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The Growth Story of a Small Law Firm When the Dinos are Dying
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Firms like Dewey are the Dinosaurs of law firm practice, ever-hungry and heedless of consequences, and they are dying. In contrast, boutique law firms are managing to maintain their hold on the market as shown by the amazing growth of Offit Kurman. The little firm founded 25 years ago in Towson managed to double its revenue between 2008 and 2011, the worst period of the recession. And during the same time it kept adding dozens of employees, expanding its reach. According to Ted Offit, managing principal of the law firm, today, Offit Kurman employs about 170 people and slated to keep growing. The Baltimore Sun recently interviewed Ted Offit and published the story of the firm.

Ted and his brother started the law firm in 1987. His brother was a solo practitioner, while Ted left a big law firm in Baltimore City. They floated their law firm on the principle that small businesses needed sophisticated transactional planning and estate planning help. They grew the business gradually over a decade.

With the information age starting to grow rapidly local law firms started being able to represent clients on both national and international arenas. Big firms got bigger and the practice areas that small firms traditionally engaged in did not interest the big firms any more. This created the opportunities for boutique firms to revive their hold in their traditional areas of practice. From 10 lawyers in 2001, Offit Kurman, today, has close to 90 lawyers. Achievement without mergers.

  
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However, the principles that Offit Kurman followed were the same as most big firms: Focus on attracting quality lawyers and performance based compensation. As Ted put it … Success sells, and another thing sells – open-book management. By publishing all results to all lawyers, this little firm has managed to gain trust and continue to grow.

As Ted Offit says, firms like ours are good destinations for lawyers who have the skill but do not want to serve the large market.

It’s a good tale in a time of practices going bankrupt.

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