Mixing Old With New: How A Greenville Firm Survived The Recession By Encouraging Entrepreneurship

There’s a firm in Greenville whose motto reads, “World-Class Lawyers. Deep Local Roots.” For 90 years, Wyche Burgess Freeman & Parham has served this small community of South Carolina. But it may be surprising to discover that one of the oldest local law firms has some of the youngest associates, and will be celebrating its legacy on Tuesday with new services as well as a brand new name—Wyche P.A.“We are a different firm than what we were when I came here,” explained Wallace Lightsey, chair of the firm’s executive committee. “We want to take a moment to look back at our history, which we’re very proud of, but also look forward to a future that we feel is very bright and will be prosperous.”The firm was founded in 1921 when Granville Wyche joined as a junior partner. Granville Wyche’s son, Tommy Wyche, is still active at the firm, which he joined in 1947. Tommy Wyche’s contributions will be celebrated at Tuesday’s event, but there is another equally important milestone to commemorate. For the first time in the firm’s history, the majority of members on the executive committee are below the age of 50.“We are becoming a younger firm. The mid-level partners in their 30s and 40s, who’ve been with the firm for a long time, are taking over the leadership of the firm,” confirmed Lightsey. “It’s a very exciting time for us here, and it’s a very exciting time for me personally to see kind of a new generation taking over the mantle of the Wyche firm, continuing with many of the same traditions and values that made the firm a special place but putting kind of a new direction on it in terms of technology, client service and firm management.”Wyche Burgess Freeman & Parham provides advice on mergers and acquisitions and other complex financial transactions, support for real estate development, and entrepreneur services to new and growing clients. It’s this latter service that has really furthered the participation of the firm’s younger associates.Melinda Davis Lux, esquire, explained, “In recent years we put a concentrated effort around [serving entrepreneurs]. As a result we’re now able to connect entrepreneurs with resources in Greenville to be able to help them grow and that’s really exciting.” Lux continued, “We know that fostering entrepreneurship is key to having a healthy business environment and Wyche has always served entrepreneurs.”Entrepreneurship is an idea that the firm also promotes inside the firm, by increasing the number of younger attorneys and by encouraging their input. The executives at Wyche understand younger associates are more familiar with cutting-edge legal technology and are better equipped to use these tools to serve its clients. By supporting so many entrepreneurs in the local community, Wyche reinforces its own professional commitment to growth and development.Despite an economic recession, Wyche continues to thrive. Its business model rewarding entrepreneurship is why attorneys like Jim “Poss” Parham, have stayed with the firm for 50 years. And why a small firm of a dozen attorneys in the 1980s has now expanded to employ thirty-three. Wyche proves that a firm can modernize, yet still maintain its traditional values. The mentorship program Wyche champions and the confidence the firm instills in its younger associates is a recipe for continued success. “I feel that my contributions and thoughts are taken into account and that I’m able to contribute with a little bit of different energy,” said Lux, who, at 36, is the youngest member of the firm’s executive committee.      

-WBFor more information, go to:
http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20110410/BUSINESS/304100016/Venerable-law-firm-gets-makeover; and


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