Jun 01, 2017
Thirty years of Right there with you
For those seeking to understand what Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. is about as it celebrates three decades of service to its clients and community, start with saying “good morning.”
“When we first formed the firm in 1987, we had 11 attorneys and a small support staff to match,” recalls Andy Tecson, president of Chuhak & Tecson. “Every morning, Tom Chuhak, who along with my dad, Joe Tecson, were the elder statesman of the group, would come to work and personally greet every person – every attorney, every clerk, every secretary – with a smile and a joyous `good morning.’ He would ask how they were doing, what was new; he truly cared about each person’s well-being.’”
When looking back at the firm’s accomplishments over the past 30 years, Tecson thinks of those mornings and believes they are reflective of what distinguishes and defines the firm.
“That sense of family, of truly caring about the success and growth of both the people who work here and our clients, that remains a foundational principle of the firm,” Tecson says. “We have clients who have been with us from the beginning, and we have lawyers and support staff who have as well. That doesn’t happen by accident.”
Assembling a team of distinguished lawyers with complementary practices and a shared commitment to providing exceptional representation and service doesn’t happen by accident either.
“Tom and Joe were driven by a desire to excel at client service and an unshakable sense of professionalism and integrity,” says Barry Feinberg, one of the firm’s founding members. “Those of us who initially joined them on this journey and all those who have joined us since are absolutely cut of that same cloth.”
Three of the firm’s founding members, Andy Tecson, Don Russ, and Arnold Karolewski, remain with the firm as practicing attorneys, while original members Barry Feinberg and Al Grasso serve clients in an of counsel capacity. From a core of 11 attorneys, the firm now stands at 68 lawyers and about 75 support staff, some of whom work at the firm’s New York City office which opened in 2015.
Building on the Past. Prepared for the Future.
Reflecting on the firm’s growth and accomplishments, its founders don’t wax nostalgic; quite the contrary. This year’s anniversary is as much about the firm’s future as it is about the past.
“We have always taken great pride in developing subsequent generations of outstanding attorneys who can build on what the more senior lawyers have accomplished,” Tecson says. “Our belief and trust in the next generation of the firm’s attorneys to carry the flame and make it burn even brighter is the secret to the firm’s continued growth and vibrant future. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of.”
This cross-generational sharing of institutional knowledge and the firm’s commitment to the professional and personal growth of younger attorneys adds significant value for the firm’s clients, says founding member Al Grasso.
“We empower our younger attorneys in their practices from day one, and that includes interaction with clients,” Grasso says. “This allows them to get to know our clients; what they are about, what is important to them. In turn, our clients get to see the talent that we keep bringing into the firm. This builds on the established trust between our clients and the firm and gives them the peace of mind that they are in good hands for years to come.”
This continuity, this emphasis on ensuring that the firm’s clients receive the same high level of representation, service, and value that brought them to the firm in the first place, hasn’t happened in a vacuum. It has endured through three decades of change and disruption in both the practice of law and the businesses of the firm’s clients. If a lawyer or law firm fails to stay in front of these changes, they are doing a disservice to their clients and risk falling by the wayside. But navigating the seas of constant change while maintaining the timeless bearings that continue to define the firm can be a challenge. It is a balance that Chuhak & Tecson has handled with aplomb.
“Technology and the business environment may be constantly changing, but the keys to building and maintaining relationships do not,” says Tecson. “Clients will always want accessibility and responsive service, they will always want value, they will always want positive outcomes. But all of those things require adaptability and taking advantage of the technologies that allow us to stay ahead of the curve in all these respects.”
“We have done that successfully for the past 30 years, and if past is prologue, we will be doing so for the next 30 years,” Tecson adds.
Leaders in the Law
Of course, the law is as ever-changing as technology. From the very beginning, Chuhak & Tecson’s attorneys have positioned themselves at the forefront of those changes, and have made educating clients and colleagues about the latest legal developments and best practices a cornerstone of the firm.
“Al Grasso and Don Russ in particular really set the standard in terms of always learning and always educating others,” says Tecson. “They are thought leaders in both the legal and accounting professions.”
It is a tradition that has carried forward to today, with the firm’s attorneys continuing to be sought-after speakers and writers. It is also reflected in the firm’s emphasis on education as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations. Informed clients are empowered clients, and the firm is constantly providing actionable and up-to-date information on a wide range of topics through a steady stream of seminars and client presentations, client alerts and practice group newsletters, and articles in professional and trade publications. Added to this robust mix this year is the firm’s online newsletter “Three Decades,” an issue of which you are currently reading.
Service – In Every Respect
Providing the insights that come from decades of experience and the collective knowledge of over 60 exceptional lawyers is a way of giving back to the firm’s clients. But it is far from the only way the firm demonstrates its commitment to service – in every sense of that word.
“My dad was a committed public servant, and service to our community is part of the firm’s DNA,” Tecson says.
Individually and collectively, the firm’s attorneys and support staff regularly engage in a wide range of philanthropic efforts and charitable giving throughout Chicagoland. Pick any given month – you’ll likely find folks from Chuhak & Tecson out doing something to improve the lives of other and their communities.
What makes Chuhak & Tecson’s commitment to service so special and rewarding is that it is organic and heartfelt. Participation in any or all of the firm’s myriad service efforts is not a mandate or an imposition; it comes from a shared belief in the importance of giving back, of being part of a larger community.
While giving back to the community is its own reward, Tecson says it also strengthens the firm’s ability to serve its clients.
“When you’re out working in the community and helping others, you’re meeting and collaborating with people from all walks of life,” he says. “Service gives you a broader perspective and a deeper understanding of the needs of others. Being focused on the needs of the people you serve is at the core of what we do as lawyers.”
Three Decades of Being Right There With You
30 years on, Chuhak & Tecson’s unwavering commitment to client service – being right there with you – remains a bedrock principle. Long-term and enduring client relationships flow from that commitment, and the trust that grows from sound counsel which spans multiple generations has laid the groundwork for the firm’s next three decades. 30 years from now, whatever changes the world may see, Chuhak & Tecson will no doubt retain that sense of family that was present on those mornings Tom Chuhak and Joe Tecson were passing out warm greetings to everyone they saw.