Russellville native attends exclusive law conference
Russellville native and business attorney Sheree Martin was named as one of 50 invite-only members of the second TBD Law conference, held in St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 26-28.
Martin said invitees represented “some of the most innovative and forward-thinking solo and small firm lawyers to reimagine the law practices of tomorrow.”
The event, a joint effort of the online small firm community Lawyerist.com and meeting facilitation company Filament, was focused on “convening innovative small firm lawyers and changing the nature of legal
conferences and the legal profession,” said Martin, who returned in law practice in 2016.
“When I first got out of law school I practiced law in Florence, then moved to Tuscaloosa and joined a law firm, where I became a shareholder,” said Martin, a 1980 Russellville High School alum, whose family still lives in the Russellville area. “I left law for quite a few years to earn a Ph.D. and work as a freelance writer and college professor then went back to the Tuscaloosa firm for two more years, before another stint as a college professor at Samford.”
With her return to law, Martin said she hopes to bring “an innovative approach to the delivery of legal services to business owners, entrepreneurs, creators, makers and artists in Alabama.”
“Innovative approach can encompass many things,” Martin said. “For some, it’s how to charge for services, i.e., something other than the traditional hourly or contingent fee arrangement. Many of us are looking at subscription based models of service delivery, the unbundling of legal services. The automated delivery of legal services and use of new digital technology to engage with clients – beyond just emailing – is a big part of innovation. For most of us, it’s the ‘paperless’ office and use of encrypted cloud storage.
“There’s also a shift away from traditional brick and mortar law office to connect with clients in a wider geographic area (subject, of course, to bar membership requirements).”
In particular, Martin said, she prides herself on offering alternative fee arrangements, depending on the type of business matter; eschewing a traditional office in favor of working from home, out of client offices and in accessible conference spaces as needed; and in “developing new legal service packages for certain types of entrepreneurs and creative ‘makers’ that will be available at a tiered pricing structure that will allow them to access legal resources specific to Alabama business law.”
“Each tier will include certain types of services appropriate to where they are in their business – it grows with them,” Martin explained. “At one tier, I would be more like a lawyer-coach, to allow them to reduce legal fees. In the legal world, this is known as ‘unbundling’ of legal services.”
At the TBD Law conference, Martin said she enjoyed the opportunity to network with other innovative lawyers to envision the future of law practice.
“I want to see more people in Alabama take advantage of opportunities to start businesses, pursue dreams and benefit from their creative and artistic talents,” Martin said. “As a lawyer, I can help grow the economy through helping entrepreneurs succeed and create new opportunities for more people to succeed by helping them run and grow sustainable businesses using technology. The 21st century economy makes it possible to harness technology and the Internet to achieve dreams or just supplement income through a ‘side hustle.’ Everyone needs to be able to take advantage of these opportunities, and this is a way that I can help others take advantage of all the great potential we have here.”
“We are really excited that Sheree Martin is part of the TBD Law community,” said Aaron Street, CEO of Lawyerist.com. “Sheree’s embrace of innovation and change in her law practice makes her a tremendous addition to this small, select group, and we are confident that she will make some great contributions to helping define what the future of small firm law practice will look like.”
Martin’s website is https://shereemartinlaw.com.