Morningstar Law Group Uses New Business Model
Published March 3, 2014 – Durham Herald-Sun
DURHAM – About two years ago, a group of lawyers broke away from larger firms to form their own business law practice called Morningstar Law Group. The idea was that they could lower their overhead costs, have less debt, spread management duties among all partners, employ fewer lower-level attorneys, and offer lower rates to clients.
Attorneys at the firm say their business model is now working. The firm started with 10 partners in the summer of 2012. They came from the large firms of K&L Gates, an international law firm with more than 2,000 attorneys, according to the firm’s website, and Wombyle Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, a firm that started in Winston-Salem that has 550 attorneys, according to its website. Morningstar now has 13 partners and five associates.
Jennifer Collins, a founding partner of Morningstar who previously worked for Wombyle Carlyle, said it was a combination of forces that led to the firm’s launch. The founders wanted to lower overhead costs so they could lower their rates for customers. She said they also wanted a more flexible work environment, and less administrative managerial work.
“There was a lot of rate pressure from clients who had seen their lawyers’ rates [steadily grow and go] up and up over the course of several years, and the clients kept pushing back….” she said. “Also [there were] higher and higher demands on partners to do more, and more administrative work and higher and higher demands on all attorneys to bill more and more hours to work hard and harder instead of working smarter.”
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