Getting to Know Karen Kelly-Braem of Springman Braden Wilson & Pontius

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.

Is there anything more inspiring or heartening than seeing someone start at the bottom of the ladder and work her way to the top, overcoming adversity and making sacrifices to achieve something great? Karen Kelly-Braem has accomplished such a feat, rising from receptionist to partner at Springman Braden Wilson & Pontius. Setting aside the fact that she likes both “Star Wars” and “Star Trek,” her 35-year career in the legal industry should serve as an example for everyone who aspires to be more than they are today. Read on to learn more about Karen, and why you should talk to her before remodeling y our house.

Name: Karen Kelly-Braem
Current Role/Job Title: I am a partner/shareholder at Springman Braden Wilson & Pontius, P.C. Our landlord tenant law firm specializes in both eviction and collection services for landlords and property management companies. We also handle all forms of litigation for community associations, as well as homeowner associations focusing on collection of delinquent assessments using a specialized low risk contingency fee collections program.
Company: Springman Braden Wilson & Pontius P.C. has been in business for over 35 years, and has continually specialized in landlord tenant law, community associations and collections throughout its long history.
Length of time at current company: 5 years
Length of time in industry: I have been in the legal industry for over 35 years.

How did you get your start in the industry?
I started in the industry as a receptionist for George Carlson, a bankruptcy practitioner in Littleton, Colorado. In an effort to make the most of the opportunity, I read the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and just about everything else Mr. Carlson had on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases and I was soon preparing cases. I rose through the ranks becoming a legal secretary and legal assistant before earning my Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies. After finally graduating with a Bachleor’s Degree in Business Administration I applied for law school and was accepted to the University of Denver College of Law.

What is your career highlight so far?
I think the fact that I have gone from receptionist to partner is the highlight. I have had a lot of great moments, a lot of funny moments and I am proud of where I am. But, to be fair, and as cliché as this is about to sound, if it were not for the unwavering support of my husband I would not be where I am. For nearly 40 years, he has said go for it.

When or how are you most productive?
I am most productive in the morning and particularly when I am working by myself. Uninterrupted, with no time constraints I can work on anything for hours without realizing how much time has passed.

Which industry professional do you admire most?
Wow, this is hard! I have had the good fortune to work with some amazing attorneys such as Charles Brega, Curt Todd, Makyla Moody and my current partners Debbie Wilson, Kristi Bunge and Paul Farrer. I admire them all for making it all look easy – when we all know it is not.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I am not sure I am better than everyone else, but I am really good at connecting with (most) defendants and finding a resolution.

What do you like most about this industry?
I love the negotiations! Sometimes it is a challenge to find the solution and get everyone to agree. It is fun to go to court with a large docket and come out with all stipulations and no answers. I kind of compete with myself to reach that goal whenever I go to court. I like a sure thing.

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What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
It would be great if courts and judges were more consistent about how cases are handled and/or ruled on. It does not seem fair to the clients to have to guess how a judge may rule or what special documents certain judges or counties may require, particularly when you file the same case in all the courts. Consistency would streamline the process on all sides.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Construction with my husband. I like remodeling houses. My husband and I have remodeled three homes and built one. I like to watch and participate in the transformation, and I always take before and after pictures.

Describe a typical work day.
I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “typical” work day for me. My days look a lot like a game of whack-a-mole. Whatever plans I may have the day before, seems to immediately disappear with phone calls, questions regarding settlement offers, emails, motions, and hearings/trial settings, all of which are emergencies, of course.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I am not sure I have a guilty pleasure. I will admit that I like romantic comedies, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Harry Potter.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t just identify the problem and do nothing, figure out what the solution is or may be, then work on the solution.

What are you currently reading?
I read different things based on my mood and down time. I just finished The Brain that Changes Itself, I am in the middle of What Makes a Marriage Work, and I just started Walking Miracle.

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I consider myself to be a “fixer.” I want to fix the process, the problem, the case, whatever needs to be fixed. I don’t cram down solutions if the defendant is willing to work with me – that is the court’s job.

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success

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