Stephanie Hon had been a family law litigator for quite some time before she ended up striking out on her own. Even though she had an incredible mentor, the long hours and stress of the job wore away her energy and passion for the work until she finally realized she no longer wanted to do it day in and day out anymore. Find out how she created a heart-forward lucrative practice.
Stephanie was a full-time litigator in California for over 10 years prior to moving to the Austin Texas area. In Stephanie’s previous practice, she handled all aspects of family law matters, which included litigation, negotiation, and mediation. Upon relocating to Texas in 2018, Stephanie obtained her license with the Texas State Bar and has worked to open another successful law practice in Cedar Park, Texas. Stephanie’s practice now encompasses Estate Planning, wills and trusts, Elder Law, and some small business guidance.
Stephanie Hon had been a family law litigator for quite some time before she ended up striking out on her own. Even though she had an incredible mentor, the long hours and stress of the job wore away her energy and passion for the work until she finally realized she no longer wanted to do it day in and day out anymore.
But although she didn’t want to be in the same concentration anymore, her instinct to be there for families and especially for the families involved, was still strong.
“My focus has always been helping and protecting families. One of the things I always told clients when I worked with them was, your children – when it comes to divorces – are one of my priorities, making sure they’re taken care of. So, I guess my drive has always been making sure that people are taken care of and are okay.”
This impetus to keep others safe and to protect and safeguard those who are more vulnerable stems back to the beginning of Stephanie’s career when she worked pro bono legal clinic helping families.
So, when Stephanie finally decided to step out on to her own, she had a strong sense of what she wanted to be doing (helping families) and the ways in which she wanted to do it – but she hadn’t yet found a way that worked.
“After over a decade of doing litigation, I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore.”
In 2015, Stephanie started out on her own. And it was her former mentor and boss who had framed some of the responsibilities of running an independent practice for Stephanie – helping her understand that a practice should be well run in every facet.
But soon, Stephanie was having to track all of her work – billing in six-minute increments – and feeling like she was just spinning her wheels. While she wasn’t laboring with stressful litigation demands left and right, she also wasn’t making the headway that she had hoped she would.
“It was tiring. I’ve had a few younger attorneys come to me and say “Hey would you talk to me about running a law practice, I know that you’ve done this. I tell them that running a business, especially a law practice, is very different than the actual practice of law. And you have to find people that can support you in that and can help you set up the systems and the processes the way that you need them.”
Tired of tracking her time, resolute that she didn’t want to return to the courtroom, and yet knowing she wanted to continue helping families – Stephanie found herself at an impasse.
After her family moved from California to Texas, Stephanie was looking to revolutionize her practice. She began searching forums and Facebook groups for ideas on how to change her practice and run it the way she felt it deserved to be run. She came across NLBM after seeing an ad. She scheduled a call and found that it offered exactly what she was looking for: a flat fee-based model for running an Estate Planning law firm.
She enrolled in NLBM with the desire to move as quickly as possible into a place of being able to see clients and work with them the way she felt they deserved to be helped. From the time she started the program, to the time she interacted with her first client as a newly minted NLBM lawyer, Stephanie had set a blistering pace of five and half weeks.
Right away she realized that the NLBM program had prepared her to understand on a deeper level what her clients truly needed – more than just a will or estate plan. They needed to be guided through a lot of decisions concerning more than simply their money or their assets – but in understanding that their true wealth was defined by far more than just the amount in their bank account.
Stephanie liked stepping into that role and for the first time – potentially ever – felt truly prepared for it.
“I think that was the mindset shift – I’m advising them on more than just their documents or their will and their trust. You become that person that they trust for other things and that they want to keep coming back to. I think that’s one of the big takeaways I had as far as the client-facing items and how I can help them.”
Stephanie also found a lot of value in the meeting process that NLBM Founder Ali Katz established – the flow of taking clients through a system of preparation, inquiry, and making sure they’re truly prepared not just from a legal standpoint but from a life standpoint.
Stephanie was finding all kinds of changes in her new practice – not just how she was helping clients prepare.
“Billing hourly you get nit-picky on your time, and you get overly focused on how many emails you are sending how many phone calls you are taking – your time is money…as a lawyer our time and our service is our commodity.”
But when Stephanie changed to billing with a flat fee – the NLBM way – she found a lot of freedom and gave freedom back to her clients to contact her and utilize her the way that a truly valued advisor would be.
But the changes didn’t just stop with the billing structure or services that Stephanie could now provide. She also found a great deal of value in the coaching and marketing tools that NLBM provides.
“They give us a ton of marketing stuff. Whether it’s blog posts, social media content, newsletter information, lead magnets, your website content. I think for me, transitioning from having a primarily Family Law based website, to suddenly transition it to an Estate Planning focused website, I didn’t know where to start with or what to put on the pages, quite frankly.
So the ability to take this content that they’ve already generated, that they’ve made sure it works with SEO, just to be able to implement it into a website and have it up and going in a few days was probably one of the best things that I was able to get from the start. And then having access to years of past blog content.”
This library of content allowed Stephanie to position herself with credibility in front of her prospective clients and immediately have something valuable her clients could use to dive further into their own plans and build their knowledge.
All this not only helped Stephanie be able to launch her practice but is a primary reason it’s done so well. Since starting her practice, Stephanie has seen enormous growth. Stephanie was able to hire essential staff, which has allowed her to focus more on the client care and value that she gives them while also ensuring that no logistics are dropped and everyone gets the same incredible service whether they’re meeting with Stephanie or receiving an email, or signing a document.
These added elements helped Stephanie bring in not only more clients, but more lucrative clients who were interested in the advanced services her boutique firm offers. The personal touch that Stephanie offers, which in turn helps families the way she always wanted, turned out to be one of the most valuable things about her NLBM practice, and her establishment as a PFL lawyer.
PERSONAL FAMILY LAWYER
“My drive has always been making sure that people are taken care of and are okay.”
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