Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 13, 2015

Putting down roots

Emma Flynn is an attorney with Maucere Law Group and PUSHTOSTART. She and her husband moved to Chattanooga after visiting the city in 2011. - (Photo by David Laprad)

As Emma Flynn and her fiancé at the time, Chuck Flynn, set foot on the south end of Walnut Street Bridge during a spring break road trip in 2011, they talked excitedly about the future. Their plans weren’t small: they’d just paid a deposit on a lease in The Hamptons, and had set a course to become Big Apple attorneys.

By the time they arrived at the other end of the bridge, they’d changed their plans. Instead of moving to New York, they were coming to Chattanooga.

“We felt a certain momentum here,” she says. “There was anticipation in the air, and we wanted to be a part of it.”

Eager to act on their decision, Emma and her husband-to-be quickly moved to Chattanooga and began the process of putting down roots. Although they didn’t have jobs when they arrived, Emma soon found herself working for Maucere Law Group.

“Chuck introduced me to Scott Maucere. Three days before I was scheduled to take the bar, Scott called and asked me if I’d like to interview for a position with his firm,” she says. “That wound up being my only interview because he offered me a job, and I took it. I liked him and the nature of his practice, and I saw that he’d allow me to think and work outside the box.”

Today, Emma is not just an employee of Maucere Law Firm but also part owner with Maucere in a venture that had its beginnings early in his practice: PUSHTOSTART. “Instead of charging corporate clients by the hour, he wanted to charge a flat fee for the year that would include everything a client needs,” she says. “It’s been rewarding because it offers great benefits to our clients.”

Emma offers an example of how PUSHTOSTART can save a client money while delivering the legal services they need: “Say someone is leaving a company, and he thinks he owns the IP to a patent the company published, so he’s planning to take that with him,” she says. “Usually, employers won’t speak with an attorney right away because they don’t want to start getting billed, so they wait until the situation escalates. Our clients are able to take a preventative approach. They call us right away because it’s not costing them anything, they’re just getting their money’s worth.”

Emma frequently receives text message or emails from clients, and is often able to respond as soon as they come in.

Although PUSHTOSTART was designed to work with start-ups, Emma and the other attorneys with the firm are also working with established corporations. This has provided Emma with the things she craves the most: opportunities to be creative.

“We did one of the largest rounds of crowd funding in Georgia history,” she says, “and we’re working for several angel investors as well.”

Emma says the success of PUSHTOSTART is a testament not only to the quality of the legal work its attorneys offer but also to what the pricing method is able to accomplish. “Investors want predictability,” she says, “but one of the most unpredictable aspects of doing business is your legal costs. You could give me a two-page document, and it could take me ten minutes or ten days to go over. That’s frustrating for a client, so our ability to offer an alternative is huge.”

Emma also likes how PUSHTOSTART challenges her as an attorney. With less than two years of practice under her belt, the work she’s doing is continually increasing in complexity. This is teaching her to see where the law is going, and to think about how that will affect her clients.

Beyond that, the energetic and effervescent Emma simply enjoys the non-combative nature of corporate work. “I especially like doing exits,” she says, her perpetual smiling growing wider. “I love handing a big, fat check to a client at the end of the day.”

Although Emma is a transplant, it’s a role to which she’s accustomed. She was born in Israel, then moved with her family to Miami, Fla., when she was old enough to attend high school. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University of Miami in 2006, she worked in the music industry for two years as an assistant tour manager and a production assistant. While she enjoyed being in a creative industry, she saw no future there for herself.

While negotiating recording deals and drafting talent agreements, Emma was introduced to the world of contracts and legal documents. Through that work, she developed a passion for helping people define the boundaries of their relationships. This in turn led her to follow the advice of her parents, who jokingly told her she could be anything she wanted to be as long as it was either a doctor or a lawyer.

Emma earned her law degree at Notre Dame Law School, which is located in South Bend, Ind., home of the worst winters in the state. She and Chuck were on the run from rough weather when they arrived in Chattanooga and set foot on Walnut Street Bridge.

Without reservation, Emma says she’s excited about being in Chattanooga. She enjoys the entrepreneurial vibe in the city, as well as being in a position to help startups get off the ground. “People here are always doing interesting things, and the town attracts people with big ideas,” she says. “I like being someone who gets to help with those things.”

Emma is contributing to her community in more ways than one. With regard to professional associations, she’s an active member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Chattanooga Bar Association. “I really like the bar here. Generally, attorneys get a bad rap, but they love to talk, and they think on their feet,” she says. “I can’t think of a better group of people to hang out with.” 

Emma is also a member of One/Thousand, a global network of innovators. As the ambassador for the Chattanooga chapter, she’ll be traveling to Tel Aviv this month to talk with that city’s chapter about either crowd funding or intellectual property. “It’s a network of calculated risk takers who are willing to push the boundaries of new ideas,” she says. “I enjoy being a part of a group of like-minded people.”

Then there’s her family, which consists of Chuck and their growing network of friends. “We’ve been incredibly fortunate to make a close group of friends who are really like family to us,” she says. “The authenticity of the people here is incredible. I’ve done the big city thing my whole life, but there’s something special about the people here that can’t be replicated.”

Chuck is also an attorney, so the couple makes an effort to spend time together doing things they both like, including Sunday brunches at Chato Brassier. “We live near Publix on the North Shore, so we go to Chato every Sunday,” she says. “It’s one of our favorite places in town.”

Emma and her husband are so certain Chattanooga is home, they’ve purchased and are renovating a home on the North Shore. After a few decades of living in places far-flung from one another, she’s happy to be somewhere to stay. “I’m incredibly excited to be putting down roots,” she says.