John Weiss Featured in Mid-Market Report on Joining Pashman Stein Walder Hayden
John Weiss, Partner and Chair of the Bankruptcy Restructuring & Creditors’ Rights Practice at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was featured in the Mid-Market Report article, “Going Midsize: How One Big Law Partner Sought Out a ‘Different Product Offering’.” The article discusses the move by Weiss from an Am Law 100 firm to Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, a midsize firm in New Jersey, for the opportunity “to build a practice from the ground up and to promote “a different product offering than what Big Law offers.”
For Weiss, it’ll be a new environment in several ways. It has been nearly 13 years since he joined Alston & Bird, an Atlanta-headquartered firm of more than 800 lawyers; 13 offices in the U.S., Europe and China; and more than $1 billion in fiscal 2021 gross revenue.
“That was actually really tough—to ultimately get to that decision not only to leave Big Law, which I’ve been in my entire career, but to leave a platform where I was perfectly content,” Weiss said in an interview.
Pashman Stein has steadily grown and opened new offices in recent years. But with a lawyer head count of roughly 80, it’s a fraction of the size of Alston, as well as the other firms at which Weiss has practiced during his career: Greenberg Traurig, Latham & Watkins and Duane Morris.
Nevertheless, the new platform offers more, not fewer, opportunities, according to Weiss.
“I think there’s a real opportunity for a different product offering than what Big Law offers,” he added. ”You don’t need to be sitting in an office in Park Avenue to provide the services we provide. … That’s what this is really about—delivering something different to our clients.”
The regular rate increases that go along with practicing at a large law firm create challenges with cost-conscious clients, and roadblocks to taking on new or different types of work from new or existing clients, Weiss said.
“The increase of rates year over year always brought conversations to be had with clients and brought pressures with respect to, how do you deliver value?” he said, noting that there were engagements over the years that “I simply wasn’t able to take on because the rate structure didn’t allow it.”
“By virtue of lowering the costs of the seats of our lawyers, we can deliver the top-notch services … but [also] an enhanced value through a lower rate structure,” Weiss said.
He added, “at this stage of my career, it just became a very exciting idea to do something completely different—to build a practice from the ground up,” making strategic decisions on what types of work to pursue and whom to hire.
At the new Pashman Stein practice, “we’re thinking about growth right away, in a thoughtful and conservative way,” he said.
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