Taproot Law

Taproot Law

Human-Centered Legal Advocates

With our roots in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan


The UP Tour kicks off with a visit home

Taproot recently sponsored the Bass Festival in Crystal Falls to start my UP Tour. This was a special way to kick off the tour because it started in my hometown. In addition to going to the Bassfest, I was also able to see familiar faces at my 20th high school reunion. I was welcomed home and got some really good feedback on what we’re trying to accomplish at Taproot.

Many people saw my interview on TV6 and thanked me for “getting it.” Nearly as frequently, they asked where I came up with the idea for Taproot Law’s legal coaching. I didn’t intend on talking about the details of my story until, within the warm embraces of “home,” I spilled.

Flashback to 2020: Taproot’s Beginnings

12 years ago, I got my first “real” lawyer job in a traditional law firm in Marquette. There, I quickly found success as a litigator of real estate and probate administration disputes.

After 5 years, I made partner. A year later, my health started deteriorating fast. As a lawyer, I had a voice and credibility, and that work seemed gone overnight when my health declined. My own doctors didn’t believe me when I described the pain I was experiencing. People with chronic illness know how challenging it is to feel invisible and unheard. I was managing high amounts of stress and symptoms no one could diagnose.

By March 2020, I’d been through a dozen departments at Mayo Clinic. The diagnosis: rare and unknown conditions. (Last thing you want to hear from this place, right?!)

“You have to find ways to make your days less stressful, probably starting with your job.” the neurosurgeon said. “Even if it’s not a cause, it’s a trigger and is worsening your symptoms.”

Legitimately confused, I looked him in the eyes with mine welling with tears. “Less stress?” I asked. “But I’m a lawyer,” I said. “Isn’t that the job?”

“Not sure. You’ll figure out a different way, I suspect,” he assured me.

With a tiny spark of hope, I returned from Minnesota seeking a solution for less pain.

I explored innovative possibilities for a healthier work environment within my practice (i.e., silo) at the firm. But that silo was limited by the existing, traditional firm culture and systems, and innovation was impossible unless every leader was motivated to innovate. I left. These systems and way of doing work could no longer serve me or my clients or team.

Lego Toy in Clear Glass Container

Through this process of experimentation, however, I slowed down from the grind enough to notice that a group of people fell through the cracks: people like my friends and family in Crystal Falls. I found them in the cold calls, invisible and unheard, feelings I knew all too well.

They didn’t qualify for legal aid or a court-appointed attorney – they made too much money. But they didn’t make enough money and couldn’t comfortably hire a traditional law firm. 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. The traditional law firm is not designed to accept smaller fees so that someone can “bounce something off an attorney” to get direction.

Back in Crystal Falls and looking ahead

While visiting Crystal Falls, many confirmed the difficulty in finding a lawyer or long wait-times in turnover of documents. We agree and want to help. This August, Taproot is launching our Make-It-Legal program that seeks to eliminate long lines for consultations and delays in receiving drafts by restructuring the first meeting so that the attorney (or paralegal) prepares documents with the client live on the phone. Make-it-Legal offers the following at flat rate pricing:

  • 1-on-1 with a legal professional
  • Documents you need to complete the phase on your own
  • Instructions on filing, serving, and recording

Through our coaching and Make-it-Legal services, we aim to work directly with you to identify options and strategies, meet your legal needs, and help you feel confident in next steps.

It was so fun to kick off the UP Tour in my hometown and I’m excited to make more visits! For my next stop, you can find me at Gwinn’s Community Center Clubhouse (165 N. Maple St.) on August 14th from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. EST. There, I’ll be offering in-person coaching to answer your legal questions and help you move forward. Call (906) 284-8426 for pricing details and scheduling.

I’ll be taking Make-It-Legal and coaching on the road for the remainder of the UP Tour and if you’re interested or know someone who might be interested in hosting a visit, reach out!

More details and updates about our updated services coming soon! Follow us on social media to find out more.