After 15 years running his own law firm, Steve Herrick, a commercial litigation specialist, decided he’d rather work for somebody else.
Now Herrick, a veteran of 25 years in the legal profession, has brought his business law expertise to the two-year-old Albany, N.Y., firm of Tully Rinckey & Associates. It’s a deal that makes sense for both him and the firm, Herrick said.
Because he specializes in commercial litigation only, he misses the chance to build customer relationships that a full-service law firm offers, Herrick explained. He’d been running his one-lawyer firm in Albany since 2000 and decided that the best thing to do would be to sign up with a larger firm. This would give him more exposure and more chances to get clients, he said.
But when he went looking for a firm to work with, he found no takers, Herrick said.
The firms he talked to “were not bullish on being able to establish a commercial litigation practice,” he said.
“They said commercial litigation is a tough sell in Albany,” he added.
But Mathew Tully and Greg Rinckey were enthusiastic about the commercial litigation idea.
“Though the practice they had was based largely on personal service to clients, they said that the next step they wanted to take was to gain entree into the business community,” Herrick said.
Adding Steve Herrick to the firm fulfills the needs of some of Tully Rinckey’s existing clients, said Brian Tromans, the firm’s director of business development.
“The growth and development of businesses in the area, especially the Tech Valley and entrepreneurial efforts within the region, helped foster the need of a commercial litigation practice,” Tromans said. “Surveys show that under-performing outside counsel are being fired more frequently. Reasons cited include lack of responsiveness, excessive fees and insufficient work — all areas that Tully Rinckey will try to gain an advantage in.”
Hiring Herrick will allow Tully Rinckey to keep up its rapid growth, he said.
Prior to opening up shop in Albany in 2000, Herrick ran his practice on Long Island. The move to Albany was a lifestyle decision, he explained.
“There were 4 million people on Long Island when I left and at 8:30 in the morning all of them were trying to get somewhere,” he said.
Prior to establishing The Law Offices of Steven L. Herrick, he worked for Farrell Fritz P.C. and headed the firm’s commercial litigation department. He was also a confidential secretary to justices of the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Second Department. He has also taught law at Touro Law School.
It’s been an adjustment going from being the “chief cook and bottlewasher ” of his own business for 15 years, Herrick said.
But there are plenty of upsides.
“To not have to deal with the business end of the practice, by that I mean billing clients and collecting from clients and those sorts of things, and making sure you have enough paperclips in the supply closet; I don’t miss that,” Herrick said.
“The people here have been fabulous,” he said. “I think Mat and Greg view this as their next frontier.”