Corporate Vision Issue 3 2018

8 CORPORATE VISION / Issue 3 2018 , lawyers, our vision was realized when we opened a full-service firm providing excellence in client service with high-quality lawyers practicing in their respective practice areas, or niches each being allowed to work as much or as little as desired either at the office or remotely. In essence, we want to be the “Google” or “Facebook” of law firms. Within less than three years of opening, after starting with six lawyers, two of whom were part-time, contract attorneys, I am proud to say that we have and are continuing to fulfil our vision, as the firm now has a total of 16 attorneys and 15 staff members within our various legal practice areas, and we are currently talking to other attorneys interested in joining in different practice areas.” In the firm’s second full year in existence, Milazzo Webb almost doubled in size. Brandy explains how the company works hard to deliver the best possible solutions to clients, whilst motivating staff to do the same. “Here at Milazzo Webb, we have created a model in which we can serve almost all of our clients’ needs with the highest quality of work and do so in the most efficient manner. By incentivizing all attorneys to market the entire firm and their colleagues, and to refer business to other attorneys within the firm without the outrageous billable hour rates of the large law firms and having to put three to six attorneys on each matter. In terms of expansion, the practice is continuing to focus on growth in certain areas, meaning that the firm must employ excellent attorneys. Brandy talks to us about growth, alluding to the fact that the practice is not growing for the sake of it, but more in terms of finding the right fit regarding attorneys, employees and growing organically. “Having been asked numerous times how large our firm intends to grow, I must say we are not growing to grow and we look for the following three priorities in our growth: (1) the right person/fit; this is very crucial and of utmost importance now, because we have such an tremendous team in which we ensure that everyone that joins the company is right for the team as well as the firm; (2) the best technical abilities; as we have to know that our attorneys and staff can provide the best of quality to our clients without micro- management in order to meet our efficiency standards; and (3) as a result of our unique financial model, our attorneys must have their own book of clients or have the financial risk tolerance to build or be willing to work with other members of our team who have work. We exceeded $3MM in our fourth year and $5MM in our fifth year, as well as adding at least two additional practice areas and at least six additional attorneys, as well as move into larger space, all of which is already being implemented.” Within the firm, Brandy notes that each attorney focuses their practice in their own areas of knowledge and skill, something which each member possesses to an impressive extent. She tells us her own areas of expertise, as well as referring to her own expertise and how her leadership style reflects on the company. “Alongside our attorneys who have specialist areas that they focus on, our associates and staff help multiple senior attorneys and partners. As the firm’s Managing Partner and Corporate Department Head, I manage a dynamic corporate legal team as a leader and a mentor. I lead by example as I set the highest standards in achieving the best quality work product for our clients, as well as providing mentoring to the legal team so that they can grow and sustain their legal careers.” What distinguishes the firm apart from all other law firms is that first and foremost, it is a women- owned organization. The firm faces the same challenges that all women face when attempting to balance and manage work/ life issues. Brandy divulges some more on what challenges the firm has faced and they have benefitted from overcoming these issues. “It is through these challenges that we better understand how to solve time management issues and meet business needs. Our innovative approach to providing work/life balance starts with determining our firm personnel’s individual needs. We expect each person to take ownership, responsibility and accountability of their designated positions within the firm. This shared objective allows us to be creative in providing alternative work schedules and work-from-home arrangements to meet each of our personnel’s needs. By providing personal environments and conditions from which our attorneys and staff work in results in excellence in performance, work product and overall job satisfaction. As stated above, another unique component that sets our firm apart from others is in our attorney compensation structure that provides generous fee splits and additional incentive rewards to our attorneys who are top-caliber legal professionals. “The biggest challenge to future growth is managing the administrative burdens of adding additional attorneys and support staff, while maintaining our great firm culture and unique work hours/location flexibility. The innovative attorney structure model that the firm has adopted is both creative and challenging. As noted above, our firm’s philosophy is one of maintaining a healthy work/life balance and that balance is not the same every day. This business model relies significantly on the experience that each attorney brings from the large law firm environment, and applies the best aspects of the large firm with the best aspects that a smaller firm provides. The end result combines firm fundamentals with individual preference in workstyle and work environment. “Placing the client first and delivering high quality customer service, the firm has created a structure to serve client needs in a most efficient manner without having to charge clients excessive hourly rates like a big firm. Unlike big firms, the attorneys have their own client base as a source of revenue, and they are provided incentives for the work they share with other attorneys. We continue to focus on strategic growth to find the right persons with the right capabilities and technical abilities that fit our firm model. The unique combination of the teamwork of the two principal owners and our willingness to play to one another’s strengths collaboratively along with the incentive based compensation and seeking only the highest quality of professionals sets our firm apart from others with our clients.” Producing constant results alongside excellent customer service, Milazzo Webb has become an award-winning practice. Thanks to its innovative approaches, the team at the practice have been able to constantly exceed client expectations, going the extra mile to satisfy clients, as Brandy points out. “Upon being selected for this award, I am honored to lead a team of legal professionals who are invested in making our firm successful. I attribute our continued success to the culture that has been established in working hard and playing hard as a team. I am excited and energized that our firm’s growth is targeted with purpose and strategy to further improve on our successes to sustain an innovative spirit in solving matters for clients. I am thankful and appreciative to everyone on the team who represents our firm with core values of excellence, integrity, client service, collegiality and community. Our mission statement says it all, reinventing the law firm delivering the best of both worlds: big firm capability, with small firm flexibility’. This is at the heart of who we are, what we represent to each other, our clients and the community at large.” Ultimately, giving us more of an insight into her leadership, Brandy answers some questions about her role as Principal Partner, what attributes she believes have made her a successful role, and what lessons she has learned which have helped her development over time.