Welcome to MyShingle’s series celebrating Woman-Owned and Mom-Owned Law Firms. This profile features Katherine “Kate” Kim, an Estate planning, business law, intellectual property, and transactional law attorney in Grapevine, TX.
What is your name?
Law School attended and year of graduation.
Texas A&M University Law School – 2018
Name, location(s) and URL of Law Firm.
The Law Office of Katherine Kim, PLLC
2451 W Grapevine Mills Circle, Suite 313, Grapevine, TX 76051
Summarize your work experience, if any, prior to opening your firm. Both as a lawyer or prior to becoming a lawyer.
Before law school, I became a licensed FINRA financial representative while working at a national financial investment firm. Throughout law school I worked as a law library clerk and research assistant on a legal treatise about money-laundering and asset forfeiture. I also started my first law firm job while in my third year of school. I worked there as a business litigation and estate planning attorney for a few years before eventually striking out on my own!
When did you start your firm?
Why did you decide to start your own law firm?
I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship and I was very intrigued by the idea of hanging up my own shingle and finding a different way to practice.
What was the reaction you received from family, friends, colleagues, law school classmates, judges, etc…when you announced your decision to launch?
I was met with enormous enthusiasm by everyone in my community! Many of those closest to me already knew I was eager to go into business for myself and they were excited to see me finally doing it!
What practice areas does your firm concentrate on?
Estate planning, business law, intellectual property and transactional law.
What size is your firm?
We’re currently a firm of 2–one attorney (me) and my incredible legal assistant, Maggie Fraser.
Do you practice full time or part time?
I practice full time.
What makes your law firm unique and different from any other law firm in the world?
We focus on finding unique and creative solutions for our clients. Depending on the client’s needs and their budget and circumstance, we customize services by offering unbundled and limited scope representation.
The other key difference is that I approach many intellectual property clients’ issues with my personal knowledge and experience as a creative. I’m an author and artist myself, so it’s very rewarding to help creative clients achieve their goals.
Was your gender a factor in influencing your decision to start or continue to operate your own law firm? If so, how?
If you are married/living in a committed relationship with a partner, what role has your spouse played with respect to your practice and household obligations and conversely, what impact has owning your firm had on your marriage/relationship?
I really couldn’t have pursued opening my firm in the same way without the support of my husband. From the beginning, he understood that opening my firm would take a lot of my free time away and he has gone out of his way to make sure I have the support I need. That has included helping me with accounting, standing in as a witness for client signings, and (the best part) cooking incredible meals at home!
What are the pros and cons of law firm ownership for women?
Unfortunately, there are still many spaces that are hard to access as a woman in the legal field. It’s discouraging to be the only woman in a meeting or in court while opposing counsel and the judge discuss their joint membership at a club I can’t join.
On the other hand, as a woman law firm owner there are amazing groups, both online and in-person, made up of women looking for community in business. I’ve made some great contacts on Facebook groups for women law firm owners.
Please share a story about an opponent or colleague who grossly underestimated you (whether due to youth, limited experience or just being a woman or parent) or an awesome victory that you achieved
One of the most frustrating and rewarding experiences I had was when I filed an appearance on a case only a few days before a big hearing. The opposing counsel in this case was much older and had quite a mixed reputation. However, I was very frustrated with his arguments and baseless accusations he’d made against my client, a previously pro se defendant. I could tell from the opposing counsel’s expression that I came across a little stronger than he expected during the hearing. He didn’t have anything prepared to push back against my arguments and I won the case for my client!
In your view, what role does law firm ownership by women play in advancing gender equality in the legal profession?
I think it’s important for men in our community to interact with more female law firm owners, but it’s even more important to establish ourselves and help lift up new women starting out. I’m immensely grateful for all the more experienced women law firm owners who helped me out in the beginning and continue to lend their support.
Let’s pay it forward – share your best advice or most powerful lesson learned with other women who may be thinking about starting a firm or have done so but are going through a rough patch.
Whenever I feel like I’m in a rough spot with my business, I find that frequently taking a step back and evaluating what’s not working is helpful. In the daily chaos of running a business, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture.