Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I dig the underdog. The odd man out. I’m the girl who was bullied in school. On the bus. In camp. At the mall by the mean girl. I kind of was sick of bullies and bad guys. Enough was enough, but then, I saw the court shows on television and thought maybe law was for me. When I was twelve, I announced it was my goal to become a divorce lawyer. I laugh now. What twelve-year-old thinks that way? While I was in college, I didn’t change my mind and stayed the course. First attorney in my immediate family. First to attend graduate school. Pretty cool.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
This time, I’ve created a new concierge-style of practice that dismantles the stressful and confusing legal world. I’m a legal ‘wing woman.’ Many people don’t understand what their attorneys are saying, who they need, what questions to ask, what the documents say, and are so frightened and stressed, they give up. In this model, I walk with the client, select the team, interpret legal into English, ask the right questions, and strategize. I’m with the client during their appointments if they wish and travel with them if needed. However, the client pays a flat fee for each project to me. I don’t receive compensation from the attorneys I assemble unless it’s agreed.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I sent the original mortgage back to the bank after a loan closing and chased the delivery truck down the street on my first day of work. I was in law school clerking. So embarrassing. Learned the delivery schedule and what running shoes to buy. Lol.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Dean Darby Dickerson was a fantastic mentor while I was in law school. I entered during the summer and bombed my first courses. She truly showed care and concern to help me help myself turn my rough patch into triumph. She’s why I started the scholarship for a student who starts out in law school a bit rocky, yet improves and gives back to the school.
My dad. He was my best friend and mentor. Taught me the school of the street. Everything you don’t learn in traditional education -the importance of being kind was only one of many lessons. The world can never have enough kindness. He was always giving and definitely supportive of my work with children and the defenseless. He’s a big reason why I continue.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
If it’s not value-added, don’t. That’s my rule. Same with disrupting. If your intentions are good and you’re doing something that will bring positive, go for it.
Some things don’t need any disruption because their purpose is already achieved. (Peanut butter and jelly. It’s fine, but you can always spin new flavors of each).
However, if you can achieve it with excellence, disrupt. I’m a bit of an A+++ personality and believe everything can be improved besides the obvious. Really great examples during Covid-19: mandatory disruption if you want to survive. I counseled a couple of old fashioned ‘bricks and mortar only’ business owners and brought on marketing consultants who volunteered their resources to assist with digital marketing and implementation of new delivery and other marketing methods.
I advised restaurant owners to change their models of traditional bricks and mortar dining to online shipping anywhere in the Country, marketing online, Covid public relations, delivery methods, and more creative ways to adapt. If we don’t interrupt, people don’t survive.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
‘Can’t force a ponytail.’ People need to be ready. You can’t force them. If you force, they may do what you want, but it won’t be right. This happens with students in law school who enter because others want them to go. They have to want to be there. Otherwise, they are miserable and usually, resentful.
Self-love isn’t selfish. You have to take care of yourself. It’s not selfish. This applies to givers, empaths, protectors, caregivers, and the like. We tend to let ourselves go while tending to everyone else’s needs. Not good. You’re better able to take care of everyone when you’re in great shape.
Do what you say. Exactly. Seems so simple. When someone follows through, I’ve learned it’s a bonus.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
I’m concentrating on making legal simple and service-oriented with an attorney by your side to understand the difficulty. The model is so different than what exists, so this will be a fun journey.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Assumptions. It’s assumed women are moody, nagging, bossy, abrasive, and generally an annoyance in the boys club, no matter what the boys say.
Employment barriers. Unequal pay, incentives, promotions, and alienation by socialization. I don’t recall invites to the golf course, gun range, deep-sea fishing, cigar bar, and the like.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
The Innocence Project works with people who are in prison and didn’t commit crimes. They use DNA evidence to help them get out of prison and gain their freedom. Incredible work. I listened to Mr. Bain, a gentleman who was freed after many years.
IP and Mr. Bain remind me that not only do people hear what they want to hear, but they put people in prison who haven’t even committed crimes.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The virtual bank of goodwill. I believe in the BOG. It’s not bricks and mortar, but people make deposits daily. They selflessly bring goodness and do nice things for others-no quid pro quo.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Teddy Roosevelt-‘The Man In The Arena’ It’s never the critic who counts. It’s easy to be a critic. That’s why there are many. I’ve had them my entire life. I’d rather be the man in the arena.
How can our readers follow you online?
Instagram ALW Consults