Taproot Law

Taproot Law

Human-Centered Legal Advocates

With our roots in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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An open letter to Delta County and Schoolcraft County leaders and innovators: Join me to bring legal services to your community

Hello innovators and leaders across the UP! 

Not sure if we’ve met, yet. I’m Erica Payne and I’m an attorney, based in Marquette since 2012.  I left my traditional firm in 2022 after chronic pain made it an uncomfortable place to work, and I opened my own firm, Taproot Law, in 2023. While I still live in Marquette, my firm is remote, and I’m realizing my firm was created to help people like many in your communities. This is a hunch that I hope you’ll help me confirm in the new year! Read on to see how you can help me do that.

Through my research opening my firm, Taproot Law, I’ve also discovered that approximately 80% of the individuals with a legal need are not getting help. For example, based on 2020 statistics, Delta County is the most underserved county in the Upper Peninsula based on attorney-to resident ratio. The gap in Schoolcraft isn’t much better. My firm was designed to fill in these gaps in services.

How my story relates.

Through the process of experimentation that I used to find healthier ways for me to work, I slowed down from the grind enough to notice that people like my friends and family in my hometown of Crystal Falls were falling through the cracks. They didn’t qualify for legal aid or a court-appointed attorney – they made too much money. But they didn’t make enough money to comfortably hire a traditional law firm.

I also noticed that these people also tend to have the claims that aren’t worth enough to pursue or have so many factual issues it would be too expensive to litigate under traditional models. The traditional law firm is not designed to accept smaller fees so that someone can “bounce something off an attorney” to get direction. Instead, the initial consultation (often a free one) is used to determine if the attorney and client are a good fit for long-term, attorney-client relationship, which doesn’t actually benefit the client in the long-run.

I can help!

I offer a number of services that you and your community members might find useful and different from traditional law services.

Coaching. Legal projects, like a medical crisis, come with great uncertainty. The sea of information on the web makes it more difficult to find certainty that way anymore. My coaching services are designed to lessen the uncertainty with legal projects by providing attorney assistance in intentional and economic ways. 

The purpose of coaching is to create a strategy that moves your legal project forward. Here’s what someone who schedules a coaching session with me can expect:

  1. 30-minute session with me
  2. Options that fit your lifestyle
  3. Tools Resources to guide you to your solution
  4. Lessen uncertainty about your goals, values, and next moves

That strategy often includes linking the client to other services, including other services Taproot provides!

Make-it-Legal services. Designed to follow coaching, Make-it-Legal gives you the tools and instructions needed to bring your coaching strategy to life. With our custom tools and instructions, you can get a legal project done without long waits and inefficiencies of the back and forth with my firm. 

These are limited-scope representation services, which allows us to do a part of a project and clients to have a say and take ownership of the other parts.

Workshops. Taproot is committed to working with other professionals throughout the Upper Peninsula to build bridges across disciplines and support each other in legal matters. I recently led a workshop with a group of real estate professionals to discuss and guide them through common legal issues they run into on the job. Additionally, I also lead workshops on common legal questions anyone might need help navigating (e.g. preparing for the death of a loved one). If your professional team is interested in collaborating with Taproot Law or knows a group that might benefit from a workshop related to any legal issue, I’d love to work with you! 

Here’s where you come in: I want to meet and learn from you!

Each community has different needs, and I want to understand them. I suspect I might be able to serve your communities in really beneficial ways, but want to make sure my hunch is right. To understand whether there is an actual need and how I can meet those needs, I would love for you to join me for lunch or happy hour in the new year to discuss how we can work together to meet the legal needs across your communities. Won’t you join me? I’ll gladly meet you in your community and I’ll also be announcing more information about events hosted by Taproot in 2024.

If any of what I’ve outlined above sparks your interest, give me a call at 906-284-8426. You can also learn more about Taproot Law by visiting our website: www.taprootadvocates.com 

I’m so excited to meet with and learn from you. Let’s talk in the new year!

–Erica