Interviewed By: Ty Fischer | Photography By: Steve Ragland | MUA: Erica Bessinger
The moment I met Kelly Bagla she blew me away. Driven, sophisticated, and confident, it was apparent from the beginning that she possessed all the qualities and abilities of those at the top of their field. Wielding an impressive pedigree and a show-stopping portfolio of accomplishments, we got right down to business and discussed business law, taking on and dominating challenges, and the launch of her first book.
KB: I am the Queen of business law. I was born and raised in England, I am the baby of seven, and ever since I was 5 years old I wanted to be an attorney. I had no idea what an attorney was, all I knew is that I wanted to be one. So, I stuck to my guns and I pursued my dream to become an attorney. My very first attorney job was with one of the largest international law firms in the world. I really loved my time there, I learned from the best. This experience allowed me to explore my entrepreneurial spirit and I founded my own law firm, Bagla Law Firm, APC. I enjoy practicing law; it is truly a passion of mine. I love helping business owners protect their hard work. For example, one of my newer clients is a growth company who had 3 employees when we met six months ago and he now has 27 employees. I am a business transactional attorney and a business owner, and I love thinking outside of the box. Usually, when you go outside of the parameters, you find more solutions that way.
Q: What qualities do you possess that have allowed you to become an influential woman with a seven-figure business?
KB: I think the most important quality is confidence. Any leader that exudes confidence people automatically follow. Along with confidence goes integrity, it’s huge especially in the legal profession. I am sure you have heard all the jokes about attorneys, and I personally love them as well, but I do have to hold myself to a higher standard and really take the bull by the horns. That’s exactly what I do for my clients. Being a leader that they can look up to, have confidence in, and trust really goes back to being confident in who you are and how your clients perceive you.
Q: What do you think is more important as a leader: vision or core values?
KB: As a leader, I would have to say core values are extremely important because you have to stay true to who you are especially as a business owner. Your business will reflect your values and clients will see the same. Once you know who you are so will others. It’s about the value that you bring to others.
Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge you have faced in your professional life?
KB: I really am a self-starter. I have carved a path for myself in the legal profession; I have never really had anyone hold my hand or walk me through it. I had to learn the hard way, but my clients don’t. As far as difficulties go, prior to my stepping out on my own, I was asked to become a rainmaker at the IP firm where I worked after I left the international law firm, even though I hadn’t ever gone out and booked business. It’s a delicate line for attorneys to ask for business but I was so successful at bringing in new business they made me a partner. Everything that I attack, I attack it full on.
Q: What would you say has been your biggest achievement in business?
KB: My father once told me, if you are going to do something, do it big or don’t do it at all. I love what I do. I am completely and utterly passionate about practicing law. One of my biggest achievements would truly have to be the time I was able to save my client’s life savings in addition to increasing her money by 40% so that she didn’t end up retiring from her business broke. She’d made a bad investment with a financial planner. Upon looking at the contract she had initially signed, I determined that a new contract was in order and was able to get the financial planner to sign it. Ultimately, he defaulted on the new contract and we were able to recoup her investment plus the additional money. To me, that says ‘yes, I am doing my job right, I am protecting the clients that trust me and look towards me for that protection.’
Q: Do you have any personal goals you have yet to achieve?
KB: My ultimate goal is to have an effect on the statistic of failing companies in America. Every day is an opportunity to empower business owners to level the legal playing field so they can build stronger, more successful businesses, which will allow them to give back to their community.
Q: What are your current business aspirations?
KB: One of my biggest aspirations that I look forward to achieving is to educate business owners about the Legal Lifecycle of their business, because knowing exactly where you are in your business will set you up for success. Throughout my legal career, I have come across business owners that either have no idea what they need when they start up or have no idea how to take their startup to the growth phase, they are completely lost.
I’d like business owners to get in touch with my law firm and let us find out where they are in their Legal Lifecycle, so they are confident that they truly can take their business to the next level. We have developed a Legal Lifecycle Assessment that they can take at www.BaglaLaw.com/assessment.
June 6th was also a very big day. That was the day of my first book launch, “Go Legal Yourself.” In it, I provide business owners with a guide to the four phases of the Legal Lifecycle of a business, how they should set up their business, how they can take it to the next level and how to make sure their assets are bullet-proof and protected so they have peace of mind, and they don’t lose everything they’ve worked so hard for.
Q: Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
KB: The person I admire most, and always have, is former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. She rose to such great power, the first female leader of Great Britain, given her origins as a grocer’s daughter and became known as the Iron Lady. She is the epitome of confidence and every woman should strive to create their own path just like she did; she made it in a man’s world. This is one of my favorite quotes by Margaret Thatcher, “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”
Q: How do you achieve a balance between home and work life?
KB: You really have to know where your priorities lie. People say that I am a workaholic, but I would have to disagree. Yes, I have a passion for my business but I have equal passion for my husband and my puppies. You need to find a balance in order for you to live the successful lifestyle that you want. My husband is my biggest supporter, he is my rock, and without him and my puppies, life isn’t really complete.
Q: Do you have any advice for women aspiring to follow in your footsteps?
KB: I have always lived by these words, “Why blend in, when you were born to stand out.” As a former fitness competitor, I still hold the title of Ms. Southern California, I learned to own who you are and wear it with pride. The way you see you is the way the world will see you. I have three words to share with women who are aspiring to follow in my footsteps: go own yourself. I am writing a second book called ‘Go Own Yourself,’ and it is particularly geared towards women business owners. When you start by owning yourself, owning who you are and gaining that confidence, you can own your business. People want to do business with people who are confident, so put simply, go own yourself.
For more information on Kelly Bagla or to get in contact with Bagla Law Firm, contact (760) 784-9109 or visit www.BaglaLaw.com.