CGS3 partner Sean Southard spoke to Law360’s Erin Coe in December about the benefits breakout firms like CGS3 bring to clients in today’s legal market. In the article, “Flat Demand For Attys Stumps BigLaw, But Inspires Others,” Coe writes about the impact breakout firms like CGS3 are having in today’s legal market. Southard discussed how a lean, nimble business model that leverages technology allows CGS3 to provide the best value to clients.
Highlights of the article:
- Creating a highly specialized, nimble law firm that directly competes with the largest of firms can be a model for success, according to Sean Southard of Crosbie Gliner Schiffman Southard & Swanson LLP.
- When Southard and four other partners from 200-lawyer firm Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP launched their own commercial real estate firm in San Diego in July, they wanted to create a business model that would benefit their clients in ways that a traditional law firm model — that relies on partners racking up billable hours and cross-selling work — does not.
- The firm, known as CGS3, has no minimum hour requirements and gives no credit for the origination of new work because the view is that every client is the firm’s client, not the partner’s client. The firm maximizes the use of its office space, boasting an average of 300 square feet per attorney, and the firm’s use of technology programs like document management and online cloud storage systems make it virtually paperless. It also outsources its information technology, human resources and other administrative functions to a firm in New York.
- “There is no hierarchy, and there is no room for egos in this law firm,” Southard said. “Everything we do is about providing the best value to clients, not about being a discount law firm. There is always going to be someone cheaper. … We aim to add real value through our subject-matter expertise, efficient handling of matters and breadth of our relationships across all sectors of the commercial real estate market.”