At Coppersmith Brockelman, we believe that law firms have too many rules. Here are ours: Work at the highest level of our profession. Think creatively and find practical solutions. Do the right thing. Maintain our sense of humor. Build community – with clients, with other lawyers, and with each other. And if anyone forgets these few rules, remind them. As it turns out, you can build and maintain a terrific law firm like this.
In early 1995, after returning to Phoenix from a stint in Congress, founding partners and longtime friends Sam Coppersmith and Andy Gordon drew up a business plan for a new firm during a stay at a ranch in southern Arizona. The plan required an estimate of how many hours they would need to work, and at what rate, to pay their monthly bills. Quickly realizing that they lacked the skills required to complete these equations, they agreed it surely could be done, toasted their new venture with a cocktail, and launched the firm in a spare bedroom of Sam’s house in March.
From those humble beginnings grew an internationally-acclaimed law firm with thousands of lawyers in offices sprinkled around the globe . . . oh, wait, that’s the story of a different firm. But we like our story better.
Several notable events occurred in the years immediately following the firm’s founding. Other lawyers, including current partners Kristen Rosati and Karen Owens, left large law firms to join forces with Sam and Andy. They helped establish the firm’s reputation as a top health care firm and a place where many impactful women have chosen to practice law. To this day, more than half of the lawyers are women. We think our diversity has profoundly shaped the character of the firm.
By the end of its first decade of existence, the firm had more than quadrupled in size. It also had long since secured offices in a mid-town Phoenix high-rise building, deeming the spare bedroom in Sam’s house awkward as a place of business for nine lawyers and a support staff.
In its second decade, the firm’s growth quickened; apparently, practicing law at a high level without bureaucracy is an attractive proposition. An eclectic and diverse team took root. New lawyers brought new practice areas, including employment law and employee benefits. Our election and political law practice became renowned throughout the state. Two of our friends who practiced complex commercial litigation in other firms joined us, greatly strengthening the firm’s practice in that area.
Now in our third decade, we are proud to be recognized as one of the best firms in our community. Over half the firm’s lawyers have been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, several as “Lawyer of the Year” in Phoenix, an honor reserved for only one attorney in the city practicing in a specific field of law. U.S. News & World Report has named us a market leader in an extraordinary 11 practice areas, recognition typically reserved for firms many times our size. Along with these accolades have come the best clients a firm could imagine, many of which have watched and participated in the firm’s growth from its earliest days.
Through the years, our core values have remained the same. We continue dedicating ourselves to excellence, creativity, ethics, and community. And like Sam and Andy more than 20 years ago, we still like to mark momentous decisions and professional successes with beverages of the particularly enjoyable variety – although almost never before noon.