Greenberg Traurig

Ernest LaMont Greer, Greenberg Traurig

Ernest LaMont Greer

The Business of Law

Editors’ Note

Ernest LaMont Greer is a seasoned commercial litigator with wide-ranging trial experience representing clients in multimillion-dollar complex litigation and also serves on the firm’s Executive Committee. He earned his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and his A.B. in Government from Harvard University.

What is the secret of the firm’s success?

The secret is a management approach focused on supporting lawyers, where our goal is helping them to build their practices and give back to the community. It’s not a firm where lawyers are tasked with meeting the goals of management. As firm leaders, we work for our lawyers. We are always eager to determine how we can make the practice of law better, more efficient, more practical, and more successful for our fellow partners.

How close is the coordination among offices to ensure that the service is seamless and how have you maintained an intimate, entrepreneurial culture within the firm?

Our model is built on the success of collaboration. To make that work, we focus on creating opportunities for partners to get to know each other one on one, and not just over e-mail or the telephone. We invest in bringing together our attorneys throughout the year to meet one another and socialize together. That personal interaction breaks down walls and makes the partnership feel much smaller. As the firm has grown, this strategy has remained a priority to ensure that our entrepreneurial culture thrives.

In Atlanta, we have grown to 100 attorneys and we spend a great deal of time meeting other lawyers across the firm. While we recognize that every market is different, we understand the importance of sharing core values across geographic boundaries. These values include a commitment to excellence; the concept of doing unto others as you would want others to do to you; and sharing information about particular clients (both current and prospective) in our various markets.

By operating as one coordinated firm, we are able to serve clients in a seamless manner from across our 37 offices in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Are large multinational companies the ideal clientele for the firm or is the practice broader?

Our platform is designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of companies. We started in 1967 with three people who were focused on real estate, corporate, and land use, so our DNA is based on our entrepreneurial roots. Throughout the years, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to meeting the needs of entrepreneurial clients. At the same time, as we have gotten larger, we’ve also made a strong foray into the Fortune 500.

What also makes us unique as a firm is that, in addition to serving a broad array of corporate clients, we also continue to serve a number of government clients at the local, state, and national levels.

Has the practice of law become more complex?

The legal industry has changed dramatically. Law firms have grown so large that they have to operate as sophisticated businesses rather than the old model of a simple partnership. In a very real sense, a lawyer is a businessman who happens to oversee the delivery of legal services.

In addition, clients are more sophisticated today and require more business advice regarding the handling of legal matters. When we handle a case, it is not just an internal process – it’s a close collaboration with our clients. Clients are demanding very creative and business-focused solutions to resolve cases because they understand the financial impact when cases are long and drawn out. It is our goal to exceed those expectations and serve as trusted business advisers to our clients.•