Ted Offit ’77
, co-founder and managing principal of Offit-Kurman, has a rapidly expanding law firm. Founded in Towson 25 years ago, the firm has doubled its revenue from 2008 to 2011 — a period that included the worst-in-decades recession — and added dozens of employees as it expanded its reach across the Mid-Atlantic. Now Offit-Kurman employs about 170 people and expects to keep growing.
Offit started the firm with his brother 1987. He was a sole practitioner in private practice doing general corporate law and estate planning, and Offit was a lawyer who was coming out of one of the larger law firms in Baltimore City.
The Offit brothers went into private practice under the theory that small business needed sophisticated transactional planning help and estate planning help. His brother took the family side and Offit took the business side of creating wealth, growing and a gradual pace through our first 10 years of the operation.
Then the world got smaller and local law firms were able to represent clients on a national and international basis. The practice of law changed, and we were a beneficiary of the change.Law firms grew to the point that small business was no longer a practice area the large firms wanted to serve. That created opportunities for Offit.
Offit decided to grow on a regionalized basis. With 10 lawyers in 2001, now the firm is just under 90. The growth has been fairly explosive for the past three or four years while other companies were retracting during the recession. This was achieved by attracting highly qualified lawyers to the firm. Instead of growing by finding new clients, Offit-Kurman grew by concentrating on finding new lawyers on a regional basis. During that period of time, offices were opened in Philadelphia and in Bethesda. Two new offices were opened in Tysons Corner, VA and Baltimore City in 2012.
The key is finding attorneys who bring their own business. Offit-Kurman then grows that business. It starts with showing potential recruits the vision and then the firm’s success stories. In addition, non-traditional methods are employed such as open-book management. Offit-Kurman publishes all the firm’s results to all lawyers. People find that refreshing; nothing to hide.
Offit-Kurman pays performance-based compensation. So the people that make the most money in the firm are the people who perform at the highest level. It's not based on political favor, it's not based on tenure; it's based on dollars and cents, hard metrics. Many find that refreshing and different in the marketplace.
Family law, landlord-tenant and bankruptcy grew substantially. Labor and employment as well — all the things that are affected by a bad economy. Terminations cause litigation.
As the economy gets better the firm sees transitions with the pick-up of transactional and estate planning work. With the firm’s real estate configuration, there’s room for 30 more lawyers in the next two years. That's the target.
Their success can also be contributed to their investment in an outstanding management team. Offit says, “We have non-lawyer management, MBA-level people who are excellent managers. It's another way we've grown the firm. We think everyone has their highest and best use, and the highest and best use of lawyers is to be excellent lawyers servicing their clientele.”
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