Human Resources and Law

Law firm plans for hiring after practice growth

March 25, 2015
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Lori Gibson
Lori Gibson. Courtesy Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge

A law firm is focusing on strategic hiring to serve growing segments of its client base, due to the growing economy in West Michigan.

SMB growth and jobs

Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge has seen growth in its litigation, real estate, employment and merger practices — particularly where it pertains to small- and mid-size businesses — which it expects will continue in the year ahead.

Lori Gibson, the COO of Smith Haughey who's based in Grand Rapids, said small- and mid-size businesses are where the firm is seeing the majority of its increased merger and acquisition work.

More activity means the firm is looking to hire.

“We really are focused on and have been in growing our practice as it relates to serving small- and medium-size businesses,” she said. “That is our niche, and we are seeing a lot of growth in that area, and we are doing strategic hiring around that.

“Like most law firms, you aren’t going to run out and hire people immediately, but if it looks like you are going to see sustained growth in an area, then we definitely look to add bodies, and we are right now looking to add bodies.”

Gibson said the firm has already added a few people, including a real estate attorney and an employee benefits attorney, and the 4,000 square feet of office space it recently added is filling up quickly.

“We would probably be in a bad spot without that space,” she said. “We are already a little tight here. We don’t have a lot of empty offices.”


Gibson said Smith Haughey is also looking closely at how it charges for its services, hoping to develop some alternative options for clients.

“Finding ways to work with clients other than the traditional hourly billing rate, which can be difficult for clients to predict what their costs are going to be,” she said. “We are trying to work more heavily with fixed fees and other ways of charging for our services that are more manageable and predictable for clients.”


Overall, Gibson said she’s very optimistic about the year ahead and about the Grand Rapids market.

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