Courtney Smith was a German and English teacher in Lake County for seven years before deciding to pursue her passion for family law. In 2015, she graduated from Valparaiso University Law School and is now the owner of her own firm, Smith Legal Group, in Chesterton. She and her colleagues and community members celebrated the grand opening on Friday evening with a party and ribbon cutting.
Smith embodies her firm’s motto: “where clients come first.” She advocates for her clients as long as necessary, stemming from her passion for family law and how it can make a positive difference in people’s lives.
“This is truly the most empowering thing I’ve done in quite some time because this is my own and this is my baby. It’s the culmination of all the work I’ve done with the help from my team to treat clients the way I think they should be treated from the ground up,” Smith said. “I just want to help families with personal services and help them get to a better spot in their life.”
Smith’s mom, Kathy Vrabel, was nearly drawn to tears at the grand opening celebration. She could hardly put into words how proud she is of her daughter for following her passion and opening her own firm.
“The fact that she’s going out on her own and that she’s just so happy with it, this is a big step and a big undertaking,” Vrabel said. “She wanted to be independent and that’s how she’s been her entire life so I’m just so extremely proud of her, it’s hard not to cry.”
Lisa Caccavale, Smith’s paralegal, started working with Smith two years ago at a different firm. When Smith came to Caccavale with the idea to come work with her at her own firm, Caccavale didn’t think twice about the opportunity.
“I wholeheartedly believe in her and believe she truly wants to help clients. She has a passion for helping people and that’s one thing I really admire about her,” Caccavale said. “I knew I wanted to be her partner and come along on this ride with her, so I’m just really excited for her and we’re very happy here.”
Smith signed the lease in August and with no furniture, set up a table and chair to begin meeting with clients immediately. The firm already had 16 clients going into the grand opening and encourages anyone in the community to stop in and say hello.
Candace Arvin, a group benefits executive at General Insurance Services, met Smith through their mutual community involvement and found they had similar visions and values. Arvin was happy to be a part of helping Smith open her business and help those in need.
“I could not be more happy, more proud, or more excited for her because she leads with passion and has an interest in helping those that others can’t or won’t,” Arvin said. “And I think that’s what we need in our community, the ability to come together and be stronger together.”
For more information on Smith Legal Group go to www.smithlg.com.