Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 8

PR AC TICE MANAGEMENT

Building a Positive
Firm Culture
By Dan Mills

(PART TWO OF A TWO-PART SERIES)

I

n the previous column, I focused on Potomac Law Group, PLLC as
a unique business model exemplifying rapid growth and built-in
resilience for operating in a pandemic. Now I focus on its partners,
their experience before and after joining Potomac Law, and how the
firm creates and maintains a culture in its remote-work model.

Stephanie Joyce, a telecommunications law
specialist for 23 years, came to Potomac Law
from Arent Fox LLP more than a year ago.
"Potomac has stripped away what one does
not truly need to serve clients," she says. "My
job is to be an advocate - to be fast, nimble,
accurate - and that's the focus of everyone
here. Law firms exist for clients; they don't
exist for themselves."
Joyce pushes back on the adjective "virtual,"
which is often used to describe Potomac Law.
"I don't think the moniker 'virtual' is right for
Potomac. I've heard it used in a rather pejorative way at times by those outside the firm.
I prefer 'fully decentralized' as a more accurate
descriptive term," she says. "There is no
magic to having a $20 million-a-year office
space."
Joyce says her transition to Potomac was
"joyous, freeing, and imperceptible." She adds,
"It was the least taxing transition I've ever experienced. The firm is very good at bringing experienced lawyers onboard and getting them up
and going quickly."
Underlying the positive firm culture is a compensation system that Joyce describes as
"refreshing." "You are in control. Gender does
not matter here. There is no black box system,"
says Joyce. "I have friends in big brick-andmortar firms who are now dealing with a 60
percent compensation cut."

8

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

Consuelo Campuzano is one of Potomac's
original partners, joining when there were
fewer than a half-dozen lawyers. "Even with
more than 100 lawyers now, it's still the same
type of firm as when I joined," she says. "We are
growing, but there is no urgency to grow."
"I'm a corporate lawyer with deep commercial
experience. Because we can charge our clients
lower rates, we have found that they feel free to
make the most of our relationships with them.
We tend to have very close relationships with
our clients for this reason," Campuzano says.
"While we do not share physical space with
colleagues within Potomac daily, this is not an
impediment to our collaborating. We have
regular social events, professional presentations, practice group sessions, and the ability to
quickly connect with colleagues who can assist
us on client matters," she says. Campuzano
credits Ben Lieber and Marlene Laro, Potomac
founder and chief operating officer, respectively, for being masters at connecting people
within the firm. "They are our hub of institutional knowledge."
Potomac's entrepreneurial spirit and the
absence of bureaucracy are highly valued at
the firm. "I'm the happiest professionally that
I have ever been," Campuzano says.
Julia Anne Matheson joined Potomac from
Hogan Lovells in June. A trademark lawyer for
30 years, she started practicing at Big Law, spent

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

more than two decades with a large specialty
boutique, and then transitioned back to Big
Law. Those transitions clarified her "must-haves"
from a practical and personal perspective.
"I wanted a firm with top-notch people and the
infrastructure that I need for my specialized
practice. The pandemic showed me that I
could be as efficient and connected working
from home as I was in an office. But as a people
person, I knew that the typical virtual firm
model where you exchange a portion of your
earnings solely for back office support was not
for me. I needed a truly collaborative and supportive platform. Once I shifted my focus and
found Potomac, I realized it was exactly what
I was looking for," says Matheson.
"I am thrilled with the firm culture, the lean and
efficient infrastructure, the entrepreneurial
focus, and the transparent and fair compensation model. I love that I can get a conflicts
check on a prospective client and an engagement letter out the very same day. I'm thrilled
with the content that the firm is constantly
publishing and with the firm's commitment to
business development, pro bono, and building
community," Matheson adds. "I could not be
happier. It's everything I needed and wanted,
at just the right time."
Lieber's plan for the future is simple and
straightforward: "We've been fortunate to have
assembled a terrific team over our first 10 years,
and we're looking forward to continuing to
offer a compelling alternative to Big Law for
lawyers and clients alike as we expand."

For practice management help, contact the
Bar's practice advisors, Dan Mills and Rochelle
Washington, at 202-780-2762 or 202-780-2764,
respectively, or email pmas@dcbar.org.



Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Family Law Assistance Network feature
An Avalanche of Evictions feature
Pro Bono Partnerships Forged in Crisis feature
Help for Pro Se Litigants Feature
Qualified Immunity feature
Taking Legal Support to the Streets feature
Taking the Stand Turning off the White Noise of Systemic Racism
Taking the Stand Situational Principles Aren't Really Principles
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - A. Benjamin Spencer
Member Spotlight - Amber Harding
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Family Law Assistance Network feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 12
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - An Avalanche of Evictions feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Pro Bono Partnerships Forged in Crisis feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Help for Pro Se Litigants Feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Qualified Immunity feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 32
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Taking Legal Support to the Streets feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Taking the Stand Turning off the White Noise of Systemic Racism
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Taking the Stand Situational Principles Aren't Really Principles
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Member Spotlight - A. Benjamin Spencer
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Member Spotlight - Amber Harding
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 46
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 54
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 57
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 58
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 59
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 60
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 61
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 62
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 63
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 64
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 65
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 66
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 67
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Cover4
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/septemberoctober2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June/July2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/March2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/November2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/july2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/february2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2016/
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com