3 min read March 2022 — In a conversation with Invest: Co-Chairman and Managing Partner Jeffrey Lutsky of law firm Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP discussed why Philadelphia is a great destination for one’s career. He highlighted the current state of the talent market, how innovative technologies are being implemented at the firm and a record year for growth.
What makes Philadelphia a great place to reside and conduct business?
Philadelphia has all of the perks, cultural opportunities and amenities of a large U.S. city. In the area of arts and culture, for example, Philadelphia has more per capita organizations, venues and opportunities than almost any major city. But it also remains small enough where people know each other in the various communities they serve, including the legal scene. Philadelphia is affordable and centrally situated between New York and D.C., with an airport that offers direct flights to most everywhere. I believe it’s a great place to work and has always been a great town in which to be a lawyer. The Philadelphia Bar is proud of its lawyers and is very active within the region’s courts, the business community and nonprofit community. The legal industry has always played a significant role in serving the Greater Philadelphia community.
What have been some key milestones and achievements for Stradley?
We obtained our Mansfield Certification in 2021, which is the gold standard for diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion are important values to the firm, the community and to our clients. Our lawyers continue to be involved in many of the most influential nonprofit boards in the city that have the greatest impact on the community. We’re a significant contributor and regularly receive recognition in these areas. We were recognized as one of the 50 most community-minded employers in the Greater Philadelphia region in 2021. We were also recognized by several local and regional business publications over the past several years for our participation in the nonprofit area and community involvement. While our lawyers weren’t physically in our offices for much of 2020 and 2021, it didn’t stop them from actively giving back to the places in which we work and live. I’m also very proud that one of our partners, Danielle Banks, was named one of the most influential Black attorneys in the country for 2022.
As for the firm’s performance, 2021 was a record year financially for the firm and was fueled by significant growth in our practice. We added 36 attorneys in the last 12 months, including some very notable lateral partners. One of our partners, Lisa Jacobs, was named one of the Top 10 lateral acquisitions in 2021. We were particularly pleased with the substantial growth in our New York City office, especially in our transactional and litigation practices. Overall, despite the uncertain and unprecedented time, we pulled together and performed exceptionally well in 2021.
What is the state of the talent market?
Two years of lateral and talent movement seem to occur in 2021 after 2020 experienced little movement. In 2020, very few attorneys moved as there was so much uncertainty in the economy. In 2021, the market began to loosen, and people started re-evaluating their careers, their goals and their purpose in life. The pandemic caused many to reassess where their priorities lie. Stradley is benefitting from a tremendous amount of interest from lateral partner candidates, especially from large national and global law firms. They’re looking for a place where their billing rates are more flexible and conducive to their client base and a firm that is smaller and more close-knit. It’s the appeal of returning to a true partnership model as opposed to a large corporate business model.
With regard to the office structure, I don’t believe the industry will return to a five-day week in-person model. As we return physically to the office, we expect that attorneys will work in the office approximately three days a week. This will help us build and maintain cultural connections and relationships, which are much more challenging to build remotely.
How have your services and technological expenditures shifted?
There was a notable increase in M&A business transactions, securities litigation and investigations activity in 2021 as the economy began to rebound. General commercial litigation also substantially increased in the past year. We have a top-tier powerhouse investment management practice representing the largest asset managers and mutual fund complexes in the country. They remained busy and very productive throughout 2020 and 2021.
On the technology side, our investment in technology has increased over the last several years, and the pandemic certainly accelerated that process, with cybersecurity, remote communications, e-discovery tools and analytics all a main focus of our investment.
What is your near-term outlook?
My outlook is very optimistic. We expect to have continued success and to grow in 2022 both organically and through lateral opportunities. Our client base is also continuing to grow, using us in broader and more significant ways. Our business model is built around long-term institutional relationships rather than a lot of one-off engagements. We’re better able to service our clients, who hire us for our deep understanding of their business and industry. It’s been a very successful model for us in the past, and I fully expect it will continue to be as we move forward in the future.
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