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Our Mission: Attract, Train & Retain Talent


We are well aware of the fact that we have only one thing to sell to our clients and that is the skill and expertise of our lawyers, and without superbly talented lawyers we have nothing at all.


Our Mission

Our core mission for close to twenty years has centered around our recognition that it is critical to attract talent to the Firm and once the talent arrives it then becomes equally critical for that talent to thrive and build with the rest of us.  For years this was embodied in a quick acronym “ATR”, which stands for:

Attract, Train and Retain Talent.

More recently we have adopted a core Mission for the Firm as a whole, which expands this concept to say:

To ignite, nourish, and build careers in an environment of enthusiasm, loyalty, and commitment.

At the end of the day, unlike other law firms, our focus is on the lawyers.  This is not myopic.  Instead, it is the realization that if we focus on making the Firm an excellent milieu for talented lawyers, then these lawyers will do what is necessary to make the Firm an even better place for our clients.  It’s really that simple. 


Attracting Talent:

We seek attorneys that truly uphold our values, believe in our mission, and value our culture.

Training Talent:

We seek to make our attorneys Intellectually Fearless®.   This means that we will train them in a non-traditional way that creates truly exceptional lawyers. 

To explain:  Traditional lawyer training is based on the theory that the lawyer should do the same thing multiple times to get good at it.  This seems to make great sense as the lawyer quickly becomes ‘useful’ to clients and partners.  However, our view is that this cripples the most critical part of the junior lawyer’s brain, which is the part that is unafraid of new challenges, i.e. Intellectually Fearless.

In the end good lawyers do the same thing again and again efficiently and quite well, but great lawyers provide true value to clients by creating new ideas and doing things that no one has done before.  Only Intellectually Fearless lawyers are capable of this. 

Finally, we don’t limit training to ‘just’ legal skills.  We also expect our junior lawyers to learn everything possible about the real estate industry and to create business contacts at all levels.  Great lawyers don’t only know how to put words on a page; they also know how what they are doing interacts with the clients’ business goals and the motivations of the relevant players.

Accordingly, our associate training program is focused on creating lawyers that in their first five years of practice have seen and done as close to everything in real estate as possible. 

Finally, we believe that part of the education of lawyers at the Firm is to (i) deeply learn the Values and their meaning and (ii) impart these Values to others.  Only in this manner will the culture of the Firm continue to grow as time goes by and new lawyers enter the Firm. The most critical part of this education is the realization that without the Values we simply are nothing at all but a bunch of lawyers sharing office space until someone gets a better job offer.

It is our goal to create the great lawyers of the future and that begins with exceptional training.  This means that at Duval & Stachenfeld attorney cannot be an “average” lawyer going through the motions, but must be (i) thoroughly knowledgeable about the business environment in which our clients function, (ii) an impassioned advocate for our clients, and (iii) a powerful force for building the strength and depth of our culture. 

A Note about Our A-Team:  We regard our Administrative Team – called the ‘A-Team, as critical players.  Our A-Team is client-facing and major contributors to the Firm’s success.  This means that we have the same goals for training our administrative personnel as for our lawyers.  We mine for talent and train that talent, just as we do with the lawyers.  This means that when we see talent in our new hires, we promote them to positions of greater importance and train them for these positions.  Indeed, most of our administrative management team started at the entry level but developed expertise and training over the years to become extremely expert and knowledgeable in how to run the Firm effectively and efficiently.

Retaining Talent

Why does talent, once acquired and trained, stay at the Firm? 

We believe there are quite a few reasons that our attorneys and administrative personnel stay with the Firm:

  • The legal work at The Pure Play in Real Estate Law® is without par anywhere except a very few competitor law firms, and almost none of our competition permits the full training of lawyers for representation throughout the capital stack.  We work on cutting edge matters and our lawyers get to work on the most challenging and sophisticated matters. 
  • As we sometimes say, “we are not in the law business – we are in the lawyer business.”  This is because we are “about” creating careers for our lawyers. In this regard, for those building careers in the real estate industry, whether as lawyers or with an eventual plan to go into the business world itself, the connections that can be made here are without par anywhere.
  • For both lawyers and administrative personnel, the training is exceptional. 
  • The culture is just great.  We are a fun place to work.  And we are demanding of exceptional performance.  That is not for everyone, but for those who are exceptional there is a thrill to living up to the high standards. 
  • For those who are believers in our Values and Hedgehog Principle, there is no better place to work. They are in harmony with a group that shares these same values and principles.  Full disclosure: those who do not believe in our Values and Hedgehog Principles find themselves out of step and often have trouble adjusting.  But it is easy to assess this for a recruit; just read our State of Values [link] and if it resonates with you then working at the Firm will be the best job you ever had. 
  • For partners we back them in every way possible to permit them to achieve the legal holy grail of becoming ‘Rainmakers.’  We teach them the tools from the day they join the Firm and help them find clients and grow them into strong Firm relationships.  Our business development team is enormously focused on this and our partners benefit from it greatly. 
  • We go out of our way to treat people well.  Indeed, our values state clearly that “employees are entitled to respect.”  For example, we would not put up with a big rainmaker abusing associates.  A partner who acted in this fashion would first find his/her compensation reduced and ultimately would need to find a home at another law firm more tolerant of this type of behavior, as we will not stand for it.

If you are a partner or associate candidate that is interested in joining the D&S team, please contact:

Risa Letowsky
Hiring Partner
212-692-5526 
apply@dsllp.com

If you are an administrative professional that is interested in joining the D&S team, please contact:

Joseph Shivers

Executive Director

212-672-3749

apply@dsllp.com

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