About five years ago, Michael Best set out to expand its presence beyond the Midwest. The 173-year-old firm had a strong position and lots of clients in the region but, according to Milwaukee-based firm managing partner David Krutz, they were “getting worried about conflicts.”
The firm looked for growth markets where it had some clients and could compete for talent. Denver was among the cities that fit the bill, due in large part to its growing tech scene, as were emerging industry hotspots Salt Lake City, Austin and Raleigh, North Carolina. Washington, D.C., also made the cut as a center for intellectual property and regulatory practice.
“These are centers of technology and centers of emerging business and allow us to really bring our model beyond the Midwest to these new markets,” Krutz said.
But the expansion is “not a game of takeaway” meant to supplant existing law firms, Krutz said. Instead, the firm has played to its advantages, including its competitive rates and fixed-fee services.
“We found that we could compete for talent in terms of our rates are not the highest,” Krutz said. “We promote to our middle market clients that we don’t have the highest rates because we’re not based on the West Coast or the East Coast where you need to support the machine, if you will. We’re a lot more flexible than that.”