Centennial changes

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Print this page by Doug Childers

As it celebrates its 100th anniversary, Richmond-based Williams Mullen is implementing a new strategic plan that will emphasize its attorneys’ industry expertise.

So far, the firm, which employs more than 300 lawyers in 30 practice areas across Virginia, North Carolina and Washington, D.C., has created five industry service groups: 
• financial services,
• hospitality,
• long-term care,
• retail, and
• transportation and logistics.

It expects to create additional industry service groups over the next few months, including government contracts, public/private partnerships, health-care informatics, private equity and communications.

The firm’s new strategic plan is less a shift in focus than it is an emphasis on creating additional value for its clients, says Julious P. Smith Jr., chairman and CEO. “Our attorneys understand and appreciate our clients’ industries. This understanding of the challenges our clients face allows us to act more as counselors or advisers than as traditional lawyers.”

And there’s good news for lawyers looking for work in a tough economy. The new structure may lead to new hires. “We must keep pace with changes and new demands created by our clients’ businesses, and our recruitment efforts complement that,” says Smith.

To mark its centennial, the firm’s attorneys are performing 100 hours of community or pro-bono service this year.

Next summer, the law firm will become the lead tenant in a 15-story office building being constructed in downtown Richmond.

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