As big firms in prime markets continue to shed jobs and defer start dates, smaller market mid-size firms are expanding their presence and, gasp, hiring!
Firms like Denver-based Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which is opening a new office in Reno, have recognised “certain practices and opportunities that are opening to midsize or regional firms that aren’t attractive to the large firms,” Brownstein managing partner Bruce James told The National Law Journal. Brownstein has 235 attorneys.
The Law Journal notes that regional firms have not been hit as hard by the financial crisis since their practices were not as dependent on capital markets and corporate work as their big city counterparts.
Aside from being a little more insulated from the crash, the firms admit there are a couple more reasons it’s a good time to grow — they are getting a shot at both clients and lawyers they do not usually attract.
“There is an awful lot of talent available. We’ve been able to pick up some good people,” Alan Levin, managing partner of Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg said. He also noted they are now able to pitch to clients that have recently become more cost-conscious. With all the complaints about billing rates and billable hours in general, it’s not surprising clients are looking for better offers.
Barnes & Thornburg, at 427 attorneys, is not so small, but its Midwestern base means it’s a little off the national radar. It recently opened offices in Atlanta, Columbus, OH, Minneapolis and Wilmington, DE.
For big firm, big city attorneys looking for work, the Midwest is probably starting to sound pretty good right now.
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