Investor Spotlight: Q&A with Heather Burgess of Phillips Burgess Law
Richard Phillips, Jr.
Trevor A. Zandell
Thurston EDC: How long have you been in business?
Heather Burgess: We started Phillips Burgess in December 2011.
Thurston EDC: What is your product and who is your customer?
Heather Burgess: Our law firm currently has ten attorneys working out of two offices, Olympia and Tacoma. We focus our practice on real estate, land use, environmental, and business law. Our typical clients are property owners, developers, real estate investors, and businesses of different shapes and sizes. We also have a limited municipal practice, and serve as General Counsel to the Ports of Olympia and Centralia as well as other smaller special purpose districts in Western Washington.
Thurston EDC: What inspired you – or the founders – to start your business?
Heather Burgess: My co-founding partner (Richard “Mick” Phillips) and I wanted to create a boutique law firm with a focused practice which emphasized collaboration and teamwork across disciplines to achieve the best results for our clients. We also wanted to create a great place to work and practice law.
Thurston EDC: What inspires your work and sets you apart from the competition?
Heather Burgess: I am inspired by being able to see the concrete and lasting result of my work through the development of truly transformative projects in our community, such as the Views on Fifth in downtown Olympia. Our firm is set apart in terms of its scope and focus, as well through our statewide work and practice connections.
Thurston EDC: What has been your biggest success to date?
Heather Burgess: Being able to grow and develop our team into what it is today.
Thurston EDC: What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Heather Burgess: We have been in a challenging hiring market for experienced attorneys and staff in our practice areas since we started. That remains a challenge.
Thurston EDC: What does your typical workday look like?
Heather Burgess: My typical workday is spent in one of our offices and finishes with an evening meeting or event more days than not.
Thurston EDC: What is your best advice for someone who is an aspiring entrepreneur?
Heather Burgess: Do it! Accept risk and take the plunge. There’s nothing else like it.
Thurston EDC: Do you have a business or personal mantra or inspirational quote you’d like to share?
Heather Burgess: I’m a big fan generally of Winston Churchill. One of my favorites is,
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Do it! Accept risk and take the plunge. There’s nothing else like it.