For attorney Kelli Cubeta, Partner at Cubeta + Clarke Law Firm, legal matters are about much more than just knowing the law. After serving exclusively as General Counsel and head of Human Resources for two publicly traded companies, Cubeta co-founded her firm to fill in the service gaps she identified in the traditional law firm model. Passionate about culture and value inside of the office, she is just as passionate about family matters and community leadership outside of the office. Cubeta shares on her journey, motherhood and leadership, and the swift strength she has learned from her grandmother’s example.

On background:

My legal career has been unconventional from the beginning.  I was fortunate to spend the first fifteen years of my legal career as an in-house attorney serving as General Counsel for two publicly traded companies.  As a result, I am hard-wired to approach legal issues with a business mindset and I am acutely aware of the unique pressures and sensitivities of company executives.  As a General Counsel, I hired hundreds of law firms and attorneys over the course of 15 years.  During that time, it became obvious that there are many issues and flaws with the traditional law firm model.  My partner Becky Clarke and I finally decided to do something about it and started our firm to represent businesses across Texas in the areas of employment law and business transactions and disputes.

On why Cubeta + Clarke is different: 

My law partner, Becky Clarke, and I both have our MBA’s and we are business owners. Experience as in-house counsel and as a business executive gives us a distinct advantage to serve our clients better than any other firm, in both pace and the manner in which we problem solve.  There is a certain wisdom that comes from living and breathing the specific challenges that companies face, and that is what makes Cubeta + Clarke highly effective and different from other law firms.

On passion and the pursuit of community impact:

I’m passionate about my family and the important responsibility of serving as a role model for my two young girls.  It is crucial that they value every opportunity they are given to be happy and successful, and to use those opportunities to positively benefit others and their community.  To that end, we volunteer frequently as a family in our community at the Food Bank, the Humane Society, and through Girl Scouts.  I am also very passionate about the experiences and knowledge I have gained through Leadership San Antonio as a class member in 2013 and currently as a Steering Committee member for this year’s class.  Leadership San Antonio has exposed me to numerous important issues in San Antonio, the state of Texas, and in the greater U.S.  Most importantly, Leadership San Antonio has shown me what I can do to become more engaged to do something about those issues.  It is not enough to be informed; you must actually do something in order to effect change. It is very important to me that my daughters see me doing something to impact issues I believe are critical.

On her personal female hero:

My grandmother, Mavis Barnes, is 94 years-old and still gets up every morning to exercise.  She is absolutely remarkable in so many ways and has had a significant impact on my life. She raised four children while working full-time decades ago when there was absolutely no support or recognition for the challenges working mothers faced.  I remember after having my first daughter, I was speaking to my grandmother at the end of my maternity leave and I was telling her how exhausted I was and how I was not sure how I could go back to work. Her response was swift.  “You go back to work to rest!”  At the time, I wasn’t sure what she meant.  A few weeks later I returned to work.  My office was quiet.  No one was crying.  I did not have anything spilled on me and I was wearing clean, professional clothes.  I distinctly remember sitting at my desk, smiling, and realizing just how wise my grandmother is!

 

Connect with Kelli Cubeta at CubetaClarke.com.

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Edited from an interview by Eleanora Morrison.