A number of Land Lawyers employees grew up in Pittsburgh, and legal assistant Kim Follin happens to be one of them. If it wasn’t for a childhood friend, another Pittsburgh transplant, who suggested she might be happier working for a group of great land use attorneys and planners, Kim might still be working for the FBI.
Kim moved to Northern Virginia when she was 18 to work in the human resources department at the FBI, a job she describes as “so not exciting.” If it hadn’t been for the urging of a close childhood friend to apply for an admin assistant job with The Land Lawyers, Kim’s knack for putting together exemplary land use application packages and affidavits might have never been discovered.
Kim earned both associate and bachelor’s degrees in business and, although she holds an advanced degree in elementary education, she wouldn’t trade her years working alongside Senior Land Use Planner Elizabeth Baker for a classroom. Someday, after she retires, maybe. For today, Kim is content to be a Power Lunch reading mentor with Everybody Wins! DC and a legal assistant who is fervent and fastidious when it comes to preparing land use application packages, affidavits, disclosures, and legal notices.
And that’s not all.
The Land Lawyers: What is your role with the firm?
Kim Follin: My role is an important and integral aspect of the applications that are filed on behalf of our clients. Fairfax County is very strict in its requirements pertaining to affidavits, proffer signature authority proof, and legal notices. Alexandria and Arlington have strict legal notice requirements and disclosure requirements. All have very specific deadlines. Any one of these not done on time, or with an error, could result in an application being deferred. I strive to never let this happen. If I do my job well, and virtually seamlessly, that means the attorneys and planners I work with do not have to worry about these requirements and can concentrate their efforts on the important aspects of working with the County staff on other parts of the application process and approval. I’ve been doing this for 18 years and it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. I know all the pieces of the puzzle and how to put them together.
TLL: What do you enjoy most about being a legal assistant with The Land Lawyers?
KF: My job keeps me on my toes because I am always working ahead of deadlines. Each successful zoning application makes my job that much more rewarding. I really enjoy what I do and I enjoy the people I work with, especially our clients, other consultants, and the County and City staff.
TLL: You are busy from the time you arrive at work until the time you leave. So, tell us, what do you like to do in your spare time?
KF: I have always loved working with kids, which is one reason I pursued a Masters in education. Being part of the Power Lunch reading mentor program and seeing my mentee improve her skills every week, and that smile when she really comprehends what she is reading, is priceless. I’m also a huge Nationals fan, perhaps even more so than my husband. Nothing beats watching the Nats pull off a “Curly W.” I like to bike into work but don’t do it often enough. I do take spin classes with an instructor who plays great music and knows how to motivate the class. My husband and I really enjoy taking long walks with our dogs. They are part of our family and we have actually met many new friends walking them. Another thing we really love to do is go to concerts. We’ve taken the Rock Legends Cruise three times and are already booked on next year’s cruise! On this past year’s cruise we saw 22 shows in four days—it was incredibly fun!
TLL: What is your favorite band?
KF: There’s no way I can name one. I love Foreigner, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Eagles, Heart, Adele, Maroon 5, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Cher, the Legwarmers, Garth Brooks, Devon Allman, and of course the Rolling Stones! I do have a favorite song: “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves.
TLL: Are you going to any concerts this summer?
KF: We just saw Harry Connick, Jr., and the Dixie Chicks and plan to see Paul McCartney, Pat Benatar, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and the Zac Brown Band. Earlier this year we saw Bruce Springsteen and Garth Brooks.
TLL: Is there any place in the world or universe you most like to visit?
KF: Last year I went to Paris and just loved it—the city, its history, the culture, and the people. There is no other place like it in the world and I would love to go back again someday.
TLL: Do you have a hero or heroine?
KF: My heroine is my friend and former mentor Joni. She is an amazing individual who taught me to work hard, be precise, always care, and smile often. She encouraged me to get my college degree and I returned the favor a few years back when I tutored her in chemistry. She was in her 70s then, and she passed the class!
TLL: What’s your favorite meal?
KF: Chicken fajitas and swirls at Uncle Julio’s.
TLL: Why do you think Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh is a great place to work?
KF: No two days are exactly alike and no two zonings applications are identical, so I’m always challenged. The people who work here are smart, articulate, hardworking, good at what they do, and have cool personalities. The land use process is ever evolving and The Land Lawyers not only make a difference at work but in the communities where they live with their participation in many charitable causes. They truly care about what they do and the people who work for them, and it shows. Many of my colleagues have been here as long as I have, and some a lot longer.
TLL: Thank you, Kim!