John Pascoe is the founder of the Pascoe Law Firm, a dual-practice law firm in the Houston area that focuses on car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. Instead of keeping up with the “Joneses” of other large local law firms, Pascoe focuses on providing excellent customer service rather than outspending competitors.
Why did you start the company?
I graduated from college in one of the worst time periods, during the economic collapse of 2008. I had a good job in Washington, D.C. All of a sudden, the economy turned horrible. I decided to go back to school and get a law degree. I graduated from law school when the economy was improved, but there was an oversaturation of lawyers at that point. I had been applying for several jobs and needed to get something going.
I decided to form my own law firm focusing on speeding tickets as a side job while I looked for a full-time job. I ended up spending more time on my firm than I did on finding a job. I’ve been quite successful from there and happy it worked out the way it did.
How did you fund the business at the start?
I had about $2,000 in my bank account when I started my law firm. I started by being as frugal as possible. I made my own website. I saved my money to invest it into my firm to help it grow.
Running the Business
How do you manage cash flow?
We try to save as much as we can. We try to do as much as we can ourselves instead of hiring other people to do it. When I first started, I was working out of the house. Now, we have an office and we’re expanding, hiring paralegals full-time. We still try to be conscientious of expenses. As a small law firm, there’s always someone bigger than you that can outspend you. We try to compete by being personable, always answering our phones, providing good customer service, and getting referrals from friends and family and other clients.
What’s the most challenging thing about running the business?
It requires a large amount of time. When you run your own business, you’re responsible for that business’ success. When people run their own business, they work harder than they would if they were working for someone else because they have a personal stake in that business. There are a lot of early mornings, late nights, and weekends.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running the business?
While financial success can be rewarding, I find more value in being able to help people. I’ve worked pro bono and those opportunities have been more enriching. I became a lawyer to try to help other people, so the pro bono work is very satisfying. You can see how happy people are when their cases are resolved.
What I’ve Learned
What’s the biggest mistake you made at the start?
Don’t be afraid to say ‘no.’ You’ll have lots of opportunities to do cases. Pick and choose which cases you want to go after.
What’s the smartest thing you did at the start?
When I first started, there was a good six months when I had a handful of cases going. Cases can last six months to two years to settle. That meant a lot of my money was tied up in those cases until they could be settled. I created my own website and learned SEO during that period, which was helpful in keeping my expenses low.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
One of the best books I read was “The Millionaire Mind.” It discusses common traits that you can find in millionaires, like being frugal and taking calculated risks. It gave me encouragement and direction to have my own law firm.
What’s next for the Pascoe Law Firm?
We are now one of the larger law firms in the Southeast Houston/Galveston area. We recently brought in another paralegal full-time. We’re focused on providing quality service and keeping everybody happy!