As one of the largest cloud-based law firms in the United States, Culhane Meadows is prominently featured in a recent Associated Press article titled “No art or wood paneling – some law firms work in the cloud.” AP business writer Joyce Rosenberg focuses on how alternative-model law firms such as Culhane Meadows are disrupting the traditional legal market by offering Big Law-trained attorneys and sophisticated experience within a low-overhead business platform. Here are some excerpts–
There’s no wood paneling or plush carpet at Culhane Meadows — the law firm’s 52 attorneys practice out of their homes or rented work spaces.
Culhane Meadows is one of many law firms without dedicated office space that now operate virtually using software, email, video-conferencing and the internet to work and connect with clients. Attorneys at virtual firms say that without the trappings and overhead of a traditional practice, they can charge lower fees, work for a variety of clients and have more say over their work/life balance. Practicing virtually can also mean taking extra steps to ensure that communications of all sorts remain confidential, including working in spaces designed to protect clients’ privacy.
Heather Clauson Haughian, a managing partner at Culhane Meadows, doesn’t miss the works of art, mahogany and high rents of traditional firms.
“When you take away all those things as part of this virtual model, you can pass along that value to your clients,” says Haughian… The hourly rates at Culhane Meadows are what a lawyer with four or five years’ experience would charge at a larger firm. Clients include Fortune 100 companies that don’t want to pay ultra-high fees and much smaller businesses.
Culhane Meadows, whose attorneys are based in seven metropolitan areas, was founded in 2013 by lawyers who had worked at big traditional firms or large corporations. The attorneys, some of whom are licensed in multiple states, can gather, either themselves or with clients, via video-conferencing. When they need an in-person meeting, they rent conference rooms.
Law firms, especially very large ones, are known for adhering to traditional ways of working and have been slow to adapt to new technology… Soaring legal fees are one reason why. “There’s certainly a lot of interest among general counsels in major corporations to reduce their legal spending and try something different…”
Attorneys are also interested. At big firms with high overhead, there is pressure to work and bill for a minimum number of hours, making for extremely long workdays and workweeks and little personal time… At some virtual firms…attorneys have more autonomy to set fees and their hours. “It enables them to feel more comfortable with the way they’re practicing law…”
The full AP article has been syndicated by ABC News, Fox News, Yahoo! News, The Washington Post, and numerous other global news organizations.
With clients ranging from Fortune-ranked companies to emerging businesses, Culhane Meadows’ deep bench of senior partner-level attorneys delivers experienced counsel at significant savings over traditional large law firms. With the option to work from home offices and eliminate daily commutes, combined with the ability to set their own rates and hours, Culhane Meadows’ innovative platform is likewise an increasingly attractive option for attorneys who desire more time to pursue their personal passions and hobbies – and especially for working parents who want more family time.
Maintaining a secure environment, whether in traditional brick and mortar or a virtual platform, is often a weakness of law firms–or any business for that matter. That’s why Culhane Meadows has invested heavily in leading-edge, cloud-based solutions with high levels of cybersecurity to manage the firm’s documents, email, and accounting and billing needs. The firm’s encrypted document management system keeps client documents safe, readily accessible, searchable and indexed for all partners at the firm to use and securely access 24/7 from any location. This enables partners to seamlessly and efficiently collaborate on client matters across all offices.
As recognition of its trendsetting leadership, Law.com (an ALM publication) recently included Culhane Meadows as the only cloud-based firm (and the only non-Am Law 200 firm) on its list of 2017’s seven most innovative law firms in the U.S.
With the majority of its equity partners, 60% of its managers, and 40% of its total attorneys being women, Culhane Meadows is also the largest women-owned national full-service business law firm in the U.S.