Charles Brewer, the founder of Mindspring, sent a letter to customers, several years ago, explaining the company’s philosophy. He stated that Mindspring was trying to create
a company that really is different and better. His words struck an immediate chord with us at Helms & Greene. We, too, are creating an organization that really is different
and better than the traditional law firms where we have worked.
There might not seem to be much similarity between an Internet access provider and a litigation boutique. The key to creating a company (or law firm) where people can do great
work, and provide their customers (clients) with truly excellent service, has little to do with the type of industry, but is about the values that drive the company’s actions.
After all, the industry will change over time – the market, the people, and the products. Only the values have a chance to remain constant and make the organization different
and better in a lasting way.
Quotes from Brewer’s Letter
We can do no better than quote directly from Brewer’s letter:
“We have been frustrated by the status quo in the world of business, both from a customer point of view and an employee point of view. We think the experience that customers
have with most companies is pretty bad. Companies often take customers for granted, don’t seem to care about serving them well, and often don’t even tell them the
“Yet it seems to us that most ‘individuals’ really do want to accomplish something wonderful and meaningful with their work, and they are willing to work hard
to make that happen. But, somehow, the organizations they work for often make it difficult or impossible for individuals to really do great work, or feel much sense of accomplishment,
or serve their customers well. When that happens, it is a real tragedy . . . ”
“Even if you start with a strong dissatisfaction with the status quo and the lofty ambitions of doing something different and better, it is not all that obvious what to
do! After all, people don’t ‘intentionally’ create companies that are lousy places to work and provide lousy service. It happens in spite of good intentions.”
Which brings us back to values.
Helms & Greene's Core Values and Beliefs
- We respect the individual, and believe that individuals who are treated with respect and given responsibility respond by giving their best.
- We require honesty and integrity in everything we do.
- We make commitments and then live up to them in all things; we do what we say we are going to do.
- Work is an important part of life, and it should be fun.
- Being a good lawyer does not mean being stuffy and boring.
- We love to compete, and we believe that competition brings out the best in us.
- We are frugal. We guard and conserve the firm’s resources with at least the same vigilance that we would use to guard and conserve our own personal resources.
- We insist on giving our best effort in everything we undertake. Furthermore, we see a huge difference between “good mistakes” (best effort, bad result) and “bad
mistakes” (sloppiness or lack of concern).
- Clarity in understanding our mission, our goals, and what we expect from each other is critical to our success.
- We are believers in the Golden Rule.
- In all our dealings we will strive to be friendly and courteous, as well as fair and compassionate.
- We feel a sense of urgency on any matters related to our clients.
- We own problems, and we are always responsive.
- We are client-driven.