Tell us your name and a little about yourself.
My name is Steven Manchel. I am an attorney who has been in practice for over thirty years. I grew up in Vermont, attended law school in St. Louis and eventually settled in the Boston area. After six years as a Partner in a large Boston law firm, I decided to start my own practice in order to focus on handling employee movement cases; namely, situations involving people who leave their jobs to join the competitor, and the companies who are making such hires. At this point, I have handled directly and indirectly almost three thousand transitions involving people leaving one job in order to join a competing firm. I also recently published a book, “I Hereby Resign,” that has no legalese whatsoever (promise), to help people who are thinking about moving, and hiring companies, to properly make that switch. The name of my law firm is Manchel & Brennan P.C. I am happily married with two wonderful children.
What exactly does your company do?
We are a law firm with a focus on employment matters. Manchel & Brennan also has clients with more general complicated litigation issues and represents financial services representatives who have been sued by their customers. But the overriding focus is on employees looking to leave their jobs to join the competition, and on the companies that are doing that type of lateral hiring. In any given week, we are handling multiple transition matters all across the United States. In that vein, we have handled every industry from hairdressers to dentists and doctors, to C-Suite hires, to machine parts, to ambulance services and on and on. All of our work has a unifying theme: how does one properly leave a job to join a competing company? Additionally, we handle all sorts of non-competition matters, including helping to address non-solicitation, non-recruitment and confidentiality agreements.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Going from a very large law firm to starting out on my own was probably the biggest challenge. In terms of a continuing challenge, finding the right people to work with, staffing is always difficult. When you are in a small operation, there is a very delicate balance between being overworked and being overstaffed. My firm has been very fortunate, which I credit to our specialization, in always being busy with really great clients and interesting legal matters.
I’m not sure I will ever completely “overcome” the resources challenge, but I can say that two things are incredibly important as regards staffing. First, do your very best to hire good people. In my case, I look for much more than just legal skills. I want individuals who are happy and engaging and interested in things outside of “The Law,” and who has overall good energy about them. Second, when you find someone like that, do not take them for granted. It is imperative that you work constantly at making sure they are occupied and participating and growing. Yes, they work for me, but that is just the start of the employment relationship. Finally, unfortunately, if things are not working out, do not let it drag on even if that means you will be understaffed. Nothing is worth the loss of your company’s reputation or integrity.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
Treat the practice of law as a business, a special business, but as a business. It is my desire to provide top-level legal services at a good price and to do so with as many clients as we can reasonably handle. Whatever you are promoting, whatever service or product your company offers, get out of your chair and go offer it!
Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?
My mother and father are my biggest influences. We were raised to question and try and explore, and to think and reason and adapt. At the same time, a life lesson for my brother and me was that “heroes die once, and cowards die every day.” My parents made us believe in ourselves and to understand that, at the end of the day, it is who you are and not what you are or what you own.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
My wife, Sharon, and my law partner of over twenty years, Julie. These two remarkable women were either smart enough or tough enough to let me be me, and that is not easy!
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
The quality of the people, including my two sons, who choose to associate with me. I know of no better compliment.
REACH ME: www.manchelbrennan.com; Linkedin; and on Amazon, for my book, “I Hereby Resign.”