RKC’s Cookin’ Counselors Spice Up Birmingham
03.07.18 | Permalink
RKC Participates in the 14th Annual Exceptional Foundation Chili Cook-Off
The smell of chili was in the air last weekend at Brookwood Village where Birmingham employers took part in a friendly competition for a great cause, the 14th Annual Exceptional Foundation Chili Cook-Off. Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell has been an active sponsor and participant in the annual event for the past several years, and while the team has won 3 trophies in the last 5 years, they didn’t bring one home on Saturday.
Special thanks to RKC’s Cookin’ Counselors Scott Williams, Rebecca Beers, Fred Clarke and Leah Downer for their valiant effort!
“Everyone is really a winner,” said Scott Williams. “It’s a beautiful day to spend time with family, friends and clients while supporting a great organization,” he continued.
The Chili Cook-Off is The Exceptional Foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds from this event are a significant source of funding for programs at The Exceptional Foundation where they strive to meet the social and recreational needs of individuals of all ages that are mentally challenged.
Year after year, the event draws bigger crowds and more teams and this year was no exception. With more than 140 teams competing for the top spot, competition was hot! More than 12,000 attendees taste-tested the many recipes and voted for their favorite flavors.
To learn more about The Exceptional Foundation, visit: https://www.exceptionalfoundation.org/
Nicole Sieb Smith Remains Calm in Any Storm
02.20.18 | Permalink
Nicole talks about how early challenges in her life shaped the lawyer she is today
Nicole Sieb Smith, a partner in RKC’s Tallahassee office, represents national and local businesses and institutions in diverse litigation matters with a focus on employment defense and commercial matters. An experienced litigator, Nicole has represented clients in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels, as well as before administrative boards.
In her practice, she is often faced with difficult situations with employee/employer relationships and conflicts that arise. “If you cannot keep calm, these stressful, complex situations can get the best of you,” said Nicole. “I have a perspective that helps me stay grounded in the toughest situations and cases.”
That perspective came after Nicole graduated from college when she was faced with many adversities and family tragedy. Nicole came away stronger and ready to face whatever comes her way. She talks about her journey and what she enjoys most about her life and work.
Nicole remembers her college years very fondly. Armed with a scholarship and acceptance into a great school, Nicole left her home town of Miami to travel nearly 1500 miles north to Massachusetts to attend Smith College. For a Miami native, the frigid temperatures were shocking at first. “I did not realize the gear that I would need and it certainly solidified that I enjoy seasons, but not snow and ice,” laughed Nicole.
She studied abroad in her junior year at the London School of Economics and Political Science. “It was a great experience. I traveled so much that year, stayed with friends in their homes and experienced places through their eyes,”
she remembered. Nicole and her husband with daughter, Hannah
Unfortunately, not long after that very happy experience, Nicole learned that life doesn’t always go as planned. “I had planned on going to law school, but my life changed dramatically when I was faced with several obstacles that would force me to put my plans on hold for almost 10 years,” she said.
Shortly after her graduation, Nicole’s mom died in an automobile accident. “During a lawsuit surrounding my mom’s death, I found it incredibly frustrating not understanding the complicated lingo and processes we faced. From that moment on, I knew I would have special understanding and sensitivity for those struggling through the litigation process,” said Nicole.
During that time, Nicole was very busy helping her dad with family matters and being a surrogate mother for her younger siblings when she herself was diagnosed with cancer. She fought her way through chemotherapy and radiation to come out cancer free. Unfortunately, a few years later, Nicole’s father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away.
At 28 years old, Nicole had survived through numerous family tragedies and struggles. She was working for a family law firm as a legal assistant where a mentor encouraged her to follow her dream. “There was a great female family lawyer there who believed in me. She told me I was smart and needed to go to law school,” said Nicole. “She paid for my LSAT and I was on my way.”
Nicole says that while she was starting out a lot later than planned, she knew that she had gathered a lifetime of experiences that would make her a better lawyer. “The personal struggles I survived help me remain calm in any storm. Whatever comes my way, I know I can face the pressure,” she said.
Nicole appreciates that she’s been able to build her practice and focus on the business of law at RKC. “I came to RKC from a very small boutique firm that had about 15 lawyers at its peak,” said Nicole. “When the two rainmaking partners decided they didn’t want to sustain the practice, I saw many fine lawyers having to begin over again. I learned first-hand that someone won’t always be there to give me a case.”
While Nicole first joined RKC in the Miami office where she worked in many areas of litigation, she was particularly drawn to her employment defense cases. “Employment law is fascinating because it’s very statutory and rules driven, so I have a framework, but I’m still working with human narratives and relationships. I work with my clients to understand these human stories and conflicts and apply the broader set of rules and statutes to each situation,” she explained. Nicole represents employers in public and private sectors in cases involving claims of discrimination, harassment, whistle-blower violations, wrongful termination, retaliation and violation of civil rights.
Over the past several years, Nicole has gained extensive experience representing clients defending website accessibility claims brought under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.
“RKC encouraged me to develop my practice independently, yet provided support through established attorneys in my practice areas. “I saw a trend coming with inaccessibility claims and I was encouraged to research and grow that area,” she said. “Now, I’ve handled dozens of these cases and become a thought leader in this area.” Nicole is both an experienced speaker on the topic of website accessibility and assists her clients to identify the legal considerations involved in auditing and remediating web content and to retain appropriate consultants.
Another great benefit of working at RKC is that its statewide presence enabled me to make a life-changing move to Tallahassee almost seamlessly. “I really enjoy the quality of the team I work with-from the lawyers to the paralegals and assistants. We are all very close and have a good, collegial relationship. So, when my husband and I made the decision to move to a smaller community to raise our daughter, Hannah, I was thrilled to be able to maintain my practice,” explained Nicole. “It also made a lot of sense as there is a lot of synergy in my practice area in Tallahassee. It’s a very busy office and I was welcomed with open arms,” she continued. “And, because a lot of my practice is in federal court, I was able to maintain many of my cases from South Florida.”
This May will mark Nicole’s first anniversary in Tallahassee. She couldn’t be happier to have her husband’s parents and her brother living in Tallahassee, also. “We all converged together so that we can enjoy Hannah and spend time together,” she said. “It’s so important for us to all be close together and I’m thankful Hannah has her family nearby to enjoy making special memories together.”
For the Love of our Troops
02.14.18 | Permalink
RKC Ships Valentines and Essentials to Troops
Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell loves our military troops! In honor of Valentine’s Day, we shipped 39 boxes to military men and women serving overseas in Africa, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Iceland last week. The packages were filled with valentines sharing messages of appreciation and support, personal care items, snacks, drinks and candy.
“I’m so thankful for the support of the firm and our staff who donate all of the supplies and shipping for the packages,” said Lisa Griffin, Legal Assistant to Managing Partner Frank Sheppard, who has been coordinating these shipments every 2-3 months for the past nine years.
Lisa began this labor of love when her own son was serving in the U.S. Marines and told her that many in his troop were not receiving care packages or much mail from home. “That broke my heart, so the Rumberger family stepped in and started donating supplies for not only my son’s unit, but many others. It’s been so fulfilling that we just haven’t stopped,” she said.
In the last nine years, RKC has sent more than 1,000 care packages across the globe.
Whether sent during holidays, or just because, the boxes always include comfort items and essential supplies that can be difficult or expensive to obtain such as razors, shaving gel, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and baby wipes, which are often used in place of a shower.
In addition to the essentials, the firm has sent a number of special shipments over the years. One shipment included baby powder for Marines to help keep their walking paths safely marked, another included coffee for helicopter pilots to help with their long days and nights and another included towels because they are considered a luxury item. There have been shipments with freezer pops, Oreo cookies and s’mores, as well as dinner boxes as an alternative to MREs and movie night boxes to help combat boredom and homesickness.
“We hope the packages offer some joy and comfort to those men and women who are serving our country far from home and missing their loved ones this Valentine’s Day,” said Lisa.
Special thanks to our friends from OrangeLegal and Milestone Reporting who helped pack the boxes and to Mateer Harbert for donating supplies for the project.
03.07.18 RKC’s Cookin’ Counselors Spice Up Birmingham Read Article >>
02.20.18 Nicole Sieb Smith Remains Calm in Any Storm Read Article >>
02.14.18 For the Love of our Troops Read Article >>
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01.19.18 Dick Caldwell Shares his Perspective on Building a Successful Practice and Changes that have Transformed the Practice of Law Read Article >>