At least at his firm, that is.
The business lawyer took the management reins at San Jose-based Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel from partner Kathy Meier this month.
It’s “exciting and a little scary” to be at the helm during this “dangerous time” for businesses, he told Legal Pad recently.
Don’t Cry for Hoge, Argentina … after the jump.
Hoge Fenton, whose 50 lawyers handle a healthy mix of bankruptcy, business, construction and green tech, IP, health law and professional liability work (among other things), is not immune to the bear economy. Some practice areas, including real estate, have slowed. Green building — an initiative that Hoge Fenton rolled out in late 2007 — went flat before it even had a chance to take off. And even long-time clients are having trouble paying the bills, Siner said.
This means that, like just about everyone else, Siner’s going to have to tighten the belt. Lawyers at the firm have been hearing “no” a lot more in request to sponsorships, covering of event costs and the like. “We’ve had a very permissive attitude around here,” he said. “I would really like to try to convince my partners that we need to have more of a mentality of frugalness and restraint.
“Going to Buenos Aires for a convention is not on the budget this year,” he said (adding that he hopes that request was facetious).
One thing that’s working in his favor: With partners mostly charging from $350 to $475, Siner expects to pick up a few new clients this year. One came aboard in the last few weeks. ValleyCare, a hospital in the Pleasanton area, switched to Hoge Fenton from “a prominent East Bay firm.” Billing rates played a role, he said. “They were already on the fence with this other firm,” Siner said. “When they received the rate increase notice, that was the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back.”
— Petra Pasternak