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Kelly Bagla, Bagla Law Firm, APC, San Diego. Grabbing Life by the Pearls

PearlsAs Bagla Law Firm, APC celebrates 10 years of success, Founder, Business Lawyer, Best-Selling Author, Entrepreneur  (and Inventor!) Kelly Bagla continues to work tirelessly to help fellow business owners thrive.

“I help entrepreneurs, because I am one,” says Kelly Bagla, Founder of Carlsbad, CA-based Bagla Law Firm, APC. However, she’s quick to note that law is her first love and credits the invaluable experience she received as a young lawyer with laying the strong foundation upon which Bagla Law Firm has been built. “Law truly is my first passion,” she says.
Born and raised in England as the youngest of 7 children, Bagla recalls wanting to be a lawyer even as a child. “I didn’t even really know what a lawyer was, but it’s what I wanted to do,” she says. Her decision to focus on business law, including earning her LL.M., was inspired by watching her father become a business owner after working his way up from an employee on the factory line in a denim factory, to owning the factory.
“I saw him reap the rewards of having worked so hard. I saw him making the lives of his employees better. They loved him, because he was one of them. I definitely got my love of business from my dad. He’s also the person who taught me that if I wanted something, I had to want it from the heart, and I’ve never forgotten that.” With that core conviction in place, Bagla set her sights on business law, and accepted a position with the largest international law firm in the world, Baker Mackenzie. “Working for that firm, and learning from some of the brilliant legal minds, definitely allowed me to not only sharpen my legal skills, but in the process become a top attorney well versed in corporate and securities law. I worked with a wide variety of clients and was constantly exposed to new and exciting businesses. I got to know really inventive people who were always thinking outside of the box.”
After spending her formative years as a young attorney at the powerhouse firm, Bagla decided to also gain experience in working at a small firm. “I next worked for a small IP firm. Whereas I learned how to practice law at the large firm, I learned how to sell, which is crucial for any business owner, at the small firm,” she says. Soon enough though, the latent entrepreneur in her started demanding attention. “I began to see that if I could bring in business for the firm, why couldn’t I do it for myself? I wanted to explore my options.” Thus, in October 2009, Bagla opened Bagla Law Firm, APC. “It was the best decision I have ever made, and I’d do it all over again,” says Bagla.

Pearls of Wisdom

“I knew I wanted to be different from your typical law firm, so I decided to treat my clients as I would want to be treated by any professional. My firm creates more of a partnership with my clients. Although a ‘partnership’ has a legal definition, it is also defined as an essential part of any business that is looking for support. Creating partnerships with my clients and peers is the cornerstone of my practice. Being available for my clients and peers without having them feel as if they are in a financial chokehold is my key to success,” Bagla explains. “I charge a flat fee, so there are no surprises.”
Likewise, Bagla says her loyalty to fellow attorneys has proven a smart business tactic. “My business has thrived because of referrals from attorneys and clients.” In turn, Bagla is equally dedicated to referring business to her peers. “I’m very loyal and once I find a great attorney, I always refer my clients to them for their specific expertise.” Suffice it to say, the strategy is working in her favor, as Bagla’s very first firm client remains a client today, and she’s built a strong network of partnerships with business litigators and IP attorneys. “My law firm has a unique service whereby I help clients with their startup needs, their growth needs, and their plans for exiting the business. Because of my experience, I’m able to apply big firm strategies to small business clients on a flat rate basis. I think outside the box and creatively provide solutions to business problems. Entrepreneurs who want to start their business go through virtually the same struggles that those who came before them went through. I’ve come across every case imaginable as far as entrepreneurs go, and what they need to start a business. So, I focus my talents on them,” she says.
Although Bagla works with business owners in virtually all industries, she has carved a niche in working with real estate investors to protect assets through customized asset protection strategies and planning. Additionally, Bagla is known for helping international clients to create a domestic presence.
“My ultimate goal is to have a positive effect on the statistic of failing companies in America,” Bagla says. “So many businesses fail because they simply aren’t set up right from the start. Entrepreneurs need to have their legal ducks in a row. Consider, for example, that huge corporations often have work they would like to contract out to local businesses. They aren’t going to contract it out to a sole proprietor. Small business owners miss out on so much potential business because they aren’t incorporated, or don’t have proper contracts, or even in some cases don’t have a proper domain or email address. A Qualcomm type of company, for example, isn’t going to hire Jim Jones if he’s got a Gmail account for his business email. Entrepreneurs need to present themselves professionally to get the business they need to survive.”
With a business failure rate of upwards of 80%, Bagla recognized in 2017 that entrepreneurs had limited options for properly setting up their companies, which is vital to long-term success. “They had two options. The first was to use the services of a law firm to create the startup package the right way, but it can be very expensive. The second option was for the entrepreneur to spend hours and hours researching what legal documents they need, and then find an online company to buy the documents because online companies don’t sell start-up packages. They also aren’t law firms, so they can’t give legal advice, which most, if not all entrepreneurs need.” During the process of writing what would ultimately become a bestseller on Amazon, and after successfully inventing a line of plush toys called Eardorables, which she ultimately licensed to Mattel, Bagla realized that she could provide a third option, in an effort to give more businesses the best chance for success.

Why Wear One Strand When You Can Wear Two?

In 2017, Bagla was nearing completion of her book, Go Legal Yourself! (a guide for business owners that explains the four phases of the Business Legal Lifecycle®, and how to set up a business for success from the start), when she realized she had everything she needed to develop a third viable option for entrepreneurs. Through creating an online legal resource company that would allow people to incorporate their business the right way without paying law firm fees, Bagla aimed to assist even more entrepreneurs.
“Typically, the most successful entrepreneurs are those who come from a corporate background. They tend to be well versed in the legalities of business ownership. So, when they launch consulting businesses, for example, they know that everything they’ve worked so hard to earn is at risk when they start a new business. They know to protect those accumulated assets. Unfortunately, first-time entrepreneurs rarely know that they need to protect themselves from such risks,” she says.
“The purpose of GoLegalYourself.com is to help entrepreneurs, period.” Bagla says. “There is only one right way to legally start a business and you need to make sure you start with a solid legal foundation. Unless you use a law firm to help you start your business, you don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to legally protecting your assets. Starting a business is a risky endeavor because you can get sued for anything at any time. GoLegalYourself.com packages have everything legal you will need to start and grow your business the right way.”
While GoLegalYourself.com is a relatively new business, Bagla expects that within five years, GoLegalYourself.com will be the go-to website for people to use to start their own businesses. “It’s exciting. I’ve always had a creative side and I’m putting it into practice by promoting GoLegalYourself.com. It’s my passion to help entrepreneurs succeed, and by providing them with the right legal tools to start their business, I’m helping them lay a solid legal foundation upon which they can build their business,” she says.
Bagla also hosts the Go Legal Yourself! podcast, which is available in 25 countries. “I promote and interview other professionals from different industries who share their success and failure stories. There’s so much you can learn from another’s failure.” The Go Legal Yourself! podcast is available in the app store, and a subscription includes a free e-copy of her book, Go Legal Yourself!.
Although Bagla is passionate about helping all entrepreneurs to establish legally solid businesses, she says that helping military servicemembers and veterans start their own businesses is particularly rewarding. She chooses to honor their service by offering discounted legal services rates and volunteers her time to speak to various Veteran groups including Vetrepreneur and Veterans in Business. Bagla is also a monthly contributor to both San Diego Veterans Magazine and Homeland Magazine.

The World Is Her Oyster

With her signature pearls, vivacious personality, successful law firm, and two best-selling books to her credit (her second Photographersbook, Go Own Yourself was released in 2018 and is also already a bestseller on Amazon) it’s no surprise that Bagla has become a sought after speaker for a variety of conferences and seminars. She’s spoken to audiences at Startup Grind powered by Google, Veterans in Business Network, the San Diego Educational Forum for Business Owners, SCORE San Diego, and others.
She’s also been repeatedly recognized for her success, and her efforts to help others. She was named a Business Woman of the Year by the San Diego Business Journal in 2018. She was also named the “Powerful Women Entrepreneur” of the year at the 2017 DREAMS Inspiration awards. She’s been featured on all of the local news outlets, along with appearances on national news programs. She was also affectionately given the nickname of “Queen of Business Law®” by a client, and the moniker has stuck.
So, with opportunities galore at her fingertips, a thriving law firm, and a growing online legal resource company, what does Bagla intend to do now? “Being a lawyer is a fulltime job. Being partners with my clients is a fulltime job. I am accessible and available, but I’m definitely busy. My goal for the future is to continue working towards living a balanced life.”
Continuing she says, “I love traveling, I am a bit of a gym rat—I won the title ‘Ms. Southern California’ and hold a professional bodybuilding card)—I love reading biographies, and I’m dedicated to my husband Brent Waters, and our four dogs, the loves of my life. But for me, a balanced life will always include working hard. Yet working hard just for the sake of having a nice life isn’t my motivation. I have a nice life.”
“I’m going to continuing working hard, because I’m a go-getter, and my parents taught me to believe in myself. I also inherited my mother’s stubbornness, so I tend to set my mind to something and give it everything I have. One of those goals for the future is to open a non-profit animal sanctuary for abandoned and senior dogs called The 4 Paws Resort,” she explains. “There’s nothing more rewarding than caring for and receiving a dog’s love.”
For now, though, Bagla is taking a moment to enjoy the success she’s created in San Diego, her home for the last 17 years. “It’s been an honor and a pleasure to celebrate my thriving firm over the last 10 years. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years have in store.”

» EDUCATION

  • WHITTIER LAW SCHOOL (COSTA MESA, CA) Master of Laws (LLM-Hons) 2003
  • UNIVERSITY OF WALES (SWANSEA, U.K.) Bachelor of Laws with Honors (LLB-Hons) 1999
  • CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY (HAYWARD, CA) Bachelor of Science (BS) 1996

» ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Founder of Go Legal Yourself LLC
  • Inventor of Eardorables (featured on The Toy Box and made by Mattel)
  • Producer and host of Go Legal Yourself Podcast
  • Author of bestselling book on Amazon Go Legal Yourself
  • Author of Go Own Yourself

» FEATURED IN

  • Inventors Digest
  • Dreams, Los Angeles Luxury Lifestyle Magazine
  • The Growth Formula: How Industry Leaders Overcome Fear, Debt & Financial Challenges
  • California Business Journal
  • SD Voyager
  • Starcentral – Entertainment Magazine for the everyday A-List
  • Monthly contributor in Homeland Magazine
  • Monthly contributor in San Diego Veterans Magazine
  • The American Dream TV
  • Business Women of the Year Awards 2018 by San Diego Business Journal
  • Marquis Who's Who – Top Lawyer
  • Channel 10
  • Fox
  • KUSI News
  • The Telegraph
  • U-T San Diego
  • The C W
  • Daily News Los Angeles
  • Wall-Street.com
  • The Tribuen

Contact
Kelly Bagla, Esq.
5857 Owens Ave, Suite 300
Carlsbad, CA 92008
760-784-9109
kelly@baglalaw.com
www.baglalaw.com

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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About the Author: Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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