We’re continuing our lead up to Clio’s Cloud Conference next week with another interview from one of the conference’s esteemed speakers. Up next is Greg McLawsen, managing attorney and founder of Sound Immigration. In 2015 McLawsen took his law practice with him while traveling through India with his wife and six-month old son. In February the firm was managed from Hawaii, and starting in October it’ll be based in Laos. How’d he do it? Well, McLawsen has championed the reinvention law practice with a cloud-based format.
How did you first get into law? And what brought you to a cloud-based format?
I was a super nerdy philosophy student as an undergrad. Somehow I thought law had something to do with those big issues that were fun to talk about in coffee houses. Some of those same interests took me to India, where I hung out in some Buddhist monasteries and sort of played monk. I completely fell in love with traveling, and my cloud-based practice lets me continue exploring (with my wife and 1-year-old son).
Why are you so passionate about it?
Our core commitment at the firm is to offer the single best client experience of any immigration law firm in the United States. It’s a happy coincidence that the same tools that help us deliver on that promise – great accessibility to our attorneys online, scaleable workforce with outsourced support staff – also allow me great personal flexibility. In terms of passion for travel, I’ve grown to believe this is something people either “get” or they don’t. I happily traded in a nice house for the ability to sit in a smoky Nepalese tea hit and eat momos with my son. To each his own.
What’s the greatest challenge in your work today?
Refusing to fall into “routine practice mode,” and forcing ourselves to constantly reevaluate whether we’re building the best possible law practice. It’s actually really hard to get clients to give really good feedback on how we can improve. For starters, clients don’t necessarily even know themselves. There are ways to help immigration clients that neither we – nor they – have thought of yet, and that’s what we need to be working at.
What’s the one single message you’ll want to leave with the Clio Con audience members?
Lawyers are having a tremendously tough time out there. Anyone – bar leaders, I’m looking at you – who thinks otherwise is (a) out of touch with reality, and (b) almost certainly doesn’t run their own business. But at the same time, we have more opportunity than ever before to design a wonderful life for ourselves. It would have been insanity just years ago to suggest at a lawyer could travel in Asia for a couple months every year and still have a growing practice. Now the opportunities are limited only by own willingness to reach out and seize the life we want.