From tattoo artist to attorney, Kelly Grossman, 34, is a shining example of going where life takes you.
“It’s funny. I’ve always told my friends I’m just going to fall into whatever I end up doing. I believe in networking and making connections so when people hear of an opportunity, they think of you. And that’s kind of what happened to me,” she said of landing an opportunity to open a law office in Nevada.
Grossman was dropping off some bar prep flashcards to the Assistant Dean of Students at Drake, where she earned her law degree, when the Assistant Dean told her about an opportunity in Nevada.
John Hall, Executive Director of the Nevada Economic Development Council, was in search of attorneys, and it might be a good fit for Grossman, who lived in Story County near Maxwell. “I had coffee with John,” she said, and they talked about the possibilities for attorneys in Nevada.
While Grossman had thought about having her own firm down the road, it became clear her long-range dream might be a possibility right now. “The more we got to talking, the more excited I got, and I was like, ‘Yes, let’s do this!'”
Maple Grove Law, PLC – she named her firm in honor of her grandmother, an artist who had a studio with the Maple Grove name – is now taking clients. Grossman’s office is located at 616 J Ave.
How her story unfolded
Grossman’s road to becoming an attorney is interesting.
Originally from Green Mountain, Iowa, and a 2005 graduate of GMG (Green Mountain-Garwin) High School, she headed to AIB in Des Moines to get her associate’s degree.
Before finishing, she left AIB for a year. “I just kind of floated around. I tried my hand at being a tattoo artist. I was a rebel without a clue,” she said.
Grossman remembers talking to her dad at the time. She told him she didn’t know what she wanted to do. He encouraged her to head back to AIB and finish her associate’s degree.
“So, I went back and got my degree in accounting and financial services.” She then landed a job she loved at Willis Automotive in Des Moines. Not only was that the place she met her husband, Matt, a shop foreman at Willis, but it’s also the place where she worked her way up and had a
great boss and mentor. “She (her boss) encouraged me to go back to school and get my bachelor’s degree in accounting.” Grossman hit the books at Iowa State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in the winter of 2016.
During her last semester at ISU, she had what she calls her “Elle Woods moment” (Legally Blonde fans will understand). “I said, I think I’ll go to law school.”
The thing she loved most about accounting was helping people, “but in accounting that helpfulness is limited. So, I did a little research and found that you could go to law school with any four-year degree. I was like, ‘Let’s do this!'” She earned her law degree from Drake in the fall of 2019.
She thought she’d focus on taxes as an attorney but admits she’s also a fan of true crime. “So, I started to do criminal law, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
At Drake, her class got to witness a homicide case. She found the case interesting but struggled when looking at gruesome crime photos. “My criminal law will probably be limited to misdemeanors and aggravated assault,” she said.
She got great experience clerking with Attorney Michael Carroll, who does a lot of civil work, and she had Attorney Bobby Rehkemper as a mentor. Rehkemper does a lot of OWI work, she said. She also got to work with him on a “revenge porn” case, which she found very interesting.
Rehkemper is excited about Grossman opening her own office in rural Iowa. Grossman and Rehkemper plan to work together, using her office as a pilot project for helping young attorneys start practices in rural Iowa. “We want to have a retirement plan for outgoing attorneys and a business plan for incoming attorneys,” she said. They believe the program they develop can address Iowa’s growing shortage of attorneys in the rural areas as established attorneys head into retirement.
Excited about Nevada
When asked what she thinks of Nevada, Grossman said “nice”
isn’t a strong enough adjective for describing this community.
“People here are genuine. Everyone just wants everybody to succeed and to go for that dream,” she said.
From the day she met with Hall and Main Street Nevada Director Henry Corbin to go for a historical tour, she’s been sold. Her office space is in an office owned by longtime Nevada Attorney Don Juhl, and “oh my gosh, Don just welcomed me with open arms… It was a great connection to make.”
In talking with Mayor Brett Barker, she said he shared the quote, “If your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough.” Grossman said it clicked; it perfectly described her life and told her she’s in the right place.
“This town is not just talk, there is momentum and action and plans for projects. Everyone wants to see this community grow and flourish. It’s such a breath of fresh air.”
Grossman also loves the little community where she now lives, Maxwell. She and her husband have lived on the outskirts of town for a while now. They moved there because they found the perfect property and home for what they love. “I like to say we have a hobby farm, but really it’s my husband who does all the hard work. I just sit back and enjoy the animals.”
Their home will be a great place to raise a family, which started a year ago with their daughter, Scarlett Bird Grossman.
Her office space doesn’t have a lot in it yet. Her signage for the door will come soon to replace the temporary typed sign taped to it now. But she’s taking clients and has also been added to the court-appointed attorney list for Story County.
“I really want to give back to a community that has already been so amazing and supportive to me,” she said. “My plan is to not be too choosy with my cases, but to be sure I take on what I can to still provide quality representation. I want to be able to serve my clients right.”
To contact Kelly Grossman at Maple Grove Law, PLC, call 515-316-6165.
–Written by Marlys Barker, City of Nevada