To come out on top as a new firm, Max Antony knows that you must get creative, niche down, and never give up. He started with a shoestring budget and has grown over the past five years to a staff of four. Attorney at Antony Law Group, Max is living proof that even a solo attorney on a shoestring budget can punch above his weight and develop a thriving practice. He shares the most difficult parts of starting a new firm – and how to get through them. When his firm had no marketing budget, he found success by tapping into social media. And he explains how building a network can help your firm succeed.
- Slow and steady wins the race to success. Even if your first hire is a part-time high school student and your only marketing is on social, it is possible to grow. When the budget opens up, consider purchasing a client management software and ensure your website is in order.
- Google reviews boost your rankings. Seasoned and fresh firms alike need to tap into their existing client base and ask for reviews to help lead the pack.
- To get past your fears, tap into your network. Ask for help. Meet people who are currently where you want to go and ask for advice.
Maria Monroy, LawRank, Max Antony, Antony Law Group
Max Antony (00:00):
We get over 50% of our cases is from Facebook.
Maria Monroy (00:04):
Max Antony (00:05):
Maria Monroy (00:06):
I always say that it’s so difficult to do one thing right. Now you have to do two things right. You have to practice law if you’re a trialer and now you have to run a business.
Max Antony (00:14):
You know a smaller injury guy, a lot of people get dissuaded because you’re fighting Goliath and you’re smaller than David, but you just got to find your niche. And we found our little niche in rural Louisiana. My biggest regret is not marketing and telling people what I do sooner. If it fails, make a decision and go forward. But you’ll never know unless you try and go out on a limb.
Maria Monroy (00:41):
In law school attorneys are taught to challenge everything. Tear things apart, break them down, but the qualities that make great lawyers can be some of the worst for running a business. At every stage of growth, running a business and practicing law can feel overwhelming. And what happens when you try to add life and family to the mix? It can feel nearly impossible. You do not have to do this alone. I’m Maria Monroy, co-founder and president of LawRank, a leading SEO agency for ambitious law firms. Each week we hear from the industry leaders and what it really takes to run a law firm, from marketing to manifestation. Because success lies in the balance of life and law. We’re here to help you tip the scales.
Max Anthony may be new to the personal injury game, but he is living proof that even a solo attorney on a shoestring budget can punch above his weight and develop a thriving practice by getting creative, finishing down and never giving up. Today Max and I dig into the most difficult parts of starting a new firm and how to get through them, how to get clients with zero marketing budget by tapping into social media, and how to build a network that will help guide your firm to success.
Max Antony (02:08):
We’re a small firm that’s in West Central Louisiana and we are on, I like to say the climb. We’re just getting started. I’m the only attorney at our firm now. We have four support staff that runs our operation, but Maria it wasn’t easy, you know. Especially not having, walking into a law firm and kind of starting an injury firm in this environment from scratch has been very difficult. But I’m from Louisiana, I went to college in Monroe, Louisiana. I ended up going to Dallas, Texas for law school. I worked over there for a big insurance defense firm. Moved back to Louisiana where I’m from. I worked at a big, one of the biggest defense firms in Louisiana.
Maria Monroy (02:51):
Can you say?
Max Antony (02:52):
Yeah, it was Gold Weems law firm in Alexandria, north of I 10, they’re one of the largest firms. A lot of the big firms are down around Baton Rouge, New Orleans. But they’re in Alexandria and have a great firm there. I worked there for a few years. I clerked there in law school, that’s how I ended up back there. But I left there and I actually became an assistant district attorney in our small parish. When I came back in 2015, I went back to Gold Weems, worked there for two years. And so in 2017 I made the leap of no longer being a traditional work at a law firm attorney, and kind of morphed into an entrepreneur starting my own firm. So that’s when I joined the DA’s office and started Antony Law group, and that’s in 2017.
Maria Monroy (03:33):
So you guys have been open for five years now?
Max Antony (03:36):
Five years, yep.
Maria Monroy (03:37):
Max Antony (03:38):
Yeah, thank you.
Maria Monroy (03:38):
What made you decide to start your own firm?
Max Antony (03:41):
Well, in Louisiana it’s kind of an interesting dynamic because Louisiana, to my knowledge, is the only state that allows you to be a state employee as a prosecutor, but also have your private firm.
Maria Monroy (03:52):
Yeah, that’s crazy. When you said that, I was like, I think I heard that wrong. What’s wrong with me?
Max Antony (03:57):
No you know, so when I was practicing Texas, Texas prosecutors, you’re a full-time prosecutor. But Louisiana and especially in the rural parts where I’m from, to get quality lawyers to work for the state, they also allow you to have a private firm. Conflicts is a big issue we always have to deal with, but yeah, so about 50% of my time, I was a full-time prosecutor. And then all the other ADAs had their private practice. So I was like, well, I guess I need a private practice. And so in a matter of a couple weeks, started up a law firm and kind of bootstrapped it to where we’re at today.
Maria Monroy (04:26):
So that’s the norm?
Max Antony (04:27):
That is the norm, yes. And like I said, we’re not in Baton Rouge or New Orleans. We are West Central Louisiana.
Maria Monroy (04:32):
Max Antony (04:33):
Yet! We are moving, we’re get getting bigger, which is great. But yet that is the norm. We had five prosecutors and all of them had a private practice.
Maria Monroy (04:41):
And are the salaries lower typically just because they assume you’re going to go start your own private practice?
Max Antony (04:46):
Surprisingly, no. They’re pretty commensurate for as a full-time prosecutor, you know, you get a warrant from the state of Louisiana for a portion of your pay, then you’re also paid with state benefits through the police juries and the parishes. And I’m saying parishes in Louisiana, our counties are called parishes. So yeah, so it was actually a good, it was a great dynamic and a great dual job function. But this past May is when I left that, the state job, I was there for four years and now we focus a hundred percent on Antony Law group injury attorneys.
Maria Monroy (05:17):
That’s amazing. You said it was difficult starting a firm. What was the most difficult part about it?
Max Antony (05:23):
Well, one, it’s what they don’t teach you in law school. And that working at a larger firm with multiple attorneys, you get spoiled. When I worked at the Gold Weems law firm in Alexandria, I showed up to work, got to work on legal research, dock review, drafting stuff. I could be a lawyer all day from 8 AM till whenever it was time to clock out when I had my billable hours. But when you start your own firm, especially there’s just me initially, no employees, just me. I got to get a website. Oh okay, I got to get a business phone number, I got to find office space, I got to get my own insurance. We were, at the firm and traditional firms, you’re kind of babied.
Maria Monroy (06:04):
Well, you’re not running a law firm.
Max Antony (06:06):
No, you got a job, right.
Maria Monroy (06:08):
It’s a job and I always say that it’s so difficult to do one thing right. Now you have to do two things right. You have to practice law, if you’re a trialer, right? And now you have to run a business right. And now your time is split between these two things that are both, I would argue equally important. And well as you know I’m a business owner, it’s tough running a business. It’s very tough.
Max Antony (06:30):
Yeah, it’s so tough. And that was when I actually started December of 17. It was just me. But then when you start adding employees, and you start adding marketing, and you start adding all these pieces to the pie, it’s stuff that you don’t have any experience with. And then payroll tax, just different types of self employed
Maria Monroy (06:46):
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Max Antony (06:47):
Yeah, and in law school there wasn’t like, hey, here’s a class to, you need to know all this to start your own firm to hang your own shingle. You kind of figure it out as you go. And that’s scary. I did have the help of that state job, of being a prosecutor. I knew that I could pay my bills that month and feed my family.
Maria Monroy (07:04):
Yeah, that’s awesome. I mean I would say that that’s like having your cake and eating it too. And I’d never heard of that, that’s amazing.
Max Antony (07:11):
And I did it for four years and it was a blessing. State insurance, state retirement. I mean I had the best of both worlds.
Maria Monroy (07:16):
But you’re balancing two jobs?
Max Antony (07:18):
But one, unfortunately in that scenario, one part of my jobs had to diminish because I was so busy in both. As I became a felony prosecutor and got into more serious crimes that I was prosecuting, I took more time.
Maria Monroy (07:32):
What kind of crimes were you prosecuting?
Max Antony (07:34):
I did everything. I did all misdemeanors. I handled the juvenile delinquencies and child in need of care cases. And I got all the way up to kind of mid grade felonies. I never did any type of murder prosecutions, but I handled drugs, batteries, anything felony grade that wasn’t a capital offense.
Maria Monroy (07:57):
And do you like PI better?
Max Antony (07:57):
I do like PI-
Maria Monroy (07:58):
You like the money better?
Max Antony (07:59):
Well one we like the money. But two, and I tell everybody this, where we’re at now and yeah we’re growing and we’re still in that process of trying to get where we want to but, every morning I wake up I do not dread going to work. I enjoy what we do. I was lucky because as a prosecutor and a private injury attorney, we help people, they can’t help themselves. And so I did have to give one of those up, but I love both jobs. But what I’m doing now, I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Maria Monroy (08:25):
That’s awesome. No, and congrats. I think five years is a, that’s a milestone.
Max Antony (08:30):
And it gets tough. Now, we don’t deal with clients on that side. We deal with victims and we deal with the justice. And I’m a criminal justice major, undergrad, and I actually worked at a jail as a jailer before law school. And so the criminal side was kind of a natural fit for me. And then I got the taste of this injury practice and the impact and how you can help your clients when they need you the most. That just gives me such fulfillment.
Maria Monroy (08:56):
So what was the first step? What did you do first? You went, you incorporated and then what?
Max Antony (09:01):
Well we’re self employed, we had zero marketing budget. It’s like, well how do we get clients? Came back home to a small parish. In our city we have 9,000 people, think about that. 9,000 people in our city, in our parish we only have 42,000 people. And so it’s kind of a small area when you get to think about it. And so luckily both of, my family is from that area, my wife’s family is from that area. And so I had a good source of business of just people knowing me. And so it was capitalizing on that. Once we got incorporated, it was like, okay, how do we let everybody know what I’m doing now? Because before, I couldn’t help. I was representing businesses and insurance companies and not people in our communities. And so that was kind of the next step of figuring out how to do that.
Maria Monroy (09:44):
What did you do?
Max Antony (09:45):
Actually, I learned a lot from my Ali Awad who just spoke at the Brain Trust Legal Conference. But we leveraged social media to get out our message and to get out what my firm and what I do and what we practice.
Maria Monroy (09:57):
So you know what’s really funny? We did your website.
Max Antony (10:01):
Yes, you did, very well.
Maria Monroy (10:02):
And I’ve actually, and I’ve told you this before. I’ve gotten calls from people that saw you on social media, two calls. And I remember thinking, this guy’s in the middle of nowhere and I’ve gotten two people have said, “Hey, I saw you did this website, I liked what you did. Can we talk?” And I’m like, and I would ask them, “But isn’t he in the middle of nowhere? How are you finding him?” And they’re like, “Oh, he’s really big on Facebook.” And I remember, I think I messaged you and I was like, “What are you doing?”
Max Antony (10:32):
Yeah. And so that was kind of the missing piece. You know Maria, we did that with Law Rank this past December, 2021. I think we finalized it first part, first quarter of 2022. And it wasn’t until my firm was able to lock down that central piece, the website that y’all put together for us because that’s where a lot of our traffic goes. And we were using social media for awareness and not until we were able to use the website to direct the social media traffic to is when now we’re seeing, we’re just at a different point. We sit here, it’s the end of September, we just started this in January, and we capitalized on the social media attention and traffic, shot it to our Law Rank website, and it has repaid us. I mean the return has been insane.
And again, just as a frame of reference, we’re in West Central small Louisiana. And so it’s just even there, it has an impact, which is a more conservative, sparsely populated area. And so that’s when people reach out, I tell them the same thing. I was like, “Look, you need a website and you need social. And if it worked for me in West Central Louisiana, it’ll work for you wherever you’re at in whatever city you’re in.”
Maria Monroy (11:39):
That’s amazing. I’m so happy to hear. Now, what was your first hire?
Max Antony (11:48):
So my first hire, again, they don’t teach you how to hire in law school. There’s no classes on that.
Maria Monroy (11:50):
I know. It’s so interesting to me because I don’t know if you know this with my background, I worked at AT&T for a very long time and I feel like I had the best training possible because they teach you how to hire, how to fire, how to manage, how to do pricing, how to set goals, how to even keep inventory, which doesn’t apply to either of what we do, but it was the best training possible. And their processes are amazing. I feel like I learned more at AT&T than you guys learn in law school.
Max Antony (12:21):
Well and even in law school, they teach you nothing. Even when I got to different insurance defense firms, you don’t learn nothing there either because you have an office manager hiring and firing. If you have a problem, you don’t deal with your directly to that person that’s working there, you deal with HR. And so lawyers, unlike your experience with AT&T, we can’t even observe how other people handle employees. So with us, with my firm, it was trial and error. My first hire, just to tell you our budget constraints, our first hire was a part-time high school student that came in and started answering phone calls for us, doing Excel spreadsheets and different items. We have morphed from there, quite a bit. But that was our first hire if that’ll give you any perspective of where we started and where we’re at now.
Maria Monroy (13:08):
And what was the first software that you implemented or purchased?
Max Antony (13:12):
Well, as far as the first tool that was the most impactful, the website. I know that’s not necessarily software, but that was a larger purchase that we did made and invested in that has given us so much return. The second one is when we started, earlier this year when we launched the website, we had an active case list. Again, this is going to sound small, but about 30 injury files at one time. Some would settle, we would get new clients, but usually our current file capacity was about 30 and then now we’re at 125.
Maria Monroy (13:45):
Max Antony (13:47):
And so we’re talking nine months later. And so with each injury file, and injury lawyers would understand this, but there’s so much stuff to it. And if you’re just trying to do it with a Dropbox and some Excel sheets, you’re going to get lost pretty quick. So we invested in CASEpeer.
Maria Monroy (14:02):
Max Antony (14:02):
Which is, they have been fantastic. There’s so many features that you have to learn, but you know, you got to have something. We just thought, hey, while we’re growing we need to figure out what we’re going to use. And we tested some other things and there’s a lot of great companies out there. We just decided CASEpeer was the best fit for us. And especially in the injury practice, you have to have that software to keep everything straight.
Maria Monroy (14:24):
Absolutely. And CASEpeer is what we recommend for smaller firms
Max Antony (14:27):
Right, and that’s what it seemed to be the best fit for us.
Maria Monroy (14:30):
I agree. It’s an out of the box solution. It’s great. It’s not the only one that’s great. There are many that are great, but I’m glad that that’s what you went with.
Max Antony (14:37):
Yeah, and they have so much capabilities that we’re trying to put everything in one place, texting with clients, shooting off correspondence with them, keeping track of everything. So we’ve been really, really happy with it. Now as we grow, we’ll see what works for us. But we have definitely used CASEpeer, we use DocuSign because nowadays, especially when we get a lot of our Facebook leads, because that’s where we get over 50% of our cases is from Facebook.
Maria Monroy (14:59):
Max Antony (14:59):
Maria Monroy (15:01):
And are you only getting them out of your location or is it expanding out?
Max Antony (15:05):
And so just without having a budget, you got to figure out how you find your market. And so where we’re at, it’s an hour from the nearest big city. And so I focused all of my resources and budget to marketing to my little area. And so we really focus on one parish to start. And so we would hit that parish with, they’ll see our billboards, they’ll see us on Facebook, they’ll see our YouTube ads. Because there’s not a lot of competition in this rural area. And as we got clients, every quarter we try to expand. We just opened an office in the parish south of us to try to expand our circle and now we’re marketing to that circle. And so as we grow and our budget for marketing grows, that’s our game plan. So we pull out as many cases as we can from a specific small area and then just kind of expand. But yeah, it’s been all from west central Louisiana. We don’t market anywhere else. We’re north of Lake Charles, west of Alexandria and south of Shreveport.
Maria Monroy (16:02):
That’s crazy. And who records your social media and YouTube videos?
Max Antony (16:07):
There’s not a lot of, especially lawyers advertising on YouTube, and our YouTube campaigns get the most excited people who watch YouTube for TV now and they’ll see our ads and they’re so inexpensive.
Maria Monroy (16:18):
What do they cost? Do you know?
Max Antony (16:20):
And again, this is very, very small, but we can spend a hundred bucks in a week on a small YouTube and get such a great, great return. I know that sounds like not a lot of money.
Maria Monroy (16:29):
Max Antony (16:30):
But because there’s no one else where we’re at, we’re not in a market that’s saturated with a lot of lawyers. And so we try to take what we can from that area and pull out as many cases and now we’re pulling out, those cases are still good cases and there’s still cases with good value. And so we’re able to use that and increase our budget as we go and get a little bit bigger and kind of go into these different cities.
Maria Monroy (16:50):
And who records them?
Max Antony (16:51):
If you go on my Instagram page, it’s Max Out lawyer, all of those videos are shot with my cell phone. Shot with my cell phone. And we have a remote video editor that we send them to and they do all the edits, they do the captions, they do the status bar, they do all the graphics. They send them back to us and we keep a kind of depository and we decide what we’re going to do, when we’re going to post it. And that’s another thing with social, with all of our cases, I say not all of them, 50% if I had to break it down. 50% of our cases come from Facebook. 15, probably percent 15 to 20 come from our local pack that we show up on Google, and the rest are just different sources. But yeah, we definitely utilize social media a lot. Even-
Maria Monroy (17:32):
Dude, you’re like the perfect testimonial for Ali. Have you done a testimonial for him?
Max Antony (17:37):
I have not, I went to his summit last December and literally that was kind of what kickstarted, I know that I haven’t had a chance to see him today, but he kind of kickstarted the whole thing. And I’ve had some calls with him over the time, paid for his time because he knows and he’s been in the trenches and he knows how this stuff works. And everything that he preaches, sprinkled in with a little bit of what you and your company teach as well as other people. I’ve kind of morphed that all into one. And again, we’re really nine months into what we’re doing and it has been such a blessing. One to help that many people, but two, just to grow our firm.
Maria Monroy (18:07):
How many employees do you have now?
Max Antony (18:09):
We have four employees now. We have a paralegal, we have a receptionist slash intake person, and then we also have two nurse paralegals on staff. And so they handle all of our medical records, scheduling appointments, everything.
Maria Monroy (18:21):
Nurse paralegals? I’ve never heard of this, but is this a thing?
Max Antony (18:23):
Yeah well, I say nurse paralegals, they’re registered nurses and no longer are current nurses, like I said, they work for us and them having that background knowledge. Most people nowadays, especially for medical requests, they get third parties to get those medical requests and then other people to review them. We decided to bring it in house. One just because we tried those other companies and it’s just not, we could get them a little bit faster because again, everything I’m saying it’s got to be in this microcosmo, you got to know where we’re at. We know these providers, we know these hospitals, most of our clients go to we just have that relationship.
Maria Monroy (18:59):
But I’ve never heard of that. So is that, I understand they are no longer a practicing nurse, but I didn’t know that there were paralegals that had a medical background.
Max Antony (19:08):
Yeah well and like I said, we kind of call them that, they really are registered nurses who do our legal work now.
Maria Monroy (19:15):
But I’ve never heard of that. Do a lot of people use this?
Max Antony (19:18):
I’m not sure I’ve used them and I love them.
Maria Monroy (19:20):
I mean, yeah. That’s amazing.
Max Antony (19:22):
Well, because they can request the medical records, grab the medical records, summarize it, upload it to CASEpeer. So all I have to do is pull up a screen, I know what’s going on with everything.
Maria Monroy (19:31):
Yeah, that’s amazing. It’s like I really want lawyer hires for sales because they understand the industry. Right? So that makes perfect sense.
Max Antony (19:40):
And we also Maria, we also utilize them when we have a new client come in, we also have our registered nurses go through kind of a medical background, just like they would do an assessment on a patient. They get to know the client’s medical history to see if that comes in or not. And then also they keep track with them during their treatment. Because one thing that I think’s been successful, that’s helped my firm be successful is our client contact. Gordon [inaudible 00:20:05] was talking about it today, that client service is the utmost importance, and every two weeks our nurse paralegals are touching base with all of our clients just to check in, see how their treatment’s going, see if they need anything. And so we almost maybe contact our clients too much sometimes, but we’ve had some-
Maria Monroy (20:22):
Watch, you’re going to get a review. It’s like “They contacted me too much”, said no one ever about a law firm.
Max Antony (20:28):
Oh gosh, could we please talk about reviews?
Maria Monroy (20:29):
Yes, I would love to talk about reviews.
Max Antony (20:31):
Okay, so you did a podcast where you talked about if you could tell your clients anything, you want them to get reviews.
Maria Monroy (20:38):
Yes. I always hear like, oh well how can I help? I’m like get reviews, and then no reviews. Like yes, they are so important because, and when I say reviews, I am talking about your GMB or I think now it’s called Google Business Profile. Those reviews, because that impacts your local pack. So like you said, you’re getting 15% of your cases from the local pack. Well what is one factor that impacts the local pack? It is reviews. It’s not the only factor in most firms, because they’re not in rural or smaller markets, they’re not going to rank just with reviews. But in your case it’s definitely going to help.
Max Antony (21:14):
So I took that advice that you gave and again, you were on a podcast, you weren’t talking to me, you did subsequently had some conversations about that. But I took that to heart because when you were on that podcast and I listened to it, my law firm had zero reviews and we didn’t show up anywhere. And that was right before our website jumped off in January. And so now Antony Law Group has 125 reviews for our Leesville office and we have 77 reviews for our newly launched DeRidder, Louisiana office. And based off those reviews in our website, we rank in the local pack, the top three in both locations.
Maria Monroy (21:52):
Do you know for how, like what the radius is?
Max Antony (21:56):
I think it’s a mile radius. I’m not sure.
Maria Monroy (21:58):
I’ll look at it for you.
Max Antony (21:59):
I think it’s a mile. And we had that conversation because my firm again we’re smaller, not necessarily having the adequate budget to do SEO right. You know, you did give me some great advice about hey maybe look at a different office location that’s close by, and get on the local pack. And so we did just that. We opened the DeRidder office, we reached out to our clients that was coming through that office, we got those reviews and now we’re on the local pack and getting, between lunch and we just had having this podcast, we got two new leads from our DeRidder office from the local pack.
Maria Monroy (22:29):
That’s amazing. You are like the only person that takes my advice.
Max Antony (22:33):
Well it’s been so helpful. If it wasn’t panned out then maybe I would rethink where I’m getting it from. But everything that you’ve suggested, and again why I think that’s important, Maria, is because people like me who start, we’re not walking into a law firm that’s been established. We’re starting from scratch. Nobody’s telling young lawyers you know what to do or pro tips, because people in your own market, especially my small one, they’re not just offering you advice to how to compete with them and take their business.
Maria Monroy (23:01):
Max Antony (23:02):
And so there’s no one for people like myself. I’m not young by any means, but I’m young in the injury game. We do have to look out to outside resources, people like you, people like Ali, Darryl Isaacs that’s here, reach out even though they’re nationwide, reach out to them for tips on how to get started and how to grow.
Maria Monroy (23:20):
So these videos that you post on Facebook and YouTube, what are they about?
Max Antony (23:26):
So what I started doing and really copycatting Ali, what he suggested to do is do some informational type videos. And again, there’s only so many topics that you could talk about depending on how broad you want to get. But I focus on, again, my practice a hundred percent personal injury.
Maria Monroy (23:41):
But do you go outside of PI or you don’t?
Max Antony (23:42):
No, I do nothing except PI.
Maria Monroy (23:44):
Really? And that interests people? That’s always my thing. Because for instance, SEO’s very similar. You’re doing all this informational intent content and unfortunately in PI we have to step out of PI, because all that people really want to know when it comes to PI is do I have a case and how much is it worth?
Max Antony (24:00):
Maria Monroy (24:01):
Right? But guys like Ali or Law by Mike, they’re doing informational that’s outside of PI. And I think Law by Mike, I think he’s criminal. I think, I’m not-
Max Antony (24:12):
Yeah, his are pretty, very well produced and he gets a lot of traffic. And again, my goal is maybe a little bit different than Ali and maybe different than Mike because I’m not necessarily concerned, and it may sound funny, but about how many views my video gets on Instagram or Facebook. Because when I make those videos and I post them, where I am now I repurpose and I shoot those as ads to my geographic circle. So I’m using those one to try to become a source of information to the people where that I’m marketing that may not know that information, the way that we use those and repurpose them. I might not always get, it might not be most entertaining, even though I’m trying to morph more into some more entertaining stuff to grab people’s attention. It’s just not necessarily, I’m not going for the whole United States to try to get a ton of views. I just really repurpose that as much as I can into my geographic area that I’m currently marketing at now, that’s the season of the life that I’m in right now. I’m not a national brand. I’m not even a statewide brand yet, even though we’re trying to get to that.
Maria Monroy (25:12):
So are you boosting them?
Max Antony (25:13):
Maria Monroy (25:13):
Max Antony (25:14):
So we post them and the ones kind of like Ali references, the ones that get a little traffic. We boost those on, and I say boost, we’ve now since started running them as official ads. Cause there’s a difference between boosting a post versus creating an ad.
Maria Monroy (25:31):
I did not know that.
Max Antony (25:32):
On Facebook there is, I’m not so sure about Instagram, but on Facebook you can have different audiences and you get different analytics when you actually run an ad on Facebook as opposed to, hey I’m going to post something, and I’m going to hit that little button that says boost and go that way. You get more analytics.
Maria Monroy (25:46):
What about Instagram? Are you also running ads on Instagram?
Max Antony (25:48):
Yes, we do those. And the way that it’s set up, we run those ads, when we run them on Facebook, we also, they have a tab, hey you can run them on Instagram in the same geographic area. And we do that too. And YouTube’s kind of the same way, you can pick the zip codes where you want your ads to be seen. And again, where I’m marketing, there’s no really competition. So your money goes a long way on YouTube.
Maria Monroy (26:08):
I’m curious what the strategy would be like in a big market.
Max Antony (26:12):
Well I’m going to find out, because like I said, we’re trying to, that’s where we’re going. That is the goal. It’s a big goal, especially when you got so many other great injury lawyers that you’re up against. But we got to find, and that’s kind of the whole journey I think of a smaller injury guy. If you want to do injury, a lot of people get dissuaded because you’re fighting Goliath and you’re small, smaller than David.
But you just got to find your niche. And we found our little niche in rural Louisiana and as we grow and get a bigger budget from the cases we pull from that area. We’ll do what we need to do to get into other markets. So, because the only way, in my opinion, if you want to go to a Baton Rouge or New Orleans, you better have a lot of money if you want to compete. Especially when you’re trying to do the same thing everybody else is doing. We just tried to find something that’s a little bit different.
Maria Monroy (27:00):
What’s your biggest regret?
Max Antony (27:01):
My biggest regret is not marketing and telling people what I do sooner. Because really it hasn’t been to the last nine months that I’ve focused on marketing, traditional and online. But the biggest thing is just telling your friends and family what you do. Because a lot of people know that I’m a lawyer but they didn’t know that I do injury work. For the longest time in our area, people would be injured, they wouldn’t call a local lawyer, they would call who they saw on a billboard or a commercial. But I didn’t really start telling people that until within the last year. And I wish that when I started right on the gate in 2017, I would’ve made sure everybody that I knew or had a relationship with, they knew that I did injury work.
Maria Monroy (27:44):
And what made you wait?
Max Antony (27:47):
Just the kind of insecurity. We’re in a conservative area. I was worried about what people may think about me. Because for the longest time I was insurance defense, represented businesses or suits, and did that whole thing. And I was a little embarrassed to get kind of started. But at the end of the day, who’s been in the game a long time, that’s what they suggest and they’re still doing it. And honestly you don’t know if it’s going to work. That’s the scariest thing as a small firm is like look, you spend all your resources, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to work. If you believe it and you put everything you can into and work hard, if it works out, great, if it don’t, you know, you gave it your all. That’s all you can do.
Maria Monroy (28:26):
Did anybody care that you became a PI lawyer?
Max Antony (28:30):
Well no. It’s funny you say that. Nobody, no, zero person ever said anything to me about, oh I still get the, hey ambulance chaser jokes. But it’s all in good fun. It’s actually been rather supportive from everybody. A lot of people’s like, well I didn’t know we had anybody around here that did this. I thought we had to go an hour and a half to the next big city to get somebody to represent us in our car case. And that’s the thing that I find about rural. Whether you’re in rural Louisiana, rural Texas, rural anywhere. I think there’s kind of a niche there. And that’s kind of our slogan, is trust local.
That’s one of our marketing things that we do that you can get quality service on your car wreck case, but you can also walk in the door and talk to me directly about your case. And as you grow that gets a little more tricky. But as long as I can do that physically myself, meet with my clients, talk to them, that’s something we pride ourselves in. And I think people in rural areas, they have the same catastrophic injuries as anybody else in a big city. It’s just finding your market and going after it.
Maria Monroy (29:30):
Yeah, a car accident is a car accident.
Max Antony (29:31):
That’s it. And I’ll tell you another thing that’s unique for people. There are some others all over the United States, but Leesville where my main office is, we’re next to a military installation called Fort Polk. And any time it could house 20,000, 30,000 soldiers. And so in Shreveport, Louisiana, which is north of us, there’s another military base there. And so we also do a lot of military marketing for soldiers that live on or near base. We kind of incorporate that into our equation also when we’re doing our marketing.
Maria Monroy (30:03):
That’s awesome. It sounds like you really found what works and really in a market that I think most lawyers would say, there’s no way I’m going to be able to generate cases out here. Everybody’s always trying to go into the bigger markets. But you actually found a way to generate, you said you have 125 active cases?
Max Antony (30:21):
Active cases and again that’s, the way that cases are always settling and you’re always getting new cases. But we started off low and like I said now it’s 125 active docket and we grow, like I said, we’re just growing, which is kind of crazy. And another thing that I did, not only did I niche down, but I went all in, I changed my firm name.
Maria Monroy (30:39):
I remember, you emailed me!
Max Antony (30:40):
Yeah. I was like hey I want to change it, Antony Law Group injury attorneys. And we did that in a small town that dissuades anybody else that may have something else they may want you to do. Because attorneys in my area, they do everything; family, divorce, criminal defense, I mean they’re everything.
Maria Monroy (30:56):
That’s very, very common in rural areas. And that’s really the only markets that actually support it for SEO purposes. If we go into Miami or Houston and somebody does it all, it’s not going to work. Google is going to go with a specialized website.
Max Antony (31:11):
Somebody asked you the question, “Hey should you have that injury attorney or car wreck lawyer in your name?” And you’re like, well yeah. I mean if you have that opportunity then do it. And so I did it.
Maria Monroy (31:22):
Again, you’re the only person that takes my advice! Now, if there’s a lawyer that wants to start their own firm, can they contact you?
Max Antony (31:32):
Absolutely. I am an open book and again, I’m kind of taking what these other more mainstream lawyers, like I was telling you earlier, Gordon McKernan, I had a question on an NIL name, image and likeness collegiate partnership you can do with athletes now. So I reached out to Gordon on Instagram and said, “Hey man, I’m doing a bunch of these with some local superstars for NIL deals. I see that you’re doing them with LSU Tigers athletes. I got a couple questions”. He gave me a cell phone and then he called my cell phone. Gordon McKernan, right?
Maria Monroy (32:01):
Max Antony (32:02):
And same thing with Daryl Isaacs. I had a question about the conference, he shot me his cell phone number.
Maria Monroy (32:07):
But he gives that phone, he gave it to Chava earlier today who’s sitting right in front of us.
Max Antony (32:12):
Hey don’t make me feel not special, okay-
Maria Monroy (32:12):
Max Antony (32:12):
Because Daryl Isaacs gave me his number.
Maria Monroy (32:14):
I know and you are special. But Daryl knows that I give him a hard time that he gives it to everybody. Yeah, you’re not special either, Chava.
Max Antony (32:21):
Yah and that’s kind of the common theme. Same thing with Bob Simon, Simon Law Group, Mark Anajar, I’ve talked to him, I’ve referred him cases down in Florida we got. So anybody that has questions about nicheing down into less populated area, please reach out to me. On all handles, Max Out lawyer, I’m happy to get my cell phone out. Anybody that has questions. And again, I’m not there yet, we’re on the grind. But we’ve sacrificed everything to make this work and it’s paying off even in a short amount of time, and we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing. But I’d love to help anybody. I’m an open book when it comes to that.
Maria Monroy (32:55):
How did you get past your fear?
Max Antony (32:57):
The only way that I was able to get past that is coming to different conferences, talking with the people outside of my market about how they did it. And if I did not have that, I would’ve been, I think too scared to make the jump. Especially given my particular set of circumstances. But just seeing how these other lawyers invested and they have seen a return and providing that excellent client service that will produce benefits for you. If it wasn’t for other people in the industry, the outside of my market, giving me that advice showing how they did it, that I never would’ve done it. We’re not out of the weeds yet, but it’s worked out, it’s so far. But it is scary. And again, not only just opening your own firm, but opening your own firm in a small town, only doing one thing, that you got to have a bunch of money to get cases.
Maria Monroy (33:44):
And then marketing yourself, having to put yourself out there.
Max Antony (33:47):
Out there. And again, I am not just to do this podcast, to do my videos. I’m not a, I am an antisocial butterfly on it. I want to be in my cocoon. I don’t want to do anything. But you have to. And the more you do it, the better you get at it. That’s what I would tell anybody who’s kind of scared to pop out their iPhone, take some videos, edit them, put them all on social media. Just do it. Because it works and you’re just going to give you one leg up on other attorneys who are doing the same old things they’ve been doing forever.
Maria Monroy (34:15):
You know what’s crazy? We spoke regarding your website almost a year ago. And I know because I was actually in Cabo.
Max Antony (34:25):
Maria Monroy (34:25):
Yeah. And so that’s why I remember having that conversation with you and how far have you come in a year?
Max Antony (34:30):
It’s come a long way. Like I said, we’ve grown exponentially. We’re adding people, we’re already looking to hire someone else. Our new office space, we just remodeled, we’re already out of space. But I will tell people-
Maria Monroy (34:41):
Get another office, another office somewhere else.
Max Antony (34:43):
That’s it, that’s it. Well we’re already looking. I would tell anybody who’s kind of just getting started like myself, whether it’s in injury law or something else. There’s people that want to help. There’s companies that provide support services, that want to help that can give you some good advice. And I would just stress to those young lawyers, don’t be scared to reach out for help.
Maria Monroy (35:04):
Did you have a mentor?
Max Antony (35:05):
No personal mentor. The only mentors that I have is the people that I follow and now have a relationship from online. It’s a struggle in the legal industry, especially where you practice to get some helpful tips from the people that you practice against, and you’re competing with. But like I said, I just feel blessed to be able to get out of my cocoon and reach out to people. Like Law Rank, like yourself, but also the other support services and other lawyers on the national stage. Because I have not found one person in that arena that’s not willing to lend a kind word, encouragement and say, “Hey, this is what I did. And this worked, this didn’t work”. But they’re willing to be an open book for young people like me.
Maria Monroy (35:47):
It’s crazy how much social media has changed our lives. And I know we can say so many bad things.
Max Antony (35:55):
Oh of course.
Maria Monroy (35:56):
About social media. But this is a theme that comes up a lot. People will say to me, I was really scared to reach out to Pop Simon, but I did and he was so helpful.
Max Antony (36:07):
Maria Monroy (36:08):
And were you scared to reach out?
Max Antony (36:11):
Oh absolutely. Before I sent that message to Gordon, I was like, I’m a nobody. He’s Gordon McKernan. And the same thing when I reached out to Bob. I was like, this guy has hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, this world class lawyer. Five minutes he shot me a cell. Just super nice guy.
But you know that this whole theme is just getting over your fear and just doing it. If it fails, make a decision and go forward. But you’ll never know unless you try and go out on a limb. And that’s hard for somebody, especially like me getting started, you know, you got a family, I have a wife and two beautiful girls, Stella and Lila, my wife’s Megan. But it’s hard when you’re, people are counting on you to pay the bills and whenever you’re trying to do something, sometimes it’s tough. So.
Maria Monroy (36:55):
How did you stay positive?
Max Antony (36:57):
I’m going to the Crisp conference. But it’s just stuff like those along the way kind of help keep you going. They give you some motivation. Because this is kind of the highlights, because every day when your office grinding and you’re trying to make payroll, you’re trying to fund cases. When you’re getting massive amounts in, but that other ones haven’t paid out yet. You know, you got to come up with some creative financing, it’s stressful. It’s such a grind to do a good job for your clients, to run a small business. And if you don’t have something that keeps pulling you along, it gets hard, okay? So anyway, I found some comfort and encouragement just from one, these conferences, but two, just having regular correspondence with people in the industry so it helps.
Maria Monroy (37:40):
So you heard that? Network, go to conferences, or even just network digitally. I know a lot of people that never go to conferences, but they have an online community. And social media doesn’t have to be this negative thing. Right?
Max Antony (37:56):
I think it gets painted in a bad picture. And again, there’s parts of that I don’t, social media that I don’t care for. But one, it’s changed my life, it’s changed my business. And it’s developed a lot of great relationships along the way.
Maria Monroy (38:08):
Start where you are. If you have the blue ocean, like a rural market, jump in and keep swimming. Max’s first hire was the high school student, and his marketing was nearly free. By sticking to it and slowly growing, he now has a staff of four and handles over a hundred cases. When you do have the budget, invest in a website and a case management software. Good reviews on Google will help set you apart, and boost your local ranking. Ask for help from those around you and give us as much as you get.
Thank you so much to Max Antony for everything he shared today. If you found this story valuable, please share it with someone you want to see succeed. Subscribe so you never miss an episode. And you know what I’m going to say next. Please leave a five star review. It goes a long way to help others discover the show. Catch us next week on Tip The Scales with me, Maria Monroy, President of Law Rank. Hear how the best in the business broke out of limiting beliefs, overcame adversity, and built a thriving purpose driven business in the process.