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April 3, 2023

Day Pitney names new managing partner; plans downtown Hartford move

HBJ PHOTO | STEVE LASCHEVER Gregory A. Hayes is the new managing partner of law firm Day Pitney, which has a major Hartford office.
HBJ PHOTO | STEVE LASCHEVER Gregory A. Hayes is the new managing partner of law firm Day Pitney, which has a major Hartford office.

Day Pitney, a storied law firm with Hartford roots that has grown into one of the largest firms in the region, has named a Connecticut native as its new managing partner.

Gregory A. Hayes, who has spent 35 years as an attorney with Day Pitney and its predecessor, became the firm’s managing partner on April 2. In this role, he oversees all 13 offices along the East Coast, from Boston to Miami.

Day Pitney, founded in 1919 as Hartford-based Day & Berry, has grown through a series of mergers and acquisitions. By the 1930s, it was one of the largest firms in the state, known as Day, Berry and Howard. It merged with New Jersey-based Pitney Hardin in 2007 to form Day Pitney.

Now, with roughly 300 attorneys, the full-service firm has offices in Greenwich, Hartford, West Hartford, New Haven and Stamford, where Hayes is based.

Hayes’ elevation coincides with, but is not related to, Day Pitney’s pending downtown Hartford relocation from 242 Trumbull St., where it’s been located since 2008, to the Goodwin Square office tower.

The move — set for early fall — is being driven by Day Pitney’s 15-year lease ending, and 242 Trumbull’s landlord, Northland, marketing the partially vacant building for conversion into apartments.

New office

Day Pitney has signed a long-term sublease for 36,000 square feet and a direct lease for an additional 6,000 square feet in the 330,901-square-foot Class A Goodwin Square office tower.

The new space will be smaller and leaner than its current location, which Hayes said needed an update.

“It’s going to be an opportunity to do what we’ve done with our other offices, which is to get current, if you will, in terms of not only the use of space, but the use of technology — to be able to go in and take sort of a blank slate and build it, outfitted the way a modern law firm should be,” Hayes said.

Day Pitney has always had a culture that fostered collaboration, which he said is one of the reasons he has stayed for 35 years. That sentiment will be reflected in the new design, which will feature same-size offices for all lawyers, ranging from junior associates to partners.

That’s a trend among law firms. Hartford-based Robinson+Cole, which announced last year plans to relocate from its current 280 Trumbull St. office to One State Street, will also be shifting to same-size offices.

“The days of partner offices being two or three times the size of an associate office are in the rearview mirror,” Hayes said. “And so we’re going to be making a lot more efficient use of our space, which means that we’ll still have offices for all the personnel that we currently have here in Hartford, and room for growth.”

The new design is expected to help recruit and retain personnel, while offering a more comfortable experience for clients.

“It does make a difference, when someone comes into your office to interview, as to what your office space looks like, what the tone of the office is, what the feel of the office is, how current and modern it is,” Hayes said. “It sends a positive signal to somebody who is looking to make a commitment to a firm.”

Hayes said Day Pitney encourages staffers to be in the office as often as possible, which gives them a better opportunity to learn and grow. But, like other firms during the pandemic, Day Pitney pivoted to remote operations.

It currently has a hybrid schedule where employees come into the office at least three days a week.

West Hartford roots

Hayes previously led the firm’s private client department as a trust and estates attorney. Nearly a third of Day Pitney’s attorneys — about 80 — focus entirely on trusts and estates, he said.

“This (client private) practice has been a significant practice for the firm, a growing practice, in the 35 years that I’ve been here,” Hayes said. “But unlike the practice that often exists in larger law firms, it’s not a service practice. It’s not a boutique practice within a larger firm. It’s a significant part of the firm in terms of revenue, in terms of personnel.”

Gregory A. Hayes is the new managing partner of law firm Day Pitney, which has a major Hartford office.

Hayes spent 10 years as chair of the private client department, then joined the executive committee — a three-partner group that governs the firm. He has served on the committee for five years.

As managing partner, he succeeds Thomas D. Goldberg, who is stepping down after 11 years on the executive committee, including five years at the helm. Goldberg will stay with the firm and continue to practice law, as is the tradition when managing partners step down at Day Pitney.

Hayes will continue on the executive committee, along with newly appointed Stamford partner Michael P. Byrne, formerly head of the firm’s real estate and environmental practice, and David P. Doyle, from the New Jersey office.

Day Pitney has also elected Hartford partner Namita Tripathi Shah to the executive board, succeeding fellow Harford partner Glenn W. Dowd, who served six years on the board.

Hayes is a lifelong Connecticut resident, aside from a stint in Virginia during law school. He grew up in West Hartford and received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his law degree from the University of Virginia.

He joined the firm’s predecessor, Day, Berry & Howard, as a summer associate in 1986, and became a full-time employee fresh out of law school in 1988.

Under his leadership, Hayes said Day Pitney will continue its focus on serving clients and anticipating their needs, along with strategic growth.

“Certainly, we have always had a huge presence and commitment to Connecticut, and Hartford in particular, but we are focused on strategic growth in all of our offices…,” Hayes said. “Not that we’re looking to further grow our geographic footprint at this point, but certainly to continue to grow in those offices that we’re currently in remains a key objective.”

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