Finding Entrepreneurial Freedom With NLBM: How Sahmra Built a Virtual Estate Planning Practice
After years of working in Big Law and unsatisfying legal partnerships, Sahmra started building her own practice while simultaneously starting her recovery journey. She needed to build a practice that provided her freedom and supported her wellbeing, so she created a virtual practice. After seeing Ali Katz share on social media about a new way of practicing estate planning, she realized that our program was the missing piece to bring her idea of having a virtual estate planning practice to its full potential. Becoming a Personal Family Lawyer® allowed her to live out her mission of serving business owners in her community, and it gave her the freedom and income to start the family she always wanted.
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About The Lawyer
Sahmra is the founder of S.A. Stevenson Law Office, Wills on Wheels, and Office Without Walls, a mobile estate planning practice serving the residents of Maryland. She has been recognized as a Rising Star by Superlawyers in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. She is the proud mother of a baby boy.
A Hunger for Freedom
Before becoming a PFL, Sahmra did document review for Big Law. While working what she calls ‘the sweatshop life,’ she met two ladies and launched a practice with them that ultimately ended up being unsatisfying.
“I’ve worked with big firms and mid-size firms doing PRI logs, different types of document review, that kind of thing, the sweatshop life. When I was doing that, I met two young ladies that suggested we start a practice together. They’re like, ‘Sahmra, come start a firm with us.’ And I was like, ‘All right, fine.’ We’re like, ‘This sweatshop life is not for us. Let’s do it.’ So we started a firm. And about four months in, I realized I was the only one really doing any work.”
Sahmra left the practice with her colleagues and struck out on her own as a solo attorney as a side hustle while working full time for more established firms. But when she was laid off from her main job right before a long planned overseas vacation, with only one source of income, she knew she had to make her solo practice work.
“And March 30th was my last day with that firm. March 31st, hopped on a plane [to Peru]. Now my solo practice is my only stream of income, and I have to make a way to make it work. So I did. And that was the beginning of Office Without Walls [the parent company of Wills on Wheels].
The backstory of this is also that at the same time that all of this is going on, I’m beginning my journey in recovery. I’m eight years into recovery, so my practice has to look like something that’s sustainable for my wellbeing. Because these things are going on at the same time. So I put quality of life first, meaning I could travel, but also I could wake up and decide I want to take a yoga class at 9:00 AM, and it shouldn’t be an issue. So that’s how I built the practice.”
Sahmra was an early adopter of remote work, but she was missing a key ingredient that was necessary to fully bring her vision to fruition—an estate planning service.
“Before NLBM, I was 90% family law, 10% trusts and estates. I didn’t really have any trusts and estates, and I knew I needed to build that area.”
Sahmra got the substantive law training she needed to build a mobile estate planning practice by enrolling in our bootcamps. After receiving so much value from the training, she knew that becoming a PFL was the next step.
Finding the Missing Key
Sahmra knew she wanted to grow the estate planning area of her practice and take it on the road to serve her community, but she knew she needed more structure around the idea. She was grateful that NLBM gave her everything she needed to bring her dream of serving families and business owners to fruition.
“I had been trained in trust and estates. But very basic, just like what’s a will, what’s a power of attorney? But I didn’t really know how to create a practice around it. I hadn’t been taught that.
I want to use that analogy like you give a man a fish, he eats for a day; you teach a man to fish, he eats for life. [NLBM is] that kind of thing. It’s the tools and resources with thorough explanations of how it applies to you, your practice, and your life. And for me, it was the framework, the bones, the skeleton of my estate planning practice.
It allowed me to actually take an idea and run with it. My idea was Wills on Wheels. My idea is mobile and virtual estate planning. How do I do that? NLBM literally handed me the framework and every single tool that I needed to make that work and take the thinking out of that portion of it.”
Although Sahmra is already a visionary, she appreciates how her coaches help her to see new possibilities she can’t always see for herself and how they provide a safe space for her to learn.
“The coaches that have worked for me have been helpful in allowing me to see other possibilities other than what I was streamlined in seeing. Also, the amount of patience and compassion, and understanding that has been expressed to me has made a safe space for me to learn.”
In addition to the training and the coaching, Sahmra has also found great benefit in the done-for-you marketing materials that are provided to her as a member lawyer.
“The marketing tools have been great for making sure that I stay consistent with the deliverables and the messages to clients.
The marketing tools that I’ve relied on the most have been the newsletter and the social media posts they have. I think, especially with the social media posts, it helps you stay in touch regularly with a consistent message being put out in an organized fashion.
The newsletters—that being done for you is a huge time saver—and becomes something that if you’re not using them, then that’s on you. So the amount of time that it’s saved has been tremendous.”
Unlocking Freedom and Fulfillment
Since joining PFL, Sahmra has transformed her practice from being 90% family law to being predominantly estate planning which she finds much more fulfilling.
“I was a family law practitioner who dabbled in estates. I am now a trusts and estates practitioner who also has some family law work as it relates to other things that I do. That’s huge.That’s a complete swap for me. What that means in terms of quality of life is that my quality of life has gone up exponentially.”
Not only did becoming a PFL help Sahmra transition to a more fulfilling practice area, but it also grew her income.
“I’ve doubled my revenue for just the estate planning portion of our work. We doubled our revenue in the first year. And we had our first $30,000 month in 2020 during the pandemic, actually.”
Sahmra was able to transform her practice and grow her revenue because our program empowered her with a high value service that she loves to deliver and feels confident charging for.
“[Before NLBM], I didn’t have the confidence to ask for what I was worth. I probably still could raise my rates more. There’s still room for growth. But I have doubled what I asked for— literally doubled what I asked for from clients.
And I feel confident doing that. I feel confident doing that because I have so much information to offer them. There’s no person that walks away from a meeting with me that doesn’t say, ‘Hey, thank you, this was useful information, this was helpful.’ And that feels so good to hear because I know that there’s value in what I have to offer.”
In addition to increasing her income and satisfaction with her work, becoming a PFL was the vehicle that supported Sahmra in starting a family in the way she envisioned.
“I built a life that allows me to be a mom, and I did it just in time. The timing all worked out. I didn’t know when NLBM came into the picture that it was going to unfold this way. I didn’t know it was going to be what allowed me to create that structure that allows me to be here with [my son] on a daily basis.”
By becoming a PFL, Sahmra was able to bring her entrepreneurial vision of a virtual practice to fruition and carry out her mission of serving business owners while being a mom. And her impact on her community continues to grow.
Are you ready to take action on your dreams by getting access to proven systems that help you to build a law business that allows you to love your work, generate more income and have more time with your family? Then we’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us below.
Personal Family LaWyer
“NLBM gave me structure and bones around [my virtual practice] idea. The process that we use and the forms that we use are from NLBM. And I really liked the resource in terms of being able to ask questions.”
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