Rilus Dana is a powerful leader building wealth with love. Rilus has an “Architect” personality type (INTJ), which has been described as thoughtful tacticians that love perfecting the details of life, applying creativity and rationality to everything they do. Maat Legal was created out of the desire to improve the legal industry for the public, as well for the legal community providing the services.
Rilus is a second-generation estate planner who said that the real beginnings of what is now Maat Legal, LLC started when he began to brainstorm how to build the perfect law firm. This was in the early 2000s while in college working as a law clerk, and it was on an airplane from New York City to Phoenix when the first outline for Maat was created. At that time the legal industry was being disrupted by the internet and technology-based companies. The other challenge to estate planning attorneys was that estate tax was reduced in the early 2000s with the Bush tax cuts. Attorneys that made their living helping people avoid estate tax needed to shift to something else to provide value to their clients. The plan for the “perfect” law firm has evolved over time.
Although Rilus had many ideas of what it meant to run a law firm, both while I working as a law clerk and junior associate, it wasn’t until he was running his own law firm that the real learning began. As many business owners will tell you, there is no way to truly appreciate all of the aspects and considerations of running a business until you are, in fact, doing it. When Rilus started his own law firm he was suddenly faced with many business decisions and started to search for businesses or partners that could help with all of the “business stuff” so he could focus on meeting with clients and practicing law to solve their problems. He began to look for law firm practice management companies that would help with the business aspects unrelated to practicing law. This was the approach used by his dentist and doctor friends. Practice management companies are common for dentists and physicians, but the idea hasn’t caught on in the legal industry yet. Although some marketing companies may claim to be practice management companies for lawyers and some companies that provide estate planning templates also provide some marketing, Rilus found their approach to be outdated and based upon a law firm model that was dying. The plan for the perfect law firm evolved into the plan for a law firm practice management company.
The practice of law has always been a serviced based business. Before the internet made it easy to access information, attorneys used to control the information and the public was forced to go to them for help. This was not always a pleasant or affordable option, but it was the only option. Rilus describes these attorneys that made their money by controlling information and using fear as a motivator as “old school,” and believed for attorneys to be relevant in the future, they need to provide a service and that it needs to be as easy as and enjoyable as possible. A practice management company is a way to empower local lawyers, but allow them to keep the autonomy of their own business and the ability to adapt to their market.
Rilus began experimenting with this process by having Maat Legal, LLC manage Dana and Associates, LLC, his own estate planning practice. While working out the details of services to empower law firms the Maat legal proprietary estate planning processes were developed along with custom software that makes it easier for clients to provide their information for the first meeting and easier for the attorneys to deliver custom and complete estate plans.
A partnership with Maat Legal gives attorneys access to all of the systems and tools needed to run a successful estate planning law practice. This increased efficiency leads not just to higher profitability but better quality of life, which was the original motivation when Rilus set out to create the perfect law firm.
Rilus is a father of three boys, sixth generation native to Arizona, skateboarder (retired), surfer, hiker, yogi, vintage bicycle collector, activist and attorney licensed in AZ, CA and NV* (Currently inactive in NV)