Alicia Kapolis Navigates the Challenges and Her Career
It’s an understatement that life has been altered as we deal with a pandemic. Imagine, though, that you’re just months away from finishing a grueling couple years in law school. Classes go virtual. The bar exam still waits to spring forward in a new career. And the prospects for landing a job may seem daunting.
Challenging, you bet, but Alicia Kapolis took it all in stride and continues to do so. Challenge accepted and thanks in many ways to her support from CREW-St. Louis.
Her journey started after she graduated from Florida State University in 2017 with a major in criminology and minor in political science. A lifelong resident of the Orlando, Florida area, she didn’t know St. Louis but found it when she visited her boyfriend. And she fell in love with the area and moved here in 2018 to pursue her law degree at Saint Louis University.
“I knew I didn’t want to live in Florida, and I found St. Louis had so much to offer. There’s so much to see and do here,” she says. That includes exploring the local dining and entertainment scene, at least before the region shut down to flatten COVID-19’s curve. Bogart’s in Soulard remains a favorite. She also enjoys exploring the region’s many parks with Koda, her Black Labrador/Weimaraner mix.
A real go-getter, she took an internship with a local law firm while in school. Good experience but Alicia wasn’t enamored with the firm’s focus on divorce and family law.
She eventually found another internship position with First American Title in the summer of 2019. Call it serendipity as she discovered the commercial real estate industry.
“Learning about title insurance intrigued me. The deals you work on open you to seeing commercial real estate from every aspect. There’s a change of pace. It’s always a different problem with a different solution. I never wanted to sit at a desk and push the same buttons. I fell in love with the industry,” she says.
Her internship opened another door as well. Colleagues at First American Title introduced her to CREW-St. Louis. Her first event was a panel discussion and tour of Laclede’s Landing last June.
She was impressed with the vision that the business owners and developers had for the historic area. Besides hearing about their vision, Alicia saw it firsthand during the tour.
“You actually saw the progress by taking us through what was going on down on the ground. You don’t see this until you get inside.”
She was hooked on CREW-St. Louis and became a member. Alicia calls her membership invaluable.
“It brings so much value to newcomers to the industry. It’s such a diverse group of professionals who are very inclusive. The broad disciplines allow you to see the bigger picture involved in commercial real estate. A newcomer can find the resources and knowledge to overcome any uncertainties or to address problems with solutions. This drew me into joining the group. It’s not the same as joining an organization of all lawyers. You get a full perspective,” she says.
Additionally, she has other CREW-St. Louis colleagues to mentor her at First American Title. This includes Dawn Humphreys, Underwriting Counsel in the title insurance company’s St. Louis office.
“Dawn really drew me into joining CREW-St. Louis and finding a place in the industry. Our company’s reach is far since we are national. It helps to have someone with Dawn’s experience and knowledge when I have questions. While I do a lot of work on St. Louis deals, I may be supporting a client that needs title coverage in Florida, Georgia, California or elsewhere.”
She always has been active as a volunteer during her academic career. Alicia has been a mentor for the Girl Scouts, worked as a camp counselor for Kesem National, a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent's cancer, volunteered for the Kappa Delta Sorority, and served as a student representative for LexisNexis Legal.
For now, though, Alicia keeps her nose in the books as she prepares for the bar exam on July 28 and 29. There’s no doubt she has plenty of support from Dawn and her colleagues as well.
Rest assured, Alicia will become an active member of CREW-St. Louis once she meets this latest challenge.
As she says, “I enjoy meeting people and learning more about the commercial real estate industry.”