Mark E. Lutes, Chair of the firm’s Board of Directors and a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was featured in Crain’s, in “If I Knew Then …” by Patrick Lee. This is part of an ongoing series in which executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders are asked about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Following is an excerpt:

Our belief is that a customer more often than not wants to go to a specialized store for her jewelry rather than just a jewelry department of a department store just because it's next to the shoes and the coats. The client will actually want to seek out the best jewelry expertise and selection and depth and is willing to go to and will actually seek out the boutique store featuring that and have a preference for that over merely buying maybe second-best jewelry because it was adjacent to the shoe department.

In law, that's a pretty revolutionary idea, because most of the legal industry pursues a thesis that revenue growth and number of lawyers is a good to be chased in and of itself. ... But for us, pursuing a union that would even double our revenue would not be a good long-term strategy if it took us away from our brand focus—because we don't think in the long term that most firms are going to prosper with a department store strategy. We think in the long term, the industry's going to segment, and there will be a couple of department stores that prosper, but the others that prosper will be specialty shops, will be boutiques. Not because they're small, but because they're focused.

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