By DONNA BALANCIA, TFLJ Editor
TAMPA — Mike Blickensderfer, president of Blick Law Firm, measures the success of his business by a unique standard: His family wants to work there too.
“My wife and each of my children have different talents, and I’m fortunate because they are putting them to use at our law firm,” said Blickensderfer, whose Tampa firm is well-known in motorcycle circles and in community groups on the West Coast.
Mike’s wife, Vivian, is the marketing manager of Blick Law Firm, Dana Blickensderfer, 22, is the public relations and social media director, and son Steven looks to be joining his father as an attorney at the firm after his graduation from University of Florida Levin College of Law in May.
“It’s such a blessing to see our each of our children use their talents to help out the business,” said Vivian Blickensderfer. “They wanted to do it.”
Eldest daughter, Danielle — now studying architecture in New York — was the first one to work at the firm, and then handed the reins to sister, Dana.
“Danielle was the one who started it all for me and my brother,” said Dana Blickensderfer. “She was looking for something to do while going to school and she was the gatekeeper of the firm.”
Blick Law Firm holds seminars hosted by Vivian, sponsors events put on by Dana, and works with groups of realtors, doctors and other attorneys to generate the business.
While family comprises the nucleus of the team, the 13 non-family employees play a vital role to running a diverse practice.
The Blick Law Firm has been nominated by The Tampa Business Journal as one of the top places to work in Tampa Bay.
“Our faith is about helping one another in the community,” Dana Blickensderfer said. “The foundation of our business is helping the hurting.”
Compassion is critical in a business that deals with family law issues.
“Unfortunately, some cases involve death and we help the family cope,” Dana Blickensderfer said. “Mike is really good at listening and supporting the family. But he’s also very good at taking care of the legal stuff that they can’t do on their own.”
Compassion — and understanding — also play a strong role inside the office.
“We keep our morale high by having little giveaways every month, spending time with each other, and keeping communication lines open,” Dana Blickensderfer said.
Mike Blickensderfer said the practice has evolved over the years.
“We were initially focused on the motorcycle community but now we’re focused on the whole community,” he said. “Our motto is ‘Helping the hurting,’ and we are focused on family issues. We hold events, and we’re getting new clients, many in bankruptcy and in foreclosure.”
Mike Blickensderfer didn’t come up the easy way. He spent time in the Marine Corps and worked with the Teamsters in New York. Much of what he learned about law, he taught himself.
“I’ve been practicing over 20 years and I would say I’m self-taught through life experiences,” he said.
But during his life there has rarely been such satisfaction as what he feels having his family around.
“We love the chemistry our children bring into the practice,” he said.
Vivian Blickensderfer, who met Mike during the Teamster days at New York’s LaGuardia Airport where they were both employed, said when you own your own practice, you have to make some sacrifices.
“When you’re a small company like us and you don’t have the budget for a billboard, your marketing has to be at the grass roots level,” she said. “You’re getting directly with the people, going to seminars, we’re vendors at events, wherever we can be out in front of the people, we’re there.”
But while Blick Law Firm may not have conventional wealth, Mike Blickensderfer said the firm is teeming with riches.
“When you have your own business you do pay a price,” he said. “But it’s also very rewarding. We love the chemistry our family brings.”