Encouraging Lawyers to Branch Out on Their Own
The law offices of Couhig Partners is on the 32nd floor of the Entergy Building; the views are breathtaking. The offices are not stuffy, no libraries replete with ponderous law books and no three-pieced-grey-gabardine-pinstriped-suited-men pace the hallways. The ambience is welcoming and laid back. As any decent law firm, Couhig Partners is dedicated to providing excellent legal services to its clients, but it’s also passionate about keeping its lawyers fulfilled, engaged and personally and professionally productive.
I’m not sure if Rob Couhig, III, partner at Couhig Partners, ever heard of Frederick Herzberg and his management theory but there are surely some striking similarities.
Herzberg is considered one of the most influential management consultants of the modern postwar era. He hypothesizes that different factors in the work environment result in either satisfaction or dissatisfaction, referring to these as “hygiene” factors. Factors that lead to satisfaction include achievement, recognition and advancement, while those causing dissatisfaction include work conditions, salary and peer relationships.
Successful managers are always looking for ways to provide job enrichment for their workers and that’s what’s happening at Couhig Partners.
“In most law firms, a partner might be discouraged from taking time to start an independent business, but we encourage our attorneys to pursue their passions and interests outside of the practice of law,” said Couhig. “As both lawyers and businesspeople, our attorneys are in a unique position to give our clients practical advice, as we have personally dealt with many of the same issues our clients face.”
The firm’s staff includes many small business owners and entrepreneurs, but three lawyers stand out: a sports agent, an app developer and an artist.
Jason Cavignac advises and represents businesses and individuals in a variety of legal matters. However, he also represents NFL players in their negotiations with teams.
In 2016, Cavignac founded Cavignac Sports Group to represent and advise NFL players, with a particular focus on helping local athletes. This year, in the sixth round, the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Brandon Wilson, one of his clients. Another client, B.T. Sanders, from Nicholls State, signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills.
“I joined Couhig Partners in 2006, primarily because of the firm’s reputation as an innovative boutique firm for business and commercial law,” Cavignac said. “ I quickly learned that the firm encourages all of its lawyers to pursue interests and opportunities beyond the practice of law. That kind of support and encouragement of outside interests is unusual in a traditional law firm. In addition to giving me the opportunity to use my legal training and experience to pursue something I enjoy, starting a new business has provided me with invaluable insights and experience, which I put to use in my practice for the benefit of our firm’s clients.”
Attorney Jeremy Fischbach recently developed “Happy” a mobile app that connects individuals experiencing life’s everyday stresses and struggles with exceptionally compassionate listeners.
“‘Happy’ is a mobile app that hopes to significantly increase the number of people who can provide and receive critical components of mental health,” said Fischbach. “Couhig Partners has been an incredible supporter of ‘Happy’ from the beginning, lending their legal and business expertise at every step of the process. I’m not aware of any other law firm that is so invested in the passions of its attorneys and the development of new business opportunities in New Orleans.”
Jeff Pastorek is a lawyer specializing in such things as construction and maritime law, but he is also a painter and illustrator. He has created designs for Defend New Orleans; his work has been featured in numerous publications, including “Oxford American;” and he has exhibited in such galleries as The Front and The New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art acquired some of his art for its permanent collection.
“We work hard for our clients, and we work smart to ensure we make time for our families and our passions,” Pastorek said. “I don’t know that many firms can pull that off the way that Couhig Partners does.”
Fostering its lawyers to pursue enrichment is something the firm does because they believe it’s the right thing to do, but they’ve also accrued additional benefits. Couhig Partners believes these extracurricular experiences offer a unique perspective and further the ability of its lawyers to productively advise their clients.
“We are very proud of what we have built over here and we are particularly proud of the people who work here,” said Couhig.