40 Under 40 Class of 2009

Amy Royal

Amy Royal

Age 33: Attorney; Partner and Co-founder of Royal & Munnings, LLC

Amy Royal says it has long been her dream to start her own law firm — not a practice, but an actual firm with several lawyers.

When she finally took that bold step last fall with friend and now-partner Amy Griffin Munnings, she did so with nearly equal doses of confidence and trepidation.

“I had a good, secure job,” she said, referring to her work as an associate for the Springfield-based firm Skoler Abbott & Presser. “I was a wife and mother with two young children; I was afraid, especially given the state of the economy.”

Six months into her new venture, which now boasts five lawyers, Royal’s fears have generally subsided. The economy is still quite shaky, but she has a solid client base, capped by East Longmeadow-based Lenox, and a steady flow of work in her specialty — employment-law work on behalf of corporate clients — due in large part to the economic downturn.

“My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner,” she told BusinessWest in reference to her entrepreneurial gambit, noting that she and Griffin-Munnings are making great strides in the creation of what she considers a rather unique niche in business law — specializing in assistance to women- and minority-owned businesses.

In fact, the partners recently won a contract with the city of Springfield to provide certain services to minority- and women-owned ventures, including legal assistance with obtaining state and federal certification.

A product of what she called girls’ and women’s education — she graduated from Springfield’s MacDuffie School and Smith College in Northampton — Royal said that background has helped her in many ways, and also made her more sensitive to the needs of women in both society and business.

Active in the community, Royal is a trustee of the MacDuffie School, a board member with the Center for Human Development, and former board member of Child & Family Service of Pioneer Valley.

—George O’Brien