Lewis Roca Law Firm Names Managing Partner for Valley Office
Between dealing with having his staff around the country working from home amid the outbreak of Covid-19 last year, running his law firm's Phoenix office and coping with work-life balance, Ken Van Winkle Jr. saw an opportunity come into focus.
The managing partner of Lewis Roca had office managing partners in place in other cities, and wanted to find the right person to take over a similar role in Phoenix.
"My role and responsibility overseeing offices from Silicon Valley to Albuquerque, Denver to LA, and all points in between, and sitting in Phoenix being a practicing attorney as well as dealing with things outside the office at home, the idea of having boots on the ground in leadership and a management role [in other offices] was a conduit for me to do that in Phoenix," Van Winkle said.
As a result, the firm has named Laura Pasqualone, who practices in the areas of labor and employment law and business litigation, as office managing partner in Phoenix.
"Laura's name kept rising to the top. She's highly respected in the office and an up and comer in our firm, who's really connected in the local community," Van Winkle said. "Laura is a different generation than me and has her pulse on the next generation of attorneys."
Lewis Roca is ranked No. 5 on the Phoenix Business Journal's list of the largest law firms in the Phoenix area, ranked by the number of locally-based attorneys as of January. The firm is headquartered in Phoenix, and besides its Phoenix office, it has eight other offices spread across California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.
As of July 1, the firm has 487 employees across its entire footprint, including 214 attorneys. At its Phoenix office, the firm has 137 employees, including 76 attorneys.
Van Winkle and Pasqualone agreed that the law sector is, like many other segments of the professional services industry, at a pivotal point with a need to recognize work-life balance amid a highly competitive job market.
While Van Winkle said the firm's primary focus is office-based, considering its clients expect to be able to take advantage of the collective knowledge base that its teams of attorneys can provide compared to solo practitioners or smaller firms, he thinks of the office setting as a "catalyst" for work, and wants employees to pick whatever path they have in mind when it comes to their work environment.
Pasqualone said it's clear that her generation is more in tune with a hybrid-type work arrangement.
"My generation has definitely embraced flexible working. But certainly we know how valuable in-person contact can be," she said. "The challenge going forward is how to balance the fact that my generation appreciates remote working, so we will be looking to focus on ways to adapt to all circumstances for our valued attorneys and staff to consider remote work preferences."
Van Winkle said the competition for recruiting attorneys continues to intensify, but he also sees that having Pasqualone running the Phoenix office will help in recruiting her peers.
"Competition is extremely stiff for good talent, and with the shift to remote work, we're seeing our talent being approached by firms as far away as Texas and beyond looking to hire them and saying they could stay in Phoenix or somewhere else," he said. "There's also a wage war that is trickling down to the regional offices, so we recognize we have to step up and meet that for our people."
The firm's full name is Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, but launched a rebranding effort in March of this year to use its shortened name, Lewis Roca. The firm was founded more than 100 years ago, and expanded to its current nameplate after Lewis and Roca combined with Rothgerber, Johnson & Lyons in 2013 and with Christie Parker & Hale in 2016.