This year marks the silver anniversary of Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram, P.C. Ronald S. Shapiro and Judah Lifschitz founded the firm in 1991, with Steven H. Schram joining as a founder the following year. All three have served as co-presidents of the firm.
The three firm presidents initially met while practicing law at large and mid-sized D.C.-based law firms and all are renowned in their respective fields. Ron, Judd and Steve determined to start their own boutique law firm to serve clients more efficiently and effectively, while nurturing a smaller firm culture where every client is treated like the firm’s only client.
Keeping in line with their original business model, they have purposely kept the firm at between 10 and 15 professionals, ensuring that everyone the firm serves receives only the best. Clients have become lifelong friends, and colleagues have become a cohesive family, all committed to the same goals. Members of the firm are a highly experienced group of professionals who are passionate about the work that they do and capable of offering innovative and winning solutions through the firm’s collaborative efforts.
When asked about the challenges of the firm’s early years in business, the founders all agree that they had the normal concerns about capital and maintaining a steady flow of business. Those concerns, however, proved to be unnecessary for Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram. Amazingly, the firm has been busy since opening. In addition, Ron, Judd and Steve’s clients actually assisted them in the start-up. Most of their existing clients followed them to the new firm and many even gave SLS retainers to ease the transition.
It’s no surprise that, when Ron, Judd and Steve are asked about their most significant cases and client successes, many of these include stories about the early days in business as they helped clients form, grow and maintain companies. As those companies grew and prospered, SLS has been integral in successfully handling litigation matters that preserved the wealth and vitality of their clients’ businesses.
As the years have passed, the firm has become more and more involved with clients nationally in the litigation arena while continuing to be a strong force in the nation’s capital. SLS continues to serve clients with their business, construction, power and energy, real estate, and trial needs. Some recent matters include:
- Successfully representing a client involved in a multimillion-dollar arbitration regarding a $2 billion-plus project, which was one of the largest liquidated damages awards in the history of the construction industry.
- Developing and implementing a plan to provide a resolution for time-sensitive investor disputes regarding development of a large-scale, mixed-use project involving residential, hotel and retail components. The work included securing financing, establishing the parameters to settle the lawsuit and negotiating the terms of a joint venture agreement.
- Representing a client that received a multimillion-dollar jury verdict related to the sale of a closely held corporation after the firm tried the case before a jury for 90 days.
- Representing a regional homebuilder in a workout and restructuring of $60 million in loans from several institutional lenders that were not acting in consortium. This allowed the client to survive the market downturn.
Another admirable aspect of SLS and its founders is the firm’s commitment to philanthropy, which resonates throughout the firm. The entire SLS family serves out of a sense of duty to the communities in which they work and live.
For example, the firm provides pro-bono legal services to Sulam, an educational institution in Rockville, Maryland, that is one of the organizations that has benefited greatly from the firm’s service. Sulam is dedicated to providing children who have learning differences with individually designed programs that reflect “best practices” in a day school environment.
The firm has provided these services to Sulam since its inception, along with making annual contributions and serving on the board of directors and in several significant leadership positions, including president of the school. In 2015, SLS was honored with the school’s Founder’s Award, a recognition given to those whose efforts have made a major impact on the organization.
Other organizations that the firm has supported include Life with Cancer (LWC), a program of Inova Health System; the Anti-Defamation League, the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency; American Friends of Lubavitch; the American Heart Association; the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and the Sasha Bruce Youthwork.
As the firm’s founders reflect on the last 25 years, they agree that they are humbled by the dedication of their clients, as well as the opportunity to represent and make a difference for so many local and national companies and to give back to and be involved in their communities through service and philanthropy.
Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram looks forward to many more years of service and extends heart-felt appreciation for the hundreds of people that have made the firm a great success.