Law firms give boost to region

Lawyers, like journalists, are not exactly at the top of many lists of “favorites.”

But one of the industries that too often gets overlooked in the Boulder Valley is the professional-services sector. That’s defined, at least by the website Bitpipe.com, as “Industries whose products and services are based on professional expertise, rather than on discrete products.” Think law firms — and accounting firms — to start.

Why mention it? Because this sector represents a significant segment of the economy in Boulder and Broomfield counties, and it’s one that is growing every day.

Sure, the Internet, technology, health-care, outdoors, natural-products, real estate, aerospace and other sectors get all the attention, but as Boulder County Business Report staff writer Beth Potter wrote in a recent edition, expansions at area law firms are going full blast. In fact, it’s difficult to find a law firm that isn’t adding attorneys in the Boulder Valley right now.

(See Beth’s article, “Area law firms reach verdict, ordering more space, attorneys,” in our Jan. 4-17 edition, or find the article at www.bcbr.com.)

These law firms, as well as accounting firms, are drawn to the Boulder Valley precisely because of the entrepreneurial climate, which spawns new startups at an incredible rate. Some also serve the real estate investment sector, providing expertise for acquisition or sale of commercial real estate — typically a hot investment locally.

And law and accounting firms also are significant contributors to the real estate sector in their own right, leasing or purchasing large chunks of office space.

Additionally, those firms specializing in intellectual property reap the rewards of the Boulder Valley’s entrepreneurial endeavors. Some were even instrumental in Denver securing a new branch of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which is predicted to generate even more demand for legal services in the years ahead, not only in Denver but in Boulder as well.

Just as law and accounting firms are drawn by Boulder-area entrepreneurship, companies are attracted to the Boulder area in part by the presence of legal and accounting expertise, including firms that are homegrown or branches of Denver or out-of-state firms.

While we in Boulder and Broomfield counties might take these firms for granted, many parts of the country — and even areas within Colorado — have yet to pop onto the radar of these skilled firms.

Professional-services firms are considered a major industry cluster by the city of Boulder and the Boulder Economic Council. They recognize that their presence in our region helps to build our important industry clusters and generate wealth within our communities.

So the next time you’re speaking with your Boulder-area attorney or accountant, thank them for their presence in the market — but make sure they’re off the clock.

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One of the pleasures of publishing the Boulder County Business Report is the long-standing collaboration with the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame. This nonprofit organization, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, honors the icons of Boulder County’s business community. Nominations for the 2013 class close on Jan. 31. If you would like to nominate someone for inclusion in this prestigious group, please visit www.halloffamebiz.com.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-440-4950 or via email at cwood@bcbr.com.

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