FRIDAY FEATURE: Fast track - 1-800-LAW-FIRM helps employees stay fit at work

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By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

Attorneys at 1-800-LAW-FIRM are on the fast track -- literally.

The firm's new headquarters includes a walking conference track that allows employees to conduct meetings while burning calories and firming muscles.

"We encourage walking conferences to keep the blood flowing and the body parts moving to achieve and maintain optimal health," says CEO and founder Ari Kresch. "We also provide water bottles to each employee to encourage good and healthy living habits."

That's not all: the employee-centric and customer friendly new digs - 25,000 square feet in the former Loan Giant building at 26700 Lahser Road in Southfield -- also has a fitness room with a weight lifting machine/home gym, abs bench, inversion table, flat screen TV with cable, and two glass tiled shower rooms.

Other innovations include private phone-chat areas and an office lounge; a welcoming lobby with adjacent conference rooms; huge, high-efficiency windows and skylights; and a high-tech, professional, relaxed environment created with bright colors and lighting by Arik Green Design of Ferndale.

Even the menu at the June 19 grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony, which drew more than 300 attendees, was healthy, offering all-vegan items and gluten free options.

Definitely not your traditional law office -- Rumpole of the Bailey would be baffled, and Perry Mason perplexed.

Kresch believes in keeping his employees as healthy as his thriving practice, which has grown from a handful of staff to today's force of about 50 -- half of them hired in the last year as demand for the firm's niche expertise rapidly grew.

"We wanted the new 1-800-LAW-FIRM offices to promote interaction between team members and visitors," Kresch says. "Ultimately, it's about creating an environment that will spur creativity, motivation and productivity for both our employees and clients.

"We're about bringing passion to the workplace. We value life and want to enhance it by the services we provide and the way we practice law."

The firm -- which focuses on pharmaceutical litigation, consumer protection, employment, labor law, accidents/injuries, Social Security claims, professional malpractice and whistle-blower cases -- keeps its clients' wallets healthy as well, by offering transparent pricing for legal services, rather than hourly fees. About 95 percent of the work is on a contingency basis.

"Transparent pricing is at the core of the relationship we have with our clients," Kresch says.

Business formation, wills and estates, and document preparation -- such as power of attorney or health care proxies -- will soon be added to the offerings; and the firm also is leveraging technology by providing about 400 common legal documents for download from the website; clients will be able to do much of the paperwork themselves, with phone consultation and review by an attorney from the firm.

Kresch, who founded the firm 4 years ago, earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Detroit Mercy and his law degree from the Detroit College of Law. The Michigan native then moved to New York and did a 3-year stint at the Legal Aid Society -- an experience that led to his philosophy of providing help for the "man in the street."

"I opened a general law practice under the name Kresch & Kresch and ultimately was drawn to handling cases for victims of medical malpractice," he says.

After getting married and having three children, Kresch moved back to Michigan so that his family could experience their uncles, aunts, and grandparents. He still practices in New York and is involved in products liability and pharmaceutical cases throughout the country.

Kresch, who has gone up against big names like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, might perhaps best be known for a $5 million class action suit against singer Lady Gaga for an alleged charity scam, after the singer sold "We Pray for Japan" wristbands ostensibly to benefit victims of Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Kresch claimed Lady Gaga inflated the price of shipping, pocketing the extra dough, and also did not disclose how much of the $5 wristband price would actually go to victims. Just this week, Lady Gaga settled the lawsuit by agreeing to donate $107,500 to a charity which will benefit those affected by the disaster.

Published: Fri, Jun 29, 2012