Cleveland Jewish News: Despite pandemic, Buckingham, Doolittle continues to expand
By Collin Cunningham
Over the past 18 months, Akron-based law firm Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs has managed to nearly double its roster of attorneys and announced in December it’s preparing to open a new office in downtown Akron this year.
Buckingham managing partner Steven Dimengo said it might be surprising the firm is experiencing growth during a time when many other businesses are struggling to even turn a profit, but it’s no accident.
According to Dimengo, Buckingham is able to experience the largest period of expansion it has seen since its founding in 1913 because it has earned its place as one of the region’s best business law firms. He described the practice as a small business firm for closely-held companies. It does some work for public corporations but mostly focuses on mergers and acquisitions, tax law and real estate litigation for smaller businesses.
“The rare combination we have is we’re a strong business firm that has really strong tax expertise,” Dimengo said. “Oftentimes, when you’re working on business mergers, almost everything has a tax implication, so we’re equipped to address that as well.”
The 20 new employees make the firm more well-rounded, said Dimengo, who works and lives in Akron.
Having served public and private businesses with the firm for more than 30 years, he said the new group of commercial litigation, creditor’s rights and mergers and acquisitions attorneys will help Buckingham continue to compete with larger firms.
“Some of the business contract work we do with mergers and acquisitions, our competition is a national law firm,” Dimengo said. “We are a regional law firm with offices in Cleveland, Akron and Canton. Even in the state and local tax area, our competition is national law firms.”
An expanded staff allows Buckingham to deal with a broad and complex set of white-collar laws, and is part of the firm’s succession planning to train employees and encourage long-term investment. The firm also emphasizes diversity, and Dimengo said some of the recent hires are renowned female lawyers.
And it’s not just new people that are helping the firm grow. Dimengo said its new office in the historic Nantucket Building at the corner of South Main Street and East Wilbeth Road near Firestone Stadium in downtown Akron will expand Buckingham’s reach to potential new clients. It will be the company’s fifth location, including two in Akron – one on Embassy Parkway and the other on Main Street – one on Munson Street in Canton and the downtown Cleveland office on East 9th Street.
“Our first 90-some years in existence, we were in downtown Akron,” Dimengo said. “It’s nice to return here. We’re right across from the federal courthouse, so that enables us to serve clients in that type of litigation. Even to serve businesses that may be involved in litigation outside of Ohio that involves the federal court system.”
While the firm is happy about being able to reach new horizons, Dimengo said resting on its laurels is out of the question, and law office staff has additional plans for improving Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs in 2021.
“We have an active recruiting effort and I just feel very strong about always trying to recruit,” Dimengo said. “There’s a philosophy at our firm that if we find good talent, really strong talent, they have a knack for staying busy, then they’re always welcome here. We always find a use for just really good, strong, hardworking attorneys that are a cultural fit.”
Collin Cunningham is a freelance writer in Cleveland.