Connell Foley's Managing Partner, Michael X. McBride featured in NJBIZ Business Profiles 2013 Edition

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Culture Propels Growth, Success of Law Firm

Connell Foley, a full-service law firm with six offices across the mid-Atlantic region, takes pride in its devoted attorneys and its deliberately cultivated culture, which prizes personalized service.

“We work hard every day to maintain our culture,” says Michael McBride, the firm’s managing partner. “Many large firms merge and fail because of a clash of cultures. They’re not all on the same page.”

Known primarily as a trial firm—and one that excels especially in the fields of health care, real estate, pharma and taxation—Connell Foley has
distinguished itself as a dynamic, independent leader in the legal industry. “We haven’t merged with other firms,” McBride says. “Our growth has
mostly been internal, although we have added lateral partners in specific practice areas where we wanted to expand.”

Connell Foley relies on input from its younger attorneys, some of whom serve on the firm’s executive committee. “They are often much more in tune with client needs,” McBride says. “It’s important to include younger people in our decision making. I think a lot of firms suffer from continuing to rely on older leadership.”

McBride adds that one-third of the people on Connell Foley’s executive committee are women. This diversity sends a strong message to the staff.
“The young people who come here realize we focus on people first.”

A “people first” approach also characterizes the firm’s service, both with clients and among staff members. In 2008, when the economy sank, Connell Foley demonstrated its allegiance both to its clients and its workforce.

McBride recounts a meeting in late 2008, when the firm’s associates and staff feared they’d lose their jobs due to the rapidly deteriorating economy. He remembers telling them, “Everyone here has a job. If this firm can’t make budget, then the partners are going to take the hit.”

The decision reflects the firm’s belief that its success stems from the interdependence between members of its staff—a belief built on 75 years of
productive teamwork.

Although the economy is improving, McBride says, economic concerns remain, especially among the consumers of legal services. “That is going to dictate how the legal world grows or flattens. Legal budgets are not something that companies want to put a lot of dollars in these days,” he says.

To maintain its progress, Connell Foley is looking to expand in areas that afford room to grow. Health care and pharma are among them. The firm also will remain committed to community service. Recent projects include Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together Jersey City, Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, Special Olympics, Covenant House and many more.

Great results for clients also figure in the firm’s future. Connell Foley is a top choice for individuals, companies, nonprofits, government agencies
and educational institutions that are confronting high-profile and high-risk legal challenges. Recently, during a jury trial, the firm helped to successfully negotiate a $2 billion settlement for a pharma client.

“People want us on their side for two reasons,” McBride says. “One, we get results. Two, we have very, very talented lawyers, and we continue to
attract the best people.”

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