Whether you've been at it for one year or 30, the conventional wisdom on how to run a successful law practice is starting to feel... conventional.
The pace of change in the legal world is accelerating, and keeping up with new models for service delivery, evolving client expectations, methods for improving speed and productivity, and harnessing technology to tie it together is a full time job.
I've made it my personal mission to help lawyers build profitable, scalable and sustainable practices. I do it by helping them harness the tools of modern entrepreneurship—tools like Agile, Lean, Lean Startup, and Design Thinking—to break through roadblocks and develop a cycle of continuous improvement for you and your team.
I've coached dozens of legal teams; from small shops to large firm practice groups, and from in-house departments to "new law" startups. In each case I've helped them make little improvements that deliver a big impact on their ability to not just serve, but delight their customers.
Although I'm a fourth generation lawyer, I spent nearly a decade in the technology industry before going to law school.
Starting with the 5:00 am tech support shift and working my way up to heading an international operations team, I spent time in just about every business function but facilities and finance. Along the way I learned the cornerstone of business success through superior customer experience; an approach that continues to serve me and my clients to this day.
We were one of the great success stories of the late 1990s, first disrupting and then consolidating an entire industry by using superior product design—empowered by the right technology—to deliver outstanding customer value.
In law school I hit all the right notes: Editor-in-chief of the Law Review, selected to the Honor Society, and a summer associateship at a prestigious local firm. But I turned down the job offer that followed.
The firm itself was fine; smart people doing solid work for their clients. But something about their model seemed staid after the rocketship ride of my early career. I knew there had to be better ways of doing the work, and I was determined to figure them out.
I've spent the last decade doing just that. My career has taken me from in-house counsel to partner in a boutique IP practice to Legal Ops professional for an AmLaw-ranked firm to consultant for a Fortune 100 legal department.
Today I'm a fellow with the International Institute of Legal Project Management, a member of the Oregon Bar Board of Governors, on the board of a nonprofit Legal Incubator program, and, most importantly, a trusted adviser to legal teams just like yours.
How I Bring Agile Methodology and Law Together
Ironically, I first learned about Agile only after leaving my technology job. During my time there, we used traditional methods, complete with their bloated planning and missed deadlines. We simply didn't know any other way (Agile as a cohesive methodology didn't exist before 2001).
But when I went in-house after law school, the company had embraced Agile development methods. I was amazed to see how much more effective the delivery cycle and how much tighter the planning cycle was. Most importantly, however, the resulting products were flat-out good.
I remember thinking at the time, "I wonder if there is something in this Agile thing that could work for lawyers?" But I was too busy learning the ropes as a lawyer to give it much attention.
Still, the notion stuck. Over the years I soaked up everything I could about Agile, and then about Lean, Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and other related concepts. Through training, study, and experience I've learned (and continue to learn) what methods work for different kinds of legal teams in any number of different situations.
I'll admit that when I first started beating the "Agile for Lawyers" drum in 2014 it was more of a theory; it sounded like it should work but I couldn't be sure until I tested it in some real-world situations.
Today I can say it with certainty: Agile not only works for legal teams, it excels.
Agile teams report improved visibility into the team's work, better communication, improved productivity, faster delivery with less re-work, and greater client satisfaction.
Ready to Get Started?
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