To Ed Herman, the Brown & Crouppen law firm is many things — a business, a machine, a team, a family. But no matter the metaphor he chooses, Herman’s point is consistent.
“No one person does it alone,” he explains.
New York native Herman is co-managing partner with the St. Louis-based law firm. As a youth, he was prone to argue. But his disagreements were not over homework or curfew, but injustices, and people not adhering to the rules. He recalls reading the rules to board games before playing, just to make sure they were being followed.
When he was on the Washington University trial team the general consensus was that Herman would spend his career in the courtroom. And initially, that was fairly true. As a plaintiff’s and defense attorney for firms such as the Law Offices of Stahlhuth & Rudder, Evans & Dixon, and Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard, he handled a substantial case load and spent quite a bit of time in court.
But when he joined Brown & Crouppen as a personal injury attorney in 2001 his career trajectory changed.
“I had a really strong feeling that I could do more than just handle files,” he said.
The first change he set out to make was how the firm handled intake of new clients. When Herman joined the firm, those in the intake department were taking notes on new clients, and walking those paper notes to the attorneys.
Herman, with the support of his partners, modernized the department. He worked with a software developer to design two computer programs to handle the firm’s intake. The department is now made up of 22 people answering the phones, and seven attorneys screening cases.
Another major change Herman has spearheaded was the expansion of the firm, most notably to Kansas City in 2006. He emphasized that opening their Kansas City office would not have happened without the willingness of Ron Brown and Terry Crouppen.
“They took on a tremendous amount of risk,” Herman said.
Now the firm’s Kansas City office rivals its St. Louis headquarters in size. And Herman is looking to continue expanding the firm.
He will face no shortage of attorneys to handle the workload. Herman said as the firm’s reputation grew, so did the volume of resumes it receives. In 2017 alone, Brown & Crouppen fielded the resumes of 5,500 legal professionals.
“We’ve created a spectacular working culture,” he said.
Case growth, the expansion of the firm and employee morale are key components of a healthy law firm, Herman said.
“At the end of the day, you have to look at all your vital signs,” he said.
And Herman is proud to have helped the Brown & Crouppen leadership and staff build a thriving business, a well-oiled machine, a successful team, and a happy family.