From Odyssey Fun World employee to Party O’ Clock founder, Michael Drumm never takes life too seriously
“You would make a great lawyer.” Not exactly the thing you’d expect to hear as a 16-year-old working at a local amusement park, but for Michael Drumm, that bold advice he received from a manager at Odyssey Fun World really resonated.
Starting out as a business major and Sam Walton Scholar at the University of Missouri, Drumm had aspirations and the education to pursue a career that made a difference. He decided to chase after his dream and obtained a law degree at the University of Texas, receiving a prestigious position at the Court of Appeals in San Antonio before joining a local law firm.
“I had recently started at my new firm and walked into Massage Heights to take a short break from the stress,” said Drumm. “I started small talking with the franchisor and mentioned that I was a lawyer. They just happened to be looking for one. That chat turned into my first client and my introduction to the franchise industry.”
Fast-forward to 2010, Drumm had earned a reputation and a portfolio of franchise clients that he thought would be better served if he opened his own virtual law firm, Drumm Law. Like many new business owners, he camped out in his basement and worked to build a website, organize his finances and solidify his client base, simply by starting with a logo and a dream.
“Lawyers are often terrible at two things, marketing and time management,” he said. “I decided I would run my firm like a business, not like a law firm, by focusing on efficiency. The law firm model is built on the billable hour which, when you think about it, actually rewards inefficiency. If I can get something done for my clients in 30 minutes, I will.”
Drumm wanted to cater to his entrepreneurial, energetic clientele who look to get things done, often utilizing his business experience as much as his legal advice to guide more than 125 franchisors.
“The franchise industry is a great place to get connected because it’s small and everyone is really nice and professional,” said Drumm. “Being a franchise lawyer guarantees that you’ll have legal work, which is something really rare in our industry. Franchisors have to update their FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document), register it and renew it every year, so there are a lot of benefits and challenges associated.”
One of those challenges is trying to persuade passionate entrepreneurs to take their time before selling what could be an unsuccessful business model.
“Never franchise an idea, franchise a business,” he said. “I hear so many people say they’ve had a location open for no more than three months and think it can be a successful franchise concept, but they pursue it without doing the research. Open at least two locations so you can prove the model works.”
Aside from that, Drumm says he never tries to take himself too seriously, and offers that advice to his colleagues and his clients. He recently started a disc jockey company, Party O’Clock and is a self-proclaimed “beer attorney.”
“I work with more than 150 breweries across the country because believe it or not, it’s fairly similar to the franchise industry,” according to Drumm. “Breweries need distribution, intellectual property, trademarks and litigation just like franchisors. I figured I could apply what I’ve learned about franchising to breweries and it’s paid off. I think it’s more fun to say I’m a ‘beer attorney.’ Life is too short, why not have a good time?”