A Northern Virginia law firm has snagged some attorneys from its larger competition and set up new digs in Richmond.
IslerDare, a labor and employment firm, opened its second location and first local office at 411 E. Franklin St. in mid-June with local attorney Steven Brown at the helm.
Brown moved to IslerDare from law giant LeClairRyan, where he had been for nine years.
“I’ve been with several large firms for 25 years and had wonderful experiences, but it was just the right time in my career,” Brown said.
The smaller firm allows more flexibility, he said, which he can then pass onto clients through his rates. In the move, he also brought with him two members of his LeClairRyan team: Alison Hurt and Zachary Kewer.
IslerDare characterizes itself as a boutique labor and employment firm that does everything from defending discrimination and wage hour cases to dealing with harassment situations. It was founded in 1997 by Eddie Isler and Steven Ray, both of whom work in the firm’s original location in Tyson’s Corner.
The addition of Brown and his team brings IslerDare’s total number of attorneys to 16.
“There are a million little puddles in the world, and in our puddle of labor and employment law in Virginia, we’re a very well-known and well-regarded firm,” Isler said.
The firm serves clients in the mid-Atlantic region but has not taken serious steps toward expansion until now. Starting the Richmond office was personality-driven, Isler said, because Brown was a good fit and opening a new office made sense. The two met when they were working as opposing counsel on a case and struck up a good rapport.
“LeClairRyan is a very large and good firm, but it’s still a big firm. And big firms, whether it be LeClairRyan or Hunton & Williams or Williams Mullen, they all have their limitations in terms of flexibility,” Isler said. “I think Steve was looking for a bit more flexibility.”
They began talks regarding the move earlier this year, then snagged 5,600 square feet on East Franklin Street and built out the office for up to eight attorneys to allow room for growth.
According to Brown, while several large law firms call Richmond home, there is still plenty of room for smaller firms like IslerDare.
“Richmond has a very fertile legal market,” Brown said. “A lot of clients are no longer going to the large firms; they’re looking for boutique practices and are gravitating there for cost reasons because they can get the same quality lawyer from a boutique firm that they can from a large firm.”
Kaleo Legal, another small Virginia firm, also recently snagged a local attorney to lead its new Richmond office.