When Mike Agruss started his firm in 2012, it was just him in a basement apartment. Like most firms, his growth was slow and steady. The tipping point was when Mike decided to learn everything he could about the business side of law and integrate it into his practice. That decision changed everything. Mike’s Chicago-based Arguss Law Firm has expanded substantially and today employs 5 attorneys and 10 staff. Most of this evolution has taken place over the past four years. Today, Mike reveals how he moves one strategic goal at a time. He shares his experience implementing data-rich client management systems, ramping up marketing, and perfecting customer service.

Key takeaways

  • Make data-driven decisions. When implemented correctly, client management systems can reveal how best to spend resources. 
  • Seek help. A vision is only as good as the execution and integrators can help you bring ideas to life.
  • Take down the walls. Learn from others. Offer guidance in return. Find the right mentoring groups, conferences, or masterminds to exchange ideas and accelerate the firm.


Mike Arguss (00:03):

People are willing to share information, what works, what doesn’t work. There’s a concrete takeaway that I can get where it’s like, “Hey, that’s a really good idea. I can roll this out.”

Maria Monroy (00:13):

People think you go to conferences to sit in and learn or to party, and I feel like people just think it’s like it’s going to fall under one of these buckets. I’m like, “No, it’s all about the networking.”


I think people are willing to help each other out, to mentor, to share ideas, to talk about what’s working, what’s not working, and to share even their mistakes so that they’re not made again.

Mike Arguss (00:34):

I never thought of anyone owning a part of the business and he said, “If she left today, what would that look like for you?” It’s just, it’s super smart and it really got me thinking, and it pushed me outside my comfort zone.

Maria Monroy (00:45):

Having two brains, it creates an invisible third brain because you’re balancing ideas off each other. Now you guys came to an understanding that independently neither of you would’ve gotten there. In law school, attorneys are taught to challenge everything, tear things apart, break them down, but the qualities that make lawyers great, can be some of the worst for running a business. At every stage of growth, running a business and practicing law can feel overwhelming.


What happens when you try to add life and family to the mix, it can feel nearly impossible. You don’t 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 industry leaders on 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.


On this show, we’ve heard stories of firms with hypergrowth in year one or the success of massive legacy firms. Today’s guest is a bit different. Mike Arguss has practiced law for 19 years, and recently celebrated his 11th year as a firm owner. His Chicago-based practice has several lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, and an intake team. Putting service first has earned them over 1,000 outstanding client reviews, over 450 five-star reviews on Google, and an A+ BBB rating.


In 2012, he ran his solo practice out of an apartment basement. His growth was slow and steady for the first six years, and then his firm took off. What changed? How did he get to the multi-office firm we see today? By reinvesting resources into the firm, developing systems and processes, hiring the right support and learning as much as he can, everywhere he can. Mike did it, you can too. He explains how.

Mike Arguss (03:04):

When I started my firm in March of 2012, it was just me. I was working out of my basement apartment. I had a Regis address in downtown Chicago, and for the first year and a half it was just me. I’ve slowly hired people over the years, and I’d say in the last four or five years, we’ve had a lot of growth and have hired a lot of people since.


Over the years, I now have, if you include myself, even though I don’t really handle cases daily, there are five attorneys at my office and another 10 people on support staff. Then I have a bunch of contractors that I work with as well.

Maria Monroy (03:48):

What do you attribute that growth in the past five years to?

Mike Arguss (03:52):

I’ve had some money to invest back in the firm, so I primarily was focusing on consumer rights cases in the beginning. As that was bringing money in, I then started pushing the personal injury practice. Then the last three to five years, we’ve been hired and have settled a lot of cases, which has brought in money.


What I’ve tried to do is just reinvest all of that money into the firm, both on systems and processes, as well as by expanding our team, which includes lawyers, paralegals, support staff, and the like.

Maria Monroy (04:25):

What systems and processes have you implemented?

Mike Arguss (04:27):

Sure. In 2021 we rolled out Litify, which was wildly painful. We’ve had it for a year and a half right now, and my IT admin, who is now Salesforce certified and manages all of our Litify at the office. He told me now that Litify will no longer take on smaller clients because of the issues that people were having. Long story short, it was expensive and it was painful. I got lucky because my IT admin was with me since day one.


When we rolled out Litify, he shadowed the process and asked if he could do it. He didn’t charge me, but he learned the system and he learned Salesforce, and then he decided to become Salesforce certified. Now, he’s our Litify admin. He probably spends 10 or 20 hours a week customizing Litify, rolling out new vendors, rolling out new integrations like Birdeye, DocuSign.


We’re in the process right now of rolling out records on time as well as case status, so I absolutely love Litify now, but I totally understand the pain points and what people have gone through.

Maria Monroy (05:31):

I think that this is the case with a lot of case management software. Obviously, we’re not a law firm so it’s a little bit different, but I hear this from clients in regards to Filevine as well. The implementation process is so long, but it sounds like you’re really making the best of it.


You’re really integrating it with everything humanly possible, which is the really cool thing about Salesforce. With Salesforce, you can the sky’s the limit and you have a person in-house that’s doing it all for you, right?

Mike Arguss (06:01):

Josh became Salesforce certified and he has other clients, but he’s in-house and he does work for me on Litify, and is constantly tweaking it, customizing it. For example, right now we’re working on records on time as well as case status and he’s doing all of the integrations. He’s part of the onboarding, he’s part of training people at the office, so I absolutely love it right now.


2021 was a pretty painful year and it was wildly expensive. There were people at the office who were questioning whether or not this was really going to work. Last year we spent time fine-tuning it, and now I really enjoy it, minus when I get the quarterly licensing bills from Litify.

Maria Monroy (06:42):

Why didn’t you give up? What was it that kept you going?

Mike Arguss (06:46):

I was so invested, and then I have a lot of friends who are in business who use Salesforce as well, and they all told me that it’s just next level. They agreed it’s really expensive, but they said stick it out because it’s really worth it. Look, in 2021 between licensing, what I paid Litify’s team to roll it out and what I paid Josh, I was like $100,000 invested in it, and so I really had to stick with it.


What we had before was really disjointed between new clients coming in, case management software, nothing spoke to each other. Everything was server-based, nothing was web-based, and so I forced myself to stick with it. I love technology, I love website systems, leads coming in, mapping and all of that, and I had thought about it and researched it for years. I just realized that I needed to bite the bullet, but if it wasn’t for Josh, I would’ve scrapped it.

Maria Monroy (07:39):

It’s a such a common theme in business in general, you have to have the right people. This is the perfect scenario where if you hadn’t had the right person to help you figure out how to implement this.


You probably would’ve been really frustrated and just said, “You know what? Forget it.” Just written it off as a loss, but it sounds like it was totally worth it at this point.

Mike Arguss (08:02):

Yeah. As we sit here now, it’s incredible. I absolutely love it. From intake to settlement check, I have one system, it’s on AWS’s servers. Everything is cloud-based and whether you’re on your phone, whether you’re on your desktop, a laptop, you can access it. It’s totally transparent. What I’ve been focusing on now, so 2021 was getting it up and running, 2022 was fine-tuning it. Now what we’re starting to do in 2023, is use Litify to produce data so now we can make data-driven decisions.


It’s really, really cool to start seeing these reports that my IT admin, Josh, is doing where we can start seeing where cases are coming from, how much we’re paying in leads, how much we’re getting in settlements, what makes sense on where to put money and where not to put money. Then also just internally, seeing what our teams are doing, what our lawyers are doing, how much time they’re spending on things. Trying to learn strengths from certain teams, to teach other teams how to do things as quickly or getting larger settlements and stuff like that.


The data from it is absolutely incredible and it’s just, it’s endless. Whatever you can think of that you want from Litify, you program it and it spits out information for you.

Maria Monroy (09:16):

Are you automating it so every week you’re getting the reports or every month, or do you have to manually go in there and do it?

Mike Arguss (09:23):

Josh programs it and then I get automatic reports on it. It’s incredible. Here’s a perfect example of something we started doing at our office, which I love, is I get weekly reports on all of our personal injury cases and the statute of limitations. I get a report of all cases that where the statute of limitations are coming up in six months, 90 days, one month, one week. Just by getting those reports and being able to reach out to the lawyers and say, “Hey, we have a statute of limitations in this case coming up on six months.”


“If we’re not going to settle pre-suit, let’s just get it filed now, or what can we do with these cases?” In a matter of a couple of months, the cases that are on these lists that I’m getting reports on are decreasing. Meaning we’re either settling cases or filing suit, or doing things before the reports remind us of the statute of limitations. Something just like that, it’s absolutely incredible.

Maria Monroy (10:14):

You guys have also implemented Fireproof so EOS. Are you running on EOS or are you in the process of implementing that?

Mike Arguss (10:22):

We signed up for Fireproof at the end of 2022. I read the book, loved it, met Mike Morse and then signed up for the actual coaching, which has been great. I totally love it. Right now, we are working on the weekly classes we go to.


Then we’re working on the online platform where you go through a 14-week program of taking classes, online classes, taking tests and implementing systems. We were talking this morning and you had mentioned the training program with training videos.

Maria Monroy (10:52):

Yeah, Trainual. Trainual is amazing. You never have to train someone again. You just put it all in Trainual. You get a new hire, they go through, it’s very corporate. My background is I worked for AT&T for a really long time, that’s as corporate as it gets, right? You learn how many processes are being rolled down, all the way from the top to the very bottom of the org chart.


This is something that anybody can use to implement a very similar system to what these big corporations have, where you can do a video, all this information and then a test or a task. Then there has to be a percentage for them to pass the test. I get the notifications of failed 80%, I make it 100. I’m like brutal. I’m like, “You got to know this 100% or you’re not passing.” But once, I messed an answer up, I put the wrong answer.


Then I had someone be like, “Hey, I’m pretty sure that there’s something wrong. I know I’m getting the answers right.” It was totally my fault, but it’s amazing.

Mike Arguss (12:02):

I took your suggestion, I went on the website, I looked at it and I thought it was awesome. What’s great about Fireproof, is I’m part of this LISTSERV where we can email and bounce ideas off of each other. All of the Fireproof community, we send out emails and people share information.


I’ve met some awesome lawyers, and I shared what you provided about this platform and just said, “Hey, I just learned about this platform, I checked it out, it looks awesome.” Right now, we’re doing everything on Google Drive and we’ll do a Zoom video.

Maria Monroy (12:31):

Where’s my shout-out? I want a shout-out. I want you to tell everyone, “Learned this from Maria Monroy at LawRank.” I want to check with Jen because Jen is in Fireproof. I’m going to find out if you gave me a shout-out or not.

Mike Arguss (12:41):

I didn’t. Should I reply back and say that?

Maria Monroy (12:46):

1000%. Be like, “Maria’s really mad at me.” No, I’m kidding.

Mike Arguss (12:48):

Fair enough, fair enough. I love that where we can bounce ideas off of each other. For example, another thing I learned through the Fireproof community is using WizeHire to hire people.

Maria Monroy (13:00):

From Jen or no?

Mike Arguss (13:00):

From Jen. I heard her say it during a presentation or I was listening to your podcast. I reached out to her like I reached out to you, asking about it where you had mentioned a platform. It’s interesting, a tidbit of information where I used to do all this stuff as a young lawyer in Chicago and Illinois when I got licensed, being part of Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar, trial lawyers, all that stuff.


What’s so interesting is Illinois, in particular Chicago in the personal injury community, it’s very guarded and old school, and the old boys club. There were never takeaways from all these seminars I used to go to. Something that I’ve recently learned, and I’m so glad that I went to some of these last year, is I feel like part of this community, which is unlike how it is in Chicago, people are willing to share information, what works, what doesn’t work.


Every time I talk to someone I meet, there’s a concrete takeaway that I can get where it’s like, “Hey, that’s a really good idea. I can roll this out.”

Maria Monroy (13:57):

People think you go to conferences to sit in and learn or to party, and I feel like people just think it’s like it’s going to fall under one of these buckets. I’m like, “No, it’s all about the networking and what you’re going to get from this networking, because it is a community that is actually pretty open.”


I know not everyone is, but for the most part, I think people are willing to help each other out, to mentor, to share ideas, to talk about what’s working, what’s not working, and to share even their mistakes so that they’re not made again. I’m a big fan of conferences. I think they’re amazing.

Mike Arguss (14:34):

I 100% agree. What I ended up doing last year in the beginning of the year, is we settled a pretty big personal injury case and I said, “You know what? I want to book these conferences out in the fall and just book them, and pay for them and force myself to go.” I hadn’t been to conferences in years, and my business partner and I went to both Daryl Isaac’s Brain Trust in Vegas. Then we followed it up six weeks later with the Business of Law in Scottsdale.


I’ve got young kids and I remember telling my wife like, “Hey, I want to go to these conferences. Is it cool? Can you hold down the fort?” Of course, it was like, “Yeah.” Then the time comes up. I remember talking to her at the end of each day just being like, “I’m exhausted. I’m going to eat and go to bed.” She’s just like, “Well, what did you guys do all day?” I’m like, “It’s literally just learning a ton, talking to people, and then there’d be a happy hour networking.”


Literally, I was in bed at nine o’clock at night and exhausted. She’s like, “Yeah. I’m sure it’s probably because you were out partying the night before.” I’m like, “No. Seriously, if you go there open-minded and really want to learn and talk to people.”

Maria Monroy (15:37):

No. It’s a lot of information between all the people you’re meeting and if you’re sitting through all the presentations, I feel like your adrenaline is so high.


You’re just like by the end of it, you just crash because it’s like you’re overstimulated. I think that’s the right words.

Mike Arguss (15:54):

Yeah, for sure.

Maria Monroy (15:55):

Tell me, how are you generating cases right now?

Mike Arguss (15:58):

2022 was all about redoing our website and my consumer rights practice is very different. We have tons of content on our website. We have over 100,000 pages of content on our website.


Last year was all about building a brand-new WordPress website, and we also started doing some SEO last year. A combination of SEO, organic cases.

Maria Monroy (16:21):

I’m going to have to look at that.

Mike Arguss (16:22):

Yeah, and send me your report.

Maria Monroy (16:25):


Mike Arguss (16:26):

Send me the LawRank audit.

Maria Monroy (16:28):

Tell you if it’s good or not.

Mike Arguss (16:29):

Fair enough. I love websites, I love SEO, I love the business side of practicing law. Anyway, so we’re starting to get cases organically from our website.


I am all about Google local services, Google screened. We have a couple vendors who I’ve used for pay-for-performance leads.

Maria Monroy (16:52):

You mean pay-per-click?

Mike Arguss (16:52):


Maria Monroy (16:55):

Like Google Ads or the local service ads?

Mike Arguss (16:57):

I found a company that I really like for auto accident leads and it’s pay-for-performance. There’s a certain criteria of what I’m looking for, and I only pay for a phone call that meets that criteria. I love in general pay-for-performance all around. I have that system going with the company that does our website and our SEO where I tell them, “I’ll pay you more money for the more cases I get.” They like that competition too. This year’s focus is all about client experience.


I was always concerned about making clients happy, handling stuff quickly, getting them their settlement check as fast as possible, but literally giving them a check and then just that was done. It’s just a massive missed opportunity. What’s crazy is it’s something literally I was blind to for 10 years being a business owner. We just started doing this a couple of months ago, and it’s literally 2023. If you were to ask anyone at my office what the focus is, they’d all say client experience.


Just by sitting down with people and spending more time with them, our clients, they’re referring us business. I’m really seeing just a big difference in that. What’s interesting is if you know a lawyer, there’s no need to call someone on a billboard. There’s no need to call the lawyer on a commercial or do a Google search. If someone says, “Hey, I’ve got a lawyer, he’s a good guy. Or this is a smart woman, they got me really good results, you should contact them.”


Just getting those cases from referrals is incredible, so that’s our focus in 2023. The nice part about that, it doesn’t cost any money.

Maria Monroy (18:28):

What’s the process? Is it just hey, when we sign up a case, you have to sit down with this person for X amount of time?


Or do you have certain criteria that have to be met, you have to check in with them once a month or what is that process like? When you say client experience, what does that mean to you?

Mike Arguss (18:47):

Client experience to me, means if you were to ask someone all the things they don’t like about a lawyer, that they’re hard to get in touch with, they’re unresponsive, they’re unrelatable, they don’t explain things to me in a simple way. We’re looking at all of the negative stereotypes and trying to turn all of that around. When someone contacts us, we have multiple systems in the office where a live person always answers.


That person who talks to you is actually talking with you and wants to hear your story, and is not just going through a robotic script. At any point during the conversation, if someone asks if they can speak with a lawyer, we have lawyers who are on call and it’s like a rotation at the office. There’s a different lawyer on call each day, who then the call can be transferred to so they could speak with a lawyer.


I’ve started hiring people on our new case team, who have experience talking to potential clients and interviewing people, and really sitting down and just learning about them and what happened. Because a lot of people just, they want to explain and tell their story. We’re always trying to improve on the initial phone call. As far as when we get retained, we’re using case status right now to have constant communications with clients so they can get updates and know what’s going on, what information we need, so on and so forth.


We’re also, I think we do a really good job, we’ve got an incredible network of doctors all throughout Illinois who we refer clients to. We also really help out people get treatment and get treatment right away, from specialists that I would go to or people I would send family or friends to. A lot of people who contact us don’t have insurance, or if they do, they have a doctor, but they can’t get in for a couple of months.


We really take the time to help people out in the beginning where there’s a lot of questions, confusions and concerns to smooth the process in the beginning. Then once someone’s in treatment and we’re covering, we don’t have to have a million contacts with them because their concerns have been addressed and things are already ease. Then on the bigger cases or bigger clients that come through the door, I try to sit down now and just meet with them.


Just go talk to them and see how things are going, see what questions they have, and I feel like it makes such a difference just to sit down face-to-face.

Maria Monroy (21:09):

How do you make sure that you actually do that? Do you have a process through Litify that creates a task or how does it work?

Mike Arguss (21:19):

We haven’t perfected the system yet. We’re just in the process of rolling out case status, which is going to help us with that. I’m actively involved in all of our new cases and clients that come through the door. And so everyone at my office knows that if something would require white gloves or some additional attention, to reach out to me. I pick up the phone and call people and talk to them. I feel like you’ve got to gauge it with clients too.


Sometimes they’re fine talking on the phone, sometimes they want to do a Zoom, and other times they say, “Yeah, I’d love to have lunch with you. When do you want to come out?” To answer your question in my head, I’m trying to do it at least once a month, where I’m reaching out to someone who is retained us and saying, “Hey, do you want to grab lunch? Let’s talk face-to-face.” I think it makes all the world a difference.

Maria Monroy (22:07):

You’ve noticed an increase in referrals since implementing this?

Mike Arguss (22:11):

Let me tell you a wild story, and this was my big takeaway from the Brain Trust Conference in Vegas, is everyone who took the stage, hands down said, “My biggest cases have come from referrals.” It really resonated with me. Coincidentally, we were hired within a day or two of that conference. I remember Jackie, my senior paralegal, reaching out to me saying, “Hey, Mike. We were just retained by a family and we’re representing the son. A drunk driver crossed over the center line and killed a family of three, husband, wife and daughter in the car.”


It’s horrific. The mom, who was in the car, it was actually her sister who reached out and retained us. This was somewhere in central Illinois. It was in the news, in the media. My gut reaction was someone was going to reach in and essentially, you don’t want a Chicago lawyer. You want a local attorney. I got back from Vegas, that was the one thing that stuck with me, and we just got hired. I reached out to the family and I said, “I’m so sorry, and I’m sure you have so much on your plate, but when things calm down, I’d love to come down and meet you, so we can talk face-to-face.”


They actually said, “Do you want to come on Thursday?” This was on a Monday. I said, “Yeah, no problem.” I went down and met them, had lunch. The son is super nice, the sister is super nice. Long story short, they’re really good people and they actually wanted to hire an attorney who didn’t live by them, just because of small town and politics, and they wanted someone removed. It made sense why they hired me. The sister said, “Mike, what’s crazy is the day before this happened, I was rear-ended by a guy going probably 30, 40 miles an hour.”


“My truck is totaled. I had shoulder surgery a couple of years ago, and I feel like it’s aggravated. I’m going to go get treatment and stuff. Is this something you can help me with too?” Literally, it was the moment of being in Vegas saying referrals are our biggest cases or our biggest source of business and sitting down with people. I was hired by the sister and I would’ve never been hired because I had talked to her multiple times before that.


She never mentioned the accident, and it was just because I went down there, spent some time with them. Yeah. Anyway, it makes all the world a difference.

Maria Monroy (24:29):

Absolutely. I also feel like anytime we put energy on anything, and if you’ve ever heard my podcast, I really am a big believer in energy. It’ll happen to be where I’m like, “We haven’t signed a family law client in a long time,” because I’m so PI focused. Literally, I’ll get five contacts, submission forms for family law.


I’m like, “I just have to think about it.” I feel like you also just even, and this is why conferences can be so in my opinion, I like to use the word expanding, because then you hear something and you’re like, “I’ve never thought of it that way.”


Then you start to actually see it come through. This is a perfect example where you heard it, you were like, “Yeah, that makes perfect sense.” Then you just started to see it come into play. Does that make sense?

Mike Arguss (25:14):

Yeah, 100%. I was in prep for today, I listened to several of your podcasts, and you talk all about thinking and manifestation, and positive energy. I’m not necessarily like that.


That’s not how I think and operate, but what’s interesting is it gets me thinking. It’s just like what you said, where you hear something and although maybe you didn’t think about that that way or it never crossed your mind.

Maria Monroy (25:41):

I would argue that just because you don’t believe in manifestation doesn’t mean you’re not manifesting things all the time because you are.

Mike Arguss (25:48):

No, I know. Honestly, I learned a lot from listening to your podcast when you had said, “I wish I had read this book first.”

Maria Monroy (25:56):

Think and Grow Rich.

Mike Arguss (25:57):

There you go.

Maria Monroy (25:58):

Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill. Joe Fried’s podcast, the episode that he came on, and now the things he talks about are completely next level. Even for me, I’m like, “Wow, I can’t even believe you’re doing this.”


Definitely listen to that one. That one’s really, really interesting. It’s an amazing book, and Jen is a big fan of it too. She just did a video on it and I was like, “This is my favorite book.”

Mike Arguss (26:24):

Yeah. Once again, I’m not a self-help person and I would never read a self-help book.

Maria Monroy (26:30):

You need to. They’re the best thing in the world because if you think about it, anything self-help is going to spill over into your business because you are the one managing the business. Wherever, however you are feeling physically, mentally is it’s going to spill over. It’s impossible that it won’t.


I went through a phase when I was young that I wanted to read everything self-help, and then I had kids and I stopped because that’s a lot. But as a business owner, I realized, “Shit, I have to go back and start doing this again because everything impacts the business.” Now it’s not just for me, but it’s also for my business. I would say try to get into it because if you are open to learning, there’s just so much.

Mike Arguss (27:20):

I totally am, and I’m excited to read the book you recommended. Who knows, maybe we’ll be talking in the future, and I’ll be telling you about all these self-help books that I’ve read.

Maria Monroy (27:29):

You’ll be telling me what to read. Someone just recommended the Biology of Belief. I was just at AJ, so that’s going to be my next one. I’m excited to read it, but tell me, I know you have your partner is?

Mike Arguss (27:44):

She’s 30 years old, so this is a fascinating story. Her name’s Taylor Kosla. She just got married and changed her name, it’s Unterberg, but she’s been with me for four and a half, five years. She started right out of law school and she’s absolutely incredible, and I knew it since day one. She came into the office, super smart, total producer, hustles, networks. Is just always open to things and is incredible. Probably one of the top three decisions I ever made was hiring a CPA about seven, eight years ago, a guy named John Miller.


We’ve got monthly meetings, we go over profit-loss, we go over balance sheets, we go over budgets, what you’re spending your money on. The best part about him, and you’ll like this, is when I started my firm, I said, “I never want to have a monthly knot that keeps me up at night, the monthly expense.” It’s like he has pushed me so far outside my comfort zone, and it’s been incredible. Taylor comes on board, and she had been at my office for three years.


I remember I would always talk to John about reviews, raises, performance-based bonuses, what am I going to do? Taylor, she’s savvy. Every year, we’d talk about salary and bonuses, and money she’s making and business that she’s bringing in. She would always ask for more and push me, and say, “Look, I’m worth it. Here’s why.” I would always agree with her. Anyway, I was talking to John about her three-year anniversary, three-year review.


He said, “Not in a million years did I think I’d have a partner.” He said, “Have you ever thought of offering her skin in the game and offering her an equity position?” It never crossed my mind and we were talking about it. He said, “Look, if she left right now.” I have the typical reactions, “She’s young, she’s been here for three years.” I never thought of anyone owning a part of the business. He said, “If she left today, what would that look like for you?” It’s just, it’s super smart and it really got me thinking, and it pushed me outside my comfort zone.


Long story short, he works at Wipfli. Wipfli’s got a business transition group. We went through three, four, five months of interviews, consulting, making sure this is the right decision because he said it best. He said, “This is a marriage. You want to spend time figuring it out.” But anyway, we figured it out. She bought in as an equity partner at 29, and it’s just been absolutely incredible. What’s so nice for me, is I now have someone to talk with and go through.


We went through Litify together, we went through all of the painful things together, and it’s like before, things are guarded at the office. I can’t have super candid conversations with a lot of people at the office. Yeah. Taylor and I are partners, she’s awesome, people love her, and she just crushes it at our firm. It’s great.

Maria Monroy (30:33):

It’s funny because when you read Think and Grow Rich, he talks about how having two brains, it creates an invisible third brain because you’re bouncing ideas off each other. I had a client text me the other day like, “Hey, I’m thinking of basically bringing on a partner or partnering up with another firm.” I was like, “I think it’s a great idea.” I very much think that having that partnership, and I see it with our clients that have partnerships versus solo practitioners, they just don’t have that person to go to.


I’m not saying it’s right for everyone. I know that a lot of partnerships dissolve and all that, but if you can find the right person, I think it’s just amazing, because again, just that bouncing, right? She might say something and then you add to it. The next thing you know, now you guys came to an understanding that independently neither of you would’ve gotten there.

Mike Arguss (31:35):

It’s really allowed me to communicate openly about everything that’s going on in the office. For example, going back to when we rolled out Litify, I was terrified. I could have conversations with her being like, “This is costing us an absolute fortune. I don’t even know how it’s going to work.” Then we’re spending over $40,000 a year now in licensing. It was a way to communicate and discuss things and have candid conversations with someone else, as opposed to me just bottling it all up.


I now have a model of what we’re looking for in the future for other potential equity partners. Taylor and I, our monthly meetings with John Miller, profit-loss, balance sheet, what’s working, what’s not working? Are you going to hire people? Taylor’s part of all of that. Then we were just talking with John Miller on our last monthly meeting a couple of weeks ago, about what would that next partner look like? How do we put down what Taylor did a couple of years ago, to make me consider this and offer her this equity position?


What are her characteristics and how do we put that on paper, so other attorneys at the office who are thinking, how do I become an equity partner? They can look at what we’re looking for and what we want.

Maria Monroy (32:53):

What’s in the future for you?

Mike Arguss (32:56):

What we have started doing is building out teams. It’s something that I’ve learned through Fireproof, through Mike Morse where we are building out teams. Something we just started doing at the office is every single lawyer is working with a paralegal. This just happened like a month or two ago, and I’ve immediately seen results in the sense of things are getting done faster, we’re able to handle more work. We really spent time interviewing paralegals and making sure that they were good fits with the lawyers they’re working with.


We’re starting to develop teams at the office. In addition to client experience and focusing on that in 2023, another focus that we’re working on as well as building out those teams. Not only hopefully when I see you next or we talk next, each lawyer will not only have one paralegal, maybe they’ll have a legal assistant too. Slowly start building out teams, which is Mike Morse’s model and something I learned from him.

Maria Monroy (33:52):

We have teams internally.

Mike Arguss (33:54):

Yeah, do you like it?

Maria Monroy (33:55):

They were amazing. We love it. We call it pods, but it’s the same thing.

Mike Arguss (34:00):

Got it. How many teams do you have?

Maria Monroy (34:02):

I don’t run the SEO team, so I’m not sure. I think we have three, maybe four now. They might have split into a fourth one now, but I’m just talking about the SEO team. There’s like a lead, and then that person has multiple employees that roll up, but they’re all working on the same amount, on the same project.


Each pod is essentially assigned X amount of projects that they work with, and then one person is leading that team. In your case, I would assume the lawyer is leading their own team?

Mike Arguss (34:35):

Yeah. Building out teams, that’s what’s in store for us this year. But the main focus, setting that aside, it’s all client experience. I’m super excited about it. We’re expanding, we’re getting additional office space. We have an office in Chicago, and I’m in the western suburbs. Taylor’s in the western suburbs too.


We’re going to be signing a lease starting April 1st. That office is in the suburbs. It’s going to make parking a lot easier. We have a lot of clients in the suburbs. It’s going to allow for doing more podcasts and videos at an office as opposed to my home office right now.

Maria Monroy (35:08):

You get another GMB, which I’m really passionate about having multiple locations in the market, to be able to generate cases from each of the GMBs.


I hope you ran it through your SEO team, and that they gave you the green light and there are no potential red flags with the address.

Mike Arguss (35:26):

Correct. It’s a real office space. It’s funny you mentioned that. I love GMBs too. We started doing that a couple of years ago. We have multiple GMBs. It’s wild when you look at Chicago, which is like I’ve been third most competitive market outside of New York and LA for PI.


What’s interesting is there are so many other large cities in Illinois, and we’ve started focusing on some of the other cities in Illinois with GMBs, Google local services, and I’ve noticed a huge difference. I love GMBs.

Maria Monroy (35:58):

They’re my favorite. It’s like I joke I have a favorite child. Also, my favorite way to generate cases is through GMB.


In Chicago, you could have five locations throughout Chicago and each of them could be generating cases. Easily, you could have five, easily.

Mike Arguss (36:14):


Maria Monroy (36:15):

Yeah. That’s amazing.

Mike Arguss (36:17):

It is, it’s awesome. I will say this though, they’ve been really cracking down on personal injury attorneys, GMBs.

Maria Monroy (36:23):

Well, they have to be legit. That’s when you’re like, “We’re going to sign a lease and we’re going to have an office.” That’s legit. What I don’t mean by a GMB, I don’t mean a Regis, I don’t mean a shared location.


They’re not going to crack down on a legitimate office. It’s also technically supposed to be staffed and everybody tries to get cute, but I mean a legit office.

Mike Arguss (36:46):

Yeah. No, we do, so it’s great. I love it. But correct, we will do a GMB. It’s in Oak Brook. It’s a small community in the western burbs of Chicago, but I’m excited and it’s going to make it a lot easier too. We talk to clients all the time and they’re like, “Look, I don’t want to hire a Chicago attorney.”


“I don’t want to deal with traffic. I don’t want to deal with parking and all of that.” This is going to make things a lot easier for people. It’s free parking, it’s easy to get to, a nice, comfortable office. That’s also in store for us.

Maria Monroy (37:13):

But you’re keeping the other office, correct?

Mike Arguss (37:14):


Maria Monroy (37:15):

Okay, good.

Mike Arguss (37:16):


Maria Monroy (37:16):


Mike Arguss (37:17):


Maria Monroy (37:17):


Mike Arguss (37:18):

For GMB purposes.

Maria Monroy (37:19):

Good. That’s great. To reach your goals, you must break the mountain into chunks you can manage. Mike is a perfect example of how to build a firm strategically by moving one rock at a time. He implemented a new data-rich client management system one year, and set up data manning the next. Last year, he focused on SEO. This year, he’s digging into customer experience and capturing as many reviews as possible.


Conferences can be the best spaces to work through your firm’s challenges, if you remain open to new ideas and are always a great way to create a deeper network. We covered a lot of ground today. Check out the show notes to learn more about systems, software, and conferences on today’s show. Thank you so much to Mike Arguss at Arguss Law Firm. If you found the story valuable, please share it with someone you want to see succeed.


Subscribe so you never miss an episode and 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 LawRank. Hear how the best in the business broke out of limiting beliefs, overcame adversity, and built a thriving, purpose-driven business in the process.

Read full transcript