LMME 024 : Luke Ciciliano, Lawyer turned Consultant

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Luke CicilianoOur guest on the podcast today is Luke Ciciliano.  Luke is a former divorce lawyer turned SEO consultant for lawyers.  Today we go behind the scenes to discuss Luke’s journey from working at a defense firm, to starting his own law firm, to leaving the practice of law entirely to start a consulting practice.  There were a lot of bumps and ah-ha moments along the way, and we will touch on all of them. Enjoy!

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Items Mentioned in the Podcast

Inspirational Quote

“Fate doesn’t choose when it calls us.” – unknown science fiction movie

There is never a perfect time to do something. But opportunities may come up and you have to grab them.

How Luke got started with his solo practice

Luke started off with a referral for a personal injury case.  It took him all of 10 seconds to make the decision to leave his firm and venture off on his own.  Early on, he began volunteering his time with a self-help center at the local family court in Las Vegas. This is how he started doing family law.

Luke started blogging about divorce and family law issues right away. Since he then began getting more family law cases, he built a law practice focused in that area.

Why did Luke shut it all down?

Luke started his practice in 2006. By January 2010 he was up to 3 associates and his work-life balance was suffering. Family law is a draining practice area, his daughter was graduating high school, his parents were getting older (and sick), and he wanted more time to himself and to spend with his family. He began to wind down initially just to take some time off.  But as he was winding down, he began getting calls from other attorneys he knew who asked him to help him with some business consulting work revolving around marketing and the internet.

Biggest Failure

Luke had been a competitive athlete most of his life, and was in great shape after graduating from law school.  But by 2009 he was up to 314 pounds. At one point he suffered a public embarrassment while in the courtroom when he reached down to grab a file and his jacket ripped down his back.  His corresponding inability to keep a work-life balance contributed to his decision to leave the practice of law.

What Luke is working on now – SEO-for-Lawyers.com

While maintaining an office in Las Vegas, Luke now has SEO clients throughout the country.  Luke has found this work to be truly inspirational as it is at the heart of everything that he enjoys about business.  Luke greatly enjoys the entrepreneurial side of growing a business, and through SEO for Lawyers, Luke gets to help lawyers with the business side of running a law firm.

How Luke helps other lawyers

Luke’s initial process is to help lawyers get a website up and running, which typically takes about 45 days. He also provides coaching on social media and content creation for lawyers. After a website goes live, Luke will then do monthly calls with his clients to keep them on track with their blogging efforts and social media.

Luke’s book – “Modern Marketing for Today’s Attorney”

Just several months ago, Luke published an e-book entitled Modern Marketing for Today’s Attorney.  This book covers everything from the entrepreneurial mindset to SEO basics to blogging and creating an online strategy, etc.  This is an extremely valuable resource for any lawyer in need of marketing help.

Luke sees the practice of law today as fundamentally changed from past years.  This is an era of tremendous opportunity for lawyers that have embraced the online world. Unfortunately, Luke sees many lawyers that have a mindset of “I’m a lawyer, not a businessperson.”  He thinks that this will really hurt them in the long run.

What was holding Luke back from starting a business?

Nothing. He is an entrepreneur at heart.  He just needed the right opportunity and when it came around, he seized it.

What is the best business advice he has ever received?

Invest in the business. Don’t spend money.  Luke doesn’t recommend using pay-per-click ads (although we didn’t delve too much into this topic, I clearly disagree with Luke on this issue as this past podcast episode clearly shows).

Habit that contributes to his personal success

Luke is a fitness junky and gets a ton of work done while on a run. Some of Luke’s best business ideas come to him on a jog.  Not surprisingly, I hear this from lots of successful lawyer entrepreneurs.

What resource does Luke recommend to lawyers for use in the law practice

Luke had two recommendations.  The first is to use Craigslist to post periodic advertisements in the services wanted section for free. Luke’s second recommendation was to use a service called SpiderOak for encrypted online file storage.  Luke would like to see more lawyers utilize the cloud to store documents and manage their technology.

Book recommendations

Recommends that attorneys read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson.

If you were to start over with only $500, a laptop and a law license, what would you do?

Start blogging immediately with a free service (blogger, tumblr, etc.), get an ad up on CraigsList and start volunteering time at a local self-help legal services center.

Final words of wisdom?

The practice of law has changed. You must recognize the change and take advantage of it.

You can find Luke Ciciliano at SEO-for-lawyers.com or toll-free at (800) 445-8302.

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  1. Guy DiMartino says

    I started listening to the interview and a couple of times I wanted to shut it off because Luke’s answers sort of rubbed me the wrong way. Like I didn’t give going into private practice much thought but I’m glad that I hung in because I appreciated the craigslist idea. Feeling out of balance with Luke, I decided to buy his e-book. It cost $10 bucks. I downloaded it and read it in 1 1/2 hours. Maybe I received one nugget. The book appears to be a compilation of posts from his blog.

    • jameshartlaw says

      Hi Guy – Thank you for your honest and candid feedback. I certainly appreciate it. As I mentioned in the podcast, I’ve got some great guests lined up in the coming weeks – I’ve already done the interviews and they were fantastic.

      I’m sorry you didn’t resonate with Luke. I’m confused – did you like the Craigslist idea or not like the Craigslist idea?

      Regardless, this Thursday’s podcast will be with Greg Siskind. If you don’t know Greg, he is an immigration lawyer in Memphis and was the FIRST lawyer blogger. Lot’s of great info there – I hope you will enjoy it.

      Thanks again for the feedback.


      • Guy DiMartino says

        The point of my comment was that I was glad that I did not turn off the podcast because of the craigslist info. I posted my first craigslist ads last night.

        • jameshartlaw says

          Well I’m glad you didn’t turn it off either! Let me know how those work. I thought it was an interesting idea.

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