Central Pennsylvania law firm Saxton & Stump installed a new executive-level position tasked with shoring up the firm’s integration of lateral talent, hiring away the manager of legal operations and project management of The Hershey Co. for the job.
Sara Arndt, who has spent a total of 18 years at the candy manufacturer in various roles overseeing client services and project management, started Monday at the midsize firm as its director of success. The firm said it is aiming to use this new position to optimize revenue generation from recent attorney additions.
The “success” asserted by Arndt’s title pertains to “helping lateral attorneys integrate and selling the integration of our affiliate companies,” she said. This way, she said, Saxton & Stump “is really a full-service legal and consulting firm and it’s a one-stop shop.”
“We’re always looking for cross-integration and cross-selling opportunities to generate revenue,” she said. “The definition of success is increased revenue, so we’re really looking to help our lateral attorneys grow their books of business by leveraging their skills more completely.”
Firm CEO Jim Saxton said Arndt will meet with new lawyers to facilitate cross-selling with the firm’s nine business affiliates, which include subsidiaries in human resources, marketing and a South Carolina-based law practice the firm acquired last year.
Saxton said the position was in part a response to an ongoing shake-up in the retention of clients and legal talent, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to reevaluate their career trajectory.
Arndt began at Hershey in 2003 as a supervisor and team leader for newly hired employees. In between stints as a global commodity manager for TE Connectivity from 2016 to 2017 and owning her own cleaning service in 2007, Arndt held a variety of roles for the chocolatier, such as a strategic sourcing business specialist and manager of digital capabilities and operations.
“Hershey provided me with so many great opportunities, and I truly believe that is why I am in a position I am in to be able to provide the value I can to Saxton & Stump,” she said. “I certainly owe them a lot.”
Jeff Beckman, director of corporate communications for Hershey, declined to comment on Arndt’s departure.
Arndt said she wasn’t looking for a job change when she was identified by the firm’s human resources affiliate, Granite HR, as a candidate for the role of integrating laterals. But she said the break-neck pace of the firm’s growth made her want to be part of it.
Saxton & Stump grew its head count of professionals by 53 in 2021, 22 of whom are practicing lawyers, according to the firm. It now has 140 professionals, including 75 attorneys, many of whom were additions to the business development team.
Saxton said now that the foundations of the business development team have been established, Arndt can help the firm scale its growth by “putting the right practice area chairs together, doing inventories for how we can produce greater value to clients now that we have this new lawyer or new group.”
“It’s not just recruiting a lateral attorney,” he added. “It’s helping them to be successful once they’re on the new platform, and that’s what Sara’s going to do.”
For example, the firm in December formally launched a practice group to aid business clients in navigating the intersection of environmental and workplace regulations.
Saxton & Stump scouted regulatory lawyer Stephen Matzura from fellow-central Pennsylvania firm McNees Wallace & Nurick to head the group with lobbyist Kathy Pape, who joined from McNees last January. The two were named equity shareholders upon their arrival.
In an interview in December, Matzura said OSHA has designated certain workplace safety incidents like breathing airborne contaminants as overlapping with environmental law. As a result, Matzura said, many of the internal teams who handled health and safety for clients also were responsible for addressing environmental liability, leading him to focus his practice on those synergies within business clients.
The new hire comes on the heels of Saxton’s efforts to restructure business development at the firm. While the firm had seen significant lateral additions and aggressive expansion into new practices, Saxton said the firm had work to do in integrating new lawyers firmwide.
“A critical focus for us going forward is to help make our new lawyers as well as lawyers who want to relaunch their careers successful, and that takes someone who is just focused on that,” Saxton said. “It’s a great investment from a dollars and cents standpoint to make us more efficient.”