VOL. 133 | NO. 9 | Thursday, January 11, 2018
Employee Benefits Law Firm, New Sister Company Move to New Home
By Andy Meek
Attorney Jenny Kiesewetter is starting 2018 off in a new home for the boutique employee benefits law firm she founded in 2010, which this week relocated from the Colonnade development at 1661 International Drive to 999 S. Shady Grove Road.
She also brought a newly launched company with her.
Kiesewetter has founded K2 Employee Benefits Training, a companion but separate enterprise that will focus on education and professional development, among other things.
It’s driven, in part, by the expansiveness of legal and regulatory codes governing employee benefits, health care and related issues. The growth of Kiesewetter’s practice, and the launch of K2, also is driven by the velocity of change – regulations and related laws can shift so fast many HR professionals, for example, have a tough time keeping up.
The layout in her new office emphasizes open workspaces – no dedicated offices for each professional – so the environment is collaborative. And employees can work on laptops and smartphones in areas like a conference room and a special “war room” space.
Among other changes on the law practice side, Kiesewetter said it’s shifted away from billing by the hour as of Jan. 1. The move to project-based billing is meant, she said, to give clients a more firm idea of what things cost so that they won’t be surprised by hourly billing.
“We’re also going to be putting together some proactive packages for folks – reviews of documents, reviews of plan documents, that sort of thing – to try to get folks to be more proactive with their projects and their issues,” she said. “So they don’t get caught in a reactive situation, with the legislation changing so quickly. Where it gets more expensive and they have more problems.
“We can hopefully help them stay on top of their issues instead of getting behind their issues. We’re going to be pushing that more.”
That proactive attitude is particularly visible in the new company. With K2, Kiesewetter is targeting HR professionals, financial advisers, accountants and attorneys among others. The new company has been “a long time in the making,” she says.
“In HR, for example, someone may take a new HR position and they get the benefit plans thrown on their desk,” Kiesewetter said. “And they’re now in charge of them and they’ve never had any training when it comes to benefit plans. We offer an additional training option for people. It’s training and professional development, where folks can attend webinars or online training, or we can do on-site training if someone wants something tailored to their company.”
This is an extension of work Kiesewetter has been doing for a while. She was a partner at Evans Petree PC before deciding to start her own law firm. Part of what made her want to take the plunge is the challenge of staying on top of regulatory changes, as well as wanting more control over billing and the way she practices.
“This will be a good opportunity for people,” Kiesewetter said of the services offered by K2. “And for those who do understand the basics of the law, they can still have a hard time keeping up because it changes so quickly. So as the law changes, we’re going to offer mini-courses to update people.
“A lot of the training that’s in this area, you have to still fly to Las Vegas or New York or San Francisco and sit in the big hotel and do the training,” she said. “This is a little bit more flexible.”