Kimberly Thomason

Kimberly Thomason My life has taken more twists and turns than I ever anticipated as a young girl dreaming of what my life would be.  As I look back, I’m struck by the fact that a pattern emerged over the years as the sharpest turn in the road usually occurred just as I reached a point in my life when I thought my “plan” for my future was set in stone.  I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer all my life it seems.  That was my plan.  I was going to go to college, then to law school, then to work in the criminal justice system prosecuting exciting criminal cases.  My Dad had been a corporate CFO for a Manhattan based corporation that operated businesses all over the country, and in my mind, I couldn’t imagine anything more boring than working in a boardroom or an office for the rest of my life.  I also assumed I would marry and have a family and live happily ever after.  I met my husband, Jeff, at Clemson my freshman year and my plan for my life was completely upended as all I could think about was marriage and family.  I told myself I would go to law shcool one day, just not now. Instead, I married and eventually moved to Ft. Lewis Washington. It was here that I was first exposed to the health club business.  I was looking for a job and stumbled into a sales position in a large health club. In time I bacame a manager, then quickly moved into regional management. I had a boss and mentor within the company that was a strong career business woman. She was relentless in her performance goals for her team, but taught me more than I realized.   I had no idea that I would learn so much during this time that would impact my career path from that point on.  I learned the ins and outs of operating a business, managing people, setting goals, establishing budgets, projecting revenues and managing cash flows.  When we were transferred to North Carolina, I stayed in the industry and continued to hone my  business acumen.  I eventually became a partner in several fitness businesses.

We moved back to South Carolina and I stayed in the health club industry.  We had built a life and had three beautiful children, all before I was 30.  I had grown confident in the business world, confident in my role as mother, and happy in my life with Jeff. But just as I was sure this was the path I was meant to be on forever, another twist.  As anyone who has been married for any length of time knows, there will be rocky times.  In the midst of one of the most painful rocky times, I reevaluated what I was doing.  I felt as if I had given up a dream to go to law school long ago and this was the time to pick that dream up again. I applied to schools in the southeast, was accepted to USC and assumed that was where I would go.  Then one morning I received an envelope from a school in Alabama offering me a scholarship and I knew it was meant to be. I moved with my three wonderful kids to Birmingham to start what we called our new adventure.  My baby started 4 year kindergarten and I started law school on the same day.  I was 31 years old and was sure I was the oldest person ever to go to law school at that time.  They politely refer to those of who take an alternate path before going to law school as “non-traditional” students.  This became a wonderful time in our lives.  I was a full time law student, but being a mom had to continue to be my most important priority.  I drove carpool, went to little league games, and did homework with them. After the kids’ homework was done and they had gone to bed, I would start my homework.  As I look back, I don’t think I  missed a thing my kids did during this time and they encouraged me more than I can express.  

I so appreciated the opportunity before me then and had long ago grasped the all important skill of time management, as any working mother knows. I believe this gave me a great advantage and helped me do well in school.  I was offered great clerkships after my first and second years with extremely respected firms.  I clerked with the firm of Sirote and Permutt both summers and was offered a position with that firm before I had even graduated. By this time, I knew that I wasn’t suited to work in criminal law, but had a natural fit in the corporate world.  It no longer felt like the “boring” world I believed my Dad had worked in all those years ago.   I began the practice of law with Sirote & Permutt, PC as a member of the firm’s litigation department in its Birmingham, Alabama office representing national manufacturing facilities, commercial development companies, banking institutions, and state, city and county contract service providers.  I eventually represented clients in various state, federal and regulatory forums in all aspects of complex corporate and civil litigation.  When my oldest son graduated from high school and decided to attend school back in South Carolina, Jeff and I began talking about what the future would hold, yet again.  My daughter was already talking about coming back to South Carolina to attend college as well.  I found myself at another crossroad.  I knew that I wanted to come home.  I began looking for job opportunities and returned to South Carolina in 2008 as General Counsel of JPPA Acquisitions, Inc, a direct marketing and horticultural company comprised of Geo. W. Park Seek Company, Jackson and Perkins, Inc and Western Horticulture, LLC with operations in South Carolina, Oregon and California.  In my role as General Counsel, I managed all legal issues for three divisions of a national corporation with annual revenues in excess of eighty million dollars. However, I was also able to bring my business experience to the table to negotiate contract disputes, mergers and acquisitions, employee management and cost/ benefit analysis.

During this time, in working with large firms across the country, as well as in Canada, on a daily basis,  I recognized an opportunity in the legal community to service the more cost conscious savvy consumer seeking quality top level legal representation based on efficient resolution and costs centered planning.   I became more convinced that what I truly wanted was to be the captain of my own destiny in my professional life and I wanted to develop lifelong client relationships that are based on mutual respect, while achieving results and resolutions for my clients and giving me the opportunity to have a quality of life that allowed me to serve my clients and focus on my family.  I started the Greenville firm of Truluck Thomason, LLC in 2011 to meet the various legal needs of local and regional businesses in all stages of development, from start up projects to established organizations, in litigation, as well as in the role of general counsel and advisor.  The firm has since expanded its practice areas to include representation of individuals in matters of family law , estate planning and general civil disputes. I was originally admitted in all state and federal courts of Alabama, including the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama, and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and, upon my return home, was admitted in the state and federal courts of South Carolina.  My experiences, all of them,  have afforded me the opportunity to practice in multiple states, venues and forums. I have handled various cases in federal and state court actions in California, Oregon, Florida, and North Carolina; have represented clients in mediating pre-trial resolutions in complex contract disputes involving domestic corporations, international corporations, and organized labor organizations and participated in arbitrating a complex international lawsuit between US domestic companies and various international companies in Montreal, Canada. I believe the twist and turns in my life have given me a unique perspective that has allowed me to develop a results oriented legal approach that includes a network of professionals with the ability and desire to efficiently and effectively provide a global approach to meeting the unique needs of each client.

More importantly, I have reached a point in my life where I know that balance is critical to success in every part of any person’s life, but especially true in women’s lives.  I have developed relationships over the years that are treasured, both professionally and personally.  My firm has now grown to include two additional associates and services a broad base of clients.  I am committed to instilling in others the importance of operating with integrity in all aspects of life, whether professional or personal, the importance of setting goals and working a plan to achieve those goals, and the importance of maintaining a balance that ensures you never lose sight of what is really important to you.  Jeff and I have been married almost 29 years now, our family has expanded to include a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, one year old twin granddaughters, and a soon to arrive grandson.  As I look back, I can see the people that were put in my path at certain times to ensure that I got to the next destination along my journey.  I think that is key for all women, that we lift each other up, while sharing what we’ve already learned with those around us.

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