GEOFF MORGAN NAMED ATTORNEY OF THE MONTH
As published in Attorney at Law Magazine, Chicago Edition, Vol. 3, No. 1
Geoffrey Morgan: Today’s Next Generation Lawyer
After more than 25 years in a traditional role as a partner in leading law firms, Geoffrey Morgan, founder of Morgan Legal Group, has created a corporate boutique law firm for the next generation of business clients. Based in Chicago and Milwaukee, Morgan has created a technology-first law firm that focuses on the changing needs of his corporate clients.
“Morgan Legal Group offers high quality corporate legal services to clients at a fraction of the cost that traditional firms are required to charge,” Morgan said. “My vision is to continue to recognize and respond to the changes in the legal and business world and, in particular, the way legal services are procured. I spent three decades in BigLaw and saw firsthand the inefficiencies.”
Today, Morgan’s operating model offers low overhead, high quality lawyers and a streamlined decision process that allows him to offer prompt, thorough solutions to his clients.
Finding a Passion
Morgan always thought he wanted to be a litigator until his first corporation law class where he realized that corporate law is forward looking, while litigation is generally backward looking.
“In corporate law, you are adverse to someone, but you are both working toward a deal that everyone believes will be beneficial for both sides,” he said. “Conversely, in litigation, you are picking up the pieces of something that has gone wrong and trying to find a settlement.”
Constructing deals and playing a key advisory role is what Morgan enjoys most. Though he is now an established attorney with more than 30 years of experience, he acknowledges that learning and development have been essential to his growth as a successful attorney. He recalled a situation, as a senior associate, that highlights his enthusiasm for law.
“I remember one time working on a large acquisition. It was late at night, everyone was tired and we were still divided on a number of points. My client (the CFO of a large public company) was trying to negotiate one point with the seller and was having no luck. He turned to me and said, ‘Geoff, go in and see if you can make some progress. You have authority to agree to x.’ That gave me a ton of confidence. Unfortunately, I was ultimately unsuccessful, but it was a great learning experience nonetheless.
“As I have gained experience in law and in different industries, I realized that I am an important part of making a deal happen,” he continued. “It is particularly satisfying to figure out a solution to a tough problem or to overcome working with difficult personalities.” Morgan states that distinguishing himself in the marketplace with a larger, second-tier full service firm has been one of the biggest challenges he has faced as an attorney.
The Untapped Workforce
A central part of the Morgan Legal Group business model is to tap the enormous pool of legal talent that exists in the form of stay-at-home moms who would like to reenter the workforce.
“Part of my business model is taking advantage of this supply of top-flight women lawyers, who started at the best firms in the United States and quit to raise their kids. Now, their children are in school and they are looking for part-time work.”
Knowing that these attorneys don’t have the free time to devote to all the business development inherent in big firms, Morgan knows he has the ideal solution for these women. “They often can dedicate 10 or 20 hours a week and work primarily from their home,” he said. “It’s the perfect situation for these talented women to find their way back into the workforce in a meaningful way.”
This model worked very well for attorney Laura Straus, who recently joined Morgan Legal Group as a part-time attorney. Previously an associate at a large Midwest firm and with the County Potawatomi Community, Straus left to raise her two children and is happy to have found a position that offers the challenging work she enjoys and the flexibility she needs.
In addition to collaborating with part-time stay-at-home lawyers, Morgan has tapped into what some would call the future of legal staffing. Affiliated with several networks of lawyers, Morgan and his team are able to benefit from a deep bench of talent when a client’s needs require it. Through this system of work-on-demand, Morgan is able to offer talented resources to his clients without the price tag that comes with full-time legal salaries.
The Future of Morgan Legal Group
Morgan Legal Group continues to expand its clientele, a testament to the value clients see in Morgan’s operating model – top-flight talent at a cost big firms can’t charge. Morgan plans to continue providing women lawyers a place to rejoin the workforce with a workload they can control. Additionally, he plans to continue building his firm, by attracting talented lawyers who want to deliver big firm results at a reasonable price.
“I plan to build this firm,” he said. “The value proposition is good, and I think the next several years will see more boutique growth. I believe I am a bit ahead of the curve and I intend to stay there.”