Smith Gambrell & Russell: Stephen M. Forte Role as SGR's Managing Partner | Culture & Collaboration

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About Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP http://www.sgrlaw.com/ Learn more about Stephen Forte http://www.sgrlaw.com/attorneys/sforte/ Stephen M. Forte is the Managing Partner and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP. [TRANSCRIPT] I started out as a young partner being involved in recruitment and the summer program, which is really the training of summer associates, hopefully, toward a path to become lawyers, full-time lawyers in the firm. I was elected at a relatively young age, in my late thirties, to be managing partner of the firm, initially, that position was one we turned over every two years. So after turning it over a couple of times, the firm decided they wanted more consistency in management and we eliminated the term limits and I became a managing partner in this last go around in nineteen ninety-eight, which has continued in successive elections. The role has evolved as we gotten larger, as we've expanded into other cities. I work a great deal on the collaboration end and on the integration end. I think it's important for a leader to be visible within the organization. I think they have to be ministers of the culture. They have to be protective of the enterprise. They have to be fair. There has to be a real perception by your partners, you know, this is not a corporation. I don't press an email and everyone jumps. We collaborate here. Historically, I have been a trial lawyer representing primarily clients in different industries related to either transportation, financial services. I also do some other work for clients that have been longstanding clients of the firm that I operate, basically, as a general counsel to them. I still practice law and I think that does give me credibility and some self-awareness of what my colleagues are going through when they practice in the everyday sense. So I do think that adds something to the leadership mix. The firm's clientele sometimes wants to hear from the management of the firm and I stand ready to support our partners. Collaboration is a very big part of what I can preach and we, hopefully, live by. Collaboration allows us to function as a team. It allows us to put all of our resources into all of our offices, as well as the major markets in this country and internationally. So we can really punch above our weight as a firm of two hundred twenty lawyers. If we're all working together, it brings a much greater factor of cooperation and assistance to all client matters. I think I spend a lot of time on the culture of the firm and making sure that the way we do things is consistent with the values of the firm. I think, in my position, I consider that that's a primary element of what I do. Leaders have to protect the enterprise, make sure that the firm is stable and growing. I believe if you're not growing you may be slipping backward and in your business. Well, I'm passionate about the law firm. I drank the Kool-Aid here a long time ago. I get excited about getting up and coming to work every day. I really do. I think that the sense of responsibility that we have to each other and to our clients gives meaning to what we do and makes it easy to want to be here and work with others. [end] About Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP SGR is a full-service, international law firm that advises regional, national and global businesses on a wide range of legal matters. The firm’s more than 200 attorneys provide legal counsel in more than 45 specialized practice areas, including corporate transactions, litigation, intellectual property, aviation, banking, construction, and employment law. Founded in 1893, SGR has offices in Atlanta, Austin, Jacksonville, London, Munich, New York, Southampton, and Washington, D.C.

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