What if you had the opportunity to practice in the area of law that you find most rewarding, virtually conflict-free, without big law administrative and political friction, in a collegial and highly professional bar, working on high-profile matters before exceptional judges in nationally (even internationally) respected courts? This is the opportunity that we (me, Adam Landis, and Dan Rath), as the founding partners of Landis Rath & Cobb LLP, identified over 15 years ago when we took a risk and formed a specialty firm in Wilmington, Delaware, concentrating on two niche practices: commercial bankruptcy, and corporate and commercial litigation.
Each of us started our practice at well-respected international firms, where we were trained in big law standards of excellence, developing research, writing and advocacy skills. And while we had only limited experience in client and firm management—the business side of the practice—we were confident in our abilities to learn as we worked and grew the practice together. We built an exceptionally talented team, many with big law backgrounds, to help us deliver top-notch service to our growing roster of sophisticated business clients. Over the years, as our practice has matured from start-up to established, we have promoted from within, with four of our partners rising through our associate ranks. All of us have collaborated to attract and retain associates, paralegals, and staff to ensure a roster of professionals dedicated to representing our clients with the highest levels of commitment, expertise, and ethics. The success of these efforts and our high standards are reflected in many ways, including the client satisfaction and peer firm respect necessary to earn the firm high recognition in Chambers USA, Martindale-Hubbell and other rating publications.
In concentrating our practice in the areas of commercial bankruptcy, and corporate and commercial litigation, as lead counsel we have successfully represented entities with complex financial restructurings, significant creditor issues, and both individuals and entities in corporate law litigation, alternative entity disputes, and commercial litigation. And as Delaware counsel, we have partnered with major international firms to represent business clients in all Delaware state and federal courts and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
Because Delaware is one of the nation’s premier jurisdictions for the firm’s niche practice areas, we have been fortunate to have played significant roles in many high-stakes, high-profile, sophisticated business matters, working both directly with clients to achieve positive outcomes, and alongside prominent national firms that highly value our experience and expertise when navigating the Delaware courts.
How different is our niche practice from a much larger law firm environment? Not much when it comes to the skill required to deliver excellent service and positive results to demanding clients. The difference is noticeable, however, in two ways: how each of us personalizes the representation, and how we work day-to-day at the firm. Personalizing the representation means taking individual responsibility for achieving positive results for our clients, whatever the matter or task requires. We have no satellite firm offices or unrelated practice groups. Instead, our clients all are firm clients, and we know precisely for and with whom we are working on every matter. Our day-to-day work process means our doors always are open to foster frequent communication and healthy exchanges in what, by design, is a tight-knit group. Monthly firm attorney breakfasts and firm-wide lunches ensure that everyone knows which matters are new, who is referring clients to us, and what each representation will entail. We celebrate the annual year-end holidays and our firm anniversary with events that strengthen relationships and nurture respect. The nature of our practice and firm is such that no one is a stranger; we are the antithesis of a group of individuals loosely affiliated for profit under a law firm banner. We are teammates who share a common yet personal goal: providing the very best legal services to all of our clients.
To better understand who we are as a specialty practice, several things we do as a firm merit special mention. Each year we send to valued friends and clients a bottle of hot sauce with a new and clever label that we conceptualize in-house. This gift has come to represent the firm’s creativity (in a fun way, with the unique label), and our consistency over the years (the sauce is universally enjoyed and our formula always tastes great). Of greater significance, to celebrate our recent 15th anniversary, we decided to give back to our community through 15 days of service and a $15,000 donation to Delaware’s Combined Campaign for Justice, our local community legal aid society. Among other things, we have served lunch at a local homeless shelter, gathered and donated warm clothes for the needy, donated blood, made plans to clean up the trails at a local park, and enrolled in child advocacy volunteer programs. Our community has been good to us, and we owe this much and more back to our neighbors here in Wilmington.
That’s how we have approached creating and building out our niche practice. We are fortunate to practice in two specialty areas within a legal community that offers sophisticated, widely respected business courts that address issues of national and international importance on a regular basis. Best of all, we are blessed to work with teammates whom we know well and respect, and who truly enjoy helping clients and colleagues achieve success in business and life.
About the Author
Richard S. Cobb is a founding partner at Landis Rath & Cobb LLP in Wilmington, Delaware, where he practices in bankruptcy and related litigation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 302.467.4430.