A commercial bankruptcy and litigation law firm has grown out of its office and is expanding to make room for at least four new hires.
Bridgeport-based Zeisler & Zeisler will move its 27-person operation in June. The law firm, which currently has 11 lawyers, is moving about a mile, from a 1920s Tudor-style house on Clinton Avenue to a sleek, 18-story office tower near the Metro-North train station.
"The primary factors driving our relocation are the desire to be more centrally located in downtown Bridgeport, the ease of access for our clients, and the room to expand in furtherance of our current recruiting efforts to add commercial litigators," said James Berman, a partner whose practices include business reorganization and bankruptcy and insolvency.
Deborah Accurso, the managing director, explained that the a more modern building will better accommodate needed improvements to the firm’s computer system, which needs larger fiber-optic cables and other wiring. The "faster and better" computer system will benefit both clients and attorneys, Accurso said. "We’re hoping to open up our pool of job candidates," she said. "I think the new office is going to be a real boon for recruiting."
In addition to bankruptcy and debtor-creditor work, Zeisler & Zeisler is known for its commercial litigation and corporate transactions practice. The firm also handles matters of worker’s compensation, personal injury and white-collar crime defense. It is expanding the personal injury and worker’s compensation practice areas, as well as the commercial litigation practices, Accurso said.
Bankruptcy work has always been subject to the booms and busts of the overall business climate. According to a recent study completed by the National Law Journal, client pushback in the corporate bankruptcy and reorganization arena has eliminated automatic 6 to 8 percent annual rate hikes of former years. That means bankruptcy firms have been held to modest rate increases, if at all.
To address business challenges, some firms have built up new practice areas or expanded into other areas.
In recent months, Zeisler expanded its personal injury practice by hiring James Miron, a personal injury trial lawyer and former mayor of Stratford, as a partner. Miron has been named chairman of the firm’s personal injury and workers’ compensation department, which is in the process of being "beefed up," Accurso said.
"He’s been practicing in this area of the state exclusively for over 15 years and one of his strengths is marketing," Accurso said.
Additionally, the firm is advertising to fill two positions. Zeisler would like to hire one attorney in the debtor and creditor practice and another in the commercial litigation practice. Both of those areas have seen significant growth in the past year, Accurso said. Two additional hires could come later.
The new location, which is also closer to the courthouses downtown, fits in with the firm’s overall growth plan, Accurso said. The new office space is 12,000 square feet, 2,000 square feet larger than the current office, and boasts huge windows with panoramic views of Bridgeport Harbor and Long Island Sound.
There is a parking garage in the basement of the building and a Japanese garden on the sixth-floor. The open floor plan of the office has room for three or four more offices, which the firm intends to fill in the next couple of years.
"We’re excited about the move; it’s energizing," Accurso said.•