Kirby Miraglia graduated from the University of Arkansas with an undergraduate degree in biology, pre-dental, and earned her law degree from the University of Arkansas of Little Rock Bowen School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2016.
Kirby was recently selected by her peers for inclusion in the Second Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for Public Finance Law. She devotes a significant part of her practice at Wright Lindsey Jennings to serving as counsel to a number of county and municipal governments on a variety of municipal law and finance issues.
Kirby was born and raised in Jacksonville, Arkansas, and still lives there with her husband, Noah, and daughter, Aurora Blake. They live on 20 acres and enjoy being outside and gardening.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
It’s difficult to choose just one – as bond counsel, I love seeing the development and economic growth of the cities, counties and public entities I serve. It has also been such an honor to work with all of the elected officials and build relationships with each of them. I will say getting to serve as bond counsel to my hometown of Jacksonville has been very special. My father was born and raised in Jacksonville, and I still live there. There is just something so gratifying about helping your own community.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life and career?
My parents, Donald and Patrice Griggs, have always been my biggest influences and supporters. My dad was a dentist in Jacksonville and, as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a dentist too. My dad passed before my senior year of college. After I graduated with my degree in biology, pre-dental, I decided I didn’t want to be a dentist without him, and I would find another path, not knowing what that path would be.
I moved home and got a job at the Pulaski County Circuit Clerk’s office while helping my mom with my dad’s estate and selling his practice. I was promoted a few times and was hired on as the case coordinator for Judge Jay Moody and that’s where I found my path. My mom supported my decision to continue my education and has continued to support me and encourage me every step of the way.
My husband has also been a big influence on my life and career. When we married in 2010, I still hadn’t decided what my path was going to be, and when we decided for me to go back to school, he didn’t hesitate to support and encourage me, and let me cry on his shoulder. I worked full-time all through law school, attending the part-time program, graduating in four years. It was difficult on both of us, but he was always right there.
Also, it is amazing the changes in all aspects of your life when you have a child. Aurora Blake has made me want to be stronger and lead by example in all that I do. Noah and I want to raise a strong, independent, thoughtful, kind and compassionate daughter, and I strive to be all of those things in my life and my career.
What experiences most shaped your path as a leader?
Although I am still in the earlier years of my career, I have been afforded the opportunity to step up and take a more active role in my practice. I have to say that having good leaders who lead by example and push you to become a leader yourself have been the experiences that most shaped my path as a leader.
The senior members of the business team at WLJ have always pushed me and encouraged me to take the next step or grow a practice area, especially Bill Spivey. I was just a law clerk at WLJ when Bill took me under his wing (or he just couldn’t shake me) and taught me about public finance, building a practice and being a leader. He still encourages me at every step and is always right there to support me, teach me and guide me as I grow my practice.
Additionally, I am so lucky to be at a firm that supports my growth and development as well. I made a suggestion in 2019 that given the amount of newly elected officials, we should host a municipal finance seminar to provide pertinent information to county officials, city mayors, attorneys, clerks and treasurers on the legal basics of municipal finance, legislative and constitutional authority, types of borrowing, types of bond issues and sources of revenue. The firm, without hesitation and with encouragement, allowed me to put together a successful seminar to help me not only grow my practice but to provide beneficial and timely information to local elected officials free of charge. Unfortunately, we were unable to have a seminar in 2020 and have again cancelled our 2021 seminar due to COVID-19, but we fully expect to start this series back up as soon as we are able.
Tell us the most meaningful piece of career or life advice you have received that you would like to pass on to someone just starting a career.
Ask questions. You don’t know if you don’t ask. This can be, “Where should I start?” “Can you explain your analysis?” “Can you repeat that, please?” “Can I host a municipal finance seminar?” “What are your thoughts on this?” Be thoughtful and deliberate in your questions. You might be surprised by the answer you receive, but you will never be disappointed in what may come out of that question (positive or negative) because it is a way to learn and grow. Ask questions not only for yourself to gain knowledge and learn, but to teach. I have, on a few occasions, received a call from Bill Spivey just checking in on me because I was too far down on his recent calls list, so clearly, I ask too many questions!
How do you like to de-stress after a difficult day/week?
My favorite thing to do is just spend time with my husband, Noah, and our 20-month old daughter, Aurora Blake. We have started gardening, and we love to be outside playing in the garden. It has been so much fun to watch Aurora Blake run outside, pick the fruits and vegetables, and just pop them in her mouth. She smells all the flowers and picks them so she can put them on the table near her highchair. I can’t deny that Noah does most of the heavy lifting, but we have all enjoyed being outside and growing this garden together. When it gets too hot to be outside, Aurora Blake and I love to bake, and I don’t think Noah minds being the taste-tester. Of course, she will always choose to bake a cake, cupcakes, or cookies, but we love to put on our matching aprons, look through kid’s picture cookbooks, and bake something that she picks out.