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I worked at Siana, Bellwoar & McAndrewDoesn't RecommendDoesn't Recommend
The firm offers associates in the 3 - 7 year range an opportunity to gain valuable experience in handling insurance defense matters for mainly local municpal clients. Associates who enjoy 65-85 hour work weeks and have a genuine devotion to land use or municipal defense litigation in a very intense and confrontational enviroment stand the best chance of career growth and advancement.
The firm has an hourly billing requirement for associates in the range of 2100/yr that is higher than all major philadelphia city firms. The salary range is 30% less than the larger city firms but the work is very demanding and the firm culture very conservative and aggressive. The biggest downside is the extremely high turnover rate among support staff and associates. This makes for high level of file transfers and unpredictability of case load as departing attorney files are reassigned. Very little consideration is given as to condition file is in once transferred to new attorney who is held responsible for outcome of file no matter the state of the case once handed over. High turnover also creates duplication of work and lost time to accommodate new hires and staff causing work effeciency to suffer. The end result is unnecessarily aggressive claims managers refusing to account for this lost time and thus cutting major time from attorney billable hours. There is a culture of very strict time limits on what may be billed for litigation tasks so unless an attorney is highly effecient and independent with exceptional technology skills and can really crank out very high quality motions and briefs, I strongly reccommend considering another opportunity.
Firm is very comftorable with recycling attorneys rather than encouraging a culture of career advancement for its associates; the exception being if an associate is able to offer a very specific and highly favored skill set in municipal defense land use or zoning or has a very significant (500,000 +) book. Having an inside track to a solicitorship or past experience as a solicitor is highly favored.
Advice to Management
An openness to differing litigation styles and less dismissive approach to embracing different personality types who are just as desirous to contribute to the team is advisable. Take a hard look at the high support staff and attorney turnover rate and the deleterious impact this has on obtaining and retaining quality and dynamic firm culture.