The unprecedented time of pandemic has certainly been challenging for everyone. Most people have experienced things in the past year that we never anticipated. The legal challenges arising in response to the pandemic have been life changing for organizations and many clients have suffered greatly. Dealing with unprecedented times certainly requires lot of creativity, competence and resilience. Hahn & Hahn LLP is proud to have been a resource to clients and partners in the business community.
One of the shinning lights of the firm, who stands tall in such critical times, is its leader, Christianne Kerns (Chris), who is the first female Managing Partner in the firm’s 122 year history.
Founded in 1899, Hahn & Hahn LLP is one of the oldest law firms in California and one of the largest general practice firms in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley. Chris has served on its Executive Committee since 2011. As head of the firm and effectively its CEO, she leads and oversees strategic planning, talent management, partnership matters, branding, business development, finance, accounting, IT, budgeting, risk management, and human resources processes.
“Hahn & Hahn LLP retains its long traditions of integrity, service, and excellence in the practice of law while looking ahead to the changing needs of its clients as the 21st century advances.”
Strong Work Ethic
Chris reveals the difficult fact that when she was a young lawyer, women had to work harder and be smarter than men, just to be seen as equal. But women were never really equal. That is just the way it was. This instilled a strong work ethic in her, and to this day Chris works long hours to provide excellent legal service for her clients and to further the interests of her firm. Chris believes that a strong work ethic is a major predictor to one’s success.
Keeping People Happy, Healthy and Engaged
Attorneys work long hours, often working from home well into the evening and on weekends to manage a busy practice, so remote working was not entirely new for lawyers. Remote working for staff, however, was a big shift. Although it was challenging for the entire firm to work remotely during pandemic, Hahn & Hahn managed through leveraging technology and increasing communication channels across the firm.
Her people’s wellbeing is always top of mind for Chris. From staff connectivity with regular remote meetings and social gatherings, to weekly all-attorney meetings by zoom, remote workshops about taking care of one’s mental health, referrals for professional help, and just touching base with each other regularly, the firm is doing what it can to keep people happy, healthy, engaged and connected.
Adapting Flexible Approach
Chris reports that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women in the legal industry. Many women have stepped out of the practice of law to take care of family, particularly school aged children who are managing remote learning from home. Chris is hopeful that their paths will bring them back to the law when circumstances change, but this will require support from the legal profession. Building flexibility into firm/organizational cultures will be necessary to keep top talent. A more robust remote work environment can be a good option to help to build flexibility into an organizational culture. As we adapt office space to the post-pandemic world, firms may need less office space and open workspaces will need to be compartmentalized to allow healthy distances and physical barriers to promote safety and good health.
Making a Difference
In challenging times, Hahn & Hahn is perfectly positioned to navigate the constantly shifting tides to help businesses survive and thrive! Throughout the pandemic, the firm helped many businesses obtain large amounts of emergency funding, affiliate in partnership with other business organizations, maneuver around forever changing business restrictions and employment regulations, acquire businesses in distress to retain value, and buy and sell companies and properties. Other efforts included litigation and bankruptcy as needs dictate to protect value and assets. And it seemed that everyone needed a new or updated estate plan. Through it all, Hahn & Hahn seeks to makes an impact on its clients by providing excellent, value-added service in collaboration with clients and others.
Working Hard for Welfare of People
Hahn & Hahn lawyers are motivated by their passions; most are serving the community through various charitable causes. They volunteer and advise on a multitude of non-profit boards of directors, including child services organizations, homeless shelters, animal rescue agencies, schools, boys’ and girls’ clubs, hospitals, and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. They are working hard for the good of the community.
Being Prepared to Make Sacrifices
Chris’s advice to young women and people with diverse backgrounds aspiring to a legal career: be prepared, work hard, and make sacrifices for your future. Pursue the law with gusto and do not let biases, apparent or inherent, stop you. Be open to mentors who can help, guide and lead you, and sponsors who will put you out there for opportunities and recognition for your good work. Look for ways to bring positive attention to yourself and your work – leading to better assignments and higher visibility. If you are in a situation that does not provide opportunities to succeed or the flexibility you need, don’t be afraid to consider other options. Partnership and senior counsel positions exist for women and people with diverse backgrounds, even in the top international firms and companies.
Reflecting the Diversity of Community
Hahn & Hahn seeks to maintain its independence as a small law firm. With women comprising more than 50% of its partners, the firm is a certified majority women and minority owned firm and strives to improve its diversity so that its professionals better reflect the diversity of the communities it serves.
Commitment to High Quality Service
Hahn & Hahn provides optimal solutions to challenges that add value and contribute to clients’ and their stakeholders’ successes. The firm continues a long commitment to excellence and integrity, delivering highquality representation and sophisticated business and legal services to longstanding clients and the emerging leaders of California, while bringing their minds and hearts to make a meaningful difference in the communities they serve.