Words by Morgan Mercer | Photos by Sarah White
Pollen is celebrating the 14 businesses that have come together in support of Pollen’s mission to build better connected communities. Together, these businesses challenge Pollenites to raise $15,000 by December 31, which they will match dollar for dollar. Donate today and join them in their investment to power human connection.
Intimidating. Difficult. Maybe even a little scary. Those words might represent other legal offices, but none come close to describing what it’s like to visit Davis Law. “Businesses can succeed or fail based on whether or not they have good legal advice,” says K. Davis Senseman, who started the firm in 2010. They wanted to make the law easier for small business owners who dared to follow their passions. That’s a tall order in a city like Minneapolis, where officials pile on confusing city regulations on top of county, state, and federal rules. But when entrepreneurs come in burdened by a new worry, Davis and their team ease the load. So much so, in fact, that clients started to ask Davis Law to handle their personal legal needs, too. Davis said yes, and never looked back.
Pollen: How do you find support from peers to stay inspired and motivated?
Davis Senseman: For us, it’s a combination of the clients we work with and the environment we work in. Our clients are constantly doing something interesting, starting something new, or solving a problem.
We’re lucky our clients do inspiring stuff.
We also work out of COCO. The people we consider our colleagues and coworkers are constantly coming up with ideas and conversations that spark something new.
POLLEN: What do you think the secret is to connecting across differences?
People don’t want to go see a lawyer. It’s like going to see a dentist.
It’s not something you’re excited about. The first thing we ask clients to do is share their story—how they got here, where their business is at and what brought them in. We don’t have any sort of intake form, because there will never be a space for everything important that a client wants to tell us. It’s a barrier to learning about that person. We start by having them tell us their story, and then we’ll tell them something about us. That’s how we connect with folks when we don’t have any shared experiences. It starts with having people open up, and letting clients know they can come in and ask us a question about something and we’re not going to charge them every time. That’s a big scare and concern. You can’t know your client’s business unless they’re sharing a lot of what they do with you.
POLLEN: What responsibilities do you feel you have as a business leader in your community?
Davis Senseman: We feel a responsibility to our clients and try hard to let them know about changes in the laws or statutes. They’re busy with the day-to-day running of their business, so we try to keep in touch with them and tell them things they should know. In the broader community, particularly in Minneapolis, it’s tough being a small business and dealing with the city. We’ve advocated on behalf of certain clients with their councilperson, the mayor, or different city departments. It’s our job to fight for them and share stories about small businesses whenever we can. We work with many local entrepreneurs, so we can share the pain points and the things that are tough for small business owners as a whole. Advocating on behalf of our clients also means providing good information without charging an hourly rate. There is no central place for business owners to get information. Lawyers have continuing education credits and bar associations, but that doesn’t happen for business owners.
We act as an information source and I take that pretty seriously.
POLLEN: When times are tough, how do you keep your head on straight?
I can’t express enough how nice it is having other people around.
Between my actual business partners and our colleagues at COCO, that’s where I turn when things get to be too much. Often we can literally just turn around in our chair and say, “Can you believe what happened?” There’s usually someone there who can say, “Yes, I can. I’ve had that, too.” That’s nice.
POLLEN: Why are you a Pollenite?
Davis Senseman: I met Jamie when Pollen used to be at COCO. I was interested in what they did so I signed up for the newsletter.
I appreciate that it feels like Pollen is creating a place and having conversations that no one else is having.
You can tell Pollen’s team puts a lot of thought into their programming. When they announce events, they sell out and have a wait list. This is a needed thing. Our law firm does a lot of education and support with our clients, and I feel like that’s what Pollen provides too. They deal with issues head on and take a stand. I think businesses do better when they do that, because it’s easier to work for something you believe in. I like that Pollen is teaching a whole new wave of people that they can do this, too.