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What is a “Community-Centered Law Practice”?

At True North Legal Group, we say it all the time – we are a “community-centered law practice.” Community is at the core of everything we do, from taking care of clients, to developing our business, to volunteering in our neighborhoods.

We believe this community-centered mindset makes us unique. We are different than every law firm that arrived in Northern Michigan before us. And we believe our approach to legal services will disrupt the existing legal market and deliver world-class legal advocacy to our clients well into the future.

But what does a “community-centered law practice” really look like? What does that term actually mean?

It begins with a promise -- “Client First but Community Focused.” That is the first of our founding values, and it means we always prioritize the needs and wants of our clients. Our first and top priority is helping you overcome the legal barriers that are limiting your success. Our clients’ satisfaction is the leading metric of our success.

But in helping our clients, we do so with community in mind. We believe that every client’s success can and will contribute to the greater good of our Northern Michigan community. We find ways for our clients to experience success so they can, in turn, give back to the community around them.

So let’s say you work with us because you’re facing criminal charges. Every action we take and every decision we make in your case will be with one goal in mind – to get you the best possible result in that case. But as we work through the criminal process together, we also want to put you in the best position to succeed after your case is over so that you can go back into your community and contribute.

Here's another example. You’ve worked at a local manufacturing company for eight years, but you keep getting passed up for promotion. You believe you are missing out on opportunities because of discrimination, and you come to TNLG for help. Making things right with your employer is our top priority, but we also want to give you the tools and skills needed to be successful in other roles if this job doesn’t work out long-term. We want you to be ready to succeed, both at work and in your neighborhood.

One final example. You’re a small business owner who needs help getting all the legal pieces in place for your new company. You come to TNLG for small business solutions. Our mission is to successfully launch your small business, but we’ll also find ways to connect you to other small business owners and provide you the resources to be successful in Northern Michigan.

The crazy thing is that some may read this and think that, because we are so focused on community, we must not care as much about “winning” a case. Nothing can be further from the truth. We absolutely love to win. We just don’t believe that you must “win at all costs.” Instead, we know that there is a way to win gracefully, which allows our clients to be successful in their legal matters while also maintaining connections in and contributing to their communities.

So now you can see how True North Legal Group executes on our promise of being community-centered. Ultimately, we want to connect with people, learn about their stories, and understand what support they need to be successful. And in turn, we know that successful clients create successful communities.

Because here’s the truth – as a small business ourselves, True North Legal Group entrusts the community of Northern Michigan with our livelihood. When our community succeeds, our business does too. We are rooted, both economically and socially, in this amazing place. And we simply want to see Northern Michigan thrive.

In order to deliver on that vision, we made three commitments to our community that will never be compromised:

  1. Income-Based Pricing. At TNLG, we understand the difficulty that individuals and families may have paying for a private attorney. However, one of the reasons we launched this business was to contribute to our community and bring compassion to the justice system. Therefore, we have instituted an income-based pricing structure that allows us to assist clients who may be of modest financial means. You can learn more about that here.
  2. Community Office Hours. Twice a year, TNLG offers “Community Office Hours.” This service allows us to offer legal assistance to members of our community free of charge. Although we often hold these sessions at our office, we also like to get out in the community when we can. So you might find us at a local coffee shop, a nearby park, or your neighborhood library. We want to help you solve legal problems without the need for pricey retainers and long-term legal contracts.
  3. Civic Engagement. Finally, we are committed to civic engagement. We strive to help achieve solutions to community-identified issues in ways that develop local leadership and institutions. We see TNLG as a “first responder” to community injustice and a true catalyst for systemic change. Because we are embedded in this community, we learn about issues that our community is facing collectively, and we act on that knowledge. We are proud that community leaders and elected officials come to us for solutions to community problems. And when they don’t come to us, we go to them.

Community is at the center of everything we do at True North Legal Group. We believe in Northern Michigan and its people, and we are deeply grateful to play a key role in its future.