It is not unusual in business or legal circles to say that you are focused on the client. But to Jana Gouchev, managing partner and founder of Gouchev Law PLLC, “focusing on the client” means going beyond what any other law firm has ever done in the name of client service.
A full-service national boutique firm based in Manhattan, Gouchev Law has cultivated a reputation for providing the same top-notch quality of service that large firms are able to offer—but with unparalleled speed, communication, and cost savings.
Profile recently caught up with Gouchev to chat about the strategies, tools, and philosophies that have made the firm so distinct within the industry.
What makes Gouchev Law such an attractive choice to general counsels and other top-level executives?
We truly do treat every client like they’re our only client. To start, we don’t take on too much—we’re very selective about choosing our clients. We only work with clients whose businesses and industries we are intimately familiar with, and then we take a deep dive into research before they even hire us.
We interview the clients themselves to try to understand where they’ve been, where they want to go, what their business practices are, and to make sure that we are aligned with their business practices and goals. We make sure that we have a team available that specializes in the kind of work the client needs, whether that’s master services agreements or employment agreements, or mergers and acquisitions.
But we also talk with clients’ legal teams, marketing teams, sales teams—sometimes even their entire c-level executive team. We want to get a holistic understanding of what is going on in the company and take on only the clients that we know we can help, and that’s why the relationships work so well in the long term.
If being strategic about the clients you take on is the start, what comes after that?
We are committed to our goals, and that means being available, being relationship-focused, being fast, and ensuring that we always provide high-quality service.
We make ourselves constantly available to our clients, but we also focus on that accessibility in our relationships with internal members of our clients’ companies. CEOs, marketing representatives, sales executives—those relationships are also very important and help us drive maximum value for our partners.
That commitment to close and to build long-lasting relationships are why each of our attorneys spends three times longer in training than lawyers at other firms. All of our attorneys have at least fifteen years of experience—we don’t have any paralegals or first-year attorneys working on cases in order to save costs—so we know that they’re able to provide an extremely high-quality product. Nevertheless, we don’t give our attorneys any clients until they’ve been here for a year—we want to make sure that they really understand our culture, that they’re truly ready to work with our clients and provide them the best service possible.
Being fast often comes down to technology. I use the most advanced technology available to save time, make processes for clients smoother, and enable us to provide more consulting-style advice. It’s the technology being used by the biggest law firms out there, but at a fraction of the cost to the client.
You seem to have set a very high standard for yourself, and for the firm. That level of service doesn’t come easily—does Gouchev Law face any particular challenges because of that commitment?
Yes, our commitment to our goals of being available, fast, and relationship-focused is slowing our growth rate a bit. Our revenue is half of what it could be. But that’s okay to me because, like with any other business, growing too fast can hurt you.
Speaking of the firm’s growth, could you share some of the values or personality traits that you particularly look for when vetting new hires?
I have a staff that truly embodies our values. We are exceptionally dedicated, passionate, strong, and relentless in our efforts to protect our clients. We are a very diverse team, and the fact that we come from different backgrounds and have different viewpoints translates to the level of service that we are able to provide to our clients.
To work here, you have to be a deal maker and a diplomat as well as a tough negotiator. Those values are what help us get results for our clients, but they also speak to who I am and why I created Gouchev Law. I’ve seen how law firms and lawyers typically work, how they often get a bad rap for inefficient communication, slow turnaround, and a work product that’s just not quite there in terms of quality. And companies have seen that, too. So, when those companies come to us and see that we don’t have a revolving door, that our clients stay with us for a long time and that we are wholly committed to helping our clients design and execute their goals, they can see the difference.
What are some of the main practice areas that Gouchev Law specializes in?
We are a corporate law and intellectual property firm—we handle everything that companies might need from a corporate and IP law firm, from corporate documents and contract law to employment agreements and corporate financing. On the IP side, we do trademarks and patent cases. But that IP work often goes hand-in-hand with corporate law because sometimes clients need both.
Do you have any ideas as to how you want to continue the firm’s track record of growth and innovation in the years ahead?
We have the foundation for growth—we have thirteen attorneys as well as other staff members who focus on project management, technology, marketing, and operations. They’re like mini versions of the departments that big firms often have; they’re there to make sure that everything is moving quickly and smoothly and satisfactorily for clients.
We’ve grown our client base because of that internal structure and because of the type of team member that we have on board. Now, we’re prepared to use technology to make our operations even faster and even more accurate so that we can build strategically on that foundation.