For some lawyers, being an attorney, itself, is a calling. For others, the area of practice defines them. For Heather Quick, not only was she called to serve as a divorce attorney, helping her clients through one of the most trying times of their lives, she knew early on she was called, specifically to work with women only.

We discuss her bold business strategy, and how it’s informed every aspect of her practice. 

Tune in to get all the details on that, as well as…

  • A person who was instrumental in getting the new business off the ground
  • The role of branding in reaching her ideal clients (and what made her rethink her strategy)
  • Non-legal  training she needed before she could start a successful firm  
  • What she considers the most important thing to invest in when first starting out  
  • The details of her scrupulous and highly-effective hiring process

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:

Transcript

Davina Frederick: Hello and welcome to the Solo to CEO Podcast where we provide a mix of powerful, thought-provoking and practical information to assist you in your transformation from solo to CEO of a high-impact, wealth-generating business. I’m your host, Davina Frederick, and I’m here with Heather Quick, attorney and CEO of Florida Women’s Law Group. Florida Women’s Law Group is located in Jacksonville, Florida, and it’s focused on providing divorce and family law services for women only. Welcome, Heather. It’s so good to have you as our guest on the Solo to CEO Podcast.

Heather Quick: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here today.

Davina: Great. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your law firm? I’d really like to know like, how long you been in practice. How long you’ve been in business, sorry, at the Florida Women’s Law Firm.

Heather: So I have been a practicing attorney for 19 years now. And I started my business, you know, there was a, certainly an evolution in my legal career. And I believe that is very typical for most women, to not maybe have a straight path. But I started out as a prosecutor. And then after that worked, did some family law, did medical malpractice defense, taught at the law school and then, and all during that time, being married and having three children. 

And so then the evolution came when it was like well, should I start my own firm, and that happened in about 2010. When I really decided that was the path we were going to take. So it has been a little over nine years now.

Davina: Wow. And so what made you, what was the catalyst for you starting your own practice? What made you, did you just wake up one morning and say, you know, I just really want to do my own thing.

Why Heather Decided to Start Florida Women’s Law Group

Heather: I know. Actually, it’s a little bit more than that at the time. I was, I know, I needed to get back into the practice of law from teaching, and I was just taking some cases here and there. And then really, it was financial reasons. And my husband had health issues. And then with his business, it was just not doing well and it was affecting his health. So it became necessary for me to really step in and begin to contribute. And that was in 2009, 2010, when we were really looking at that, and that, the economy wasn’t the greatest. 

So my first thought was, I got to go get a job. So I went back to the big firm where I had practice, but they weren’t hiring. You know, it wasn’t really, that wasn’t available to me because that was my first thing just out of fear. I think, you know, right now, oh, I gotta get a job. Because that’s really secure, which isn’t but I think that’s a mindset that a lot of us have. I think that’s really a normal type of thought. And it was my husband who encouraged me to open my own practice. You know, with the idea, oh, you’ll have so much more flexibility. 

You do. You can work at like 6 am and 11 pm, and weekends, you know, as you’re starting. But it did, and he really encouraged me to do that. And I, so I took that first step. And I thought, well, this is what I’m going to do. And what, you know, in the past nine years through lots of business development and training and growth and personal development, I’ve learned how much more secure it is to have, you know, control over your income and learning how to build a business with that. 

Davina: Oh yeah, you’re singing my song now. I’m a true believer in that. But it is a huge act of courage when you’re first starting out because we’re, we’re so taught to believe that security is with getting a job and but really security lies within you, yeah? And so that’s very powerful. And I’m sure that was a, you know, that took a lot of courage for you in that, in those first days. I’m sure you’ve had sleepless nights in the beginning.

Heather: Oh, I did and my children were much smaller. My son, It was really right when he was about to turn one years old. He was my youngest. So it was but it was exciting as well and there, you know, and at that time, I, you know, knew I was a really good lawyer, a great lawyer, and I knew I was great at being a lawyer. 

And then it was just, it was wonderful as I began to invest in training myself on how to be a business owner, how exciting that was, you know? And challenging and just new, so different and that it was a, you know, as I would learn to do different things, it’s like, wow, this works and, and it just really, you know,  took hold very quickly. I grew rapidly, you know, first five years, for sure.

Davina: So I’d like to just explore that for just a minute. Because I think that’s some of the things that, you know, when people are starting out in their practice, often they’ll get in that place of fear where they feel that that’s a time that they can’t afford to invest in themselves because money is scarce, right?

They’re so scared and how are they gonna, you know, money so tight. How can I afford to invest in myself? But you actually did invest in, you had to invest in marketing, you had to invest in learning how to be a business person is what you’re saying. I mean, that’s what you did. And that paid off for you.

Heather: It did. it did very much so and it was, you know, really, it was. It was so truly exciting because I was learning how to market. I was learning how to sell, how to, you know, understand financials, all of those things that each time and I would really quickly see the results. It really was, it was very quickly see, hey, there is a great, you know, return on this investment. And it works. And, you know, that was, yeah, that was really, and I just, I feel very fortunate that I did take those steps from the beginning, even though it was, you know, I was afraid. 

I thought you know, I mean, I was like oh, how am I going to afford $500 a month investing and you know, coaching. It was so little at that time like but yet, it was because I’m like, where are these clients? You know, so that I was at a point of I have to do something and I need help to know how to do it. And so sometimes when you’re in that position, it gives you quite a bit of clarity that you have to do something and you need help, versus if you feel like you have a lot of options and then sometimes it keeps us from making a decision that we have to invest in ourselves. We have to do this and make this work because there’s no time for fooling around. 

Davina: It feels like you had a very supportive spouse too, which probably helped a lot.

Heather: That is huge. Yes. Yes, he was very supportive. And, you know, part of what that transition is, is things did have to change at home. And I had to, you know, assert myself from the standpoint of I can’t, you know, we have to change some of our responsibility, share our responsibilities so that I can make this work. And so those were great. I mean, just from a standpoint of, I can’t do lunches anymore. 

I was like, I have to get like I have so much to do in the morning just before I get everybody and get them all into the car and dropped off. Like you got to make lunches. And then I just became my husband’s thing. You know, he made lunches and that saved me so much time in the morning and then you know, he would do more grocery shopping, laundry. I mean, really, it became a complete division of labor at the house so that I could do it. I mean, you have to have that.

Davina: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And just to be clear, so that people listening will know because a lot of people listening know that I’m a coach. You were not a client of mine. So I just met you. So we’re not sitting here pitching this because you were a client of mine and I’m saying Heather talk about this so that people will you know, hire me for. This is not, we didn’t set this up. Okay, this conversation We happen to be talking about this because she experienced this for herself.

Heather: And it was. And honestly, I didn’t know that even existed. That there are people in business coaching. Yeah, because if it’s not within your awareness, you just have no idea, but it was a game-changer. There’s no way I would have, you know, gotten to where I am now, probably as quickly as I have or without much support if I hadn’t invested in the business coaching and understanding those aspects. So yeah, no, that was huge, but yeah, it wasn’t you, so

Davina: Yeah. You’re, I want to shift gears a little bit and I want to talk about your decision to become a Florida Women’s Law Group and how quickly you decided to brand your law firm, Florida Women’s Law Group, and focus, narrow down your niche to focus on serving women exclusively. And there’s a lot to unpack here. 

I really want to talk about this because when you niche down, you are not only serving a certain population, you are making a decision to exclude another population, right, a significant population. And so there’s a lot that goes into that decision. So there’s a lot here for us to talk about. And I want to discuss what went into that decision for you. And when you decided that How did that come about?

Identifying and Serving a Specific Target Market

Heather: When, you know, as I was growing personally and was a business evolving, when, and somewhat maybe, you know, in marketing I don’t remember the exact moment, but when you really look at who’s your ideal client? You know, what Who are your A clients? Not only in the ones that you really want to help but then, you know, that fit your business model. And I realized, and probably it would have been say, it was before we changed the name to Florida Women’s Law Group that we began to focus only on women. 

It was that, it was at that point I was like, that is where I, you know, I’m passionate about helping women really get through the divorce process, value themselves and what they brought to the marriage and start over. And taking a very difficult situation and turning it into an opportunity to reinvent themselves and restart their life. And it is something that, you know, gets me excited to talk about and, you know, I see so much opportunity to help women because of the patterns that I had noticed over the years as well as you know, watching my mother go through more than one divorce, I saw a pattern of behavior. 

And then I saw that in my clients over and over and thought I, I think I can really make a difference for these women. And frankly, I prefer working with women and helping them through divorce. Because I, you know, I certainly recognize their point of view. I agree with it. Most of the time, it’s very, you know, consistent with my belief pattern. And it’s different with men. I mean, I, just because I’m an attorney I don’t think I have an obligation to represent a man who’s like, I don’t want to pay her, you know, alimony. 

And I want to, you know, want to use the kids as leverage to pay less money. That’s very inconsistent with my beliefs personally, and I’m not going to do it. And so I, you know, I decided that not that all men are that way, but there’s again, a lot of patterns. And I thought that’s not what I want to do. I want to, I know who I want to help, very specifically. And thankfully, we can do that in this country, and I can make a decision that this is what my business is going to do.

Davina; Right. Right. So it was a very natural evolution for you then. Did you find that you were when you’re, you started your law practice originally, that you were just, your marketing sort of evolved to where you were kind of marketing to this ideal client and attracting them anyway and then it was a natural sort of thing for you to change your branding to match you know, change the name of the firm to match then? Is that kind of what I’m getting?

Heather: Yes. And so it was, you know, and as you grow, and as you know, and I’m sure with your listeners and clients, you reach certain levels and it’s like, Okay, well now the messaging needs to change. It needs to, you know, to get to the next level to reach more people. And so that was, I went through that. I, it’s probably been about two years now I realized, hey, in order to grow, we need to be more clear. And the name of the firm was my name, the Quick Law Group because that’s, you know, like, oh, I’ll make my name but it doesn’t tell anybody what we do. 

And so I really had to look at Okay, well, how can I make, at least be clear so I mean, it doesn’t say it’s not the divorce for women Law Group, but at least at the Florida Women’s Law Group, and you know, we’re working to say, you know, divorce for women by women so that we can be clear, so that women are aware because as long as I had been in business here in Jacksonville, we still didn’t have market share. 

And, I hear, I even hear now Oh, I wish I knew you guys were around. I was like, well, we were around four years ago, but we weren’t as clear in our marketing or, you know, more reaching the right people. Reaching the women. So that was part of the change in the name of the firm. And that allows us to be more than just me, which I do think is very important. Now is, you know, a firm that is not necessarily associated with Heather Quick and, you know, just as a side note, you know, if you google quick divorce, that is not really what we do, necessarily. It’s not always quick. 

But with the name and all that it just showed up and so I was like, ah, interesting. So, you know, all of those things in together and it did take me a while. It’s not like I knew that, you know, at the very beginning and even if probably one of my coaches said that you should do it, something different. I probably didn’t listen because I didn’t always listen to everything, you know? So that was where how that came about.

Davina: Right. And you, and so once you became super clear, you talked about being very targeted on your, on who your ideal client is. You really, that really allows you to hone in on who your ideal client is. And then that allows you to make your messaging super sharp. And I noticed you do a lot of video content. And in looking at some of your video content, you can speak directly to this woman who is going through a divorce, and I noticed, like in particular, I saw a really compelling video that you did about being married to a narcissistic man. 

And what that experience is like if you’re divorcing a narcissistic male. And so, I mean, that’s really sharp messaging right there. Because, you know, which might not, you might not be able to be as targeted and sharp if you had a more general, you know, law firm because if you did, you might alienate those prospective male clients, right? Yeah, yeah. Super, you know, effective in your marketing. Have you found that to be the case? Have you found it to be a draw for you since you have gotten more and more tailored in your messaging?

Heather: Yes, absolutely. It really has. Well, it’s allowed me to express my point of view consistently. And, you know, reaching those women, and if they don’t agree with me, you know, just like clearly obviously, we don’t represent men. they’re not going to agree with me. But, you know, then there are it helps even individual self-select which is a great part because that’s what we do on our marketing to do for those who know, who for them to be clear. Oh, I don’t know that. That is what I want. So then, you know, we really only, the women who really want what we offer are reaching out to us and certainly not the men and it is an interesting thing. 

And I think this is part of when you’re really kind of touching on a nerve. You know, I have a clear point of view as to what I think, how I think women, you know, one should be represented and what their value is in a marriage. And the negative response I get from a lot of men usually online because that’s a very easy way to do it. I’ve been on the radio too and had some pretty interesting comments, but you know, because you know, you’re touching a nerve. 

It is a sensitive or not sensitive subject, but it’s very emotional. You know, which is the way divorce and family law tends to be not always rational. But clearly, I’m hitting a, you know, a pain point because it does. It creates either, you know, women who are like, yes, we are, that is what we’re looking for, and men who, you know, upset them.

Davina: Have you had men reach out to you and say, I want to hire you because you think you know, you think my wife does? My soon to be ex-wife?

Heather; Well, they used to, you know, even just before we were women-only but part of one of the advantages in representing women, we won’t speak to them because then otherwise they can conflict us out from representing their wife. So even if they call they don’t even, there’s not that dialogue. You know, we just refer them out. We’re sorry, we don’t help you. And as the marketing has got better they really don’t even, you know, reach out anymore. But some interesting, I’ve had I have had men certainly refer to us and even men who were on the other side at one point send their sister or their mother to us. 

You know they’re like Hey, you need to get the deal she got from IX you know, against me, which is you know, I mean, that is an amazing compliment. But there are a lot of men out there who if they’re not in this situation personally, they can recognize and go, Oh, yeah, that’s whoI’d want for my sister, for my daughter, you know, somebody who would aggressively protect them and fight with them, you know? So that’s interesting.

Davina: Well, what are some of the issues that you think are unique to women? That, you know, that you think it’s important for women to have represented?

Unique Issues Women Face During a Divorce

Heather: Well, what is it, like, I think a big thing is that if there are, and even if the children are grown. there’s always you know, if there’s a divorce where there’s children, there tends to be a, and I think they’re just, you know, most of the time, it’s just bluffing. But it really is using the kids for the money in a lot of situations. And I have seen a pattern where women just give up too soon, rather than it’s like, we’re almost there. And willing to value themselves and value the, you know, result to pay to go to trial as opposed to just walk away. So many women would just kind of walk away and then in the way that I try to explain it is I’m here. 

Yes, we are, this firm is, you know, doing your divorce now but our goal is to see, to help you see your life three, five years from now. Because you’re going to feel differently, and you’re going to regret making a lot of these decisions when if you allow us to stand up for you, we can get you where you want to be. And that has been very effective. And also, when the patterns that you’ll see as men approach a divorce as a business transaction, and helping women see there is a strategy, there is a way to do this. You’re very emotional and I’m not surprised. I mean, it’s your life. It’s your, you know, children, money, you know relationship. 

However, he’s compartmentalized it and going to handle it one way and we’re just trying to keep you from being blindsided from that because that’s the way it’s going to be. And you need somebody to look at it from a strategic point. And there’s an absolute strategy, in any kind of litigation in any kind of negotiation, anything. And that is where we really are trying to help focus in the practice and litigation so that women understand like it does make a difference. Particularly say, if you’re talking about like the narcissists. Like it, if you know how they work, you know, we can strategize and get you in the best position possible. 

And that’s where I think that maybe there’s not that in the general family law. Probably And there’s a very paternalistic approach on one hand where men tell women Oh, don’t worry, honey, it’ll be okay. You know, you’ll get married again, like this. We’ll just, we’ll figure this out. Which I find very possessive. But it does happen. It does. I mean, I’m sure there’ll be many women who have gone through it and go, yep. That’s the way it went down. So, you know, there’s a different way, there’s a better way to do it. 

And many women, they’re the breadwinners. And then we got to be very strategic. How do I protect you, minimize your risk as much as possible, and help you understand their threats that they’re going to have to take the kids and all these things are just that? Threats, tactics to scare you and fear is just a huge factor in divorce. Why most women stay married. They’re so afraid. They’re so afraid.

Davina; Yeah, even the most intelligent strategic women can, are vulnerable at a time of divorce, because of the complexity, the emotions, the fear, and the sadness and the anger and all of that, right? 

So even the most intelligent, strategic, you know, doesn’t matter how professional you are, it doesn’t matter what your profession is, it doesn’t matter how, you know, your education level doesn’t matter when you’re in that spot where you’re getting divorced and your children are involved in the middle of it. You can’t. You’re too close, you’re too close and you need somebody who can be objective but and be there, you know, 100% for your best interest. Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, see the games.

Taking a Practical Approach in a Time of High Emotion

Heather: Correct. So at least to give you perspective. And things like you know, it, you may know rationally and you may be extremely smart and have a great career. And you even sometimes you think, Well, I know him, and this is the way it’s going to play out. And then it’s like, well, I, you know, I, it may not. It may go this way. Let’s try to prepare you and one thing that we do is we may get something and we know our clients going to be disturbed about a letter, you know, from another guy, their husband’s attorney. 

And what we’re a, you know, kind of just because, like we talked about, you know, we focus on what we know. So we call them we say, okay, we’re sending you some, even if we don’t talk to them, even if it’s just a voicemail. listen, we sent you an email, I know it may upset you. We’re here to talk to you about it, but just know like, you know, just know it’s coming, kind of preface it because that goes a long way. And you know, many times they just send stuff and without and then you know the clients are upset. 

So it allows us to be more in tune with, you know, we know how our clients are going to feel about certain things and you know, our job to say, Okay, well that’s normal that he’s acting that way. Even though you don’t think so. Or you thought this was going to go a different way. But you know, it, just at the end of the day, it comes down to money and control. And if the men can’t control you through the money, they’re going to try and control you through the children. Or then through the litigation, if they’re that type of person. And if they want to get back at you, they’re looking for ways to do it.

Davina: Right, and when, you so when you specialize in you know, your, knowing your ideal client inside and out, you specialize in this area, use the term specializing I know. Yeah. Actually, I think you can use term specialized now but we will get there today. You get so familiar with the patterns and identify that you can almost predict what’s coming next, right? So you can help your clients, you know, really help your client. 

All right, so let’s talk about the business. The business of the practice of law and growing your firm. And just some of the experiences you’ve had along the way. And some of the things that you’ve learned. If you had it to do over again, is there anything that you would have done differently that you look back now and go Yeah, I probably would have, should have done that differently. As far as growing the business?

Heather: Well, as we said, with the name, I would have done that the very beginning, I would have chosen the name we have now at the very beginning as opposed to, you know, evolving over time. I would have, you know, from the very beginning of growing the business, I was slow to hire. I think that’s a big, you know, common fear, you know, and

Davina: How quickly did you hire? I mean how long did it take to hire your first staffer, and then your first attorney?

Heather: My first staffer probably didn’t take as long but like a real, like a really good paralegal took me about a year and a half. I had, you know, some maybe part-time or whatever. And it took me I think, two and a half years before I would hire an attorney, so was working hard. You know, I was doing all the jobs. And then, you know, as soon as I really began doing that, it, you know, then you quickly need to hire more people because you’re then you know, you’re producing more work and you’re able to do more. 

So that would have been one. I, there have been some marketing things that I have done in the past that I would have maybe stopped sooner and been a better smarter consumer of various vendors. I, you know, I’m a much more astute customer now than I used to be of those types of various services. So this is definitely some things that, you know, I would have, I would change going back.

Davina: Yeah, some of those things you just have to, you know, experience, learn as you go along, right? You know, you can’t, there’s no way that to get through life or growing a business without learning some things on your own, right? Because you can’t predict how things are going to go. Some of those things could have gone, like for instance, the name. 

If you had started off with that you have to, you almost have to find out for yourself that that’s what you wanted. You wouldn’t have known that from the beginning. You know, that you wanted to have that name, that you wanted to have that client that you wanted to serve that audience exclusively. How could you have known that, right?

Heather: Yeah, I did not.

Davina: What the thing that you would say you’re proudest of? 

Heather: I’m very proud of the staff, the leadership and inspiration that I’ve been able to provide to them. I’m very proud of all of the, you know, hundreds of women that we have represented, and wouldn’t be able to do that much without, you know, growing and having more people here and I, you know, I’m really proud of the what this business has allowed me to do personally with my family and the time that it’s given me back and the financial resources that it has provided me to be a really great, great mother and role model for my children. 

Davina: Mm-hmm. And at this point how, what is the size of your firm? I mean, do you have, how many people do you have working on your team?

Heather: Right now I have 10 people on my team. And that, and we went through an evolution last year. And I think that is, that happens, you know, as to reach the next level. Sometimes that the bottom, you know, 10% It’s true. And as everybody really rises up, it becomes more glaring, who doesn’t belong. So we really had replaced about half the staff in the past 12 to 18 months. And I still have some very long-term employees, but it’s just it’s such a higher caliber now, and it’s exciting to me, like when I come in, I’m like, Man, you ladies are like just so smart and caring and just like the things that we can accomplish. 

So it’s a  great team and we are still growing, we’re still looking for a few more hires, which is challenging on both sides. I mean, right now, I think it’s challenging to hire. And I, what I think allowing us was having the years of business behind me knowing what types of person people and women work in this firm. Well, so it’s a pretty detailed interview process because I’m not just looking for anybody. Very particular. And I take it very seriously when we bring somebody into our team to be a good fit. Because both for them and for us, it’s just a, it’s a big decision. So that is challenging.

Davina: Give us a little bit of insight into your process. I mean, is it multiple interviews? Do you use personality profiles kind of things?

How Heather Narrows Her Prospects For Hire

Heather: Yes, we’ll okay. So we start with, my administrator will just do a Zoom call first, just as a preliminary, you know, to see if they even make it to the next level. If it’s a position I need to interview for, or one that she’s just going to do. So before there’s an in-person, and we used to telephone the Zoom is better. It gives you a better insight. So we do that you can see them. And if they can’t figure the technology out that’s also an important aspect to know, as well. You know, I mean, it’s like lots of parts to it that are important for because we have, you know, we’re very advanced with our technology and you know, want to always continue in that vein. 

So we start that, then we do in-person interviews. Usually just maybe if it’s me, or it’s the administrator. Then after the in person, we do a behavioral assessment, which is, it’s the desk plus something else. And so it’s pretty detailed like a 30, 20, 30-page report. We do that. And then we kind of, we evaluate for some positions, we will then send a test for just their actual ability and skill level within that position if that’s something that applies. That’s usually set somebody for the legal team. And with lawyers, you know, I asked for their transcripts. 

And you know, usually they’re going to give you references that are only going to say great things. So, you know, that’s fine, but we certainly do check that. We will then have them come and meet them as a team that they would work with. So we get feedback from the team because they may see something different. And then we take all of those factors and kind of compare, you know, where they are within our behavioral testing. 

There’s now we’ve been doing it for so many years, we can go Oh look, they fall onto this part of a circle like as these other employees that didn’t work out or these employees that are great. And it’s not like in and of itself that the one tool, but it’s very helpful. We’ve really become much better at using it to, you know, as a decider, so that takes almost a month if we’re really working quickly. And you know, in today’s market, it’s tight, but I really want to know why they want to do here, why they want to do what we do. Why do they want to help women? And if they don’t have an answer, then they don’t really go a whole lot further.

Davina: Right, right. They really got to have the same sort of core values.

Heather: Most definitely. Because if they just want a job, that is not what, you know, we’re, it’s more than that. We’re such a team. You have to have in, and I think in most lines of business, this is a very, you know, this is a taxing business. You’re dealing with people at a very terrible time in their life. You’ve got to have also, you know, some reason, you know, more than just a paycheck that you’re doing this. 

Davina: A calling, really, to do the work.

Heather: Yeah. And just, you know, and in some, in a high level of emotional intelligence so that it doesn’t, you’re not just reacting when somebody’s having a bad day.

Davina: Right, right, because you could so easily absorb all of that the client, all that client is putting out there, you could take it on as your own. And that’s not, you’ll burn out so fast if you do it that way.

Heather: Oh, my goodness. Yeah.

Davina: Yeah. So well, I really appreciate you being here today and sharing with us so much insight and so much great information about your, and sharing your story with us and your experience in growing your practice. I know that anybody who listens to this is going to walk away with such good transformative information. So I thank you.

Heather: Well, thank you so much for having me. I do, I love to talk about what we do, why we do it and it’s exciting to me for, to be in business for myself and encourage other women, because I know it provides you so much more freedom. And you know, even though yes, it is a lot of responsibility, it’s a wonderful responsibility to have.

Davina: Yeah, thank you. Thank you, Heather.

Heather: Thank you.