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LawLytics Spotlight: Andy & Sandra Segal

Attorneys: Andy & Sandra Segal
Firm: Segal & Segal, LLC
Site: huntsvilledefenselawyer.com
Location: Huntsville, AL
Practice Areas: Criminal Defense

Mr. Segal has always created Segal & Segal’s website content, but he hadn’t been able to publish or manage it himself when working with the firm’s previous website companies.

As Mr. Segal puts it, “Your website is like a set for a stage show, but LawLytics lets you go behind the scenes.”

Attorneys Andy & Sandra Segal in the Spotlight…

When you call the law firm of Segal & Segal, a Segal answers the phone.

The Huntsville, Alabama criminal defense firm was founded by Andrew Segal and Sandra Segal, a husband-and-wife team of former prosecutors.

As Mrs. Segal describes it, “The old business model was that there was the secretary or the paralegal and then there was the lawyer. We thought: what if we don’t need that layer anymore? People can call and get us.” The Segals take pride not only in the fact that they’re the ones answering the law firm’s phones, but also in being available 24/7 to help their clients.

Taking different paths to the same destination

Both Segals became lawyers because they wanted to help people. But they got there in rather different ways.

When Andrew Segal was a kid, he knew two things: he liked arguing and he hated bullies. He often found himself “getting a punch in the nose” due to his “smart aleck” comments. Part of the reason he became a prosecutor was that he wanted to help people stand up to bullies.

But his view of who the “bullies” are has changed over time. In law school and in his early years as a prosecutor, he says he tended to see things in black and white: the criminals were the bullies, the prosecutors were the good guys and defense lawyers were the bad guys.

Over the years, he says he began to see more shades of grey. As he describes it, “A lot of times it’s some citizen who’s doing nothing that’s getting bullied by the police…sometimes it’s prosecutors who are–as I was–very biased.”

As a devout Christian, Mrs. Segal has always had a desire to help people, which influenced her decision to pursue law. She says she cares about her clients and works hard to do everything she can to help them (up to and including answering her phone in the wee hours on a Saturday morning).

While both Segals are motivated by the desire to help and both were prosecutors before moving into criminal defense, they approach their practice in different ways.

Mr. Segal jokingly says he’s a little more “HULK SMASH,” while Mrs. Segal is “more of a surgeon.” All joking aside, the Segals have found that their different approaches and personalities allow them to better serve a variety of clients. For example, one of their clients was not comfortable discussing her traumatic history of abuse with a male attorney, but she was able to share those details with Mrs. Segal, who was then better able to help her.

A 24/7 partnership

Being partners at work and at home means the Segals rarely leave their work behind when they leave the office. As Mr. Segal puts it, “There is no end of the day for us….we don’t really shut off.”

They believe this benefits their clients. Mrs. Segal says, “We try to be available as much as possible 24/7 to our clients because we recognize that people don’t just need us during business hours.”

Both Segals have had clients call them very late at night or early in the morning (sometimes even from the back of a police car). They were glad to be able to help, regardless of the hour. Mrs. Segal sees this 24/7 availability as a key differentiator for their law firm: “Some lawyers are just 9-5. We want to be available after hours, when people need us.”

Mr. Segal adds that the most common complaint people have about their attorneys is that they’re not accessible. At Segal and Segal, “When people want to talk to a lawyer, they want to talk to a lawyer….If we’re available, they get us.”

The business of practicing law

“Being a lawyer is not what it used to be,” says Mr. Segal. “It used to be that becoming a lawyer was like getting a free key to the country club and your road was paved with rose petals.” Now, many attorneys struggle to succeed.

Mr. Segal says he’s heard that the average lawyer spends just 30% of his or her time practicing law. The rest of their time is spent managing their business. Mrs. Segal agrees. If you’re not managing your business well, she says, “it doesn’t matter how good of a lawyer you are.”

The Segals divide their law firm’s business management duties. Mr. Segal handles the marketing, and Mrs. Segal handles the finances. Mr. Segal tries to schedule 20% of his time for marketing activities. Much of that time is spent creating content for the Segal & Segal website.

Like many other law firm websites, the Segal & Segal website includes practice area and detailed law pages that describe various laws in a serious and straightforward manner. In blog posts and videos, Mr. Segal sometimes takes a slightly different approach. He tries to balance education with keeping website visitors engaged and even entertained. He will occasionally take a lighter tone and cover “wacky” topics, including the history of trial by combat or whether you can get arrested in Alabama for wearing a clown costume (if you’re wondering, the answer is probably yes, if you’re loitering).

Many of the Segals’ clients are scared and intimidated by the justice system. As Mr. Segal describes it, “Some people get near-suicidal over criminal charges. They think their life is over, everything they’ve dreamed, everything they’ve hoped for.” Mr. Segal says that the “warm Mr. Rogers” tone he uses in some of the law firm’s content can help their clients feel less intimidated.

From “moldy cheese” to the “keys to the kingdom”

The Segal & Segal website is a critically important tool for growing their practice. But their website was not always a success.

Mr. Segal says that their last website consultant “promised the moon but he was full of moldy cheese” and “didn’t deliver” on his promises. The situation with their website company grew so bad that the firm was actually in financial difficulty. As Mr. Segal says, it reached the point where: “We can’t afford to have a website, but we can’t afford not to have a website. What are we going to do?”

Since switching to LawLytics, the Segals say their business has improved and they’ve also saved money compared to website companies they worked with in the past.

They particularly appreciate that LawLytics provides tools and guidance that empower attorneys to manage their own websites. Mr. Segal has always created Segal & Segal’s website content, but he hadn’t been able to publish or manage it himself when working with the firm’s previous website companies. As Mr. Segal puts it, “Your website is like a set for a stage show, but LawLytics lets you go behind the scenes.”

He says the experience of being able to go in and easily manage his own website is like being handed “the keys to the kingdom.” Now, when something needs to be changed, Mr. Segal says, “I know how to fix it and where to go.”

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