Portland News

July 14, 2024

Chris Jackman Attorney Discusses Building a Community-Focused Law Practice

Chris Jackman
Photo: Unsplash.com

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In an era where the legal profession is often criticized for its focus on profit over people, building a community-focused law practice stands out as a beacon of hope and a model for genuine service. At the heart of such practices is the belief that the law can be a powerful tool for positive change, not just a mechanism for resolving disputes. Chris Jackman, a distinguished attorney and the founder of The Jackman Law Firm, exemplifies this approach with his commitment to personal injury, mass torts, and immigration cases. His firm’s journey offers valuable insights into creating a practice that prioritizes community well-being and justice.

Embracing a Mission-Driven Approach

The foundation of a community-focused law practice is a clear, mission-driven approach. This means defining your practice not just by the legal services you offer but by the impact you aim to achieve within your community. For Chris Jackman, this has meant dedicating his firm to championing the rights of those wronged by negligence or abuse, with a keen focus on making legal assistance accessible to those in need.

Knowing Your Community

Understanding the specific needs and challenges of your community is crucial. This involves more than just demographic research; it requires active engagement and listening. Attend community meetings, participate in local events, and offer free legal clinics or seminars. This not only helps to identify the legal needs of your community but also builds trust and establishes your practice as a committed ally.

Tailoring Services to Community Needs

Once you understand your community’s needs, tailor your legal services to meet those needs. This might mean offering sliding scale fees, providing services in languages other than English, or specializing in areas of law that are particularly relevant to your community. For instance, if your community has a large immigrant population, focusing on immigration law could provide invaluable support.

Fostering Partnerships and Collaboration

Building strong relationships with other community organizations can amplify your impact. Look for opportunities to collaborate with non-profits, educational institutions, and other groups working towards similar goals. These partnerships can lead to joint initiatives, such as legal education programs or advocacy campaigns, that further serve the community’s needs. Through strategic collaborations, Jackman’s firm has been able to extend its reach and resources, providing more comprehensive support to those in need.

Engaging in Pro Bono and Volunteer Work

Committing to pro bono work is a hallmark of a community-focused law practice. Offering your legal expertise for free or at a reduced cost to those who cannot afford it is a direct way to make legal services accessible and foster a more just community. Beyond the confines of the courtroom, volunteering for causes and projects that benefit the community can demonstrate your commitment to social good, reinforcing the idea that your practice is about more than just legal victories.

Educating and Empowering Your Community

Education is a powerful tool for empowerment. By providing legal education to your community, you demystify the legal process and equip individuals with the knowledge to protect their rights. This can take many forms, from workshops on tenant rights to seminars on workplace discrimination. Chris Jackman‘s firm has leveraged this approach, offering educational resources and seminars that empower individuals with the knowledge to navigate complex legal challenges.

Advocating for Systemic Change

While individual cases can provide immediate relief and justice, advocating for systemic change can address the root causes of widespread legal challenges. This means using your legal expertise to push for policy changes, reform laws, or challenge unjust practices that disproportionately affect your community. Through advocacy, your practice can contribute to lasting improvements in the legal landscape, making it fairer and more equitable for all.

Building Trust Through Transparency and Integrity

Trust is the cornerstone of any community-focused practice. Maintaining transparency about your services, fees, and processes helps build this trust. Furthermore, conducting your practice with integrity—always prioritizing your client’s best interests and adhering to the highest ethical standards—ensures that your community sees you as a reliable and honorable advocate.

Measuring Success Beyond the Bottom Line

Redefining success is essential for a community-focused law practice. While financial stability is necessary for any business, measuring success should also include the impact you’ve had on individuals’ lives and the broader community. This can be reflected in the number of cases successfully resolved in favor of disadvantaged clients, the changes achieved through advocacy, or the level of community engagement and trust you’ve built.


Building a community-focused law practice is a challenging but immensely rewarding endeavor. It requires a commitment to service that goes beyond the conventional goals of the legal profession. For attorneys like Chris Jackman, who have embarked on this path, the journey is a testament to the profound impact that dedicated legal professionals can have on their communities. By prioritizing mission over margin, engaging deeply with community needs, and advocating for systemic change, legal practices can truly be forces for good, championing justice and equity for all.

Published by: Nelly Chavez

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