Paths and Dreams Converge at Penn Law
Andrew’s and Chris’s paths to running a boutique law firm serving a sophisticated clientele was not a straightforward one. But service has always been in their nature. After graduating from Rutgers, Andrew started his career as a public-school teacher in Edison, New Jersey. Chris similarly set out to serve the public interest after graduating from Brown University, heading off to Washington, DC to work for (then) Senator Joe Biden on his congressional staff.
Eventually, however, both Andrew and Chris decided they could accomplish more with the tools and resources of an attorney. They also found themselves drawn to a profession where justice, ideals and achieving results mattered. As such, fate would have it that both Chris and Andrew were accepted to attend the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in the fall of 2008.
Indeed, the seeds that would eventually grow into Dressel/Malikschmitt were sown when Andrew and Chris were assigned to the same section as 1Ls at Penn Law. Comically, Andrew and Chris’ first partnership was in the Penn Law Bowling League, a highly successful venture christened “Torts Illustrated, Swimsuit Edition,” a name that only a lawyer could love.
Prestigious Post Law-School Endeavors
Good times were certainly had, but Andrew and Chris were serious students as well. Indeed, both Andrew and Chris graduated cum laude from Penn Law in the Spring of 2011 and went on to prestigious post law school endeavors. Andrew went to work at the prominent law firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, while Chris pursued two federal clerkships—at the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Fast forward to 2015, Andrew and Chris—both at this point New York City attorneys at leading national law firms—each found themselves, for personal reasons, gravitating towards New Jersey. They studied and sat together sat for the New Jersey Bar Exam in the Spring of 2016, and, of course, passed with flying colors. Andrew then went on to spend some time with a New Jersey law firm and Chris took up a position as an Assistant Prosecutor, part of a lifetime interest in law enforcement.
Striking Out on Their Own
In 2017, Andrew floated the idea of starting his own firm. Having absorbed the mechanics of business generation as general counsel for a prominent Long Island-based firm and realizing the two were uniquely situated to deliver top-tier legal services direct to consumers without all the overhead and complexity, it seemed natural—and exciting—for the two to join forces and start a boutique legal practice. Indeed, their experience at some of the most sophisticated law firms in the country, coupled with their eye towards service and delivering the most positive legal experience for clients made the move seem nearly preordained.
Additionally, as Chris and Andrew each spent more time working in law firms, they saw there was a market not being served. There were a number of commercial litigation matters that seemed to make sense as contingency matters, but very few commercial litigation firms were willing to take on contingency matters. There was also a dearth of quality lawyers willing to do transactional work at reasonable rates for small businesses. They thought the two of them could develop a law firm to flourish within that niche.
What Sets Them Apart
Chris and Andrew built Dressel/Malikschmitt on the dream that at their firm every client gets to work directly with one of the founding partners. Not many firms with their level of sophistication and experience can claim that honor. What is more, Andrew and Chris bring a level of acumen, experience and attention to detail that is rare in the market they serve.
Challenging but Worth it
And the rest, as they say, is history. Starting a business is difficult, but who could be better situated than two law school friends who had the tenacity, humor and the legal chops to make it work? Today, Andrew and Chris enjoy running their successful practice—often from home these days —while in the company of their respective families and pets. The two could not be prouder to have built a successful business from scratch, and look forward to seeing what the future will bring, and to proudly serving more and more New Jerseyans in need of critical legal advice and counsel.
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