Law Firm Leaders
Scott Seitter’s strategy to devolve more managerial competencies to shareholder committees for technology, marketing and human resources has done a lot for Levy Craig.
But he remains modest about what he’s achieved with the firm since becoming its managing partner.
“When we have people able to do it, it is not a very hard decision,” said Seitter, a Washington University in St. Louis graduate who began working at the firm in 1983.
Choosing to share responsibilities and leadership works out better for the whole organization and gets more people involved with management, he said.
“It is good for everybody,” he said. “It’s worked out really well, and it really is a tribute to the people that we have who are able to do these other tasks besides just practicing law.”
The secret is all about building consensus, setting a direction and getting others to buy into it, he added.
“If you are really successful, you can get people to believe that it is in part their idea,” he said. “And hopefully, it is partly their idea.”
This isn’t Seitter’s first rodeo, so to speak. Though he assumed the mantle of firm leadership just two years ago, the Omaha native held the top role at the firm once before.
Still, COVID-19 has filled his second time around with its own special set of challenges.
“Trying to manage through the pandemic has been an interesting experience,” he said. “Every business has had to face tough decisions, not the least of which is, ‘Do you remain open?’ Like most firms, we closed for a period of time, but we are now predominately back in the office. Anyone who feels uncomfortable is still allowed to do what they want to and work remotely.”
A new way to control the flow of materials has been part of the solution for the firm in the past year.
“Right before the pandemic, we moved to a different document management system in the cloud, and — fortunately for us — we were prepared when the pandemic showed up because it allowed everybody to work remotely,” he said. “It has been really good for us . . . everything is on the cloud. The only thing that is holding you back now is making sure you have a good Wi-Fi system set up at home.”
Seitter also brought in a new chief operating officer, Sam Kueny, who has a background in the IT side of the business.
“He’s done terrific [work],” Seitter said. “He’s brought a lot of stability.”
The switch in managerial responsibilities has changed the way people at the firm interact for the better, Seitter’s nominator wrote.
“This created solidarity amongst shareholders who don’t typically work together and has also resulted in increased dialogue and participation with associates and staff,” his nominator noted.
Seitter, who said he grew up all across the Midwest in states from Colorado to Minnesota, said he went into the practice of law because he wanted to know how the world worked. A self-defined “old dog,” he’s proud of his long tenure with Levy Craig.
“I came here and have never left,” he said. “I’m one of the last dinosaurs you’ll meet — a guy at the same place he started at.”
But Seitter’s self-perception as a throwback belies his work to keep his firm on the cutting edge in technology and managerial technique. These new ideas help to serve an old goal.
“It has helped keep us responsive to our clients, and that’s the important thing,” he said.