Business Law Articles
By: Ericka L. Ackeret, Esq.
Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP
Walnut Creek (San Francisco), California
Roger J. Brothers
This is the next in line of a series of interviews with successful senior lawyers at various Primerus member firms, offering advice to young lawyers on how to succeed and thrive.
Roger J. Brothers is a transactional business attorney and principal at Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP in Walnut Creek, California, whose practice includes: general counsel services, including corporate counsel, business and succession planning and debt and equity financing; transactional counsel services, including mergers and acquisitions, entity formation and operation, reorganizations and general commercial transactions; and general counsel to high net worth clients concerning family succession planning including serving clients as "Family Office" CEO.
What are some of the important things an associate should know about managing and living up to partner expectations?
- Have a good work ethic
- Your work must exhibit quality
- Put in the time it takes to do a good job, both from the perspective of the partner and from the client
What makes an associate a star in your mind?
- Developing and maintaining a book of business
- Quality of work in a timely manner
- Last but not least: The ability to adjust to changing circumstances, such as client demands and workloads
What are some of the things associates should avoid doing?
- Declining work from a partner or senior associate
- Sacrificing quality for expediency
- Avoid the “9-5 Syndrome”: Law is not a 9-5 job. You must put in the required time to do the job, and do it right.
- Failing to ask questions when you are uncertain. Do not take off on a project, believing that you understand what you are supposed to be doing, when you do not.
Describe your philosophy on client care. What are some things an associate can do to help maximize the relationship with a client?
- It depends on the client. But most clients want an attorney who is knowledgeable, reliable and responsive. Respond in a timely manner to concerns/questions from your client.
- Provide added value. It is not just answering the questions your client has, but also discussing the issues with your client. There may be issues relating to their matter that they have not even thought about.
- Avoid surprises with respect to the status and anticipated result of the client’s matter, and with respect to the cost of the services requested by the client.
What do you expect to see from an associate in terms of business development?
- Get word out as to who you are and what you do!
- Build your referral sources by getting to know attorneys who practice in other areas of the law.
If you could give one piece of advice to your 26-year-old self, what would it be?
- I wish I would have identified what type of law I wanted to practice sooner and steered myself in that direction.
- Instead, I began at an insurance defense firm, and it was not until after a couple of years working in insurance defense that I realized that what I wanted to do was to develop a business law practice.
Ericka L. Ackeret is an associate, also at Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP, whose practice includes transactional business and succession planning.
For more information about Roger J. Brothers, Esq. and Ericka L. Ackeret, Esq. and their firm Buchman Provine Brothers Smith LLP, please visit the International Society of Primerus Law Firms.