Attorney at Law Magazine Los Angeles Publisher Sarah Torres sat down with Nimish Patel to discuss what he hopes to accomplish in the future.
AALM: What do you find particularly rewarding about being an attorney?
Patel: I have a front row seat to some of the most exciting business ideas. I’m always amazed when I meet an entrepreneur and hear the passion they have for the problem they are solving. As a corporate securities lawyer, I get the benefit of helping give birth to a new company that could one day revolutionize the world, as well as advise and protect the entrepreneur. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing one of your clients succeed in building their business and knowing you helped.
AALM: What first drew you to Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp? How would you describe the culture of the firm?
Patel: We merged our firm, Richardson & Patel, into MSK in July of this year. While we were approached by many other law firms, something about MSK made us take a second look. We were aware of their storied reputation in the entertainment industry and their prowess in litigation, IP, immigration, tax and trust & estates – all practice areas that would complement our corporate securities practice. As a small boutique firm, we found our existing clients were out growing the services that we were able to provide. As we opened up the discussions between our two firms, I realized our firm cultures were also very similar. It was astonishing; I felt as if I was looking at the mirror image of my own firm. We have a culture that strikes a perfect balance of providing excellent client service and respecting and appreciating the value of our attorneys and staff.
AALM: Tell us about your fellow attorneys at the firm? How do you work together?
Patel: MSK has a long standing reputation for breeding excellence and innovation. Many of my partners don’t just practice law, they helped write the law. Especially in areas of content protection, they have spent decades guiding companies through complex matters. We love working together to bring value to our clients. We inquisitively look for ways to help our clients achieve their business objectives because we recognize that the law is a means to an end, not the end itself.
AALM: Are there any changes coming in the future that you’re excited about?
Patel: Absolutely. Practicing law today has become tremendously complex because our business model is shifting rapidly. I find that exciting as opposed to intimidating primarily because the shift is creating a new kind of relationship between client and firm. The new relationship is formed on the bedrock principles of sharing risk and reward. It’s about aligning interests so that our success is actually tied to the success of our clients.
Many companies out there today object to the billable hour because it is inherently designed to breed inefficiency and put the client and the firm on opposite sides of the table. If you look at what the clients are saying the message is pretty clear. They want firms to get in line with connecting the prices we charge with the value we create for our clients. That isn’t always easy to define and sometimes there really is no other alternative but to charge for time. At MSK, we believe in finding that perfect intersection point of value creation and pricing.
AALM: What do you most hope to accomplish in the future?
Patel: I’d like to see MSK set the standard for the new model of practicing law. As we continue facing wholesale change in our industry, I believe we can emerge as thoughtful leaders in the areas of service delivery to our clients, how we structure our business, the culture we breed for the next generation of lawyers, and changing the persona of what being a valued partner to our clients means. If we’re successful at doing all these things I’d be tremendously proud of leaving a legacy like that behind for the next generation.