Big Firm Expertise. Small Firm Values.
Milazzo Webb Law, PLLC, is a law firm founded by Brandy Milazzo and Danielle Webb. Recognizing the challenges faced by their clients in dealing within the legal market, they created a law firm that would provide high-quality legal services expected of large law firms while offering excellent client service, relationships, flexibility and efficiency that a small firm is uniquely positioned to provide that, in essence, will be the “Google” or “Facebook” of law firms. We profile the firm and speak to Brandy about her exciting and impressive portfolio.
With offices in North Carolina, Milazzo Webb Law, PLLC, is focused on serving clients in a variety of states. At Milazzo Webb, clients work directly with experienced attorneys in order to help guide and counsel them through legal issues in an efficient and timely manner. Though the firm offers the same level of impeccable service as a big legal practice, it places a much higher premium on building deep relationships with clients to deliver the most professional yet personalized legal experience possible. Whilst this approach means that the clients work hand-in-hand with the seasoned team of attorneys in a completely comfortable setting, the expertise across a wide range of legal disciplines ensures that the clients may be confident in achieving their desired outcomes too.
Now, more than ever, it is critical to have legal counsel with the ability to navigate legal requirements and regulations, and devise creative solutions that provide the greatest advantage and benefit. Essentially, the firm’s vision is to more broadly provide the highest-quality legal service, appropriately scoped to the business need in the most efficient manner.
Being selected as 2018’s Lawyer of the Year in Charlotte in Corporate Vision’s 2018 Legal Elite, Brandy is Principal Owner and Managing Partner of Milazzo Webb. As one of the Firm’s principal owners, Brandy focuses in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, private and senior financing, technology, supply chain and outsourcing transactions, private equity and venture capital transactions, commercial business transactions, loan modifications and other general corporate work, such as corporate organization or dissolution.
Boasting a wealth of expertise and highly qualified, Brandy represents numerous clients on the legality of online promotions and negotiates commercial contracts for large financial institutions and global media and entertainment companies. As a skilled negotiator, she has successfully conducted sales of a division of a concrete company and a minor league sports team, as well as the acquisition of a software company.
Brandy believes it is her civic duty to know what is going on within her community, and she seeks opportunities to utilize her talents and abilities to promote change in improving lives. As a successful business woman, she is honored and privileged to have been given a voice to shape, change and influence community initiatives whether it’s in helping children or adults; supporting organizations that help educate, inspire, and promote health and well-being; or simply by offering spiritual guidance and healing as may be needed at any given moment to any individual.
Brandy has a continuing passion to share in partnerships to maximize resources to the betterment of individuals and the community at large. She wants to give back and she knows it’s important to do so. People gravitate to her because of her passion and energy, but she is the one who feels blessed by being touched by so many great people in her life. She endeavors to provide the same for others, even if it is just one other person. Though she has had some bumps along the way, she is blessed to have overcome challenges because of the support from family and friends in her life.
Commenting on her previous experience and subsequent career, Brandy explains to us what it was like working in corporate law and how she came about setting up Milazzo Webb and which responsibilities she assumed.
“After spending 12 years in big law as a corporate lawyer, I ventured out on August 1, 2013, with Danielle, a friend and female colleague from a big law firm. At Milazzo Webb we are a professional limited liability company taxed as a partnership. All decisions are fully made collaboratively while we each assume designated responsibilities within our respective areas of expertise and responsibilities for the administration and business development of the firm, as well as managing our own practice areas.”
When venturing out into starting up her own law firm, Brandy acknowledges that her previous experience within big law firms was important for her development, and what it was like being a woman operating in a large practice.
“While we appreciate and value the experience we each gained within the large law firms, we envisioned establishing an innovative and leading-edge firm committed to work/life quality for women and all attorneys who are not only excellent attorneys but devoted spouses/significant others, moms, parents, grandparents and/or caregivers. As leaders for women and all attorneys wanting to be more than lawyers, our vision was realized when we opened a full-service firm providing excellence in client service with high-quality lawyers practicing in their respective practice areas, or niches each being allowed to work as much or as little as desired either at the office or remotely. In essence, we want to be the “Google” or “Facebook” of law firms. Within less than three years of opening, after starting with six lawyers, two of whom were part-time, contract attorneys, I am proud to say that we have and are continuing to fulfil our vision, as the firm now has a total of 16 attorneys and 15 staff members within our various legal practice areas, and we are currently talking to other attorneys interested in joining in different practice areas.”
In the firm’s second full year in existence, Milazzo Webb almost doubled in size. Brandy explains how the company works hard to deliver the best possible solutions to clients, whilst motivating staff to do the same.
“Here at Milazzo Webb, we have created a model in which we can serve almost all of our clients’ needs with the highest quality of work and do so in the most efficient manner. By incentivizing all attorneys to market the entire firm and their colleagues, and to refer business to other attorneys within the firm without the outrageous billable hour rates of the large law firms and having to put three to six attorneys on each matter.
In terms of expansion, the practice is continuing to focus on growth in certain areas, meaning that the firm must employ excellent attorneys. Brandy talks to us about growth, alluding to the fact that the practice is not growing for the sake of it, but more in terms of finding the right fit regarding attorneys, employees and growing organically.
“Having been asked numerous times how large our firm intends to grow, I must say we are not growing to grow and we look for the following three priorities in our growth: (1) the right person/fit; this is very crucial and of utmost importance now, because we have such an tremendous team in which we ensure that everyone that joins the company is right for the team as well as the firm; (2) the best technical abilities; as we have to know that our attorneys and staff can provide the best of quality to our clients without micromanagement in order to meet our efficiency standards; and (3) as a result of our unique financial model, our attorneys must have their own book of clients or have the financial risk tolerance to build or be willing to work with other members of our team who have work. We exceeded $3MM in our fourth year and $5MM in our fifth year, as well as adding at least two additional practice areas and at least six additional attorneys, as well as move into larger space, all of which is already being implemented.”
Within the firm, Brandy notes that each attorney focuses their practice in their own areas of knowledge and skill, something which each member possesses to an impressive extent. She tells us her own areas of expertise, as well as referring to her own expertise and how her leadership style reflects on the company.
“Alongside our attorneys who have specialist areas that they focus on, our associates and staff help multiple senior attorneys and partners. As the firm’s Managing Partner and Corporate Department Head, I manage a dynamic corporate legal team as a leader and a mentor. I lead by example as I set the highest standards in achieving the best quality work product for our clients, as well as providing mentoring to the legal team so that they can grow and sustain their legal careers.”
What distinguishes the firm apart from all other law firms is that first and foremost, it is a womenowned organization. The firm faces the same challenges that all women face when attempting to balance and manage work/ life issues. Brandy divulges some more on what challenges the firm has faced and they have benefitted from overcoming these issues.
“It is through these challenges that we better understand how to solve time management issues and meet business needs. Our innovative approach to providing work/life balance starts with determining our firm personnel’s individual needs. We expect each person to take ownership, responsibility and accountability of their designated positions within the firm. This shared objective allows us to be creative in providing alternative work schedules and work-from-home arrangements to meet each of our personnel’s needs. By providing personal environments and conditions from which our attorneys and staff work in results in excellence in performance, work product and overall job satisfaction. As stated above, another unique component that sets our firm apart from others is in our attorney compensation structure that provides generous fee splits and additional incentive rewards to our attorneys who are top-caliber legal professionals.
“The biggest challenge to future growth is managing the administrative burdens of adding additional attorneys and support staff, while maintaining our great firm culture and unique work hours/location flexibility. The innovative attorney structure model that the firm has adopted is both creative and challenging. As noted above, our firm’s philosophy is one of maintaining a healthy work/life balance and that balance is not the same every day. This business model relies significantly on the experience that each attorney brings from the large law firm environment, and applies the best aspects of the large firm with the best aspects that a smaller firm provides. The end result combines firm fundamentals with individual preference in workstyle and work environment.
“Placing the client first and delivering high quality customer service, the firm has created a structure to serve client needs in a most efficient manner without having to charge clients excessive hourly rates like a big firm. Unlike big firms, the attorneys have their own client base as a source of revenue, and they are provided incentives for the work they share with other attorneys. We continue to focus on strategic growth to find the right persons with the right capabilities and technical abilities that fit our firm model. The unique combination of the teamwork of the two principal owners and our willingness to play to one another’s strengths collaboratively along with the incentive based compensation and seeking only the highest quality of professionals sets our firm apart from others with our clients.”
Producing constant results alongside excellent customer service, Milazzo Webb has become an award-winning practice. Thanks to its innovative approaches, the team at the practice have been able to constantly exceed client expectations, going the extra mile to satisfy clients, as Brandy points out.
“Upon being selected for this award, I am honored to lead a team of legal professionals who are invested in making our firm successful. I attribute our continued success to the culture that has been established in working hard and playing hard as a team. I am excited and energized that our firm’s growth is targeted with purpose and strategy to further improve on our successes to sustain an innovative spirit in solving matters for clients. I am thankful and appreciative to everyone on the team who represents our firm with core values of excellence, integrity, client service, collegiality and community. Our mission statement says it all, reinventing the law firm delivering the best of both worlds: big firm capability, with small firm flexibility’. This is at the heart of who we are, what we represent to each other, our clients and the community at large.”
Ultimately, giving us more of an insight into her leadership, Brandy answers some questions about her role as Principal Partner, what attributes she believes have made her a successful role, and what lessons she has learned which have helped her development over time.
What two skills do you consider to be most helpful for you to succeed as a business owner?
While I recognize there are many talents and conditions that are necessary for growth and success, I consider communication and flexibility to be the most helpful skills to enable success to be realized as a business owner. Seldom does anything in life happen as planned or intended. You have to be assertive in setting goals and strategies, but more importantly you must be flexible and be open to tweak goals and strategies when “life and business” happen. Secondly, I strongly believe that communication is the key to life. Most problems are the result of the absence of or the wrong communication. Having tactful, appropriate, but direct dialogue overcomes most problems, not always immediately, but eventually. This is true of problems with co-owners, attorneys, staff, clients, referral sources, family, friends, etc.
If you had to do it all over again, what is the ONE thing you would do differently and what outcomes would you expect as a result?
Honestly, I do not think I would do one thing over again, as we have had our missteps and mishaps, but we have learned a great deal from them. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, although I do not always love it in that moment. I am often asked if I would have done it sooner. My answer is always, no. I am very grateful for my time at the large law firms and the great, good, bad, and awful experiences I had at each of them. I learned something from all of them and I know my co-owner feels the same way. They made us who we are. From our “mistakes,” we have learned the kind of people and attorneys we want, the type of clients we want, and the ways we want to run our firm.
What is one of the most valuable lessons you have learned while leading a fast-growing company?
One of the most fascinating and rewarding discoveries in leading a fast-growing firm is that my passion to help others continues to expand. The services that I develop and offer to the community are well-received through direct professional development initiatives, as a leader within the plethora of organizations that I am associated with, or as a voice for other women within my community activism. I always seek opportunities to share my knowledge and talents in providing services that will help individuals and business organizations grow and develop to the fullest capacity. There are many lessons learned each day as I endeavor to maintain a successful legal practice, continue to grow an innovative law firm and fulfil my personal needs and desires. Remaining focused and grounded in everything I do has always served me well as I am deeply humbled and grateful for the opportunities and blessings bestowed upon me each day, most importantly my family which includes our entire firm and my friends – they are all my family.
‘What goals have you set for your company in five years, 10 years?’
During the first three years in goals that have surpassed our expectations. As we now enter our fifth year, we expect to double in size and business volume, and by year ten, we hope to surpass the $10M. Though our goals are ambitious, we are not looking to grow for the sake of growth, but rather to strategically meet the future needs of our clients, our firm and the business community at large. As each of our practice areas develop and flourish at varying paces, we must continuously focus on global matters that directly impact business and individual lives. The legal industry is ever-changing and, as legal professionals, we must be at the forefront of change in order to properly meet demands that shape our futures. It is very exciting to see first-hand what our firm has accomplished in such a short period of time and to look to the future to see what more we will do.”
“We just held our firm’s 4th Annual Client Appreciation Event offering thanks and appreciation to all of our valued clients and business partners. This year’s event was especially significant as it reminds us of why we do what we do. Our clients are the community at large – local, national and international. In helping them realize their personal and/or business goals and objectives, we are directly contributing to help shape and improve the futures of our neighbors and the world.”
Company: Milazzo Webb Law, PLLC
Contact: Brandy Milazzo
Address: 413 South Sharon Amity Road, Suite A, Charlotte, NC 28211, USA
Phone: 001 704 360 8705