I’ve been in the logistics business for over 40 years and I have spent a fair share of time working with corporate attorneys, although I didn’t do much work with outside counsel. Over the last 5 or so years I’ve been working with smaller law firms and from these experiences, I have developed specific expectations. A high level of integrity and expertise is essential, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with me.
The firm I most recently worked with was just three attorneys. They were wonderful, experienced, trustworthy, high-integrity people that I still have a fantastic relationship with. But I was dealing with an older style of practicing law -- that wasn’t necessarily what I was accustomed to from my past experience with corporate attorneys.
So there were some disconnects. Perhaps it was the way that they managed information.
As an example, the lead attorney I worked with wrote everything down that we talked about on paper. When he wrote an opinion, he often hand wrote the notes for the document we were going to use and then passed everything over to an administrative assistant to create the electronic document. Mind you, he is an excellent attorney. He was superb to work with, very easy to communicate with and I trusted him with everything he did for me. And yet, I still made a decision to go in a different direction. A technical generational gap gradually became apparent to me. It worked for them but it wasn't working for me. It was frustrating. I realized I needed a company that was much more in the "21st century" than what I was experiencing. It was that criteria I was thinking about when I was given Sara Stock's name. I wasn't on an active search for a new attorney. But when I was given Sara's name and I was informed of Stock Legal's competencies working in a truly paperless environment, I scheduled a meeting.
So what happens when working with Stock Legal? Foremost, when I call about something, the Stock Legal team has immediate access to an electronic history of all my past conversations and all related documents (their versions and mine). Knowing that this was of interest to me. Sara took the time to walk me through their system and processes. So no more conversations starting with: “Wait. Let me go pull the file and I'll call you right back.” In pulling a paper file, there is always that lingering concern that something might have gone missing. I was constantly wondering if any revisions were absent and given that in my world what we do is very technical, this was concerning, frustrating and a problem. With Stock Legal, I have total confidence that everything is current and immediately accessed.
With Stock Legal, I appreciate that I am working with a "generalist" who has the ability to dip their toe in many different areas important to my business and have access to a myriad of expertise -- whether within the firm or using outside support. An example: as I browsed Stock Legal's website, I found that they have extensive experience in real estate. I had recently agreed to purchase a building and with never having done this before, Stock Legal was able to provide a level of guidance that was extremely helpful and necessary.
Is Stock Legal perfect? Of course not. Most of the time they have either met, and in some cases, exceeded my expectations. One thing that I noticed in my first meeting with Sara was that she listens with an uncommon thoughtfulness and intent. She made sure there were zero interruptions, asked relevant and impactful questions and she was super easy to talk to. I also noticed the entire time that we were talking, she was typing on her laptop. I wondered if some people might be bothered by that, but I thought to myself, not only is Sara actually listening but she’s also keeping this conversation documented. I was impressed. It really allowed me to peer into the window of how Stock Legal runs their business. It flows in a very organized fashion with an urgency and immediacy that for me was extremely attractive -- because I knew I could call Sara back the next day and she could pull up our entire conversation on her laptop and we could just "go". Very important.
I’ve been accused of having a limited attention span. What I need in a law firm is to have the necessary conversations, then leave it to the experts. When I email, text or call Stock Legal, I get a response from somebody very, very quickly. Speed of turnaround is obviously critical but it doesn't matter if the quality is lacking. Sara and the folks on her staff are very, very strong in those areas and emphasize both.
Like I mentioned earlier, no one is perfect. The one other law firm that I work with knows my personality and kind of moves with me. That type of relationship improves with time and I expect that will be the case with Stock Legal. But I will say that with Sara and her team, I know they’re looking out for me and if there’s a pitfall that I could possibly get involved in, I am appreciative that they warn me very quickly.
One thing I like is that Stock Legal is very forthcoming with the concept of hours and what it’s going to take to accomplish a task and I feel like they work to hold to those hours when we set expectations between the two of us. When we don’t do that and instead leave it open, the result is either really great news (lower cost)... or the opposite. More often than not, it is the opposite. That is nobody's fault. It’s just a matter of dealing with unclear expectations or work requirements. So I appreciate Sara's efforts to set a framework of expectations and communicate the various options of how the work could branch out.
Sales contracts put together by Stock Legal are helpful too. I feel extremely comfortable with what they have created for Sheer Logistics. Often in my past legal relationships I felt like I had to explain a lot more to my attorney than what I’m having to explain to the folks at Stock Legal. Stock Legal comes back with detailed, pro Sheer Logistics contracts which represent us exceptionally well but also facilitate business with our clients. Sara’s convinced me of how important it is to craft an over-arching process and legal structure for what we’re trying to accomplish. When we talk about our company compensation methodology or when we talk about an operating agreement, Sara is intent on setting standards for everything we’ve agreed upon.
To close, I think that the team at Stock Legal are just extremely client focused. I have discovered that Sara can be traveling on a weekend and I send her an email thinking she’ll get back to me on Monday, I instead get one back that day. Stock Legal is focused on communicating with their customers and I think that is unique. Many law firms do business 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. With Sara’s group it just feels that everything we ask for is uber-important to them and needs to be taken care of with urgency. How unique is that? I theorize that it’s probably pretty easy for law firms to review something, determine that it is probably a simple proposition which can be handled during standard business hours and get to it when they want to get to it. The premise being that if they are not worried about it, then I shouldn't be worried about it either.
By comparison, Stock Legal's staff is high energy. And even if it is not important to me, it is always important to them. Stock Legal combines 21st century technology and innovation with an old fashioned hard-work industriousness to labor hard for their clients.
-Joe Egertson, CEO of Sheer Logistics