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Milana Kuznetsova attended Florida International University and in three years completed a triple major. Following this, she graduated from University of Miami’s law program. It is this level of focus and determination that led her to create an app that is the catalyst to revolutionizing legal practice.
Every company aims to establish some form of data regulation. However, not all forms of information management prove to be effective. LegalFile™ , designed by Kuznetsova, is a legal practice management software that powers a personal virtual office in the convenience of a portable device. LegalFile for iPad, recently released to the iTunes App Store, is only a peek at the company’s endeavor to lead a profession that has been grown out of very traditional roots through a contemporary transition in adopting information technology as an effective business model.
MO: How did you make the leap from lawyer to entrepreneur?
Milana: It was a decision that was made on the underlying desire to help others. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer when I was a freshman in high school, as I was influenced by the grandeur of the Capitol and the Supreme Court, having come from Russia and having lived in Washington, D.C. I felt that as an Officer of the Court, I could stand up for rights afforded to individuals under the laws of the nation. However, upon experiencing a number of legal office settings in the civil and criminal law practice areas, I discovered that there was a disconnect in possession of legal skills and application of said skills to the benefit of third parties. I saw a way I could empower my colleagues to more effectively tender to clients’ needs all the while ensuring a profitable return on work product and time management. I felt in meeting a need for my colleagues, my ability to help others would only amplify.
MO: What was the process of taking your idea and turning it into an app? Did you have any previous software or IT experience beforehand?
Milana: The process consisted of meeting with a number of software developers and pitching the broad strokes of the idea. Third time is the charm; the third developer, who is Denver, Colorado-based, saw eye to eye with me on the LegalFile vision. While I do not have any previous IT or software development experience, he is a very talented individual who has the ability to not only translate my thoughts into code efficiently, but to contribute his own. Being such, in addition to other valuable traits that he brings to the table, I recruited this individual to join LegalFile as the full-time Chief Technology Officer starting January 2012.
MO: How do you think that the LegalFile app will revolutionize legal case management?
Milana: It is important to view LegalFile for iPad as an introduction to revolutionizing the legal practice – it essentially replaces the old briefcase. With LegalFile, you are able to have all of your cases in the palm of your hand. It eliminates the burden of carrying boxes of files into a courtroom or an office and enables easy access to legal files on the go.
MO: What has been the most exciting aspect of entrepreneurship so far? What’s one major lesson you’ve learned?
Milana: As an entrepreneur, it has been exciting to foster relationships with individuals I would not normally cross paths with if I were simply wearing the hat of a civil litigator in Miami. I have been exposed to a number of creative, curious, and influential figures in our nation and globally. One major lesson that I learned has been not to spread myself too thin – it’s counterproductive for others and myself.
MO: Did you think of yourself as an inventor or innovator before creating LegalFile?
Milana: I thought of myself as neither of those things! I thought of myself as a litigator (laughs). However, with the development of LegalFile underway, I began to perceive my efforts as those of an innovator. The LegalFile team is not reinventing the wheel – we are simply providing a technology-based solution to the original processes and procedures of running a legal practice; this solution will enable law practitioners and managers to focus on their core mission of providing legal services to clients, rather than on addressing administrative and financial inefficiencies of the legal industry.
MO: How are you managing to balance your life as both a lawyer and the CEO at ESENEM, LLC while also promoting LegalFile?
Milana: That is a terrific question. While the initial instinct may be to preach effective time management as being the key to a healthy balance, it certainly would not be the sincere answer. Candidly, without an effective multiple management plan in place, any healthy variation of a balance would be impossible. I am extremely fortunate to work with a talented team of individuals who share my enthusiasm for the vision of LegalFile and who are valuable players in propelling this company in all desired directions.
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