Littler Mendelson has announced the selection of two co-presidents and co-managing directors of the firm, who will hold the positions for eight years beginning on January 20, 2013.

Thomas Bender, a founding member and managing shareholder of Littler’s Philadelphia office, and Jeremy Roth, a managing shareholder of the firm’s San Diego office, were the unanimous choices of Littler’s board of directors when it met on August 15 to decide who would replace outgoing president and managing director Marko Mrkonich. At the end of his term, Mrkonich will return to practicing law for Littler full time.

Up to this point in its history, Littler has operated under the oversight of a single managing director, but the ongoing growth of the firm domestically and internationally influenced the board to choose co-managing directors this time, Bender noted.

“We are the largest labor and employment firm in the world representing exclusively management. We’ve had tremendous growth over the last eight years. Jeremy Roth and I both have a lot of experience practicing law and in managing situations. We have complementary skills sets and areas of expertise, and we’re pretty excited about this,” said Bender.

Roth brings to the new roles significant executive experience as well as vital experience in a different area.

“I’ve managed the San Diego office for over 10 years now. I’ve also been involved with our national lateral shareholder recruiting committee. The non-legal practice portions of what I’ve been doing for the firm are focused on lateral recruitment and client development. I’ve been key in recruiting folks in many offices, and entire offices. I’ve also helped onboarded laterals bridge into the Littler system, to enable them to quickly capitalize on the immense synergies that come from our 900-plus lawyers in 50-plus offices. The full service firms and the labor and employment boutique competitors have some geographic reach, but nothing on the scale of our 56 offices,” Roth stated.

Roth commented on how the environment in which law firms operate has evolved: “It seems that the growth of law firms’ rate increases reached its zenith in 2005 or so, and then the world changed in 2008 and 2009. Business changed globally. Traditional law firms’ client relationships that had been intact for years, sometimes decades, were at risk. The consumer of legal products became sophisticated and was working hard to meet its own demands [in] a cost-competitive environment. Many of the great law firm names are now gone. All that happened in a five or six-year time span. Over the next eight years, things are going to change again, and the change is coming even more rapidly.”

The growing geographic dispersion of companies’ assets and personnel places increasing demands on the firms representing them.

“Everything we do today is client service delivery-driven. Take a global client who says, I’ve got a manufacturing facility in China and a manufacturing facility in Mexico, and I’ve got a sales force in another country, and my board is in the States, how do I get a solution on the labor/employment front? If Littler can provide that solution, we’ll remain the number one choice. We’re investing in technology and creative solutions, and hiring people at the top of their game to help us continue to meet the needs of the global employer consumer,” Roth remarked.