Destination Development: A Successful Firm's Approach to People, Process and Profit featured an accomplished panel from Offit Kurman - one of the fastest growing full service law firms in the United States. In the past several years, the firm has grown by more than 50% through expansions from New York through the Carolinas. Three members of the firm joined the Successful Firm Project for this playbook event focused on professional development. The following is a look at some key takeaways in the areas of people, process and profit.

What We Learned from Our Coaches


Professional development starts with a firm's people. That's why Offit Kurman has created and implemented development programs within the firm to encourage and facilitate the leadership development of attorneys and administrative and legal professionals.

Developing leaders internally allows your firm to take advantage of the institutional knowledge and commitment to the work that has already been done. As you get to know your employees over the years, you learn to find the hidden pearls that each of them can offer. As a result, you can construct roles around their strengths. By investing in the time and commitment it takes to develop your people, your firm will see happier and more productive employees who are more likely to grow into long term employees. Change and growth give the opportunity to create new positions and responsibilities.

Developing Leaders

There's a need to develop attorneys who are qualified for leadership positions within our firms. Having a dedicated leadership program at your firm helps create a connection between current and future leadership. Time and resources will be spent whether you're recruiting outside of your firm or developing from within. Choosing to develop and invest in your employees from within results in a greater continuity within the culture of your firm. What does leadership look like at your firm? Look at all of the different data points and source material to help you answer that question and tell the story of what leadership can look like with a dedicated development plan.

Origination Culture

Offit Kurman believes "the most successful legal professionals are the ones who understand origination: the art of attracting a steady lucrative system of business. At Offit Kurman, we believe origination is a skill any attorney can learn- and we are dedicated to helping every member of our team build long-term, sustainable, and rewarding relationships with their clients." Origination is part of the culture at Offit Kurman and the firm provides attorneys with the necessary resources and training to sell their work and maintain new business relationships.


As your firm grows and develops, the process of implementing change is as important as the change itself.

Programmatic Philosophy

Firms need to set the pace and share the vision of how they will achieve their goals. Offit Kurman has created a programmatic philosophy that reflects their values of work, connection, and growth.

  • Work: Things that pertain to an employee's daily work life such as document management and use of technology.
  • Connect: The work of connecting people across the entirety of the firm. This includes remote and office based staff, employees with similar goals or needs, and linking attorneys through mentorship opportunities.
  • Grow: This is for employees who want to develop new skills and step into leadership positions or advance skills through training programs.

A common language and a common experience work together to build firm culture. Consistent messaging conveys a firm's values and assists in building and maintaining a firm culture while also helping firm employees understand the programs that are available to assist them in development.

Technology's Role

Technology and competency training has created a need for innovation. When practice leaders are modeling the behavior for others and utilizing the processes in place, you'll find more willingness to learn new programs and skills.

Implementation Plan

When it is time to make process improvements, consistent and concise messaging is imperative. Part of Offit Kurman's Knowledge and Innovation team's role is to communicate things to the firm in a consumable and trustworthy way.


It can be difficult to directly correlate process improvement to profit, but instilling development across firm culture changes the mindset and ultimately impacts profit. Successful firms begin by changing habits and activities - mindset triggers activity and activity consistently done will increase origination. Attorneys can measure the annual growth of their individual practices to correlate with involvement in leadership training or origination culture programs.

About the Presenters

Billy Cannon

William P. Cannon

Billy Cannon is a Department Chair and a member of Offit Kurman's Landlord Representation Practice Group. He represents property owners and property management companies in litigation, mediations, administrative agency hearings, leasing, and Fair Housing Act training and compliance. He is certified in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) compliance and represents many LIHTC properties and other affordable housing providers. Additionally, Mr. Cannon represents sellers and purchasers in both residential and commercial transactions and litigation, with a particular emphasis on compliance with the District of Columbia Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).

Mr. Cannon is a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association, Maryland Bar Association, and the Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Section of the District of Columbia Bar Association. Mr. Cannon also serves as a mentor for the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program and presents and writes frequently on topics related to property management, Fair Housing and affordable housing management.

Mr. Cannon hosts a one minute weekly video series, The D.C. Property Management Minute, which concentrates on the unique set of laws impacting property managers in the District of Columbia.

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Desiree Gareau

Desiree is an experienced Instructional Designer with a demonstrated history of creative work. Skilled in various design programs, system management, and storytelling, she holds two certifications through the Association for Talent Development. Desiree is a content designer who enjoys building effective microlearning to support the business. Previously versed in the retail and banking worlds, she is excited to focus on legal as a new area of expertise.


Tony Gerdes

Tony Gerdes works as the Director of Knowledge and Innovation at Offit Kurman, P.A. In this role, he aims to improve the work lives of his colleagues. These improvements may appear as professional development and certification, increased billable fees and client origination, or more effective communication. He also serves as a Contributing Member of LTC4™ (Legal Technology Core Competencies Certification Coalition) where he has been able to support trainers around the world.