The Human Lawyer: Jonathan Barber
Jonathan is a process innovator—a tech savant in all the right kind of ways. He’s a lawyer who’s doing what other lawyers write (or talk) about doing. Proof? Ask him about Trello integrations or leveraging open API solutions to create process efficiencies.
When he’s not improving the client-lawyer interface either via the electronic or human medium, he’s helping franchisors and franchisees tackle complicated issues associated with growing their respective enterprises. His passion for process innovation and franchise work endures.
You’ll see that passion when he shares his story, in his words, below.
How’d you get to where you are today?
You know, we run our law firm (my law partner is Jason Power) as a business. We work tirelessly to ensure that our clients have the same type of experience they’d have in engaging our firm, as they would engaging a business. In every successful business, customers (or clients) come first. There’s a component of archaic law firm model that makes clients feel second. Don’t believe me; ask them. By closely marrying the business of law and the practice of law, we provide high quality (and consistent) service with greater price certainty in a niche area of law (franchise). That foundation and our unyielding commitment to core business principles have allowed us to grow an awesome client base, which is something we’re really proud of.
What inspires/fulfills you in your practice?
I love innovation. If there’s a more efficient way to do something, I’m in. I literally get excited about streamlining our processes or testing some new automation software. I truly believe my passion for the business of practicing law makes me a better practitioner because I have more time to spend thinking about nuanced concepts since I spend less time thinking about how to accomplish a task that can (and should) be automated.
Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
My family is everything! I have an amazing wife, an adventurous toddler, and a pudgy infant who I enjoy spending my time with. My law partner and I have the same priorities with young families, so we built our firm to fit into a family-centered lifestyle. I’d say my primary job is being a husband and dad—practicing law is my side hustle. I believe if I’m the best husband and dad I can be, then I’ll be the best lawyer for my clients that I can be.
What’s one thing you would change about the practice of law?
I wish everyone would specialize in something and stick to that specialty. I have a theory that an attorney can only be “so competent” – they can be 10% competent in 10 areas of law, 25% competent in 4 areas of law, or even 100% competent in 1 area of law. Specialists and those in niche practice areas are able to provide a higher level of service to clients with specific needs. Problems arise and malpractice occurs when attorneys branch out into a new area of law to handle an issue they’ve never encountered before. On the other hand, there would be huge synergy between attorneys and law firms if specialists referred specific work to other specialists!
One unique and personal fact about you that the world should know.
In eighth grade, I was the spelling bee champion for the entire State of New Jersey. In seventh grade, I lost in the first round because, under stress, I spelled “vacation” wrong!
To connect with or learn more about Jonathan, find him here.
To connect with Jonathan’s law firm, you can find them here.