Transforming Legal Services for Better Client Relationships | Stephen Trevathan from Herman & Wells

herman and wells


In this episode of Pathmonk Presents, we sit down with Stephen Trevathan, CMO at Herman & Wells Law Firm. Stephen discusses the firm’s dedication to helping clients navigate personal injury, property insurance disputes, and construction defects. 

Explore how Herman & Wells leverages innovative marketing and a client-centric approach to make legal services more accessible and effective. 

Tune in for insights on their proven strategies and commitment to client success.

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Ernesto Quezada: Welcome to Pathmonk Presents, the place where business owners and marketers share their insights on digital growth. In every episode, we discuss real strategies, why they worked, and also why they didn’t. Get insights from real experience and save yourself a whole lot of time and money. Let’s get to it right now.

Before we get started with today’s episode, let’s have a quick look at what Pathmonk is all about. If you are winning leads, demos, or sales through your website, then Pathmonk might be interesting for you. Pathmonk is an extension to your website. It watches each visitor as they’re moving through your page and builds up their interest in your product or service in real-time to deliver a great uplift in conversions from your website. Usually, the buying journey can be divided into stages: awareness, consideration, and decision-making. Pathmonk figures out in which stage a given visitor is by watching every action they do on the website and provides them with micro-experiences such as notifications, case studies, and introduction videos, helping them to move to the next stage in the buying journey towards a conversion.

Welcome to today’s episode. Let’s talk about today’s guest. We have Stephen from Herman and Wells Law Firm, CMO with them. How are you doing today, Stephen?

Stephen Trevathan: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on.

Ernesto: It’s great to have you on and excited to learn a little bit more about what you guys are doing out there at Herman and Wells. So let’s kick it off with that. In your own words, can you tell us a little bit more?

Stephen: Yeah. So, I mean, you know, we are a law firm. We have four practice areas. When the law firm was originally launched, it was formed back in 2015. The partners, Jason Herman and Cliff Wells, started with two practice areas: personal injury and property insurance disputes. In the last two years since I’ve been in-house with them, we’ve actually added two new practice areas: construction defects and disabilities disputes. But, yeah, we are a law firm looking to help people when they are in pretty bad spots in their life, unfortunately, and they’re looking for legal assistance. So that’s where we come in and do the best we can for our clients.

Ernesto: And that’s very important. At the end of the day, that’s what a client is looking for, something different.

Stephen: Exactly.

Ernesto: So then what would you say, since you guys have ventured into other industries, what is the key problem that you guys solve or provide for clients?

Stephen: Well, it depends on the practice area. But the unifying thread, as I was alluding to before, is that whether it’s someone finding that they have a foundational issue in their house, a lot of new construction here in Florida, and we’re seeing a lot of people having issues because contractors are cutting corners, especially as prices go up. Home builders are cutting corners in significant ways, and it costs people a lot of money. So someone like that can come to us, and we can help them get the justice they deserve. The same goes for personal injury and insurance disputes. The tying thread there, and honestly with disability too, is that we’re essentially the people to go to when going up against an insurance company. That’s really who our attorneys are litigating against – insurance companies. We have the expertise, and the big thing for us, our differentiator, is that we are accessible. There are a lot of law firms, especially in personal injury. If you drive any street, any highway around here, you’re going to see a lot of billboards for personal injury lawyers. Morgan & Morgan is the biggest personal injury firm, as they say, in the universe, and we’re basically in their backyard. But there’s lots of competition out there, so a lot to choose from. For me, it’s just trying to connect, be more accessible. One thing we try to say here is we want to demystify the law for people. We want to empower our clients, and I’m trying to do that in a better way through our content marketing, our advertising, and showcasing that in a genuine way.

Ernesto: Awesome to hear that from you guys. So how would somebody usually find out about the law firm? Is there a top client acquisition channel for you guys?

Stephen: Yeah, it’s actually interesting timing for this podcast interview because I’ve been spending a lot of time digging into this in the last few months. One of the things I remember talking to Jason and Cliff about when I first got to know them, just a little quick background on me, I actually started to get to know the partners when I was at a digital marketing agency. I was their senior strategist. They were one of our clients, and it was a situation where we just got to know each other better and better. When I was looking to leave that agency, they were really interested in bringing me in-house. One of the things I’ve talked with them for years about was the need to have an actual CRM because we didn’t have data showing where most of the client acquisition was coming from. Well, now we do. As of right now, most of it is organic traffic and our PPC advertising campaigns. Any good law firm relies heavily on referrals as well. Referrals tend to be the best sources of cases because most people, if I was to tell you, “How would you define a practice area?” most people don’t know what that is. They see a law firm, and they reach out because they have a problem. A lot of times, it’s things we don’t help with, so we end up also passing referrals to other law firms, lawyers we know. But in terms of the big numbers, it’s really organic traffic and PPC right now.

Ernesto: That’s important. Yep, I would agree. And so that way, our listeners who are tuned in can go ahead and visit you. You can always check them out at What role does the website play for client acquisition?

Stephen: Well, and you guys are gonna really appreciate this, but it’s a major role, especially with my background. I’ve been doing search engine optimization essentially since 2011. That’s my deepest area of expertise, content marketing essentially. Especially with that and PPC advertising, it plays a very, very central role. As I said, one of our differentiators is that we want to demystify the law, we want to empower our clients, and I take that to heart when it comes to our content. I want our website to have the answers to the questions that people within our target audiences are seeking. It’s essential that it’s an up-to-date website that clearly answers those questions and gives people the path towards either contacting us or, sometimes we are just trying to be open and honest in terms of like, “Hey, sometimes you might not need a lawyer for this, and this is what you need to do to get help.” We just try to be helpful and make it easy for people to contact us or set up a consultation if that’s what they’re looking for.

Ernesto: Definitely awesome to do that. On that note, is there any tools or tips or methods? I mean, you are the expert as far as some website lead generation.

Stephen: For me, the biggest thing when it comes to improving conversion rate is understanding who the audience is. That has been one of my core philosophies when setting up a content marketing strategy in general: Who are we trying to get in front of? I want to know as much about them as possible. I want to know what their pain points are because I want to be able to empathize with them as much as possible. I want that content to empathize with them. Once that has happened, and I say that it’s always an ongoing thing, I’m always trying to get a little bit better about it. The next big thing is trial and error, A/B testing, putting something out there to see if it works, especially with our PPC advertising. I am currently using a platform, so I think I’ve mentioned it before, but we’re redesigning the website. I use WordPress, and I’ve been using WordPress for a long time. But we are doing a full redesign, and in the midst of that, I’ve been using the platform Unbounce to create landing pages so I can do those A/B tests on the fly. That’s been really helpful in terms of improving our conversion rate. That’s really, in a nutshell, what I like to use.

Ernesto: Awesome to hear some great tips from you. Let’s switch gears a little bit, Stephen, and talk about you as a leader. You being the CMO at Herman and Wells, what are some key tasks you like to focus on in your day-to-day work?

Stephen: This is an interesting question because, in my role here, it actually depends primarily on the initiatives that I have. The leadership team here, we have been following that. Are you familiar with Traction, the book Traction? We incorporated that philosophy into our leadership team last year and started doing those L10 meetings. We are setting those bigger quarterly rocks goals. My day-to-day is dependent on those priorities, which are really dependent on what the quarterly initiatives are. Right now, the big things I’ve been focusing on are outlining a new strategy for each of our practice areas and really refining who our target audiences are for each of these practice areas. There’s a lot of work that’s going into that, just week by week, meeting with our attorneys, working with my content strategist, trying to refine as much as possible. The other part is making sure I’m addressing action items that are dependent on getting this website redesign ready to go. Unfortunately, I find myself as a bit of a bottleneck when it comes to these initiatives. One of the things I’ve been working on since being here is building up an internal marketing agency. We have a virtual assistant, content writer, strategist, social media manager, and video editor. We have all these things in place. But one of the biggest things is trying to get processes going so things run smoothly day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month. There are still a lot of areas where optimization needs to happen. That’s why I find myself day-to-day just trying to make sure I’m not being a bottleneck, keeping things moving smoothly while also finding time to work on the bigger things. That’s where my priority shifts, and that’s why I love this job so much because I cannot work a job where it feels like I’m doing too much of the same thing. If I’m not doing new stuff, even on a month-by-month basis, I’m going to go a little crazy. I really like that element of it. But it is one of those things where I try to make sure that while I’m pushing forward on new stuff, I’m not keeping other things from getting done because people are waiting for me to approve something or simple things like that.

Ernesto: OK, awesome to hear that. It sounds like you have a full plate there on your hands, but you balance it out well. Let’s jump into our next section, which is our rapid-fire question round. Are you ready for them?

Stephen: I think so.

Ernesto: All right, perfect. First off, Stephen, what is the last book that you read?

Stephen: The last book I actually finished is called Made to Stick. It’s this really interesting book by Chip and Dan Heath. It talks about the why behind marketing ideas that performed really well. The thread that goes through that book is connected to the book I read before, which is about storytelling. Storytelling is something I’m fascinated by. I want to involve our content marketing to utilize storytelling better. I think one of our weaknesses is that our content tends to be a little bit dry. Legal content in general is, but I think there’s such an opportunity with incorporating more storytelling into it. That was the last book I read.

Ernesto: OK, great read there for our listeners. Next up, what is the one single thing the firm is focused on at the moment the most?

Stephen: For me, it is updating our marketing strategy and relaunching a new website. We went through a rebrand last year, but I haven’t really pushed much of that out into the world yet. We’ve been doing it in stages, but the new website will be the unveiling of our new look, which I’m very excited about. So, that’s my primary focus right now – getting those things in place so we can relaunch. I have an idea for a brand awareness push that’s going to go up with that.

Ernesto: OK, awesome. Great to hear that. If there were no boundaries in technology, what would be that one thing you would want to have fixed from your role as a marketer today?

Stephen: I think it goes back to what I was saying before. If I had an AI assistant that I could verbally have a discussion with and it could automate more of the report generation and process documentation, that would be huge. It’s essential for what I’m doing right now, but it’s also one of those things where it’s challenging to stop and generate that report or write things down, which is crucial, especially when meeting with the partners. I want to put significant investment behind this campaign, and we have to look at the numbers. But it’s not the thing I’m drawn to the most. I’m more on the creative side. I love marketing for its creative element, empathizing with our audience, and generating something unique. If I had an AI system that could generate those things for me, that would be huge.

Ernesto: Definitely, that would be amazing. Next, is there one repetitive task that you could automate? What would that be?

Stephen: Yeah, I think it’s the content calendars, picking those topics. It has to happen all the time, and it’s one of those things that would be nice to automate. I’m working on getting that more automated, but I struggle with letting go of some of that control mentality over those topics. It’s repetitive but crucial. If it were automated, it would be great. I need to let go of some of that control mentality.

Ernesto: Awesome. Great to hear that. It’s a work in progress. Lastly, Stephen, you’re an expert in marketing. What is one piece of advice you would give yourself if you were to restart your journey as a marketer today?

Stephen: I love this question. There’s a quote from Winston Churchill: “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” When I think about myself starting in digital marketing, I slowed myself down by worrying about being perceived as stupid or making mistakes, especially early in my career. Failure is one of the ultimate routes to success in this career. You have to put things in action, test them, and fail a lot. If I were to sit down with myself back in 2011, I would tell myself that failure is okay. It’s part of the process, and you’ll learn so much by doing more. Just put something out there, generate reactions, and use that data to become a better marketer.

Ernesto: Great advice. I totally agree with that. If you don’t learn from your failures, you’re doing something wrong. We’re coming to the end of the show here, but I want to give you the last word. If someone forgets everything about the interview today, what is the one thing they should remember about Herman and Wells?

Stephen: The one thing I hope people remember is that we are a firm trying really hard to be the best firm we can be. It takes letting go of that ego and putting ourselves out there. We want to be truly accessible, which is not common with many law firms. We want people to remember that we are looking to empower our clients, demystify the law, and be their champions and advocates. We have a great team of people here, and we are continuously working on improving ourselves to provide the best results for our clients.

Ernesto: Awesome to hear that from you, Stephen. It’s been a pleasure to have you on our episode today. Thank you so much for being on. To our listeners, thank you for tuning in, and we’ll see you on our next episode at Pathmonk Presents. Thanks a lot, Stephen.

Stephen: Thank you, Ernesto. I really appreciate this opportunity.