New Pittsburgh Office Co-Chairs Roy W. Arnold and Amy Joseph Coles Discuss Leadership Transition Plans and Goals Following Retirement of Former Chair James Barnes
Blank Rome partners Roy W. Arnold and Amy Joseph Coles were appointed co-chairs of Blank Rome’s Pittsburgh office, effective January 1, 2023. The firm's Pittsburgh office was previously chaired for the past five years by James Barnes, who recently retired following a prestigious 34-year career in the legal industry.
In interviews with Law360 Pulse and the Pittsburgh Business Times, the attorneys discuss James' retirement as well as Blank Rome's Pittsburgh office leadership transition, goals for growing the office, and the firm's collaborative culture.
Excerpts from Law360 Pulse
Roy said that he was eager to continue James’ work of expanding Blank Rome's presence in Pittsburgh and further establishing the office's reputation in the city, stating:
"Amy and I look at the development and growth of our office and the expansion of Blank Rome as a team sport. We work with people committed to and excited about practicing law, serving clients and growing the office. We want to add to that team the high-quality talent in the Pittsburgh marketplace we know is out there. I'm excited to take on this role and see what we can make of it."
Amy added that one of the best ways to follow through on the plans to expand the Pittsburgh office is to maintain the culture created by James, which helps attract the kind of talent the office needs to succeed, stating:
"I had the pleasure of working with a phenomenal chair. These are big shoes to fill, and it is very sad not to have him here every day. We will continue to focus on growing the corporate practice in Pittsburgh by making it a place where smart, hardworking lawyers want to be."
James concluded that, “It's a true team culture. A lot of firms talk about working as a team, but what we have in Blank Rome's Pittsburgh office are people who pitch in and do what's necessary for the growth and development of the office. It is not about who gets the credit; we want to help develop everyone to the best of our ability. That culture is what makes it special. We recruit on that."
“Blank Rome's Pittsburgh MP Hands Reins to Co-Successors,” By James Boyle was published in Law360 Pulse on March 1, 2023.
Excerpts from the Pittsburgh Business Times
Roy and Amy discussed with the Pittsburgh Business Times how they will be sharing responsibilities as office co-chairs. Roy noted:
“We both have active practices and Amy and I have been seamless in terms of trading in and out. We’re making managing this office a team sport, involving our colleagues in various aspects of firm activities.”
As both Roy and Amy are actively involved in lateral recruitment, Roy commented:
“Even though we’ve been at similar firms, we know different people in the legal community. We have similar ideas about the quality of lawyers and we really have similar judgment.”
Amy stated that Pittsburgh is an important market for the firm and the goal is to grow the office to between 25 and 50 over the next three to five years, noting that the focus is on finding talent who fit well with Blank Rome’s culture and those already working at the Pittsburgh office. There are some practice areas the firm wants to build further, she added:
“I’d say we’re continuing to be focused on growing our corporate group. Especially with James leaving, there are big shoes to fill. And we want to grow our energy and construction practices, that’s near and dear to my heart, and financial services. Those are probably the main ones.”
James concluded the interview with advice for his successors, stating, “I’d tell them to trust their judgment and to remember there are resources within the firm and outside the firm to support them. But they’re prepared and ready to lead us to new heights.”
“Lawyer Who Led Blank Rome and Reed Smith in Pittsburgh Is Retiring,” by Patty Tascarella was published in the Pittsburgh Business Times on February 28, 2023.