Robert Creighton has been elected managing partner of Farrell Fritz, replacing the long-serving Charles Strain, who will continue as a partner and member of the firm’s management committee.
Creighton is scheduled to take over Jan. 1.
The changing of the guard has made for a “challenging and nice time” at the Uniondale-based firm, according to Creighton, who joined Farrell Fritz in 1998 after serving as partner at neighboring firm Rivkin Radler.
Strain, whose 15-year managing partner tenure included the Great Recession and other national tumult, called his successor “a superb lawyer.”
“Equally important, he is thoughtful relating to his colleagues, respectful of the firm’s ethos and genuinely interested in the wellbeing of everyone at the firm,” Strain said in a statement.
It’s not surprising that Strain would notice Creighton’s thoughtfulness and kindness – they’re the exact qualities that impressed Creighton most during Strain’s managerial run.
“We deal with people in crisis, in one form or another, and Charlie has always had remarkable compassion,” Creighton said.
The outgoing manager has also paid special attention to “younger people,” Creighton added, making advancement of lawyers and non-lawyers within the firm’s 175-strong ranks a priority.
“He recognizes opportunities for people to advance best suited to their educational backgrounds,” Creighton said. “It’s certainly something I admire about his leadership.”
The managing partner-elect said he was looking forward to Strain’s continued guidance as a member of Farrell Fritz’s management committee, a quasi-directors board that meets regularly to help set the firm’s direction.
“We operate by consensus, generally,” Creighton noted. “Charlie and I have worked closely together over the last 15 years and we have a very strong relationship.”
The new managing partner plans to honor Strain’s legacy of promoting from within, noting that “growing organically is extremely important for a law firm.” But he also plans to vigorously pursue new “strategic growth opportunities,” including expansions of Farrell Fritz’s professional range and physical footprint.
That starts in 2016, when the firm changes Manhattan addresses – “augmenting that office” with more space and “new lateral hires in practice areas where we want to improve our skill sets or enter new practice areas,” Creighton noted.
Long Island’s second-largest law firm, founded in 1976, currently has 15 practice groups, with specialties including business formation, shareholder agreements, mergers and acquisitions, licensing, technology transfer and executive compensation. While considering new legal worlds to conquer, it will also “look west,” according to Creighton, who sees opportunity in NYC’s outer boroughs.
Opening an office in Queens or Brooklyn is “a little more difficult,” he added, due to “geography and the diversity of those communities.” But that doesn’t mean the firm can’t have a presence there.
“We wouldn’t [open an office] de novo,” Creighton said. “We would affiliate with someone already in those communities. But our view is we can adequately service those communities from Uniondale and Manhattan.”