Aubyn Krulish Jan. 6 took over as managing attorney of the Denver office of Armstrong Teasdale. Krulish takes over the role from Chuck Steese, and will lead the office of more than 35 attorneys and staff.
Law Week talked with Krulish about the transition process and the firm’s plans for the Denver office. The following conversation with Krulish has been edited for style and length.
LAW WEEK: Armstrong Teasdale opened its Denver office in 2014. How does the Denver office fit within the national focus of the firm?
KRULISH: The firm started here as a litigation boutique and then added IP and some finance and real estate. When I came on [in 2016], we added a corporate practice. We’ve been building out the Denver office as a full-service firm, and we’ve tripled in size since 2014 when we opened. That’s exciting, and the growth has been great.
We act as one firm across the nation, and there’s a lot of cross-office work. But Denver brings components that are valuable like transactions and complex commercial litigation. These are things we offer to the firm as a whole that makes the firm stronger.
We do offer some specialties in Denver to the rest of the firm, but we have great people in every office. I can pick up the phone and call people in New York or Philadelphia or Kansas City and get support, but it’s nice to have someone down the hall who, on a general scale, might know about the clients in Denver. In real estate, for example, we want to have that be local as well as national. Those are the things that went into the mix in determining whether to be a specialized practice area or build out as full service in Denver.
LAW WEEK: What are the responsibilities of being office managing attorney? What are your goals, and the firm’s goals for the Denver office?
KRULISH: The managing attorneys of the different offices focus on the strategic development and growth of that office and coordinates the management components internally in that office. I’m focusing on how Denver can move forward and grow and reach the strategic goals of the firm.
We’re looking for growth, and that’s important both in building out our full-service offer and just getting great people in the door. That’s our number-one priority.
Our strategic goals are putting people first — and Denver fits right into that — and growing thoughtfully, getting the right people on the bus.
LAW WEEK: Are there any specific targets or plans for that growth?
KRULISH: I think we have a lot of potential growth. The market is small, and we like to keep confidentiality, but we’re talking to individuals and boutiques who are interested in growing with us. There’s not one specific area of growth, but we’re looking out for who’s looking for work and has great clients that might be a platform to further develop.
When we talk about growth, the challenge is getting the right people. My focus is what’s going to sit best with the firm and what’s going to sit best with the Denver office. That’s my focus: How do we get the right people in the door?
LAW WEEK: How will you be balancing your own practice with the administrative work of being managing attorney?
KRULISH: I’m super excited to do both. I’ve taken on pieces of the management role over the past couple years, so it’s been a nice transition.
I’m fully practicing law. I have great clients, and I wouldn’t forego them, so I’m very lucky. My M&A work, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself without it, so that’s my primary focus. On top of that, I’ll do the managing of the office and growth and pieces of that, which I’ve been doing already so I wouldn’t see that being a full switch.
I’m also fortunate that I have a great team of partners and excellent associates and staff, so my job isn’t that hard. I don’t anticipate a change in my practice, and I’m excited about what we can do in Denver.
LAW WEEK: How has the transition into the managing attorney role gone so far?
KRULISH: Chuck Steese was a good delegator. I was in leadership roles far before I knew what the transition path was going to be. As Chuck was delegating, some of the things I took on were the associate management components and staff management components. Chuck has been excellent in showing me the ropes.
You don’t know about the position until you’re in it, and Chuck has been talking to me about it. He’s been excited about the transition and has contributed to helping me figure out what we need to do next.
LAW WEEK: Is there anything that is at the forefront of your mind as you take on the role of managing attorney?
KRULISH: We have super talented associates that are phenomenal, and the attention there is really important to me as well. Thinking about what they need to professionally grow is at the forefront of my thought process. This is the next tier of attorneys coming up, so how do I help them grow into the partners they want to be?
Also, I say to the team here that this is a great day to be at Armstrong Teasdale, and I think that’s true. 2020 is looking really fun for us with new strategic goals and with our growth model, and it’s exciting to see what we’re going to do next.
We’re excited to be here and to grow, and we can’t wait to service clients with our mission to exceed their expectations.
— Tony Flesor