“The firm benefits by changes in leadership. We try to keep a fresh perspective by assigning new leadership every few years.”
Squire Patton Boggs is a global law firm boasting more than 1,500 lawyers in 44 offices across 21 countries. As a full-service law firm, clearly its reach is nearly without boundaries, and its expertise draws some of the finest legal minds in the world. The Phoenix office was founded in 1979 and has 40 attorneys focused on diverse areas ranging from complex transactional matters to high profile litigation. In every instance, the client receives focused attention and has access to a wealth of legal talent that stems from the firm’s global knowledge.
The Evolution of Squire Patton Boggs
The Squire Patton Boggs firm is now 125 years old, making it one of the oldest and certainly one of the most respected law firms in the world. Managing partner Lew Clark explains, “Squire Sanders originally was founded in 1890 in Cleveland, Ohio. Last June, we combined with lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs to become Squire Patton Boggs.”
The international firm now is one of the top 30 law firms in the world. “The Patton Boggs combination has been a real boon for our clients because it has added a top-notch policy team to our otherwise full suite of legal services. It’s been very beneficial to us,” adds Clark.
The Phoenix office was opened in 1979 by Bob Matia and it continues to grow and evolve much in the way the global firm has. “It’s always had a global outlook coupled with a local understanding,” says Clark. “We provide counsel to some of the state’s largest companies and undertake several high profile, consequential cases and transactions. We are poised for and have a lot of room for growth. We’re looking to do so aggressively by adding new people that are the right cultural and practice group fit for us and our clients.”
Clark has been with the firm for 18 years and he knew from the beginning that Squire Patton Boggs was the right professional fit for him. “I was originally in the Squire office in Columbus, Ohio,” he says. I’m a labor employment lawyer and that’s been my practice throughout my career. In 2008, the firm asked me to relocate to the Phoenix office. I did and I’m happy I did. What attracted me to this office was what attracted me to Squire overall, originally. It’s a welcoming and collaborative place that has helped me be successful in my own practice.” The collaborative approach and firm dynamic is just another way clients benefit from the legal services at Squire Patton Boggs.
The Right Staff
Clark says, “The emphasis at the firm is that we offer a global and international perspective for our clients and we’re also strong in each of the markets where we’re located, including Phoenix.”
In bringing new attorneys into the fold at Squire Patton Boggs, there is a certain type of person the firm seeks. “Excellent educational and experience credentials are the starting point to that equation,” Clark states. “The second and more important part of the equation is attorneys who mesh well with our culture. Our culture is one of collaboration and collegiality. Our lawyers support one another both within our offices and throughout the entire firm. We are a ‘one firm firm’ and we look for lawyers who are adept at being part of a collaborative global structure and are able to work well with others in a team approach. We’re also looking for those with a positive outlook and an entrepreneurial spirit. Those people find a happy home at Squire Patton Boggs.”
The collaborative approach at the firm works locally, nationally and internationally. “We do a lot of transactions, projects and litigation matters that are located here in Phoenix but we also work a lot between the offices in the United States and globally,” says Clark. “For me as an employment attorney, I’ve worked with lawyers across the United States on employment and litigation matters with lawyers in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.” Many of the firm’s clients are global enterprises and have legal needs all across the country and the world. Technologically and culturally the different office locations are very connected and can work together seamlessly.
“If one of our clients based in Beijing, Shanghai or Singapore has an operation in the United States, they may need legal guidance with respect to their operations here and that works the other way around, too,” explains Clark. “We have U.S. based clients that decide they want to establish a presence in Spain, Hungary or Russia and it’s a pretty nice aspect of our firm that I’m able to pick up the phone and speak to one of my colleagues who happens to be located in each of those places.” The firm helps its clients navigate the red tape, regulations and legislation of other countries to make growth and compliance as manageable as possible.
The Squire Patton Boggs Difference
There are differentiators between Squire Patton Boggs and large firms that operate in a similar space. “We can provide insight where law, business and government all intersect. We help our clients with respect to their legal issues and public policy, which in tandem helps them achieve successful outcomes for their businesses,” says Clark. “Because we are a multidisciplinary law firm, there are very few legal subject matters we can’t address.” The firm has unrivaled access to legal expertise throughout a 1,500 lawyer platform representing a distinct value for Arizona clients.
The environmental group has been particularly busy of late and has been recognized for its efforts. “They’ve been recently recognized for their work done on behalf of The Nature Conservancy in the Colorado River Basin initiative which is involved in negotiations between the United States and Mexico about the management of the Colorado River,” explains Clark. “We’re especially proud of that and have gotten some really nice recognition.”
“The firm has a world class corporate team that handles matters in Phoenix and abroad. That practice genuinely highlights our local roots and global reach. The public finance group is also outstanding. Public finance has been an area where we have been a leader in Arizona since our office’s inception,” says Clark.
He also singles out Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, LLC as one of the firm’s favorite clients and says it is proud of the relationship it has built with the world’s greatest collector car auction.
Like all of the firm’s offices, the Phoenix office is heavily involved in philanthropy. “It is something that we expect our attorneys to do – participate in the community. We’re fortunate to have a tremendous number of attorneys we consider community activity self-starters,” says Clark. The firm’s attorneys serve on a variety of boards that give focus to just about every type of philanthropic area there is.
Firm partner Frank Placenti just founded and launched the American College of Governance Counsel, a professional and educational honorary association that recognizes lawyers in the field of corporate governance. The firm also provides an annual fellowship to promising art students at ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. “We help underwrite the student’s last term at the school; we exhibit the artwork in our office and then buy select pieces so they become a part of our permanent collection,” Clark says.
Into the Future
Squire Patton Boggs is forward-thinking in that it rotates its management. “The firm benefits by changes in leadership. We try to keep a fresh perspective by assigning new leadership every few years. We don’t have leadership roles held in perpetuity,” says Clark. “Part of my role is to develop and mentor leadership qualities in our attorneys so I can smoothly transition this role to someone else in the future. I benefited from my predecessors and mentors, John Welch and Bob Matia, and now it’s my job to do the same.”
“I see us continuing to have strong public finance, environmental, litigation and corporate practices but I think we are going to grow in size soon. We’ll continue to grow qualitatively in terms of excellence, but I also see us adding more real estate and corporate attorneys as well as attorneys with a health care focus. Those practices are very important to our local market and also to the global market, so we will continue to match our expertise and experience to our clients’ ever-evolving business, legal and policy needs.