how are we securing these great cases?

Michael Rose

Um, customer service. So, um, I can’t tell you how often I get on the phone with a client and they say to me, we read your reviews. Um, people have great things to say about you that’s time and time, time, and again, why people choose us, um, developing a rapport with clients, uh, Again, they repeatedly tell us they’ve watched videos, um, allowing our clients or potential clients to understand that that we’re human, we’re approachable, um, and that we want to help. So, um, that’s a big part of our message. And then also, uh, people want lawyers who are aggressive. So people want to understand that, uh, lawyers will take cases to trial. Uh, lawyers will, um, be aggressive in. Uh, getting justice. So, uh, that’s a big part of our message as well, which, uh, I think that, uh, the results, the results speak for itself. So marketing results that we’ve had. So people understand that we try cases, we try cases to verdict. Um, so, uh, I would say overall, um, customer service approachability. And, uh, the ability to be aggressive, all of that. And one of the things when I was doing my research is I noticed that you work with, with unions and you lecture on a variety of topics, which is certainly raised your profile as a thought leader over the years. How can lawyers assert themselves, um, as authorities in their field? Do you think it’s, uh, it is a simple maybe, well, not simple, but is it. Getting out and speaking and, and sharing your expertise. Yeah. I think that when you can provide information to people that’s helpful, um, People respect that people appreciate it. So if we’re given opportunities to speak to groups of attorneys, uh, labor organizations, uh, union leadership and ways that they can be helpful to their members because, um, overall their, their job as union leaders is helping people understand. When they get hurt, what benefits they’re entitled to. So, um, So education, helping, helping people who are in leadership roles with education, I think is, uh, is very important. Um, and it helps, it helps those people, uh, help their constituents. And in turn, it develops a level of loyalty where people understand that, uh, because we’re willing to help them. Um, We can help their, their members or whoever it is that they service.

Chris Dreyer

Michael’s success would be impressive anywhere, but he’s achieved it in the gauntlet of New York City, which is overflowing with law firms. I asked him about his firm and how they’re different and how they generate cases in such a saturated market.

Michael Rose

Well, it’s funny for many years, I, I, I, um, I was attached to the stigma of lawyers who advertise aren’t real lawyers. And for many years, unfortunately I shied away from the advertising. Um, For some reason, I believe that the internet didn’t have the same stigma attached to other types of lawyer advertising. That’s why I became interested in it. Um, so God, so for young lawyers, um, pay attention to what your competitors are doing. Um, see if you can emulate what they’re doing. Um, and then it’s developing loyalty. So, uh, treating each client as a client, uh, there are so many people in this business that, um, treat clients as commodities. Uh, they don’t see them as people. They see them as a way to make money. And so, uh, frankly it makes me sick when I see it, when I hear it, um, we’re asked to get involved or take over cases all the time. Where, uh, people are treated like that. They’re not getting their phone calls, returned. Uh, lawyers have a sense of entitlement, uh, when they’re talking to people, they’re not speaking to them as human beings. Um, so if you do the right thing by your clients, then. They’re going to want to reflect, they’re going to want to refer their friends to you. They’re going to want to refer their family to you. So, um, so it’s, it’s really just doing things the right way.

Chris Dreyer

I, I love everything about that. And I think that that emotional intelligence that EEQ, uh, empathy. Is sometimes difficult. And I think that more firms are waiting that with higher value, those that really have the soft touch. And obviously you need to have the hard touch skills to do the job too. And I noticed it in, uh, a couple of your bio’s and, and testimonials and things that. What comes up is your ability to think strategically and your F F up affable, demeanor. is this a natural or natural skill? Is this something you’ve developed over the years?

Michael Rose

Uh, I I’d say that my, my ability to relate to people, um, has. Always been there since I was a kid. Um, I, uh, grew up in a middle-class family. Um, my dad owned his own small business. My mom was a school teacher. Um, I went to a diverse high school, so, um, always had the ability to relate to. People that came from different backgrounds. So I think those things help me with clients help me with juries. Um, but a lot of it is a lot of the ability to speak to people. Um, that’s those are the things that you learn over the years. So it’s, um, it’s having a look. Um, I have the ability to lose my temper, just like everyone else and its ability to, to stay calm, understand other people’s situations, put yourself in other people’s shoes. I think that that’s something that, that I continue to work on today. Um, helping other people learn those skills, um, Helping people who work for me learn those skills, understand what our goals are. Um, those are all like, I’m always trying to read things and make myself better. Um, so, um, those, the like, I guess life is a learning process. So, um, so a lot of it is, uh, just continuing to grow.

Chris Dreyer

If it’s not clear already what sets Hach and Rose apart is about how they treat their clients. I love how dedicated Michael is to providing an exceptional and personal experience to each and every customer. But what does that entail? I asked Michael to take me through an ideal client journey from start to finish

Michael Rose

Um, so it starts at the beginning. Uh, Any perspective on use that work, but any perspective client, uh, they’re speaking to an attorney in my office, um, cases are vetted by attorneys. Uh, so from the very beginning, uh, there is, there is hopefully a bond with the person that they have a comfort level with us. Um, So, and then it’s communicating, putting procedures in place. Um, sending landmarks during people’s cases where we continue to speak with them. Uh, drives me crazy. Sometimes when I hear that, um, people are delegating client communication in circumstances where. I understand that people want to be talking to their attorneys. Um, I think probably the most important role or one of the most important roles of the attorneys in my office is speaking to clients, keeping them informed. Um, they want to hear from their attorneys. Um, they don’t want updates from people who, uh, whose job it is in the office to do scheduling. Um, they don’t want to hear updates from, from people who have, um, Other job titles within the office, uh, they wanted to talk to their lawyers. So, um, and then after the case is over, um, a lot of it look, I, I say to clients all the time, um, When you hire us, uh, you’re going to be married to us for a few years. So it is, um, it’s a relationship and, and I’d like to say that I’ve got a lot of great relationships with my former clients. Um, people stay in touch with me. I stay in touch with them. Um, I’ve gone to several weddings. Um, Family celebrations with clients. Um, so it’s, uh, look, it’s, it’s a real, um, it’s a real compliment when a client feels close enough to you or feels that, uh, you made an impact on them where you’re an important part life. So someone invites me to their wedding. That’s that’s an honor. Um, and so, um, So it’s really, it’s really, um, it’s not, it’s it’s, I guess it’s the ability to work or just being genuine with your clients so that they understand that, um, I care about them. The law firm cares about that. Um, and I think that’s, that’s hopefully what also translates into future business.

Chris Dreyer

I have to say, I’ve been doing many of these interviews and that’s very rare that after the client has received their settlement check, that, that you do the continued follow-up and the relationship types of things are, is it, is it just very natural for you? Do you, do you have a newsletter? It’s you know, how does, how does that work or is it just a natural who you are you check in on, on these clients that, that you’ve worked with?

Michael Rose

Yeah, look, I’ve represented so many people over the years. It’s not, that’s not, that’s not a CIT, a systematic practice. That’s something that I do when it feels natural. So it’s, it’s people that I have relationships with. Uh, yes, we, we have, um, social media, uh, where we try to stay in touch with our clients. Um, we have, um, We, we do do, uh, some newsletters, which are other ways that we stay in touch with our clients. But as far as on a personal level, it’s, it’s, it’s not business for me. It’s just, what’s natural. I love that.

Chris Dreyer

So a few more questions here, Michael, and so, you know, honesty and integrity. I’m going to go back to that. They’re incredibly important values, uh, for you and your firm, you know, how can law firm owners and how can they embody that? Is it just a value type? Is it an awareness thing that they have these values and, and that’s just who you are and that’s why it comes across naturally.

Michael Rose

Yeah. So, so for me, it is who I am. Um, but again, it’s, it’s part of the growth process. It’s, it’s part of, um, making people, uh, or helping people understand, uh, what our goals are as a law firm, um, so that our clients can feel connected to us. Um, There was, um, sharing information. So it’s, it’s, um, sharing some self-help materials, but with the, um, the employees from time to time, there was a, um, I forget his name, the guy who built the Ritz Carlton brand.

Chris Dreyer

uh, uh, Schulze.

Michael Rose

Yeah, exactly. So, um, he, he had come out with a book recently and did it in, did an interview, which I thought was fantastic. Um, share that with my attorneys. Um, so it’s, it’s really just trying really hard to. Help people understand customer service, helping people understand that, uh, we need to continue to evolve and just bringing people into, into the, uh, place where, um, they want to grow.

Chris Dreyer

So. I love that. Yeah. And one final question. Is there anything else you would like our audience to know that we didn’t talk about? Very broad.

Michael Rose

That is, that is, um, so look for, for me. Um, I love what I do, so, uh, So it’s, it’s, uh, what’s the expression. If, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. So, um, love getting up in the morning. Love going to my office. Um, I love almost all aspects of running the law firm, speaking to the clients, um, working on cases, trying cases. Uh, being successful. Um, so it’s, I guess my advice is do what you love, um, because that makes it, that that’s what makes it easy.

Chris Dreyer

Absolutely. And I think that’s a great piece of advice, Michael, where can our audience go to learn more about it?

Michael Rose

Uh, the, uh, the websites, uh, union law firm.com. Okay. So, uh, you can visit us on the website. Um, uh, we’re in Manhattan, we’re on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. So, uh, I’d say if you want to learn anything about the law firm might visit the website first.

Chris Dreyer

Perfect. Michael, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Michael Rose

Yeah, that was great. Appreciate your time.

Chris Dreyer

a lot of incredible advice here, but I think the most important part is about relationships. No matter the size of your firm or what type of law you practice, your work will always be based upon a relationship between you and the customer. And if you make that experience exceptional, you’ll have a type of marketing that money can’t buy.

Chris Dreyer

I’d like to think Michael Rose from Hach & Rose for sharing a story with us. And I hope you gain some valuable insights from the conversation you’ve been listening to the rankings podcast. I’m Chris Dreyer. If you like this episode, or have an idea for a future guest, whose story you’d love to hear, leave me a review and tell me more. I’ll catch you next week with another inspiring story and some SEO tips and tricks all with page one in mind.

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