Escaping the Chaos: How Deirdre Broke Free From High-Stress Cases And Grew A Balanced And Profitable Law Practice With NLBM's Support

After working as a general practice attorney for over 16 years, Deirdre realized she wanted to move away from serving clients in high stress situations and dealing with the chaos of litigation. Instead, she wanted to do meaningful work that gave her control of her income and time. After reading our NLBM newsletter for 2 years and dreaming of having the lifestyle our member lawyers enjoy, Deirdre decided to take action and turn her dream into reality by joining our program. She appreciates how heart-centered our coaches and member lawyers are and the depth of the emotional support and practical guidance our curriculum provides. She’s grateful that our proven presentation marketing system allows her to consistently generate a steady stream of clients and that our program has helped her increase her average fee from $2,500 to $4,800 per engagement. 

After becoming a PFL member, Deirdre has consistently improved her metrics, and she now has the freedom to control where her Time, Energy, Attention, and Money go. And she’s happy that she can travel more to spend time with loved ones.

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Deirdre O'Donnell

Deirdre owns a practice in her home state of Missouri that serves families with Kids Protection Planning and Life and Legacy Planning. She has over 25 years experience practicing law. In addition to her legal training, she’s earned a Master’s Degree in social work and trained in Jazz piano. She is the happy mother of 2 sons, one a scientist and the other just completed college and is in a paramedic academy.


Searching for Freedom and Flexibility

Before becoming a PFL, Deirdre started her career as a public defender. She loved the work and the camaraderie with her colleagues. But when she was ready to get married and start a family, she realized she needed to pursue a higher income practice area to be able to support her lifestyle goals. So, she joined a general practice firm that handled family law, criminal law, estate planning, and a variety of other practice areas. She felt like she was on a hamster wheel and had no control over her calendar, so after 16 years at the firm, she launched her own law practice.

As a solo practice attorney with a support staff, Deirdre handled a variety of cases, and not all of them were equally satisfying. Crushed by the stress of her law practice, she was not able to show up as the wife and the mother that she wanted to be.  

“I remember the moment and the feeling. And it was just that— it was either a family law case or a criminal defense case where it had been very stressful, and it had just kind of pushed me to places that I didn’t want to be. I was angry, I was frustrated, and I didn’t feel like I was being a good advocate. Certainly wasn’t being the mom and wife to my family and the leader of my business that I wanted to be just because of the crazy lifestyle that you lead when you’re, you know, not necessarily trying a lot of cases, but preparing to try a lot of cases and then having clients that aren’t necessarily happy about having to have a lawyer.”

She knew something needed to change immediately. She wanted to pivot and asked her staff to hold her accountable.

“So I remember the moment where I told my staff member that we will not accept anymore family law cases. And I asked her to make sure that she never allowed me to change my mind because I was sure, you know if my case numbers dropped off or the revenue dipped, I was going to be very tempted to spring back to what I knew could make money.”

Diedre knew she wanted to faze out all her other practice areas and focus solely on estate planning. She started the transition gradually, but when COVID hit in early 2020, she knew she needed support to create a law business that allowed her family and her staff to thrive.

“[…]COVID hitting was very scary. And I had been receiving Ali’s newsletters for probably two years when I started wanting to get out of that crazy lifestyle. And I would read them and read them again and just kind of fantasize about what that life might be. But I was still not convinced that it was the pivot that I needed to make. 

But when COVID hit, and I had this internal turmoil about wanting to fine tune our practice areas, you know, there was a moment where it was just time for me to pick up the phone and call, so the combination of COVID and the needing to continue to scale back the [other] practice areas was really that tipping point for me and, and wanting to make my staff happier and my family happier. 

[NLBM] looked like it could do that. And so I made a phone call and spoke to someone that made me continue to want to research and maybe just dive in with both feet.”

So, in 2020 Deirdre enrolled in our PFL program and never looked back.


Feeling Deeply Supported As a Solo Attorney

Deirdre loved how interactive and engaging our trainings were. Even though she had to put in some late nights and some early mornings to complete our Bootcamp, the way the material was presented made the experience meaningful.

“[The training] was so great, not just the technical side, because I had a lot of estate planning experience, not the way we do it now, but the concepts were not new to me. It was really getting in. It was the internal processing and just learning about yourself and how you can interact with the world differently that would result in better outcomes for your business and your clients. So I loved those. But you know, I used to be a social worker, so I like that touchy feely stuff. I don’t know that every lawyer loves that. Maybe they do, maybe they would if they just tried it.

But that really hit home with me and just, you know, having the friendly and familiar videos. There’s a lot of video teaching. It’s not just bookwork; it’s mostly watching videos. It was just a comfort level of seeing Ali and all of the wonderful staff that surrounds her providing the training.”

In addition to the purpose-driven training, what really made our program stand out for Deirdre was her authentic connection with her coach.

“I can’t imagine my life without [the coaching]; particularly, my coach is just so wonderful. I know all of the coaches there are fantastic, but we just connect very well, and so much growth happens as a result of those meetings that I have every four or five weeks. Every learning that I take away is just so meaningful. 

The connection is very genuine, and the care is very genuine. I don’t want to say it’s a therapy session because obviously it’s not, but it feels very therapeutic. You know, I can bring to the table something that I know I need to talk about, or I just talk about what’s on my mind, and it leads to the thing that magically I really needed to talk about and didn’t even know it.

I think the key there is taking good notes and creating tasks from that session that lead to actual implementation. And that’s something that I struggle with and work hard to do in every aspect of growing my business— it’s easy to generate wonderful ideas, and your staff generates wonderful ideas. It’s another thing to have a system down to turn those into actual implemented ideas that actually help your business grow.

So the way that my coach helps me with that is he records every session, and he’ll send me a recording so I can listen back, and then he’ll summarize what we talked about as well.” 

In addition to helping her feel supported with her mindset and business goals, the coaching and mentorship we provide has also allowed Deirdre to practice law at a higher level.

“Being a solo practitioner and being able to get on a group coaching call or a one-on-one with someone there at NLBM to answer a legal question about trusts or wills or whatever it is, is really invaluable. ‘Cause I don’t have that. I don’t have other lawyers in my office. So that’s one of the next best ways of growing and learning and making sure you’re doing the right thing.” 

And not only have our training modules and coaching exceeded Deirdre’s expectations, our turn-key, done-for-you marketing system has made running her law business easier.

“The marketing tools— you’ve got the written materials, you’ve got the blogs, you’ve got the social media content that are just automatic. It just keeps coming at you every week. [NLBM gives you] a real easy way to set up newsletters and automations of your newsletters. Those are all great.”


Discovering a Winning Growth Strategy

By consciously tracking her metrics, Deirdre has been able to improve them consistently over time. Since joining NLBM, her average fee has grown exponentially.

“At the very beginning, a new case that I would take in for one of the many different practice areas was about $2,500 per case. In 2021, and by now, I had stopped doing almost all other practice areas [except estate planning]. I was still having money trickle in from the previous year from other practice areas. But by 2021, my average case that I opened up that year had increased to $3,200 a matter. And then, by 2022, it had jumped to $4,200. I just did some quick calculations for this month, and my average fee this month is $4,800 a matter.”

In addition to growing her average fee per engagement, Deirdre has successfully implemented our client attraction system to continuously engage a steady stream of clients.

“I’ve been able to implement a marketing team and a very intentional strategic approach toward our seminars, and we’ve been able to throw good money at it, and it’s starting to pay off. Like my last seminar, I had 75 people attend, which I think is a pretty good number, and that leads to more appointments. So we’ve really seen our calendar begin to fill up largely because of the success of those seminars. So I’m really proud of that.

We do the every door direct mail flyers to market our seminars each time we have one. And so when those hit the mailboxes, we always get people that don’t wanna go to the seminar, they just want to go straight to an appointment.

So this March, because of the February seminar, we were able to book about 20 appointments on the calendar. So we’re getting ready to have April’s seminar, and then that should fill up April and part of May [with appointments].”

On average Deirdre books 10 appointments after every presentation, and she engages 80% of the clients she meets at an average fee of $4,800, so her presentation marketing generates around $38,400 in monthly revenue. Our program has not only helped Deirdre create financial growth, but she has also leveled up her lifestyle and improved her wellbeing.

“I control where my attention is focused and where my resources are focused, and that just feels good. You know, I don’t have judges and panicky clients or an unhappy or frustrated staff dictating where my attention goes at any moment. Opposing counsel was a big one that dominated my attention. Really glad to not have that in my life anymore. 

So while I still work as much as I did, it’s a different kind of work. I spend a lot of time, you know, dreaming and launching new ideas, trying new things. When it doesn’t work, we try something else. I’m able to delegate a lot to my staff, who’s very capable, and now they’re doing more than I used to do, and I can just continue to kind of fine tune what I’m focusing on. But it is a really good feeling to see the whole project kind of take off rather than feeling like you’re the only one that can go to court or you’re the only one that can finalize the discovery. 

There’s just the ability now to spread the work in a way that’s meaningful to everybody. So, that feels really good. I sleep better. I don’t have as much anxiety trying to go to sleep because I’m worried about a trial or forgetting some discovery or something.

Obviously, I have more flexibility as a business owner, so my husband and I can take more long weekends and spontaneous trips so we can get back to see family that doesn’t live close. You know, all of those are just such wonderful perks and things that I really wish I had been able to do years ago.”

Deirdre O'Donnell


“[After becoming a PFL], you begin dreaming bigger, setting bigger goals, and achieving those goals.”


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