We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Hale and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“Luck favors the prepared.” People often believe that some just get “lucky” in life and that is the greatest contributor to their success. While luck or circumstance certainly helps, preparation is just as important – if you are not prepared to seize or act on the opportunities that come knocking, someone else will be. This quote epitomizes my legal career, starting from overcoming my initial wait-listing at UNC School of Law (my dream school). Bucking the school’s suggestion to the contrary, I reached out to admissions, begged them to hear me out, and scheduled a meeting. Luckily, my convincing worked, and I took advantage of the opportunity to plead my case and convince admissions that I was worthy of acceptance. That initiative (aided in no small part by a drink from the lucky Old Well on campus) proved fruitful and admissions took a chance on me. A few years, and a job or two later, I went to get my nails done and I fortuitously sat next to next to someone who would end up shaping my career. Although I had no idea who she was, or what she did, her mysterious and magnetic personality led me to strike up a conversation. As luck would have it, she was an industry-leading cannabis attorney, who just happened to need associate, which turned out to be me. How I became to be my own boss is also no exception. It was late February 2020 and I was exploring new professional opportunities. Right as the pandemic hit, I found myself unemployed and scared about what the future may hold for me. Due to some serious outreach and networking, I was fortunate to be presented with two offers: (1) a secure position as an associate with a reputable firm; and (2) an opportunity to run my own practice, as an independent contractor with some former colleagues. Given the state of the world, I was beyond lucky to have any options at all, but little did I know I was presented with the most formative decision in my career thus far. After some intense soul-searching and a little help from the book, You Are A Badass (by Jen Sincero), I realized that there is never a “perfect” time to take a leap of faith. So, I turned down the law firm offer (and its stable employment, benefits, and growth opportunities) in favor of taking a chance on myself (and risking epic failure). Safe to say, I haven’t looked back. Today, I am working alongside like-minded, client first, attorneys at KW Law, where I am lucky to have access to the resources and support to run my own legal practice. I am fairly certain that many people are lucky enough to find themselves in similar situations every day; however, luck will only take them so far. If I was not prepared to realize the potential of these opportunities and subsequently go against the grain, embrace some awkward conversations, take a leap, and truly believe in myself, each “lucky break” would have amounted to a missed opportunity – a “what-if” I would likely have daydreamed about for years to come. While I am not so arrogant to claim that luck or circumstance played no role in molding the person I am today, I truly believe that it was my hard work and perseverance that allowed me to capitalize on all the fortune presented before me.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Generally speaking, I am an entrepreneurial attorney, both personally and with regard to the industries on which I focus my practice. I am proud to hang my shingle under KW Law, which is a client-focused business and intellectual property law firm. Because at KW we are more than attorneys, we are also individual business owners – we understand many of the needs and stresses of an organization and although each attorney works as an independent contractor, KW Law works as a team for the greater good of our clients and their ventures. Personally, my practice is focused on cannabis and other like emerging/start-up industries, where I am able to translate my business skills and legal experience to individualized solutions and strategies for my clients. Having served as corporate counsel for a large corporation as well as having built a start-up of my own, I understand no two businesses are alike and as such, I believe legal representation should not be one-size-fits-all. I have worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes and my background has enabled me to assist clients at all stages of growth, including formation and governance all the way through divestitures, initial public offerings, and acquisitions. I strive to not be a dreaded expense, but instead provide a value-add. I believe that by equipping my clients with tools and resources so they can take a more active internal approach to the mitigation of risks and liabilities, they are able to reduce the legal expense of damage control and in turn utilize my counsel and expertise to help them expand and grow in a compliant matter. What sets KW Law apart from other firms, is the non-traditional entrepreneurial structure. The attorneys at KW are able to provide the same value that other firms can offer (e.g. collaboration, resources and support staff), but unlike other firms, we are able to truly put clients first – not just claim that we do. By not having the rigid overhead and billable requirements that traditional firms are known for, we are able to offer our clients with more well-rounded counsel and advice, accompanied with a billing structure that actually promotes efficiency. The success of the firm as a whole is not defined by our revenue, but rather KW Law measures our success based on the success of our clients.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As a native Phoenician, there is so much that I am proud of in this city and even in today’s world, there is so much to see and enjoy. Although I know many of my friends love to hike (and I often point those so inclined to trail heads at Piestewa Peak or South Mountain), I am much more likely to bring them to my favorite bars and restaurants around town. For food, you can almost guarantee I am going to take them Tee Pee, Tarbells, and El Chorro. And as far as bars go, I would be remiss if I did not take them for martini at Durants, wine at Postinos, or for a couple of drinks at my favorite dive bar, Swizzle Inn. Time permitting, I have also been known to take a quick trip to Cotton Wood to experience Arizona’s “wine country” and/or a visit to the haunted town of Jerome.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not be where I am without SO many people – but I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to three people in particular. First and foremost, to my mother, Jordana Hale, who taught me that I am capable, as a woman and an individual, who can achieve anything with diligence, confidence, and kindness. She instilled these values in me, not only through her unwavering support and words of encouragement, but also by example as a full-time working mother. She has achieved so much and found a way to balance both her family and career ambitions. I am beyond proud of all that she has done to raise and support me, all while never sacrificing who she is and what she wants from life. Second and third, to Mark Williams and Jeremy Kapteyn (of KW Law), for their willingness to take a chance on me and allow me try my hand at my own practice. They have provided me the opportunity to work alongside of them, lean on them for guidance and support, and utilize their resources, to build something of my own, despite a global pandemic. They are genuine mentors who give and teach regardless of what they can expect in return, and I hope that they realize that the success of those they promote and support, is truly a reflection of their own success as well… not to mention, both are, in my opinion, brilliant and tenacious attorneys who ensure an atmosphere of inclusion, cooperation, constructive growth and teamwork. Without their incredible support and selflessness, I truly believe I would not be on this road to success – and I strive to constantly emulate their values and ethics in my practice and in life as a whole.