Friday, January 28, 2011

QuatriniRafferty plans to add offices in Downtown Pittsburgh, Latrobe

Premium content from Pittsburgh Business Times - by Patty Tascarella

Date: Friday, January 28, 2011, 6:00am EST

Greensburg-based law firm QuatriniRafferty is expanding for the first time in its 24-year history, opening a Downtown Pittsburgh office in the second quarter and a Latrobe site by early February.

QuatriniRafferty purchased residential space for both — prices weren’t disclosed — but initially won’t be hiring. The offices will be used by existing personnel, said Managing Partner Vince Quatrini.

David DeRose, who specializes in estate law, wills and real estate, will split time between the Greensburg and Latrobe offices. The Pittsburgh office, at 941 Penn Ave., will be home base to Michael Quatrini, Quatrini’s son, who specializes in workers compensation, Social Security disability and veterans disability, all strong growth areas for the firm.

“I like the energy of the city and the close access to the administrative offices where we have our hearings,” Vince Quatrini said.

Other lawyers on staff will use the two newest sites as needed. The firm expects to add secretaries, paralegals and lawyers at both sites starting in 2012, Vince Quatrini said, but couldn’t say how many. All told, QuatriniRafferty employs 33.

QuatriniRafferty can capitalize on better real estate prices and the availability of new and experienced lawyers due to hiring slowdowns at the city’s largest firms in recent years. But the expansion is chiefly driven by the firm’s desire to “provide face-to-face contact with clients,” Vince Quatrini said.

An outlying firm setting up shop in the city is a rarity, said Lori Carpenter, president of Downtown-based recruitment firm Carpenter Legal Search. She couldn’t recall an example in recent years.

“Normally, it’s in the other direction, with a firm based in Pittsburgh looking to the outlying areas,” Carpenter said.

Robert Denney, president of Wayne, Pa.-based consultancy Robert Denney Associates, said QuatriniRafferty’s strategy “makes sense,” but he believes the firm is bucking the national mainstream.

“They’re running counter,” Denney said. “They’re the only firm I’m aware of that’s doing this. Other firms taking advantage of real estate would be redoing the lease or moving to a newer building, not buying in a city’s business district.”

Regardless, QuatriniRafferty has ample room to grow. The space — 2,400 square feet in Pittsburgh and 3,400 square feet in Latrobe — is “huge for one lawyer” to start, Denney said. “The average space today per lawyer has been whittled down to below 600 square feet.”