#RichLifeLawyer Podcast 010: The John Howie of Estate Planning Law Firms

This episode of the show is a little different than previous episodes, and is a preview of what is to come.

I have decided that I didn’t just want to talk about estate planning issues and stuff like that all of the time. I know how mystical it can all seem and I know how close to the vest a lot of estate planning attorneys play it when it comes to how your estate plan actually gets from what is in your head to what you sit down and sign.

And, because I’m a little different than most estate planning lawyers I wanted to expose what really happens behind the scenes and show you exactly what it is that we do.

I’m doing this a little selfishly too, I must admit, because part of what I want to do is show you why our experience is so great – why we strive every day to be the John Howie of estate planning law firms.

To get the scoop, you can do one of two things: you can scroll down below to read a transcript of the podcast or you can click the play link above and listen in.



Christopher Small

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Christopher Small is a Kirkland estate planning attorney who helps people get rich and live forever. He is also the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC.

The John Howie of Estate Planning Law Firms Transcript

Hey everybody this is Christopher Small, this is episode ten of the Rich Life Lawyer Podcast. I am excited to be here with you today. Gosh where to begin, first things first, I am just getting over the plague, literally, I call it the daycare Ebola virus. My son Jackson riding on and it crushed me for about a week. I think you can still hear it in my voice. It’s still there, I’m on the downward spiral. But man it’s crazy but provided some moments of clarity. I actually took some time and thought about what I’ve been doing here with this podcast and with the Rich Life Lawyer show which is my Youtube show all about estate planning and legacy, wealth, family, all that kind of stuff.

And I think about what I was doing and where my struggle was was that the Rich Life Lawyer Show and the Rich Life Lawyer Podcast have a lot of overlap and I want to reconcile that. I didn’t want them both to be on the same subjects. I didn’t want you or anyone to have to worry about missing out on something one place or the other and I was thinking about what I could do to make that right. So I came up with something actually. And I begin to think about, you know, what’s one of the things that sort of makes me uneasy when I’m going to get a service or going to do something that I either don’t know much about or where a lot of stuff kind of happens behind the scenes.

What’s one of the things that I would really like to know about and what I would really love to know or see or hear or learn about is what happens behind the scenes. You know what goes into making the experience great. What thought and preparation goes into making my experience a good one. And I thought, why don’t I share what we do here at the firm in that way. And so that’s what the Rich Life Lawyer Podcast is going to be now. If you want to get estate planning news and information and. updates and sort of dig deep and answer, and get in the weeds, and do fun stuff, try to learn about how to avoid estate taxes and you know plan for your family’s legacy and do that kind of stuff, create trusts, then you’re going to go to or you want to just search for the Rich Life Lawyer Show because I’m creating a separate podcast for that.

That’s just going to roll the audio out of the video show. So, go look for that and subscribe to that one. Please subscribe to this podcast as well and what I decided here to do is really just like I said pull back the curtains or talk about what happens behind the scenes and I’m going to show you, you know, how and why we do what we do and I’m going to also talk about some of the little things that might go unnoticed to you when you come and experience our firm or really make a big difference in the way that things run, in the the the way that the documents in your your plan is put together and just the way that things go about getting created here.

So I was, last night, I was with the wifey Alison and I we had a little date night, we had a babysitter come over and we went to John Howie. We just went to sit the bar and we were getting a gift card for our doctor because you know we just our third kid and we’re going to give him something because we’re done with the kids. No more kids but you know when she suggests that we go to John Howie, I was like, yeah of course. One of the reasons that I love to go there is that I know that every time I go, the experience is going to be really good. I also am part of the mastermind group of a bunch of other business owners where we meet and talk about you know our businesses and our struggles and what’s working for us and things like that and we have that at John Howie too once a month.

And what I love about John Howie like I said is that every time I go, I know the experience can be really really great, you know, the wait staff is highly trained. The bartender is highly trained. The hostess is highly trained. Chef is highly trained. The manager is highly trained. And what that does is that training translates the confidence for everyone. Everybody knows what’s supposed to happen now, what’s supposed to happen next, what they’re supposed to do of they’re in trouble. What they are supposed to do if they need to wing it. Everybody really knows what they’re supposed to do and how to approach the situation. They know what the underlying philosophy of the restaurant. They know what the, you know, what motivates the owner and what the whole point of the experience is and that really comes across tremendously well when you’re there and for me I’ve always had a great experience there one hundred percent of the time.

And I want to create, you know, in essence of John Howie of estate planning law firms. That’s my goal. That’s what I’m working towards every day. And what that means for me is several things. Obviously, it means creating an amazing experience, a world class experience every single time. And the way that you do that is, the way I do that, is to really focus in on, you know, one of the things that happen in every case, every time someone comes to the door. How can we make that a great experience and how can we make sure that that happens every time. And that’s what this podcast is really about. Is about our emphasis on process which you probably don’t really realize if you don’t think about it. But there’s a reason why every time you call, your call answered quickly, promptly and in the right manner that you feel like you have been heard, that you feel like there is a next step, that you feel like things are happening. And that’s because we have a process behind that.

Whenever you come in to sign your estate planning documents. There’s a reason why it goes so smoothly. We have a process behind that. Every time a new potential client calls, we, it’s handled essentially the same way and the client or the potential client leaves feeling like we know what we’re doing, that we’re reliable, that we’re dependable, that we’re trustworthy. And that’s because there’s a process behind it and the key to success of any service based business is having really tight processes. You know, now, you cannot control every single little thing that’s going to happen that’s true but there is a lot that you can control in very very few law firm owners really take the time to think about what makes a great client experience and then doing whatever they can to make sure that the things that can happen on a regular basis, do happen on a regular basis. And that goes into writing those things down, creating written processes, and then teaching your staff and everyone that you work with, even your vendors the way that you want to do business.

So that when someone who works with you, they have a great experience and they want to tell someone else. And that the experience happens the same way every time. What happens then your staff is confident, they are happy, they are excited to work with people, and everything goes off a relatively smoothly amount. Are there hiccups? Of course there are. This is life right. Nothing always runs exactly according to plan. But I think if the underlying goal is to be John Howie, then there’s a way that you can progress toward that by making sure your processes are super super tight. Alright so, I’m curious, that’s it for this episode. I really just kind of want of like give you a preview I guess of what I want to be talking about in this podcast.

I wanted to also let you know that we have a great, and this is here on making sure that your experience is wonderful and pleasant and that you get the things that you want and I wanted to, I want to know what you think about it. If you have feedback. I love to hear it. You could e-mail me chris@cmslawfirm.com. You can also go to iTunes and when you’re subscribing to the podcast, what you should do. You can also leave a review. So let me know what you think of this. If you have questions about what we do or why we do it or how we do it. I would love to hear those too and I will make sure the answer those here in the podcast. Alright so, check back in in a week for the next episode. Thank you for listening and I will talk to you soon. Bye.