(The following article was written as a press release for Stephens PLLC)
When you think “construction law firm” what comes to mind? How about the picture above? This is what we love about Stephens PLLC, a Houston area construction law boutique that is breaking the mold of minority law firms.
According to the American Bar Association “ABA” only 5% of all licensed attorneys are African American and very few of them practice construction law. In fact, recently the largest organization of construction lawyers in the world, the ABA Forum for Construction Law, came to the realization that only 2.5% of all of its members are African American and launched a diversity initiative to help increase overall diversity.
“I noticed after law school that many of my classmates and other alumni all seemed to practice criminal defense, family law, immigration law, and personal injury. Eventually, I realized I wanted to do something different….” -Kenneth Stephens
Kenneth did just that. In 2015, he began focusing all the firm’s efforts on construction law and it paid off. The firm now represents construction companies throughout Texas and their clients range from small contracting firms to Fortune 100 companies.
More importantly, those clients are highly satisfied with the work that this firm is performing. Check out a quote from one of their largest contracting clients.
“Kenneth Stephens and his colleagues at Stephens PLLC have been a welcome addition to The Beck Group’s outside counsel group. The firm is very responsive, creative and hard-working and has developed an understanding of our contracts and business model. Additionally, the firm renders services at a very reasonable fee and is willing to consider flexible fee arrangements. I look forward to expanding The Beck Group’s legal counsel relationship with this firm in 2018.” – Tonya Johannsen The Beck Group
What is most surprising is that Kenneth believes one of the biggest barriers keeping minority law firms from entering this space is their own misguided belief that they will not be able to get work. When discussing the possibility of performing work for large companies, Kenneth would often find that minority firms simply believed they could not get the work and would immediately write the idea off. In fact, one African American actually told Kenneth that he was too small, too young, and too black to play in that pond.
“I am not saying that it is easy to get this kind of work. You have to put the time into learning a very complex body of law, be willing to work your but off and be patient. Sometimes it is tough but if you immediately write yourself off the answer is always no. We’ve been blessed with the ability to develop strong relationships with general counsels, many of whom do not look like us. We’ve also always had the humility to do starter projects because we understood it was a foot in the door and that our performance would make companies want to expand their relationship with us.”
Sometimes you just have to ignore the naysayer and bet on yourself. We did and it’s the best decision we’ve ever made.
Stephens PLLC was recently featured in an article published by the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans.
Check out our feature in BLACK ENTERPRISE !!! Click HERE !!!
Visit our website: www.stephenspllc.com
Thanks for reading. See you soon! Xo – Riss
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