Even though former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz left a corporate law job for a position in public service nearly 20 years ago, she claims she never stopped being a lawyer.
"The whole time I was secretary of state, I was practicing law on behalf of taxpayers, rather than for paying clients," she said. Her career in public service came to an end last summer, when she lost a bid to be the Democratic nominee for the U.S, Senate seat eventually won by fellow Democrat Christopher Murphy.
But now, an entrepreneurial spirit has driven Bysiewicz, 51, of Middletown back to the business of representing paying clients. Last week, she announced she was joining the recently launched Pastore Shofi & Dailey. The founding partner, Joseph M. Pastore III, met Bysiewicz when she was practicing corporate law at White & Case in New York City years ago. He said she's an important addition to the 10-lawyer firm.
"She a bright light; she brings an enthusiasm to everything she does," said Pastore, who left Dreier LLC in 2009 to work for Fox Rothschild and then Pastore & Osterberg, before launching his new financial litigation firm in December. "She is a talented attorney and a wonderful person. If she was a doctor, she'd be a great doctor."
Pastore and Bysiewicz never worked for the same law firm, but they have kept in touch over the years, most recently during her primary run last year. They reconnected during the campaign because some of Pastore's clients were her supporters. After the election, Pastore made her an offer. "I was excited about the opportunity to build a firm with some very talented and top-notch lawyers," Bysiewicz said.
Last week, she and an assistant were the only ones working in her new office in Glastonbury. But there is room in that office for four more lawyers to work with Bysiewicz, who joins the firm as counsel. The office is Pastore Shofi & Dailey's third, joining locations in Stamford and New York City.
While he acknowledged that Bysiewicz's name recognition is helpful to his firm's business, Pastore said her job won't be "just to wave at the occasional client." Instead, she'll work to build practices in the areas of corporate law, finance, banking, securities and contract negotiations.
"Of course, we are interested in Susan's ability to open dialogue, to open doors for our clients," Pastore said. "We're in the business of persuasion, and for our clients, having someone with Susan's credibility and name recognition is valuable."
Bruce Marcus, a law firm management consultant in Branford, said a lawyer with Bysiewicz's statewide name recognition makes her an attractive acquisition. "Put it this way, running for an election means you have gone out and met a lot of people and raised funds," he said. "A political name like hers is currency."