The Kalon Way
You may have heard people say, “A client hires the lawyer, not the firm.” Not so at Kalon. A client gets more than the lawyer; she gets the firm.
The problem with the “hire the lawyer” model is the lawyer can’t do it all and she must delegate. So, the client gets the firm regardless. Furthermore, the “hire the lawyer” model creates silos within a firm. Imagine a team where players never pass the ball.
A client who wants one lawyer but not another does not trust the firm.
When we say, “The Kalon Way,” we first mean a client gets the team and our team approach. We want our clients to trust their case with Kalon.
We are selective in whom we hire – Kalon has a “no jerks” rule. We won’t even consider someone who won’t learn, won’t put the team first, or won’t be a zealous advocate for our clients. We look for and hire people who are innovative, generous, and zealous. And, of course, ethical.
Second, our team operates pursuant to a Legal Project Management protocol we call, “Compass,” which is codified in our operations manual. Compass is a set process we follow to ensure we understand the client’s goal, analyze the best course of action to achieve that goal, and then execute.
Finally, we have a matrix of expected competencies, best practices, and intentional culture.
The Kalon Way is a team approach according to our code to ensure the best legal representation for our clients.
We have thought deeply about why many people work hard to become lawyers but later leave the law. Our business model is designed to help our people love practicing law, which means better legal services for our clients. We focus on the intrinsic motivators: purpose, mastery, and autonomy.
This model is not new – Daniel Pink articulated it in his book, Drive, in 2009. Miserable, unproductive employees work for employers who use only extrinsic motivators. Pink asserts that the happiest, most productive employees are intrinsically motivated.
To better serve our clients, we developed a four point matrix, based on the approach of a well known services company.
1. Client Centered – We begin by listening to our clients to understand their needs and concerns.
2. Quality Standards – Our team is proactive, responsive, diligent, deadline conscious, and results focused.
3. Delivery Systems – Kalon delivers through its people and its tech, and we are selective with both.
4. Integration – We bring the first three together into a seamless operation to better serve our clients.
The Core Skills
We teach our team core skills to ensure each member has the competencies necessary to provide our clients with excellent legal services. The skills are emotional intelligence, getting things done, and communication. These soft skills are rarely taught and seem to be learned along the way by accident by some, but not by others. At Kalon, we make sure everyone has these necessary skills.
Diversity & Inclusion
Kalon is proud to be a signatory to The Connecticut Legal Community’s Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
We are committed to being a diverse and inclusive firm, to supporting diversity and inclusion in the legal community, and to advocating equal treatment under the law for all (individuals and organizations).
We seek people from a range of life experiences because we know diverse teams are strong teams and don’t suffer from the echo chambers of homogeneous teams. We encourage our people to be involved in the affinity bar associations, attend bar events, and volunteer in our community. We support the rule of law and equal treatment for all under the law, and proactively pursue this not only in our paid work, but in our pro bono work with our firm’s human rights clinic.
Pro Bono Publico
Our pro bono practice is woven into our fabric: we have within the firm a human rights clinic.
We work toward securing the rights under the laws of our great nation for some of the neediest among us and work against intolerance and discrimination. We accept referrals from the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants and The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project.
We created our firm with design thinking and continue to be innovative in how we are building ourselves and serving our clients.
Many claim to be innovative. Kalon is.
Attorney Christopher P. Kriesen studied Disruptive Strategy at Harvard Business School | HBX and holds a Certificate in Corporate Innovation from the Stanford Graduate School of Business LEAD program.
Proof of our innovation is in the many unique ways we practice law. We are digital, dispersed, and connected. We have no closed offices and no annual-billable-hour goal. We have an intentional culture, a flat hierarchy, and encourage “bliss ventures.” We have a human rights clinic within the firm.
Giving Back and Paying it Forward
We are devoted to social entrepreneurship – a for-profit business model to serve altruism. Here is what we do: 1) 10% of the revenue from the Kalon ADR Center is donated to the Hartford Youth Scholars; 2) We have a dedicated pro bono practice with the Kalon Human Rights Center (focusing on asylum claims); 3) We have a Fellows program for students, whom we actively mentor to become better advocates; 4) We are devoted to diversity and inclusion; 5) We help improve the bar through our workshops, salons, and Cicero Project; 6) We help secure the rights of our clients through advocacy at the trial and appellate levels; 7) We help resolve disputes through The Kalon ADR Center.
The Kalon Reading List
Want to understand how we think? Here is our firm reading list:
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
2. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey
3. The Elements of Style, Strunk & White
4. Getting Things Done, David Allen
5. Decision Quality, Carl Spetzler
6. Drive, Daniel Pink
7. 99 Negotiating Strategies, David Rosen
8. Crucial Conversations, Kerry Patterson
9. Positive Coaching Psychology Series, Ian Tuhovsky
10. Making Your Case, Antonio Scalia
11. The Cardinal Rules of Advocacy, Douglas Lavine
12. Speaking Up, Matthew Abrahams
13. The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
14. How Successful People Think, John Maxwell
15. Stories for Work, Gabrielle Dolan
16. The Tools of Argument, Joel Trachtman
17. Ethics for the Real Word, Ronald Howard
18. The Lean Startup, Eric Reis
19. The Startup Way, Eric Reis
20. Principles, Ray Dalio
21. Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
22. Built to Last, Jim Collins
23. Good to Great, Jim Collins
24. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
25. The 4-Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss
26. The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen
27. The Launch Book, Sanyin Siang
28. Zero to One, Peter Thiel