Weekly Business Profile
JoHanna C. Cox, Attorney at Law
Type of business:
4801 Lang Ave NE Ste 110
Albuquerque NM 87109
What was your first job?
My first formal job was when was 12. I started babysitting families in my neighborhood. By the time I finished middle school and high school, I had several families throughout the city that I provided child care for.
How did you get started in this business?
I decided I wanted to be an attorney when I was seven. I was fortunate that I have been able to work with skilled attorneys in four states on various state and federal trial and appellate cases. After several years of working with attorneys, I decided to open my own practice.
Why did you choose this business?
Law is an ever-evolving field. Each day can challenge your understanding and perspective. I enjoy this constant growth.
What is your business philosophy?
I treat my client's cases as significantly as they do. I also believe that regular communication with your attorney is significant in case management and progress.
What is your educational background?
I was born and raised in Colorado. I attended Colorado State University. Immediately after graduation I attended law school at the University of North Dakota. During my final semester of law school, I threw a dart at a map of the United States to see where I would practice. The dart hit Albuquerque. Three days after graduation, I moved to New Mexico.
What is your or your company's greatest asset?
Although during the first years of my practice in New Mexico, I was one of the youngest attorneys in the state, I handled some significant and complex litigation. For instance, while I was at the First Judicial District Attorneys Office, I prosecuted Kathy Borrego, the Jemez Mountain School embezzler. After leaving the DA’s, I have handled large estate litigation, personal injury claims and wrongful death matters.
What are your strongest business traits?
Confidence—To represent my clients' interests from a case’s beginning through trial/appeal if necessary. Also to help a client resolve a case through settlement facilitation if appropriate. Concise Advocacy—It is important that my clients understand their legal situation in clear terms. Not everyone has mastered "legalese," so explaining the law in non-legal terms helps further my clients’ understanding of his/her case and reach efficient resolutions. Knowing My Limits—I cannot address every single legal question for every single person. If I cannot resolve a legal issue, I have a strong network of referral attorneys that I use for clients.
Why did you choose to do business in Albuquerque?
Although a dart originally brought me here, I have stayed because I enjoy the pulse of the Duke City. I enjoy being near the mountains and there is always something going on—music, arts, sports, etc.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
The legal system can be daunting and confusing at times. I enjoy helping my clients navigate this field and get their claims resolved either through litigation or other settlement facilitation. For my small business clients, they don't always have a budget for full-time general counsel. I assist them by filling this role and handling their legal matters on a retainer basis.
How is operating your own business different than you expected?
Marketing is my least developed area. I primarily use the internet to reach clients: my website (johannacoxlaw.com), Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Finding a balance between marketing, working and personal life has been a learning curve.
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
I am looking to expand at the moment. Know anyone with office experience?
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
I'm still a newer practice, so the main accomplishment I have at this point is opening my doors.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
In addition to representing my clients in the courtroom, I also offer educational opportunities. One aspect of litigation preparation includes educating clients about changes and updates in the law. I also monitor national legal trends significant to my clients to ensure that they are prepared for and consider legal issues before they are directly impacted.
How do you maintain your competitive edge?
I follow legal trends and major cases. Like I said above, keeping my clients prepared prior to any litigation beginning is important.
How would you define your position within the marketplace or within your market segment?
I have a boutique firm. I take vested interest in my client's matters, and I prefer to have a close working relationship with my clients rather than be a large law firm.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to operating a successful business?
Finding a livable balance. Small business owners will always wear multiple hats for their business. But balancing those hats with their personal lives can be a trick. Delegating or creating a strong network of resources can be a great asset to any business owner.
What was your best business decision?
Starting my own practice. I did not want to look back a year from now and wish I had started already.
What was your biggest missed opportunity?
Not having started my own practice sooner.
What are your growth goals?
I prefer to keep my firm a boutique firm. I plan to add personnel to my practice over the next few months, but I do not want to be a large firm.
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
In addition to practicing law, I am on my son's school's PTA Board, and I coach him in basketball. It's important that my son feels that I am invested in him as much as I am invested in my practice.
How has the Internet affected your business and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
I have a paper conscious practice. This means I use the internet and electronic options as much as possible. Not only do I prefer to file pleadings electronically, but my client communication is significantly electronic. I also use the internet for marketing. I have a website and am on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Please look me up ~
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
Case management - this includes client communication and evaluating legal issues for the respective clients.
If you had to choose another career or start another business what would it be?
In addition to my law practice I own SimpLegal, LLC. This company provides legal training for people interested in informational seminars or workshops in various legal areas I practice in. I am also an adjunct professor and teach a course on legal issues pertaining to national security.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
I started a small business law clinic in law school and currently handle general counsel work for several different types of small businesses. Remember that you cannot do everything. It's more cost efficient to have an expert help you do it correctly the first time than to do something wrong and spend countless hours fixing or re-doing it later.
What's your favorite saying or quotation?
Expect great things and great things will happen.
If you had a chance to live anyone else's life, whose life would it be?
Lucky for me I have been blessed with a full life thus far. My experiences have and will continue to make me a better lawyer, wife and mother. I would not want to live anyone else's life.
What book are you currently reading or what's your favorite book?
I am usually reading three books at a time. One is a legal development book, one is a business development book, and one is for pleasure (usually historical or fiction or scifi).
Do you have a hero or mentor-business or otherwise?
My father owns his own real estate appraisal business. I also have several friends that own their own businesses or have their own law practices. Instead of one hero or mentor I would say that I have a team that I turn to when I have questions.
If there is one thing about Albuquerque or New Mexico that you could change, what would it be?
Since I moved here one of my favorite foods is enchiladas. It would be great to have them delivered - is there a place that does this?
What do you look for in prospective employees?
I look for employees that have a positive attitude and are willing to learn and try new things. The law is ever changing - sometimes quickly - and we need to adapt. Also, strong time management and communication skills are key.
What inspires you?
Knowing that I will learn something new every day.
Three passions outside of work?
My family - from planned events to random activities I always enjoy being with them. The mountains - I grew up in Colorado and love being so close to them in Albuquerque. Music - my grandmother studied opera, my mother is a classically trained pianist, and I play piano and flute. I also teach my son piano. I have music playing all the time!
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