6 — Anthony Johnson — The Elon Musk of the Legal Industry


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"I like the idea of lawyers not even touching the technology because — let's be honest — they're the ones that f*** it up." -Anthony Johnson

  • How does a data-driven attorney approach marketing, hiring, and “the human element” of running a law firm?
  • Why should firms share their data with their rivals?
  • Can you be both a great business owner and a great lawyer?

Attorney, Entrepreneur, Digital Strategist, Futurist

Most people don't understand what Anthony Johnson does — and those who do believe he's either crazy, brilliant, or a combination of the two.

A computer science undergrad with a background in software and SaaS, AJ made his way into the legal world in an unlikely way. Fresh out of law school and working out of his closet, his understanding of digital marketing drove his firm to become the leading firm in Arkansas on Google Places. The catch? He hadn't yet tried a case.

Years later, AJ has become a true pioneer in the legal world thanks to his unique mindset and innovative approach to business.

Data in the Legal Landscape

AJ is data-driven, pure and simple. His office is filled with monitors displaying metrics, analytics, and modeling dashboards, and he spends a huge amount of time thinking about how we use data today — and what the future will look like.

We discuss the key considerations that law firms need to contend with around data management and privacy, and talk about why law firm leaders should start reading up on cryptocurrency now.

Measuring the Intangible

Savvy marketing is part and parcel of AJ's strategic approach, although it's ironically one of the most difficult business factors to measure in terms of clear, tangible return on investment. AJ and Michael discuss why the biggest law firm advertising spenders reap big results — and how small firms can hack the digital marketplace to start making gains.

Key Takeaways:

  • When it comes to competition, your mindset matters. AJ looks to other firms as rivals, not competitors, creating an environment where law firms can grow and explore new territories together. This bold approach means keeping your personal leadership skills sharp and growing as a firm — while simultaneously raising the bar for all attorneys.
  • Company culture can be cultivated, but AJ firmly believes that people are either on your team...or they're out of it. AJ won't keep a staff member longer than necessary because if they're not happy being there, you're fundamentally holding them back from finding the next position that could be perfect for them. That said, AJ's team is one of the most engaged around, and he lets us in on what he does to create that all-important employee experience, empower people as part of the process, and foster a sense of purpose and belonging.
  • AJ has myriad predictions about the future of the legal industry and tech, but the one he's most convinced of is a progressive decoupling of attorneys from paralegal and adjacent roles. He believes that, with automation on the rise, attorneys will be valued for their thought leadership and expertise, with less about "cracking the whip on paralegals and running a sweatshop."

Links & Resources

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