Women at Work

The Denton Law Real Estate Team is Fearless, Futuristic, and All Female

In a suite of offices above Paducah Bank’s downtown location, six women sit around a conference room table immersed in conversation. They’ve taken a quick break from digging through piles of paperwork to discuss life as an all-female real estate team at Denton Law Firm, PLLC.

“There have been time periods where there were males in the department,” Melanie Carter remarks at one point. “They just couldn’t hang,” JoAnn King jokes, and the room erupts in laughter.

The women chatting at this table might be a small group with friendly, open demeanors, but they play a large role in shaping Paducah. Comprised of lawyers and paralegals, the team works each day to ensure that clients obtain good and marketable titles to the properties they purchase. This group of real estate professionals works diligently to close deals that directly affect the residential and commercial makeup of counties throughout western Kentucky.

Partner Lisa Emmons heads the team and has practiced real estate law at the firm for more than 30 years. She says various lawyers and paralegals have passed in and out of the Denton real estate ranks for the past three decades, and most of them, coincidentally, have been female.

At the moment, Emmons’ team consists of:

ANN MYRE, attorney, and legal counsel to the 1st District Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for 29 yearsAnn Myre

MELANIE CARTER, commercial real estate paralegalMelanie Carter

KIM WALLACE, real estate legal assistant and title examinerKim Wallace

JOANN KING, senior residential real estate paralegalJoAnn King

LYNN MCNICHOLS, residential real estate paralegalLynn McNichols

Together, these women provide comprehensive real estate services to developers, businesses, and homeowners. “We’re kind of a one-stop-shop for land owners, lenders, and developers. And we have fun doing it,” Myre explains.

Lisa Emmons and her team have completed more than 25,000 transactions in the past 36 years. They have handled tasks ranging from residential and commercial closings to bond financing to economic development to infrastructure development, and their work determines the placement of businesses and homes in the area.

“I am very pro-business and pro-economic development,” Emmons says. “I am very proud of the services we provide which have resulted in new jobs and opportunities. I’m very proud that we have an opportunity to contribute. I’d like to see the region grow.”

But while the practice has been successful, the women of Denton Law have still encountered difficulty in the real estate game. It’s the kind of difficulty most women face by simply working in male-dominated fields.

At the conference table, Myre and Emmons trade memories of their first years practicing law and fighting stereotypes. Myre recalls how strange it felt 30 years ago to walk into courtrooms so dominated by men. And, Emmons remembers that many first-time clients mistook her for a secretary and asked to speak to her boss.

But now, Myre, Emmons, and the other women believe their gender actually helps their work. They remember former male colleagues with affection, but they say sometimes, communication just seems easier among women.

“The females just understand each other better,” Melanie Carter says. “I’ve got a file and it’s really time sensitive and I need it out, I can go in and say, ‘I need this now,’ and you often get a better response when it’s female to female.”

That productive partnership has created significant changes in the local community. Emmons helped McCracken County amend a zoning ordinance so a distillery could open outside Paducah city limits. Denton Law has also negotiated leases for Paducah Economic Development, assisted with the city’s Fountain Avenue revitalization project, and worked with Paducah on its downtown infield projects, such as the Smedley Yeiser building.

The team also enjoys that same easy communication with Denton Law’s downstairs neighbors at Paducah Bank. The two businesses have partnered for years to complete loans and closings and have honed a system that produces results. They’ve created a sense of mutual trust that only comes from years of collaboration.