April 7th, 2009

jay-shepherdJay Shepherd

Employment Litigator

CEO of Shepherd Law Group

Author of Gruntled Employees and The Client Revolution

Father, husband, and diehard Red Sox fan.

Today, we’re tweeting with @jayshep, a nationally recognized employment lawyer and founder of a firm that does not bill by the hour

  1. @Jayshep, thank you for joining us today at 22 Tweets. Who is the person behind @Jayshep?
    In order: father, husband, brother, son, entrepreneur, fixed-fee evangelist, lawyer, writer, Red Sox fan.
  2. Sox get last billing, eh? It’s early…. Tell us about your law practice.
    Shepherd Law Group in Boston. Protects employers from other lawyers. Lowers workplace costs. 11 years, 4 lawyers, more fun.
  3. What type of employers do you represent?
    Fortune 1000 to tiny startups. Our clients care more about the value they receive than about an office in Prague.
  4. What is the most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    Disgruntled employees sue. Employers need to care more about having gruntled employees, and less about policies & rules.
  5. Interesting perspective. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    We don’t charge you for our time or work. We try to solve a problem, and we charge for the value that service has for you.
  6. What was the most significant client representation you’ve had?
    We’ve helped many billion-dollar-plus co’s. But most significant? The 6 startups we kept from being shut down.
  7. Can you tell us about one of the start-ups you saved?
    Competitor was trying to use noncompete injunction to kill my client. Beat them in court. Still in business years later.
  8. That’s a great story. Why do your clients hire you?
    We don’t seem lawyerly. We come across more businesspersonly. Plain English, business-focused answers, no billable hours.
  9. How is the economic crisis affecting your clients?
    More people losing jobs = more ill will = more people suing = higher workplace costs = vicious circle.
  10. How are you and your firm responding to financial difficulties your clients may be experiencing?
    Litigation problems mean uncertainty. Not telling clients how much it will cost would mean more uncertainty. We tell them.
  11. I’m sure they appreciate that. How do you market your practice?
    Twitterviews, naturally! Blogging, writing, speaking, meeting people, bar associations, CLEs. Being of value, or trying to.
  12. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    Seemingly every waking moment. Easily a solid 3 to 6 hours each day, 7 days, 364 a year (except Opening Day — d’oh!)
  13. What value have you seen from being on Twitter?
    Big increase in traffic to my blogs. I’ve met many top legal innovators (http://sn.im/f212i) in 3 short months.
  14. You have 2 blogs, Client Revolution (http://bit.ly/sNtwD) & Gruntled Employees (http://bit.ly/95kd) Who should read them?
    Client Revolution (http://bit.ly/sNtwD) is for law-firm clients (and their lawyers) who think old model is broken …
    … Gruntled Employees (http://bit.ly/95kd) is for employers, managers, HR, and in-house counsel wanting fewer lawsuits.
  15. Has blogging made you a better lawyer?
    It has. Over the past 30 months, I’ve better formulated my philosophy and strategies into something clear and consistent.
  16. Have your Web 2.0 activities had an impact on referrals or client engagements?
    Increasingly, as I improve at them. The 2.0 stuff is giving me credibility and notoriety, getting attention of prospects.
  17. Switching gears: what is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    Hourly billing, overpaid associates, legalese are killing it. BigLaw is like GM, newspapers, record co’s. Change is coming.
  18. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    One-stop firms down. Business-oriented niche firms charging for value of bespoke services up. The Long Tail of law.
  19. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I’d create and run another business. I’d write and speak more. I’d work to change another troubled industry.
  20. How do you want to be remembered?
    “He took a risk, stood up for something, challenged authority, and made a difference. But he was still a nice guy.”
  21. What do you do when you’re not working?
    My most important job: father to the loveliest, sweetest 2 little girls. Also, watch the Sox. And try to figure out “Lost.”
  22. Can anyone figure out “Lost”? What do two employment lawyers talk about over dinner?
    People think my employment-lawyer wife and I talk about employment law. As if. We mostly talk about the kids. (And “Lost.”)
  23. Our final question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Two words: informational interviews. Meet many people. Don’t send blind résumés. Sell your differentness. And don’t panic!

[Ed. note: like @lawyerben, @jayshep got an extra question due to editorial oversight….]

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