K. Davis Senseman discovered her passion for helping business owners long before she realized her own entrepreneurial leanings. Her ability to understand the needs of business owners creates a relationship beyond attorney and client, and for most clients Davis serves a more comprehensive role as business advisor. Davis Law Office is located within CoCo, the largest co-working space in Minneapolis.
How would you describe your practice?
In one word, unique. We are a three-attorney full-service law firm housed inside two co-working spaces and have adapted to fit the needs of our fellow coworkers. This makes us unique in that we have quite a bit of walk-up traffic and questions, and none of us have our own “offices” where we can shut the door. As a result, we are far more approachable (literally and figuratively) than many law firms. In addition, the core of our little firm is and always will be business owners and their unique needs.
What led you to choose a small firm practice?
I began my career in the corporate department of a medium-sized firm and never anticipated working anywhere else. I found, however, that the most satisfying work was helping small business owners realize that they could negotiate something or protect themselves in ways that big companies do every day. That, coupled with the economic downturn from 2008-2010, made me realize that a smaller practice was best suited for the way I wanted to practice law. So in 2010 I made the leap to go out on my own. I missed colleagues though, so I’m very glad to have Emily Buchholz and Joe Levitt as part of the team now.
What aspects of your practice are particularly challenging?
Often it’s just getting clients to realize that they can turn a lot of their issues over to us and we will take care of them. Business owners and entrepreneurs are very self-sufficient, and they have to be, particularly in the beginning when there is often not a lot of money to go around. They have to wear a lot of hats, and getting them to pass one or more of those hats to us can take some time.
What do you value in your practice?
Transparency, client education, flexibility and efficiency. Before we start the work, we are committed to letting clients know, to the extent possible, how much something will likely cost and how quickly it can be completed. We want clients to consult with us before making big decisions, but we make sure they understand why we are suggesting changes or warning them against something. We also have a strong commitment to efficiency and making sure that all the work we undertake is moving toward the desired resolution. And finally, we value flexibility. Business owners are a particular type of human and need flexibility where they can find it. If we can offer a client payment terms to ease their cash flow, if we can meet a client somewhere other than our office, or if we can move more quickly than usual, we do it if it’s at all possible.
When you face a challenge, what resources are helpful to you?
The best resources for me are the other attorneys in the firm. Nothing beats having someone in-house who has knowledge about a particular subject that you haven’t run into before. Another amazing resource has been the other folks in our co-working spaces. From server expertise to domain name transfer to accounting, we have been able to answer so many of our clients’ business questions with the help of folks sitting right near us. That’s an invaluable edge our choice of location has given us.
How is being a bar association member worthwhile?
Besides keeping us informed of great CLE and other opportunities and updating us on new developments in Minnesota law, our bar memberships allow us to find other attorneys to collaborate with. This was vital when I was a solo, but is still helpful when a client needs someone with more specific experience in a particular area.
What activities do you enjoy away from work?
Riding motorcycles; watching and reading about criminal legal dramas (though I have no desire at all to practice criminal law); watching my kids play soccer; and trying to keep our cat from plotting the demise of our not-so-bright dogs.
Where do you see the practice of law heading in the future, particularly for the small firm practitioner?
I am hopeful that the practice of law will begin to embrace, not only see the dangers in, technology and other innovations that can bring efficiencies to our work. I also hope attorneys will begin to realize how helpful collaboration can be and more attorneys will choose alternative office spaces where they can find professionals beyond lawyers as resources for themselves and their clients.
“Our bar memberships allow us to find other attorneys to collaborate with.”
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