Hosted by Attorney Louis Goodman
June 22, 2022

Steve Fretzin - Be That Lawyer

Steve Fretzin - Be That Lawyer

Steve Fretzin has worked with hundreds of lawyers throughout the years, helping them grow their businesses through coaching, training and special programs. He’s a business advisor, author of four books, coach, and the host of the Be That Lawyer podcast. In this interview Steve talks about the importance of proper networking, branding and specializing your practice in order to gain recognition as an expert in your niche. He explains how to become your own rainmaker as well as how to make sales without being so salesy. Listen to the episode to learn from his expertise and some of the steps to grow your book of business.

Steve’s Website
https://fretzin.com/

Be That Lawyer Podcast
https://fretzin.com/podcast/

Steve’s LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevefretzin/

Steve’s Twitter
https://twitter.com/stevefretzin

Steve’s Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/salesresults/

Steve’s YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/user/SalesResultsInc

Steve’s Books:

Legal Business Development Isn't Rocket Science: 250+ Easy & Actionable Ways to Grow Your Book of Business (In Less Time and with Greater Results)
https://www.amazon.com/Legal-Business-Development-Rocket-Science-ebook/dp/B09PZHBY6T/

The Attorney's Networking Handbook: 14 Principles to Growing Your Law Practice in Less Time with Greater Results
https://www.amazon.com/Attorneys-Networking-Handbook-Principles-Practice-ebook/dp/B087BJGLTP

Sales-Free Selling: The Death of Sales and the Rise of a New Methodology
https://www.amazon.com/Sales-Free-Selling-Death-Sales-Methodology-ebook/dp/B00DUCBYMS/

The Ambitious Attorney: Your Guide to Doubling or Even Tripling Your Book of Business
https://www.amazon.com/Ambitious-Attorney-Doubling-Tripling-Business-ebook/dp/B07WS4N8DM


lovethylawyer.com

A transcript of this podcast is available at lovethylawyer.com.

Go to https://www.lovethylawyer.com/blog for transcripts.

Steve Fretzin
https://fretzin.com/about/

Acting as a kind of “business development therapist,” Steve Fretzin coaches and trains lawyers the most modern-day business development skills, providing precise tips, fresh ideas and actionable tasks that drive tangible results.

The host of the BE THAT LAWYER podcast, Steve has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s and Entrepreneur.com and has appeared on NBC News and WGN Radio. He has written three books on legal business development, is a regular contributor to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and has published articles in Attorney at Law magazine, the National Law Review, the American Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.

Steve's Books:
https://www.amazon.com/Legal-Business-Development-Rocket-Science-ebook/dp/B09PZHBY6T/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1K79N3XYGSEAC&keywords=steve+fretzin&qid=1650481389&s=books&sprefix=steve+fret%2Cstripbooks%2C128&sr=1-3

 

 Louis Goodman
 www.louisgoodman.com
louisgoodman2010@gmail.com
510.582.9090

Musical theme by Joel Katz, Seaside Recording, Maui
Technical support: Bryan Matheson, Skyline Studios, Oakland

Audiograms & Transcripts: Paul Roberts  


 
 We'd love to hear from you.  Send me an email at louis@lovethylawyer.com

Please subscribe and listen. Then tell us who you want to hear and what areas of interest you’d like us to cover.
 
 Please rate us and review us on Apple Podcasts.  

 

 

Louis Goodman

Attorney at Law

www.lovethylawyer.com

louisgoodman2010@gmail.com

 

Transcript

Steve Fretzin - Transcript 

 

Louis Goodman 00:04 

Steve Fretzin is not a lawyer, but he's one of America's most knowledgeable people about the business of practicing law. Steve is an author, a coach, a guru, a business adviser, and a podcaster. I routinely listen to his podcast, Be That Lawyer, and learn from Steve and his guests. Steve's written several books, including Legal Business Development Isn't Rocket Science. We'll discuss non-salesy sales, how to bring in business, time management and the importance of having your own book of business.

 

Steve Fretzin, welcome to Love Thy Lawyer. 

 

Steve Fretzin 00:47 

Hey, so happy to be here. I'm really a fan. 

 

Louis Goodman 00:50 

Steve. I am a fan of yours. As I mentioned, I listen to your podcast, Be That Lawyer on a regular basis. You have great guests, they have great ideas and well, I've been on the podcast, so I'm a fan because of that, but I'm also a fan just because of all the other people who are very, very impressive. Where are you speaking to us from right now? 

 

Steve Fretzin 01:12 

So I'm just north of Chicago, about 20 miles in a town called Deerfield. And it might as well be called Mayberry, cause it's just the nicest, safest place you could be outside of Chicago. In Chicago, I can't speak for that, but outside of Chicago, really nice. 

 

Louis Goodman 01:28 

What kind of business do you have? 

 

Steve Fretzin 01:30 

I have a really unique business that I sort of fell into. As a non-lawyer I never thought in a million years I would work with lawyers and why would I? They don't need business. My father is a retired attorney who never really had to do anything to get business other than being the smartest guy in the room, which he still pretty darn smart at 87 years old. 

 

But I have a business where I work with attorneys to teach them all the things they never learned in law school: business development, marketing, branding, networking, relationship building. These are all learned skills, they're not things people are born with, which goes against some popular belief. 

 

And because lawyers don't learn these skills, they join law firms and they learn how to practice the law, which is obviously the most important thing. And then the second thing that's most important is having a book of business, growing your own client base, because what that represents, Louis, is their ability to be free, to call their own shots to have the time away that they want to take and not have, you know, 10, 20, 30 different bosses based on clients and partners and people that would be feeding that business.

 

Louis Goodman 02:34 

How long have you been doing this type of work? 

 

Steve Fretzin 02:37 

So I've been coaching and training for over 20 years. But I got pulled into legal right around the recession of 2007, 2008 and started working with a few lawyers and it led to more and it led to more and within a year and a half, it was about 85% of my total business.

 

Louis Goodman 02:54 

Where are you from originally? 

 

Steve Fretzin 02:55 

I, believe it or not, grew up in a town next to where I am now. I have lived in various places around the country and in the city of Chicago. And then I met my wife and then dragged her back to Deerfield, kicking and screaming. When I lived in and around Chicago most of the time. 

 

Louis Goodman 03:12 

Can you briefly tell me what your educational background is?

 

Steve Fretzin 03:15 

I went, I went to Illinois State, which back in the day in the late eighties and nineties was mostly a teaching school, it was a great school for teachers. I'm proud that I went there in the sense that it's grown and developed and become a much better school, but I have no background in business.

 

I really came up in sales, working in various different industries, advertising and high-tech and ended up in franchising and sort of worked my way up the food chain of sales jobs. And franchising was a big door opener because in working to sell businesses, I also had to oversee and coach and mentor about 50 businesses in the Midwest. And I gained a lot of business experience doing that and really understood what it took to run a successful small business. 

 

Louis Goodman 04:02 

How did you decide to transition from that into what essentially I would call maybe there's a better word for it, legal coaching? 

 

Steve Fretzin 04:13 

Yeah. So I had the great fortune of getting coached myself by someone who identified that I was bright and that I was motivated and I was hungry, but that I had some older school sales techniques that I learned from the five, six different jobs that I had over, I don't know, 10 or 15 years.

 

And he identified my gaps and in fixing those gaps and in seeing in me and teaching me better processes, I made more money in six months than I had in my best year. And I always had good years. I was always doing six figures or more, and always was, you know, top guy in my group, whatever I was doing, but it was through sheer force and effort and will and persistence. He was saying, "Look, you don't have to work so hard. You really just have to work smarter." 

 

Louis Goodman 05:00 

You've transitioned or perhaps I should say you've specialized in your practice so that you work exclusively with lawyers. What is it that you really like about working with lawyers? 

 

Steve Fretzin 05:15 

I think lawyers are unique in that they are very smart. They are mostly highly motivated. They are people that are dealing, that are, you know, because they're lawyers, they're in a very noble profession. And the biggest challenge they have is how to have a great career and balance it with life and balance it with health and balance it in a way that they can look back and just, you know, just be grateful that they had, you know, the career that they had always dreamed of.

 

And the reality is that most lawyers aren't living that dream. Most of them are billing hours, they're dealing with lots of bosses. They're mostly unhappy and that's not a great place to be. And the law firms are to blame to some degree because they just want the billable hour, you know, managed in a way where they can squeeze the most out of the attorneys that they have, and it's not getting better, it's getting worse because of the great resignation that's going on. 

 

So my job is to step in and try to the other side of it, the business development side of it, which is the missing piece for most of these attorneys and the most motivated, interested, coachable ones are the ones that seek me out or that we find each other, one way or the other. 

 

And they're just the best people. Like I have the best life I get to deal with the nicest, brightest people, and they just happen to be lawyers. And, you know, the lawyers who I don't deal with, the ones with huge egos, the ones that are angry, the ones that are, you know, miserable people. They're never going to seek me out because they're not interested in growth and development and bettering themselves. 

 

They're just going to make everyone miserable around them and that's sort of the end of it. But that's, that's why I love working with attorneys. It's really been, every day is a joy.

 

Louis Goodman 06:57 

Is there anything that you don't like about working with lawyers? 

 

Steve Fretzin 07:00

I mean, there's, you know, some level of risk aversion and I work with some challenging people too. And part of it is, you know, lawyers love proof and evidence, and so I can tell them the direction to go and they've paid me to do that and they've bought into the, you know,  program that I'm running. But the reality is that sometimes I just have to be patient with them with an understanding that once they try things that I'm teaching them, once they start putting them on, you know, trying them out on the field, if you will, then evidence and proof starts to appear.

 

And when things start going the way that I'm telling them it's going to go, then I get buy in. Once they get buy in, it's like unleashing the hounds. At that point they could be, you know, my biggest advocates and the best friends that I'll ever have. 

 

Louis Goodman 07:48 

Do you think business coaching is just therapy by another name?

 

Steve Fretzin 07:54 

I think there's a lot of therapy and coaching. I have a therapist hat that I put on quite often, dealing with lawyers and dealing with all of their difficult situations of being under, in high pressure situations with litigation, understaffed, etc, etc. And it's, you know, that's a big part of it.

 

The other piece of it is the accountability. I don't think people are as successful without a partner. If I'm going to work out, I'm going to do it better with a partner. If I'm going to, you know, you mentioned to me earlier taking a bike ride with friends. Yeah, it's easier with friends.

 

It's, it's easier to have a buddy that's with you for the ride, and it's easier to work with a coach and a mentor than it is to do something on your own. There's motivation, accountability. There's comradery. I also do a lot of training. I'm putting lawyers through some pretty intensive training, teaching them skills.

 

So I think the therapy and the coaching goes along with training. And maybe if I was to say that's my differentiator in the marketplace or the space of legal coaching, it's that I'm not just doing coaching, I'm also incorporating training into the mix where other coaches may not, they might do training while they're doing coaching. I separate the two as a way to make sure that they're getting everything out of me and the coaching and I can coach and the training and I can train. And there are different things. I just don't like them together. 

 

Louis Goodman 09:16 

Now you've written several books and I'm just going to mention them here and then we'll get back to a little bit. The most recent is Legal Business Development Isn't Rocket Science. Before that you wrote the Ambitious Attorney: Doubling or Tripling Your Book of Business, The Attorney's Networking Handbook and Sales-Free Selling. I haven't read all of them, but I have read your most recent one, Legal Business Development Isn't Rocket Science and I found so much of that book to be really interesting and I wanted to talk to you about some specifics that are in that book. 

 

So I guess the first thing that really struck me, and I think it's kind of your overall premise is that every attorney needs to have his or her own book of business and that ultimately each of us has our own brand, so to speak, and that each of us, if we're going to be successful as people, if we're going to be successful as lawyers, needs to have our own book of business. And I'm wondering if you can expound on that a little bit and explain what you mean and why? Because I thought it was brilliant.

 

Steve Fretzin 10:41 

You're at risk, everything in life is a risk, but if you're a lawyer and you're getting fed hours and you're getting fed work through other lawyers. If that lawyer dies, if that lawyer quits, if that lawyer leaves, if that lawyer's work slows down and you don't have hours being handed to you, then what? And it's not an issue right now because the grade resignation things are bustling for most lawyers, but the reality is that this all ebbs and flows. 

 

The reason I got into the legal space in the first place was because business had slowed down for many attorneys. Okay? It happens during a recession, it can happen when you're counting on two clients to feed you all your work and one of them gets bought. Now what? 

 

So the idea that you can develop your own relationships, develop your own clients as a lawyer, you have your own clients and you don't like your boss. You're the culture's rotten. You get bought out, things slow down. You have your own clients to work with. You have your own book of business that's portable, you can take it where you want to go. If you want to go out on your own, fine, it's never been easier. If you want to take it to another firm, they'd love to have you because the easiest way to get a job at a better, from a different firm is to say, "Hey, I've got a million dollars in clients. Do you want it?"

 

Louis Goodman 11:58 

I could see how that could be something that another firm would have an interest in. So, one of the things that you say is being your own rainmaker is the best way to succeed. And I think that obviously feeds directly into your initial premise. So how does one become his or her own rainmaker if that's not one's primary responsibility?

 

Steve Fretzin 12:25 

I think it's something that can be built up over years through developing, networking, to develop a network, you know, that could be your law school friends that could be undergraduate. That could be people you've worked with at other companies. It can be friends and family.

 

There's all kinds of different ways to do it and it doesn't generally happen overnight. And people are either going to figure it out on their own or they're going to study it and treat business development and rainmaking like you would treat becoming a scratch golfer, like like you would treat becoming a top level skier, right, or a chef. It's a learned skill, but it has, you have to invest time. And I think there's something that's been said about, you know, 10,000 hours. I don't think it takes 10,000 hours to become a great rainmaker, but it's going to take 500 hours of study and practice and improvement. It's not something that just, that you're just going to figure out overnight. It just doesn't work that way. 

 

Louis Goodman 13:19 

You talked about something called non salesy sales. What specifically do you mean by that? 

 

Steve Fretzin 13:23 

Yeah, so most lawyers know the term. "Hey, I went on a pitch meeting. Did you go on that pitch meeting?" And what that infers is that you went out and you try to convince a GC, a CEO, a business owner, whomever, to hire you as their lawyer to hire your firm.

 

And you go in and it's a dog and pony show. And that's the way sales has been done for a hundred years. And the problem is people haven't recognized that buyers are different buyers. Buyers aren't the same as they were. I mean, if you think about the way people bought in the eighties and nineties and early two thousands, I mean, they basically just had to take your word for it.

 

Today we have the internet, today we have tremendous competition. We have all kinds of high-tech automations and buyers are very skeptical. If you go in hard selling somebody, you think that's the way to go, you're going to have the opposite effect. They're going to push, pull away, not lean in.

 

And so we all know when you go to a store and someone approaches you, says, "Hey, hello, sir, may I help you?" Typically, you don't just say, just looking, I put up my hands, I go, just looking. Then I block them. I want to put up this wall because I don't want to be sold anything. So the idea that lawyers continue to approach general councils and CEO's and corporations, and even, even mom and pops for an estate plan in a traditional selling way.

 

That's not, it's not only inappropriate in my opinion, but it's not helpful to the cause of where I'm taking people, which is how do we identify that there's a fit? How do we identify that this client and myself are a fit? And that's going to happen through things like developing rapport, asking questions, listening, demonstrating empathy, and identifying that they're qualified.

 

And people look at me as qualified? What do you mean qualified? They're they're a business that wants to work with your law firm. Yeah. But are they going to pay you? Are they committed to following through and working with you and leaving their existing law firm? Are you actually dealing with the right decision maker? Probably not. You're probably dealing with some underling. 

 

So lawyers are finding themselves chasing after business. And I got a bunch of my clients on this, living in hope, living in hope that the business that they're chasing after is going to come through. And what I'm teaching them is to actually know that it's coming through. Following a structured process, where you walk a buyer through a buying decision, Louis, not selling them anything.

 

And that ends up getting so much more business in so much less time and you actually know what's going on during the whole thing. So that's a much better way to run your life than, you know, just meeting with a ton of people and hoping the best happens.

 

Louis Goodman 16:09 

Another area that you've identified as really important for lawyers and at every level, but especially young lawyers is the notion of networking. I'm wondering if you could address that a little bit. 

 

Steve Fretzin 16:22 

Yeah, I think networking is happening all the time. It's at the ballpark during your son or daughter's game, it's at the grocery store. It's at associations and conferences and everywhere you go, it's networking. And I'm not saying networking, people think networking, "oh, you're out there selling yourself." Absolutely not. Networking is about developing relationships, learning about others. And the angle that I take is also, you can be friends with anyone you want, but there are only certain people that are more likely to refer you than others, but that's really at the heart of networking, it's relationships. It's identifying how you can help others and having them reciprocate in kind and always done in, the way I teach it and wrote the book on it. Always in a way that's non salesy, always in a way that's about listening and helping and giving first, however, not at the expense of wasting all your time, if you, cause I did that.

 

I met with everybody and I try to give two, three connections for everybody. And I was a professional giver, but I wasn't really receiving. So there's a point where I say in my book, you know, I like being a giver, giving is the foundation of being a good networker. However, it has to be done intelligently.

 

You have to really meet with the right people and see which of those relationships are going to move forward and which of those relations need to move out and by out, I don't mean in a bad way. I mean, keep in touch on LinkedIn, send them a newsletter, say hi once a year, but they're not the high target people that you should be investing the majority of your time with, because that's where, when we talk about rainmaking, that's where the rain happens.

 

When you're meeting with, in building relationships with the people that have the best opportunity to refer you and something happens that they can throw you away. 

 

Louis Goodman 18:05 

You've talked about the importance of specialization, narrowing one's practice. What do you mean by that? And why is that an effective way to practice law?

 

Steve Fretzin 18:16 

So there's lawyers everywhere you go. And if you're a generalist these days, oh, I, you know, I can do litigation. I can do transactional. I can do estates. I can do this. I can do that. And just, you don't want to turn anything away. You're really remembered for nothing. You're really, you're really not going to be memorable.

 

The chance of you building an actual brand is very, very slim. On the contrary, there are lawyers that we can name a rapid fire that are known for certain things. And those are the ones that seem to get all the business and the mindset they have is, you know what? I'm going to give up everything to focus on one thing or to focus on a few things.

 

But I'm going to end up getting more business in those few things. And by the way, it's the work I enjoy and I'm going to become known and recognizable for it. And I'll give you the best example. 

 

I was in a plane crash when I was 26 years old and I'm sitting in, I broke both my arms, so I had no use of my arms. I'm laying in bed. My father pushes a phone into my ear. He says, talk to Bob, he's your lawyer. Anyone in Chicago that knows that if somebody is in a plane crash, and this is back in the nineties. I'd recommend, you know, there's other people that recommend these days, but back in the day, there's only one person in one name for aviation in Chicago, it's Bob Clifford.

 

And I'm talking to Bob Clifford. So why, why did my dad choose Bob Clifford? He could have picked any lawyer he wanted in Chicago, but he picked Bob Clifford because he's a specialist. He's the guy. He's the one you want to talk to when you're in a plane crash, okay. So I think specialization has become almost mandatory for lawyers that are serious about building their personal brand and building a law practice that's going to be successful. 

 

Louis Goodman 20:00 

Just to sort of review here. It's important for lawyers to have their own book of business. It's important in order to develop that book of business, to be able to sell in a non-salesy way, because that is an effective way of bringing in business.

 

It's important to network so that you have other attorneys and other people who, you know, may not be attorneys, but have connections in the community who can recommend you. And that it's important to have a specialized practice with a certain niche that you, as the attorney go for, because that way you get known as that niche, individual, and people think of you as the guy or the woman to go to for a specific type of case, be it aviation disaster or otherwise? 

 

Steve Fretzin 20:57 

Yeah. I mean, I think you're noticing a theme and that is, you've got two options in anything you want to do in life. The number one is to wing it and just figure it out on your own and hope for the best. And for some people that works really well.

 

I have systems for just about everything, Louis, and without those systems and processes, I'm a feather on the wind. That's how I'm built. Right? I mean I'm the most inefficient person you would have ever met 20 years ago. And I've had to break my whole psyche down to, to realize that I need to bring systems in, otherwise I'm not going to accomplish the things I want to accomplish in my lifetime. 

 

Louis Goodman 21:32 

Well, I agree with you that you can't really wing it. I don't think you can wing it in practicing law. I don't think you can wing it in podcasting. I don't think you can wing it in interviews. Jordan Harbinger is one of the superstar podcasters. And he talks about, if you're going to interview someone who wrote a book, you better read the book. I really did read your book, but for no other reason than that.

 

Steve Fretzin 22:01 

I appreciate that. I appreciate that. But look, you know, I think it's important to know. Yeah. Know who you are. I always talk about anything you're doing with networking, business development, podcasting, to do your research before you, you know, get on a call with someone because you want to be able to. You know, talk about things that are relevant to both parties. And, it's just a great way to build relationships. 

 

Louis Goodman 22:23 

The name of your podcast is Be That Lawyer. What do you mean by that? 

 

Steve Fretzin 22:28 

I leave it up to the person that hears that to figure it out. But I will share that there are lawyers that everyone's talking about, and they're usually the lawyers that are the rainmakers. They're the most famous, the most successful, the ones that people are buzzing about at their firm. And everybody kind of, they walk down the hallway and people go, "That's that lawyer." So what I'm trying to do by “be that lawyer” is explain that, you know, you can be that lawyer: confident, organized, a skilled rainmaker. 

 

If you work with me, if you learn planning and process and systems, if you take business development seriously and realize that, you know, as we started the show with getting your own clients is the portal for many lawyers to freedom and success and happiness. And Be That Lawyer, is that the tagline for everything I do. 

 

Louis Goodman 23:18 

I started out as a Deputy District Attorney and I have been practicing criminal defense for most of my career. Do you have any specific recommendations for criminal practitioners?

 

Steve Fretzin 23:34 

I've worked with some criminal attorneys and it's interesting. A lot of it comes back to networking and, you know, because there's so many people that don't do criminal, they need a good person to rely on, to count on that they know is going to follow up, that they know as a competent attorney and, you know, shaking hands and kissing babies and making friends. And it's absolutely a winnable situation if you do that the right way. 

 

Louis Goodman 23:58 

You have a very interesting profession. Would you recommend that profession to a young person who is thinking about a career choice? 

 

Steve Fretzin 24:06 

I think coaching is the kind of profession that you don't want to start in. I think you need to get a certain level of expertise in something. And then if you decide to coach in it, that would be the way to go. If you have enough life experience to become a life coach then become a life coach. It's one of the most rewarding professions you can ever be in. Everything that I do every day is exciting. Everything I do is for it comes back to me in spades, that wonderful feeling and coaching does that.

 

Louis Goodman 24:37 

How has actually working with lawyers met or differed from your expectations about it? 

 

Steve Fretzin 24:42 

I think I was nervous about dealing with lawyers and how analytical they can be and how argumentative some of them are, especially the litigators. I mean, that's what they're paid to do, right? To argue. And I found it to be quite the opposite. I found them to be the most, just again, I don't mean to glow, but like, you know, the most wonderful people, the most giving people, the most, I just, the relationships I've developed, I just can't believe how fortunate I am that I get to work not only in such a great profession, but with just the most wonderful people. So it's fun. I'm having a blast. 

 

Louis Goodman 25:11 

What do you think is the best advice you've ever received? 

 

Steve Fretzin 25:14 

This is a bit of a Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers thing. There's a saying, "practice makes perfect" and it's absolutely not true. Perfect practice makes perfect. And so the idea that I'm practicing the same thing over and over, and when we can learn from mistakes and grow and develop and get better and better and better, Louis, there's absolutely no stopping us.

 

Louis Goodman 25:40 

I'm thinking about the future. What do you see in your future and the future of your business? 

 

Steve Fretzin 25:47 

I mean, I've got two main goals. One is to work with the lawyers that are the most highly motivated, interested, coachable lawyers that want to engage me to win. And I'm 52 years old this month. And I want, by the time I'm 60 and I'm not going to ever retire. I'm probably going to slow down a little bit, but, but when I'm 60, 65, I want to be a household name not because I want to be revered or because I want to be put up on a pedestal, I want to impact the industry. So that's really, my legacy, is how am I leaving this industry better than it was, you know, before I got into it. 

 

Louis Goodman 26:26 

I want to shift gears here a little bit. I'm wondering if you could tell us a little bit about your family life and what sort of things that you enjoy doing recreationally and how the work you do fits in with all that. 

 

Steve Fretzin 26:40 

You know, part of what I'm teaching lawyers is how to live a well-rounded balanced life. And I don't think if my wife was listening to this at the door, that she would argue that I've done that to a T. Create my own hours, take vacations when I want, take off afternoons. I probably spend more hours fishing with my son than most parents spend with their kids at all. And we have the most quality conversations, the most quality time together fishing in, and then I'm spending time with my beautiful wife, Lisa. She's a teacher. And, you know, she just turned 50. We spent, you know, three days in the city of Chicago at a wonderful hotel having dinners and just quality time together. Then I have just wonderful balance so that, so I think I have to live the life that I'm trying to teach lawyers to live. 

 

So the other things I do is, recreationally when I'm not fishing with my son, there's a sport here in the Midwest and in Chicago called platform tennis. Some people call it paddle tennis. It's played outside in Chicago in the winter. I've worked my way up to a pretty competitive level and any chance I get to play paddle tennis, I'm out on the courts playing. I don't care how cold it is. 

 

Louis Goodman 27:43 

I sometimes ask people whether they've had a near death experience and if so, how that experience has changed them in any way. And you know, you're very upfront about the fact that you survived a plane crash, you've mentioned it earlier in the podcast. What can you tell us about that and what, if anything, did you learn from the experience? 

 

Steve Fretzin 28:07 

I mean, I'm not going to get into the weeds on the actual incident. That's a much longer story and it's actually a good story over a beer. Sometimes I need a beer to get through it. It was a very tragic, very dramatic situation. A small Cherokee Piper plane lost our engine about 6,000 feet up, crash landed into a house and in a suburban town. And I was basically, and I'm, you know, I was basically in a wheelchair with no use of my arms for a number of months. It was absolutely brutal.

 

And there's no reason I should be alive right now, Louis, zero reasons I should be alive right now. And when you get an opportunity to reflect back on a situation like that, and again, it could be surviving cancer, could be a near death in a car crash, whatever it doesn't have to be a plane to be scary.

 

The reality is you only have one shot at this thing called life. And I incorporate that into my coaching because lawyers that are just living the same day, the same week, the same year over and over again, and they're unhappy - it's no way to be. You get one shot at this thing. And if you're not making it work and you're not happy and you're not feeling loved and being in loving others and feeling success in the way that you're impacting this world, that's a shame. And I think it's unfortunate that it sometimes takes a near-death experience for people to come to grips with how fragile things are. 

 

Louis Goodman 29:23 

Let's say you had a magic wand that was one thing in the world you could change. Legal world, business world, otherwise. What would that be? 

 

Steve Fretzin 29:31 

I think it would be trying to help people find the common ground with each other versus the differences. I think we're all divided in so many different ways. And so I think if I had a magic wand, I would try to, you know, use it for good and helping people be happier because we would be more together in this world. 

 

Louis Goodman 29:52 

Steve, if someone wants to get a hold of you. And they are interested in your services, your coaching, your books, your information, what's the best way to do that?

 

Steve Fretzin 30:05 

I'm not hard to find. I'm putting myself out there quite a bit, but if you type Steve Fretzin into Google, you'll find me really easily. If you go to my website, fretzin.com. If you're a podcast fan listening to Louis and you want to check out mine, it's on all the major channels, Be That Lawyer. And my LinkedIn, I'm a big LinkedIn guy. So if you just go into LinkedIn type my name and if you want to connect with me, I'd appreciate a personal message, Hey, I listen to Louis' show, love to connect. I connect with just about anyone that is in the legal profession. 

 

Louis Goodman 30:34 

I found your books on Amazon. Is that the best place to find the books?

 

Steve Fretzin 30:39 

Yeah. If you're interested in the books, you can do them the hard back or Kindle is a really an inexpensive way to go. I think in some cases there might be some that are free or just a couple bucks, but yeah, if you type my name in, the book, name, or my name into Amazon, you will find my books and I've got four. 

 

Louis Goodman 30:55 

Steve Fretzin, thank you so much for joining me today on the Love Thy Lawyer podcast. It once again has been a real pleasure to talk to you. 

 

Steve Fretzin 31:04 

Yeah. It's been, the pleasure is on this side, my friend. And I appreciate you having me on and I hope we can keep in the loop with each other. I know we will. 

 

Louis Goodman 31:11 

That's it for today's episode of Love Thy Lawyer. If you enjoyed listening, please share it with a friend and follow the podcast. If you have comments or suggestions, send me an email. Take a look at our website at lovethylawyer.com where you can find all of our episodes, transcripts, photographs, and information. 

 

Thanks to my guests and to Joel Katz for music. Briyan Matheson for technical support, Paul Robert for social media and Tracy Harvey. I'm Louis Goodman.

 

Steve Fretzin 31:49 

You, no, I've totally screwed this up, Louis. We take it, can we take two on that? 

 

Louis Goodman 31:55 

Yeah, let's do take two.