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Meet Trailblazer Keli Knight

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keli Knight.

Keli, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I always knew that I wanted to be an attorney, but once I got to law school, I wasn’t sure that the career would “fit me.” I’m a lot more of a creative and a free spirit than the average law student I encountered. I also tend to rebel against the norm and things that are rigid and conservative, which is my opinion of standard Big Law culture.

I worked for a government agency just out of law school, and then a small private real estate firm. After the market crashed in 2010, I was effectively laid off and there weren’t many options since firms were downsizing. I tried to practice on my own, but I don’t think that was the best fit for my personality either because I wasn’t very outgoing (small talk was an art I hadn’t yet developed).

Yondi, a friend of mine, tweeted “I should start my own law firm.” I immediately jumped on it because I felt that Yondi would be an ideal business partner and I believed that starting a business was the best option. We met and she brought Jessica, a friend of hers also interested in entrepreneurship. We sketched our logo that day and began putting the pieces in place. One year later, KMR opened.

Has it been a smooth road?
There’s never a smooth road to success; I’m sure any successful person would agree.

Our biggest hurdle has always been the fact that our education taught us how to be attorneys, not now to run a business. Being a small company, we handled everything in the beginning – client development, hiring, bookkeeping, website content, social media management, etc. We had to just figure it out and do what we hoped was best.

We also had to figure out how to find clients that would love to work with us. Being young, Black women, not everyone may trust their most important personal and financial affairs with us, unfortunately. We decided that we wanted work to be as enjoyable as possible, so rather than seeking clients that may not ultimately hire us or fully trust us, we sought clients who would LOVE to work with us, and with whom we’d enjoy working.

We’d love to hear more about Knight, Morris & Reddick Law Group.
KMR specializes in corporate formation and real estate transactions. In that, we assist in starting new businesses and also all the counsel that may come after the company has been established and we also assist in the buying and selling of residential and commercial real estate.

We’re most proud of being known for transparency and accessibility. It’s important to us not to conduct our business in a way that yields the negative stereotype of attorneys.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
The biggest barrier is likely the fact that there are not many women in positions of leadership. Women comprise about 50 percent of law school classes, but they only make up 24 percent of law firm partners and hold just 12 percent of top leadership positions at firms. In my opinion, this means that there are fewer women in those important positions who could mentor a young woman attorney, hire a young woman attorney or even be VISIBLE and an inspiration to a young woman.

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