2019 is a big year for local Seattle law firm, Holmquist + Gardiner! Celebrating 10 years in business, founders Imants Holmquist and Hamilton Gardiner look back on how they got their start and how they’ve successfully grown over the years, establishing themselves as one of the top law practices in the city of Seattle.
The Beginning of Holmquist + Gardiner
Imants and Hamilton met in undergrad at the University of Washington where they were members of the same fraternity. Their paths diverged in law school, but came back together when Hamilton attended Seattle University for a semester and reconnected with Imants in class and during bar exam preparations. After passing the bar in 2006, they began work at different law firms, but continued to stay in touch. In 2008, their professional paths crossed again. Both interested in starting their own independent law firm, they put together a paper napkin plan over beers at Elysian Brewing in Capital Hill, and the rest is history. On December 15th, 2008, Holmquist + Gardiner was open for business.
Seattle Proud from the Start
Both Imants and Hamilton are native Seattle residents coming from multi-generation local families. They have deep roots in the region and felt pulled to remain in the city they know and love. “We are about as native as you can get,” said Imants. “We’re not transplants, we’re here to stay, and while we’ve grown alongside Seattle, our firm stays true to how we grew up.”
As a law firm with innate knowledge and experience in the region, they’re able to connect with clients on the same playing field, because they are just like them. “We are a small to medium sized local business, just like many of our clients,” said Hamilton. “We’re just as invested in the success of this region as they are. That makes a real difference.”
An Expanded Focus - with Client Relationships at the Heart of Everything They Do
Holmquist + Gardiner’s address, 1000 Second Ave. Suite 1770, has been the same since day one. Once sharing a single small office together, they’ve been able to expand their space on the same floor to accommodate additional team members, all the while maintaining their original focus on expanded services and long-term client relationships.
Over the last 10 years, establishing long-lasting relationships with clients has been at the core of their business model, and has been a key to their continued success. Imants and Hamilton opened their law practice focused on providing more services to their clients than the average firm. “We didn’t want to limit ourselves to construction litigation,” said Hamilton, “while we can certainly do that, our main goal was to serve as a source of assistance for clients on anything ranging from business services to real estate, construction, and employment.”
“We aren’t a boutique law firm,” says Imants, “we are a comprehensive practice and want our clients to feel confident coming to us for anything law-related; and if we aren’t able to provide that specific service, we’ll help them find someone who can.”
This ability to provide a wide array of legal services to their clients, while maintain a strong focus on relationship building and retention, has led to their eventual growth and continued success. “Our approach is the Seattle approach,” says Imants, “we value our clients over our pocketbook and despite the growth and expansion of our firm, we always hold the client’s best interests above all else.”
“No matter how big or small their ask may be, it’s not the ask that we are focused on, it’s the person and the relationship,” said Hamilton, “that’s just how we’ve always worked.”
Culture, Team and Having Fun at Work is Central to How They Run Things at Holmquist + Gardiner
The law firm has recently expanded at a rate of one attorney per year, for the last five years. Now boasting 7 attorneys and 2 additional staff members, they’ve worked hard to develop a strategic focus, mission and set of core values that continues to evolve, so that all team members are conveying and living by those ideals when they work with clients.
“Our main objective is to continue to service our client base with the same attention, expertise and flexibility no matter how much we grow,” says Hamilton. “To do that, we’ve had to be very selective in who we bring onto the team, we want to make sure they share our core values. Our team dynamic is intentional and very important to us, Imants and I are proud of the people and the team we’ve put together over the last 10 years, it’s second to none.”
When Holmquist + Gardiner started in 2008, they had a handful of clients, and it’s interesting to note that 10 years later, the vast majority of those clients are still part of the law firm today. “As a full-service law firm, our biggest goal is to continue to be agile as we expand our ability to help clients,” said Hamilton. “We haven’t expanded for the sake of success, we’ve grown because the needs of our clients have grown, we are a product of their successes, not just our own.”
“We really feel like we’re just hitting our stride,” said Imants. “Our growth doesn’t impact how we work with clients and who we work with. We are dedicated to serving clients big and small in a routine, efficient manner, our bread and butter is wrapped up in the day-to-day operations of local Seattle businesses. No matter how big we get, that will always be our focus.”