Founder and CEO, the Royal Law Firm
Amy Royal is in pretty much the same place she was last year at this time … well, at least when it comes to BusinessWest’s Alumni Achievement Award competition.
Indeed, her scores from a different panel of judges have again made her a finalist for the coveted honor, which is why she is now clearing her schedule for the third Thursday in June to enable her to be at the Log Cabin to see if it is her name being announced as the AAA winner for 2023.
But in many other respects, Royal is in a different place — literally and figuratively.
She is now living in Eastern New York, where she is hard at work opening the newest office for the law firm she started in 2008 (and which earned her 40 Under Forty honors the following year), now known as the Royal Law Firm. That new office is in Albany, the state’s capital, giving the firm a presence now in the Empire State and most of New England.
“I’ve been working really hard to expand our footprint here,” she said from New York, “and obviously continue to build in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire…”
As for the Massachusetts office, it is located in the historic Alexander House, just a few hundred feet down Elliot Street in Springfield from the federal courthouse. For Royal, acquisition and subsequent renovation of the stately mansion has become a passion, one we’ll get back to later.
For now, know that this new home for the Springfield office, and Royal’s affection for it, is enough to prompt her to commute from just outside Albany to Springfield several days a week; travel time is about an hour, she said, just a little longer than it took her to get to Springfield from from her former residence in Deerfield.
Getting back to that notion of Royal being back where she was this same time last year, she is — and then again, she isn’t.
Which helps explain why she is again a finalist for the AAA award.
Indeed, many of the same accomplishments that impressed the judges in 2022 impressed them again this year. These include her ongoing work to grow the firm, take it to new markets, and add to an already-impressive client list that includes Google, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Macy’s, Panasonic of North America, and KeyBank.
“For our clients that are national and international corporations, having a presence in the state of New York is huge to them. It’s an important piece to our continued growth; we had most of the New England states covered, and this was the next logical step.”
The latest expansion effort, as noted, is in Eastern New York, a new office that Royal believes will open some doors for the firm, which once focused exclusively on representing employers in labor and employment-law matters, but in recent years has pushed into other areas of the law, especially the broad realm of commercial litigation.
“For our clients that are national and international corporations, having a presence in the state of New York is huge to them,” she explained. “It’s an important piece to our continued growth; we had most of the New England states covered, and this was the next logical step.”
Royal said she is closing on some real estate for the New York office while also recruiting lawyers to staff it, work that has become increasingly challenging given the ongoing workforce crisis that has touched seemingly every sector of the economy, including the legal community.
Beyond the law firm, Royal has always been entrepreneurial, and that trend continues as well. In New York, she and a partner are closing on an ambitious project that will bring an indoor sports facility and childcare center together in one complex.
Meanwhile, what has also impressed the judges, last year and again this year, is her work in the community, which includes a long track record of service to the Center for Human Development, which recently marked its 50th anniversary; she is currently board president. She is also heavily involved with the Springfield Ballers, a nonprofit that provides opportunities for young people to take part in sports and which won its own honor from BusinessWest this year — the Difference Makers award. Royal is an active board member with the agency, and in the past has served as a coach.
But since being named a finalist last year, Royal has continued to build on this track record of involvement — in Western Mass., and now in New York as well. Locally, she has played a lead role in the creation of another nonprofit agency focused on young people and sports. It’s called Northeast Revolt, and it will feature multiple basketball teams that will involve young people, girls and boys, in grades 3 through high school, in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.
As for the Alexander House, the Royal Law Firm has settled in there, but renovation work continues, she said, adding that the work has become a labor of love.
Interior renovations are essentially complete, she said, adding that work there has included rewiring; installing central air; remodeling of bathrooms, the kitchen, and office spaces; and much more.
Now, the focus shifts to the exterior and work on the historic pillars, painting the building, and restoration of the fence surrounding the property.
“We’re giving a facelift to the entire building,” Royal said, adding that the work on Elliott Street mirrors what she is doing with the law firm — and youth sports, for that matter — in many respects; she’s setting the stage for decades of growth and continued success.
And that’s why, at least when it comes to the Alumni Achievement Award, she is in the same, good place she was last year.