Less than six months ago, Bryan and Elizabeth Devolder opened their own business, The Devolder Law Firm, in suburban Tampa. In the words of Elizabeth Devolder, “We are very pleased. It’s been doing even better than we expected. We just had our third profitable week!”
The fact that Elizabeth and Bryan Devolder have been able to create a successful law business right out of the gate is of no surprise to anyone else, especially WMU-Cooley’s Tampa Bay campus. As students, both Bryan and Elizabeth were committed, exceptional law students. As attorneys, they are equally involved and dedicated to their new venture.
What really makes them successful though is that they are truly exceptional human beings – as a couple – and as individuals.
One only need look at Bryan and Elizabeth’s team national finals win in the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Division Client Counseling Competition to see that goals made are goals reached. Even National Jurist Magazine named Elizabeth a law student of the year in 2016. Both Bryan and Elizabeth graduated magna cum laude from law school. And they did it all while balancing work, school, family, and mentoring other law students while students.
Opening their law firm was yet another exercise in balancing what is important to them, including “helping others protect what matters most,” which is their business philosophy and motto.
Their new business has already proven to be, not only profitable, but very interesting and important work.
“This week we had a call from a man and his wife,” shared Elizabeth. “The man had been served papers on the day of our phone call. His ex-wife had filed an ex parte motion, and the judge had already issued an order modifying the divorce judgment, with a hearing set for the next week. We immediately agreed to meet with him that day. When the gentleman arrived for his initial consultation, we were surprised to find out that the papers were from a court were from another state. This was just one of the many complicated pieces of the puzzle for this client.”
They have been able to serve and help many clients since they opened. So many that it looked like they might need to expand.
“We have been so busy in our business that we have already hired another attorney,WMU-Cooley graduate Sarah Harris, to manage the Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning clients who need our help,” shared Bryan. “The business is growing, now with the help of three WMU-Cooley graduates, and we are proud of our alma mater. That’s just another reason why Cooley is an awesome law school choice.”
“One of the great things about Cooley is our nationwide network of graduates, ” added Elizabeth. “I’ve been able to do a simple Google search to find any number of listings that have included our graduates in almost any area of law or legal expertise. Even nice is that the Avvo listing of the graduates I have found have outstanding reviews. The last search I did was a Cooley graduate with an excellent score along with experience commensurate with, or exceeding, the qualifications of opposing counsel. And when I did contact his office, he returned my call in three minutes and let me know he appreciated the call from a fellow graduate. He was a joy to talk to, and very helpful. He even knew the opposing counsel and her work. He immediately understood the client’s situation and got us a letter we could forward to the client within an hour. He called our client back before the end of the day, despite the fact that he had a family obligation that evening!”
Both Bryan and Elizabeth also have benefited from the knowledge shared by other graduates.
“The graduates we have been in contact with have been more than open to discussing strategy with us and going the extra mile,” said Elizabeth. “And we are happy to also share our knowledge about Florida law. We enjoy working with them and they ‘enjoy working with young Cooley grads’ as one fellow grad said to me. Everybody wins!