Frequently Asked Questions – Lateral Partner Edition
Our firm receives inquiries for potential lateral partner moves in cities around the country from people who are interested in joining our fast-growing, innovative, and “no jerks” firm. Here are some of the common questions we receive. If you have an interest in exploring whether our firm could be a fit for you and your practice please send an email to firm founder Mike Hilgers at [email protected]–all inquiries will be held in strict confidence!
Q: What are Hilgers Graben’s primary practice areas?
A: Our firm primarily focuses on complex litigation – i.e., sophisticated matters that require large, multi-attorney teams – with a lean towards soft and hard intellectual property litigation. The firm also has an industry-leading and fast-growing discovery counsel practice that the firm deploys in all manner of cases and investigations.
Q: Does the firm only do complex litigation and would my practice have to be focused on that area to be a fit?
A: No. We are opportunistic for the right person and the right fit. For example, we have a trademark prosecution practice and we are open to other adjacent practice areas that complement or reinforce what the firm already excels at doing.
Q: What is geographic arbitrage? Isn’t that just a fancy way of saying you’re a “virtual” firm?
A: We are not a virtual firm. We have brick-and-mortar facilities that accommodate in-person collaboration and teamwork. We just take advantage of the lower overhead costs from places like Lincoln, Nebraska, to support practices nationwide while creating an unbeatable value proposition for clients. Our unique approach gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Q: What are the kinds of things that have attracted other attorneys with established client cases to your firm?
A: Here are 6 frustrations we commonly hear from lawyers who are interested in joining HG:
- I am frustrated by the fact that non-producing overhead (like really expensive office space) takes up so much of our current firm’s cost structure – the team has to produce quite a bit just to break even. HG was built ground up with a different cost model that leans away from non-producing overhead.
- I am frustrated by the lack of rate flexibility at my current firm – I know I could get expand my opportunities if I could offer more competitive rates for either me or associates. It is very hard to pitch clients on $500/hour junior associates. At HG the rate structure is extremely competitive and appealing to clients without inflated junior associate rates.
- I am frustrated by the firm bureaucracy and the intense internal competition for major clients – I would love a more team-oriented and growth-oriented place where if the firm wins we all win. At HG, that is exactly what we have built – when the firm wins everyone wins.
- I am frustrated by the conflict space issues – my opportunities seem to get crowded out by established practices. At HG we have worked hard to avoid those kinds of issues.
- I am frustrated by the lack of innovation and creativity – it seems like the “same old same old” even where there is so much change and opportunity out in the market. At HG innovation is central to our success, from our differentiating business model, to our leading discovery counsel practice, to investments in technology and custom software, we encourage and invest in innovation.
- I am frustrated because there are no current incentives for bringing in business – unless I am a full-fledged equity owner I get no credit for my current originations. At HG that doesn’t happen.
If any of these sounds familiar to you then HG may be the right fit.
Q: My practice needs support – strong teams of lawyers, very good paralegals, and resources. How can HG support and grow what I am doing?
A: The firm supports complex practices around the country. We have a deep bench of associates, paralegals, and support personnel both in Lincoln and around the country. Our attorneys are currently litigating cases in state and federal court in multiple jurisdictions across the country on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, all while using teams drawn from resources across the firm.
Q: Most big firms look for large books of businesses – is that what the firm is looking for?
A: Not at all. We want to find the right talent at the right stage in their careers. Someone who has developed a smaller book of business after 10 years of practicing is the kind of person we want to attract and support as they begin the prime of their careers. While the firm is open to any number of scenarios – and can support large, seven-figure books of business – we are not chasing the top line but rather the right person.
Q: I am in city X and don’t have any desire to leave. The firm is not in city X – can we grow here?
A: The firm has cases, matters, and attorneys around the country and has a track record of supporting practices based in locations like Miami and Dallas, among other major cities. We are always looking for new markets to enter into with an on-the-ground presence.
Q: Are you going to push people to work back in the office like other firms? Isn’t your model just a short-lived post-COVID experiment?
A: We started our distributed model years before COVID hit, which has allowed us to refine it over time. When COVID disrupted office spaces around the country we did not have the transition disruption or systems shock that other bigger firms may have experienced. We know people need inter-personal connectivity, communication rhythms, and opportunities to build personal relationships with other members of the team. At the same time, we know that many if not nearly all attorneys in our space like the flexibility that working from their home office offers. We will never go to the traditional pre-COVID working set-up because we never had it in the first place.
Q: The firm looks good on paper – how do I know that I am coming to a stable place and that you are who you say you are?
A: Our firm is family-owned, has stable leadership, and has been in business (and absorbing and supporting fast growth) over the last 10 years. Our CEO Sterling Miller is an industry pro and three-time general counsel who has built successful organizations throughout his career. We have a fiscally disciplined model and growth mentality. We live our family first and “no jerks” model every day and have a long track record of retention to back it up. We think we’re a great place to work and an antidote to the traditional industry grind.
Q: I want to get in touch but want to have a candid confidential conversation. How do I do that?
A: Email firm founder Mike Hilgers at [email protected] Any conversation will be kept in strict confidence. Also, check out our website at www.hilgersgraben.com for more information about the firm and its attorneys.