Building a Wiki-Driven Culture

Like many founders, Ryan McKeen uses technology to scale himself, grow his business, and accomplish more. Yet, unlike many founders with this mindset, he’s not building a tech company. He’s an attorney who started and runs his own law firm with fellow attorney Andrew Garza. Their team, Connecticut Trial Firm, seeks to build a “client-centered” experience, making the law feel accessible, rather than intimidating.

The Need

As Ryan went from a solo practitioner to leading a growing firm, his needs became more complex. In order to build Connecticut Trial Firm, Ryan and Andrew needed to scale themselves. They needed to teach others about the work they had managed. This includes complex details about legal processes, as well as smaller details about how to order office supplies like paper and coffee. Ryan comments on their organizational problems before Tettra:

“There are all sorts of silos in our organization in dropbox...there are a lot of files. No matter how we name things, stuff gets lost.”

Ryan and his team needed to find a better way to document their systems and processes. They needed to scale themselves as founders. Most importantly, they needed a reliable way to share and grant access to this critical knowledge. Only by delegating responsibility would they be able to best serve their clients.

The Pain Points

As the team grew, the problem of knowledge silos became more acute. And apparently, Ryan isn’t alone with this problem. The issue of siloed knowledge is common among law firms. Because their time is so valuable, this disorganization comes at a significant cost. Having seen how many other law firms operate, Ryan notes that the work of running a business is often the hardest part.

“In general, law firms operate terribly. Lawyers silo knowledge, they create systems for themselves, but they don’t share those systems. The only way for us to survive is to have efficient systems. Our time is at a premium, and if it’s taken up trying to find envelopes, that’s real money.”

The team has continued to grow. Every time they hire a new person, they need to train that person on the culture and processes. The time spent training and repeating themselves is lost time and money. It’s time that they’re not spending on a client-centered experience.

The Solution

While many law firms cling to an old way of doing things, Ryan’s firm is proudly tech-forward. They realized that Tettra would allow them to document and share knowledge in an efficient way. All members of the team have  access to the info they need, day or night. They use the Tettra-Slack integration, so that people have the right info at their fingertips. Team member and litigation paralegal, Sarah Cocchiola, notes that she’s in Tettra every single day, for tasks both big and small.

 

For the Connecticut Trial Firm, documentation truly is a team sport. Tettra has been a great solution for them, in part, because everyone contributes. Everyone feels a sense of ownership over their documentation:

One of the most powerful things we did was create a ‘watch our wiki grow’ Slack channel where all updates get shared. The sharing and norming of this behavior creates almost a peer pressure to contribute.”

Ryan doesn’t want to stop at simply building good habits; rather, he’s sought to create a wiki-driven culture. The entire team values and prioritizes documentation. They know that their culture of organization, documentation, and using tech to scale has helped the business run smoothly.

Every time I see a tettra page created, it’s like money in a savings account. I never have to worry about teaching people where to order coffee or how to use our calendars. Ultimately, it’s a mindset: the notion that we’re both working on our clients cases and building systems to do things better in the future. With Tettra, it’s a part of our DNA

Ryan’s firm has a competitive advantage over other, old-school firms. Their systematic, tech-forward approach to documentation makes them more efficient. Ultimately, it means that his team can move faster and focus on what matters most: serving their clients in the best possible way.