“We are proceeding. Even with COVID-19, we’re on track,” says Kevin Cross, managing partner of Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman.
Undeterred by the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman is consolidating its Downtown and Ponte Vedra Beach offices and moving to the suburbs.
The law firm plans to move in mid-June to Building 300 at 10151 Deerwood Park Blvd.
“We are proceeding. Even with COVID-19, we’re on track,” said Kevin Cross, managing partner.
The firm has about 100 attorneys in eight offices in the eastern U.S., including 12 attorneys in Jacksonville.
Lippes Mathias entered the Northeast Florida market in 2017 when the Ponte Vedra Beach office opened with one attorney, partner in charge Christopher Walker.
It merged in April 2019 with the Holbrook Akel firm and its offices Downtown at Wells Fargo Center.
Moving to a suburban office park was a strategic and geographical decision.
“It’s centrally located to better serve the firm’s clients who are Downtown and at the Beaches and in St. Johns County,” Walker said.
The 14,000-square-foot space is designed to allow the firm to expand by bringing more attorneys into the Jacksonville office, which has clients throughout the state.
“That’s been our plan since we entered the market,” Cross said.
The space at Deerwood, which is under construction, has 23 offices, 15 workstations, five conference rooms, a large workroom, four breakout work areas, an IT room and a collaboration space for meetings and presentations.
When the firm began designing the space and the technical infrastructure for the office months ago, no one foresaw the global pandemic and its impact on business and society.
Walker said Lippes Mathias has long been dedicated to working with the most up-to-date technology. The office is fully wired for teleconferencing and doing business digitally.
“We’re a tech-savvy firm,” Walker said.
Even before the pandemic, the firm’s clients were beginning to use more teleconferences instead of face-to-face meetings.
“They like skipping the travel expense. I think it’s going to stay the norm,” Walker said.
As a firm that primarily serves business and real estate clients, Cross said Lippes Mathias is confident the markets will recover.
With courthouses and city halls closed, litigation and some zoning matters are on hold, but the firm’s corporate clients continue to need services such as bankruptcy. They also need counsel on employment issues, including the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program enacted in response to the pandemic.
“Real estate is still moving forward, but at a slower pace, and banks are still lending,” Walker said.
“All the bottled-up work will have to be done. I think there will be a strong rebound,” Cross said.