Antonia Hays is a Partner at Hays Firm LLC, a firm that works with both individuals and businesses to solve problems related to the operation of small businesses, estate planning, asset protection, and the distribution and management of assets upon an individual’s death. She is a member of the Illinois Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and is admitted to practice in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Antonia received her BA from Loyola University Chicago and her JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and was named a “2011 Illinois Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine in the field of business litigation.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Antonia Hays talks about her background and how she started her law firm
- How the ability to compromise and strategize helped Antonia’s firm grow
- Antonia shares how a remote workplace improved their lives (and the firm)
- Why branding is a crucial factor to build your voice
- Antonia details a unique experience she had growing up
- The various ways software can enhance the flow of your business
In this episode…
Are you seeking to showcase your values as a firm but you’re not sure how? For Antonia Hays, growing her firm was about building her brand. By having conversations with clients, you can establish an authentic voice and gain momentum to grow. But what happens when mistakes are made?
Addressing mistakes and pitfalls quickly and efficiently can save you from a colossal headache. Antonia recommends an open line of communication. This can help you strategize and pivot for what comes next. By not sweating the small stuff, you can focus your attention on implementing software to keep the productivity of your firm moving strong and be prolific in other areas.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, Michael Renfro sits down with Antonia Hays, Partner at Hays Firm LLC, to discuss how to compromise and foster growth. Antonia talks about the benefits of a remote workplace, marketing your brand to enhance your voice, and why it’s better to let the small stuff go.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Michael Renfro on LinkedIn
- Gladiator Law Marketing
- Antonia Hays on LinkedIn
- Hays Firm LLC
- Brené Brown
- My Favorite Murder
- The Chicago Bar Association
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver tailor-made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential.
To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition.
You’re listening to 15 Minutes, where we feature community leaders sharing what the rest of us should know, but likely don’t.
Michael Renfro 0:13
Hello, everyone, Michael Renfro here I’m the host of 15 Minutes share your voice where we talk with top notch lawyers and law firms about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode as always, is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver top of Sydney tailor made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential. One of the ways to do that and have a successful marketing campaign is to make sure that you’re getting the best ROI. In order to do that your firm does need to have simply put the better website and the best content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence along with machine learning and decades of experience. In fact, we’ve actually reached about 125 total years of experience within the company. And there’s only about 15 of us so we are boutique, which means you get a lot more personal attention over here. To learn more, please go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com. That’s gladiatorlawmarketing.com. And you can get a free consultation. And with that, let’s go ahead and meet our guest today. Today we have Antonia Hayes. Am I saying that right? The last few days, right? You are Hey, yes. Antonia, why don’t you start off by just telling us? You know, what’s your practice areas are just a little bit about you and where in the world you are? Sure.
Antonia Hays 1:31
Um, My name again is Antonia Hayes. We have my husband and I are co owners of a trust and estate administration and litigation firm. We do some business law, liquor licensing and some estate planning as well. And probate and probate. Gotcha probate. Yep.
Michael Renfro 1:51
Because they all do. I mean, I was looking at your list of practice areas, they’re, they’re quite related. It’s not like somewhere I’ve seen one person is doing criminal defense and another person is doing.
Antonia Hays 2:00
No, right. No, it’s not jack of all trades by any means. It’s all it’s all very niche. We also, what I What’s really great about what we do is that because we do the estate planning, and the litigation, you know, both in the same firm, which is hard to find in a small firm, it’s it’s a good sort of vision about what you know, how to how to create plans, and what to expect later on down the road with litigation, if you know if that
Michael Renfro 2:27
litigation actually Yeah, exactly. I mean, I always tell people, you know, if you’re talking to an attorney, of course, I market them. And I’ve been talking to attorneys since I was young, because I got in trouble. But you know, the reality is, I tell people, if you’re talking to an attorney, make sure that they are an actual litigator, because if this ever goes to court, if you just have someone that knows how to do all the work, but not beat someone in court, then you really have half the team. Yeah. Tell people that right. We truly believe I’m sure you say the same thing. Look, we don’t want to go to court, we’re going to try to do everything we can to avoid court. But if you go to court, you want to have someone that has got the experience to know, you know, how to talk to the judge how to talk to the jurors how to talk to the other side. Why, frankly, because all of those things come into play.
Antonia Hays 3:12
Yes, yes. Yes. That’s it. That’s that’s our that’s what we do.
Michael Renfro 3:16
How did you guys get started? Oh, no, I got it. How did y’all get? Oh,
Antonia Hays 3:19
I didn’t I didn’t tell you where I was. I’m in Chicago,
Michael Renfro 3:21
Chicago. The Windy City. Are you in downtown? Are you actually in? Yes.
Antonia Hays 3:25
No. We have our offices downtown. Yeah. Yeah. Nice.
Michael Renfro 3:28
So how did you get started? Well,
Antonia Hays 3:31
I’m out 13 years ago. My husband, we I was working for a midsize firm at the time. I think we were on our second baby. And my husband was leaving, he left us a job with a small firm believe determined that working for somebody was not really not had been not conducive to his desire for a certain type of lifestyle and personality. You know, so we really started my husband started without a client, we did not have a client. We did the old school, you know, put out the shingle. And, you know, began doing estate planning actually in some and some probate at the outset. And that was it. Yeah. 13 years ago in the beginning before. So was that 2000s? Right before the crash? Right before the right before the credit bubble?
Michael Renfro 4:32
Oh, eight bubble, right. Yeah. I’m assuming you’re referring to
Antonia Hays 4:36
that. That’s what I’m referring to. Yeah. Yeah. So um, yeah, the bubble. So yeah, that’s, that’s how we started and then I sort of slowly but surely, left my midsize firm and we hooked up together and we’ve been working together ever since. At our law firm.
Michael Renfro 4:59
That’s nice. Yeah, so for you specifically, where did the idea of becoming an attorney? Where did where did you get that?
Antonia Hays 5:08
Well, that’s interesting. Um, you know, I’ll just be totally frank. I am first generation Croatian American. My parents are immigrants to this country came in he came in 1974, from Croatia. Dad came to play professional soccer, and it was not, you know, it didn’t really work out his professional soccer career. At that time, professional soccer players weren’t really making any money. So
Michael Renfro 5:32
there weren’t nearly as loved as they are today. FIFA was not the biggest of the 11. Now FIFA is about to be here in Denver. And I tell people like this is bigger than the Olympics. I don’t know. It’s like they changed the whole state. Yes. Go ahead. Yes. So wasn’t that when you came when he came over?
Antonia Hays 5:51
No, it wasn’t like that at all, at all. So anyway, my you know, it was kind of this thing it was I grew up in that household where, you know, we’re here to give you a better life and education, and you’re either going to be a lawyer or a doctor. Just kind of that, you know, oh, you can argue that’s, that’s what it always was, oh, you’re getting, I’d get in trouble. And I talked myself out of something. And my parents were always like, great lawyer. Lawyer. So
Michael Renfro 6:19
you’re a litigator? That’s where the litigation comes from, is the arguing, right?
Antonia Hays 6:23
That’s right. I was always that was always the, you know, the tenor, so to speak, my upbringing. So it really did have an effect. And I saw my parents work, you know, really hard jobs and blue collar people and work ethic was huge. And I just I decided to hit the law.
Michael Renfro 6:45
That’s, that’s pretty cool. I would go into some of the questions, but I’m going to try to stay focused, where else we can we’ll be here forever. What would you say? And I kind of wrap up, if you’re looking at the questions over there, four and five, six, and seven, I kind of wrap up into one. And you’ll hear what I mean by that. And I told you this earlier, what do you think was your biggest challenge pitfall? Whatever you want to call it, that also became your biggest turning point, and gave you the most traction with your firm that the firm you and your husband had?
Antonia Hays 7:19
Well, I really think it was, you know, and I think that’s a hard question. Because I can’t, it’s hard to sort of capture one thing, you know, people are always looking for the one thing, right, and I don’t
Michael Renfro 7:32
name a few Feel free. By the way, feel free to you know, if you want to name a just tell us how you what you think was the maybe the the experiences, you know, the group of things that led you to the success that you and your husband had? Well, I
Antonia Hays 7:46
really think it’s compromise. I really think it’s just he and I are working together. And we have four children together. So our life is constant communication constant about what’s going on at home, what’s going on at the office. You know, I would say that what some might view as a pitfall being totally, you know, might look like they’re worried in 100 different places at once has really given us, I think this has helped us to strategize so efficiently, and to really have big picture in our minds at all times, like, you can’t get bogged down with the little stuff. So being really, you know, having a lot of energy in the home and at the office, and constantly being in touch is really what some might be like, Oh, my gosh, to work with your husband. That’s crazy. You had, how do you even do that? How do you even know, but for us that, you know, what people might perceive as being just awful, has really given us such perspective and
Michael Renfro 8:45
a nice comfort to and the sense of, you know, how to, you know, how to build off one another and take from one another. I mean, that’s what a great partnership is about not just in business, either. Mind you, you know, you got to have that I think, with your lover as well.
Antonia Hays 8:59
Yes, yes. So that is really I think that, you know, maybe that’s more of a perception of what is a pitfall but, you know, for us, it’s, it’s really given us a lot of traction moving forward. And we’re just on this trajectory now, as you know, moving forward, and we’re always moving forward, whether we, we think we are or not, right, so just having just that, that sort of momentum we’re in, we’re in a really great momentum right now.
Michael Renfro 9:24
As I tell people, even when you’re taking three steps backwards, that is part of the forward movement. It’s just, you know, sometimes it’s taking those three steps back and looking at your mistake, like, or challenge pitfall hurdle. I use all these different words because to me, like I told you even before the show, I find them as the catalyst for the better day. So now when they happen, I look forward to them and I didn’t tend to step back myself and you might be like this, but I step back and I try to look at him even more than and I want to let him go. But I want to analyze them very quickly and see what can I get out of that? What can I take Out of that, and then leave the rest behind and quickly move on, you know,
Antonia Hays 10:03
move on, you have to keep moving on. That’s the thing. I think that’s letting go. Letting Go, briefly touched on, right? There’s a lot of that is not sweating everything you can
Michael Renfro 10:13
do don’t sweat the small stuff. Everywhere,
Antonia Hays 10:17
right? Yeah, you cannot sweat the small stuff, you got to just keep moving moving, even when, you know you’re addressing a problem, whether it be in the firm, whether it be managerial stuff, whether it be whatever it is, you have to address it as quickly and efficiently as possible, and you have to let it go, you have to just move on. So that’s why it’s kind of hard to think of the one that I mean, I’ve got pitfalls and mistakes all over the place, you know, but I can’t focus on that. What kind of like is that? That’s not a life, you know?
Michael Renfro 10:45
No, and some people have, I will say that some some folks there that single and I mean, I’ll just give you a for instance, ours really, and there’s been so many more, I mean, so many more like you, I cannot begin to name all of them. But what I can tell you is when my wife was hit by a car, okay, as a pedestrian, that was one that I know that sounds funny. But within 48 hours, all I can tell you is I knew everything was gonna be okay, I knew it was supposed to happen. And I knew that the outcome of it was going to put us in a much better position than we were now. And it’s unfortunate that she had to go through that, but it’s just the way that it all lined up. And I’ll tell you this, most people to get hit, she was crossing the street down in Florida. And the car hit her at 40 45 miles an hour.
Antonia Hays 11:28
Oh my good God, when
Michael Renfro 11:29
was this? This was 2016. And she has not a broken back. Not a broken neck, not a broken femur, not a broken, nothing broken, she got a broken fibula, which if you know what that is, that’s the bone on the back of the calf. takes all of about five 6% of your body weight anyway, right. So she was literally walking around three days later, and she was thrown like a football 25 yards. But she jumped up at the she saw the car just to and it was in a turn. So you have to put all these factors together, right? It was not straight momentum, it was turn momentum. So a lot of the force was being thrown off to the side. Right? She literally leapt up and was probably about a half a foot in the ground when the car actually hit her. And then it threw her like a tennis racket hit her and threw her and she hit the ground. And amazingly, I mean, I cannot tell you like everybody would be 85% of folks at that speed or automatically did like just I mean, that yeah, period upon impact that right 50 of the 15% that do survive. Antonio, you’re talking about almost always broken themers broken back, broken neck, broken hip, you know, something that changes you physically, for the rest of your life. Now she did take some mental, and she has short term issues because it was her head, like almost your head hit the windshield, and then flew in. And then she flew. Was her head hit the asphalt? Unbelievable. It really is. But
Antonia Hays 13:02
are you near her at this time? Were you near her? Was she viral but I felt
Michael Renfro 13:05
I will tell you everybody in my family knows that because I looked up at my mom from the dinner table. I’m like, Jackie, something’s wrong. And I immediately rushed out the door. And I passed the intersection as she was being put in the ambulance. But I didn’t want to think that was her because she was supposed to be over at the school across diagonally, which is where I was going to pick her up. So I ended up being about five minutes behind the ambulance. But I knew I ended up talking to the officer who was on the same young female. That was the one that put my wife and you know, what do you call it, the the ambulance and all that. So I was right there. I mean, I all I can tell you is I truly believe in a lot more than than just what we see. And I felt it. I knew the moment that my wife had been hurt that our life had changed and I needed to go be with him. Wow. But those again, that horrible moment, which it was I mean, tears and crying. I mean, there’s all that loss, you know, possible loss of life changing of the life forever. Loss of money and income because she couldn’t work. I mean, all that. We went through all that and it is it is incredible. I know I bless it. I know it’s a blessing because it gave us everything we have. And that’s what I keep trying to tell people like if you if you accept these bad things, you’ll find that you know, we call them bad, but if you don’t have them, Antonia How can you have a glorious day? How would you even know what a glorious day is?
Antonia Hays 14:30
That is correct. You
Michael Renfro 14:33
wouldn’t be a mundane experience. We would just be like, everything is wonderful and great.
Antonia Hays 14:39
That’s no no that’s not that’s not how it goes. Now why makes it
Michael Renfro 14:43
wonderful. Yeah, exactly. What makes it wonderful and great is that you had excuse my friends or shit day the day before. So now you can have a glorious day to day and be with the family or whatever the case may be.
Antonia Hays 14:53
That’s exactly right. Yeah, you can’t have one without the other. There is no you can’t No light without knowing
Michael Renfro 14:59
dark. Exactly. You can’t even you can’t even enjoy it. Like, that’s what right. That’s what’s so funny, you know? And I, it’s why I talked about him. So I’m about to ask you just purely have a beautiful one. But that’s why I talk about the the the challenges because they really aren’t challenges so much as what I call the now transformational moments, there are moments to learn and change in a better way. Period. What was your what was just kind of get into the What was your biggest or proudest moment? What I mean by that is biggest success, you know, for the career highlight, I’m guessing it might be opening the firm, but I wanted to ask anyway, because there might be something else.
Antonia Hays 15:35
Definitely. I mean, it really is opening the firm. I mean, yeah, I really have to say that. I mean, I wish I don’t you know it, really,
Michael Renfro 15:44
you’re in love with it. And that’s awesome. And right, yeah, there’s nothing.
Antonia Hays 15:47
There’s nothing. Not only are we We’re not only are we in love with it, and I think it’s really, it’s really transformed every other part of our lives. And without the firm, the firm is all one beast, so to speak, right? I never when people talk about that, like, oh, this firm, you know, the firm and you have the family, and then you have this, like I really see it all as interrelated. Right. So, you know,
Michael Renfro 16:10
you’re doing it properly, in my personal opinion, because usually, and what I mean by price shouldn’t say properly, I think if you’re doing it, the way that gives you the most opportunity for happiness, it is because you’re usually doing something that you enjoy. And if you want to keep enjoying it, you kind of it kind of has to be part of your life period. So like everybody knows, I’m a salesman, you know,
Antonia Hays 16:31
everything has to integrate. I will tell you though, something pretty cool we, which is I think a huge accomplishment before even zoom was a thing. We had had our fourth child, Paul, and Paul was about 10 months old, and my husband and I, you know, we were just talking and there was we were living far away from the city. And he would be getting on the train every day, looking at everybody and being like, Oh, this is just This can’t be it cannot be this grueling getting on the train working all day, you know, and we just can’t be like this. And we decided to sell our house, give away all our possessions. And we picked up the family and we moved to Costa Rica. Yeah. Yeah.
Michael Renfro 17:16
So is that where you are now?
Antonia Hays 17:18
No, I am in Chicago. But we were in Costa Rica. We were
Michael Renfro 17:22
living there. I know. You were in Chicago now. But I didn’t know if you’re living there.
Antonia Hays 17:25
We’re not. We’re not living there right now. But I’ll tell you, I couldn’t. At that time. It could have been Chicago. But nonetheless, we? Yeah. So we did this. And we moved to a rural town on the Pacific coast. And we lived there for a few years. And we conducted our business down there. You know, what? We Yes. 100% remote before it was even a thing.
Michael Renfro 17:50
I’m working for a company I told you. I’m almost four years. But part of the reason I came here is they’ve been around 10 years, January 100%, remote well, well before pandemic and technology and all this stuff that we know now because we were like this is more efficient, you make more money, I have more time for the clients that I do want to talk to. So it really is true. If you’re not spending the time on the road, people have no idea how much that road factor is when you’re a salesperson. And attorneys are nothing more than professional salespeople. No offense to you. But no,
Antonia Hays 18:21
no, no. Don’t take offense. No, we are. That’s the business. Yeah, right. So
Michael Renfro 18:26
you got it, the more time you can create to spend with your partners, clients, whatever you call them, then the more you know, how do I say trust is built number one to grow, the business grows better. And quite frankly, I do everything from right here. I stand here all day. And this is one of the best I can’t tell you what man get a standing desk is the way to go. I can’t imagine having any I can’t, I will never I stand 85% of the time. Like it’s funny because my boss, he puts us down and he’ll still sit. I’m like, Dude, I can’t sit anymore. I don’t. I feel I don’t know if this is like you or if you’ve ever felt this. But I feel like if I’m sitting down to a project that involves the computer or whatever, if I’m sitting down, I will not be as productive as if I’m standing up anymore. Like I honestly can’t concentrate.
Antonia Hays 19:15
Just going you’re just going you’re moving your body your bloods going I mean, you’re thinking better. Yeah, I totally I agree.
Michael Renfro 19:21
I love these stupid little things that I love these stupid little things. Yes. I don’t do it on the podcast because then I’ll be like, so I think that this would be a really good time, you know, but but it is it is I can’t imagine going any other way. So that’s kind of a good time to ask this. What some of your daily rituals that you find most important, you know, within a typical day if you will, like you know, give me something or maybe two or three things that you feel like are musts that you have to do for yourself
Antonia Hays 19:55
to have that one hot cup of coffee immediately upon Waiting. It’s just it’s imperative. I can’t.
Michael Renfro 20:03
What do you use to make your coffee? We’re gonna stop right here and have a coffee break.
Antonia Hays 20:07
Well, I mean, I do I have just do the auto drip. It’s just easy efficient, but I personally prefer French press.
Michael Renfro 20:16
Yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna turn you on to some because I was a French press guy too. But you know what I didn’t like about French press always is all the grit and oil and cap that comes with it. Right? Great. look this up. It’s called arrow, press. Press A e o r, if I’m getting it right, hold on. I’m just gonna press. It’s just like the word arrow, but press okay. And I believe I spelled it right. Yep. So I’m just gonna give you a kind of a preview, you’ll be able to see it a little bit. But essentially, what this does is it has a filter at the bottom. Okay. And you press down through and there is no way this is the best cup of coffee now I’ve ever had it beats French press by by leaps and bounds. Because it is clean. It’s clean, and they’re only there. 40 bucks. But it’s a it’s a single press. You know, it’s not Amazon. Yeah, it’s Amazon here. I will. I will I will share it with you after the show. You can you can get I have two now. And I’m probably gonna get two more because everybody I keep turning one on to that like, oh, man, I was a French press guy. And I was a great cup guy. Yeah, well, I’m a K cup guy for just that quick. You know, like, give me a cup of coffee right now I’ll kick up it out every time I’m not gonna lie. But when I’m you know, I have a coffee station down there with a, you know, with a tea kettle and everything. And if I’m making, which is now probably 95% of the time because of that it is also quicker and easier to clean up than an air than a French press. So like your cleanup is lickety split, the only thing you have to do is, you know, duck, but the first time you buy one, it comes with 360 of these filters. So that’s 360 cups of coffee. Yeah, and the filters are like five bucks for 360. Sweet. It’s not that I I will say this, I am a little upset because when I got them they were $27. But with the pandemic and inflation they have jumped their price up to 3995. But it’s still worth it. Yeah, it’s still worth it when you get that cup of coffee. Get one especially. Yeah, get one try it and if your husband has a coffee too. I’m telling you guys are gonna be like, Oh, we got it.
Antonia Hays 22:29
For both huge coffee.
Michael Renfro 22:30
You’ll love it. You’ll love it.
Antonia Hays 22:32
I’m gonna do it.
Michael Renfro 22:36
So other than the coffee?
Antonia Hays 22:37
Yeah, I do. I do meditate. I do meditate or pray. It’s just, I have to I have to
Michael Renfro 22:45
report of mine as well. Yeah, I don’t always necessarily do those at the same time. Correct. I even told God, I was like, Dude, I know, I haven’t been talking to you. But I read your signs. And then I am mentally coming back to you. And changing my behavior when you give me a sign. So God knows. That’s all. That’s all.
Antonia Hays 23:03
Yeah, yeah, that’s enough. And that’s all that’s all there is to it. Right? Yeah. Right. So that’s a big piece. And then what else? What would be?
Michael Renfro 23:13
What’s maybe a strange one or a quirk or something that somebody doesn’t already know about you?
Antonia Hays 23:19
Oh, that I do in the morning.
Michael Renfro 23:23
But didn’t have to be something you do in the morning. Just maybe just something that you do that most folks in your work life probably don’t know about you
Antonia Hays 23:30
that I get on my knees. I actually get on my knees and just sort of bow down to the earth. I do. Yeah. Yeah, I
Michael Renfro 23:37
do, too. I started that back in Oh, seven. Funny. Yeah. Yeah. That’s cool. Yeah. Well, you know, it was more about that. You’re
Antonia Hays 23:45
saying that because I feel like that’s, that’s something I don’t share that a lot. And I don’t know a lot of people who do it. So maybe it’s just a matter of
Michael Renfro 23:52
humbling. It’s a humbling thing that I you know, for me, it was about it was about two things. One being closer, even if I’m on the second or 15 story of a building, it’s being closer to the ground, I walk on, right, number one, and then the other thing, and I would prefer doing it in the actual dirt and ground. But if I can’t, then the whole fact is that I’m humbling myself before the power of this world. Like I think I’m more powerful in this world and somebody needs to slap me upside
Antonia Hays 24:19
the head, right? Yeah, I really I mean, I think that’s a big deal too, is just sort of, it’s hard for attorneys. I think the Eagles
Michael Renfro 24:28
are talking about powerful controlling everything you Oh, I was told I should have been an attorney from five years old. Okay, so you’re talking to what literally still I still have this little thing like, go learn it, just go do it. You’re still the only 50 You could be an attorney for 10 years. You could i know but i i love my sales stuff. So I mean, I’ll say this. I what I love more now is convincing an attorney right to do what I want. If that sounds good at all, you know, for 10 years I was on the other side of the law. So I bow down to attorneys. Right. So now I’m like, Hey, I know more than you about this, you, you know, legalese, but I know marketing, my friend.
Antonia Hays 25:09
And we need that.
Michael Renfro 25:11
Every attorney needs marketing in some way. Every attorney needs marketing. I said, a marketing that’s so funny marketing in some way. But I will tell you this, there are no two practice areas, no two firms and no two geographical locations that are alike. Every single firm is done different. Even if it’s the same firm opening up in a new town, you market that location slightly different than the one that’s in Chicago.
Antonia Hays 25:38
And absolutely, it was your Yeah. Oh, it’s
Michael Renfro 25:41
there’s so many nuances and idiosyncrasies truly to marketing law over anything else. It’s the it’s why law is the only one, the only one that has its literal own industry of law firm marketing agencies that only market lawyers, you don’t even have that for doctors, a lot of these ones that do lawyers are now doing doctors, because they’re like, it’s similar. But even doctors don’t have the same. Because when you’re hurt, you’re hurt. It’s different than when you’re in trouble. Right? When you need help, which is your it’s there’s only two times you call a lawyer in trouble. legal help. That’s it. Right. It always affects your money.
Antonia Hays 26:17
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Well, that’s something that’s interesting, because I think as we’re growing, we’re really, you know, paying attention to, you know, now at this juncture, our branding, and our marketing becomes important. Branding is really important and who are very recently starting, you know, asking these sorts of germane questions about who we are. And doing things like this, like having this conversation with you, it really helps us just sort of know who we are, because you don’t know who you are until someone asks you about it. And our listeners i Yeah, exactly. And I, you know, it’s hard for me, I was just, you know, I had this conversation with my husband. I was like, you know, I’m the one that asked questions. I’m the one. I like to be in your position. Like, I like to ask the questions. I like to learn how
Michael Renfro 27:07
you like to be the interviewer that is getting all that like, Oh, you did? Let me ask. Let me dig a little bit deeper there. So, right, yeah, I love that the investigator as I see, I have, I have a pseudonym that I go ball go by called the flick dick, right? The flick detective movie detective, right. And I always tell people, like, I don’t even watch movies anymore. Straight investigative. I’ve watched them so long that it doesn’t even matter if I love the movie. Actually, if I love it, and it’s the second time it’s even more hardcore, because I’m like, how did they get the camera there? How is that how
Antonia Hays 27:38
you’re like doing that? And analysis? Yeah, that’s cool. Yeah.
Michael Renfro 27:42
But it’s I say that because I think it’s very similar to the way that attorneys have to handle almost every single situation, you have to look at all the different angles, which is people don’t realize half of what you do to become an attorney. And obviously, I know a lot about you, guys, you folks. But half of what you do as attorneys is really just reading other cases and understanding how to use those at the right time when you go up against the current case. And I explained to all is just living off other people’s mistakes.
Antonia Hays 28:10
That’s really it, right. I mean, there is that that’s there’s there’s truth. Yeah, for sure. Yeah.
Michael Renfro 28:16
But it’s, it’s all legal. It’s all documented. And you know, it’s not going to change, you can go back to a book that came out, you know, a case that was decided in 1800s 19. The case is still there, or it still has precedents for whatever reason. I mean, I think that kind of stuff is great, cool. Personally, I know those are way outdated, but
Antonia Hays 28:34
no, no, yeah. What I understand conceptually what you’re saying, absolutely.
Michael Renfro 28:38
I mean, I still seen 1800 cases be used because there’s a point of it, that doesn’t change throughout time. Right. And they’re like, look, this has been the same since we opened up the country.
Antonia Hays 28:49
Yeah, usually elements of the case are like that, like you can cite it, you know, cite something years ago.
Michael Renfro 28:55
I just think, you know, to have all that knowledge and be able to use it at the drop of a hat. I know that obviously we all you know, all lawyers have that set before they go into court, particularly litigators. They have that time to get ready. But then you still gotta have it you got to you got to access it when you’re in front of the judge when you’re in
Antonia Hays 29:17
access, it’s not just accessing it’s accessing the actual and sometimes correct information revelation like standing there you don’t even realize that you’re going to you know, cite something that it just it just happens right it just oh wait this don’t those moments
Michael Renfro 29:32
feel awesome, though. You’re like,
Antonia Hays 29:35
yeah, yeah, they’re
Michael Renfro 29:38
like in your head. I mean, I know you can’t do it in the court. But in your head, you’re like, that was a great job. I can’t believe you just did that.
Antonia Hays 29:45
Yes, there is some of that too.
Michael Renfro 29:49
I’ve done I’ve had that on call. So I know. You know, when you’re like, I can’t believe I just went from a b c d e and brought that full circle. I wasn’t even trying to do that. You know, but to me that goes back with Fr right? Everything happens.
Antonia Hays 30:02
Letting go. And that’s back to the letting go and letting sort of let it move. Let it let it go.
Michael Renfro 30:07
Go. It’s gonna go where it’s supposed to go. And that’s why, I don’t know if you’ve heard it referred to as Fr. But what is it? Eh, FA are? Everything happens for a reason. Yeah. Fr. Yeah, it’s a lot easier. I like that’s a great acronym for for those of us who really believe in that, because that’s five words down to just two syllable things. Easy. Exactly. So, here’s, here’s a couple of, or here’s, I’m gonna kind of combine it a couple of you. Okay. What was it? Like? Where did you grow up? And what was it like? And then let’s talk about when you were growing up. So say before 16 Right before you were actually a full fledged woman out there. What was the craziest thing you’ve ever done as a kid where you grew up? And where are you from?
Antonia Hays 30:56
Oh my God, what’s the craziest thing I ever did as a kid? Um, oh, my goodness, gracious. Okay, well, I grew up and shoot outside of Chicago.
Michael Renfro 31:06
Still home? And that’s cool.
Antonia Hays 31:07
Yeah, yeah. Um, what? If your mommy escapes Palatine? It’s a Northwest suburb of Chicago. I’m trying to think what was the craziest before 15? It mean, if
Michael Renfro 31:23
you want to go up to 18 in high school, that’s fine. You know, that gets crazier. So that’s usually a little lends itself.
Antonia Hays 31:30
I’ll just, you know, I’ll just tell you, we, I remember. I mean, it’s gonna have to we were, there was a party. I think I was probably 15 or 15 or 16. And there was a party in our hometown, and it was an abandoned house. I remember. So. Alright, sounds good. Yeah, so we so the so the whole thing was like, everybody’s gonna go to this abandoned house, and we’re gonna party. And of course, I didn’t tell my parents this, whatever. So we ended up going to the party. It’s a total dance party I missed. I’m sure they’re their kegs of beer, obviously. And the cops come and they bust the party. And they take us all in school buses. And they arrest us, they arrest us all. There’s like, 200 of us that come and pick us up in school buses. Oh, my God. That’s all and they take us to the, you know, take us to the station and every parent had to come and if their kid I mean, I just remember maybe it wasn’t so much the going to the party. It was really more the being shipped in a bus to the station. That was
Michael Renfro 32:40
I mean, let me just say that I have been multiple parties.
Antonia Hays 32:44
normal behavior for 15 sticks.
Michael Renfro 32:48
What’s not normal is that they arrested all of you that I have been. I mean, I cannot tell you I’m literally thinking of right off the top of my head all within the same sophomore year, by the way, so I’m not even going outside of this. One school year of three parties. That got busted by cops, right. One of them this dude, almost we had to tackle him or we tackled his girlfriend him and his girlfriend got an argument. He was about to throw a full gallon of gasoline onto the bonfire. Right, like we would have been messed up that would have been look huge. And she was tackled, I kid you not about 10 feet from the bonfire. She got tackled. And shortly thereafter that incident the cops came, but they still just sent us all I mean, we were drunk as skunks, and they’re like, Go home. Go home. Go go. Yeah, they didn’t do one single arrest at any one of these three parties. And I kid you not. That’s just insane.
Antonia Hays 33:42
Isn’t it crazy that they arrested assault? Like,
Michael Renfro 33:45
that feels like the scene out of Did you ever see Harlem nights? By chance with Eddie Murphy? Like when they when they arrested the whole bar? I’m like,
Antonia Hays 33:55
right. Right. So that was really so that was less about them, like doing something crazy. But the response.
Michael Renfro 34:01
Yeah, but that was your and a crazy experience.
Antonia Hays 34:04
It was it was because I was so I was so I was really scared to call my dad but he and
Michael Renfro 34:10
nobody wants to call their parents on that one. I remember having to call my dad one time to 230 in the morning. And I’d already gone through the arrest. And I was trying to get him to pick me up about an hour away. And he’s like, do you have cigarettes? And I was like, Yeah, and he’s like, can you stay there tonight? And I’m like, Well, I guess I could and he’s like, if you’re still there at noon, call me. My dad. So yeah, that’s it’s another story altogether. Yeah. Right. So who’s here’s a double one, two, so colleagues, right? Who would you say is maybe one that you respect the most, maybe even call a mentor that gave you a really good piece of advice.
Antonia Hays 34:53
A mentor doesn’t
Michael Renfro 34:56
have to be a mentor if you just have someone you really respect you know in the industry. It gives you great or that has a great piece of advice and it’s whatever feels comfortable.
Antonia Hays 35:04
Yeah, um, I don’t know. It’s it’s someone in the industry though. Yeah. Is that okay?
Michael Renfro 35:09
Oh, yeah, it’s whatever. Look, this is, this is your time. Yeah, no,
Antonia Hays 35:13
I’m gonna, I’m gonna go back to go back to mine. It’s yeah, it’s one of these things about, you know, sort of along the lines of not sweating the small stuff. I remember her saying, don’t see everything. Don’t see ever don’t, you don’t have to see to be blind. Or just sort of turning to turn it off. When you know to turn off the senses. Turn off
Michael Renfro 35:36
focus. Let the peripherals go away and just focus on
Antonia Hays 35:41
what’s in front of you. Yeah, so don’t don’t see everything.
Michael Renfro 35:44
Now like that. Like, that’s good. What’s your favorite podcast? Oh, my God. Right. I’m teasing.
Antonia Hays 35:52
No, I love Brene. Brown. Yeah, you’re amazing. Ever thought I love Brene? Brown? Yeah. And I like listening to. I’ve listened to a few of them. But I need to my favorite murderer. Yeah, that was pretty good. But I haven’t listened to that in a while. And I find really with podcasts, I, I end up falling asleep. This is the things I need. I need it whenever I have any downtime. And I’m just sitting and chilling. Like, I’ll just pass out. That’s just a thing that happens to me, whether it’s movies and podcasts, this is all sort of my life, you know, from the morning till night is every minute is pretty much jam packed. And then finally, if I sit down and want to chill and sort of taken information like that, I’ll just pass out.
Michael Renfro 36:41
I’m ADHD. So if I if I stop, yeah, if I stop and watch a movie, or listen to something like that, that same thing happens, because I’m actually slowing my brain down to where it can, it can actually because I’m focused, you know, if I’m doing that, then I’m focused on one person talking or one actor talk, whatever the case may be, right? My normal life is, even while I’m sitting here asking you these questions. Up here. I’m doing 15. I’m literally constantly, you know, it’s just who I am like, and that keeps me going. And the moment that I stopped doing that I do start to fall asleep because it uses a lot of energy, you know, but it also, how do I say I’ve used I’ve learned to manage my ADHD by if it makes sense, rather than feeding in medicine and trying to focus myself down, which I got tired of doing, I just get myself more. I don’t always get everything done, but I get most of it’s gone. And I’m not procrastinating. I’m just you know,
Antonia Hays 37:35
doing other stuff, too. I will tell you a good show, though. Better Call Saul. That’s something
Michael Renfro 37:42
I have heard it I’ve you know, I never watched it because my only thing was is I wasn’t really into the Breaking Bad thing because it wasn’t in the crystal meth. When I was told, right, this is a whole different. It’s a hologram all together because being an attorney before you even meet that meets those dudes.
Antonia Hays 37:59
Yeah, so it’s a really cool, it’s a cool perspective. There’s just a bunch of legals for us lawyers. It’s a pretty funny
Michael Renfro 38:07
fact that it’s about a lawyer, right? I’m actually I’m telling you right now I have I’m honestly upset at myself for not doing it because I wanted to see if HBO did it justice. But I really want to watch Perry Mason, I’m not gonna lie. I want to watch the new Perry Mason, pretty much and I want to say that they reissued they came out with a whole new HBO max right with their programming. So I think they’ve finished season one now. So I think they’re about to start season two. I know they got to season two. So obviously season one did well enough. And we’re talking about HBO. Yeah. And I’ll tell you another one. I don’t know if you’re old enough. And I mean that, uh, politely. There was a movie that came out in the late 80s. Called from your hip. Have you ever heard of from your hip? No, or from the hip from the hip? Sorry, from the hip. Okay. So it is the 1980s? No, sorry. 1980s. It is a I was I think it’s 87. And it has, I was trying to look it up real quick. So that Judd Nelson is the one he played, Nelson. Oh, yeah. And well, I know, you know, you know, some of these other ones. John Hurt. Elizabeth Perkins. Yep. It also has a lot of other great older actors, because this is 1987. So all the partners of the firm are played by folks in their late 60s. Right.
Antonia Hays 39:26
But again, watch this
Michael Renfro 39:27
from the hip. Last time I saw it was on I’m looking at it is on prime. So you can watch it for free if you have Amazon Prime. Okay, you will absolutely love this. This is time. In one. It’s two movies in one and you’ll you’ll it’s criminal defense is while a Perry Mason, right? Yeah. So the beginning of the movie. He is a fledgling lawyer at a huge law firm. That’s never got a case. I’m not going to tell you how he gets his first case that’s honestly quite intriguing and very funny. But he gets his first case and then makes a mockery of it and the way he does it is absolutely hysterical. But this, this mockery that he ends up getting gets huge amount of attention. So his very next case, his next litigation case, his next case ever in life is a murder case a huge, huge profile murder case and the murderer wants nobody but him because of what he did in one case. Tell me that isn’t a great setup, right? The murderer is played by John the murderer is played by John Hurt. So you know, that’s like the or the, the accused murderer. Right, the accused murderer and Judd Nelson is the lawyer Elizabeth Perkins is his girlfriend. Oh, David Alan Grier is in it. It’s yeah, like it’s, Hey,
Antonia Hays 40:49
maybe I was just too young. At seven,
Michael Renfro 40:51
you know. It’s also when movies didn’t get like, it wasn’t the same. Without the internet, I’ll tell you that a shit movie today can get a lot of attention or one that doesn’t have the appropriate marketing can all of a sudden take off like this one just didn’t have the appropriate market. It’s really funny. It’s really good. And I kid you not, you can almost feel it. When the movie goes from one tone to a completely different like you’re watching two different films. That’s cool. That’s always like it when they do that. Okay,
Antonia Hays 41:18
that’s cool to check that out.
Michael Renfro 41:20
So here’s here’s last two. I’m gonna I’ll just wrap it up at one question. What’s your favorite conference as an attorney, and then your favorite tools and that can be software or an actual tool that you use, you know, in the sense of in the courtroom, maybe?
Antonia Hays 41:36
With software we’ll start with software just because this is I have I’m going to profess something here. I am a Luddite. I’m a total Luddite. I’m terrible with technology. It’s not organic for me for some reason. person I you know, my, my husband will tell me that I’ll you know, something’s always wrong. With my like, there’s always a click. I’ve got some weird bio rhythms. screw things up. No, I’m not. This isn’t even a joke. This is
Michael Renfro 42:04
you and computers, you and technology do we do not
Antonia Hays 42:07
mix? And this is my job in the firm now is to initiate this new software. Yes, they gave me this job a meeting me and my husband decided that I’m going to do the CRM software, the client management, so
Michael Renfro 42:21
Oh, my God, I know exactly what to say.
Antonia Hays 42:25
On onboarding, this, this new technology on La Maddix. Law Maddox,
Michael Renfro 42:31
I’m familiar with them.
Antonia Hays 42:33
Okay, so I’m just gonna go with automatics, just because it is like, you know, it’s the thing I’m dealing dealing with right now dealing with, and I certainly hope it is, you know, ends up to be a success story.
Michael Renfro 42:46
They’ve been decent. I mean, if it matters, most of the feedback that I get, because it really is, it’s yours client, it’s client relations management is for right. You know, I use Pipedrive. But I don’t, I don’t hate her. What I like about LA Maddix is they actually cater to lawyers, and they have a lot of stuff built in there for your practice areas, depending on what your practice area is. And they only are continuing to add more and more tools, you know, more forms, more things that make your life easier, right. And then I don’t know, I don’t know for sure. But I think they also give you the ability to customize your Pipedrive based on the way you handle your cases. So you get
Antonia Hays 43:27
there’s a whole different Yeah, I’m just using them on the front end. And maybe it will and you know, ultimately, maybe there’ll be prolific for us in other areas, but just use them for the ad set on the front of the house stuff like getting the client in the door, a consultation retainer sent out, that still makes,
Michael Renfro 43:48
it does make that a whole lot easier to and there’s a lot that you can end up expanding with it later. Right? You get very comfortable with this part, I’m telling you, right, it’s got so much more to it than
Antonia Hays 44:00
that. I understand. Yeah, we couldn’t get we can’t get to all of it during our onboarding, but
Michael Renfro 44:04
you’re paying for it. So you might as well learn how to use it. Right? Well, that’s the
Antonia Hays 44:07
thing too, right. And there’s this, you know, for smaller, firm and some of this stuff, you know, I make sense, maybe for a big firm, but I’m like, Well, I have to do some work, right? You got to build my clients, too. So part of it is, you know, where does that how to use it, but not abuse it, I guess?
Michael Renfro 44:23
No, exactly. But, you know, I will say this, again, just in concerns to SaaS is a good piece of SaaS because it doesn’t, it’s not restricted to doing it their way you can customize almost any portion of it, I believe, where you can make it fit your model. So if it doesn’t fit right away, you know, with a couple of clicks and a little bit of this.
Antonia Hays 44:42
It should yeah, so I’ll say that and then as far as finances are concerned, I would say really I love being a part of Chicago Bar Association and all of the like, committee meetings and they do our they’re fantastic and all the women groups Um, you know,
Michael Renfro 45:01
folks have like one of the top five cities. So I mean, you have big numbers. And I mean that I’m not trying to say it in a in a in a foolish way. But whenever you have those kind of numbers and that kind of city that gives it diversity, and that gives it power for any group that forms, right, so that you’re not just one or two people sitting there cheering, but you’re a group of people that can share and help each other grow. Yeah, I
Antonia Hays 45:24
love the diversity of that. And I love the ability to I mean, we’ve got something going on every single day at the Chicago Bar Association. So I can just, I can close off this call, look up on the website, see what kind of talk they’re having at, you know, noon for the lunch hour and pop in on that. So I really just sort of like the group of, you know, being a part of the Chicago bar and the people in the city really keeping us all sort
Michael Renfro 45:48
of tied together. Yeah. Are you just by chance? Just a side note, since you said that, are there any groups in that arena, if you will, or similar to it that you hold position in or hold any office for that you kind of lead or
Antonia Hays 46:02
not at this time? At
Michael Renfro 46:03
this time, I heard that the future is always bright shades on shades on Antonio. So I really appreciate it. Don’t hang up after I close that I’m gonna shoot you over the link to this. So you can have, but I will close the show with saying thank you so much for being with us. And thank you. Oh, thank you. And hopefully, by the way, what would be cool? Because we have the opportunity here is to obviously have your husband on at some point would be awesome to hear the other half of that. Yeah. And have you folks you know, it would really be cool as after I have him maybe a year from then have both of you on and we’ll do like a double thing on see how y’all are in a year from now. Sounds great. Awesome. Happy to thank you everyone for listening to this episode. And we will be back next week with a brand new episode and a brand new attorney and a brand new city and a brand new practice area with a bunch of brand new problems and a bunch of brand new trophies or rewards. So all kinds of new stuff. Anyway, have a great day. Thanks so much.
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