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The 16th annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum panel spoke about market segmentation and market specialization for law firms.

To Be or Not To Be

Carolyn Dolci, EisnerAmper tax partner, recently moderated an interesting panel discussion at the 16th annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum addressing market specialization amid market segmentation. Included on the panel were Richard J. Anderson, Steve D. Fiore and Jessica Pavlik, chief operating officers of Fish & Richardson, P.C.; Epstein Becker& Green, P.C.; and Berger & Singerman LLP, respectively.  The panel also included Brent Turner of Peer Monitor and Dr. Evan Parker of LawyerMetrix

The panel spoke of the advantages of specialization that can come in the form of geography, practice or industry. Although there can be challenges when attempting to recruit outside your core and there can be a risk of cyclical market conditions, members of the panel had taken the specialization route.  Mr. Fiore highlighted his Firm’s history, recounting - growth into varied practice areas that did not necessarily ‘fit.’ The decision was made to get back to basics. This allowed the firm to return to its strengths and differentiate themselves in the market. Ms. Pavlik spoke of her firm’s geographic specialization in Florida and their ability to build a brand, highlighting the many referrals they receive as a function of their Florida base. Mr. Anderson spoke of his firm’s specialized practice that allowed for firm efficiencies and partners who share similar backgrounds and experiences. Mr. Turner and Dr. Parker presented insightful statistics and trends noting the advantages of focusing on a firm’s strengths in what appears to be an industry with mature demand.

Specialization which grew out of areas of strength or geographical focus enabled the firms to brand themselves in the client market place. The panel found that this led to competitive advantages and the agility to respond to their client’s needs. The discussion noted a shared focus amongst colleagues and the ability to focus resources. The panel found success in, as the saying goes, “sticking to their knitting.”

Carolyn Haesler is an Audit Director with over 20 years of accounting and auditing experience. She is a New York Certified Public Accountant and has extensive experience with employee benefit plan audits.

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