November 01, 2020 The Leadership Issue

Small, but Mighty

How a small, women-owned firm navigated the pandemic and beyond.

Francine Friedman Griesing
Raindrops splash on a green umbrella.

Raindrops splash on a green umbrella.

via ClickHere / Getty Images

In October 2019, we held our first firm retreat to celebrate our upcoming 10-year anniversary and plan for the future. Gathered together, we interspersed planning and training with bonding exercises, leisure activities and bountiful refreshments. Beyond treasure hunts and glass blowing a conference room centerpiece together, we grappled with refining our mission and innovating client service.

No one imagined the tsunami that would rattle our firm, our industry, our clients and the world in the coming year. While we’ll never know whether we would have crafted a different plan had we anticipated the pandemic, in retrospect, we believe the foundation we built upon at our retreat positioned us surprisingly well. We are a little bruised, but not battered. By recognizing that we are “small, but mighty,” we share five unique qualities about our firm that enabled us to weather the COVID-19 crisis while sustaining our values, culture and business.

We are pioneers, not followers.

In January 2010, two colleagues and I launched our women-owned firm. Our goal was to create a distinctive culture where every member was able to reach their full potential however they defined it. Rather than be part of the herd mentality that pervaded many firms by raising rates and salaries compared to others and competing for a priority spot on the profits-per-partner list, we were focused on doing it our own way. We did not look over our shoulders at competitors to mimic what they are doing before moving forward. We wanted to offer personal attention at good value without sacrificing results, and we have been successful in doing so for over 10 years.

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