LMME 042 : Gordon Firemark, Entertainment Lawyer and Podcaster

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Gordon FiremarkIn today’s podcast, I have the pleasure of interviewing Gordon Firemark,  an attorney who limits his practice to the representation of creative and business people in the fields of theater, film, television and new media.  As an “entertainment lawyer”, Gordon is also the producer and host of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast, and the author of The Podcast, Blog and New Media Producer’s Legal Survival Guide.
This was a fantastic interview, and we discussed everything from time management to how Gordon started his law firm from his parent’s kitchen table 22 years ago, to why he would never go back to a firm now.

Right click here to download the mp3

Items Mentioned in the Podcast

If you’re interested in taking a look at podcasting for your practice, Gordon has put together a FREE Law Podcaster’s Resource Guide

Inspirational Quote

“Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

What is Gordon’s single target market?

Gordon holds himself out as an “entertainment lawyer”.  This means that he helps artists and other creatives to “bridge the gap” between art and commerce.  In his words, Gordon helps creative people to “realize their dreams” without getting screwed in the process.

Journey from Law School to starting a law practice…

Although he doesn’t recall exactly when it happened, Gordon  left a position as a boutique law firm during the recession in the early 90’s.  He began working from his parent’s kitchen table and slowly the phone began to ring.  He never consciously decided to become a solo lawyer, (he never had a burning desire to do it that way), it just sort of “happened” to him.

He freely acknowledges that he never intended to start his own law practice, and he had little if any business experience before he started it, but he has now successfully been on his own for 22 years.

How does Gordon balance all of his projects?

Gordon has learned to say “NO” to things that do not directly advance his goals and priorities.  He does acknowledge that this is always a challenge.

He has used a program called Dropkick (and still does to manage his voicemail), but recently switched to Omnifocus (a Mac-based task management program).

The big takeaway here is that there is not single system that works the best for everyone.  You have to pick a system that works for you and stick with it.

One failure that Gordon has experienced as a solo…

For many years, Gordon felt that simply the idea that he was a solo was a “failure”.  He thought being a successful lawyer meant having a job at a firm with a steady paycheck.  This changed for him when he realized that his practice was very conducive to a “freedom lifestyle”, so that he can work and live on his terms and with the clients that he enjoys working with.

Working from Home – How Gordon makes it work

If you decide to work from home as a lawyer, it is vitally important that you have a “business address” for your dealings with the public.  Whether you are able to piggy-back off the space of another lawyer, or you rent “virtual space” on an hourly, daily, or monthly basis – you must have a physical address that is separate and distinct from your home address.

For a few hundred dollars a month, Gordon is able to have a prestigious address in a prestigious neighborhood where he can meet with clients in a professional-looking space, receive his mail, and they answer and forward his phones.

If he needs to go someplace “quiet”, he will head to the local public library to get some dedicated work done without worry that he will be interrupted by kids, pets, etc.  He also has a paperless office, which eliminates the need to store lots of bulky client files.

He also works with a virtual assistant in the Philippines who helps him with marketing tasks, as well as some “volunteer” law students with his podcasts and some other case-related tasks.

What does Gordon enjoy most about having his own firm?

Freedom, independence, being able to be home with his kids every night for dinner.  Not having to take crap from people unless he has decided that he wants to take crap from them… None of these perks are available with a firm job.

Final Five

What was holding you back from starting your own law firm?

Fear of failure.

What is the best business advice you have ever received?

Put your family first and own your expertise.

What is a habit you have that contributes to your success?

Meditating and a daily expression of gratitude.  Gordon keeps a gratitude journal that he posts online.

What one or two internet tools do you use in your law practice that you would recommend?

Gordon uses Clio for his practice management and billing.  He also uses Bufferapp to schedule his messages via social media (I highly recommend and use this tool as well).

What book would you recommend to someone starting a law firm?

The first book is Jay Foonberg’s “How to Start and Build a Law Practice“.  The second book is “Launch” by Jeff Walker.

What would you do if you had to start your law practice over from scratch?

He would identify his ideal client and figure out what their “problems” are.  He would develop an “ethical bribe” and start to build his email list.  Then he would start a blog, podcast, etc. and start to develop lots of fantastic content that can help solve the problems of his ideal client.

Where to find Gordon for more information?

You can find Gordon on his main law firm website, or on twitter @gfiremark.  In addition, Gordon is working on a course to teach other lawyers how to podcast, and you can find more info on that here.

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