‘Strategic Thinking’ Is Behind Hill Wallack Expansion Into Red Bank

November 1, 2018
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Hill Wallack’s Managing Partner Michael Kahme, right, joined Managing Partner of the Red Bank office, Eric Abraham, at the grand opening.

 

RED BANK – When New Jersey law firms choose to expand, the obvious move is into New York or Philadelphia, or one of the state’s law firm hubs, like Newark or Morristown.  Hill Wallack, however, chose to think strategically – and out of the box — and has opened its newest office in Red Bank.

Founded in 1978, Hill Wallack LLP is one of the largest law firms in Central New Jersey.  The firm is based in Princeton, and has opened offices strategically, first in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey and Yardley, Pennsylvania and now in Red Bank.  With nearly 70 lawyers, the firm has what it calls “comprehensive commercial capabilities,” offering a full range of legal services to a diverse group of clients from Fortune 500 companies to individuals.

Eric Abraham, a partner with Hill Wallack, is a lifelong Monmouth County resident.  In speaking with his many contacts throughout the county, Abraham recognized that while there are plenty of lawyers and law firms in the county, there is a market demand for what he calls “lawyers’ lawyers” – attorneys with business savvy and sophisticated practices.  While Hill Wallack’s Princeton office is only 45 miles from Red Bank, Abraham also knew that businesspeople in the Red Bank area would want to work with lawyers locally, who knew the local community.

Hill Wallack observed that Red Bank is an increasingly vibrant and progressive business community, and the firm was eager to respond to that community’s growing needs.  Abraham, who heads the firm’s complex litigation practice group and works with many clients in the pharmaceutical industry, spoke with what he called his “kitchen cabinet,” his many contacts in the Red Bank area, to better understand the needs of the community.  He conferred with other Hill Wallack attorneys who reside in Monmouth County, like Litigation Partner Suzanne Marasco and Counsel Evan Goldman, chair of the firm’s franchise law practice group, to prepare a detailed business plan for the new office.

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“We are excited to be planting our flag in Red Bank,” says Abraham.  “We are already highly connected, on so many levels, in the community.” Since the office’s opening in August, he and his colleagues have been reaching out to people throughout the community. “So many people have been eager to meet with us,” he notes.

The firm already had a number of clients in the Red Bank area and saw the opening of a local office as a way to better serve them, and to work with other Monmouth County businesses that sought the level of service and breadth of practice that Hill Wallack offers.

“Red Bank was a natural expansion for Hill Wallack,” says the firm’s managing partner, Michael Kahme.  “We saw how vibrant the business community and community at large is, how many relationships we already have there and realized that we can better serve our clients and develop new opportunities with a Red Bank office.”  Kahme noted that “Red Bank has the charm of a small village but with the strength of a city.  What a wonderful place to live and work.”

The offices are in Galleria Red Bank, a mix of boutiques, restaurants and professional offices in a former turn-of-the-twentieth-century uniform factory, completed in 1917.  The building is on the west side of the borough, which has lately been experiencing a renaissance.  Its location, just two blocks from the New Jersey Transit station, also makes it accessible by any form of transportation.  The factory had originally been owned by Sigmund Eisner, grandfather of Michael Eisner, former chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company; it manufactured uniforms for soldiers in World Wars I and II, the National Park Service and the Boy Scouts.

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Says former state Senator Joseph Kyrillos Jr., who represented the 13th Legislative District in the New Jersey State Senate, “Red Bank, and Monmouth County generally, has become a hub for strong law and professional firms and a headquarters location for successful companies. Hill Wallack is a great firm with impressive attorneys and we’re very happy to welcome them to the mix.”

Lawrence S. Sykoff, headmaster emeritus of the Ranney School and president of LSS Consulting Group, said, “Red Bank, and this location in particular, is ideal for Hill Wallack.  The firm is positioning itself in an area that is growing substantially.  They will be able to offer organizations that are moving to Red Bank a full range of services, essentially one-stop shopping.  This is a good opportunity for Eric and his colleagues, and for the businesses moving into the area.”


This article was first published in the Nov. 1-7, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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