With one foot firmly planted in motherhood and the other in real property law, Kymberlee Curry Smith, shares that without family support it couldn’t be possible.
She had originally set out to be a pediatrician, but her acknowledgement of a lack of mathematical skills and love of a good argument led her to law as a career path. Her parents fully supported her decision. Each encouraged her as she sought to fulfill her legal ambitions. “My parents made sure to steer me toward every internship and summer shadowing experience they could find,” Smith laughed.
Having jumpstarted her career at Adorno & Yoss, LLP, Smith moved from private to public service. After working as an assistant city attorney for some time, she admits that the transition back to private practice was challenging.
“Around three years ago, I made the decision to go out on my own. It was during the rebuilding and recovery stage of the real estate market; it was risky,” she said. “I really learned the hard way. The reintroduction to billing was big. Building a brand and courting clients was new to me.”
Over the years, Smith has come to realize that her marketing dollars are best spent becoming involved in community and Florida Bar activities. She was an inaugural member of the bar’s leadership academy, is a real property probate trust law section fellow, serves as a member of the law related education committee, and as a board member of the South Florida Community Development Coalition. “I truly enjoy both bar and community work,” she said. “I’m growing up as a lawyer and building my practice this way.”
As a solo practitioner in a non-traditional, virtual law firm, Smith embraces the increasingly non-traditional client. “Clients are more budget-conscious. They are very specific about what they are getting for my fee,” she said. When asked what she enjoys about her practice, “I am humbled and blessed to be able to help translate information to people that need it and guide them through solving their own matters,” she said.
Looking at the overall community, Smith has noticed a desperate need for legal services to society’s most vulnerable members. “The biggest flaw is access to the legal system,” she said. “We as lawyers know how intimidating and expensive the process can be. There is only a small group that can truly afford legal services. One way to resolve this problem is more pro bono work. I do think it’s important to be cognizant of the disparities and not to limit our talents only to those who can afford us.”
An immediate past board member of Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., serving as a volunteer at local schools with law programs, teaching at first-time homebuyers clinics, and organizing numerous law clinics, Smith is heavily involved in community projects. “I cannot get enough of planning activities for the community, especially young people, to encourage them to get a solid education and dream big,” she said. Recently, she and her husband helped their 4-year-old son publish his first book, “Guess Who, Mr. Dinosaur?” This major accomplishment has made child literacy an important passion for Smith.
In the immediate future, Smith hopes to continue to grow her practice, but in the not so distant future, she hopes to found a school. “Right now, the SEED School of Miami is the model for my school.”
As Smith continues to grow her practice through technology and relationships, she also hopes to empower her clients by providing access to quality legal representation at reasonable fees.
When asked what advice she would give other attorneys, she said, “Find a few good people who are more experienced than you to bounce ideas off. Always be kind and respectful. Be a mentor and be available to help those who need you but can’t always pay.”