Courtney Smith is an unusual leader. In a world full of bosses and managers who often place the almighty dollar above their employees, Smith has turned Smith Legal Group upside down and placed the women she works with, and their families, as the top priority, right alongside the clients she serves.
“Our motto is‘where clients come first’ and with the women on my team, my motto is family comes first. When their children have activities, they go. I want them to be at everything they need to for their kids. You never get that time back,” Smith said. “It’s very hard to find a job where employers put their employees in that family category, but that’s me. This is my family. Whatever they need, we will rally around them.”
As a family law firm, Smith Legal Group’s business is families and Smith views her team as a unique unit where each member has an important and necessary role.
“I am not sure what role I play in our family besides the one who brought us all together, but I know that our family works and wouldn't be the same without each other,” Smith said.
Get to know the women of Smith Legal Group through her eyes:
Megan Torres - Office Manager: “Megan is dedicated, organized, hard-working, family-oriented, with three boys age 14 and under, and the nurturer of our work family.”
Lisa Caccavale - Paralegal: “Lisa is strong, self-motivated, proactive, always a step ahead, and the matriarch of our work family.”
Kristina Zuranski- Bookkeeper: “Kristina is honest, has high integrity, is a credible and experienced problem solver, and an asset to our family all while she is raising hers.”
Barbra Stooksbury - Attorney and colleague: “Barbra advocates for clients to help them co-parent and work through problems to promote family unity, listens and is thoughtful with her responses when working through issues, makes time to meet with clients after hours to accommodate their schedules,is very passionate, and the ‘coolaunt’ to our work family.”
Smith certainly appreciates the women at Smith Legal Group and they appreciate being valued. So much so that they have become a loyal and dedicated team, which Smith acknowledgesis part of the firm’s success.
“I know that my team works from home even when they’re not supposed to, and more hours than they record,” Smith joked. “They run this business just like it’s their own practice and are particular about staying on top of our client’s needs and making sure that everyone is happy so that we’re all doing the right things. That ensures that our firm is successful, which ultimately brings business.”
Smith is driven to support her team because it’s embedded in her personality. For her, it’s just what you do. You treat people how you would like to be treated and you give what you can to help others.
“I was taught that if you have everything you need, you should give to others so they have everything they need. I provide more for my team beyond their salaries. I pay for their health and dental insurance, I buy them lunch. If they end up needing groceries because their husbands were laid off during this COVID-19 pandemic, I will buy them groceries. I couldn’t imagine them suffering because they’re part of my family,” she said. “I can’t work this practice without them.”
By flipping the script and caring for her team of amazing women first, Smith has worked hard to make sure each is respected and happy.
“You only get what you give. If you want people to take care of you, like my team does for me as they literally run this practice, then you need to give them more than a paycheck. You have to respect them as people and treat them well. There’s not a hierarchy at this firm. If you treat everybody the way that they should be treated, with respect, then you’re going to get more than you give,” she said. “When people are happier at home and happy in their jobs, they work harder and better, and they like coming to work. Why wouldn’t you want those kinds of employees?”
And for Smith, keeping her employees happy is the key to keeping her team with her for as long as possible.
“I have to make sure that they’re happy and healthy because we couldn’t function without them and the role they fill,” Smith said. “They’re irreplaceable. And when you feel like an employee is irreplaceable, you do what you need to do to make sure they stay with you.”
For more information on Smith Legal Group, visit their website: https://www.smithlg.com/.