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Dave Baffa

Partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP Dave Baffa, talks about his successful work and predicts the biggest challenge for clients over the next year.

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability?

My greatest professional achievement has been the procurement and ongoing development of several large, institutional client relationships, which I am privileged to manage. I learn so much every day from the opportunity to work with terrific clients, now friends.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

I’m surrounded by exceptional talent, and I try to leverage that talent for client relationships I manage. I make a point of learning as much as I can about my partners’ practices, and the most important value I bring is efficiently connecting clients to the right people and the right solutions.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Do a better job than I have done to stay in regular touch with your classmates, friends and your former colleagues. Force yourself to take more time to keep those relationships going, and don’t beat yourself up for taking time away from the billable hour or from your family to nurture those relationships. As a practical matter, the relationship-building skills will only help you develop business, but mostly you’ll grow to cherish the escape of friendships that have nothing at all to do with business.

Can you give me a practical example of how you helped a client add value to the business?

Since the bulk of my practice involves helping large companies develop processes to efficiently manage compliance and avoid risk, every day is about adding value in the form of avoidance — avoidance of class/collective actions, avoidance of litigation, avoidance of workforce disruptions, etc. Sometimes it is difficult to quantify that value precisely (the lawsuit that never came), but with the advent of big data and smarter hiring and onboarding, I think HR will get better and better about pointing out real-dollar value and quantifying performance in a way that effects the bottom line.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

How to appropriately harness technology, big data and analytics in the human resources space to add value back to the organization without generating adverse impact or inadvertently creating barriers to employment.

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