Hartman Underhill Names First Female MP

, The Legal Intelligencer

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As managing partner, Smith said her role will largely involve spearheading the firm's growth and client service initiatives.

According to Smith, one of the major focal points for the firm during her tenure will be succession planning.

"We have a group of attorneys here who are all in their later 50s and early 60s so we're working on a very strategic and thoughtful plan for putting our clients in touch with our younger associates," Smith said.

Smith added that for a 19-lawyer firm with a strong presence in its local community, maintaining longstanding client relationships, even after the partners who may have initiated those relationships move on, is vital.

"Attorney-client relationships are so grounded in trust," Smith said. "They're not something you can just pass off to somebody without a very thoughtful approach. We're very intentional about exposing our younger lawyers to our clients."

Smith said she also has a particular interest in addressing the growing competition firms like hers are facing from companies that offer "commodities"—legal documents that clients can obtain on their own without having to go through legal counsel.

According to Smith, in an age when certain documents are readily available online to the general public, firms like Hartman Underhill are having to re-evaluate services they offer to their clients.

Smith said the firm is now considering options such as lowering the price of the services it offers that could be considered "commodity work."

That way, according to Smith, the firm can focus more on providing the type of legal counsel to its clients that they can't get from a website.

"We really want to take a solid look at the value we're offering to the client," Smith said.

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