Beveridge & Diamond grabbed plenty of attention last month when former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency general counsel Scott Fulton came on board, but despite the headlines, the law firm has become more inward-focused.
"What we’re trying to do is make certain the next generation of shareholders at our firm are getting all the coaching and assistance they need to build their practice," said Benjamin Wilson, managing principal of the firm, which has 100 lawyers in six offices. "This is also about making certain we are looking at ourselves introspectively so we’re offering clients value."
To that end, Beveridge & Diamond, founded in 1974, hired its first chief business development and marketing officer, Nathan Darling, in September.
"One of the things that has impressed me about Beveridge is its firm management is working really hard on re-thinking the way they serve clients — even when charged with leading the firm," said Susan Hackett of Legal Executive Leadership, a law practice consulting firm in Washington.
The firm offers fixed rates for nearly 20 percent of its work, Wilson said. It also recently purchased updated billing software and conducts early cost assessments of cases.
That’s a good strategy for the busy firm that tried some big cases this past year. Arnold & Porter’s Steven Mayer, a partner in San Francisco who lost a California Court of Appeal decision on February 13 against the firm, called his opponents "worthy adversaries." The case challenged a voter initiative that sought to ban bio-solids recycling at a farm in Kern County, Calif. Beveridge principal James Slaughter obtained a summary judgment ruling on December 28 in a similar bio-solids dispute in Pennsylvania.
One month earlier, principal W. Parker Moore obtained a victory for BNSF Railway Co. when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld summary judgment in a case challenging the environmental impact study for a planned rail and truck terminal near Kansas City, Kan.
This year, the firm added former Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Anderson to its white-collar criminal practice. And in hiring Fulton, the firm hopes to focus on international and sustainability issues, Wilson said. "I like to think we’re in a special position to help our clients see in the future as it relates to environmental issues," Wilson said. "Scott Fulton will really enhance our ability to see around those corners."