Face Off: Palm Beach County legal leaders on community, diversity and more

Face Off: Palm Beach County legal leaders on community, diversity and more

2023-09-12T11:12:28-04:00September 12th, 2023|Face Off, Legal Services, Palm Beach, Professional Services|

Writer: Gabriela Enamorado

2 min read September 2023 — Palm Beach County’s legal landscape has seen an increase of firms to the market over the last few years. With the county’s highly-educated workforce, its pro-business environment and favorable climate, law firms are finding opportunities for growth and more. Invest: spoke with Mark Bideau, co-managing shareholder for West Palm Beach at Greenberg Traurig, P.A., and Scott Hawkins, vice chair for Jones Foster, on milestones for their firms over the past year, community giveback and how they are furthering diversity and inclusion efforts. 


What have been some of the top highlights for the firm over the past year?

Mark Bideau, West Palm Beach Co-Managing Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, P.A.: “We’ve experienced significant growth in West Palm Beach, which continues to be a hot market for lawyers. In addition to Florida, Greenberg Traurig has a strong presence across the United States, including California and the Northeast. As an increasing number of clients move to Palm Beach County from those parts of the country, our office is here to ensure continuity of services. In terms of practice areas, the cases and transactions we handle only continue to increase in sophistication. We’ve brought on more intellectual property attorneys to help meet growing client demand. Our corporate practice has also grown, along with litigation.”


Scott Hawkins, Vice Chair, Jones Foster: “We are a conventional full-service law firm and our main focus is on solving problems for our clients. We’ve been extremely busy across the entire spectrum of our services, from real estate to tax and estate planning, including corporate and probate litigation. Land use is another area where we have a lot of exciting developments happening.

Additionally, we are thrilled by the exceptional talent we’ve been able to attract to our team which consists of incredibly capable young lawyers who could potentially be the best core of young lawyers in the history of our law firm.”


How does the firm get involved with the local community? 

Bideau: “Virtually all our attorneys in Palm Beach County contribute to community organizations in some capacity. We’re heavily involved in Legal Aid in particular. Philanthropy and giving back are a core part of our culture at Greenberg Traurig. We believe giving back is not only good for business, but it’s also great for those giving back. It provides a great deal of personal satisfaction and makes the community a better place to live and work for everyone. We really stress this early on with our new associates. 

Palm Beach County has perhaps the best Legal Aid office in Florida, and it’s now being emulated by other Legal Aid offices statewide. We at Greenberg Traurig are very proud of our close relationship with the Palm Beach County Legal Aid office. Virtually all our lawyers are involved. We recently participated in a program for lawyers to help immigrants with powers of attorney, and we also support organizations like the American Heart Association, YMCA, Best Buddies, and HomeSafe. In a recent pro bono matter, we provided much-needed legal services to HomeSafe to build a new home for abused and neglected children in Palm Beach County. Working pro bono, Greenberg Traurig attorneys successfully guided HomeSafe through the permitting and review process to allow for construction of this mission-critical project.”

Hawkins: “When we hire lawyers, we emphasize that we want them to be leaders in the community, actively involved and making a difference. As such, we encourage participation in various aspects, such as nonprofits, schools, business and industry organizations, and bar associations. To ensure this engagement, I meet with every young lawyer in the firm several times a year. During these meetings, we discuss their marketing plans, progress and opportunities for growth through community involvement.

This mentality of valuing both legal competence and community impact has been ingrained in our firm for decades. It was an explicit expectation when I was recruited and this is a legacy that I proudly carry on as Jones Foster touches numerous organizations annually, making a positive impact on both local and state levels.”

How does diversity play a role at Greenberg Traurig?

Bideau: “Long before it was the popular thing to do, Greenberg Traurig was deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s part of the firm’s DNA and traces back to our founding in Miami in 1967. We don’t just talk about it, we live it. Greenberg Traurig has an array of programs and initiatives focused on promoting DEI within the firm and beyond. The firm’s commitment to DEI is reflected in the diversity of our shareholders and leadership. We want our people from all backgrounds to succeed, which is the best DEI practice you can have.”

What advice would you give to a young lawyer who is just starting out?

Hawkins: “Take control of your lifestyle, don’t let emotions dictate your decisions and manage your finances responsibly so as to avoid living beyond your means. You need to approach your career as a marathon, with a focus on long-term behavior. As such, aim to grow and learn every day and embrace a mindset of learning from people of all ages and diverse backgrounds, as we believe in the importance of diverse perspectives and a unified purpose.

Furthermore, developing good time management skills is essential, especially in litigation when unexpected demands arise. You must always keep some space in your day open because you never know what will happen. 

Lastly, young lawyers often struggle with controlled communication, occasionally expressing things in emails that they regret later. With email, text, and social media apps as the primary mode of communication these days, we must consider the impact of our written communication as it can have significant consequences in the future.” 

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