Smith, Mills & Schrock is a law firm practicing law a new way - a way that uses innovation, technology and collaboration to provide legal services in a more efficient and effective manner. Unlike other lawyers who may be resistant to change, Smith, Mills & Schrock's attorneys are leading the effort to change the legal landscape. We are constantly assessing how these advancements can be shared with our clients to improve the value of the legal services provided.
Innovation is not a catch phrase at Smith, Mills & Schrock but a mindset. Traditional approaches to law have proven too costly, too slow and slanted oftentimes towards the lawyer, not the client. Our people understand that time and money are critical to our clients’ success. Consequently, the firm has developed platforms for each area of practice where a uniform and comprehensive strategy is followed by each lawyer in order to get the best result in the shortest amount of time and without unnecessary costs. Internal metrics are maintained and reviewed to ensure the correct handling of each claim. This “best practices” approach to legal matters is a concept that has been too long a time in coming.
Other innovation such as possessing a fleet of vans where traveling lawyers are directly linked to their offices and available to their clients allows the firm’s lawyers to use their time on the road constructively and avoids charging clients professional fees for traveling. Hiring retired teachers, businessmen, policemen and bus drivers to drive the lawyers allows for more immediate response to clients on what transpired that day in meetings, while interviewing witnesses, in deposition or at trial.
Innovative billing programs have been developed where the typical billing hour is no longer the only measure of compensation for legal services performed. Contingency fee arrangements are determined after reviewing the facts of the case and having open and honest communications with our clients.
From the outset, Smith, Mills & Schrock's support staff have scanned all key documents to electronic files and has fully utilized case management software to provide lawyers and legal staff continuous access to case-related information at all times. Each office is connected directly to the other with high-speed fiber-optic Internet access, which allows seamless communication through videoconferencing.
Secure smart phone applications allow lawyers to dictate letters and reports to clients while on the road, with the expectation that the reports or letters will be transcribed before the lawyer even returns to his or her office. Both internal and external electronic search libraries and databases allow each attorney access to prior legal research, writing and analysis, which often reduces the effort to address similar legal issues at hand.
Every legal matter in the office has a lawyer and paralegal/paralegal litigation specialist assigned. This ensures that clients have access to a legal professional familiar with his or her case at all times. Two sets of eyes and ears are always better than one. The firm utilizes highly trained and properly supervised paralegals and paralegal litigation specialists extensively to process paperwork and to perform appropriate legal tasks on files to ensure efficiency and cost-effective legal representation.
Legal professionals of the firm select practice groups to which they belong. These practice groups meet regularly to share information, new developments of the law and to confer regarding unique issues encountered in their files. This practice group approach allows for the collective experience and knowledge to be shared and utilized by all the members of that group for their client’s benefit.
Smith, Mills & Schrock's lawyers believe they are creating legal teams comprised of the firm’s legal professionals and clients to address the legal challenges facing our clients. In order to be the most effective lawyers, having well-informed clients is critical. Consequently, our lawyers devote a substantial amount of time educating clients on the areas of law where they are involved.
The firm's lawyers travel throughout the Midwest presenting seminars to clients on legal topics of concern. Smith, Mills & Schrock sponsors one of the largest client-based workers’ compensation seminars in the Midwest each year. Most practice groups have bimonthly newsletters to keep clients apprised of legal developments as well as annual seminars. The firm’s website was designed as an interactive resource for clients to obtain key information and perform necessary calculations using the firm’s web-based calculators.
Newly graduated lawyers immediately become an integral part of the firm's plan for growth and success. Upon admission, new lawyers are assigned to various practice groups where they participate with more senior lawyers and paralegals in all aspects of the practice. New lawyers are never pigeonholed into performing one or two functions involving a limited area of law.
The firm is committed to mentorship of new lawyers by hands-on experiences. Many of the senior lawyers of the firm have companion careers as teachers; therefore, the ability to effectively mentor new lawyers is an attribute of the firm that many firms do not possess. It is a common experience for new lawyers to meet with clients, take depositions and participate in mediations, hearings or trials in the first year of practice. Additionally, new lawyers typically make presentations on practice group subject matters to client gatherings and before industry groups throughout Iowa and Nebraska.
The firm is particularly well-situated to integrate a lawyer's existing practice into the practice group format. Providing access to a significant client base creates unique opportunities to cross-sell the lateral lawyer's skills and experience to the firm's existing clients. Additionally, the firm has support staff capable of implementing subject matter newsletters, educational seminars and other means of communicating the lateral lawyer's areas of practice to potential clients. The firm's lawyers are regularly asked to be speakers by all of the major educational seminar companies in the Midwest.
The firm's compensation package for lateral lawyers involves a component that financially awards the lateral lawyer for new clients brought to the firm irrespective who works the hours.
Paralegals employed by the firm are considered an integral part of the firm's professional legal team. Paralegals are provided cutting-edge technology to perform their duties. The firm's paralegals have significant client contact and are expected to help develop and maintain a strong relationship with clients, particularly institutional clients that are located out of state.
Paralegals attend and often present topics at firm seminars for clients. Social interaction with clients almost always involves the firm's paralegals. The firm's paralegals often attend hearings and mediations with the lawyer on the file. In the past few years paralegals of the firm have attended national seminars in Cape Cod, Chicago and Las Vegas.
Smith, Mills & Schrock Law Firm believes that legal secretaries are an integral component of our success and view them as an equally important part of the legal team. Legal secretaries of the firm are always treated as legal professionals by the lawyers and paralegals. Support staff is provided state-of-the-art computers, software and other tools to assist them in their duties.
For information on career opportunities at Smith, Mills & Schrock, contact Loren Varney at:
Smith, Mills & Schrock Law Firm has offices located in Iowa and Nebraska, with lawyers licensed to practice law in state and federal venues throughout the Midwest.
118 3rd Avenue SE #200
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
319.286.1743Map and Directions
1225 Jordan Creek Parkway #108
West Des Moines, IA 50266
515.223.9920Map and Directions
222 South 15th Street #220S
Omaha, NE 68102
402.345.1205Map and Directions
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