Expansion Into Tampa: Q&A with Jake Miles, CFO of Miles
In this month’s Thoughts from the Top, we speak with Jake Miles, Miles’ Chief Financial Officer, about our firm’s expansion into the Tampa market.
Q: Miles Mediation & Arbitration has offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbia, Jacksonville, Nashville, Savannah, and now, Tampa. Why Tampa?
A: We’ve been wanting to expand into Tampa for a while. Tampa is a unique submarket within Florida in that there isn’t an established ADR (alternative dispute resolution) company in the market, and we already had a presence in Jacksonville, so it made a lot of sense for us to start to move south, to Tampa. The more we looked at it, the more we saw a lot of opportunity there. There is a lot of personal injury work there, but there is also a lot of higher end employment work and construction work, areas where we have experienced neutrals and that we want to continue to grow.
Q: You mentioned employment and construction work. Miles now has practice area groups in both of those areas, correct?
A: We do — we have a Construction Practice Area Group (PAG) and an Employment PAG. I’m very excited about what Todd Drucker, Miles’ national business development director, has done in formalizing these practice groups. He has done a phenomenal job of coming in and packaging and advertising them to the legal community. We have an Employment PAG that we could put up against any ADR firm in the country in terms of size and skill set, and our Construction PAG is also impressive, with Florida construction neutrals including Jennifer Grippa and Jim Shea. We’d like to add at least one more Florida construction neutral to our Construction PAG.
Q: Tell me about Miles’ new office in Tampa.
A: We’re in the Lincoln Center, which is a beautiful building on Kennedy Boulevard in Westshore. A lot of law firms and companies are starting to move their offices out of downtown Tampa to this area — it’s a lot more convenient to get in and out, and there is free and ample parking. We have a 2,300-square-foot office that has six full-size conference rooms including two dedicated Zoom rooms to give clients a hybrid experience should they need it. Each room will also have a TV for parties who want to join virtually, and we’ll provide the same caliber client support and the delicious meals, drinks, and snacks that Miles is known for.
Q: It seems like post-COVID, a lot of firms are getting away from having physical offices. Do you think having a physical location will be a draw as you recruit neutrals in the Tampa area?
A: Absolutely. Having a physical location is a huge draw. I’ve heard from others in the industry that a lot of Florida-based firms are actively getting out of having a physical presence. Putting my CFO hat on, I get it — if you can get away with not having a physical space, you can save money.
But there are certain cases where you need a physical space — it could be a complex matter with a lot of parties, for example — and then your only option is to rent space, where you can’t control the environment or to go to one of the attorneys’ offices, which isn’t ideal either. Providing neutrals with an amazing neutral setting is a huge draw for neutrals in the Tampa area. We always focus on what our clients want, and we’ve found that our neutrals, and their clients, want in-person options. It may cost us a bit more, but we believe it’s important to offer that option to clients who require it.
Q: Finally, you mentioned recruiting neutrals. Besides Miles’ new high-end Tampa office, what else can neutrals expect when they join Miles?
A: Great question. We invest in not only our physical offices, but in our people. We have an entire staff of more than three dozen people whose mission is to provide the highest caliber of client support. Our neutrals know that they, and their clients and the parties involved, will be welcomed, and treated with respect and compassion when they come to Miles. Our team provides marketing support and billing and collection support, which lets our neutrals focus on mediating and arbitrating cases instead of having to run their ADR businesses.
Another huge asset is being part of the Miles family — neutrals can network with and bounce ideas off their colleagues, which helps them grow their businesses more quickly. The collegiality and family feel of our company is one of the reasons we’ve grown so quickly, and look forward to continuing to expand, not only throughout Florida but across the country as well.
ABOUT MILES MEDIATION & ARBITRATION
Miles Mediation & Arbitration, headquartered in Atlanta, is an award-winning alternative dispute resolution (ADR) firm. The firm specializes in mediation, arbitration, special master and all forms of dispute management and is known for its exceptional client service and reputation of delivering successful results. The firm handles all case sizes and types, including complex, multi-party disputes in areas of business, finance, construction, medical negligence, personal injury, wrongful death, trucking, real estate, insurance coverage, fiduciary, estate and probate, and premises liability. For more information, please call 888-305-3553.