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Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady (A)

 John Coates and Trayosha Darapuneni  
Product number:
HLS 12-01
10 pages
Product Type:
Link to Faculty Author Page:
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October 12, 2011


The New York law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady is a "hybrid" private law firm handling a mix of commercial litigation and public interest cases, including voting rights, First Amendment rights, prisoners' rights and civil rights cases. The case focuses on the formation of the firm. It is at once a narrative of a successful mid-career litigator partnering with a team of younger lawyers, and at the same time a set of teachable illustrations of the varied challenges that confront any new professional services organization. It also reflects the variety of potentially successful legal organizations beyond the conventional legal career entry-points of large for-profit firms, public interest organizations, and government law offices.  

Learning Objectives

This case provides a vivid narrative of relatively early-career lawyers struggling to find an organization that fits their values and goals, and allows the reader to explore a variety of basic organizational challenges in professional services: How do busy professionals with strong service commitments to their clients devote time to their own careers and organizations? How do like-minded professionals find others willing to form a new organization? How can they allocate ownership and compensation among partners with disparate levels of experience? How can they make sure that their partners' goals and values are aligned? How do the partners' outside opportunities shape their relations with each other?

Subjects Covered

Professional Development, Work/Life Balance, Professional Services, Change Management


Geographic: United States

Industry: Law Firm

Event Year Begin: 2011

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Professor John Coates’ Legal Start-Up Case Studies Inspire Students

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