Partner and Co-Founder Hellerman Baretz Communications
The public relations and marketing industry has not traditionally been associated with the field of law. But Spencer Baretz '97, partner and co-founder of Hellerman Baretz Communications, is not your ordinary lawyer. He has taken his law degree and combined it with his entrepreneurial spirit to forge a career in the booming PR industry.
Baretz always had a knack for business during his time as an undergraduate at Boston University. He also recognized that a law degree would give him an edge over his competitors in the business world, and he enrolled in Hofstra Law after earning his bachelor's degree. "A law school degree is just as valuable as an MBA," Baretz contends, an assertion supported by the success of his marketing and PR business.
Along with business partner John Hellerman, in 2003 Baretz launched Hellerman Baretz Communications, or HBC, a PR firm that represents leading law firms and individual lawyers. Clients range from the world's top bankruptcy lawyer to Fortune 500 companies across the country. The firm's success has not gone unnoticed; it has garnered many awards and was named "Best PR Firm" (National) by the National Law Journal in 2012.
Baretz attributes HBC's success to hard work and a proactive mentality. Building the firm was a "total roller coaster" he admits, and adds that nothing could have prepared him better than his education at Hofstra Law.
Hofstra Law, Baretz explains, equipped him with the capability to understand the law even outside a traditional setting; classes covered concepts and scenarios applicable to real-life situations. "Those classes provided a very good practical level of education that I felt was going to be most useful for me later on," Baretz says. "Teachers and the curriculum set me up well to see where the law and business really crossed."
In today's world, the role of marketing in law firms is becoming increasingly important because it plays a critical role in client relations. Law firms strive to show clients they are at the forefront of the leading legal issues of the day, and good PR and marketing are essential to accomplishing this.
"The business of practicing law is changing in fundamental ways right now," Baretz says. "Without being a lawyer and without having the training, the company would not be what it is today."