Guest post by Kerri Olsen
After our discussion, we continued to tour the office and meet more incredible people. Our first stop was at the General Counsel’s office (fitting). I met Pam Gracyalny and the first question I blurted out was, “How did you get out!?” We all had a laugh and she explained she also was “into technology” so it was a somewhat natural progression for her to join a technologically-based legal services startup. Next we interrupted a group of three men solving all the problems of the world. Standing up. In the middle of the office. In t-shirts. They were having one of those collaborative “brain-storming” sessions which I read about while
stalking researching Total Attorneys. I got the feeling that they were working and were also genuinely interested in why I was there. We explained how we were “Camping” and they were very interested in joining us to roast marshmallows later by the campfire.
Photo by Jennifer Healy for RedEye
Next I met Kevin Chern, President of Total Attorneys. I believe he walked up about the time we were discussing roasting marshmallows, which I’m assuming is not a frequent topic of conversation in the brainstorming sessions. I bored him with my legal experience but he didn’t seem to mind too much; after all, he brings over a decade of professional legal experience and an entrepreneurial mindset to the table. Can you imagine the first startup conversations between Ed and Kevin? I picture creative sparks flying all over the place and actual thought and dream clouds popping above their heads in mid-air.
As we continued our tour and looked for workers to interrupt, we met Lindsey Nelson. This is one of my favorite parts of the day because it reinforced everything I read about the corporate culture of Total Attorneys. Lindsey started working with Total Attorneys almost three years ago in their call center. Lindsey is a prime example of why Total Attorneys’ corporate culture works: she told Ed she wanted to get into Google Analytics and use it to examine Total Attorneys success and how to improve and streamline their marketing efforts. Now, after nearly three years with the company, Lindsey manages their paid search engine marketing efforts.
We went downstairs to the part of the office where someone with my paralegal experience comes into play: the legal meat and bones of it all, if you will. Happy paralegals talking to other happy paralegals? Did someone slip something into my coffee? It was refreshing to see other legal professionals able to excel in a position that wasn’t limiting their growth. As a paralegal, I am frequently asked, “Do you want to go to law school? Do you want to be an attorney?” Frankly, I have no desire to practice law because I don’t want to commit myself to one profession for the rest of my life. This looked like an environment where a successful paralegal could take his or her breadth of knowledge and do whatever they wanted with it, and not be stopped by a managing partner or shareholder. I got a hands-on demonstration of how Total Attorneys is revolutionizing the bankruptcy practice. I hope you never have to go through a bankruptcy proceeding, but if you do, Total Attorneys has every tool to make your matter (or your clients’ matter) proceed as efficiently and accessible as possible.
Photo by Jennifer Healy for RedEye
Last but not least I met Dennis Dwyer, Total Attorneys’ Director of Sales. We talked about my day at Camp and I think he might be interested in having me fill in for Ed for an undetermined amount of time in the future. I believe his exact words were, “Oh, great! You can fill in while Ed takes the month of August off to play golf. You’re okay with that, right?” Does Ed play golf? I don’t think we discussed that at Camp.
If I had to narrow my Camp experience down to a lesson from the day, it would be this:
Don't be afraid to take the giant leap into pursuing your passion and attaining personal happiness. Happy employees = happy customers = happy companies. People aren't born a Great Entrepreneur or a Great Lawyer – everyone receives different opportunities and it's what you do with those opportunities that make you just good or Totally Awesome.
Meeting with Ed and chatting with his successful team re-energized me. I feel like I absorbed some of their energy. Ed was approachable and sincere. He reiterated everything I read about his management style and the transparency at Total Attorneys (for both external and internal clients). It was refreshing to observe a corporate culture where everyone looked genuinely happy to be at work. I witnessed a lot of collaboration and work in action. Meeting Ed and the Total Attorneys team reminded me that the leap of faith to following your dreams is scary, but if you dedicate yourself to your success, it can be hella worth it.
My next steps are to continue to follow up with the great people I met, join their newsletter, watch for opportunities, webinars and speaking engagements where Total Attorneys is presenting, and continue to soak up any news and think of people in the legal community that I can refer to Total Attorneys. I was impressed with their cloud resourcing services for solo practitioners and small law firms. When I'm excited about something I like to spread the word! So I'll be reaching out to former co-workers who have left the big law firm environment. I know they would greatly benefit from Total Attorneys' services, technology, corporate culture and successful management style.
Kerri Olsen lives and works in downtown Chicago and has recently launched her website after participating in Fantasy Job Camp. You can read more about her professional background here.