Attorney at Law Magazine First Coast publisher Thomas Brady sat down with Kayla A. Haines of Smith Hulsey & Busey to discuss her career and her aspirations for the future.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney?
Haines: I’ve always had a strong interest in advocating for what I believe in and helping others achieve their goals. My mother first suggested I become a lawyer when I was in elementary school. The passion remained with me through law school, where my favorite classes were contracts and business associations. I decided to pursue my MBA simultaneously and fell in love with business administration and management. I really enjoy helping companies, both large and small, by providing legal counsel for every facet of their business.
AALM: What drew you to your current firm?
Haines: Smith Hulsey & Busey has long had an incredible reputation, both in Jacksonville and beyond. The firm is a leader in the legal community, which means I get to work alongside some of the great minds in our profession every day. I’m honored to grow my practice and learn from lawyers who have decades of experience, hopefully contributing to the firm’s success and leaving a legacy of my own. Plus, I can combine my passion for business law with the firm’s renowned healthcare practice — it’s a perfect fit. I’m fortunate to work with this amazing team.
AALM: Where do you see your career going?
Haines: I’ve truly found my home at Smith Hulsey & Busey. It’s the best of both worlds. The firm has both an established legacy and an immense opportunity for growth. I’m excited to be a part of the firm’s next generation and carry on the tradition of providing our clients with reliable, efficient and eff ective counsel. I plan to have a long, tenured career here and hope to be a part of the firm’s leadership one day.
AALM: As technology continues to evolve, how has it impacted your practice?
Haines: We’ve seen a surge of online resources in recent years. Some small businesses, in an attempt to cut costs, have resorted to using internet resources instead of seeking legal advice. However, every circumstance is different and online forms are not a silver bullet. Just like shoes, forms are not one-size-fits-all, and many will not work across all scenarios. I encourage small business owners to seek legal advice when embarking on any decision that may have long-term legal repercussions. Trusting a generic online resource over an experienced professional isn’t worth the risk.
AALM: Working with senior partners what is a trait they have that you would like to carry through to the next generation of lawyers? Tell us about a trait the newer generation of lawyers bring to the table.
Haines: The senior partners I work with have an extraordinary work ethic and unparalleled dedication to the clients they serve. They go the extra mile for their clients, no matter the cost. The next generation of lawyers should not be complacent and rely on relationships established by their predecessors. I hope to build on the foundation that our senior partners have laid. I also think more senior partners — and lawyers of any age, really — should be open-minded and not rely on “that’s what worked in the past.” Thinking creatively and pursuing fresh, diverse perspectives is crucial.
AALM: What do you most hope to accomplish in the future?
Haines: My goal is to push myself professionally and be known as a lawyer who genuinely puts my clients’ needs first. I want to learn from the lawyers and leaders I admire most while staying true to the passion for advocacy I’ve had since childhood. I hope to one day become an equity partner and board member at Smith Hulsey & Busey, and I plan to continue providing leadership in local voluntary bar organizations and The Florida Bar.