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Legal Entrepreneur Forms DC Law Firm that Shuns Office Face Time and Lawyer Rainmaking

Posted May 9, 2011 7:48 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A nonlawyer entrepreneur who formed and then sold a contract legal staffing firm has set out to revolutionize law practice with a law firm that allows lawyers to work at home and doesn’t emphasize attorney rainmaking.

Clients at Clearspire get up-front cost estimates for legal work performed by experienced lawyers who don't have to show up at the office, the Washington Post reports. Although the firm’s chief, Bryce Arrowood, isn’t a lawyer, he is partnering with a former federal prosecutor and one-time Finley Kumble partner, Mark Cohen, in the new venture. So far, the firm has hired about 10 lawyers, many of them from in-house legal departments.

Arrowood “is an entrepreneur who sees the legal industry as broken and has introduced a company that he thinks can turn it on its head,” the Post says.

According to Clearspire’s website, the firm’s lawyers focus on practicing law, while seasoned business leaders manage the infrastructure and delivery of legal services. The firm is organized as two separate entities. Clearspire Law, the law firm, outsources all business activities to the second entity, Clearspire Service Co., which specializes in business process management, a white paper (PDF) explains.

“Our lawyers experience a revolutionary working environment where professional rigor and collaboration co-exist with individual autonomy and work-life balance,” Clearspire’s website says. “The end result? A multidisciplinary practice, including full management and legal responsibility, that is competitive with the best of Big Law—delivered with unprecedented efficiency.”

Arrowood sold his legal staffing firm, LawCorps Corp., in 2003. He and Cohen have invested about $5 million in the new venture. Much of it covers salaries and software that allows lawyers to collaborate online and meet in virtual rooms.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ethics 20/20 Commission Seeks Input on Alternative Business Structures for Law Firms”

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