Flemming, Zulack & Williamson LLP has evolved into a firm of about 30 lawyers that has a big firm practice while retaining its small firm culture. Over the past two decades, large, multi-national businesses and wealthy individuals based in the United States and in Europe have chosen FZW to represent them in complex, high stakes disputes. Large law firms, when faced with conflicts, also look to FZW to provide high quality representation rather than refer a case to a competing large firm. Some of New York’s most prestigious large firms also have asked FZW to assist them when they need top trial counsel to represent their clients.
FZW is set up differently from most other firms – large or small. The Manhattan-based firm serves its clients by putting the talents of its people first, regardless of title or tenure. It is a management style that founding partner John Zulack says has ensured that the firm’s clients get the very best it has to give in every case.
“It’s a horizontal management approach, the opposite of a hierarchy,” says Mr. Zulack, a veteran international and matrimonial lawyer. “We work on teams in an atmosphere that helps our people do what they do best. For it to work, our people must have mutual trust and respect regardless of title, because each of us is making an equal contribution. We strive to achieve the best possible outcome for each client at a fair price.” The concept of mutual trust and respect is one element that helps set the firm apart from others, regardless of size and scope. It is perhaps its most defining characteristic.
The firm’s 30 lawyers practice in a range of areas – commercial law and litigation, product liability, international law and matrimonial law, among others. FZW is also unique in its analytical and pragmatic approach to law. “Many people say that our firm has highly sophisticated thinking and writing,” says partner James Lynch, who focuses on product liability. “We show an intense attention to detail, and we’re known for being very creative and relentless in pursuing the goals of our clients.”
Mr. Zulack and Joseph Peter Flemming founded the firm in 1971 on a singular idea: to foster an intimate atmosphere that would help its lawyers excel in the areas that are best suited to showcase their talents. The FZW of today still supports that objective – and is a firm that is willing to get involved in all facets of the adversarial process. “Our clients come to us because they cannot risk having a firm that cannot try their case,” says Mr. Lynch. “How you perform in the courtroom is the true test of your strengths as a lawyer, and our firm is organized to represent clients in complex, high-stakes cases.”
Controlled growth is also part of the firm’s philosophy; it is intentionally kept small and accepts a limited number of cases so it can allocate the right kind of attention and resources to each client. “We take on a small number of large cases for clients who want a firm that can concentrate fully on their matter,” says Mr. Zulack. “What we’ve created is a cohesive team that is guided by the same basic principles no matter whom we are working with.”
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