Feb. 21, 2023
As an experienced employment attorney, Kraig Long brings a people perspective to his new role as Baltimore Office Managing Partner. Read about his plans for his thriving, high-powered office, his leadership philosophy, and his thoughts on diversity in the workplace.
I’m an employment lawyer, so what I like is dealing with people issues. I’m usually an advisor and counselor to employers in how to handle and manage the employees. I’m constantly dealing with everyday matters. A lot of us have jobs, and we all experience certain things at our jobs, so I like helping my clients navigate some of the issues they have with their employees.
I’m certainly appreciative of the opportunity to be the OMP for the Baltimore office. I see it as a continuation of the groundwork that was laid down by Mike Brown and Tim Hodge, and I see it as an opportunity to continue to expand the Firm’s footprint in the mid-Atlantic region.
I also would add that I get to help set the tenor and the feel of the office, and I want to make sure that attorneys are comfortable with what they’re doing and that it creates productivity amongst folks.
I’ve worked at other firms. I’ve worked at some places where they’ve had great cultures and some that didn’t really focus on it. You can tell right away when you’re at a place that doesn’t focus on it.
The Baltimore office is less than five years old. With Nelson Mullins originally being known as a Southern firm, I’d like to get our brand out around here — for people to know who we are, see us as a go-to firm in this region, and to continue to expand on the successes that already existed before I became OMP. For example, Mike Brown is an amazing trial lawyer, so it makes it easy that his practice is so well-known and so robust. I just want to continue to develop and increase and enhance what he’s been doing, but also look for opportunities for other practice areas to help us to continue to grow in other sectors.
I definitely would credit individuals along the way who gave me opportunities to handle matters and get introduced to clients. I worked with some very gracious partners. I’ve worked with partners who took a liking to me and said, “I’m going to give you this opportunity and allow you to work with these clients and certain individuals.” That opened the door for me. It’s hard getting your first set of clients. I’ve had partners who selflessly worked with me and made sure I was going to be successful. Once given the opportunity I always knew I would rise to the occasion, and I got that opportunity in several places.
I also credit hard work and my responsiveness to clients. My clients will send me a text, an email, or a call, and I’m right on top of it — working hard and making sure whatever advice I give is solid and practical for their use.
I think you have to first be a good listener. You have to hear what concerns people and what people like. You have to really understand who your audience is — who you’re supposedly leading and taking that into account while you’re also trying to achieve your goals. I’m not the type of leader who’s going to ram policies down and tell people to just “do as I say.”
Secondly, I also have to be accessible. I want individuals to feel like they can come to me and feel that I’m taking whatever concerns they have and addressing them seriously; that’s important.
Finally, I try to walk the walk, by being a good mentor, being a good colleague, and setting an example for others. That’s important to folks. They need to see me as someone who is not only leading but is also leading by example.
You’re got to see it and feel it. This office in particular — we’re an extremely diverse group from what you see. But it’s also how do those individuals — who may have been historically or traditionally marginalized — how do they feel? I talk to our diverse lawyers and our non-diverse lawyers, and I get a sense of what they think about the firm and what they think about the culture in our office. I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback from folks, and they enjoy coming to work here. I’ve enjoyed watching individuals interact. People feel like they can flourish.
I think also when you’re focusing on diversity, it’s important to ask: Can your diverse attorneys see a path to success? I think individuals here see that.
I also want to give credit where credit’s due: Mike Brown and Deborah Thompson are champions for diversity. It makes my job easier that they’ve laid groundwork and that I can build on the successes that they have achieved.
I have been fortunate to have lived in a number of places across the country. I have lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Prince George’s County, Maryland. I think having all those different experiences have shaped how I view lots of things, not only my practice but DEI, and I think that gives me a better perspective in working with people. I think in my role as OMP, I have to work with people. In my role as an employment lawyer, I have to work with people. It gives me perspective that impacts all of what I do at Nelson Mullins.
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