Aaron Street has a history of taking risks. At age 11, he started a sports card and memorabilia retail store in downtown Northfield. He later dropped out of the 9th grade to run the business. The 1994 Major League Baseball strike caused the store to close and caused Street to return to school, but he never lost that entrepreneurial spirit.
Street is the CEO of Lawyerist.com, an online community dedicated to helping solo and small firm lawyers with practice management resources. He also serves as a board member at the HCBA. He first got involved with the HCBA after being recruited by the then-president of the Hennepin County Bar Foundation. The idea of giving back to the profession stuck with him. “The professional responsibility to engage in the profession as the profession is something that has resonated with me,” he said.
Street’s professional passions are slightly different from what you would expect from a typical lawyer. After just about 10 years in existence, Lawyerist has developed into a popular (and profitable) online resource for solo/small firm lawyers all over the world. The site now has comprehensive practice management articles, a weekly newsletter, an active Q&A forum, as well as a weekly podcast. “I love business strategy and working with our team to come up with creative solutions and innovative ways for growing our business by helping the legal industry. The act of running this business is really exciting to me,” said Street.
The market for business skills in the legal industry was ripe, and Lawyerist has been able to seize the market. “There are very few resources for lawyers to become good business people. That's one of the tools I happen to have developed in my toolkit. It's exciting for me to be able to bring some of that to the legal industry,” said Street.
With the legal industry churning, bolstering business skills could be the difference between success and failure. “Most talented lawyers and solo and small firms don't have background or training in also running small businesses, which they're doing. I think their focus, rightly, is on providing good legal work to their clients. That is where their focus should be, but at the same time, if you're not putting in effort to learn how to engage your business as a business. It's pretty easy to tend to just put your head down and work your case files,”
Those skills can often be the difference in a competitive marketplace. Street said that for most law practice areas, “business skills turn out to be a one of the primary drivers of success.”
One unique way Street and his Lawyerist colleagues are engaging with the solo & small-firm legal community is with their new conference, TBD Law. “We wanted it to be a different kind of legal event. Rather than one where it's paid speakers at the front of a room, talking at people for an hour, we wanted to bring together people who already get it to work together to talk about and build for the future.”
The first conference, held in August of 2016 in St. Louis, was a resounding success. “The interaction and engagement exceeded our expectations tremendously,” said Street. “A huge portion of the people there said that it was one of the best events they had ever been to and these are the people who are usually the paid keynoters at other people's state and national conferences.” A second TBD Law conference is scheduled for February of 2017.
While Street loves the business aspect of what he does, there’s also another, more personal part of his job that he enjoys doing, “There are some really interesting and inspiring lawyers doing really cool stuff and getting to know them is the best.”