Patrick C. Dunican Jr.
Chairman and Managing Director, Gibbons P.C.
Headquarters: Newark, New Jersey
Primary Business: Law firm
Revenues: $111 million
“Smart Growth” at Gibbons
I believe the term “smart growth” best describes my firm’s successful strategy to navigate the economic downturn, survive and thrive in a volatile legal market, and, consequently, provide good jobs and otherwise play a meaningful role in a strong recovery, rather than resort to the mass layoffs (or even sell-offs) undertaken by so many firms in similar positions in our industry.
Over the past two decades, but particularly during the recent downturn, many midsize regional law firms have been acquired by large national and international firms or have closed altogether. While wishing to avoid these outcomes, Gibbons also understood that we needed to grow organically in the longer term, particularly in the Mid-Atlantic region where our clients’ business interests are centered, in order to stay competitive, maintain clients’ confidence, and continue to contribute appreciably to the regional economy and job market. Gibbons has therefore embarked on a strategy of accretive growth over the years, gradually adding more than 100 lawyers and opening offices in New York; Philadelphia; Trenton, New Jersey; and Wilmington, Delaware. This process involved meeting with many hundreds of lateral partner candidates and young associates alike, to ensure that their additions would enhance, not dilute, the firm’s sustainability and profitability; mission and client service; and reputation and corporate identity. It also involved constant adjustment, with the pace of job creation keeping consistent with the ebb and flow of the economy—again, always with the goal of avoiding layoffs.
As we counsel our clients to do, particularly in the current economy, we based our growth strategy on our core strengths and reinforced those strengths while comprehensively addressing clients’ needs, without haphazardly adding capabilities that might not fit in with our strategy or vision or adding attorneys who might not fit in with our corporate culture. Our targeted practice expansion reflected real-world market conditions, directly responded to client needs, enhanced traditional strengths, and advanced our position as a regional powerhouse handling major litigation and transactions for middle market companies and mid-market transactions and litigation for national and global entities.
Such smart growth also continues to ensure that there is no “fat” to cut if market conditions constrict, and that we are nimble enough to staff up or staff down on given matters as necessary. Our strategy relies on deep insight into our clients’ businesses, industries, and trends, along with equal knowledge of our own people’s unique skills, value, and service propositions.
Education: BA, Iona College; JD, Seton Hall University Law School
First Job: Paper boy
What I’m Reading: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Star-Ledger, and Record (Bergen County, NJ) daily newspapers
My Philosophy: My business philosophy follows that individuals affiliated with an organization should sublimate their egos for the good of the entire organization. When making decisions, they should never ask what is best for them, but rather what is best for their companies.
Best Advice: The brilliant and hardworking lawyers of Gibbons P.C. teach me something new every day.
Interests: New York Yankee baseball, New York Giants football