In a Q&A-style article in Florida Trend’s July issue, Michael Malfitano, head of Constangy’s Tampa, Lakeland and Port St. Lucie offices, discusses how Constangy is dealing with the general challenges firms are facing today, changes to the practice of law, pro bono work, technology upgrades and the biggest case the firm has successfully handled this past year.
As a national labor and employment firm, the biggest obstacle today is providing value to clients who are under growing pressure to keep legal representation affordable. “I think all firms are looking for new ways to work more efficiently and effectively,” noted Malfitano, which he says has resulted in a substantial increase in alternative fee arrangements and competitive pricing.
When discussing how the practice of law has changed in the past five to 10 years, Malfitano explained that “the most significant change is the recognition that, in order to provide clients the services that they expect, we have to become strategic partners with each of our clients.” Constangy meets this change by learning their clients’ business, culture and risk tolerance when dealing with their employee issues.
In regards to Constangy’s pro bono policy, Malfitano noted that the firm offers attorneys flexibility and encourages them to provide pro bono work for causes that are important to them personally. Constangy has also made major updates in their technology capabilities to boost efficiency and provide more value to clients. “As a boutique law firm, we are often required to go to where our clients are located, and technological improvements have enabled us to work as efficiently when we are traveling as we can when we are in our office,” noted Malfitano.
Malfitano then highlights the most notable case the firm has handled successfully in the past year. “We successfully defended a major client in a federal court disability discrimination suit involving telecommuting, which is increasingly an issue for clients who have employees who are unable to travel to or work in the office because of medical issues.” Ultimately, the federal court granted the firm’s motion for summary judgement and agreed that the claim should be denied as a matter of law.
The full article is available here (subscription required): http://www.floridatrend.com/digital