In an industry focused on revenue and profit, where does something like customer experience stand in the priorities of legal providers? Leigh Vickery, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Level Legal, as well as CEO and founder of Queso Mama, says that we need to look at the corporate and legal industry world differently. Instead of putting shareholders and partners first, they need to fall much further down the list. If you take care of your employees and your customers first, there will still be plenty left over for the shareholders and everyone is better off in the end. 
We dive into the topic of how other industries approach customer data and use the information to create a better experience. Can examples like Eleven Madison Park restaurant teach the legal industry better client interactions? Vickery believes so. Metrics like Profits Per Partner might show the industry how profitable the law firms are, but perhaps we need different metrics to show how satisfied the law firm’s clients really are. See Leigh’s article on Economics of Mutuality.

Information Inspirations
Casey Flaherty has an excellent article on how incremental improvements can create better returns on investment than big moon-shot projects. Check it out, right here on 3 Geeks
Wikipedia biographies are surprisingly difficult for women to not only get them on the platform, but to also keep them from being deleted. UNC Professor Franchesca Trapoti discusses the bias in her paper, “Miscatagorized: Gender, Notability, and Inequality on Wikipedia” and Marketplace Tech breaks down some examples.
Bob Ambrogi’s two-part article/podcast focuses on the unique resurrection of UpCounsel’s “legal as a service” model, as well as the interesting crowdfunding to raise capital. It’ll be interesting to see how well this crowdfunding goes, and if other legal services use this model.
Hey kids, lemonade stands are “legal” in New Hampshire and Illinois.
The Netherlands is using AI to pick up butts on the beach. Cigarette butts, that is.
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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.

Marlene Gebauer  0:24

Welcome to The Geek in Review, the podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert  0:31

And I’m Greg Lambert. This week, we have a very fun and informative conversation with Leigh Vickery, the Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Level Legal, as well as the CEO and Founder of Queso Mama. So Leigh shares her unique way of looking at things and coupling that with her passion for customer experience in hospitality, it creates a business model for the legal services that the rest of us should adopt. We have a lot of fun talking about this, as well as her experiences running that Texas base Queso Dip company, Marlene.

Marlene Gebauer  1:06

Yeah, we were so excited to get that at the very at the very last question. So that was cool. So stick around for that interview. But now let’s get to this week’s information inspirations.

Greg Lambert  1:21

Marlene, our fellow Geek, Casey Flaherty went full on math geek this week with his post on Advancing Our Thinking on Low-End Friction. And you know, first of all, I had to tell everyone that, you know, Casey actually wrote something that was relatively brief for him. I was teasing him this afternoon about that. So if you were waiting until you had set aside some significant time to read the blog post, fear not, this is one of those that is very digestible. And and the other thing is, if you look close enough, it has at least two references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.. So it takes just a little bit of the sting out of the math that Casey throws your way. So anyways, in the article itself, Casey breaks down his longtime obsession, that little changes make bigger differences than massive changes. And he uses an example of instead of a giant moonshot approach, like going from a vehicle that gets 50 miles per gallon to a vehicle that gets 500 miles per gallon, we should focus on the process that actually takes you from one mile per gallon to two miles per gallon, and then eventually on to 10 miles per gallon. And what he was saying was you look for those obtainable goals, even if the improvements are marginal. And in the article, he states that the aggregate impact of marginal gains can be significant when they are compounded. So it’s like that, you know, if you improve 1% today, over the year, you’ve improved, you know, like 400 and whatever %. So one of the things that Casey references is a quote from Alex Hamilton, the author of the new book Sign Here. That’s Alex Hamilton, not Alexander Hamilton.

Marlene Gebauer  3:10

Yeah, I was working for a second. I’m like, wait a minute what?

Greg Lambert  3:14

But in that Alex says that, you might find it depressing to discover that there is no single solution. But there is good news here too, because many changes can be made as relatively small tweaks. And they can also be cheap, fast and low risk. And it reminds me a little bit of a conversation I had recently about bringing in new products to the firm, when we still hadn’t even begun effectively using the products we already had. You know, a slight improvement with using Microsoft Word or Outlook or even your current contract drafting tool will make a bigger difference for your output and bottom line than it will bring in yet another expensive tool that promises to be the silver bullet for all your problems. So great article from from Casey,

Marlene Gebauer  4:02

Cheap, Fast and Low Risk is going to be the name of my new band. So marketplace had an interesting and really disturbing podcast episode on why it’s so hard for biographies of women to stay on Wikipedia. So when you search for someone notable, you know, often a Wikipedia entry pops up, right? But if you’re looking for a woman, you might not find them. There are about 1.5 million biography entries on Wikipedia, but only 19% are about women. And even if they do have a biography entry, women are often slated for deletion. Professor Francesca Trapoti discusses this in her paper Miscategorized, Gender, Notability, and Inequality on Wikipedia. So an example she gives is Donna Strickland. So Donna Strickland is a physicist who created tech for high power laser work that won her a Nobel Prize in 2018. But she actually made a lot of headlines because she didn’t have a Wikipedia page. Now Trapoti explains when you look at the revisionist history for her, her bio was created in 2014, but was nominated for deletion, and flagged for speedy deletion and then erased. I don’t even know what speedy deletion is. But yeah was erased, trapped. He also uses an example of Louise K. Alexander Lane, a woman of color who was very influential and promoting black involvement in the fashion industry. She founded two museums, she wrote books, and clearly met the criteria for a Wikipedia page. Yet when someone tried to create the page for her, it was rejected. So yeah, there’s valid reasons out there for deletion. But why would the bios of these women, you know, be deleted or not even created? Even if there was something wrong? Why didn’t it get corrected or addressed? Because without a Wikipedia page, Google and Alexa, you know, they don’t pick you up. Trapoti says that Wikipedia is really only part of a larger problem that women experience online. In fact, she notes that women who edit on Wikipedia, like to work in what they call “quiet corners”, so as not to stir up controversy and draw attention to themselves like, great. And another thing she pointed out was women who edit get date requests, and you know, Word to the wise. That’s not why they’re doing it.

Greg Lambert  6:21

Oh, my lord. Yeah, I listened to that this morning. It’s Yeah, I agree. It’s quite depressing.

Marlene Gebauer  6:27

Mm hmm. Lots of room for improvement there.

Greg Lambert  6:31

Alright, let me see if I can get out of this funk, you just put me in. So my second inspiration is if you want to see a creative business model in the legal industry, I think Bob Ambrogi is two part article / podcast will pique your interest on this. So Bob talked with the resurrected business UpCounsel. And their CEO KJ Erickson and chief revenue officer, Paul Drobot. UpCounselis a platform where small businesses can post the legal work that they need done on the UpCounsel website, and have lawyers actually bid for that work. And so the new business model is a subscription service for the lawyers. And they also have like an 8% fee for the businesses. And UpCounselis calling this is legal as a service model, which not original but kind of fits here. The other interesting business dealings that UpCounsel is is trying out is they’re actually crowdfunding to raise possibly up to $5 million. And it’s this, you know, it’s definitely a unique approach on raising capital. And but I can tell you this if if UpCounsel pulls this off, is probably gonna open the door for other legal entrepreneurs out there to follow.

Marlene Gebauer  7:49

Yeah, I definitely like to see how this works out. Well, Greg, since my last inspiration was so depressing. I needed something uplifting for the next.

Marlene Gebauer  7:58

Good. I need uplifted too.

Marlene Gebauer  8:01

So I did two. So first kids, if you’re under 14, you can now legally run a lemonade stand from your yard without a license in New Hampshire and Illinois. Now, why do we need this law? Well, some adults are cranky and curmudgeony and they just have it in for entrepreneurial kids. For example, someone complained to the health department when Haley Martinez, a nine year old, opened a lemonade stand in Illinois, she was charging 50 cents a cup, and she was using it to fund college. So the health department shut her down. So she went to a donation model. Way to go Haley. Yeah. And you know, and we wonder why kids sit around and play videos all day, you know,

Greg Lambert  8:45

Did you see, there was a tweet yesterday where someone said that their kid made like $110 at their lemonade stand. And that was because people were were paying her in like five and $10 bills, and she didn’t really understand about giving change and so and the people were too embarrassed to ask for their money back. Way to go kid!

Marlene Gebauer  9:10

Think that might be a good model, you know, it’s just like, yeah, I didn’t know. And second, if you’re in the Netherlands and see gross cigarette butts on the beach, it may not be for long. There’s now a bot that picks them up. So the bot uses AI and image detection algorithms, you know, sort of like driverless cars, to distinguish between cigarette butts and say flip flops. Those butts contain microplastics and chemicals that are harmful to wildlife. All I can say though, is those bots just better not pick up food or they’re going to have the Gulls to contend with. Yeah,

Greg Lambert  9:46

and I wonder we can you tell the difference between say cigarette butts and say cigar butts?

Marlene Gebauer  9:53

Well, it can recognize like the difference between you know towels and flip flops and like larger garbage I, you know, I’m not sure if it can completely distinguish between cigars and cigarettes.

Greg Lambert  10:07

People shouldn’t be smoking cigars on the beach anyway.

Marlene Gebauer  10:10

Well, they shouldn’t be smoking period. But

Greg Lambert  10:12

that’s true. Well, that’s good when I feel I feel more uplifted already.

Marlene Gebauer  10:17

Yeah, cleaner beaches and lemonade.

Greg Lambert  10:19

And in that wraps up this week’s information inspirations.

Marlene Gebauer  10:27

In an industry focused on revenue and profit. Where does something like customer experience stand in the priorities of legal providers? Today’s guest says that we need to look at the corporate and legal industry world differently. Instead of putting shareholders and partners first, they actually fall much further down the list. If you take care of your employees and your customers First, there’s still plenty left over for the shareholders and everyone is better off in the end.

Marlene Gebauer  10:55

We’d like to welcome Leigh Vickery, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Level Legal, as well as CEO and founder of Queso Mama. Leigh, welcome to The Geek in Review..

Leigh Vickery  11:05

Thank you, Marlene. Thank you, Greg. I’ve been a fan girl, like I said earlier, for a long time. So a fan geek, I should say,

Greg Lambert  11:13

Now Leigh, before we get too deep into the conversation, I want to ask you about something that you put on your bio there at Level Legal and have you comment on that first? So let me let me just read how your bio starts off. So says at an early age, Leigh discovered that she writes upside down and backwards, and was quite surprised that no one else did. From that day forward. She’s been at peace with seeing the world a little bit differently. So I one, I think that’s great. And two, you know, how have you leverage your unique talent of I mean, literally seeing things differently to help you see the legal industry differently?

Greg Lambert  11:49

Oh, I love that. Well, first, you have no idea how valuable that gift has turned out to be. You know, actually I figured out I could read upside down and backwards, first. I was about six years old, I can quickly see what someone’s going to say before they say it. But I’ll just say that people tend to see what they expect to see and see what they want to see. In life. I think if you’ll think about how you read or just how you see things. When you are writing upside down and backwards. And this is something I came into the world with, it’s not something I taught myself, it’s truly just the way I’m made. When when I’m writing upside down and backwards, it takes the ability to put myself in the shoes, if you will, of the person facing the I have to flip my mind as if to see as they see. So the paper, I’m thinking okay to be able to write from their perspective. So I’m starting at the end, you know, the sentence basically in writing. So if I stay in my own perspective, I can’t do it, I can’t stay in both places, you know, I’ll mess up. And so it’s been kind of an overwhelming gift. And that’s kind of this desire and care for the other person, not just innovation are different ways of seeing things which which obviously is part of, of how I work, too, whether it’s a new product, new service, or something missing in the market, that all plays into it as well. But when I really break down that talent, or gift or whatever you want to call it. 100% I’m having to flip my mind into how are they going to see this. And as we talk more, you’ll see kind of that’s how I’ve done my life’s work.

Marlene Gebauer  13:30

Would you say it’s kind of like emotional intelligence, basically being able to see how the other person is thinking?

Leigh Vickery  13:37

For sure. I think that’s the label now for it. You know, you guys had the woman from Ropes and Gray on not too long ago who had that? When they hired her I was like, Yes, I mean, I thought that was the smartest thing anybody had ever done. Like I’m dying to meet her and talk to her. That’s all really all we’re doing is understanding human behavior. Why do people do what they do? decision making? That’s all we’re doing. Whether it’s, you know, law, or queso, and having the empathy for that caring about it, seeing that way. And then you’ll win the day. So yes, I feel like there’s something something in me that started when I was six years old, and it’s just five decades later, carry forward. And I’m just as who I am,

Greg Lambert  14:19

Well, I was thinking of two things. One, I was thinking this is that you’re more like Professor X from the X-Men that you can also mind. And two, I can imagine this, this might be a pretty fun thing to pull out at parties. Right? Pull up a whiteboard?

Greg Lambert  14:37

Absolutely. Yeah, I missed my chance to go David Letterman with stupid human tricks along the way, but yeah, whenever a party’s boring about, hey, look what I can do. And then I’m still to this day, I have not met anyone that can do it. And I’m dying to meet someone. And also, it’s been fun, like a lot of people that are have children that are dyslexic, to have me do it and show it as a gift. And kind of encourage them.

Greg Lambert  15:04

That’s another thing I was thinking is, is that you’ve pointed to this as much more of a gift than some some type of outlier or disability. And so it’s really interesting. Now, I do know on the mirror writing, I think Dimitri Martin, the comedian, I think he can do that.

Leigh Vickery  15:21

Hmm? Oh, cool. I don’t know. For sure. Thanks.

Greg Lambert  15:25

That’s worth the price of admission.

Leigh Vickery  15:30

I need to find a Demitri. Cool.

Greg Lambert  15:32

So Leigh to apply this back to Level Legal How are you taking this and applying it to the work that you’re doing there?

Greg Lambert  15:38

Yeah, yeah. From this perspective, I don’t have a legal background. And if I could, you know, get on my soapbox that I wish every law firm every ALSP would realize the value of bringing in an outside perspective. Whatever that is to the table of just someone that doesn’t mind saying, Well, why don’t you do it that way? Well, what is that for? You know, a CEO or leadership team that allows that is huge. It was so foreign to me how rigid the legal industry is. So we’ve had a lot of fun trying new things. So bringing in not only different technologies, or my business background, and productizing things or you know, law isn’t this bespoke thing necessarily, yes, you can replicate and have a skew based system on you know, some things, but legal should be first in line with empathy with their customer. And yet, it’d be hard to find that sometimes a lawyer that really understands how the client feels, they’re good at what they do. But what we say at work is being good at what you do is about 49%. How you make that customer feel, that’s the other 51%. So we actually talk about hospitality at Level Legal. Some people might laugh and say hospitality, okay, you know, what you’re at your grandmother’s? What you’re back in your restaurant world? Food world? But no hospitality, every one of us are in the hospitality business. When you have that mindset we hire for it. We have the traits we hire for traits, not skills, traits, values, like our job descriptions, and posting, so putting a smile on someone else’s face. And you know what I’m talking about there, like when you’re solving a problem, and their smile, brings joy to you. Like, if I can tell you just this great little story really, really quickly. We just hired six new people last week, and we did an onboarding on site. They’re from all over the country. They’ve never been to Texas. So the last night, they thought we were just all going to dinner. And our CEO had had on his own call to Tecovas that’s T E C O V A S , which is this like modern, like badass boot company. And he bought all walked in, they all got to buy their own first pair, none of them had ever. None of them had cowboy boots. You know? Yeah. And so they’re like, they’re like, they’re ours for life, these so we take care of our employees first, you know what I mean? So it was just fun and stuff like that. And that was his idea, not mine. And it’s in our DNA. So that’s kind of how I think we’ve brought it, maybe how I’ve helped bring that along. So innovation isn’t just legal isn’t just technology, by the way. It’s thinking and things like this. That’s another thing I would like I wish legal tech or legal would realize that innovation comes in many different forms.

Marlene Gebauer  18:31

So Leigh, you’ve written about getting away from the Friedman theory of economics and becoming more client focused, rather than strictly profit focused for legal service providers. What do you see as some of the biggest barriers to us in the legal industry to move from moving the needle from pointing to what’s best for shareholders to the stakeholders?

Leigh Vickery  18:54

Yeah, I’m glad you found that that was one of the first pieces I wrote in legal and I did not realize what traction it was going to get. But …

Greg Lambert  19:02

And I think most people know what the Friedman theory is. But would you mind talking, talking just a little bit about what what the Friedman theory is??

Greg Lambert  19:09

Sure. I’ll try to give you the academic version, not my personal view. But so basically, Friedman said shareholders first in the corporation and maximize their profit period, the end. That’s it. You know, Marlene, you said, what’s best for shareholders to the stakeholders. First, I want to point out all of us have the same stakeholders, Corporation law, firm business life, we all have the same five. And it’s really just about what order we put them in. Friedman put shareholders first. And so you hear client centric now in law firms, and it makes me kind of laugh a little bit, it’s kind of a hollow phrase. So there’s a correct order. And the best way to ensure a great customer experience, like I said earlier is the employees, your own team has to be the first stakeholder to take care of each other, your own team. And so it’s not rocket science, but your customer, your client can never be any happier than you are the employee coming to work. And as a leader, the person you’re managing can never have a better experience, then you feel at work. When you switch your mind around. And I guess there we go. Again, it’s pretty logical that you got to start with each other. And it’s kind of like with your well being and mental health, you’ve got to take care of yourself first. So it’s kind of each other then then the customer, the client, then the community, then suppliers, and then investors. Somebody is listening, going, what investors why last? Well, if you don’t put them last than they’ll take everything. So you have to prioritize carefully on who really matters and who needs the best care. And then you can kind of play a longer game and business strategy. And that’s the order that level Eagle has, and the people that are investors listening, they know that right now. But that’s that’s kind of how we see it. If we’re not taking care of each other first, then the customer, well,

Greg Lambert  21:16

I’m sure they can put themselves last and still be pretty profitable. So Leigh listening to this and listening to the order that you just laid out on there, in the way law firms are structured, can they really move away from the short term strategic goals and pivot more to long term objectives? You know, we have this partnership model and in the financial and regulatory restrictions that we have to follow. So is it possible for us to change?

Greg Lambert  21:45

I mean, if I can just be bold, you you’re making the assumption, Greg, that the model can’t change. I mean, sure, there’s some some regulatory but look at your look at Yeah. Yeah, Greg. Yeah. And I like you so much, Greg, I admire you so much and respect that we have this model? No, we don’t?

Greg Lambert  22:07

Well, it is a, it is a de facto model. That’s, that’s in the industry. So for example, all profits are distributed at the end of the year to cash basis, typically, for the firm’s it’s a partnership model as well. So I’ll just kind of say, you know, the way that we’ve always done it, that we have to overcome. So I’m just wondering, how do you change the mindset of the partnership to be much more long term objective than short term objective?

Greg Lambert  22:41

I agree that they do have that model for sure. It is based on the general economic assumption is based on self interest is based on maximizing their own financial returns. You’re right. It’s based on an old model, I guess, is what I was trying to say. So look at what’s going on today. Especially one thing finances, financial capital, that Friedman thing. But you look at the world today, and what is another critical asset with you got 24, seven scrutiny, look at COVID look at cyber, you’ve got to be able to measure other things. And it’s not just I’m not talking about soft things. I mean, seriously, when the world’s suffering from a global trust deficit, that self serving business model is, is going to make them extinct if they don’t change. So how I look at it is can they change? Or are they going to be forced out. And that’s where I was going with Utah, Arizona, Big Four, look at all the tasks that companies like level Eagle elevate, what technology is going to take. And so if they don’t change, then a lot of what they’re used to keeping will go away. Some entrepreneurial minded attorney is going to come along that knows how to play the long game that can take this model and understand that a volume based practice with technology and like what I was talking about understands business better, is going to flip this on its head. We’re not there yet, but we will be.

Marlene Gebauer  24:14

So, Leigh, you write about how law firms need to adopt an economics of mutuality methodology where there’s a more equitable value across the entire legal supply chain. What do you mean by the economics of mutuality?

Greg Lambert  24:30

I’ve kind of hinted at it. I think, just to be clear, I’m not a socialist. I may sound like one back and forth. I’m all for profit. I you know, I’m all for maximizing.

Marlene Gebauer  24:42

You talked about how Okay, you know, we now have to focus on something other than annual financial returns. But when you say that the legal supply chain I mean, are you talking to the employees? Are you talking the business? Sure. Yeah. The business folks, are you talking something else is?

Greg Lambert  24:57

it actually goes back to those the five stakeholders I mentioned earlier, but the term economics of mutuality. I was fortunate enough to learn from the Mars family would like the m&m, Mars, Mars Inc company in a talk I heard a few years ago straight from them. And I am grateful for that. And I’ve been kind of obsessed with it. And I’m going to be a fellow in the at Oxford University business school this fall. Wonderful. The Economics of mutuality program. That’s great. I’m really excited about that. Yes. So in it started in 1947, with Mr. Maurer, senior senior, and so he wrote a letter I kind of the same thing I was saying earlier with how much is enough? Those are my words, not his but he wanted to know. How do you take this across the entire supply chain, where there’s a mutuality of services and benefits from all the way from the country. sumur, distributor, competitors, suppliers, employees, shareholders, and the communities on which it depends, so everything it touches. And when you do that, how do you measure it? And this is a touchy feely thing, this is these are KPIs that touch social capital, environmental capital, financial capital, mental capital, all of these things. So you, because you’ve got to take a holistic view on what is your company helping and hurting in the environment and in everything, so you can apply it so, Oh, go ahead.

Marlene Gebauer  26:32

No, I’ve been I was I was just gonna ask, like, you know, is it different for sort of large multinational companies versus law firms, you know, where companies like people are buying stuff from these companies, and you don’t have the same sort of scale in terms of buying services from from law firms? And, you know, maybe, you know, for some of these larger law firms, you know, you do have a limited group that are actually buying the services. So is it? Is it the same?

Greg Lambert  27:00

Well, not at all. So I apply this way, my company’s tight, relatively tiny, it’s how I choose to take care of my employees, it’s how I choose to buy the cheese. And from whom it’s the kind of plastic you buy. It’s the we’re a paperless company is small decisions. It’s also well being it’s it’s doing the right thing. It’s also I mean, in law firms, it’s how you treat the associates. It’s also planting trees for the next generation, so to speak. So you’re not playing the short game? It’s your it’s treating your staff? You know, what I’m talking about? It’s also in the community. And it’s not I mean, are you are you? Are you taking? Are you fragmenting the world? Or are you not, you know what I mean, and so it doesn’t matter what size you are, you can do it in your three person company. So it’s interesting, you would say that someone else has asked me the same thing. And so I’m there, I must not be giving that message very well. Because it it may be the Mars thing tends to make it seem like it’s something only a huge company, but it

Marlene Gebauer  28:16

I’m wondering if firms feel they need to do this. Whereas, you know, the Mars company that would work well for their end game?

Greg Lambert  28:25

it’s actually harder for them to do things and go all the way back to fair trade, they had to stop think about how they had to go back to the cocoa farmer, it took that initiative. So I would actually argue it’s it would be easier to control. All I asked is one big law firm to let me come on. And let’s start with how they give distributions. Let’s just start there. And change that. And then we’ll see. It’s a mindset is really honestly, it’s, it’s who wants to take the first step that I wish people can see that in time, this will pay off it really will.

Greg Lambert  29:01

Well, you you focused on a lot of data gathering as a method to better understand the client and their needs. And you know, it’s kind of like what Amazon does, or the now famous New York City restaurant 11 Madison Park. So what kind of data and information should legal services whether that’s the a law firm, or it’s an ALSP, or even those that are playing in the the new regulatory sandboxes of Utah and Arizona? What is the client sharing with us that we’re not gathering and answering?

Greg Lambert  29:36

We forget that our clients are consumers. What I mean is we forget that they’re shopping at Costco, and they’re buying their shoes on Zappos. And they’re getting their stock tips on the subreddit. We could learn a lot from how a restaurant runs and like 11, Madison Park, I went to Chicago not that long ago to a restaurant called ever, EV er that just won two Michelin stars. And I got to go in the back. And I got to ask questions about the data. But think about how you run your business like front of house back of house in the discovery, with customer service and with all the analysts and what’s going on the back of house and how a restaurant runs, the data they are collecting on when food is coming out when someone sits down how long it takes X to go out how many seconds it takes to walk out who the customers are. How many times have they been here? What are their children’s names? What are their allergies? What do they like to be called? Is it the second wife? What was that phone call about? I’m not joking, or is it about his wife? How about that? I listened to all of this. It is data driven, but what does it feel like? Personal customized experience. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, like this is like, that’s the first time it hit me this is what we’re doing. This is how we’re building. And that consumer data is what we are missing in our experience in legal, like understanding them that when, when they’re used to banking in real time, and I can open my app and see the second, My children are spending something on my car, they’re not supposed to, why am I waiting 30 days or 45 days for some ridiculous invoice, I should be in real time, I should be understanding them as humans, and pleasing them, like a restaurant does using their consumer data. So we’re gazing at our navels with all of our own metrics, and not really using human consumer data to build our services. So that’s what I would say.

Greg Lambert  31:46

Just to play a little bit with this with this parallel, I think what you’re saying is that if a restaurant like Eleven Madison Park ran like a law firm, they would say, we produce the best food out there that we are as good or better than any restaurant in New York, and therefore, we should be successful. And I think that’s kind of what law firms tend to do. We have the best attorneys, we do the best legal services. But it’s that add on, it’s, you know, it’s it’s the personal experience that the clients get that we’re, we tend to miss and we miss that because we don’t really understand or track or follow up, you know, what’s important to the clients, even even the little things. Is that fair?

Greg Lambert  32:40

Well, except for the part where Eleven Madison Park doesn’t have to say it about themselves, we say it for them, and the lines are out the door, and the Michelin stars are coming. They’re so happy to do the work they do because they’re putting smiles on other people’s faces. That’s the difference.

Marlene Gebauer  32:58

Yeah, I’m just this is just an aside, like, I’m just thinking of like websites I’ve seen for law firms. And I mean, do I see anything? That kind of has that type of messaging on it? And I can’t, I can’t think of any at all.

Leigh Vickery  33:14

All of them look the same to me, actually,

Marlene Gebauer  33:16

Well, they do. Yeah, it’s sort of like, how how would they like, you know, Greg was talking about, okay, how, you know, a restaurant would do it, if they were firm. It’s like, you know, how would a firm do it if they were?

Greg Lambert  33:27

Well, I’m just thinking like, the metrics of, you know, getting getting a Michelin star is not the same as getting a high ranking on the AmLaw. 100.

Marlene Gebauer  33:40

Or Chambers. Yeah.

Leigh Vickery  33:42

Yeah. Cuz it will be goodness. That’s great, Greg. That’s exactly right. What is Yeah, just because ammo is just that’s financials or whatever. Otherwise,

Greg Lambert  33:51

the the best restaurant in the country would be McDonald’s. Right?

Leigh Vickery  33:55

I get this. Okay, you got to write about that. That’s an excellent. That’s excellent. We’ve got to come up with our own ranking for how you make people feel.

Marlene Gebauer  34:07

So we mentioned at the beginning of the interview, that you’re also the CEO and founder of Queso Mama, the career started off with many parallels to what you’ve discussed about legal and that’s understanding the consumer market, identifying trends and leveraging that foresight into filling a need in the market. So we’ve been waiting for this question, the whole podcast. So tell us about the company behind Queso Mama.

Greg Lambert  34:32

Oh, gosh, that’s crazy. A bit. On the one hand, it doesn’t seem like it would go with law, but it really is about seeing something missing in the market. You know, at the time the company started, there was not an all natural refrigerated Queso on the market, I was too early, but I knew it was coming like there’s going like how hummus trended, guacamole. All there was was Velveeta type things. And then the market decided to enter with shelf stable Tostitos like gunk. And it kind of stuck. Well, and so our company organically has grown. And now the market is hitting. I mean, it’s a very, it’s it’s in Costcos, and Targets and Whole Foods. And it has it grew 385% last year. Our revenues last year, we’ve already passed at the six month mark this year. And it’s like crazy time. So, Smith, my younger son just graduated from college in Finance, which is not my strong point. And I needed a full time sidekick. And we were very close, both my sons and I are. So he’s now full time on. And we’re having a great time. I mean, we know our demographics. We’re the largest, all natural, refrigerated kaiso in the country. And here’s the other part that will tie in to this. We have the most loyal following. And that is how we grew. I have talked to everybody. We take care of everybody. Our social media is very strong.

Greg Lambert  34:46

So it’s not just queso, it’s it’s an experience, right?

Leigh Vickery  36:06

Yeah, it is. Honestly, it is putting yourself in somebody else. You know, it goes back to seeing how, how do I want to make somebody else feel how would they feel? eating it. So it really does go back to being able to write upside down and backwards. I didn’t I don’t think I realized that till you asked me that question. I’m not kidding.

Greg Lambert  36:28

It sounds like we we’ve come full circle on this. Well Leigh Vickery of Level Legal and of Queso Mama. And you know, it’s been a pleasure talking with you today. Thank you very much for joining us.

Marlene Gebauer  36:40

Thank you, Leigh.

Leigh Vickery  36:41

Thank you both. Thank you such a delight.

Greg Lambert  36:46

Oh, it’s great having I mean, we kind of jumped around a lot on the conversation there. But you know, anytime we can talk, you know, economic theory, and you know how to treat the customer well, and some some really good restaurants and queso. That was great. And but i think you know, there was definitely a number of things to think about, especially on, you know, a lot of us talk about as client service. But I think this actually kind of went a little bit deeper than what we normally just think of is client service. And that’s kind of almost this, this client predictiveness and, and top shelf style of service to the client.

Marlene Gebauer  37:26

And its client predictiveness, but it’s like it’s humanizing the client. I mean, we always hear about client service and best in class. But, you know, we don’t really hear about like, what does the client when I say client, I mean, like, the individuals that you’re dealing with, not just the, the entity, you know, what are these people care about? What’s their life like? And, you know, getting an understanding of that, in order to to really be able to embody this whole human aspect to the relation, you know, to, to the interactions in the relationship.

Greg Lambert  38:02

Yeah. And I think she’s right. I think we need to figure out a way to create our own Michelin stars for legal services.

Marlene Gebauer  38:10

Yes, I think that’s a great idea, actually.

Greg Lambert  38:14

All right. Well, thanks again to Leigh Vickery from Level Legal for joining us today.

Marlene Gebauer  38:19

Thank you, Leigh. Before we go, we want to remind listeners to take the time to subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, rate and review us as well. If you have comments about today’s show, or suggestions for a future show, you can reach us on Twitter at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 or email us at The Geek in Review. And as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you, Jerry.

Greg Lambert  38:52

Thanks, Jerry. Alright, Marlene, I’m going to the beach to pickups some butts.

Marlene Gebauer  38:58

Pick up lots of butts.