It’s been more than a month since the news of Lawyerist joining the ranks of Affinity Consulting Group. In that time, Lawyerist has continued its mission to help solo and small law firm owners build healthier businesses. Now, the small team has increased by two.
In January, long-time Affinity staff members Danielle DavisRoe and Jeff Schoenberger transitioned to the Lawyerist team. Both former practicing attorneys, Danielle and Jeff bring a wealth of legal tech knowledge and industry insights that will benefit the Lawyerist community.
“We are excited to add Danielle and Jeff to our already deep bench of coaching expertise. Their added industry knowledge allows us to offer even more to our community,” said Stephanie Everett, Lawyerist CEO.
How Danielle Found Her Passion for Training
Senior Consultant Danielle DavisRoe had always had a dream to help small businesses succeed. But after graduating from law school in 2011, she ended up at the small two-person family law firm where she had clerked. During her four years at the firm, her ardor for practicing law never materialized. She felt burned out after only a few short years.
During that time, though, Danielle discovered she enjoyed the business side of working at a law practice. Including finding new ways to use technology and systems to improve processes and efficiency. She also discovered her love of training. “I was way more passionate about that than I was about practicing law,” she said.
So, in 2015, Danielle left practicing law behind and started at Affinity Consulting Group, joining the Document Automation team where she coded HotDocs templates. At that time, Document Automation was handling all of Affinity’s Microsoft Office and PDF training.
“I started doing training and realized that I like that a lot more than automating documents,” Danielle said. “You could help someone. They have a better day after training because something is working better, or it’s less frustrating, or they have more time to sip their coffee because it was more efficient.”
Then, she shifted her work to management consulting with a practice analysis. With the help of interviews and surveys, this provides firms with a holistic view of their business, including what’s working and what’s not. And while the importance of document automation can’t be understated, Danielle enjoys being able to make a difference in the health of a firm more quickly.
Helping Lawyers Work Smarter, Not Harder
Danielle now focuses on creating in-depth training modules and manuals for lawyers to help them work smarter and more efficiently. Current training offerings include Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, Excel, and Teams, along with Adobe products, like Acrobat. These modules don’t just scratch the surface. They delve deep into the programs, helping lawyers use their tech to thrive.
Lawyerist community members will have the chance to work directly with Danielle during Lawyerist Lab’s March Study Group. Through hands-on instruction, attendees will learn to use Microsoft Word styles to format documents with ease.
Bringing New Expertise and Value to the Lawyerist Community
Danielle is thrilled to join the Lawyerist team and is excited about the value her expertise will bring to Lab members. With plans to expand current training offerings, her knowledge will hugely benefit the day-to-day working lives of our community.
Knowing that a lawyer’s value isn’t in fighting with technology, it’s in their legal expertise means Danielle has one goal. “My goal is to save people time and energy,” she said. “I don’t want people to work correctly for the sake of working correctly. I want them to use it correctly so their life is better and they’re less frustrated.”
From Helping Clients to Helping Lawyer Clients
Jeff Schoenberger never thought of legal technology as its own career path. While attending law school at the University of Virginia School, he was involved with legal clinics helping people with their legal needs. He thought this one-on-one work was what he most enjoyed. So, after graduation, he moved home to Cincinnati, working on an AmeriCorps Equal Justice Works Fellowship for the Legal Aid Society.
Amid the Great Recession, much of his work focused on landlord-tenant issues, job losses, and foreclosure defense work. Jeff felt like he was making a difference in people’s lives, instead of standard first-year doc review and memo writing. “It was invigorating to hit the ground running because those were my cases. They were my people. If I don’t do it, no one will,” he said.
But, like many in the non-profit and legal fields, Jeff was taking home the stress of his clients at the end of the day. After three years at the Fellowship, he was ready to find a new path.
Guiding Lawyers on Legal Tech
A serendipitous CLE course introduced him to Barron Henley, an Affinity Consulting Group owner, and the work of Affinity. “It never occurred to me that there was this whole sphere of lawyers and computers and people who help lawyers be better by using technology,” he said.
Jeff joined the Affinity team in 2012, working almost exclusively on legal tech related to document assembly and automation. In 2016, Affinity started providing practice management advisor (PMA) services to the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).
He began writing articles for the ISBA through the PMA deal, helping guide Illinois lawyers in their tech decisions. With his own legal tech experience and access to Affinity’s wealth of industry tech experts, Jeff took over the program in 2019.
“I like having the opportunity to take what I enjoy and what I know from experience and help bring that technology and efficiency to lawyers,” he said.”
Spreading the Lawyerist Healthy Firm Word
Now part of the Lawyerist team, Jeff will continue his PMA duties, but with a new twist: sharing Lawyerist’s mission and resources. “When I speak at a Bar Association event, for the most part, the folks in the audience are still solo and small firms,” he said.
“If you’re a two-person firm and your issues are: how do I get clients, how do I manage my own time, how do I make use of a more modest technology budget for the best efficiency?” Jeff sees the potential to bridge the gap and introduce Lawyerist’s small firm-focused content to bar associations to help small law firm owners find the legal tech that best suits their needs. “It is a really good matchup,” he said. “It’s really exciting.”
Last updated July 17th, 2023