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Louisiana personal injury powerhouse, Dudley DeBosier, has long embraced modern marketing practices and new technology to streamline client service, a model that has resulted in a steady stream of business. Partner Chad Dudley’s management and leadership skills help the firm operate efficiently, allowing Dudley DeBosier to remain laser-focused on its clients. We recently caught up with Chad to discuss his perspective on the state of the legal industry and the challenges and changes specific to small and midsize law. Our full exchange is below.
I received my law degree from LSU in 2000. My first job was working for a big mass tort firm where I represented a lot of plaintiffs. Eventually, I moved on to a smaller firm that handled fewer—but larger—cases. Finally, in 2007, I ended up at a firm that handled a large volume of both big and small cases, and that’s Dudley DeBosier.
I spent my first 10 years here as COO, developing systems, processes and software, including some we had created and implemented successfully at other firms. When I started at Dudley DeBosier, we had 30 people, and now we have grown to a staff of 180. These days in my role as partner, I spend my time in more of a managerial role—handling quality control and ensuring our departments are doing the best they can for our clients.
In general, being an attorney has gotten better. More efficient. More dynamic. Technology is, in large part, responsible for that. The further back you go in time, the more attorneys were chained to their desks. You needed all these heavy books for case law. Technology has improved the autonomy of the attorney: we can now practice from anywhere and collaboration is much easier. This is great for the client, as attorneys now have the ability to provide superior service at faster speeds. There are dictation services, medical record collection services and other innovations that enable us to collaborate with other people who are not necessarily in your building—perhaps not even in your city or state. Back in the day, a personal injury lawyer had to hire a medical expert to come to the office and analyze medical documents. It’s not like that anymore.
One of the big, industry-wide changes in law is simply that technology has leveled the playing field between big and small law: solo and smaller firms are not at the disadvantage they were 10 years ago. With today’s technology, small firms can now quite easily compete with larger firms, and that’s great news for clients.
Another thing that is quite different is advertising practices. Years ago, advertising and generating new business was simpler. You could buy ads in the phone book or ads on TV, the phone would ring and there’s your business. Now you have to be more sophisticated to generate business. The area that has advanced the most in terms of advertising over the years is digital advertising – the ability to track where people find your business, which then informs future ad buying decisions. The firms that are in touch with lead generation data have a big advantage over the firms that aren’t. Dudley DeBosier has invested significantly in advertising and lead generation tracking—we actually own our own advertising agency—and are trying to lead the way in this area.
We represent people who have been injured, and most of them have been injured in automobile crashes. The total number of car crashes is actually going down because cars are getting safer, which is great. But we are finding that we continue to get more of the cases that are occurring. Our practice continues to grow, and I think it’s from a push for client service. We are a client service organization first and a law firm second. That’s somewhat rare in personal injury law and a point of pride for us. This helps us grow through word of mouth and repeat business.
A “typical” day really depends on the day of the week, but on a typical Monday, I get to the office around 7:30 or 8 and am pretty much in meetings all morning with staff. But those are my core team meetings for the week—the rest of the week consists of touching base with different firm leaders and trying to help them with any challenges they’re running into. We want to make sure we are always improving, so I also spend a lot of time speaking with clients to get their feedback on their experience with Dudley DeBosier. Connecting with clients and getting their feedback is definitely my favorite part of the job.
I play lots of tennis! I grew up playing tennis, and I played in college, so I play as much as I can now. I also spend a lot of time hanging out with my two teenage sons and my wife.
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