Avainsana: attorneys

11. Episode: Purpose Driven Legal Practice with M. Zane Johnson

M. Zane Johnson.

Small legal practices play a key role in making the legal industry more human-centric. They are the ones to address the legal needs of private individuals. In the 11th episode of the Legal Design Podcast, we are joined by M. Zane Johnson, Attorney at Law from Philadelphia who went to law school because he wanted to empower everyday people to solve their legal problems, and now runs his own practice in Philadelphia to help individuals and communities. 

Zane talks about how legal design can help young purpose-driven lawyers to find solutions to their clients’ problems but also to structure their careers. Zane sees himself as a problem solver for people and he wants to provide better outcomes for real people navigating through legal systems and processes. Listening and understanding are the most important tools for Zane to practice law, even though these skills might often be overlooked by lawyers. 

We also talk about how legal culture and legal systems around the world have differences, but how they also share significant similarities, like the lack of user friendliness. When creating understanding about what needs to change in legal practice, it is useful to hear experiences and insights across jurisdictional and geographical borders because at the end of the day, legal design can be used in any of the legal cultures and systems to solve problems. 

Billable hours, the hot potato of the legal industry, is also brought up in this episode. If we lawyers sell our services for clients by the hour, we expect them to understand the law the same way as we do, and in these situations, the financial risk is on the client side. In order to change this, we have to learn better people skills to understand our clients’ problems better and take on some of that financial risk and start selling legal services and problem solving by fixed-fees. 

 

Zane Johnson, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Attorney of M. Zane {+} Associates Professional Company – a Philadelphia based law firm providing simple legal solutions for small businesses, startups, and side hustlers. Zane empowers new entrepreneurs to turn their great ideas into thriving businesses, and has helped hundreds of new entrepreneurs gain clarity and peace of mind about their business.

Prior to founding M. Zane {+} Associates, Zane was the Managing Attorney at Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity where he led and developed initiatives that helped thousands of Philadelphians living in poverty escape the stigma that accompanies a criminal. 

In addition to his work as an attorney, Zane maintains an active presence in his community. In partnership with YEAH Philadelphia, Zane created the Empowered Youth Entrepreneur (EYE) Project, a program designed to teach young people the basics of entrepreneurship and provide startup capital to help them start their first business. Zane has also worked with numerous non-profit organizations to educate communities on everything from community lawyer to stimulus checks. 

Zane became a lawyer so he could empower everyday people to use the law to their advantage.