A New Direction for Lawyerist

In 2007, Sam Glover started a hobby legal technology blog called SoloSmallTech.com. A year later, that site became Lawyerist.com and for most of the past decade, Sam and I have been growing and evolving what Lawyerist is and how Lawyerist works to help meet the law practice needs of small firm lawyers.

After years of planning—and a year of behind-the-scenes building and recruiting—we are excited to announce a new direction for Lawyerist and our tribe of entrepreneurial small law firms.

New Brand & Values

As we’ve transitioned how we think about Lawyerist (and how we structure our business model) away from our roots as a blog and publisher and into a thriving and supportive community, we’ve realized it’s time to boldly share our new vision and purpose.

Our new tagline, “Join your tribe. Grow your firm.” reflects our dual purpose. First, we will build a tribe of creative, innovative, disruptive, entrepreneurial small-firm lawyers. Second, we will engage more deeply with the lawyers in our tribe by focusing on how to help them manage and grow better businesses.

Our company has adopted six core values to drive our engagement with our community and each other:

  1. Build the tribe.
  2. Improve the ecosystem.
  3. Deliver value first; seek profit second.
  4. Learn and teach.
  5. Think inclusively.
  6. Do great work that supports a great life.

Our new tagline and our core values reinforce the work we’re doing helping small-firm lawyers manage and grow great practices.

The Small Firm ScorecardTM

We’ve engaged with over a million lawyers and legal professionals from around the world in the last decade. And that engagement has led to important realizations about the future of small firm law practice.

The practice of law is changing. Rapidly. But not evenly. Some practice areas, jurisdictions, and firm types have already completely transformed. Some are evolving in fits and starts (either by choice or necessity). And some are the same as they ever were, still enjoying profitability using traditional tried-and-true practice management systems. But changes in consumer technology adoption, business technology systems, legal industry demographics, consumer demographics, and the underlying global economy will, in the next 10 years, disrupt even the most “traditional” law firms.

Successful firms of the future will meet client needs on clients’ terms, use objective data to make decisions, create business structures and systems for long-term planning and repeatable service delivery, plan for changes in technology, and build marketing systems to attract and serve the right clients.

But we also think successful firms in the future will have a clearer understanding of what “success” really is. Growth for growth’s sake is a perpetual trap. Lawyers for too long have worked too hard and made themselves too unhappy. We think the future’s successful firms will have clearly-defined goals and values that support the non-work lives of lawyers and staff (while still helping clients solve their legal problems, obviously).

That’s why today we are launching the Small Firm ScorecardTM.

Small Firm Scorecard

The Small Firm Scorecard is a free 10-minute self-assessment for solo and small firm leaders to benchmark themselves across a variety of law firm management topics. We’ve built it to provide a comprehensive overview of the structure and management of your firm, and to offer a clear roadmap for important areas of improvement for your firm to succeed in the future.

After taking the Small Firm Scorecard, you can choose a do-it-yourself self-improvement path using the free resources on our website (or other people’s resources). You can also pursue your firm’s improvement with our free, informal peer group of Lawyerist Insiders. Or you can work with us in the Lawyerist Lab, where we proactively and systematically drive improvement in the structure and operations of your small firm.

Our goal is to build our tribe while working closely with firms and people we like. But we want to help improve all small law firms. Our hope is that all small firms will benchmark themselves using our Small Firm Scorecard even though we will only choose to work directly with a small number of lawyers each year.

An Improved Lawyerist Insider

For the past 9 years, we’ve offered a regular email newsletter. We called it Lawyerist Insider.

Last October we launched a new Lawyerist Insider community as a peer community for small firm lawyers to support each other and engage more deeply with the Lawyerist team.

Our old email newsletter and the new community have the same name. But only members of the new community get invites to our private Lawyerist Insiders Facebook group, comment on Lawyerist.com, leave user feedback on the product review pages on Lawyerist, and download unlimited free tools and templates from our Insider Library. We have really loved getting to know our new Lawyerist Insiders more closely in the last six months.

And now we are investing more resources into that community. Our Community Manager, Julie Olmsted, is launching a variety of additional ways for free Lawyerist Insiders to engage with each other and our team.

The New Lawyerist Lab

For Lawyerist community members looking to engage with us even more deeply — particularly those dedicated to spending a year investing in turning their small firms into prototype firms of the future — we are launching our new Lawyerist Lab.

Our Community Director, Stephanie Everett, has designed Lawyerist Lab as a full-year program for lawyers to engage in daily accountability projects (for just 20 minutes a day!), regular expert learning sessions, and monthly peer mastermind groups. Lawyerist Lab participants will improve their law firms to the top tier of our Small Firm Scorecard while building a life-changing peer network and clarity on where their law firm is headed in the future.

Our first cohort of Lawyerist Lab participants will see invites arrive in April, with programs beginning in May.

The End of TBD Law

In 2016, in partnership with Matt Homann of Filament, we launched one of our most exciting projects to date. Our first TBD Law event was a complete experiment. But it was a huge success that united some of the most amazing, creative, entrepreneurial, cool lawyers from around the US and Canada (and Ireland!) for three days of firm-building, future-predicting, and friend-bonding. We’ve now had three incredible TBD Law events in Missouri and each was special and unique in its own way.

Along the way, the network of TBD Law alumni has become the best club in the legal industry.

But, because we don’t ever want to stop innovating, today we’re shaking things up.

There will be no TBD Law 4.

The Launch of Lawyerist LabCon

We are rebranding TBD Law as Lawyerist LabCon. (TBD Law was always kind of a placeholder name anyway … get it?!?!) There are two reasons why:

  1. As the Small Firm Scorecard suggests, we’re feeling more and more confident about where small firm practice is headed in the future. The idea that “the future of law is to be determined” just doesn’t seem to fit anymore.
  2. Perhaps more importantly, Lawyerist Lab is now where we engage with entrepreneurial lawyers working to grow practices of the future. Our core Lawyerist Lab curriculum will work intensively with lawyers over an entire year to help reshape their practices into sustainable, client-centric, data-driven legal businesses.

Lawyerist Lab’s capstone offering will be an invitation to the new Lawyerist LabCon. From there, Lawyerist Lab graduates and Lawyerist LabCon attendees (including our amazing group of existing TBD Law alumni) will join an organized community of Lawyerist Lab Pros to keep each other accountable for on-going, long-term growth and development.

So, today, we aren’t announcing details for TBD Law 4. Instead, we’re launching details for the first Lawyerist LabCon, which will be August 19-21 at Oak Ridge resort outside of Minneapolis. As if the world’s coolest club of lawyers, great conversations, and learning weren’t enough, we’re also planning on fun meals, fitness activities, bonfires, and a tour of the Prince museum and recording studio at Paisley Park. It’ll be kinda great.

All of these new developments create a seamless path for lawyers to engage in our tribe in ways that best suit their needs, from free learning content, to peer online community engagement, to getting our focused attention helping you grow your perfect firm.

Lawyerist offerings

New Lawyerist.com Homepage

All of these huge changes to our offerings mean it’s time for a new homepage for Lawyerist.

Today’s new layout aims to demonstrate our vision for the future of law practice and to offer lawyers pathways to learn about, join, and grow small firm practices of the future.

The new homepage is also the first in our history to no longer be based on reverse-chronological “blog” content. We’ve realized that our tribe needs “important” far more than it needs “new.” We think it will now be easier for lawyers to find what they need on Lawyerist.

New Lawyerist.com Editor-in-Chief & Team Members

After 11 years of overseeing the blog posts, articles, and other content on Lawyerist.com, Sam is changing roles. Sam’s new role, as Founder, will focus on growing the Lawyerist Podcast, public speaking, and other external outreach and engagement activities.

Now we welcome Marshall Lichty as our new Editor-in-Chief, leading our content team to make the resources on Lawyerist more valuable, more engaging, and more comprehensive. Marshall has been a long-time member of the Lawyerist tribe, having been a guest on The Lawyerist Podcast, episode #123 and a member of the inaugural class of TBD Law 1. Most recently, he’s been a partner and the COO of a small boutique corporate law practice focused on serving the legal needs of entrepreneurs. Marshall will be a great new leader for Lawyerist.com and we’re grateful to have him on the team!

In addition to Marshall, we’ve also added two other experienced professionals to our growing team:

  1. Aretha Soderstrom, a lawyer and creative professional from Phoenix, joins us as a new Staff Writer, where she will work with Marshall to make Lawyerist.com a robust community driven inexorably toward improving small and solo lawywering for our entire tribe.
  2. Ayesha Schroeder is our new Online Engagement Manager. Ayesha joins us after previous work as the Assistant Director of Online Engagement for Michigan State University.

We are so grateful to have such talented people joining our all-star family of Lawyerist team members.

The Lawyerist Productivity Journal

We’re also excited to announce the launch of our first tool for lawyers, the Lawyerist Productivity Journal. We’ve built our brand, in part, on our belief that lawyers should go “paperless.” We remain steadfast in our belief that law firm files and documents should be scanned, organized, and backed-up digitally.

But we also love working with pens and paper and find them to be the most productive tools for organizing ideas, taking notes, and thinking through big goals.

So, with the help of Bindertek, we’ve launched a paper-based planner, productivity tool, and note-taking system designed for easy paperless scanning. Using Bindertek’s Boundless journal system, you can organize and customize the Lawyerist Productivity Journal to suit the needs of your law practice while implementing all of the best productivity practices Lawyerist has developed over the past decade.

It’s a beautiful notebook you can use with your favorite fancy pens (or whatever) and will keep all of your practice management and client case notes structured and organized the way you need them. We’re really proud of it and excited for lawyers around the country to use it.

The Path Forward

After a decade in the trenches with this amazing community, we’re ready to clearly state the direction we see for our profession. We are excited to build the tools lawyers need to learn, join, and grow their way toward the practices of the future, and we can’t wait to meet you along the path.

Aaron Street
Aaron Street is the co-founder and CEO of Lawyerist.com, the largest online community of solo and small firm lawyers. He is the co-author of the bestselling book The Small Firm Roadmap and is the co-host of the weekly Lawyerist Podcast.

The Small Firm Roadmap book cover

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