Tell us your story. What kind of law do you practice? How did you get to where you are today?
I practice business planning and estate planning. My business partner, Nolan Perry, and I decided to start a firm with a vision to be a community based practice. We define that as investing in relationships in our local community while building practice areas conducive to deeper client focused relationships. I believe I am an attorney by trade but entrepreneur at heart. I love helping entrepreneurs. My goal is to make the legal process intuitive and easy for entrepreneurs and business owners.
Achieving our vision also requires transparency and a focus on being approachable. This makes us different from many traditional law firms. For the client, we think this translates to an easier process and a better understanding of the value of their legal spending. Staying committed to our original vision of being a community based and client focused law firm has played a tremendous role in getting us to where we are today. We hope to continue supporting and growing alongside our community.
Why did you want to become a lawyer?
When I first set out to get my law degree I did not know what kind of lawyer I wanted to be, or if I even wanted to be a lawyer at all. I questioned whether or not it would be the best move for me and struggled with the decision. I knew I had an entrepreneurial fire that was not going to go away and I did not love the idea of working long hours in an office for a traditional firm. I also knew that I wanted to make an impact and the ability to be an advocate on someone's behalf was appealing, but I did not want to be a trial attorney.
I finally decided that becoming an attorney was the right move for me because I could apply my knowledge and degree to any field, not necessary just working for a traditional law firm. It did not take long to figure out that I loved the strategic planning components of the law. Instead of battling expensive and drawn out cases in litigation, I wanted to help people avoid that. My first legal internship was helping entrepreneurs solve tricky legal problems and I immediately knew who I wanted to impact with my legal degree, other people who had the same entrepreneurial fire that I had.
From that point forward I did everything I could to become an advocate and strategic partner for entrepreneurs and business owners. Although It took me a while to figure it out, being a trusted adviser for businesses and the people who run those businesses is why I became a lawyer.
Was it a smooth road becoming a lawyer and getting to where you are now? If not, what are some of the struggles you encountered?
The biggest challenge for me was taking that leap of faith to go to law school and invest all that time and money without knowing exactly what position, or even what industry, I wanted to work in. Once I found out what community I wanted to work with, entrepreneurs, I was not worried about what position I would ultimately hold as long as it let me make an impact in that community.
What are you most proud of as a lawyer? What sets your practice apart from others? What do you love the most about what you do?
I am most proud of being the trusted adviser of others in my local community. Clients trust me to with their confidential business plans and issues others may not know exist and I love being their confidant and having their trust. For example, I have clients that come to me all the time with problems and issues they know I do not handle, because they trust my recommendations for who they should contact. Our practice is different from others because many firms do not take the time to learn about the lives and businesses of their clients outside of the specific legal issue at hand. Our firm takes a little more time and is a little more involved which leads to a more holistic approach and better outcomes.
Our firm takes a little more time and is a little more involved which leads to a more holistic approach and better outcomes.
If you could change, improve or disrupt one thing about the practice of law, what would it be?
This is already being disrupted and improved, but billing is all over the place and it can vary wildly from firm to firm. We try to be as upfront as possible and I mostly charge flat fees so both the client are on the same page from the start.
Something that I think still needs improvement is the relationship between partners and associates. We will probably hire our first associate level employee in 2019 and in discussing this with other firm owners, it seems as though many do not know how to approach hiring and structuring the position to be fruitful and long lasting. I would love to see a firm model that does not underpay associates and keeps good talent in-house. As it stands, most associates have to toil for years to see the fruits of their labor. It should not be surprising the most talented attorneys usually leave their firms. It will not be easy, but I want to improve this model as we hire new attorneys.
What are you doing when you're not lawyering?
I love to travel and spend time with family. I get to do both, spending a good bit of my time with my wife, planning Love Abounds. Love Abounds a non-profit we run that empowers local communities through village development in Zambia. I also love to play basketball, I play in the local attorneys league here in Wake County. I also play ping pong and enjoy video games when I have the time. Even when I am super busy, I still find time to read audio-books, whether while I am in the car or cutting grass. My favorite genre is fantasy and my favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. I consume a good bit of podcasts as well.