Travis Krepelka (left) with Bob Hoover and James Hoover
We talked to Travis Krepelka of Hoover Krepelka LLP about family law and the impact of COVID-19.
Tell us about you and your career.
Travis Krepelka: I’ve been practicing nothing but family law, and loving it, for my whole legal career – 15 years thus far, and I intend to do it all the way through – working together with James Hoover all of those years, and over the last 8 years partnering together to build what we believe is the largest firm in California devoted 100% exclusively to family law, delivering a concierge legal services experience to our clients.
How does Hoover Krepelka LLP innovate?
Travis Krepelka: There are several important things we do, from our technology to our personnel. But the thing that stands out for me, ironically, feels like innovation through retro-vation. We want to deliver a concierge experience. We promise responsiveness, and it’s frequently almost instantaneous. This is unheard of lawyers, and a lot of our business comes from cases we take over mid-stream after our clients have worked with another lawyer or lawyers for a while. Our responsiveness, our commitment to taking the time to communicate with and educate our clients, I believe, really sets us apart.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping?
Travis Krepelka: People are scared and stressed, from the pandemic itself, and the corresponding effects on businesses, jobs, housing, mental and physical health, and more – the collateral damage of the shelter-in-place orders. On the one hand, that has helped our business survive from a customer-generation standpoint – meaning, people are still getting divorced – but it also means that an already stressful time (divorce) becomes part of a year full of stress that can drive people over the top. This affects not just our clients, but our great employees. Practicing law, particularly in an emotionally fraught arena like family law, is not wisely done alone. It’s important to have great colleagues to work with, share some laughs with, and decompress with after a long day, long week, long trial. So keeping us all together, all positive, which helps everyone stay unified on the client-first goal, has been tough.
What are the pandemic era lessons learned?
Travis Krepelka: There’s no such thing as too prepared. In the 3 years leading up to the shutdowns and remote work, we’d committed to moving our huge operation entirely paperless, and we’d just accomplished it. So I’m proud to say we were able to shift to a remote workforce while still meeting clients’ needs and moving matters forward, much more smoothly than many of our competitors. We didn’t know we were preparing for a pandemic, but it was tremendously helpful to have been prepared. I mean, save-the-business level of helpful. A big lesson for me is when you see a project that you can do to improve your business’s efficiency, procedures, etc., however daunting, do it! You never know what storm it’s preparing you to weather.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, and how do you project yourself and Hoover Krepelka LLP in the future?
Travis Krepelka: Practicing law, and family law, in particular, is certainly anxiety- and stress-filled profession. I think there are a few key things. Exercise. Compartmentalize. Thicken your skin. And laugh – like in so many high-stress jobs, a grim sense of humor among your colleagues is very helpful.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Travis Krepelka: A handful of local firms are larger than average, and that are devoted entirely or almost-entirely to family law. Those are our most direct competitors in the classic business sense, although the reality is we always welcome one of those attorneys or offices as opposed to a case. We learn from our competitors, and they make us better lawyers and better advocates for our clients. We hope we do the same for them.
Your final thoughts?
Travis Krepelka: Uncertain times, I think, drive people to cling to the things that are more certain, more reliable, in their lives. If people are working with us, they’re in the process of transitioning out of what for many people is that most certain thing – their family, their spouse. Add that to every other thing people have had to deal with this year, and it’s hard to imagine what so many people are experiencing. We can’t solve 2020, but we can present an anchor of certainty for our clients within the realm that we control. Somewhere they can still turn that will be on time, quickly responsive, and give them answers. The answers aren’t always rosy, but I think people understand that. I think people when faced with the tremendous stresses and challenges life can throw at them, value an honest, thoughtful answer from an expert source, and we deliver that for our clients.
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