The Modern JD spotlight series is a feature on Lawyernomics that highlights attorneys that are using technology, their brand and marketing in innovative ways to connect with clients and their peers. These attorneys come from different practice areas across the country but have one thing in common: they have evolved with the times to meet the needs of their clients and practice. This week we are excited to share attorney, Julie Tolek of Think Pink Law.
What is your area of practice and why did you decide to get into it?
I practice Firearms Compliance and 2nd amendment law. I started out as a solo doing family law and estate planning and added firearms to my menu when it fell in my lap as I started to work with another attorney who practiced 2nd amendment law. That attorney was recruited by a firearms manufacturer to do their compliance and I inherited the practice.
What is the most important thing you have learned since graduating law school?
I have learned that no matter how much the law is part of what you’re doing, being a lawyer is all human relations. In court, with clients, and with colleagues, you will find success if you can create an emotional, human connection with people. The “law” is secondary.
How do you think your practice is unique compared to others? What is your firm’s secret sauce?
I am myself first and a lawyer second. I do not compromise my personality, and that has definitely been very successful for me. In my areas of practice, clients want to talk to someone who knows what they are going through, who is human and relatable. My tribe does not want someone behind a mahogany desk to lecture them. They want someone who get’s it. I get it, and I let them know I get it. We are all humans with various experiences in life – it just happens that my training is in the law.
Also, Think Pink Law is disarming, and maybe even confusing. Either way, it is memorable, and it has a story that connects with people.
I write how I speak and I definitely embody THINK PINK LAW. One of the first things people usually say when they meet me is, “Wow, you really are pink and you really are think pink law. I feel like I already know you.” And that is the goal.
Where do you envision your practice and profession as a whole going in 5 years?
I am already working on opening a few more Think Pink Law locations in other states. I love connecting with people and being the face of the business so eventually I would like to build the practice with like-minded attorneys so it runs itself. In doing this, I can continue to do what I love most in creating relationships with clients and teaching new attorneys about branding and going solo.
Do you see yourself as a lawyer first? Business person first? or Client service first?”
I see myself as ME first. Entrepreneur second. The law and the rest of the business stuff fall into place after that. Sometimes I feel like I am living a double life. I can’t believe I have the honor to do what I do. But at the same time, it is so embedded in who I am, that I can’t imagine doing anything else.
How has Avvo helped you connect with clients?
Speaking at Lawyernomics last year allowed me to meet so many different amazing people in the industry. It made me feel like I’ve become part of the “cool kids club” with other leaders that are innovating law.
Where do you find inspiration professionally and/or personally?
This might sound corny, but I look within myself and my past accomplishments to prove to myself that I can keep going. I had so many haters and nay sayers when I started my solo practice and launched my brand, Think Pink Law. I had times where I wanted to quit. But I didn’t. I had random people along the way inspire me to continue to grow. Now I am surrounded by colleagues and my friends who believe in me and push me to do my best (push me to my limits for sure) and make me laugh.
You have to be able to laugh. Some days that’s all you have!
What’s the piece of technology you couldn’t live without and why?
If I say my iphone, that covers a lot of things. That’s a boring answer…sorry.
What kind of a role does technology play in your practice?
At its core, being a lawyer is being a “trusted advisor.” Technology when harnessed appropriately, can only enhance being a trusted advisor, making it more powerful and convenient. Technology can never really replace the trusted advisor component of the practice of the law. It is way too personal for tech to replace it completely. That being said, I could not run my practice as easily as I do without technology. Having worked for Apple as my first career, one of my goals with starting my practice was to use technology as much as possible in running the firm and delivering services.
I am a huge proponent of social media and blogging and it has had a huge impact on the success of my firm. I think it’s important to remember it cannot take the place of face to face interactions. Again, we have to think of tech as a tool that enhances the things we already do, not replace it. We can reach more people now than we ever did and when using technology right, it bring those connections into real life.
Favorite app on your phone?
My health club app.
The best tip or trick for balancing everyday work and life?
I am not sure there really ever is balance. It is different for everyone. One thing I have learned is that purposeful/mindful time “off” helps my productivity. If you schedule your “me” time or “family” time (for me it is “gym/me” time) with purpose and you know you have that time waiting for you coming up, it helps you focus on the present and what you need to accomplish in that moment. You don’t have to worry about the time off because you have already scheduled it with purpose. And then when that time comes, you can really be in that moment and appreciate it more.
Describe, in three words, the Modern JD or the 21st Century Lawyer.
Connected trusted advisor.