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New Harrisburg law firm eyes non-traditional service model

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Pictured from left to right are Matthew J. Curran, Scott C. Penwell and Brandt T. Bowman of Penwell Bowman + Curran LLC.
Pictured from left to right are Matthew J. Curran, Scott C. Penwell and Brandt T. Bowman of Penwell Bowman + Curran LLC. - (Photo / )

They're done obsessing over billable hours.

Three attorneys have launched a new Harrisburg-based practice that they say will "break free from the traditional law firm model," including traditional means of charging clients for their work.

Scott Penwell, Brandt Bowman and Matthew Curran are the founders of Penwell Bowman + Curran LLC, with offices on Pine Street.

One of the firm's goals is to offer clients the flexibility and accessibility of a small firm, together with the experience and sophistication of a larger firm.

The trio say they have adopted a "fresh, client-centered and technology-driven approach to redefine legal counsel for every phase of the business life cycle."

"While most law firms use the billable hour, it often drives a wedge between clients and their attorney," Curran said. "For that reason, we will emphasize alternative fee arrangements including fixed-fees and not-to-exceed quotes that are designed to provide predictability to clients."

The desire for greater flexibility in payment terms is a common theme among lawyers who branch out to start their own firms.

Penwell Bowman + Curran will focus on raising capital for companies in a range of industries, as well as providing ongoing business and contractual services, securities compliance, employment services, and mergers and acquisitions work.

They also will focus on providing legal services to industry segments such as financial institutions — which includes banks, insurance companies, insurance agents, and investment funds — as well as franchisors, investors and professionals.

Coming together

Penwell met the firm's other founding partners, Brandt Bowman and Matthew Curran, while practicing at another law firm in the region.

Penwell is a long-time securities lawyer who has been involved in numerous startups over the years. He worked most recently at Rhoads & Sinon.

"It was time to marry my experience as a lawyer and entrepreneur to deliver a better product to clients in a more personal, economic and transparent way and to add a young and fresh perspective to the practice of law," he added.

In Bowman and Curran, who also previously worked at Rhoads & Sinon, Penwell saw a "young, entrepreneurial, and accomplished pair of lawyers" who shared his vision.

"Scott’s experience not only as a lawyer, but also as an entrepreneur, attracted Matt and me to start this firm with him," Bowman said. "Our goal is to provide legal services to clients in a way that we would want to purchase them as entrepreneurs and business owners."

Penwell has been an investor in numerous start-up ventures and has started, grown and sold two insurance companies: Eastern Alliance Insurance Co., a national writer of workers compensation insurance, and Great Falls Insurance Co., a carrier licensed to write insurance in Maine and New Hampshire.

Bowman has been recognized by Philadelphia Magazine as a rising star in business and corporate law. He graduated summa cum laude from both Susquehanna University and the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University.

Curran graduated summa cum laude in addition to receiving the Dean’s Award from Widener Commonwealth Law School.

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Roger DuPuis

Roger DuPuis

Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at rdupuis@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @rogerdupuis2.

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