“If you think hiring an expert is expensive, try hiring an amateur.”
1. Why did you start Mattern?
I kept getting fired at all my other jobs.
No, seriously--about 25 years ago, I thought there was an opportunity to offer unbiased advice and expertise to law firms for equipment and outsourcing contracts.
I saw a lot of law firms outsourcing for the wrong reasons, signing contracts that were completely one-sided, or firms that were agreeing to contract terms and conditions that weren’t in their best interest simply because it seemed like there was no alternative. There were no market-wide insights at the time that could help firms be more informed to make better decisions. I thought there was an opportunity to be sitting on the client’s side of the table to provide that unbiased advice.
I wrote a business plan, ran the idea by a ton of people, most of whom thought it was a terrible idea, and started. My wife went back to work full-time to get benefits, and I started the business while staying home with my 5 and 3-year-old children.
Those kids are now 28 and 26 years old. My daughter works in the marketing department at Dechert, my son at Deloitte---and a market for legal support services that has completely changed.
All for the better.
2. What are your top 3 lessons learned in the past 25 years?
- You can’t have too many good people on your team.
- You can have a bad deal with good people, but you can’t have a good deal with bad people.
- Regardless of the numbers or your work, firms will sometimes make poor decisions.
3. What do clients like best about working with you?
- My team. Without a doubt, the best team of consultants in the business.
- We do excellent work and get excellent results.
- They know they will get the straight scoop from us.
- We stand by our work. If something is not working the way it should, we will get it corrected.
- We are unbiased and don’t have a stake in the outcome (meaning we won’t ‘win’ the RFP). This strengthens our role as trusted advisor.
4. What is unique and valuable about your expertise?
Mattern is unique because we are truly unbiased. Our business model is a true differentiator and ensures we do not getting paid based-upon the outcome of an engagement: we do not sell any of the services we consult in, and we do not base our fees on a percentage of savings. These practices can cause bias to creep into the process.
What we are told by our clients is that we bring the operation we are consulting into a new level with a great RFP process and contract that allows their operation to be truly exceptional—and this is what we set out to do each and every time.
5. What are some successes you are most proud of and why?
I think there are three things:
- My co-workers, and that includes the companies that support us – our CPA firm, attorneys and marketing company. They have the best interest of the clients at heart.
- I am proud of the impact we have had in the law firm operations consulting field. We have gone from a one man band to an international consulting company, from law firms not having any alternatives to make better decisions, to an entire industry of expertise of which law firms can avail themselves. I think is pretty amazing.
- Our industry surveys. We produce some of the industry’s key data points which are a great source of unbiased information for the legal communities. I am proud of that thought leadership and of our contribution to the community as a whole.
6. Favorite sports team?
I am a diehard Eagles fan. This year, I finally know what it feels like to be Giants or Jets fan.