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V.22 No.10 | March 7 - 13, 2013

Annual Report 2013


Atkinson & Kelsey, P.A.
Type of business:
Divorce and Family Law

Owners:
Shareholders: Mary Ann R. Burmester, Virginia R. Dugan, Jon A. Feder, Patrick L. McDaniel, Thomas C. Montoya, Denise E. Ready

Ages:
n/a

Hometown:
n/a

Business Address:

2155 Louisiana Blvd. N.E.
Albuquerque NM 87110
505-883-3070

Business Fax:
505-889-3111

Business Email:
als@atkinsonkelsey.com

Business Website:
atkinsonkelsey.com

Number of Employees:
19


What was your first job?
In 1948, William Atkinson began practicing law in Albuquerque. He started the firm tradition of ethical, caring and high quality legal representation in all areas of law.
How did you get started in this business?
In 1967, David H. Kelsey joined William Atkinson and the firm of Atkinson & Kelsey, P.A. was born. By the 1970's, A & K became exclusively devoted to the niche practice of Divorce and Family Law. Eventually, Atkinson & Kelsey became the oldest and largest firm in New Mexico devoted to Divorce and Family Law.
Why did you choose this business?
Families are the building blocks of our society. Families and children in need are a priority for our firm. Divorce and custody are not simple areas of law, nor should attorneys "dabble" in the practice. NM parents need and deserve lawyers with expertise in this area of law.
What is your business philosophy?
Ethical, caring and dignified legal advice and representation for Divorce and Family Law matters.
What is your educational background?
We have eight full time attorneys all of which have juris doctorate degrees. Some attorneys have family law specialization designations from the NM Board of Legal Specialization. Two partners are members of the highly prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Two partners are included in Super Lawyers of the Southwest and two partners are included in Best Lawyers in America.
What is your or your company's greatest asset?
The greatest asset of Atkinson & Kelsey is the breadth and depth of knowledge and expertise of its attorneys and highly competent and caring staff.
What are your strongest business traits?
Because we are the largest firm in New Mexico devoted to divorce and family law, we are able to schedule clients immediately for consultations with highly trained attorneys. The relief to a client for immediate access to a family law attorney is invaluable.
Why did you choose to do business in Albuquerque?
At the time Atkinson & Kesley, P.A. was founded, Albuquerque was a growing town in need of specialists in divorce and family law. We grew with the city and the state.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
Our clients motivate us to provide the best possible legal representation for the benefit of the parties and their children.
How is operating your own business different than you expected?
Practicing law in a firm is very satisfying. Our firm operates with an open door policy so that each attorney has access to any other attorney to problem solve various aspects of cases. We also have weekly brainstorming sessions in which all attorneys attend and participate.
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
We are revamping our website and developing our social media presence on Facebook and Linked In. We are preparing to launch a blog on family law topics relevant to prospective clients as well as to other professionals who interface with divorce or family law cases, such as psychologists, financial experts, realtors, etc.
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
We continue to be proud of being the only law firm in New Mexico to have received the Samaritan Counseling Center's New Mexico Ethics in Business Award. We are also proud of our attorneys who have achieved A ratings, designations as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, Best of the Bar, and as Specialists in Family Law.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
We offer immediate access to one of our eight attorneys at a consultation to discuss their divorce and family law problems.
How do you maintain your competitive edge?
As attorneys, we are always participating in or conducting continuing legal education programs, publishing in various Family Law publications, and speaking on a local and national level in our flied of expertise. We listen to what our clients need and try to tailor our services to meet those needs.
How would you define your position within the marketplace or within your market segment?
A & K is the "go to" family law firm in NM.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle in operating a successful business?
The biggest obstacle to running a successful business these days is the difficult economic climate. NM does not seem to be pulling out of the doldrums as quickly as other parts of the country. Approximately 75% of parties to a family law case are representing themselves, which means only 25% have attorneys.
What was your best business decision?
To limit our firm’s expertise and legal representation to Divorce and Family Law
What are your growth goals?
We are always looking out for top talent - in lawyers and support staff. If the right fit comes along, we will expand.
What is your company's greatest challenge?
Changing and adjusting the firm, its policies and methods of communication to meet all the clients' needs and expectations. We are moving forward with web design, social media, Facebook, blogging and other electronic communications.
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
Our attorneys routinely provide free legal assistance by volunteering in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and Grants at clinics for parties representing themselves. We also regularly participate in various Bar association activities, including in leadership positions.
How has the Internet affected your business and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
The internet is vital to our business. Many prospective clients make their initial contact through the firm's website. We also recognize the importance of a strong social media presence, in addition to the website, and that's why we are developing such presence.
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
We invest the most energy in representing our clients. We strive to provide compassionate, prompt, and high-quality legal advice and representing all clients.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
Have a written business plan from day one, and constantly refer to that plan to monitor goals achieved and goals missed. If you don't know where you want to go, you'll never get there.
What's your favorite saying or quotation?
As our firm is a partnership of eight lawyers and ten support staff, we would have at least eighteen different favorite sayings.
If there is one thing about Albuquerque or New Mexico that you could change, what would it be?
Speedier access to the courts. The saying, "justice delayed is justice denied" rings especially true for families awaiting resolution for their children and financial futures.
What do you look for in prospective employees?
Strong legal expertise. Good business sense. The ability to really listen and respect the clients' needs. Solid team-player qualities.
Anything else you would like to add?
We are proud to help our clients in a way that makes the divorce process fair and which provides a view to the future for the parties.

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