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Mr. Mills focuses his practice on the representation of business entities in the buying and selling of businesses and real estate, corporate and partnership structuring and financing. He also assists business owners in planning for the future by implementing succession plans for their businesses and by assisting them to establish their legal rights and responsibilities with respect to the operation of their business. Brian also has substantial experience drafting and negotiating office and retail leases.
Maselli Warren PC is a law firm with offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They represent businesses and business owners as well as lending institutions.
MO: How can a business determine if they should implement a succession plan?
Brian: Any business owner whose business is, or who wants his busienss to be, bigger than him, should have a successsion plan. Otherwise, the company is not likley to survive the death, disability or retirement of the founder. Anyone who wants to maximize the value of his efforts, either for retirement or for his family once he is gone or unable to run the business, should have a succession plan.
MO: Can you talk about how you’re grooming your young lawyers to become independent and self-sustaining and why you think that this is an important factor to their personal growth and the growth of your firm?
Brian: To their credit, my partners , the founders of our firm, recognized early on that in order for the firm to grow, they needed help. Instead of choosing to remain a 4-5 attorney firm (which would have provided them with a good lifestyle) they chose to invest in the firm for longterm growth. Hopefully, now with 2 distinct generations of partners in the firm, our younger lawyers recognize the opportunity before them—that if they work hard, get clients and provide outstanding legal services, they can become the third generation of leaders at maselli warren.
MO: Can you expand on how you’ve managed continued growth during the economic crisis?
Brian: Our firm has grown around two core focuses: debtor-creditor relations and general representation of small business.
The former consists primarily of representing lenders holding defaulted commercial notes enforce their rights as well representing businesses struggling to pay their bills. The latter consists of business and real estate transactions, commercial litigation, employment matters, intellectual property rights, and legal and regulatory compliance.
These core areas tend to compliment one another well. In today’s economy, the debtor-creditor relations business is extremely hot. Seven years ago, it was our business practice that was sizzling.
It doesn’t have to be intentional (it wasn’t in our case). But you do have to recognize it when/as it happens so you can manage the present and plan for the future.
MO: What are some ways that you reduce complex issues to simple solutions for your clients to understand?
Brian: By keeping things relative. The law is an art; not a science (this is probably why there are so many lawyer jokes). To a lawyer, 1+1 = 2 “except in the circumstances presented here your honor…”
Too often, lawyers get bogged down (on the client’s dime) investigating, researching, revising, editing. A manufacturing company prospect recently told me that it’s law firm sent 3 lawyers to examine each piece of machinery that a former employee/employment discrimination plaintiff had worked on during his employment.
Between preparation, travel, examination and post-examination memoing, each attorney spent 10+ hours on this task. 10 hours x 3 lawyers x $300/hr = $9,000. $9,000 for lawyers to examine machinery on a case where the demand was $120,000 and the case had no direct connection to the equipment! To us, that is absurd. We pride ourselves on handling matters in an appropriate fashion. We don’t bring rocket launchers to knife fights (but we might bring guns if it can help our client win so long as the cost of doing so doesn’t make it a moral victory).
That is not to say that there are not situations where leaving no stone unturned is appropriate and in the best interests of the client. When those circumstances present, then we oblige. We believe that guiding all of our decisions by the “best interest of the client” standard is, in the long run, in the best interest of the firm.
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