Family Law: Jarrod Jennings, Jennings & Medura Law

Jarrod Jennings

Family Law

Summary: Family Law Attorney Jarrod Jennings of Jennings & Mudura was introduced to BNI over eight years ago when he was just starting his practice. Jarrod goes into detail on how the structured environment of BNI has benefited his practice. He discusses how each year his business has grown from the previous and lets anyone know that is considering joining it’s about farming, not hunting, and how much the training has helped him grow professionally and personally.

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Transcription:

Laura Viskovich: Hello and welcome to the Professional Business Connections. I’m Laura Viskovich. And I’m a little bit excited to introduce you today to Jarrod Jennings from Jennings & Medura Family Law. Welcome to the show.

Jarrod Jennings: Hi. How are you?

Laura Viskovich: I’m wonderful.

Jarrod Jennings: Good to know.

Laura Viskovich: I just love your energy, by the way.

Jarrod Jennings: Thank you.

Laura Viskovich: It’s wonderful. So how did you get into family law?

Jarrod Jennings: Really, a long time ago, I got out of doing what my prior life was, which was music, and decided I wanted to try something different. Where is my skill set? What are some of my background? I did a lot of public speaking and dramatic arts back in high school. I thought I’d give law a try. So I got in as a paralegal at The Legal Aid Society in about a thousand years ago, and was doing paralegal work in a low-income domestic violence and domestic law area, helping those people in that situation. I liked it, decided I wanted to be the guy, you know, signing the papers rather than just the guy drafting them and handing them out. And so, yeah, I went back to law school and –

Laura Viskovich: Wow.

Jarrod Jennings: Yeah, yeah.

Laura Viskovich: And here we are.

Jarrod Jennings: Here I am. Yeah, yeah.

Laura Viskovich: So how do you build your business? Where do you get your –

Jarrod Jennings: I mean, honestly, this, you know, in law, it’s kind of a weird thing because we almost had an – we do have an attitude – unofficial, by the way – in the family law community that, you know, if you’re looking to hire an attorney who is on, you know, page 1 of Google, run, run because that’s a person who is relying way too much on the internet and, you know, the – most of the attorneys out there that are really successful in family law, it’s just word-of-mouth.

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings: It really is, you know. That’s one of the reasons I got involved with BNI is because I liked the idea that it’s basically word-of-mouth, which is kind of how it works in family law.

Laura Viskovich: Right. So BNI, you turned up. Which chapter are you in?

Jarrod Jennings: I’m in the Generosity downtown chapter. We’re the only [0:02:14] [indiscernible] downtown chapter.

Laura Viskovich: Okay, great. So how did you find them? Did you – did you look around?

Jarrod Jennings: You know – no, not really. I didn’t even know – I didn’t know it existed. But my partner and I, Cassie Medura, we used to – at – we – our offices originally were in this building that on the same floor, I – another attorney was there, a bankruptcy attorney named [0:02:34] [indiscernible] who just came up to me one day and said, “Hey, how much of your business is, you know, done by referrals?” I said, “100%.” Because at that time, we didn’t even have a website.

Laura Viskovich: Wow.

Jarrod Jennings:  You know, we had no – there was no web present, no nothing. [0:02:53] [Indiscernible] all the clients we have and this is where from the clients that we took from both of our prior firms, the big firms and left, and then just word-of-mouth as a family. You know what I mean? And so, she said, “You know, well, do you want to come to a meeting? Why don’t you come to a BNI meeting?” And I’m like, “What’s a BNI?” You know. And then the rest is history. So, yeah, yes.

Laura Viskovich: Great, great. So you went and I guess it was the energy of the room that you liked?

Jarrod Jennings: Oh, absolutely, yeah, you know.   And, you know – I mean, I had my trepidations like anybody, you know, like what it’s about. And I think the first day I got there, there were swearing someone in, you know, and I was like, “This is a little weird.  What are they doing? This seems like we’re talking about the law of the pack. It’s seems Boy Scout-y.” You know, it was weird, but –

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings:  – but I thought it was – but I – but I loved that it was really structured, right? Everyone was really enthusiastic and everyone was really serious about what they were doing, too, you know.

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings:  And I was really impressed, you know, of the fact that people would show up with that kind of energy, giving actual testimony I was giving, you know, giving each other, you know, a lot of support. I had done some other personal trainings myself and some personal growth and philosophical readings with people that had a saying in those context for years and said, “You know, givers gain.” And then when I found out the motto of BNI was “Givers gain,” I was like, “Oh, this isn’t an accident,” you know.

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings: Yeah. I went –

Laura Viskovich: Very cool.

Jarrod Jennings: Too weird, too weird, yeah. It was exactly that it’s because I’ve really [0:04:19] [showed] that motto and embraced that my whole life.

Laura Viskovich: Yeah. Do you feel that “Giver gain” is the secret sauce to why this particular networking model works?

Jarrod Jennings: That and the organization.

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings: That, you know, and having a solid system. So it’s – I mean, it’s great to have mottos, you know, and bumper sticker, you know, philosophy is awesome, but if you don’t do anything other than sticking in your bumper sticker and drive off and don’t care, don’t try, you know, don’t organize those thoughts in its action, it’s just a bumper sticker, you know.

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings:  So it’s not just that. It’s kind of break that down and say, “Okay. Exactly how do we organize that concept into a system of action and implement it?” Because that’s the only time that it actually gets done, if we take action on it, you know.

Laura Viskovich: Yeah, absolutely. So I hear that BNI has a really good training system, so the – what’s it called? The Member Success Program –

Jarrod Jennings: Yeah, MSP, yeah.

Laura Viskovich: You attended that?

Jarrod Jennings: I did. That was also transformative for me because I resisted – oh, man, did I resist going.

Laura Viskovich: Oh.

Jarrod Jennings: I didn’t want to go. And I so didn’t want to go. “Oh, this sounds boring.” And then I saw the agenda and I’m like, “Oh my god. Kill me. This is so unbelievably boring.” It was up at the – up on Cara, at the University of Utah [0:05:31] [indiscernible] times there and I got there. And man, by the end of that, I was like, “I was wrong. This is awesome. This is great.”

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings: Because they had so many speakers up there that were helping support and organize the program, people that are still associated with the BNI, a lot of list of names and information that take you on to going through.

Suffice to say, a lot of these people were professional coaches. That was part of what their business was – what they were doing with BNI. And BNI did empower them, and likewise, they empowered BNI back by sharing their gift of being able to help train people, and that was, yeah, pretty profound. It is an awesome training.

Laura Viskovich: Fantastic, yeah, so in these training you’re learning on how to do one-on-ones, how to give referrals, that kind of thing?

Jarrod Jennings: All kinds of stuff, yeah, the basic basics, like, how to do a one-on-one, which is really about how to really get to know someone. And I think, for me, I think the one-on-ones really are actually the key to networking, the actual action within the chapter, your chapter activity every week. It is the most critical for me, is that one-on-one because I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been with a chapter for – with an individual, who would be a member of my chapter, for months, right, giving my one-on-ones, giving my rara speeches, shoutout, supporting people, stuff like that, doing trainings, things like that, and then – and never had anything to do with a referral from that person, that person never referred anyone to me. I have a one-on-one with them, less than a week later, I got a referral from that person. That happens a lot of people.

You’ll be at the chapter with very six months and just never get around to doing a one-on-one with them. And then you do a one-on-one with them, bang, bang, also they’ve got a referral because, and it’s not because they haven’t known, probably, for a while that they had someone they might be able to give to you, especially in my profession doing family law, and it was critical. There’s a lot of trust and risks. There’s risk for them in giving such an important event, such as their sister’s divorce, or their wife’s custody battle over to me, it’s not like getting a haircut. It’s important, and when I screw up, it’s a big deal for them.

So yeah, that’s really critical. That one-on-one is what pushed them most times or really has to say, “Okay, I trust this guy, he knows what he’s doing,” they believe in my character. And vice versa, I have that effect of me. Some of the members, then I was like, “I don’t know,” then I meet with them and go, “No, no, I’m wrong. This guy’s great. Yeah, I’m going to go.”

Laura Viskovich: Right, right, yeah. So in this training you’re learning on how to do one-on-ones, how to give referrals, that kind of thing?

Jarrod Jennings: All kinds of stuff, yeah, the basic basics, like, how to do a one-on-one, which is really about how to really get to know someone. And I think, for me, I think the one-on-ones really are actually the key to networking, the actual action within the chapter, your chapter activity every week. It is the most critical for me, is that one-on-one because I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been with a chapter for – with an individual, who would be a member of my chapter, for months, right, giving my one-on-ones, giving my rara speeches, shoutout, supporting people, stuff like that, doing trainings, things like that, and then – and never had anything to do with a referral from that person, that person never referred anyone to me. I have a one-on-one with them, less than a week later, I got a referral from that person. That happens a lot of people.

You’ll be at the chapter with very six months and just never get around to doing a one-on-one with them. And then you do a one-on-one with them, bang, bang, also they’ve got a referral because, and it’s not because they haven’t known, probably, for a while that they had someone they might be able to give to you, especially in my profession doing family law, and it was critical. There’s a lot of trust and risks. There’s risk for them in giving such an important event, such as their sister’s divorce, or their wife’s custody battle over to me, it’s not like getting a haircut. It’s important, and when I screw up, it’s a big deal for them.

So yeah, that’s really critical. That one-on-one is what pushed them most times or really has to say, “Okay, I trust this guy, he knows what he’s doing,” they believe in my character. And vice versa, I have that effect of me. Some of the members, then I was like, “I don’t know,” then I meet with them and go, “No, no, I’m wrong. This guy’s great. Yeah, I’m going to go.”

Laura Viskovich: Right, right. So if there’s someone out there who’s also in family law and they’re looking for a networking group, would that be beneficial for them to join another chapter?

Jarrod Jennings: Absolutely, yeah, I’m – well, for me right now, I’m the only, unfortunately, the only attorney out of my – well, no, that’s not, actually, there’s one other attorney in our group, she has another contract, and she was – who is awesome by the way. But there was a time when we had as many as three attorneys in our group, and we all got more referrals from that.

The number one place attorneys get referrals is other attorneys. They actually teach this at the bar in CLE and continue with the education, and encourage you to do that, because they know, the bar knows, and most experienced, seasoned attorneys know that one of the biggest sources of referrals is other attorneys or not doing what to do.

I mean, sometimes you get some from colleagues that are in family law as well, “Hey I’ve got a conflict,” or, “Hey, it’s from my wife so I can’t be the lawyer,” that’s happened to me, but most time, it’s my friends in the bar that are state planning attorneys or they’re criminal attorneys, or whatever, and they don’t do family law or they used to do family law, we had a case together, they got out of it, because they’re sane, and went to the other area of law, now they’re giving me all the family law work because they remember me and like, and you know.

So that’s the biggest source of referrals. And I think where attorneys, is other attorneys who are doing something different and you know. I mean everyone, you know, who’s got clients and good lawyers have clients that you know, think, “Wow, my attorney did such a great job in organizing my business start-up or helping me with this personal injury case.”

I wanted if you do divorce works, I’d love to hire him or her. Then they look at her and go “Hey, you know, do you do divorce work too?” and you know, she will wisely look at them and say, “No, I don’t do divorce work. But I’ve got my good friend Jarrod who does.” And you should go talk to him.” And that’s how it works.

And so in BNI, I would have [0:11:57] [Indiscernible] I have an attorney for literally every area of law in my chapter if I could.

Laura Viskovich: Wow. Okay, great.

Jarrod Jennings: That’d be awesome.

Laura Viskovich: But you’re the only one in your chapter at the moment.

Jarrod Jennings: Yes.

Laura Viskovich: And if there is –

Jarrod Jennings: In family law, yeah, family law.

Laura Viskovich: Family law.

Jarrod Jennings: Yes. There’s one other attorney that’s doing kind of country – country work.

Laura Viskovich: Okay, great. So if there is someone out there looking for an attorney, what would be the tip and trick from Jarrod would be?

Jarrod Jennings: BNI chapter.

Laura Viskovich: Yeah.

Jarrod Jennings: You know I – it’s – just go visit. It’s free.

Laura Viskovich: Yeah.

Jarrod Jennings: There’s a free chapter – there’s a free gathering of people oftentimes with coffee and or maybe donuts, right. Who are willing to just let you come hang out with them while they try to support each other and grow your business not theirs, yours, you know what I mean. And everyone has that mentality. And they’re saying, “Hey we’ve got an organized system how to do it. We have gazillion hours’ worth of online training for free and all these other stuff,” you know what I mean?

I almost think that one of the weaknesses of BNI is that it’s – that so much is free. You know what I mean? And because so much is free, it’s you know, it’s almost like, if you don’t invest a little bit into it, it’s not, you know, it’s – you can value it. But the actual membership does cost a pittance of – relative to what you’re gaining back. But and again I think that’s also important value. You’ve got to pay something in there to make it worthwhile.

Laura Viskovich: Yeah.

Jarrod Jennings: If you will nothing invested, walk out.

Laura Viskovich: Absolutely. So –

Jarrod Jennings: So.

Laura Viskovich: – how long have you been in BNI for, Jarrod?

Jarrod Jennings: Going on – 29 – well eight years, eight years.

Laura Viskovich: Perfect.

Jarrod Jennings: So I will be going on my ninth year net year, yeah.

Laura Viskovich: Wow, that’s amazing.

Jarrod Jennings: Yeah, yeah.

Laura Viskovich: So looking back at the journey really quickly, you know, has there been a nice little stepping stone, like, the more you learn, the more –

Jarrod Jennings: Oh yeah – well actually I left there at one point.

Laura Viskovich: What?

Jarrod Jennings: I left because my initial chapter was the [0:13:48] [Indiscernible] chapter.

Laura Viskovich: Yeah.

Jarrod Jennings: And physically it was the opposite direction of my work.

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings: And it was just hard to get to. And the time frame they started a little bit later than our chapter does in the morning. And so there’s a real pragmatic time constraints and geographic constraints that made me – led me to leave it.

I got back in when they had down town chapter open, and that same person, Sarah Larson said, hey, we’re opening a down town chapter because she left for the same reason again, geography and where we were working, and I really missed it. I missed it. And I did see a drop-off, so we know, you know, not huge but I did see a drop-off in my business.

Laura Viskovich: Financially?

Jarrod Jennings: Yeah, yeah. And so I liked it and I liked the idea of going to the chapter with the same direction as my work. I think that everyone should, you know, do that as well. I think that you’ll find that if the chapter is not somehow workable into your schedule, it’s difficult to stay a part of it.  A lot of people would leave because they – the aspirationally told themselves, “No, I can drive two hours on a Tuesday morning to you know, this place.”

And six months in when you have the regular highs and low and valleys and ebbs, and you know, tides of the practice, they don’t feel like it and it’s easy to quit. So it’s hard to quit when it’s convenient and it’s not that difficult, it’s really not that big of a commitment. And you’re actually seeing results.

Laura Viskovich: Perfect.

Jarrod Jennings: The biggest thing I would tell people who are joining a chapter is, you know, it is farming, it’s not hunting. If you’re expecting to show up for, you know, six months and double your business, you know, you’re kidding yourself, you know.

But that first year is – actually my first year was okay. I was fortunate. But I was definitely ahead of the curve.

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings: My first year, you know. But my second year, definitely noticed more and you know, this last year of you know, done some good business, more good numbers on there, but yeah, it does some pretty good business. I mean, you know, 70% of all of my clients – new clients, this year alone were with BNI.

Laura Viskovich: Wow.

Jarrod Jennings: Which you know, if you could tell somebody, “Hey, would you like to improve your revenue and people come in to see you, by 17% alone this year.” You take that, I mean, if you had a stock, return, they gave you 17%. People would be going, run [0:16:11] [indiscernible].

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings: You know if you think – as I see it, it can become [0:16:18] [Indiscernible] something illegal is happening, you know, so.

Laura Viskovich: Right.

Jarrod Jennings: Yeah.

Laura Viskovich: Well, thanks so much Jarrod.

Jarrod Jennings: Absolutely.

Laura Viskovich: I could listen to you all day.

Jarrod Jennings: And I can talk all day, I’m sorry.

Laura Viskovich: I love it, I love it.

Jarrod Jennings: Thank you so much.

Laura Viskovich: Never be sorry for talking.

Jarrod Jennings: All right.

Laura Viskovich: Thank you for sharing your story. And that is Jarrod, everyone. Wow, what a journey from music to family law. And we’ll see you on the next episode of the Professional Business Connections.

2018-12-09T14:09:12+00:00By |Categories: Family Law, Interviews|

About the Author:

Laura Viskovich is the Communications Director of the Professional Business Connections located in Salt Lake City, UT. As a classically trained actress and dancer in Sydney, Australia, eight years ago she had a dream to create a children's entertainment company. Today Laura has expanded her business from Australia to the United States. She's a speaker, trainer, and an expert at relationship marketing. She understands the value of creating and maintaining strong long-term relationships and connecting other like-minded individuals.
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