Founders, Smithers + Ume-Nwagbo, LLC
WHAT IS YOUR MISSION? S+U was founded by Roxann S. Smithers and Nwa’ndo E. Ume-Nwagbo in 2012, two former “big law” attorneys who wanted to focus on providing quality legal services to entrepreneurs, small business owners, and nonprofits. Our primary practice areas are Corporate/Business Law, Commercial/Business Litigation, Employment Law, and Employee Benefits. We also have a vibrant General Counsel Services practice that meets a broad range of legal needs.
Additionally, we are keen on educating business owners about a myriad of legal issues. S+U provides “Notes from My Legalpad” on our YouTube Channel and serve as business mentors with Emory University’s Start:ME Incubator and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs. S+U is on the leadership board of the ATL Small Business Mastermind Forum and the SORS Collective Meet-Up group. We produce and participate in webinars and training sessions throughout the year.
BEST ADVICE: It is wise to develop an attorney/client relationship before you have an issue. Most of our work involves helping clients structure their business relationships and processes so that they can avoid costly conflicts and claims down the road. When you do have an issue, do not ignore it. It is better to address things head on than to hope they will just go away. Find and hire a good lawyer BEFORE you need a lawyer!
WHAT’S NEXT? We have two exciting new areas of service we are launching this year: Business Dispute Mediation and our Contract Bank. Roxann is a registered neutral with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution with almost 20 years of litigation and corporate law experience. She is providing mediation services to business owners, their customers, and vendors — exclusively. Ideal parties (1) are looking to settle litigation focused on a business dispute, (2) want to resolve a dispute before going to court, (3) address an internal management conflict, and/or (4) iron out the final details of a new venture.
By the end of the year, we are launching our Contract Bank. Not every small business owner is able to avail themselves of full legal services. However, there is a great need for quality legal protections. S+U will provide master services contracts for business owners and entrepreneurs in the creative industries. Graphic designers, photographers, social media influencers, social media managers, copyrighters, and the like will be able to pay a flat fee for curated master services agreements tailored to their industry.
WHY WE WORK IN COBB: We both moved to the Atlanta area in 2002 and have made Cobb County our home for almost 20 years. We had our first meeting to plot and plan the founding of S+U at South City Kitchen on Cumberland Boulevard 10 years ago this October. There is such a wide variety of small- and medium-sized businesses and non-profits in the area, that we really get a chance to do interesting and meaningful work.
YOU TWO HAVE BEEN FRIENDS FOR OVER 20 YEARS AND IN BUSINESS FOR ALMOST 10, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE TWO RELATIONSHIPS? Although we have a virtual practice and we each work from home, we talk regularly throughout the week. We trust each other’s intentions as friends and business partners. We respect each other’s opinions and judgments. We give each other room to be ourselves and have areas of expertise and control. When we talk, we try to get work stuff out of the way so that we can spend time on the “good” stuff — the friends part!
2451 Cumberland Parkway SE, Suite # 3836, Atlanta, GA 30339 • 404.418.8492 • stulawgroup.com