Heather Riggs, Esq.
Company: Atlanta Legal Marketing
Function: Content Marketing
Education: B.S. Psychology at Clayton State University, J.D. John Marshall Law School (in Georgia, not Chicago)
EHC: What is your daily schedule like?
HR: I’m up at five every morning. It’s my “me time,” and I don’t like starting my day in a rush. Meetings and networking can start as early as 7 a.m., but otherwise, my schedule might include meeting with my team or clients, attending networking events, or working on content strategies at my desk. I say no to most evening events because I need to focus on other aspects of my life as well, so my day usually ends around 6 p.m..
EHC: What is your favorite part of your job?
HR: Getting to meet such a wide variety of lawyers that have the commonality of being great advocates for their clients.
EHC: What were the steps you took to get your job?
HR: I invented it! I created a business plan, set a budget, developed deliverables, decided what to charge for the services, and then started working on finding potential clients.
EHC: What is your best piece of advice for girls interested in this field?
HR: The legal industry is still a male-dominated field and still skews older. It is important to know that being aware of this and being beholden to it aren’t the same thing. You will have an important contribution to make to the legal field. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!
EHC: What inspired you to pursue this career?
HR: I love solving problems. For this career, I had identified two concerns and wanted to solve them. The first concern was how law firms were surviving and growing, and the second was how the public are recognizing potential legal problems and identifying lawyers who might be suited to help.
Heather is the founder of a marketing and content creation company called Atlanta Legal Marketing, which specializes in serving small and solo law firms. They not only create content and marketing strategies but also ensure that blogs and social media posts are compliant with ethical standards specific to lawyers. The initial idea for Atlanta Legal Marketing came to her after starting her own practice–she frequently used online and digital marketing as a way of finding clients. She then found herself at lunches or other networking events with colleagues asking her for help to increase their own online presence. She started recommending blog post topics, changes to LinkedIn profiles, and other strategies.
Helping colleagues with marketing showed Heather just how essential it is for the public to easily find an attorney who suits their needs–to have access to justice. Marketing is a powerful tool that has the potential to help underserved communities identify quality, specialized attorneys. Heather decided that by helping small firms with marketing, there was an excellent opportunity to affect access to justice in Georgia. This was enough to convince her to take the plunge and start Atlanta Legal Marketing.
Creating a new career
When Heather started her new company in 2013, she was a practicing adoption lawyer. She was able to wind down her legal practice while she ramped up her content marketing company. The transition was gradual; initially, Heather stopped taking on new legal clients, and as each adoption was completed, she dedicated more time to her new venture. Since there were no other legal marketing firms like hers to look to, she had to create her business plan from scratch. This included developing the service offerings and pricing structure as well as other administrative tasks required to set up a new business.
It took plenty of time to acclimate to her new role even though Heather was able to move into it gradually. She said that it was important that she allowed herself time to adjust. In most situations, people leave one job and then begin an entirely different one without that gradual start. It is easy to expect to get used to a new job quickly, but you have to be kind to yourself–it could take a day, a month, or even a whole year, and that’s ok.
For girls getting ready to enter the world of work in any industry, Heather suggests thinking about what “balance” really means in terms of work/life balance. She says that “balance connotes equality” but that the world will rarely provide you with the events, relationships, and experiences to make equality between work and life a realistic possibility. Instead, think about work and life as proportions of who you are. It is ok for work to be a big proportion so long as you are considerate of maintaining the quality of your nonwork life. If you can keep aspects of your work from taking over too much of your life, you will be happier and more satisfied with yourself in the long run.