The National Law Journal released its 2012 Midsize Hot List this week. The list recognizes midsize firms that have distinguished themselves by demonstrating impressive growth, excellent reputations (sometimes on a national or international scale), and client lists that often include companies more commonly associated with larger firms. Though the list focuses on midsize firms, the strategies highlighted set good examples for firms of all sizes:
- The Right People: Intellectual property firm Novak Druce + Quigg has been focusing on personnel in the last year, adding partners who will give the firm an edge in the new patent landscape. The recent additions include former administrative patent judge Michael O’Neill and patent interference specialist Janelle Waack. The firm is preparing itself for changes in patent law under the America Invents Act, the 2011 law that gives patent challengers more options and adopts a new first-to-file test for settling patent disputes.
- Unique Specialties: Dallas firm Kane Russell Coleman & Logan has developed a China-focused transactional practice. With strong language skills (including Mandarin and Cantonese) and lawyers holding law degrees from both the U.S. and China, Kane Russell makes itself very attractive to companies doing deals in Beijing and beyond.
- Smart Finances: Los Angeles-based Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell credits its stability in a volatile economy to a conservative fiscal strategy – no borrowing from future earnings for bonuses, no debt, and strong realization rates. Meanwhile, Kane Russell has saved money by holding onto its original headquarters, and Carter, Ledyard & Milburn has avoided opening a lot of regional offices while still maintaining a global presence.
- Diversification: San Francisco-based Farella Braun + Martel has shown a willingness to innovate. The firm began creating “voluntary employee benefit associations” (VEBAs) in 2005, and found there was demand for the distinctive trust funds targeted at employees between the ages of 55 and 65 who have trouble obtaining insurance. Farella Braun has helped develop VEBAs for the airline, steel and automotive parts industries.
Posted by Emily Fisher