If you’re an active social media user in the world of millennials I’m sure you’ve seen and heard the word “boss” to describe ones self thrown around more times than you can stomach. Due to the seemingly inevitable trend of celebrating and duplicating extreme mediocrity, facades, and other sheepish behavior, the true definition of what a “boss” is and represents has gotten lost somewhere in the midst of all the smoke and mirrors, however Elite Eye Publishing got the chance to sit down with the law firm made for this generation, Simmons Law, to send out a few friendly and factual reminders and tips on what it takes to be a real boss and an asset to your community.
Simmons Law was founded in 2009 by Tiffany Simmons after she graduated from Florida A&M University and passed her bar exam on her first attempt, which many law students looking to practice law will tell you isn’t that easy of a task. Having a passion for business as well as helping people solve their problems is what laid Tiffany’s foundation to be able to be a part of the 5% of lawyer’s in America that are black women. Let me repeat that, only 5% of lawyer’s in America are black women. These are the types of women we want our generation of girls under us to see and recognize as true bosses. As we enter 2016, read on how girl boss, Tiffany Simmons and Simmons Law is gearing up to continue their journey of being a legal voice for this generation through offering great legal services, advice, and counsel as well as some entertainment as Tiffany prepares for her new reality series Atlanta Law, because lawyer’s and real girl bosses are LIT too!
Dev Gillespie: The last time we spoke your business was named Rufus Law and you are now Simmons Law. How was the transition from Rufus Law to Simmons Law and what were some of the things you did to re brand your business?
Tiffany Simmons: It was an easy transition because my focus remained the same. As I transitioned, I started to think about what makes me unique as a law firm and as a lawyer. Once I did that everything else came easy because I have a business background. As far as marketing the business, I tend to order stuff that people will need or actually use. I’ll order refrigerator magnets, sometimes I’ll order hand sanitizer, for my smokers I’ve ordered lighters, matchbooks for the hookah lounges and bars. I remember the neighborhood “candy lady” that everybody went to, so I created Simmons Law candy jars to give to business associates. Simmons Law is the legal voice of this generation so I constantly think of ways to interact with this generation. I also create different Simmons Law t-shirts; the designs are made up by me or even ideas from clients. I’ve been selling t-shirts since I was a kid; I actually started my first business here in Atlanta at the age of 15 selling t-shirts out of my aunt’s house in Clarkson, GA. One of my shirt designs I love the most is the “Future Lawyer” or “Lawyer in 2035″ shirt. I created those for the kids; to show them what they can become. The legal profession is 88% white and male so showing kids that look like me or kids that don’t look like me, it just shows them different opportunities that they can succeed in life. With marketing and branding the business I just went back to the basics, I guess that’s just the hustle in me. I was always the kid thinking about making money and business.
Dev Gillespie: Many music artists, producers, or any one in the business who is developing a brand or business don’t understand why they would need a lawyer just to have on deck. Explain why they need you.
Tiffany Simmons: As a lawyer, we are trained to see past what’s immediately going on right now. We see the vision of what you want to do and help you protect and grow that. If you look at artists and people that are in entertainment, a lot of times they have “yes people” around them. Meaning people who don’t have your best interest or people that’s eating off of the talent so of course the “yes men” are not going to tell the talent what’s right to do in their careers. Having a lawyer on their team, someone that’s licensed to practice law and that is held to a different standard is very helpful to someone in entertainment seeking longevity. Being in the entertainment business myself, I’ve seen so many people who look like me getting opportunities but they would eventually squander it because they didn’t know how to manage their business. A lot of people in the industry haven’t created the necessary foundation that you need to sustain and grow. I just wanted to be a person that would be there and show them the right things to do so they can build wealth for their legacy.
Dev Gillespie: When someone is looking to properly retain a lawyer or if they are seeking legal counsel, what do they need to already have in order first before contacting a lawyer?
Tiffany Simmons: With Simmons Law, first I would say you need to have your thoughts in order of what you want to accomplish or what you need from Simmons Law. Second I would say, which should probably be first is, have your money. Don’t come to myself or any lawyer without any money. Like I tell everyone, if you want to ride in that Bentley, you’ll come up with Bentley money. If you want to wear Polo, you’ll come up with that Polo money. Simmons Law is the legal business for this generation, we provide excellent legal counsel and we’re the best at what we do.
Dev Gillespie: How do you feel about the state of our current justice system and how do you tie Simmons Law into being a part of the solution?
Tiffany Simmons: I think we all are a part of the solution to somebody’s problem or somebody’s situation. Simmons Law looks at the needs of the people from not only our experience, but from a legal expertise. I’ve sat in my clients shoes because I’ve actually been in a trial myself. I’ve sat in my clients shoes that are in entertainment because I am talent for various outlets. I’m going to come from the heart and speak what’s honest and real. The justice system was founded on things that were not right so I want to do my part to fix it whether it’s in business, criminal defense, or entertainment.
Dev Gillespie: What were some achievements for Simmons Law in 2015?
Tiffany Simmons: One of the things I’m most proud of this year is definitely when I feed the homeless on Sundays. I do that out of my own pocket and my own kitchen. Sometimes I get donations from people and the community but even when those donations aren’t available I still help and give what I can; even when I’m by myself and feel discouraged I just know that it’s something I need to do because at the end of the day we all gotta eat, and God has blessed me to have the heart to do it for others. In September, I was the receipt of the Rising In Community Excellence Awards also known as the R.I.C.E Awards. I won the founders Rising Star Award. The R.I.C.E Awards were created by C. Chandon Carter for those that are doing things to uplift and support the community so I was very proud to earn that award. I was in the same category with someone I look up to in entertainment, Keisha Knight Pulliam. Her organization Camp Kizzy was one of the nominees in my category so for me to win over someone I looked up to was nice, it was a nice feeling for me. Much respect to all of those who were nominated and those that won R.I.C.E Awards this year.
Dev Gillespie: As we are at the top of the new year, what do you have planned for Simmons Law in 2016?
Tiffany Simmons: There will be a lot more products for Simmons Law that will educate the community on their legal options, specifically in the area of criminal defense. We also have a show coming called “Atlanta Law”, that’s the working title of it. I’m excited about that because that’s something where people can see the real lives of private attorneys who really work hard. For me, I came from nothing so all of this is self-made and of course with God. I don’t address it a lot because I don’t like to address negative stuff, but people kind of hate on me. People wonder how I make the moves that I do, from having billboards around the city to feeding the homeless with no major support, that’s all God who makes it possible. I’m in a terrific space and I love it.
Dev Gillespie: As a lawyer, what is your opinion on social media and how it can affect a brand?
Tiffany Simmons: The internet is a double edge sword. Even with being an attorney, there is always a perception that people have. That’s why I’m glad I’m a part of my reality show coming soon because the perception of lawyers and what we really are are two different things. We are smart, talented, and most are dedicated to the profession. But were human. We are flawed; we have feelings, our own families, and problems too. Just because we fix people’s problems for a living doesn’t mean we don’t have our own life challenges. With social media, you have to be very careful of what you put online. 3 years ago at the Marietta office of Simmons Law we held a “town hall” meeting style panel in which me and an attorney that worked for the State spoke about a person being “prosecuted for what you post.” We had a great turn out from the community and the information we shared then is very much valid today. The world is now technology based and even with Simmons Law I had to adjust with the times. Although I am more traditional, meaning come see me in person, the business has an IG page, Facebook, Twitter, etc. As a growing business owner, I had to embrace technology and what the new millennium is using because that’s just what it is. The criticism of social media has eased up a bit because social media is more acceptable now than what it was in the past. For instance, my mom even has a Facebook page, and she’s addicted to it. Ha-ha.
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