One of Richmond’s biggest law firms is filling in its executive suite with outside talent.
LeClairRyan recently tapped Peter Mares as its new chief operating officer. He took over the position Jan. 1, replacing Michael Hern, who will continue serving as the firm’s president and vice chairman.
An accountant by training, Mares most recently worked for LeClairRyan as a consultant for several months before taking his new position.
“One of the benefits of outside hires is that they bring the perspective of other practices that can be applied and leveraged by a law firm,” said Mares, 52. “I have a broad background, and generally the COO oversees many different functions.”
As COO, Mares will oversee the firm’s administrative functions, including operations and finances. He said he will help the firm build a platform to support its ambitious growth strategy.
Mares did not elaborate on the firm’s plans for this year, but some growth has already begun. LeClairRyan recently opened its 24th office with an expansion into Sacramento, California.
Mares previously worked in executive positions at inVentiv Health, a healthcare consulting company, and Unisys, a global IT company. He graduated from James Madison University and received a master’s degree from George Washington University.
While the COO position is often a stepping stone toward a firm’s top spot, Mares said he does not view the change as a path to the CEO’s chair.
“I see (LeClairRyan) as a very entrepreneurial firm that was doing some exciting things in an industry that is challenged on a lot of different fronts,” he said.
Mares lives outside of Philadelphia, but will work in LeClairRyan’s offices in Newark and Richmond. David Freinberg, the firm’s CEO, also works out of the Newark office.