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June 14, 2018  —  Volume 13, No. 21

  TaxCoach Briefs: Marketing Lessons From Mob Lawyers
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TaxCoach Briefs
 
 
 
TaxCoach Road Show Filling Up Fast
 

Seats are already filling up fast for our summer Road Show series, �Escape the Box�:

 

August 20         Washington, DC

August 22         Atlanta

August 24         Tampa

August 27         Houston

August 29         Los Angeles (filling fastest!)

 

We�ve got a jam-packed 9-5 day of activity for you, including:

  • a new approach to evaluating your practice,
  • a sneak peek into the future of the tax business,
  • pros and cons of the two dimensions to building your businesses,
  • a virtual reality demonstration,
  • �Extreme Makeover: Tax Pro Edition,� and
  • Putting the Hivemind to Work 

personally guarantee it will be the best day you spend �on� your business in 2018 or I�ll refund your admission in cash � out of my own pocket, not TaxCoach�s � right on the spot.  Reserve your seat today. 

 
 
Marketing Lessons From Mob Lawyers
 
There�s so much news coming out of Washington these days that it really is hard to keep up. (Some people suggest there�s literally too much to keep up with, and you shouldn�t even try. I think there�s real wisdom there.)

 

One little nugget that came out a couple of days ago caught my eye, however. The government of Qatar, seeking to rebrand its image in the midst of a feud with its Persian Gulf neighbors, has hired former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to represent its interests here in the United States � at a bargain rate of $1,600 per hour!

 

Now, charging nearly $27 per minute may sound like a real coup for Mukasey. And it probably is, if you don�t mind clients paying really close attention to your timesheets. (I�m not ordinarily a detail guy, but if my lawyer was billing me that much, I�d want to make sure I wasn�t paying for him to wander off to the kitchen to grab a Diet Coke!)

 

But in the end, $1600 is still just an hourly rate. It doesn�t bear much relationship, if any, to the actual value Mukasey is delivering to the Kingdom. And it certainly doesn�t encourage him to hustle to the finish line to accomplish whatever it is they hired him to accomplish!

 

Years ago, I read a great history of a very different attorney. Investigative Reporter Gus Russo�s Supermob traces the history of the Chicago �Outfit� through the career of Sidney Korshak. Korshak started out as an associate of Al Capone�s lawyer, but wound up overseeing the mob�s interests in Los Angeles and Las Vegas from a Renoir-filled Regency-style manor on Chalon Road, just a few doors down from the Bel-Air Country Club.

 

It�s an absolutely fascinating story, well worth reading for any fan of mob history. If you want a shorter version, check out Nick Tosches� classic Vanity Fair piece, The Man Who Kept the Secrets. Here�s how Tosches describes Korshak:

 

�In the land of dreams, Sidney Korshak was a shadow among shadows, a wisp of smoke curling around the brighter lights. What the Eisners, Ovitzes, and Geffens are to all that glitters now, Sidney Korshak was to all that was dark. His legend beguiled the legendary. His was the hidden mystery at the heart of the furnace of illusion and desire. To some, he was evil incarnate; to others, he was the nicest guy in the world.�

 

It won�t surprise you to learn that Korshak didn�t really �practice law� in the way most of us think of attorneys working. He was a �fixer,� like George Clooney�s Michael Clayton, �a janitor,� a bag man hired to cast a thin veneer of respectability over the dirty money behind the mob�s glamorous western real estate, casino, and movie studio interests. And he would never have dreamed of charging an hourly rate � even one as high as $1600.

 

Korshak didn�t need to keep timesheets, you see. His client � a manager at the Desert Inn, perhaps � would phone in a panic because the food and beverage workers� union was about to call a strike. Korshak would ask the client for a flat $50,000. Then he would pick up the phone, call the union boss, and make him an offer he somehow never refused. Problem solved.

 

Back in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, when Korshak was at his zenith, they wouldn�t have called this �value pricing.� (�Shakedown� was probably closer to the truth.) But Korshak understood that clients were hiring him to solve a problem. (That�s what fixers do � they fix things.) With that understanding in mind, he would propose fees that reflected the value the client placed on solving those problems, which he knew bore no relation to the amount of time he spent solving them.

 

Some of you may be offended, or think that this is a poor example of value pricing. I�m not saying Sidney Korshak is a role model. I�m not saying you should admire him, or who he did business with, or even how he did business. (Nobody said you should admire Tony Soprano, either, but lots of you waited eagerly on Sunday nights for the next episode of The Sopranos.) But I will say his way of pricing his services was better for his clients than Michael Mukasey�s absurd $1,600 per hour.

 

Food for thought on a summer afternoon. Now go out and find someone who wants $50,000 of your value more than $1,600 of your time!

 
 
 
 
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TaxCoach Briefs:

Vol. 13, Number 22;

June 14, 2018

 
TaxCoach Road Show Filling Up Fast
 
Marketing Lessons From Mob Lawyers
 
Members Only
 
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Edward A. Lyon, JD,

Publisher

 
Preferred Partner
 
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Members Only  
 
 
Next Tuesday Technical & Case Study Call-In:

Tuesday, June 26 at 2:00 pm Eastern (11:00 am Pacific)
 
On this monthly call, we take all those technical tax questions we discourage on the Wednesday Marketing & Management Call-Ins. Bring us your knottiest, gnarliest question, and we'll see if we can find your answer!
 
 
Next Wednesday Marketing & Management Call-In:
 
Wednesday, June 20 at 1:00 pm Eastern (10:00 am Pacific)
 
Join Ed, Keith, Lisa, and other TaxCoach members to ask any questions you have about TaxCoach strategies, features, or philosophy, or just to talk marketing and practice management.
 
 

Next Monthly Partner Webinar (All-Stars and CTM Partners):

Tuesday, July 10 at 4:00 pm Eastern (1:00 pm Pacific)

 

The All-Stars program itself currently has one spot open. If you're interested in joining, call Alyssa at (513) 321-2820 to schedule a pre-interview to see if the program is right for you.

 
 
 
 
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