Kamp T. Purdy, Sherri Brown-Keller, Timothy Walker, James Fogle 2014-03-15 00:35:03
FOUR LEADERS ONE VISION “We’re not individually trying to lead this law firm. We act together and each one of us brings something to the table that is of value. Think about four interlocking circles. There are areas where we do not overlap, but in the middle we all overlap. I think that best represents what the four of us do every day as leaders of this law firm. There are a lot of things we do very well as individuals, but there are also a lot of things we do very well as a team,” says Sherri Keller, equity partner at Fogle Keller Purdy Law, PLLC. Fogle Keller Purdy PLLC employs 40 attorneys and more than 80 people in offices in Lexington, Louisville, Florence and Bowling Green, KY and Charleston, WV. The firm’s practice areas are insurance and workers’ compensation defense, business law, education law, employment law, estate planning/probate, family law, immigration law, litigation, professional malpractice, and real estate. The primary focus of the firm has been workers’ compensation defense. The firm has a wide ranging client base – everything from the mom ‘n pop store in rural areas to hospitals, school boards, cities and counties and multi-state and multi-national corporations. The four “circles” managing this firm are equity partners James G. Fogle, Sherri B. Keller, Kamp T. Purdy and Timothy J. Walker. According to Keller, James G. Fogle is the de facto leader of the firm. It has been said that many of the attorneys in the firm are there because he is in the firm. He is, above all, a teacher, Keller says. “Everything he does with our attorneys is with the goal of making them better attorneys and better people. I don’t think he ever goes home at night without knowing he’s done something to make someone better.” Fogle not only mentors those in the firm, but he also mentors clients, frequently answering questions posed by our clients as a value-added service to assist in their day to day handling of matters and to promote their use of best practices as a means to prevent problems (and even litigation) before they occur. Fogle earned his pre-law degree at Morehead State University and his J.D. at Salmon P. Chase College of Law. He has been a member of the State Bar of Kentucky since 1978. Sherri B. Keller says her strongest traits are her empathy, positive attitude and willingness to seek out a win/win scenario for the firm and its clients. She believes that looking at a legal matter from the other person’s perspective can be useful in problem solving for a client, especially a client who doesn’t fully understand the real nature of his or her problem. She leads the firm, and its attorneys and staff, with the same attitude. “One of my biggest pet peeves is negativity. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges I have as a leader in this law firm – letting go of the things I can’t change and focusing on the things I can change. Negativity and complaining are the biggest threats to team building and I’m a team builder. I don’t accommodate or validate negativity. I’ll show the complainer or negative person another perspective.” Keller earned her B.S. in Finance and Economics from Murray State University and her J.D from the University of Louisville School of Law. She has been a member of the State Bar of Kentucky since 1992. “If Jim Fogle is the glue that holds the firm together, Kamp T. Purdy is one of the biggest pieces,” Keller says. Purdy is considered a confidant to the firm’s clients and a cheerleader for the firm’s attorneys and employees. He leads by example and is recognized for his marketing skills in promoting the firm and its programs. Purdy earned his B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University and his J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law. He has been a member of the State Bar of Kentucky since 2000. Timothy J. Walker is considered the analytical problem solver of the four leaders. Keller says, “He’s very thoughtful. He always stops and thinks about something before he says it. He has a very analytical mind and is very particular and very clear about what he’s trying to accomplish, how he’s going to accomplish it and how’s he’s going to communicate those things.” Walker earned his B.A. in Communications from the University of Kentucky and his J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law. He has been a member of the State Bar of Kentucky since 1985. Continual Evolution and Transformation The origin of Fogle Keller Purdy can be traced back to the firm of Gordon & Gordon, which was founded after World War II in Madisonville. In the late eighties that firm broke into three firms with one of them being Ferreri and Fogle. Within a few years the firm expanded to meet the growing needs of businesses statewide and into West Virginia. During those years the firm operated under a single-member management business profile. That changed on January 1, , 2012 with the adoption of the manager-managed approach. Shortly thereafter, on July 1, 2012, the name of the firm became Fogle Keller Purdy, PLLC to reflect that change. Keller says, “We transformed our firm from what was considered a boutique workers’ compensation firm to provide a more diversified practice as a business model and at the same time address the needs of our clients, which are the employers. These employers are also businesses trying to remain focused and profitable while also facing an uncertain economy. A lot of our clients had needs other than worker’s compensation, so we wanted to broaden our scope to address those other matters that our same client base had or might need, for example employment law, immigration, real estate transactions, complex business transactions, wealth and estate planning issues, and basically taking a look at our client base and determining those areas where they had need.” We have adopted a client-centered approach with the objective of making our clients’ lives easier. The same clients also have needs in West Virginia and Indiana. That has fueled our business model to expand to various markets and open the other satellite offices. Taking a No-Nonsense, Grass Roots Approach “Our law firm approaches a problem in a no nonsense manner. We look for clients who are sophisticated, but who are also no-nonsense, particularly in this business economy where they’re interested in quality legal services, but without the premium prices they would pay for the same services at a larger firm. We offer real-world choices to problem-solving so our clients can focus on their business,” Keller says. Fogle Keller Purdy prides itself on being a grass roots firm that is actively involved in the communities where their attorneys and employees live. That commitment to the community at large is reflected in the firm’s compensation plan. Unlike most firms who set billable hour requirements for their attorneys, Fogle Keller Purdy no longer sets rigid billable hour requirements and instead utilizes a multi-faceted evaluation process which emphasizes its role in the community by participating in charitable work and civic organizations. Purdy says, “A lot of law firms concentrate on what they do. We decided to start concentrating on why we do what we do.” The policy has shown positive results. Revenues are up about 20 percent and the firm has had to hire 15 new attorneys to help with the increased and more diversified workload over the last two years.” Keller says the firm operates under two guiding philosophies. Obviously, the firm is a business and it must focus on making money if it is to remain in business and continue to serve its clients. The second philosophy is to meet the clients’ real needs, which may differ from that client’s perceived need. Keller says, “When we take on a client, we take on a client with a genuine goal of achieving a specific objective. We show them a real alternative means to an end – not just ‘let’s file a law suit and see what happens.’ We want to identify what their real problem is at the beginning and solve that problem. At the end of the day we want to be problem solvers for our clients. That’s the product we produce.” Keller says the firm puts a premium on hiring the right people. “We take great pains to hire the right associates who can communicate. Our business model requires complex interaction with our clients and that requires a lot of finesse. You have to approach the client with a lot of respect because of the amount of emotional investment and then divesting the client of that investment by showing better alternatives. We seek a win/ win scenario.” Many times clients come to the firm because they’ve been sued or because they think they want to file a lawsuit while in reality that’s not the problem at all. “We have human resources professionals who come to the law firm thinking they have a particular problem. Once we help them find the problem, we can tailor a solution they never even considered. Many times that doesn’t involve filing a lawsuit,” Keller says. Clients always have choices when hiring a legal firm. Keller says, “Clients can pay for fancy suits and fine art paintings in a firm’s lobby or they can seek out a firm espousing a no-nonsense, practical and grass roots approach to solving their problem. We’re looking for clients who are looking for quality legal services that actually address the problems they are facing.”
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