Stepping up to become the leader of a law firm can be intimidating, but perhaps even more so when you’re succeeding the founders of the firm in the role.
Lisa Moore did just that when she became the president/principal of Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal in St. Louis, at the start of 2015. When she took on the job, founding partner Donald Paule said everybody had questions and expectations of what would happen next at the firm.
“She’s exceeded all of those expectations and made every attorney here very comfortable that beyond the initial founders of the firm, management and leadership will continue in a great manner,” Paule said.
Paule even sent a firm-wide email at the end of the year saying the leadership team is “as good as or better than we’ve ever had.”
When asked what he was specifically impressed with in Moore’s leadership, Paule said Moore has “looked at financial aspects” and “done things to eliminate some unnecessary costs and increase financial success,” and has done an excellent job recruiting new young attorneys.
Moore said that she thinks one of her greatest accomplishments is changing “a lot of things we’d done in the past, just because we always did them.”
For example, she took a position that used to be one person – and had gone through four to five people in a short period of time – and made it into two roles, expanding the structure of the administration but with a minimal impact on finances.
Moore said that is part of a shift toward being more forward thinking and “not always putting out fires.”
“Now we’re able to look ahead, instead of always feeling behind the eight ball,” she said. “That happened to the whole dynamic of the office.”
More manpower in the administration allows more time to look at matters in depth, and already an administrator found an overlap in two of the firm’s contracts and saved “almost $30,000 in one swoop,” Moore said.
“The change of the administrative structure had a direct impact on financial needs, and we were able to minimize expenses and maximize productivity,” she said.
While her first year was successful, the transition wasn’t always easy. Even after serving as secretary and vice president for the firm, Moore said the role of president was “substantially more,” than she realized.
To cope, she worked more hours and tried to incorporate other people into decisions, looking at it as a “group effort.”
“In the end, it created trust, it created a group mentality of doing this together,” she said.
With that trust built in her first year, Moore is using her second year to continue to look at the firm’s structure, making sure the firm is working as productively as it can, but also “making sure that we’re practicing law in a way I believe this firm has a reputation for doing.”
“I really want to focus on how we’re practicing law,” she said.