Haley Freeman 2014-09-03 01:26:20
The office managing partner of Bryan Cave LLP’s Phoenix office, Jay Zweig, embraces the firm’s ideals and standards. The firm began in 1873 and has expanded to a diversified, global practice that includes corporate transactional, employment and litigation representation. “With more than 1,000 attorneys in 25 offices around the world, Bryan Cave focuses on long-term client relationships versus one-off assignments,” Zweig said. “We get to know our clients and their business goals. We also believe in treating our colleagues just as we treat our best clients. We promote a collaborative environment where people are encouraged and rewarded for sharing the credit and working in teams.” Zweig was exposed to the importance of hard work and collaboration early on. Zweig played high school golf and caddied at the Arizona Country Club. During his senior year of high school, he became the first Evans Scholar from Arizona. As a result, he attended Northwestern University on a four-year golf caddy scholarship. “My experience at NU was fantastic, and community service opportunities – along with rhetoric and First Amendment courses – motivated me to attend law school. My golf game never came close to matching my caddying skills, but my interest in sports continued. I’ve done work for golf course owners, professional sports teams and amateur athletic associations.” Zweig attended law school at the University of Texas. “I was drawn to the law by a strong interest in helping others understand our rights and responsibilities as Americans, as well as, our access to the justice system,” he said. Zweig was helped by a number of mentors and gained experience through clerkships in Austin, Dallas and Phoenix. His uncle, a prominent Illinois criminal defense attorney, Leonard Sacks, emphasized that the client comes first, after family. That message stuck. After law school, Zweig joined a law firm whose founding predated Arizona statehood. He was surprised, but undaunted, when they closed their doors only three years later. “I learned the importance of relationships both within and outside of a law firm,” he said. “It was a valuable lesson for me to focus on serving clients while working together with people at my firm, in the legal profession, and in the community. It is important to be loyal to your organization and colleagues while understanding the broader purpose of your practice.” The professional relationships and community service commitment cultivated by Zweig were the centerpiece of his years at Gallagher & Kennedy. While there, he represented public entities and private companies in employment matters. “It was a terrific experience,” he said. “G&K lawyers, from the top down, have demonstrated commitment to building our community.” In 2007, his interest in a larger platform prompted Zweig to join Bryan Cave. For most of his career, Zweig has practiced employment-related and non-compete litigation on behalf of employers. “Other than with our families, we spend the most time with our colleagues. Employment law has a great mix of technical issues and people, and how to manage those relationships.” This year’s 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a good time to take stock of the progress we have made as a society, and the distance we still have to go. Still, most employers try to get it right. After more than 25 years in practice, Zweig has observed laws that need updating to serve the demands of an increasingly complex business climate. “The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a Depression-era law, needs simplification and reformation. We spend a significant time counseling clients and litigating over whether employees are exempt from overtime and whether independent contractors meet the Department of Labor’s independent contractor standards. The wage and hour law nuisances and exceptions trap employers and discourage them from working with outside subcontractors for fear that those arrangements lead to millions of dollars in unpaid overtime and liquidated damages. Particularly in our economy, where job creation is critical for recovery from the Great Recession, reforming the FLSA would be a significant relief to employers.” Zweig continues to promote the impact of the justice system through the Maricopa County Justice Museum & Learning Center Foundation, a project which began during his time as president of the Maricopa County Bar Association. Housed in the historic courthouse and former jail where Ernesto Miranda and other infamous prisoners were held, the museum aims to educate the public on Maricopa County’s legal history, its court cases and important elements of the rule of law. “Several legal key events occurred in Arizona that impacted individual rights and liberties guaranteed in constitutions of the United States and Arizona. My involvement with the Justice Museum allows me to work with several dedicated lawyers to repurpose an almost forgotten place to share these pivotal events in our legal history with students, jurors and the public.” Zweig values his relationships with lawyer colleagues inside and outside of the firm. “I have been very fortunate to be able to separate the business challenges and legal confrontations from personal acrimony and to establish good working relationships with opposing counsel. I’m a very competitive individual, but one thing I have learned is when the argument is done, you shake hands and acknowledge the other lawyer who gave it their best.” As a result of his practice niche and good relationships with other lawyers, Zweig often receives employment law and OSHA referrals from attorneys outside the firm and is hired by other law firms when they have disputes with employees. “When lawyers from other firms entrust me with their clients, I am respectful of those relationships. When I have resolved the matter referred to me, I send the client back to their referring lawyer. The law has become an increasingly competitive profession, but it remains an honorable profession and I am always grateful for the opportunity to be of service and appreciate when lawyers I refer cases to do good work.” Pro bono work is another priority for Zweig and his colleagues at Bryan Cave. “The firm is a charter signatory to the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, a unique global aspirational pro bono standard,” he said. “The pro bono matters we take on are treated with the same care as any other case. Our work includes civil rights and public rights law, asylum cases, child abduction matters, family law, health law, real estate issues, death penalty and other criminal cases, immigration issues, and counseling charitable organizations.” The firm’s stated goal is for each lawyer to contribute 50 pro bono hours annually; and Zweig exceeds that goal every year. Associates receive billable hour credit for all their pro bono work. “Pro bono work is a privilege and has greatly enriched my career satisfaction,” Zweig said. Zweig and Bryan Cave are also committed to diversity within the firm, recruiting, mentoring and promoting diverse lawyers. Affinity groups within the firm include LGBT lawyers, lawyers of color, a women’s forum and lawyers with alternative work schedules and work sites. A natural manifestation of the firm’s diversity is its recent election of Therese Pritchard, who will serve as its chair beginning Oct. 1, 2014. Previously the firm’s Asia coordinator, she is based in Bryan Cave’s Washington D.C. office and has more than 30 years of experience in securities and financial institutions enforcement and litigation. “Terry will be the first woman to hold this position in Bryan Cave’s 140-year history and will be only the fourth woman currently leading an AmLaw 50 law firm,” he said. “Firms are now selecting leaders from a more diverse talent pool. The fact that Bryan Cave is a leader in this trend speaks volumes. It also speaks volumes about Terry and her commitment to our clients and Bryan Cave’s core values.” The results of Zweig’s personal and professional values are also apparent in his relationship with his two daughters. “They are both in college now,” he said. “I have had terrific opportunities to travel with them. We have been to Israel and South Africa. As part of that travel, we had the opportunity to do volunteer work, particularly with children and the hungry. It was greatly satisfying to make that tiny bit of difference and see the girls experience the personal joy of helping others.” Another joy for Zweig is his volunteer service as an adjunct faculty for a trial advocacy course at ASU law school. “It is a chance to work with law students and give them hands-on opportunities to experience being a trial lawyer. I always learn something when I teach. ASU’s courtroom program helps grow lawyers who can do pro bono with their litigation skills, even if they eventually choose transactional work.” Zweig and the Bryan Cave team are dedicated to working collaboratively with clients to deliver value. “One thing I’ve learned is that very rarely are there individual accomplishments. The lawyers that I work with now and my former colleagues have made all the difference. We work together and challenge each other. The most satisfying achievements are those accomplished with others. That and putting family and clients first keeps me excited and grateful to be a lawyer.”
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