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Small firm finds good work-life balance and elevated
client services with Firm Central practice management

Culberth & Lienemann, LLP is a small employment litigation firm in St. Paul, Minnesota, with two partners and a paralegal. The firm’s primary business challenge is finding ways to compete with larger firms without becoming overwhelmed.

“Sometimes it’s like David and Goliath in our business,” says Celeste Culberth, Esq., one of the firm’s partners. “Our goals, like any other firm, are time management for greater efficiency and productivity while balancing work and life so we can maximize client service, run our business, and have quality family time.”

Culberth’s work on behalf of plaintiffs and as a mediator also means a lot of travel around the state. Carrying hefty case files on each trip is a burden she and her colleagues were looking to omit. They researched practice management solutions and found exactly what they were looking for in Firm Central® from Thomson Reuters. The cloud-based software provides 24/7 access to files from anywhere and on any device, whether it be a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

“Firm Central allows us to spend more time practicing law and less time on administrative work.”

Celeste E. Culberth
Partner, Culberth & Lienemann

The Firm’s Challenges

  • Compete with larger firms
  • Maintain work-life balance
  • Manager bigger caseload
  • Improve client service
  • Work smarter, not harder

Firm Central benefits

  • Saves time and money
  • More efficient and cost-effective
  • Greater mobility and convenience
  • Better document control
  • Centrally located and organized
  • 24/7 reliability and security for peace of mind


A Thomson Reuters Westlaw™ customer for many years, Culberth became aware of Firm Central through her firm’s Thomson Reuters representative, who thought a cloud-based, integrated system would go a long way toward addressing the firm’s future needs. Like many small-firm attorneys, Culberth was caught between a court system that was transitioning from paper to electronic records and competitors who were embracing technology to gain advantage in the marketplace. To stay relevant and compete, she knew her firm had to evolve as well.

“We’ve always tried to stay current with technology and pinpoint strategies to keep our clients’ cases moving forward,” Culberth said. “Firm Central allows us to spend more time practicing law and less time on administrative work.”

Firm Central helps Culberth & Lienemann integrate calendaring, time tracking, billing, documentation, research, and communications into a single, easy-to-use platform.

“The integrated approach was a big selling feature for us,” said Culberth. “We really looked at lawyer time, managing paper, and our investment in paralegal support. Putting that all together was compelling: the efficiencies outweighed the costs.”

Before Culberth and her team began using Firm Central, they had trouble keeping track of document versions with everyone touching the same files. Having multiple iterations of the same document floating around led to confusion and inefficiency.

Firm Central not only solved that problem, but made the documents readily accessible in a cloud-based system. When the team is traveling or working remotely, cloud computing adds a higher level of efficiency and productivity to the practice that was never available prior to signing on with Firm Central.

Anywhere/anytime access is critical because many of the firm’s clients are located outside the Twin Cities metro, and that requires a fair amount of road time.

“Firm Central allows us to spend more time practicing law and less time on administrative work.”

Celeste E. Culberth
Partner, Culberth & Lienemann

“Once the practice of law went mobile, the business of law had to as well,” said Culberth. “Now, when I’m at a deposition or hearing, I trust that my documents are accessible whether they’re physically in my briefcase, or not. There’s less pressure to remember to bring every client’s files during travels.”


Many firms transitioning to the cloud find it prohibitively complicated and time-consuming. But Culberth said her experience was quite the opposite, and that getting up and running on Firm Central was surprisingly fast and easy.

“The setup was pretty seamless,” she said. “It was a smooth onboarding experience to get our archives and current case files online. There was comfort knowing that Firm Central is a Thomson Reuters product. We’re confident with data security, IT support, regular backups and retrieval, and document protection.”


Cost is another factor Culberth weighed seriously. To estimate the potential cost savings for her firm, Culberth analyzed the amount of time the firm spends on administrative and paralegal tasks, in addition to paper management, research, time tracking, and organization. They concluded that Firm Central helps the firm rely less on paper, integrate systems more, save time, enhance productivity, and access documents on the go from anywhere. What’s not to like about that when clients are the ultimate beneficiaries of smoother operations?


“When you’re a small firm without an IT expert on site, we rely on Thomson Reuters support as if they were part of our team. They absolutely bring peace of mind to everyone in our firm knowing they are a phone call away to solve our issues,” said Culberth.


Culberth & Lienemann, LLP is a small firm in St. Paul, Minnesota, with two partners and one paralegal on staff. The firm focuses on employment law, anti-bullying in schools, and civil rights litigation. The firm’s partners, Celeste Culberth and Leslie Lienemann, were both named Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer magazine in 2012 and 2016.

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