Keychain Success

By Stacy Ennis: An Interview with Kristel Patton, attorney and partner at Silverman Patton, PLLC

The Importance of Being Self-Disciplined and Intentional

At age 17, Kristel Patton started a job as a file clerk at a local law firm. Her very first day of work, the most senior partner in the firm walked over and handed her a keychain with a single key on it—a key to the office.

She looked at the partner, who she’d never met before that moment, then down at the keychain. It read, “The key to success is self-discipline.”

“I was so shocked. I thought, ‘My goodness, he’s giving me a key to the office on the first day!’” Kristel recalls. “I think the trust they put into me really made me want to excel and do a great job for them.” The principles of self-discipline and trust have been motivators in her life ever since.

As she continued to work for the firm through college, she also learned what it meant to truly care for clients. She joined the lawyers as they visited clients in their homes and nursing facilities, even in their last days.

“They really bent over backwards and wanted to do everything they could to take care of their clients,” Kristel explains. “Their character and integrity played a huge role in how I wanted to practice law.” She adds that her close, loving family also had a lasting impact on how she would later run her legal practice.

Today, as attorney and partner at Silverman Patton, PLLC, in Tempe, Arizona, care, character, and commitment are perhaps the greatest gifts she gives her clients. Her firm specializes in estate planning, trust maintenance planning, probate services, and business planning—all areas that require an attorney who cares deeply about her clients.

At times, Kristel is in heart-wrenching situations, working with clients at the hospital as they prepare to pass.

“Those are very emotional meetings for both the clients and loved ones, and myself in trying to let them know that somebody is there—that we’re going to take care of them, but leave some direction for their family.” She takes care of the financial details so the family can grieve.

Kristel’s care and attention extends beyond the work she does for clients, to her family and community. She’s actively involved in community service, and sees that as an important part of who she is. In fact, she met Brent Patmos, part of The Complete Leader faculty, through their involvement in the Chandler Horizon Rotary Club of Chandler, Arizona. The two immediately connected, and they saw in each other a quality both value: clear thinking.

While running a business and nurturing a young family don’t allow for much “thinking time,” Kristel has found that the simple act of being intentional makes all the difference. 

“In my personal life, it’s tough to be a working mom,” she says, adding that her husband, family, and neighbors are a necessary support. “I try to be intentional with the time I do have with my daughter, try to make memories. … One thing I definitely want her to grow up with is service, giving back to the community, and not feeling she’s just one person who can’t do anything. Yes, we are each one person, one individual—but working with others, we can do a lot.” 

Kristel still has the keychain, a reminder to be self-disciplined and a token of the trust placed on her early in her career. Her law firm is moving to a larger space, and she plans to place the key in a shadow box and hang it on the wall—a symbol to keep her grounded in the core of what she does and who she is: self-disciplined, intentional, caring, and committed.