Matthew P. Feeney, Chair, Snell & Wilmer

Making a Difference in Our Corner of the Economy
from Matthew P. Feeney

The speed of the legal industry and the practice of law continues to increase dramatically. In today’s world, everything moves more rapidly, and technology has made communication virtually instantaneous. This is not always ideal when it comes to law, as sound legal counsel often requires reflection. On the positive side, however, technology has helped make the practice of law more transparent to clients, giving them a thorough understanding of the legal business, including billing rates and capabilities. 

On a related note, we have also seen clients expect (rightfully so) that their law firms will provide legal services in an efficient manner and deliver value in line with fees paid. This is where our outstanding attorneys and staff, and our geographic footprint, serve as a competitive advantage. Clients recognize that there are great lawyers throughout the country, not just in large East and West Coast cities. As younger lawyers advance into leadership positions as general counsels for companies, the individuals who give us much of our work, we find they are less interested in where their law firms are located and more concerned about capability and cost. This is a trend rooted in the pervasiveness of technology. 

Addressing Challenges

At Snell & Wilmer, we understand that any law firm that is complacent is in trouble. To quote American humorist Will Rogers, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Our approach is to always look for new ways of doing things and for opportunities to provide more value to our clients. To that end, you must be willing and able to make investments in a lot of areas. Over the past several years, we have significantly increased our investment in various technologies designed to promote efficiencies, hone attorneys’ professional skills and drive client-focused results. We have maintained a lean cost structure based, in part, on the cities in which we have a presence (as we have generally avoided high-cost markets). We have invested in sophisticated pricing tools and staffing models designed to deliver legal services at the appropriate level. We have continued to emphasize and position our practice groups as our business units — we manage the firm via practice groups, not by offices. And we have provided our practice group leaders with the information, resources, tools and freedom they need to effectively manage their teams and serve our clients.

Corporate Culture

Leadership advancement at all levels of Snell & Wilmer remains one of the firm’s primary objectives. We believe those law firms that sincerely care about their clients and their issues will continue to thrive. Deeply woven into our firm’s culture is our commitment to building and deepening relationships with our clients, with our communities, and with others in the firm. If we continue to deliver on that promise, we will always be successful. Such an approach requires us to continually invest in the next generation of attorneys and staff members and provide them with tangible paths to leadership. We are not just focused on the next year or two; we are focused on the next decade and beyond. 

 

About Snell & Wilmer

Snell & Wilmer’s geographic reach is extensive, with more than 425 attorneys in 12 locations throughout the United States and in Mexico: Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Los Angeles and Orange County, California; Denver, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; Boise, Idaho; Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Los Cabos, Mexico.

Our client reach encompasses regional, national and international entities. Clients include major national and multinational corporations, educational and research institutions, municipalities and government agencies, nonprofits, charitable organizations, industry executives and high-net-worth individuals. The firm is a member of Lex Mundi, the world’s leading network of independent law firms.

Three factors set us apart from other law firms: our external focus, expansive legal experience married with our flexible approach, and earned client trust.

As a relationship-based law firm, Snell & Wilmer recognizes one straightforward fact: Our clients care less about our internal workings and more about the degree to which we understand their business, their industry, and the trends and challenges that can affect their ability to minimize risk and maximize success. This strong external focus and the diverse experience of our attorneys enable us to help clients solve problems, achieve opportunities and deal efficiently and effectively with an ever-changing economic, business and legal landscape.

Snell & Wilmer is organized into more than five dozen practice areas, so that clients have easy access to attorney skills and knowledge specific to a particular business and industry. Yet many businesses face legal issues that require cross-practice experience. We have the resources to build teams of attorneys from different practice areas and locations who can work together seamlessly to solve the most complex legal challenges.

Central to any business is the desire to decrease expense and drive revenue. When dealing with legal matters that involve proprietary business information, trust between the client and our firm is paramount. Snell & Wilmer provides creative yet practical client-specific solutions. Professional integrity and fast response to client needs guide our interactions. In short, we work with clients in ways that are both personal and professional – ways that engender mutual trust and pave the way for successful outcomes.

 

At-A-Glance

Year founded in the Valley: 1938
Industry: Legal Services
Top local executive/position: Matthew P. Feeney / Firm Chair
Number of years with Firm: 35
Number of Valley employees: 447
Company website: www.swlaw.com
Top 5 services/products: Full-service business law firm. Key practice areas include, among others:

  • Commercial litigation
  • Corporate and securities
  • Healthcare
  • Labor and employment
  • Real estate

Greatest 2018 milestone for the company: Celebrated 80 years in Phoenix, Arizona.

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