Robins Kaplan LLP is fast approaching its 80th anniversary next year, and this fall marked 35 years since the firm put roots down in Boston. In that time, as the economy has fluctuated and technology has advanced, the legal profession has changed immeasurably. Robins Kaplan’s dedication to pursuing excellence in the profession, performing community service, and building lasting relationships in order to thrive, however, has remained constant.
Robins Kaplan may be headquartered in Minneapolis, but Boston Regional Managing Partner Anthony A. Froio said the firm’s unified culture empowers attorneys in all eight offices to play an equal role in steering the firm to success. Since opening in Boston in 1982, Robins Kaplan has shifted its perception from that of a “Midwest-based national law firm” to “a staple firm in a number of major cities, including Boston,” where it is well established as a prominent insurance and business litigation firm with clients throughout New England.
Firm leadership prioritizes programs and policies that enhance the firm’s ability to recruit and retain young lawyers, growing their skill sets and seeing them advance as well-rounded practitioners within their legal community. Robins Kaplan’s success keeping talent within the firm has enabled the Boston office to raise its profile over the years, according to Froio.
“We have some partners who are approaching retirement, and we have the next generation of leadership in place,” he said. “It’s a point of pride that we are able to recruit capable new lawyers who are dedicated to the firm and dedicated to their roots in Boston, so we know where we are heading long before we get there.”
Froio himself has been with Robins Kaplan since July 1, 1994, and became the managing partner in the Boston office 13 years ago. During that time, Froio has held a number of positions at the Boston Bar. He currently serves as the president of the Boston Bar Foundation, overseeing its work to expand access to justice, empower the city’s youth, and offer help to the underserved.
Since he took on a management role, Froio has seen it as his responsibility to connect younger associates with opportunities for professional training, networking, and community service. In his own career, he has found it important and fulfilling to continue to learn about his chosen field and to connect with other lawyers while giving back. Froio considers the Boston Bar an important source of that engagement, and he promotes and encourages involvement among the younger attorneys in his office as well.
“To my younger colleagues, I always say the Boston Bar is a place of incredible inclusion, where all perspectives are welcome and desired. It offers tremendous access to resources, programming, networks, pro bono opportunities and people – and a way to really feel a part of the legal community,” Froio said.
Internally, Froio said the firm’s business model enables less seasoned attorneys to work collaboratively with their more experienced peers to achieve favorable results for clients. As of now, 30 – 40% of Robins Kaplan’s business is through alternative fee arrangements with its clients. While all law firms must demonstrate value and success to stay competitive, Froio said Robins Kaplan was an innovative frontrunner in the adoption of alternative fee strategies, making its services accessible and transparent to its clients, and allowing the firm to peg its success to the success of clients for decades.
“Our firm prides itself on sharing calculated risk with our clients. That means that if our clients do not succeed, we don’t succeed,” Froio said. “Very early on, my firm’s partners understood the value of that concept, and we have thrived and grown for almost 80 years that way.”
Froio said the firm also places high value on ongoing relationships with clients, whether they return to the firm for their legal needs or are able to collaborate outside of their business relationship on other projects.
“We have had numerous clients who value the firm’s commitment to pro bono and public service work, and even gone on to partner with us on public service projects,” he said. “Something that I hope to pass on to the attorneys that I work with is that it’s important to give back in a meaningful way, and being able to do so in concert with fellow lawyers and clients creates a better environment for everyone.”
In summing up how Robins Kaplan has been able to remain on top for 80 years, Froio said the secret is “commitment to professional, client and community excellence, and significant dedication to each other.”
“We are truly one firm; we don’t consider ourselves different profit centers. This firm has excelled and grown nationally with a model that relies on risk-sharing and endures because of the alignment of Robins Kaplan’s values across all of its offices,” he said.