by Luke Malek and Peter Smith IV
We learned early on in our careers that some of the stereotypes placed on attorneys were true. It was normal to work 24\7. It was normal to sacrifice a healthy family life. It was normal to see the law industry burn out female colleagues far more often than men. It didn’t take us long to realize we not only wanted something different for ourselves but for the upcoming generations of law professionals.
From Changing National Laws to the Fastest-Growing Business Law Firm in Idaho
Close friends for more than 15 years, we first collaborated as colleagues on a case in 2013. Who would have thought that suing the Obama Administration over the National Security Administration’s privacy practices (which ultimately led to Congress changing the law in question) would have led us to start our own law firm? The success we saw, in this case, made us realize the potential our partnership could have in making a real change in the law industry by rewriting the stereotypes that plagued it. And that is what we set out to do.
We made it our goal to change the world for the better by starting a new type of law firm. In 2015, we took our vision to create a law firm that prioritized work-life balance for both our female and male colleagues and founded Smith + Malek Attorneys. Our business partnership has created the fastest growing business law firm in Idaho, specializing in healthcare, business, real estate, litigation, natural resources, and employment, with offices in Boise, Coeur d’Alene, and Spokane.
Growing Our Business and Opening a Spokane Office in a Pandemic
Despite the challenges the pandemic threw at business owners, we opened a new office in Spokane where we continue to implement the values we had back in 2015. Forward-thinking policies and thoughtful benefits facilitate an atmosphere that strongly supports women, families, and a work-life balance. From offering 16 weeks of paid parental leave, flexible and remote work options, and the ability to bring a child to work on a need basis, our policies reflect our goal to support our female colleagues. We are proud to be a female-majority law firm that continues to attract top female attorneys and rising stars from around the region. We did away with the partner track, which so often sidelines women and people of color, and built a collaborative team profit-sharing model instead.
Creating an Equitable, Nurturing Law Firm
Our focus on mentoring new attorneys is aided by the helping hands of seasoned attorneys who are excited to share their knowledge with up-and-coming attorneys. This mentorship creates a sense of collaboration that is reflected across our offices. We have developed a college internship program that provides young professionals a boost in the law industry. Our internship program reflects our value to increase the opportunities women and people of color have by searching for candidates who identify as female or are students of color.
There is one stereotype that still rings true. Attorneys are extremely passionate about the work they do. We’ve had the great opportunity to keep the passion we have for law at the forefront of the work we do while transforming our firm into an environment that puts people–employees and clients–first. We’re excited to continue sharing the passion we have for our work with everyone that works for us and with us.
Luke Malek is a founding attorney and co-owner at Smith + Malek and is based in Boise and Coeur d’Alene. He practices in the areas of business, healthcare and municipal law, including transactions and litigation.
Peter Smith IV is a founding attorney and co-owner at Smith + Malek and is based in Coeur d’Alene. He practices in the areas of business and real estate law.