Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP is reporting strong growth at the five-year mark of its entry into the Chicago market, which was effective Jan. 2, 2014, when Shefsky & Froelich merged with Taft.
Key indicators of the merger’s success are a nearly 50% increase in the number of attorneys and the expansion of practice areas. With 70 Shefsky & Froelich attorneys at the time of the merger, Taft’s Chicago office has grown to 103 attorneys. Lateral attorneys from AmLaw 100 firms as well as boutique firms have been attracted to Taft due to its flexible billing rates, steady growth and broad array of legal services delivered through a team-oriented approach.
Taft has become known among recruiters and lateral attorneys as an employer of choice in each of its core markets, allowing it to draw a highly successful group of talented lateral partners, associates and of counsel attorneys.
“Recruiting top talent, expanding our practice areas and providing deeper expertise to our clients were the goals of the merger,” says Cezar (Cid) M. Froelich, Taft Chicago’s Chairman. “Shefsky & Froelich’s notable reputation in Chicago, combined with Taft’s standing as one of the top large law firms in the Midwest, not only allowed us to accomplish these goals but to also continue this trend of substantial growth through our ongoing focus on lateral recruiting efforts. Merging with Taft was a strategic decision that has provided tremendous value to our clients, rewarding careers for our attorneys and has paved the way for future growth in Chicago.”
Taft’s Chairman and Managing Partner Robert J. Hicks, who was heavily involved with the merger from its inception, shared that “Chicago is a great market for Taft on many fronts. The firm’s continued growth is built on innovation and an unwavering focus on client service. Our modern approach to delivering legal services, together with our focus on being the employer of choice in each of our markets, have been a strong draw for lateral attorneys throughout Taft’s Midwestern footprint.”
Under Taft’s management model, offices operate with a high degree of autonomy. Each office oversees its own market and benefits from the collective strength of approximately 470 attorneys across 10 locations. This decentralized leadership structure encourages the vetting of diverse points of view and creates a modern-law-firm approach to advance the firm’s goals.
Significant initiatives launched in 2018 include:
- Instituting a one-class partnership to ensure more leadership roles and opportunities for younger and diverse attorneys.
- Offering paid benefits to support Taft attorneys, such as 16 weeks of parental leave (regardless of gender), MilkStork, and emergency childcare and parental care.
- Improving the diversity and gender composition of key committees. Taft’s compensation committee, executive committee and practice group leaders are comprised of approximately 50% women partners, along with a significant number of diverse partners.
- Increasing the firm-wide number of attorneys by 12%.
“During the recruiting process, we actively listen to what’s important to lateral candidates. This feedback is earnestly assessed to identify new and innovative ways of accomplishing our work. We continue to evolve in order to attract and retain top talent. This mindset has fueled the growth in Chicago and in other Taft markets,” said Paul T. Jenson, Taft Chicago Partner-in-Charge.
Practice areas that have been added to or expanded in the Chicago office since the merger include:
- Bond Counsel
- Food and Beverage
- Higher Education
- Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Litigation
- Tax (international)
- Women, Minority and Veteran Owned Business