t’s been about two months since the BBS launch, so we thought it might be a good time for a mini-retrospective. While the support for BBS at launch was overwhelming, we got a lot of good questions: Why now? How did your clients respond? What makes you different? Why the three of you, in three different states? And though we thought we had good answers for each of those questions, a few months in we have no doubt about how we answer those questions.
ecause lawyers can be a risk avoidant bunch, a lot of our friends and colleagues wondered whether we’d picked the wrong time to start BBS. And frankly, in the weeks leading up to the launch, we had our moments of doubt. But here’s what we’ve learned in our first months:
Now is the time to build a resilient practice from scratch. Other firms have struggled over the past six months to adapt their long-established traditions—on everything from internal meetings to oral arguments—to a remote-work and online-presence centered practice. But from its founding BBS has built into its practices ways to be collaborative, client-centered, and value-driven in a remote setting.
Our clients are also having to navigate the same problems posed by the pandemic, and we’ve been able to empathize with them. Because we’ve built BBS from the ground up during one of the most challenging environments facing individuals, businesses, and governments, our clients don’t need to wait for us to adapt—we started here.
And, while we do miss seeing and meeting you all in-person (and still wish we could have had launch parties in Portland, Seattle, and Oakland), we have been able to connect virtually post-launch in a more genuine, meaningful, and helpful way than we would have at a cocktail party in our honor. We will just have to wait for our one-year anniversary for the party!
ne of the core reasons we chose each other as partners was because of our long history as friends and colleagues. When you have nearly two decades of friendship to look back upon, and have watched each other grow as lawyers and parents, you’re able to build a business together without worrying about whether you can and will have each other’s backs.
For years, we’ve been itching to work together, and have spent that time boosting our skills and practice areas in a wide variety of experiences: working for government and large law firms, teaching at Yale Law School, managing all sizes of teams, and navigating complex litigation. We’ve spent decades cheering each other on and watching each other overcome big challenges, so we know that our strength, resilience, and trust in each other will help us and our clients succeed.
We also bring to client relationships our personal commitments to honest and direct communication, respect, and resilience. At BBS, we promise to speak directly when evaluating our clients’ thorniest legal and business concerns, to truly listen to their longer-term hopes and strategies, and we always have their backs.
is woman-owned—and proud of it. One of the driving reasons for founding BBS was to add our names to the too-short roster of woman-owned firms. Not only are there too few women in the ranks of veteran litigators, but women’s representation in the ranks of equity law firm partners is abysmal. While women enter law school and private practice at the same rate as men, they become equity partners less than a quarter as often as men. Not only are these numbers shameful, but they represent a missed opportunity for the legal community. Rather than trying to slowly steer the big law ship toward partnerships that look more like our greater population, at BBS we have baked in equality from start.
Women and mothers are used to multi-tasking, project managing, and working efficiently to get the job done. We’re also well positioned to understand female jurors, judges, and clients. Every day, we show our clients that truly outstanding lawyering is possible—and even more likely—when spearheaded by lawyers who rely on being efficient and collaborative problem-solvers in their everyday lives.
We are all parents, and struggle with the usual tensions that come from juggling work and home, parenthood, and our own personal well-being. Our heightened awareness of the rampant inequalities both within and without the legal industry have also committed us to examine how we can better contribute to gender equality and racial justice within our community. Launching at this moment has led us to build these questions into BBS’ structure; equality is not an add-on.
ur first months at BBS have been both a surprise and a confirmation of the reasons we founded our firm. Surprise at the sheer joy of working with longtime friends, the normalcy of remote legal practice, the connection and collaboration possible over Teams and Zoom, and confirmation that our initial answers to all our friends’ and supporters’ questions were correct.
Why now? Because now is the exact time our clients need resilient, adaptable, and creative lawyers. What makes us different? We’ve baked equality, flexibility, and mutual respect into our firm from the start. Why us? Because as litigation innovators, parents, and longtime friends, our trust in each other and our clients demanded that we reach for something better—something extraordinary. And we’re just getting started.
True to our core mission, we want to hear from you.
Has the pandemic changed what you view as important from a firm?
How has juggling between work and life affected your family and your practice?