“It wasn’t spontaneous combustion. You have to set yourself on fire to grow,” Charles Jimerson says.
It’s questionable whether attorney Charles Jimerson could have picked a more challenging time than 2009 to strike out on his own and open a firm that specialized in construction law.
He started Jimerson Law Group on June 24, 2009, in a small office in Riverside with his wife, Ashley, a teacher by profession, as his legal assistant.
The challenging recession and downturn in development soon became clear.
“I had a client that represented about 85 percent of my business,” Jimerson recalls. “Within one year, they were out of business.”
He quickly recovered, however, and in 2011 formed a partnership with Christopher Cobb. Jimerson & Cobb has grown to 11 attorneys and 25 support staff in offices Downtown on the 14th floor at Wells Fargo Center.
“It wasn’t spontaneous combustion. You have to set yourself on fire to grow,” Jimerson said.
In addition to a larger staff and more office space, the firm has in the past few years expanded its practice areas to include administrative law and licensing, bankruptcy law, creditors’ rights and commercial collections, real estate litigation, trade secret law and eminent domain law.
“We’ve constantly expanded our service areas.” Jimerson said. “We’re a full-service business law firm with an emphasis on business and construction litigation. We’ve had more work than we could handle, so we’ve hired more attorneys.”
Jimerson graduated from the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 2005 and the firm is ranked 37th on the university’s 2017 list of 100 fastest-growing alumni-owned or led companies.
Jimerson & Cobb is ranked 17th this year in the small business category on Florida Trend magazine’s list of the “Best Companies to Work for in Florida,” its third-consecutive year on the list.
A key element in the firm’s culture is dedication to the health and happiness of the employees, Jimerson said. Being on Florida Trend’s list has helped bolster the firm’s reputation.
“When we do a resume request, we’re flooded with qualified candidates,” he said.
“We have a strong group of passionate individuals who are dedicated to their careers,” Jimerson added. “This is a bottom-line business. We have to be great lawyers.”
In terms of the firm’s atmosphere and culture, there’s a committee that plans four events each month.
One is a community project, one is social, one is what Jimerson calls “an obscure holiday” and one event is competitive.
This month, the firm’s suite will be transformed into a miniature golf course, with holes designed for each office. Last month, the activity was a fine art contest patterned after the PBS series “The Joy of Painting” starring Bob Ross.
The firm also produces a monthly electronic newsletter emailed to nearly 15,000 recipients.
“It has client highlights and employee recognition. A lot of ingredients go into that,” Jimerson said. “I see it as business development.”
Jimerson said he plans for the firm to continue to grow, adding practice areas in addition to litigation and recruiting more attorneys and staff.
“We’re looking to expand our practice by hiring corporate transactional lawyers, real estate transactional lawyers and estates, trusts and tax lawyers,” he said.
“Over the long term, the goal is to be a Jacksonville institution.”