Attorney Cheryl D. Kelly has won the prized 2019 AVVO Client’s Choice Award, a nod to her commitment to representing each client with legal expertise grounded in compassion and accuracy that has been her motto throughout years of handling Georgia personal injury and family law matters. Ms. Kelly credits conscientious attention to client satisfaction as her number one power in an arsenal of legal training, strategies and experience. “We routinely go the extra mile and take opportunities to refine the client experience. This award is a strong signal that we are working in the right direction. We appreciate our clients!” she said.
Avvo was founded in 2006 as an online tool to help people find and connect with highly capable legal professionals in their community. It rates and reviews nearly 97 percent of practicing lawyers across the United States and ultimately awards legal professionals of merit based on Avvo’s formula for evaluating client reviews, disciplinary actions, peer endorsements, and attorney submitted information.
Ms. Kelly garnered five star ratings from past clients who reviewed their experience working with her, highlighting her winning ethic and approach as “professional, communicates and informs, well-prepared and appropriately restrained & aggressive”. Reflecting on the implications of earning the award she said, “Being approachable and professional, but relatable is KEY to establishing a trusting relationship with a client. When you have the trust and confidence of a client, there is better communication and a better chance to convey and deliver your client’s wishes in mediation or litigation.”
Praised by colleagues as “the client whisperer” this 2019 Client’s Choice Avvo Award winner also distinguishes herself with the Bachelors of Arts Degree in Legal Studies from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, Georgia. Notably, as a law student at UGA, Ms. Kelly founded the school’s first Family Law Society. She has studied law in Oxford, England and Edinburgh, Scotland. All told, Ms. Kelly has more than 15 years of experience handling complex litigation matters from every aspect, as a legal assistant, paralegal and as a practicing attorney.
Now in her second year as founder and CEO of C. Kelly Law, LLC., located in Atlanta, Georgia, Ms. Kelly envisions growth of a robust and streamlined practice that serves clients needs effectively and efficiently. To achieve that objective, she emphasizes client information and education. “I prioritize education and making information accessible to the client whether in one-on-one consultation or in group settings such as in empowerment seminars like my recent Super Dads conferences. It is a win-win when clients are equipped to self-advocate even as C. Kelly Law pursues legal strategies,” she said.
We sat down with Attorney Cheryl D. Kelly founder and CEO of C. Kelly Law, LLC. In Atlanta, Georgia for some insights into her formula for successful legal representation following her win of the 2019 Avvo Client’s Choice Award.
Interviewer Sherri Banks: Welcome Attorney Kelly. Congratulations on your win of the 2019 Avvo Client’s Choice Award.
Attorney Cheryl D. Kelly: Thank you. It’s great to sit down with you.
Interviewer: So in your first year of private practice you have won the Avvo.com distinction of Client’s Choice…to what do you attribute this?
Attorney Kelly: We routinely go the extra mile and take opportunities to refine the client experience. This award is a strong signal that we are working in the right direction. Success is a two-way street. We appreciate our clients!
Interviewer: What (in your view) are the cornerstones for successful representation of clients?
Attorney Kelly: I believe in honesty, being realistic, being approachable and relatable, open-mindedness, preparation, providing clients will lots of options where possible. I intend, with each client, to understand their circumstances from their perspective so that I am better equipped to handle their needs and to explain their position to a court.
Interviewer: How important is it to speak the language of your target market (language that makes sense to them) when communicating about how to solve their problem?
Attorney Kelly: It is VERY important to speak in terms your client’s can understand. As a paralegal, I learned that it is important to relate to your clients so they will open up to you and be comfortable and confident that you are on the same team. It is also important to make sure they understand that it is OK to ask questions and OK to not understand some of the legalese.
Interviewer: Clients describe your work ethic and approach as professional, communicates and informs, well-prepared, and appropriately restrained & aggressive. In fact, you have been dubbed the “client whisperer” by some in your profession. How does that translate into strong representation in terms of mediation and litigation?
Attorney Kelly: (Laughter). Client whisperer…. There is truth to that! Being approachable and professional, but relatable is KEY to establishing a trusting relationship with a client. My clients don’t feel like I’m talking at them, or trying to confuse them with legal words that just sound good. When you have the trust and the confidence of a client, there’s better communication, and a better chance to understand their circumstances. This inevitably leads to better preparation and the ability to better convey and deliver your client’s wishes in a mediation or litigation.
Interviewer: How proud are you that 96 percent of your reviewers rated you 5 stars with the remaining 4 percent rating 4 stars?
Attorney Kelly: Extremely proud. I’m so humbled every time I receive a review from a happy client. It reminds me that C. Kelly Law is doing something right and it motivates me to provide an even better client experience.
Interviewer: How concerned are you about how the general public perceives the legal profession?
Attorney Kelly: EXTREMELY! I often think we get a bad reputation, sometimes for good reason, because there are some lawyers that employ unethical or unprofessional tactics. However, most of us are here to serve and I want to be a positive example of the latter.
Interviewer: How important are reviews from former clients for potential clients?
Attorney Kelly: Studies have shown that most consumers consider reviews before hiring attorneys. I want to make sure my potential clients understand WHO they are hiring so my reviews are a great way to display that.
Interviewer: Are potential consumers smart to consider online reviews on Avvo as reliable in terms of both overall ratings and detail reviews?
Attorney Kelly: Absolutely! With any industry, it is great to consider reviews and opinions of others before committing to a purchase. However, with the legal industry it is particularly important because you will be working with that lawyer for an extended period of time. You can even consider the content of the review, not just whether the person considered that lawyer good or bad. Did that person list the qualities that make that attorney good or bad? Are those qualities things that you want in a lawyer? Also, reviews can help potential clients discover what they should be looking for in an attorney.
Interviewer: How does one improve on such ratings?
Attorney Kelly: We are playing the long game. We continue to listen to clients, taking the content of their reviews into consideration. Although our ratings are very high, I still read my reviews and try to take away any chances to improve. As I said earlier, it is about going the extra mile for the win-win.
Interviewer: What can your clients expect in terms of growth over the next year?
Attorney Kelly: We plan to continue to develop as a robust and streamlined practice that serves clients needs effectively and efficiently with an emphasis on client education and information. I prioritize education and making information accessible to the client whether in one-on-one consultation or in group settings such as in empowerment seminars like my recent Super Dads conferences. It is a win-win when clients are equipped to self-advocate even as C. Kelly Law pursues legal strategies,” she said.
Ms. Kelly’s principal practice areas are personal injury and family law (including divorce & separation, equitable distribution and child custody). For more information about the firm and its services visit the C. Kelly Firm website or call 844-I-WIN-4-GA for a free and confidential evaluation.