February 3, 2020

How to beat the big players at their own game

Aaron McDonald

Pragma Lawyers

In this episode, we caught up with Aaron McDonald, Founder and Director at Pragma Lawyers, who grew a law firm from scratch to over 30 employees in just 6 years.


Dispute resolution lawyers


Resolving disputes quickly and cost effectively to allow clients to move on with their lives


Organisations and individuals

One big piece of advice

Back your instincts and work extremely hard. If you think you’ve got a good idea, it’s worth getting a mentor who has been there done that to guide you through the process


(2:56) – The Anti-Law Firm

(4:26) – Purpose before profit: Solving an important problem and backing yourself in

The most successful entrepreneurs are those who set out to solve a real problem they’re extremely passionate about, not to just start a business

In Aaron’s case, he felt strongly about the need to provide dispute clients with more value than they were currently receiving. He took a leap of faith going out on his own with no initial customers lined up, but the problem was important enough to him and he had enough self-belief, that he was able to stay the course over the tough beginning months

(6:02) – How Pragma adjusted their business model from the traditional ‘6-minute’ increment law model to a model that provides more value

(6:49) – How Pragma grew their customer base: Word of mouth (WOM) referrals are one of the most powerful assets for growing a business. Building trust with your customers/clients is the key enabler and driver of WOM referrals

(9:07) – How Pragma leveraged Press Relations (PR) and Radio to grow their customer base

Journalists need regular content and so offering to comment on a news story or write a guest article is a great way to get free PR

Building trust and staying visible through regular content (in Pragma’s case radio and PR) is critical to being front of mind when customers/clients decide they need your solution (expert advice in Pragma’s case)

(11:31) – How Pragma have built brand awareness and trust: The importance of providing value before asking for anything from customers (See: Gary Vaynerchuck speaks about this concept in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

Pragma also provided sponsorship to community sporting teams, e-books (lead generation), and focused on re-marketing to build brand awareness

(15:30) – Aaron’s contribution to the community and the importance of pro-bono legal advice

(17:02) – What Aaron wishes he did differently in his career: It’s better to be hard on the problem and not the person, than hard on the person and not the problem

(18:44) Judicate – changing the dispute process to online, fast, and fair dispute resolution

Show & Tell

The 5-minute journal – 3 things to be grateful for and 3 daily priorities