our hedgehog principle
Our Hedgehog is a reminder to ourselves and to our clients that our Firm has been successful because we genuinely care about the parties with whom we interact
Our Fundamental Principle
In addition to our Values, we created our fundamental principle (called our “Hedgehog Principle” after the concept discussed by Jim Collins in his management books). This is the most important theme of the Firm. In brief, it stands for the proposition that we really care about our clients and our lawyers – not just because the lawyers bill hours and the clients pay us money – but because these people and relationships are meaningful to us at a higher level. This Hedgehog Principle (embodied in our logo) is our guiding force and the reason “why” we exist – the reason why we get up in the morning determined to do a great job for our clients. Without a reason “why”, we do not believe there is much point to being in business.
The Hedgehog Pervades our Firm
The Hedgehog is on our logo and on our business cards. We have a Hedgehog Committee that is responsible for keeping people at the Firm happy and content in their jobs. The Hedgehog Committee is responsible for making the hedgehog part of the daily lives of our colleagues and our clients. This includes resonating what the hedgehog is about in times of trouble and difficulty and more down-to-Earth matters such as promulgating special hedgehog events including Hedgehog Bowling, Hedgehog Karaoke, Hedgehog Halloween (for the children of our employees), Hedgehog Ice Cream and Hedgehog Meals during times of adverse overwork.
All attorneys – all administrative personnel – and all clients – receive a hedgehog, to remind all of our most important people what we stand for. Along these lines we have (i) the finest brand of hedgehog chocolate (taste-tested by almost everyone in the Firm) to provide to our clients and (ii) our fine private label Hérisson (Hedgehog) Collection of wines also to provide to our clients.
The Duval & Stachenfeld Hedgehog is a reminder to ourselves and to our clients that our firm has been successful because we genuinely care about the parties with whom we interact.
The Duval & Stachenfeld Hedgehog is a concept that was inspired by the book by Jim Collins – Good to Great. In it, Mr. Collins defines what he calls "Visionary Companies" that are "built to last." Among the characteristics of these "visionary" companies is a principle that he defines as a "hedgehog principle." The hedgehog principle is derived from the hedgehog animal, which is only good at one thing (curling up in a prickly ball to discourage predators); however it is exceptionally good at that one thing. Mr. Collins concludes that a visionary company instinctively figures out what this "one thing" is for itself and hones it to perfection. According to Mr. Collins’ hedgehog principle the "one thing" needs to be something which (i) the company is passionate about, (ii) the company can be the best in the world at, and (iii) drives the economic engine of the company. We also add that we think a hedgehog principle relates to something a company discovers about itself rather than something the company decides to do. In that regard, after a long inward search, we came to the realization that the people who work at our firm really care about their fellow colleagues and about our clients on a deeper level than just as business associates – our clients, attorneys, and administrative staff are people who genuinely matter to us.
Do we satisfy Mr. Collins‘ Hedgehog Principle Definition? We think so.
Are we passionate about it? We certainly think so.
Does it drive our economic engine? The answer here is that a law firm has only its lawyers and its clients – there isn’t much else. We think that the genuine caring that goes on here creates loyalty from our attorneys as the feeling of being cared about is one of the most basic human needs and it is what creates in our people a desire to stay at the firm and devote passion to their service of our clients. We also think that this creates loyalty from our clients who know they don’t need to worry because people who really care about them are looking out for them.
Are we the best in the world at it? Probably that is not a reasonable statement to make across all professions but we think we are very good at it in the legal industry and hope that will be enough.
Our hedgehog appears on our logo, on our letterhead and in many other locations.
It is a reminder of what we stand for and strive to achieve every day.