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Emily A. Poler Is Bringing Legal Clarity to Her Clients. Here’s How.

Emily A. Poler's headshot

Meet Emily A. Poler, Founding Partner of Poler Legal LLC, a legal firm representing clients in commercial disputes involving technology, intellectual property, finance, and art.

After realizing there were no opportunities for upward mobility within the smaller firm where she previously worked, Emily founded her own. Using her often underrated skills of quiet observation to pick up on what others miss, Emily has been able to provide her clients with a unique perspective and successful outcomes. Today, she has paved her own way in the legal field, offering her expertise to those looking for a lawyer who truly cares.

We asked Emily about her work as founding partner, the achievement she’s most proud of thus far, and what she’d share with her younger self if she were to start her journey over.

Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on Poler Legal LLC?

I started my career at two large international firms before going to a litigation boutique. I worked at a smaller firm for a number of years, but at a certain point, I realized that there was no more upward mobility for me. Before founding my own firm in 2017, I spent about a year exploring my next move while continuing to work full time. Ultimately, the decision came down to the fact that I couldn’t see myself working for someone else. 

What problem does Poler Legal LLC solve that differentiates it from other firms in the industry?

My firm provides a place for companies and business owners that really need or want thoughtful legal advice and strategy from an experienced lawyer focused on helping them solve a potentially scary legal issue. My firm is for those who don’t want to pay thousands of dollars an hour for services while being shuffled off to a junior attorney or one who doesn't make their clients’ problems their own.

I work to ensure my clients understand that even though they’re looking for help with a business dispute, there can still be personal and emotional ramifications that also matter. I engage with clients to help them think through these implications, which is something that I think other attorneys often overlook or aren’t comfortable dealing with.  

Not all battles can be won by screaming or a show of “strength.” A lot of the time, by really listening, I can pick up on important details that others might miss.

Have you struggled with self-doubt as an entrepreneur? How do you navigate this?

I’ve absolutely struggled with self-doubt, both as a lawyer and as an entrepreneur. It took me a long time to overcome the voices in my head. There are two things that really helped me. The first is saying to myself, “curiosity, not self-criticism.” I’m not sure where I picked up that expression, but saying it to myself forces me to step back and look at what’s causing the self-doubt and letting it go. The other thing, which is related, is forcing myself to sit with my discomfort. This practice makes me think about the problem I’m facing and why I’m doubting myself. When I do this, I almost always discover that my self-doubt isn’t warranted.  

We dare you to brag. What achievements are you most proud of? 

An adversary unilaterally dismissed its case against my client after I wrote a letter explaining why their claims against my client had no merit. It was a total “David and Goliath” situation. There were three or four attorneys on the other side up against just me.  

Have you discovered any underappreciated leadership traits or misconceptions around leadership?

Quiet and stillness. The prototypical commercial litigator is a white man who pounds on the table and screams at opposing counsel. However, listening to what a client and the other side is saying, or not saying, can be equally important. Not all battles can be won by screaming or a show of “strength.” A lot of the time, by really listening, I can pick up on important details that others might miss. 

What have you learned about building a team and support network around yourself?

What works for other people can be useful models, but ultimately, I’ve had to find what works for me. When I first started, I spent a lot of time thinking that if I just joined this group or attended a certain event my business would take off and everything would be fine. Looking back now, I don’t think the world works like that. Instead, for me, it's been more important to figure out what things I can do consistently, ensure I leave time in my schedule to do so, and remove roadblocks that might interfere with doing those things. Also, finding a business coach who understands my vision and how I want to work has been very important. 

What would you tell your younger self if you were to start your entrepreneurial journey all over again?

First, I’d say to take the leap because it’s worth it. If you’re willing to put in hard work for someone else, why not put in the work for yourself? Second, I’d resist the need for perfection in everything. Sometimes it's just as important to take the first or second step as it is to have everything be perfect. Lastly, when you start out you might just need clients. But as time goes on, it's important to say no to clients who aren’t a good fit. 

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