Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP: 50 State Strategy

There is nary a scuff on the walls nor a coffee stain on the carpet at the bright new offices of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP (GRSM) in downtown Raleigh. The firm had to move into the big new digs in the fall to accommodate growth. In a little over a year, it grew from four full-time attorneys to 15.

San Francisco-based GRSM is the 20th largest firm in the United States, with 1,200 lawyers over 50 practice and industry group areas in 77 national offices.

While the Raleigh office handles commercial litigation, insurance defense, construction matters, employment, and general liability matters, many of its clients are in the healthcare industry, providing what it calls a “Full-Service Healthcare Suite.” GRSM works with insurers, insureds, licensed professionals, hospitals, managed care organizations, and a variety of other healthcare providers in the areas of litigation, mergers and acquisitions, employment law, and regulatory and compliance rules and regulations. The firm also represents leading-edge medical care companies in industries such as telemedicine, ambulatory surgical centers and e-health.

Right now, a hot topic for clients is post-COVID employment claims. They have increased dramatically for healthcare providers, facilities, managed services organizations, and staffing companies that were struggling to keep staffing levels due to the strain of the pandemic. Healthcare providers found themselves having to turn to alternative staffing solutions.

“When you are using traveling nurses or temporary staff, the question arises sometimes: who is the employer? An employee can have multiple employers in the context of an employment claim,” explained Allison Becker, managing partner of the Raleigh office.

Managing Partner Allison Becker

We strive to be serious, zealous, and aggressive for our clients. We also want to be a place where people want to come to work.”

Excellence in All 50 States

Ayana Parker, Elizabeth McGowan, Kendra Stark, Benjamin Williams, Brianne Habit, and Kaitlin Myers. Not pictured are Michael Litrenta and Le’Ron Byrd

In 2019, GRSM became the first and only law firm in the United States to have offices in all 50 states. Many of the firm’s healthcare clients are multi-state operations either domiciled in North Carolina or domiciled elsewhere with locations in North Carolina.

“With GRSM offices in every state, clients have the benefit of one firm providing a consistent experience across all their litigation or business transactions,” said Becker. “Each local office knows the courts, knows the jury pool, and knows the local rules and regulations. It’s all baked into the 50 state platform.”

“A client that has a presence in multiple states doesn’t have to start from scratch with a new firm every time they find an issue in another state. For products liability cases, knowing the product they’re testing, their processes and their instructions inside and out can be the key to providing a good defense. It’s helpful to be that one-stop-shop for these kinds of clients,” said partner Justin Puleo.

“What we do is a hub and spoke model,” explained Becker. “I have a national client that operates in 37 states. I’ll be the hub, the main point of client contact, and then I coordinate with my partners on a national scale to have them act as local counsel in the states where we need them. We’re always drawing from the same repository of client knowledge. It’s built-in efficiency.”

“Sometimes the client will know a lawyer they went to high school with and who they trust like their brother or sister,” said Puleo. “We don’t necessarily have to replace them. We can complement them. And we can help that client if they want to expand in other states. We can be a force multiplier for existing law firms and help them maintain and grow with their client.”

Life Outside Work

GRSM’s new offices at 150 Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh brings an implied pedigree and a 24/7 expectation, but… “To be a good lawyer, you also need to be a well-rounded person. We expect our lawyers to provide exceptional client service, to meet their deadlines and to be responsive. But that doesn’t mean we’re all on call 24/7,” said Becker.

“I have a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old at home,” said partner Megan Stacy. “I have the flexibility that I can still make it to my kid’s trick-or-treat at daycare. I can go to a field day at my child’s kindergarten class. We work hard, and we get our work done, but we also have that flexibility to have a life outside of work as well.”

Megan Stacy
Megan Stacy
Justin Puleo

Investment in You

According to Becker, some large law firms have associate attrition built into their business models. “We don’t do that,” said Becker. “We’ve recently established some on-campus interview OCI programs with a number of law schools. We tell the candidates our culture is to make an investment in you and hope that you’ll make an investment in us. We’re not assuming that the people coming here will pay off their loans and quit in two years.”

To that end, Becker explained that GRSM places a high value on its culture. “We strive to be serious, zealous, and aggressive for our clients. We also want to be a place where people want to come to work. That has been a big driver of our growth.”

“If I had to pick one word for the culture, it would be collaboration,” said Stacy. “It makes people feel like they are not on their own; they’re not having to learn things the hard way.”

The most knowledgeable attorneys in any particular practice area might be located across the firm’s offices nationally, but the attorneys work together to provide one resource for their clients. “There is a sharing of business and sharing of ideas and real collaboration,” said Becker. “There’s a true buy-in to the idea that a rising tide lifts all ships and that all of us will be more successful and provide better service to our clients if we share information and resources.”

Juries are Diverse

GRSM is among the top 65 law firms for diverse attorneys in the AmLaw 100 and in the top 15 for female attorneys. Managing partners like Becker, who are women, are still unicorns at many other large firms, but not at GRSM. In fact, 75% of its office leadership nationwide is female.

“We have a lot of women and diverse attorneys in leadership positions nationally. The firm believes we can provide better service to our clients with a more diverse team. Juries are diverse. Employees are diverse. Our clients are diverse. I think that’s how we can provide the best service,” said Becker.

Smart Growth

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP
Justin Puleo, Kelly Brewer, Suzanne Walker, Allison Becker, Megan Stacy, Mindi Schulze and Bo Thompson

It won’t be long before the firm’s new offices get those scuff marks and coffee stains as it adds new attorneys and staff. It has added associates as needed to support its growing practice areas. Becker said the firm is also open to bringing in new practice groups. “I think that’s attractive on a general level just in terms of making sure that we have a deep enough bench to service our clients in the area, but I think the main thing is making sure that we are retaining that culture. We’re not looking to take on a group that wants to operate in a silo.”

Growth within GRSM encompasses not only expansion at the geographic office level but also hinges on fostering connections and development within practice groups. For example, this year, GRSM formalized an artificial intelligence practice group that caters to clients spanning various industries such as technology, finance, healthcare, insurance, advertising, entertainment, and e-commerce. GRSM also launched its education law practice group and is looking to fill out its national bench.

“The firm’s ethos is we’re not growing just for growth’s sake, but we’re trying to grow smartly. We’re looking at specific practice areas and people, and growing in areas where we feel it makes sense for our team and the firm’s clients as a whole, so I think the goal is growth but smart growth.”

At a Glance

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP

150 Fayetteville St, Suite 1120
Raleigh, NC 27601