Roundtable: Finding the best platform for your practice

In case you missed the event on May 26th, D. French Advisors hosted an enlightening roundtable discussion with some of Phoenix’s prominent law leaders. Thank you to the panelists and everyone who attended the event.

During the course of the event, all of the panelists shared a common theme, their passions for practicing law and the importance of having fun while working hard. Many of the panelists discussed how they use their law firm platform to help grow and strengthen their careers, as well as the potential advantages and disadvantages such platforms can serve. From the panelists’ comments, it is clearly important to take time to evaluate the best fit for you personally and your practice. For a recap of some of the highlights, please see below.

When asked about the advantages of working in a smaller firm, Neil Biskind of Biskind, Hunt & Semro responded:
“There are things about big firms at times I wish I had but if I had to weigh the pros and cons, I [like] the fact that I am able to answer only to myself. One of the things I learned early on after leaving the big firm, is that if I have a client with tax issues, I wasn’t arguably forced to go down the hall and send the work to the tax lawyer. I was able to make my own decisions and refer my client to the best person in town for that particular issue. There’s clearly a motivation to keep the work in a big firm, justifiably, but you may not always be doing your client the best interest.”

In light of his firm’s success, Grady Gammage, Jr. of Gammage & Burnham discussed the rising issue of retaining talents in mid-size firms:
“For a firm like ours, we get good people, they turn out to be really smart and make it in the swim or sink world, but you have to make them partner, or they will leave, soon enough, you have too many partners. In that sense, you have a larger platform that’s operating like a smaller firm. That sort of leverage that existed in larger firms is gone from the market in most mid-size firms.”

Lew Clark of Squire Patton Boggs spoke about how a firm’s culture plays a role in its success:
“What I learned is that the firm (Squire Patton Boggs) really cares about its culture because it has to in order to be successful. We recognize that culture has to be uniform throughout the entire world.”

When asked about what it takes to be successful, Dave Shein of Chester & Shein offered his insight:
“Successful people and successful lawyers talk about their own individual path because there really is no single path for any lawyer or person. You kind of have to find your path…as long as you approach that path having fun, with passion, and caring about what you do and realizing that at the end of the day we are in the service business. If you don’t provide service, you’re not going anywhere. It’s that simple.”

Leah Freed of Ogletree Deakins highlighted the resources that are available to national and international firms:
“One of the things that larger firms enable us to do is to specialize in providing products that we aren’t having to reinvent the wheel with compliance oriented materials. There is that sort of economies of scale in specialization within the firm.”

When discussing DLA Piper’s international platform and resources, Mark Nadeau discussed why hard work and opportunities go hand in hand:
“I learned myself that you never know when opportunities are going to knock but when it does you make sure to open the door. So you have to write the articles, you have to do the research, you have to do the investigation, and you have to handle the right kind of problems.”

A popular takeaway from this event was a realization of how many pathways one can choose from when practicing law. As was seen with the broad selection of panelists, success can be found among sole practitioners, partners in international firms, founding members of local firms, and even in those who have dabbed in other career paths, such as business entrepreneurship.

We at D. French Advisors look forward to hosting more events in the future for the benefit of the Phoenix legal community. For more information, please visit http://dfrenchadvisors.com/about/