Name: Amy Adams
Position: Founder, Firm Innovators LLC
Family: Gui (13) and Elissa (12)
Hometown: Lafayette, Louisiana
Education: B.A. Political Science – Louisiana State University
What was your very first job, how old were you and what was the biggest takeaway from the experience?
Believe it or not, my first job (at age 16) was a file clerk and runner for an insurance defense firm. Within a few months, I transitioned into a paralegal role to support a team member on medical leave. The biggest takeaway? To never say no to a professional opportunity simply because it’s intimidating or possibly outside of your comfort zone – trust your judgement on whether you can make the leap, put in early mornings or late evenings to learn the job, and show up and do it well.
At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in the legal industry and why are you passionate about your profession?
From my early high school days of working in a law office, I felt drawn to the industry. I took time aside after my undergrad to build two successful apparel and design businesses and to travel the world with my family, but I was always eager to return.
What I enjoy most about the profession is the uniqueness of the law firm business model and all of the exciting challenges and opportunities that come with it. Entrepreneurship is in my DNA and what really taps my toes is to be able to leverage those skill sets to build firms through people, processes, and data. To add to it, our industry places high priority on client service and so to see a firm’s growth translate to client success is just icing on the cake!
Have you seen any changes to your role or areas of focus since COVID-19? Are there any long-lasting impacts that you anticipate for the profession of legal marketing and business development?
Absolutely. As someone who is in career transition from working in-house and within legal tech to now launching my own consulting business, I see a big shift happening in the industry as a whole. The pandemic revealed in many of our firms’ business models both unexpected vulnerabilities and highlighted new opportunities to rethink the way in which we operate. In the long term, I believe this is empowering firms to connect with clients on a more intimate level, truly understand their needs, and build systems and processes to more effectively run their business. It’s inspiring to watch so many firms to use their ingenuity to translate those vulnerabilities into opportunities!
What time do you typically get up on a workday, and what’s your ideal morning routine to get it off to a great start?
With two kids and two dogs, our weekdays start out busy around 5:30 a.m. to get everyone off to where they need to be. After school drop off, I’m either working in my home office, in a coffee shop, or a shared workspace. What gives me the best start is to use my morning routine and drive time to plug into my favorite positive affirmation videos on YouTube. I’ve listened to the same three recordings for the past 5+ years and, no matter what morning we have, it always clears my headspace before beginning my workday. That, and lots of coffee!
What are your best productivity hacks?
The best hack, for me, is the perfect recipe of goal setting and time blocking. I dedicate time at the beginning of the year, quarter, and month, to level set and plan my goals, and then time block my calendar so that every hour has a purpose that drives those goals and tasks forward. The tools that work best for me are my Clever Fox Goal Planner and Google Calendar. There are other tools that could serve that same purpose, but these are the ones that work best for me.
What’s a leadership skill you’ve learned the hard way?
One skill I continue to work on and improve – particularly, within the legal industry – is keeping the balance between “leading from behind” and taking assertive action. Partners and firm leadership often have a strong vision on where they want the business to grow and how best to achieve it, but it’s important to remember that we’ve been hired to provide our expertise and knowledge. It’s a continuous learning process to meld those two together and each working relationship is a new opportunity to grow!
What are some of your hobbies or favorite things to do in your free time?
Traveling and learning about new cultures, reading, volunteering, and spending time with my family.
Tell us about some of your volunteer efforts in the community and why you support those causes/organizations.
We could chat about this for days! Volunteerism is something I hold very near and dear. I contribute my time, marketing, and resource development skill sets to our local animal rescue organization, Acadiana Animal Aid. I am also a board member and volunteer at Africa Bridge, non-profit serving Tanzania’s most vulnerable children.
My most fun is when I’m volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a “big sis” to a local child in need. It’s incredibly rewarding to be a mentor in her life and to find fun in our simple outings, whether it’s an outing at the mall or taking her to her favorite Mexican restaurant. I have gotten just as much from our time together as she has. *Plug BBBS here: Please consider volunteering with your local organization, I promise you won’t regret it!*
What’s one of the smartest purchases you’ve ever made? What’s one of the dumbest?
The smartest? My tricked-out standing desk for my home office. It’s got all the bells and whistles. Isn’t that how we flex in a post-pandemic world?
The dumbest? Too many unused kitchen gadgets to count.
Can you name someone who has had a great impact on you as a leader, or someone who has been a mentor to you in your life or career? How have they changed your outlook?
I’m grateful to have had several mentors throughout my life, each with unique contributions. The most impactful has been the mentorship by my peers through our women’s mastermind group that we formed last year. I set out the task to gather a group of likeminded, driven women to push collectively to our true potential and it has been a phenomenal experience!
We started with an initial planning meeting to collaborate and mark out our goals and we meet on a monthly (sometimes, bimonthly) basis to review and hold each other accountable. Beyond the metrics and planning, I am so grateful for the friendships we’ve formed and how we’ve supported each other far beyond our monthly meetings whether it’s financially, professionally, or personally. The lesson: we often look to mentors that are steps ahead but sometimes it’s just as great to find mentorship in our peers walking alongside us.
What is something you are absolutely determined to do in life?
To be the best human I can be, live up to my potential whether it’s in work or play, and to give back to others.