Spotlight On: Alan Zuckerman, Managing Shareholder & COO, Flaster Greenberg PC

By: Max Crampton Thomas

2 min read February 2020 — Flaster Greenberg’s South Jersey attorneys are bringing in new talent to hone and increase the services they offer their mostly business and high-net-worth clientele, which include everything from M&A to succession work, while preparing to face challenges such as the impending legalization of cannabis in the state, the nationwide PFAS environmental problem and the changes to retirement planning contained in the SECURE Act,. Invest: spoke with Flaster Greenberg PC’s Managing Shareholder & COO Alan Zuckerman. 

 

What sets Flaster Greenberg apart from other law firms in the South Jersey market?

 

We are a midsized commercial law firm specializing in pretty much every practice that businesses and high-net-worth individuals, our primary clientele, would need. Most of our lawyers have come from large Philadelphia firms. We pride ourselves in doing the same type and quality of work as the larger firms, but at lower rates and more efficiently.

 

Most recently, we have done a tremendous amount of deals and merger and acquisition work. We have also had some very large bankruptcy cases. Regarding M&A, it has been all over the industry. Most of our clients have usually been closely-held businesses, even some very large ones. At some point, some of those businesses have to be passed on to the new generation, or they are sold. As a result, we have been seeing a tremendous amount of activity in the sale market, and we have been representing a lot of companies in all business sectors that are selling, in many cases to private equity firms. Private equity firms have been the most active buyers in the transactions we have been representing.

 

Is there any legislation, local or federal, that could have an impact on the way you or your clients do business?

 

There are two significant pieces of legislation, one at the national and another at the state level. There are environmental laws coming in that could mean a lot of environmental litigation. The others are, on a national level, the SECURE Act, which really impacts retirement plans, in particular, the amount and period of time in which people with 401k retirement plans will be allowed to take money out of their retirement plans and defer paying taxes. This new law substantially changes those rules and shortens the period of time for withdrawals. For many people who have done planning on their retirement plans, that is all going to have to be revamped.

 

There is also the pending legalization of cannabis in the state of New Jersey. We have some businesses gearing up for it, although there has not been a whole lot of demand just yet.

 

What are the main challenges facing firms and their clients in the South Jersey area?

 

One of the challenges is rate pressure, as our clients are cost-sensitive to legal work, as they should be, and that requires lawyers to be more efficient in their work. From a local standpoint, the opportunity we find in the South Jersey market is that office spaces are much less expensive compared to Philadelphia, which is only a few miles away. Although we have seen most of our growth over the last few years in Philadelphia and expect to see more, we made the decision last year to renew our lease here in South Jersey because the occupancy cost is less expensive.

 

One of the downsides in South Jersey we face for that decision is the lack of transportation infrastructure. We get into Philadelphia but that is about it. There is no local transportation for the most part. From a statewide perspective, taxes are very high, both income and property taxes, which make it harder for businesses to stay or relocate here.

 

What are the company’s main areas of focus for 2020?

 

Our focus is to continue to be able to be a full-service firm with very efficient and quick response to our clients. To do that, we feel that we need to continue to grow, bringing new attorneys into our firm. In addition to a six-lawyer firm we have already brought into the fold, we have expanded our footprint into the western Philadelphia suburbs with the opening of our Conshohocken, PA, office last June. Most recently, we grew our intellectual property department by welcoming an 11-member patent team headquartered in the firm’s Philadelphia office.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

 

https://www.flastergreenberg.com/

 

Face Off: Two Legal Leaders on Growth, Talent and Tech

Face Off: Two Legal Leaders on Growth, Talent and Tech

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

4 min read November 2019 Seemingly every industry in the Tampa Bay region is firing on all cylinders as the area continues to exceed expectations in terms of economic growth. In concurrency with this growth is increased demand from businesses and individuals for legal services and counsel. Law firms in the region have taken notice and are acting swiftly to establish or reestablish themselves as prominent figures in this space. Invest: spoke with Michael Lundy, the managing and founding partner of Older, Lundy & Alvarez, and Kevin Johnson, a shareholder of Johnson Jackson, about the role of Tampa Bay in their businesses, navigating the lingering challenge of labor and the importance of technological advancements in the legal sector. 

 

 

How is the setting of Tampa Bay conducive to your business and legal practice?

Michael Lundy: The Tampa Metro Area is growing rapidly in about every sector. I think that the local political climate is conducive to this growth. We are seeing development driven by businesses that want to operate in Tampa, as well as an influx of outside capital investment from sophisticated sources that see the area as ripe for growth. It seems as though all the pistons are firing at the same time.

My personal practice is marital and family law, but Older, Lundy & Alvarez handles real estate transactions and litigation, commercial litigation, tax work and corporate counsel. With so much local development and population growth, we have benefited greatly because there is a higher demand for the many services that we provide. It is our goal to provide legal services for every aspect of one’s life, or what we call “the ultimate representation.”

Kevin Johnson: For our business, Tampa is a great location for a multitude of reasons. One is that it is extremely easy to reach the entire state from this region. We are only a couple hours from Naples, Jacksonville and Tallahassee. We also have a terrific airport. Most significant would be the strong business climate in the region. Tampa has done a lot of things well over the last 20 years in regards to establishing a conducive environment for businesses in the region. We have been lucky because this city has had a string of progressive and insightful mayors who have gone to great lengths to really improve the business environment. 

Has your firm been challenged in navigating the tight labor pool for legal professionals in the region? 

Lundy: Recruiting talent has not been a challenge. We have been able to recruit incredible lawyers. Tampa has a large pool of amazing legal talent. Tampa is a great place to live. It is an area that has had undervalued real estate, especially in the Downtown area, and that has attracted a lot of development. There has been a steadily growing young population. It has become a city where we talk about technology all the time. Local leadership has had a great positive impact in the area as well. The county commissioners and past and present mayors have had their eyes on the future and have worked very hard to develop a true vision for Tampa. Also, we do not have an income tax in the state of Florida, which is an attractive factor on top of all the amenities Tampa has to offer.

Johnson: The labor pool for legal staff is tight, but we are happy with the people we have on our team. We have found that there are good people out there who you can hire, but there is obviously a lot of competition for them. As a smaller firm, we have to work harder to find those right people, and it really depends on finding the right recruiter to help with that process. It is also very much about the type of work environment we can offer potential candidates. Culture is truly the big driver behind this. We made a commitment to create the kind of culture where people would enjoy working for us. Not only do we offer competitive pay and good benefits, but they also have a lot of freedom in terms of being flexible with their work time to meet family obligations. We also offer legal staff the opportunities to learn and grow so that they can adapt to new skills and new positions. It is all about creating an environment where people really enjoy coming to work and where work doesn’t feel like a job.

How important is new technology to the future success of the legal sector in Florida? 

Lundy: We have embraced technology. We are completely electronic, especially in our research and court filing. We are also all mobile and can work remotely when needed. We embraced technological improvements faster than other law firms and will continue to do so. It will be interesting to see how artificial intelligence will change law practices. Historically, the manner in which legal services were delivered has been very old school, but that is changing.

Johnson: The Florida Bar has been quite progressive when it comes to technology. The Florida Bar is really taking a leadership role and we are seen as the national leader in introducing lawyers to new technology and helping them deal with the effects as technology takes over their practices. We are fortunate to have such a progressive Bar in that respect. Our Supreme Court also has done a good job of trying to figure out where our rules should be so that it is easier for us to deal with the challenges that we face as lawyers. These elements combined make Florida a pretty good environment to practice in.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.olalaw.com/

https://www.johnsonjackson.com/