Shalondra Grandberry Pickford is the founding attorney and owner of Pickford Law. Her practice focuses on Social Security disability, Veterans’ disability and Car and Trucking accidents.
Prior to founding Pickford Law, Shalondra worked as an Associate Attorney at Memphis’ most prominent Social Security disability firm. She later joined a personal injury firm where she oversaw the Social Security practice area and handled personal injury claims until hanging out her own shingle in March 2017. Prior to beginning her career in the law, Shalondra previously worked for the Social Security Administration as a claims representative for both programs, Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You can feel assured that she will do everything within her legal means to help you or your loved one get approved for Social Security disability benefits.
Attorney Pickford is licensed to practice in the States of Tennessee and Arkansas. Additionally, Shalondra is a mother and wife. She enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Give us a little background about yourself?
I am from Memphis, Tennessee. I have a small family. My father passed when I was 17 years old. I have a brother who lives in Vermont and his wife is Japanese. Its just me, my husband, mother and my kids here in Memphis.
How long have you had your law firm for?
I started my law firm in 2017, so it’s been almost five years to date. Year five is an amazing year in business. When I first started, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I always thought that I would be doing corporate law for a major corporation like FedEx or even a hospital, but here I am with my own firm and its really growing.
Amazing! Take us back to 2017, we would love to know what made you make the choice of going on your own instead of working for someone?
I was working for a personal injury law firm, and the managing partner and I did not see eye to eye. He terminated my employment with the firm but gave me some clients. My husband is an entrepreneur and I found myself with this book of businesses form the firm so I decided to just go for it although I was very hesitant at first.
Did you think that you have always been an entrepreneur at heart or did this position just make you one?
I don’t think it was in my blood, I was just put in a position and I just thrived as I have always done. I come from working parents, so there wasn’t anyone to show that entrepreneurship truly was. It was a scary experience and I was really asking myself the question as to how I was going to earn money because when you have a job you have guaranteed income which is the complete opposite when it comes to owing your won business. You are actually the last one to get paid and that’s if you generate any money at all.
Looking back at these wonderful five years, what’s something you would tell other woman who are or will find themselves in your position back in 2017?
I would say find someone who is in that position you’re looking to be in. It is very important to find mentors to help you navigate through all the uncertainties and help you avoid mistakes that can cost you your business or even just stress. So having someone you can talk to and ask questions, even shadow them to see what they do.
When I started my practice, I knew how to practice law, but I didn’t know how to manage my business. I tried googling for books that could potentially help me and to my great surprise, I found absolutely nothing. I did run across a couple of programs that I researched and actually joined the organization called how to manage a small law firm. This organisation, was instrumental in my growth. So I would want these woman to remember that aligning yourself with people who want the same things as you, or who are in the same situation and making it will be the difference will determine your level of success.
It is so imperative to have another person hold you accountable and who pushes you just as hard as you push yourself. It keeps me so grounded and keeps my sane at the same time. I listen to a lot of podcasts that talk about mindset. Mindset is everything. With the right mindset you can accomplish anything and more importantly withstand anything. That is the reason why I meditate in the mornings and read inspirational quotes and make sure to keep myself straight and narrow because this life is one big marathon. I would wake up and I would make a to do list with 50 things on it. Today, my list consists of three things that must be in a given week. I got to a point where things began to overwhelm me. It’s all a work in progress, and I’m getting to the point where I can breathe and manage work life balance and also be a wife and mother.
What would you say is one of the biggest challenges you had to overcome so far?
My mindset has been definitely my biggest challenge. I have always tried to make things be perfect and always striving for that but in reality all that anyone really needs is to get started and not find perfection. When I was laid off, my whole world came crashing down, but instead of letting that get to me, I decided that I was going to take life into my own hands and just went for it. Today, with the proper mindset, I know that when I put in the work, the results follow.
What would be a piece of advice you would give your younger self, looking back at all that you have achieved?
Always keep your mind properly conditioned because that’s the biggest muscle the strongest muscle in your body. You always have to remind yourself that everything is going to be ok, regardless of all the obstacles that you are faced with, you’re going to do well, just conditioning your mind to be stable and always remind yourself that you are enough and you make anything happen. Furthermore, you never have to depend on anyone. And when I say depend on anybody, meaning you don’t have to wait and have people tell you that you cana achieve something. Put in the hard work and go get your dreams.
How do you manage expectations with clients?
Transparency is the key. I am always upfront with them and explain to them the nature of the case, the possible outcomes and never give them more hope that what is truly possible. I laws keep them informed so that they can better understand where we are with each case and not to have unnecessary stress burden them.
What is your five to ten year plan for the firm?
I never thought that I would love running a business as much as I do. My plan for the future is to have a team of attorneys, which will just allow me to actually run my business. I do have a business coach, and we set financial goals yearly, we exceeded our goal this year. The goal for 2022, is to exceed that goal and just to continuously grow, and just add value to our clients lives. I want to continue to add value to my clients lives and to everyone around me, I want to see everybody grow and become who they are destined to be.
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