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The Secrets to a Secure Law Practice With Ross Epstein

The Secrets to a Secure Law Practice With Ross Epstein

October 5, 2022   |   Written by Gladiator Law Marketing
Ross Epstein Ross EpsteinRoss Epstein is a Partner at Intelink Law Group PC, an international business and law services firm. He is a legal advisor to various clients, including US, European, and Asian multinational corporations, universities, and other research institutions. Ross’ main practice area is a mix of intellectual property and corporate transactional work, handling patents and trademarks on the prosecution side rather than litigation. He helps startups set up their operation, structure, formation, mergers and acquisitions, key employee agreements, and incentive plans. His love for corporate transactional work comes from his first-hand entrepreneurial experience, having been the Founder, President, and CEO of BCH Communications, a company he developed into a multi-million dollar telecommunications/internet business.
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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Ross Epstein talks about his primary practice area and how his law practice has evolved
  • The marketing approach that gave Ross the most traction when he was starting in San Diego — and the worst pitfall he learned from
  • Why relationships make all the difference in your practice
  • Ross’ proudest moments in his practice and why
  • The best advice Ross has received throughout his career
  • Ross reveals the colleague he respects the most
  • Why Ross likes The Licensing Executives Society’s conference
  • Tools that are making law practice smoother for Ross

In this episode…

One of the biggest concerns for law firms is how to secure their law practice with a steady inflow of clients. However, there are many ways to attract clients to your firm. Realizing that everything you do is based on relationships and the right connections is a game changer. Your law firm will succeed or fail based on the quality of the relationships you build and the people around you. You also need to develop a client base as another security leverage you get in any service kind of business. Without it, your firm will be at the mercy of whoever has those relationships — and you don’t want that. All this comes alive as you listen to Ross Epstein talk about his journey as an intellectual property and corporate transaction lawyer. Listen to this episode of 15 Minutes with Michael Renfro featuring Ross Epstein, a Partner at Intelink Law Group PC. Together they discuss the struggles of building a law firm, the marketing approach that worked for Ross, the best advice he’s received, and why relationships make all the difference for a thriving law firm.

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. Michael Renfro  0:08   Hello, everyone, Michael Renfro here I’m the host 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, 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 better website and better content almost always, at Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence combined with machine learning, as well as literally now over a century of experience to outperform. And our experience, by the way, folks is specifically to law. That’s all we work with as lawyers and law firms. And our experience is really there in and out it outperforms competition. If you want to learn more, please go to Gladiatorlawmarketing.com. All those words are spelled standard gladiator law marketing, and you can schedule a free marketing consultation or feel free to reach out to me directly. My email address is Michael M I C H alpha echo lima Al, at gladiatorlawmarketing.com. And with that, we’ll talk to our guest today who is Ross Epstein. Ross, how’re you doing today? Very well. Thank you. And Ross, I’ll just go ahead and ask you real quick. What is your main practice area? Ross Epstein  1:40   My main practice area is a mix of intellectual property and corporate transactional work. So it makes sense. Yeah. So it’s patents and trademarks on the prosecution side as opposed to litigation, although the firm does IP litigation. And on the transactional side, it’s everything from startup to operation, structuring and formation, mergers and acquisitions, key employee agreements, set up incentive plan plans, as well as anything that comes up in the lifecycle of a private business. Michael Renfro  2:12   So really you I mean, I’m assuming the opportunity that you would like is to have a new company and then be able to keep them through the life of their their business? Ross Epstein  2:20   Well, that’s the best client is one that we can we can grow with and help and help grow both. It doesn’t always have to be a technology based business. But quite a few of my clients, our ads in those types of companies become central to the overall value and helping them grow and actually launch product and raise the money that they need. And ultimately, the owners exit and realize the benefits of all their hard work. That’s, that’s the best possible outcome for me, when my clients ring the bell. Michael Renfro  2:49   Now, that’s, that’s pretty cool. It’s funny I, the gentleman that I interviewed last. Similarly, and I’ll just say like this, but he does just crypto. But you know, his whole thing is a crypto business from beginning to end and take him there. But he got into it, because he opened a crypto crypto business while he was in law school, and changed his whole focus. Funny how things work out, right. That kind of leads me to my first question, how did you get started with this with this particular How did this practice? I’m assuming this is probably an evolution of many years of law. So how did you end up getting to here? Ross Epstein  3:25   Yeah, so I’ve had a relatively unusual career path as an attorney, I started off in a very traditional way. I when I finished law school, I worked for a federal judge in San Diego, which is where I currently am. And then from that position, join a big law firm at the time, which doesn’t exist anymore. There have been a few a few flameouts ganttic law firms but but those first five years, I sort of described as my first career as a lawyer. And I was essentially a business litigator. And that was a very intense experience, the sort of thing that a lot of young lawyers who work for the law firms go through, it’s almost like a rite of passage. But the unusual part comes because at the time, because I’m a little bit older than you are, the the world change while I was in that first five years of my career, the Cold War ended, Eastern Europe opened up. And for me, having had a number of, of really interesting travel experiences, that was a very personal thing. And not to mention, you know, one time in history kind of moment, for as long as yours to irresistibly drawn to get involved in the transformation that I was sure was gonna be successful from the former Soviet economic model to the free market economy. But having been living in San Diego, it’s a long way from Europe. It’s a both in terms of distance and time, so I ultimately decided the only way you can really get involved was to go there. So I resigned Fairman and moved to Prague in 1992. Michael Renfro  4:58   I was about to ask you what year this was. It I’m Ross Epstein  5:01   not having any real clear idea what I was going to do, but had a number of ideas, none of which worked. In terms of from a business perspective, I was I was unqualified to practice law in any way. Because one of the hard lessons was if you’re a litigator, you have very few translatable skills in the business. And so ultimately, I started a telecom business in Prague, which wound up taking on a life of its own, from Prague to Budapest and Warsaw, ultimately fell in Poland, expanded in Poland went through a couple rounds of financing. And then I exited in 2001. From that business, and came back to San Diego, with a wife and two kids. Who I met my wife in Warsaw, she’s Polish we married, their kids are born there. And when I got back to San Diego, which I always intended to do, because it’s a special place in the world, as far as Michael Renfro  5:50   right, it was never I kind of heard that it was never the it was all the always the intention to come back. never the intention to stay. Right, right. Ross Epstein  5:59   And so coming back to San Diego, I never intended to get back into law, I thought that I was finished with that with that part of my life. And just finished this what I call the second the second career I had. But when I got back to San Diego, it was 2001 post.com Bust. And the world from that perspective, especially the telecom, internet software world was in massive contraction, and anything I was seeing in San Diego, even though had become a significant telecom town was not a really good fit. So I got back into law temporarily 2001. And the idea originally was to form my own firm, which I did to offer myself as an independent and outside General Counsel, trying to acquire five to 10 clients on obtain bases, which would afford me a living support my family, the exit, unfortunately, was not the home run it might have been, is more like a single. So the way I describe it, and so I still had to work and support a family. So that law practice was intended to be a bridge into whatever the next thing I was wanting to do on the business side. But then an opportunity came to open the San Diego office for a DC based life sciences patent firm. And if you know San Diego, the center of the marketplace, at that point in time, it had evolved from a very sleepy kind of tourist military real estate town into a real r&d Center for both right biotech life sciences, generally, tech, generally not not as significant as Bay area, but still Michael Renfro  7:35   one of them. But it was still it was, it’s the way that Denver now is, is on the map, like there’s, you know, certain cities have just popped up in this in this area. And I know, San Diego was one of the earlier ones, right, and Ross Epstein  7:47   still is probably second or third in the world, literally in terms of the concentration of Life Sciences and tech businesses. So joining a patent for it made a lot of sense. And personally, having been pre med in college and having come from a family of doctors, and then having nine years of telecom Internet software, hands on experience in the trenches. Have you ran the business to, you know, are very comfortable battling in those in those areas. And so the idea of joining a patent firm and opening their city office, to me, it was just another startup. Michael Renfro  8:17   And a lot of well, let me let me make I just wanna make sure that I’m understanding you join a large law firm, but we’re essentially opening up the San Diego branch, if you will, Ross Epstein  8:27   not a large law firm, but yes, opening the San Diego broken, Michael Renfro  8:32   decent law firm, then obviously, if they were branching out, they were growing is Ross Epstein  8:36   a medium sized really a medium size and in the patent world that’s, you know, 10 to 20 lawyers, okay. And lawyers, right, because lawyers are a rare breed and even the marquee firms who have patent practices, it’s actually usually a pretty small group of, you know, five people typically, Michael Renfro  8:52   I’ve used one and when I did my search, just to give you this, you know, addition, I never even found a firm that had multiple, all that I found were only only solos in my area, I was in Clearwater, Florida, but they were all you know, it was all solos and some of them just to give you for instance, new copyrights and trademarks, but some of them just patents and that was it. So I’ve seen that as being a very niche type of whatever you want to call it practice area, Ross Epstein  9:22   I guess. It was and it was and not only not only patents for this particular firm, but but almost all life sciences. Right. You know, so it was a very specific, the founder of the firm is an old family friend, he himself had been a i She Patton counsels big pharma companies before he went into private practice. And so this firm was was that the opening of San Diego was an opportunity to grow the firm. And for me, it was you know, it was a it was unique opportunity to get into a field that made a lot of sense once I understood San Diego market, which was one of the many lessons I learned while I was overseas was how to assess a market and especially in a place like Eastern Europe in those days, you know, those those markets were brand new, nobody knew what they were doing. And still, I managed to figure things out, at least at some level. Coming back here and starting a practice in San Diego, frankly, was a lot easier than he was Michael Renfro  10:14   about to ask you. Which one did you find easier? Because I can only assume the ones who were born and bred to be a little easier just because you knew it? Ross Epstein  10:23   Well, I mean, you take for granted things that happen here, right? For example, back in back in those days, if you tried to make a phone call across town, and it was raining, right, the technology was so old and beat up because they’d been on I described it as been on vacation for 50 years, it had deteriorated so much that you couldn’t hear the anyone on the other side of the line, because it was led based cabling that was detached with an LED light. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And now and so here, you make a phone call, you know, works, right. And then you also have the reality of people coming out of out of this whole different environment. From a from a socio economic standpoint, right? You things there, and you’re not sure what’s going to happen or whether it’s going to work or not from a marketing standpoint, here, you know, you have a fairly predictable market, you can do certain things, and you can expect certain results, not always perfect, but you have a fairly good idea of what’s going to happen. Michael Renfro  11:12   Well, if I may throw in there, too, in this kind of a market, you can actually do a, you know, a survey or a poll or a group of people, whatever you want to call it, and you’re gonna get very feasible and sound results, because of the fact that they’ve been in this. It’s not like those other folks, like you said that we’re transitioning from one government, one economy to a completely different situation. Yeah, I Ross Epstein  11:33   mean, we could we could talk about this all day. But you know, just the ideas. You know, one of the more interesting realities is that is that there was no civil code for 50 years. Right? There wasn’t there was no business being done. So there was no need for it. Right? Not internally, all their business was was outbound from from the country to other countries, more or less, and internally, it was a mess. So they literally had to resurrect from the 30s between the two World Wars, the Civil Code that they had at the time, and then use that as their foundation and basically built on top of that borrowing from the successful European economies, the US economy, the other first world economies as they were trying to figure out what made the most sense for them. It was it was fascinating to live through. No, I can imagine. Michael Renfro  12:17   So I, you know, you, we kind of went over quite a few. So I’m going to skip down to because I kind of, I’ll ask this one together. So it’s a two parter. What gave you the most traction? And on that same note, what was the biggest pitfall that you learned Ross Epstein  12:33   from? In my current practice mean and how I built it? Yes. And Michael Renfro  12:38   the one that you’re in now. Ross Epstein  12:41   Right, so to just to finish the finish the story? Michael Renfro  12:43   Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you had, I apologize. Ross Epstein  12:47   We get caught up in Eastern Europe. And it’s easy. It’s easy Michael Renfro  12:50   to do, right? Yeah, it’s interesting stuff. So you were you in San Diego, you were opening up the new branch for Life Science and startups in the in the corporate world. Ross Epstein  13:02   Right. And, and really, it was lifesize from so that so the original practice concept of being outsourced General Counsel duty Corp transactional practice, I really should have put on the side and focused primarily on the IP stuff and was with two IP boutiques that one for nine years and then joined another firm for seven years, very similar, not quite as large, based in St. in California. And meanwhile, the feature was IP. So it was mostly patents and trademarks on the on the what’s called prosecution as opposed to litigation, getting him getting that issue through the patent trademark office in the US and then taking them around the world, which was a really nice complement to my international experience anyway, because then it meant traveling the world and meeting meeting lawyers like me and our firm who were doing the same sort of things, different countries, because you needed to have those resources if your clients had technology worthy of seeking protection, right? international exposure, right. And so that continued until 2017, when I joined a much larger international service firm, to open their San Diego office and become the VIP focus for the firm in San Diego. And that’s when the Michael Renfro  14:14   prime you kind of the guru at that point, as far as within the circles where you had you kind of become the guy that that most people came to when they had a question too. Ross Epstein  14:23   Well, within the firm, yes, Michael Renfro  14:25   that’s what I mean, within your within your, your network of Ross Epstein  14:29   Yeah, I mean, that was that was the objective from the beginning, right was to try to become become that person, you know, and certainly in San Diego, I suppose I’m one of them. But there are many. It’s Michael Renfro  14:39   brag on yourself a little bit, man, this is a time to share. I mean, let me just say this, you wouldn’t be on the show. And you wouldn’t be sitting here and have success if you have not had success. Granted, I know the truth. That means we also have failures. That’s the only way we have great successes to have some failures along the way. But the reality is you’ve obviously done some pretty good things have become quite formidable. in your in your arena. And so Ross Epstein  15:03   thank you for that. So InterLink Law Group is the frontman with now, which is actually a smaller group of the attorneys that were at that larger international firm. So that was a break off. Right? Well, more it was more of a, the larger firm kind of melted down between, Michael Renfro  15:20   okay. Okay, one of those. So they’re not around the larger firm Are they gone completely No, Ross Epstein  15:25   uncertain about that. But it just didn’t, I mean, it just some business, some significant business mistakes at the upper level management mirrors. Now post, the firm is based in New York, it all kind of just came down the pike unexpectedly and then interlink was formed by people that were at that firm. And the core of the Italy group were people at that firm. So it was it was a nice collection of some really talented people in a variety of areas, which allows interlink to be an still an international, not quite full service firm, with IP and Corp. Transactional is two of the main pillars within the firm. The third one being business litigation, which, and then a number of smaller practices simply because there are fewer people doing them that are all complimentary. So it’s a it’s a pretty interesting group right now. And it fits my particular practice really well. Michael Renfro  16:17   So just you said you made a little comment there. He said, it’s not full service. But I my assumption, and if I’m, if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. And I’ll I’ll eat it. But I’m assuming that if you have someone that needs full service, you probably have someone that you can work with that were that you have maybe closely that can take over whatever that might not be under your umbrella. Ross Epstein  16:40   Yes, yes, absolutely. I mean, Michael Renfro  16:42   even though you’re not technically, that’s what I’m saying. Technically, it sounds like you’re not full service, but you could still keep them in your home sort of speak in your in your network. And they would feel like they’re not really necessarily having Ross Epstein  16:52   to work with a bunch of other people. Well, to get back to one of the things I think you brought up earlier, if you’re going to be successful in any business, you’ve got to be able to do things outside of your area of expertise, bring in the appropriate people at the appropriate times in order to provide the service in annalistic manner, which is which certainly is what we try to do. Yeah, Michael Renfro  17:10   I think one of the mistakes that a lot of folks, I don’t know if this one was one with the larger firm, but one of the mistakes that I’ve seen with a lot of folks that they try to wear too many hats when they do that. And then you know, that old saying jack of all trades and master of none, right? Ross Epstein  17:25   You have to know your limitations? Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Michael Renfro  17:29   So I’ll just ask you this, because I think I kind of heard so but what was your biggest pitfall? In all of this? Let’s just talk like, when you look at life, what was the biggest one that you learned the most from that gained you the most whether it was the telecom or not just what was that? Ross Epstein  17:48   I would say the realization that everything you do is based on relationships, right connections, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, you know, whether it’s law, whether it’s some corporate position, you’re going to you’re going to succeed or fail based on the on the quality of the relationships you build with, with people around you. Right, and that goes to management up, up and down. It goes to client relationships, customer relationships, supplier relationships, you name it, it’s probably the most important thing. Michael Renfro  18:20   You say that, and I just would like to tag on to that, because I have a personal belief as a salesperson, and I’ve been selling for 36 years, starting when I was 14, I have my own story. We will not get into that. It’ll bore you, or it’ll make you laugh. But the point that that I that I learned from sales is number one, everything you said there is absolutely correct it is. It’s all about connections, and it’s all about. And the reason I was bringing this up is it doesn’t matter who you’re talking to, I have found that everything is sales. So if you look at it as that you’re always on one side or the other, or many times, you’re doing both, for instance, on a both if you go seek a job, right, both sides are selling each other, I have the great job, I have the great skills. The reality is if you apply that to anything, you know, and I think this goes back so long, it’s ridiculous. far back in history, it’s about those relationships. So you have to learn how to, you know, be a salesperson, as well as be a buyer. And do it on both sides in a respectful way, where you’re never hurting the other one, I say that because for many years when I was younger, I stepped on as many people as I could. And I say that now because it’s just who, you know, I had a lot of learning to do. And I made a lot of mistakes. And then I learned that not only does that bite you in the butt because it is about connections in the one you think doesn’t matter. Somehow, five years later is sitting in a position where they’re like, remember me? You know, I truly believe that if you learn and really take heed of the fact that it is the connections and if you take every connection as important as the last, you know, and what I mean by that is it Doesn’t matter their position in life, or their, their station in life, whatever. If you treat each person equally for each connection and position that you meet, it just seems to work out much better. And I found that to be true. And I think that seems like a lot of what you said there. Sorry, I just want to tag that on. I don’t know if you agree or disagree, but just Ross Epstein  20:18   how I see things. No, I definitely just I definitely agree. It’s, it’s, it’s all about each. Look, you can’t always avoid burning a bridge, because sometimes circumstances are Michael Renfro  20:28   not on you. Right. So sometimes it’s not on you, you can only do so much. Ross Epstein  20:32   There’s two sides to every. But it is, but it’s absolutely counterproductive to do it. You know, to do it out of spite or some other some other unreasonable reason. I mean, the idea is you want to maintain life as best you can, as you say, you never know when that person is going to show up again. I Michael Renfro  20:51   think part of what happened for me, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the same, but the same stuck with me after I heard it one time. And that is, if I’m not the problem, there is no solution. And that once I tell you once I heard that I was like, okay, that just makes all like because that means it you know, somebody said this so negative? I’m like, No, actually, it’s not because it puts it into your hands that you are the one that’s capable of turning this around, regardless of the situation, it’s always in your ability to change your path and change your circumstances. So what was your proudest moment? With all of this? Ross Epstein  21:27   I probably there are several actually now I’ve been I’ve been very, very fortunate over the years Michael Renfro  21:33   give me three that unlimited limited for three? Ross Epstein  21:37   Well, from it from a legal perspective, I think one of the one of my proudest moments was just doing really well for sure law school, right, because that opened so many doors that and I was not really that sophisticated when I went to law school about law at all. I mean, I had really no idea, as I said, came from medical family. And so, you know, for me, it was just having taken a year off between college and law school and done some traveling, which actually was the reason I wound up going to Europe later on. Coming back school was what it was, for the first time in my life, I really wanted to be there, right and, and managed to find that perfect balance been working really hard and finding a way to release some of the tension while I was in school and was able to really bring it together. And so I was able to find this clerkship, which is in the legal world, you know, a pretty, pretty good position to have. And, and it was a great way to start out because I got to work with somebody who’d been on the bench for 25 years and lawyer for 25 years before that, or whatever, you know, however long it was, and learn a lot of lessons and be you know, in that position. And then, you know, when I was in the business, running the business in Europe, you know, raising the money, like actually getting somebody to give you millions of dollars do the business that you envisioned was it was a heady moment, right, one of those, you know, it rarely happens to anyone. And again, I got to experience that. Right. And then the third, the third was basically just successfully building this business and, you know, over several with several of my biggest clients, you know, when you when you as a sales guy, you can appreciate this, right, you’re always you’re always trying to hit singles and doubles, right, because that brings in the that brings into that. But every once in a while you you know, hit one out of the park. And those are really, really nice moments, when you can, when you really provide a good service for client, they’re very successful, as I said, you know, they ring the bell, they make a lot of money, you help them do it, it’s a very satisfying place to be. I will Michael Renfro  23:36   tag in and get on that because it’s part of what we at gladiator take very seriously. And what I mean by that is, you know, when you’re a marketing company, you don’t have a tangible, there’s no way to really you can show them some deliverables, right. Like this is the content that we wrote, or these are the backlinks that we got, or, you know, the videos, we posted whatever the case may be. But it’s really an it’s, it’s not a tangible in the sense that what you’re really selling is marketing as money. Right? The whole idea is that if you give me this much money, and I do these things, and ultimately, I’m going to bring you somewhere between five to maybe as much as even 10 times the money you’re giving me right and get that ROI. And it’s it’s funny, because when we have those I feel the same way. To me it’s a the biggest homerun is is not just the and I heard this with you, because you had to say three, right? So really, it’s what you’ve done collectively is the real big play these three things combine 123, and that’s where you’ve gotten and so for me, it’s like last year was the culmination of one of my best years. I won’t go into the numbers, but it was just one of the best years in sales as the only salesman for a company that’s really, you know, doing everything right. Kind of like what you’re talking about there, you know, and putting the company first because ultimately, what it all boils down to is if our clients are successful, then we have success, period, that’s where it’s literally dependent, almost like a personal injury. I hate to say it because I know you’re not in there. But you know, it really is very much like a contingent like the only reason a personal injury is successful is because they’ve won the case. Otherwise, nobody gets anything. Right. And it’s all for naught, if you will. So it’s funny you that you pointed that out. Now, going back to the first one, the schooling, you mentioned there was somebody is would that be who you consider maybe the mentor of your life? Or do you have one that gave you the best piece of advice? Ross Epstein  25:29   I think I think I’ve had several mentors over the years, or at least people that I would consider mentors. This was a federal judge, who, as I said, had been on it wasn’t when by the time I clerked for him. He’d been on the bench for 25 years. And I was a solo clerk. And he, you know, one of the realizations is a federal judge in his court, in his courtroom, they ruled the roost. Right? He was the king. Right? And so, you as a law clerk become kind of a prince. And so right, all the lawyers come and cowhand. But the really intimidating part of is it you’re, you know, I was a 25, or six year old kid, trying to advise this, this 70 something year old guy who had a wealth of experience about what he should do on these legal matters. And it was intimidating, because I, you know, you don’t have that much confidence, as confident as I am, you know, this was real world stuff. This is where, you know, a lot of high stakes things. And he said, and one thing that resonated with me from from that experience that I’ve taken throughout the rest of my life, is that he said to me, in this context, look, if we make a mistake, we can fix it. And that was and that has been something that stayed with me throughout the years. Michael Renfro  26:41   I liked that. I always love hearing, you know, our, our philosophies said differently, because whenever you say just a little bit differently, especially to somebody who’s maybe heard your way of saying it, right, like mistakes are the the road to success. You know, you say it that way. And that might that sounds so cliche to somebody, but then you say something like, Hey, if we make a mistake, we can fix it, that becomes more down to earth and kind of like, it’s okay to mess up. Nobody’s perfect. Ross Epstein  27:13   You know, that was exactly I think his point is, no one is perfect than you are, you know, that. Michael Renfro  27:20   My point is only I like hearing people say it, where it’s not necessarily the cliche way, or the thing that we’ve all heard, you know, and it’s more like, Hey, man, I’ve been there. And just know this, because that’s how it felt to me the way that he said that to Ross Epstein  27:33   Yeah, and I’ve made many mistakes in my career. You know, fortunately, I’ve had very a lot of success, too. But it’s been, you know, you can’t you can’t live in this life without making mistakes. Michael Renfro  27:43   Now, now you can’t, I won’t even begin to say it, or go off on it. I’ll just say this one thing. I truly believe the most successful people and I have been pretty successful. The most successful people I have always found are also the people that have failed the most because you are not. If you’re not trying, you’re not doing anything, and there’s neither failure or success. And the fact is, if you have success, then you start to try more things. And you realize that some of them are gonna work, and some of them aren’t. It’s just the way it is. Right? What do most people what do most people not know about you when it comes to say a quirk or habit? Strange, something strange that you do maybe a hobby? Ross Epstein  28:27   That’s an interesting question. Because when I saw that, sort of in the pregame here, I was I was actually thinking more of something that people know me know about me, as opposed to don’t know me about me, right, this whole, but in all honesty, that probably this whole experience in Eastern Europe is something that not everyone knows, right, because the private kind of thing only comes up. If if I sit down and actually meet with them for you know, for breakfast, for lunch, for coffee, and we spend an hour together and we talk about our histories and don’t always even do that. Right? That’s the thing probably that comes up most often. Because it’s a it’s a relatively unusual thing for anyone to do to sort of resign from a career that was going well and move to that part of the world where, where nobody knew what it was, no one knew if the Russians were Michael Renfro  29:13   it was in turmoil. You know, it wasn’t bad, but it was in turmoil. It was you know, your move. It’s like, hey, there’s a storm, I think I want to go sit in the middle and say what happened? Which, I mean, again, I meant what I said, I like it, because you knew, look, here’s what anybody knows through our history, and you obviously pinpointing it is those situations when you’re talking about countries particularly right, they offer a lot of opportunity period. turmoil offers opportunity, and it’s not necessarily that it’s you know, the way that you did it I don’t I think seems pretty realistic because sounded like they need telecommunications. You know what I mean? I think that was your rice. Telecom was your thing over there. So Ross Epstein  29:55   and part of what we did was was actually create infrastructure which was I was Michael Renfro  29:59   I was about to say I imagine part of what they’re living on now is and impart some, what do to some of the things, not all of it, I’m not trying to give you those kinds of kudos. But obviously, you had a piece of it, and a certain part of that world, Ross Epstein  30:12   when you were there for a very tiny little piece. It’s still a piece, Michael Renfro  30:17   you know what I truly believe in six degrees of separation grace, and I mean that you know, you take one degree out, then the butterfly effect just turns to you know, then we have a whole craziness. So with that, what craziness, what’s the craziest thing that you have ever done? Would it be going over there? Would you consider that to be the craziest thing as well? Or is there something even crazier that, that I that we haven’t talked about? Ross Epstein  30:43   Well, I’ve done quite a few crazy things in my life. So again, these travel experiences were were pretty interesting. And I’m not sure if it’s something I did intentionally, but certainly happened. Maybe that happened to me would be the craziest thing, a way to describe it, right. So on one of these extended trips, traveled trips, I actually tracked in the Himalayas. And while I was coming down from what’s called the Annapurna sanctuary, which is the where the base camp for those who are looking to Summit, those mountains, which are incredible, so if you’ve ever been in Nepal go Michael Renfro  31:20   I would love to I’m in the Rockies, but these are still I mean, as beautiful as these are, we all know that they’re still not what’s the world has to offer. Ross Epstein  31:28   For me it for me the firt the first lesson there was sort of looking and remembering I’ve been in the rocks, many times, people will let you look to see the top of the mountains and then when you’re in MLA as the angle gets much deeper, Michael Renfro  31:37   and you can’t see the top sometimes because of the clouds. It’s a Ross Epstein  31:41   really bizarre, bizarre experience. But anyway, I got lost in the jungle. I was trekking in the Himalayas and literally had to climb down a stream to find the path the trail again. Fortunately, I had a lot of experience hiking and I actually was the Boy Scouts and all that stuff and use that opportunity to do a lot of hiking and have done a lot on my own. So while it was kind of kind of frightening, I also knew what I had to do to find my way and by the time you go back to the path, I was I was covered my feet were covered in leeches I was exhausted and I thought I was gonna have to turn around and head back to Poker which was the town that I came I came I hiked out of as opposed to what my plan was was which was to get to Johnson so those who know the PA will be familiar with these names but actually was able to make the trip because just happened happened along the trail was wasn’t a police guy. Name was Narayana will ever forget it. And I paid him $40 To carry my backpack to the next place. I was trying to get to that day. He spoke a little bit of English so cost me $40 And some dirty T shirts I’d gotten from Hong Kong and he had and the one thing a lot of people this this will correct a misconception we ever get leeches. Okay? People think you light a match and you burn them off. Right? You can do that but it’s a really hard way to do it. If you have chewing tobacco and you wet it. You can just wipe them right off. Michael Renfro  33:13   It was like literally like like a sponge. Ross Epstein  33:15   Exactly. It was it was and he had and he is it because Michael Renfro  33:19   do they leech onto the tobacco is that what it is they just leech or the tobacco just releases the suction that they have? He caught Ross Epstein  33:27   it leech leech leech in his words lychee poison Michael Renfro  33:32   Wow. So it poisons them Ross Epstein  33:34   will just wipe them right in it. I guess there was something that tobacco that made them release their their right, Michael Renfro  33:39   it just Yeah, came right off and a lot safer than trying to put a burnt match to your body and get a leech off, you know, yeah, it Ross Epstein  33:47   was just my feet, fortunately. But still, it was pretty pretty harrowing. And so that was that was a pretty crazy experience. Michael Renfro  33:53   That’s that honestly, that is just insane. So real quick. I know you’re from San Diego. So you grew up in San Diego, when it was like two cities ago. Ross Epstein  34:07   Right. Well, actually, I didn’t grow up in San Diego I Michael Renfro  34:10   thought you grew up on so I Where did you grow up in? Ross Epstein  34:12   I grew up in the Philadelphia area. Michael Renfro  34:14   Oh, what was it were like in Philly in the metro area? Yeah. Yeah. And Ross Epstein  34:19   it was well, it was it was a wonderful place to grow up. I mean, I had a very, very stable family. As I said, you know, it’s a family of doctors. My father was a doctor. My parents were married for decades. My siblings are all doctors. Literally there are there were four of us. Three of them are lawyers or doctors. I’m the I’m the black sheep of the family as a lawyer. And you know, growing up in that area was was very much a Dilek. I moved to San Diego after I finished law school. I was in Boston law school and moved to San Diego for that first job with a federal judge. Michael Renfro  34:54   Now understand my uncle and cousin My cousin is me Eric graduated Drexel, he’s a city planner for Philadelphia. And my uncle lives still lives there. He’s been there since. I think I want to say 7870, at least 77. Because that was the first time I remember visiting him. And they still have that same house. And they’ve always lived. I got one of my greatest fondest memories personally was going there to visit and going to see all the incredible historical places that Philadelphia has to offer. Right? Like just so many of them. That was one of the one of the really cool experiences. So who, and this question I’m directing at current? So who you’re working with now in your circle? Who is who is it that you most respect and your current circle of colleagues? Ross Epstein  35:44   That’s a That’s a great question. I’m many of the people that I work with are worthy of it. Right. I mean, you know, we’re all we’re all doing, doing a pretty good job. And in terms of, yeah, what we’re doing people are available. But I would probably say the, you know, the managing partner of the firm is a colleague. He was one of the founders of the firm. He had the the foresight to, to leave that other firm as it was falling apart a lot more quickly than I did. You know, as I said, many mistakes over the years, and one of them was was hanging in there longer than I should have before on that one. And so yeah, he mean, he’s got a practice that’s very similar to mine, in the sense that he’s got a he’s a piece of patent lawyer himself. He’s got a very vibrant Patent Trademark practice. He’s got a corporate transactional practice. It’s very sophisticated. He’s also he’s also been an entrepreneur. So he’s a younger version of me, basically. His name is Brad Bertoglio. He’s the Michael Renfro  36:44   Brad Bertoglio. Am I saying that correctly? Totally. Ross Epstein  36:47   Oh, probably. Totally. Oh, right. Yes, he’s basically more beach. He’s magic part of the firm, one of the founders. Very good guy, smart guy. Very, very good to work with. And Michael Renfro  37:01   really interesting perspectives. Nice. As that sounds like a very, very interesting person, in the sense of, if he’s younger than you already nice having it sounds quite impressive for considering that he’s obviously younger. And I don’t think you would mention it if he wasn’t a little bit more younger, probably even than me myself. So that’s, that’s always impressive when they’re doing that kind of stuff. At that age. He is younger than me. Yep. So I’ll make this one when quick, what is your favorite conference? Ross Epstein  37:33   So there is a organization called the licensing executives society. I don’t know if you’ve heard of these guys. But, but this is, as it sounds, an organization of licensing professionals. And these are the people for example, who work in business development, it’s called in the pharmaceutical industry is one example. Right? Because it’s across all the different industries. And they are always out looking for opportunities to license in technology for their pharmaceutical companies, they can take it through the FDA process and ultimately offer a product that’s going to help people in some way, right and so this organization facilitates the training of how to do licensing the right way. And also, you know, that’s the content side it also provides you an opportunity to network with other licensing professionals who are doing coming out of different industries, different aspects of the ecosystem. And my favorite conference is the is the licensing executive international conference that happens each year in some in some interesting place typically, but not always. Michael Renfro  38:34   But it’s international which means it’s not always gonna be in America that’s a guarantee right is gonna Ross Epstein  38:38   arrive this year actually, for the first time in several years because of the pandemic the meeting was in Venice and Venice, Italy and it was really really fun. It was really well done meeting I would just love to go to Italy sorry. Lido which, which is which is someplace I’ve been to Venice several times but not been to Toledo itself, which is a sort of a resort island and you know, that sort of helps treat others beautiful Venice and got together a lot of people I’d seen in several years obviously because of the pandemic but then some some really really nice events in the evenings in various locations around Venice which which was Michael Renfro  39:19   islands so obviously it was you had some beautiful ocean places right? Ross Epstein  39:25   Right. Well, you know, it was it was the Adriatic right so the view so the view across the beach is out into the Adriatic and then on the other side is the Venice harbor and then down in Venice itself, you know, the San Marcos squares within fame famous locations is across the harbor from from that bit that was gorgeous. Yeah, it was it was really nice. Michael Renfro  39:45   I’m a little jealous now seriously, I of course, I won’t deny that ever since I saw the end. You know, I found it. It was a remake just to say that real quick, but The Italian Job remember the movie with Donald Sutherland and Mark Zuckerberg or not I mean it’s Mark Wahlberg Excuse me? Yes, yeah. Yeah, it’s every sense that, that that movie of like, I guess, because they just showed so you know so much intricacy and it was right after I think double oh seven did his first movie, which a lot of that took place I very much want to go over there and see Venus and all that stuff. That’s cool. When it comes to tools are actually in a while I will ask this real quick, do you have a podcast that you liked the most? Is there a podcast that you actually listen to? And concerns Ross Epstein  40:32   to what you do? I have not listened to many podcasts. I have not gotten to that point yet. I just started listening to a few recently cuz I joined Spotify. And so it was mostly made music. And not that I’ve discovered podcasts, I’ve never really been there. But it’s not easy to find. To find one that’s a regular that you really like, right and and the few that I’ve listened to are okay, it’s more of the more of the content the topic rather than the actual person who’s organizing it. So I don’t listen to any particular podcast on a regular basis. Unless they’re they’re dealing with topics that are of interest to me. Michael Renfro  41:08   I will say this, and I’ll make it quick. But it’s funny because I make this podcast I do some other things on my own. And somebody said to me one day or I was talking to somebody, I was like, Hey, have you had a chance that he’s another caster and YouTuber, right? And I was like, Hey, have you had a chance to check this out? And he goes, Man, I love you. And he’s like, I support you, you know, and I’ll do all this, but he’s like, I don’t watch him. I just make him. You know, it’s funny, because I think some of it has to do and I might be wrong. But our age group, we didn’t grow up with having all this type of content available to us, right? We just had records and tapes, and then TV and movies, right. And I again, I like making this stuff, I just don’t ever have the time to sit there and listen to anything. In fact, the more I start doing this type of stuff. And the more I do it, the less I even have time to watch maybe a show or, you know, even a sporting event that I used to make time for. So it’s kind of funny, favorite tools or software. And that’s going to end up for us. What’s the thing that you will and it might be one of the same by the way when I say this, but what is the the tool that you cannot live without? Ross Epstein  42:19   I would probably say Outlook, Outlook. And secondarily LinkedIn, LinkedIn. Oh, yeah. And the reasons obviously Michael Renfro  42:30   for you, I can Oh, I totally get it. Go ahead, sir. But I get it. Go ahead. Ross Epstein  42:33   Right. So So for Outlook, it’s it’s a way you know, for for Outlook, it’s, it’s the combination of email and calendar and contacts in LinkedIn is sort of like the contact part of that on steroids, because for the first time, there’s actually a program out there that people maintain themselves, as opposed to trying to keep updating your contact database, right. And so LinkedIn has become a span and even more so with the pandemic, when that began to happen. Oh, yeah, as a sales guy, you can appreciate this, right? So building relationships is a face to face kind of thing. Right? There’s no better way to do it. You know, and for those two years, it was, it was impossible to meet face to face, people just Michael Renfro  43:17   wanted to tell us about your own bad in zoom, like LinkedIn, meet them on LinkedIn, and then go over to zoom to talk. Ross Epstein  43:24   That’s exactly right. LinkedIn became the focus of my client development activities along with Zoom. And also it was his client client relationships as well. But LinkedIn is an amazing, amazing tool, it allows you to keep up with what people are doing, you know, you can be on it. 24 by seven, if you want to be, you know, turned by constantly happens, I’d have Michael Renfro  43:47   it on your app, you can have the app on your phone with constant notifications. So you know, the moment somebody has reached back out to you, which I know for a fact for what you do is very advantageous that you want to know and make that decision. Do I want to quickly text them back, call them back? Or do whatever before I lose that that opportunity? Ross Epstein  44:05   Right. So those are probably the two most important tools for my practice in primarily from a client development standpoint, because that’s, you know, from, in my opinion, you know, that’s the thing that successful lawyers need to need to do. You need to be able to develop a client base, it’s the only security you get in any service kind of businesses is is your relationships with your clients. And without that you are at the, you know, at the mercy of whoever has those relationships, right, because if you’re, if you’re an attorney that’s dependent on somebody else for the work that you do, and the salary that you get, then you are at, you know, you’re at their mercy, regardless of whether it was their intent, whether it’s malicious or otherwise, without having your own client relationships and being able to maintain them. You know, that’s the key. Michael Renfro  44:53   Now, I’ll say this. I’ve taught a lot of people many years. If you don’t like the big heavy duty CRMs Do you really have most of the essential tools in Outlook for it to be it I mean, the the simplest of terms is outlook is, in essence, a CRM, because it has everything that you need for client management relations. You know, you can, you can literally use that in, in the same way that you it’s funny because most CRM is attached to it right. And they only use the calendar portion of it, but there’s so much you can do people up people don’t know how much you can do and Outlook, you can run an entire email campaign. I mean, you can do so much with micros and macros, or tuning macros and other things, it’s really quite powerful. Ross Epstein  45:39   And I use it I use it that way. I mean, I’ve I’ve toyed with the idea of putting together some sort of a training in some sort of a video training, business even, you know, teach professionals on how to do client development, using Outlook as the central central tool. Because it is it has, it has so many features. And they all tie together. And it’s email, its calendar, and it’s contact database. And within the contact database, you can do all kinds of things that are, you know, that allow you to track and sort and follow up, which is the number one thing when it comes to client development, right. So Michael Renfro  46:13   I guarantee you there’s times at Microsoft that people are like, you know, does anybody know how powerful our outlook is that they don’t need to go out and pay a separate fee for CRM? Although I mean, I like I do. Oh, I know. I know. Exactly. I love it wasn’t Ross, I really appreciate you being here. Thank you so much. Maybe in a year or so you can come back and give us an update. If you enjoy being here. We’ll we’ll reach out to you again. It’s one of the things that we plan on doing once we get to be about a year or so old. So Ross Epstein  46:44   if you enjoyed it, all right, I did. Thank you very much for having me. Michael Renfro  46:48   No, thank you so much. I’m gonna just sign off real quick with this again. Thanks, everybody, for listening and watching. We will be doing different things, we got some new things coming up in the future. But obviously, we will have another episode coming here soon, by the way all of Ross’s information will be and just so you know, Ross on a side note, that will all be you know, like your website, all those things will be put up and titles and graphics and things like that. And also be in the description for you once that and that description should be pretty synonymous on all the different platforms. So you’ll be able to, to read all about Ross and learn all about him and learn all about our other guests as we move along. And with that, thank you so much. Again, if you are a lawyer or a law firm and you need some help getting some new clients, please reach out to gladiator law marketing, or you can reach out that’s dot com or you can reach out to Michael at Gladiator Law Marketing.com. And we will help you we’ll even do a free consultation which quite honestly, our free consultation is a full audit of both your website as well as your competitors website. And we do not charge you a thing and that data is quite frankly, invaluable. With that said, thank you so much. Have a wonderful day and we’ll see you on the next episode. Outro  48:05   Thanks for listening to 15 Minutes, be sure to subscribe and we’ll see you next time.

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