Mark Whitford’s goal as the new managing director of the Rochester office of Barclay Damon LLP is to maintain the success of his predecessor.
“I really enjoy working here and I want to continue to make it a great place to work for my colleagues,” said Whitford, who took over as the Rochester office leader in January.
“Tom Walsh was the longtime managing director here before me and he did a fantastic job. I told him my hope is to continue the great work that he did and it has been a great experience so far,” Whitford said.
Walsh said Whitford “is taking his management duties in stride.”
“I am glad that we have such a steady hand at the helm,” Walsh said.
Connie Cahill, Barclay Damon’s managing partner, said Whitford’s election to the management committee “is another step in the seamless transition from one generation of owners to the next, which is an important part of our firm culture.”
“The other members of our management committee and I are thrilled to have a leader with Mark’s experience, intelligence, and deep understanding of the firm’s Rochester office and the larger Rochester community in this critical role as we work together on important issues like identifying the best and brightest new talent to join us and keeping our decades-long Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program strong and thriving,” Cahill said.
Whitford, who grew up in Livonia, Livingston County, will serve a three-year term heading up the Rochester office.
Although he now has significantly more administrative duties and participates in the firm’s weekly management call with other office leaders, Whitford expects to maintain the same case load.
“All of our managing directors are practicing attorneys and still very much involved in their day-to-day cases,” he said.
“My hope is that I can do whatever I can to put my partners and my colleagues in the best position to succeed and to support them in any way I can,” he said.
The busiest practice areas where Whitford expects continued growth include energy, environmental law, health care, labor, and employment.
“Those are our key focus areas where we see a lot of opportunity for growth,” he said.
Barclay Damon has nearly 300 attorneys with other offices in Buffalo, Boston, New Haven, New York City, Syracuse, Washington, and Toronto. There are 35 attorneys in the Rochester office.
After receiving his law degree at the University of Connecticut Law School, Whitford started his career as a court attorney for the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Third Department, in Albany.
He joined Barclay Damon in 2006 and his main practice area is insurance coverage and regulation.
When he started with the firm, Whitford said, he vowed “there was no way I was going to do insurance coverage work the rest of my life.”
To his surprise and delight, Whitford said his first impression was off the mark.
“Insurance is like tax. It’s everywhere,” Whitford said.
“What I love most about my job is that I get the opportunity to work on different claims; different underlying issues,” he said.
“What I didn’t realize when I took on the job is the variety of things that I’d get to work on. You don’t realize until you start working in a particular practice what you’re going to enjoy about it,” he said.
“I never envisioned I’d be an insurance coverage attorney my entire career, but then I realized what I really liked about practicing was that variety and my practice completely allows me to do that,” he said.
Whitford originally thought he would become a prosecutor, but when he was an appellate court attorney he found the civil cases more interesting.
“The criminal stuff, I just wasn’t that interested in … Whereas the civil work I was working on, I liked the variety, I liked the change of it,” he said.
When he’s away from work, Whitford devotes his time to his wife, Mellissa, and their three sons.
“I’m very busy with their lives and what they’ve got going on,” he said.
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