By Robert Stitt
It was the tweet heard round the world. Ok, perhaps not around the world, but it did get heard. Yondi Morris was a frustrated lawyer. She sent out a tweet stating as much. Somebody was listening.
Keli Knight was also a disgruntled lawyer. It turns out they also shared a mutual friend, Jessica Reddick…you guessed it – also a lawyer. The three sat down to share, talk, and plan. A year later, in 2012, the three founded KMR Law Group. Four years later they have branches in Chicago, Los Angeles and soon-to-be Washington, D.C.
When they first got together, the three were in different places in their careers. For example, Morris was a contracts lawyer and Reddick was an in-house counsel for a non-profit and worked Chicago real estate. While Morris was fed-up with her job, Reddick was happy enough with hers, but she still wanted to go forth with the collaboration. She kept working with her old firm for the first couple years of their venture.
During the first year of planning, they had a minor financial commitment. Each put in $20 a month. This did not do much to cover the financial advisors, marketing agents, website designers, etc. Yet, they knew it was important to go through the process. “It was really important for us to figure out who we were in the industry because as young black women in an industry filled with older white men, particularly on the ownership side of the law firms, we wanted to make sure we could compete with our counterparts and be taken seriously,” Reddick said.
For other law school grads thinking about hanging their shingle, Reddick has this advice, “Work experience and mentorship is really important when it comes to being a lawyer because law school does not teach you how to be a lawyer. It teaches you how to critically think like a lawyer, but it does not teach you how to practice…I had a great mentor “