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Establishing a Community Reputation Through Education With Eric Boughman

Establishing a Community Reputation Through Education With Eric Boughman

March 22, 2023   |   Written by Gladiator Law Marketing
Eric Boughman Eric BoughmanEric Boughman is a Founding Partner of ForsterBoughman, a business law boutique serving to assist complex business transactions, tax, health law, asset protection, and related litigation. Eric leads the firm’s healthcare and technology practices, relying on his diverse background to solve complex legal issues. He also serves as a Circuit Court Certified Mediator. His writings have been published in The Florida Bar Journal, Forbes, Daily Business Review, Accounting Today, Kiplinger, Financial Advisor Magazine, Law360, CEO World, and others. Eric is the co-author of The Law of Artificial Intelligence.
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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Eric Boughman details how his experience in the Air Force and his psychology degree aided his law career
  • Why Eric’s future goals created the drive to develop his own firm
  • How you can provide value to the marketplace through educational services
  • Eric explains dealing with hiring and marketing dilemmas
  • Why you should establish a good reputation in the legal and business community early in your career

In this episode…

No matter what business you’re in, as an owner you strive to generate clients and long-term stability. How can you provide value in the legal and business marketplace? What can you do to be a sought-after expert in your field? For Eric Boughman, generating and maintaining a presence begins by bringing educational resources to other attorneys and volunteering in the community. To be recognized as an expert in your field, learn how to teach others. While marketing your business through an online presence is important, Eric knows word-of-mouth is an undervalued marketing strategy capable of providing longevity for your business. Join Chad Franzen and Eric Boughman, Founding Partner of FosterBoughman, in this episode of 15 Minutes as they discuss maintaining a presence in the community through education. Eric talks about developing a firm, providing education as a form of marketing, and building a lasting reputation.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver tailor-made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential. To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com or schedule a free marketing consultation. You can also send an email to adam@gladiatorlawmarketing.com.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:01   You’re listening to 15 Minutes, where we feature community leaders sharing what the rest of us should know but likely don’t. Chad Franzen 0:12 Alright, Chad Franzen here I am one of the hosts of 15 Minutes where we talk with top notch law firms and lawyers about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, delivering tailor made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential to have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI your firm needs to have a better website and better content. Gladiator Law Marketing uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com Eric Boughman is an AV rated attorney and certified mediator. He specializes in solving complex legal questions for business, tech and healthcare clients and in resolving legal disputes when serving as a neutral mediator. He is also a dedicated father, husband and community servant who enjoys staying physically and mentally active. Eric, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you? Eric Boughman  1:10   I’m good, Chad. Thank you for having me. Hey, Chad Franzen  1:13   so tell me how you got started in the legal industry. Eric Boughman  1:16   I took a little bit of a unique path. I didn’t come right out of school and go to college and law school. Instead, I finished my high school up in the northeast and Philadelphia, I was enlisted in the Air Force did a little over five years enlisted in the Air Force couple different tours ended up in North Dakota while I was in the Air Force, I did my undergraduate degree through the University of Maryland through a program they have with the military. And then being up in the Midwest, I went to law school at the University of Minnesota and graduate graduated from there and and that was the beginning. I took the took a job in Las Vegas worked in Las Vegas, Nevada, where I’m still licensed for a couple years and then came out here to Florida. What was your undergraduate degree in undergraduate degrees in psychology? And next question you may ask is why psychology or what that? You know why? Chad Franzen  2:11   Well, you have a psychology degree you have obviously, you know, anybody who’s been in the Air Force has tremendous experience. When did you know that that kind of law school and becoming an attorney was kind of going to be your Eric Boughman  2:21   road? I had it in I had my mind. It was planted early. I think it had to do with the fact that when I was a kid growing up through middle school in high school, I was always the kid who was questioning things in questioning, not in a bad way. I didn’t get in trouble a lot. But I just I would question the reason why things work question authority, tried to do it in a respectful way. And, and in that course of, of that pattern. People would say, you know, you want to consider law school, I have anybody in my family who had ever gone to college or let alone any type of graduate school. So I didn’t have anybody else to talk to about it or anyone to look to for guidance. And I figured it out along the way. And, and it always sort of stayed in the back of my head. So when I was when I was in the military, I thought, Okay, this could be a good path, I figured out a way to get a degree while I was in the Air Force, and then use that as the launching point for law Chad Franzen  3:19   school. Prior to going to law school. Did you have any jobs related to psychology? Eric Boughman  3:24   No. Maybe for for a little over for almost three years between? When I got out of the military and law school, I was in the bar nightclub business, I ran a nightclub for a couple years. So you may say that, you know, dealing with all different types of people day and night was, you know, trying to figure out how to resolve conflicts in a peaceful way when people have alcohol and they’re sometimes emotionally stimulated or physically stimulated, can be a little bit of a challenge. So in a way, maybe I did. Sure. Absolutely. Chad Franzen  3:59   I think any job related to people really uses psychology to some degree. How would you feel like how do you feel like that degree has helped you in the legal industry? Or if it Eric Boughman  4:09   has, I know, it probably does just in dealing with people generally, I do have an interest in the path of psychology was primarily because as I looked at what the curriculum available to me was, while I was in the military, I did some of this when I was overseas in Turkey, and I looked at the available curriculum looked at the path toward getting a bachelor’s degree. And psychology was one of the few pads available. And then I took an interest in and I had a professor very early on, who was very entertaining and got me thinking a lot about and I still think of things in terms of nature versus nurture, or behaviorism versus any qualities. It really comes into play, I think in dealing with kids. So I’m an older parent. I have two young kids and And, and in dealing with my children. There’s a lot of times I’m talking to my wife about behavior and behavior modification. Chad Franzen  5:06   What about your Airforce experiences that helped you in the legal industry? Eric Boughman  5:12   Only in a sense that I think any background in the military helps helps you develop, instill and develop and fine tune your discipline. I was a cop in the military, Air Force Security Police doesn’t really I don’t do any criminal work. Now, it doesn’t have much to do with what I do in my career. But it was a fantastic experience. And I certainly wouldn’t trade it. Chad Franzen  5:38   So you said you got your first kind of attorney type job in Las Vegas. Tell me about those days in the days leading up to beginning starting your own practice? Eric Boughman  5:48   Sure. So when I was in law school, I had a job with a law firm in Minneapolis. Nice group was a small group there. I graduated I was I sent out tons and at this point, I had already been in the Air Force, I was little bit older than most people coming out of law school, I graduated 30 to 30 or 30, maybe 30. And a little bit older than you know, somebody coming out maybe 2627. Tight job market. You hear that from everybody. It seemed like a tight job market at the time. I did well, in school, I graduated pretty high in my class. So I had that going for me. I had the military background, I realized how valuable that was until I really was into the interviewing process. And I look back now and one of the things that I like to see if I’m hiring if I see somebody who’s got military experience. But I sent out gosh, probably a couple 100 resumes and had all sorts of rejection letters, but I had a few people willing to talk to me. And it was a very interesting law firm in Las Vegas that I went out, I interviewed for full day, I had a couple of days of interviews and three days of interviews at three different firms in Las Vegas. This one firm in particular, I just really felt comfortable with the people there. So I ended up taking my first job in Las Vegas was very unique, legal community, small legal community in a big growing city. I practice there for a couple of years fantastic firm was Lionel. So you’re in Collins was the name of the firm at the time they’ve since been absorbed into into a larger firm. I still communicate with some of the folks that I used to work with out there. And as I said, I keep my license active in Nevada, there’s not that many licensed attorneys there, you can tell how long someone’s been licensed by the bar number. Unlike Florida, where the bar numbers do seem to be issued at random. In Nevada, your license number is the order of licensed attorneys. I think they’re in the 30 1000s. Now my number, my bar number in Nevada is at three, two. So I’ve got a lower four digit number. And I stayed there for a couple years I liked practicing in Las Vegas, I didn’t think that living there long term was going to be a good option. I got engaged to my now wife there. And then we talked about it together and thought it would be very challenging to raise kids in that environment. People do it successfully all the time. But it wasn’t for us. I had some friends and family in Florida and moved out here went to work for a firm in in Winter Park, smaller firm in Central Florida. And I worked there for almost 10 years. But the same people are still friends with all those folks that I work with a few of them now. So I have folks that I’ve worked with going back to 2005, including my law partner, we started this firm that I’m in now in 2014, we left left, all firms started this and we’ve been at it since then, Chad Franzen  8:37   what led to that. So you’ve been you’ve been at your own, you’ve been working at your own firm for about eight years, what led to you starting your own firm. Eric Boughman  8:44   So in my last firm, as I said, the folks there that I worked with were fantastic. I’m still friends with most of the attorneys and we keep in touch get together I work with a couple other ones from that for but I could see the writing on the wall, the the person who had started that firm, and was the controller, he was the sole owner. And I didn’t see a future and I kept waiting for the future to appear. And after about nine or 10 you get complacent if you’re happy we’re working with the people you’re working with if you’re if the money is okay, and and nobody’s rocking your boat, and you have you have stuff to do and everything seems good. But at a certain point, especially my my daughter, my first child was born in 2013. And you really start questioning Okay, where’s the future here? I’m gonna write in a private my legal career. And I’m looking at somebody who was you know, quite a bit older than me. And I didn’t see the firm developing and, and doing things that you would expect to do for firm that wants to last into the future. And, and when I started really questioning where we were going to be three years, five years, 10 years, I didn’t like myself So I was having conversations with Gary Forster my partner now. And, and we just decided, you know, he was really the one who started pushing once I question I said, you know, what do you where do you see yourself in a couple years? What do you think you’re going to be doing? And then he started pushing me to, you know, maybe we should consider doing something else. Chad Franzen  10:18   So your firm’s name is ForsterBoughman, is that correct? ForsterBoughman, yeah. Eric Boughman  10:23   Er, yes. Chad Franzen  10:24   Okay. Yeah. Tell me a little bit about the early days there. What was that, like once you decided to start it up? Eric Boughman  10:30   Gosh, it was. It was like a whirlwind of of activity. For several months, we decided and we were we started to talk probably late 2013, early 2014, about making a move finally decided that our timing would be in the middle of 2014. So we left in July 2014. started this for Gary had been in talks with another attorney about potentially combining practices or acquiring another small practice that might mesh well with what we were doing. We had tremendous help from someone who’s been a friend and someone I look to for guidance for the last 25 years named Tony peasy, and he does some technology and some consulting marketing. And he’s just a smart person, and someone that I trust. And it was really, Gary and Tony and I, for several months, meeting once or twice a week, in the evening, on a weekend, going over strategy going over. You know what everything would look like we started, we found space and jumped off and started this office, we started out with five attorneys, we immediately knew we needed more people. So we hired two more, right away and hired a couple of staff folks, we didn’t take anybody, we didn’t encourage anyone to leave our old firm. We didn’t take any staff or anybody from from the old firm. But we did have people approach us and we ended up hiring them in the long run. Chad Franzen  12:00   So you started out with with a few attorneys. What how did you guys how did you guys get clients kind of right away, like have ever need for somebody’s attorneys right away. Eric Boughman  12:10   So the attorneys that we had were experienced, we combined with another practice. And we essentially acquired the book from that practice and brought those attorneys in. So there was some built in business there. We each had, I had some of my own clients, Gary had a lot of clients of his own. People had told me, you know, when you start your firm that people will, it gives you an opportunity to reach out everybody, and then people will send you business I had one client was kind of interesting client just sent me a check and said, I know I’m gonna need you for something. So hold on to this. And we, we had a plan going right away. We knew that, you know, long term stability would depend on being able to generate clients. Gary already had a good book of business, I had some regular clients that I worked with, but I knew I need to build more. And we started in 2014, almost right away. We started doing regular presentations. And at the time, almost everybody was doing live seminars, webinars, sometimes really a lot of seminars. And Gary and I had already been doing some. And it was it’s an interesting issue as I look back because the person that I was working for the last firm, who I really think didn’t have an interest in in seeing people develop their own book of business, which is strange. But yet you understand why if you want people to be always relying on you, you don’t want them developing their own independence in their own book. And I started when I was at my old firm, started doing some presentations. And and then the partner their question that he said, he basically he told me straight out that I was wasting my time. He said, That’s a waste of time, we should be doing it. And when he said that, oh no, when everything else putting the pieces together, I knew I was on the right track. And that’s that’s how we have generated and maintained a presence, I believe is by being regularly out in the community, given trying to give valuable advice during instruction on a regular basis. And I think since since that time, every month pretty much has been at least one webinar or seminar. Would you say that that’s kind of your primary method of marketing? Absolutely. Yes. And that’s that’s worked for you. It has, you know, it’s tough to gauge how it works because it’s not an immediate payoff. Our practice we’re business boutique, essentially, we do some tax work, some high level state planning, asset protection, I deal a lot in the business world with healthcare clients, technology, folks. That’s not the type of business where people usually find you by looking up on the internet or looking at your website and hiring you. It’s usually from a referral. So that it’s a different type of marketing. It’s not you we have toyed around a little bit with with marketing services, but it’s really the results have not been good generally. So it’s really a long term play. It’s happy You can provide value to the marketplace, whether it’s other lawyers or other professionals, how can you provide them value we provide education where they can get continuing education credit for it. And, and then at least your top of mind, or they think of you at some point in the future. And it may be people that, you know, I have attended some presentations that we’ve done over the last several years. And finally, maybe five years later, someone will call and say, Oh, I got your number from, from this person. So it’s not an immediate payoff. Chad Franzen  15:31   You were pretty experienced, both in, in the legal industry and in life, by the time you started your, your own practice, as you kind of had your head of field without, that’s how you would do your marketing and get good clients that way, by the time he started. Eric Boughman  15:45   No, actually, I didn’t know how I didn’t know exactly how we would do it. When I looked at other attorneys that I saw that had had some longevity and been successful, it really had a lot to do with reputation. And I knew that I wanted to be considered an attorney that other attorneys would refer clients to, not because we’re drinking buddies, or we went to school together, but because of a level of competence. And that and candidly, when I look back, now, I’ve been doing this almost 20 years, I was consistently, one of the first people in the office in the morning, when are the last people leaving in the evening, and I worked a lot work weekends. And other people, you hear that from other folks who work a lot. But I think doing that over 1015 years, if I did an extra hour a day, an extra six hours, seven hours a week, an extra 2030 hours a month, after a certain amount of time you develop a level of competence. And now I enjoy the fact that I have other a lot of other attorneys who refer business to me and a lot of attorneys who are also clients, I have several attorneys and firms in Central Florida and around the state that I have done legal work for and some that are regular clients of mine. Chad Franzen  17:05   Are there any milestones or turning points that you’re kind of particularly proud of? During your time with forester Bowman Eric Boughman  17:14   I think it’s hard that right now the stability, I’m I’m very happy with the stability, very happy with the fact that, you know, at this point, you never want to, you never want to let off the gas. We are at a spot, you know, knock on the wooden desk here where you know, it’s it’s almost difficult to keep up with the work. We never want to turn stuff away. But we’re much more selective. But there are a lot of clients I have I was I had dinner last week at a client we went out and client espouse. And my wife and I, we just got a good result in the in a case we were involved in. And they wanted to go to dinner and he took us to dinner and gave me a nice bottle of scotch and reminded me that we’ve been working together for 17 years. And and when you have clients who you work with for that long, you know, 1015 17 years, and they be you become the person that they call for everything. And they know I don’t do criminal work. But if the kids in trouble, they’ll call me and they’ll ask me who’s the go to person? They may know that I don’t do obviously I don’t do accounting, but they’ll call me and maybe asked me for you know who’s a good accountant. They’ll call and ask me legal advice. They’ll ask me, business advice, non legal stuff. That’s where I think we’ve that’s probably the thing now that I’m most proud of is that I’ve developed that long term relationships and reputation with a lot of folks that I work with regularly. Chad Franzen  18:42   Here, that’s great. Is there been a big challenge that you have had to overcome either personally or professionally? Eric Boughman  18:53   I think there’s nothing that jumps out specific. It’s really just the long term, the long term grind. And now the challenge that I’m looking at now is trying to transition to where I have probably more of a work life balance. And that’s really dealing with other people. It’s how do I get sufficient folks involved in the practice, where I can step away a little bit more and go into more of a supervisory type role, but it’s very difficult when you’re providing personal services to do that. We have We have excellent lawyers in the office and great staff. But I haven’t figured out a way to subtract myself from that equation a little bit more than I’d like. So that’s that’s kind of the current challenge right now. And I’m not quite sure how to do that. There’s also an ongoing challenge of staff hiring people. And I’m looking around there’s a few other folks that I see that hire and they seem to do really well and they have long staff and people that are with them for a long time. I’m interested to see how they do that and I’m starting to pick their brain a little bit more Chad Franzen  19:59   You’re mentioning work life balance kind of leads me to the next question that I had for you. What are what is your what is the day, a typical day look like maybe some daily rituals that you find most important. And then as you transition into this change that you’d like to see happen, how would it look differently ideal? Ideally. Eric Boughman  20:19   I’m very, I have very set morning routine. So I typically wake up most mornings between 345 and 430. With or without an alarm. If I know I need to get up, I’ve started using this. It’s not a regular alarm, it’s it. It’s a light that mimics the sun and has some birds chirping. It gets me up in the morning, when I get up. I walk into my shower, I turn it on and I walk in the shower right away. So it’s cold water, which not that cold here in Florida right now maybe in the 70s. But the cold water hits me right away. I let that wait till that warms up. Oh, most mornings I try to meditate 10 or 15 minutes or so. I have a area set up to work out my house. So I work out every morning. And then I do a little breathing. I’ve gotten into Wim Hof the Wim Hof breathing, and that’s where I got the cold weather as well. And I do that morning. I usually have all that done before the kids before we get moving, I may get on a computer or work on something read stuff that I need to look at. Take a look at email. I make ball down the YouTube rabbit holes. Sometimes I’ll look at something interesting and it’ll take me to something else. And then my kids are usually getting up. I’m my wife and kids usually get around seven, where I used to leave the house and try and get out before the traffic started in the morning. Now I stay home. I like to see my kids in the morning. First thing you did this morning. I had an early at a coffee meeting at 730 this morning. So I believe a little bit earlier, but I got the seat of kids at 730. My wife and I. And that’s how I start pretty much every day even on a weekend start like that. It’s Saturday morning, I typically still wake up between four or 435 o’clock. I get up and then I take naps later today. Chad Franzen  22:08   What do you feel like it’s important to get started so early. Eric Boughman  22:12   I like to quiet in the morning. When I was when I was in the military. I worked shift work and I got used to the mornings I even did it when I was a kid when I was in high school I grew up in and we had a large household and a small house. My four step sisters, my grandmother was with my parents, but one bathroom. And everybody, everybody else worked night owls. And if I wanted to get anything done where I had to focus for schoolwork or anything, I usually do it in the morning. So I got up early military, I did that. And it just seems to be the best time to get things done. And I enjoy the mornings. It’s nice. I like that quiet time. Very nice. Very nice. Chad Franzen  22:49   Hey, I have one more question for you. But first, tell me how people can find out more about you and more about ForsterBoughman. Eric Boughman  22:55   Sure. Thank you, Chad. The website is www.ForsterBoughman.com. And if anybody Google’s my name, Eric Boughman, Boughman. They’ll find different websites that have presentations articles that I’ve written, they’ll find my website. They’ll also find it there’s there’s other groups that I’ve done, seminar presentations, educational stuff, where you’ll find that on there as well. You’ll find information about my mediation practice and my law practice. And of course, you know, I welcome anyone to reach out by email or through LinkedIn is, is now becoming a good source of, of connections. Chad Franzen  23:37   Last question for you, if you can think of the the advice that you’ve gotten over the years, what’s either the best or the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? Eric Boughman  23:45   I’ll tell you, there’s some bad advice that jumps out. And that bad advice is what I got. When I went to when I was practicing with the first firm when I came to Central Florida here with that partner who I thought was in my corner, and I thought he was looking out for me. And really, I think it was a lot of just self interest. He didn’t want me doing anything besides legal work. I would encourage you when I take this and I’ll transition it into some some good advice that I’ve picked up. I can’t point to one particular person but there many people is to get involved very early in the in the community and the legal community and the business community. A great way to do that is through volunteer activities. I’m active in a few different charitable organizations, both law related and not law. And then the other thing that I have discovered, and I think this was probably I mentioned Anthony pz earlier, he’s probably one of the ones who turned me on this is the way to become the way to be recognized as an expert in something is to teach it and if you don’t know the material, then study up on it. and become an expert. So you can teach it. And then you end up becoming the go to source. So if you combine those two things of learning to teach, and being involved in a community, then you try to get yourself established as having a excellent reputation in the legal community. And that helps a lot, I think later in life with generating business and clients. Chad Franzen  25:20   Great. Sounds good. Thanks for sharing that. Hey, Eric. It’s been great to talk to you. I really appreciate your time and your perspective today. Thank you so much. Eric Boughman 25:26 Thanks, Chad. Appreciate it. Have a great rest your day. You too. So long, everybody. Outro 25:32 Thanks for listening to 15 Minutes, be sure to subscribe and we’ll see you next time.

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