Michael Vasquez left big-firm life six years ago with a small dream. The former Hinshaw & Culbertson partner had visions of running his own family-friendly firm, employing no more than 10 lawyers in an office “where everyone knew each other on a first-name basis.”

But it hasn’t worked out quite that way. His asbestos defense litigation practice, worth about $3.5 million at opening time, has grown faster than he had anticipated, he says, and the firm, San Rafael, Calif.-based Vasquez & Estrada, now employs 22 attorneys.

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