Understanding the customer is key to creating the best user/client experience. Never underestimate the power of talking with customers, listening to their problems and aspirations, and building the best solutions.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Felix Shipkevich. Felix is founder and CEO of Hotspot Law, a revolutionary new platform and mobile phone app that connects consumers to lawyers in a fast, easy and cost-effective manner. Based on the historic barriers for consumers in hiring an attorney, including inconvenience, lack of transparency and unclear costs, Shipkevich had an idea to create an app that would transform this essential process for the better.
Thank you so much for joining us, Felix! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was always interested in law and justice. As a New York City attorney for over 16 years and having built my own practice, I found that the legal industry hasn’t adapted to improve or address the way attorneys are onboarding new clients. Particularly for the consumer law sectors, the entire industry is quite static. Solving the problem consumers face in finding an attorney that’s right for them, while connecting attorneys to prospective consumers that need their expertise, is my mission.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?
Bringing law into the 21st century is one of society’s great challenges right now. Starting any company or new concept is not an easy feat, particularly in an industry resistant to change. Building the technology, hiring the right staff and truly understanding the needs of both attorneys and consumers — and solving those problems with an easy to use app — have been our key concerns. Our major lessons have been to focus on providing an excellent product first and foremost: everyone has to benefit from using it, and its design must be intuitive. One major challenge for consumers is reaching an attorney to address their legal questions. Today’s consumers are increasingly busy and need to talk with attorneys immediately. If it’s a Friday night, their problem cannot wait until Monday morning. Harnessing the power of technology, Hotspot Law makes free consultations possible anytime, anywhere. It truly is the future of law.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
Factors that lead to success are different for everyone. As a Russian-Jewish immigrant who came to Brooklyn in 1990 at the age of 12 trying to flee political oppression, I am very familiar with the idea of having legal questions. My parents were incredibly hardworking people, and encouraged me to study and work hard for a better future. In high school I became involved in a program that connected me with mentors at top Manhattan law firms. This early exposure to the industry piqued my interest significantly in the connection between law and a better world. I am hardworking and keep a positive outlook, but I am also lucky as the timing is perfect. Consumers have never been more ready for an app that can help resolve legal problems.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
- Giving up your personal time happens often. This is because you truly believe in the mission and will do anything to make it happen.
- Growing and learning is an everyday event. Come to work every day with an open mind, reduce preconceived ideas, and you will build the best product.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because even when painful, they are truly learning experiences. They also set you on the right path quickly.
- Be patient and keep going. Even the best ideas take more time than anticipated.
- Understanding the customer is key to creating the best user/client experience. Never underestimate the power of talking with customers, listening to their problems and aspirations, and building the best solutions.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I personally enjoy drinking lots of coffee, but this doesn’t work for everyone! For my colleagues who are working too hard, my advice is pretty simple: find some personal time, take a vacation, and incorporate daily walks into your routine to reduce stress. As an attorney in New York City for nearly two decades, these small things have made a huge difference for me. For example, my wife Evelina and I both own businesses but every summer we visit Italy overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and enjoying all the fantastic things Italy has to offer. It’s only a few days a year, but it is truly the best medicine. I come home refreshed, relaxed, and full of creative ideas. Living near my office, I also try to walk everywhere I can year-round.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’m very grateful to my amazing wife Evelina for being understanding of the long hours I work. As a dentist and dental practice owner herself, she truly understands what it’s like to build a business and all that entails. Not only is she an amazing partner, she is also very creative and has good business insights. I am also grateful to my parents who taught me the importance of helping people and creating solutions when there aren’t any.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
Giving consumers access to justice, regardless of geographical location, is a top priority. I estimate there are over a billion legal questions Americans have every year, without an outlet for asking them. Additionally, I want to help as many solo and small practice attorneys as possible in transforming their businesses. As an instructor at my alma mater Hofstra Law School, I am always inspired by the next generation of legal professionals who come into the profession wanting to have their own practice, but unequipped to deal with the economic realities of doing so. Hotspot Law is the first and only tool to generate new business for new and seasoned attorneys alike.
What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?
We want to create a movement and make legal services accessible. We want John or Jane Doe to talk with an attorney the next time they have a question about an employment contract, maternity leave, domestic issue or anything else. Our vision for a more fair and balanced world is the legacy we want to leave. We are honored that investors have responded very favorably to Hotspot Law, because it helps both attorneys and consumers and fills a gaping need in the marketplace. Empowering consumers to connect with attorneys will make legal problems less scary and more manageable than any other time in history. Consumers can “shop around”, vet attorneys, make an educated selection, and finally resolve their most painful legal problems.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
Our movement is increasing access to justice. Everyone should download the Hotspot Law app, available here: www.hotspotlaw.com. Book an appointment with a local attorney and get the help and resolution you need. Contrary to what society might tell them, consumers should never be afraid to connect with a lawyer directly — regardless of income, location or demographic, they deserve access to legal counsel and there is now a tool to do so. Hotspot Law enables the legal process, with a vision to increase access to justice for all.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you for all of these great insights!